Lanners earns 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award

Thu, February 06, 2014

The Oklahoma Music Teachers Association has chosen Dr. Thomas Lanners with Oklahoma State University as the recipient of its 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award. Lanners, professor of piano and keyboard area coordinator, is the first faculty member at OSU to earn the distinction, and at the age of 48, is the award’s youngest honoree to date.

The OMTA has over 400 members, including instrumental and vocal teachers in Oklahoma. Its parent organization, the Music Teachers National Association, has nearly 22,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. 

“I'm flattered and truly honored to receive this award, which is really a testament to the dedication and hard work of the long list of talented piano students I've had the pleasure of teaching at OSU since my wife Heather and I arrived here in 1995,” said Lanners. “Many of them have gone on to graduate study at some of the finer music schools and conservatories in the nation, and are now making an impact in the music profession in diverse and meaningful ways. I'm proud to say that they've shed a great deal of positive light on OSU's music program over the past two decades, and helped extend its reputation far and wide.”

Recently, Lanners was proud to learn that one of his students, 10-year-old Kayla Cao of Tulsa, has been invited to audition live for the prestigious Juilliard School’s Pre-College division after having successfully passed through a highly competitive pre-screening process. Only a handful of students are ever invited to audition live, explained Lanners, who notes that one of his former students served for several years as an opera coach at Juilliard. His students have also won several honors at competitions, including six first place winners and numerous runners-up in state competitions since 2003.  Lanners fielded a national finalist in String Chamber Music in the 2013 MTNA competition as well as MTNA senior winners in 2010 and 2009. 

Lanners has appeared as a solo and collaborative pianist and clinician throughout the U.S. and abroad, presenting his New York solo debut in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2004. His performances have been broadcast nationally and internationally on programs such as National Public Radio’s Performance Today and RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Miscellany in Ireland, among many others.

Lanners’ latest recording, “Ned Rorem: Piano Works, Volume 2,” was released worldwide by Centaur Records in 2009 and was released for digital download in 2010. The disc has received much critical praise in national publications, as have his previous CDs, “Ned Rorem: The Three Piano Sonatas,” and “Touches of Bernstein: The Complete Published Piano Music of Leonard Bernstein.” Lanners was awarded a grant in 2010, through the Centaur label, from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording to record works of Pulitzer winner Ross Lee Finney, having also received a Copland grant for his first Rorem CD. A 2010 Fanfare magazine article titled “Pianist Thomas Lanners: Spreading the Good Word,” explained Lanners’ extensive work to champion American piano music.

As a dedicated teacher, Lanners gave master classes on the NYU Steinhardt School’s “Piano Artist Master Class Series” in 2012-13, and at the Universities of Miami, Texas-Austin, and Zacatecas, Mexico. He also served as a distinguished guest artist at the Lee University International Piano Festival and Competition in Tennessee. He served a one-week teaching residency at the world-renowned Eastman School of Music (where he received his master’s and doctoral degrees) in  2008, and presented sessions at the 2009, 2005 and 2001 Music Teachers National Association conferences. Lanners is an active writer on musical topics with several published feature articles in American Music Teacher magazine. He has also authored articles for Clavier magazine and the piano pedagogy newsletter Soundpoint (2013 and 2011 issues).