Music Educators Association of New Jersey

Serving teachers and students since 1927

Member News

June 2017

David Witten, Artistic Director, announced the Sixth Dorothy Taubman Festival, June 23-25 featuring: Master Classes with Professor Robert Shannon of Oberlin Conservatory; Technique Clinics and Lectures with Sondra Tammam, Festival Director; Children's Repertoire with Dragica Curcic; Jazz Standards reworked with the Taubman Concepts with Dan Crisci, and Guest Jackie Herbein, National presenter of Body Mapping/Yoga at MTNA National Conferences. For further information, please contact Dr. David Witten at

Nancy Modell conducted teacher training workshops and taught student master classes at the Colorado Suzuki Institute in Beaver Creek, CO from June 12-24.

On June 4 and June 11 Birgit Matzerath gave two presentations in the adult education series at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City titled: Calm and Conflict - J.S. Bach's Preludes and Fugues in B-flat major and B-flat minor from the Well-Tempered Clavier II (BWV 890 and BWV 891). The musical means Bach used to convey different emotions in both pieces were examined, including a chance to reflect on the energies of calm and conflict in our lives, as listeners familiarized themselves with the music. Ms. Matzerath performed both works at each session.

May 2017

On May 27 Sophia Agranovich performed a solo concert at BargeMusic - 'the floating concert hall' in Brooklyn, NY. The program included Sonata in D minor 'Tempest' by Beethoven, Sonata in Bb minor by Chopin, and works by Liszt and Rachmaninoff.

On May 21, under the title, Play-Practice-Perform, Birgit Matzerath gave a presentation on Seymour Bernstein's approach to teaching piano for the Adult Music Student Forum in Washington DC. Along the lines of her own story as a student of Seymour Bernstein, her talk focused on "The Four Stages of Learning" that Bernstein describes in his book With your Own Two Hands, and his approach to the technique as outlined in his Twenty Lessons on Keyboard Choreography.

MEA Members Audrey Schultz and Lisa Gonzalez were in the Morris Choral Society's "Peace, Triumphant Peace!" performance on May 20 at the Dorothy Young Center, Drew University, Madison, NJ. Music included was Mendelssohn's serene "Verleih uns Freiden" (Grant us Peace), Beethoven's majestic Choral Fantasy, and the New Jersey premiere of Karl Jenkins' monumental "The Peacemakers", a major work premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2012. Texts from such great advocates of peace as Mahatma Gandhi, Anne Frank, Rumi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama, combined with Jenkin's unique combination of the classical and world music, make this a work of great importance. Visit

Michelle Kuo and her son, Christopher Kuo, have completed their winter benefit tour, performing 5 recitals in New York, New Jersey, Boston, and San Francisco. In total, they were able to help raise close to $30,000 for nonprofits across the country. On May 11, they presented their two piano recital at Christopher's alma mater, NYU Stern School of Business.

Seymour Bernstein's cantata, Song of Nature (with a new orchestration by Artistic Director Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez), was presented in Musica Viva NY's final concert on May 7. Preceding the concert, Ethan Hawke's critically acclaimed 2015 documentary Seymour: An Introduction, was screened. The screening was followed by a Q & A session with Seymour and members of the production team.

Sophia Agranovich performed a solo recital at the Lambert Castle of the Passaic County Historical Society on May 7 and at the Watching Arts Center on May 20. Works by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Liszt and Chopin.

On Saturday, May 6, Pianists Yuka Yanagi and Amir Mortezai performed Romance and Tarantella (from Suite No.2, Op. 17) and Concerto No.2, Op.18, (1st movement) by Rachmaninoff on two pianos, and Pianist Yuly Verbitsky performed Piano Sonata Op. 57 ('Appasionata') by Beethoven, Sonnet 104 and Concert Etude 'Un Sospiro' by Liszt at Steinway Piano Gallery in Paramus, NJ.

April 2017

MEA members Dan Crisci and Lisa Gonzalez were part of the 2017 Canticles for Life AIDS Benefit Concerts in April. Ginny Johnston conducted the 26-voice Triad Vocal Ensemble, which featured a mix of styles including anthems, Broadway, and an inspiring new work, "I Choose Love" by New Jersey composer Mark Miller. The Dan Crisci Jazz Trio also performed. Free will offerings were accepted at each concert. The Canticles for Life AIDS Benefit Concert ministry, founded in 1997, has raised over $131,000 for the New Jersey AIDS charities. The concerts have featured over two-dozen pieces by New Jersey composers. For more information, visit the website

In honor of Seymour Bernstein's milestone 90th birthday, Council Member Helen Rosenthal presented him with a Proclamation from New York City. The ceremony took place on April 27 at the Bernie Wohl Community Center. Friends were invited and audience members contributed remarks of their own, following Council Rosenthal remarks about Seymour's contributions to the City.

Beatrice Long performed at 6@6, a wonderful concert series, at the Yamaha Salon of NYC on April 25. Her program included Albeniz, Iberia Book 1, Ligeti, Capriccio, and Chopin, Étude Op. 25.

On April 22, Nancy Modell was invited to teach at the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association's Enrichment Day, a one-day musical experience "to light a spark and motivate students to pursue their practice with vigor and enthusiasm." Nancy taught Let Yourself Go!© sessions throughout the day to over 50 students, where students, ages 5-15, used their intuition to tap into their creativity and artistry. Over 180 students attended this event in Allentown, PA.

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 was pleased to announce to the MEA community of music teachers a new piano scholarship honoring 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

March 2017

An interview with Sophia Agranovich about her new CD, Schumann; Carnaval and Fantasie, was published in the March-April issue of the Fanfare magazine. The sixth review of Sophia Agranovich's CD, Schumann; Carnaval and Fantasie, received an excellent review from the Audio Video Club of Atlanta. Sophia received a Gold Medal from the prestigious Global Music Awards for this CD."

Jackie Shiller presented a solo recital on March 5 at the Fort Lee Public Library. The program included Bach Partita No.1, Beethoven Op.2. No.3, Chopin Nocturne in D flat and Debussy Pour le Piano.

The New York Piano Society gala fund-raising recital was March 4 in Weil Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, including a celebration of Seymour Bernstein's 90th birthday. Seymour performed the Schubert Fantasy for Four Hands with his pupil Alok Dutt.

On March 2, Sondra Tammam presented a workshop for the Piano Teachers' Congress of NY on the 'Choreography of the Subtle In and Out Movements at the Keyboard' with the Taubman Approach held at the Yamaha Artists Headquarters. She was a guest presenter at the MTNA National Conference in Baltimore on March 19. Her student Maya Lily Knoller was a first prizewinner in the 1st Global Online Great Composers Competition in the Group 3 age-category, The Music of America.

February 2017

Barbara Landi Hause performed Bach's Italian Concerto for the Schumann Club on February 23 in the Union Congregational Church, Montclair.

Jackie Shiller and her father, Allan Schiller performed together on Sunday, Feb 5 at the Teaneck Public Library. Works for violin and piano include Beethoven, Bartok, and Vivaldi. Guests from the Alacorde Trio to join in the 2nd half with Mozart's Piano Quartet in E flat Major.

Sophia Agranovich performed a solo recital at the Tenry Cultural Institute at the Leschetizky Association Concert Series on February 4. Works by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Liszt and Chopin.

January 2017

Sophia Agranovich's video playing Ballade no.3 in A-flat Major by Chopin at the WQXR Chopin Marathon was chosen as the Juilliard Alumni video of the month in January 2017.

Michelle Kuo and her son, Christopher, performed 15 duet recitals across the country supporting nonprofit organizations doing great work. They recently appeared at Whippany Park High School, NJ Jan. 14 and the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, CA Jan. 21. For more details visit:

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, 4:00-5:40pm, from Jan. 17 - May 9. Auditors can contact: Dr. Marla Meissner, email:, Tel: 973-655-4443


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