Faculty/Staff News Now: Kent State Together; IT Builds Virtual Medical School; Beethoven Research; Athletics Home Auction; Grad Student Battles NYC COVID-19; Exercise Program; 5 Retirement Threats; Get Fit Reminder

Community Engaged Learning Launches Kent State Together

Community Engaged Learning has organized "Kent State Together," a collection of virtual volunteering opportunities that enable all of us to make a difference while staying safe and healthy. Some opportunities are tailored to Kent State University and the surrounding area, while others are more regional and national in scope.

We not only want to contribute to the COVID-19 response through this initiative, but we also want to bring together Flashes from near and far (including Alumni and all regional campuses)! As you complete a project, we ask that you take a picture or brief video and post it on social media so that we all can recognize the impact we are having and the community we’re building. Be sure to use the hashtag "#FlashesGiveBack" and tag the Community Engaged Learning office in each post. Learn more and participate.

How the CPM IT Department Built a Virtual Medical School

It is no secret that COVID-19 has quite literally separated the globe. Though we are apart, grade schools, colleges and universities around the world are united in facing the same challenge: converting their entire curriculum to a distance learning format. Learn more.

Now Hear This: Beethoven Was Not Completely Deaf

On the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, Musicology Professor Theodore Albrecht concludes that the world-renowned composer – thought to have been completely deaf before debuting his Ninth Symphony in 1824 – retained some hearing in his left ear before dying three years later.

Record-Courier reporter David Dix published a story recently in his "Along the Way" column about Albrecht’s Beethoven research and his finding that Beethoven could still hear a little before his death in 1827. Dix’s full column is re-printed below.

Great Beethoven’s deafness never total, KSU’s Albrecht finds

By David E. Dix

The long-held belief that Ludwig van Beethoven had grown so hard of hearing that he could not hear his Ninth Symphony, which premiered in 1824, is not completely true, Theodore Albrecht, a professor of musicology at Kent State University says.

Albrecht, an authority on Beethoven, one of Western Civilization’s greatest composers, has reached that conclusion by translating into English the notebooks Beethoven maintained from 1818 to his death in 1827, the years when his hearing loss, a serious handicap for any composer, became the most pronounced.

Beethoven would hand a notebook so those wanting to talk with him could write down their remarks and questions. Beethoven would then respond vocally. Preserved by Anton Schindler, his secretary and biographer, the 139 notebooks, “The Beethoven Conversations,” provide insights into the life of the great composer. They were compiled into 11 volumes by a group of scholars who began their enterprise in East Berlin in 1968 and completed it in 2001 a dozen years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The content, Albrecht says, indicates Beethoven heard better out of his left ear, could more easily hear instruments lower on the scale, but remained able to use instruments high on the scale like the piccolo in his later works.

Albrecht modestly rates his German as, “good enough to get me in trouble” and has translated eight of the 11 Berlin compiled volumes. Two have been published and a third is in the process of being published. He hopes to finish translating the remaining volumes within the next few years and have them ready for publication. With his copious footnotes and additions, the final product should go 12 volumes.

This year marks the 250th of Beethoven’s birth and Albrecht’s translations are certain to gain attention and coincidentally reflect well on Kent State.

“Some of this will depend on the coronavirus pandemic, which has already forced the postponement of many programs, including some of my research,” Albrecht said. In the fall, schedules permitting, Albrecht will offer a Beethoven Seminar Mondays from 7:20 to 10 p.m. in Room E-202. Students will take it for credit, but community members are welcome to audit.

Joining the KSU faculty in 1992, Albrecht holds a doctorate in musicology, the study of the history and anthropology of music, and conducting. He has been working on the translations since 1998 when he took them on as a challenge at a musicology symposium when Harvard scholar Lewis Lockwood announced he was looking for someone to undertake the project.

Because the best archives about Beethoven are in Vienna, Austria where the composer resided, Albrecht and his wife, Carol, have been spending late May and most of June in the Vienna City Archives for more than 20 years. A professor at the University of Idaho, where she teaches musicology and oboe, Carol has used the time to research the lives of opera singers who performed in Vienna from 1791, the year of Mozart’s death, to 1810.

Albrecht’s research has enabled him to explain details that came up in conversations between Beethoven and those he encountered. An early riser, Beethoven did his composing in the morning when he felt fresh from a night’s sleep. The conversations feature encounters Beethoven experienced in the afternoons and evenings when he would meet friends and acquaintances in Vienna’s coffee houses and restaurants.

The conversations range from the mundane, like shopping notes, to insights into deep philosophical questions that sometimes shaped his compositions. In April 1824, when helping his uncle proofread the hand-written orchestral parts of the Ninth Symphony, Beethoven’s nephew, Karl, wrote in a conversation book, “After the timpanist gets done playing this, you’re going to owe him dinner.”

No one knows if he ever took the timpanist, Anton Hudler, to dinner, Albrecht said, “but on May 20, the composer was so happy with the work of choral director Ignaz Dirzka that he noted, ‘Dirzka to dinner’.” Another less musical entry concerns Beethoven honoring a farmer’s request that he transport 19 chickens to a restaurant in Vienna while running errands.

Albrecht has been able to correct errors of interpretation and even page numbers in the volumes the Berlin scholars assembled. Widely known for his research, Albrecht in 2017 was awarded the prestigious Beethoven Medal during Beethoven Days staged in Austria. His professional honors also include the ASCAP sponsored Deems Taylor Award for his three-volume publication of “Letters to Beethoven and Other Correspondence,” awarded in 1996. He is a Distinguished Faculty Award winner in KSU’S College of the Arts. He and his wife have been Kent residents since he joined the faculty in 1992.

In addition to his Beethoven research, Albrecht’s professional expertise embraces the classical music composers of the 18th century and those of the romantic period that followed in the 19th century. He is a fan of Verdi, who began composing in the 1830s and amazingly continued almost until his death in 1901. His specialties also include ragtime composer Scott Joplin and country-western singer-satirist Kinky Friedman.

Themes from Beethoven’s compositions are used in religious hymnals, in movies, and even in TV advertisements so Beethoven’s name should not intimidate anyone who likes music.

For an easy introduction to “Ode to Joy,” the most familiar theme in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Google up “Flash Mob, Ode to Joy” on a laptop or iPhone.

--David E. Dix is a former publisher of the Record-Courier.

Bid On KSU Athletic Items During Home Auction

The 9th Annual Athletics Scholarship Auction has moved online this year and will open Fri., May 8, at 5 p.m., and close May 17 at 5 p.m.

Register to bid and to view auction items. As always, 100 percent of the proceeds support student-athlete scholarships for Kent’s Golden Flashes and will be receipted accordingly by the university.

Don’t miss your chance to score one-of-a-kind items from Kent State, local businesses, jewelry, sports memorabilia and more. You also can bid to win personal experiences with Kent State Athletics and team travel opportunities. NOTE: Any experience/travel package associated with Kent State athletics may be subject to date changes and refunds will be available if necessary.

A few popular auction items this year include an autographed Kent State helmet from Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, an autographed Kent State jersey from Josh Cribbs, a Baker Mayfield autographed jersey, jewelry from Kendra Scott, Cleveland experience packages, wine packages and more.

Register for the Athletics Scholarship Auction today and support our talented and hard-working student-athletes.

Geauga Graduate Student Chosen to Help Combat COVID-19 in New York City Hospital

Kent State University Geauga Campus Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduate Bailey Hill has been selected by The Cleveland Clinic to spend several weeks at New York Presbyterian Hospital to assist with COVID-19 patients. Learn more.

Webinar: How to Develop a Proper Exercise Program

On Fri., May 15, from noon – 1 p.m., presenter Keith Zimcosky will explain all the components that go into developing and maintaining a strength and conditioning program. You will learn full body exercise routines you can do at work, home or your local gym. Register to attend.  

This is an Employee Wellness offering open to ALL full and part-time employees. For full-time, benefits-eligible employees participating in the Wellness Your Way rewards program, this session will be worth 10 points toward your Tier 2 total.

For questions related to health and wellness offerings for Kent State University faculty and staff, please contact Kim Hauge, director, Employee Wellness, at 330-672-7505, or wellness@kent.edu.

Financial Wellness Webinar: 5 Threats to Your Retirement

As we continue to focus on financial wellness in May and June, we invite you to join presenter Alex Schacht of PNC Bank on Mon., May 18, from noon – 1 p.m., when he shares the “Five Threats to Your Retirement.”

With much to consider as we contemplate decisions around retirement, Alex will share known threats so that you may best plan for your golden years. Knowledge is power and allows you to make better decisions and prepare accordingly. Register to attend this presentation on May 18.

This program is open to all full and part-time employees. For full-time, benefits-eligible employees participating in the Wellness Your Way program, this session will be worth 10 points towards your Tier Two total.

To register for future financial wellness offerings, visit our web page. For questions, please email Employee Wellness at wellness@kent.edu or call 330-672-7505.

REMINDER: It’s Get Fit Don’t Sit Week

Stretch. Move. Sweat. Relax. Repeat…. or play some BINGO!

National Get Fit Don't Sit Day™ was created by the American Diabetes Association as an opportunity to increase awareness of the dangers of prolonged sitting and the importance of getting up and moving throughout the workday. Get Fit Don't Sit Day occurs annually on the first Wednesday in May.

This year, we are going to encourage and celebrate movement all week long starting the week of May 4, while practicing our safe social distancing protocols! To learn about our live virtual workout on May 6, Get Fit Don’t Sit Bingo, see how you can win our “Make Yourself and Your Health a Priority” T-shirt or embrace your social distance poker walk, visit our Get Fit Don't Sit web page

Whether you choose to walk around the neighborhood, try your hand with a poker walk, jump into our live virtual exercise class or weed the garden, let's move together for Get Fit Don't Sit Week!

For questions please contact Kim Hauge, director, Employee Wellness, at 330-672-7505, or wellness@kent.edu.  Hope to see you in our virtual classroom.

POSTED: Monday, May 4, 2020 - 7:34am
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 10:01am