R. Dennis Hirst enjoys a diverse musical career as an educator, performer, and arts administrator. Mr. Hirst holds degrees in Bassoon Performance, Piano Performance, and Piano Pedagogy, received as a summa cum laude graduate of Bowling Green State University and the University of Oklahoma. An accomplished musician on two instruments, Mr. Hirst’s performance career reflects his varied musical interests: solo & collaborative piano performances; solo, concerto, & orchestral bassoon performances; and piano & bassoon chamber music performances.
Mr. Hirst places a strong emphasis on teaching in his career, maintaining a large studio of both pre-college and university piano and bassoon students. Students of Mr. Hirst have received top honors in state, regional, national, and international competitions including the State of Utah Sterling Scholar Music Competition, the International Festival for Creative Pianists at the Albertson College of Idaho, and the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Performance Competitions. His students frequently appear as concerto soloists with school, community, and professional orchestras, including the Utah Valley Symphony and Utah Symphony orchestras. Additionally, his students have been admitted to prestigious summer music festivals and graduate programs at Arizona State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of South Carolina, and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.
As a clinician and performer, Mr. Hirst has appeared at the 6th, 7th, and 11th World Piano Pedagogy Conferences, the Las Vegas Music Festival, the International Double Reed Society Conference, and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival. He receives regular invitations to present master classes and lectures for state and local chapters of the Music Teachers National Association. Mr. Hirst has adjudicated the Gina Bachauer International Amateur Piano Competition, state and regional performance competitions of the Music Teachers National Association, and the Idaho Falls Symphony Orchestra Young Artist competitions. Mr. Hirst is published in the American Music Teacher, and he is completing editorial work on the modern performance edition of a formerly lost 18th century concerto for two bassoons and orchestra. The edition will be published by TrevCo Music Publishing.
Mr. Hirst is an active arts administrator. He is the Administrative Director of the Utah State University Youth Conservatory, a pre-college piano instruction program that provides weekly group and private instruction to more than 200 community students. The Youth Conservatory has been recognized by the National Association of Schools of Music as a model pre-college piano instruction program. Mr. Hirst is also the Artistic and Administrative Director of the Wassermann Festival, a bi-annual piano festival held on the campus of Utah State University. Since his appointment as festival director in 1997, Mr. Hirst has developed the Wassermann Festival into a major international piano festival, bringing the world’s foremost pianists and pedagogues to Utah State University. A representative listing of festival guest artists presented during Mr. Hirst’s tenure as director includes: Leon Fleisher, Stephen Hough, Douglas Humpherys, Norman Krieger, E.L. Lancaster, Jerome Lowenthal, Yundi Li, Jane Magrath, Robert McDonald, Charles Rosen, and Krystian Zimerman.
During summers from 2007 through 2010, Mr. Hirst was the Associate Director of the Heifetz International Music Institute in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He resigned that position at the conclusion of the 2010 season to work with the Caine College of the Arts in furthering music education throughout the state of Utah. He served as Assistant Department Head in the Music Department during the 2010-2011 academic year, and is currently the Director of Graduate Studies for the Music Department, and the Director of the Gaylen Rust Endowment for the Caine College of the Arts. Mr. Hirst resides in Logan, Utah, where he is an Associate Professor of Music at Utah State University.
Prof. R. Dennis Hirst's Vita (PDF)