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Provost honored in final Salon Series concert

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Apr 9, 2021

From left, David Drosinos, Yu-Hsuan Liao and Camilo Perez-Mejia stand beside their instruments after performing the final Salon Series concert of the 2020-2021 school year from the Frank Center on April 1. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Dedicated in memory of former Shepherd University Provost Scott Beard, the final concert in the 2020-2021 Salon Series at Shepherd University was livestreamed on YouTube from the Frank Center on April 1.

The concert featured SU music professors Yu-Hsuan Liao on piano, David Drosinos on clarinet and Camilo Perez-Mejia on cello, presenting a chamber music program of rarely performed works from the late-19th through early-20th centuries. While the three musicians had never performed together before, their friendships with Beard, who founded the Salon Series in 2011 and unexpectedly passed away on March 28, made performing the concert together all the more meaningful.

“This concert’s a few days after his sudden passing, so I think it’s very appropriate to dedicate it to him,” Liao said. “We all love Dr. Beard. He was a great friend, a great colleague . . . a brilliant pianist.”

When Beard founded the Salon Series, he was serving as co-chair of the university’s music department. His understanding of the need for the professors to perform and their students to learn from their performances drove him to establish the series and find a permanent sponsor for it — Jefferson Security Bank.

“Dr. Beard wanted to create a performance opportunity for our faculty through the Salon Series,” Liao said. “We program it each year so our faculty can have an opportunity to perform. And it’s also important for the students in our school to see us performing.”

The first concert in the Salon Series featured another similar piano, clarinet and cello trio. But, at that time, Liao was new to the university, and spent the concert turning pages for Beard on the piano, as he played with Drosinos on the clarinet and a cellist no longer on staff at Shepherd, according to Drosinos and Liao. The coincidental similarity between the first concert and the memorial concert was not lost on the performers.

“The very first concert was this same instrumentation,” Drosinos said, mentioning that, before Shepherd, he and Beard were classmates at Peabody Institute.

“I remember that! What a coincidence!” Liao said of the concert, mentioning at the time she had just been given Beard’s original position, as a professor on Shepherd’s piano faculty. “That was my first year here [at Shepherd University].”

As the musicians rehearsed prior to the concert’s live broadcast, School of Music Director Kurtis Adams remembered Beard’s impact on his own life.

“We all knew Scott very well,” Adams said of himself and the trio members. “He was my introduction to Shepherd University. He was so welcoming and made me feel very comfortable. It’s kind of poignant that the concert tonight is a trio — in the same format as at the very beginning.”