Director, Liberal Studies
Kay Etheridge is professionally a classical pianist, music educator, piano teacher and adjudicator who has lived in San Diego since 1982. She maintains an active performing career and each year can be heard as both soloist and chamber musician on various concert series within the southern California region. In addition to directing the Liberal Studies program at USD, she is a member of the music faculty and teaches music history, jazz history, music education, applied piano and class piano.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Kay Etheridge began her piano studies with the distinguished piano teacher, Eugenia O’Reilly. She received her B.M. and M.M. in Piano Performance at the Arizona State University School of Music, where she was a Teaching Assistant and student of Dr. James Ruccolo and Dr. Jean Barr. She continued her piano studies with Artist-in-Residence and Leventritt Winner, Tong-Il Han at the University of North Texas College of Music, where she was awarded Teaching Fellowship. At UNT, she also studied pedagogy with Dr. Fred Kern and piano literature with Dr. Joseph Banowetz. Harpsichord and musicology were related fields of study during her doctoral program.
Scholarly and Creative Work
Over the past 35 years, Dr. Etheridge has distinguished herself as both a solo pianist and chamber musician in styles as diverse as classical, jazz and sacred music. This is evident in her three self-produced recordings on Equipoise, the record label she established in 2000. Scholarly research and presentations have included Women in Words and Music, a series of programs written and performed with actor, Marilyn Bennett, Stylistic and Technical Considerations for Pedaling the Debussy Preludes, and Sight Reading: An Indispensable Tool for All Piano Students, published in 1985. Dr. Etheridge has given presentations at various conferences, including a Panel Presentation on What Adjudicators Are Looking For at the State CAPMT Convention, and recently a piano master class on pedaling at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference. She has adjudicated such prestigious competitions as the Arizona Young Artist Competition, the Virginia Waring International Competition, the San Diego Symphony “Hot Shots” Competition, and the H.B. Goodlin Scholarship Auditions. She has previously served on the Executive Board of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (state affiliate of MTNA) and is currently the Concerto Competition Chair for the Music Teachers Association of California-San Diego Branch. She is an active member of MENC, MTAC, MTNA, and PDK.
Professor Etheridge is passionate about her teaching at USD, where she has been a faculty member since 1990. She especially enjoys coaching in courses which emphasize music performance. Her Comprehensive Musicianship for Educators course is especially rewarding to teach since it has the dual emphasis on performance and pedagogy. Her intensive training and experience in piano performance has enabled her to enjoy many years of success as a piano teacher and ensemble coach. She enjoys preparing students of all ages for recitals, auditions, and competitions. Music history is a third area of teaching interest as she strives to help students find the meaning in music and discover why “music is what it is”. She has enjoyed teaching history courses in both jazz and art music at USD for the past 15 years.