Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 10:58 pm, Thu Aug 9, 2012.
BY Angela Oliver, Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer
For the last two summers, Diane Earle has taken her talents across the pond to Rome. And she's already preparing for trip No. 3.
Earle, an artist-in-residence and music appreciation professor at Kentucky Wesleyan College, just returned from playing solo piano recitals at two venues in Rome.
The first was Teatro di Marcello, which she played last year, and the other was Villa Torlonia, the palace Benito Mussolini once inhabited.
Earle stayed in Rome for four days and traveled around Europe for seven days. She said she will use photos and lessons from the trip in her music appreciations classes. Her visits to Paris; Milan, Italy; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Zurich, Switzerland; and Cologne, Germany are among the key places discussed in the course.
"There's such history in those cities with musicians, culture, paintings," she said. "It means more to my students when they know their professor has seen the places we see in the books."
Earle said she was able to "fill in a few holes" on her bucket list with outings including seeing Rembrandt's painting, "Night Watch," and going to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night, despite her fear of heights. And though she has performed internationally several times, she said some aspects of it are new to her.
"At the first show, people came up after and asked for my autograph, or parents brought their teens up to me to encourage them to study piano," she said. "That was very cool. I always enjoy talking to the audience."
Earle said she also got a standing ovation and played three encores at the palace show.
With the new academic year approaching, Earle said she will keep traveling to a minimum until next summer.
"I have to make sure my students and the college come first," she said. "So I'll travel regionally, probably on weekends, but nothing too extensive. I don't want to be away from the classroom for too long."
Earle is also the music director at Settle Memorial United Methodist Church and the director of the Owensboro Symphony Chorus.
Earle will return to Rome next summer and has accepted invitations to perform in China and Russia within weeks of each other. Instead of focusing on individual composers — the recent recitals featured only Chopin and Liszt selections — Earle is working on the program she will present. It is "Around the World in 80 Minutes" and features selections from several composers of different nationalities.
"Sure, I miss Europe, but I have no time to be nostalgic — I have to get to work," she said.