Born and raised in Goshen, Indiana, pianist Mary Rose (Jordan) Norell has developed a unique and thriving career in music. Her 2008 solo performances of Modest Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (accompanied by Chicago’s premiere puppet theatre group, Blair Thomas Productions) on the award-winning Millennium Park stage in the heart of downtown Chicago earned her the Chicago Tribune’s favorable review: “…Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, played live and beautifully by Mary Rose Jordan on a Steinway in the center of the stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, even as a puppet rabbit climbs on her piano stool.”
Appearing internationally as a soloist, Dr. Norell has given concerts at St. Anne's of Oxford University in England, the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, Austria, and LCC University in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Most recently, she had the opportunity to perform the music of Edvard Grieg on the composer's piano in his home, Troldhaugen, in Bergen (Norway). As a concerto soloist, Mary Rose has soloed with ensembles such as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Elkhart County Symphony, Maple City Chamber Orchestra, Northwestern University Summer Orchestra, and most recently, with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble (KS City), where she premiered Joseph Kern's piano concerto transcription of Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Musorgsky. Norell is also active as a collaborative artist, performing regularly with her husband, Luke Norell, as the Norell Piano Duo, and working with vocalists and other instrumentalists, including the celebrated Norwegian bass-baritone Njål Sparbo, and members of the Goshen College faculty and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
Among Mary Rose's awards are second prize at the Grieg Festival in Florida's Young Artist Competition and top prize in the Music Teacher's National Association competition for the state of Illinois. Mary Rose is a board member of the Edvard Grieg Society of America, an organization devoted to the promotion and celebration of the works of Edvard Grieg, and serves as secretary and co-founder of the new Edvard Grieg Society of the Great Lakes.
An active teacher, Dr. Norell currently teaches private and group piano lessons, where she also serves as Director of the Goshen College Community School of the Arts. Mary Rose has also spent time working as a Guest Artist for the Ravinia Festival’s Reach*Teach*Play program, where she developed numerous interactive lecture-performances to help make classical music relevant for children in inner-city Chicago schools.
Mary Rose began her piano studies at the age of five with Marvin Blickenstaff. Under the tutelage of Emile Naoumoff, the last pupil of Nadia Boulanger, Mary Rose received her B.M. in Piano Performance from Indiana University “With Distinction" with a French minor, and completed her Master of Music with an emphasis in German. She completed her doctorate in piano performance with James Giles at Northwestern University, graduating as a member of Pi Kappa Lambda.