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About the Authors of Premier Piano Course

Gayle Kowalchyk

Gayle Kowalchyk

Dr. Gayle Kowalchyk currently teaches class piano, piano, and piano pedagogy at California State University, Northridge. She holds degrees from Ohio University (piano performance, 1977), Northwestern University (piano performance and pedagogy, 1979), and an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University (piano pedagogy, 1989).

Dr. Kowalchyk was formerly on the faculty of Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, where she coordinated the class piano program, directed the piano preparatory program and taught graduate piano pedagogy. During the summers of 1979-1982 she taught class piano and piano ensemble at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan. She has also taught piano pedagogy and class piano at Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, and the University of Oklahoma, Norman.

A frequent clinician and adjudicator, Dr. Kowalchyk has presented sessions for national conventions of the Music Teachers National Association and the Music Educators National Conference, as well as for the National Group Piano Symposium, the National Piano Teachers Institute, the International Pedagogy Workshops, the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy and the World Piano Pedagogy Conference.

With her husband, Dr. E. L. Lancaster, she is the co-author of more than 300 educational piano books, including Alfred's Premier Piano Course and Music for Little Mozarts.

From 1981 until 1996, Dr. Kowalchyk and her husband taught students of all ages at their independent piano studio in Norman, Oklahoma. She now lives in the Los Angeles area where, in addition to teaching piano, she is a clinician for Alfred Music.

E.L. Lancaster

E.L. Lancaster

Dr. E. L. Lancaster was formerly Executive Editor, Piano for Alfred Music. He is also an adjunct piano faculty member at California State University, Northridge. Dr. Lancaster holds degrees from Murray (KY) State University, the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

From 1979 until 1998, Dr. Lancaster was Professor of Music at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, where he taught courses in piano pedagogy and coordinated the group piano program. Dr. Lancaster established the masters and doctoral programs in piano pedagogy at the University of Oklahoma in 1980 and served as Major Professor for more than 50 doctoral dissertations in that field. He taught pre-college students in the Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program, combining group and private instruction. In addition, from 1981 to 1996, he and his wife, Dr. Gayle Kowalchyk, operated a large independent piano studio in Norman, Oklahoma.

Dr. Lancaster has served as National Chairman of Group Piano, National Chairman of Student Chapters, and 2020 National Conference Chair for MTNA. He has held offices in the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy, including Chair of the Administration/Pedagogy Liaison Committee. Dr. Lancaster has received numerous teaching awards from the University of Oklahoma, including the Regents Award for Superior Teaching (1984), Associated Distinguished Lectureship (1987), Provost's Outstanding Academic Advising Award (1996), and Outstanding Faculty Award in the College of Fine Arts (1996). In 1991 he was awarded a David Ross Boyd Professorship, named in honor of the first OU president, given to faculty members who excel in teaching, counseling and guiding students.

In 2013, he was named a Signature Sinfonian by Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, national music fraternity. This award honors members who exhibit high standards of excellence in representing the fraternity as an alumnus. Murray State University honored him with the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor granted by the University and the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus in Fine Arts Award. At their 2016 convention, the California Association of Professional Music Teachers presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a 2019 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Dr. Lancaster has presented workshops for teachers throughout the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. He is the author or co-author of more than 400 publications designed for students of all ages. He now lives in the Los Angeles area.

Victoria McArthur

Victoria McArthur

Victoria McArthur, prior to her recent retirement, was Program Director of Piano Pedagogy and Coordinator of Group Piano at Florida State University, Tallahassee, one of the leading Colleges of Music in the U.S.

Dr. McArthur has authored or co-authored more than 80 publications. Among her co-authored publications is the highly respected Premier Piano Course. Since 2000, she has been a Keyboard Editor for Alfred Music Publishing.

In 2006, Dr. McArthur toured Korea to present piano workshops for Alfred Music Publishing. She has given lectures and published articles in the leading music and music education journals. For many years, Dr. McArthur wrote music reviews for the prestigious Piano Quarterly. She has also authored and edited many leading textbooks, including the chapter on sight reading in the Oxford University Press publication, The Science and Psychology of Music Performance.

Dr. McArthur continues to pursue her chosen profession as a teacher of piano and music theory to all ages and levels of students. She is Director of McArthur & Musical Associates, a thriving professional piano studio serving the Tallahassee, FL area. She holds the Permanent Professional Certificate in Piano and Music Theory from the Music Teachers National Association.

Martha Mier

Martha Mier

Martha Mier is an internationally recognized composer and clinician who joined Alfred Music Publishing in 1989. Her educational piano music for students of all levels has made her one of today's most popular composers. Students worldwide enjoy playing her music, including the popular Jazz, Rags & Blues series and the Romantic Impressions series.

Martha graduated from Florida State University, where she was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, the national honorary music fraternity. Martha owned a piano studio in Lake City, FL for many years and has been active in church music and as a professional accompanist. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the Florida State Music Teachers Association, and the National Guild of Piano Teachers. Martha is a state and nationally certified teacher of piano through these professional organizations.

Martha is a frequent clinician and adjudicator, having presented workshops for teachers in Australia and New Zealand and in the United States at the Music Teachers National Association Conference, the National Piano Teachers Institute, the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and numerous state MTA conventions. Many of her solos and collections were chosen for the National Federation of Music Clubs Junior Festival Bulletin. She is a co-author of Alfred's Premier Piano Course and more than 200 other educational piano publications.

Dennis Alexander

Dennis Alexander

Dennis Alexander began his affiliation with Alfred Music Publishing in 1986. Mr. Alexander's 240+ publications and recordings created with Alfred have earned him an international reputation as one of North America's most prolific and popular composers of educational piano music for students at all levels.

Professor Alexander retired from his position at the University of Montana in May 1996, where he had taught piano and piano pedagogy for 24 years. After moving to California, he taught piano privately and served on the faculties of Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge. Now a resident of New Mexico, he currently maintains an active composing and touring schedule for Alfred.

A native of Kansas, Mr. Alexander graduated from the University of Kansas, where he studied with Richard Reber. In 1987 Mr. Alexander made his New York debut at Carnegie Recital Hall with violinist Walter Olivares, and continues to be active as a soloist, accompanist, and chamber musician. A former president of the Montana State Music Teachers Association, he is a popular clinician at state conventions. In addition to the Alfred-sponsored workshops, he presents regularly in the U.S. and Canada. Mr. Alexander has also presented workshops in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Numerous organizations and state associations have commissioned him to write compositions. In addition, he has numerous pieces that are included on the National Federation of Music Clubs Festivals Bulletin and his music is being performed by students throughout the world. He is a co-author of Alfred's Premier Piano Course.

In 2015, he was honored with a "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy.

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