2015 Keynote Speakers


Chairman Jane Chu - A Conversation with Jane Chu

Jane ChuJane Chu has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 2014 as the 11th chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 2006, Chu served as the president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri, overseeing a $413-million campaign to build the center. As the performance home of the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Kauffman Center has hosted more than one million people from all 50 states and countries throughout the world since its grand opening in September 2011.


She was a fund executive at the Kauffman Fund for Kansas City from 2004 to 2006, and vice president of external relations for Union Station Kansas City from 2002 to 2004. Previously, she was vice president of community investment for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation from 1997 to 2002. Chu also served as a trustee at William Jewell College and on the board of directors of the Ewing Marion Kauffman School and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.


Chu was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, but was raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She studied music growing up, eventually receiving bachelor’s degrees in piano performance and music education from Ouachita Baptist University and master’s degrees in music and piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Additionally, Chu holds a master’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University and a PhD in philanthropic studies from Indiana University, as well as an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Edwin E. Gordon - Beyond the Keyboard

Readiness to learn to play piano is a significant factor contributing to success. Beginning students learn as much away from the keyboard as they do when using the keyboard. Preparatory concepts and skills are presented in sequential order from listening to reading music notation.


EdGordonEdwin E. Gordon is a retired professor of music and education who taught at University of Iowa, State University of New York, Temple University, and University of South Carolina. He has authored books, tests, research monographs, and articles. He is founding president of Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML).


Jody Graves - Music Transcends the Middle East Conflict – One Note at a Time

The session focuses on the profound impact that we as performing artists and teachers can have in a world that is starving for the gift of music. The face-to-face interaction brings to light that despite the conflict of political views and military activity, we share many of the same dreams and hopes to live beautiful and peaceful lives.  Our ‘vocation’ in the current global climate goes far beyond playing great music in great halls…we are called to take our talents into unique, and even dangerous situations and create a platform for fostering peace and understanding between very diverse countries and cultures. The manner in which these historic events continue to resonate and diffuse the misperceptions of Middle Eastern cultures will be highlighted.


Jody Graves 3

Jody Graves maintains an exciting, diverse and active performing career, and is recognized nationally as a distinguished performing artist, public speaker, and teacher of piano. Recital engagements as a soloist and collaborative artist take her across the U.S. and abroad. She has presented for prestigious organizations such as the National Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) conferences, and recently as the guest artist for the Utah State MTA conference. She has authored articles for the American Music Teacher and Clavier. She has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department in the Middle East since 2006.  She is currently producing her 4th solo recording featuring the music of Liszt, Berg, and Brahms. Dr. Graves is recognized for her creative ability to engage the audience during her concerts with anecdotes, historical perspectives and humor. She holds a Doctorate Degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music and has been the recipient of two Faculty Meritorious Awards for her performances and publications. For for information visit www.drjodygraves.com.

David Dubal - Part I: The Great Pianists as Teachers, Part II: Let's Tickle the Ivories

From Beethoven onward, pianists have devoted much time to teaching. Dubal will discuss these pianist-teachers in detail. Part II is a reading on how to bring amateurs back to the piano.


David Dubal is the host of two weekly radio programs, The Piano Matters on WWFM.org and Reflections from the Keyboard on WQXR.org. In 2006 Dubal received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the 66 Colleges of the State University of New York.