6. Eastman School of Music – Rochester, NY
Notable Faculty: Nelita True, Barry Snyder, Rebecca Penneys
Students of the Eastman School of Music are among the most high-caliber and technically gifted young pianists in the country. The faculty has also demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in promoting students to high levels of achievement. Rebecca Penneys, who is simultaneously an artist-in-residence at the St. Petersburg College, has students teaching in major positions on every single continent except for Antarctica. Her students, along with those of Nelita True, Barry Snyder, and many other Eastman faculty, have taken gold, silver, and bronze medals at a number of international competitions. A very selective school, Eastman is among the very best conservatories in the world for keyboard studies, as the college also has a rigorous class-schedule that encourages students to become adept at harpsichord performance.
Listen to the Faculty: Check out Eastman faculty member Nelita true accompany Donald Sinta in a definitive recording of american music for saxophone and piano
5. Bard College-Conservatory of Music – Annandale-On-Hudson, NY
Notable Faculty: Jeremy Denk, Peter Serkin, Jeffrey Kahane
The Bard College-Conservatory is a unique college situated in one of the most liberal of liberal arts colleges in the entire nation. It is intriguing to follow their meteoric rise to prominence in the academic classical music scene over the last ten years. Their piano faculty, as a result, is outstanding. Peter Serkin, the son of world-famous pianist Rudolf Serkin, is among the most well-known pianists in the entire world in and out of academia. He has been a favorite for meeting the technical demands of composers whose works he has premiered, including music by Bright Sheng, Charles Wuorinen, Toru Takemitsu, and Elliott Carter. Serkin has been the teacher to many of the most prominent pianists in the country, including Simone Dinnerstein and Orit Wolf.
Other faculty members include Jeremy Denk, a noted champion of modern classical music who has recently received the Avery Fisher classical music prize, and Jeffrey Kahane, a musician who is a noted pianist and conductor. Master pianist Richard Goode is also considered faculty, as he regularly presents masterclasses at the college (it is unclear whether students can study with him privately or not).
Listen to the Faculty: Check out Jeremy Denk’s lauded interpretation of JS Bach’s classic keyboard piece the Goldberg Variations
4. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music – Bloomington, IN
Notable Faculty: Menahem Pressler, Andre Watts, Edward Auer
Perhaps the most important piano teacher of the last sixty years, Menahem Pressler has been a forceful presence in the world of classical music since his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 24 in 1946 under the baton of Eugene Ormandy. Now over the age of 90, Menahem Pressler continues an extremely active career both teaching young students and performing worldwide. Andre Watts, one of the most celebrated classical musicians of the present, is also a distinguished professor at Indiana University. The highly diverse and selective faculty take students that regularly win prizes at the top music competitions in the world, making the destination ideal for any student wishing to pursue a top degree in piano performance.
Listen to the Faculty: Check out Menahem Pressler’s CD Piano Works by Schubert, Mozart & Beethoven