NEPTA Speaker Biographies 2017-2018
CATHERINE KAUTSKY, the George and Marjorie Olsen Chandler Professor of Music and Chair of Keyboard Studies at Lawrence University, has been lauded by the New York Times as a pianist whose “music spoke directly to the listener, with neither obfuscation nor pretense.” Her recent recording of the complete Debussy Preludes was said to “bring out all the power, majesty, and mystery of Debussy’s conception,” and she expects to issue a recording of the complete Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano shortly. Ms. Kautsky, whose teachers have included Rosina Lhevinne, Gyorgy Sebok, Martin Canin, and Gilbert Kalish, has concertized widely, performing in Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall, and the Phillips Collection in the United States and appearing abroad in France, England, Italy, Spain, China, Korea, Thailand, Brazil, Australia, Russia, and South Africa. She teaches and performs at the Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy and the Green Lake Chamber Music Camp in Wisconsin during the summers.
Prof. Kautsky has taught at Lawrence since 1987, with a six-year hiatus as both a faculty member and chair of the keyboard department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A devoted teacher, she is the winner of the 2016 Lawrence University Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2013 Faculty Convocation Award. Ms. Kautsky is also known for her cross-disciplinary interests and was awarded the distinguished Arts Institute Creative Arts Award while at UW-Madison for her work on the intersections of literature, music, and social history. Her frequent presentations at national conferences include topics such as “On the Trail of Chopin and George Sand,” “WWI: A Centenary Look at the Musical Wars,” and “Celebrating Debussy and the Arts du Spectacle.” Her articles have appeared in Clavier, American Music Teacher, and International Piano, and her book on the social history of Debussy’s piano music will appear in fall 2017.
Her personal webpage can be found at faculty.lawrence.edu/kautskyc/ (Monday, September 25, 2017: “Teaching Debussy: A Gateway to Story-Telling, Pedaling, Coloration, and Imaginative Listening”)
GABRIEL CHODOS, has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has been soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of Holland, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and the Aspen Chamber Symphony. A winner of the Concert Artists Guild competition in New York, Mr. Chodos also received a Fulbright Scholarship, Martha Baird Rockefeller grants, and a Solo Recitalist grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Chodos has performed at the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Symphony Hall, and the Library of Congress. Mr. Chodos’s performances of works by Schubert, Chopin and Brahms have been broadcast nationwide by National Public Radio. He has recorded for Fleur de Son, Victor/Japan, CRI, Orion, and Centaur.
Mr. Chodos has given master classes throughout the world, including the Guildhall School of Music in London, the Hochschule für Musik in Leipzig, the Estonia Music Academy in Tallinn, the Toho Gakuen School of Music, the Kunitachi School of Music in Tokyo, Seoul National University, Central Conservatory in Beijing, Yale University, Indiana University, the Aspen, Chautauqua and Atlantic Festivals, the Aldwell Center at the Jerusalem Academy, and the Tel-Hai master classes in Israel.
Mr. Chodos’s principal teacher was Aube Tzerko, a student of Schnabel. His undergraduate studies at the University of California at Los Angeles were in philosophy (with election to Phi Beta Kappa) and he holds a master’s degree in music from UCLA and a diploma in piano from the Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. Mr. Chodos was associated with the Aspen Music Festival for many years. He is a member of the artist faculty of the New England Conservatory. (Monday, October 23, 2017: “Some Thoughts on Schubert’s Piano Music”)
Born in Newark, N.J., SEYMOUR BERNSTEIN was already teaching piano at the age of fifteen—his teacher at the time, Clara Husserl, having arranged for him to supervise the practicing of some of her gifted younger pupils. He soon had a class of pupils of his own, some of whom are still studying with him. He achieved local fame quite early as a performer, winning the Griffith Artist Award at the age of seventeen. Inducted into the army during the Korean War, he gave concerts on the front lines and for top military leaders. During this experience, he came to understand that he possessed a missionary zeal, a desire to bring music’s message to a wider audience.
A concert career that took him to Asia, Europe, and throughout the Americas brought this goal to fruition, as have his books With Your Own Two Hands and 20 Lessons in Keyboard Choreography, which have been published in German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Chinese. Two new books, Monsters and Angels: Surviving a Career in Music and Chopin: Interpreting His Notational Symbols, have recently been published by Manduca Music Publishing.
Seymour Bernstein studied with such notable musicians as Alexander Brailowsky, Sir Clifford Curzon, Jan Gorbaty, Nadia Boulanger, and Georges Enesco. He made his debut in 1969 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing the world première of Concerto No. 2 by Villa–Lobos. The winner of the First Prize and Prix Jacques Durand at Fontainebleau, the National Federation of Music Clubs Award for Furthering American Music Abroad, a Beebe Foundation grant, two Martha Baird Rockefeller grants, and four State Department grants, he made a point of offering master classes and lecture recitals wherever his concert tours took him. When grant money allowed, he filled his suitcases with scores to distribute to teachers and students.
One of the most sought-after clinicians in this country and abroad, Seymour Bernstein is also a prolific composer, with many works on the best seller list. His compositions range from teaching material for students of all levels to the most sophisticated concert pieces. He continues to perform as a guest artist with chamber ensembles, and serves regularly on the juries of a number of international competitions. In addition to his piano faculty appointment at NYU Steinhardt, Seymour Bernstein maintains a private studio in New York City. On December 18, 2004, he was awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Music, from Shenandoah University.
In 2015, the actor Ethan Hawke completed a documentary on Seymour Bernstein entitled Seymour Bernstein: An Introduction. Responses to it by the press and audiences have eclipsed all expectations. In July, 2015, Sundance Selects/IFC acquired the rights to the film and released it to theaters throughout the U.S. and South America in March of 2015. The documentary is at this moment still screening around the world. (Monday, January 22, 2018: “Examining Chopin’s Notational Indications”)
Dr. JULIE KNERR teaches piano at her home studio in Windsor, Connecticut. She is coauthor, with Katherine Fisher, of the Piano Safari Method. Julie has taught applied piano, piano pedagogy, and group piano as a faculty member at the University of Missouri, Oklahoma City University, Ohio University, and the Hartt Community Division.
Julie holds a Ph.D. in music education with an emphasis in piano pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma, where her dissertation on elementary level piano technique was nominated for the Best Ph.D. Dissertation Award in 2006. Additional degrees include M.M. degrees in piano performance and piano pedagogy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Dr. Knerr studied piano and harpsichord; and a B.M. in piano performance from the University of Puget Sound. Her mentors in piano pedagogy include Jane Magrath, Barbara Fast, Christos Tsitsaros, and Reid Alexander.
As an accomplished collaborative pianist, Julie enjoys performing with both instrumentalists and singers. Her former piano teachers include Duane Hulbert, James Barbagallo, William Heiles, Timothy Ehlen, and Edward Gates.
Julie is a frequent adjudicator at festivals and competitions throughout the United States. Her current research interests include elementary level piano technique, lesser known pre-college piano repertoire, and group piano pedagogy. (Monday, February 26, 2018: “152 Strategies for Effective and Efficient Teaching”and “Lost Gems of the Piano Repertoire”)
In live performances from the Hollywood Bowl to New York’s Avery Fisher Hall, and in continuing recordings for ECM, Warp, Bedroom Community, and Arabesque, BRUCE BRUBAKER is referred to as a “visionary virtuoso” and an “artistic provocateur.” Brubaker plays Mozart with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Philip Glass on the BBC. He has premiered music by Glass, John Cage, Nico Muhly, Meredith Monk, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Profiled on NBC’s Today show, Brubaker’s playing, writing, and collaborations show a shining, and sometimes surprising, future for pianists and piano playing. He was presented by London’s Wigmore Hall, at Michigan’s Gilmore Festival, and the International Piano Festival at La Roque d’Anthéron. A longtime member of the faculty at the Juilliard School, Brubaker now chairs the piano department at New England Conservatory in Boston. His blog “PianoMorphosis” appears at ArtsJournal.com. He is a frequent performer at New York City’s Le Poisson Rouge.
Brubaker has appeared at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Finland’s Kuhmo Festival, Geneva’s Antigel festival, Antwerp’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Leipzig’s Gewandhaus. New recording projects include Meredith Monk’s complete piano music (with Ursula Oppens) for ECM, a recording of music by Glass, and a recording of Nico Muhly’s Drones & Piano on the Bedroom Community label. (Monday, March 26, 2018: “Again and Again: Minimalism and Postminimalist Piano Music”)
JOHN FERGUSON’s performances have been praised for their “proselytizing zeal–along with fleet fingers, power, and fine dynamic control” (Boston Globe) and “impressive qualities of pianistic brilliance, strength, intellect and sensitivity” (Sacramento Bee). Ferguson has performed solo recitals in major cities throughout the U.S., including concert series and festivals in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego, and Providence.
Ferguson is an active chamber musician in the Boston area, having performed at Jordan Hall, the Longy School of Music, Boston Conservatory, and Boston University, among other venues. He holds a doctoral degree in piano from Indiana University, where he studied piano with Edward Auer and Menahem Pressler. He has had master classes and lessons with Gilbert Kalish, Stephen Drury, Ursula Oppens, and Leonard Hokanson, and he studied composition privately with Lukas Foss.
Ferguson’s diversity as a musician has enriched not only his performances but also his wide-ranging work as an educator. He has taught numerous piano students of all levels—in community music schools, private lessons, and as an associate instructor at Indiana University. He has also served as Adjunct Professor of Conducting at Atlantic Union College in Lancaster, Staff Accompanist at Boston Conservatory and Emerson College, and string instrument teacher in several public school programs in Boston. He currently works for the Brookline Public Schools, where he teaches string instruments and conducts the Brookline Youth Orchestra.
His personal webpage can be found at johnferguson.org. (Monday, April 30, 2018: MasterClass with Students Performers)