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Marvin R. Blickenstaff
Marvin Blickenstaff is known among piano teachers throughout the country for his teaching, lecturing, performing, and
publishing. He is a frequent presenter at regional and state conventions of music teachers and for the national
conference of the Music Teachers National Association. For sixteen summers he was on the faculty of the International
Workshops where he performed and lectured in Canada, Austria, Scotland, Norway, France, and Switzerland. In 1995 and
again in 2004 The Registered Piano Teachers of New Zealand sponsored him in concert and workshop tours of that country.
The Marvin Blickenstaff Endowment Fund
was established in his honor in 2001 by the MTNA. He has been on the
faculty of the New School for Music Study for nine years where he teaches private lessons and directs the PEPS program
for advanced students. Blickenstaff is Board President of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy and is on the
Executive Planning Committee of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.
Sara M. Ernst
Sara M. Ernst (Administrative Director), NCTM, has avid interests in piano performing, teaching, and research. She is a doctoral candidate for a PhD in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma, where her dissertation research is on the work of Mr. Marvin Blickenstaff. Since 2008, she has spent her summers as a faculty member of the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, and she has been on the faculty at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Her teaching was honored with a campus-wide Graduate Teaching Award at OU and with the Studio Fellowship Award from the Music Teachers National Association. Ernst frequently serves as an adjudicator for piano auditions and has presented at state conferences of MTNA affiliates and regional conferences of the College Music Society. She pursues both solo and collaborative performance opportunities, often exploring contemporary music and premiering works of her husband John Ernst. Her degrees are from the University of Missouri and Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Her former piano and piano pedagogy teachers include Jane Magrath, Barbara Fast, Karen Larvick, and John Strauss.
Amy Glennon (Educational Director) has written articles on piano teaching that have been published in Keyboard Companion Magazine
and is the co-author
of four duet collections comprising the Side by Side
series, distributed by Alfred Publishing. A video tape of her group and private teaching was featured at
the 2000 Music Teachers National Convention. Ms. Glennon established the Group Piano Program at Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA) where she was on the
piano faculty from 1990-96. She has studied piano with Lee Luvisi at the University of Louisville, where she earned her masters degree in Piano Performance.
Ms. Grandy completed a B.A. in piano pedagogy and a B.M. in piano performance and accompanying from California State
University at Fullerton, winning the highest award in piano performance. Her M.M. is from James Madison University,
where her dissertation was on a history of The New School for Music Study. Ms. Grandy has been a piano pedagogy student
of M'lou Dietzer and has studied piano with
Mark Zeyen. She served as accompanist for In Dal Choi, former concertmaster
of the Seoul Philharmonic in Korea. She has performed in over 30 musicals, including productions by the Blue Ridge Theater Festival in Virginia.
Angela Leising received a Master of Music from Ohio University in Piano
Performance and Pedagogy and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Piano Performance and
Pedagogy from the University of Nebraska, Kearney. Her teachers include Gail
Berenson, Chris Fisher, Nathan Buckner, and Valerie Cisler. In 2006 she was
the recipient of the MTNA StAR Award for excellence in student teaching. She
enjoys teaching children and adults of all ages. Ms. Leising is also active as
an instrumental, vocal, and choral accompanist. During the summer, she is on
the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp near Twin Lake, Michigan. She is a
member of Music Teachers National Association.
Margaret Nelson has taught at The New School since 1993. She received a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey and a Masters degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. Margie established the New School Composition Contest in which students perform their compositions on the Spring Recital. She was a presenter at the MTNA Conference in 2002 discussing group teaching. Currently she accompanies church choirs and school choirs in the Princeton area and performs in Faculty recitals. She teaches all ages and levels of students including "Special Needs" students.
Rebecca Mergen Pennington
Rebecca Mergen Pennington (Admissions Director) received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of Kansas in 2007, where she studied piano with Dr. Jack Winerock
and pedagogy with Dr. Christopher Hepp. Originally from Minnesota, she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education in 2002, where she studied piano with Dr. Jay Hershberger,
and a Master of Music degree in piano performance in 2004, also from the University of Kansas. Most recently she served as Director of the KU Community Music School and the KU Keyboard
Skills Program. Additionally, she has served on the faculty for the Midwestern Music Camp. An active performer, Dr. Pennington has given recitals throughout the Midwest, both as a solo
performer and a collaborative artist. Her primary research interest includes teaching 20th century techniques and music of American women composers, results of which were presented at the
2005 MTNA National Conference and in a 2007 lecture recital at the University of Kansas.
Mary Kefferstan is a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. She has appeared at numerous music festivals throughout the United States and abroad, including Point CounterPoint, Casalmaggiore International Festival, Apple Hill Summer Center for Chamber Music, ARIA International Academy, Chautauqua Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Her enthusiasm for chamber music has led her to coachings with such ensembles as the Enso Quartet, the Penderecki String Quartet, and the Pittsburgh Piano Trio. In 2008, she won the Duquesne University Concerto Competition and appeared as soloist with Duquesne University Symphony Orchestra. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Duquesne University, where she studied with Natasha Snitkovsky. Ms. Kefferstan recently completed a Master of Music degree from Bowling Green State University, where she studied with Laura Melton and received a full graduate assistantship to teach piano at the university level.
Todd Van Kekerix
Todd Van Kekerix completed a Bachelor of Arts in piano performance and a B.B.A.
from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where he actively
taught in the Augustana Preparatory Program under the direction of Dr.
Rick Andrews. In 2006, he received his Master of Music in piano performance and
pedagogy and is currently in the process of completing his Artist's
Certificate from Southern Methodist University in Dallas,Texas where
he studied with Alfred Mouledous and Alessio Bax. He received his
pedagogy training under Dr. Sam Holland, Dr. Cathy Lysinger and
Matthew Kline. In addition to teaching, Todd is an active performer,
competitor and adjudicator. He is also a member of the Music Teachers
After receiving a dual degree in piano performance and music education from the University of Michigan, Karen Dalley-Jesson taught classroom and choral music and served as a pianist and a teaching artist in various capacities in the New York metropolitan area. Ms. Jesson recently completed a fellowship at American University in Washington, DC, managing her own piano studio and a countywide piano program for adults; her Master’s degree in Arts Management is currently in progress. Previously, Ms. Jesson was a faculty member at Westminster Choir College Conservatory. Her formative teachers include George Lucktenberg, Nelita True, Louis Nagel, Seymour Lipkin, and Michael Thomopolos.
Angela Triandafillou received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College in 2008. She recently earned a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma, where she received a full graduate assistantship to teach piano to university students. Additionally, she created and taught beginning group piano courses for adults over 50 and has served on the faculty of the Oklahoma Baptist University Preparatory Department.
Ms. Triandafillou has spent summers at the Neighborhood Music School in Connecticut, the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, and the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina. She has served as president of both the Ithaca College and University of Oklahoma MTNA Collegiate Chapters and recently presented a session entitled “Liszt for the Advancing High School Pianist” at the 2011 National Conference in Milwaukee with collegiate chapter members from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Michigan. Her primary piano and piano pedagogy teachers include Jane Magrath, Barbara Fast, Ed Gates, Phiroze Mehta, and Sandra Wright Shen.
Candice Choi earned her M. M. in Piano Pedagogy and Performance with distinction from Westminster Choir College where she studied piano with Ingrid Clarfield and pedagogy with Phyllis Lehrer, Paul Sheftel, and Lillian Livingston. She is the 2011 winner of New Jersey Music Teacher’s Association (NJMTA) Young Musicians Competition, Collegiate Level and performed at the NJMTA State Conference. While at Westminster Choir College, she served as the Graduate Assistant to the Piano Department and President of the NJTMA Collegiate Chapter. Miss Choi earned her B.M. from University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music and was the 2008-2009 Concerto Competition winner, where she performed the first movement of Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2 with the University of the Pacific Symphonic Orchestra. Miss Choi has performed recitals throughout San Francisco and in Princeton, NJ. She has performed in master classes with Leon Fleisher and Richard Ormrod and her former teachers include Dr. Rex Cooper, Frank Wiens, Craig Nies, Mack McCray, and Eva Tang.
Canadian pianist Elissa Miller-Kay earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Oberlin College where she studied with Peter Takács. Elissa went on to earn her Master of Music at Mannes College where she studied with Victor Rosenbaum. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at New York University where she studies with Martin Canin. In 2009, she was the first prize winner of the 13th Biennial International Beethoven Piano Sonata Competition in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2006, she was awarded the Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award, a scholarship given annually to an outstanding young Canadian musician. She has performed in Canada with the Oakville Chamber Orchestra, the York Symphony Orchestra, and the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra. Recital engagements have included performances at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, and Bohemian National Hall in New York City, and Markham Theatre in Markham, Ontario. Prior to joining the New School for Music Study, Elissa Miller-Kay taught Secondary Piano and Keyboard Harmony at New York University. She has also taught previously at the Avon Lake School of Music in Avon Lake, Ohio; the Jubilee Enrichment Program in New York City; and the Secondary Lessons Program at Oberlin College.
Christy Miller holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Oxbridge Music from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where she studied piano with Dr. Calvin Permenter. In 2009, she earned a Masters of Music degree in Musicology at the University of Kansas, graduating with honors. She has also completed one year of coursework toward a PhD in Musicology at the University of Kansas and continues to pursue research interests in American and folk music studies. She has presented her research at the Davide Nelson Duke Undergraduate Colloquium and the Popular Music Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her current projects include writing a book on the career of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Christy has a passion for teaching, and her experience includes two years of teaching music history at the collegiate level and seven years as a piano instructor in private and group settings.