The College of Arts and Architecture


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Quah Appointed Assistant Professor of Music starting August 2020

State College, PA [March 27, 2020] — Acclaimed pianist Dr. Melody Quah will join the Penn State School of Music as assistant professor of music beginning in August 2020. She will teach graduate and undergraduate piano students, including piano literature courses, and will contribute to the vibrant musical culture at Penn State. Described as a "poet with titanium fingers" by the Vancouver Sun, Quah has performed extensively on the stages of her native Malaysia as well as across Asia, Europe and North America.

Quah says, “I am thrilled to join the esteemed School of Music faculty at Penn State. The University’s impressive resources and commitment to student success align with my top priority as an educator, which is to prepare graduates to thrive in the 21st-century musical landscape and transition successfully from students to engaged artist-citizens.”

Quah’s music career encompasses a wide range of activities — soloist, recitalist, collaborative pianist, chamber musician, educator, adjudicator, masterclass clinician and music director. She has appeared in recital at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and as chamber musician at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre, soloed with orchestras such as the Malaysian and Vancouver Philharmonics, taught workshops in multiple countries, and adjudicated for the Music Teachers National Association in the United States.

Quah is also a proponent of broadening the piano repertoire with compositions by under-represented composers. In 2019, for instance, she commissioned Malaysian composers Adeline Wong and Tazul Tajuddin to write two solo piano works, which she will premiere in the 2020-2021 season. Her presentation, Diversifying Student Repertoire Through Works by Alberto Ginastera, will be released as part of the upcoming 2020 MTNA Virtual Conference.

An accomplished educator, she has served as visiting instructor of applied piano at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, been on the faculties of the Community College of Baltimore County and Levine Music in Washington, D.C., and taught secondary piano lessons at Yale University. Beyond piano instruction, Quah also enjoys teaching chamber music and classroom subjects, among them, world music.

Quah has a long history of community-engaged music making. She regularly gives presentations at senior living communities and schools, performs benefit concerts internationally, and, since 2015, has been music director of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore.

Quah received a doctor of musical arts degree from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (2017), as well as graduate degrees from the Yale School of Music (A.D. 2013) and The Juilliard School (M.M. 2010). She received her bachelor of music from the Vancouver Academy of Music (2005) and completed her high school education at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. Her adventure with the piano began at age 6 with lessons in Kuala Lumpur. Quah’s principal teachers included Boris Slutsky, Peter Frankl, Matti Raekallio, Lee Kum Sing and Snezana Panovska.

Learn more about Dr. Melody Quah at