Music Educators Association of New Jersey

Serving teachers and students since 1927

Member News


February 2019

Dan Crisci released a new CD, “Asked and Answered”, in January 2019.  It features Dan’s original jazz compositions with Dan on piano, Paul Ivory on bass, Steve Holloway on drums, John Carlini on guitar, Anton Denner on alto flute, flute, alto sax, and soprano sax, and Rob Thomas on violin.
The streaming version is available at CD Baby, and the CD version is available from Dan,

January 2019

Birgit Matzerath's memoir More than the World in Black and White- How music came alive and my life became music is now available on Amazon. The book traces the author's development from a child who resented her talent into a woman whose life is grounded in music. It explores how the fulfillment of talent is influenced by family dynamics and life events. First reader responses are enthusiastic. To read more about the book, go to and check out the January 2019 posting on the author's blog: Music, Life and other Challenges.

On Sunday, January 20, Birgit Matzerath presented a lecture-recital on "Preludes and Fugues from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier as a source of meditation" at Beacon Unitarian Church in Summit, NJ. The event was part of the church's annual "service auction" fundraiser. 


December 2018

Cherwyn Ambuter accompanied seasonal community chorus concerts: 
* The Newburgh Chorale
                * Dec. 22 at King of Kings Lutheran Church, New Windsor, NY
                * Dec. 30 at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Beacon, NY

Cherwyn Ambuter accompanied seasonal community chorus concerts:
         * Classic Choral Society:
                  Dec. 16 at the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen, NY
                  Dec. 23 at the Blooming Grove United Church of Christ, Blooming Grove, NY

October 2018

On October 28, Sophia Agranovich will play at the concert presented by the International Music and Arts Society at the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall.

Michelle Kuo and her son, Christopher Kuo, are launching their upcoming  Two Piano Journey season with a brand new program filled with exciting dances and indulgent romances from Spain, France, Argentina, and Russia by Gustavino, Infante, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, and Saint-Saëns. Watch this documentary to learn more about their project.
They are dedicating their coveted Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall debut on October 27 at 7 PM, to Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a critical food rescue nonprofit that brings leftover food from restaurants to families in need in 18 cities in the country. Their model is simple - volunteers carry prepared food that otherwise would be thrown away by restaurants to food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters within walking distance. The end result - more than 2MM pounds of food have made it to families in need instead of landfills, restaurants are able to save money by reducing food waste taxes, and the environment benefits by a reduction in CO2 emissions. 
They have already received nearly $50,000 in sponsorships and commitments for Rescuing Leftover Cuisine this fall.  Please help them reach their target of $100,000! 


We regret to notify you that the Plainfield Music Store has officially closed its doors, permanently. The store, both online and retail, is no more.
We thank you all so much for your patronage and support over the years.  Thanks for all the memories!  We will still have the e-mail, and our Facebook page, so drop us a line now and then.  Sincerely yours, Vicky Griswold & the Plainfield Music Store Staff - Pat, Michael, Wendy, and, in spirit, David

Maplewood's DeHart Community Center, 120 Burnett Ave., has recently acquired a concert grand due to the generosity of local music lovers.  To celebrate this instrument, local teachers will present a recital entitled "Teachers' Turn!" on Sunday, October 7, at 4:00 PM followed by a reception.  Suggested donation for adults is $20, students are free.  This event is a fund-raiser for a scholarship fund to benefit local music students who lack resources for private music lessons.  Performing are MEA members Kathy Allen-Roth, Elizabeth Burnett, Vicki Carter, Dan Crisci, Maxine Giannini, Birgit Matzerath, Nancy Modell, Yudit Terry, Tricia Tunstall, and other musicians. This is a celebration not to be missed!  

Pianist Murray Present (1921-2012) was a loyal and distinguished long-time member of MEA. A life-long resident of Montclair, his teaching career included 44 years as a Piano Professor at Montclair State University.

The John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University is pleased to announce to the MEA community of music teachers a new piano scholarship that will honor the legacy of Professor Murray Present. The Murray Present Memorial Piano Scholarship will be awarded to an incoming pianist applying for undergraduate or graduate study at the Cali School of Music. The award will be in the amount of $5,000 per year. An undergraduate award may be extended for a total of four years, and a graduate award may be extended for two years. No special application is necessary; the recipient will be chosen from among those applying to the Cali School of Music. For further information, please contact Dr. David Witten at

September 2018

Co-leader, Joan Bujacich (keyboards and vocals)  will be performing with The Heart Of Gold Band for Morristown’s Festival on The Green. They perform from 1-5 on the main stage which is on the corner of DeHart and South Streets. This is their 8th year of gracing the main stage with their renditions of great classic rock music. You will also see MEA Board Member Kathy Knittel in the line-up! This is a free concert and a fun event for all! Visit Joan’s website for more details:

Cherwyn Ambuter performed a piano solo children's concert at Calvary Baptist Church, Warwick, NY.

Joan Bujacich will be giving a concert in Danbury, Connecticut at the Richter House located at 100 Aunt Hack Rd. It is an outdoor concert and it begins at 3:00 P.M. Joan will be accompanied by guitarist/vocalist Joe Bilotti. The duo version of their  “The Heart Of Gold Band” brings fresh arrangements to familiar classic rock songs. Admission is free.

August 2018

Please join Sojung Lee in her Trio Fontēs Recital at the Middletown Library on Monday,  August 27 at  7 PM.

On August 26, Sophia Agranovich will perform a solo concert at the antique period piano in Belvidere, NJ.

Sondra Tammam released a new CD: "Carnivals, Songs, and Transcriptions" on the Primo Artists label. The album includes works by Schubert - Liszt, Chopin, Stravinsky, Schumann, Brahms, Marcello - Bach and Bach -Busoni.
Special thanks to Producer: Michael Rosin | Sound and Recording Engineer: Sean Yoo | Grammy Award-winning Mastering: Andreas K. Meyer and Art Director: Erin Lee. Available on Amazon and iTunes

On June 19, Sophia Agranovich performed the same program at the Lambert Castle Museum sponsored by the Passaic County Historical Society.

Cherwyn Ambuter performed a fully improvised piece for violin solo accompanied by harpsichord and cello for the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey Summer Music Festival Chamber Music Celebration with Sariah Johnson, cello and Agnes Kwasniewska, violin.
It was a fantastic musical growth experience!  She also played harpsichord continuo together with Sariah for another piece for two flutes and bassoon.

On August 8, Sophia Agranovich was one of the featured performers at WQXR and 'Reflections at the Keyboard' with David Dubal.

Cherwyn Ambuter performed with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey Summer Festival Opera, as pianist within the orchestra, for Die Fledermaus, semi-staged.

July 2018

Beatrice Long will be teaching and performing at the InterHarmony Festival in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Bavaria Germany from July 31 - August 12.

Beatrice Long will play Beethoven's Emperor Concerto at the opening concert of the Mozart Festival in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, July 28.

Please join Sojung Lee in her Trio Fontēs Recital at the Cham Doen Presbyterian Church on Saturday, July 14 at 7:30 PM.

Please join Sojung Lee in her Trio Fontēs Recital at the Clifton Memorial Library, Monday, July 9 at 2PM.

Cherwyn Ambuter served as Music Director and Accompanist for the annual Thurnauer School of Music Broadway Showtime Camp production of  Fiddler On the Roof. 

An interview with Sophia Agranovich was published in July-August issue of Fanfare Magazine, where she was one of the featured artists. In the same issue, there are 3 rave reviews of her recently released CD 'Chopin and Liszt: Piano Works': Chopin Polonaise-Fantaisie and Nocturne Op. 48 No.1, Liszt: Après une Lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata; complete Sonnetti del Petrarca and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 14. Another excellent review of this album was published in Atlanta Audio Club issue.

June 2018

David Witten, Artistic Director, announced the Seventh Dorothy Taubman FestivalJune 22-24 featuring: Master Classes with Professor Robert Shannon of Oberlin Conservatory; Technique Clinics and Lectures with Sondra Tammam, Festival Director; Humor in Music with Dr. Lisa Yui, faculty at Manhattan School of Music and MSU, Children's Repertoire with Dragica Curcic;  Suzuki and the Taubman Approach and Young Composers in our Studios with Nancy Modell, Jazz Standards reworked with the Taubman Concepts with Dan Crisci, and Guest Artist Gila Goldstein Piano Department Chair at Boston University and faculty at NYU in a free Saturday eve recital
You are welcome to come for a day or more to learn the profound ideas of the late Dorothy Taubman.  Please support our 5 members who will be instructors and performers at this unique festival.   Special rates for MEA-NJ members and their students from age 10.
For further information, contact Dr. David Witten at or Sondra Tammam at (908) 397-5001

Helen Ryba will perform a solo recital on Tuesday, June 5 at 11:00 AM at Kaplen JCC On The Palisades (411 E. Clinton Ave. Tenafly, NJ).

The program features works by J.S.Bach, including Toccata in G minor, three Preludes and Fugues from WTC 1 and WTC 2.

Other music will include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Sonata No 9, Maurice Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and Viktor Kosenko’s Two Poem-Legends.

May 2018

Helen Ryba will perform a solo recital on Sunday, May 27  at 12 noon at The First Baptist Church, 170 Elm Street, Westfield.

The program features works by J.S.Bach, which include Toccata G minor, three Preludes and Fugues from WTC 1 and WTC 2. Bach’s Chaconne in D minor from violin partita, transcribed to piano by Ferruccio Busoni, will also be performed.

After the intermission, other music will include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Sonata No 9, Maurice Ravel’s Valses Nobles et Sentimentales and Viktor Kosenko’s Two Poem-Legends.

Beatrice Long will perform Gaspard de la Nuit at an all-Ravel concert at Brooklyn College on Tuesday, May 22 at 7 PM.

On May 19, Sophia Agranovich performed a solo recital at the Watchung Arts Center featuring works by Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, and pieces dedicated to Sophia by the contemporary French composer Françoise Choveaux.

Sondra Tammam is invited to teach the Piano Pedagogy Class at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Yuly Verbitsky's Piano Concert on Sunday, May 6 at 2 PM will celebrate the immortal music of the past, including selections of beautiful and expressive pieces of great composers from Central Europe  - Mozart, Brahms, and Liszt - including Brahm's Hungarian Dance, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody, and more.  The concert is in the concert auditorium of Mahwah Public Library, 100 Ridge Road, Mahwah, NJ. 

Cinder LeDell of Castle LeDell Publishing is extending its “2 for 1” MEA music sale of printed copies through May for MEA members, which includes some of her musical art. Eventually, the Publications company will be adding more composers.
Piano pieces range from elementary to early advanced, with many new ones on the way. Open the website to hear and see Barbara Landi-Hause and Cinder perform the “Blow Spring Breeze” duo piano piece.

On the site, you can see the cover and first page of music, listen to the music, then order downloads or hard copies. There are also 8 vocal pieces. Check out the site and tell Cinder what you think of it. Write to her at

New Castle LeDell Music Hits A “Home Run!”

 MEA’s Cinder LeDell reports that her 2-week old publishing company for piano music has had more than 100 sales, with the piece  “Home Run!” as the most popular so far.

            “Home Run!” is a hit, according to people at the recent MEA event, Celebrate Composers!, because it is an audience-participation piece directed by the pianist, with “Oh’s” for the first batter out and  “No’s” for the second batter out.  Then, for the third batter up, the audience claps cupped-hands to make the “sound” of the bat hitting the “Home Run!”  The website video of the piece has an actual bat-hitting-the-ball-sound.

April 2018

The Long Duo,  Christina and Beatrice Long, will present an Earth Day Celebration Concert at the Watchung Arts Center, Sunday, April 22.

Luba Vasilyeva is performing Liszt's Rhapsody Español at the Wharton Institute of the Performing Arts's Faculty Concert on April 22 at 3 PM.  Admission is free.

Sophia Agranovich was one of the featured performers at David Dubal's 'Piano Matters' on WWFM and WWFM.ORG.

On Wednesday, April 4 at 10 PM and on Sunday, April 8 at 12:00 PM Sophia Agranovich is honored again to be one of the performers at WWFM Classical Network program 'Piano Matters', hosted by David Dubal. 
Listen online on your computer, tablet or phone at


Sophia Agranovich was one of the featured performers at David Dubal's 'Piano Matters' on WWFM and WWFM.ORG.

March 2018

Birgit Matzerath is excited to invite you to the showing of Seymour - an Introduction - Ethan Hawke's acclaimed documentary about my teacher, Seymour Bernstein, at the Ethical Culture Society, 516 Prospect St.,  Maplewood on Saturday, March 17 at 4 PM. (See the  attachment for further details) 
Seymour Bernstein is going to attend the showing, and I will conduct the question and answer session that follows the movie. Bring students, family and friends, the event is open to the public and FREE of charge.
Free will donations to benefit the Newark School of the Arts are welcome. 
Space is limited, so be sure to email the Ethical Culture Society if you're planning to attend:  

Nancy Modell is invited to present Creative Composing: Embracing Creativity, Nurturing Musicality for Ingrid Clarfield's grad student Piano Pedagogy course at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ, on Thursday, March 1 at 1 PM.

February 2018

Sophia Agranovich announces the release her 7th CD album. Chopin: Polonaise-Fantaisie in A flat Major, Op. 61; Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 no. 1; Liszt: Après une Lecture du Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata; Sonnetti del Petrarca #47, #104 & #123, Hungarian Rhapsody No. 14 in F minor. Available in CD, MP3 and streaming formats at every major retailer: Amazon, HBDirect, B&N, AllMusic, ArkivMusic, iTunes, Spotify and more. For the MEA members’ discount, please email to

A former student of Diane Battersby, Drew Petersen, was often a winner of many MEA competitions.  Drew Petersen, now 24-years old, has been added to the Opus 3 Artists roster.  He joins artists, Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Emanuel Ax, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, New York City Ballet, Patti Lupone, and others.  (Click “Recent News” – bottom right corner).  
Congratulations and best wishes to Drew!


Youn-hee Kim, a piano faculty of Montclair State University, will perform a solo recital featuring works by Bach, Haydn, Brahms, Kapustin and Gianstera on Sunday, February 11 at 2 PM, Van Vlek House (21 Van Vlek St., Montclair, NJ 07042).

January 2018

Seymour Bernstein will perform works by Schubert, Schumann and others at All Souls Church, 1157 Lexington Av., New York, NY on January 21 at 2 PM.  Admission is free.

Youn-hee Kim, a piano faculty of Montclair State University, will perform a solo recital featuring works by Bach, Haydn, Brahms, Kapustin and Gianstera on Saturday, January 20 at 8 PM, Leshowitz Recital Hall, Montclair State University.

Sondra Tammam is teaching Piano Pedagogy - Exploring the Taubman Approach, MUPR437-01 (2 credits), the only in-depth credit course on the Taubman Approach, at the Cali School of Music at Montclair State University on TUESDAYS, 4:00-5:40 pm, from Jan. 16 - May 8, 2018.
Auditors ARE WELCOME. The fee is only $150 for the semester.

Contact Dr. Marla Meissner, email:, Tel: 973-655-4443

Beatrice Long gave two piano recitals at Punta del Este in Uruguay, and Mendosa Argentina.


December 2017

So Jung Lee's Piano Trio team, Trio Fontēs, has been playing together since last year and are performing in and around the NJ, NY and PA area. This season's repertoire, Arensky's  Trio, Op. 32   and Shostakovich's Trio, Op. 8, will be played in NJ  local venues including churches, libraries. Their most recent performing venue was Ewing Art Center. This concert is Saturday, December 16 at 2 PM - Middletown Library, Middletown, NJ


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