KATHRYN SCHMIDT, PIANIST
Kathryn Schmidt has a DMA from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) and currently teaches Piano Pedagogy at James Madison University, and studio piano lessons at the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music School (EMU, Harrisonburg).
She has performed with orchestras both in Canada and the US and is active as a chamber musician, solo performer, and adjudicator. Kathryn has taught private piano for the past 25 years and is excited to watch her students flourish and grow into active performers, music teachers, studio teachers, church musicians, and collaborators.
Kathryn Schmidt hails from Western Canada where she performed as a soloist and chamber musician, taught and adjudicated. Kathryn completed a DMA in piano performance and musicology at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) in 2010, studying solo works with Dr. Henri Paul Sicsic and Jane Coop, and chamber music with Rena Sharon.
Kathryn began teaching privately at age 15, and has taught piano and related subjects at UBC, Trinity Western University (B.C., Canada) and Goshen College (Indiana, USA) since 2004. She now teaches piano pedagogy at James Madison University and studio piano lessons at the Shenandoah Valley Preparatory Music School. Her students have gone on to teach, perform, compose, arrange, lead church music, and pursue graduate studies.
Kathryn has performed with orchestras in Goshen, Indiana and Grand Forks, North Dakota (USA), Vancouver, and Winnipeg (Canada) and has also recorded for the radio, film and television industries. Further studies brought Kathryn to the Mozarteum (Salzburg) on scholarship from the Johann Strauss foundation, as well as the beautiful Banff Centre (Alberta, Canada). She has played in masterclasses for: Leon Fleisher, Graham Johnson, Andre LaPlante, Angela Cheng, Julian Martin, Janina Fiakowska, Stephen Kovacevich and Midori, among others.
An avid chamber musician, Kathryn has performed with some of the most exciting singers and instrumentalists across western Canada as well as in the States. She was resident accompanist at the Egmont Chamber Music Festival (B.C., Canada) and the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival (Bowdoin College, Maine). Currently, Kathryn collaborates with several opera singers at JMU as well as instrumentalists from around the Shenandoah Valley. She performs regularly at the Forbes Centre (JMU) as well as at Eastern Mennonite University, in Harrisonburg.
Additionally, Kathryn has repeatedly adjudicated for piano festivals in British Columbia (Canada) and the Achievement In Music program in South Bend, Indiana. She was a panelist at the Indiana Wesleyan University Piano Pedagogy Conference. Kathryn is published in Clavier Companion and American Music Teacher.
Collaborative Projects Around the Shenandoah Valley
Wednesday, October 30: Eastern Mennonite Elementary School--Arias and Fun Songs with soprano, Christine Fairfield
Thursday, November 14, 7:30 p.m: Faculty Recital Series at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg--works by Poulenc, Beach, Schubert and more with violinist Jacob Roege
Friday, November 22, 7:00 p.m: Eastern Mennonite University Lehman Auditorium, Harrisonburg--EMU Choirs
Saturday, November 23, 3:00 p.m: Eastern Mennonite Seminary Martin Chapel--works by Poulenc and others; Senior recital with Robert Chaplin, clarinet
Saturday, December 7 at 2:00 p.m: JMU Forbes Recital Hall--works by Schubert, Laitman and others; DMA recital with soprano Sheena Ramirez
I had the privilege of teaching David while he was a Freshman at Trinity Western University. He is a phenomenal pianist, and person. Currently he is teaching piano lessons part-time, performing with a piano trio, and playing with several choirs in the Vancouver/lower-mainland area. And he is working on the Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1 (E Minor), for an upcoming concert this spring!
"My lessons with Kathryn were incredibly formational and had a great impact on my musical journey and my confidence as a young musician. She helped me to form my own opinions and think for myself, encouraged experimentation and the exploration of new concepts, and taught me to develop my personal musical voice. One point in my lessons with Kathryn that I remember well was when she jokingly said that it was my job as a student to eventually “put her out of a job”, meaning that ultimately I needed to take responsibility for the music I was making, think critically, make decisions, and interpret music in a way that was true to who I am as a musician. In our lessons, I finally began to see that music was so much more than playing the right notes in the proper way, but about communication, expression, and saying something with music through the intentional choices we make. I am very thankful to have taken lessons with Kathryn, for she broadened my musical horizons in numerous ways, challenged me to grow, and opened the door for me to truly fall in love with music."
A force to be reckoned with
Sunny Byun is one of the best pianists I've ever worked with. At 12 years of age she was working on big pieces, with speed, verve, and guts. She went on to complete her Masters in Piano Performance at UBC with Jane Coop, (one of my dear teachers) and is now the vice principal of the Salina Cheng Music Academy.
“Growing up, I had countless number of piano teachers. But lessons with Kathryn will always have a special place in my heart. We met when I was a 12-year-old who only knew how to play fast. But she was the first teacher who opened up my eyes and ears on vast soundscape and imaginations possible on the piano. She helped me understand meanings of each passage, and to play with passion. The best thing is that she did all this with kindness and patience. Even though it was just less than a year of lessons (I was very, very sad that I had to switch teachers), I came out as a different 12-year-old – the one who began to enjoy playing and practicing, and found ways to express and convey every phrase, and wanted to further pursue studying classical music. To this day, I still look back at old pieces I learned with her, and carry on her teachings onto my own studens."
My youngest college theory student yet
I had the pleasure of teaching Ethan at Goshen College. He was the youngest student in the class, and he got the highest grade on the Final. He is a stellar mandolin player who will make a beautiful noise in the world!
Ethan Setiawan is a mandolin player from Goshen, Indiana, now living in Boston, Massachusetts. Invested in making mandolin part of music it’s not normally found in, he’s situating funk and jazz on the instrument as well as bluegrass and American folk music. He won the 2014 National Mandolin Championship, performed on NPR syndicate A Prairie Home Companion in 2015, and currently attends Berklee College of Music (Boston MA) on a full ride scholarship. Check out his website at www.ethansatiawan.com.
"I really learned from and enjoyed studying with Kathryn. I took a year of music theory from her at Goshen College during high school. While some of the class had studied harmony before, she guided most of us, myself included, through an introduction to classical harmony, and did so with skill and care. She kept the entire class engaged, and we were a diverse group of musicians with a fairly large range of skill with theory. And if someone wasn’t challenged, she would often find a way to alter an assignment to better engage that person. Overall, I would highly recommend taking lessons or classes with Kathryn. She has an engaging and interesting teaching style, and is one of the nicest people I know. I liked her well enough to agree to write this testimonial, so that should say something, right?