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Classic Rock

By France Griggs Sloat

Morten Kristiansen brings a true European flair to Xavier’s department of music. The newest hire hails from Copenhagen, Denmark, is fluent in German and is an authority on German composer Richard Strauss’ 19th century opera “Feursnot.” So what’s he teaching this semester, in addition to the department’s other music survey and seminar courses? The History of Rock ’n’ Roll, of course. “I created this course while I was an adjunct at Georgetown University several years ago,” he says. “This course will supplement all the other courses we have—Music Now, the Art of Listening, Women in Music.”

Kristiansen, whose personal specialty is vocal music—he sang across Europe in the Vienna Singverein, one of the largest choral groups in Vienna where he lived for a year—was inducted into the world of classical music by his father, who was a symphony musician in Copenhagen. He majored in music and German at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., and earned a master’s and Ph.D. in musicology at Yale University.

Though a fan of modern rock music, his first love is classical. His favorite musician, after all, is Wofgang Amadeus Mozart—whom some may call the original rock star.

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