Meet The Shaaks

Bernard Lee Shaak

(March 9, 1932 – January 22, 1999) Born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

  • Begged his parents for a piano.
  • Began piano lessons at eight, sang in the church choir, played the organ and taught piano while in high school.
  • Equally talented in art and music. Always interested in philosophy, education and the arts.
  • Graduated from Lebanon Valley College, Columbia University Teachers College and did post graduate work in California at USC. Served in the US Army for two years in Georgia.
  • Taught at Southern Illinois University five years before moving to Denver to teach at the University of Denver School of Music.
  • With his wife, Carolyn, established the Shaak Music Studio, composed numerous books of instructional piano music.
  • Together they gave solo and two-piano recitals and presented workshops and seminars.
  • They have three daughters: Leslie, Kim and Jamie, and four grandchildren and hundreds of students, friends, parents, colleagues and family who treasure his memory

Carolyn Powell Shaak

c.shaak@comcast.net

  • Born in Florida, grew up in the Carolinas, started playing the piano by ear at the age of four when the family first had a piano
  • Was very dedicated to music and practicing all through school days
  • Gave first joint recital with sister Marinell at the age of seven in Ashville, NC
  • Presented first full-length solo recital at the age of ten in Charleston, SC
  • First time as soloist with an orchestra, played the Weber Concertstucke with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra at age 14
  • Taught first piano lesson at age 10 – a group lesson to three 6 -year -old neighbor girls who wanted to play like her
  • Played for church Sunday School classes and sang in the church choir for years at the First Presbyterian Church in Charleston
  • Won numerous local, state and regional competitions
  • Gave another solo recital at age thirteen
  • Won the Wally Reugger full music and academic scholarship to attend the prestigious Ashley Hall, all-girl, college preparatory high school in Charleston
  • Early teachers were Gloria Hendrickson, Marguerite Siegling, Hester Finger and J. Albert Fracht
  • In three years earned an ABA Degree in piano performance from the University of South Carolina, where she studied with Hugh Williamson
  • Won a Fulbright Grant in music to study at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, where she studied primarily with Dante Alderighi
  • Coached with Edwin Hughes in New York City
  • Earned a Masters Degree in Music and Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Was Teaching Assistant to Robert Pace at his private teaching studio in Scarsdale, NY for five years
  • Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the University of Illinois when Duane Brantigan was dean
  • Established and oversaw a student teaching training program at the U of I
  • Married pianist, composer and teacher Bernard Shaak in 1959 and moved to Carbondale, Ill, where she began to teach private pre-college students and where they started their family. They had three daughters – Leslie Hitelman, Kim Panjwani and Jamie Shaak Ragan, all talented in music
  • Moved to Denver in 1962 and in a few years established The Shaak Music Studio with Bernard
  • Co-authored with Bernard Shaak in the creation of twenty early piano teaching books, published by Moonstone Music Press
  • Presented two-piano recitals with Bernard Shaak
  • Have five grandchildren: Lily Hitelman, Nicholas Panjwani, Carolyn Hitelman, Evan Panjwani and Juliet Shaak Ragan
  • Co- produced three teaching DVDs with Jamie Shaak. Unique in the piano pedagogy field
  • Co – produced a one-of-a-kind musical game called The Bean Bag Game, originally invented by Bernard Shaak,that helps children learn time values and brings them great delight
  • Co-authored a book called The Shaak Technique Book 1 with Jamie Shaak in 2005
  • Performed two-piano compositions with Jamie Shaak and the Arapahoe Philharmonic
  • President of The Musicians Society of Denver for four years
  • Won the Clef Award of the Junior Symphony Guild (Colorado Symphony Orchestra) in 2002 for her help in establishing a program which grants young piano students in Colorado the opportunity to perform a concerto with Inside the Orchestra, a professional orchestra that plays at area schools to enhance their musical awareness and appreciation of classical music
  • Active member of the Music Teachers National Association and has presented several workshops at their national conferences
  • Active member of the state organization CSMTA and the area organization DAMTA, entering students in local auditions and presenting demonstrations about innovative ways of teaching
  • Enters students in the National Guild of Piano Teachers auditions, the annual Baker Piano Center/Kawai Competition and the Wells Music Store/Yamaha Competition, in which Shaak students have frequently won the competition and have received the opportunity play a concerto with an outstanding conductor at the Breckenridge Music Festival, with either the BMI Festival Orchestra or the NRO National Repertory Orchestra
  • Carolyn feels that her purpose is to help young children love and enjoy the process of striving to reach their pianistic potential

Jamie Shaak

www.jamieshaak.com

  • Born in Denver, Colorado and began piano and violin at age 3.
  • Performed her first concerto with orchestra at age 9.
  • Studied at the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School.
  • Received the Vladimir Horowitz scholarship from Juilliard.
  • Performed at Alice Tully Hall in New York City and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
  • Taught piano at Payap University, Lawrence Univeristy and the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Has performed throughout Asia with the American 4-Tet.
  • Recorded her first CD “The Romance of Spain” for Cadenza Classics.
  • Has been a soloist with the Denver Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra, Centennial Orchestra, Waukegan Symphony,
  • National Repertory Orchestra, Mercury Ensemble and Jefferson Symphony.
  • Together with Soparno Michelle Areyzaga performed on the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago and on “Live from Studio One” hosted by Chicago’s WFMT station.
  • Released her second CD “The Sun is Love” with soprano Michelle Areyzaga featuring the music of Gwyneth Walker
  • Performs, teaches, collaborates and gives Workshops and Demonstrations featuring the piano books of Bernard and Carolyn Shaak

Kim Shaak Panjwani

Leslie Shaak Hitelman

www.lesliehitelman.com

  • Born in Carbondale, IL
  • From an early age was attracted to music and the piano; played by ear and sang in tune from three years on
  • First began to compose little pieces during her pre-school years
  • Moved to Denver when she was four and soon after started going to the Montessori School, which she attended until the fourth grade.
  • Studied violin for nine years along with serious piano lessons; when faced with a choice, she decided to focus on the piano
  • Honors in state -wide piano competitions, including 1st place in the Colorado State Music Teachers Association Senior High
  • Piano Auditions
  • Played in chamber music ensembles all through her teenage years
  • Regional “Stars of Tomorrow” winner Contest sponsored by the Kiwanis Club
  • Denver Public Schools city-wide winner , Concerto Competition and performed Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninoff with the Denver
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Won the Fiske Scholarship at the University of Colorado and studied with Peter Amstutz, a well-known Beethoven scholar and pianist
  • Soloist with the Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra [playing ? with what conductor? and what piece?]
  • Awarded the George Szell full scholarship to study at Mannes College of Music in New York City, where she worked with Jeanette Haien and Diane
  • Walsh, receiving both Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Piano Performance
  • Made her NY Debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1989
  • Gracie Mansion performance in NYC for the Mayor and guests
  • Globally she has performed in Italy, Germany, India and most recently in China where she gave recitals in Qingdao and Master Classes and recitals in Harbin, Dubbed “composer of the Year” (2007) by the Musicians’ Society of Denver
  • Serves on the Board of the Massachusetts Music Teachers Association and is Chair of the Composition Competition