Faculty & Staff

DR. SARKIS BALTAIAN

DR. SARKIS BALTAIAN

Director, Instrumental Music Conservatory – Pianist Program, Strings & Orchestra Program

sarkis.baltaian@ocsarts.net

Dr. Sarkis Baltaian has gained an international reputation as a concert pianist, chamber musician, recording artist, and pedagogue. He has been praised by critics for his “beautiful tone and ability to project even the most delicate pianissimos,” and compared to George Gershwin and Oscar Levant for his performance of Gershwin’s Concerto in F. Dr. Baltaian made his Carnegie Hall Debut in 1999 and has performed extensively both as a recitalist and concerto soloist with major orchestras throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Australia. 

Under his dedicated teaching, Dr. Baltaian’s students have won national and international competitions and have matriculated to prestigious institutions such as the Eastman School; Peabody Conservatory; New England Conservatory; Manhattan School of Music; Oberlin Conservatory; Cleveland Institute of Music; USC; Rice University; Cornell University; Pomona College; University of Colorado at Boulder; and the University of California at Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Santa Barbara.

Dr. Baltaian has held full-time professor positions at the Colburn Conservatory of Music and The University of Alabama in Huntsville. He currently serves on the piano faculty of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and also maintains a private studio in Orange County and Los Angeles.

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Advisory Board

Nina Scolnik

Nina Scolnik

Professor, UCI

University of California, Irvine

  

Pianist Nina Scolnik has concertized in the United States and abroad as a recitalist, soloist with orchestra, chamber musician and collaborative pianist.

She has been a guest artist with the American, Angeles, Lydian, and Blaeu String Quartets and has collaborated with international cellists Nathaniel Rosen, Gerhard Mantel and Vagram Saradjian.  Recent European venues include performances at the Rudolfinum in Prague with principals of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam and the Palais Auersperg in Vienna as a soloist with the Wiener Residenzorchester. Scolnik has performed and taught at celebrated music festivals in Europe and in the United States including the Schlern International Music Festival in Voels am Schlern, Italy, the Ameropa International Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, Pianofest Austria in Bad Aussee, Austria, the Williams International Piano Festival, Tulane University Keyboard Festival, and the Amherst, New World, and Aspen Music Festivals. 

Widely recognized for her master classes, lectures, and work with injured pianists, Ms. Scolnik has presented at music conferences, universities, and festivals in the United States, Canada, and Europe. She served as a faculty member of the Taubman Institute of Piano from 1979 to 2002, and at the Golandsky International Piano Institute at Princeton University in 2004.  She currently serves on the piano faculty and as Associate Chair for Performance at the University of California, Irvine, where she has groomed pianists for serious careers as performers and teachers for over 25 years.

Born in Lewiston, Maine, Ms. Scolnik is a graduate of both the Oberlin Conservatory and the Juilliard School of Music.  Her teachers have included Edna Golandsky, Dorothy Taubman, Artur Balsam, Joseph Schwartz, Martin Canin, Lenore Engdahl, and Natasha Chances.

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Dr. Derek Kealii Polischuk

Dr. Derek Kealii Polischuk

Director of Piano Pedagogy

Professor of Piano

Michigan State University

Derek Kealii Polischuk is associate professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy at the Michigan State University College of Music. Originally from San Diego, Polischuk studied with Krzysztof Brzuza before attending the University of Southern California, where he received the Doctor of Music Arts degree in Piano Performance with distinction under the tutelage of Daniel Pollack.  

An enthusiastic supporter of the education of musicians at every age, ability and background, Polischuk has presented at conferences around the world, including the Music Teachers National Association, the National Group Piano and Pedagogy Conference, the Multidisciplinary Research in Music Pedagogy Conference, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, the DOCTRID Conference in Ireland, the ABLE Assembly at Berklee College, and at universities and conservatories across China. Polischuk serves on the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy’s Committee for Teaching Students with Special Needs and the Advisory Board of the Orange County School of the Arts Pianist Program. Polischuk is a founder and director of the “Celebrating the Spectrum” Piano Festival for advanced pianists on the Autism Spectrum. Polischuk’s book Transformational Piano Teaching, described by Dr. Alice M. Hammel of James Madison University as “a world of piano pedagogy where anyone and everyone is welcome and included in the art and joy of playing the piano” and Stewart Gordon of the University of Southern California as “a landmark in the field of piano pedagogy” is available from Oxford University Press.  At Michigan State University, Polischuk has been the recipient of the Curricular Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Award, and the Teacher-Scholar Award, given in recognition of exceptional skill in teaching.

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