2015 Award Recipients

Presented March 21–25
in Las Vegas, Nevada

MTNA Achievement Award
John Perry, NCTM, Pasadena, California 

John Perry has given master classes across the globe. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Eastman School of Music, before receiving a Fullbright Scholarship and continuing his studies in Europe. He is professor at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, professor of piano at California State University Northridge in Los Angeles, visiting artist faculty at Boston University, Professor Emeritus of the USC Thornton School of Music and is artistic director at Southern California Music Institute in Los Angeles, which he founded. Perry has won many awards, including the highest prizes in both the Busoni and Viotti international piano competitions in Italy and special honors at the Marguerite Long International Competition in Paris. He has performed throughout North America and Europe with some of the finest musicians in the world. He counts four students as winners of the MTNA National Student Competitions. His recordings are available on the Telefunken, Musical Heritage Society, CBC, ACA and Fox labels.

MTNA Citation for Leadership
Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway

The Galways, a world-renown husband and wife flute duo, performed in recital following the conference Opening Session. They also led a chamber music master class for attendees at the conference yesterday. Born in Belfast, Ireland, Sir James was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland. He studied in London and Paris before embarking on his orchestral career during which he held the coveted position of first flautist with the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan. He has performed for the Pope, presidents, prime ministers and royalty. Sir James launched the ground-breaking First Flute online interactive lessons series in 2013. He was honored with Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001. Lady Jeanne Galway is also an accomplished flutist, both as a soloist and chamber musician. A native of New York City and graduate of Mannes College of Music, she has toured across the United States, as well as internationally, and has recorded for RCA Victor, BMG Classics and Deutsche Grammophon. The Galways were honored by Irish America Magazine in 2008 with the “Spirit of Ireland” award in recognition for their roles as musical ambassadors. Along with performing together, the Galways also founded and run the 10-day Galway Flute Festival each summer in Switzerland, where they offer classes and mentor students.

MTNA Distinguished Service Award
Gail J. Berenson, NCTM, Ohio University

Gail J. Berenson, NCTM, is a past president of MTNA and professor of piano at Ohio University, Athens, where she was named “Distinguished Teacher of the Year” in 2000. An advocate and noted expert on musician wellness issues, she is in demand as a performer, clinician, master class artist, adjudicator, author, reviewer and pedagogy consultant. She has performed and lectured in more than 30 states and nine countries. Berenson has served MTNA for years. Along with president-elect and president, she has been vice president, chair of the 2002 and 2003 MTNA National Conference Committees, served on the 1996 and 1997 Conference Committees and was one of the founding members of the MTNA Pedagogy Committee. She is also a past president of the Ohio Music Teachers Association and holds MTNA’s Master Certificate in piano and piano pedagogy. Berenson was named the 1999 OMTA “Certified Teacher of the Year” and the 2004 OMTA “Collegiate Teacher of the Year.” She was named an MTNA Foundation Fellow in 2007.

MTNA Teacher of the Year
Samuel S. Holland, NCTM, Southern Methodist University

The MTNA Teacher of the Year Award traditionally recognizes a teacher who has made a significant difference in the lives of students, has contributed to the advancement of music in their community and is an outstanding example of a professional music educator. The 2015 MTNA Teacher of the Year Award is Samuel S. Holland, NCTM. Holland is the dean of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University and the Algur H. Meadows Chair of Music. He is also executive director of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. His articles have appeared in every major English language professional keyboard journal and he is the author of more than 70 critically acclaimed method books and recordings published by Alfred Music and the Frederick Harris Music Co. Holland has presented hundreds of lectures and recitals throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia and pioneered the application of computer and MIDI technology to performance and pedagogy.

State Affiliate of the Year
North Dakota Music Teachers Association
Lisa Rae Schuler, president

The North Dakota Music Teachers Association is the 2015 MTNA State Affiliate of the Year. The award is based on a number of factors, including membership growth and retention, certification, teacher education and programs, collegiate chapters, FOUNDATION FUND contribution, programming for students, community outreach and advocacy and quality and content of publications. NDMTA has increased their membership over the past year thanks to strong membership retention and recruitment capabilities. Twenty percent of their membership are Nationally Certified Teachers of Music. They hold MTNA Competitions at the state level annually. They sponsor a commissioned composer from North Dakota every year. They have also established a collegiate chapter. Led by president Lisa Rae Schuler, NDMTA has shown strong support of the MTNA Foundation, both as an affiliate and by its members’ individual giving. NDMTA is committed to honor a deserving member as an MTNA Foundation Fellow every year. NDMTA members have access to educational and informational offerings, including an annual three-day state conference, Music Rallies (for the purpose of non-competitive evaluations in the areas of performance, aural skills, keyboard skills, music history and theory), a Lending Library, a user-friendly up-to-date web site, a quarterly newsletter and an annually published directory given to members in hardcopy.

Local Association of the Year
Tualatin Valley (Oregon) District
Sherrene Walker, president

The Tualatin Valley District in Oregon has been selected as the 2015 MTNA Local Association of the Year. Even though they are a smaller chapter with only 60 members, Tualatin Valley had nine student events and five teacher events through the year, which is comparable to some of the bigger chapters. Their student events seemed very thorough and the committee liked how their teacher events provided growth for their teachers with workshops, presentations and playing classes. Led by president-elect Carma Glausi, this chapter is a group of multi-instrument teachers and had events catered to all instruments such as composition festival, and performers playing different instruments at their student events. Tualatin Valley has a high percentage of certified members and also their terrific community outreach, including free public presentations, free concerts and a high tea event which seems to draw people from the general public.

Benjamin Whitten Collegiate Chapter of the Year
Ohio University
Sarah Welch, president
Christopher C. Fisher, NCTM, advisor

The Ohio University Collegiate Chapter is the recipient of the 2015 Benjamin Whitten MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year Award. The president of the chapter is Sarah Welch and the faculty advisor is Christopher C. Fisher, NCTM. This honor recognizes the Ohio University Collegiate Chapter’s commitment to the music teaching profession and MTNA. The committee selected Ohio University for this award due to community involvement first and foremost—specifically the “Listen Up!” program and the “Concert Buddy” and “Interactive Concert Initiatives.” The chapter’s ability to engage other music education organizations in their outreach activities gave them a leg up on the other candidates. Their Teacher Mentoring Program and Certification Presentations demonstrate commitment to the growth of the chapter, individual members and the music teaching profession. Ohio University also documented successful participation in MTNA events at the local, state, regional and national levels, including several poster presentations and attendance at the Collegiate Chapter Piano Pedagogy Symposium, the MTNA National Conference and the Southeast Ohio District Conferences. Finally, the committee commends the Ohio University MTNA Chapter for their creativity in programming—the Silent Movie Screening, Bach in the Subways and Project Inspirare represent innovative approaches to bringing music and music education to the forefront.

Distinguished Composer of the Year
Christos Tsitaros, Champaign, Illinois
Three Preludes for Piano Solo: Commissioned by the Wisconsin MTA

Christos Tsitaros is professor of piano pedagogy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and piano chair for the Illinois State Music Teachers Association. He received his first formal instruction at the Greek Academy of Nicosia Cyprus, under the tutelage of Nora Karasik. At age 13, he won first prize at the Keti Papaioannou National Piano Competition of the Conservatory of Athens. He then moved on to the Chopin Academy of Warsaw and later in Paris, receiving the Diplôme Supérieur d' Exécution unanimously from the École Normale de Musique de Paris. After receiving a scholarship from the A.G. Leventis foundation, he continued his training at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University, where he received an Artist Diploma and a master’s degree in 1989. He attained a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance from the University of Illinois in 1993. Tsitaros won the 1992 Composition Competition of the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy and then began a long standing collaboration with Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, which resulted in a series of original piano publications that have been adapted by prestigious examination systems, such as the National Federation of Music Clubs, and the Gina Bachauer Junior International Piano Competition. He has served as clinician and lecturer for the MTNA National Conference, the NCKP and the International Conference on European Music Education in St. Petersburg, Russia. More recently, he was featured artist for the 2013 Symposium on Piano Pedagogy in Seoul, South Korea, where he also gave lectures at various universities and music schools. He was artist-in-residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico (2001) and composer-in-residence for the 2014 Piano Competition of the University of Texas in El Paso. Tsitaros has appeared as recitalist and chamber musician in Europe and the United States. Four individual albums of his piano works feature under the Centaur Records label. A contributing composer, clinician and arranger for the Hal Leonard Piano Student Library, he is also editor and recording artist for the Schirmer Performance Editions specializing in the educational works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

American Music Teacher Article of the Year
Paola Savvidou, NCTM, University of Missouri
"In Search Of The Perfect Musical Perfomance": Published October/November 2014

This year’s award is presented to Paola Savvidou, NCTM, for her article “In Search Of The Perfect Musical Performance.” The article was published in the October/November 2014 issue of American Music Teacher magazine. Savvidou is assistant professor of piano pedagogy at the University of Missouri, where she teaches applied piano, undergraduate and graduate courses in piano pedagogy and wellness. She also coordinates both the Group Piano Program and Experiencing Piano, a community program for beginning piano students aged 6–9. Savvidou is also a member of the New Muse Piano Duo, an ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing works by living composers. Their concert tours have included performances across the Mid-West, East Coast, Norway, Greece and Cyprus. Savvidou’s research is focused on utilizing Laban Movement Analysis, Yoga and creative movement to improve alignment while deepening expressivity in performance. She has presented her work at prominent conferences including the MTNA National Conference, the International Society for Music Education Conference, the European Association for Schools of Music Conference, College Music Society's International Conference and the European Piano Teachers Association. With support from a Mizzou Advantage grant, she is conducting cross-disciplinary research with engineering and physical therapy specialists on the topic of injury-prevention for pianists. Savvidou is president for the Mid-Missouri Area Music Teachers Association and as frequent adjudicator for local and State festivals and competitions. She holds a BM degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and graduate degrees (MM and DMA) in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a Rainbow Kids Yoga Certified Teacher.

MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year
Gilles Comeau, University of Ottawa
"Colorful Illustrations In Piano Method Books: A Pilot Project Investigating Eye Focus": Published September 2014

This year’s award is presented to Gilles Comeau for his article “Colorful Illustrations In Piano Method Books: A Pilot Project Investigating Eye Focus.” The article was published in the September 2014 edition of the MTNA e-Journal. Comeau is a professor at the School of Music of the University of Ottawa where he coordinates the piano pedagogy and the music education sectors. He received a $1.3 million research grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to set up a state- of-the-art research laboratory in piano pedagogy. Comeau partnered with researchers from 12 different disciplines and is the director of the Piano Pedagogy Multi-disciplinary Research Group. Along with his work for the e-Journal, he has authored many books, music and arts education kits, and various scholarly research papers in music education and in piano pedagogy.

Studio Teacher Fellowship Award
Erin M. Peyer, Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Erin Peyer is a piano teacher and performer residing in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She received her master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Butler University and her bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In 2014, Peyer was a recipient of the National Piano Foundation’s Recreational Music Making Fellowship. Peyer is an active member of MTNA, and has presented to both the Oshkosh Area Music Teachers Association and the Oshkosh Collegiate Music Teachers Association. During her study at Butler University, she served as president of the Butler Collegiate Chapter of MTNA, which hosted and volunteered at community music events and presented at local, state and national conferences.

Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award
With Your Own Two Hands: Self Discovery Through Music by Seymour Bernstein, NCTM

This year’s recipient is Seymour Bernstein, NCTM, for his book With Your Own Two Hands: Self Discovery Through Music. This best-selling book is provides a terrific program for conquering nervousness, sharpening concentration and enhancing coordination. A source of inspiration for longtime musicians and beginners alike, it observes that musicianship requires the same talents used in any activity, and shows how to develop a dedication to practice that can harmonize the musical and personal self. It has been published in German, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Chinese. Bernstein has been teaching piano since age 15. He won the Griffith Artist Award at the age of 17. His long, exceptional concert career took him to Asia, Europe and throughout the Americas. He has 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. Bernstein won 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. Always valuing teaching, Bernstein made a point of offering master classes and lecture recitals wherever his concert tours took him. He is on the piano faculty at NYU Steinhardt and also maintains a private studio in New York City. He is a prolific composer, with compositions ranging from teaching material for students to 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. Actor Ethan Hawke has recently completed a documentary on Bernstein, Seymour Bernstein An Introduction, which has been purchased by Sundance Selects purchased and will be released this year. Along with With Your Own Two Hands, Bernstein has also written 20 Lessons in Keyboard Choreography, Monsters and Angels: Surviving a Career in Music and Chopin: Interpreting His Notational Symbols.

Piano Technicians Guild Scholarship
Heidi Williams, NCTM, Mayfield Heights, Ohio

Heidi Williams has been selected as recipient of the $750 Recreational Music Making Workshop scholarship, awarded by the Piano Technicians Guild. Williams is a teacher, performer and adjudicator in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. She received a bachelor of music degree in piano performance, with a concentration in piano pedagogy, from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. While at Meredith, Heidi was a three-time winner of the Meredith College Concerto Competition, which gave her the opportunity to perform with the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra. She moved to Cleveland to study with Paul Schenly and Anita Pontremoli at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received her master of music degree in piano performance in 1997. She has performed in master classes for Claude Frank, Paul Schenly, Rebecca Penneys, Robert Weirich and Sheila Paige. She was awarded first prize in the Greensboro Music Academy Piano Competition in 1998, and continues to perform throughout the Cleveland area. Williams is an adjudicator for the National Guild of Piano Teachers and the National Federation of Music Clubs, as well as MTNA. She has won several awards for her teaching, including entry into the Piano Guild Hall of Fame. She is also a board member of the Northeast Ohio District of MTNA and was a co-chairperson for planning the Ohio MTA State Conference in Cleveland in 2010. In the fall of 2008, she accepted an invitation to teach at Oberlin College in the Conservatory of Music as Visiting Professor of Class Piano. Heidi currently studies piano with Sheila Paige and is now in her fourth year as an administrative assistant for the Keyboard Wellness Seminar.

Piano Technicians Guild Foundation Scholarship
Mika K. Inouye, NCTM, Durango, Colorado

Mika Inouye has been selected as recipient of the Teacher Continuing Education and/or Performance Study scholarship. Inouye is the co-founder and secretary of the 4 Corners Music Teachers Association and the founder and president of the Four Corners Orff Chapter. She maintains a private studio in Durango, Colorado, where she is active as a solo and chamber pianist and harpsichordist. As a member of the Bitterroot Trio, she performs oboe-bassoon-piano repertoire in schools and communities across the state of Montana. Inouye is a certified teacher and trainer through the American Orff Shulwerk Association and is currently the music specialist at Durango Early Learning Center. She is the Colorado Western Slope coordinator for the MusicLink Foundation, a national non-profit organization committed to providing music lessons for kids in financial need.Active in MTNA since college, she received the MTNA StAR Award in graduate school and served on committees and boards of Northern Virginia MTA, Tucson MTA and presently 4 Corners MTA. She received her bachelor’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy at Brigham Young University, and master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Montana, Missoula.