Artist spotlight: Mike Truesdell

Mike Truesdell has been a dynamic figure in and out of the conservatory since the moment he stepped foot on the Lawrence campus. A&E Editor Paul Karner sat the man down for a couple of questions in hopes of catching a glimpse into the mind of this talented musician.What’s your hometown, age, year, and major?
I am currently a junior from Verona, Wis. Verona is an expanding metropolis outside of Madison with a pretty okay music program. I am a 20-year-old percussion performance major, and enjoy long walks around the con at midnight, and staring at the stars through the skylights in the con lobby.

When and how did you decide to major in music?I knew for certain that I was going to be a music major when I signed the papers to come here. I had toyed with the notion of a mathematical field, but music is mathematical enough to satisfy my brain without the geekiness … oh, wait … I am a huge music geek.

What performers or composers have been particularly inspiring for you as a musician?
If I didn’t say James Taylor I would definitely be misleading you. James Taylor’s bittersweet folk has been a source of relaxation and relief that I truly cannot find anywhere else.
I am now very interested in the life, behavior, and music of the late Glenn Gould. Glenn was a significant character in the development of music. He reached out to musicians and non-musicians alike, and has posthumously created a cult following for himself; something he would be proud of.
I am of course influenced greatly by the instruction of our very own Dane Richeson. He has been a very influential person in my musical development ever since my first contact with him at the Birch Creek Music Performance Center. He definitely yelled at me then, too.

What do you plan to do in the future?
I still have a lot to learn before I can make an educated decision that I will be happy with. I am almost positive that I will be pursuing grad school the year after I graduate, but what my focus will be is anyone’s guess. In the more recent future, I plan on hopefully traveling abroad next term to learn more about music outside of the States. Cuba is in the plans right now, but I have to learn Spanish first. That’s where Mr. Mena comes into play.

Can you tell us about the music your working on now?
I am currently working on another Concerto for Marimba and Three Percussion like I did last year. Actually, it is composed by the same Croatian who composed the last work, Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic. It is tentatively planned for the second-term LUP concert, but we’ll see how everything works out before making any final decisions.

Do you have any other exciting endeavors planned for the near future?
Well, I just found out this past summer that I will be featured as a “Showcase Artist” at the 2006 Zeltsman Marimba Festival. The Conservatory of Music has hosted Nancy Zeltsman’s Festival this past summer and the summer of 2003. Next year is undecided as far as location. I will be giving a 40-50 minute recital somewhere in the United States in early July, and I have decided on my rep, but until I can play it, I would rather not share what it is, just in case it turns out to be too difficult.