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Accomplished piano students receive private instruction along with masterclasses, special topics classes, performance opportunities and practice time.

The maximum number of students selected to participate in the discipline of piano is limited to 24.

Click on "How to Apply", found on the left side of this page, for audition video and application information.

The daily schedule for piano students will include the following:

  • Masterclass (students may be chosen to perform in Masterclass)

  • Special topics classes (keyboard technique, harmonization, sight reading, history, conducting, keyboard literature, and theory)

  • Common Hour (featuring a different musical topic or opportunity each day, TBA)

  • Practice time (three to five hours per day of monitored practice time in preparation for lessons)

  • Evening recitals

  • Each student will receive two 45-minute lessons during the week.

Timothy Shafer, Professor of Piano

Tim Shafer

Timothy Shafer, professor of piano at Penn State, is recipient of the 1997 Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association Teacher of the Year Award and has twice appeared at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, both as a soloist and as a member of Duo Concertant. In addition to maintaining an active solo recital and chamber music schedule in the United States, he has concertized, taught, and adjudicated in South America and Asia. With performance degrees and awards from both Oberlin and Indiana University, Dr. Shafer is the founding director of the keyboard option in Penn State’s High School Summer Music Camp in 1987. For more information about Dr. Shafer, please visit:

Jose Ramon Mendez, Professor of Piano

Jose Ramon Mendez

Jose Ramon Mendez, assistant professor of piano at Penn State is described as “an artist with a polished sound and tremendous constructive power” and hailed by the Hoja del Lunes de Madrid, as “the Spanish pianist of his generation,” Jose Ramon Mendez is one of the most exciting Spanish pianists on the concert scene today.

Mendez received his first music instruction from his father, and by the age of seven was already performing on Spanish television and radio stations. He first gained international recognition when he performed Liszt’s first piano concerto under the direction of Sergiu Commissiona at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Since then, he has concertized extensively in his native Spain, the United States, Italy, England, Portugal, Holland, and Japan to great acclaim. With his poetic performance expression, intellect, and masterful technique, he has been praised by critics and celebrated by audiences around the world.

At the age of 18, Mendez’s success brought him to the United States, where he began his studies with Solomon Mikowsky at the Manhattan School of Music. He also completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree there under the tutelage of legendary pianist Byron Janis, a pupil of Vladimir Horowitz and Miyoko Lotto. While a student, he won top prizes in the Pilar Bayona International Piano Competition, the Hilton Head Island International Piano Competition, the Frederick Chopin Competition in New York, and the Hermanos Guerrero International Piano Competition, among others.

Mendez has been a guest performer at many music festivals, including the Caramoor Festival, the Barge Music Series, the Festival Internacional de Piano de las Islas Canarias, and the Santander International Music Festival, to name a few. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with such distinguished artists as Karl Leister, Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tree, and Pinchas Zukerman.

His professional teaching career began in 1996, when he was invited to teach masterclasses at the Gijon School of Music. He gave masterclasses at the Lugo Professional Conservatory of Music in 1999 and, most recently, at the Aviles Conservatory and the Santiago Conservatory. He has also taught during the summers at the Perlman Music Program, a program for gifted young musicians founded by Itzhak Perlman. He previously held faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin and at New York University's Steinhardt School. During the summers, Mendez serves as executive director of the Stony Brook International Piano Festival and is also co-director of the Gijon International Piano Festival in Gijon, Spain.

Jose Ramon Mendez is a Yamaha Artist.