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B i o g r a p h y

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Pianist Clara Christian is Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Piano Program at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO.  In addition to teaching applied piano, she teaches music history, piano pedagogy, piano literature, chamber music, and class piano. Before coming to College of the Ozarks, she was on the faculty at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Northwestern University's Music Academy, the Ravinia-Lawndale Community Music School (Chicago, IL) and the Peabody Preparatory (Baltimore, MD).


Dr. Christian has given solo recitals throughout North America as well as performed in St. Petersburg, Russia and Strasbourg, France. She has performed solo recitals at venues such as the Chicago Cultural Center, the “Jaani Kirik” Recital Series (St. Petersburg, Russia), and the Fourth Presbyterian “Fridays at Noon” Concert Series (Chicago, IL). She served as rehearsal accompanist for the Chicago Master Singers from 2011-2014, and performs frequently as a collaborative artist. She is the pianist for “Fuse Trio,” which has performed nationally and internationally since forming in 2014.


Dr. Christian received her DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Northwestern University, where she studied with Alan Chow. She earned a M.M. with Ellen Mack at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, a B.M. in Piano Performance at Wheaton College studying with Daniel Horn, and she studied piano pedagogy with Marcia Bosits at Northwestern University. Dr. Christian was the recipient of the Chicago Area Musician's Club of Women prestigious Elaine and Jerome Nerenburg Piano Scholarship, their top prize in piano. She was also a finalist in Northwestern University's Thaivu Isaak Piano competition, a recipient of Peabody’s Career Development Grant, and a 2022 finalist in the Professional Solo Division for the American Prize in Piano Performance.


An active member of the Music Teacher's National Association, Dr. Christian frequently adjudicates for competitions across the Missouri-Arkansas region. She is the adviser for the College of the Ozarks Collegiate MTNA chapter and coordinates an annual Fall Piano Festival on campus for area music teachers and their students. Her students have received awards from the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Missouri Federation of Music Clubs, and the Missouri Music Teachers’ Association. Many have been accepted into graduate programs and they have gone on to pursue a wide range of careers.

Passionate about community music education, Dr. Christian provided piano instruction for low income families as part of the Ravinia Festival's Reach*Teach*Play initiative, serving as faculty at the Ravinia-Lawndale Family Music School in inner-city Chicago. She directed the "Faith Arts" summer music institute for K-12 students in Winfield, IL in 2011 and began a piano camp at College of the Ozarks in 2019.


Dr. Christian's doctoral research includes both Russian and American piano music. She presented a lecture recital on the fifth and sixth piano sonatas of Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) and  wrote her dissertation on the folk music influences found in American piano music written between 1930 and 1950. She is committed to the performance of new music and has given several premieres as well as dozens of performances of works by 21rst century composers. 

Recent performances include the 2017 International Franz Liszt Festival and Competition, a solo appearance with the Missouri Philharmonic Orchestra in 2020, the semifinal round of the 2024 International Grand Prix, and first prize in the Charleston International 2024 Winter Music Competition.


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