CSUN Piano Faculty Win Lifetime Achievement Honors

California State University, Northridge music professors John Perry and Edward Francis have received the National Distinguished Service and State Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Music Teachers National Association and its state affiliate, the California Association of Professional Music Teachers.

“It may be a first in the history of the awards to have both honors given to faculty at the same university,” said Ric Alviso, chair of CSUN’s Department of Music.

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Edward Francis at work.

Dmitry Rachmanov who heads CSUN’s keyboard studies, calls the award a great honor.

“These lifetime achievement awards reflect the recognition the two distinguished musicians rightfully command among their peers in the music community on the state and nationwide levels,” said Rachmanov.

Edward Francis is the recipient of the California Association of Professional Music Teacher’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Francis is a member of the piano faculty and coordinator of the piano pedagogy program at CSUN. He is also an alumnus of CSUN, having earned undergraduate in and graduate degree in from the university in piano performance.

“The award was completely unexpected,” said Francis. “I had been in charge of the actual process to identify candidates for the Lifetime Achievement Award in the late 1990s’ I was the vice president of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers for four years, and that task came under my purview of board member duties. So, I knew that it was a careful process all done by colleagues, which makes the honor even more meaningful to me.

“I am extremely grateful and humbled that such an award would come my way,” he said. “Obviously, I can’t and don’t do everything I do individually.  I’m involved with valued colleagues in just about everything I do musically. I find the ensemble efforts inspiring, and because we are in a creative art, many wonderful things can result from our work and dedication to the arts.”

Francis lives a versatile life in music, having established himself as a performer, professor, author, clinician, administrator and arts advocate. Off campus, he maintains a successful private studio and is in great demand as a teacher. He serves on several committees to support the arts and young musicians in performance. He founded and remains chairman of the Thousand Oaks Philharmonic, an educational nonprofit group that features a professional orchestra with a three-concert season highlighting young artists as soloists. In 2006, the U.S. Secretary of Education awarded him the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Teacher Recognition Award at the Kennedy Center.

Perry, is the recipient of the National Distinguished Service Award. This honor, rarely given, will be presented to Perry at the national conference to be held in Las Vegas, next month.

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John Perry

Perry has an unparalleled legacy of performing and teaching. He has played solo recitals and concertos with orchestras worldwide. He also has extensive experience as a chamber music artist. His students have successfully participated and won awards in nearly every national and international piano competition. Nearly every one of his students has established a successful professional life in music. Many are performing artists, and most combine their performing skills with university and conservatory teaching positions all over the world.

A few years ago, Perry started his own summer institute, the John Perry Music Academy, which attracts high-level students from all over the world. Perry teaches piano performance and master classes at CSUN.

“These awards immeasurably enhance the reputation of the CSUN music department, putting us in the spotlight, gaining a wider recognition and respect,” said Rachmanov. “It raises our department’s rankings among the music departments and conservatories worldwide, assuring the attraction of top talent to our university. Consequently, it results in a higher quality of education for our students.”

Francis said the honors reflect the caliber of the talent that teaches at CSUN. “All of us in the department are working hard to attract excellent students to our program, and then guide them to the highest artistic levels possible,” said Francis. “Last year we enrolled the largest number of piano majors in our history. These awards highlight a very strong keyboard studies discipline within the department, and the university will also benefit as a result.”