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Arts - Greg Slag

Gregory Slag

"He was more than just a kid from North Dakota who made good; he was a player of power and poetry - and one with a highly personal relationship to the music he plays" (Bismarck Tribune editorial, 1994). That power and poetry arose from the keys of concert pianist Gregory Slag who graduated from Century High School in 1978 and who made the world a more brilliant place until his death in 1994.

Greg's life was filled with various passions, but none surpassed his intimacy and communion with music. Greg's musical ability was a gift nurtured within his family and developed by many masters along his journey toward national and international performance.

He was a child prodigy who first studied piano with Josephine Mushik of Mandan. As a senior at CHS, he was one of two musicians statewide selected to tour with the McDonald's All-American High School Band. The following year, he was one of 17 chosen from that 102-member band for the McDonald's All-American Jazz Ensemble. Besides piano, Greg also mastered the saxophone, violin, clarinet, flute, classical guitar, timpani, cello, and organ among others.

From CHS to Whitworth College in Spokane to Julliard School of music, where he obtained his masters and doctoral degrees, Greg won many competitions and honors, among them the Isabel Mason Scholarship, the Gina Bachauer Scholarship and International Piano competition; he was also selected to represent the U.S. at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, Russia.

Greg, who presented more than 30 solo recitals around the world, was also a featured artist with numerous symphonies and orchestras. One year prior to his death, Greg signed a professional recording contract to capture the entire piano works of Samuel Barber. Greg worked feverishly on this project right up to within days of his death. His father, Herman Slag, noted that just days before he entered the hospital, he sat at the piano and played for four hours straight - such was his passion and love for his music.

"Greg Slag was one of those rare musicians who seemed incapable of doing anything by half measures. He played every piece as if it might be his last - maybe because he knew it was so.[Greg was] a magnificent talent silenced too soon."

- Scott Cantrell, Classical Music Editor for The Kansas City Star -

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