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2011 State Conference Presenters

Robert Blocker

Dr. Robert Blocker, Dean, Yale Music School

Dr. Robert Blocker is a pianist, educator, and consultant. His books include:
The Arts and Worship (with H. Warlick), forthcoming
The Robert Shaw Reader, editor, Yale University Press, 2004

Robert Blocker began his study of piano at the age of five, presenting his first public recital two years later. Today, he concertizes throughout the world. His engagements have included performances in the United States, Europe, Mexico, China, and Korea, Thailand, and several Pacific Rim countries. Recent orchestral engagements include the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony, Houston Symphony, Monterey Philharmonic, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Korean Symphony and Daejeon (South Korea) Symphony. His 2007 performance at the International Great Mountains Festival with the Sejong Artists was broadcast throughout Korea twice on KBS. These appearances have won him critical acclaim as noted in the Los Angeles Times review: "...great skill and accomplishment, a measurable virtuoso bent and considerable musical sensitivity... mesmerizing moments." In 2009, Naxos released a CD of three Mozart concerti performed by Blocker with the Biava Quartet.

Robert Blocker has been the Henry and Lucy Moses Dean of Music at Yale University since 1995. In 2006, Blocker was named honorary Professor of Piano at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. In 2000, Steinway and Sons featured him in its film commemorating the tercentennial year of the piano along with Billy Joel, Van Cliburn and others. He appears regularly on national radio and television as both artist and commentator. In 2004, the Yale University Press published The Robert Shaw Reader, edited by Robert Blocker. Now in its third printing, the volume is presently being translated for publication in Korea.

Joyce Grill

Joyce Grill

Joyce Grill is Past President of the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association, Inc. and Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse

Joyce Grill, a former faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, provides practical suggestions from her extensive teaching experience as she presents workshops to teachers and students across the country. Grill holds the MTNA Master Teacher Certificate and has been active in MTNA, having served as the Wisconsin State President and Division Vice President. Joyce also founded the LaCrosse Area Music Teachers Association and serves on several arts advisory boards. In 2006, she was named a MTNA Foundation Fellow and in 2010 she was named the Wisconsin Composer of the Year.

Grill holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has also received training at the School of Fine Arts in Fontainebleau, France, where she studied theory and composition with Nadia Boulanger and piano with Robert and Jean Casadesus.

Known for her ensemble writing, Grill is also a frequent guest conductor for multi-piano concerts. Some of her best-known publications, originally published by Warner Bros. Publications, including In Style, Down the Road, and Accompanist (Yes, It Really Happens), are now available from Alfred Publishing Co., Inc.

Peggy Flanagan Baird

Peggy Flanagan Baird

Peggy Flanagan Baird has been a private piano teacher for academically gifted students for over 45 years. She has taught music in the elementary schools of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where she also established and conducted three elementary bands and two orchestras.

Mrs. Baird holds a master's degree in music from the University of New Mexico and has taught music appreciation and music education courses at Roane State Community College, Carson-Newman College and the University of Tennessee. Over a period of several years, she has been invited to lecture about piano teaching and about musical instruments at the University of Iowa, Claremont College, Western Kentucky University, the University of South Dakota, Vanderbilt University, the University of Louisville and Yale University.

Mrs. Baird holds professional membership in many local and national organizations, including the Huntsville Music Teachers Association, the Southeastern Historical keyboard Society, the National Flute Association, the American Musical Instrument Society, Music Educators National Conference and the Music Teachers National Association. On several occasions she has been invited to lecture at the annual meetings of many of these professional organizations. She has served on the Board Governors of the American Musical Instruments Society and has served as that group's Journal Manager.

Mrs. Baird is the author of Music Books for the Elementary School Library, published by the Music Educators National Conference. She has also written several articles for the Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments as well as music reviews and technical articles for various professional journals.

Mrs. Baird is married to Dr. James K. Baird, a Physics and Chemistry Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Paul Sheftel

Paul Sheftel, BM, MM

Paul Sheftel is a leader in keyboard studies and has performed, lectured, and conducted workshops in nearly every state. His published materials and software are widely used throughout the USA, Europe and Asia. A pioneer in the creation of instructional materials using MIDI technology, he has composed electronic orchestrations to support Carl Fischer's "Music Pathways" piano method by Olson, Bianchi, and Blickenstaff, as well as the Bastien Piano Method. Paul was born in Italy and grew up in Los Angeles, where he studied piano with Frances Robyn and Alfred Pryce Quinn and theory and composition with Mario Casteinuoyo Tedesco. He spent two of his teen years in Paris, France studying piano with Lazare Levy and theory and composition with Alexander Tansman. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Juilliard, he went to Italy on a Fulbright grant where he worked with Guido Agosti. While in Italy, he formed the two-piano team of Rollino and Sheftel; the duo performed extensively in Europe and the US, both in recital and with such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, The Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Royal Philharmonic, The Chicago Symphony and many others. He has appeared both as part of his two-piano team and in solo recitals in many of New York's leading concert halls including Town Hall, Alice Tully hall, Merkin Hall and Hunter College. He has served on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and Hunter College, has been piano editor for Carl Fischer and is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School, where he teaches Piano Pedagogy. Mr. Sheftel maintains a private teaching studio in New York City.

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