Faculty

Mary Beth Molenaar (Academy Director, Piano division coordinator)

m-molenaar@northwestern.edu • 847-467-2698

Mary Beth MolenaarMary Beth Molenaar graduated with a Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University. She holds masters and bachelors degrees in piano performance from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, respectively. In addition to piano, her training includes instruction in organ and harpsichord. Molenaar was recently named as a Foundation Fellow by the Music Teacher's National Association, and has received numerous awards in the past including the Outstanding Service to Music Education in Minnesota Award and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from St. Cloud State University. Her teaching experience includes working with students of all ages and levels, in both individual and group piano instruction, while on the faculties of St. Cloud State, the University of Wisconsin, and at Northwestern. Molenaar has a full-time position as Lecturer at Northwestern University. In addition to serving as director of the Music Academy, Molenaar chairs its Piano Division, and is a Senior Lecturer in the Bienen School of Music where she has taught piano pedagogy and keyboard skills classes. She also serves as Chair of the Illinois State MTA Achievement in Music program, a comprehensive piano curriculum with over 3,000 students participating in three states. Molenaar is a member of Phi Kappa Lambda, Sigma Alpha Iota, and several area music teachers groups.

Marcia Bosits (Piano)

Marcia BositsMarcia Bosits is codirector of graduate studies and director of piano pedagogy at the Bienen School of Music. An internationally recognized performance and pedagogy specialist, she has presented master classes and seminars throughout the United States, Canada, and the Far East. Bosits is an officer in Music Teachers National Association and National Conference on Piano Pedagogy. She is a chamber musician and author of articles in national music journals.

Birdi Dawson (Piano)

Birdi DawsonBirdi Dawson completed her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees (magna cum laude) at Illinois State University, where she was appointed as a Graduate Assistant of Group Piano instruction. During this time, she studied with Tong-Il Han, internationally known Korean pianist and former student of Rosina Lhevinne from the Juilliard School of Music, and Julian Dawson, British/American pianist and conductor. Her post-graduate study included pedagogy and performance courses with teachers in Vienna and London.

The college years and beyond have found Ms. Dawson focusing on a teaching and accompanying career, while completing two further Masters Degrees in Family and Consumer Science (ISU) and Library and Information Science (Univ. of IL). She managed a private piano studio of 42 students per week for 18 years, while performing as a collaborative pianist in over 500 recitals with soloists, choirs and orchestras. She has also been employed as an opera coach/rehearsal accompanist at ISU and the Brevard Summer Music Festival, North Carolina, performing in over 25 operas/musicals. She has been a member of Delta Omicron, Kappa Omicron Nu and Phi Beta Kappa. She is presently a member of the North Shore Music Teachers Association and was appointed to the faculty of the Northwestern Music Academy in Fall, 2006.

Annie Hsiao (Piano)

Annie HsiaoAnnie Hsiao holds a Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University. Her research included rhythmic analysis in Russian piano etudes, flexibility of tempo rubato, and Lisztian piano technique. She received bachelor and master degrees in piano performance from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she also earned a masters degree in music theory. Hsiao received numerous academic and piano performance awards during her college and graduate years, including the University Library Award, Teaching Excellence Award, and Piano Division Achievement Award. Under the guidance of Kenneth Drake, David Kaiserman, and Alan Chow, she has performed in several recitals and has participated in numerous piano competitions. Her major pedagogy teachers include Frances Larimer, Marcia Bosits, and Mary Beth Molenaar. Hsiao currently teaches private and group lessons in the Music Academy and keyboard skills classes in the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University.

Grace Juang (Piano)

Grace Juang

Grace Juang received her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Maryland. Her research examined music by Robert and Clara Schumann. She holds a master of music degree in piano performance from Northwestern University and a bachelor of arts degree in music from National Taiwan Normal University. Under the guidance of Alan Chow and Larissa Dedova, Grace has performed in several solo and chamber recitals throughout Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Taiwan. She won the 22nd International Young Artists Piano Competition in Washington, D.C. Her mentors include Marcia Bosits and Elvina Pearce. She has taught at Taipei First Girls' High School and worked with piano students of all ages and levels. In addition to teaching at Northwestern Univeristy's Music Academy, Dr. Juang is on the piano faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago. As an active member of the Music Teachers National Association, she serves as chair for the Illinois Music Teachers Association Northeast Audition and co-chair for the North Shore Music Teachers' Association Piano Competition. She is a dedicated and passionate teacher whose ultimate goal is for students to develop a lifelong appreciation for music, and many of her students have won competition prizes.

Karen Kan-Walsh (Piano)

Karen Kan-WalshOriginally from Michigan, Karen Kan-Walsh began piano studies at the age of seven under the instruction of her mother, Juliana Kan. Kan-Walsh received her bachelors and masters degrees in piano performance from the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor where she studied under Charles Fisher, Eugene Bossart, and Theodore Lettvin. Additional studies in the Taubman approach were with Joseph Gurt. At Northwestern, where Kan-Walsh received the Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, her teachers/advisors included Frances Larimer, Marcia Bosits, Elvina Truman Pearce, Laurence Davis, and John Buccheri. She wrote Cadence, Chromaticism and Counterpoint in Selected Works by W.A. Mozart; Technique in Keyboard Skills for Non-Piano Music Majors; and Russian and Soviet Pre-College Piano Literature as projects for her doctoral degree. Kan-Walsh has performed both solo and chamber music in the Ann Arbor and Chicago areas as well as solo and duo piano performances in St. Petersburg, Russia. An active member of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association, she served as Chairperson for the Performance Syllabus Exams from 1996-98. She is also an active adjudicator and has presented workshops in the Chicago area. Kan-Walsh is currently the coordinator of the Keyboard Skills program at the Bienen School of Music, with past positions at the DePaul University Community Music Division, the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Music, and Music Arts School in Highland Park. Kan-Walsh is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda and writes new music reviews for Clavier, a journal for pianists and piano teachers.

Yeeseon Kwon (Piano)

Yeeseon KwonDr. Yeeseon Kwon provides adult group and private piano instruction in the NU Music Academy. She is pianist and associate professor teaching piano musicianship and piano pedagogy at Roosevelt University, and brings with her expertise and scholarship in piano performance and pedagogy as a teacher and performing artist. Formerly associate editor for Clavier Magazine, Dr. Kwon published numerous new music reviews and articles, and has also authored several articles in Piano Pedagogy Forum and Clavier Companion Magazine. As editor of keyboard music, Dr. Kwon collaborated with various composers, editing educational piano music and publications. Dr. Kwon is in demand nationally as an adjudicator, workshop clinician, conference and masterclass presenter. Her performances include international solo and collaborative engagements in the United States and Russia. Most recently at the National Conference for Keyboard Performance (NCKP) Dr. Kwon was appointed to the committee on Teaching Adults to further pedagogical research on issues dealing with adult learning. 

Heidi Mayer (Piano)

Heidi Mayer

Heidi Mayer, NCTM, holds Bachelor Degrees from the University of Michigan in Piano Performance and Choral Music Education, and a MMA in Piano Performance from Eastern Michigan.  She earned a Diploma in Vocal Accompanying from the Vienna Academy of Music as a Fulbright Scholar. She was a faculty member of De Paul University’s Community Music Program from 1990-1993 and continues to maintain an independent piano studio in Park Ridge.  Mrs. Mayer has taught private and group lessons for children in the Music Academy since 2015.  Ms. Mayer was named Teacher of the Year by the Illinois Music Teachers Association in 2015 and has received teacher enrichment grants from Music Teachers National Association and National Piano Technicians Guild.

Margaret McElwain Kemper (Organ)

Margaret Kemper

Margaret Kemper holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ from DePauw University where she studied with Arthur Carkeek, and a Master's degree in organ from Northwestern University as a student of Barrett Spach. As a Fulbright Scholar in Paris for two years after college, she studied with André Marchal, as well as with Marie-Claire Alain and Anton Heiller at the Summer Academy for Organists in Haarlem, the Netherlands. She is currently Organist and Director of Musicat Presbyterian Homes in Evanston and also teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago. She has served the American Guild of Organists in many positions for many years, both locally and nationally. She was National President of the AGO from 1994-1998. In 1998 She lead a delegation of organists to Prague, Budapest and Warsaw as part of the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program; and has played recitals in Moscow, Warsaw, Kiev and Rivne in the Ukraine. She also presented two master classes at the universities in Kiev and Rivne as part of the third American Organ Festival sponsored by the American Embassy.

Debbie Masloski (Adult Piano)

Debbie MasloskiDebbie Masloski began her formal training at the Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg, Germany. As a recipient of the Presidential and Goodbord Scholarships she received a bachelors degree from the University of Northern Colorado. She received her masters degree from the Juilliard School where she studied with Nadia Reisenberg, Herbert Stessin and David Diamond. Masloski completed a Doctor of Music degree at Northwestern University, where her research examined the influence of social and religious trends on the piano literature. Her teachers/advisors included David Kaiserman, Francis Larimer, Marcia Bosits, Peter Webster, and John Buccheri. Masloski has won competitions both here and abroad and has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Chicago Civic Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony, Colorado Springs Orchestra, and the UNC Symphony. She has performed on WFMT radio, is an active soloist, chamber musician, accompanist, and member of the Testore Trio. Masloski has been on the faculty of the University of Illinois, Chicago State University, Lake Forest College, The Merit Music Program in Chicago, The Jemez Music School in New Mexico and artist in residence at California State University. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the Illinois State Music Teachers Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, and is active as an adjudicator. She also directs the orchestra program for school district 73.

Jennifer Merry (Piano)

Jennifer Merry

Jennifer Merry has been on the faculty of the Northwestern University Music Academy since 1989. She currently teaches private and group piano lessons and Kindermusik classes. From 1992 to 2006 she also coordinated the pre-piano program and taught a number of classes for 5 and 6 year olds. She holds two Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University; one in piano performance and pedagogy and one in music education. She also holds an undergraduate degree from Eastern Washington University in piano performance. Ms. Merry's piano teachers have included Mary Jane Clark, James Edmonds, David Rostkoski, Carmen Or and Alan Swain. She remains active as a piano accompanist for choral groups, singers and instrumentalists. Ms. Merry was an early recipient of the D.H. Baldwin Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching, a national award which recognizes talented young music teachers and helps them to establish private studios. She has reviewed new music for Clavier and American Music Teacher magazines, and has contributed articles to Keyboard Companion magazine. In addition to teaching piano, Ms. Merry taught general music and chorus for 5 years at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Glenview. She also sings alto in the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, the city's oldest musical organization.

Susan Ramey Osborn (Piano, Adult and Pre-Piano Coordinator)

Susan Ramey OsbornSusan Ramey Osborn received a Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Smith College, and a Professional Teaching Certificate from The New School for Music Study in Princeton, NJ. She also studied at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France, and L'Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris under a Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship. Her performance teachers included Robert Miller, Serge Petitgirard, Michael Zenge, Phyllis Rappeport, Francis Whang, Jacob Lateiner, and David Kaiserman. Dr. Osborn studied pedagogy under Frances Clark, Louise Goss, Sam Holland, Frances Larimer, Elvina Truman Pearce, and Marcia Bosits. In addition to teaching at the Academy, Dr. Osborn is on Keyboard Skills faculty of Northwestern University and the Piano faculty of Interlochen Arts Camp. Her teaching experience includes both private and group instruction for students of all ages and levels. As a performer, she has presented numerous recitals and has appeared as a soloist with orchestras. She is active as a performer and adjudicator in the Chicago area, a member of the honorary music society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and a member of Music Teachers National Association.

Michael Pecak (Piano)

Michael Pecak

Chicago-born pianist Michael Pecak has performed to great acclaim throughout North America and Europe on both historical and modern instruments. Having completed degrees in piano performance at Northwestern (BM) and Indiana Universities (MM), Michael went on to the Conservatory in Warsaw, Poland, as a Fulbright Scholar. A consuming interest in historical performance brought Michael to Cornell University where he was a Graduate Fellow, working with Malcolm Bilson. Recently, Michael earned his DMA degree in fortepiano and historical performance practices at McGill University in the class of Tom Beghin. Michael has taught piano at Opus Ithaca School of Music, Indiana University, and Piano Trends Music Co. As a scholar, he has published on Beethoven and Chopin in Keyboard Perspectives and with The National Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw.

Jia-Yee Tang (Piano)

Jia-Yee TangJia-Yee Tang received her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Piano Performance from the University of California, San Diego. Her previous teachers include Virginia Weckstrom, Marcia Bosits, Elizabeth Buccheri and Stefani Walens. She is the recipient of the Dr. Milton H Saier, Sr. Memorial Award from UCSD and the MTNA Student Achievement Recognition Award from NU. Past musical activities include attending the Aspen Music Festival and giving a recital featuring the works of contemporary composer George Crumb. She is a member of MTNA and will serve as a board member for 2008-2009. She has been on faculty at the Academy since 2006 and also teaches at the Highland Park campus of the Music Institute of Chicago. In addition to teaching, she remains an active accompanist in the Chicago area, primarily working in collaboration with musicians from Northwestern University.

Katie (Hamada) Randolph (Piano)

Katie (Hamada) RandolphKatie Randolph (Hamada) completed her Doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Northwestern University. She earned a Masters of Music from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelors of Music from Northwestern University. A passionate teacher, Katie is on the piano faculties of Northwestern University’s Music Academy and Depaul University’s Community Music Division. She is also a certified public school music teacher and Suzuki instructor. Her work as an educator has taken her through Chicago Public Schools to present piano music for Ravinia’s One Score, One Chicago and to Chicago suburban schools as an orchestra conductor and chamber music coach. Her students have earned gold medals and placed in local competitions.

As a performer, Katie has given solo recitals in Chicago and abroad in Finland and France. She has been a soloist in concerto performances with the Northwest Festival Orchestra, Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra, and ensembles at Northwestern. She also collaborates as a chamber musician and has performed with the New World Symphony. She is the recipient the Amelia A. Hoff Scholarship, Emma Peters Hooper Scholarship, and the Farwell Award from the Musicians Club of Women. Katie’s teachers include Sylvia Wang and Nina Svetlanova.