Piano Teachers


Kevin Fitz-Gerald

Professor of Keyboard Collaborative Arts and Keyboard Studies

Instruments/Expertise: Piano Performance; Solo and Chamber Music

(213) 740-7703 phone
RHM 304


Pianist Kevin Fitz-Gerald enjoys a versatile performing career as recitalist, orchestra soloist, and chamber musician. His performances have garnered international acclaim and he has been recognized for his “hypnotically powerful and precise” pianism and “dynamic and distinguished” interpretations. His concert tours and performances have taken place in major concert halls, universities, and concert organizations throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, China, Korea, Australia, Mexico, South America, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean. Notable venues include Carnegie Recital Hall (New York), The Mormon Tabernacle (Utah), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Roy Thompson Hall (Toronto), Place des Arts (Montreal), Izumi Hall (Osaka), Suntori Hall (Tokyo), National Gallery (Kingston), and Town Hall (Melbourne). He has appeared with several Canadian and American orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Canadian Chamber Orchestra, CBC Radio Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Los Angeles Cameratta, Utah Chamber Orchestra, and the Mormon Tabernacle Orchestra at Temple Square. Recent orchestral performances have included concerti by Dvorak, Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Mendelssohn, Balakirev, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Berg, and Scharwenka.

Fitz-Gerald’s concerts have frequently been recorded for local, national, and international radio and television networks in Canada, the U.S., South America, France, Japan, China, Korea and Australia. His CD recordings can be found on the Summit, Quatro Corde, AFCM, Centaur, GM, Yamaha PianoSoft and Ivory Classics records labels. In constant demand as a chamber musician, he has collaborated with internationally renowned artists such as Hagai, Shaham, Patrick Gallois, Stephen Isserlis, Anne Akiko Meyers, Richard Stolzman, Alan Civil, Camilla Wicks, Midori, Eudice Shapiro, Milton Thomas, Karen Tuttle, Donald McInnes, Ronald Leonard, the Bartok, St. Petersburg, and St. Lawrence String Quartets.

For many years, Fitz-Gerald was studio pianist in summer programs for some of the leading artist teachers of our time, including William Primrose, Lillian Fuchs, Zara Nelsova, Janos Starker, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Zoltan Szekely, Lorand Fenyves, and Marcel Moyse. He regularly performs two-piano and four-hand recitals with Bernadene Blaha, appearing at prestigious festivals, conventions, music teacher’s symposiums, and concert venues throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. The Blaha/Fitz-Gerald Duo has performed extensively throughout Canada under the auspices of the Piano Six program, the Canada Council Touring Office, and the Cross Country Classics program.

Fitz-Gerald also enjoys an international reputation as a teacher, presenting masterclasses and lecture-symposiums throughout the world. His students have been prize-winners in many major piano and chamber music competitions, including the Rubinstein International Piano Competition, Vilna International Piano Competition, IBLA International Piano Competition, American Orff-Schullwerke International Competition, ARD International Piano Competition, the Music Teacher’s National Association national competition, Los Angeles Liszt International Piano Competition, Jean Francaix International Competition, Canadian National Music Competitions, and the Colman National Chamber Music Competition. Today his students can be found winning competitions, performing, recording, and teaching at many of the finest conservatories and universities throughout the world. In addition to his position as Professor of Piano Performance and Collaborative Arts at the USC Thornton School, Fitz-Gerald is also a regular visiting artist teacher at the Banff School of Fine Arts, a frequent masterclass teacher at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, the Aria International Summer Institute in Indiana, as well as visiting faculty at many other national and international music festivals and institutions throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Born in Kelowna, British Columbia, Fitz-Gerald was a full scholarship student at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, The Banff Centre School of Fine Arts, and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where his principal teachers were Marek Jablonski, Robin Wood, and Alma Brock-Smith. In addition, he has worked extensively with Menahem Pressler, John Perry, Gyorgy Sebok, and Leon Fleisher. He has won several prestigious competitions, grants, and awards, including the Du Maurier Search for the Stars, CBC National Radio Auditions, and the Young Artists’ National Piano Competition.

Video Interviews with Kevin Fitz-Gerald:
About Kevin Fitz-Gerald
Piano and Collaborative Arts
Varied Arts Awareness
Finding Your Voice
Going Forward as an Artist
The Audition Process
Heroes and Influences
Finding the Right Music Teacher
Full Interview

Professional Experience

Career Highlights:

• Concert performances at major concert venues such as Carnegie Recital Hall, National Arts Center, Mormon Tabernacle, Disney Hall, Place des Arts, National Gallery, Roy Thompson Hall, Dorothy Chandler, Town Hall

  • Performances with internationally acclaimed artists such as Camilla Wicks, Anne Akiko Meyers, Richard Stolzman, Midori, Alan Civil, Milton Thomas, Patrick Gallois, Hagai Shaham, Eudice Shapiro, Donald McInnes, Lillian Fuchs
  • Featured regularly on local, national and international radio and television
  • Concert tours throughout Canada, USA, South America, Caribbean, Australia, Asia
  • Recorded CDs for Summit, Quatro Corde, AFCM, Ullanta, GM, Centaur, Yahama PianoSoft and Ivory Classics Records
  • Students have won numerous awards and top prizes in prestigious regional, national and international competitions; become professors, directors, deans, conductors, performers and coaches of and at established music schools, music organizations and major ensembles
Honors, Awards & Competitions:
  • Winner of the National Young Artists Piano Competition
  • Winner of the Du Maurier Search for Stars National Television Competition
  • Winner of the CBC National Radio Auditions Competition
  • Winner of the Friends of Chamber Music National Competition
  • Winner of the CFMX Professional Studies Grant
Music Festivals:
  • The Banff School of Fine Arts, Banff, Alberta, Canada
  • Aria International Summer Music School, BSU, Indiana
  • Australian National Academy International Chamber Music Institute, Melbourne, Australia
  • Newport International Music Festival, Newport, RI
  • San Miguel d’Allende International Festival, Mexico
  • Franck and Brahms Violin Sonatas with Petteri Iivonen, Yarlung 2011
  • Bach, Beethoven and Brahms Piano Works, Yamaha PianoSoft, 2010
  • Liszt Piano Works, Ivory Classics 2009
  • The Art of the Violin with Petteri Iivonen, Yarlung, 2009
  • Lazaroff Concerto for 2 Pianos with Bernadene Blaha, Centaur, 2009
  • Horn Sonatas from 3 Centuries with Richard Todd, GM Records, 2003
  • 20th Century Chamber Music with St. Petersburg Quartet, TCMF, 2001
  • Saint-Saens Chamber Works with David Hickman et al, Summit, 1994
  • Concert Paraphrase on Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (après Liszt et Horowitz) 2005
  • Grande Etude de Concert (after Moscheles “Hommage a Handel”) 2004
  • Cadenzas to Beethoven Concerto Op.15, 2001
  • Cadenzas to Mozart Concerto K.449, 1998
• Various reviews and articles for American Music TeacherOther Academic Experience:
  • A.V.C.M. – Associate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music (performance), 1980
  • A.V.C.M. - Associate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music (pedagogy), 1980
  • L.V.C.M. - Licentiate of the Victoria Conservatory of Music (performance)
  • 1981 Artist Diploma – Professional Studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music, 1989
  • A.A.(MUS) – Associate Arts Degree, 1980

Studied with
  • Marek Jablonski
  • Robin Wood
  • Alma Brock-Smith
  • Menahem Pressler
  • John Perry

Born in Japan, pianist Yoshie Akimoto’s  concert career began in her native Japan at age ten when she won the All-Japan NHK Student Competition.  She was a student of Teiichi Higashi.  At 13 as a last minute substitute, she made her debut with the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra giving the Japan Premiere of Mozart’s Concerto K. 415.  With no piano score available she composed her own cadenza which stunned the audience.  She quickly established herself as a gifted young artist performing concerts throughout Japan and on radio and television.

Ms. Akimoto came to the United States for further study at the Juilliard School of Music.  James Friskin, who became her first teacher, wrote of his experience at Miss Akimoto’s entrance exam:  “One in particular who stood out in my memory was a student from the Orient.  I gave her the highest possible score which was unique in my entire teaching career.”  In her first two years at Juilliard, she was a winner in the school’s Emperor Concerto competition and took first prize in the International J.S. Bach Competition in Washington DC.  Following the passing of James Friskin, she began her studies with Sascha Gorodnitzsky. She further studied and performed under Guido Agosti of the Acadamia Chigiana, Siena, Italy. 

Following her schooling, she concertized in the U.S ., Japan and Europe.  Her performances were endowed with passion and intensity and received with great enthusiasm. When her daughter, Allison Eldredge, was three years old, Ms. Akimoto began devoting herself to her daughter's training, as well as nurturing other young pianists.  As her daughter's international career as a concert cellist emerged, a unique mother-daughter duo was born.  Their collaboration thrilled audiences around the globe in recitals, including those at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; Moscow Conservatory Hall; Queen Elizabeth Hall in London; in Haifa, Israel; Casals Hall and Suntory Hall in Tokyo; Symphony Hall in Osaka; other major cities in Japan; at the Phillips Collection and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC; Ravinia in Chicago; at Royce Hall in Los Angeles; at the Cleveland Museum of Art; and in San Francisco Symphony Hall.  They recently made their seventh tour of Japan.Together, the Eldredge-Akimoto Duo have recorded for Canyon Classics and Denon labels, A Chopin and Faure disc and a collection of Showpieces for cello and piano.  Their radio and television appearances include ABC’s Good Morning America, WQXR Artist Showcase, Boston's WGBH " Live Performances", U.S. Cable Television Stations, on NHK radio and television in Japan, and a concert broadcast from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

As an active soloist and chamber musician, Ms. Akimoto has appeared at various music festivals including the Johanessen International Music Festival in British Columbia, Canada and is a faculty member of the Killington Music Festival in Vermont and Vianden Music Festival in Luxembourg. She is a frequent guest at universities and conservatories, including The Juilliard School, for Master Classes and individual coaching.  She has additionally served as judge at various national and international competitions. Ms. Akimoto directs the Akimoto Piano Studio in Southern California, New York, and Connecticut from which many prize winning students have emerged.  Her students are accepted each year in the most presitious conservatories, including Juilliard, Curtis, Manhattan, Peabody and others.


Paul Burke 

Paul Burke International Master Class Diploma

Paul Burke was born into a family of professional musicians. He received

his first piano lessons from his mother and the eminent Lily Foxon in Sheffield.
When a teenager,his parents were advised to send him to study with professor
Frank Merrick FRCM (a former Leschetizky pupil in Vienna) in London,and later with the Hungarian pianist Ilona Kabos also in London.

He was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain,
and while under the direction of its founder and Dame Ruth Railton DBE,
he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London where he
continued his studies with professor Max Pirani FRAM. Subsequently he
studied with the world renowned pianist Louis Kentner,brother-in-law and chamber music partner of the late Yehudi Menhuin, and later, Paul Burke was also guided by the distinguished teacher Fanny Waterman in Leeds.

Mr.Burke has given recital and concerto appearances on concert
platforms in Gt. Britain and abroad. In 1972 he made his first broadcast under the direction of renowned Czech pianist,and Supraphon recording artist, professor Otakar Vondrovic,who subsequently invited him to
visit his studio at the Janacek Akademie in Czechoslavakia.There he was awarded the International Master Class Diploma.

From 1973 until 1983 he was a piano teacher at the Piano Faculty, of the
Vorarlberg Music Schools and Conservatoire in Bregenz and Feldkirch,
Austria. During that time he broadcast for the ORF Austrian radio and
gave recital and concerto appearances in Austria, Liechtenstein,Switzerland
whilst occasionally visiting the UK for concerts.

Since returning to his home in England,he has performed throughout the
country,sometimes deputising at very short notice.These concerts have taken
him from his Yorkshire home, as far as Devon and Cornwall,with various
concerts at Universities, Theatres, Music Clubs & Societies, together with
appearances in the City of London.

Gareth teaches at his home in South Yorkshire, offering tuition in piano, organ, theory, GCSE, A level, degree work etc. He teaches both children and adults at all levels from beginner to diploma +. He coaches singers and instrumentalists and is a well known accompanist. He also teaches theory of music online/ by correspondence. He believes that teaching should be thorough but fun. Gareth achieved his first musical diplomas at the age of fifteen. By the age of 18, he had collected the prestigious Dixon and Turpin prizes for the top FRCO diploma and was already engaged as a recitalist around Europe. He studied at the Royal College of Music and at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London as Organ Scholar, then at Worcester College Oxford, again as Organ Scholar. On graduation, he became Organ Scholar at Canterbury Cathedral before taking up the position of Assistant Organist at Wakefield Cathedral in 1983. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Music at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, leaving in 1990 to pursue his free-lance interests as a recitalist, accompanist, adjudicator, Associated Board examiner, and composer/arranger. He has also worked for BBC Religious Broadcasting as a musical director for `Daily Service` and as an organist & pianist on `Songs of Praise`, `Sunday Half Hour` etc. Gareth has released various recordings, both as a soloist and choral accompanist, and his musical endeavours have taken him as far afield as America, Bermuda, Hong Kong and Singapore. He is one of the two choral directors for the popular “Come and Sing” weekends organised by `Music Matters`, at which new participants are always welcome. Gareth is a member of the panel of Trainers for the Associated Board and is one of their International Co-ordinators. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking, swimming and consuming blue Yorkie bars. You can discover more about him and about the fun-packed “Come and Sing” weekends via his website.



Gareth Green achieved his first musical diplomas at the age of fifteen. By the age of 18, he had collected the Dixon and Turpin prizes for FRCO and was already engaged as a recitalist around Europe. Following his time as a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal College of Music, Gareth spent a year at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London as Organ Scholar, before going up to Worcester College Oxford, again as Organ Scholar.

On graduation, he became Organ Scholar at Canterbury Cathedral before taking up the position of Assistant Organist at Wakefield Cathedral in 1983. In 1985, he was appointed Director of Music at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield, leaving in 1990 to pursue his free-lance interests as an organ recitalist, adjudicator, Associated Board examiner, and composer/arranger.

He has also worked for BBC Religious Broadcasting as a musical director for `Daily Service` and as an organist & pianist on `Songs of Praise`, `Sunday Half Hour` etc. Gareth has released various recordings, both as a soloist and choral accompanist, and his musical endeavours have taken him as far afield as America, Bermuda, Hong Kong and Singapore. He is much in demand as a teacher and is one of the busiest adjudicators on the circuit.

She's an expert in recognising the x-factor in pianists. And the virtuosi love her for 

By Jessica Elgot, July 8, 2010

She is president of an international festival, founder of the world's leading piano competition and a world-renowned teacher who will work in Washington, Seoul, Beijing, Hanover and Leipzig this year alone. At the age of 90, Dame Fanny Waterman shows no sign of slowing down.

As president of the Harrogate International Festival, and one of the most-sought after musical minds in the world, Waterman has a schedule which could keep her busy for another 90 years. "I have a saying, God grant me work until my life is done, and God grant me life until my work is done. I look ahead all the time, I plan ahead. If you don't use it, you lose it," she says.

Once a highly esteemed pianist, and now an honorary member of the Royal Philharmonic Society, Waterman's real joy is teaching, programming and discovering the classical music stars of tomorrow. More than two million people bought her Me and My Piano series of instruction books.

Waterman is clearly thrilled at her presidential appointment, and has set about injecting some of her trademark glamour into proceedings, convincing Prince Charles to become the festival's first royal patron and inviting her old friend, the writer Alan Bennett, to speak when it opens later this month.

Music is a wonderful discipline. It makes you think

"The festival encompasses all the beauty and magic of 'du holde Kunst', as Schubert described it, 'the heavenly art'," she says. "Every music lover will have the opportunity to hear the greatest musical masterpieces performed by the greatest artists.

"It's been a great tradition for many, many years. The Harrogate Festival was the thing to go to in Edwardian times. Edward Elgar played there, Jacqueline du Pré, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, all the greats. I truly believe that we have now restored it to its former glory. It's not only a great musical event - it's glamorous too. I love it when people dress up and make it an occasion."

Her presidency, she makes it clear, is not a ceremonial role. "I've suggested all the pianists and all the music for the programme," she says. Her protégés are among the star performers, including Leeds International Piano competition winner and runner-up, Sofya Gulyak and Alexej Gorlatch. Waterman will also give a Schumann masterclass with one of her other protégés, Benjamin Frith.

As co-founder of the Leeds piano competition 36 years ago, Waterman is credited by some of the classical music world's brightest stars as being responsible for their success. Competition entrants have included Radu Lupu, Andras Schiff, Artur Pizarro, and Murray Perahia - the current president of the Jerusalem Music Centre. Lupu kept the date of Waterman's 90th birthday inked into his diary for three years so he could return to the UK to play for her, a gesture she says was "purely out of love".

The affection and dedication is a two-way relationship - Waterman namechecked three of her students when she spoke recently on Desert Island Discs, including Lupu's performance of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as one of her eight records.

She is a firm traditionalist - she never strays far from the classical greats like Elgar, Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart and old friend Benjamin Britten. But her passion is new bright young musicians.

"I want to leave a legacy that I have helped to discover some of the greatest young pianists in the world and that my teaching has influenced people, even those who haven't become musicians. Music is a wonderful discipline. You can't play a note without thinking, how loud, how soft, how soon, how late? It makes you think carefully and it gives you judgment. I'm demanding of my pupils but also encouraging. I criticise and I praise and the balance is very important, to understand the psychology of teaching."

Waterman is one of the north of England's greatest champions, forsaking the bright lights of the capital to focus on building a renowned piano competition in Leeds. Three years ago, the council awarded her the freedom of the city.

"I was born in Leeds. So the piano competition was born in Leeds too," she says. "I dreamt it up one night, and I was so excited that I woke up my husband. He was born in London and he said: 'It won't work in Leeds, it has to be in a capital city." So it just goes to show, because it's now the greatest piano competition in the world. I put Leeds on the map."

She credits the success of the festival to her husband, Geoffrey de Keyser, a doctor. His death in 2001 hit her hard. "It was a marriage made in heaven - 57 years, can you believe it? He was my rock and inspiration. I couldn't have done it without him. He was a doctor but his knowledge of music was second to nobody. He chose the repertoire of the Leeds competition three times, he drew up the rules. Those rules are now the exemplary set for music competitions the world over," she says.

As part of a traditional Leeds Jewish family, Waterman has worn her Jewish roots on her sleeve, remarking "everybody knows I'm Jewish, of course they do", but she adds: "I feel that music is my religion because it unites us all. There's no barrier of race, sex, age. I really believe that that's the biggest power in my life."

But, she continues, it is taken for granted by those in power. "It's the Cinderella of the arts. The government ignores it - it doesn't support traditional music like it should. I understand that this new man, Nick Clegg, is musical, or he says he is. So I do hope he will be helpful. But I know I can always count on the support of the city of Leeds," she says.

As long as her pupils continue to want to play her favourite Chopin, Bach and Mozart, Waterman will keep teaching. She says: "Every day I'm hearing the great musical masterpieces performed by the best young musicians. Nobody could be luckier than I am."


BORN: In March 1920 in Leeds

FAMILY: Father was Myer Waterman, a Russian Jewish immigrant who came to Britain to work as a jeweller.

CAREER: Studied piano at the Royal College of Music. Performed with the Leeds Symphony Society in 1941. Gave up her concert career after the birth of her first child in 1950 and focused on teaching. Set up the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition in 1961. Given the Freedom of the City of Leeds in 2006

PERSONAL LIFE: Married to Dr Geoffrey de Keyser for 57 years, until his death in 2001. Two sons

The Harrogate Summer Festival runs from July 16-Aug 1. Details at www.harrogate-festival.org.uk

Last updated: 10:18am, July 8 2010