325, Swope Music Building
For all students and faculty at the School of Music, this is a very exciting year, following our recent relocation to the new Swope Music Building and Performing Arts Center in January, 2007. This monumental facility presents students and faculty with an exceptionally attractive learning environment architecturally and aesthetically, which is sure to inspire us to be the best artists and musicians possible. To the delight of the keyboard faculty, there are now two new superior performing venues which house state-of-the-art recording equipment. As an All-Steinway school, the new facilities also contain eighty-eight brand-new Steinway pianos. This is a very attractive asset to all prospective students, especially to those potentially majoring in piano. Many of us are excited to share the space under the same umbrella as the Art and Theater departments, which will further encourage future interdepartmental collaboration. At a time when Chester County is undergoing a surge in economic development, I'm positive that this unification and establishment of the new Regional Performing Arts Center will have a magnetic effect on those who love and support the arts in the Philadelphia Area, and will identify West Chester University as a significant cultural center throughout the United States. The performance level of incoming students is getting higher every year, and recently the School of Music has attracted and enrolled several students from China, France, Hungary, Japan, Korea, the, Romania, and Russia. I am also impressed by the faculty -- I am lucky that my colleagues at the School of Music are not only truly exceptional in their areas of specialization, but are nice people to boot.
With every additional year I teach at West Chester University, the more clearly I realize that my deepest aspirations lie beyond simply being a teacher of the fundamentals of piano playing. I aim to encourage students to use whatever knowledge gleaned from our interaction to teach themselves. Ideally, I would like to see every student develop into an independent, thoughtful musician, share my reverence and appreciation for the inexplicable spiritual power of music, and in turn, communicate their enthusiasm for music with others, through performing or teaching.
Carl Cranmer made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of nine. Since then, in addition to solo recitals in Europe, Asia, and North America, he has performed in concert with the Royal Philharmonic of England, the Gulbenkian Orquesta of Portugal, the Juilliard Orchestra and several other orchestras on the Eastern Seaboard. In addition to his study in conservatories of music in the United States, he also studied at the Sommerakademie at the Mozarteum, in Salzburg, Austria under full scholarship, where he was under the tutelage of distinguished teachers Karlheinz Kammerling, Jacob Lateiner, and Hans Graf.
Dr. Cranmer has been the recipient of many competition prizes and awards. He was the Grand Prize winner of the 1994 Missouri Southern Piano Competition. In 1995, he received the Spanish Music Prize, and the Finalist Prize in the Santander Paloma O'Shea International Piano Competition in Santander, Spain. He also won Fourth Prize in the 1999 World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, was a finalist in the 1996 Washington International Competition in Washington, D.C., and a semifinalist in the Montreal International Piano Competition in Washington, DC, the Marguerite Long International Piano Competition in Paris, France, the Naumburg International Piano Competition in New York City, and the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan. In 2000, he was selected to be on Philadelphia's Astral Artistic Services outreach roster of performers.
In summer, 2007, Dr. Cranmer recorded a compact disc of the Concerto for Piano by the late West Chester composer Samuel Barber with the Russian Philharmonia, led by maestro Ovidiu Marinescu, conductor and violoncellist from West Chester University, which was recorded in Moscow, Russia. Locally, other concerto appearances last season include Saint-Saëns's Concerto No. 2 in G minor with the Kennett Symphony Orchestra, and the Schumann Concerto in a minor with the Delaware Country Orchestra.
Dr. Cranmer has considerable exposure in important national and international venues. He has performed in Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Weill Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Hall in New York, in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and in the Academy of Music and the Perelman Theater in the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. His performances have been televised in Madrid, Tokyo, Missouri and Philadelphia, and his performances have been aired on NPR, and radio stations in New York, Chicago, Montréal, Boston, and Atlanta. In addition to performances in Austria, France, England and Japan, he has had the opportunity to have two solo concert tours of Spain. In May 2002, he was invited to perform a solo recital sponsored by the American and Spanish Embassies in Panama City, Panama.
Dr. Cranmer also performs a wide variety of chamber music. He has performed in recital with German violinist and Naumburg Competition winner Axel Strauss in Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Seattle. In 2004, their performance in Steinway Hall in New York City was broadcast by NHK on public television stations in Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Dr. Cranmer has also collaborated with a variety of other musicians, including the Grammy-winning Takács Quartet, baritone Randall Scarlata, tenor Robert White, and violinist Akiko Suwanai. He has performed in the summers at Tanglewood, Pianofest in the Hamptons, and the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival.
In 2005, Dr. Cranmer released a CD of solo piano music on the Limoges label titled "Soirée", a collection of "nocturnal" works by Poulenc, Chopin, Fauré, Granados, Liszt, and Barber. In 2004, he collaborated with violinist and WCU colleague Sylvia Ahramjian on another CD recording of the music of Saint-Saëns, Beethoven, and others, titled "Crossroads." Dr. Cranmer frequently performs as a soloist and chamber musician, and gives numerous master classes in the Philadelphia area. He also maintains a private piano studio outside of his teaching responsibilities at West Chester University, and is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, often adjudicating for piano competitions and festivals at the local, state, and regional levels.