Inspired by a belief in the importance of individual creativity in creating a culture of excellence in the arts and education, the Clifford/Levy family created and funded the Clifford/Levy Creativity Grants for the School’s faculty to catalyze positive change for years to come at The Diller-Quaile School of Music. Below are the descriptions of the projects that Diller-Quaile grant recipients have completed with their awards.


Morganne Aaberg, Violin
In fall 2017, Morganne and Artists By Any Other Name will present Debussy’s La boîte à joujoux (The Toybox) through music, dance, narration, and projected images in a concert for the Diller-Quaile community.
Artists By Any Other Name (cofounded by Morganne Aaberg and Harmonnia Junus in 2014) is a multidisciplinary collective that aims to create artistic experiences that drive the imagination forward while invigorating the spirit. ABAON will perform Debussy’s La boîte à joujoux for the Diller-Quaile community and friends of the School. The production will include piano quintet, dance, narration, and projected illustrations. Morganne and Harmonnia aim to inspire students by showing them first-hand how artists work with their friends, share art with their community, and follow their imaginations.


Ian Bentley, Voice
Ian Bentley attended the Summer Vocology Institute at the University of Utah in Summer 2017
The Summer Vocology Institute (SVI) at the University of Utah is an intensive program led by world-renowned voice scientist Dr. Ingo Titze to learn “vocology” – the study and practice of voice health and habilitation. The program combined music, speech science, vocal pedagogy, health, and theater training and gave real world experience in applying these concepts to both performance and health settings. Having already completed the first block of the program, Principles of Voice Production, Ian then completed blocks 2 and 3 in 2017. In Block 2, Instrumentation for Voice Analysis and Voice Habilitation, he studied the scientific instrumentation used in voice clinics to assess vocal health. Block 3, Voice for Performers, focused on different kinesthetic techniques for the singing voice. After completing the program, Ian earned a “Certificate of Vocology” from the University of Utah.


Miranda Sielaff, Viola
Miranda Sielaff studied with Manhattan School of Music Professor Karen Ritscher
Miranda took four individual viola lessons with Manhattan School of Music professor Karen Ritscher. As a former student of Ms. Ritscher during Miranda’s undergraduate years, Miranda felt poised to benefit from her unique teachings at this point in her career when she has 15 years of experience as a performer and teacher. Miranda wanted to continue to develop her own viola playing, and saw a great potential for the impact of these lessons on her own teaching. Ms. Ritscher is the kind of teacher Miranda aspires to be. She models the resilience needed to maintain a growth mindset throughout one’s career, and she supports each student’s individual path by encouraging, enlightening, and developing their awareness.


Samantha Spiridellis, Kodály
Samantha Spiridellis attended the Kodaly Summer Institute 2017 – A Week in Hungary
During July 2017 in Kecskemét, Hungary, Samantha gathered with participants from around the world to celebrate, sing, and study global folk music at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. Through NYU, students joined the 30th International Kodály Seminar and Kodály Art Festival to study the method and philosophy of Zoltán Kodály in the homeland of its origin. Students participated in daily choir and solfège class, while selecting from various workshops to deepen the application of the Kodály method. Early childhood pedagogy, traditional music research, choral music, and conducting were a few of the electives offered.


Eri Yamamoto
Eri Yamamoto studied West African Drumming at the Wula Drum Center in Brooklyn to bring fresh, new rhythmic ideas to her piano accompaniment of Diller-Quaile classes. Eri studied with Abdouleaye Toure, an expert in Guinean music, who taught her many traditional West African rhythms using various drums.



Thomas Flippin
thomas-flippinFlippin and his classical guitar ensemble, Duo Noire, felt the need to address the severe under-representation of women composers in the world of classical guitar. The Women of Guitar Commissioning Project has allowed Duo Noire to commission new works by six highly accomplished American women composers from the millennial generation. It will culminate in concerts, promotional videos, media coverage, and a full-length album release. This project has helped Flippin communicate to his students that there are incredibly gifted women in the world of classical guitar composition.


Eun Lee
eun-leeEun attended the 2015 Take A Stand conference, a partnership between the Longy School of Music of Bard College, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Bard College. This biennial symposium focused on enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in the El Sistema movement in the United States. The conference included presentations from internationally renowned music educators, performances from the acclaimed Simon Bolivar Orchestra, and opportunities for U.S. students and teachers to collaborate with colleagues from Venezuelan El Sistema programs.


Isabelle O’Connell
isabelleoconnellIsabelle participated in the The New Music Gathering’s annual four-day conference dedicated to the performance, production, promotion, support, and creation of new concert music. Taking place at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the focus was on “Communities.” The conference featured concerts, lecture recitals, round-table discussions, and talks. The Keynote address was given by Marin Alsop, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony, whose outreach initiatives include ‘OrchKids’, a program providing music education, instruments, meals, and mentorship to Baltimore’s neediest young people.


Lila Pollack
lila-pollackLila enrolled in the the Suzuki Teaching Training Course for violin at The School for Strings. The first year is taught by Allen Lieb. Each weekly two hour seminar involves in-depth discussions and problem solving strategies used in the Suzuki Approach for teaching musical materials. Students are also required to observe lessons for at least two hours each week and write reports on them. Lila is currently the Strings teacher at Avenues: The World School and the Associate Artist Director at the Noel Pointer Foundation. A complete knowledge of the Suzuki Approach has enabled her to provide more support to both students and teachers.


Jocelyn Stewart
jocelynThe curtain is closing on a great generation of harpsichordist scholars. Louis Bagger, at age 88, is one of the remaining few. Jocelyn’s project consisted of coaching with him a program of late Scarlatti Sonatas, along with works by Francois Couperin, Virginal School composers, and J.S. Bach. Not only was harpsichord the default keyboard instrument for many centuries, it figured in virtually every vocal, instrumental, and orchestral piece. It is important that students have the sound of the harpsichord in their ear, as it was not always the “optional” instrument it has become today. Also, pianists are not infrequently asked to play a piece or group of pieces on harpsichord, so some literacy is essential.



Sage Cole & Jing Li
sagejingSage and Jing created a series of concerts and lectures based on three Beethoven violin sonatas that can be adjusted to different audience sizes and interests, and shared this with the Diller-Quaile community—ages 4 to 94. To prepare for the project, Sage and Jing took approximately seven lessons from Jonathan Feldman, Chairperson of the Collaborative Piano Department at The Juilliard School. Mr. Feldman helped them to further develop their skills as both performers and teachers.


Erin Langston
diller-quaile-5389Erin participated in the Orff Schulwerk Certification Program: Level One. The Orff-Schulwerk approach to music and dance education is based on the education philosophy and pedagogy of the contemporary composer Carl Orff and his colleague Gunild Keetman. The basic premise of the approach is that movement, speech, singing, and instrumental playing form an inseparable unity in the music teaching process. The course included over 60 hours of intensive classes and workshops covering Orff methodology, instruction on playing Orff instruments, and recorders. This course complimented Erin’s extensive Dalcroze training, and enhanced her own musicianship and enthusiasm for teaching.


Egil Rostad
egilEgil completed the second and final year of Suzuki Teacher Training at The School for Strings (SFS). This included lectures, reading, homework, long-term projects, peer and teacher evaluations, as well as the opportunity to lead group classes. The Teacher Training program at SFS for cello was led by Pamela Devenport – a veteran cello teacher and master of Suzuki pedagogy. This course was an opportunity for Egil to complete Suzuki studies he had begun over a decade ago. The experience injected fresh ideas and inspiration into his approach – he was influenced by the vitality of other styles of teaching, benefiting his orchestra section coaching, his chamber coaching, as well as his Suzuki classes.


Keve Wilson
kevelaughKeve learned new movement and dance ideas for early childhood curriculum by working with Maria Hanley, early dance instructor in New York City, and by attending a teacher training workshop in Greensboro, North Carolina. In observing Ms. Hanley’s teaching, Keve gained insights into new ways to transition children from activity to activity in the classroom, movement games, and dance vocabulary. Ms. Hanley’s mission for teaching was born of the belief that the greatest untapped resource and assets at a teacher training event are always the teachers themselves. As a professional musician and former dancer, Keve’s love and interest in exploring both art forms influence her class planning.



Bradley Colten
CD800SBradley, unearthed, edited, recorded and produced the unknown guitar works by the Pulitzer prize-winning, American composer Ernst Bacon – a contemporary of Aaron Copland. Bradley conducted extensive research and worked directly with the Bacon family to bring the music, almost an hour’s worth, to the worldwide classical guitar community. Titled “The Complete Guitar Works of Ernst Bacon”, Bradley’s solo CD was released by Azica Records in 2014.Bradley has also published a critical edition score of the complete works with the international publisher, Les Productions d’Oz.


Mary Douglas
mary-douglasMary Douglas attended the “Powered by Community” Suzuki Associations of Americas’ biennial conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 16th Conference was primarily for Suzuki teachers from around the country and consisted of multiple sessions divided by instrument/areas of interest, as well as keynote addresses, concerts, and master classes for all instruments.


Carla Francis
carlaCarla attended the “Powered by Community” Suzuki Associations of Americas biennial conference in Minneapolis. The 16th Conference is primarily for Suzuki teachers from around the country and consisted of multiple sessions divided by instrument/areas of interest, as well as keynote addresses, concerts, and master classes for all instruments.


Chihiro Shibayama
chihiroChihiro completed an intensive, hands-on workshop focusing on Indian traditional tabla music with percussionist Shawn Mativetsky—a highly sought-after tabla performer and educator at McGill University. Chihiro traveled to Montreal to learn tabla in the tradition of Benares (Varanasi) gharana including daily group practice sessions, classes, and listening/repertoire sessions. Tabla is a pair of traditional North Indian drums, consisting of two hand drums. As one of the few melodic percussion instruments, tabla is a complicated percussion instrument to learn because it requires the extensive use of the fingers and palms in various configurations to create a variety of different sounds.


Mary Thorne
mary-thorneMary attended the winter opera and musical theatre conference sponsored by the most prominent singing organizations in the United States—the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the National Opera Associations, and Opera America. Entitled “Opera and Musical Theatre in the 21st Century: Tradition and Innovation Converge,” the conference offered workshops and lectures by performers, composers, directors, and teacher in both opera and music theatre.


2012-2013 Grants

Jennifer Jahn
jen-jahnJennifer participated in five individual sessions with Pam Devenport focusing on Ms. Devenport’s newest cello pedagogy book in order to grow further as a teacher. Jennifer learned Pamela’s specialized technique for teaching vibrato and an amazing collection of practical and inspired information for Suzuki cello teachers.


Allen Lieb
allenAllen participated in an intensive week of classes and concerts with students, parents, and teachers from around the world at The 16th Suzuki Method World Convention in Matsumoto, Japan. He studied and observed international faculty in master classes, group lessons and special pedagogy sessions under the auspices of Dr. Suzuki’s founding institution, The Talent Education Research Institute. Additionally, Allen was invited to be part of the faculty for student classes at the convention, giving him the opportunity to share his outstanding skills with a diverse group of musicians.


Keve Wilson
keve1Keve visited the rural village of Makuleke, South Africa to implement, develop, and present tools for early childhood music training for the teachers in the rural village of Makuleke, South Africa. Keve also taught individual and group music lessons to teenagers on instruments at their local church, recorded some of their indigenous music, and performed with them.



2011-2012 Grants

Ruth Alperson
2011-head-photos-ruth-014Ruth participated in the 2012 International Symposium for Music Educators – 30th World Conference on Music Education in Greece, and spoke about the application of Dalcroze principles and practices as they apply to infants in her talk titled “The Gift of Dalcroze for Babies.”


Jyni Ekins
libraryJyni visited the remote South African village of Makuleke to teach children songs from the Diller-Quaile repertoire, learned African folk songs, and conducted many read-alouds and sing-alongs at the village library, in order to help advance literacy initiatives through song and movement.


John Howell
untitledThrough the Clifford-Levy Grant, John was able to complete the final stages of research for his doctoral dissertation at Indiana University. The project examined the development of Australian Art Song in the Western tradition from the 19th-20th centuries, a canon of vocal literature widely unknown to American singers. The research was compiled into a bibliography and catalog of selected representative composers and their works, and serves as a valuable resource of this material for both voice instructors and singers. He presented his research in his doctoral recital in February 2014 at Indiana, and also presented a portion of these songs in a faculty recital for the DQ concert series.


Jaana Kantola
jaana-xylophoneJaana participated in the Orff Training for Teachers – Level II Certification Course. The Orff Schulwerk approach to music and dance education is based on the educational philosophy and pedagogy of the composer Carl Orff and his colleague Gunild Keetman. In the Level II Certification Program, adult students acquired facility in the sequencing of rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic concepts and in playing tonal percussion and improvising in all areas, creating simple to complex orchestrations. Interrelationship of the elements of dance and music are introduced, as well as the ongoing study of recorder.


Leigh Stuart
leigh2-347x400Leigh attended the Mark O’Connor/Berklee College of Music Summer String Program. This course provided an opportunity for string players (intermediate, advanced, and professional) to study a wide variety of string styles (folk, jazz, bluegrass, classical, old time, rock, Celtic) in depth with Mark O’Connor and other virtuosos and educators. In addition to daily classes, the program included student concerts, faculty concerts, and nightly jam sessions.


Mary Thorne
thornecolorshotMary Thorne participated in the Dalcroze National Conference 2012 in Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington. The conference included classes and workshops led by prominent presenters, and focused on areas of Dalcroze study such as improvisation, solfege, eurhythmics, and plastique animee.