Alissa Shuster was born in 1962 in Berkeley, California. She grew up in Cleveland Heights (OH) and attended St. Olaf College (Minnesota) and Kent State University (OH) for her MA and PhD degrees. She has been a visiting assistant professor at the University of the Pacific in California and Hiram College. She was a student at the l’ecole americaine in Fontainebleau, France, and the Czech-American Student Music Institute at the Prague Conservatory. In France, her composition was performed on Debussy’s previous piano, and in Prague, her piece for soprano and piano, Songs for Sappho, were performed at the Dvořák Museum on Dvořák’s own piano. She received first prize for her composition Kokopelli’s Dream for flute and two percussionists by the International Society for Women Composers in 1994. For seven years, she was a faculty member in theory, music literature and composition at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, and before that was a fellowship student/instructor at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. Ms. Shuster was also a member of the KSU-Stark music theory faculty for four years. Dr. Shuster will also teach theory at the College of Wooster for the 2013-2014 academic year. With Sebastian Birch (DMA ’97), she presented their new curriculum for the Fundamentals in Music class offered at Kent-Stark at Longwood University (Virginia) at the Mid-Atlantic College Music Society’s regional conference in March 2013, and are currently writing a paper for the Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy.
Dr. Shuster completed training in the foundations and methods of Suzuki theory pedagogy with Dr. Jennifer Conner CIM and now teaches theory and composition for the Preparatory division. Six of her private theory students have received the coveted grade of “5” on their music theory advanced placement exams. Dr. Shuster holds a yearly recital for hercomposition students, recently showcasing pieces for harp, string orchestra, percussion and other diverse and original ensembles. In 2013, two of her students had compositions performed by their high school orchestras in Shaker Heights and Beachwood (OH).
Dr. Shuster joined CIM’s Suzuki theory faculty in 2003.
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