Suzanne Torkelson

Professor of Music

More about Suzanne Torkelson

Dr. Suzanne Torkelson, currently Professor of Piano at Wartburg College, holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of Iowa, the Master of Music degree from Kansas State University and the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Wartburg College. In addition, she has studied performance and pedagogy at the doctoral level at the University of Colorado, Boulder, providing full-time accompanying assistance at that institution. Her piano study has been with Kenneth Amada, Larry Graham, Mark Wait, and Robert Edwards, and she has had extensive experience in chamber literature and accompanying, coaching with Eugene Bossart and Martin Isepp. 

Dr. Torkelson frequently performs nationally and internationally as piano soloist and chamber musician.  She is very active in the field of piano pedagogy, and is in frequent demand as clinician and adjudicator, presenting sessions in pedagogy in the Midwest region and throughout the United States. In addition to her work with advanced students at Wartburg College, she continues to work with the pre-college student, as Director of the Tower School of Music, as a teacher for advanced junior high and high school students, who have won numerous awards and scholarships in regional and national competitions, and as an advisor to teachers and their students throughout Iowa.  She is currently an officer of the Music Teachers National Association West Central Division, a member of the Iowa Music Teachers Association Board, and serves as the Official Accompanist for the West Central Division MTNA Competitions.  In 1991, Dr. Torkelson earned the Master Teacher Certification, the highest level of professional certification from MTNA, awarded for outstanding teaching and service to the profession.  She was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from IMTA in 1996, and the Certified Teacher of the Year Award from IMTA in 2002.    

Currently an MTNA National Certification Commissioner, one of seven on the national board, Dr. Torkelson assists that organization in administering the MTNA Professional Certification Program, which exists to improve the level of professionalism within the field of music teaching.  She is currently co-editing eight levels of technique and etude books as part of the Succeeding with the Masters and Festival Collections Piano Librarypublished by FJH Music Publishers.   Her feature article on learning styles was published in the Spring 2008 issue of Keyboard Companion with video clips of her teaching and the full article on the Keyboard Companion Website Issues.   Her article on certification is scheduled for publication in the December/January 2008-2009 issue of American Music Teacher, and her reviews of new repertoire for piano teaching are found in each issue of the Iowa Music Teacher magazine, for which she is the Editor of New Music Reviews.  During her many years as Repertoire Chair for IMTA, she published four editions of the extensive IMTA Syllabus Repertoire List, the materials used by the over four hundred members of the state organization.

Dr. Torkelson teaches applied piano, an interconnected course in history and music appreciation, piano pedagogy, collaborative piano and accompanying, and form and analysis for the music department.  In addition, she has taught several Tour with the Arts courses in Europe, Australia, and South Africa, and other courses in Wartburg’s Essential Education offerings.