Piano study at Northwestern is designed to prepare young artists for the multifaceted opportunities awaiting them in today’s music world.

The piano curriculum is centered around individual private lessons, where students are encouraged to explore the incredible variety of repertoire available to pianists. Performance opportunities abound and include studio classes, weekly recital hours, a concerto competition, and opportunities for performances off campus. In addition, there are many competitions in the Chicago area which offer performances as well as cash prizes.

The piano faculty is comprised of experienced artist-teachers whose careers represent a diversity of backgrounds. Their comprehensive approach to education encourages students to cultivate their own voices and musical values. The relatively small size of our program—typically less than 50 students total in all degree programs—creates a community that is collegial but motivated toward achievement.

All DMA students receive a full-tuition scholarship, stipend, and fully subsidized health insurance.

Skyline Piano Artist Series

Established in 2015, the Skyline Piano Artist Series presents award-winning performers and takes full advantage of the exquisite acoustics and remarkable views of the Chicago skyline in the school’s premier recital venue, the Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall.

Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in Piano Performance

The Bienen School awards the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize biennially to a distinguished pianist. Recipients—who have included Richard Goode, Stephen Hough, Yefim Bronfman, Murray Perahia, Garrick Ohlsson, Emanuel Ax, Marc-André Hamelin, András Schiff, and Maria João Pires—make multiple visits to campus to perform and teach.

Learn More


Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major, Op. 83

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra

Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Major, Op. 26

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra

Chopin - Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Minor

Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra

A Celebration of Scott Joplin

Piano studio of James Giles

The Scriabin Project: Wang Piano Studio

Piano studio of Sylvia Wang

Saint-Saens - Piano Concerto No. 5 in F Major (Egyptian)

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra

Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra

Liszt - Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra

Liszt - Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major

Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra

Piano Pedagogy at the Bienen School of Music

All pedagogy coursework integrates instruction with practical experience. Teaching includes working with students of wide age range and advancement levels. Faculty feedback and audio/video taping provide continuous feedback for maximum professional growth. The Music Academy, sponsored by the Bienen School of Music, with instruction for both children and adults, offers on-campus opportunities for directed teaching in both individual and group lesson settings.

Piano Pedagogy Faculty