Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt

woman smiling outdoors

Alumni in Action

Piano Studies

Piano Studies alumni have pursued prestigious careers in music and the arts following graduation.

woman at piano

Chantal Balestri ('17) 

Chantal Balestri maintains a career as a concert pianist, educator, and organizer. She has been featured at major international venues including Carnegie Hall, the Elbphilharmonie, and the Harbin Concert Hall, as a soloist, collaborative pianist, orchestral pianist, and advocate of contemporary music. As the former president of the World Piano Teachers Association (New York section) and co-founder of the Lunigiana International Music Festival, Chantal is regularly invited by major cultural institutions to give piano and chamber music masterclasses, as well as seminars and workshops on music management. As a graduate student in Piano Studies, Chantal studied with Artist Faculty member Jeffrey Swann.

woman smiling, green background

Sugar Vendil ('09) 

A proud second-generation Filipinx American and founder of the Nouveau Classical Project, Sugar Vendil is a pianist, composer, and interdisciplinary artist. Her commissions include Chamber Music America, ETHEL, and ACF; artist residencies include High Concept Labs, Target Margin Theater, Mabou Mines, Yaddo, Marble House Project, Earthdance, and Avaloch Farm. She is heard at venues including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, National Sawdust, MoMa PS1, Roulette, and The Stone.

man in suit outdoors

Jose Pedro Zenteno ('17)

Jose Pedro Zenteno is a concertizing pianist as well as Academic Director of the Global Leaders Program, an executive certificate program in Cultural Agency, Teaching Artistry, and Organizational Management. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he majored in piano, minored in business, and was awarded an Arts Leadership Certificate, Pedro earned his masters in piano performance at NYU studying with Alexander Kobrin. He now combines his love of the arts and teaching with a passion for changemaking.

woman outdoors

Mariel Mayz ('16)

Mariel Mayz is a sought-after composer, pianist, and arts administrator. Her most recent compositions include commissions by Latin Grammy nominee João Luiz, the Sarasa Ensemble, and the Japanese American Cultural, and Community Center (Los Angeles). She is Program Coordinator of the Hunter Mellon Arts Fellowship—a pivotal program for DEI within the field of arts management; and the co-founder and Associate Director of Porto Pianofest. Presently a PhD candidate at Brandeis University, Mariel is also an Adjunct Professor at Hunter College.

man smiling

Brian Usifer (‘12)

Brian Usifer is a New York City based music director, pianist, orchestrator/arranger, producer, and composer. Most recently, he was the music director of Disney's Frozen on Broadway. Prior to that he was the music director of Kinky Boots on Broadway, which won 6 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Score. Usifer studied in the Collaborative Piano track at NYU.

man outdoors. text: from New york scherzo. Winter film awards

Mathieu Dunoyer ('14)

Since graduating from NYU with a masters in piano performance, Mathieu Dunoyer has worked as producer and publicist, independently as a promoter, in association with New York's Creative Artists Agency, and, most recently, as membership manager at Soho House. Mathieu was featured in the 2018 documentary, New York Scherzo, which follows the lives of three diverse classically trained musicians as they try to make it in New York City.

man in black shirt

Alex Tuchman ('16) 

Alex Tuchman, a former student of Artist Faculty member Eteri Andjaparidze, is the founder and artistic director of the Bermuda Piano Festival. Designed to enhance Bermuda’s cultural landscape by presenting world-class performers in engaging programs, the festival also provides opportunities for young pianists at the Bermuda School of Music to learn from artists in residence. After graduating from NYU with a master's in piano performance, Alex earned a doctorate at  the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Antonio Pompa-Baldi.

man smiling

Josh Cullen ('16)

Born in Hawaii and raised outside of Detroit, former army interrogator Josh Tatsuo Cullen (he/him) is passionate about elevating the voices of underrepresented communities. In February 2022, he will give the premiere of James Lee III’s Recuerdos Diaspóricos on a program of all Black composers in honor of Black History Month. Josh studied collaborative piano at NYU Steinhardt after completing his master’s in solo piano at Juilliard. He is currently keyboardist and assistant conductor on the national tour of Frozen.

woman smiling outdoors

Annie Jeng ('13) 

Dr. Annie Jeng is a Taiwanese-American pianist and educator committed to making the arts more relevant and accessible. She is the founder of A Seat at the Piano (ASAP), a resource dedicated to the promotion of inclusion in the performance and study of piano repertoire, and the pianist of the contemporary group, Khemia Ensemble. Annie has been teaching at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 2019 as an Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy. 

man in black shirt

Mario Antonio Marra ('13) 

Mario Antonio Marra, sought after collaborative pianist, coach, and conductor, has served on the music staff at Oper Frankfurt, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and San Francisco Opera.  After completing his undergraduate degree in piano performance at NYU in the studio of Marilyn Nonken, he joined the coaching staff of the Manhattan School of Music where he earned a master of music degree under Warren Jones. Lauded by the legendary Marilyn Horne for his "superb technique," Marra won the 2013 Marilyn Horne Song Competition, along with the critically acclaimed baritone John Brancy.

woman outdoors smiling

Jade Conlee ('14)

Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule after graduating from NYU, Jade Conlee is now a PhD candidate in music theory at Yale University. Her dissertation, “Empire of Leisure: Exotica’s Escapist Atmospheres,” investigates how background music habituates us to racial capitalism through the production of relaxing atmospheres and “vibes.” Jade is now co-editing the collection Key Terms in Music Theory for Antiracist Scholars, under commission by Duke University Press. The book reimagines music theory’s core methods through the lenses of Indigenous and Black studies.