Announcing the 2017 “Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow,” a national competition in memorial of Nelly Berman

October 22nd, 2016

Click here to applyClick here to download guidelines

Application deadline is December 19th, 2016. 

Preserve Nelly Berman’s legacy by making a tax deductible donation to the nonprofit NBS Classical Music Institute, which is presenting “The Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow.”

nelly-berman-poster-flyer-printPlease direct all questions to

Over $10,000 in prizes and concerts at the Kimmel Center, West Chester University, and more!

Mission: The NBS Classical Music Institute, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to promote serious classical music concerts and competitions in the Philadelphia area, will be presenting “Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow,” a national competition as a memorial to its founder, Nelly Berman.  It will draw students from across the nation, and winners at various levels will be performing in concerts at Radnor Middle School, West Chester University, and the Kimmel Center; over $10,000 in prizes will be awarded.  The jury will be members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and New York Philharmonic, international performing artists, and faculty from West Chester, Manhattan School of Music,  Temple, Tulane, Long Island Universities, and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.

We need young classical music performers now more than ever. Just like when the 23 year old American pianist Van Cliburn went to Moscow in the ’60’s to win first prize at the monumental Tchaikovsky piano competition and with his passionate playing helped thaw the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US — young musicians of the tumultuous and pivotal years 2016-2017 can help shape international debate with high ideals for future generations through their likewise memorable performance.

The Nelly Berman Memorial “Classical Music Young Virtuosos of Tomorrow” competition, established in 2010, sees its important national place as a cultural emissary for the transformative power of classical music.  It provides a platform for young musicians to reach the hearts of old and young alike with their playing and, through classical music, illuminate the highest human virtues.

Nelly Berman’s whole life exemplified her belief in the transformative power of classical music and her visionary ideas of music education. As an emigrant from Odessa, USSR in 1976 Nelly came to the US with only $17 to her name and two children.  She struggled with congenital heart disease since the age of 3 but went on to bring the Russian method of teaching to thousands of children in the US, where she founded the Nelly Berman School of Music. In 1995, Nelly wanted to further classical music in the US, and she founded the nonprofit NBS Classical Music Institute, with a mission to provide merit based scholarships to students as well as to bring high level classical music concerts to the community. In 2010, she wanted to reach even more children around the nation, and she founded the “Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow,” which brought over 300 students from across the United States to the greater Philadelphia area.

This year’s revival of the “Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow” as the Nelly Berman Memorial Competition will honor and institutionalize her visionary work in music education.  It will also provide a philanthropic means of recognizing her lifelong struggle with heart disease.  The competition will draw hundreds of students from across the United States and provide several concerts by extraordinary young musicians to the Greater Philadelphia Community while giving a direct opportunity for young musicians to make a difference in the lives of others. The top 15 students in the Platinum division will be chosen to play at a large fundraising event for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where their playing can    make a difference to the lives of many sick children with heart disease.

Judges Will Include:



Dr. Timothy Blair

Dr. Timothy Blair (piano)Dean of Fine Arts and Communication at West Chester University


Faina Lushtak

Faina Lushtak (piano) – Chair of the Piano Department at Tulane University and judge at many international competitions, including the Gina Bachauer and Cleveland International Piano Competitions


Marianna Prjevalskaya

Marianna Prjevalskaya (piano) – Gold medalist at over 20 international piano competitions, including the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, OH, and judge at the New Orleans International Piano Competition


Jack Moore

Jack Moore – Conductor, Ambler Symphony and WRTI Classical Radio Host.


Eduard Schmieder (strings/chamber) – Head of the Violin Department at Temple University — Conductor of iPalpiti Festival Orchestra in Los Angeles

Paul Arnold (strings/chamber) – Violinist with Philadelphia Orchestra

Ovidiu Marinescu (strings/chamber) – International cello soloist/chamber musician and faculty at West Chester University

Sylvia Ahramjian (strings) – International violinist/chamber musician and retired West Chester University Faculty.


Ovidiu Marinescu

Ovidiu Marinescu

Sylvia Ahramjian

Sylvia Ahramjian


Eduard Schmeider



Paul Arnold

Paul Arnold



Julian Milkis

Julian Milkis

Julian Milkis (winds) – International clarinet soloist recently featured by UNESCO, and the only student of Benny Goodman.

Ethan Bensdorf, photographed by Chris Lee, 6/17/08.

Ethan Bensdorf, photographed by Chris Lee, 6/17/08.

Ethan Bensdorf (brass) — 2nd Trumpet at the New York Philharmonic and trumpet faculty at the Manhattan School of Music.

David Blumberg

David Blumberg

David Blumberg (winds) — International clarinetist and pedagogue.

Dr. Daniel Cherry

Dr. Daniel Cherry

Dr. Daniel Cherry (brass) ­– Orchestral, solo and chamber Trombonist. Faculty at West Chester University.




Jen Creed

Jen Creed

Jen Creed (voice)– board of directors for the Vocal Institute.

Maria Russo (voice) – Winner of the ARD Competition in 1984.  International Operatic Soprano.

Maria Russo

Maria Russo






Here is a video of the competition in 2010, then called “Young Classical Music Idol.”  The name and the structure have since changed but we have the same goals.

NBS Artist in Residence, Marianna Prjevalskaya In Concert on Sunday, October 9th at 5PM

September 6th, 2016

CSN 8_29_12 QThe Nelly Berman School of Music is pleased to announce pianist Marianna Prjevalskaya as our artist in residence beginning in October 2016.  Her position at NBS will include coaching advanced students by special appointment, presenting masterclasses, and giving performances.  Praised by critics as “a grand pianist” (Il Cittadino, Italy) and a “master of piano” (Music Magazine ‘Auditorium’, Korea), Marianna Prjevalskaya performs worldwide as a recitalist and concerto soloist — she captivates audiences with emotional intensity, maturity, richness and beauty of tone.  The Nelly Berman School will be presenting Ms. Prjevalskaya in recital on Sunday, October 9th at 5PM.  The concert will take place at Lurwick Hall, St Luke Church, Bryn Mawr PA with a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $10 for students.  

Since her solo debut with orchestra at age nine, Ms. Prjevalskaya has appeared with more than 15 orchestras, including marianna-oct-9-programCincinnati Symphony Orchestra, National Lithuanian Symphony Orchestra, Rzeszow Philharmonic Orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, Granada Symphony Orchestra, Valencia Symphony Orchestra, Galicia Symphony Orchestra, Panama Symphony Orchestra, Paderewski Pomeranian Philharmonic Orchestra, Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, Takamatsu Symphony Orchestra, and collaborated with conductors such as Ion Marin, Roberto Trevino, Eduard Zilberkant, Stamatia Karampini, Tadeusz Wojciechowski, Bogdan Oledzki, Kazafumi Yamashita, James Ross, Alfons Reverte and Max Bragado.

She has also won top prizes at upwards of 20 international piano competitions, among them, the 2014 New Orleans International Piano Competition, 2013 World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, the 2013 European Piano Competition in Normandy, the 2012 Panama International Piano Competition, the 2011 Jaén International Piano Competition in Spain, the 2010 Sendai International Piano Competition in Japan, the 2010 Takamatsu International Piano Competition, the 2008 José Iturbi International Piano Competition in Valencia, the 2008 Seoul International Piano Competition, the 2007 Paderewski International Piano Competition in Poland. Other prizes include at Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona, Ferrol International Piano Competition, José Roca International Piano Competition in Valencia, Young Concert Artists International Auditions in New York, the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition in New York, Beethoven Piano Competition of the Beethoven Society of Europe in London, Dudley International Piano Competition in United Kingdom, and Marisa Montiel Piano Competition in Linares in Spain, where she also received a Special Prize for Musicality at the age of 14.

You can listen to some of her extraordinary playing here:


2016-2017 Open Enrollment

August 19th, 2016

Featuring the Following Programs:

Children’s Ensemble (orchestra) 

Jazz Improvisation Ensemble

Solo Vocal Audition Prep

Chamber Music

Private Lessons

 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 or call us at 610-896-5105 if interested in this program.



Jazz Improvisation Ensemble

Monday Evenings from 7PM-8PM Starting September 19th, 2016

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 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 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 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.



Music History, Theory and Composition.

We have several music theory teachers who can teach individual theory, group theory, music history, and composition lessons.  Please contact us for more information.

Theory for students ages 5-11 6PM on Mondays

Theory for students ages 12-18 7PM on Mondays

( students can take either class based on their level)

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.





Summer Camp

August 2nd, 2016

We are enjoying our week of Summer Music Camp: “Exploring Romanticism”  Please enjoy some videos and pictures from our camp and see what our campers are learning here!




NBS Summer Camp 2016 "Exploring Romanticism in Art and Music"

Announcing Summer Camps 2016

March 4th, 2016

Exploring Romanticism: August 1-5

Summer Camp Poster For Staples

Click Here for NBS Summer Camp Registration Form and Pricing Information


Monday, August 1st through Friday, August 5th.

Camp Description:

The Romantic era was an exciting time in musical history. Composers produced music that was full of feeling and individuality. The poet William Wordsworth described writing of the era as poetry that should begin as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” and the composer and great symphonist, Gustav Mahler said of the music: “if a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not compose music.” This 5 day music camp explores romantic music, literature, and art. Students ages 8 through 16 (split into two age groups, 8-11 and 12-16) will investigate the Romantic era by playing solo and chamber music, learning about art through hands-on projects, reviewing romantic era literature, and asking the same questions about music-making that Romantic era musicians asked: How does the music move me? How do I express my feelings through the composition and expand upon compositional forms? How is music similar to or different from other artistic disciplines?

In each class, students will learn about the colorful history surrounding Romantic era life.  The vivacious fire of the French Revolution –the development of the individual and breakdown of the preexisting socioeconomic hierarchical structures. The beginning of the industrial era. The glorification of nature, the absurd, beautiful and sad.  The exploration of the emotions of glory, majesty, apprehension, fright, and awe.  Students will learn to identify how each composer, artist, and writers expressed their individual feelings and thoughts.

By the end of the camp students will ask themselves how knowledge of the romantic era ideas can help them as performers and artists. Students will be able to play the music of Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert and Schumann with a new sense of historical context, to more fully understand what emotional and individualistic ideas shaped their compositions, and in turn share that with audiences. Prior to camp, age and level appropriate pieces will be assigned for each individual student, following an audition with the director. Students will see international movies and documentaries during lunch, learn to dance a Mazurka and Polonaise, analyze poems by Lord Byron, Sir William Blake and George Sand, learn excerpts from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, draw in the style of Delacroix and Goya. Chamber Music is assigned one month in advance based on audition.

Camp Schedule:

8:45-3:45 Daily

*For the morning classes, students will be separated into two age groups, ages 8-11 and 12-16.   Individual lessons are scheduled after camp hours.

8:45-9:00: Check In
9:00-10:00:  Romantic Art, Literature, and Dance Class (observation optional)* or  History of Romantic Music
10:00-10:15: BREAK
10:15-11:15: History of Romantic Music* or Romantic Art, Literature, and Dance Class (observation optional)
11:15-11:30: Ice Cream Break
11:30-12:15: Outside Activity
12:15-1:00: Lunch and Movie
1:00-1:15: Prepare Instruments
1:15-2:15: Chamber Groups or Choir
2:15-2:30: Break
2:30-3:30: Chamber Groups
3:30-3:45: Check Out/Dismissal

Friday Family Concert
Our week-long camp will culminate in a concert featuring the Choir and Chamber Groups. The concert will be held at 2PM on Friday.

Material covered will include:

Frederic Chopin
Franz Liszt
Robert Schumann
Gustav Mahler
Johannes Brahms
Felix Mendelssohn
Hector Berlioz
Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Eugene Delacroix
J. M. W. Turner
Caspar David Friedrich
Thomas Gainsborough
Ivan Aivazovsky
Sir William Blake
Lewis Carroll
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Lord Tennyson
William Wordsworth
George Sand
Alexandr Pushkin
Mary Shelley
Lord Byron
Alfred De Musset

*material covered will be different according to age group

Instruments Offered: piano, violin, viola, cello, voice, trumpet, trombone, french horn, tuba, flute, clarinet, oboe, and drums.

Individual Lessons: Each student will receive two, 30 minute lessons. Additional lessons are available upon request (additional fees apply). A full listing of NBS Faculty can be found here.

Chamber Music: The camp offers a rich tradition of chamber music, including duets, trios, quartets, and small string orchestras.

Try a New Instrument: Summer Camp is the perfect opportunity to try a new lessons. You can use your two, 30 minute lessons to try a new instrument, or purchase an additional lesson or two to try a new instrument!

Pictures and video from last summer’s camp: “Baroque and Beyond!”

Created with flickr slideshow.

Summer Music Boot Camp

“Drill your practice, performance and theory skills”

Learn a piece and perform it in one week!

9:00AM to 3:30PM Daily  $300 per week

2 Weeks Offered:  July 11-15 and August 15-19

8:45AM-9:00AM Check In

9:00AM-10:00AM Practice Hour 1

10:00AM-10:15AM Break

10:15AM-11:15AM Practice Hour 2

11:15AM-12:00PM Ice Cream and outside

12:00PM-1:00PM Performance Class

1:00PM-2:00PM Lunch and Movie

2:00PM-2:30PM Practice Half Hour 2.5

2:30PM-3:30PM Theory Class (Public Performance Class on Friday)

*Private Lessons after 3:30PM available for an additional cost*

Click Here To Download Registration Form