March 16, 2015

Quick Links...
In This Issue
President's Prelude
March Program
Awards Competition
College Scholarship
Oakton Six Piano Ensemble
Free Recital
Accompanist Needed
A Note from the Editor
March Teacher Seminar
February Minutes
Click here for the February meeting minutes.
Upcoming Events


March 16

PROGRAM: Elena Abend

"Music of Latin American Composers"

Faith Lutheran Church, 431 S. Arlington Hts. Rd., Arlingtonn Hts.

9:15 A.M. Chat

9:45 A.M. Meeting


March 18

Deadline: Awards Competition


March 21-25

MTNA National Conference

Las Vegas, NV


April 5, 2015  

Deadline Online Registration: Classical and Pop & Jazz Recital

April 6, 2015  

Check must be mailed for Classical and Pop & Jazz Recital

April 12, 2015

Harper College, Music Instruction Center

April 13, 2015

Steinway Gallery of Northbrook  141 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 

10:00 am

Send entries to: 

Pat Borchardt

36652 N. Oakwood Dr., Lake Villa 60046

April 18, 2015

Harper College, Music Instruction Center

April 19, 2015


Rolling Meadows Library 

1:30 P.M. Classical,  

3:30 P.M. Pop & Jazz


April 20, 2015

PROGRAM: Brenda Huang, "The Three-Ring Circus: Managing a Large Studio and Meeting the Different Needs of Students"

Rolling Meadows Library 

9:15 A.M. IMT Chat   

9:45 A.M. Meeting

April 25, 2015

Steinway of Northbrook,

5:00 P.M. - 7:30 P.M.

April 26, 2015


Send entries to:

Cheryl Buller

17682 W. Westwind Dr. Gurnee, IL  60031 

A Prelude from Our President


Dear fellow friends and teachers,


After spending a few hours listening to students' performances at the AIM Exams today, I realized that we are quite interconnected. Our love of music inspires us to teach in the first place; to share what we know with others, so they can benefit from the study of music, and learn to love it as we do. We work hard, teaching our students about all the elements involved in learning a piece; the dedication and focus necessary to bring it to that excellent degree of beauty, control and freedom. Then, if we are lucky, we are asked to sit in on the performance of some of our peers' students, and make some kind of informed comments that may help and encourage them. I am not speaking lightly when I say that this is an honor and a privilege, and after hearing today's students, I must add - a joy! So, it goes full circle, and we are able to enjoy the benefits of each others hard work, when we hear a student perform a Chopin Valse with a light beautiful touch, or a Tarantella with dancing fingers, or a Beethoven Sonata with the understanding of the long moving lines and the intensely changing dynamics that are required to bring it to life.


Again this newsletter is coming to you at the hands of many people, especially Deb Lynch, who waits patiently for me to send her a note, and gently reminds me when we cannot wait anymore. My journey this month, towards wellness, has been buoyed up by kind notes from you, my friends. I have begun treatments this last week, and will be continuing for a while. I hope to see you next month, and I urge you to stay on top of things, for our events coming up.


While I am not going to go to the MTNA National Conference after all, I hope that whoever of you is going will bring back stories to share with us in April! Be sure to congratulate our dear member, and MTNA Fellow, Helen Grosshans, when you see her. She will be honored for all her contributions, at the local state and national levels, at the conference in Las Vegas. We are so proud and happy for her to have received this recognition of her excellent educational efforts...


I will just leave you with a wish, as we come up to the beginning of spring...a wish for you to pause and listen to the world around you - the birds beginning to sing in the mornings, the breeze on a quiet day, the rain on the windowpane, your spouse's snoring, the sound of your students' attempts at a beautiful tone, the voices of children playing. Drink it all in and enjoy these days!


Gratefully, your President,

Robin Meredith-Kramer

NWSMTA - President


March Program



Subtitled, "A Dancing Journey through Latin America", this program will be based on different types of Latin American Dances. It will feature a program of solo and chamber music that feature the richness of melodies and textures that are accompanied by the different rhythms representative of extended regions of Latin America.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, pianist Elena Abend is well known as a soloist and chamber musician.  She has performed with all the major orchestras of her country and has recorded with the Orquesta Philharmonica Nacional of Venezuela.  As the recipient of a scholarship from the Venezuelan Council for the Arts, Ms Abend studied at the Juilliard School, where she received her Bachelor and Master degrees. Upon graduation she was awarded the William Schuman Prize for outstanding academic and performing achievement. Ms. Abend's performances have taken her to Europe and important venues in the United States and South America. She has performed at the Purcell Room in London's Royal Festival Hall, Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Academy of Music with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Other engagements have included the renowned Wigmore Hall in London, the Toulouse Conservatoire and the Theatre Luxembourg in France, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., the United Nations and Merkin Concert Hall in New York, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee and the Atlanta Historical Society. In her native Venezuela she has performed at important venues such as Teatro Municipal in Merida, Teatro Juares in Barquisimeto, Teatro Nacional, Teatro Municipal and the Teresa Carreno Cultural Center in Caracas. Live radio broadcasts include Philadelphia's WFLN, The Dame Myra Hess Concert Series on Chicago's WFMT and Wisconsin Public Radio at the Elvehjem Museum in Madison. An active chamber music collaborator, Ms Abend has performed with the Fine Arts Quartet, Frankly Music, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra Series, Present Music, Piano Chamber and New Generations Series, Music from almost Yesterday, the Yolanda Marculescu Vocal Art Series, Chamber Music Milwaukee, as well as numerous performances at the Ravinia and Marlboro Music Festivals. She has been a soloist with the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, the University of Wisconsin Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra and "MYSO" the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. She has recorded for Albany Records and the Avie label. Other recording and editing projects include numerous books for Hal Leonard's G. Schirmer Instrumental Library and Mozart piano pieces for the Schirmer Performance Editions. She also recorded a rare and recently found Trio by Samuel Barber entitled "Commemorative March". An avid performer of Latin American music, Ms. Abend is a founding member of the "Elisio" ensemble whose passionate mission is to promote the richness of Latin American repertoire.

A devoted educator, Ms Abend has been on the Faculty of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Indiana University's String Academy summer program and the Milwaukee Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Abend currently serves on the piano and chamber music faculty at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, where she is also co-director of Chamber Music Milwaukee "Faculty Artist Series."


Awards Competition - Deadline 


The NWSMTA Awards Competition deadline is on March 19

Competition day is April 18.

Registration line is open now.

Galina Kostukovsky, AC Coordinator

College Scholarship

Only one month till the deadline for the $!000 college scholarship which is April 15th.  If you have a high school student graduating this year and majoring in music (any instrument) at a college or university, he/she can apply for the scholarship.  Three pieces from different eras must be performed-Baroque, Classical, and either Romantic or Impressionistic periods.  All three pieces must be memorized due to comments past judges have made.  This year's judge is willing to adjudicate in her home (Wauconda) if the student prefers to do a live performance rather than on youtube or dvd.  Complete rules and application form is on the website.  If you have any questions, please call or email.

Oakton Six Piano Ensemble
The Oakton Six Piano Ensemble, under the direction of Conductor Glenna Sprague, will present concerts on Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 26 at 3:00 p.m. in the Footlik Theater at Oakton Community College, 1600 East Golf Road, Des Plaines. 


The Six Piano Ensemble was formed by Glenna Sprague, Professor and Coordinator of Music at Oakton, where she also teaches piano. The group performs repertoire from the classical, ragtime, and popular periods that is transcribed for the six pianos by Professor Sprague. The rich, layered sound of the Six Piano Ensemble compares to that of an orchestra, with each member playing a different part of a composition as the melody transfers from pianist to pianist.  This year's concerts features "Sonata in D Major" by Mozart; Le petit ´┐Żne blanc (The Little White Donkey) from "Histoires" by Ibert; Waltz movement from the "Masquerade Suite" by Khachaturian;  Samba triste and Ragtime waltz (Homage to Scott Joplin) from the "Four Piece Suite" by Richard Rodney Bennett as well as other selections.


Tickets are $17 for general admission, $14 for seniors and students, and $12 for group rate. For ticket information, call the Oakton Box Office at 847-635-1900 or order tickets online at Following each concert, there is a reception.


Critics from Vienna to Honolulu hail the internationally acclaimed Ensemble as "extraordinary," "innovative," "musical," and "technically superb."  The artistic success of the Oakton Six Piano Ensemble has resulted in prominent concert engagements across the United States and Europe, including the College Music Society International Conference in Vienna, Austria; MTNA National Conferences in Atlanta and Spokane; numerous MTNA state conferences; GP3 Conference at University of Oklahoma, National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy; Steinway of Chicago's Community Concert Series; and the Music Teachers' Association of California State Convention in Los Angeles.


The ensemble has released its second CD entitled, Oakton Six Piano Ensemble: Live in Concert II.


Free Recital


Douglas Humpherys, concert pianist, will perform a recital in the Performing Arts Center at Harper College on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. His career has spanned more than three decades and four continents, with countless performances, recordings, master classes, lectures and visiting residencies to his credit. He is the inaugural gold medalist in the Gina Bachaner International Piano Competition and chairs Eastman School of Music's piano department in Rochester, New York. Humpherys is also director of the school's Young Artist International Piano Competition and Festival. He has been featured in live performances on affiliates of NPR and PBS and is on the artists' roster of Steinway and Sons. Please purchase tickets at or 847-925-6100.


Mr. Humpherys will conduct a master class on the stage of the Harper Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, April 8, from 10:00 a.m. until approximately noon. This event is free to the public.


Accompanist Needed

  Songs by Heart Foundation is looking for a pianist to accompany singers for their program two days a week at The Moorings Presbyterian Home in Arlington Heights. This paid position is for Wednesdays and Fridays during April. They also need someone on Tuesday, April 24th. The commitment is from 10:15 am -12:00 pm. They perform old standards that would be familiar to the residents.  The Songs by Heart Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for persons facing age related memory issues through the power of music. This outreach program is currently being piloted in the Chicago area.  If interested, please contact Emily Becker


A Note from the Editor


The workshop with Kristin Yost was fantastic.  The topic was so current and did much to make the gap between the world we took lessons in and the world our students are learning in, a little smaller.  I downloaded a few new apps and found them to be helpful in my teaching, as well as with my own professional playing.


This is an exciting time to learn.  One of the greatest things is the ability for us to continue our own learning.  Technology is responsible for bringing into our students' earbuds the sounds of many concert artists performing their piece.  We have the ability to slow down that performance without altering pitch to examine closer the details of an excellent performance.  They can view the dances they're playing performed on YouTube, or the paintings and architecture that inspired the composers.  Technique can be done with accompaniment, making it fun, more musical and actually in tempo throughout.  Theory can be learned as the student improvises their own arrangements; giving them a practical application for it. 


For our own education, we have access to teaching blogs, masterclasses on the web, and podcasts (such as those on Andrea and Trevor Dow's blog).  We are learning to teach music from more varied styles.  I actually feel like a stronger musician and better teacher, because I am not limited in my teaching, just to classical music.  I also find it motivating to apply aspects from other musical genres to the traditional music I teach.  I've discovered it is okay to learn something with my students.  And my students can help me with technology.  I just wish they would slow down their instruction.  


Even though I have new tools to teach with, the focus of the piano lesson is on the sound.  I believe it's the reward the student receives for playing.  Although, for some "speed" is its own reward.  When a student can communicate their ideas with the sounds they produce, they are a performer.    



Deb Lynch  

Newsletter Editor 

March Teacher Seminar by Gail Smith

Note time change


When:  Saturday-March 21, 2015

Check-in:  1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Seminar:  2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Where:  HENDRICKS PIANOS, 421 Maple Ave, Downers Grove, IL 60515


Fee:  $25 includes the new workbook - 'Composing & Improvising'


Register your attendance by email to and pay at the door.


Celebrate 'Women's History Month' and 'Bach's Birthday while attending a fact-filled workshop demonstration.  You will learn how to improvise and compose in a step-by step process.  Right-hand patterns, will be shown, as well as easy left-hand patterns to play instead of holding one triad.  Popular songs, folk songs or Happy Birthday will instantly sound terrific.  Learn new fills, sound effects and creative ideas.


This "One-of-a-kind Workshop", will be given by, Gail Smith.  She has written and, compiled over 70 books for pianists such as the following, "The Complete book of Improvisation", "Fills and chord Progressions", "Four Centuries of Women Composers".  "Complete book of Modulations"; :Complete book of Chords"; "Complete Book of Scales';  "The Great Literature Series" by Mel Bay and "Creative Christmas Carols"; Women Composers in History" and "Piano Music of AMY BEACH" published by Hal Leonard as well as many books of Hymn arrangements by several other publishers.  Gail Smith has given workshops and concerts in most every state as well as in Japan, Germany and Sweden.  She gave a recital in an embassy in D.C. to celebrate Terresa Carreno's 150th birthday.  She was the pianist for the "Singing Policeman", on his Tour across America and was the pianist at the famed Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


This workshop will stimulate and inspire those who want to improvise or compose.


Those attending will receive a free copy of the first known piano solo that can be played upside down and sound the same (an Ambigram) plus the palindrome titled "STATS".


Northwest Suburban Music Teachers Association
Robin Meredith-Kramer, President
Maureen Flood, Website

Deborah Lynch, Newsletter