posted September 17, 2004

Charles Ashbrenner Receives Teaching Award

Charles Aschbrenner of the Hope College music faculty has been named the 2004 "Teacher of the Year" by the Holland Piano Teachers' Forum, the local chapter of the Michigan Music Teachers Association.

He received the award during the chapter's meeting on Monday, Sept. 13.

Aschbrenner has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1963, and is a professor of music as well as chair of the piano area at the college. His piano students have entered graduate programs across the country and ultimately careers in teaching, performance and opera direction worldwide.

He has lectured and performed as both a soloist and a collaborative pianist throughout Michigan and the Midwest. In 1986 he gave lecture-recitals in San Miguel, Mexico, and in 1987 he was sponsored in a two-week tour of Portugal by the U.S. Department of Information.

For many years, he appeared with former Hope colleague Joan Conway in the duo-piano team of Conway and Aschbrenner. They sponsored a popular two-piano camp for high school students at Hope for several summers, and they commissioned a work for two pianos by David Pinkham, "Holland Waltzes," for the 1982 Holland March Festival.

Aschbrenner is a certified Dalcroze eurhythmics instructor, and is intensely interested in the issues of movement, rhythm and physical freedom in performance. He has presented lecture-demonstrations across the United States as well as at the College Music Society international conference held in Vienna, Austria. His articles on rhythm and movement have appeared in the "Journal of the Dalcroze Society of America," and his Web site "Pulse Patterning for Pianists" has attracted international responses.

He is the Hope College liaison for the Holland Piano Teachers' Forum. He has served on the state board of the Michigan Music Teachers Association (MMTA) as membership chair, and has served the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) as collegiate competitions chair and, most recently, scholarship foundation chair.

In addition to being a member of the MMTA and MTNA, he is a member of the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA) UK, the College Music Society and the Dalcroze Society of America.

Aschbrenner completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Illinois in 1959, and his Master of Music at Yale University in 1963. He has continued to study and work with many renowned piano teachers and performers throughout his career, including through additional studies at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, and in St. Petersburg, Russia.Before coming to Hope, Aschbrenner had an appointment at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.