Student Testimonial: Magdalena Sustere

Orchestra rehearsal 12-01-14I am in my senior year studying Cello Performance with Dr. Simidtchieva. First of all, I want to thank her helping me come and be part of SIUE. I am an international student from Latvia and I know that without the faculty help and support I would not be here.

The SIUE Music Department has been a wonderful place for me to grow as a musician. Maybe one could consider SIUE a “small school” but it is remarkable how many opportunities are given to students, if one is willing to learn and take part in something unknown in order to become a better musician.

 Besides cello lessons, chamber groups, and symphony orchestra, I have taken Jazz History and an independent study for jazz cello with Prof. Haydon, been part of several musicals with Dr. Schapman, sang in a Community Choral Society with Dr. Knapp and traveled to a choir festival in Cuba, been part of pep band on my secondary instrument with Mr. Smithiger, taken composition with Dr. Archer, played in a Barok ensemble, and even in a World Music ensemble with Dr. Coan. I can stick strictly to classes that are required or explore and learn new skills. For me this is really important because I love cultures, different kind of music and I want to be prepared to be the 21st century performer.

 Besides classes, the Cello Club provides master classes with guest artists, seminars, and concerts that I have been able to take part in. I am also excited for March 2016, because Cello Club together with Flute Cub will be hosting concerts and master classes with Project Trio. What a wonderful opportunity again it is to learn more!

 Thank you, SIUE Music Department faculty members, for allowing me to explore, supporting me and encouraging me to be the best I can be. It is important for young musicians to have counselors who give advice, guidance, support, and believe in me. You have been that to me.

 Lastly, I am blessed to have schoolmates around me who are an inspiration to me. My suggestion for current students and the ones yet to come:

  • Do some research and find out what the Music Department has to offer for you
  • Use the opportunities given to you
  • Remember, music is meant to be enjoyed and shared

 I thank God that I can be part of SIUE and hopefully leave my mark here.

Magdalena Sustere

Cello performance, Class of 2016



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