Cassa Piano

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Cassa Piano (See sidebar for dates)
Performances: Thursday 7 pm and Friday 2 pm

St. Vladimir's Cultural Centre, 404 Meredith Road NE 

 9:00 am - 5:00 pm daily

See the registration page and fee summary for additional information.

Cassa Piano is an exciting five-day experience for pianists with some experience*, aged 10 to adult, to explore the many facets of piano playing in a supportive, fun atmosphere that promotes a positive attitude towards practising and performing. Students are coached in prepared solo repertoire and new ensemble pieces. Students attend classes in musical style, interpretation, memorization, technique and performance anxiety. Classes in choir, art, improvisation, and a featured composer (a different composer is selected each year) are also offered. Classes on Alexander technique are offered in select years.

*Although we have had students in beginner stages, the preferred minimum level is about Level 3 Royal Conservatory of Music or Conservatory Canada equivalent. See our FAQ page for additional information.

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2019 Cassa Piano in action: Dr. Fridman coaching

Composer of the Year

The Composer of the Year for students’ own choice pieces is Chopin. We encourage students to prepare a piece by Chopin at the grade level that is appropriate. Students who are not yet at Grade/Level 6 should choose a piece of their own choice in Romantic style to prepare for the history performance classes.

Editor’s note: Chopin does not appear in the RCM Syllabus until Grade/Level 6. Students who are not yet at that level might enjoy listening to recordings of Chopin (YouTube has many great examples). 

Clinician for 2019 

Edwin Gnandt


With a career that has extended over 30 years, Edwin Gnandt has enjoyed a varied collaborative life in music. Performances have taken him to major centers such as St. Petersburg, Russia; Edinburgh, Scotland; New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, Indianapolis, Des Moines, Sioux Falls, Lincoln, University of Wisconsin, Grand Rapids, Denver, Charlottetown, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Brandon, Regina, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Penticton, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Recent presentations at international conferences include the Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities (HICAH), the International Journal of Arts & Sciences Conference (IJAS) in Barcelona, Spain and in 2016, the IJAS Conference in Venice, Italy. His piano students have gone on to graduate studies at various prestigious institutions such as: Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Eastman School of Music, Westminster Choir College, McGill University, University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa.

CASSA Nourishes Inspiration and Connection for Life-long Learning

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"Cassa provides a supportive and inspirational network of friends and teachers who share a love for the arts. The number of people I've managed to connect with through this network over the years has benefitted me both in terms of my musical career and my own emotional well-being."

Cassa’s Non-competitive Environment Encourages Artistry

An important aspect of the Cassa experience is the non-competitive nature of the programs. This is something that can be hard to come by, with so much of the musical world focused on high-profile competitions, festivals and examinations. From day one of each Cassa program, it is clearly established that everyone present has an important part to play in the final performance. The old saying that "there are no small roles" is particularly important and everyone is encouraged to perform to the best of their ability. In short, every person there, no matter his or her age or experience, is treated like an artist.

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Cassa Provides a Worthwhile Sense of Accomplishment

"Every Cassa student goes on stage feeling they have accomplished something truly wonderful. This organization represents true dedication to the arts as well as the people in them, and I can't thank them enough for their support and inspiration over the years. Here's to another magical year, and may there be many more!"

Our Participants (and their parents) Love the Cassa Piano Experience

  • So much wonderful, open, inviting, collegial energy and atmosphere. Instruction is top notch.”
  • My son enjoyed it so much. He was inspired by the instruction he received and the musical experiences he had.  I particularly appreciated the extended curriculum of art, composition, and song-writing.”
  •  "I had an incredible time at piano camp.”
  • Jack had a ***fabulous*** time at Cassa Piano!! He is all excited about learning a lot of repertoire and learning theory.  He really “found his tribe” this week.”
  • “It was good to learn to trust your partner in the ensemble."
  • "It was interesting to get feedback from lots of different teachers and to hear all their comments.”
  • "The instructors/clinicians pushed me to improve and helped my music become alive.”
  • "I loved how it wasn’t stressful and it is very nice to be here.  I love all the nice instructors, they made my pieces even better.”
  • "I liked the fast intense workshops, and how there was visible improvement within days.  The clinicians and instructors gave feedback that was doable and improved the pieces greatly."


Piano Program Performances will be Thursday 7:00 pm and Friday 2:00 pm 

St. Vladimir's Cultural Centre

404 Meredith Road (Memorial Drive and Edmonton Trail)

Calgary, Alberta

To avoid distracting the performers, please do not use flash photography during the performance.

Special adventure: Explore Piano Improvisation

Jennifer Aumentado

The improvisation portion of Cassa Piano is a great way for Cassa students to explore another genre of piano playing. Improv Class is designed as a drop-in class—students come and go, but everyone is encouraged to participate. My goal is to explore the foundations of playing from a lead sheet and to explore the musical theories behind improvisation. We can have up to 10 students at a one time. To add to the excitement, all these students come into the class with varying degrees of musical knowledge—anywhere from Grade 3 to Grade 10 Royal Conservatory, to some jazz band performance, to some totally new at jazz.

Scholarships for Cassa Piano 

We recognise outstanding talent each year under three different awards:

Marissa Staddon Memorial Scholarship Fund

Marissa Staddon Memorial Scholarship Fund, through the Calgary Arts Summer School Association (Cassa), will award a $100 scholarship to the most outstanding Piano session student each year.

2019 Winner 

Riley Nho

Irina Ginzburg Memorial Fund

Irina Ginzburg was an enthusiastic supporter of Cassa's summer programs. She was first a volunteer at Cassa Piano, then joined the teaching staff and became an active member of the Cassa Board of Directors. In her honour, a scholarship will be awarded to the most improved Cassa Piano student(s) each year.

2019 Winner 

Samantha Popovitch

ARMTA Recognition Fund 

This award recognizes 3 exceptional Piano session students who, in the opinion of the instructors, show outstanding promise and dedication to success and currently study with an ARMTA member. The award consists of three $100 scholarships.

2019 Winners  

Mark Rico-Lam 
Ian Wong 
Chanan Nyo

Certificates Awarded at Cassa Piano

2019 Best Chopin/Own Choice Performance Certificates

Iva Amatya 
Joel Cook 
Kaenan Kuo 
Samantha Popovitch
Lisa Raleigh-Smith 
Mark Rico-Lam 
Kendra van Gaalen
Ian Wong, Riley Nyo 
Chanan Nyo

See the Donors and Sponsors Page for additional information on Scholarships and Bursaries 

Contact Cassa

Images courtesy of Josh Boak and Gus van Helden

Register early for your favourite program”*

Registered Charity 88490 6249 RR0001. Donations are always welcome. Contents, logo and images © Cassa 2019-2020 except where noted.