NBS Students Earn Accolades at Pennsylvania’s MTNA Competition!

November 17th, 2015

Emma Lo (pictured below)- Winner of the Junior Piano Division
Alison Tatsuoka- Honorable Mention in the Senior Piano Division
Alex Wu- Honorable Mention in the Senior Strings Division

Lo, Emma

Emma Lo will travel to compete in the Eastern Division Competition later this year. If she wins in the Eastern Division, she will travel to the MTNA National Competition. Additionally, Emma recently played as a soloist with the New Orleans Civic Orchestra as a winner of the 2015 New Orleans Piano Institute Concerto Competition.  You can see her videos of the first movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in d minor and the Kapustin etude she played as an encore here:

September 2nd, 2015

Nelly Berman, illustrious and charismatic founder of the Nelly Berman School of Music, passed away on August 31, 2015

Nelly Point.JPG

Her funeral will take place at Goldsteins, Rosenberg, Raphael Sacks, 6410 N. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19126 on Friday, September 4 at 10:30 AM.  Family viewing at 9:30 AM.  For directions visit Goldstein’s website for the Philadelphia Funeral Home location.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Nelly’s foundation, her legacy to past and future generations of young musicians:

NBS Classical Music Institute

461 W. Lancaster Ave.

Haverford, PA 19041

Click here to make your donation directly to the NBS Classical Music .


Nelly Berman, a Russian-Jewish pianist from Odessa, Soviet Union, created a premier classical music school in Haverford on the Main Line, which has trained some of Philadelphia’s top young musicians and provided scholarships for their serious studies, died Monday night. She was 77 years old.

During the 35 years her school existed she touched the lives of many generations of young people through music, inspired them to reach beyond and above their comfort level and to seek beauty, depth of emotions and perfection in music performance.

Despite suffering a stroke in 2011, she continued teaching and molding young talented students, passing to them her immeasurable technical performance skills and profound love of classical music.  Four days before her death, she applauded her students at a concert at the Nelly Berman School of Music and taught her last student the day before her death following serious heart surgery.  She said to her daughter “If I get better after this surgery, I am planning to start teaching more talented children who are serious about music.” As she was driving to the hospital for the surgery, she was discussing the pieces her students will learn during the interim of her recuperation.

The story of her emigration from the former Soviet Union and subsequent integration into the American society reads almost like a fairy tale. Being an immigrant, her life was full of hardship. It was extraordinary that she was able to overcome the staggering pitfalls in her path, as well as to become a trailblazer for many who came to her for help. She became a great mentor, friend and supporter to the students and the teachers at the school. Their lives were forever enriched by this talented, intuitive, fiery, optimistic, generous, and inspiring woman.

The values she had sought in all of the Nelly Berman School students were great beauty of sound, tenderness, passion, and in her ability to touch all hearts through music. She sought and persevered with all of her being to realize her vision for the creation of a non profit corporation, the NBS Classical Music Institute, which awards talented students scholarships to realize their potential in music performance.

Nelly Berman has been a passionately devoted mother, wife and a friend. She is survived by her husband, David Lefkovitz, children, her daughter Elena Berman-Gantard, and her son Dmitry Berman.  She is beloved and mourned by her grandchildren Emma, Armand and Jacob, her niece Faina Lushtak, her cousins Emma and Mara and their spouses, her Russian childhood friends Rachel, Bella, Vladik, Luda, Mila, and her American friends Andrea, Elaine and Marina, and many more dear relatives, friends, students and colleagues. The family thanks all their friends and relatives for their support and love.

Our alumna, Anna Claire Lynn-Palevsky, has expressed these thoughts for us all.

I can’t imagine my life without the Nelly Berman School of Music, and I can’t imagine a world without Nelly in it. She had the most incredible gift for turning children into musicians through her passion for teaching, the joy she found and shared in music, and most of all, her constant faith in every single student who walked through her doors. The things I learned in her music school have shaped every aspect of my life. Thank you for all the love and trust you always showed me, Nelly. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given.

For more information please contact Nelly’s daughter, Elena, at


2015-2016 Open Enrollment

August 1st, 2014

Featuring the Following Programs:

Children’s Ensemble (orchestra) 

Jazz Improvisation Ensemble

Solo Vocal Audition Prep

Chamber Music

Private Lessons

Vocal Ensemble

New Instrument Offered: Harpsichord!

Music History, Theory and Composition


Children’s Ensemble (orchestra)

Day and Time TBA


The NBS Children’s Ensemble provides a unique opportunity for younger students to gain experience in ensemble playing which helps to develop a sense of phrasing melodic and harmonic lines, rhythm, intonation, and tone quality. Students will discover the orchestral music of great composers, learn repertoire quickly, and be motivated to practice to stay on the level of their peers in the ensemble. Our younger students in the ensemble enjoy performing the music their non-music friends listen to, and have chosen their favorite pieces to perform. For example, in our last Gala Concert, our ensemble performed “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift and “Roar” by Katy Perry, as well as classical music pieces such as selections from Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo” and Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition”.

Please make a note on your registration form, e-mail nbsmusic@comcast.net or call us at 610-896-5105 if interested in this program.



Jazz Improvisation Ensemble

Monday Evenings from 7PM-8PM Starting September 22, 2014

Dr. Matthew Clayton, Faculty Instructor

This class and ensemble will provide students of all levels with the opportunity to learn the practical and theoretical aspects of playing jazz. Improvisation is at the heart of this genre, a genre that has been a part of American music for more than a century. Special attention will be given to an understanding of the harmonic, rhythmic and melodic underpinnings of jazz as well as the structural norms of the music (blues, 32 bar song forms, etc). In addition, listening – both to recordings and live performances – will be a central component of this class; the best way to learn to play jazz is by listening to those that have done and continue to do it best. Guided by Dr. Clayton’s expertise as a performer and scholar of jazz music, with special Master Classes from professional jazz musicians, this class will foster a love for jazz – one that is rooted in the knowledge of how the music works and continues to thrive in the 21st century.

Please make a note on your registration form, e-mail nbsmusic@comcast.net or call us at 610-896-5105 if interested in this program.

Members of the 2013-2014 Jazz Improvisation ensemble performing “Footprints.”




Solo Vocal Audition Prep

Voice Picture

Have an upcoming school musical, choir, or college entrance audition? NBS offers special 4‐6
week sessions for students who wish to polish a piece for any audition. Get a head start for the
upcoming school year by preparing your audition materials this fall, winter and spring! Experienced faculty specializing in classical, jazz and musical theater work with all levels from beginners through advanced to choose repertoire, solidify technique, and build confidence. The first step toward your curtain call begins TODAY!

Please make a note on your registration form, e-mail nbsmusic@comcast.net or call us at 610-896-5105 if interested in this program.



Chamber Music

The Nelly Berman School offers a varied and rich program of chamber music for strings, winds, brass, and four-hand piano duets. Chamber music has been described as “the music of friends,” playing chamber music requires special skills, both musical and social, that differ from the skills required for playing solo or symphonic works. The small nature of the group allows for detailed and focused attention to rhythm, phrasing, communication, intonation, as well as introducing young musicians to the treasures of music literature.

Please make a note on your registration form, e-mail nbsmusic@comcast.net or call us at 610-896-5105 if interested in this program.

Members of a chamber music group, ages 9 through 11, performing a Beethoven Piano Quartet from memory.



Vocal Ensemble

Day and Time TBA

Featuring repertoire from jazz pieces and pop tunes to musical theater, the vocal ensemble provides a chance for students to gain confidence in their own voice through working with their peers as part of a group. Students will work on ear training, sing a Capella and accompanied pieces, learn diction through tongue twisters, practice basic acting and body expression, play vocal games, and learn vocal techniques to project the voice and hone intonation. Singing greatly helps instrumental students with phrasing, sight reading, and emotional expression. “If you can sing it, you can play it.” Please make a note on your registration form, or e-mail nbsmusic@comcast.net if interested in this program.


Music History, Theory and Composition Through the Ages.

In this year-long course, students will learn how music was made and what it sounded like over a period of 1000 years of history. The class will examine music theory, composition, improvisation, and music’s place within a variety of cultures and historical eras. Students will have the opportunity to respond creatively to the course by performing music from history, composing new pieces, and writing short, guided listening responses.

The course will be led by NBS Harpsichord and Music History/Theory Faculty Benjamin Katz, with guest artist presentations from local Philadelphia musicians and dancers.

Day and Time TBA

Benjamin Katz, Daniel Elyar, and Dr. Laura Katz-Rizzo* Pictured above from “Baroque and Beyond” Summer Camp 2015 are  (left to right), guest lecturer and baroque string specialist, Daniel Elyar; NBS Harpischord and Music History Faculty, Benjamin Katz; and Dr. Laura Katz-Rizzo, guest lecturer and Temple University Dance Faculty.



Private Lessons

Individual instruction is offered at all levels in keyboard, string, brass, woodwind, guitar, percussion and voice. The school director will design a program of study according to the individual student’s needs and inclination. Instrumental instruction is offered in all of the following areas:

Piano Double Bass Flute French Horn
Voice Bass Guitar Clarinet Trombone
Drum Set
Violin Trumpet Recorder
Electric Guitar Viola Saxophone Oboe
Cello Composition Harpsichord

Click here to see a list of our student’s accolades from the past two school years.

Fall 2015 Registration Form

Pianist Ethan Lee, age 16, previous winner of the Philadelphia Orchestra Concerto Competition.

Cellist Alex Wu and pianist Maria Zhdankina, winners of the 2013 Tri County chamber music competition.

Pianist Chris Jung, age 11, first prize winner of his age division at the 2014 Tri County Competition

Pianist Emma Lo, age 10, 1st prize winner of her age division in the 2014 West Chester Piano Competition as well as a winner in the Kennett Symphony, Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony, and Warminster Symphony competitions.





Hall of Fame

June 5th, 2014

2014-2015 Hall of Fame

Concerto Competition Winners Performing as Soloists with Orchestras:

Melody Yu, age 12, Philadelphia Orchestra

Ashwini Shende, age 13, finalist with Philadelphia Orchestra competition

Alyssa Gabrilovich, age 9, Old York Road Symphony

Emma Lo, age 12, New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, Kennett Symphony Orchestra, Warminster Symphony Orchestra, and Southeastern PA Symphony Orchestra

Alison Tatsuoka, age 15, Ambler Symphony Orchestra

Athena Wang, age 8, Old York Road Symphony

Alex Wu, age 14, Old York Road Symphony, Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra, Ambler Symphony Orchestra, Olney Symphony Orchestra, and Kennett Symphony Orchestra

Andy Wu, age 12, Ambler Symphony Orchestra


New Orleans Piano Institute, Solo Competition, July 2015

Emma Lo, 2nd Prize, Divison I

Stephen Gliatto, 2nd Prize, Division II

New Orleans Piano Institute, Concerto Competition, July 2015

Emma Lo, 1st Prize

Alison Tatsuoka, 3rd Prize


Music Teacher National Association (MTNA)

Ethan Lee, winner, PA State Division; will progress to regional competition

Chris Jung, alternate to 1st place winner, Junior Piano, PA state competition

1st Place, Crescendo International Competition

Suzanne Carpenter

Alex Gu

Athena Wang

Sharon Hsu

Sahil Purohit

Lan Luo

American Protégé Competition

Lan Luo, 1st Place

William Ge, 1st Place

Suzanne Carpenter, 3rd Place

Sabine Kwon, 3rd Place

Alyssa Gabrilovich, 3rd Place

Kennett Square Symphony Junior Instrumental Competition

4th – 6th grade Division

Sara Yamada, 1st place

Michael Zhou, 3rd Place

Nahoko Okamoto, Honorable Mention

Philadelphia Orchestra Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition

Ashwini Shende, Finalist, Junior Division

Rising Talents Music Fest

Eric Liang, Grand Prix winner

Golden Key Music Festival

Athena Wang, Gold

Felix Zhu, Gold

Jonathan Xu, Gold

Kebo Zhang, Gold

Linda Huang, Gold

Sophia Ran, Gold

William Hyland, Gold

Isabella Scardapane, Silver

Lan Luo, Silver

Felicia Zhu, Super Bronze

Ellen Zhang, Bronze

Chopin International Competition

Emma Lo, 3rd Place

Bloomsburg University Young Classical Artists’ Competition

William Hyland, 2015 Winner, Presidential Scholarship winner for four years of college study

Vivace Competition

Nahoko Okamoto, 1st Place, Violin, Children’s Division

Alex Wu, 2nd Place, Cello, Senior Division

West Chester University Pre-Collegiate Piano Competition

Alison Tatsuoka, 1st Prize, Ages 13 – 15

Ashwini Shende, 3rd Prize, Ages 13 – 15

Alyssa Gabrilovich, 2nd Prize, Ages 9 – 12

Athena Wang, 3rd Prize, Ages 9 – 12

John Yi, Honorable Mention, Ages 13-15

Music-fest Rising Talent Festival

Bridget Xu, Grand Prize

Crescendo Little Mozart

Karissa Lim, 1st Place

Carly Mitchell, 1st Place

Bowen Ying, 1st Place

Sonia Gomes, 2nd Place

Bucks County Symphony Orchestra

Timothy Kim, Honorable Mention

Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra

Alyssa Gabrilovich, Winner, Ages 8-11

Ambler Symphony Orchestra

Emma Lo, Winner

Andy Wu, Winner

Tri-County Competition

Alex Wu, 1st Place, Senior Strings

Ethan Lee, 2nd Place, Senior Piano

Leah Bedenko, Honorable Mention, Senior Voice

Jonathan Lee, Honorable Mention, Senior Winds

Eric Liang, Honorable Mention, Senior Winds

Annie Liang, 1st Place, Junior Winds

Emma Lo, Honorable Mention, Junior Piano

Andy Wu, Honorable Mention, Junior Piano

Philadelphia Student Youth Orchestra

Katie Sharbaugh, viola

Nelly Berman School student Erica Clarke was accepted to the Julliard School Pre-College program and began classes September 2014. For her second lesson per week, she continues studying at NBS.

If your child’s name has been omitted by mistake, please let us know!

2013-2014 Hall of Fame

5th International Chopin Competition
Melody Yu, 1st Prize, Junior Division

Ambler Symphony Concerto Competition
Alex Wu
Melody Yu

American Protégé International Competition
Erica Clarke
Sreejata Munsi

Crescendo International Competition
Athena Wang, First Place
Chris Jung, First Place
Felicia Zhu, First Place
Jordyn Hurly, First Place
Justin Suh, First Place
Katie Sharbaugh, First Place
Michael Zhou, First Place
Sahil Purohit, First Place
Sharon Hsu, First Place
William Ge, First Place

Episcopal Academy Dora Khayatt Music Award
Felicia Zhu

Golden Key Music Festival
Annie Liang, Piano, Gold Prize
Billy Broker and Michael Zhou, Piano Duet, Gold Prize
Elena Lee, Gold Prize
Emma Lo, Gold Prize
Felicia Zhu, Gold Prize
Felix Zhu, Gold Prize
Jordyn Hurly, Silver Prize
Nahoko Okamoto, Gold Prize
Rachel Wang, Gold Prize
Sharon Hsu, Gold Prize
Tessie Katz, Gold Prize
William Hyland, Gold Prize

Kennett Symphony Instrumental Competition
Alex Wu, Second Place
Emma Lo, First Place, Junior Competition
Andy Wu, Honorable Mention, Junior Competition
Ashwini Shende, Honorable Mention, Junior Competition

Landsdowne Symphony Concerto Competition
Alex Wu

Little Mozart Competition

Suzanne Carpenter, First Place
Alex Gu, First Place
Lily Schwalb, First Place

Moscow Central Conservatory Summer Program
Sharon Hsu

Music-Fest Rising Talent Competition
Kail Yuan, Cello, Grand Prix

Olney Symphony Orchestra
Alex Wu
Ethan Lee
Sara Yamada

Philadelphia International Music Festival Concerto Competition
Sara Yamada, First Place

Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Concerto Competition
Melody Yu

Philadelphia Sinfonia  Member
Alex Wu

Philadelphia Sinfonia Players Member
Annie Liang
Bronson Heath
Eric Liang
Jonathan Lee
Kail Yuan
Myles Heath

Schuylkill Valley Honor Band
Eric Liang, 1st chair clarinet
Priya Ganesh, 2nd chair clarinet
Remi Beltran, 1st chair trumpet
Sophie Rebbeck, flute.

The Curtis Institute Young Artists Summer Program
William Hyland

Tri-County Competition 2013
Alex Wu and Maria Zhadankina, Piano and Cello Duet, Second Place
Ashwini Shende, Piano, Second Place

West Chester Piano  Competition
Emma Lo, First Place, 9-12 age group
Chris Jung, Second Place, 9-12 age group
Erica Clarke, First Honorable Mention, 9-12 age group
Rachel Wang, Second Honorable Mention, 9-12 age group
Ethan Lee, First Place, 16-18 age group
Stephen Yi, Third Place, 16-18 age group

Tri-County Competition 2014
Stephen Yi: Second Place, Senior Piano
Alison Tatsuoka: Honorable Mention
Alex Wu: First Place, Junior Strings
Chris Jung: First Place, Junior Piano

Southeastern Pennsylvania Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition
Ashwini Shende
Emma Lo

Old York Road Symphony Young Artist Competition
Alex Wu: Winner
Athena Wang: Winner. Children’s Division
Sharon Hsu: Honorable Mention

Congratulations to Melody Yu, 1st Prize Winner in the children’s division of the 2014 Greenfield Competition!

January 10th, 2014

MelodyThe Nelly Berman School of Music would like to send a big congratulations to Melody Yu, age 11, who won first prize in the final round of the children’s division of the Greenfield Competition of the Philadelphia Orchestra.  This is one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, and was originally formed as the Philadelphia Orchestra Student Concerto Competition in  1933 under Leopold Stokowski. The final round of the competition was held on Tuesday, March 18th,  at 2PM at Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in center city Philadelphia.  More information can be found here: http://www.philorch.org/albert-m-greenfield-student-competition.

Melody has been a student at the Nelly Berman School since age 5, when she first began studying here with Nelly Berman.  Since her studies with Nelly, she has taken lessons with Dr. Igor Resnianski, and is now a student of Anna Kislytsina and Maxim Mogilevsky. She takes two, one hour lesson per week to supplement her four-to-eight-hour daily practice schedule because of her status as a scholarship recipient

“People often ask me how long I play piano each day. I don’t think the length of the practice would make huge difference. The key point is how much I can improve during the practice, even though I do play eight hours daily in the summer and four hours during the school year,” Melody said. “Music is a part of me, as are my joyfulness, tears, hopes and dreams. My teachers, starting with Mrs. Nelly Berman, taught me that every piece of music I play is really an inside story of a composer’s life. I often feel blessed that I am able to use the sound that I create to share and interpret those great composers’ dreams and imaginations, sorrows and fears.” In addition to her outstanding piano abilities and writing abilities, Melody often calls the NBS Office on her own to schedule lessons and book accompanists for competitions!

Before her March 18th appearance in the Greenfield Finals,  Melody won first prize at the Hartford International Chopin Competition, Junior Category. She also performed as a soloist with the Ambler Symphony in their Menges Scholarship Competition Winner’s Concert on Sunday, February 23.