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#470355 - 04/09/07 09:08 AM Regarding Professors
computerpro3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 375
Loc: Connecticut/Cincinnati
Now that I've accepted my admission to CCM it's time to send in the paperwork regarding housing and professor choice.

As far as professors go, I'm really torn between Elizabeth Pridonoff and Frank Weinstock. I've met them twice each and both times got along with them equally well; they both seem like exceptionally competent, extremely nice people. That leaves my decision on which to pick almost entirely based upon their teaching styles and what I need.

As far as I go, I'm more naturally drawn towards romantic music. I tend to enjoy playing Rachmaninoff over Bach. But at the same time, without a doubt I need to expand my non-romantic repretoire and work on my technique for baroque era music. It's not where it should be.

My main fear with Weinstock (although probably unfounded seeing his excellent reputation) is that he will push me to play almost soley the Vienesse Classics which he is so fond of. That's not to say I don't appreciate them; they are fantastic peices (I love Brahms and Beethoven). It's just that from what I read all of the professors seem so specialized...

I'm pretty sure at this point that I've read every reference on the internet regarding the two of them and there is virtually nothing regarding how well Pridonoff teaches composers such as Brahms and Bach, and nothing on Weinstock with Rachmaninoff and Chopin and the like. It's rather frustrating that I will not be able to have sample lessons with them beforehand due to both time and cost constraints (need the frequent flier points for orientation).

I would appreciate it if anyone who has experience either hearing or learning under these professors could weigh in and shed some light on my situation. I'd really like to have this figured out this week so I don't end up getting locked out of the studios.


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#470356 - 04/09/07 12:30 PM Re: Regarding Professors
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4534
I didn't major in music, I have never heard
of Pridonoff and Weinstock before, I'm not
familiar with CCM, yet I will hazard a
conjecture based on general knowledge of
education, teachers, and piano.

Based on what you've said in your post, I
would say that Pridonoff would be the
choice. You're a Romantic specialist and
so is Pridonoff. College is essentially
a place of specialization, even at the
undergrad level. To even consider attempting
to "round out" your repertoire at this
point is misguided; you're on the Romantic
path from now on. To choose Weinstock
and expect him to suddenly turn into
a Romantic specialist is completely
unrealistic--he advertises himself as
a Classical specialist so that there will
be no misunderstanding: he would expect the
people who choose him to be of the same

#470357 - 04/09/07 12:37 PM Re: Regarding Professors
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18115
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
I don't often find myself agreeing with Gyro \:D , but I think he makes some good points here.

Another option to pursue before making a decision: Can you contact some of the current or recent students of both professors and get firsthand information about what they're like as mentors, especially with respect to availability (do they travel much? are they in their offices much?) and personal style.
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
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#470358 - 04/09/07 02:40 PM Re: Regarding Professors
Brendan Offline

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5543
Loc: McAllen, TX
I'll PM you tonight.

#470359 - 04/09/07 03:06 PM Re: Regarding Professors
CarlosKleiberist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 220
Loc: Southern California
The two Pridonoff's teach together... if you study with either one, you'll get to study with both Elizabeth and Eugene and from what I understand Eugene Pridonoff is a Viennese master... I'd go with Pridonoff. But listen to Brendan, he knows much more about CCM than I. \:\)

#470360 - 04/09/07 03:40 PM Re: Regarding Professors
terminaldegree Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3860
Loc: Georgia, USA

First of all, congratulations on getting into one of the best piano schools in the country. I know a couple of people who studied with Weinstock, but none who studied with the Pridonoffs.

Have you actually taken a lesson with either teacher yet? I would put the most "weight" in the result of that-- from whom did you learn the most?

The issue of whether to pick a teacher who is into "your" style of music is certainly a tricky one [I know from firsthand experience]. Sometimes picking a teacher whose strength is not yours is incredibly educational. Sometimes it results in irreconcilable personality differences...

Philosophically speaking [assuming you're going as a performance major and headed for grad school eventually], I would try to develop a good sense of style and comfort with all of the most important stylistic evolutions during an undergraduate degree, particularly in the first couple of years.
Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
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#470361 - 04/09/07 03:45 PM Re: Regarding Professors
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
My teacher next year will most likely be a romantic specialist, and I love romantic music, but that doesn't mean that that's ALL we'll play. Any teacher worth their salt will make you study all different kinds of repertoire, especially at the undergraduate level.

If you love Romantic music and have strong opinions about it, beware of automatically deciding on a teacher who specializes in this field. Very often you'll find that teachers who concentrate mostly on certain types of music have a VERY strong opinion on how it should be played, and, though I'm not sure this is the case with the teacher you mentioned, oftentimes they will be forceful with precisely how you should interpret a given piece.

Just some thoughts.

#470362 - 04/10/07 12:11 AM Re: Regarding Professors
JBiegel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 855
What you do not mention is what your plans are after school. Certainly, should you go the route of concert artist, it is practically mandatory to excel in more than just the Romantic style (atleast to get known). Phonehome is on the right track. Easily, one needs a minimum of 15 concerti and varied recital programs for presenters to choose from. Once you are very well established, you can specialize. My teacher used to concentrate on the areas her students were less proficient at so they were prepared for almost anything out there. Should you go the competition route, the same applies. If you are leaning toward being a college professor in piano, the same applies. The general rule of thumb was always to have a balanced diet of styles so you can then choose to specialize. I tend to steer clear of specializing teachers. Any teacher should be able to teach all the styles from Baroque to the present on a high level. It was only when people like my teacher (Adele Marcus) went to Berlin to study with Artur chnabel for two years, and, even though he specialized, she studied Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven with him--and Brahms. It is the 21st century, and a good well rounded education for a Bachelor degree should encompass all syles. I also believe that a well rounded footing in various styles feeds off the other--in other words, good classical understanding and phrasing helps one to expand into the Romantic language--it's like artwork and literature--it's a timeline, and this should be taught on the undergraduate level. In my estimation, any good teacher should be able to sit down and play almost anything from the standard repertoire with 90% proficiency--tonally, pedaling, phrasing, tempo etc.

#470363 - 04/10/07 06:13 PM Re: Regarding Professors
Brendan Offline

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5543
Loc: McAllen, TX
I've already PM'd the poster on this topic, but allow me to speak up publicly in Weinstock's (Dear Teacher) defense:

Although he does teach and perform the Viennese rep very well, his teaching is not exclusive to said rep. Over the course of my study with him, I brought in Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Haydn, Saint-Saens, Ravel, Beethoven, Messiaen, Prokofiev, Brahms, Mozart, Franck, and even some of my own transcriptions. He always taught at a consistently high level. As far as what everyone else in the studio was playing, I heard everything from the Goldberg Variations to Petrushka and Rachmaninoff 3rd. My years with him were formative in many aspects.

The same is true of Dr. Black (RIP), who was a contemporary music "specialist." However, his students mostly played the standard repertoire. I think he had one or two (out of 15) students who specialized in contemporary music. When a teacher advertises that they are keen in one type of repertoire, it's mostly for their own gratification. For Mr. Weinstock, it just happens to be the Viennese classics (as well as Brahms and Schoenberg).

#470364 - 04/10/07 07:29 PM Re: Regarding Professors
JBiegel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 855
Frank Weinstock has a wonderful reputation--and his wife works at the Cincinnati Symphony. They're great folks, and surely he is able to teach all the repertoire--as can the Pridonoffs. It then becomes a question of personal chemistry between student and teacher.

#470365 - 04/10/07 10:30 PM Re: Regarding Professors
computerpro3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/12/04
Posts: 375
Loc: Connecticut/Cincinnati
I'd like to thank everyone for the excellent information and advice. This forum is really an incredible resource. I would never have even considered taking up piano again a few years ago without it, and now it is allowing me to talk to not only profesional pianists that have studied with both of these professors, but faculty members at excellent music schools as well.

I believe I have made my choice, but in the event I don't get accepted into my studio of choice, I have full confidence I will be perfectly satisfied studying with the other.


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