OBU music faculty and the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts will host the Digby Bell Memorial Recital Tuesday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Yarborough Auditorium. The community is invited to attend the free event.
The recital will feature pianist Dr. Kenneth Freeman, assistant professor of collaborative piano at Wayland Baptist University.
The program will include Freeman’s performances of “Three Barcarolles” by Ned Rorem, “The Alcotts” from “Piano Sonata No. 2” by Charles Ives, “Papillons, Op. 2” by Robert Schumann, “Nocturne in Eb Minor, Op. 33, No. 1” by Gabriel Faure, and “Napoli Suite” by Francis Poulenc.
Freeman earned a bachelor’s degree in applied piano and English from Pepperdine University. He then earned both his master’s degree and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Memphis. Before his position at WBU, Freeman worked for Union University where he served as staff accompanist and adjunct faculty. He has also taught at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, Arkansas.
The recital is held in honor of Dr. Digby Bell, late husband of Dr. Carol Ann Bell, retired professor of piano at OBU. Trained in music as a child, Digby Bell discovered his love for piano performance around age 9. His passion for the piano led him to study at schools such as the Julliard School in New York. Bell received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan. Soon after graduating from Michigan, he began teaching at the University of Oklahoma. While there, he earned his doctorate from the University of North Texas.
Bell taught and performed at OU for more than 40 years during his time in Oklahoma. For 25 years, he served as the chairman of the OU keyboard department. He was named professor emeritus upon his retirement in 1990. Bell performed many times with the Oklahoma City Symphony and, as a result, had several of his performances broadcast worldwide through the Armed Forces Radio and the Canadian Broadcast Company.
Digby and Carol Ann Bell were well-known in Oklahoma as a duo pianist team. Digby died on March 5, 2004. Carol Ann retired from OBU in 2010, after 20 years of service.