Dr. Roland Stearns
Dr. Roland Stearns
American lutenist and guitarist, Roland Stearns, joined the UAA faculty in fall, 2007, and as of 2008, continues in the new capacity as Head of the UAA Guitar Division, carrying on the work of guitar program founder, Prof. Rozanne Wilson-Marsh.
From a musical family that included guitarists, Rolando (Sr.) and Albert Valdes-Blain, Dr. Stearns has spent considerable time studying and working in Europe. His first studies there began with a summer in Urbino, Italy, and and subsequently, an academic year in Madrid, Spain. Later, he spent over 3 years at the Salzburg, Austria, Hoschschule ("Mozarteum") with one of the most accomplished modern composers and teachers for guitar, Prof. Barna Kovats, and in classes with musicologist, Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He completed his doctoral studies under the direction of the noted American guitarist, James Bogle, and subsequently worked with him in Europe in concerts and master classes in Germany as well as in collaboration with Italian guitarist and Legnani Guitar Festival founder, Giovanni Demartini.
Dr. Stearns has previously studied and taught at a number of American colleges and universities, including Washington State University, the University of Idaho and Texas Tech University. In Germany, Austria, and Italy, he has performed in opera, theatre, and as a chamber accompanist and soloist. He has appeared in the capacities of guest lecturer, performer and co-director at the lute courses of Stefan Lundgren in Zillertal, Austria and Landshut, Germany. His focus on early plucked instruments (principally, lute and vihuela) derives from his general interest in early music, related interests in music history and theory, and what he believes to be the plucked instrument family's pivotal, but often ignored, roles in Western musical development.
In addition to performance and teaching, Dr. Stearns has written a number of articles for various guitar and lute journals. His MM thesis is an investigation into historical lute, vihuela and guitar tablature systems and their relation to modern notation. His Ph.D. dissertation project was begun as the result of an invitation from Stefan Lundgren to produce a practical and flexible method of basic figured bass performance and beginning music theory supplement for guitarists and lutenists. Dr. Stearns views both the guitar and lute - whether in popular or "classical" musical arenas - to be essential elements of general musical history, and considers most important, the experience, influence and inspiration he has received from scholars such as Peter Danner and Brian Jeffery, and from organizations such as the Lute Society and Guitar Foundation of America.
For many years, Dr. Stearns has pursued a secondary interest of recording engineering, and brings to UAA his years of experience in concert and studio work in Europe and the USA.