Damien Dixon Memorial Master Class with Ingrid Clarfield is March 1


Every two years Westminster Choir College of Rider University hosts The Damien Dixon Memorial Scholarship Master Class with Professor Ingrid Clarfield to raise funds for a scholarship that is awarded to a piano student at Westminster. The 2020 Master Class will be Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the Westminster campus in Princeton.  Tickets are $100, which includes preferred seating and program recognition, $20 adult general admission, and $5 student general admission.  They can be reserved by calling 609-921-2663 or reserving online at

The Damien Dixon Memorial Scholarship honors the memory of pianist Damien Dixon, who died in 2005 after a long struggle with cancer. A highly accomplished musician, Dixon remains the only pianist from New Jersey to win a Music Teachers National Association National Piano Competition, which he won at age 15. Dixon was also heavily involved on Westminster’s campus.  He studied piano with Professor Clarfield since he was 10 and he accompanied many Westminster students. When he was told that a scholarship was being established to honor him, Dixon requested that it be “given to a pianist for whom the piano is more than just a major,” and someone who “plays with imagination and personality and uses the piano to stir up the emotions of the listener.”

Preparing for the 2020 event, Professor Clarfield invited Yiran Zhao, a Westminster piano and composition major who is also the 2019-2020 Damien Dixon Memorial Scholarship recipient, to compose a new piece in memory of Damien Dixon. The result is a set of three songs with texts inspired by Dixon’s own writings. Zhao will perform the new work, titled Horizon, accompanied by Gregory Stout, at the master class.  Reflecting on her composition, she says that each song “presents different aspects of his persona: his personal beliefs and mottos, his goofiness as a person and in memory of Damien.”

In addition to the premiere, the 2020 Damien Dixon Memorial Scholarship Master Class will feature Professor Clarfield working with the students of Phyllis Lehrer, Larissa Korkina, Chiu Tze Lin and Julia Lam. They will play works by Beethoven, Brahms, Bartok, Medtner and Rachmaninoff.  There will also be a special performance by Dr. Julia Lam's award-winning piano duet of Saint-Saëns' Danse Macabre.