Acadia University Piano Intensive!

Friday, May 10 to Sunday, May 12, 2024
Application Deadline: April 12, 2024 (Late registrations may be accepted, space permitting)


Acadia University’s Piano Intensive is a program for young pianists aged 13 to 18, in the beautiful town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Hosted by the Acadia University School of Music (AUSOM), this weekend retreat offers young artists an opportunity to meet and work closely with university faculty through private instruction, public performance, workshops, and social activities. Throughout this weekend of collaborative music-making, students will have access to pianos on campus, as well as opportunities to perform and receive dedicated one-on-one coaching and feedback towards future projects and artistic goals.

Whether preparing repertoire for an upcoming exam, or simply pursuing piano studies in a new and stimulating environment, come join our music community for an immersive weekend of networking, sharing, and exchanging ideas with other young musicians from across the Atlantic region and other parts of Canada.

All levels welcome!

Tuition ($225) includes:
– Masterclasses and private instruction (min. 2.5 hours)
– Group activities
– Workshops on topics such as performance anxiety, practicing, and audience engagement
– Additional classes offered on rotating basis each year (i.e. theory, history, improvisation, keyboard harmony, etc)
– Rehearsal studios equipped with pianos
– Networking activities with faculty and student community
– Access to faculty recitals and performances
– Opportunity to perform in student recital(s)

Scholarships available.

For any questions, please contact:

Dr. Cindy Thong
Canadian pianist Cindy Thong leads a polyvalent career as a pedagogue, researcher and
performer. She has performed throughout Canada, in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Spain and
Italy, and has also been a finalist and prizewinner in numerous competitions such as the
Concours Hélène-Roberge and Canadian Music Competition. She has also made appearances at
the Banff Arts Centre, Gijón International Piano Festival and Euro Music Festival, amongst

Alongside her performance and pedagogical activities, Cindy Thong maintains a keen interest in
performance psychology and mental skills training. In particular, her dissertation research
pertained to the neuropsychology of learning and the optimization of practice methods,
deconstructing and analyzing models related to enhanced efficiency. She has been regularly
invited to lecture and offer workshops on these topics at institutions such as the University of
British Columbia and York University, and continues to expand this interdisciplinary work in
collaboration with other domains, including research for arts and health interventions.

Cindy Thong holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Montréal (Canada), where
she was also awarded the Prix d’interpretation en piano upon graduation. She also holds a
Master of Arts in Music Performance from the Haute École de Musique de Genève
(Switzerland), as well as a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Artist Diploma from the
University of Montréal. Her primary teachers include Jimmy Brière, the late Dominique Weber,
and John Hansen.

She is currently on faculty at Acadia University and the Maritime Conservatory of Performing
Arts, where she presently serves as the head of the piano department. She is also the Artistic
Director of the Acadia Piano Intensive program.

Dr. Michelle Boyd
Michelle Boyd is a musicology instructor at the Acadia School of Music.  She also teaches first-year keyboard and is the director of the Acadia University Singers.  She is proud to be a graduate of Acadia, where she completed her Bachelor of Music in piano.  She holds both an MA and PhD in musicology from the University of Toronto, as well as an ARCT in piano teaching from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Outside of her work at Acadia, Michelle is the organist and music director at St. John’s Anglican Church in Wolfville and also enjoys playing French horn in the Acadia Wind Ensemble.  Michelle is passionate about community music-making, and whether as a director, accompanist, or player, loves participating in community-based ensembles and projects.

Mary Castello
Mary Castello has established herself as a sought-after accompanist, recital partner, and piano teacher in the Wolfville, NS area and beyond. She is the Collaborative Pianist for Acadia University’s School of Music and teaches piano privately to 30 students of all ages.

Mary has been engaged in recent seasons by Scotia Chamber Players, InnerSpace Concerts, Nova Scotia Choral Federation, Halifax Summer Opera Festival, Acadia Summer Music Academy, The Aeolian Singers, and Saratoga Sings for Seniors (Opera Saratoga). Her recital partners have included cellist Rachel Desoer, saxophonist Tristan De Borba, mezzo-soprano Paula Rockwell, flutist Jack Chen, mezzo-soprano Marie Engle, soprano Bethany Hörst, mezzo-soprano Christianne Rushton, and flutist Melissa Mashner. She is also an alumna of several collaborative pianist training programs for Art Song and Opera internationally including Franz-Schubert-Institut, Baden Bei Wien, Austria; Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program; Opera Saratoga, Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI), Sulmona, Italy; Opera McGill; and Opera on the Avalon.

Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, Mary holds performance degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University and McGill University, and a Pedagogy Diploma from Conservatory Canada.

Dr. Krissy Keech
Krissy Keech is passionate about piano, pedagogy and practising! She completed her PhD in Music Education at McGill University, where she focussed her doctoral research on elements of piano pedagogy and teacher effectiveness—in particular, applied teachers’ identification and correction of students’ errors. She continues to research teacher effectiveness, effective practice methods, and best practices for error correction.

Dr. Keech has a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Acadia University, where she studied under Prof. John Hansen, and a master’s in piano performance from McGill University, under Profs. Marina Mdivani and Sara Laimon.  While her university training is in classical music, she has broad experience performing piano music in other styles: jazz, blues, folk, congregational, show tunes, Latin-American, and pop.