Professor Fahnestock Performs “Beethoven Adjacent/Classical Classics”
By Ana Carolina Delena Cury, Contributing Writer
On Friday, Feb. 10, Music Adjunct Assistant Professor Jeffrey Fahnestock, along with Susquehanna University professor Naomi Niskala, captivated Paul’s Recital Hall audience with a spectacular classical music performance. The faculty recital, “Beethoven Adjacent/Classical Classics” was presented by Sunderman Conservatory of Music in Schmucker Memorial Hall.
The performance was conducted with voice and piano only, where Fahnestock sang as a tenor and Niskala demonstrated her talent through the piano. The audience experienced a show with a variety of classic songs written by prestigious musicians. With famous works from the 18th and 19th centuries, the show featured several songs composed by Austrian artists Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Beethoven, and Franz Schubert. The audience could understand and follow the presentation with a pamphlet that included English translations for the songs.
The presentation was full of emotion, and in a matter of seconds, Paul Recital Hall was taken over solely by the sounds of voice and piano.
The harmony and synchrony between Fahnestock and Niskala were not coincidences. The two have been working together and presenting recitals for the past twelve years.
This recital was the second time they were presenting “Beethoven Adjacent/Classical Classics”. Their first showing of this recital was two years ago, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The presentation occurred virtually in live-streaming format to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. At the time, viewers were unable to hear the audio from the recital due to a technical issue, so Fahnestock and Niksala were happy to be able to present the recital two years later with an in-person audience.
Fahnestock’s mother Doris, who was in the audience, shared that she was excited to see her son’s performance and that she enjoyed her time in Paul Recital Hall.
“I do not understand German, but the fact that it is my son singing makes me want to go to as many classic concerts as I can,” said Doris Fahnestock.
Despite the moving nature of the recital, not many students attended. Fahnestock teaches applied voice, voice literature and lyric diction at the College, and he provided his opinion about the lack of students’ engagement in classical recitals.
“Before COVID-19 pandemic, more students used to come to concerts. But because of COVID, people stopped going, and now they are used to not attending these types of events,” said Fahnestock.
For Fahnestock, one of the possible solutions to make students more interested in classic music and recitals may be turning the attendance at recitals into a requirement for the curriculum.
One of the students who attended the recital, Senthy Nguyen ‘26 shared her thoughts about the show.
“I liked the recital, especially the parts after intermission. I didn’t expect the performance to be so emotional even if I didn’t understand the language. I hope there [will be] more soloists [in the future],” said Nguyen.
Nguyen also encouraged other students to attend such events. “I just think that it’d be good for anyone to try out new things, especially recitals which are never free if you’re out of college.” Nguyen added, “soloists in recitals master their own skills, so of course more and more people should appreciate them for that.”