Catherine Kautsky

One of the things I love about working at Lawrence is the opportunity it gives me to explore so many facets of being a musician. My own teacher, Gilbert Kalish, made his career through the most varied means imaginable—a liberal arts degree from Columbia University, a long stint in the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble premiering all manner of new music, decades of work with the famous mezzo-soprano, Jan DeGaetani, chamber music with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, concertos with the Boston Symphony and others, and of course a distinguished teaching career at SUNY-Stony Brook. He became my model, and although my own career has of course unfolded on very different lines, his serious interest in new music, his belief that solo and collaborative work go hand-in-hand, his enormous intellectual curiosity and his involvement with cultural and political issues in his community, all made a life-long impression on me.

For many years, almost every program I’ve played has included new music. I have always played both alone and collaboratively, starting many years ago when I was at Juilliard and accompanied violinists Peter Oundjian, Cho-Liang Lin and Nadja-Salerno-Sonnenberg, to the present day when I continue to perform constantly with chamber groups, instrumentalists, and singers. My solo repertoire is varied, ranging from Bach to the present day, with some special emphasis on Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Debussy.

Since my own family is filled with academics, I seem to have inherited a strange propensity for writing and speaking! I give frequent lecture-recitals, recently at institutions like New England Conservatory, Kansas- City Conservatory and UC-San Diego, and have often performed at the annual Music Teachers National Association conferences. I’ve also written quite a few articles by now, most on the intersections of literature and music, and am currently writing a book (which has entailed many trips to Paris!) on the social history surrounding the work of Claude Debussy.

My teaching style is eclectic, as was the teaching I myself received. I wasn’t lucky enough to be endowed with an inborn virtuoso technique, so I’ve worked hard to understand the mechanics of piano playing, studying long after I finished my own formal training, with French-school pianists in Paris and with proponents of the Taubman technique in this country. My earlier teachers were unfailingly superb musicians, having themselves studied with such eminent pedagogues as Rosina Lhevinne and Leonard Shure, and the task of integrating both technical and musical insights from their very diverse points of view has been ceaselessly challenging and fascinating to me.

Such assimilation is, I believe, the task of every pianist –I encourage my students to seek out new teachers over the summer and to consult my colleagues at Lawrence during the schoolyear as well: there are many ways to put together the complex puzzle that is playing the piano, and my hope is to open as many doors as possible, never to parrot single answers!

Michael Mizrahi

My professional interests as a pianist focus on the canonic solo piano and chamber music repertoire of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and also on new musical works composed in the twenty-first century. These parallel interests can be charted through my work as a solo pianist as well as my activities with two chamber groups: NOW Ensemble and Decoda. NOW Ensemble is a chamber quintet (piano, flute, clarinet, double bass, electric guitar) dedicated to commissioning and performing brand new works of chamber music. The group has performed together since 2004; I am a founding member. Decoda is a chamber collective that presents world-class chamber music performances and makes deep artistic connections in places where music is rarely heard.

In my professional career as a performing pianist I take a multifaceted approach to music making, exploring different points of engagement with audiences and a varied repertoire. I am particularly drawn to programming interesting or unusual concert programs and situating them in their historical and social contexts for my audience in introductions delivered from the stage. I have also worked extensively in a variety of educational settings, and take very seriously the opportunity to work as a music educator in both formal and informal settings.

I am currently examining ways in which newly composed repertoire can be integrated into piano recitals of more traditional canonic repertoire. I see no reason to segregate new works onto their own recital programs; rather, they are a vital link in a continuous tradition. By situating new works and older works together on the same programs, both the performer and listening have the opportunity to appreciate both in a new context.

Please see my personal webpage for the latest information on my performances and projects.

Anthony Padilla

Lawrence has provided a fertile environment for pursuing a wide range of solo and collaborative projects both on and off campus.  In recent years, my studio and I have enjoyed presenting programs celebrating the centennial birthday of Samuel Barber, bicentennial years of Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann and Liszt, piano duos, and the complete Etudes and Preludes of Chopin.  Additional solo projects have explored the musical rhetoric of Bach and Mozart, the musical humor of Haydn and Beethoven, and the integration of visual arts and music in works of Granados and Musorgsky.  Currently, I am exploring piano transcriptions of Brahms chamber works, Liszt songs and opera fantasies, Bach and Franck organ works, Prokofiev and Stravinsky ballets, and rock tunes by Radiohead.  This year, I am also enjoying collaborating with faculty and guest colleagues in voice, strings, winds, keyboard and percussion departments for fascinating chamber programs featuring rarely heard works by composers such as Elliott Carter, Rebecca Clarke, and Harald Genzmer.  My colleagues in the Arcos Piano Trio have been performing programs of “Music of the Americas” at festivals and conferences in Italy and Korea, and commissioning and recording new works by American women and Latin American composers, co-sponsored by grants from Lawrence and the National Endowment for the Arts, who also supported Latin American festivals and community outreach activites at Lawrence and other institutions, in collaboration with the Spanish Department and Latin American Studies Program.

Mary Van De Loo

Teaching is my passion.  I often say it is like breathing—something I cannot live without.  I have the great fortune in my job to be able to teach students at many different ages and abilities.  While teaching advanced students is wonderful and brings much musical joy, teaching beginners has become a particular interest and specialty of mine.  In particular, I am fascinated by how beginners at the piano learn to read.  Children and adults—all go through a similar process, but for some it melts comfortably into the fabric of more and more advanced music-making, and for others it remains a struggle.  Unlocking this mystery and helping all students succeed is part of what drives me as I start new students each year.

Another passion of mine is finding innovative ways to teach, particularly in group settings.  Whether it be in my college keyboard skills classes, my beginning piano group for second graders (which I co-teach with my pedagogy students), or in my monthly groups with my pre-college Academy students, these group experiences provide varied settings that both challenge and invigorate my teaching every day.   One hallmark of my overall teaching philosophy is the idea of creating a curriculum for each of my private students.  This curriculum drives the instructional process and my choice of materials and it accelerates student progress.  With this in mind, I spend much of my non-teaching time developing creative teaching strategies and searching for materials that reflect my curricular goals.  It is such a privilege to help students learn to be expressive at the piano!

I also believe that our education as teachers must continue to grow, so I frequently attend state and national conferences and also enjoy giving workshops to teachers.  Common themes in my workshops reflect my teaching passions: curriculum planning in the private studio, group teaching strategies and resources, developing listening skills in students, exploring new repertoire for students of all ages, among others.  Teacher education at any level extends beyond the walls of the classroom and the recital hall, and being a part of ongoing educational experiences is both exciting and gratifying.

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