To read about each of our faculty members, please click the + button
Dr. Bret Serrin is widely recognized as one of the United States’ most brilliant young teachers and pianists. Born in Virginia, he began studying the piano at the age of five and gave his first public concert at the age of six. His talent soon attracted attention and while still a student, he won the prestigious Presser Music Scholarship, as well as numerous other awards. During this time, he attended the Adamant International Summer Music Festival in Vermont, where he was invited to perform a live concert broadcast on NPR (National Public Radio).
In 1997, Dr. Serrin pursued his graduate studies at the University of North Texas, completing his MM and DMA degrees in piano performance under the guidance of the eminent pedagogue, Joseph Banowetz. He has also had extensive summer coaching with the legendary American pianist, Earl Wild. Wild described him as a musician possessing a “rare pianistic ability,” one who is “totally dedicated to his art and…worthy of attention.”
Dr. Serrin is the recipient of gold medals in several international piano competitions, including the Los Angeles Liszt Competition, the Hubbard Solo and Chamber Music Competition (Dallas, Texas) and the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque Concerto Competition (New Mexico). Other highlights of his career include a silver medal at the National Society of Arts and Letters Competition in San Antonio, and a prize in the Steinway Society’s Career Grant Competition. Most recently, during the Hubedni Festival in the Czech Republic, he was awarded the silver medal in the prestigious Vysocina International Piano Competition.
In September 2003, Dr. Serrin embarked on a three-week concert tour of the People’s Republic of China, giving recitals and master classes in such cities as Guangzhou, Hejuan, Zhongshan, and Shenzhen. At the conclusion of the tour, he was invited back for further recitals, including concerts with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. His most recent concert schedule has included performances with the Bohúslàv Martinú Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic, guest artist/chamber music recitals/master classes at Kansas Wesleyan University, Texas A&M International University, the Preucil School of Music (Iowa), Oklahoma City University, the University of Texas at Austin, Del Mar College (Corpus Christi), the TMTA convention in San Antonio, as well as appearances at the National Guild of Piano Technicians Annual Convention (Phoenix), the Basically Beethoven Festival (Dallas), the International Double Reed Conference (Greensboro, North Carolina), performances with the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque, and radio broadcasts in California. He has also performed chamber music recitals with members of the Dallas and Chicago Symphony Orchestras.
Dr. Serrin is currently the chair of the piano department at the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas, in addition to being on the adjunct faculty of the keyboard division at the University of North Texas. He is also the Artistic Director of the DFW WOW Piano Institute and has done his Suzuki training with Mary Craig Powell.
Tom White comes to SMID from the Fine Arts Academy in Norman, Oklahoma, where he enjoyed an active teaching career as an instructor. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University, Tom moved to Colorado where he continued to teach and perform, and received his Masters Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Northern Colorado in 2010.
Tom is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Oklahoma, studying both piano and piano pedagogy. During the three years of his graduate assistantship at OU, Tom gained invaluable experience teaching both group piano and applied lessons, as well as teaching children, K-12, at the Fine Arts Academy in Norman, Oklahoma.
As past president of the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Chapter at OU, Tom has participated in group presentations at the National Conference and the 2nd Piano Pedagogy Symposium. In 2012 his report from the National Group Piano Pedagogy Forum was published in the MTNA E-Journal, and in 2013 he contributed a book review to The American Teacher.
Having trained with renowned Suzuki piano teacher Mary Craig Powell, Tom’s teaching philosophies are fully aligned with the Suzuki method’s nurturing approach. He recognizes the method’s potential to produce highly skilled and competent musicians and strives to share his love for the Suzuki repertoire with his students.
A native of Guilford, CT, Anna Halperin received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Ithaca College and a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. During her time at OU, Anna was a graduate teaching fellow, and a recipient of both the Frieda Derdeyn Bambas Piano Award and the Martha M. Boucher Piano Scholarship. She was chosen by the School of Music for the Provost’s Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year. She has studied piano pedagogy with Dr. Jane Magrath, Dr. Barbara Fast and Dr. Deborah Martin. Her studio teachers have included Dr. Jeongwon Ham and Phiroze Mehta. She has done Suzuki training with Mary Craig Powell.
Anna has performed in numerous solo recitals and masterclasses and was a recent performer in the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. An active member and adjudicator for the Music Teachers National Association, she served as MTNA Collegiate Chapter President at both Ithaca College and the University of Oklahoma. She has collaborated on presentations at state and national MTNA conferences on topics such as Technology in the Music Classroom and Liszt for the Advancing High School Pianist. Anna enjoys continuing the Suzuki tradition at SMID.