Affiliated with
Music Teachers National Association
“…for a more musical tomorrow.”

Honoring Outstanding TMTA Members

Meet TMTA's MTNA 2019 Foundation Fellows

Karen Ann Krieger is the collegiate piano chair and associate professor of piano and piano pedagogy at the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music, where she established a TMTA/MTNA collegiate student chapter. “Make music and have fun, and remember it’s not about you, it’s about the music” is Krieger’s oft-repeated mantra to her students, one of whom recently performed the Rachmaninoff 3rd piano concerto with the Vanderbilt Orchestra. Krieger is also a nationally certified teacher through MTNA, and for the past fifteen years, has served on the TMTA state board, in addition to several years on the NAMTA board. In 2017, she was awarded the NAMTA Service Recognition Award in appreciation for her outstanding and dedicated service to the Nashville area music community.
Through the years, Krieger has presented at various local chapters around Tennessee, at southern division state conferences and at MTNA national conferences. She is also a frequent adjudicator around the southeast.
Krieger is proud that over the years her elementary, high school and collegiate students have won auditions in NAMTA, TMTA, as well as placing in MTNA divisional and national auditions. Many of her students have gone on to teach at leading universities. She credits her success to teaching all ages and to a well-rounded education at Western Illinois University and the University of Illinois.
Before coming to Vanderbilt University in 1988, Krieger was Assistant Professor of Piano at Columbus State University in Georgia, and an award-winning TV journalist in Columbus and Nashville, TN. She has had solo and chamber music performances throughout the United States, British Columbia, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and Yugoslavia, and concerto performances with the symphony orchestras of Nashville, Chicago Heights, Columbus and LaGrange (Georgia), Mercer University, Western Illinois University and, most recently, with the Huntsville Youth Orchestra. She has also toured with saxophonist Neal Ramsay through Columbia Artists, New York, performing on both piano and accordion.
Krieger has compositions published by Alfred and FJH and has received a contract with Hal Leonard for her collegiate textbook: Group Piano: Proficiency in Theory and Performance, with contributing editor Elizabeth Cormier. She is especially honored to be designated as TMTA’s 2019 MTNA Foundation Fellow.

2018 Teacher of the Year Award recipient, ChiHee Hwang

Congratulations to ChiHee Hwang! ChiHee has been a member of the piano faculty at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University for 13 years. She served NAMTA as Vice-President of Programs for 3 years, is currently serving as NAMTA’s FallFest Chair (since 2012), as well as the MTNA/TMTA Senior Piano Fall Competition Chair (since 2014). ChiHee has been the recipient of NAMTA’s Outstanding Service Award for her work for the organization.
Recognized for her teaching abilities, ChiHee has been invited to serve as a music instructor at the International Christian Academy of Nagoya, Japan (2008) and at the Soongeui Women’s College, Seoul, Korea (2015). Her students regularly receive top awards in many local and state-level piano competitions, such as TMTA state competitions, Young Artist Achievement Awards, Blair Pre-College Piano Competitions, and Clavierfest. She frequently appears as an adjudicator at various piano competitions and auditions, including the Georgia Music Teachers Association’s MTNA competition, Nashville Piano Achievement Competitions, Junior Federation Piano Festival, Nashville Music Teachers Association Annual Auditions, as well as the competitions organized by the Tennessee and Alabama music teachers associations.
ChiHee was selected by the Korean Ministry of Education among Koreans abroad to receive a full scholarship to attend Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea, where she obtained her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. She also completed her second Master of Music degree at The University of Tennessee where she taught Class Piano as a graduate teaching assistant. Her solo piano mentors include David Brunell and Eun-Mo Chung, and her piano pedagogy mentors were Fay Adams and Patricia Z. Carter. An experienced clinician, ChiHee is certified in numerous pedagogical methods, including the Orff-Schulwerk, Suzuki, and Robert Pace approaches. She and her students also have studied with Sheila Paige.
ChiHee has performed solo and chamber recitals in Korea and United States, featuring repertoire such as Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with Professor Patricia Z. Carter. Her performances have been broadcasted WNPT-2 Television and WUOT 91.9 FM. In recent years, she has been sought after particularly in the area of duo piano performances.

2018 Distinguished Service Award recipient, Dr. Melissa Rose

Congratulations to Melissa Rose! Melissa’s lengthy career of service to TMTA includes chairing the Instrumental, Vocal, and Chamber Music Competitions from 2005-2014; TMTA President from 2015-2017; and current Past President.

As a pianist, Melissa has a 30-year career partnering with instrumentalists and singers in concerts throughout the United States and at venues in Argentina, Malta, Santorini and Russia. She is a sought-after collaborative pianist whom critics describe as “powerfully musical” (Kansas City Star) and “an exceptional partner” (

Melissa has performed for 23 years with the Summerfest Chamber Music Series in Kansas City. In Nashville she is a member of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble and performs frequently with the Nashville Ballet. She has recorded and edited arrangements for viola/piano of the Tonadillas by Granados (ViolaSound), one of which was included in the 2017 Grammy-nominated music film The Music of Strangers. Her chamber music recordings are on the Naxos, Centaur, Blue Griffin, Delos, Good Child Music, and Navona Records labels. She recently recorded two works by Paul Moravec: Tempest Fantasy with ALIAS (Delos 2016) and a premiere of the Trio with Leslie Norton, horn, and Jared Hauser, oboe (forthcoming on Good Child Music).

Melissa received the master’s degree in solo piano performance from the Yale School of Music and a D.M.A. in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where she studied with Martin Katz. She started her teaching career at Truman State University, and in 1996 joined the faculty at Blair, where she teaches courses in collaborative piano and chamber music and also serves as associate dean of the collegiate program.

Meet TMTA's MTNA 2018 Foundation Fellows

The Music Teachers National Association Foundation Fellow program offers a meaningful method for honoring deserving individuals while supporting the efforts of the MTNA Foundation Fund through a donation to the Foundation Fund in an individual’s name. Read biographies of current and past Fellows, and learn how you can support the MTNA Fellow Program.

Sandy Triplett

Sandy Triplett has a private piano studio in Germantown and teaches RMM adult classes at a local music store. Sandy is a member of Greater Memphis Music Teachers and has served two terms as president as well as holding many other positions in the group. Sandy was IMT chair for many years where she presented and facilitated IMT programs at state conferences and was delighted in meeting members from different locals. Sandy served as the Tennessee state representative for the National Music Link Program. “One of the highlights of my TMTA membership was when I served as president,” says Triplett. “TMTA members and programs have influenced and guided me to be a better teacher and person. I am humbled and very grateful to be nominated as an MTNA fellow.”

Rachel Acuff

Rachel Acuff serves as adjunct instructor of piano and oboe at Maryville College and is also a long-time faculty member of the Suzuki Piano School of Knoxville. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Oboe Performance and a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Ms. Acuff received the Knoxville Music Teachers Association’s Teacher of the Year award in both 2001 and 2012 and was named the Tennessee Music Teachers Association’s Teacher of the Year in 2001. She has served on the TMTA board as IMTF Chair for the last six years and has presented many sessions for TMTA conferences and local TMTA chapters. She is a six-time recipient of the Governor’s School of the Arts Outstanding Teacher Certificate. Over twenty of her students have been named state TMTA winners in both woodwind and piano areas and four of her students have represented the state of Tennessee at MTNA Southern Division

David Brunell

David Brunell’s involvement with MTNA began when he won the MTNA national high school piano competition and performed Shost-kovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with orchestra at the MTNA national conference in Chicago in 1971. A member of TMTA for 25 years, he founded the first TMTA student chapter at UTK and has served for many years as TMTA state chair for student chapters. A previous president of KMTA, he has taught piano at UTK for 25 years. Obtaining MTNA “Master Teacher” certification in 1991, he also earned his D.M. degree with high distinction from Indiana University in 1984, and served as a United States Artistic Ambassador under President Ronald Reagan. He won 1st prize in the Beethoven Sonata com-petition sponsored by the Beethoven Club of Memphis, and 2nd prizes in the New Orleans, Young Keyboard Artists, and Louise D. McMahon International piano competitions. His students have won many competitions including the MTNA Southern Division collegiate piano competition and selection to NPR’s From the Top radio program. He and his wife Jeanne are the parents of three grown children, Melanie, Laurel and Eric.



Music Teachers National Association
2016 National Awards Recipient

Teacher of the Year
Fay Swadley Adams, NCTM
Knoxville, Tennessee

All awards will be presented
at the MTNA National Conference
held April 2-6 in San Antonio, Texas.

Complete Listing 2016 National Awards Recipients