The collegiate piano faculty consists of professors Heather Conner, Amy Dorfman, Karen Ann Krieger, Craig Nies and Melissa Rose.
Piano majors may request Professor Conner, Dorfman, Krieger or Nies for solo piano study. Requests for a studio teacher are honored if teaching loads and studio space allow.
Heather Conner: solo piano, chamber music, piano performance class, chairs the Blair Academy piano department
Amy Dorfman: solo piano, chamber music, piano performance class, Blakemore Trio
Karen Ann Krieger: solo piano, piano pedagogy, accelerated keyboard harmony, piano performance class, chairs the collegiate piano department
Craig Nies: solo piano, piano performance class, piano literature
Melissa Rose: collaborative techniques, vocal/instrumental collaboration, chamber music, and Associate Dean
Students interested in studying the pipe organ at Blair are encouraged to enroll in secondary lessons or to complete a minor field of study in organ performance. Students are instructed by Dr. Malcolm Matthews, Adjunct Professor of Organ and Harpsichord, using the school's two pipe organs-the main recital instrument located in the Steve and Judy Turner Recital Hall, Dobson Op. 92, and a Holtkamp organ in a practice room dedicated for use only by organ and harpsichord students. The Dobson organ's tonal design concept was spearheaded by former professor of organ Carl Smith and is modeled on 18th century German instruments. But students also have the chance to play other organs in the area, of which there are many notable examples. Christ Church Cathedral houses an impressive 3-manual instrument by Lively-Fulcher built in a 19th century French Symphonic style, and Covenant Presbyterian Church features another three manual organ, this one by C.B. Fisk, in a more eclectic style suitable for an extremely broad range of repertoire.
Organ students study a wide range of repertoire, spanning the 16th century through today, and learn about a variety of historical styles and techniques. While the main focus of the course is most typically performance oriented, students interested in learning more about liturgical organ playing-hymn and anthem accompaniment, including continuo practice, and improvisation-are also encouraged to enroll, as the course can be adapted to suit the needs and intentions of organ
Students interested in studying the harpsichord at Blair are encouraged to enroll in secondary lessons or to complete a minor field of study in harpsichord performance. Students are instructed by Dr. Malcolm Matthews, Adjunct Professor of Organ and Harpsichord, using the school's three harpsichords. Teaching and performances usually utilize a Fisk instrument based on an 18th century design by Pascal Taskin, but students also have access to an instrument built by Willard Martin after Blanchet and a harpsichord by Glenn Giutarri inspired by Flemish designs. Opportunities to play instruments in Dr. Matthews' collection are also possible; his personal collection features instruments by Keith Hill-a French double after Taskin, a Flemish double after Ruckers, a 16' German double after Hass, and a newly acquired lautenwerk built to J.S. Bach's specifications for such an instrument.
Students study a wide range of repertoire from various national styles studying solo pieces, but continuo playing can be incorporated into lessons for those interested students. Pianists, and Collaborative Pianists, especially, are encouraged to enroll in harpsichord lessons, as the skills cultivated in this course will prove indispensable to their careers. For those interested in playing Baroque music on the piano, the techniques developed at the harpsichord inform piano playing-and it is vital, and often eye opening, to better understand how the composition sounded to its composer and how the acoustical and mechanical properties of the harpsichord informed the composition itself.
Pre-screening & Audition Repertoire Requirements
All applicants must complete a pre-screening video according to their program (instrument, voice, composition or jazz.) Pre-screening requirements are the same regardless of your specific major of interest. For example: all voice applicants will follow the vocal requirements below no matter what they plan to major in (Performance, Integrated Studies, or along the Musical Arts degree.) Once the admissions process is complete, admitted students will notify us of their intended specific major. You can learn more about these majors here. Jazz applicants should follow the specific Jazz requirements for pre-screening and audition on their primary instrument or voice.
All applicants should feel free to reach out to Blair Admissions with audition repertoire questions.
Recommended Audition Repertoire for the Keyboard DepartmentMemorization Required
- Major and harmonic minor scales, four octaves (audition only)
- Prelude (pre-screening only) and fugue (audition only) from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier or similar contrapuntal Baroque work
- Sonata-allegro movement by Haydn, Mozart (excluding K. 545), Beethoven (excluding Op. 49), or similar work from the classical period (pre-screening & audition)
- A major Romantic or Impressionist work (pre-screening and audition)
- A major work by a 20th or 21st century composer (audition only)
- Sight reading(audition only)