Monthly Meeting March 2019




A consciousness-raising session for teachers and performers:

First-hand wisdom from the world’s greatest artist-teachers. Hear how they approached performance, technique, teaching, and practicing.  How did Rubenstein practice technique?  How did Bach deal with young pupils?  Which artists used fear as a motivator.  Who advised students to never practice?  What about scale practice and technique?  

What famous musician pinched a student and bit him on the shoulder?

How can we apply their methods to our own playing and teaching? (With the possible exception of the biting and pinching!) There is much to be learned from the greatest musicians of all time.



Ann Surace is a piano instructor at the Music Institute of Chicago at Lake Forest and Director of Music/Organist at Christ the King Anglican Church in Evanston.

She holds a MM in piano performance from Northwestern University where she studied with Gui Mombaerts and taught in the preparatory department under Guy Duckworth. Her BM in performance is from St. Olaf College under Charlotte Donhowe. There she minored in violin and was principle first violin in the college orchestra.

Her musical background is enriched by many years of study in violin, clarinet, organ and voice, with experience in orchestral, chamber, and church music. She was soprano soloist in countless oratorios and sang the role of Alice in her husband’s chamber opera, “Wonderland.”

Her teaching career began in her mother’s piano studio at age 13. After college she taught on the faculties of St. Olaf College, the U of Cincinnati College Conservatory, and Jacksonville State University: applied piano; pedagogy; theory; and class strings. When her two children were young she taught pre-college piano in her private studio for several years.

Her extensive experience in music competitions started in elementary and high school where she was a Wisconsin State Winner in piano, violin, clarinet, and vocal auditions. As a young adult she won the Farwell Piano Competition and was a finalist in the National Association of Teachers of Singing voice auditions at the graduate level.

Many of her students have won prizes in competitions: several state winners of the AMTA Mason-Hamlin High School Auditions and AMTA Baldwin Competition; NSMTA Sonata Festivals and AIM auditions; and numerous college scholarships in piano and voice.

March Program


Svetlana Belsky: Decoding the Bach Inventions

While we teachers often treat the Inventions as mere finger exercises, they are much more than that.  Bach wrote them for his own sons to teach, yes, finger independence, but, above all, compositional and contrapuntal techniques.  Each one is a little gem, with surprises, puzzles and jokes just waiting to be discovered. We will look closely at several inventions to discover what makes them fascinating and exciting for both our students and for ourselves.  Bring your copy of the Inventions along to refer to doing the program.


Critically acclaimed as "a passionate pianist and scholar," Svetlana Belsky is an in-demand recitalist and chamber pianist, noted for her remarkable rapport with audiences and stylistic versatility. She has appeared in Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and throughout the United States. Dr. Belsky has received awards both for her performances in international piano competitions, and for her advocacy of new American music.

Her recordings have been heard on radio stations worldwide. The American Record Guide hails her CD of the solo version of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (Centaur, 2014) as an “extraordinary performance.” The album is the recipient of a Global Music Award.

While Svetlana’s musical interests range from performing early Baroque masterpieces on harpsichord to premiering new music commissioned by her chamber ensembles, the love of her musical life is the music and the legacy of Ferruccio Busoni. She is the author of Busoni as Pianist (am annotated translation from the Russian, Eastman Studies in Music, 2010), which had been featured on BBC radio in December 2016. Her most recent CD Busoni: The Late Works (Ravello, 2019) is described as "Marrying awe-inducing technical capabilities to an artistic intuition of mind-boggling depth.”

Following emigration from the Soviet Union, Dr. Belsky studied with Emilio Del Rosario in Chicago. She earned her Bachelor of Music summa cum laude and Master's degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music, studying with Ann Schein. Later, she earned her Doctorate in Performance at the Manhattan School of Music, working with Nina Svetlanova. As the Coordinator of Piano Studies at the University of Chicago, Dr. Belsky teaches students from four continents, among many other academic responsibilities.

Hourly Schedule

9:30 - 10:00
10:00 - 11:00
Business Meeting and Coffee
11:00 - 12:00
Svetlana Belsky
Decoding the Bach Inventions


Mar 25, 2019


9:30 am - 12:00 pm


Winnetka Covenant Church
1200 Hibbard Road, Wilmette, IL
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