Teacher and Pianist Dianna Anderson On How Music Has Shaped Her Life

dianna-headshot-2Pianist and chamber musician Dianna Anderson has had a passion for sound since she was a little girl. That passion has evolved into an award-winning career that reaches out to young musicians from the stage and the classroom.

We talked to Anderson about her career and her musical future.

MUSICA MARIN: What are your first musical memories? Was music something your parents encouraged or a passion you discovered on your own?
DIANNA ANDERSON: My first musical memories are of my mother playing piano and singing with me. Evidently, I had an enormous repertoire of nursery rhymes with multiple verses as a very young child. I grew up on a ranch in a very isolated part of eastern Montana, and luckily, my mother was a music educator and had inherited a piano from her grandmother. The instrument fascinated me, and my mother started teaching me around the age of 4.

MM: As a pianist, what type of music inspires you the most and really touches you?
DA: I am inspired most by whatever music I am playing at the moment. Any music can touch a person’s soul, and the act of making music is a means to the deepest kind of human communication.

MM: Can you tell us about Luminus, how it came to be, and what kind of work does the group focus on?
DA: Luminus is the faculty piano trio at Minot State University. The members are Jon Rumney, (Violin), Erik Anderson (cello), and myself. We have performed together since 2004, giving hundreds of concerts in schools and on stages throughout the Midwest. We play standard trio repertoire and have premiered several new works as well. Our work has an educational focus, as we often present in classrooms, promoting the art of chamber music to young musicians.

MM: In addition to being an accomplished piano player, you’re also a teacher. Can you tell our readers about that part of your world and how did you manage to combine both things into a great career?
DA: I can’t imagine teaching without performing, and vice versa. The two disciplines are very much intertwined in my career. Every lesson I teach, I learn something new to apply to my own playing, and every time I step on stage, I have an opportunity to educate through performance.

MM: What are you doing with Musica Marin this year and how did that collaboration come about?
DA: My husband, cellist Erik Anderson, and I were fortunate to meet Ruth Ellen Kahn this summer at a music festival in Italy, and are very excited to continue our friendship and musical collaboration with her at Musica Marin.

I am involved in “Mostly J. S. Bach,” a program that will explore music in the relationship with Bach from different angles. In addition to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, Erik and I will perform Beethoven’s Sonata, Op. 102, No. 2 as well as Spiegel im Spiegel by Estonian composer, Arvo Pärt.

MM: What other projects are you working on right now?
DA: I am currently preparing for an all-Beethoven solo recital, a spring performance of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4 with the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra, and multiple collaborative projects with my colleagues at Minot State University.

Come see Dianna Anderson perform with Musica Marin on Sunday, October 30th at our 2016-17 concert season-opening event, “Mostly J.S. Bach.” For more information and tickets click here.