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Philadelphia, PA




Temple Music Prep

Temple University’s Music Preparatory Division, or “Temple Music Prep” for short, is a program located in the heart of center city, Philadelphia, that provides high quality, non-credit music and dance instruction, and related activities to the Community on behalf of the Boyer College of Music and Dance, and Temple University at-large. World-renowned violinists Sarah Chang and Elena Urioste, as well as several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra share something in common: they were all...


Jeff Russo, Composer, Songwriter, and founding member of Tonic

Jeff Russo was one of the two founding members of the rock band “Tonic”, perhaps best known for their number one hit in the 90s, “If You Could Only See”. Nowadays, Jeff is in demand as a TV and film composer, having scored music for hit shows like “Fargo”, “American Gothic”, and can currently be heard on the new FX Marvel series, “Legion”. Welcome to A Musical Life. I’m Hugh Sung. Jeff Russo is a two-time GRAMMY® and Emmy-nominated musician who taught himself to play the guitar as a...


David Hart, Guitarist and Entrepreneur

David Hart is the developer of the G4 Guitar Method, a method based on his two decades of teaching and opening schools throughout Australia. David’s G4 method not only teaches students the 7 essential skills of guitar playing - it also teaches teachers how to become entrepreneurs and open their own schools, as evidenced by the 50 franchises of the G4 Guitar method around the world. For most musicians, “sales” is a dirty word. “Art” and “business” are concepts that mix about as well as...


Carol Jantsch, Principal Tubist of The Philadelphia Orchestra

Carol Jantsch became the first female tuba player to win a major symphony orchestra position while she was still a senior attending the University of Michigan back in 2006. In addition to her duties as principal tuba of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Carol has been active as a tuba soloist, appearing in recital and in concerto settings with orchestras and ensembles around the world, and now has started her own tuba cover band called “Tubular”. Carol Jantsch is a stunning virtuoso musician,...


Sara Davis Buechner

Sara Davis Buechner has been hailed by The New York Times for her “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess”. As one of the leading keyboard artists of our time, Sara has an active repertoire of over 100 piano concertos and has appeared with prominent orchestras all over the world. Sara was recently appointed to the piano faculty at Temple University's Boyer College of Music and Dance, in Philadelphia. Sara Davis Buechner first came to prominence as David Buechner,...


Sam Rao, Developer of Practicia

Sam Rao is a multi-discipline musician, entrepreneur, and developer of Practicia, an innovative app platform that helps students and teachers make practicing more fun and productive. As a musician, Sam studied composition and conducting at Oberlin Conservatory and the Aspen Festival. As an entrepreneur, he co-founded his own music school which grew to be one of the largest in Northern Ohio. Everyone knows that practice makes perfect, and no doubt you’ve heard the old adage, “how do you...


Roger Ideishi, Occupational Therapist and Arts Advocate

Roger Ideishi is the Director of Occupational Therapy at Temple University in Philadelphia. He has worked to provide community access and opportunities for children with diverse sensory and cognitive abilities. Roger has worked with such arts organizations as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Philadelphia Ballet Company and The Philadelphia Orchestra to help them build meaningful learning experiences for special needs children and their families. In...


Eleanor Sokoloff, Legendary Piano Pedagogue

Eleanor Sokoloff has been teaching piano at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia since 1936. At the ripe young age of 102, she shows no sign of slowing down. Some of her most esteemed students have included the likes of Keith Jarrett, Lambert Orkis, Susan Starr, Leon McCawley, Meng-Chieh Liu, and countless others. This year, Eleanor Sokoloff will be turning 103 years old, and remarkably, she is still teaching piano at The Curtis Institute of Music and pouring tea at one of...


Chad Seiter, Movie, TV and Videogame Composer

Chad Seiter has composed and produced original music for several major Hollywood franchises such as Star Trek, Fringe, and Lost. He is also Composer, Music Director and Associate Executive Producer for Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions and The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses touring concert series performing symphonic arrangements of classic Nintendo scores with hundreds of the world’s leading orchestras. Chad Seiter is one of those composers lucky enough to create music that...


Mimi Stillman, Flutist

At the age of 12, Mimi Stillman was the youngest wind player ever to be accepted for studies at The Curtis Institute of Music with the legendary flutist Julius Baker. Now, Mimi is not only a world renowned flute soloist, but she is also the founder and artistic director of the Dolce Suono chamber music ensemble, as well as an author, arranger, teacher, and lecturer with a doctoral degree in history. Back when I was the Director of Instrumental Accompaniment at The Curtis Institute of...


Joseph Conyers, Assistant Principal Bass of The Philadelphia Orchestra

Joseph Conyers is a remarkable musician, educator, and civic leader. In 2007, Ebony magazine named him one of ‘30 Leaders 30 and under’. In addition to his position in the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joe is the Music Director for the School District of Philadelphia's All City music program, and founder of Project 440, an organization that provides high school students with opportunities and tools for individual growth and community impact. Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful, restful...


Tom Di Nardo, Arts Writer and Author

For 40 years, Tom Di Nardo has covered the Philadelphia arts scene through his articles in the Bulletin and the Philadelphia Daily News. Tom recently published two new books: “Listening To Musicians”, a compilation of interviews and reflections on the conductors, musicians and artists associated with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and “Performers Tell Their Stories”, where Tom gets to share stories from his interactions with artists from the classical, jazz, opera, ballet, and pop...


Alan Morrison, Organist

Alan Morrison is recognized as one of America's premier concert organists, performing in prestigious concert organ venues across the United States and in Canada, as well as in international festivals. Alan is currently the head of the organ department at The Curtis Institute of Music, and is a faculty member of Westminster Choir College and College Organist at Ursinus College. I had the good fortune of attending The Curtis Institute of Music at the same time as Alan Morrison, who in...


Frederic Chiu, Polymath Pianist

Frederic Chiu is one of those renaissance polymath pianists for whom music is a prism for exploring life in its totality. From recording the entire oeuvre of Prokofiev’s piano literature to exploring the relationships between disparate cultures, interests in computer science and artificial intelligence, and even using the principles of cooking to explore deep learning principles, Frederic is a fascinating example of what a beautiful mind looks like in the world of music. Frederic Chiu’s...


David Steinbuhler

Pianists with small hands have to overcome considerable physical challenges in order to be able to play great literature for the piano. Oftentimes those challenges lead to muscle strain and even career-ending injuries. To address the unique needs of smaller hands, engineer and business owner David Steinbuhler collaborated with pianist Christopher Donison in 1991 to develop a new set of standard sizes and prototypes of smaller piano keyboards. The magic for creating these smaller keyboards...


Kayhan Kalhor, Master of Persian Music and the Kamancheh

Kayhan Kalhor is one of the greatest living masters of the Kamancheh, a 3 or 4 stringed Persian spiked fiddle and ancient predecessor to the modern cello. Kayhan performs around the world extensively as a soloist and collaborator with a wide variety of musicians, including Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road ensemble. The kamancheh is an incredibly soulful, deeply expressive instrument that can sound like the human voice or a woodwind instrument in the right hands. Talking with Kayhan gave me a...


Hector Olivera, Organist

Hector Olivera was a child prodigy on the organ, having performed for the likes of Eva Perón, the first lady of Argentina, when he was only five. Hector has since become an international sensation, performing on all the great cathedral organs around the world, as well as embracing the possibilities of digital organs with his stunning live performances of classical as well as popular and movie transcriptions. The mighty pipe organ has been hailed as the “king of instruments”, with its...


Seymour Lipkin Tribute

Seymour Lipkin was an esteemed faculty member of the Juilliard School and The Curtis Institute of Music. His understated persona coupled with a towering intellect resulted in a passionate fidelity to the composer’s intent on the score, as can be heard in his complete recordings of the Beethoven and Schubert piano sonatas. A longtime director of the Kneisel Hall summer chamber music festival in Blue Hill, Maine, Mr. Lipkin died near his beloved festival last year at the age of 88. On...


Musicologist Mark Samples

History is full of stories of great musicians with financial struggles - Beethoven, Schubert, even Mozart was said to have been buried in a pauper’s grave. The image of the “starving artist” tries to glorify the idea that great musicians are supposed to sacrifice everything in pursuit of their art and not expect any commercial gain, much less “stain” themselves with mundane business pursuits. But we forget that before these great musicians of the past were immortalized for their music,...


Sean Perrin, host of the Clarineat Podcast

Sean Perrin is the host of "Clarineat", a popular podcast show dedicated to all things related to the clarinet. Sean's debut CD, “Dreamsongs”, hit the top of the Canadian Jazz charts when it was released, and features a unique mix of arrangements of Chick Corea and Phillip Glass songs performed on clarinet, marimba and vibraphone. If you’re a musician thinking about recording a CD, you’ll find this interview with Sean really informative. He managed to get his project funded through a...