The Piano Teachers' Course UK
12 years of leading professional development for piano teachers worldwide
ILGA PITKEVICA-BALDWIN, MA Mus. had an extensive professional training (nine years) in Latvia, at the Music College in Daugavpils and at the Jazepa Vitola Latvian Music Academy in Riga, from which she graduated with honours and a Master’s degrees in Solo Piano Performance, Piano Teaching, Accompaniment and Chamber Music.
The curriculum there was based entirely on the so-called “Russian Piano School”. Furthermore, through her teacher – Professor of Piano Konstantin Blumenthal, who himself was a pupil of Vladimir Sofronitsky, Konstantin Igumnov, Heinrich Neihaus and Pavel Serebrjakov, Ilga inherited the deep traditions and knowledge of the methods and teaching style of the Russian School. As a student, Ilga won prizes at several piano competitions and was also awarded a prestigious Tchaikovsky Scholarship.
After graduation, Ilga was offered a position of Deputy of Studies at the Jelgava Music College where she also taught solo piano. After leaving this post, Ilga continued teaching solo piano, accompaniment and chamber music at the Jelgava Music College, at the LMA’s (Latvian Music Academy) Emils Darzins Special Music School for Gifted Children and at the Latvian Music Academy.
During this time, Ilga performed at many concerts and as accompanist at international competitions in the Baltic States, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, Israel, France and UK. She was the official accompanist for the International Cello Competition held bi-annually in Liezen, Austria for fourteen years until this closed in 2014. For her success as a teacher and a correpetitor, Ilga received many awards from the Ministry of Culture of Latvia and was invited to meet – with her pupils – two of Latvia’s Presidents, Guntis Ulmanis and Vaira Vike-Freiberga.
Following marriage in 2002, Ilga moved to Cambridge in the UK where she continues to perform solo and chamber music in the UK and abroad, and to work as accompanist for the Lucy Cavendish Singers in Cambridge and RCM in London. She also teaches pupils at her private Piano Studio near Cambridge. Among her pupils are EPTA UK Piano Competition winners and other competition and festival prize holders. Many of Ilga’s existing and former pupils hold music scholarships at Eton College, Westminster School in London, King’s College School and Perse School in Cambridge. Some of her former students continue to study music at universities in Oxford and Durham.
Since 2014 Ilga has taught as a Principal Tutor of the internationally-acclaimed Piano Teachers’ Course UK. She lectures around the UK and in Latvia on piano teaching, and on the history and teaching methods of the Russian Piano School. Ilga enjoys giving lectures and sharing her own teaching methods and experiences. Ilga also collaborates with Trinity Exam Board in publicizing and lecturing on their piano syllabuses.
Ilga often organises masterclasses and concerts in Cambridge. These have included the annual Cambridge Piano Weekends, organised jointly with Gonville and Caius College for several years, and involving prominent pianists and teachers such as Noriko Ogawa, Vanessa Latarche, William Fong, Michael Young, Masayuki Tayama, Murray McLachlan, Roshan Magub and Penelope Roskell.
Since 2006 Ilga has been Cambridgeshire Regional Organiser for EPTA (European Piano Teachers’ Association) UK.
Ilga has being lecturing in the UK (in Kent, Bromley, Nottingham, Manchester (Chethams School of Music), York) and abroad. While her level of expertise allows her to cover a broad spectrum of subjects on the history of European pianism, piano teaching and piano repertoire, her favorite topics are:
Developing musical imagery in young learners
Challenges of articulation and how to make children enjoy it
Building the foundations of correct technique – for beginners
How to develop velocity – for elementary and intermediate level
How to develop (and have fun!) with concepts and sense of pulse and rhythm (for beginners)
How to develop velocity and improve technique – for advanced level
How to teach scales effectively and make technical exercises pleasurable
How to make “difficult” repertoire easy to learn (elementary, intermediate level)
How to make pupils not to stop – in sharing their own experience
Importance of knowledge and creative use of repertoire:
for intermediate level
Building the piano teacher’s repertoire library
Teaching stylistic (Baroque, Classical, Romantic) features to beginners (or at elementary or intermediate) levels
What is Interpretation and how to make it successful – for intermediate/advanced levels
How to secure a successful performance:
Czerny and his Etudes;
Etudes for advanced level and how to enjoy them
Introducing contemporary music to beginners and making it fun
The history and development of the Russian Piano School
The Music Education System of the USSR and its influence around the world
Russian Piano Teaching Method – for beginners
Who are A. Nikolaev and A. Artobolevskaya; their influence on Russian piano pedagogy:
Nikolaev and his “Russian School of Piano Playing”;
Artobolevskaya’s teaching methods for beginners.
Ilga has written numerous reviews for EPTA UK Piano Professional Magazine. These include the following publications:
2016 Autumn (issue 42),
Peter Graham (pseudonym of Czech composer Jaroslav Stastny-Pokorny, b.1952) Subversive Etudes for piano, Barenreiter BA 9585, 979-0-2601-0751-9.
Zygmunt Krauze Two inventions for Piano, PWM 11 556 and
Monody and Fuga for Piano, PWM 11 557
Zygmunt Krauze Three Studies for Piano, PWM 11 558
2013 Spring (issue 31)
Schumann Scenes from Childhood, op 15, Urtext, Barenreiter, BA 9639
Schumann Forest Scenes, op 82, Urtext, Barenreiter, BA 9640
Mozart Piano Sonata in D major, KV284, Urtext, G. Henle Verlag, HN1063
Mozart Piano Sonata in C major, KV 309, Urtext, G. Henle Verlag, HN 1065
Chopin Polonaise in F sharp minor, op.44, Urtext, G. Henle-Verlag, HN 1154
Beethoven Rondo in B flat major for Piano and Orchestra, Wo0 6, Piano Reduction, Urtext, G. Henle Verlag, 1149
Best of Piano Classics 50 Famous Pieces, Schott, ED 9060
Russell Strokes Jazz Miniatures 16 easy pieces for piano in light jazz styles Hunt Edition, HE 77
Music for Little Mozarts (Music Workbook), 5 Introductory Music Lessons for Ages 4 – 6, Christine H. Barden, Gayle Kowalchyk, E.L. Lancaster, Alfred Music Publishing, ISBN – 10: 0-7390-8113-6
2012 Autumn (issue 30)
Schubert Moments Musicaux Op. 94 – D 780, Urtext of the New Schubert Edition, Barenreiter, BA 9647
Schubert Impromptus Op 90 – D899 and Op.post.142 – D 935, Urtext of the New Schubert Edition, Barenreiter, BA 9648
Debussy Works for two pianos, Urtext, G. Henle Verlag, HN1003
Franz Xaver Mozart Complete Piano Works, Volume II, Urtext, G. Henle-Verlag, HN 959
Clementi Piano Sonata in G major, Op 37, No 2, Urtext, G. Henle Verlag, 1130
Piano Anthology 33 pieces by 23 composers, Boosey & Hawkes,
Distributed by Hal Leonard
2011 Summer (issue 26)
Classical Piano Anthology 1, 30 Original Works, ED13234, Schott Music Ltd.
Arnaud Le Chevalier, 24 Petite Etudes ou Pieces Breves, G 8816 B,
Gerard Billaudot Editeur, Paris
Piotr Piatkowski, 9 Miniatures for Piano “At the Crossroads”,
edited by Adam Wodnicki, EUF 856, EUFONIUM, Poland
Dennis Leogrande, Original Piano Melodies for the Eclectic Romantic
Volume 1, SP1117, Spartan Press Music Publishers Limited
Ilga with William Westney