Melanie L. Brsan Villasenor is a professional pianist with a BM in Piano Performance from Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU). She began studying Suzuki piano at the age of 8. Some of her teachers and coaches have included Linda Poquette, Dr. James Breckenridge, Marilyn Taggart, Dr. Bruce Berr, Melody Lord, and most recently Winston Choi. Melanie has received honors and awards in solo and concerto competitions and for performances in both classical and jazz piano.
Mrs. Brsan Villasenor enjoys performing throughout the Chicago area. Her broad range of experience includes performances at retirement homes, churches, weddings, parties, and corporate functions. Some of her venues have included Rialto Square Theatre, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and Carnegie Hall. Along with performing solo concerts, she has enjoyed collaborative work with chamber ensembles, solo instrumentalists, opera singers, Ballet Chicago and the Dupage Opera Theatre.
Melanie is also involved in her local and surrounding community, working as staff accompanist in the Joliet West High School Music department and principal accompanist for the Naperville Men’s Glee Club who has toured to Boston and Washington D.C and most recently performing at Carnegie Hall. She was the original accompanist for the Rialto Children’s Choir and has also been pianist at churches in the Joliet area, including St. Paul the Apostle, St. Joseph, St. Ambrose, St. Patrick, and Cathedral of St. Raymond. She has played for over 20 musicals, including Fiddler on the Roof, Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Light in the Piazza, Addams Family, My Fair Lady, Crazy for You, Little Shop of Horrors, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. She has also played for many operettas and opera scenes, including Pirates of Penzance, Hansel and Gretel, Romeo and Juliet, La Boheme, Tosca, Dido and Aenias, Mikado, Carmen, Barber of Seville, Don Giovanni, Marriage of Figaro, Magic Flute, Dialogue of the Carmelites, Rusalka, Die Fledermaus, and Macbeth, to name a few.
Brsan Piano Studio began in June 2001. She has about 20 piano students from the Joliet and surrounding area who study traditional and Suzuki methods. She has extensive training under Marilyn Taggart, who is an advocate of the Taubman Method, which emphasizes effortless playing unburdened by physical limitations. Her students have participated in Guild auditions, solo and concerto competitions, recitals, and play at retirement homes, churches, and various venues throughout the surrounding community. They have received honors in competitions and many have also pursued careers in music.
Melanie continues her post-graduate education by attending pedagogy conferences and workshops throughout the country each year. She was on faculty of the Kankakee Valley Piano and Chamber Camp for over 20 years as well as having leadership roles in the bi-annual piano ensemble performance and workshop, Monster Concert at Olivet University. Professional memberships include the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), the Illinois State Music Teachers Association (ISMTA), and the Suburban Area Music Teachers Association (SAMTA). In 2003, Melanie was chosen as a finalist for the MTNA Studio Fellowship Award for best new teacher in the United States.
When she's not making or teaching music, Melanie enjoys traveling, exploring cuisine, watching live music, and spending time with family.