Welcome to the Jacobs School of Music Piano Academy!
For ages 12 – 19*
Summer 2021 Session Dates: June 19 – July 10
The Jacobs School of Music Piano Academy brings serious young pianists together virtually with outstanding teachers and internationally renowned guest artists in an intensive and varied program under the auspices of one of the world’s great schools of music.
*Exceptionally, advanced students younger than 12 may be admitted by special permission of the Director.
A Message from the Directors
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 the top, especially if you’re considering the Academy for your summer study experience. We think you’ll come away with a good picture of what we’re about.
When we consider how far the Piano Academy has come from our modest beginnings in 1986 as one of many little piano camps to our current stature as one of the premier pre-college summer piano institutes, we’re 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, we 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 we believe we have at the Piano Academy – the results are truly magical. But don’t take our word for it. Judge for yourself: click on the “Testimonials” link at the menu on the top, 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 play a crucial role in the Academy’s success. Each year, we showcase some of the world’s most distinguished artist-teachers in masterclasses, lecture-recitals, and performances. In Summer 2021, we will feature a stellar roster of master teachers and concert artists including Eteri Andjaparidze, Edward Auer, Frederic Chiu, Arnaldo Cohen, Read Gainsford, Brian Ganz, Jean-Louis Haguenauer, Caroline Hong, Emile Naoumoff, Roberto Plano, and Steven Spooner.
Among the eminent artist-teachers and concert pianists who have shared their insights and expertise with use over the years are Edward Auer, Edmund Battersby, Gail Berenson, Jonathan Biss, Peter Bithell, Marvin Blickenstaff, Hans Boepple, Evelyne Brancart, Constance Knox Carroll, Richard Cass, Enrica Cavallo-Gulli, Sean Chen, Frederic Chiu, Winston Choi, Mia Chung, Arnaldo Cohen, Robert Durso, Read Gainsford, Sophia Gilmson, Jean-Louis Haguenauer, Marion Hall, Leonard Hokanson, Jeffrey Jacob, Joseph Kalichstein, Gilbert Kalish, Norman Krieger, Eric Larsen, Barbara Lister-Sink, Lee Luvisi, Rosita Kerr Mang, Anthony de Mare, Virginia Marks, Natalie Matovinovic, Yong Hi Moon, Louis Nagel, Emile Naoumoff, John O’Conor, Robert Palmer, Roberto Plano, Mary Craig Powell, Menahem Pressler, Walter Robert, Ann Schein, Karen Shaw, Logan Skelton, James Tocco, Nelita True, Ralph Votapek, André Watts, Dallas Weekley and Nancy Arganbright, John Weems, Robert Weirich, and Yael Weiss. We are deeply indebted to all these outstanding artists for giving generously of themselves to our young performers. They have helped greatly to vault 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 practice feverishly, and you’ll probably progress faster than you imagine is possible. Is it hard work? 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, Founding Director
-Dr. Melinda Baird and Dr. Tony Weinstein, Co-Directors