Keyboard Faculty - University of Houston
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Courtney Crappell, director, Moores School of Music, professor of piano and piano pedagogy
Internationally recognized for his expertise in piano pedagogy, Courtney Crappell specializes in teacher training and research in piano education. Released in 2019, his book Teaching Piano Pedagogy: A Guidebook for Training Effective Teachers (Oxford University Press) is the first of its kind to comprehensively explore the topic of collegiate pedagogy teaching. He has published over forty articles in professional journals and he authors the regular column “Teaching Tomorrow Today” for American Music Teacher, the journal of the Music Teachers National Association. Active as both a presenter and clinician, he has appeared at more than sixty professional conferences and teacher workshops within the United States and abroad. He serves on the executive steering committee of the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum and chairs the Committee on Collegiate Pedagogy Teaching for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. He holds teaching certifications from the Music Teachers National Association and the Royal Conservatory of Music, and he is also a member of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s College of Examiners.

Timothy Hester, professor of piano, chair of keyboard division, director of keyboard collaborative arts
Native Houstonian Timothy Hester is Professor of Piano at the Moores School of Music where he serves as Chair of the Keyboard Studies Division and Director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts.  Named Outstanding Collegiate Teacher of the Year (2014) by the Texas Music Teachers Association, Mr. Hester performs regularly in solo capacity, most recently in performances of concerti by Barber, Brahms and period performances of several concerti by Mozart.  This past year, he appeared in solo recital as part of the International Piano Festival at UH.  Professor Hester’s discography reflects his deep interest in twentieth century music.  He has worked with internationally known vocalists and instrumentalists. He has taught Opera Studies at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and served on the faculty of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.  Appearances include worldwide venues in Britain, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Mexico, China, Colombia, Canada, Japan, Greece, Singapore and Taiwan. In the United States, he has performed on the NYC Bargemusic Series, the Ojai Festival in California, the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, the Park City International Chamber Music Festival in Utah, the Texas Music Festival, and the OK Mozart Festival in Oklahoma as well as performing with Da Camera and Musiqa, both Houston-based chamber music ensembles. Mr. Hester graduated from The Juilliard School as a student of the renowned pedagogue Adele Marcus. He was previously a pupil of the late Professor Emeritus of the University of Houston, Albert Hirsh. 

Tali Morgulis, associate professor of piano
Israeli-American pianist Tali Morgulis is a passionate performer and a dedicated pedagogue. Prize winner of several international competitions, Dr. Morgulis continues to present critically acclaimed solo, chamber music, and orchestral performances worldwide. Tali champions living composers with regular commissions and performances of new pieces. Her concert repertoire also includes many lesser known gems of composers past and present. Dr. Morgulis’ students come from many different countries and backgrounds. They describe her as a great motivator and an inspiring mentor. She takes pride in mentoring them not only in performance and teaching but also in becoming important members of their respective communities. In the Spring of 2019 she taught an interdisciplinary course on the intersection of music and cognitive science.

Dr. Morgulis holds degrees in piano performance from Tel Aviv Academy of Music and from the New England Conservatory.

Andrew Staupe, assistant professor of piano
Pianist Andrew Staupe is emerging as one of the distinctive voices of a new generation of pianists. Andrew has appeared as soloist with many of the top orchestras throughout the United States and in Europe, and has performed recitals in distinguished concert venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Rachmaninov Hall in Moscow, the Schumann Haus in Leipzig, and the Salle Cortot in Paris. He recently recorded his debut CD with violinist Hasse Borup for the Naxos label in Copenhagen which will be released in 2020. He has been heard twice on American Public Media’s “Performance Today,” and on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” in 2004. A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota, he earned his Doctorate at Rice University with Jon Kimura Parker, and also studied at the University of Minnesota with Lydia Artymiw.

Brian Suits, associate professor of accompanying and chamber music
Pianist Brian Suits has made a career on-stage alongside singers and instrumentalists, both as accompanist and chamber musician. Along with esteemed faculty at the University of Houston, Suits numbers among collaborators singers Alan Held, David Pittsinger, Karen Holvik, and Jennifer Aylmer; violinists Dan Zhu, Yang Sung-Sik, Eden Macadam-Somer, William Wei, Kevin Lawrence, Lindsay Deutsch, and William Preucil; cellists Clancy Newman, Suren Bagratuni, Young-Hoon Song, and Brooks Whitehouse; violists James Dunham, Sang-Jin Kim, and Matthew Dane; flutists James Walker, Leone Buyse and Christina Jennings; and euphonium soloist Steven Mead, hornist David Cooper and bassoonist Richard Beene.

Suits has a broad knowledge of the collaborative repertoire, and is a fluent sightreader. He is a skilled improviser as well, and adept in a variety of styles. A student of language, Suits enjoys vocal coaching, and is a specialist in lyric diction.

Suits is also an occasional composer, conductor, and arranger. Among his recordings are a solo piano CD of original works, and CDs with violinist Kyung Sun Lee and tenor Robert Swensen. Compositions run the gamut from concerti to chamber works to short piano pieces. Arrangements include orchestrations for more than a dozen Korean films, including Cannes Festival favorite “The Host,” which became an art house hit stateside. Suits has conducted the French Chamber Orchestra Albéric Magnard, the Gonzaga Symphony, Nino Rota’s “Italian Straw Hat” at the University of Houston, and several orchestras in Korea. He taught at the Yale School of Music from 1990-2002, and currently teaches at the University of Houston as Associate Professor of Accompanying and Chamber Music, as well as art song coach. In summers he plays at both the University of Houston’s Texas Music Festival, and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont. He has also been involved with the Aspen, Great Mountains, and Banff Music Festivals. His BM in Piano is from the University of Texas at Austin, and his MM in Accompanying is from University of Southern California. Teachers have included David Renner, Brooks Smith, Jean Barr, and Donald Grantham.

Todd Van Kekerix lecturer in piano and piano pedagogy
Todd Van Kekerix serves as a Lecturer of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, Coordinator of Class Piano and Faculty Affiliate in Piano to the Community Arts Academy at the University of Houston. Performance highlights include the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in NYC and a concerto performance with the University of Oklahoma orchestra. He has previously served as the Director of Enrichment Activities at The New School for Music Study in Kingston, NJ and Adjunct Professor of Piano at Kean University in Union, NJ. He earned his artist’s certificate and master’s degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University and a bachelor’s degree from Augustana University. Previously, he has been a faculty member at the Practical Piano Pedagogy summer seminar series in Kingston, NJ and an instructor at the SMU Institute for Young Pianists in Dallas, TX.