NEPTA Speaker Biographies 2019-2020
Marvin Blickenstaff is known among piano teachers throughout the country for his teaching, lecturing, performing, and publishing. Currently he maintains a private studio in the Philadelphia area and teaches at The New School for Music Study in Princeton. Blickenstaff is the former Board President of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy and is on the Executive Planning Committee of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. In 2007 the online journal Piano Pedagogy Forum published tributes to 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 award, the MTNA Achievement Award, and was selected in 2013 by the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy for its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2018 he was named an MTNA Foundation Fellow and the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association Teacher of the Year. (September 23, 2019: “Curriculum Innovations for the New Year”)
Elisabeth Eschwé comes from a long line of Austro-Hungarian musicians and piano manufacturers. She graduated in piano at the Conservatory of Vienna and received master degrees in English and Philosophy from the University of Vienna. Her love of drama made her later study acting with Professor Lola Braxton.
After completing her studies, Elisabeth Eschwé embarked on a multifaceted career as a pianist and piano teacher. In the 90’s she formed a piano duo with Thomas Kreuzberger and since 1997 with her brother, the conductor Alfred Eschwe. With the violinist Arkadij Winokurow she has played over the past fifteen years.
Since 1999 she has merged her literary ambitions and diversified talents into creating and performing scenic and literary recitals. These include music of the Roma, recitals with her own texts, Vienna between the World Wars, the Austrian Emperor Franz Josef, Frederic Chopin and George Sand, recitals with her own texts, satirical shows (together with Christine Sixthofer and Ulrike Sych) and “Jiddischer Wagner” with Sepp Tatzel, Foremost are her solo programmes about Clara and Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.
In piano pedagogy, she has transformed acting methods of Stanislavski into piano playing. She held posts at the Vienna Music University and was director of a music school in Vienna and has a talented student class. She teaches international master classes (Berlin, Amsterdam, Boston, Budapest a.o.) and is a regular guest lecturer at renowned European and American Universities (New England Conservatory, Tufts University, Longy School in Boston, F. Liszt Academy Budapest. a.o.) and is juror in international competitions. She publishes on her teaching method (publications in German, Hungarian, French, English, Bulgarian, Siowenian, Dutch); her students are national and international prize winners; at the moment she is writing her latest book on her innovative piano pedagogy.
Elisabeth Eschwé has toured as soloist, chamber musician all over Europe, parts of the USA, Canada and Australia. All of her solo programs and some piano four-hand concerts are available on CD, the latest internationally acclaimed CD was released in November 2015 with Arkadij Winokurow. (October 28, 2019: “Clara Schumann’s Life and Love: A Scenic Recital on the Occasion of Clara Schumann’s Bicentennial”)
Dr. Christopher Fisher is Professor of Piano at Ohio University School of Music in Athens, Ohio where he chairs the Keyboard Division and coordinates the graduate piano performance and pedagogy degree programs. He also serves as Assistant Director of the Ohio University School of Music and is Director of Studies for the Honors Tutorial College music program. Recognized for his teaching, Dr. Fisher was the 2010 recipient of the Ohio Music Teachers Association Collegiate Teacher of the Year and the Ohio University School of Music Distinguished Teaching Award.
Dr. Fisher is the author of Teaching Piano in Groups (Oxford University Press, 2010) and coauthor of the revised and expanded edition of Piano Duet Repertoire (Indiana University Press, 2016). He has published in leading keyboard journals and is a contributing composer for the innovative piano method, Piano Safari (www.pianosafari.com), which is used by piano teachers and students around the globe. His educational compositions are published by Alfred Music and Piano Safari.
In demand as a workshop clinician, Dr. Fisher has presented guest lectures around the globe, including the national conferences of the Music Teachers National Association, National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum, and the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference as well as at conservatories and universities including a recent engagement at the Juilliard School in New York. As a performing artist, he is a member of the Fisher Piano Duo and has recorded for the MSR Classics label. Christopher Fisher is a Yamaha Artist. www.chrisfisherpiano.com (February 24, 2020: “The Secret Ingredient for Piano Teaching Success: The Powerful Role of Parents” and “Motivation, Mindset and Grit: Fostering a Culture of Excellence”)
At Oberlin College & Conservatory, Andrea Kalyn spent nine years as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before being appointed Dean of the Conservatory and Professor of Music in February 2014. As chief academic officer of a school of 580 undergraduate musicians and 120 faculty and staff, Kalyn was responsible for establishing and implementing the vision and priorities of the conservatory within the context of Oberlin’s broader educational mission. She secured funding of more than $6.5 million, as well as significant donations of musical instruments and a major gift from jazz legend Sonny Rollins.
Kalyn played a lead role in the creation of Oberlin’s entrepreneurship program, Creativity & Leadership, and – as director of that program for seven years – she collaborated with an active group of alumni to establish LaunchU, Oberlin’s start-up accelerator and pitch competition.
The spirit of both entrepreneurship and collaboration was evident throughout her curricular work, which included establishing the Oberlin-Como Piano Academy in partnership with the Lake Como International Academy; creating the department of Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (PACE); launching a new major in jazz voice; extending the programming of the American Roots residency; overseeing the launch of the Artist Diploma in Piano Technology and developing new partnerships with Steinway & Sons and the Shanghai Conservatory; and, in collaboration with Oberlin’s Dean of Arts and Sciences, designing Oberlin’s innovative Center for Convergence, StudiOC.
Kalyn is fundamentally committed to advancing the place of music in the world and to strengthening connections among composers, performers, and audiences. Additional information can be found here. (March 23, 2020: “Creative Confidence and the Culture of Practice”)
Dubbed by Gramophone as “a superb, confident technician and an intelligent stylist, who doesn’t have to prove anything”, American pianist Chad R. Bowles has performed hundreds of solo recitals across the United States, in Canada, and Europe. A rising star in the piano world, he is now recognized as a master of his instrument who is routinely hailed for an ideal combination of innate musicianship and stunning virtuosity.
A busy recitalist, recent seasons have seen Mr. Bowles performing for Stowe Performing Arts, Mildred McDaniel Concert Series, Rappahannock Concert Association, the Newport Music Festival, Calvary United Community Concert Series, Jean C. Wilson Music Series, Concord Community Concert Association, Wolfeboro Friends of Music, Lettvin Chamber Music Series, and many others. In addition, he has given recitals in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island, Florida, and California. Mr. Bowles frequently performs benefit recitals and one-hour long concerts which bring classical music to new audiences, in addition to creating an appreciation for some of the forgotten areas of the piano repertoire.
As a recording artist, Mr. Bowles has received unanimous critical praise for his work for JRI Recordings. His debut recording of five Haydn sonatas was promptly named by Fanfare Magazine as “the starting point for anyone not familiar with Haydn’s sonatas” and continued “If you are already familiar, all the more reason to catch up with Mr. Bowles.” His second recording for JRI features Richard Strauss’ Enoch Arden with Bass-Baritone David Ripley. An all-digital album of Liszt piano works titled “A Liszt Album” followed, and his most recent CD, released in May, 2017, features the Chopin and Liszt B Minor Sonatas and has received remarkable critical praise. Future projects include a second volume of Haydn Sonatas, as well as a recital of music by Beethoven, Chopin, York Bowen, and Liszt.
A New England native, Mr. Bowles holds a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the University of New Hampshire and both a master’s degree and the Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland where he concurrently served as a teaching assistant in the Keyboard Studies department. His primary teachers include Arlene Kies, Frederick Moyer, Alexander Shtarkman, and legendary American pianist Earl Wild. He makes his home with his wife and young children in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is fulltime artist faculty and Chair of Piano at Peabody Preparatory and the Co-Director of the Peabody Piano Academy. (April 27, 2020: Master Class with Student Performers)