​The Musical Arts Piano Conservatory
​Lessons and Classes for Every Age

2101 West Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, FL 33606  USA
  Location next to Downtown and Hyde Park
 Easy on/off to Interstate 275​
813-294-1348

Meet Our Instructors

Judith Cataldo, Director and Instructor
 
      Teaching young people and adults since 1982, Judith Cataldo is known in the Tampa area for her innovations in the area of community music education.  She has a Bachelors in Music from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and a Masters of Music from the Music School at the University of South Florida.  She did post-graduate work and earned a  teaching fellowship at Manhattan School of Music.  While in New York she also taught young students at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.  Judith started a successful community program in Tampa in 1987 called the Florida Keyboard Arts Center, and in a short time with enrollment overflowing, this program merged into the Community Music Division at the University of South Florida, a program she developed and founded for the University in 1988.  She was Director of the USF Community Music Division for 7 years in addition to Piano Faculty Chair of the division.  At the conclusion of her directorship, she stayed on for two years as instructor before returning to private practice. 
    
     Judith then developed her love of improvisation and recorded an album of her music entitled"Improvising Life".  She has over the years performed in many venues and in many capacities, including solo and chamber music performances in the classical world.  She has also performed in many concerts of her own original music on promotional tours of her album.      A highlight of her career was performing in Weill Recital Hll at Carnegie Hall in a concert of contemporary music. 
    
       In 2001 Judith began work as adjudicator for the American College of Musicians and has  traveled  nationwide each spring conducting auditions for students and mentoring teachers through the National Guild of Piano Teachers.  She has heard and evaluated thousands of students coast to coast.  This experience has polished her skills as teacher and coach and has given her the intuitive abiity to determine  almost instantly the musical needs of the performer before her.  This has given her private  students the benefit of the  expertise gained from such laser beam focus. 
 
       Judith's students consistently achieve National and International status in auditions, consistently Superior and Superior Plus rankings in district and state  festivals.  She has produced winners of competitions and scholarships.  Numerous students have received their High School Diploma in Piano from the National Guild.  Others have gone on to college level music training in such schools as Yale, Notre Dame, and Florida State University, to name a few.  Many others have gone on to enjoy music and piano playing which enhances their lives.
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Fernando Lopez Gutierrez, Instructor​
 
     Originally from Mexico, classical pianist Fernando Lopez Gutierrez graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson with his Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance.  While there he was recognized for Academic Distinction three years consecutively.   He has spent the last three years at the University of South Florida School of Music where he has received his Masters Degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy, which is the Art of Piano Teaching.  At USF, he was a Teaching Assistant for the Piano Minor Program which featured a piano class setting in the state of the art piano lab.  He also was a Staff Accompanist which enabled him to perform varied repertoire as piano accompanist in many concerts.  

     In addition to teaching privately, Mr. Gutierrez has taught in the Afterschool Music and Homework Program in Tucson, as well as the Tucson Summer Music Program.  As a performer, Fernando has performed in numerous recitals and concert programs in Mexico, Canada, Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina.  Summer of 2016 he was performer at the International Music Festival in Italy.   We are proud to have him as part of our teaching team here at the Musical Arts Piano Conservatory.
 
Jelena Becejac, Instructor​  
          
     As a little girl, Jelena Becejac grew up in Serbia and found solace in the beauty of the piano.  She was strongly influenced by her first piano teacher whom she adored and was her role model.  As a young artist, she was participant in many international competitions and the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. 

Jelena was accepted to attend the  Academy of Performing Arts in Prague where she earned both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Classical Piano Performance.  

    Returning home to Belgrade, she became piano professor at two different music schools in that city where she had students of elementary, middle, and high school ages for 6 years.  She also was involved in music therapy activities and was a member of the Music Therapy Association in Belgrade.

     Over the years, Jelena has performed in many international masterclasses.  Most recently, summer of 2016 she attended the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City, coaching with artists Steven Mayer and Victor Rosenbaum.

 Ms. Becejac has been awarded double Masters Degrees in Piano Performance, as well as Piano Pedagogy, from the University of South Florida   She was granted a teaching Assistantship and is a former instructor in the School of Music for Class Piano and Accompanying.  

​     Ms. Jelena is a caring instructor and is a wonderful musician with a keen ear and musical sensibilities.  A special person, she is an asset to our Conservatory team.​​
Sungkyeong Kim, Instructor

     Miss Kim is a wonderful pianist and teacher from South Korea.  Her college training was in Korea as a scholarship student at the Dongduk Women's University, from which she received a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Piano Performance.  She has additional Masters Degrees from the University of South Florida in both Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy (the art of piano teaching).  She has participated as performer in numerous recitals as soloist and accompanist, and has performed in music festivals in Canada, United States, and Italy.  While at USF School of Music, she was awarded an assistantship as Staff Piano Accompanist, working as a collaborative pianist with many instrumentalists in recitals.

     As a teacher, with much studio teaching experience in both Korea and Tampa, she received a Teaching Certificate from "Piano Adventures", the renown series of instructional piano method books by Nancy and Randall Faber.  She has also taught the Orff Method approach for preschool children in Korea.  While at USF, she served as Teaching Assistant in the Music School's state of the art piano lab, teaching both music majors and non-majors.

     Miss Kim has placed in competitions in Korea, including second place in the Seoul Piano Duo Competition and was selected for Mok Hwa Chamber Music Recitals and Piano Duo Recitals at the Dongduk University

​     Sungkyeong Kim brings a special perspective and a rich blend of experience to our teaching team in 2018.
Kate Stephens, Instructor

     Our Musical Constellations Program and the Adults at Leisure Programs are under the direction of Instructor Kate Stephens.  Kate has been an instructor in the performing arts for many years teaching drama, music, and piano instruction for preschool ages through high school, as well as developing curriculum for adult education programs.  She is currently author, designer, and illustrator of a soon to be published children's piano course named  "Captain Cornmuffin and the Characters of Melody Bay".  The course is being premiered this year in our Classical Comets Class  here at our Conservatory. 

     Ms. Stephens has taught music in many settings over the years, including preschools, public and private elementary schools, and community centers.   She uses dramatic play such as storytelling and puppets with her music training approach.  She has also developed "Movement Exploration to Music" classes using dance in connection with music teaching.  She has taught piano in her private studio for many years.

     Kate's early training included piano studies with Steinway Artist Joseph Esposito, along with dance, drama , and improv classes at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.  She continued on to perform in plays at the Pittsburgh Play House and at  West Virginia  Wesleyan College.   She majored in Psychology and Music Education at Wesleyan College.  She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Human Development from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, graduating with Honors.

     Most recently, as pianist, Kate coached with Gloria Bolivar, Professor of Piano at Eckerd College.

     We are so happy and proud to include Kate Stephens in our Faculty Roster starting in January 2018.


Our Memberships and Affiliations

Members
American College of Musicians
Affiliated
Florida Federation of
Music Clubs
Member
National Federation of
Music Clubs
Our Faculty are Active Members of the American College of Musicians, Teacher Division, which is called the National Guild of Piano Teachers.  Our Director Judith Cataldo is also a Faculty  Member/ Adjudicator in the National Auditions and is nationally certified.  Our Conservatory hosts the National Guild Auditions held annually in March.  The purpose of the Guild is to establish national teaching standards for teachers and performance standards for students.  Our Faculty follow Curriculum Plans level by level which incorporate the Guild's Musicianship and Repertoire Guidelines.
Our Conservatory private lesson students who would like to perform in February in the District Music Festival sponsored by the Florida Federation of Music Clubs are members of our affiliated Music Club known as The Rising Stars, a name that also coincides with our Private Lesson Program.  These students perform two contrasting pieces, take a Theory Exam, a Sightreading Exam, and some play in ensembles.  Those who earn a Superior rating may go on to compete in the State Music Festival held in May, where one winner in each category is chosen, thereby earning the title "Best in State".
The NFMC was established in the 1880's in New York at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and quickly grew as a movement across the country.  The purpose was to further the cause of American music and music education in the USA.  It is an organiza-
tion for adult music lovers, amatuers, and professional musicians.  Local clubs host monthly concerts, study groups and social events.  Our Director is a lifelong member of the Friday Morning Musicale, the local affiliate, in Tampa.
Music Teachers National Association
Our instructors also offer Piano Retreats
Click  here for PianoVacations.com