The 2023 Frances Clark Center Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients


The Frances Clark Center recognizes Michelle Conda and George Litterst as recipients of the 2023 Frances Clark Center Lifetime Achievement Award. Their extensive contributions to the field of piano pedagogy are extraordinary. Their influence and impact on the profession are demonstrated across the country and internationally, exemplifying outstanding dedication to the field of music and piano teaching. 

“We are honored to celebrate the outstanding contributions of both Michelle and George. In addition to their leadership in the profession, their dedicated service to The Frances Clark Center is long-standing and invaluable.” – Dr. Jennifer Snow, CEO and Executive Director of the Frances Clark Center

At NCKP 2023, join us for a Gala champagne reception and awards ceremony on Friday, July 28 from 6:00-8:30 PM to celebrate our 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Click here to reserve Gala tickets.

The Frances Clark Center Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor and is presented on behalf of the Frances Clark Center to individuals who have made substantial and enduring contributions to the field of piano pedagogy and to the work of the Center. It was previously named National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Michelle Conda is the Head of the Keyboard Division, Chair of Secondary Piano and Piano Pedagogy, and Professor of Piano at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). She received her PhD from the University of Oklahoma, where she studied piano with Dr. Jane Magrath and pedagogy with Dr. Jane Magrath and Dr. E. L. Lancaster.

Dr. Conda is a founding member of GP3; the National Group Piano/Piano Pedagogy Forum. She has written two books for group teaching: Sensible Keyboard Skills for the College-Age Musician and Playing Piano by Chords which is in its second edition.

Dr. Conda still performs with her husband, Bob Conda, and for the Cincinnati Community Orchestra, with her most recent performance being MacDowell’s Second Piano Concerto. She is active in MTNA and has done committee work and presentations for the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. Lately she has been researching issues of microaggression in the university community. 

“I am honored by being selected for this prestigious award. Thank you for this humbling recognition of my life as a pedagogue. I am so proud of the new pedagogues who are leading us into tomorrow. Because of them our field will survive. To quote myself from many years ago, we have a moral obligation to teach everyone. Music is not a disposable item. Music is always. And when you get discouraged, do what my son says– ‘smile and keep driving.’” –Michelle Conda

George Frederick Litterst is a well known music educator. A frequent clinician at national music educator conferences, he is an author, performer, and music software developer. A classically trained pianist, he presents multimedia performances on technology-equipped acoustic pianos. For many years, he was an associate editor for Clavier Companion and is currently co-author of the “Tech Connect” column for American Music Teacher. As a music software developer, he is co-author of the intelligent music display app SuperScore, the score-following app Home Concert Xtreme, the intelligent music blackboard Classroom Maestro, and the long distance teaching and performing app Internet MIDI—all published by TimeWarp Technologies.

“Early in my teaching career, I became acquainted with the work and philosophy of Frances Clark through the methods and workshops of her protégés. In 2001 and with great enthusiasm, I accepted the opportunity to contribute to her legacy and to the Frances Clark Center by serving as chair of the NCKP Technology Committee. To find myself now honored by this organization twenty-two years later is a humbling experience indeed!” –George Litterst

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