the ware center in downtown lancaster, part of
millersville’s department of visual and performing
arts, is one of two outstanding performance venues for
the university. built in 2008, the complex was originally
designed for the pennsylvania academy of music.
biemesderfer concert hall, on the millersville campus,
is one of two concert halls in the dr. charles r. and
anita b. winter visual and performing arts center.
millersville, pa – The world’s become a smaller place since Xun Pan jetted across the Pacific for advanced music studies at Syracuse and Rutgers universities. Leaving his native Beijing for New York in the 1990s spelled a daunting trip, even for seasoned travelers.
“It used to be 30 to 40 hours door-todoor,” recalls Dr. Pan, a critically-acclaimed international pianist who serves as the director of keyboard studies at Millersville University. “Now I take a 20-minute flight from Harrisburg to New York or Washington and can get to Beijing in about 13 hours. Music flowing from east to west is no longer impossible because everyone can travel so easily,” he says, noting the number of Chinese students studying in the United States and Europe has grown dramatically.
Educated at the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music, Dr. Pan returns to China at least twice a year to give master classes. His work can take him into less densely-populated areas outside Beijing where classical music is thriving. According to estimates from New York City-based We-Music, approximately 40 million children in China are studying piano, as opposed to about six million in the U.S. “Their parents are always looking to give them better instruments,” Dr. Pan says.
Providing the right tools for success is a cornerstone philosophy at Millersville, which acquired a Boston grand piano for a rehearsal hall and Boston upright for a faculty studio. Using Kodály and Solfége approaches to music education which develop a musician’s ear through singing, Dr. Pan says “the Boston (GP-193) is important for that kind of teaching process.”
The state university boasts two superb performing arts centers with Steinway concert grand pianos, as well as a solid track record for nurturing quality educators – many who opt to stay in the region. Dr. Pan points to a recent study that revealed up to 50 percent of all Lancaster County teachers are Millersville alumni.
“Both of my kids went to public school in Lancaster and had Millersville graduates teaching them, so these teachers use what they learned from us and pass it on to the next generation, which is wonderful,” he says. “As a teacher, nothing makes me happier.” A U.S. citizen since 2001, Dr. Pan draws upon both cultures in his life’s mission of enlightening people to bridge their differences through the international language of music.