Valarie Alexandra Valois is a concert pianist, collaborative artist , and master teacher who has been involved in making music quite literally since she was four. Dr. Valois actually began teaching when she was seven, and has been working as a professional musician all of her life. She is also a liturgical musician, and enjoys conducting choirs, playing the organ, and arranging sacred music in all forms.
She was blessed with an extraordinary group of teachers and mentors, and her studies and performances have taken her all over Europe, The Orient, The Middle East, both North and South America, and Africa. Her students have won many international accolades, and have gone on to become major influences in the music world, as performers, composers, teachers and arrangers, and she presently has a full schedule in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.
She also has an extensive background in music therapy.
She is learning to play both the Celtic harp and the guitar, and enjoys gardening, cooking, dancing, reading, watching films – and just being alive, sharing life through music and friendship.
The Vienna Academy: Vienna, Austria Debuted the complete solo piano works of celebrated Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera for the ORF at the request of the composer, and in lieu of the normal diploma requirements. Extensive work in area churches as conductor, music director and organist. Frequently performed as soloist and collaborative artist, coach and conductor with singers and instrumentalists of the Viennese opera companies and symphony orchestras. Full scholarship student. Upon graduation, began immediate travel and employment as a concert and collaborative artist and master teacher. Teachers and Mentors: Alexander Jenner, Frieda Valenzi. Masters and PhD.
Southern Illinois University: Edwardsville, Illinois
Won the prestigious Naftzger Award, among many other first prizes, and was invited to SIU-Edwardsville under full scholarship. Frequent performances for the school as performing artist and recruitment for the university. Served as liturgist, conductor, arranger and organist/keyboardist in St. Louis area organizations. Mentors and Teachers: Renato Premezzi and Ruth Slenczynska. B.A. in Performing Arts – Dean’s College.
Boston University: Boston, Massachusetts. First woman in the school’s history to be named “Scholar in Music.” Founded the “Visiting Artists Series” for the International Club. Directed the “Boston Savoyards,” a semi-professional group drawn from students and professors from BU, MIT, BC and Harvard. Collaborative work and coaching with soloists and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and professional singers as well as students. Full scholarship. Teachers: Richard Corbett [collaborative piano] and Joseph Bloch [of the Juilliard School -- piano and keyboard repertoire.]
Further Advanced Studies: USA, Switzerland and Italy Chosen by the legendary Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli for piano, collaborative, choral and liturgical music studies from a field of more than 1500 applicants worldwide. Served as his interpreter and broke in his Hamburg Steinways for his tours worldwide. Full scholarship.
Special Advanced Training: Yamaha International Corp., USA and Japan
In charge of the unusually gifted students in the US who performed at the White House, the UN, and in concerts and on TV with major symphony orchestras.
Teachers & Mentors, continued:
Dr. E. Marie Burdette, Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas
(Prize pupil of organists and composers C. Widor, M. Dupre, and pianists and composers, I. Phillip, R. Ganz, and N. Boulanger)
Madame Angelica Morales von Sauer, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
(Wife of Emil von Sauer, prize pupil of F. Liszt. Private piano studies.)
Dr. Lawson Jones and Mary Chelf Jones, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas and Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, Michigan
(Studies in piano, voice, and collaborative musicianship.)
Hr. Prof. Paul Badura-Skoda and Hr. Prof. Jorge Demus (Studies in piano, piano and chamber music repertoire, and collaborative music) Vienna, Austria
1978-Present: Concert & Collaborative Pianist, Master Teacher, Mentor, and Arts AdvocateContinuous lifelong service as a concert and collaborative pianist, master teacher, mentor and arts advocate with educational, charitable and business organizations from the grassroots to every possible socio-economic levels.
1996-2000: Artist in Residence, Director of Liturgy, Music & Arts Outreach ~ St. Catharine College, Kentucky Assisted in organizing and founding: “The Mid-Kentucky Arts at St. Catharine’s,” “The Arts Consortium of the Bluegrass,” as well as ” The Community Chorus at St. Catharine’s.” Conducted the musical elements for the Kentucky Dominicans to celebrate their 175th year presence in the Commonwealth. Arranged for the appearance of stellar artists, received and nourished local talent, built a strong audience base and financial support for music and the arts in a region under-developed and under-funded before this time, as well as a highly successful series of galas and celebrations for the college. Taught courses in private piano, music history and collaborative piano. Assisted in developing this school into the fastest-growing college or university in the state. Served as Director of Music for several regional churches. Began recording for Eroica Records, which continues through today.
1985-1987:Artist in Residence ~ Baker University, Kansas
Generated extensive publicity, support, enrollment and funding for the university through a highly successful series of multi-media, educational, galas and charitable events. Recruited a stellar roster of new students from around the US and abroad. Developed, researched, produced, promoted and performed as soloist and presenter for “Piano Time,” a series of media presentations promoting classical music. Invited by Martin Bookspan of VOX/Moss Music to record the complete solo piano works of American composers Charles T. Griffes and Ernest Bloch. . Taught courses in private piano and keyboard repertoire, music history and music pedagogy. Generated significant new funding for the arts at Baker University, while bringing the Keyboard Department to an unprecedented level of recognition and quality in that region through frequent performances with students, other faculty members, and as soloist.
1978-1985: Special US Projects Coordinator ~ Yamaha International Corporation USA, Buena Park, California and Japan
Represented Yamaha International Corporation as an Artist Teacher. In charge of special projects, directed and developed all phases of the educational curriculum for extraordinarily gifted students in the United States. Responsible for preparation of students’ own compositions and traditional performances nationally and internationally on public television and radio, at the White House, with the UN, and as they also appeared abroad in solo recitals and in concerts with symphony orchestras, with various media, and in professional recordings. Assisted in the development of the Yamaha “Clavinova.”
1975-1979: Cultural Diplomat and Artist Teacher for the Partners of the Americas and the U.S. Department of State~ South America & the Middle East
Inaugurated a “Guild for the Arts,” the first of its kind to create dialogue between two previously warring factions polarized for decades. Performed frequently and spoke regularly with international press and media. Developed and implemented several new concert venues for performing artists and presenters from Western and Eastern cultures, generously funded and supported by the Iranian UN Ambassador and OPEC founder, Dr. Fuad Rouhani. Performers and music-lovers from Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia were flown in for performances and concerts throughout the region.
Ongoing professional activities and current projects:
Serving as church musician for St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church, Matthews; teaching and mentoring keyboard and voice students throughout the region; performing as soloist and collaborative artist in the area and overseas; pianist and soloist for the Ballantyne Chamber Orchestra; music director for “The Wizard of Oz,“ staged by The Children’s Theater of Charlotte; recording a new series called “Music For Awakening, Comfort and Healing“; studying music thanatology; learning to play the Celtic harp; gardening , and simply enjoying life.