Elvina Truman Pearce
1931 –   Class of 2014  Performing Arts
Elvina Truman Pearce is the perfect example of a one-of-a-kind performing artist.  She has been a piano soloist, teacher, and a nationally recognized composer, author, and clinician who has presented workshops and recitals both in the U.S. and internationally since 1958.  

Born December 22, 1931, music was always at the forefront throughout her life.  She began piano study at age 8, and as a teenager in the 1950s, she was selected as first runner-up in two national piano competitions, a sign of what was to come. During her induction into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame on May 1, 2014, Evina said she has had a “75-year love affair making and teaching music.”  Without a doubt, thousands of music teachers and pianists throughout the Fox Valley and the whole world have been positively impacted by her contributions.

Elvina began her college education first at the University of Tulsa, where she was a piano performance major, and then at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1958.  She studied piano with several notable instructors, one of who was the renowned Russian teacher, Isabelle Vengerova, whose other students included Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Lukas Foss, and Gary Graffman.  She was the recipient of the Josephine Fry Memorial Award
while a student in New York City, an award presented biennially to an outstanding young artist by the New York Congress of Piano Teachers.

From 1955 to 1963, Elvina studied pedagogy with Dr. Frances Clark, a nationally recognized as a master teacher and author, who was often referred to as the “first lady of American piano pedagogy.”  Years later in 1999, Elvina was one of the Founders of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, and was Vice President of its Board of Trustees for 6 years.  She currently serves on their Board of Advisors.

Since 1965, Elvina has taught piano in Naperville, Illinois, and in 1980, she founded and became the Director of North Central College’s Division of Preparatory and Community Music in Naperville, now referred to as “Piano Academy.”  In 2011-2012, she was selected by the Naperville Chapter of the Illinois Music Teacher Association
as “Member of the Year.”

In addition to her teaching career, Elvina was on the editorial staff of Keyboard Companion Magazine for 17 years and served as its Editor-in-Chief from 2000 to 2006.  She has authored numerous articles for national music journals.  

For 4 years, she was the National Certification Chairman for the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), and she represented this group on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the Advancement of Education in Music.

Elvina designed and served as the program consultant for the Preparatory and Community Piano program at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois.  
For 14 years, she also taught piano and piano pedagogy at Northwestern University, where she directed the School of Music’s Preparatory Division and its
Children’s Piano Laboratory Program.

Elvina has presented seminars and recitals for teachers and students in more than 40 states and around the world in China, Canada, and Australia.  She was the first American piano teacher invited by Yamaha International to present a non-commercial piano workshop for teachers in the Republic of China.  

Her concert career includes performances as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a broadcast over the “Chicago Theater of the Air,” and solo recitals at the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC); Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York City; and in Perth, Australia, and Taipei, Taiwan.  She has also performed as a soloist with the Amarillo Symphony and the Tulsa Philharmonic, and locally with the DuPage Symphony.

Since 1981, Elvina Pearce has composed more than 20 published collections of educational piano solos and duets, which have received national recognition.  Her collections, Solo Flight, Let’s Duet!, Adventures, Excursions, 2 books of Preludes, and Bagatelles have all been selected by the National Federation of Music Clubs as official choices for festival competitions.

In 1983, Elvina was awarded a Master Teacher Certificate from the MTNA, one of only 3 teachers in Illinois and one of only 35 in the nation to have received this recognition.  In 2008, the MTNA named her a Foundation Fellow.  She emphasized to the audience at her induction how “remaining personally involved is energizing and preserves good health.”

Included with Elvina’s nomination was a letter of recommendation from Marvin Blickenstaff, Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and another well-known and admired piano teacher and performer who is the former Board President of the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.  He remarked, “Elvina Truman Pearce has the distinguished reputation as being one of America’s foremost teachers of piano pedagogy.  Her lecturing, her demonstration teaching at national conferences, her teaching on the college level, and her workshops across the USA and several foreign countries have promoted countless thousand of teachers to a higher level of effectiveness as they work in their own studios and classes…A further contribution which Mrs. Peace has made to the piano teaching profession are her many publications of piano pieces for younger students…”

As further testimony, one of her nominators, Christine Hwang Simonson, added, “There was something very magical about the way Mrs. Pearce was able to motivate us all during group lessons and teach us how to listen critically, and to learn from
our peers…I have taken the liberty of passing along her disciplined approach, and solid practice and counting techniques to my daughters, who play the piano, violin and trumpet…”

In 2011, Elvina was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy for her contributions to music over the years. Raeleen H. Horn, a colleague of the musician’s, took the color photograph of her that appears here. It appears on the back of 10 Expressive Piano Solos and Duets by Elvina Pearce, Hal Leonard Publications, Composer Showcase, Student Piano Library.  Her new book, The Success Factor in Piano Teaching: Making Practice Perfect! is scheduled for publication in 2014.  This amazing and revered pianist and educator hasn’t slowed down, and likes to remind everyone “computers cannot produce live artistic experiences.”
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 Master Teacher, Music Teachers National Association (1983)