Author Archives: Kristin Kuster

Richard Toensing (1940-2014)—“The Oak Doesn’t Grow as Fast as the Squash”

Richard Toensing

As in his music, Richard Toensing (1940–2014) embraced the challenges of teaching with his simplicity inside complexity. He had an indelible ability to be engaging, stringent, rigorous, and nurturing all at once. He was well known for his integrity, his delightful wit, and his zero-tolerance policy for what he called “that bull-hooey ego nonsense that gets in the way of hard work and real life.”

Notes From the Other Side of the Desk

Office doorway

There is a deep, reverberating echo of history in composer higher education, and a palpable unspoken dialogue between current and past students, faculty, and guest artists. Today I continue to look for new ways to engage with our students, all the while drawing upon the words and wisdom of those who laid the foundation for my own pedagogy.

Why Do We Write Where & When We Write?

Apart from the time we take for performances, networking, promoting our work, etc., I am fascinated by how we composers inhabit our composer-clocks. Writing time: where is it, when is it, how is it.