Department of Music welcomes newest faculty member

Every year, new faculty members arrive.
This year, the music department has gained a spectacular string instructor, Mr. J Kneer, an alumnus of the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio and the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University in Maryland. He is originally from Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Kneer’s musical life began around age five with the violin. His first violin belonged to his grandfather who was a barn dance fiddler.

He learned the violin through the Suzuki method. Though the violin was his first instrument, Kneer picked up several more throughout his life.

He started playing the French horn in fifth grade and played all through middle and high school. During high school, Kneer learned to play trombone and joined his school’s jazz band.

When asked about how he liked Mercyhurst so far Kneer replied, “I love it. It is culturally like the Midwest. The people are sincere, friendly and want to do well.”

Music students attended a fantastic faculty recital by Kneer that included works by Beethoven, Faure and Kreisler.

When asked about his recital and the programming he had done, Kneer explained he was aiming for a lighter program with interesting pieces that he found to be quirky. He said, “The Beethoven is not played very often. It’s a hidden gem.”

Though his recital did not include them, Kneer divulged that three of his favorite composers to play are Bach, Haydn and Stravinsky.

He enjoys playing Bach because there is much written for the violin. He also enjoys Bach’s organ works. Kneer admitted that if he had to, he could play Bach for the rest of his life. He said that Bach is multifaceted, as great art, such as music is multifaceted. Haydn is a favorite because he led a more normal life.

Kneer sees Haydn as funny and creative and according to him, “the poor sucker is one of the least appreciated.”

Besides music, Kneer enjoys table tennis, tennis and current events.