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With Fusion Project, professor uses music to bridge cultural gaps

13.09.06 Fusion Project

Photo by Chad Carter Photography

What's the "Fusion Project" all about? Watch the video to find out!

RIO DE JANEIRO — Richard Steinbach’s musical career has gone south.

The classical pianist with a passion for working with young musicians will be presenting master classes and performing concerts at universities in Latin America. The international outreach project began in June and will continue throughout 2014.

Next fall, Steinbach will release his seventh CD, featuring music from the concert tour.

“It’s using music as a connection to bridge North and South America,” he said. “That’s part of The Fusion Project."

The first leg of his journey began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June. From there, he went on to Bogota, Columbia.

“The Fusion Project all started with an invitation I received from the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” he said. “From there, the project just kept spiraling outward.”

In Argentina, he heard many different live performances of tango music. Consequently, he’ll be recording and performing tango pieces for The Fusion Project.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have performed in many different places throughout the world – Asia, New Zealand, Europe,” he said. “I’m always amazed at how powerful a force (music is) in bringing people together.”

At the end of the month, he leaves for Brazil, where the native language is Portuguese. The pianist speaks some Spanish, but Portuguese will be an exciting new challenge.

“One of the greatest things for me is being able to experience different cultures and different music from the places I visit,” he said. “I can bring those experiences back to my students at Briar Cliff.”

Steinbach, who is taking a sabbatical for the current academic year, has been a professor of music at Briar Cliff University since 1980.

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