Donald Berman Piano

My Teachers


Leonard Shure
I studied with Leonard Shure at the New England Conservatory, where I received a Masters in Performance in 1988. I stayed on to assist him in 1989 when he became ill, teaching his studio of students at the conservatory. Mr. Shure had been Arthur Schnabel's assistant in New York city in the 1930s, and was unparalleled in his expressive approach to Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms. He had a tremendous ability to transmit the eloquent power of these composers and showed me how that was a key to understanding a wide range of repertoire.

John KirkpatrickJohn Kirkpatrick
From 1983-1986 I traveled to New Haven, CT, each week to take a six-hour piano lesson from John Kirkpatrick, who was then a professor Emeritus at Yale University School of Music. I was his only student and he was my mentor. He had studied with Nadia Boulanger in France during the 1920s. Having adopted her rigorous devotion to music, he immersed me in Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and later, Faure, Stravinsky, Gottschalk, and other great American composers. He taught me to approach the works of contemporary composers with meticulous care and classical composers with a fresh spontaneity.

George BarthGeorge Barth
At Wesleyan University I studied with George Barth, who introduced me to concepts of performance practice, the idioms and approaches that give voice to composers from different eras. George currently teaches at Stanford University. He wrote "The Pianist as Orator: Beethoven and the Transformation of Keyboard Style."

Mildred VictorMildred Victor
Mildred Victor was my piano teacher growing up in White Plains, NY. She studied with Arthur Schnabel in New York city as a young girl and was a fabulous pianist. Pianists with physical problems searched her out for her fluent approach to playing. She spent years developing a rigorous and unique system of technique that I teach to my students today. The Juilliard Journal recently published an article about her approach to playing in her 80s.