International Conference 
"Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theater Design & Technology

December 18 - 22, 2014


Artistic Imagery and Musical Symbolism in Robert Schumann’s Carnaval Op. 9

Lecture-demonstration with Elements of Performance by Prof. Dr. Mira Kruja (USA) - International Award-winning Scholar, Performer, Musician and Music Researcher, Professor​, Director of Piano and Pedagogy Studies, Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts Department, College of Education, Humanities, and Behavioral Sciences, Alabama A&M University (USA).

Dr. Mira Kruja, was declared winner of the Innovative Electronic Dissertation International Award, for her doctoral dissertation: “Piano Inside Out: The Expansion of the Expressive, Technical, and Sonorous Spectrum in Selected Twentieth-Century Art-Music Repertoire for the Modern Acoustic Piano.” This award was presented by the NDLTD at the International Symposium for Electronic Theses and Dissertations in Sydney, Australia. According to the Awards Committee Chair, Mr. John Hagen, “Dr. Kruja’s exemplary work has created a unique model of digital media research that will encourage further endeavors in this area. Her efforts have improved graduate education and raised the standard of scholarship on a global scale. Dr. Kruja’s work will provide a clear road for others to follow.” Dr. Kruja is the author of the Scholarly Book Art Music For The Piano: Twentieth-Century Composers, Masterworks, and Styles and the Technique Manual Contemporary Piano Technique with the Compact Disc: Twentieth-Century Technical Exercises, published in Europe. 

A master teacher with over twenty years of pedagogical experience, Dr. Kruja has received numerous honors and awards including the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching (UK) and Teacher Who Made a Difference Award (UK). Her piano and composition students have won numerous awards, scholarships, and performance honors in local, regional, national, and international music events.

Dr. Kruja’s solo piano CD, Æterna, featuring music of Ludwig van Beethoven, George Crumb, Robert Schumann, Sergei Rachmaninov, Johann Sebastian Bach and Ferruccio Busoni, was rated First of Five Best CDs, Kentucky Kernel.

Dr. Kruja is on the National Board of Adjudicators for the American College of Musicians, National Guild of Piano Teachers.  She is a frequent adjudicator for national and international music events including the World Piano Pedagogy Conference International Piano Competition, Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition, Steinway ClavierFest, Cliburn Piano Competition and Dayas-McElroy-Gorno Piano Competition of CCM, Nathaniel Patch Piano Competition, Lexington Bach Competition, Georgetown Piano Festival, Hoffmaister Concerto Competition, Lois McCoy Festival, Omega Psi Phi Talent Hunt Competition, UK Lewis Award auditions, NGPT auditions, KMTA festivals, AMTA auditions,  NFMC festivals, and the Governor’s School for the Arts auditions.

A Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Dr. Kruja was also selected in Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society.

Dr. Kruja has concertized and presented in Europe, Canada, and the United States. She has received numerous awards and performance honors in national and international piano events including the UK Symphony Orchestra Solo Concerto Competition, where she performed Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 in C-minor and the Fifteenth Bartok-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition. Dr. Kruja has premiered numerous 20th-century piano compositions, and has been featured with national symphony and chamber orchestras.  She has performed Bach Piano Concerti with the UK Chamber Orchestra and the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in Bb minor with the UK Symphony Orchestra.  Dr. Kruja has recorded in Europe and USA and her performances have been broadcast live on national radio-tv stations. 

On demand as a presenter, clinician, and performer, Dr. Kruja has presented lectures, recitals, workshops, and lecture recitals at prestigious international and national professional events including the World Piano Conference in Serbia, Europe; International Conference of European Piano Teachers Association Conference in Switzerland, Europe; International Conference on Education and International Congress of Humanities in Paris, France, International Conference on Multidisciplinary Research in Music Pedagogy in Ottawa, Canada, International Contemporary Performing Arts Conference in Austria, Europe, World Piano Pedagogy Conference, USA, College Music Society National & Regional Conferences, Alabama Music Educators and Alabama Music Teachers Association Conferences. She has been invited to present at the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities in January 2014.

Dr. Kruja has served as the President of Huntsville Music Study Club, Vice-President of Alabama Federation of Music Clubs, and serves as International Relations Chair for the National Federation of Music Clubs. She is a Campus Representative for College Music Society, Alabama President of J.S. Appleseed Initiative, and Alabama coordinator for MusicLink® Foundation. She is a member of College Music Society, Music Teachers National Association, European Piano Teachers Association, National Guild of Piano Teachers Board of Adjudicators, National Education Association, National Federation of Music Clubs, American Guild of Organists, and Alabama Music Teachers Association. 

A Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, Dr. Kruja holds the rank Professor at Alabama University. She serves as the Director of Piano and Piano Pedagogy Studies and Faculty Senator. Dr. Kruja teaches Advanced Piano, Advanced Keyboard Techniques, Piano Literature, Piano Pedagogy, and Music Theory. Her previous positions include Artist in Residence & Piano Professor at the University of Kentucky, Governor’s School for the Arts, West Virginia University, Radford University (USA), and the University of Fine Arts – National University Conservatory (Europe).


Robert Schumann’s Carnaval Op. 9: Scènes mignones sur quatre notes (miniature scenes on four notes) represents a masked ball, where portraits of myriad characters come together in a brilliant set of variations based on a four-note motive. Real characters such as Estrella (Ernestine von Fricken) and Chiarina (Clara Wieck) meet fictitious Florestan and Eusebius, who represent the two contradictory sides of Schumann’s character: Eusebius, the lyrical and poetic Schumann and Florestan, the fiery and passionate Schumann. Characters from the commedia dell’ arte come alive in Pierrot (the clumsy clown), Arlequin (the skilful acrobat), and Pantalon et Colombine (the arguing father and daughter). 

Real protagonists of the Romantic Era are represented by Chopin (portrayed in a beautiful lyrical piece, intentionally placed between Chiarina and Estrella to emphasize the romantic involvement of Schumann with both women) and Paganini (portrayed in an extremely difficult piece with large leaps which make reference to the virtuosic character of his music). 

Musical elements will be demonstrated, performed, and analyzed, including Schumann’s innovative use of tonality, intriguing use of rhythm and meter, and imaginative use of musical symbolism. Power point slides will be combined with live performance and excerpts from author’s classical CD Æterna. The analysis will reveal the composer’s artistry in using musical elements to create some of the most extraordinary fantastic imagery as represented in his Carnaval Op. 9.

Robert Schumann’s Carnaval Op. 9 is one of the most “theatrical” musical compositions ever written for piano. The vivid imagery of a masked ball interplays with Schumann’s high philosophical, aesthetical, and artistic ideals. Contemporaneity and tradition are an important part of this masterwork, and they remain realistic and fundamental in today’s examination of same important issues in art, music, and performance. 

The lecture demonstration on this beloved composition is for sure to capture the minds and hearts of a diverse international audience interested in music and arts. 

Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse"