2019 Piano Duo Festival Acknowledgement & Results

Thank you for participating in the 2019 Piano Duo Festival! The event was held on Saturday, February 23 at Greene Music. Students, teachers and families enjoyed the beautiful piano duet music performed by 14 teams in 6 different age-division categories. The Duo Festival chair Dan Yu made all pre-event arrangements and organized the schedule, and on the event day, my MTAC colleague Carol Ong-Chen was an indispensable help to run the two recitals back to back. Thank you to students, parents, and all participating teachers for making it a successful event. The following studios were represented: Eunice Ahn, Eunji Bae, Lee Galloway, Yu Carole Liu, Victor Labenske, Carol Ong-Chen, Galina Talis, and Anna Vasilyeva. Special thanks to our adjudicators Steve Baker and Sanaz Rezai.

Here are the results and photos from the event. Congratulations to all participants. We hope you join us again next year.

2019 Piano Duo Festival Results
Category I: Ages 5 - 9First PlaceGrace Xu & Sarah Deng
Second PlaceAllison Doung & Katelyn Doung
Third PlaceMia Davis & Jace Phillips
Category II: Ages 10 - 12First PlaceWei-Shi Lai & Peiran Liang
Second PlaceAnya Davis & Kailey Philips
Third PlaceIris Cheng & Leah Nacher
Category III: Ages 13 - 15First PlaceRuei-Chi Lai & Davina Zhu
Second PlaceStephen Zhu & Hsiang-Kuang Zhuang
Third PlacePaul Suarez & John Suarez
Category IV: Ages 16 - High SchoolFirst PlaceJessica Mar & Jenny Mar
Category V: CollegeFirst PlaceAurora Grzybek & Evan Lin

2018 Popular Music Festival Acknowledgement

Thank you for participating in the 2018 Popular Music Festival! We had 15 teachers enter 51 students who performed in recitals on November 3, 2018 at Grossmont College. The four recitals were filled with delightful music ranging from pop and rock to jazz, blues and ragtime.

The 3pm Jazz Improvisation Workshop was led by Yuko Maruyama, and the accompanists were Doug Walker on bass and Matthew Taylor on drums. Students Andrew D., Skylar L., Risa S., Eric T., Michael W., and teacher Claudia Smetona explored improvisation on blues and funk, Latin rhythms, and some jazz standards.

Studios Represented: Irina Bessonova, Miriam Cole, Kathy Kim, Amy Lee, Philip Lim, Brenda Martin, Yuko Maruyama, Leslie Olson, Carol Ong-Chen, Anna Savvas, Claudia Smetona, Anna Stal, Galina Talis, Irina Williams, and Dan Yu

A big thank-you to all the teachers, students and friends who came out and volunteered their time to make this event possible:

Irina Bessonova, Miriam Cole, Kathy Kim, Yuko Maruyama, Leslie Olson, Carol Ong-Chen, Anna Savvas, Risa Schapiro, Claudia Smetona, Irina Williams, Chutaphin Yeager and Dan Yu

2018 Fall Breakfast Meeting – RSVP Required

All MTACSD members are invited to this breakfast meeting on September 17, 2018. An email invitation has been sent to all members with a link to the RSVP Form. If you have missed the email invitation, you may login to the website and find the RSVP Form under the Member Area. You only need to submit this form once. We hope to see you in September!

MTAC Membership Renewal Reminder

MTACSD Teachers can now renew their membership by logging in to the Teacher Portal on the state MTAC website at new.mtac.org.

Membership renewals must be postmarked by July 31, 2018, in order to keep your membership current, to be eligible to enroll students in the state programs (2018-19 Certificate of Merit® or VOCE), and to be listed in the printed State Membership Directory. For questions about the MTAC San Diego branch membership, contact Chutaphin Yeager, MTACSD Membership Secretary, at chutaphin@icloud.com.

Remembering Jane Smisor Bastien (1936-2018)

We are all saddened by the passing of Jane Bastien, who was a long-time member of the MTAC San Diego Branch. We are dedicating this page to honor her, by sharing thoughts, memories and photos, that are contributed by the members of our branch who knew her. If you would like to share your thoughts on this page, please contact info@mtacsd.org.



Emi Clements
“Teach each student as if he or she were your best one.” Jane Bastien’s words have always encouraged me and inspired me with my own piano students. My daughter was fortunate to be one of the last students Mrs. Bastien taught. In spite of the early hour of a weekly lesson at 5:45 am, Chelsea always had a smile on her face when she came out of Jane’s studio. Jane had a magical quality about her that made all students respond and want to learn. And all of Jane’s students became very good at playing the piano! Jane never compromised with her teaching methods and expected much from her students but she always showed much love to each and every one. The unmatched energy she brought to her love of the piano will remain in her published works and with her students forever. Her teaching ability and vibrant personality will continue to enrich all of our lives. Thank you Jane. We will always love you!



Dan Yu
Jane Bastien was a major inspiration for me on music. I came to America in 1997 when I was 16 years old, and studied with her for three years during my high school years. Many piano lessons and musical activities with her made me decide to pursue the path of music. I always remember her encouraging words, colorful smile and her positive personality. When I heard the sad news about her passing, I even stopped all entertainments and practiced the piano more and recalled memories, to be a little more spiritual with her. I know that I will carry on Mrs. Bastien’s love for music when I teach my students, when I practice the piano, and when I perform, and strive to excel in all of these things that were passed on to me by Mrs. Bastien.



Leslie Olson
I first met Jane Bastien 30 years ago at a welcome new member MTAC gathering in her home. With her warm, friendly personality, I quickly recognized her dedication and love for her family and her students. Over the years her presence at meetings, branch events, and conventions or giving master classes inspired many students and teachers, I was no exception. She started the San Diego Branch Sonata Contest and chaired it every year. Being a guest in a castle home in Norway, I recall seeing the Primer Level Bastien books on the grand piano. Realizing her presence around the world became real to me. I was so proud to say, I know her and she lives nearby. All the Bastien materials have been very helpful in teaching my students. I will miss her and am grateful for all she did for all teachers and students around the world. One quote I will never forget her saying, “Teach every student as if they were your very best one.” Her gifts continue.



Tim Broadway
Jane was an unforgettable person who loved music and life in general. We can all remember Jane as someone who truly loved to teach piano. She nurtured her students in an extraordinary way which became contagious for the love of music. Her warm personality was enjoyed by all. In addition, Jane exuded excellence in all areas of her life. She created a life that was filled with beauty. Her home, her flowers, and of course her music was enjoyed by all who knew her.



Angelina Hardy
She was very kind to my son and even signed his book one time at CM (2016). I was always impressed how encouraging she was to all the piano students at CM and Sonata Contest. I really enjoyed working at the check in table with her at CM. She was a true inspiration to me!


George Katz
Despite the demands of her involvement in teaching and creative projects, Jane was deeply committed to the
organizations which promote the excellence of musical life in San Diego. During the ten years in which I served
as treasurer for the Musical Merit Foundation, Jane’s generous support and the use of her home as a venue for
Board meetings were important contributions. On a personal level, Julia and I are most grateful for Jane’s friendship
before and after our move to San Diego. We and many others will sorely miss her presence.




Jane Smisor Bastien (1936-2018) was an internationally renowned piano teacher, pedagogue and musician. Jane and her husband James Bastien wrote the best-selling piano methods, the Bastien Piano Basics, which are enjoyed by millions of students and teachers worldwide. Jane was first accepted as an MTAC member in 1975, the year she moved to La Jolla, CA. She started the San Diego Branch Sonata Contest in 1976 with her husband James, and served on the Board of Directors of the MTAC San Diego Branch from 1989 to 2003. Among the honors Jane Bastien received were the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), as well as the MTNA Citation for Leadership, in recognition of her significant leadership contributions as a teacher, pedagogue and author to the music teaching profession throughout the world.


A memorial service was held at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Sunday, June 3, 2018, at 4pm, where several of Jane’s former students performed. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to: UCSD Foundation for the Jane Bastien ADRC Fund (F-2352) to benefit the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, 9500 Gilman Drive #0937, La Jolla, CA, 92093; The Musical Merit Foundation of Great San Diego C/O John Peterson Treasurer, 3030 Curlew Street, San Diego, CA 92103.

2018 CM Results Now Posted

The 2018 San Diego Branch Certificate of Merit was held on March 24-25 and March 31 at the San Diego State University. This annual event is sponsored by the state MTAC, and organized by the MTAC San Diego Branch. This year, our branch received over 1,200 student applications from 139 teachers. The results are now available on both the teacher and the parent portals of the state MTAC website. (Link is below.)

Running the three days of CM was a concerted effort by all of our CM volunteers, some of whom worked very long hours. The outstanding CM team of our branch planned the entire three-day operation in great details months in advance; our CM teachers fulfilled various tasks of testing, grading and recording on the CM days; and our student runners escorted the CM students safely to and from the evaluation rooms on strict schedule.

Our CM students were evaluated on their level-appropriate repertoire performance, technique, sight-reading, theory and ear training skills. Students who scored high in all areas receive branch honors and are offered additional performance opportunities at the state MTAC Convention in June.

Here are some photos from our CM days. A million “Bravos” to the CM team members, teachers, runners, and our CM students!

2018 Concerto Winners Performances

Congratulations to the 2018 Concerto Competition winners!
The first place winners of Divisions I through VI, will perform their winning pieces with orchestra as follows:


Adora Xiao, piano and Sunny Xiao, piano
will perform with the Greater San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Dr. Angela Yeung, conductor.

Dates: Friday, March 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 18 at 2:00 pm (two performances)
Location: University of San Diego, Shiley Theatre

Adora will perform the Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major, 3rd mvt.
Sunny will perform the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto in G minor, 3rd mvt.


Kevin Lu, piano, Stacy Widyono, violin, and Phoebe Olzewski, violin
will perform with the Mira Costa College Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Branden Muresan, conductor.

Dates: Saturday, May 19 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 20 at 3:00 pm (two performances)
Location: Mira Costa College Concert Hall- Oceanside Campus

Kevin will perform the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, 1st mvt.
Stacy will perform the Bruch Violin Concerto in G minor, 1st mvt.
Phoebe will perform the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole, 1st mvt.


Zackery Edwards, bassoon
will perform with the New City Sinfonia, Mr. Daniel Ratelle, conductor.

Date: Sunday, June 3 at 2:00 pm
Location: Church of Mary Magdalene (Bay Park)

Zackery will perform the Weber Andante and Rondo Ongerese, Op. 35