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  • NSMS

Dr. Leah Claiborne Residency

Updated: Sep 25, 2022

We are excited to welcome Dr. Leah Claiborne to NSMS from October 26-28, 2022.

Dr. Claiborne promotes diversity in the arts by championing piano music by Black composers in her performances, research, and teaching, and serves as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Frances Clark Center. She will observe lessons and classes at NSMS, coach students, and lead class activities. Dr. Claiborne will also present a workshop for NSMS faculty and area piano teachers through the Frances Clark Center Residency Program. We invite you attend.

Diversifying Your Piano Studio

Thursday, October 27, 2022


The New School for Music Study (4543 Route 27 in Kingston)

As music educators, our primary role is to provide the highest quality of education and deliver our knowledge to a broad range of music appreciators. Quality education must include diversity which is infiltrated throughout our teaching materials, programing, and recruitment. Dr. Claiborne shares practical techniques, initiatives, and ideas that all teachers can begin to implement to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable piano studio.

Register here. Free for subscribers of Piano Magazine (join now).

$25 for non-subscribers.

Dr. Claiborne was recently named the inaugural winner of the Stecher and Horowitz Power of Innovation Award through Music Teacher National Association for her artistic excellence, pedagogical leadership, nurturing spirit, and community service. This prize is given to a teaching artist under the age of 36 who is making significant impact in the field of music.

Dr. Claiborne serves as the co-chair of the DEI track for the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy. In this role, she has published an online course titled, Unsung Heroes: 20 Pieces by Black Composers To Use In Your Studio Now. She is also a regular invited writer for Piano Magazine.

In 2019, Dr. Claiborne was named winner of the Father Merlet Prize in the ProMusics International Music Competition. This award was given to a competitor who exemplified high-performance excellence and an unparalleled commitment to social outreach. In 2016, she was a top prize winner in the National Association of Negro Musicians National Piano Competition.

Dr. Claiborne has established the first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion column for American Music Teacher where she regularly publishes articles providing resources and support to music educators across the country. In 2022, her article, “What If’s: Intentional Inclusion of Black Composers in Music Education” was the featured article of the February/ March Issue. The same article was also selected to be disseminated to all Historically Black Colleges and University Music programs.

Dr. Claiborne has performed across the United States, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Japan. She is a highly sought-after adjudicator and clinician in national piano competitions. In the past year alone ( 2021-2022), she has been an invited guest lecturer for master classes, seminars, and recitals in California, Washington, Michigan, Arizona, Minnesota, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.

She is founder of Ebony Music Inc, a non profit organization dedicated to promoting Black pianists and piano music by Black composers. Ebony Music Inc. will sponsor the Ebony Prize for the best performance of a piece of music written by a Black composer at the national level for Music Teacher National Association’s Piano Competition (2022-2023 competition season).

Dr. Claiborne received her undergraduate degree from Manhattan School of Music where she received the Josephine Whitmore graduation award. She received her Masters of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees at the University of Michigan. She was the first pianist to be awarded the Rackham Predoc fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship awarded by the graduate school. This fellowship allowed her to further research, compile, and edit piano music by Black composers.

Dr. Claiborne received early promotion with tenure at the University of the District of Columbia where she serves as coordinator of keyboard studies and teaches History of African American Music.


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