Young Suzuki students perform on campus


Kurt Montgomery/The Chart

Ryleigh Williams and Coran Furguson practice playing the violin at Missouri Southern on Nov. 18.

Two separate groups will perform baroque, classical and romantic pieces at the Suzuki Student Recital in Corley Auditorium Nov. 23.

A 1:30 p.m. performance will consist of 20 students, and a 3 p.m. performance will feature 15 students.  Each student will play a solo of his or her choice.  

Missouri Southern’s Suzuki program is a chapter of the worldwide Suzuki Violin Academy formed in the 1920s in Japan by Suzuki, a music teacher. It’s an instructional program in violin, viola, cello and bass. The class is open to any interested student age 4 through high school.

“Suzuki preferred to call it ‘talent education,’ and he believed anyone, if we can provide an ideal, loving environment, can learn to play a musical instrument,” said Director Kexi Liu. “Young children learn the music just like they learn to speak, so sometimes this method is called Mother Tongue method.”  

Liu is assisted in musical direction by Dr. Carolann Martin and Rebecca Cutler.  

Southern’s chapter of the Suzuki Violin Academy is an award winning program. Its students traveled to China and performed on the Great Wall three times.  

“We have several very, very good, excellent students who will perform, including a very good cello student,” said Liu. “I hope people will come and hear our excellent students.”

Southern has had a Suzuki chapter for about 30 years. Liu took the position as director in 1991 when he came to teach at Southern.  

Liu attended the University of North Carolina and got his master’s at East Carolina University and doctorate from University of North Carolina in Greensboro.  He came to Missouri Southern upon receiving his doctorate. He has also been director of Southern Symphony Orchestra since 2005.

“My favorite thing is to watch the children grow,” he said. “You start them from the very beginning and you see them change year after year, and that is the most rewarding thing.”