My Teachers

Sylvia Karkus Furash's Musical Genealogy

Teachers are known by their teachers. We trace our lineage through dynasties, often covering centuries. Piano teaching reaches back to the earliest keyboard instruments, and the technique(s) used to pass on “how-to” knowledge. It is an organically growing body of information for us to inform those with whom we share “learning.”

My training can be traced to Beethoven, through the school of Czerny. Early in the 19th century, maintaining that lineage, Theodore Leschetizky opened a new approach to piano technique. Its brilliant stars recognizable by their dazzling pianism were Vengerova, Josef Lhevinne (Juilliard), Anton Rubenstein, Josef Hofmann.

The second wife and protege of Leschetizky, Anna Essipova was the teacher of my beloved conservatory professor, Alfredo Alfonso Fondacaro.

Lines become blurred, and often the genealogy lacks definition. Grete Husserl, a representative of the Viennese School (later fused with lines dating back to Beethoven. Husserl, a grande dame of the piano, concertized and taught in Vienna summers, returning to America to mentor fortunate high school students such as myself during the academic year. A substantial portion of her scores comprise part of my library. I consult her treasured margin notes and find them quite consistent with my present work with online piano lessons.

The Taubman Approach

Dorothy Taubman (1917-2013) a protégé of Jacob Nicolai Helmann (Russian School), developed her ideas based on scientific research involving anatomy, physics, and coordination. She studied with a neurologist, hand surgeon, and submitted herself to extreme scrutiny before using her ideas in teaching. I have been privileged to be in her classes with injured musicians, as well as her provocative interpretations of repertoire. Her complete compendium of work is contained on VHS tape, which I own and consult.

After many years she passed the mantle of teaching her techniques to her protégé, Edna Golandsky. Edna was invested with the mandate of equipping future generations with the Taubman Approach. I have had private coaching with Edna, as well as been present for many years in the Taubman Institute.

Robert DursoMy present teacher, Robert Durso, is now co-Director of the Golandsky Institute. An extremely well-organized symposium it meets for a week each July at Princeton University to explore, demonstrate, teach and train others in the Taubman Approach. This past summer, I met pianists from fourteen countries, who travelled there to absorb and receive training in these ideas.

A protégé of Mr. Durso, is a talented pianist, Yoriko Fieleke, with whom I coach regularly.

I invite you to explore my world and the people who have shaped it. Then, contact me for a complimentary interview and sample lesson.