Our Mission

What is a collaborative pianist, you may ask?

Any pianist who is not playing alone is a collaborative pianist. We perform with orchestras, in piano trios and quartets, in recitals with singers, in four-hand or two-piano duos, and so much more! Also, that amazing Carmen production that you just saw wouldn’t have been possible without the rehearsal pianists and the vocal coaches who prepared the singers. A collaborative pianist played the celesta for the Nutcracker your whole family attended, and he or she played for all the dance rehearsals, too. We also teach other pianists, we serve as staff accompanists, and many of us become conductors!

Think of collaborative pianists as music stem cells that develop into many different tissues. The great pianists Sviatoslav Richter started his career as a ballet accompanist and continued to play with various partners throughout his life. Patrick Summers, the Artistic Director of Houston Grand Opera, was first a collaborative pianist and vocal coach. When Renee Fleming gives a recital, her partner is a collaborative pianist.

What makes us truly special, though, is that being a collaborative pianist requires a completely different set of skills than being a soloist or a solo piano teacher. And the road to perfecting those skills is largely unmapped.

Why do we want to do this?

There isn’t a single summer program in the US that is devoted to Collaborative Piano. There are many more schools now than in the past twenty years that offer a higher education degree in Collaborative Piano, but many of the programs are skewed towards developing only instrumental ensemble skills, or skills for opera rehearsals, or art song coaching, or ballet repertoire – it’s hard to find a program that encourages and delves into all the various aspects that a pianist can pursue. Then there are some summer programs, where a pianist is needed for opera and ballet productions and general accompanying, and is paid to attend (sometimes…), but is not given any specific instruction or individual attention. Instead, they are “paid” with exposure and experience in repertoire. But who likes gaining exposure without being confident in the craft they expose?! Who would like to gain experience that is left without guidance, never knowing if they are doing something right, or wrong, or if there’s a better way to approach it?

Our mission at the Collaborative Piano Institute is to provide a safe haven for pianists in various points of their collaborative piano journey, and we have a fantastic pool of applicants, many of which cannot pay for the full tuition.

why contribute to the scholarship fund with a tax-deductible donation?

The reason why we’re reaching out to you is that we would love you to help us provide a safe heaven for pianists in various points of their collaborative piano journey. We are happy to welcome world-class faculty members, specializing in various collaborative piano-related fields: Rita Sloan (chamber music, two-piano and four-hands), Kathy Kelly (conducting, vocal coaching, rehearsal piano, vocal recitals), Timothy Lovelace (chamber music, vocal recitals), Howard Watkins, and Marie-France Lefebvre (assistant conductors at the MET), and many more. Our fantastic pool of applicants includes juniors going into graduate school, master’s students going into DMA, artist certificates, and Young artist programs, professional pianists looking to refine their skills, many of whom cannot afford the full tuition of 2500 dollars. Your tax-deductible donation would be the reason they can afford to attend the Institute and receive knowledge that will shape their lives!

If you know a collaborative pianist, or have seen one, or have worked with one and know how awesome they are, help us with gathering scholarship funds that will go towards their tuition! Help us give invaluable experience to the people who enrich your life with music! Read how you can support us at: www.collaborativepianoinstitute.org/support