Lois Svard, who is well-known as a champion of contemporary American piano music, taught at Bucknell from 1984 to 2011. She was chair of the music department from 2007-10; director of the Gallery Series from 1995-97; director of the first Bucknell Humanities Institute in 1996; and co-director of Bucknell in London in 1998.
In addition to receiving Bucknell's Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2007, Svard was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Award for Arts Commentary and Perspectives on the Arts, and was the Joan C. Edwards Visiting Distinguished Professor of the Arts at Marshall University in 2002-03.
She has performed as a soloist in festivals and on series across the United States, from the Piano Sounds for Our Time festival at the Honolulu Academy of Arts to The Lane Series at the University of Vermont. She has performed with chamber groups including the Cassatt Quartet and in a special collaboration with Peter Boal, former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Her performances have often celebrated the avant-garde in piano music, whether in the music of Franz Liszt in the 19th century, or in more recent works using multimedia, prepared piano, digital keyboard or microtonal tunings.
Svard has premiered more than a dozen works written specifically for her and has recorded for both Lovely Music, Inc. and Innovera Studios. Her DVD of Annea Lockwood's prepared-piano work, Ear-Walking Woman, met with critical acclaim in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Australia. Critics called it "fascinating," "irresistible," and "a significant contribution to the performance, composition, and study of contemporary avant-garde piano music."
Svard is also known for her work in applying current neuroscience research to the study and performance of music. Results of her work have been presented at a major teaching hospital; at national science conferences such as the Society for Music Perception and Cognition, Neuroscience 2006, and the Performing Arts Medical Association; and at national and international music conferences including the International Society for Music Education in Thessaloniki and Beijing, the London International Piano Symposium, the World Piano Pedagogy Conference, and the Music Teachers National Association. She writes a blog called The Musician's Brain, read in more than 80 countries, in which she introduces readers to some of the latest research in neuroscience and music and writes about what that research may mean to performers and music teachers.
Born in northern Minnesota, Svard received her D.M.A. from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she studied with Ann Schein, a student of Arthur Rubinstein and Dame Myra Hess. Her debut performance in Europe was at the Würzburg Mozart Festival in 1977. She has subsequently performed contemporary repertoire at the Barbican Centre in London, at festivals in the Netherlands and Belgium, and at universities and music schools in Denmark and the United Kingdom as well as across the United States.