A Seat at the Piano promotes and advocates for the inclusion, study, and performance of a more equitably representative body of piano works. By creating a resource for musicians, pedagogues, and curious music appreciators, ASAP aims to broaden their knowledge of composers and their works.
A Seat at the Piano was founded in the summer of 2020 in the midst of social and racial reckoning around the world. We are a team of classically trained pianists with varying backgrounds and experiences, who strive to raise the voices of those who are less heard and to inspire more thoughtful, inclusive programming within the performing and pedagogical spheres.
Team of Directors
Evan Hines maintains an active career as a pianist and collaborator since graduating from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Performance, and the University of Michigan with a Master’s in Collaborative Piano. Following his studies at Michigan, Hines was a member of the Ann Arbor-based Trio Continuum, which recently presented a concert tour throughout Mexico, and performed at the Kent/Blossom Chamber Music Festival, where he had the opportunity to work with Cleveland Symphony Orchestra keyboardist, Joela Jones. He is currently the Program Director for the newly launched Padanaram Chamber Music Festival, a community-oriented classical music performance festival in Massachusetts.
Hines’ most recent project was the recording of a full album of flute and piano works by composer Valerie Coleman with flutist and Oberlin Conservatory professor Alexa Still. He served on staff at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music as a collaborative pianist, and was on faculty at the Oberlin Community Music School. His mentors include pianists Sanford Margolis, Alvin Chow, Philip Highfill, and James Howsmon of the Oberlin Conservatory, and Martin Katz of the University of Michigan School of Music. Evan is pursuing his D.M.A. at the University of Texas at Austin.
Canadian pianist and educator Brendan Jacklin, co-founder, is dedicated to sharing new sounds and ideas through music performance. Brendan’s passion to promote innovative programs is evident through his dedication to performing music by living composers. He has premiered over 50 new works for both solo piano and chamber ensembles, and has commissioned works from composers across the United States and Canada, with a special focus on performing interdisciplinary and multimedia music. Apart from performing, Brendan has been invited to speak at conferences across the United States, including the MTNA National Conference, NCKP National Conference, GP3 Conference, CMS Southern Chapter Conference, and numerous local and state conferences.
Brendan is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and dog and serves as Assistant Professor of Music at University of Tennessee Southern. He holds a D.M.A. from the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, a M.Mus from Bowling Green State University and a B. Mus. from Brandon University. His teachers and mentors include Awadagin Pratt, Michelle Conda, Thomas Rosenkranz, Megumi Masaki, and Leanne Zacharias.
When he is not doing any of the above, you will find him running, baking, or playing with his dog. You can follow Brendan’s performances, find more details, and pictures of his baking at brendanjacklin.com.
Annie Jeng, founder, is a pianist, educator, and go-getter. She is committed to listening, learning, and becoming a better member of society with the hopes of paving roads for justice, collaboration, and kindness in communities. She has performed widely in such settings as the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Italy, the Gijón International Piano Festival in Spain, the Kennedy Center, Interlochen Arts Academy, and China. (However, she sometimes prefers to perform in more intimate spaces such as living rooms, personal Zoom calls, and breweries.) Much of Annie’s research is devoted to contemporary music and studying the pedagogical capabilities of contemporary piano techniques. In 2018, Annie received the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship from the University of Michigan to create a pedagogical resource titled Circles and Lines that features newly commissioned works by female composers that introduce unconventional piano techniques to intermediate pianists.
In the summer, Annie is the Assistant Director of Piano at the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy. Annie is on the board of the North Carolina Music Teachers Association (NCMTA) as Student Activities Chair. Committed to supporting musicians in finding their unique career path, she also worked as a Programming Assistant at University of Michigan’s Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Career Empowerment & Leadership (EXCEL) Lab. She also serves as a member of the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP) Career Development and Innovation Committee. She received her DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan. Annie is currently Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Clare Longendyke, co-founder, is an award-winning pianist whose dazzling musicianship and colorful interpretations delight audiences wherever she performs. Recognized for the expressive energy and originality she brings to new, unfamiliar, and traditional repertoires, the effervescent soloist and chamber musician won four national competitions and was a finalist in several others during the past decade. Set apart by her inspiring touch and captivating way of sharing music, Longendyke is a sought-after soloist, performing over 50 concerts a year in North America and abroad.
Longendyke blends a passion for music’s classical tradition with an equal affection for what she calls “the music of our time.” She is passionate about addressing issues of social justice from the concert stage, and aims to broaden each audience’s understanding of and appreciation for the music of historically marginalized composers. Longendyke’s advocacy for innovative and inclusive programming is evident through Music in Bloom, the new music festival she founded in 2019 that focuses on the performance of music by living composers and the commissioning of new chamber music works. In less than a decade, she has premiered over 100 new compositions and continues to commission new works annually.
Hailed as a superlative pianist by the Journal of International Alliance of Women in Music, Longendyke is on track for a transcendent musical career. She currently serves as Artist-in-Residence and Director of Chamber Music at the University of Chicago.
Hailed as a "magnificent" pianist who "offers compelling insight" (Fanfare Magazine), Chinese-American pianist Susan Yang, co-founder, maintains a versatile career as a performer, presenter, and pedagogue. Currently under management by the National Federation of Music Clubs, Yang has captured top prizes in numerous competitions, such as the biennial NFMC Young Artist, International Keyboard Odyssiad, and Naftzger Young Artist, among others. Equally accomplished in her research and scholarship, Yang has garnered various grants throughout her career, including the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Scholar Award. Recent season highlights include solo appearances with the Nashville Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, and the Delta Symphony, as well as the release of her debut album, DOORWAYS: Half-Remembered Music, on Blue Griffin Records.
As a pedagogue, Yang teaches and presents regularly in various settings, including the Piano Pedagogy Symposium as well as the local and national Music Teachers National Association conferences. An advocate for addressing social issues through music, Yang is committed to community engagement and outreach. She has initiated many projects and performances, such as curating a recital program that celebrates women’s suffrage, organizing and performing benefit concerts, and teaching free lessons to low-income students. Yang currently serves on the piano faculty at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.
Yang holds degrees from University of Michigan, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Vanderbilt University. Her primary teachers include Logan Skelton, Elisabeth Pridonoff, and Amy Dorfman.
Ashlee, co-founder, is a dynamic pianist and educator who spends a good portion of her days helping people find the excitement, interest, passion, fun, and life force in music. She believes that music has the power to bring people together to recognize our shared humanity, if we let it. This is the founding principal of the concert series that she co-created and performs in, titled The Connection Experiment. The ever changing, genre mixing, educational concerts are full of vitality and give the audience a chance to connect with the performer and performance in an authentic and substantive way.
Ashlee has an extensive background in competing and performing, having placed in the Franz Liszt International Piano Competition, the Liberace Piano Competition, the VSA Arts International Young Soloist Award, the Coeur D’Alene Young Artist Competition, the State and Divisional Levels of the Music Teachers National Association, where she went on to be one of only seven in the country to make it to the national level of the competition. She has performed all across the country, including at The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.
Ashlee currently resides in Portland, Oregon, where she is the head of all things related to piano at the Rock Creek Campus of Portland Community College. In addition to her instruction here, she has created a piano certificate to serve students and community members that are interested in teaching piano lessons.
Ashlee holds degrees from Montana State University and the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
ASAP would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to this project:
Rachel Diamond, for her expertise in helping with the backend of the website
Nick Luby, for his help in the early days of the spreadsheet
Gabi Vanek, for her amazing designs of the ASAP's logo