Kirsten Smith comes from a family of successful musicians. She began formal lessons with her mother at age four and began teaching piano when she was thirteen. Her undergraduate and graduate performance degrees are from Arizona State University, where her principal teacher was the 1977 Van Cliburn Winner, Steven De Groote. A frequent competition winner herself, she has won awards, scholarships and invitations to music festivals such as Aspen, Interlochen and the Cliburn Institute. Ms. Smith enthusiastically pursues the performance of collaborative and solo works, often premiering new music by modern composers. She has several recordings under the Centaur label. Ms. Smith is a passionate teacher who believes deeply in the importance of discovering and sharing musical knowledge. She is in demand as a lecturer, adjudicator and columnist and was awarded the prestigious Pedagogy Enhancement Award to develop a graduate-level pedagogy program at CSUS. Ms. Smith has been on the faculty of the university since 1996, where she teaches piano, music theory, aural skills, accompanying and piano pedagogy. She divides her time between performing, college teaching, and her busy private studio in Sacramento.
Dr. Halseth holds two music degrees from California State University, Fresno, and a doctorate in conducting and brass pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado, where his major professor was Eugene Corporon. He taught elementary, junior high and high school band in Oceanside, California, before moving to the college level in 1981. He has served on the music faculties of Carroll College (Wisconsin) and University of the Pacific (California) prior to coming to Sacramento in 1993. A trombonist for more than 60 years, his playing has included classical (band, orchestra, opera, ballet, chamber), pop (Broadway, Ringling Brothers Circus, Bob Hope, Johnny Mathis, Vic Damone), jazz (Cab Calloway, Bobby McFerrin, Allen Vizzutti, Manhattan Transfer) and all points in between, with memberships in the National Repertory Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and San Francisco Bay Bones. He is a past president of the Western Division of the College Band Directors National Association, recipient of the 2011 Dave Goedecke Lifetime Achievement Award from the California Band Directors Association and 2014 Capitol Section Music Educator of the Year. Next month he will be inducted into the California Music Educators Hall of Fame at the 2016 statewide music conference (CASMEC) in San Jose.
He has four children, two stepchildren, four grandchildren, and is happily married to Helen Kilpatrick-Halseth, a first-rate hornist. Although 2015-16 is his last year at Sacramento State, he plans to continue to be an active conductor and clinician.
(916) 278-5091 • Send Email