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.

Marvin Blickenstaff


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.

Kristin Cahill


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, Kristin lived in Barcelona, Spain, and extensively studied castanets and Spanish piano repertoire with Ludovica Mosca. At The American School of Barcelona, Kristin started and developed a group piano program in addition to teaching private lessons to students from all over the world. 


An active adjudicator, Kristin 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. Kristin is a member of Legacy Arts, where she co-directs the bitKlavier course for children in Princeton.

Fiona Christano




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.

Jason Gallagher



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. Jason 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.

Amy Glennon


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.

Peter Groch



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, Peter spent several years in Chicago, Illinois, where he was an active accompanist, teacher, and performer. 


While at the University of Oklahoma, Peter 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. Peter 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.

Esther Hayter


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. 

Kairy Koshoeva




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.

Click here to read a recent article profiling Dr. Koshoeva.

Emily Lau



Master of Music in Piano Performance, Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University

Bachelor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance, University of Michigan


Emily Lau joined NSMS in 2013. She regularly prepares her students for local performance events and the Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations. She is currently completing her apprenticeship to join the RCM College of Examiners. Ms. Lau is a Peery Certified Teacher in Foundational Techniques through her training with Christie Peery Skousen. Her goal as a teacher is to equip students with the necessary tools that enable them to play the piano with ease, expressivity, and pleasure, so that they can always be readily able to share their love of music with friends and family.

Ms. Lau studied piano with Christopher Harding, Winston Choi, Mary Siciliano, and Fr. Sean Duggan. In addition to teaching, she produces online teacher education materials for the Frances Clark Center as Video Content Curation Coordinator. Emily enjoys singing as an amateur, and cantors occasionally at St. Francis Cathedral of Metuchen.

Charl Louw


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.

Margie Nelson


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. 

Rebecca Pennington


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.

Allison Shinnick


Faculty, Digital Communications and Social Media Coordinator for The Frances Clark Center

Master of Music in Piano Performance, University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory of Music and Dance ​

Bachelor of Music in Piano & Oboe Performance, Lawrence University Conservatory of Music


Allison Shinnick joined the New School faculty in 2016. She is active as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. A prizewinner in various competitions, Allison was a finalist in UMKC’s 2014 Chancellor’s Concerto Competition, a finalist in the 2013 Chautauqua Piano Competition, and winner of the 2012 Lawrence University Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, which resulted in a performance of Aaron Copland’s Piano Concerto with the orchestra. Dedicated to teaching students of all ages, her previous teaching positions include instructor of keyboard skills courses and private lessons at UMKC, private instructor with Home Music Teachers Inc. in Kansas City, and intern piano instructor at Lawrence Academy of Music in Appleton, WI. Ms. Shinnick completed her masters of music in piano performance at University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where she studied with Dr. Robert Weirich. She obtained her Bachelor of Music at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, with majors in piano performance and oboe performance and a minor in German. There she studied piano with Catherine Kautsky, oboe with Howard Niblock, and pedagogy with Mary Van De Loo.

Trevor Thornton



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, 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.

Angela Triandafillou


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.


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