Piano Music to Celebrate Salem’s 250th! With Barbara Lister Sink

Piano Music to Celebrate Salem’s 250th! With Barbara Lister Sink

October 12, 2022
Barbara Lister-Sink in front of piano

Salem College School of Music will present a concert with Barbara Lister-Sink, Professor of Piano, Artistic Director of the School of Music and Director of the Music Graduate Program at Salem College. Entitled Piano Music to Celebrate Salem’s 250th!, the concert is part of the Clemens & Margaret Sandresky Artist Series and will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at 7:30 p.m. in Shirley Recital Hall in the Salem Academy and College Elberson Fine Arts Center. The concert is free, although donations will be accepted. The concert will also be livestreamed on Facebook.

Internationally renowned pianist, Barbara Lister-Sink will perform 150 years of music by Salem composers Charles Vardell, Amelia & Lisetta Van Vleck, Margaret Sandresky and a world premiere by current composer and instructor in theory and guitar Samuel Taylor.

Barbara Lister Sink wearing a colorful scarf

“I am very excited to be performing this concert,” said Barbara-Lister Sink. “This piano recital will fittingly celebrate the prodigious talents of five of Salem College’s composers over the last 160 years. They all taught in the Salem College School of Music, formally established in 1877 and a cultural front-runner among music schools in the United States.”

Lister-Sink is a graduate of Smith College and holds the coveted Prix d’Excellence from the Utrecht Conservatory and the Doctor of Education in College Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. A former member of the Artist Faculty of the Eastman School of Music, she has collaborated with some of the world’s most renowned composers and performers. Formerly keyboardist for the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, she has taught on the piano faculties of the Amsterdam Muziek Lyceum, Duke University and the Brevard Music Center. Her performances have been broadcast on NPR, CBC and Radio Netherlands. As a teacher, Lister-Sink is acknowledged as a global leader in injury-preventive keyboard technique. At Salem College, she directs the US’s first fully accredited Professional Certificate Program in Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique.

Margaret Vardell Sandresky (b. 1912) is a is a distinguished Salem professor emerita of music and internationally recognized composer. She graduated from Salem Academy in 1938 and from Salem College in 1942. Sandresky earned a Master of Music degree in composition at the Eastman School of Music in 1944. In addition to teaching at Salem, she held teaching positions at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Locally, she served as organist at Home Moravian Church, First Baptist Church and Centenary United Methodist Church. Wayne Leupold Editions is currently publishing the eleventh volume of her organ music. Her compositions have been performed throughout the world, recorded on major CD labels and presented at regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists (AGO). In addition to music for the organ, Sandresky has composed numerous works for piano/harpsicord, solo voice and choral ensembles, as well as chamber and orchestral ensembles.

Samuel Allen Taylor (b. 1974) holds the B.M. and M.M. degrees from the UNC School of the Arts and is adjunct instructor of guitar, music theory, composition, and music technology in the Salem College School of Music. He maintains an active and multifaceted career as guitarist, composer, and teacher. A frequent collaborator with performing and visual artists, he creates new musical works that explore the intersection between electronic and acoustic sound media. “Cloudform” and “Refractions at Twilight” are two meditations for piano with electroacoustic sounds and create a sonic reflection of the highly concentrated, but momentary play of the senses. The performance will be the world premiere of these works.

Sisters Amelia Van Vleck (1835–1929) and Lisetta Van Vleck (1830–1914) were products of the Moravian tradition of music as essential to education and of females deserving an equal education as males. The sisters Van Vleck were revered teachers in the Salem Female Academy, unusual for an era when European men were imported to most American music schools. Their compositions were often virtuoso or lyrical dances and marches dedicated to friends. They both were exceptionally gifted pianists and guitarists. Interestingly, Lister-Sink’s great aunt Genie Fitzgerald likely studied with Amelia “Miss Amy” Van Vleck.

Charles Gildersleeve Vardell (1893–1962) was a nationally celebrated composer as well as a beloved teacher, organist, arts visionary, and Dean of the Salem College School of Music from 1928 to 1951. He was a principal leader in building Winston-Salem’s cultural life. He held an B.A. from Princeton University, an Artist and Teacher’s Diploma from what later became the Juilliard School of Music, and a Ph.D. from the Eastman School of Music. His Carolinian Symphony was performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. Vardell’s piano music captures the essence of his native North Carolina surroundings in a lush American post-Romantic style. His daughter Margaret Sandresky and granddaughter Eleonor Sandresky both carry on the multi-generational tradition as composers.