Dr. Elizabeth Grimpo, associate professor of music at Concordia University, Nebraska, was presented with the 2015 Outstanding Teaching Award at the university’s commencement ceremony on May 9, 2015.
The honor is given to a full-time faculty member who represents the ideals and values that define the essence of Concordia. It reflects excellence in classroom instruction, commitment to students, scholarship, leadership and service to the university. The recipient is nominated by students and selected by a committee of students and faculty members who have previously received the award. The recipient’s name is not revealed until it is called during commencement.
“I’m truly humbled to receive this award. … With so many wonderful colleagues who are dedicated and intelligent, kind and caring, I never honestly thought that I’d be the one to be standing up here, so thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Grimpo as she accepted the award. “It’s truly a privilege to me to be a part of this institution and the mission that we share. It’s great to work with so many wonderful friends and colleagues, and most importantly to be able to come every day and teach the students and collaborate and make music with them, get to know them as people and individuals. This is truly an honor for me. Thank you.”
Grimpo graduated from Concordia University-Chicago, magna cum laude, in 1999 with a degree in music education and a certificate in piano pedagogy. She was named student laureate of her graduating class.
Grimpo earned her Master of Music in 2001 and Doctor of Musical Arts in 2006 in piano performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In 2006, she won the graduate concerto competition, earning the opportunity to perform the first movement of Saint-Saëns’ Second Piano Concerto in G Minor with the UNL Symphony Orchestra.
Currently, Grimpo is associate professor of music at Concordia University, Nebraska, a position she has held since 2008. She teaches Aural Skills I, II, III and IV; music appreciation; and private piano lessons, and she does the majority of the accompanying for student and faculty performances. She is also playing an integral role in helping Concordia Nebraska become the first school in the state of Nebraska to offer a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy (pending approval by AMTA and NASM).
Grimpo organizes and performs in a faculty showcase recital every fall, a chamber recital every fall (for faculty and student collaborations) and a composer specific recital every spring (for students). She regularly collaborates with her colleagues at Concordia Nebraska and has also performed the music of Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann and Debussy during solo piano recitals at Concordia Nebraska.
Grimpo has performed solo and collaborative performances for various organizations throughout the years. In 2008, Elizabeth gave the dedicatory recital for a new Steinway piano at Pacific Hills Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska, as part of its Classical Sundays series. In 2009, she performed the primo part for the UNL School of Music’s production of “Later that Same Evening,” a modern opera scored for two pianos by John Musto. She has been the festival accompanist for many Sing Around Nebraska Honors Choirs, performing under such names as Henry Leck, Martha Shaw and Anne Tomlinson. Grimpo has performed collaborative recitals with many accomplished instrumentalists, such as Christopher Nichols (clarinet), Mary-Elizabeth Thompson (flute) and Darryl White (trumpet). In 2011, she gave live piano performances of Beethoven and Debussy for Nebraska Public Radio’s “Classics By Request” broadcast. In 2013, she appeared with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra as the substitute pianist for their biennial Family and Young People’s Concerts, and she was a guest recitalist at the Lectures in Church Music conference at Concordia University-Chicago in the fall of 2014.
Grimpo was involved in the Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music in Seward, Nebraska, in both 2011 and 2014, leading sacred piano reading sessions and leading workshops on effective accompanying for church choirs.
“My First Hymnal, accompaniment edition,” written by Grimpo and published by Concordia Publishing House in 2013, included piano accompaniments geared toward beginning and amateur pianists.
Grimpo and her husband, Phil, have four daughters and make their home in Lincoln, Nebraska, where she is a regular organist at Christ Lutheran Church.