make students love music..."
Our piano teachers are willing to share their joy and appreciation of the great musical works with students.
Katrin Arefy is the artistic director and head teacher at Golden Key Piano School in Berkeley, California. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the Gnessin School of Music in Moscow. Katrin also holds a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts in Painting from Azad University in Tehran.
Katrin is the author of A Thousand Stories for a Little Pianist and the series My First Piano Book. She has translated Anna Artobolevskaya's First Meet with the Music and Heinrich Neuhaus' The Art of Piano Playing from Russian to Farsi. She has lectured on the Russian method and specifically Artobolevskya's method abroad and at various universities in the US including the University of Oregon and Ohio University School of Music. Most recently Katrin delivered a well-received presentation at the Music Teachers Association Of California Conference in San Diego.
Her very first students are now professional pianists having graduated from leading music universities in Austria and Armenia.
She was accepted to Juilliard pre-college where she studied piano with Jane Carlson. While studying with Carlson, she performed numerous times at Juilliard school, Carnegie Weill hall every year, and toured Italy with Carlson. She received a bachelor's degree in piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory where she studied with Peter Takacs while earning Dean's Award scholarship throughout the entire school years.
Since graduating from Oberlin, she has been focusing in teaching students, and has been fully enjoying her teaching experience and see the students improve. Nicole has more than ten years of teaching experience.
Nicole's gentle approach, combined with her patience and years of experience makes her a desirable teacher, especially for younger students.
Christopher Richardson is a patient, passionate, and extremely knowledgeable teacher. He is an active concert pianist, having performed with 8 different orchestras and having received top prizes in over 50 local, national, and international piano competitions. He has performed in venues such as the 2000-seat Music Tent in Aspen, Carnegie Hall, and Benaroya Hall. He has also appeared on NPR's "From the Top," TV program PIE on KCTS 9, and King FM 98.1. He spoke about and performed piano at the TEDxYouth@Redmond conference in Washington, and has recently released his debut album, titled Wizard of Oz.
Christopher was accepted to the Juilliard School of Music and the Peabody Conservatory under Leon Fleisher, and is currently a pre-med student at UC Berkeley as a triple major in Economics, Biology, and Music. He is also the blog writer for the Steinway Society of the Bay Area, where he details his thoughts and experiences in the various aspects of classical music.
Christopher is especially suitable for those intermediate and advanced students who are ready to sit and focus in class. We are thrilled to have Christopher Richardson as part of our faculty here at Golden Key Piano School!
We are proud to introduce one of our former students as a professional musician and a very capable piano teacher. Anastasia is a Bay Area native, and a former student of the Golden Key Piano School, studying with Sergei Podobedov. She completed her Bachelor’s degree, cum laude, at Mills College, with specializations in Piano Performance as well as Music and Culture. At Mills College, Anastasia was the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, which covered all four years of her undergraduate study, and studied the piano with Belle Bulwinkle, Robert Schwartz and Kate Campbell. During the spring of 2017, Anastasia was awarded the Maurthea Friedberger Cup by the Mills Music Department, awarded to the most outstanding senior music major.
Anastasia was taught in the tradition of the Russian school of piano playing from the age of 5 years old. Her number one priority is for this rich tradition of music to live on and to continue to inspire future generations. She has a patient and nurturing disposition, and is fluent in Russian and French, in addition to English.
Hyungbin Lim (Robin)
Hyungbin is a busy musician passionate about both teaching and composing. He obtained his Bachelor of Music degree at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and Master of Music degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently studying under a PhD course in composition and theory at UC Davis, where he is in charge of musicianship and piano lectures as a teaching assistant.
As a teacher Hyungbin believes that learning music should be an enjoyable and creative experience, and thus his teaching is focused on “enjoying and feeling” rather than merely “understanding” the music. Through Hyungbin's teaching, the students will be able to mature to become sophisticated musicians, excelling in both the sense and sensibility of the music they are making.
As a composer Hyungbin has composed works for various genres including solo piano, chamber music, orchestra, and choral music and they have been played in many countries including the United States, South Korea, Japan, Austria, and Italy. His music is energetic and dynamic, but possesses warmth and sensitivity at the same time.
Ketevan studied music theory and piano at the Zakaria Paliashvili Batumi State Musical Institution in Georgia. She went on to teach all skill levels at Kobuleti school in Georgia where she was nominated Teacher of the Year multiple times. Afetr moving to Cyprus she started teaching at Duet Art Academy where she had prepared numerous students for the Royal Academy Examination. Ketevan has experience performing in a trio as well as over 30 years teaching private piano lessons. She has been a valued teacher at Golden Key Piano School since 2013.
Linda Smith completed her Bachelors degree at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, majoring in piano performance and pedagogy. She has over 10 years experience teaching piano and theory to students ranging from beginner to advance level.
Originally hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Linda is a piano teacher who specializes in nurturing the love of music in her students so that they can realize their full potential.
Linda considers her students' enjoyment and passion for playing the highest priority in their studies. She gets remarkable results with her patient, gentle nature, and her understanding of how to motivate and challenge her students to achieve their personal bests.
Cooper Grant is a composer, teacher, and avid student of music. His pedagogical approach involves connecting students with their love for music while emphasizing musicality and ear training.
Much of Cooper’s experience has been in one-on-one and group settings, during which he uses the skills and techniques that allow him to communicate effectively with children in a way that is fun, captivating, and engaging. Older students will also find themselves in the hands of a capable teacher with solid technique, strong theoretical knowledge and an eclectic musical background.
Cooper successfully completed the Golden Key Piano School’s teacher training in an impressively short time.
We are delighted to have this young, patient, and enthusiastic musician join our team of teachers at the Golden Key Piano School.
Olga Litvin grew up in a family of musicians and has studied piano since early childhood. She pursued her musical studies at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she received her bachelor's degree in music with an emphasis in piano. She has taught piano in New York, San Diego and most recently Washington, D.C.; where she also worked to promote human rights issues abroad.
As a teacher, Olga is intuitive, gentle and creative. She joined Golden Key Piano School this fall when she relocated to Berkeley. We welcome Olga to Berkeley and to Golden Key!
Blake Jeongwon Park
Blake Jeongwon Park is an accomplished, award-winning pianist and experienced piano teacher who received her master of music degree in piano from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
A member of the Virtuoso performance program and Sonare-TA Chamber Music, Blake performs frequently in San Francisco and South Korea. Recipient of first prize in the Honam Art Music Competition, Blake won awards for her freshman performance at JFAS, and for both her freshman and high honor graduation performances at Jeonju University in South Korea. She has performed at several notable venues such as the International Courchevel Music Alps Summer Camp and the Sori Fine Arts Center, and has participated in several master classes.
Blake has more than seven years teaching experience and has successfully worked with students of different ages and skill levels. She is a passionate, and patient teacher. She believes that her students’ high level of achievement arises from the trust among the teacher, the student, and the parents. Her students have been competition winners at the Hyundai Music Competition and the Piano Adventure Competition.
Golden Key Piano School is pleased to welcome Blake to the team of teachers starting September 2019.
Chenyi Cao is an accomplished musician with extraordinary teaching talent. Her ability to connect with the students while cultivating and following the students curiosity in class makes her an ideal teacher for our school. Chenyi had taught piano over 8 years and worked with over one hundred students of different ages and levels during her studies in the U.S. Cao’s students perform actively in the recitals, musical festivals, and won numerous awards from competitions.
Chenyi Cao is originally from Shanghai, China, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in music performance from Shanghai Normal University. In 2008, Cao came to the United States for further musical studies. She studied piano performance with Dmitry Rachmanov in California State University - Northridge, and received her Master’s Degree in 2011. Cao then began a Doctor of Musical Arts program at the University of North Texas in Piano Performance with renowned pianist and pedagogue Joseph Banowetz and earned her DMA in 2017. Cao’s honors include: Margaret Marion Grubb Memorial Piano Scholarship, Charles F. Paul Memorial Piano Scholarship, Arts Council Music Scholarship Endowment, Jakob and Bronislaw Gimpel Scholarship, and Outstanding Graduate Student of Keyboard.