Svenningsen Named 2012-13 Faculty Recognition Award Recipient

Dr. Russell Svenningsen, assistant professor of music and conductor of the Collegiate Chorale, is the recipient of the Augustana Student Association (ASA) 2012-2013 Faculty Recognition Award. The award recognizes outstanding teaching and contributions to the Augustana community by a faculty member.

Students nominate professors they feel display one or more of the five core values of the College (Christian, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community, Service) as well as how those faculty members have positively impacted their experiences at Augustana.

Students presented Svennnigsen with the award at today's faculty meeting and also recognized faculty members who were finalists for the award: Dr. Sandra Looney (English), Dr. Ann Vogelmann (Biology) and Dr. Stephen Minister (Philosophy).

Following are excerpts from Dr. Svenningsen’s nominations:

"Russell exemplifies all of the core values, but most of all, he embodies excellence ... He's consistently positive and keeps rehearsals fun and light even when stress levels are high. His positivity reflects in the Chorale and helps us perform at a higher level. I can't think of a single negative remark he's made in the two years now that I've worked under his direction. If that's not excellence, I'm not sure what is."

"Russell has instigated a sense of community in his direction of the Collegiate Chorale that makes it exciting to go to rehearsal, and makes it a safe place to hone the craft of singing without judgement. He is one of the best teachers I have ever known at riding the line between a fun, playful environment and a productive, serious session of learning. This is due in part to the excellence Russell carries in the door with him each day of Chorale. Svenningsen is also a compassionate director who demonstrates strength of faith in his expressiveness in song and explication of lyrical content. He works tirelessly in the service of Augustana's music program."

In addition to conducting the Collegiate Chorale, Svenningsen teaches music theory and has a studio of voice students. He holds an M.M. in Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, and a B.M. in Music Education from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. His D.M.A. in Music Education was awarded from Boston University where he studied with Dr. Roger Mantie.

An active performer, Svenningsen has appeared as featured soloist with orchestras and opera companies both locally and around the world. Recent performances include: presentations of Schubert’s song cycle "Winterreise"; performances with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra; and appearances with Sounds of South Dakota, a local opera company. He is planning a recital for the fall of 2013 featuring the music of Roger Quilter, Samuel Barber and Benjamin Britten’s "Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac."

Svenningsen is in demand as a clinician and guest conductor and regularly travels to work with choirs of many different types around the United States. Most recently he was a guest artist-in-residence at the Roxbury Choral Invitational, a choral festival in New Jersey now in its 23rd year, where he was privileged to hear and work with 24 choirs from five states.

Faculty Recognition Award recipients are also invited to give a "Last Lecture" at the Senior Celebration, this year set for Friday, May 24, at the Ramkota.