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Realize your Potential

Contact Us
College of Southern Maryland
Fine Arts Center Box Office
8730 Mitchell Rd
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
240-725-5499, ext. 7828
443-550-6199, ext. 7828
301-870-2309, ext. 7828 

Box Office Hours:
Open one (1) hour prior to each performance.
Monday - Friday: hours vary.

Checks payable to CSM


accessibility icon CSM's campuses are accessible to patrons with disabilities.  Audio description for the visually impaired and sign language interpretation for the hearing impaired are available with a minimum two week advanced notice. If you are interested in these services, please contact the academic support or ADA coordinator at 301-934-7614.

Ward Virts Concert Series

About the Series

Brian Ganz

The Ward Virts Concert Series celebrates the life and talent of Ward Virts, a talented Southern Maryland pianist who passed away suddenly in 1993. A group of Ward’s friends and classmates conceived the Ward Virts Piano Project in order to bring the love of life, beauty, and music that Ward embodied to a new generation of Southern Maryland students, performers, and appreciative audiences.

The concerts are performed on a world-class handcrafted Bösendorfer Grand Piano, a gift to the College of Southern Maryland’s Prince Frederick Campus from the Ward Virts Piano Project.

The 2015-2016 Ward Virts Concert Series will be in the multi-purpose room 104 in Building B on the Prince Frederick Campus. The series will be inaugurated by perennial Ward Virts Series favorite, pianist Brian Ganz, on October 4.

All performances begin at 3 p.m. Concerts are free with donations accepted with gratitude. The doors will open at 2:30 p.m. No tickets or reservations are needed.

The Ward Virts Concert Series is presented by CSM Foundation and by our generous sponsors Dr. and Mrs. Henry Virts; Edward and Patricia Mehosky; Exelon Corporation; Stovy and Anne Brown; and The Southern Maryland Chain Chapter of the Links, Inc.

Ward Virts Concert Series Performances 2015-2016

Brian GanzBRIAN GANZ, Piano

October 4  |  3 p.m.

Brian Ganz is widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation. A laureate of the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud and the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Piano Competitions, Mr. Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Philharmonic, the National Symphony, and the City of London Sinfonia, and has performed with such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Piotr Gajewski.

The Washington Post has written: “One comes away from a recital by pianist Brian Ganz not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.” For many years Mr. Ganz has made it his mission to join vivid music making with warmth and intimacy onstage to produce a new kind of listening experience, in which the classics of composers from Chopin to Shostakovich come to life with authentic emotional power. In January of 2011, Mr. Ganz began a multi-year project in partnership with the National Philharmonic in which he will perform the complete works of Chopin at the Music Center at Strathmore outside of Washington DC.

Mr. Ganz is on the piano faculty of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he is artist-in-residence, and is a member of the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. He is the artist-editor of the Schirmer Performance Edition of Chopin’s Preludes (2005).


The Unified Jazz Ensemble
Photo credit: Kari Watts

November 1  |  3 p.m.

The Unified Jazz Ensemble (UJE), based in Annapolis, Maryland, is dedicated to bringing the best of jazz to audiences of all ages.  Founded in 1992 as the first jazz group in the National Endowment for the Arts Rural Residency Arts Initiative, the UJE has performed across the United States and internationally, engaging listeners in innovative performances of jazz standards and original compositions.

Why “Unified?”  Something remarkable happens with years of consistent group performance, which is vital to building the UJE’s unique musical approach. While in demand as frequent freelance musicians, the UJE members share a common commitment to performing as an ensemble, developing repertoire, and evolving their group sound.

Learn more about the Unified Jazz Ensemble at their website.


Barry Gurley
Photo credit: Yvonda Waltrip

February 14  |  3 p.m.

Washingtonian Magazine named Barry Gurley “Best Pianist-Vocalist” in Washington, D.C. Mr. Gurley’s career has taken him to countless venues including Washington, D.C.’s Blues Alley, New York City’s The Blue Note, The Monterey Jazz Festival and Le Bilboquet in Paris, France.

Along with writing music for “Raising Kane” for A.F.I., Mr. Gurley has written music for Art-House Films such as Narkissos and Halfway. He has also appeared in the movies,” Tin Men” and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”. Mr. Gurley’s style draws on vocalists’ Mel Torme and Frank Sinatra and pianists’s Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. Mr. Gurley’s eclectic style and repertoire transitions from American standards to songs that have withstood the test of time.


The Merling Trio

March 6  |  3 p.m.

A classical piano trio of piano, violin, and cello, the Merling Trio is recognized as one of today's premier ensembles. A truly international trio, it brings together musicians from Polish, Japanese, and Dutch backgrounds. The Merling Trio has been hailed as a brilliantly distinguished group endowed with remarkable gifts of communication, magnificent precision, and an impeccable blend of sound. The trio made its New York debut in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1993, and was named a finalist for the Naumburg Foundation Chamber Music Award in 1994.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer said, "The players shaped a grand interpretation, fluent in rhythm and rich in romantic feeling." The Grand Rapids Press has said, "The trio…delivered a standard of playing that is on par with some of the best known violin-cello-piano teams, captivating the audience through the immediacy and extraordinary sensitivity of its playing." The London Musical Opinion declared that the Merling Trio "made a powerful impression, with unabashed romanticism and finesse."

The Merling Trio takes its name from the Danish violin maker, Paul Merling.  Currently, Mr. Uchimura performs on an Enrico Marchetti cello, made in Turin, Italy, in 1899.  Ms. Knific's violin, fashioned by Vincenzo Postiglione in Naples, Italy, dates from 1898.

Learn more about the Merling Trio on their website.


David Kane

April 3  |  3 p.m.

Born in 1955 in Glasgow, Scotland, David Kane has been a fixture on the US music scene since 1975 both as a pianist and composer. He is equally comfortable in Jazz and Classical settings. He has performed with notable Jazz Artists such as Woody Shaw, Steve Kujala, Dave Liebman and Dizzy Gillespie. He has also performed extensively with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony and the Twentieth Century Consort. He is active as a composer of both Classical Music and Film Music with hundreds of Film and TV scores to his name. Since 2006 he has been writing for Cadence Magazine. He currently lives in the DC area with his wife Cynthia and their two daughters, Celeste and Ariel.

Learn more about David Kane at his website.



The Octtava Duo

May 1  |  3 p.m.

Praised for their “tacit understanding at the piano” by World News, Chinese Edition, Octtava’s performances have also been described as “always in command of music,” “played with vigor and alacrity,” and “every tempo and tone, all beautifully interpreted by Octtava” by Greenbelt Review

Pianists Wei-Der Huang and Hsien-Ann Meng, now in their 5th year of collaboration, have been friends since they pursued their Doctor of Musical Arts degrees at the University of Maryland in College Park. Currently, both pianists serve on the piano faculty at Howard Community College.

Since their collaboration began, Octtava’s music has brought joy and enjoyment to the local communities through their annual concerts at Greenbelt Community Church and at Howard Community College. They perform regularly at well-known music venues such as Strathmore Hall, Levine School of Music, and Sumner School in the Washington metropolitan area. Their performances have also been greeted with ovations from the audience on the West Coast and in Taiwan.