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Daniel Atwood, Three Rivers College Music Department graduate, was recently a speaker at the 2019 Bach Colloquium at Harvard University—an invitation-only conference. Atwood’s presentation explored the sociocultural association and emotional power of hymns in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Germany. Atwood gained much of his insights from the 1738 autobiography, Eigene Lebens-Beschreibung, by Adam Bernd, a retired preacher of Leipzig’s St. Peter’s Church.

“The conference was a great experience both for my research and my professional development,” said Atwood. “I was able to meet scholarly publishers and network with top researchers in the field. TRC was a great place to build the foundational skills which helped me realize this opportunity.”

After graduating from Three Rivers, Atwood went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Music from Southeast Missouri State University. He then began studying at the prestigious Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, where in 2018 he earned a master’s degree with a double major in Musicology and Classical Guitar Performance. Atwood is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Musicology at Northwestern University.

During his time at Northwestern, Atwood has participated in a number of university ensembles on guitar, lute, mandolin, and banjo, in performances ranging from classic fare such as the mandolin serenade in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and the continuo accompaniment to Vivaldi’s Concerto for 4 Violins, to contemporary works by composers like Zappa, Jaeger, and Benjamin. Atwood’s frequent work with the university’s New Music Ensemble led to his performance with the symphony orchestra in the 2017 Millennium Park concert series, as well as in the opening concert of the third Northwestern University New Music Conference in 2018, under the baton of Grammy-winning conductor Donald Nally.

Atwood plans to become a professor after receiving his doctorate degree. He credits William “Buddy” White and Cindy White, both professors of Music at Three Rivers, for helping expand his knowledge and skills as a musician and student of music.

“The music program offers lots of opportunities for students to develop their skills and explore new areas of musicianship,” said Atwood. “The music department’s use of information technology and multimedia classroom pedagogy have long been among its characteristics worthy of accolade, while the numerous ensembles provide students with abundant opportunity for artistic expression, professional development, and community engagement.” 

“Based on my experience in music at TRC, I would think that for any field, no matter what you want to study, this is a great place to come and start getting the skills, access to the resources, and networking opportunities that you’re going to need to thrive in that field,” continued Atwood. “All you have to do is come and give your best effort.”

Three Rivers offers an Associate of Arts degree, Music Concentration, for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university to major in Music and an Associate of Arts in Teaching – Music Education degree for students who want to transfer into Central Methodist University’s completion program, offered at the Three Rivers College Poplar Bluff campus, to earn a Bachelor of Music Education Degree. Both the AA and AAT degree programs provide an affordable way to fulfill general education requirements and to explore a variety of performance opportunities. Students can specialize in choir or instrumental music. There are courses for ensembles and private instruction. There also are music scholarship opportunities.

For more information about the Three Rivers College Music Department, call 573-840-9639. For information on enrolling at Three Rivers, call 573-840-9605.

Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit

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2080 Three Rivers Blvd., Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
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