Meet the special guests at Piano Camp 2017!
Phyllis Alpert Lehrer is known internationally as a performer, teacher, clinician, author and adjudicator. She has given master classes, workshops and enjoyed an active concert career as a soloist and collaborative artist in the United States, Canada, Central America, Asia and Europe. Her performances have met with much critical acclaim: “Warmth and vibrancy at its best,” The Times (London); “An able warmhearted pianist…Impressive musicianly qualities,” Daily Telegraph (London); “an admirable musicality …” (The New York Times).
Ms. Lehrer is professor of piano and director of graduate piano pedagogy at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J. A founding member of Young Audiences of New Jersey and the International Society for the Study of Tension in Performance, she has presented regularly at conferences of the Music Teachers National Association, National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and the European Piano Teachers Association. Recent lectures, master classes and performances have been presented at the International Society for Music Education in Glasgow, Scotland, Performing Arts and Medicine Conference in Colorado and New York, NJMTA, the Diller Quaile School, Third Street Settlement in New York City, Brooklyn College Conservatory, the Steinway Society, New York Piano Teachers’ Conference and Westminster Choir College.
Ms. Lehrer’s articles, interviews and reviews on piano pedagogy, music and health have appeared in Clavier Companion, The American Music Teacher, and The European Piano Teachers Journal. She contributed several chapters to A Symposium for Pianists and Teachers: Strategies to Develop the Mind and Body for Optimal Performance published by Heritage Press. She has co-authored, with Barry Green, the Inner Game of Music Piano Workbook and written the practice suggestions for the four books of Etudes for the Development of Musical Fingers from the Frances Clark Library. She has edited Chopin: An Album and co-edited Debussy: An Album as well as several anthologies for Carl Fischer with Paul Sheftel. Their ten volumes, Mastering Classic Favorites and More Mastering Classic Favorites include performances and mini-master classes on the CDs that accompany each. Publications edited by Ms. Lehrer for FJH are three works by Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee, Phantasie Variations, Op. 12, Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 31, Pictures and Beyond, Book I a set of piano duets, Dance Preludes by Timothy Brown, and Outside the Box, 10 pieces, by Wynn-Anne Rossi and Kevin Olson, devoted to contemporary techniques.
Recent publications include five volumes of the great piano repertoire, Classics for the Developing Pianist. They are edited by Ingrid Clarfield and Phyllis Lehrer and published by Alfred, Inc. Study Guides to accompany books 1 and 2 (early intermediate and intermediate repertoire) are available through Prima Music. Volume 3 will be available in fall 2016. Also new are five volumes devoted to keyboard theory, sight playing, technique and repertoire with midi accompaniments, co-authored with Paul Sheftel, entitled Personal Trainer. These are published by YBK publications in New York City.
Phyllis Lehrer has recorded for the Educo and Seda labels, and recently has released a CD of piano duets entitled Drama and Dialogue in the Piano Duets of Mozart, Schubert and Debussy with piano partner, Ena Bronstein Barton. Ms. Lehrer holds a B.A. in music from the University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music and an M.S. in piano from the Juilliard School of Music. Her teachers have included Paula Kessler Hondius, Lily Dumont, Benjamin Kaplan, Adolph Baller and Adele Marcus.
Recipient of the Damien Dixon Scholarship, Andrew Phillips Scholarship, 1st place in Westminster Choir College’s Freshmen Piano Competition, finalist in the Pearl & Julius Young Artist Competition and two time recipient of the PBD Outstanding Young Artist award, John Franek is a pianist and composer who continuously searches for and creates new sonic expressions within the acoustic and electronic worlds.
John started his music studies at the age of twelve where he took piano lessons until the age of fifteen. At the age of fourteen John gave his first public performance, performing works by Mozart, Handel, Beethoven and Schubert as well as some of his own very early works. At the age of fifteen he began studying composition, forming the roots of his musical language from self-study of the Western Classical tradition. John was without any instructor in composition or piano until he entered Westminster Choir College located in Princeton, New Jersey, where he is currently based. Since beginning his college career John has accomplished feats which are not shy of the professional musical world. John has become a published composer with American Carillon Music Editions; who has published his Cleveland Prelude; looks forward to a future publication of his Concerto for Keyboard & Strings by Firebird Music Publications; a new music publishing company; and also looks forward to a future music publication of his piece for carillon; Terpsichorean; in a collection entitled Music for an Elegant Evening. The collection will be published by the Yale Guild of Carilloneurs.
John premiered his Concerto for Keyboard & Strings with the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey on July 10th, 2016 with Maestro Robert Butts conducting and with John as the soloist. Since then he has also performed in the baroque orchestra’s summer chamber music series as a soloist, performing works across genres; including his own works as well as Mozart’s piano sonata no.8. John has performed across New Jersey and has had premieres across the east coast as well as Europe. John has released three albums, two under the pseudonym Exordium and one with his piano duet Helix 2. All of his albums can be found on iTunes, Amazon Music and many more music distribution services. Helix 2; composed of John and pianist/organist Mike Ryan; performs four-hand and/ or two piano concerts with a concert scheduled as far as Paris in 2019.
In an exclusive interview with Rider news about his work and accomplishments, John stated that, “There’s that invisible string that connects all of us”, and he still strives in his music to shape sound in a way that will similarly shape the listener’s, broadening their understanding and appreciation of the sound world.
Under the tutelage of Phyllis Lehrer, master piano pedagogue and performer, Jay Kawarsky, master composer and ensemble director, and Joel Phillips, master composer and author, John is currently in his Junior year at Westminster Choir College double majoring in Theory & Composition as well as Piano.
Adam Sliwinski has built a dynamic career of creative collaboration as percussionist, pianist, conductor, teacher, and writer. He specializes in bringing composers, performers, and other artists together to create exciting new work. A member of the ensemble So Percussion (proclaimed as “brilliant” and “consistently impressive” by the New York Times) since 2002, Adam has performed at venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall, The Bonnaroo Festival, Disney Concert Hall with the LA Philharmonic, and everything in between. So Percussion has also toured extensively around the world, including multiple featured performances at the Barbican Centre in London, and tours to France, Germany, The Netherlands, South America, Australia, and Russia.
Adam has been praised as a soloist by the New York Times for his “shapely, thoughtfully nuanced account” of David Lang’s marimba piece String of Pearls. He has performed as a percussionist many times with the International Contemporary Ensemble, founded by classmates from Oberlin. Though he trained primarily as a percussionist, Adam’s first major solo album, released on New Amsterdam records in 2015, is a collection of etudes called Nostalgic Synchronic for the Prepared Digital Piano, an invention of Princeton colleague Dan Trueman. In recent years, Adam’s collaborations have grown to include conducting. He has conducted over a dozen world premieres with the International Contemporary Ensemble, including residencies at Harvard, Columbia, and NYU. In 2014, ECM Records released the live recording of the premiere of Vijay Iyer’s Radhe Radhe with Adam conducting.
Adam writes about music on his blog. He has also contributed a series of articles to newmusicbox.org, and the Cambridge Companion to Percussion from Cambridge University press features his chapter “Lost and Found: Percussion Chamber Music and the Modern Age.”
Adam is co-director of the So Percussion Summer Institute, an annual intensive course on the campus of Princeton University for college-aged percussionists. He is also co-director of the percussion program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and has taught percussion both in masterclass and privately at more than 80 conservatories and universities in the USA and internationally. Along with his colleagues in So Percussion, Adam is Edward T. Cone performer-in-residence at Princeton University. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts and his Masters degrees at Yale with marimba soloist Robert van Sice, and his Bachelors at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with Michael Rosen.
Dave Merritt is an accomplished drummer of many talents and interests who has been playing drums for over 35 years. He has performed with varied and diverse groups including: drum set with the Road Runners Blues Band, Catfish, and Paul Plumeri Blues Band; bodhrán, bones,and hammered dulcimer with traditional Celtic bands Kintail, Cwn Annwn and Browne Jenkyn; and snare drum for the First Highland Watch of Pennsylvania Bagpipe Band and Revolutionary War re-enactors First New Jersey Volunteers. In 2004 he, along with Kim Leary, formed Groove Merchant Drum & Dance Ensemble, which led them to open the Drum & Dance Learning Center (DDLC) in May 2005.
A teacher since 1980, Mr. Merritt teaches a variety of drum techniques at the Drum Dojo at DDLC: Drum Set, Rudimental Snare Drum, Bodhrán, traditional West African Djembe and Dunun, and Arabic Tabla (Dumbek). As a drum teacher, his casual approach allows students the relaxation and freedom necessary to learn at their own pace, and his enthusiasm and appreciation of the instrument is both contagious and motivational.
Dave has attended workshops with various drum artists including: Billy Cobham, Tommy Campbell, Rod Morgenstein, Ed Shaughnessy, Terry Bozzio, Greg Bissonette and Pat Patrillo (drum set); Sam Hall, J. Reid Maxwell, Jon Quigg and Gordon Bell (pipe band snare drum); Francisco "Fuyo" Gomez(conga); Victor Marshall, M'Bemba Bangoura and Mamady Keita (djembe); Mangue Sylla(dunun); Kim Leary, Souren Baronian, Issam Houshan, Amir Naoum, Karim Nagy, and Bill Koutsouros (Arabic tabla); and Phil Smiley of the Tannahill Weavers demonstrated bodhrán technique. Dave continues to refine and expand his own technique on these instruments, finding inspiration and new ideas everywhere he goes.
The history of the instruments that he plays is also important to Mr. Merritt. He continues to study their origins, cultural and social signifigance, historical impact and evolution. One of his hobbies is the restoration of vintage drums and drum sets. He has even designed and built a few snare drums and various folk instruments. Dave combines his love of drums, history and education in his school and library presentation of "A Day in the Life of an 18th Century Soldier", the Revolutionary War as seen through the eyes of a Drummer.