pianoWrs 2015 had been an very, very busy and hectic work year. I am certainly not complaining. However whenever I tried to find both time and inspiration to write the work; dead end. One thing really turned the corner for me. I took 3 days to leave New York City and meet Emily W Upham the founder of “pianist retreats”. It was exactly what the doctor ordered ! Emily was a student, amongst others, of Nadia Boulanger.

We would chat in the morning, then I spent 2 days with total uninterrupted time to compose on her grand piano.

If you are a composer in NYC (or elsewhere) looking to create in a beautiful and creative environment undisturbed you couldn’t ask for a better place. (pianist retreats) An inspiring setting, and at the end of the day there was even fresh baked cookies !! I spent the evenings at a near by Bed and Breakfast, and they were amazing. Such nice people. Seriously…. this piece never would have seen life if I did not get out of the city and go see Emily. 5 Stars !!

–Douglas Gibson, New York, NY

When I decided to start playing the piano again after being away from it for many years, Emily Upham came highly recommended.

Reading music is a difficult task; it always has been for me. Emily helps me decipher the hieroglyphs on the page. It is like a treasure hunt, discovering the inflections and voices that the composer intended.

I am a visual artist: knowing how to draw, and understanding the elements of composition are key to developing and building a visual language.

As an interpreter of piano compositions, there is an obligation to understand what is written on the page before any interpreting begins. Emily challenges me: she is extremely knowledgeable and her infinite patience, impeccable ear and deep understanding of the written music have proven to be invaluable.

Without hesitation, I give Emily my highest recommendation.

–Elizabeth Seewald Hill, Amenia, New York

She treats me like a grown-up. She tries to get me to make musical decisions for myself. She balances praise and criticism with an unfailing instinct for what I need at that particular moment. She thinks of me as a musician, not a mere student, and although I can’t quite believe that’s true, I am inspired by her faith in my potential, her warmth, her intelligence, her non-authoritarian (yet exacting) teaching style.

–Katherine Weissman

My Experiences with Emily Upham

I am a musician who has done a great deal of performing, especially singing and accompanying myself on piano at high-end restaurants. A few years ago I decided to get back to classical singing, and I was particularly interested in French art song. I heard about Emily Upham, and when I contacted her I realized that she also spoke excellent French.

We have worked together for several years, conversing mostly in French, which delights me. Emily has a vast knowledge not only of French art song, but of German lieder and many other types of vocal repertoire. She has been extremely helpful to me as a vocal coach, encouraging me to bring music to life by closely examining the text, the dynamics, the context of each piece and many other factors.

Emily has suggested books to read and CDs and performers for me to listen to who exemplify the best in classical singing. She introduced me to a wonderful vocal teacher who specializes in French art song at Juilliard, and we attended one of his classes in which he was coaching singers and their accompanists. She also made it possible for me to work with another singer, doing some duets.

I have always found Emily to be very supportive, very knowledgeable and willing to share what she knows. Working with with her has helped me as a singer, a pianist and a teacher as well. I cannot recommend her highly enough to anyone wishing to improve their singing or their piano playing.

Marta Waterman
Singer, Pianist, Composer, Professor of Music

Je t’aime mon professor de Francais. I have taken weekly French lessons via Skype with Emily for three years. I finally decided last summer to take a two week immersion class with Emily in her hometown of Germantown, NY. Our diverse group of 5 stayed in a charming B&B situated on Main Street, the heart of Germantown, a quaint little village overlooking the Hudson River.

Directly across the street is “Otto’s”, a cafe and market where the daily homemade specials and chocolate sconces were a daily indulgence. I particularly liked it that our classes were planned and focused on the vocabulary and practical every day conversations you would need to know if you were actually living in France.

My challenge and I believe most of the other students was overcoming the fear of “speaking ” French, reading and writing it were much easier. While my skills are far from perfect the two weeks of constant French got me passed that initial fear. I now have the confidence to engage in a conversation in French ….even with a Parisian shop keeper!

I can happily recommend studying French with Emily and know you will be glad you did.

–Bon Chance, Marcia Duval, Manchester, Maine.