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David Hughes has performed at the Kennedy Center, Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw, and the Carmel (CA) Music Society's subscription series. He recently made his solo debut in Paris with a recital of contemporary American works for piano. This concert was sponsored by Orléans Concours International and was preceded by a panel discussion entitled "America Today." In 2010 he received his doctorate in piano performance from Indiana University with thesis research into holistic pedagogy. While at Indiana he taught group and individual piano lessons for five years as an Associate Instructor.

Dr. Hughes has a strong interest in contemporary music and received third prize in the Gaudeamus Interpreters Competition—one of the world’s premier competitions for modern music—as a member of Outer Banks Duo with saxophonist Stacy Wilson. The duo's first CD, "L'Incandescence" is now available. At the 2010 Orléans competition for solo piano he presented a work that he commissioned--"Lacuna", by composer Adam Roberts--that won the Prix Chevillon-Bonnaud for the best new composition. He is a past recipient of a fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Center. While at Tanglewood he played four different keyboard instruments for a recording of John Zorn's violin concerto, "Contes de Fées," that was professionally released on the Tzadik label. He is also a prizewinner in the MTNA national chamber music competition.

Dr. Hughes relocated to Philadelphia in 2010. In addition to private teaching and freelance work, he has also served on the faculty at Settlement Music School. Since moving to the area he has been a pianist and coach for a world premiere opera, “Decameron,” as well as a new oratorio, Jonathan Leshnoff’s “Hope”, the latter of which premiered at the Kimmel Center in 2011 as part of the PIFA festival. He has performed on Andrea Clearfield's popular "Salon" concert series in Center City Philadelphia a number of times. In fall 2014 he will be featured in an hour-long segment of solo repertoire on WRTI as part of their "Music Makers" series profiling local musicians.

Teaching Philosophy:

At the age of 21 or so I came to the conclusion that to make further progress in my technical and musical development I would need to completely overhaul my physical and psychological approach to the instrument. This has led me to a 10-year (so far!) investigation into holistic methods of bodywork (Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method), Zen philosophy, the pedagogy of pianist Abby Whiteside (the subject of my dissertation), and various other thinkers, musical and otherwise. I've availed myself of private instruction in some of these areas and incorporate them into my teaching.

I believe that the process of learning is more important than the actual result attained: to do more with less is one of my main goals as a performer and teacher. With older students I work to expand their pianistic consciousness to detect and eliminate harmful habits and attitudes. My work with younger students is more focused on prevention of these habits. I incorporate ear training and music theory into lessons and encourage my students to perform. Above all I believe that the study of music should be linked to the study of one's self. I do not follow any one "system" of pedagogy and find that with any kind of set approach something is inevitably left out. I am continually discovering new things and try to get my students to do the same.

Practical Information:

My studio is in the Passyunk Square area of South Philadelphia: a resonant, open space with a very fine Schimmel grand piano. I can also travel to the student if scheduling permits (this would incur an extra fee, depending on distance). Please inquire within for rates. Lessons are weekly and are generally available for 30 or 60 minutes. Other durations of time (e.g. 45 minutes, or longer than an hour) may be possible as well. After the initial meeting I do ask for commitment to at least a month of lessons, payable on the first lesson of that month.

Please be aware that I am a classical musician and the repertoire I teach is generally all in that direction. I am happy to help out with musical theater and pop to a certain extent. I do not teach jazz improvisation, however. Students at all levels are accepted, ages 6 and up. Younger students will be considered if they show signs of considerable musical talent.

I have passed federal and state background checks, and references are available upon request. I look forward to making music with you!

Studio Location
Philadelphia, PA
South Philly/Passyunk Square
(812) 322-1449