Stephen Pierce

Associate Professor of Practice

  • Program:
    Keyboard Studies
  • Division:
    Classical Performance and Composition
  • Instrument:
    Piano & Piano Pedagogy


South African pianist, Stephen Pierce enjoys a multi-faceted career as a performer, pedagogue, scholar, and clinician. He currently teaches piano pedagogy, keyboard literature, and applied piano at the USC Thornton School of Music.

Pierce holds degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM), and the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and two licentiates of music from the University of South Africa (UNISA). He has performed in the USA, Canada, Czech Republic, and throughout South Africa, and with artists such as Carol Wincenc, and the flutists of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. During his studies in Cincinnati, Pierce performed with the CCM Philharmonia as a result of winning the CCM Piano Concerto Competition. In South Africa, he has performed with orchestras such as the Natal Philharmonic, the National Symphony, and the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa.

Pierce has presented masterclasses, workshops, and lectures in South Africa and the United States while his performances have been broadcast on South African television and radio. He currently serves as editor of the peer-reviewed journal CAPMT Connect, is the co-faculty advisor of the MTNA USC Collegiate Chapter, a member of the executive state board for the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAMPT), secretary of the Pi Kappa Lambda Eta Chapter, and co-founding member of the Thornton School of Music Wellness Committee. He has previously served as a member of the prestigious MTNA e-Journal editorial committee, and on the MTNA Teacher Enrichment Grant committee.

Professional experience

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • MVP, Savvy Arts Venture Challenge, University of South Carolina
  • Winner, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music Concerto Competition
  • Winner, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music Chamber Music Competition
  • Award for Teaching Excellence for Graduate Teaching Assistants, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music
  • Second prize and two special prizes, University of South Africa (UNISA) National Piano Competition, South Africa
  • Runner-up, South African Music Rights Organization (SAMRO) Overseas Scholarship Competition for Keyboard Players
  • Vice-Principal and Chancellor’s Medal for Academic Excellence, University of Pretoria
  • J. Rhoode Overseas Scholarship for Piano Pedagogy, UNISA Overseas Scholarship Competition
  • Winner, Gladwell Music Scholarship Competition
  • Winner, UNISA South African Music Scholarship Competition

Music Festivals:

  • Piano Faculty, Interlochen Arts Camp
  • Guest Faculty, Colorado International Piano Academy

Research Interests:

  • Historical Pianists, Editions, and Recordings
  • Learning Styles and Modalities
  • Musician Wellness
  • Piano Technique


  • Articles in CAPMT Connect, Clavier Companion, Piano Pedagogy Forum, and The South African Music Teacher, The California Music Teacher and for The Royal Conservatory of Music
  • CD and DVD reviews in Clavier Companion
  • Book reviews in American Music Teacher and Music Research Forum
  • Other contributions to American Music Teacher and the MTNA e-Journal

Academic degrees

  • DMA, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, 2011
  • MM, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, 2006
  • BM Honors, University of Pretoria, 2002; BM, University of Pretoria, 2001

Other academic experience:

  • Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, University of Northern Colorado, 2011-2013
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy, Oberlin Conservatory, 2010-2011
  • Performer’s Licentiate Diploma, University of South Africa, 2002
  • Teacher’s Licentiate Diploma, University of South Africa, 2001
  • Drakensberg Boys Choir School, 1992-1994
  • Master classes given: MTNA Collegiate Chapters Piano Pedagogy Symposium, University of Cape Town, University of Hawaii Mānoa, Hope College, University of Mount Union, North West University
  • Guest Lectures given: Baylor University, Bowling Green State University, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Hope College, University of Hawaii Mānoa, University of North Texas, University of Oregon, University of Pretoria, Southern Methodist University, Stellenbosch University, Texas Christian University, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point

Studied with:

  • Frank Weinstock, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (Piano)
  • James Tocco, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (Piano)
  • Joseph Stanford, University of Pretoria (Piano and Piano Pedagogy)
  • Michelle Conda, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (Piano Pedagogy)
  • June Theron, University of Pretoria (Piano Pedagogy)
  • Wessel van Wyk, University of Pretoria (Piano Pedagogy)