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Spencer Huston Image

Spencer Huston

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music, Music Theory

Spencer Huston completed his PhD in Musicology at the University of Kansas in 2017.  He also holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance (1999), where he was a student of Curators’ Professor Emeritus Richard Cass, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performances from Oklahoma State University (1996).  Spencer is also a member of the faculty at Kansas City Kansas Community College, where he has taught music courses since 1999.

Spencer’s primary area of research is nineteenth-century American music, with a specific focus on New York City and how pianists contributed to the city’s dynamic artistic growth and musical development.  His dissertation, “Cultivating Virtuosity: Resident Pianists in New York City and the Nineteenth-Century American Musical Scene,” offers deep insight into many aspects of American music.  With specific focus on resident virtuosos Richard Hoffman (1831–1909), Sebastian Bach Mills (1838–1898), Rafael Joseffy (1852–1915), and others, Huston illustrates the prominent position pianist/composers held in the surprisingly vibrant American musical scene, prior to the twentieth century.

Spencer has presented his research in a variety of formats from reading traditional papers to giving lecture/recitals at both national and international conferences.  He has also contributed several articles to The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, second edition.  In an effort to share his work with the local community, Spencer has given several lecture/recitals at the Battle of Lexington Historical Site (Missouri State Parks). The Lexington Site preserves an 1855 Chickering piano in the parlor of the impressive pre-Civil War Anderson House.  Here, Spencer endeavored to recreate the nineteenth-century salon dynamic, playing the music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829–1869), Hoffman, Mills, and others, while giving spoken program notes, discussing the lives and music of each composer, and providing historical perspective.

Spencer remains active on the Kansas City musical scene and is the director of music at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church.