Lecture series brings award-winning producers to Duquesne

Griffin Sendek | Multimedia Editor. The series hopes to share with students the experiences of successful professionals in the music industry.

Peyton Harris | Staff Contributor


This week at Duquesne, the Mary Pappert School of Music’s Institute of Entertainment, Music and Media Arts (IEMMA) began hosting leaders within the music industry to speak to students about vast opportunities within the field.

Referred to as the IEMMA Lecture Series, the program is “a lecture-performance series featuring industry professionals who come to campus to share real-world experiences with the IEMMA community.”

While events will be taking place differently this year as lectures continue on Zoom, the experience aims to be eye-opening to students in providing them with background into a wide area of expertise that otherwise may not be available to them at such an early stage in their careers.

Five panelists are scheduled to speak this year, ranging from engineers who have worked with The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Neil Diamond, to more recent artists such Harry Styles and Beyoncé.

“These particular artists have been pivotal in so many moments in musical history over the past 50 years that it will be amazing to hear the behind the scenes that they experienced,” said Tom Kikta, the director of IEMMA. “The Beatles’ last performance, Wings, Linda Rondstadt, James Taylor, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan — all of these acts defined the sound of generations, and these are the people who were instrumental in making it happen.”

From March 10 through April 12, renowned musicians, producers and sound engineers Elliot Scheiner, Peter Asher, Laurence Juber, Alan Parsons and Nishta Kumar will be speaking to students about their own experiences throughout their careers, and providing insight into how students can further themselves in the ever-expanding field of music.

The five guests will bring their own unique experiences as music industry pioneers. Grammy Award-winning music producer Scheiner started off the IEMMA Lecture Series on Wednesday. Asher, scheduled for March 15, is a multi-platinum producer, and has been named Commander of the British Empire for his works. Juber, who will present the following Monday, is credited for his work in the band Paul McCartney and the Wings, as well as his work on video games such as Diablo III and themes for NBC’s Dateline. For his work on Beatles’ albums Abbey Road and Let It Be, as well as Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, Grammy winning assistant engineer Parsons will share his expertise on March 31.

To close the series, Duquesne graduate Nishta Kumar will share her journey as a jazz singer, acoustician, audio engineer and photographer. This final lecture will take place on April 12.

IEMMA staff themselves are professionals and are active in the music industry in Pittsburgh and beyond, whether it be in different recording studios or music companies throughout the region. With these added perspectives from artists around the world, this event provides students with the chance to ask questions and find answers to pressing issues within the industry, and to provide them with a resource going forward in their education, careers and beyond.

“This artist series is exactly what IEMMA is all about: Giving our students access to artists and industry leaders who normally they wouldn’t be able to interact with,” Kitka said. “Whether in a lecture atmosphere or an actual project, IEMMA creates an environment for students to not only be inspired but learn from these masters and grow in their own craft.”

Students wishing to participate can register for free online at duq.edu/academics/schools/music and by clicking under the IEMMA tab. Each lecture begins at 3 p.m. and students are able to register for multiple lectures at once.