2022 Award Recipients


MTNA Achievement Award
George Theophilus Walker, Posthumous

George Theophilus Walker was an American composer, pianist and organist who was the first African American to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Walker was first exposed to music at the age of five when he began to play the piano. He was admitted to the Oberlin Conservatory at 14, and later to the Curtis Institute of Music to study piano with Rudolf Serkin, chamber music with William Primrose and Gregor Piatigorsky, and composition with Rosario Scalero, the teacher of Samuel Barber. He received his doctorate from the Eastman School of Music. Walker taught at Rutgers University in New Jersey for several years, retiring in 1992.

Walker composed many works, including five sonatas for piano, a mass, cantata, many songs, choral works, organ pieces, sonatas for cello and piano, violin and piano and viola and piano, a brass quintet and a woodwind quintet. He published over 90 works and received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and many other ensembles. He was the recipient of six honorary doctoral degrees. Walker was the father of two sons, including violinist and composer Gregory Walker.

MTNA Teacher of the Year
Victoria Fischer Faw, NCTM

The MTNA Teacher of the Year Award recognizes a teacher who has made a significant difference in the lives of students, has contributed to the advancement of music in their community and is an outstanding example of a professional music educator. The recipient of the 2022 MTNA Teacher of the Year Award is Victoria Fischer Faw, NCTM.

Victoria Fischer Faw, DMA, NCTM, professor emerita at Elon University, is a pianist, teacher and scholar whose musical passions include playing, researching and teaching the full range of piano solo and collaborative repertoire to students of all ages and stages, teaching young teachers to teach piano and mentoring undergraduate musical research. Although she officially retired from Elon University last May, she is currently teaching part-time to see her seniors through and preparing her final faculty recital. Her many roles on the Board of North Carolina Music Teachers Association include Certification chair, Piano Section chair, Conference chair, president and past president. North Carolina was named MTNA 2020 State Affiliate of the Year during her term as president. She is currently chair of the NCMTA Past Presidents Advisory Council and is leading the establishment of the first MTNA Virtual Local Affiliate, created for teachers and students in Western North Carolina. She was recognized as the 2021 NCMTA Teacher of the Year and was named a 2022 MTNA FOUNDATION Fellow.

An acknowledged expert in the music of Béla Bartók, Vicky frequently presents performances and presentations for local, state, national and international professional organizations and institutions, including NCMTA and MTNA. First-prize winner of the 1990 Bartók-Kabalevsky International Piano Competition, her publications include Bartók Perspectives: Man, Composer, & Ethnomusicologist (Oxford University Press), a chapter contributed to A Bartók Companion (Cambridge University Press) and articles in Studia Musicologica and The International Journal of Musicology.

Vicky received her musical education at Centenary College of Louisiana, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Texas at Austin and the Vienna Conservatory in Austria, with teachers including Constance Knox Carroll, Donald Rupert, Danielle Martin, David Renner, Amanda Vick Lethco, Martha Hilley and Elliott Antokoletz. Her career as performer, scholar, teacher and adjudicator has taken her across the U.S. and to Puerto Rico, Italy, Hungary, England, Greece, Germany, Austria, Turkey and Belize. She began teaching piano as a high school student of MTNA FOUNDATION Fellow Billie Leach in Shreveport, Louisiana, who first sparked her passion for music teaching. Vicky lives on a Christmas tree farm in Sparta, North Carolina, with her incredibly patient and supportive husband, Steve.

MTNA Distinguished Service Award
Music Teachers National Association
National Headquarters Staff

The MTNA Distinguished Service Award recognizes MTNA leaders who have provided significant and lasting volunteer service to the national association. The recipient of the 2022 MTNA Distinguished Service Award is Music Teachers National Association Headquarters Staff.

The coronavirus pandemic over the past year or so has brought out the very best from the MTNA staff. They faced multiple challenges and setbacks, including the cancellation of three consecutive national conferences; producing multiple virtual events (conferences, Collegiate Symposiums, GP3, and Summits); transitioning without notice to remote work; moving the national headquarters; and maintaining the routine processes and on-going work of the association. Any one of these events coming individually could command full attention of the staff. But, all of them unfolding at the same time required extraordinary effort and teamwork. The MTNA staff fully met the challenges, accepting additional tasks willingly and without question.The MTNA staff is dedicated and loyal, many having served in their positions for over fifteen years. They exemplify integrity, humility, patience and a strong work ethic. Above all, they are a team, and as a team they make the rest of us look that much better.

Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award
Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora
William Chapman Nyaho, NCTM

Well-known to the MTNA membership, William Chapman Nyaho is of Ghanaian-American descent. He has given numerous presentations highlighting the works of composers of African heritage. Enthusiastically attended and universally praised, Nyaho’s offerings are energetic, positive and entertaining, gently nudging listeners to explore composers’ works that should live on in the musical canon. Nyaho compiled and edited the critically acclaimed five-volume graded anthology Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora, published by Oxford University Press. The volumes contain extraordinary music, some familiar, most not.

Nyaho earned his degrees from St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, Switzerland. Chapman Nyaho currently serves on the faculty at Pacific Lutheran University and runs his private piano studio in Seattle. Washington. He is also on the summer faculty of Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is an active solo recitalist, a member of the Nyaho/Garcia Duo, a chamber musician and lecturer.

State Affiliate of the Year
Hawaii Music Teachers Association
Nicole Routman Ebisu, president

The Hawaii Music Teachers Association has been a great support to its members during the pandemic. During the 2020–2021 program year, HMTA offered several virtual events to support the needs of teachers pivoting to online teaching. They also offered virtual student performance events, including the state round of the MTNA competition, which had 40 contestants in Fall 2020, a record for Hawaii.

HMTA credits its increasing membership to its embrace of technology and its diverse Board of Directors. In an organization consisting mostly of pianists, the HMTA Board consists of seven string players, one brass and one pianist with three-fourths of the board under age 45.

The organization sponsored two virtual fundraising recitals, which raised nearly $12,000. The funds have been used provide ongoing free virtual programming for its members for the current membership year.

Local Association of the Year
Austin District Music Teachers Association
Elizabeth Currens, president

The Austin District Music Teachers association takes its mission seriously and focuses its programming into the four categories of its mission:

Highlights of its annual programming, include five local festivals for students, four major contests and four master classes. Last year the association had 804 students participate in its theory testing exam. In addition, ADMTA partnered with “KING” Kids In a New Groove, an area non-profit that matches mentor music teachers with students in foster care. ADMTA teachers mentored nearly a dozen students through KING both before and after the pandemic. ADMTA also strongly encourages our teachers to become nationally certified and has created a special group-based program to support and mentor teachers through this process.

MTNA Collegiate Chapter of the Year
Florida State University Collegiate Chapter
Stephanie Archer, NCTM, president
Diana Dumlavwalla, NCTM, Chapter advisor

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Florida State University Collegiate Chapter maintained a very active program of events and opportunities for professional development.

Throughout 2020–2021, the chapter hosted a variety of online guest speakers. These presentations were attended by teachers from around the country, and even as far away as Canada and Brazil.

One new iniatiative, by the chapter, was the Piano Prep Festival, geared toward pre-college students who were preparing for evaluations and recitals. Another new initiative was a series on their YouTube channel entitled The World Music Series. These videos feature repertoire by underrepresented composers and include pedagogical tips that teachers can use when introducing these pieces to their students.

The chapter was also active on the conference stage, presenting at both the 2021 MTNA Virtual Conference and the 2020 FSMTA Virtual Conference.

Finally, the chapter continued its ongoing partnership with the local MTNA association. This community integration is a hallmark of the chapter, which they have worked to maintain over the years.

South Texas Collegiate Chapter
University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley
Jacques Andoni Mendiola-Tagle, president
Brendan Kinsella, advisor

Established in 2018 at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley School of Music, the South Texas Collegiate Chapter (STCC) serves the musical communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Located in a historically impoverished region of the nation, its pedagogical and community initiatives are especially attuned to the needs of at-risk students, those from a disadvantaged background and new learners. In addition to its community work and promoting social justice through music, the STCC maintains a high commitment to academic and professional success, evidenced by its recent and upcoming conference presentations.

Despite the ravages of the pandemic, the STCC has remained an integral part of our region’s musical fabric by assisting local teachers and each other with technology training.

As a community outreach program, members of the STCC are beginning a public service initiative entitled “Music for Migrants” intended to provide those fleeing humanitarian crises in Central and South America with exposure to classical music.

American Music Teacher Article of the Year
“Strive For Ordinary: Where the Magic Happens," by Jessica Welsh, NCTM
June/July 2021 Issue

Jessie Welsh, DMA, NCTM, received a DMA degree in piano pedagogy from Texas Christian University in 2021, where she studied pedagogy under Ann Gipson and applied piano under Harold Martina. While at TCU, Jessie taught applied piano, class piano for all levels and piano pedagogy, and she was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award. Jessie also holds a master of music in piano performance and a master of music in piano performance and pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. She holds undergraduate degrees in both piano performance and music education from the University of Central Florida. She has served as an instructor of record at both TCU and SMU. Additionally, Jessie operates a home studio in Dallas, serves as an accompanist for the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas and is a 2021–2022 intern for The Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. She has been a lecture and poster presenter at the College Music Society National Conference, the MTNA National Conference, the MTNA Collegiate Pedagogy Symposium, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Her publications have been featured by American Music Teacher and Piano Magazine. Jessie received the 2019 MTNA MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship Award.

MTNA e-Journal Article of the Year
“Breathe and Move: Effects of a 12-Week Yoga Curriculum on Pre-Collegiate and Collegiate Pianists,” by Elaina Burns, NCTM, Christopher Madden, NCTM, and Paola Savvidou, NCTM
April 2021 Issue

Elaina Burns, founder and director of Resonance: Mind-Body-Music, LLC, teaches piano and organ lessons, mind-body awareness practices and alignment techniques. As a student at the Interlochen Center for the Arts., she studied organ under Robert Murphy and received the Interlochen Organ Award. She was the recipient of the Theodore Presser Scholarship during her undergraduate studies. Elaina has studied with Philip Kawin at the Manhattan School of Music, Andrew Cooperstock and Anne Epperson at the University of Colorado, and Edward Gates and Jeongwon Ham at the University of Oklahoma. Elaina studied piano pedagogy with Jane Magrath and Barbara Fast and earned a doctoral degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma. She frequently serves as an adjudicator for MTNA festivals and competitions, and she served on the Executive Board as the National Certification Chair for the state of Iowa. Elaina has given recitals, workshops, and presentations throughout the U.S. and in Canada and Germany.

Christopher Madden is assistant professor of piano pedagogy at University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he teaches piano pedagogy, applied piano and oversees the keyboard skills curriculum. His playing has earned him numerous scholarships and grants, allowing him to perform in festivals and master classes throughout the United States and Italy. In addition to performing, Christopher has presented research at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, Group Piano/Piano Pedagogy Forum, Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Symposium, and MTNA National Conference. He has also published articles in Clavier Companion and American Music Teacher. Christopher’s current research focuses on primary recordings—a term he uses to describe composers’ recordings of their own works. In addition to collegiate-level teaching, Christopher is interested in andragogy.

Christopher holds a DMA degree in piano performance and pedagogy from University of Oklahoma, and MM degree in piano pedagogy from Florida State University and an MA degree in music theory/history and a BM degree in piano performance from Pennsylvania State University.

Paola Savvidou, DMA, NCTM, is a pianist, pedagogue and wellness advocate. She is the Wellness Initiative Program manager and lecturer in music at the University of Michigan and runs her own piano studio. She also serves as teaching assistant professor at East Carolina University. Previously, she served as assistant professor of piano pedagogy at the University of Missouri.

Paola’s work has won three Article of the Year awards from MTNA from both the MTNA e-Journal and AMT. In Spring 2015, Paola received the prestigious Purple Chalk Teaching Award by the College of Arts & Science Student Council at the University of Missouri. She serves as chair-designate and member of the editorial committee for the MTNA e-Journal and as a member of the Wellness Committee for the National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy.

Paola holds a BM degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and MM and DMA degrees in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Stecher & Horowitz Power of Innovation Award
Leah Claiborne

Leah Claiborne, DMA, promotes diversity in the arts by championing piano music by Black composers in her performances, research and teaching. She is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion columnist for American Music Teacher. She also serves as director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Frances Clark Center/National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy.

In 2019, Leah was named winner of the Father Merlet Prize in the ProMusics International Music Competition. This award was given to a competitor who exemplified high-performance excellence and an unparalleled commitment to social outreach. In 2016, she was a top prize winner in the National Association of Negro Musicians National Piano Competition. Leah has performed across the United States and Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Japan. She is a highly sought-after adjudicator and clinician in national piano competitions.

Leah received an undergraduate degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she received the Josephine Whitmore graduation award. She received a master of music and doctorate of musical arts degrees at the University of Michigan. She was the first pianist to be awarded the Rackham Predoc fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship awarded by the graduate school. This fellowship allowed her to further research, compile and edit piano music by Black composers.

Leah currently teaches at the University of the District of Columbia, where she serves as coordinator of keyboard studies and teaches History of African American Music.

MarySue Harris Studio Teacher Fellowship Award
Hsin-Yi Huang
Maggie Johnston
Adam Salas, NCTM

Born in Taiwan, Hsin-yi Huang has performed in Taiwan, Austria, Italy and throughout the United States. She attended International Summer Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg, International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York. She was one of the 20 pianists selected for the Frost Chopin Academy in Miami in 2018 and the fellowship recipient and concerto competition winner of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in 2019.

Hsin-yi received MM degrees in both piano performance and chamber music from the University of Michigan and a DMA degree in piano performance from Michigan State University, under the guidance of Margarita Shevchenko.

She is a staff pianist at University of Michigan and has a private studio. Hsin-yi is a member of Ann Arbor Area Piano Teachers Guild, where she serves on the Website Committee.

Maggie Johnston is a recent graduate from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver. She holds a BA degree in music and will pursue a graduate certificate in piano pedagogy at Lamont as well. She is the current president of the University of Denver MTNA collegiate chapter and a graduate assistant teaching in the Piano Preparatory Program at Lamont. Her favorite part about teaching is getting to know every student personally and encouraging foundational life skills while equipping her students for whatever future in music they may pursue. Maggie also works as a church accompanist for a catholic church and is an experienced contemporary church worship leader.

Adam Salas, NCTM, maintains a multifaceted piano studio in the Dallas-Fort Worth area while serving on the faculties of Southern Methodist Univeristy and Texas Woman’s University. At SMU, he teaches class piano and maintains an active studio in the Piano Preparatory Department. He has taught at Texas Woman's University since 2018, where he instructs graduate and undergraduate students majoring in music performance, education and therapy through keyboard musicianship for music majors and functional piano courses. During the summers, he has been invited to serve on the faculty of the SMU Institute for Young Pianists, where he teaches music history, private lessons and performance class.

Salas is on the board of the Dallas MTA is an active member of the Texas MTA as well.