History of the Nelly Berman School

The Nelly Berman School of Music is a private community school founded in 1983.  Through music, the school aims to awaken the natural creative instincts of its students.  The warm supportive atmosphere of the school contributes to the development of individuality, self esteem and responsibility.  Through our goal oriented and disciplined approach, the school provides a serious, well rounded musical education in a fun oriented and pleasurable environment that engages the students and their families.

Mrs. Berman started the school as a single teacher with only seven students.  Over the years Mrs. Berman’s unique ability to unlock the musical potential of students as well as her passion and intensity for children’s musical education has been inspirational in the development of the school.  She has raised the bar for high achievement and self accomplishment, encouraging children and teachers to seek and attain their personal best.  Today the school has over 40 faculty members and 400 students from Philadelphia and surrounding areas.  Our instructors have studied at many of the finest conservatories throughout Europe and the U.S.

Mrs. Berman and her faculty have developed a unique method of instrumental and chamber music instruction that enables students to achieve a high level of proficiency early in their musical education.  This involves the Russian approach to music in which technical mastery of the instrument is combined with a keen understanding of the composer’s intent and the student’s own emotions.  The results of this training are apparent in the excellence of our student achievements.  Students of the Nelly Berman School have appeared in music festivals in Italy, France, Monaco, Israel, Russia, Germany, Tanglewood, and the Van Cliburn Institute, among others. They have appeared at Carnegie Hall and The Kimmel Center as well as on NPR’s  “From the TOP”.  Our students have also won numerous prizes from competitions such as the West Chester Piano Competition, the Tri-County Competition, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Korean Music Association Competition, and the Delaware County Youth Orchestra.  In addition, our students have performed as soloists with The Philadelphia Orchestra as well as the Delaware, Ocean City, Ambler, Pottstown and Old York Symphonies.

Why CHOOSE the Nelly Berman School ?

  • Professional and dedicated teachers.
  • Students are paired with the appropriate teacher based on level and personality.
  • The school provides social opportunities for students to meet each other.
  • Students are exposed to other instruments in addition to their chosen instrument.
  • Students have the opportunity to perform in monthly recitals.
  • Students participate in special events as performers or listeners.
  • The NBS Classical Music Institute offers scholarships for students based upon talent and need.

Alumni:  Where are they now?

Studying classical music is not an end in itself but a way to become a better citizen. Our alumni have gone on to study at some of the top universities in the US and the world, and credit Nelly Berman and their serious study of classical music at her school for inspiring them to become more profound human beings and  achieve excellence in their professional lives.

 

Alexandra Stein is currently completing her M. Sc. in Development Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She previously worked as a Social and Environmental Responsibility Officer at Le Groupe AZURA and as a Country Manager at the High Atlas Foundation in Morocco. She previously studied flute at the Nelly Berman School of Music, and went on to graduate from Columbia University in New York, NY, with a B.A. in Middle East and North Africa Studies, magna cum laude.

 

Alison Klayman is a Director’s Guild of America-nominated filmmaker whose debut feature documentary, “Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry,” was shortlisted for an Academy Award and nominated for two Emmys, and was one of the highest grossing films of 2012 directed by a woman. She studied piano while at the Nelly Berman School of Music and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in History, with honors.

 

Dr. Brynne Reece is a dentist at Westminster Endodontics. She received her B.A> from Hendrix College, and completed her Endodontic Post-Graduate program at the University of Maryland. She is the recipient the Sherill Ann Siegel, Harry W.F. Dressel, and numerous American Association of Endodontists (AAE) Dentsply awards. She studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music and is an accomplished pianist, earning an Advanced Certificate in Piano Performance from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London, UK.

 

Dr. Caesar K. Luo is a board certified vitreo-retinal surgeon, currently working at the Progressive Vision Institute. While in high school, he piano studied at the Nelly Berman School of Music. He later graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Biology, magna cum laude, earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and completed his residency at the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA.

 

Daniel Schlosberg is a composer and Co-Music Director of the Heartbeat Opera. His works have been played by the Dover Quartet, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic, and Yale Philharmonia, among others. He was awarded a 2014 Charles Ives Scholarship by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a 2014 Morton Gould Young Composer Award from ASCAP. He studied piano at the Nelly Berman School and went on to earn his bachelor’s at the Yale University and his master’s from the Yale School of Music.

 

David Wu is currently completing his M.Eng. in Supply Chain Management and Logistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He previously worked as a Consultant for A.T. Kearney in Melbourne, Australia, and as a Materials Planner at Unilever. He studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music through high school and went on to attend Penn State University, where he was recognized as the R. Gene Richter Scholar for Supply Management in 2011. He graduated with a B.S. in Supply Chain Management & Information Systems, summa cum laude.

 

Ellen Morris is currently Music Director at the Griffin Theatre Company in Chicago, IL. She also holds the position of Music Director of Wilmette Park District and The Hypocrites Theater and is a voice teacher. She previously studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music from the age of five, and continued through high school. She graduated from Northwestern University with a BMus in Piano Studies/Music Direction & English.  

 

Eliza McCarthy is winner of the 2013 British Contemporary Piano Competition and currently a member of the Birmingham-based contemporary ensemble Decibel and the London-based band Jetsam. She has worked with John Adams, George Crumb, and Tansy Davies, among others. She studied piano while at the Nelly Berman School of Music, going on to receive her B.Mus., First Class, her M.Mus, and her Artists Fellowship from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

 

Ethan Lee previously studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music, performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra as winner of the Albert M. Greenfield Student Competition. He is currently a freshman at the Washington University in St. Louis, studying pre-med.

 

Felix Zhang is currently Senior Investment Associate at Ares Management in New York, NY. He previously was an Investment Banking Analyst at Goldman Sachs. He studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music and went on to attend Harvard University, graduating with a BA in Economics and Neurobiology, with honors.

 

Grace Kamfonas is a piano teacher in the Philadelphia area. She previously studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music and graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in Music, magna cum laude.

 

Ian Mac Robinson is a professional cellist. He studied at Indiana University under Janos Starker, and was one of Mr. Starker’s last students. He recently graduated with a master’s in cello performance and Suzuki pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

 

Irene Moretto currently teaches piano , leads chamber music studies, Handbells, and Liturgical Ensemble at Merion Mercy Academy. She holds an M.M. in Piano Performance and in Harpsichord Performance, as well as a B.M. in Piano Pedagogy from Temple University.

 

John Kamfonas is currently a concert pianist based in Paris, France. He studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music, going on to earn his B.A. in Music and Economics from Columbia University and his M.M. in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, NY, where he studied under Phillip Kawin as the recipient of the Artur Balsam Foundation Endowed Scholarship. He also holds a Diplome Superieure in Piano Performance from the Ecole Normale de Music de Paris – Alfred Cortot.

 

Jonathan Adler is currently a pursuing a B.A. in History at Yale University. He studied piano and saxophone at the Nelly Berman School of Music, discovering his passion for jazz while at the school, and continues to play with his university jazz group.

 

Katherine Hung previously studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music. She went was one of 160 students nationwide to qualify for the U.S. Presidential Scholar award, presented to the country’s top-performing students, and is currently a freshman at Harvard University.

 

Lan Luo studied saxophone and was a key member of the Jazz Ensemble at the Nelly Berman School of Music. He was also the All-State Champion in the Number Sense Competition, sponsored by the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association, and qualified to represent Pennsylvania and New Jersey at the national American Regions Mathematics League contest. He currently is a freshman at Yale University, studying economics.

 

Maria Zhdankina previously studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music, during which she placed in a number of local and national music competitions. She is currently a freshman studying engineering at Drexel University.

 

Matthew Klayman currently serves as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He previously studied at the Nelly Berman School of Music. He went on to graduate from Harvard University with an A.B. in History and Language Citation in Yiddish, magna cum laude, and earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

 

Myles Heath previously studied trumpet at the Nelly Berman School of Music. He is currently a freshman at the Pennsylvania State University College of Engineering.

 

Matthew Gliatto is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at Princeton University. He studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music and continued his studies even while completing Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mathematics at Saint Joseph’s University.

 

Naomi Hachen is currently working at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. She studied piano at the Nelly Berman School of Music and went on to earn her B.S. in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering and her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Rebecca Solomon is the founder of Acrodemics, which provides educational services in the nature of acrobatics, yoga, and academic tutoring. She started her musical studies at the Nelly Berman School of Music, first in piano and later in voice. She later earned a B.A. in Psychology and Linguistics from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and studied Education and Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University.

 

Stephen Gliatto is currently completing his B.M.Ed at West Chester University. He previously attended Georgetown University as a pre-med, before deciding to instead pursue a career in music education. He has worked as Assistant Music Director at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, PA, and continues to be an important member of the Nelly Berman School of Music community as a part-time office assistant, accompanist, and chamber music coach.