Summer Programs

Piano Festival

A young student works with a faculty member in a summer piano master class.
A young student works with a faculty member in a summer piano master class.
Photo credit: Adan Caldera Quintero

Sunday, July 21-Saturday, August 3, 2024



This two-week Festival is designed for advanced pianists between the ages of 12-25.
Please note that students under 15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent and live off-campus.

The Festival features private lessons, master classes, technique sessions, an optional competition, concerts in Oberlin Conservatory’s Warner Concert Hall, and lots of summer fun including a trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park!

Please note: All summer programs are subject to the College's public health and Obiesafe policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. All participants agree to adhere to all College policy while participating in a summer program.

photo of Ernest BarrettaRecognized, at a young age, as a pianist “in command of his instrument and the music at every intricate turn ... his technical expertise, stage presence and sensitivity to the music are truly inspiring in so youthful a pianist” (McKeesport Daily News), American pianist Ernest Barretta (week 2) continues to enjoy success as both soloist and chamber musician. He has performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad, as soloist with the St. Petersburg Symphony in St. Petersburg, Russia, the National Gallery Orchestra of Washington, D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Sought after for both his performances of, and thoughts about, music, he has appeared in interviews and live performances at XM Radio studios, on WBJC in Baltimore and WFLN in Philadelphia. He has recorded contemporary, chamber and solo repertoire on multiple labels, and his solo recording of works by Bach, Beethoven, and Musorgsky on the MRC label has earned critical acclaim. As a collaborative artist, Barretta has performed and recorded with many internationally recognized musicians, and is a member of the Allegheny Ensemble and the Musa Amici trio.  He twice appeared as soloist at the Seoul Summer Music Festival and Academy in South Korea, where he also served as a member of the piano faculty; he has also performed and given masterclasses at numerous music festivals in China and Tawain. In addition, he has served as a juror at international piano competitions in New York, China, and Taiwan.

Dr. Barretta additionally devotes a great deal of his time to teaching; the rewarding task of working with emerging talent is an important part of his life as a musician. He is currently on the piano faculty of the Juilliard School of Music, pre-college division, having served previously on the piano faculties of The Peabody Conservatory and Towson University. He also enjoys working as conductor and composer, and is Music Director of the several ensembles that make up the music program at St. Joseph, Fullerton, in Baltimore, MD.

Early studies of both piano and organ in the Pittsburgh, PA area led to top prizes in several local competitions, including those of the Pittsburgh Concert Society and the Pittsburgh Musician’s Club.  He earned his BM in Piano Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory, studying with Sanford Margolis, MM from the University of the Arts and DMA from the Peabody Conservatory – studying with Yoheved Kaplinsky at both schools.  He received several honors and distinctions along the way, such as the Rudolph Serkin Prize (Oberlin), the Strine Award (U of Arts) and the Zierler Award (Peabody).  Currently, Dr. Barretta resides in the Baltimore area with his wife, Cynthia, and their daughter.

photo of Alvin ChowAlvin Chow (week 1) has appeared throughout North America and in Asia as an orchestral soloist and recitalist. In addition, he has performed extensively in duo-piano recitals with his wife, Angela Cheng, and his twin brother, Alan.

A native of Miami, Florida, he graduated summa cum laude and co-valedictorian at the University of Maryland, where he was a student of Nelita True. Chow received the Victor Herbert Prize in Piano upon graduation from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Sascha Gorodnitzki, and held the Joseph Battista Memorial Scholarship at Indiana University as a student of Menahem Pressler.

Chow was the first Fulbright College Visiting Artist in Piano at the University of Arkansas during 1987-88. He later taught at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 1999, he has been a member of the artist faculty at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where he is currently chair of the Piano Department and the Ruth Strickland Gardner Professor of Music.

Chow has performed in major concert halls including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; Orchestra Hall in Chicago; Weill and Steinway Halls in New York City; and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. 

He has presented as recitalist in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Detroit, and Miami, and has appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Pan-Asia Symphony in Hong Kong, and the Mozarteum Orchestra in Salzburg, among others.


photo of Carl CranmerCarl Cranmer (week 2) made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of nine. Since then he has given solo recitals in Europe, Asia, and North America, and he has performed in concert with the Royal Philharmonic of England, the Gulbenkian Orquesta of Portugal, and the Juilliard Orchestra, among others. In addition to his study in the United States, he also studied at the Sommerakademie at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria where he was under the tutelage of Karlheinz Kammerling, Jacob Lateiner, and Hans Graf.

Cranmer has performed in important national and international venues including Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie-Weill Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Merkin Hall in New York; in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; and in the Academy of Music and the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater in Philadelphia. His performances have been televised in Madrid, Tokyo, Missouri, and Philadelphia, and his performances have been aired on NPR and radio stations in New York, Chicago, Montréal, Boston, and Atlanta. In addition to performances in Austria, France, England and Japan, he has had the opportunity to give two solo concert tours of Spain. In 2002, he was invited to perform a solo recital sponsored by the American and Spanish Embassies in Panama City, Panama.

Cranmer also performs a wide variety of chamber music. He has performed in recital with Naumburg Competition winner Axel Strauss in Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Seattle. In 2004, their performance in Steinway Hall in New York City was broadcast by NHK on public television stations in Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Cranmer has also collaborated with the Grammy-winning Takács Quartet, baritone Randall Scarlata, tenor Robert White, and violinist Akiko Suwanai. He has performed in the summers at Tanglewood, Pianofest in the Hamptons, and the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival.

Cranmer can be heard in recordings of Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Piano with the Russian Philharmonia led by maestro Ovidiu Marinescu; "Soirée," a collection of solo works by Poulenc, Chopin, Fauré, Granados, Liszt, and Barber; and in collaboration with violinist Sylvia Ahramjian in music of Saint-Saëns, Beethoven, and others, titled "Crossroads."

Cranmer is on the faculty of West Chester University and is a member of the Music Teachers National Association. He gives numerous master classes in the Philadelphia area and maintains a private piano studio.


Photo of Dr. KesselmanDr. Kesselman (week 1) is a past recipient of ten America-Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarships. He received his B.M. degree, cum laude, from S. Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, and his M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. His teachers have included Yoheved Kaplinsky, Emanuel Krasovsky and Irina Zaritskaya. Currently, he serves as the Director of Lucy Moses School and Music Director of Special Music School (M. 859) at Kaufman Music Center in Manhattan, at curates the popular Tuesday Matinees series at Kaufman's Merkin Hall. Dr. Kesselman serves frequently as a judge in international competitions and auditions, including Concert Artist Guild, New Orleans International Piano Competition, Astral Artists, Virginia Wering International Piano Competition and Boston University. He is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition. Dr. Kesselman is a member of the piano faculty at Lucy Moses School and Special Music School at Kaufman Music Center.


photo of Robert ShannonRobert Shannon (week 1 & 2) has presented solo recitals, ensemble concerts, and master classes throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia. His repertoire ranges from Bach to Adams. He has been especially noted for his penetrating interpretations of recent American music.

He has commissioned and premiered works by John Harbison, Charles Wuorinen, Carla Bley, and Steven Dembski, among others. Shannon’s recordings of sonatas by Charles Ives on Bridge Records have received rave reviews worldwide. His recordings of Ives’ complete works for violin and piano, and works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Crumb are also available on Bridge Records.

Shannon has performed at the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Festival Tibor Varga in Switzerland, the Sacramento Festival of American Music, and as guest artist with the Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players. In recent seasons, he has appeared in London, Paris, Glasgow, Rome, Stuttgart, New York, San Francisco, Colombia (South America), and Taiwan.

He is professor of piano at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, director of the Division of Keyboard Studies, and director and founder of the Cooper International Competition for Piano. He joined the Oberlin faculty in 1976.


photo of Haewon SongPianist Haewon Song (week 1 & 2) is a member of the acclaimed Oberlin Trio. An internationally recognized artist and pedagogue, Song has performed and taught at top venues throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her frequent appearances include concerto performances with the KBS Orchestra in Seoul, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the

Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and Oberlin Conservatory ensembles. 
Song has appeared at numerous international festivals, among them Mexico’s Cervantino Festival, the All-American Music Festival in Stuttgart, Grand Teton Music Festival, Aria Festival, Canada’s Institute of Musical Arts, Festival de Nice in France, the Oberlin Summer Piano Festival, and the Tonghai Music Festival in Taiwan. In 2005, Song toured Korea as a member of the Oberlin Piano Quartet, which included celebrated performances in Daejun and at the Kumho Concert Hall in Seoul.

A native of South Korea, Song attended the Toho School in Tokyo, Peabody Preparatory School, and the Juilliard School, where her major teachers were Julian Martin, Martin Canin, and Shuku Iwasaki. She has taught at Tunghai University in Taiwan and Kyung Won University in Seoul, and has been a member of the Oberlin piano department since 1991. Throughout her tenure at Oberlin, her students have won major prizes in both national and international competitions, including MTNA Nationals, Wideman, Kingsville, Oberlin International Piano, Walgreen, World, and Corpus Christi, and they regularly appear with significant orchestras across the United States and Asia.

photo of Ting ZhouPianist Ting Zhou (week 1) currently has the position of vice president of Music Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Vice president of Shanghai Professional Piano Performing and Teaching Committee. He has been selected as YAMAHA Artist since 2016. He has toured extensively in China and appeared on the stage of major cultural events. Besides his performing career, Ting Zhou is also a sought-after instructor. His teaching is widely recognized as students have won major domestic and international piano competitions. One of his students has just won the 2nd prize at 3rd Van Cliburn Junior International Piano Competition in June 2023, USA.

Ting Zhou was offered a full scholarship from Oberlin Conservatory in 1993, studying with Prof. Sedmara Zakarian Rutstein. After achieving his Bachelor’s degree in 1997, he was admitted to artist diploma program in Oberlin Conservatory. In 1999, he was awarded a graduate assistantship at the Peabody Conservatory, where he taught keyboard literature class. In 2001, he graduated with Master of Music at the Peabody Conservatory.

As a virtuoso pianist, Ting Zhou is a recipient of numerous prizes and honors in many places in the world. He was given the First Prize at the 6th Takahiro Sonoda International Piano Competition in Japan. He won the First Prize and a Grand Prize of Ivo Pogorelich at the Stravinsky Awards International Piano Competition in U.S.A.  He has also won top prize in the First National Piano Competition in China. He was awarded the Rudolf Serkin Scholarship for excellence in piano performance. Because of his excellence in academic standing, he holds the distinction of being selected as a member in the music honor society of Pi Kappa Lambda both in 1997 and 2001.

Ting Zhou has played solo recitals in many countries, such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, U.S.A, Iceland, Japan, Hong Kong, and throughout China mainland. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Poland Chamber Orchestra, Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, Macau Symphony Orchestra. Beijing and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

Moreover, Ting Zhou is a excellent harpsichordist. He studied this instrument in early music department both at Oberlin and Peabody Conservatory. He has an extensive knowledge of the Renaissance and Baroque style and the performance practice on the music written in these two periods. He is also teaching harpsichord classes for the graduate students in Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

Practice and Lessons

Master Classes and Lectures: Theory, Piano Literature, Preparing for Auditions, Preparing for Competitions, Optional Festival Competition
Optional additional practice

Student and Faculty Concerts, Leisure Activities

Participants will be given the opportunity to request teachers for private lessons. We will do our best to schedule at least one lesson with the teacher(s) of your choice. Everyone will receive three 45-minute lessons per week (six lessons total).

Due to the limited number of master class performance slots, although we can not guarantee performance slots to everyone who wishes to perform, we look forward to seeing everyone at these open lessons.

Please note that the application requires you to include a link to a video recording of a sonata movement and a piece of your choice.





$2,950 - Program fee, double room & meals.

$3,050 - Program fee, single room & meals.

Commuters (Under 15 years of age must live off-campus with parent)
$1,600 - Program fee only (for commuters)
$2,000 - Program fee and Dinners and Lunches

CEDAR POINT AMUSEMENT PARK FIELD TRIP? Please add $30 to reserve your spot!

There will be no additional charge for the Cedar Point trip. Students may also choose not to go on this trip. We will have chaperones on this trip, as well as staff in Oberlin.






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