Denise Chigas Kirkland
Adjunct Instructor of Music
Denise Chigas Kirkland, instructor of clarinet at Valparaiso University since 1994, is also principal clarinetist with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. Over the past 30 years she has also served on the orchestra’s staff as interim executive director, personnel manager, and librarian. Her passion for music education is reflected in her service as a member of several boards of directors, including the Northwest Indiana Symphony’s education committee, the Regional Arts Council, and Southlake Children’s Choir. While a member of the symphony staff, she created and implemented the successful “Toot & Doodle” and “Strings in Schools” programs to encourage young children to become interested in playing musical instruments. She was clarinet instructor at the IU summer music clinics for high school-aged students from 1989 to 1999.
Kirkland earned her master of music in clarinet performance in 1977 and her bachelor of music education in 1976, both from the Indiana University School of Music, where as a clarinet student of Bernard Portnoy she graduated with distinction and was awarded IU’s prestigious Performer’s Certificate. In addition to the symphony, Kirkland brings extensive performing experience with woodwind quintets and concerto performances, including the Mozart Concerto, Nielsen Concerto, Weber’s Concerto No.2, Gould’s Derivations, Copland Concerto, and recently the Shaw Concerto and John Williams’ “Viktor’s Tale.” Kirkland is married and resides with her husband, Charles Kirkland (of Valpo’s College of Business faculty), in Valparaiso.