Guest artist David Littrell performs at KWU

Written by on April 3, 2024

By Merissa Bailey Rios / Staff Writer

The Kansas Wesleyan University music department welcomed esteemed cellist Dr. David Littrell for a special performance and educational session on Thursday, March 14, 2024. Dr. Littrell’s visit extended beyond simply showcasing his musical talents; he offered a captivating exploration of the music itself, delving into the history and emotional intent behind each piece. KWU’s cello and double bass Professor Dena Berquist was ecstatic to has Dr. Littrell visit campus. Berquist said “I enjoyed playing with Littrell very much, he’s a great friend and wonderful musician.”  


Professor Dena Berquist and student Adrian Aranda during a private lesson. / Photo illustration by Merissa Bailey Rios.

Bringing Music to Life

Littrell’s performance was not just about the music, it was about the message within the music. Performing each song, he showed that each marking in a song is meant to evoke an emotion from the audience. This insightful approach resonated with KWU student Lucas Nutter, a music education major with cello as his primary instrument. Nutter who has had the privilege of studying under Littrel in the past, expressed his admiration: “His well-researched approach to music and the soft yet musical way he played was amazing.”

“I really enjoy his well-researched approach to music and the soft yet musical way he played was amazing,” 

A Storied Career

Littrell boasts an impressive musical background. After graduating with from Kansas State University in 1971, he continued his studies at the University of Texas, earning a master’s and a doctoral degree in music arts by 1979. During his time in Austin, he held the prestigious position of principal cellist with the Austin Symphony. Dr. Littrell’s contributions to the music world is widely recognized. Serving as the National President of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Additionally, the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of teaching bestowed upon him the honor of Kansas Professor of the Year in 2007. While at K-State he was dedicated to youth education, directing youth musicians (grades 5-10) who have performed twice at Carnegie Hall.

Legacy of Learning

Littrell’s impact goes beyond the stage. He actively contributed to the field of music education through his editorial work. For six years, he serves as the editor of the Books and Music Reviews section of the American String Teacher journal. He also edited ASTA’s two-volume String Syllabus and the Teaching Music Through Performance in orchestra (GIA) series of books. Following his retirement from Kansas State University in 2018, Dr. Littrell continued to share his passion for music as the Interim Music Director and Conductor of the Salina Symphony from 2019 to 2022.

Littrell’s visit to KWU was a valuable experience for students and music enthusiasts alike. His exceptional talent, combined with his dedication to education, left a lasting impression on the KWU community.


Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Current track