Antoinette Perry

Associate Professor of Practice

  • Program:
    Keyboard Studies
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition
  • Instrument:


Antoinette Perry, born to professional musicians, gave her first public performance at the age of four. Since then, she has appeared throughout the U.S., Europe and China as a soloist and chamber musician, collaborating with many of the world’s greatest artists, including John Perry, Leon Fleisher, Ralph Kirshbaum, Ronald Leonard, Brooks Smith, David Shifrin, Gabor Rejto, Henri Temianka, Joaquin Valdepenas, Carol Wincenc, Eugene Fodor and actors Michael York and Walter Matthau. She has performed with members of the American, Chicago, Cleveland, Emerson, Juilliard, Los Angeles, Paganini, Sequoia, and Takacs String Quartets, and also with concertmasters and/or principals of the L.A., New York, Rotterdam and the Hague Philharmonics, the Concertgebau, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Gulbenkian and Zurich Tonhalle Orchestras, the Chicago, St. Louis, Toronto, and San Francisco Symphonies, and the L.A., Orpheus and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestras.

Having participated in festivals throughout Europe, China and the U.S., Ms. Perry has been heard often on National Public Radio, the Bravo! Channel and United Airlines’ in-flight programming. Artist-faculty emerita at the Aspen Music School, she performed in over 100 festival concerts during her 25-year tenure there. She has recorded for Crystal Records, Harmonie, Pacific Rainbow, Pacific Serenades, Excelsior (Sam Goody) and Navona.

Le Dauphine Libere has lauded her “irreproachable technique” and “a musical comprehension which could only belong to one of the Greats.” Germaine Vadi of Les Affiches de Grenoble et du Dauphine wrote: “One felt himself to be in the presence of a great pianist—an absolute art of nuance, her subtle touch, and finally her perfect musical understanding, which permits her to assimilate the music of all cultures.”

Distinguishing herself also as a pedagogue, Ms. Perry served for 12 years for the UCLA piano faculty before joining the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 1996. She frequently gives master classes and serves as an adjudicator. Former students are enjoying successful careers as performers and pedagogues throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Click here to visit Antoinette Perry’s Soundcloud page.

Teaching Philosophy

Music is a most compelling force when arising spontaneously from the artist. Of course this spontaneity must be tempered more or less by one’s knowledge of harmony, structure, rhythm, etc., and the ways in which these elements affect interpretation. In the art of classical music, formal training is vital. But then the teacher must understand his or her limits and know when to step back to allow each student to find his or her individual voice. A great teacher opens a student’s eyes to possibilities without insisting on an imitation of sorts.

Being objective is our most difficult task as teachers. I strive to enable a student to access his or her creative spark without stepping on the composer’s personality (that certainly wouldn’t serve the music!) or needlessly imposing the teacher’s vision on the student.

But our musical instincts don’t come from a vacuum. I insist that my students listen to great singers and orchestras, live or otherwise, as much as possible. One must understand what is special about our art in general, and about each era and style in particular, before one can begin to search for his or her own best interpretation, or before instinct can come into play.

Students must understand that there are a myriad of possibilities. In our performance classes I solicit comments in the hopes of training students to be constructive in their criticism while remaining open-minded to a full range of interpretive possibilities. Sometimes we are left with questions rather than answers, which might bring us closer to the truth!

Of course technique is tremendously important in piano playing—-physical mastery is not only essential for great artistry, but variety and nuance in one’s technical approach expands one’s artistic vision. Fortunately I myself have been exposed to many wonderful teachers, and in my teaching I try to amalgamate as well as build on what I have learned. As a certified instructor of yoga, I also weave in elements I have learned from my meditation and yoga practice—elements such as proper breathing, body scanning, body awareness, mental focus, etc….

Life is short, so I try to work with the whole person to ensure that he or she ENJOYS this process of self-discovery to allow the artist within to shine.


Academic degrees

  • DMA work, UT Austin, 1978-79, Aufbaustudium, Munchen Hochschule fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst, 1979-80
  • MM, UT Austin, 1978
  • BM, UT Austin, 1976

Studied with:

John Perry, Carlo Zecchi, Gilbert Kalish, Richard Goode, Lilian Kallir, Danielle Martin and Richard Angeletti