2018 NCMTA Conference Presenter Bios
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi is a Canadian-born pianist whose playing has been lauded as “brilliant” (New Music Connoisseur), “persuasive” (Sequenza21), and “beautiful” (American Record Guide). Her repertoire, ranging from the Renaissance-era through the present, clearly affirms her keen interest in new sonorities, which has led her to commission and premiere many new solo and collaborative works—music that has been featured on live radio broadcasts and released by Albany Records, Innova Recordings, Ravello Records’ Capstone Collection, Ravello Records, as well as various recordings for the Society of Composers Inc. Performers Recording Series. Astolfi frequently serves as a piano adjudicator, clinician, coach, and masterclass instructor, and is active in various local, state, and national music associations, including her service on the national governing board of PianoArts. She is also a founding member of both duoARtia and Piedmont Camerata, the resident chamber ensemble of Piedmont College (Georgia), where she serves as Artist-in-Residence.
John R. Beck is a faculty member at the UNC School of the Arts and Wake Forest University. He performs with the Winston-Salem and Greensboro Symphony Orchestras, the Brass Band of Battle Creek, and the Philidor Percussion Group. He is a former member of the United States Marine Band and a Past President of the Percussive Arts Society. Beck’s interest in the intersection of arts and science has led to research studies on hearing health for musicians and ongoing group drumming in hospitals, and senior citizen and community centers. Beck presents clinics endorsing Yamaha percussion instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Innovative mallets, and is a Remo HealthRHTYHMS drum circle facilitator. Most recently, Beck was honored with the Ford Musician Award for Excellence in Community Service for 2018. Here is a video link to his community project: https://youtu.be/0_2aTI1viqQ .
Yee Wing Chan completed a Certificate of Advanced Performance Studies and an M.M. in Piano Pedagogy at East Carolina University. She received an M.M. in Music Theory from Florida State University and a B.M. in Piano Performance (summa cum laude) from Meredith College, where she was a recipient of the Theodore Presser Award for Excellence in Music. . An active member of MTNA, Yee Wing has served as the president of its collegiate chapter at ECU and the state chair of the NCMTA Piano Contest-Festival. She has presented at the MTNA National Conference, MTNA Collegiate Chapters Piano Pedagogy Symposium, and NCMTA State Conference. Additionally, her research has been published in Clavier Companion Digital Edition. During her graduate studies, she taught class piano, music theory, and aural skills courses to both undergraduate music majors and non-music majors. Presently, she teaches private piano lessons to pre-college students of all ages and level.
Ashley Clasen is an alumna of UNCSA and has extensive collaborative experience performing with various vocalists, instrumentalists and ensembles. Ashley serves as a collaborative pianist on staff at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (2014 - present), where she performs frequently with voice and instrumental faculty and students. Additionally, she is an accompanist and assistant orchestra director at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, NC, as well as a dedicated piano instructor with two separate studio locations.
David Dash is the Assistant Professor of Trumpet at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. He was previously Assistant Principal Trumpet of the Naples Philharmonic and a member of "The President's Own" United States Marine Band, where he performed as a soloist and toured much of the United States. David has also performed with the symphonies of Atlanta, Baltimore, Charleston, Charlotte, and San Francisco, the Florida Orchestra, and others. In addition to “The President’s Own,” he has performed as a soloist with the Naples Philharmonic, Naples Orchestra, Naples Concert Band, Monmouth Symphony, and the Astoria Symphony. He has recorded for Pentatone (Santa Fe Opera’s Grammy nominated Cold Mountain), Koch International, Albany Records, and "The President's Own". David is a graduate of Rice University and the Manhattan School of Music. His teachers include Armando Ghitalla and Robert Sullivan.
Pianist, Sharyn Edwards has concertized throughout the Southeastern United States and Russia. In 1999 she made her New York debut at Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall and her first CD was released on the Musikus Label. She was selected as an artist on the International Artist Alliance and the North Carolina Touring Artist Rosters. Piano soloist appearances include the Charlotte, Charleston, Fayetteville and Wilmington Orchestras. A native of Asheville, Dr. Edwards holds the Doctorate of Music Degree in Piano Performance from the University of South Carolina where she studied with the renowned Raymond Dudley and John Adams; including the MM and BM Degrees in Piano Performance at the University of Kentucky and Mars Hill University. Her teachers include James Bonn, Dr. John P. Adams, and coaching with John Quincey Bass at the Cincinnati Conservatory, Madame Lili Krauss, Menahem Pressler, Seymour Fink and Ann Schein. She has served as clinician-adjudicator for the North Carolina Music Teachers’ Association, as well as conducted master classes. Dr. Edwards was the Lead Instructor of the Music Department at Southeastern Community College and continues to be the Director of the Dr. Sharyn Edwards’ Annual Piano Festival and Competition.
As soloist and avid chamber musician, Jacob Hahn has given recitals in Texas, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Shenzhen, China, Kecskemet, Hungary, and the National Theatre of Costa Rica.  Hahn is currently working on a DMA in Collaborative Piano at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  He received his Master of Music degree in piano performance from Syracuse University and his Bachelor of Music degree from Capital University where he won the Concerto Competition, and placed first at the 2006 Ohio Music Teachers Association Collegiate Buckeye Competition.  While at Syracuse, he received a Certificate in University Teaching through the Future Professoriate Program. Hahn has also studied at the Kodaly Institute of Pedagogy in Kecskemet, Hungary.  His primary instructors include Steven Heyman, Seymour Fink, and James Douglass.  On faculty at Catawba College and High Point University, Hahn frequently performs with his wife Wei Jiao, in both four-hand and two-piano concerts.

American mezzo-soprano, Janine Hawley has achieved accolades for her critically acclaimed performances in opera houses throughout the US.   She has worked with the New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Florida Grand Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera, to name a few, receiving great critiques that praise her lush quality, dark timbre, technical facility and charming stage presence.  Concert performances are an equally important aspect of Ms. Hawley's art and conductors are drawn to her impressive musicianship, mastery of styles and sensitive interpretations.  She has worked with major symphonies throughout the country and in such concert venues as Lincoln Center's Alice Tully, Avery Fisher and Carnegie Halls.  As an educator, Ms. Hawley has served as a master clinician for young artists’ programs and university venues throughout the country.  Janine was born in Nebraska, is a graduate of Indiana and Columbia Universities and is an Associate Professor of Voice at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) School of Drama.

Dr. Wei Jiao joined the Department of Music at High Point University in 2016. Dr. Jiao has previously served as a faculty member at Queens University of Charlotte, Catawba College, and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. As a versatile soloist and devoted chamber musician, Dr. Jiao has given performances in a variety of venues nationally and internationally. Jiao’s research currently focuses on contemporary Chinese piano music. Jiao’s doctoral dissertation focused on the exploration of Chinese and Western elements in Pulitzer Prize winner, Chinese-American composer, Dr. Zhou Long’s works for solo piano.


Born in Shenyang, Liaoning, People’s Republic of China, Jiao began her piano training at the age of five. Dr. Jiao received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Syracuse University and the Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Columbus State University.

Pianist Olga Kleiankina enjoys a rich musical life of a performer, pedagogue and researcher in her home state of North Carolina in the United States. She is currently the Associate Professor of Piano and the Director of the Piano Program at North Carolina State University. Dr. Kleiankina has presented numerous lectures, lecture-recitals, and master classes internationally and in the United States. Among the highlights were her presentations at the 2008 MTNA Conference in Denver and the 2011 CMS Conference in Richmond. As a researcher, she is interested in cross-discipline collaborations with engineering, computer science, educational psychology and animation. Kleiankina is an active solo and chamber music performer with an international career, performing in Europe, North America and South America. Majority of her concert programs today are experiential and present a synthesis between music, visual elements, historical and scientific facts and a vision for an emotional journey.
UNCSA Career Development & Community Engagement Director, Rebecca Nussbaum, has an abundance of experience in arts administration, community engagement, program development and implementation, arts-integration, and as a professional musician. A cornerstone of her work, Artist Corps, serves over 2000 individuals each year and utilizes the skills of UNCSA students and alumni to reach the community through arts instruction, integration, and exposure.  Rebecca is a Fellow with the A+ Schools of North Carolina, working across the state providing professional development to teachers on integrating the arts into their curriculum. A flutist by training, Rebecca was a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and was active as a chamber musician – performing in venues ranging from the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada to the Japanese Embassy in D.C.   Rebecca is a graduate of UNCSA and the University of Maryland, College Park.

Dmitri Shteinberg's recent performances include a return appearance with the Salisbury Symphony of North Carolina as well as concertos with the Greensboro Philharmonia and Danville Symphony. Most recently, Shteinberg was heard live on Chicago's WFMT classical station and in concert in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina. A new CD featuring chamber  works by Barber and Richard Strauss, is scheduled for release later this year on the Fleur de Son Classics label.  Always striving to keep the broadest possible perspective on style and repertoire, Shteinberg is equally involved in solo and chamber music and has worked with a number of important musicians, including a three-year collaboration with the cellist Natalia Gutman which took him to some of America's most important concert halls, including the Kennedy Center in Washington and the Alice Tully Hall in New York. Dmitri Shteinberg is also very involved in advancing contemporary repertoire, and has played dozens of works by living American composers, including Bolcom, Shoenfeld, Adams, and Dana Wilson among many others. A native of Moscow, Dmitri Shteinberg studied at the Gnessin Special School of Music under Anna Kantor, teacher of Evgeny Kissin.

Thomas Swenson, PhD, NCTM, has distinguished himself as a national leader in piano pedagogy. He currently teaches at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Music Academy of North Carolina. As a specialist in teaching adults (andragogy), Swenson taught beginning keyboard lessons throughout the world as part of a unique educational program on cruise ships. He is a regular contributor to Clavier Companion and is a member of the National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy Committee on Teaching Adults. Outside of working directly with students, his schedule includes adjudicating contests/festivals, presenting workshops and clinics, authoring articles and reviews, serving as a master class clinician, performing as a soloist and collaborative pianist, involvement with several church music programs, composing, and leadership on several boards.

Since debuting with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at the age of fifteen, pianist Mark Tollefsen’s performances have been presented within numerous concert series and festivals, collaborating with Grammy Award-winning ensemble eighth blackbird as well as members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, and New World Symphony. He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke as an Assistant Professor of Piano and Music Theory. For more information, please visit his website at www.marktollefsen.com.

Marvin Blickenstaff is known among piano teachers throughout the country for his teaching, lecturing, performing, and publishing.  For sixteen summers he was on the faculty of the International Workshops where he performed and lectured in Canada, Austria, Scotland, Norway, France, and Switzerland. In 1995 and again in 2004, The Registered Piano Teachers of New Zealand sponsored him in concert and workshop tours of that country.  The “Marvin Blickenstaff Endowment Fund” was established in his honor by the Music Teachers National Association Foundation, and he was named “Teacher of the Year” by the Indiana MTA.  In 2007 the on-line journal Piano Pedagogy Forum published  tributes to Blickenstaff honoring his contribution to piano teaching in America. Also in 2007 he was named Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.   He was honored in 2009 with  MTNA’s highest honor, the MTNA Achievement Award and was selected in 2013 by the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy for its Lifetime Achievement Award.  Formerly head of the piano departments at the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill and Goshen College (IN), he has taught on the faculties of the Westminster Choir College and The College of New Jersey.  Currently he  maintains  a private studio in the Philadelphia area and teaches at The New School  for Music Study in Princeton.  Blickenstaff is former Board President of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard  Pedagogy and is on the Executive Planning Committee of the National  Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.