2022 Special Guests

Robert Shannon

As a performer, educator, and recording artist, pianist Robert Shannon has traveled across the world performing and teaching a diverse repertoire ranging from Bach to John Adams. A double-degree alumnus of Oberlin, Shannon earned a Master of Music at the Juilliard School. He has studied with Klaus Goetze, Arthur Dann, Jack Radunsky, Ania Dorfmann, Dorothy Taubman, and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

In recent seasons, he has appeared in Beijing, London, Hamburg, New York, San Francisco, and Caracas. His numerous performances and recordings on the Bridge label of 20th- and 21st-century composers such as George Crumb, Carla Bley, and John Harbison have been met with critical praise, particularly his penetrating interpretations of such American composers as Charles Ives.

He has appeared at the Grand Teton, Tibor Varga, and Sacramento American Music festivals; as a guest artist with the Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players; and in duo recitals with his wife, Haewon Song, who also is a piano professor at Oberlin Conservatory. He is the founder and director of the Cooper International Competition at Oberlin, an important international youth competition by virtue of the participation of The Cleveland Orchestra.

Mika Sasaki

Pianist Mika Sasaki is an imaginative and versatile soloist, chamber musician, and educator whose performances and teaching have taken her to the U.K., Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and throughout the U.S. Her 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, KQAC, 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 more recently, with the InterSchool Symphony Orchestra of New York, performing Amy Beach’s Piano Concerto in February 2019.

Festival appearances include Music@Menlo, Tanglewood, Chigiana, pianoSonoma, Taos, Yellow Barn, Aspen, Focus!, Icicle Creek, Rushmore, Mannes Beethoven Institute, Caramoor, Shandelee, Weekend of Chamber Music, Omaha Conservatory SoundWaves, WCYO Charles Ives Music Festival, and Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard in Geneva, Switzerland. She is the pianist of Ensemble Mélange and frequently concertizes with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble in Boston, the Manhattan Chamber Players, Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, and with her duo partners. She is an alumna of the Peabody Conservatory (B.M., M.M.), The Juilliard School (D.M.A.), and Ensemble Connect—a two-year 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 was a two-year recipient of 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, chamber music, and keyboard skills courses in the Evening Division, and Piano Topics and keyboard skills for pianists in the College Division. In the 2021-22 academic year, she will be Acting Supervisor of Secondary Piano in the College Division. When not at the piano, she can be found tending to her houseplants, hiking, or chasing after her cat.  mikasasaki.com

Jackie 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.

Benjamin Steinhardt

Pianist Benjamin Steinhardt enjoys an international reputation for his innovative teaching and regularly performs in the New York metro area. Placing an emphasis on creativity and exploration his teaching incorporates concepts from the Taubman Approach, Edwin Gordon’s Music Learning Theory, Dalcroze, and somatic education to give students the tools to reach their highest potential.
His writings and webinars have been featured on the MTNA, American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion, TheCuriousPianoTeachers.org, and iPianoTeacher.com.
An artist of great versatility, Steinhardt is equally at home as pianist in the concert hall, and as conductor in the orchestra pit. Recital and chamber performances as a pianist include Zankel and Weill Recital Halls at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Greenwich Music House. Work as a musical director includes Queens Theater in the Park, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the New York Musical Theater Festival, Bravo television and cabaret spaces throughout NYC including The Metropolitan Room, Studio 54, and Birdland. Mr. Steinhardt served as musical director for the Emmy award winning, “News in Revue.”
Steinhardt is on the board of the Fairfield County Music Teachers Association and co-administers “The Art of Piano Pedagogy,” an online community for professional piano teachers with over 20,000 members.
www.benjaminsteinhardt.com

Father Paul Maillet

Before studying for the Catholic priesthood, Father Paul Maillet, P.S.S. concertized extensively and taught at Peabody and Eastman, having studied with Cecile Staub Genhart, Leon Fleisher, and Dorothy Taubman.  As a student of Dorothy Taubman for many years, he became a strong proponent of her work, teaching as a member of the faculty of the Dorothy Taubman School of Piano both at Amherst and Williams.  He has continued to give masterclasses as well as lectures on piano technique using the Taubman approach, most recently at the Taubman Festival at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.

He has performed as soloist with such orchestras as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony, and orchestras in Europe and South America.  He has given recitals extensively in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.  Concert venues at which he has performed in the United States include the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Weill Recital Hall in New York, and the Stanford Lively Arts Series.

Fr. Maillet was ordained for the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 2001.  As a priest of the Society of Saint Sulpice his ministry is dedicated to the initial and ongoing formation of priests. In preparation for his teaching in this capacity,  he received his doctorate in Biblical Studies from The Catholic University of America in 2010 and is currently on the faculty at St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, where he teaches Scripture, Biblical Hebrew, and Koine Greek.  He still gives recitals, plays chamber music and gives piano masterclasses and lectures when his schedule permits.

Nancy Modell

Nancy Modell, Suzuki Teacher Trainer with Taubman Approach

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, Mexico. 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.

Dan Crisci

Dan Crisci, pianist and composer, has been performing in the New York/New Jersey area since 1984.  He has performed jazz as a soloist and in various group settings at venues such as Birdland and The Squire in New York City, and Trumpets, The Old Bay, Watchung Arts CenterVan Gogh’s Ear, and Shanghai Jazz  in New Jersey.  Dan has performed regularly with Brynn Stanley since 2013 at venues such as Shanghai Jazz in Madison, Rod’s Steakhouse in Morristown, Rudolph’s in Bernardsville, the Morristown Performing Arts Center Summer Concert Series, and the Parsippany Library Concert Series.

In 2018, Dan released Home Again, an album featuring his own original compositions.  His CD release performance at Shanghai Jazz featured grammy award winning violinist Zach Brock and woodwind player Anton Denner, among others.  In 2019 came the release of another original recording, Asked and Answered.

Through the years, Dan’s jazz quartet has been featured in concerts in New Jersey at St. George’s Church in Maplewood, Montclair Unity Church, Summit Central Presbyterian Church, the Tower Center Summer Concert Series in East Brunswick, the Carnegie Center Summer Concert Series in Princeton, the Metuchen outdoor concert series, Maplewood Jazzfest, the Bridgewater Library Concert Series, various New Years Eve First Night Performances, and a recent performance with saxophonist/flutist Anton Denner at Drew University for the 90th Anniversary Concert for the Music Educator’s Association.   Dan was a featured pianist in a February 2019 concert for the Musical Club of Westfield.

Dan has played many gala fundraising events for various organizations, including a performance at NJPAC for Overlook Hospital, where his jazz group opened for Mandy Patinkin and Patti Lapone.

Dan has been showcased with the Triad Arts Ensemble, a performing arts group that features music, theatre, and dance.  He has performed in their annual Canticles for Life AIDS benefit concert as a soloist, choir accompanist, and with his jazz trio and quartet.  He has regularly performed original jazz compositions at these concerts as well as composing some pieces for the choir to perform.

Dan has served as co minister of music at the Springfield Emanuel United Methodist Church along with his wife, Virginia Johnston, and he continues to fill in as pianist at various local churches when needed, including at his home church, Ignite UMC in Kenilworth, NJ.

Dan has performed in several events presented by the Discovery Orchestra, including a concert for singles with jazz vocalist Bill Robinson, the Viennese Masked Ball at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, a lunchtime concert for the Mind Body Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital, various gala fundraising events at NJPAC, and an in home holiday concert with vocalist Brynn Stanley.  Dan appears in two episodes of their television show “Fall in Love With Music”, which was broadcast nationwide on public television from 2016-2019.

Dan has studied jazz piano with Keith MacDonald, Dave Braham, and JoAnne Brackeen, and jazz ensemble with Chris White at Montclair State College in New Jersey.  In 2000 he graduated from the Certificate Program in Piano Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.  Since 2014, Dan has studied the Taubman approach to piano playing with Sondra Tammam. From 2015-2019, Dan has presented a workshop at the Taubman Piano Festival at Montclair State University about incorporating the Taubman Approach in to jazz piano playing.