Heidi Clausius is an active performer and teacher in the Toledo area. She received her Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Toledo. Being forced to walk away from a music performance career in 1992 due to a hand injury, she never thought it would be possible to be collaborating with other musicians 25 years later. In 2010, after regaining the facility she thought was lost to her, Heidi left her 18 year real estate career in pursuit of a graduate degree in Collaborative Piano Performance at BGSU. Today, Heidi maintains a private piano studio and recently served as the co-president of the Toledo Piano Teachers Association.
Andrew Focks: Concert pianist, pedagogue and clinician Andrew Focks continues to garner worldwide acclaim for his performances throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. His students have performed as soloists in Carnegie Hall, Severance Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Millennium Park, the Kennedy Center, and more. Dr. Focks is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music (Preparatory and Continuing Education) and holds degrees from Florida State University, Rice University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. His mentors include Arnaldo Cohen, Robert Levin, Daniel Shapiro, Jon Kimura Parker, and Ya-Fei Chuang. He is president of the Northeast District of OhioMTA.
Dr. Brianna Matzke'sdynamic pianism shows “a sense of refinement, flair, and technical prowess” (clevelandclassical.com). Her commissioning initiative, The Response Project, asks composers to create music for piano in response to pre-existing artworks or ideas. Previous responses include Mikrophonie I by Stockhausen and the phrase “on behalf”. The upcoming set (2017) will respond to Bob Dylan’s album Highway 61 Revisited. Brianna is also a dedicated music educator and pedagogue. She has served on the faculties of the Oberlin Conservatory, Interlochen Arts Camp, the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), and currently at Wilmington College. She holds degrees from CCM and the University of Kansas.
Maira Liliestedt: University of Mount Union music professor Maira Liliestedt owns graduate degrees from Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Recent engagements featured Liszt’s Sonata, Saint-Saëns’s Second Piano Concerto, and Brahms’s Hungarian Dances. Her Appassionata Piano Duo with Janelle Phinney garnered praise for “flawless,” “fiery technique,” and “terrific collaboration full of grace and passion.”
Rodrigo Vasconcelos, M.A., teaches piano and musicology for Indian Springs Academy of Music in West Chester, and choir, guitar, songwriting, and general music to Our Lady of Visitation School in Cincinnati. A dynamic clinician, he has presented on the topics of assessment, teaching strategies, and repertoire at the NCEA, the Rio Baptist Musicians Association, and the Kentucky MTA. He served as a member of the faculty of Campbellsville University and was a keyboardist for the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. Rodrigo is an Examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music. He lives in Trenton with his wife Shannon and their two children.
Dr. Sean Hutchins is the Director of Research for The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. He founded and currently leads The Royal Conservatory’s Research Centre, focusing on experimental studies of music neuroscience and performance. He received his PhD from McGill University in 2008, and is trained in experimental psychology and neuroscience, with a specialization in the field of music cognition. Dr. Hutchins has held positions at l’Université de Montréal and the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital in Toronto.
Dr. Hutchins is an expert in the science of vocal perception and production; his research has studied the factors that affect basic singing ability and the relationship between speech and singing. His current work examines the role of musical training and experience on cognitive and linguistic abilities.
Garik Pedersen: A Steinway artist, Pedersen’s performance career as soloist and chamber musician has taken him to venues throughout the United States and in Europe, Canada, Central America, Taiwan and the Philippine Islands. Recent appearances have included The Victory Vertical Project, which since 2018 has had over 30 performances throughout the United States, a tour of 9 cities in Taiwan (2014), Steinway Hall (New York City, 2008), Cleveland’s International Music Festival (2010), Michigan’s Gilmore Festival (2014 and 2010), and the Isidor Bajic Music School in Novi Sad, Serbia (2010). Pedersen has recorded for the Albany and Hornblower labels, and in 2008 he recorded the musical examples in the anthology that accompanies McGraw-Hill’s Music in Theory and Practice. He has presented programs for the U.S. State Department, the National Federation of Music Clubs, MTNA, the European PTA, Canadian Federation of MTA, and the Royal Conservatory of Music, as well as on numerous public television and radio broadcasts.
Gary is a past president of Michigan Music Teachers Association, which honored him with its Distinguished Service Award in 2016. He received the Michigan Touchstone Award in 2017 in recognition of his “commitment to Michigan’s artistic excellence and his advocacy for the arts.”
Clinton Pratt, NCTM, has a BM and MM in piano, and includes improvisation, ear training, and Dalcroze Eurhythmics in his teaching. He maintains a successful independent studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, has served on numerous committees, holds several teaching certifications, has been published in American Music Teacher, and recently received OhioMTA’s “Teacher of the Year” award for his district. Clinton is an experienced adjudicator of many festivals and competitions, and joined the RCM College of Examiners in 2014. He is an active presenter, having shared his ideas on improvisation, creative teaching and programming, and business practices at local, state, and national conferences including MTNA and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.
Dr. Siok Lian Tan, DMA, NCTM is Associate Professor of Piano at Miami University, Ohio where she teaches piano, piano pedagogy, and coordinates the class piano program. She holds a D.M.A. degree from the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Richard Van Dyke, DMA, NCTM is the Keyboard Area Coordinator at Northern Kentucky University, where he teaches piano, pedagogy, piano literature and coordinates the class piano program. Additionally, he has a private piano studio at the Cincinnati Music Academy.
Janelle Penn Phinney, NCTM, holds a Music History degree from BGSU where she developed her love of accompanying. She earned her MAR from Yale where she performed in the elite choir, Pro musica. She has served as adjunct faculty at both Malone and Mount Union Universities, and teaches piano privately.