Piano

Piano Academy

A Message from the Director

Welcome to the website of the IU Jacobs School of Music Summer Piano Academy! We're delighted that you'd like to learn more about our program. Do linger a while and check out our offerings on the menu at left, especially if you're considering the Academy for your summer study experience. I think you'll come away with a good picture of what we're about.

As Founding Director of the Piano Academy, when I consider how far we've come from our modest beginnings in 1986 as a little piano camp (23 students, 4 teachers), to its current stature as one of the premier pre-college piano institutes, I confess that I feel more than a little proud of what we've accomplished. In those early years, we worried that we would manage to prepare our students to the level expected by our distinguished master teachers. These days we have the opposite problem: the Academy draws so many fine young pianists from around the country and abroad to our beautiful Bloomington campus that we worry that we'll have enough master class slots for all the talented performers who deserve one!

Why have we flourished while other programs have faltered or closed their doors for good?
First of all I think it's because we have never swerved from our fundamental mission:

  • to liberate the artist within each young pianist and develop that which is most unique and meaningful in their musical being.
  • to inspire, challenge and encourage through close interaction with "kindred spirits", from perceptive teachers to gifted classmates.
  • to provide participants with an array of resources (interpretive and stylistic insights, skills, performance experiences, as well as a precious network of lifelong friends) that can open new vistas and take their playing to the next level and beyond.
  • to foster an ever-deepening love of our musical art in all its richly diverse manifestations.

The unique character of the Piano Academy's program stems first and foremost from our distinctive "collective" teaching system and the outstanding core faculty that make it work. How many summer programs do you know where there are no "second-class" students, no "junior" instructors to whom younger and less advanced participants are relegated? Where every student gets a lesson with nearly every member of the regular faculty? And what a fantastic faculty it is: modesty aside, you'd have to look long and hard to find a more knowledgeable, dedicated and inspiring group of teachers-and you just won't find one that functions better as a team. True collective teaching requires a terrific investment of time and energy from each member of the teaching team in order to come to lessons well informed, ready to reinforce and complement the work of colleagues. It really helps if the teachers also like and admire each other as individuals and as musicians-which we most definitely do! It can take years to find the perfect mixture of personalities and pedagogical gifts, then hone the collaboration to a fine art. But when you manage to-as I believe we have at the Piano Academy-the results are truly magical. But don't take my word for it. Judge for yourself: click on the "Testimonials" link at left, and read some of the appreciative messages from participants, parents and teachers. They represent only a fraction of the scores of unsolicited thank-you letters we have received over the years.

Our guest master teachers have played an equally crucial role in the Academy's success. Each year, we feature some of the world's most distinguished artist teachers in master classes, lecture-recitals and performances. For Summer 2016, we have put together a stellar roster of master teachers including long-time friends of the Academy Hans Boepple, Read Gainsford, Menahem Pressler and Karen Shaw; and returning artist teachers Jean-Louis Haguenauer, Joseph Kalichstein and Emile Naoumoff.  Making their first appearances at the Academy will be charismatic rising star Sean Chen and the dynamic Lomazov/Rackers Piano Duo, whose artistry and engaging personalities are winning admirers wherever they perform.

Among the noted artist teachers who have shared their insights and expertise with us over the years are Edward Auer, Edmund Battersby, Jonathan Biss, Marvin Blickenstaff, Evelyne Brancart, Constance Knox Carroll, Richard Cass, Frederic Chiu, Arnaldo Cohen, Sophia Gilmson, Leonard Hokanson, Gilbert Kalish, Barbara Lister-Sink, Anthony de Mare, Yong Hi Moon, John O’Conor, Roberto Plano, Ann Schein, Logan Skelton, James Tocco, Nelita True, Andre Watts and Robert Weirich. We are deeply indebted to all, not only for giving so generously of themselves to our young performers, but also for helping lift the Piano Academy into the top echelon of summer institutes.

Dear prospective students: if you attend the Piano Academy, you will be immersed in music from morning to night. You will be challenged as you have rarely been challenged. You will work feverishly, and you'll probably progress faster than you imagine is possible. Is it hard? You bet! But if your experience is typical, it may well be the most stimulating and memorable three weeks of your life.

- Dr. Karen Taylor