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spring convocation at wcc

Professor Ingrid Clarfield Defines
A RARE GALAXY IN THE PIANO UNIVERSE

wcc faculty members phyllis lehrer, jonathan lakeland and betty stoloff participate in a musical quest to find the perfect steinway model d concert grand piano.

“performathon” at jacobs lawrenceville holds a special place in
ingrid’s heart. the annual fundraiser showcases student artists
who help raise funds for the children’s hospital of philadelphia.

princeton, nj – She has been called one of the most successful teachers in America with a penchant for producing exceptional pianists in her home studio and at Westminster Choir College.She has authored a host of pedagogical books and was the subject of an award-winning documentary film, “Take a Bow.” She has toured throughout North America giving hundreds of lectures and  master classes. And she has collected enough industry accolades to equal the number of keys on one of her prized Steinways, perhaps none more welcomed than the Jacobs Music Steinway Al C. Rinaldi Lifetime Achievement Award.

Coordinator of the piano department at WCC, Professor Ingrid Clarfield began playing at the age of five and went on to study at the Juilliard School, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and the Eastman School of Music.

Ingrid is blessed and fortunate to love all that she does.
 

“As a teacher, there is nothing greater than experiencing the joy your students have when they are proud of their accomplishments and are sharing their emotions in the music,” she says. “My greatest satisfaction comes from teaching students to play with the highest sense of artistry regardless of age.”
 

Encouraging them to use their talents to help others, Ingrid’s students teamed with those of fellow teacher Todd Simmons to raise more than $12,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The fundraiser, dubbed Performathon, is held annually at Jacobs Music in Lawrenceville. Senior Vice President Robert Rinaldi shared his heartfelt stories from the hospital that Ingrid says made this year’s event even more meaningful to her students and their families.


At Westminster, Ingrid thoroughly enjoys her role of teaching future teachers. “What could be more exciting than educating students on how to become creative and effective teachers? Many of these students – as well as their students – have become part of my life,” she says.

As for her choice of pianos, “while Steinways are known for their distinctive personalities, I recommend them to my students because of their amazing consistency. I am always impressed with their clarity of sound and expressive tonal qualities. There is no other piano with the touch responsiveness of a Steinway, in my opinion,” she says.

Under Steinway’s Festival Placement Program, WCC is home to eight Steinway grands, including a nine-foot Model D that was selected at the Steinway factory in Queens. Ingrid was unable to attend the selection process but faculty members Phyllis Lehrer, Betty Stoloff and Jonathan Lakeland came away with a delightful consensus:

“For test purposes, my ‘go to’ pieces are portions of Chopin’s f minor fantasy and Debussy’s Reflets dans l’eau,” explains Phyllis. “The long lyrical lines, rich textures and turbulent sections of Chopin contrast with the blurred clarity of the splashing and shimmering Debussy. I enjoyed playing all of the pianos. Betty and Jonathan played totally different repertoires and after two trials there was no contest. The gorgeous tone quality, evenness throughout the registers, responses to different touches and articulations gave us a unanimous choice. We remain thrilled and gratified with this piano ever since it arrived at Westminster.”


“Witnessing so much individual detailinvolved in every step of making these instruments and then entering the selection room, I felt like I stepped into the Land of Oz,” adds Betty. “Our wishes came true as we all agreed on the same piano – eureka!”


Ingrid cannot say enough about the tremendous support she and her students receive from the staff at Jacobs Music, especially Norman Seldin, Randy Brown and Doug Rausch. “And as for Bob Rinaldi, I know of no one who cares more about music education, assisting piano teachers and supporting the arts. You would need to devote another article just about him!”

ingrid, at left, receives the rinaldi lifetime achievement award from steinway artist norman seldin, gabrielle kazze rinaldi and bob rinaldi.

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