2019 Special Guests

Tiffany Poon

Born in Hong Kong, Tiffany Poon was accepted into the Juilliard School Pre-College Division on a full scholarship at the age of eight and made her solo and concerto debut in the USA when she was ten years old. Since then, she has given solo recitals throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and China, and she has appeared with orchestras in the United States and Europe.

Her debut album, “Natural Beauty,” released by KAWAI Edition in May 2014, features works by Bach, Haydn, Chopin, Liszt and Debussy. The 2018-19 season includes recitals as part of the Klavierfestival Ruhr, the Rheingau Musikfestival, concerts in Brazil and Mexico, and a debut recital at the Huayi Festival at Singapore’s Esplanade. She will participate in the Bohème 2020 program as part of this summer’s Dresden Music Festival and will be featured as part of the Moritzburg Festival. In the 2019-20 season, she will debut at the Mozarteum with the Philharmonie Salzburg and conductor Elisabeth Fuchs.

In addition to performing and studying, she also devotes her time to making videos on YouTube, where she shares insights of her life as a musician, with the goal to peel back the curtain on classical music. Her social media following of nearly 90,000 subscribers has led to unique opportunities including having a drink named after her as part of Minnesota Public Radio’s 2018 Holiday Insta-Drinks Series for “Performance Today” with Fred Child. She was then featured in an interview in a February 2019 episode of “Performance Today.” Her reach through social media has been to create a community around classical music through in-person meet ups and social events.

Tiffany received a full scholarship from the Columbia University/Juilliard School exchange program and studied piano with Emanuel Ax and Joseph Kalichstein. She was named a John Jay Scholar by Columbia University for her outstanding academic and artistic achievements. In May 2018, she graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, and that Fall, she began a Master of Music with a full scholarship at Yale School of Music.

In 2014, Tiffany was named National Young Arts Winner in the United States. Her awards include first prize and Best Performance of Concerto Award at the 8th Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition for Young Pianists in 2012. Most recently, she won the first prize at the Manhattan International Music Competition, the third prize at the 17th International Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau, Germany in 2016, and the second prize at the 2017 Walter W. Naumburg Foundation International Competition in the USA.

Tiffany Poon is a 2018 fellow of the Young Artists Foundation gGmbH in Germany and currently lives in Connecticut.

Mika Sasaki

Pianist Mika Sasaki is a sought-after recitalist, chamber musician, and educator whose performances and teaching have taken her to the U.K., Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and throughout the U.S. Her solo debut album, Obsidian: Mika Sasaki plays Clara Schumann, released on Yarlung Records in 2016, was highly acclaimed by the Online Merker as “illuminat[ing] the artistic inspiration and creative exchange between three Romantic souls,” Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. Her performances have been broadcasted live on WQXR, WFMT, and on Radio Sweden, and she has appeared as concerto soloist with the Sinfonia of Cambridge (U.K.), New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, 92Y Orchestra, and most recently, with the InterSchool Symphony Orchestra of New York, performing Amy Beach’s Piano Concerto in February 2019.

A versatile pianist praised for her musicianship, Dr. Sasaki has been invited to festivals and concert series such as Music@Menlo, Tanglewood, Icicle Creek, Rushmore, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, pianoSonoma, Taos, Yellow Barn, Aspen, Estherwood, Focus! Festival, Mannes Beethoven Institute, the Metropolis Ensemble “5 Nights, 11 Pianists,” the Charles Ives Concert Series, and more recently, the Nord Anglia Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Sasaki is the pianist of Ensemble Mélange, a sextet ensemble that uniquely invites audience members to choose what they want to hear from a “menu” comprised of more than two dozen chamber music and vocal works of various styles, from Baroque, Classical, Romantic, original commissions, to Broadway staples. She is an alumna of the Peabody Conservatory (B.M., M.M.), The Juilliard School (D.M.A.), and Ensemble Connect, a prestigious fellowship program of Carnegie Hall, Juilliard, and the Weill Institute in partnership with the NYC Department of Education. Upon completing her doctorate at Juilliard, Dr. Sasaki won the Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship as a graduate who demonstrated outstanding artistry and achievement in leadership, entrepreneurship, and breadth of engagement.

Based in New York City, Dr. Sasaki is a faculty member at The Juilliard School, where she teaches piano and keyboard skills courses in the Evening Division, and Piano Topics and keyboard skills for pianists in the College Division. mikasasaki.com

Jacqueline Herbein

Pianist Jacqueline Herbein, honored with Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association Teacher of the Year award in 2005, is an active soloist, ensemble performer and teacher in the Pittsburgh area. She considers the development of physical perception to be a cornerstone of her teaching and she recently added the ProformaVision technology (sEMG biofeedback) to her studio as a teaching enhancement. A Certificate in Anatomy and Physiology from the Massage Therapy Institute of Western Pennsylvania provides a solid academic foundation while independent work in Alexander Technique and teacher certification in therapeutic yoga heighten the movement insights she brings to this new technology and her work in general.

Jacqueline Herbein regularly works with teachers and students of all ages and performance levels both in private lessons and master classes. She has become known for her creative approach in unraveling musicians’ pain and injury issues by working with biofeedback, imagery and alternative therapies in order to awaken connections within the body. Her articles have been published in The American Music Teacher, The Canadian Music Teacher and Clavier Companion journals and she regularly presents sessions on technique, perception and wellness to organizations and university pedagogy classes around the country, including the MTNA National Conference in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013, the American Music Therapy Association Mid-Atlantic Region Conference, the Mississippi Piano Showcase, the Goshen College Piano Workshop and Academy and the Greater Pittsburgh Suzuki Institute.

Nancy Modell

Nancy Modell, an Ithaca College School of Music graduate in both piano performance and music education, is very passionate about teaching music. In the 1980s, as a Teacher Trainer, she pioneered the Suzuki Piano Approach in Israel where she taught students and trained local piano teachers in Jerusalem.

Since 1992 she has been teaching in Springfield, NJ, inspiring students to reach their potential through innovative learning opportunities, including original composition, music events and field trips. Nancy continues to train teachers in the Suzuki Approach at Suzuki Summer Institutes throughout the USA. She has explored ways to introduce composition to students of all levels and has presented her approach at various teachers’ forums, including NAfME, NJMEA, NJMTA, MEA-NJ, PTC of NY, PTF, The Taubman Festival, the SAA, and most recently at 1era Convención Suzuki de las Américas in Cancun, MX. She has trained piano teachers at institutes, college courses and privately, and frequently teaches ECC!©. She is Piano Coordinator of the NJ Suzuki Workshop and is the Immediate Past President of MEA-NJ.

Father Paul Maillet

Father Paul Maillet has performed in recital and as a soloist with orchestras in numerous countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas, including concerto performances with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. His solo and chamber music recitals include appearances at the Kennedy Center and at Weill Recital Hall. After studying with Cecile Genhart under full scholarship at the Eastman School of Music and with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory, he went on to study with Dorothy Taubman for twelve years. In 1995, he discerned a call to ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. After beginning his seminary formation, he continued to perform in the United States and Europe when his studies in philosophy and theology permitted. During this period, a CD of a critically acclaimed live performance at Williams College was released in 1999 which is available through the Taubman Festival.

He was ordained to the priesthood in 2001 for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. After two years of parish ministry in Baltimore, he went on to teach Latin, Greek and Sacred Scripture for two years at St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California. He then earned a doctorate in Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of America. He now is a faculty member of St. Patrick’s Seminary and University where he teaches Sacred Scripture and biblical languages.

His experience as a teacher of piano and other music courses include positions at the Peabody Institute, the Eastman School of Music, Loyola College in Baltimore, and the Taubman Institute at Amherst (and later at Williams), as well as lectures and master-classes in the United States and Asia. He continues to perform and has given lectures and a master-classes at Lincoln Center as a member of the Taubman Institute faculty.

“Maillet remains a fluent technician who boasts a particularly lovely quality of sound and who excels in subtlety of voicing. Most of all he has something to say, feelings to express and thoughts to communicate.”

Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

Dan Crisci


Dan has been performing in the New York/New Jersey area since 1984. He has performed as a soloist and in various group settings at clubs such as Birdland and The Squire in New York City, and Trumpets, The Old Bay, Marado Blu, Van Gogh’s Ear, Cafe Beethoven, and Shanghaii Jazz in New Jersey. His jazz quartet has been featured in concerts in New Jersey at St. George’s Church in Maplewood, Montclair Unity Church, and the Summit Central Presbyterian Church as part of their Brown Bag Concert Series. They have performed in the Tower Center Summer Concert Series in East Brunswick and the Carnegie Center Summer Concert Series in Princeton. In 1999 they played in the Metuchen outdoor concert series and in 2010 at the Maplewood Jazzfest. The quartet performed at various New Jersey New Years Eve First Nights from 1994 to 1999 and in 2002.

Dan has been showcased with the Triad Arts Ensemble, a performing arts group that features music, theatre, and dance. He accompanied their production of the musical The Fantasticks, and has performed in their annual Canticles for Life AIDS benefit concert as a soloist, choir accompanist, and with his jazz quartet. In 1998, he appeared as featured guest artist on the TV show Battleground Arts Center Showcase and performed with clarinetist/composer Virginia Johnston in a classical and jazz concert at Syracuse University in New York. From 1999 to 2006 Dan served as co minister of music at the Springfield Emanuel United Methodist Church along with his wife, Virginia Johnston.

Dan has performed in several events presented by the Discovery Orchestra. In 1999, he teamed with jazz vocalist Bill Robinson in a concert for singles. He performed some jazz standards as part of the orchestra at their annual Viennese Masked Ball at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. His jazz quartet performed a lunchtime concert for the Mind Body Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital. This was an outreach program of the orchestra, bringing music to patients and staff. Dan has played for the orchestra’s gala fundraising event at NJPAC from 2008 to 2010.


Dan grew up in Somerville, New Jersey and started piano lessons at age 7. In high school, he studied classical piano at Westminster Choir College Conservatory Division. He went on to study jazz piano with Keith MacDonald, Dave Braham, and JoAnne Brackeen, and jazz ensemble with Chris White at Montclair State College in New Jersey. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Montclair State College. In 2000 he graduated from the Certificate Program in Piano Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

Dan has been teaching piano lessons since 1986. In 1991, he participated in a Kindermusik Teacher Training Workshop at Westminster Choir College. In 1992 and 1993, Dan taught Kindermusik at Apple B’s Day Care Center in Warren, NJ. From 1998 to 2003, he was the Children’s Music Director for the Springfield Emmanuel United Methodist Church Vacation Bible School. Dan presented workshops on Jazz Appreciation and Education for the Music Educators Association (MEA) in 1996 and for the Shore Music Educators Association in 1997. In 2000, he developed and presented a hands-on program for the Discovery Orchestra called Improvise, in which children experienced the art of jazz and blues improvisation. In 2009, Dan presented a program called Understanding Jazz Piano at the Parsippany Public Library.

In 2005, Dan completed a Music Together Teacher Training Workshop and taught Music Together classes from 2005 to 2010. He currently teaches private piano lessons at his home in Maplewood.