Faculty

Dr. Ronn Yedidia

Dr. Ronn Yedidia was born in Israel in 1960 and began his musical career as a child prodigy pianist, winning 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists’ Competition of Israel at the age of eight. His main teacher and mentor was Israel’s first lady of the piano, Pnina Salzman, who herself was a protege of Alfred Cortot. In 1984 he entered the Juiliard School from which he holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in composition. During his studies there under David Diamond and Milton Babbitt he received all the major prizes in composition, including the Lincoln Center Scholarship, the Irving Berlin Scholarship, the Henry Mancini Prize, and the Richard Rodgers Scholarship.

In 1987 he was presented on Israeli Television as Discovery of the Year in Classical Music, performing his Third Piano Sonata “Outcries”. His compositions have been broadcast on New York radio stations WNYC, WNCN, WFUC, & WQXR, and he has been featured on NBC & WOR television networks in the U.S. and on both KBS-TV and MBC-TV in South Korea. His works have received critical acclaim throughout the world.

In 1994 Ronn Yedidia was invited by Thomas Frost and Wanda Toscanini-Horowitz to edit and record the unpublished piano compositions of the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz.

Between 1993 and 1998 he served as Composer in Residence and Chairman of the Piano Department at the Bloomingdale House of Music in Manhattan. His students have been recognized in numerous competitions and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe. Between 2001 and 2004, he served as Vice President and Program Director of the Piano Teachers Congress of New York. Since the summer of 2003, he has served as Piano and Composition Professor at the Puigcerda Festival of Classical Music in Spain.

Ronn Yedidia was awarded the 2006 San Antonion International Piano Competition Commission to compose a new solo-piano work to be performed by all finalists of the competition.

His first Compact Disc recording entitled “Yedidia Plays Yedidia” was released in March, 2001 on the Altarus label (AIR-CD-9078). His popular “Lullabye” was released in 2003 on EMI Classics’ Ahn Trio “Groovebox” CD. His music is distributed through the publishing company Verse Music, in affiliation with BMI.

Haim Cotton

Haim Cotton came to the U.S. from Israel at age 22, having already worked on 15 records with the country’s top artists. Trained as a classical and jazz musician, he is currently on the faculty of the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at New School University. His music, which encompasses a wide variety of styles, has been used by organizations throughout the world, including Walt Disney, Coca-Cola, Apple Computer, The Jerry Lewis Telethon and CNN.

Haim was musical director for the late Ofra Haza, played for her at the Montreux Jazz Festival and on her last solo CD, Kirya. As an artist and producer, he has worked with artists including Quincy Jones, Randy Brecker, Anton Fig, Don Was, Joe Lovano, John Lucian, Robert Miller, and Nelson Rangel. Cotton, whose club appearances include Manhattan’s The Blue Note received a record contract and released his first album of original compositions, “100% Cotton” in the mid-nineties. He is also a member of the prestigious “BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop”, where he is developing a musical for Broadway under the guidance of Maury Yeston (“Nine”, “Titanic”). A vignette out of his musical Lover’s Leap was performed, as part of The Golden Fleece Limited Workshop, at an off Broadway theatre in the fall of 2004.

Nate Festinger

Nate Festinger is a New York City-based pianist, composer and music director.

Hailing from a family that includes concert pianists, music teachers and composers, he began learning piano at five years old and began writing music at age 10. Nate was accepted into the BMI Musical Theater Workshop as a composer at age 19 — the youngest in his class.

His work has taken him to music direct, arrange and orchestrate over 40 shows, including the hit musical “Perez Hilton Saves the Universe”. His baton was most recently helmed at the Danny Kaye Playhouse, in Kurt Weill’s “Threepenny Opera”, featuring a cast of 40 and a band of 8.

Over the past several years, Nate has turned his focus towards classical music as a composer and concert pianist, mentoring under Dr. Ronn Yedidia. In June 2011, Nate produced his debut concert as a classical composer and pianist, “Not Dead Yet”, featuring 2 hours of original works for chamber ensemble and solo piano.

He is a proud disciple of Dr. Yedidia’s teaching method and philosophy.