Master Classes

Advanced Piano
Tuesday, March 24
9:15–10:45 a.m.
Anton Nel

Anton Nel, winner of the first prize in the 1987 Naumburg International Piano Competition at Carnegie Hall enjoys a remarkable and multifaceted career that has taken him to North and South America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa. Following an auspicious debut at age 12 with Beethoven's C Major Concerto after only two years of study, the Johannesburg native captured first prizes in all the major South African competitions while still in his teens, toured his native country extensively and became a well-known radio and television personality. A student of Adolph Hallis, he made his European debut in France in 1982, and in the same year graduated with highest distinction from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He came to the United States in 1983, attending the University of Cincinnati, where he pursued his master's and doctor of musical arts degrees under Bela Siki and Frank Weinstock. In addition to garnering many awards from his alma mater during this three-year period he was a prizewinner at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition in England and won several first prizes at the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition in Palm Desert in 1986.

Highlights of Nel's nearly four decades of concertizing include performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, the symphonies of Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, and London, among many others. (He has an active repertoire of more than 100 works for piano and orchestra.) An acclaimed Beethoven interpreter, Anton Nel has performed the concerto cycle several times, most notably on two consecutive evenings with the Cape Philharmonic in 2005. He was also chosen to give the North American premiere of the newly discovered Piano Concerto No. 3 in E Minor by Felix Mendelssohn in 1992. Two noteworthy world premieres of works by living composers include "Virtuoso Alice" by David Del Tredici (dedicated to, and performed by Mr. Nel at his Lincoln Center debut in 1988) as well as Stephen Paulus's Piano Concerto also written for for Nel; the acclaimed world premiere took place in New York in 2003.

Creative Teaching
Sunday, March 22
11:00 a.m.–12:00 noon
Tim Topham

Tim Topham is an internationally renowned music educator, piano teacher, writer and presenter.

He has more than 20 years of experience in education, having taught in the United Kingdom and a number of states of Australia in subjects as varied as music, outdoor education, PE, mathematics and IT.

Through his blog and podcast at, he regularly inspires more than 20,000 teachers across the globe to become better educators for their students. In addition, and to give an even deeper level of support to teachers looking for guidance, he has a community of dedicated, creative teachers in my Inner Circle.

Topham has presented at conferences around Australia and overseas, and his writing and products have been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher, Californian Music Teacher and journals from music associations around Australia.

He served as consultant editor for the Australian Music Examination Board’s Piano for Leisure Series 4 books released in 2017, selecting, editing and writing performance, teaching and creative notes for 108 new pieces for student examinations.

He holds an MBA in Educational Leadership a Bachelor of Music inAudio Engineering, a Diplo-ma of Education and an Associate of Music Performance, Australia (AMusA) - Distinction.

Intermediate Piano
Tuesday, March 24
11:00 a.m.–12:00 noon
Dennis Alexander

Since his affiliation with Alfred Publishing Company in 1986 as a composer and clinician, Dennis Alexander has earned an international reputation as one of North America's most prolific and popular composers of educational piano music for students at all levels. Pro-fessor Alexander retired from his position at the University of Montana in May 1996, where he taught piano and piano pedagogy for 24 years. Upon moving to California, he taught privately in addition to serving on the faculties of Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge. He currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he maintains an active composing and touring schedule for Alfred Publishing Company.

Alexander graduated from the University of Kansas, where he was a student of Richard Reber. In 1972, he joined the faculty at the University of Montana and served as piano department chair and taught applied piano, class piano and piano pedagogy. In 1987, he made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall with violinist Walter Olivares and continues to be active as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. He has served as a collaborative artist for numerous internationally recognized soloists, instrumentalists, and chamber groups. A former president of the Montana State Music Teachers Association, he is a popular clinician at state and national music teachers conferences.  In 2014, Alexander was invited to judge a national piano competition in India called “Musiquest” and has toured twice to the far East where he performed recitals and workshops in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea.