Faculty and Administration
The collaborative spirit among our faculty makes NSMS a vibrant learning community for teachers and students alike. All members of our faculty are highly-educated, experienced pianists with a passion for teaching.
Faculty, Co-Director of PEPS Program
Board Member and Past President of The Frances Clark Center
Master of Music in Piano Performance, Indiana University
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Marvin Blickenstaff joined The New School in 1999, and serves as co-director of the PEPS Program. Mr. Blickenstaff holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Indiana University, where he received both academic and performance honors. He is well-known across the country and in Canada for his frequent presentations at state and national conferences. The Marvin Blickenstaff Endowment Fund was established in his honor by the Music Teachers National Association Foundation. In 2007 the online journal Piano Pedagogy Forum published tributes to Mr. Blickenstaff honoring his contribution to piano teaching in America. Also in 2007, he was named Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He was honored in 2009 with MTNA’s highest honor, the MTNA Achievement Award. Mr. Blickenstaff has served as chair of the piano departments at the University of North Carolina/ Chapel Hill and Goshen College (IN) and from 2000-2013 he was President of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.
Faculty, Coordinator of Enrichment and Outreach Programs
Junior PEPS Instructor and Theory Instructor
Master of Music in Piano Performance, University of Houston
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, Bowling Green State University
Kristin Cahill is on the faculty and is Coordinator of Enrichment and Outreach Programs at NSMS. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Music in Piano Performance with additional studies in Collaborative Piano from the University of Houston, where she studied with Ruth Tomfohrde and Timothy Hester. From 2008-2013, Ms. Cahill lived in Barcelona, Spain, and extensively studied castanets and Spanish piano repertoire with Ludovica Mosca. At The American School of Barcelona, Ms. Cahill started and developed a group piano program in addition to teaching private lessons to students from all over the world.
An active adjudicator, Ms. Cahill is a member of the Royal Conservatory of Music College of Examiners. In addition, she has published articles in Clavier Companion and has presented at the NJMTA State Conference, the MTNA National Conference, and the National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy. Ms. Cahill is a member of Legacy Arts, where she co-directs the bitKlavier course for children in Princeton.
Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy, Bowling Green State University
Bachelor of Arts in Piano Pedagogy, Goshen College
Fiona Christano initially joined NSMS as an intern in 2003 upon completing her Master’s in Piano Pedagogy from Bowling Green State University under the direction of Dr. Robert Satterlee. She became a full-time member of NSMS faculty in 2004 and taught numerous students until 2009. Prior to her study at Bowling Green State University, Ms. Christano completed her Bachelor’s of Arts in Piano Pedagogy from Goshen College under the direction of Professors Marvin Blickenstaff, Beverly Lapp, David Gross, and Matthew Hill, with a minor in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
During her time off from NSMS, Ms. Christano served as volunteer director of the children’s choir at her church, and provided pro-bono 3-month piano lessons to individuals with varying degrees of musical skills in her hometown of Kudus, Indonesia.
Ms. Christano and her husband live in Princeton. She is a mother of two wonderful and lively children and enjoys knitting and baking with and reading to her kids.
Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, Southern Methodist University
Bachelor of Arts in Music, Augustana University
Allison Fog studied Piano Pedagogy with Sam Holland, and Piano Performance with Alfred Mouledous at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. While at SMU she was elected to the national music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda. From there, she began her teaching career at The New School for Music Study in 2000. While at The New School, she wrote the original curriculum for the school’s yearly performance and theory evaluations, called Piano Progressions.
Ms. Fog left full-time teaching in 2007 to raise her family, but has stayed connected to The New School through volunteering and substitute teaching for both private and group lessons. NSMS will always have a special place in her heart, as she has watched her own sons grow up learning piano at the school. Ms. Fog feels there is no better place for a child to study music at the piano, and she is very excited to return to teaching at The New School. She believes that music study benefits our lives cognitively, emotionally, and physically, and is committed to the idea that there is music in every person.
Ms. Fog has served as choral accompanist to the Flemington-Raritan school district, and as pianist at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Lambertville, NJ. She lives in Flemington, and enjoys cooking, reading, exercising, and spending time with her family.
Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, Westminster Choir College
Bachelor of Music in Music Theory, Ithaca College
Jason Gallagher received his Master’s Degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, with distinction, from Westminster Choir College in May 2014. There, he studied piano with Phyllis Lehrer. Mr. Gallagher also completed a rigorous, year-long internship with renowned teacher Ingrid Clarfield. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Theory, magna cum laude, from Ithaca College in May 2012. He studied piano with Dr. Jennifer Hayghe, and pedagogy with Dr. Deborah Martin.
Faculty, Educational Director
Master of Music in Piano Performance, University of Louisville
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance/Bachelor of Science in Music Education, University of Connecticut
Amy Glennon studied Piano Pedagogy with New School co-founders Frances Clark and Louise Goss, earning the Certificate of Professional Achievement in 1986. She then joined the piano faculty of Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA), where she remained for six years before returning to the New School faculty in 1996. During the following years, Ms. Glennon has served as Admissions Director and more recently, Educational Director. In her current position, Ms. Glennon oversees the New School’s faculty development program. Her articles have appeared in Clavier Companion magazine. She is the co-author (along with Ted Cooper) of four duet collections comprising the Side by Side series, published by Alfred. Ms. Glennon has presented at local and national music teachers conventions, including Music Teachers National Convention and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Ms. Glennon remains active as an adjudicator at local festivals and competitions, and serves as pianist and choir director at Lawrence Road Presbyterian Church. She holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of Connecticut: a B.M. in Piano Performance and a B.S. in Music Education. She earned her Masters Degree from the University of Louisville in Piano Performance, where she studied with Lee Luvisi.
Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, University of Oklahoma
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Peter Groch holds a M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma, and a B.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While at the University of Illinois, he competed in several competitions and received first place in the ISMTA Collegiate Piano Competition. His interest in world music led him to become a member of the Gamelan Ensemble and the Balkan Ensemble. Between degree programs, Mr. Groch spent several years in Chicago, Illinois, where he was an active accompanist, teacher, and performer.
While at the University of Oklahoma, Mr. Groch was awarded a teaching assistantship through which he taught group piano classes and applied piano lessons. He spent his summers in Oklahoma as the assistant music director of the Cimarron Opera Theater Camp. Mr. Groch has studied piano with Dr. Rochelle Sennet, Dr. Mary Beth Molenaar, and Dr. Igor Lipinski. His Pedagogy teachers include Dr. Christos Tsitsaros, Dr. Barbara Fast, and Dr. Jane Magrath.
Faculty, Event and Project Coordinator for The Frances Clark Center
Master of Music Piano Performance and Pedagogy, Texas Christian University
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, Washington State University
Esther Hayter joined the New School in 2017. A native of Washington State, she completed her undergraduate studies at Washington State University, where she studied piano performance and pedagogy with Drs. Jeff and Karen Savage. She then went on to complete a Masters of Music at Texas Christian University, under the guidance of Dr. Ann Gipson and Dr. Tamas Ungar. While at TCU, she taught class piano for the Pedagogy Lab Program, Extended Education, and undergraduate classes. She also taught private lessons for college elective students and through the TCU Preparatory Department. In addition to her duties at TCU, Ms. Hayter maintained a busy schedule of private students for studios in the Fort Worth area. One of her favorite aspects about teaching is building relationships with her students and seeing their growth, not only as musicians, but as individuals. She also enjoys performing in both solo and collaborative settings, and volunteers as a church musician. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, reading, outdoor activities, hanging out with friends and family, and spoiling her nieces and nephews.
Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Artist Diploma in Piano Performance, Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Master of Music and Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow, Russia
Kairy Koshoeva earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She also holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Gnessin Academy of Music in Moscow, and an Artist Diploma certificate from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (OH). Dr. Koshoeva has garnered awards from around the globe, including the top prizes at the International Piano Competition in Vicenza, Italy, and the N. Rubinstein Competition in Paris; the Gold Medal at the 2004 Rachmaninoff Awards in Moscow; and first prize at the Chautauqua Music Festival concerto competition in New York. In 2003, her home country awarded her the prestigious title of Honored Artist of Kyrgyzstan. She has performed in Israel, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, and the United States. In 2013, Dr. Koshoeva received the Marian Bowker Davidson Collaborative Pianist Award for her Kansas City performance of Bach’s Goldberg Variations with the Owen/Cox Dance Group. She also garnered the 2015 Berta Eisberg Award for collaboration with Owen/Cox in a performance of Hindemith’s Ludus Tonalis.
She has studied with great musicians as Bella Zubok, Faina Kharmatz, Michael Burshtin (Kyrgyzstan/Israel), Vera Nosina (Moscow), Monique Duphil (Oberlin), and Robert Weirich (UMKC); and had the privilege of being coached by renowned pianist Lazar Berman in Weimar Master Classes.
Dr. Koshoeva enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. While living in Kansas City, she taught music at a host of institutions of higher learning, including Avila, Park, and Rockhurst Universities, the University of Missouri at Kansas City, and the University of Kansas. In 2015 she joined the faculty of The New School for Music Study. Many of her students have won prestigious piano competitions, some leading to performances in Carnegie Hall.
Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, Ohio University
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, University of Nebraska, Kearney
Angela Leising-Catalan holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Ohio University, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from University of Nebraska, Kearney. She joined the New School for Music Study faculty in 2008. As a collaborative pianist, she has worked with choral groups and instrumentalists around the country. Angela is a registered Music Together teacher. She lives in New York City and is mother to two small and enthusiastic music makers.
Faculty, Co-Director of PEPS Program
Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Master of Music in Piano Performance, University of North Texas
Charl Louw has taught and performed throughout the U.S. and South Africa as soloist, collaborative pianist, and with orchestras including the South African National Chamber Orchestra, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, New Orleans Civic Orchestra, and University of Missouri Chamber Orchestra. He served as director of chamber music and pianist in residence for the Mid-West Chamber Ensemble and, as pianist of the Filamental Trio, collaborated on a recording project of newly commissioned repertoire by award-winning composers from Kansas City.
Throughout his career, Mr. Louw has received prestigious awards and scholarships, including the Kauffman Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, MC Roode Award, and Getrude Buchanan Award. He has been a finalist and top-prize winner in piano competitions, and regularly adjudicates for piano festivals.
Mr. Louw currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Greater Princeton Steinway Competition and Co-Director of the Program for Excellence in Piano Study (PEPS) at The New School for Music Study. He has presented lectures and master classes in South Africa and the U.S., and completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he studied with Dr. Robert Weirich.
Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Pedagogy, University of South Carolina
Master of Music in Piano Performance, University of South Carolina
Bachelor of Music Education, Bob Jones University
Originally from Pennsylvania, Nathan MacAvoy earned his undergraduate degree from Bob Jones University, where he studied with Dr. Deanna Moore. He then began his graduate degrees at the University of South Carolina under the guidance of Dr. Sara Ernst, Dr. Charles Fugo, and Dr. Scott Price. While in graduate school, Dr. MacAvoy held several different graduate assistant positions, gaining experience in accompanying, teaching both group and applied piano, and teaching a large lecture-style music appreciation class. In addition to these duties, he also taught many private students for studios in the Columbia area.
Since graduation, he has continued teaching locally in Columbia and began serving as adjunct faculty in applied piano at Bob Jones University. He enjoys teaching a wide variety of ages and skill levels, helping each student take the next step in their musical journey and expanding their appreciation of music. Outside of music and teaching, Dr. MacAvoy enjoys working on projects to update his house and spending time with his wife and two young children.
Faculty, Director of NSMS Student Composition Contest
Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, Westminster Choir College
Margie Nelson came to The New School in September of 1993, and studied with the school's founders, Frances Clark and Louise Goss. Shortly after, Mrs. Nelson earned Master’s Degree from Westminster Choir College in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy. Mrs. Nelson is the director of our annual Student Composition Contest. In addition to her work at NSMS, Mrs. Nelson teaches music at Saint Matthias in Somerset, Raritan Valley Community College, and also plays piano for her church.
About teaching, Mrs. Nelson says, “One of my favorite aspects of teaching is when students make their own realizations about music. I love when they share them with me. I love to laugh with my students because we are doing something so special and sacred with each other. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than collaborate about music.”
Outside of music, Mrs. Nelson enjoys spending time with her family and reading. She also stays active through swimming, biking, running, and shopping.
Faculty, Administrative Director
Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music in Piano Performance, University of Kansas
Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Concordia College
Rebecca Mergen Pennington has been a member of the faculty of the New School for Music Study since 2007. She currently serves as Administrative Director. Dr. Pennington has been a frequent performer in faculty recitals, and teaches the popular Piano Detectives Club class for kindergarten students. She holds a DMA and MM in Piano Performance from the University of Kansas, and a BM in Music Education from Concordia College. Previous teachers include Jack Winerock and Jay Hershberger. Dr. Pennington is a frequent presenter at local and national conferences. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her three young children.
Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, Southern Methodist University
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Music Business, Illinois State University
Dedicated to helping students experience the art of music and its transformative powers, Adam Salas is thrilled to join the New School for Music Study as its Post Graduate Fellow. Mr. Salas currently serves on the faculty of Texas Woman's University where he teaches keyboard musicianship and functional group piano for music majors. As an educator, Mr. Salas has previously served on faculty for the Gray School of Music, Institute for Young Pianists, Southern Methodist University Piano Preparatory Department, Thomas Metcalf School, Fox River Academy of Music and Art, and Illinois State University Community School for the Arts.
Devoted to the future of piano pedagogy, Mr. Salas has presented at the Music Teachers National Association Conference, Texas Music Teachers Association Convention, and MTNA Collegiate Symposium on topics ranging from practice strategies to meditation and mindfulness for musicians. Actively involved in his teaching communities, Mr. Salas has served on the board of the Dallas Music Teachers Association and chaired the DMTA Jazz-Pop Festival and Contest. In 2018 Adam was invited by Steinway Hall Dallas to tour the Steinway & Sons Factory in Astoria, New York. At Southern Methodist University, Mr. Salas earned his Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy where he was awarded a Teaching Fellowship. He earned his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Music Business from Illinois State University on a full scholarship.
Master of Music and Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, University of Missouri - Kansas City
Trevor Thornton joined NSMS in 2018 to take part in the Teaching Apprenticeship Program – an intensive year of observations, co-teaching, and pedagogy courses. He holds a B.M and M.M. in piano performance from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, where he studied with Dr. Robert Weirich and Dr. Diane Petrella. In high school, Mr. Thornton was a Myra Jackson Blair Scholar for three years at the Blair School of Music in Nashville, TN, where he studied with Jama Reagan. An enthusiastic collaborator, Mr. Thornton has accompanied middle school choirs full-time, worked as a staff pianist for the Kansas City Ballet and UMKC Dance Division, and has served as a church musician. He also performs regularly with the Midwest Chamber Ensemble and in NSMS Faculty Recitals. As a teacher, Mr. Thornton has been a piano instructor for Hunterdon Academy of the Arts, Village Music Academy, The Pembroke Hill School, in his private studio, and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at UMKC. One of his favorite aspects of teaching when students have an “Aha!” moment about the way a piece sounds best.
Faculty, Admissions Director
Subscriber Support Coordinator for Piano Magazine
Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, University of Oklahoma
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Music Education, Ithaca College
Angela Triandafillou Jones holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Music Education from Ithaca College, and a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma, where she was awarded a full teaching assistantship. She has spent summers at the Neighborhood Music School in Connecticut, the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, and the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.
Ms. Triandafillou joined the New School for Music Study in 2011, and serves as Admissions Director. Her students actively participate in local events, and regularly receive honors in the Royal Conservatory program. In addition to her passion for teaching group and private piano lessons to children and adults, she is active in teacher education. She has presented at the national and local levels, and serves on the board of the Piano Teachers Forum of Central New Jersey. She has adjudicated for festivals and competitions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Ms. Triandafillou frequently performs as a soloist in the New School Faculty Recital Series, serves as a substitute church pianist throughout central New Jersey, and enjoys collaborating with her husband Christopher Jones, a violinist.