A.J. Collins-Thompson was chosen as the Texas Pre-College Teacher of the Year 2012 by the Texas Music Teachers Association.
Ms. Thompson began her piano studies at age 7 and was an active soloist and accompanist throughout her pre-college studies. Under the Stable’s Music and Presidential Academic Scholarship, she attended Trinity University. She studied Piano Performance and Pedagogy with Dr. Carolyn True and earned a Bachelors in Music with a minor in Psychology. She earned her Masters Degree in Piano Performance from Texas State where she studied under scholarship with Dr. Timothy Woolsey. She currently teaches theory and performance level piano at the Musical Arts Centers of San Antonio, Inc.
Ms. Thompson.’s students have won top prizes in local, state and national level competitions including the San Antonio Symphony Rising Stars Competition, Texas Music Teachers Association Performance Contest (Solo, Concerto and Ensemble divisions), Junior Tuesday Musical Club Competition, Hodge’s Contemporary Piano Competition, Petroff Competition, McLennan Competition, Texas State Young Pianist Competition, Baylor Waco Competition, Pearl Amster Concerto Competition and the DeBose National Piano Competition. Several of her students have given solo recitals as well as been accepted with full scholarship to college music programs and competitive summer programs. They have also performed with orchestras in San Antonio and Austin and on local NPR stations.
A.J. is happily married to Musical Arts Centers of San Antonio Executive Director Kenneth Thompson. In her “free” time, A.J. loves being active outdoors and riding her motorcycle. She is also pursuing a degree in International Culinary Arts.
One of the finest string instructors in San Antonio, Long Zhou has been teaching for more than 20 years. His students participate in national and international competitions. In 2011, his student and daughter, violinist Nancy Zhou, was a finalist in the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition, in Russia. Mr. Zhou is the founder and director of Strings in Motion, a string ensemble consisting of his pupils, which was cordially invited to perform by the governor of the province of Xinyi, China. Long Zhou is a graduate of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the University of Houston. He has performed as a soloist, chamber music player, and an orchestra player, since age 13. As a soloist, he has performed with the Shanghai Symphony, Macau Symphony, Beijing Symphony, Austin Civic Symphony, Houston Civic Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He performed as concertmaster of the Texas Music Festival Orchestra, and is currently the concertmaster of the Symphony of the Hills, located in Kerrville, Texas. Mr. Zhou was the winner of the Chinese National Competition and the Corpus Christi Artist’s Competition. A current member of the San Antonio Symphony, he has been with the symphony for 17 years.
Marsha Perkins is a legendary piano instructor, entering her 50th year of professional teaching. Over 20 years ago, in 1987, Ms. Perkins opened the Ramar Music Institute, which now has 14 instructors and provides lesson in piano, guitar, and violin, for all levels. Her students have won innumerable national and international awards over the last five decades, including 18 first place winners at the American Music Scholarship Association (AMSA) World Competition, with Carnegie Hall debuts. In 1995 she was awarded AMSA’s Most Outstanding Professor. She strives to impart the love of music to her students and believes the quintessential successful performance leaves the audience inspired. In 2001 she produced and wrote “Voices: A Call for Peace in the World,” a theatrical musical promoting peace, with music by Dr. Peter Petroff. Ms. Perkins is a proud member of the National Piano Guild and the National Music Teachers Association. She has touched countless lives in this city, sharing the joy of music, and for this we extend our sincere gratitude.
Kenneth Thompson began piano studies at age 13 in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. He fell in love with classical music and within six months of lessons decided he wanted to be a concert pianist. At age 15 he gave his first solo recital and at age 17 he won first place in the state level of the MTNA Yamaha Competition. Kenneth graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a degree in Piano Performance in 1991. His teachers have included Nelita True, Anton Nel, Anna Haun, John Weems, Carolyn True, Christopher Wallace, and Jean Barr.
During his first few years in San Antonio, Kenneth was performing in various capacities up to 80 times a year. He performed numerous solo recitals, including a recital in Atlanta at Spivey Hall. In 1994, having been continually amazed by the level of pre-collegiate students performing and teaching in Texas, he decided to shift gears and devote himself full-time to private piano teaching. From that time to the present, he has set out to make excellence in private piano teaching his primary professional goal.
In the past few years, Mr. Thompson's students have performed more than 90 complete solo recital programs and performed more than 30 times as soloists with orchestras. He has had several students perform in New York at Carnegie Hall and two students featured on National Public Radio's hit show 'From the Top'.
Mr. Thompson has had several students go into music programs and receive scholarships to some of the world's top music schools. Kenneth has had students win top prizes(1st - 3rd place)in nearly every pre-college piano competition in Texas.
In 1999, Kenneth opened the 'Musical Arts Center of San Antonio, Inc.' (MACSA) in a facility that he designed and had built to his specifications. A second MACSA opened in 2006 at the Steinway Piano Gallery. That location moved to a purpose built facility in Stone Oak on Sonterra Blvd in 2009. MACSA has over 40 teachers and staff and over 900 students at its two locations. Kenneth serves MACSA as Executive Director, Piano Coach and leader of the advanced performance classes.
Kenneth has given many workshops to teachers associations throughout Texas including the Texas Music Teachers Association's State Convention and seminars in Plano, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. In June of 2000 Kenneth Thompson received the Texas Music Teachers Association's 'Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award' for the state of Texas. In November 2009, Mr. Thompson received the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' from Musical Bridges Around the World for his work in raising the level of piano teaching in San Antonio.
When the San Antonio music community speaks of its great teachers and performers, the conversation often turns to the unique talents of a woman who traveled the world to learn her craft, and brought it back to share with students young and old in her native San Antonio.
Virginia Kane was just nine years old when she won her first piano competition, hosted by the San Antonio Tuesday Musical Club. That prize was soon followed by the prestigious National Federation Music Club Award.
Her studies with Professor John Steinfield, pianist, founder of the San Antonio Symphony, lead her to pursue even deeper challenges as a student at the world-famous Julliard School of Music. It was there that she worked on a concert with the renowned "dean of American composers", Aaron Copland.
Upon completion of her New York studies, Ms. Kane left for the Paris Conservatory of Music. Her return to the U.S. found Ms. Kane in master classes with Joanna Harris, the wife of prolific composer, Roy Harris. Never ceasing he pursuit of greater accomplishment, Ms. Kane received a Bachelor of Music degree at Our Lady of the Lake University.
Teaching music became a life-long career, living and working in Washington, D.C., Beverly Hills and again, home to San Antonio. During those years. she taught the children of many celebrities, including those of screen-star Marlon Brando, TV's Lorne Greene,and San Antonio basketball great, David Robinson.
In 2003, Virginia Kane founded the Crownridge Music Academy where she is still an active director. She continues her memberships with the Music Teachers' National Association, the Tuesday Musical Club, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Symphony League, the San Antonio International Keyboard Competition Advisory Board, and Musical Bridges Around the World.
Musical Bridges honors Virginia Kane for her long and dedicated career in the field of music education. Untold thousands of San Antonio residents are enjoying the fruits of her labor. Her students perform on stages, in orchestras, in ensembles and in homes across this country. Her music brings joy to us all!
Robin and Peggy Abraham
A few minutes in the presence of Robin and Peggy Abraham and you sense their love of music and their love for each other. As youngters Robin, a master of violin, cello, and piano and Peggy, a piano and organ virtuoso, met while attending the Julliard School of Music in New York City. Robin went on to graduate from Brown University.
After they were married Robby and Peggy moved to San Antonio in 1954. Robin joined the San Antonio Symphony as a cellist. Peggy received her Master's Degree in Music from Trinity University. Originally the opened and operated their own music school in the Highland Park area of San Antonio. In 1973, they moved the Northside School of Music to its current location at Vance-Jackson and Huebner. Robin and Peggy continue to teach, offering lessons in piano, violin, viola, cello, bass, voice, and guitar.
Recitals and workshops are held throughout the year at their school which includes a recital hall seating 100 people. Their students are eligible to participate in Piano Guild Auditions, Jr. Tuesday Musical Club, and the Youth Orchestra.
It is impossible to comprehend the music education world in San Antonio without Robin and Peggy. The Abraham's founded the Music Foundation of San Antonio, offering scholarships to those families who cannot afford to pay for music lessons.
Their love of music education has made an enduring and positive impact on the lives of hundreds of San Antonio area children and adults.
For their unswerving passion and commitment to music education of San Antonio residents, we are very proud to award the first MBAW Lifetime Achievement in Music Education Award to Robin and Peggy Abraham, and are doubly proud to announce hereafter the award will be known as the Robin and Peggy Abraham Award for Lifetime Achievement in Music Education.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Robin or Peggy Abraham
11918 Vance Jackson
San Antonio, TX 78230