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Erin K. Bennett, Associate Professor, Piano/Pedagogy, Area Coordinator

Erin K. Bennett headshot Dr. Erin Bennett is Associate Professor of Piano and Pedagogy at the University of North Florida, where she teaches applied and class piano, piano accompanying, and coordinates the new degree program in Piano Pedagogy. During her summers she teaches piano and piano pedagogy at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan.

Prior to her appointment, Dr. Bennett served as the Interim Coordinator of Secondary Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she also taught piano through the University of Cincinnati's Communiversity program. She has maintained private piano studios in Florida, Ohio, and Texas, and served as an adjunct instructor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Dr. Bennett has presented at both the national conference of Music Teacher's National Association and the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum (GP3). Her research has been published in Clavier Companion and American Music Teacher.


As a performer, Dr. Bennett has appeared throughout the U.S. and in the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, and Spain. She has performed as a soloist with the University of Florida Symphony Orchestra and in collaboration with members of the Oregon Mozart Players. 2010-2011 engagements include chamber music performances at the Jacksonville MOCA and the Jacksonville Friday Musicale, a lecture-recital with the EMMA Concert Association, as well as solo recitals throughout Northeast Florida and Ohio and performances with her trio, Serafini Brillanti.


Dr. Bennett received degrees in piano performance from Rice University, the University of Florida, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she pursued dual cognates in music history and piano pedagogy. Her principal teachers have included Eugene and Elizabeth Pridonoff, Robert Roux, Michelle Conda, and Virginia Hawley Buhn.


Contact: (904) 620-3854 - - Dr. Bennett's Website

Christina Lai, Adjunct Professor, Piano

Christina Lai headshot

From Plantation, Florida, Christina Lai finds passion in all fields of music teaching and collaboration. Among several achievements, Christina debuted with the UNC Symphony Orchestra performing the Ravel Left Hand Piano Concerto. She has attended and performed at the Chautauqua Institution and at the Aspen Music Festival and School as a Thomas S. Kenan Fellow. She has won various prizes in various competitions including the Florida State University Chapman/Neeson Competition, National Association of Negro Musicians Piano Competition, Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Competition, Rosen-Schaffel Competition, and Young Artists Piano Competition of the North Carolina Music Teachers Association. Christina was one of nine national recipients of the Chopin Foundation of the United States' scholarship awards. Additionally, she has received guidance from artists such as Richard Goode, Nelita True, John Perry, Boris Slutsky, Natalya Antonova, Phillipe Entremont, Ian Hobson, Alexander Gavrylyuk, Winston Choi, and Daniel Shapiro.


Complementing to her musical ventures, Christina was an avid volunteer in the music therapy department of the North Carolina Memorial Hospital. She also enjoys teaching and has taught for Florida State University, University of North Florida, Good Sam Arts, Aspen Music Festival and School's Passes and Lessons Scholarship Program, and UNC's Musical Empowerment (a non-profit organization designed to provide free lessons to underprivileged children). Her students have received scholarships and have been accepted into collegiate-level piano programs.


Christina's chamber performances have reflected her support of works by female composers. Funded by UNC's Research Fellowship, she and violinist Ina Liu travelled to France to work with female composer Yuying Weng on a piece synthesizing Chinese and Western Classical music elements. As a part of Trio Azul, she engaged with the community through collaboration with the Leon County Library and Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Zwilich; working with Zwilich and performing her piano trio. As part of Eirene Duo, Christina presented a lecture on and performed Chen Yi's China West Suite at the University of Florida. With Trio Nobile, she was invited to participate in University of South Florida's Rutenberg Chamber Music Series and play in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, commissioning a work by Eunseon Yu and premiering a work by Lilya Ugay.


Christina was one of four chosen as a William R. Kenan Jr. Music Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a Bachelor's of Music and a Chemistry minor. She also received her Doctorate of Music in piano performance with a specialized study in piano pedagogy under the guidance of Professors Read Gainsford and Diana Dumlavwalla.


Contact: (904) 620-2961 -

Michael Mastronicola, Adjunct Professor, Piano

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Michael Mastronicola serves on the faculty of the University of North Florida where he teaches Piano Pedagogy, Collaborative Piano, Class and Applied Piano. He serves as Director of Music at All Saints Episcopal Church, where he organizes a yearly concert series and leads a vibrant music ministry for all ages.


Michael has distinguished himself as an artist and educator dedicated to musical outreach. He serves as chair of the annual Outstanding Young Pianists Competition at Friday Musicale and serves frequently as adjudicator at various music competitions and festivals. His pre-college students have won prizes in numerous music competitions, including, most recently, first-place in Orlando's Steinway Competition. He performs frequently as a solo and collaborative pianist, having performed in concerts throughout the United States and Europe.


At the University of North Florida, Michael oversees the Piano Pedagogy Teaching Practicum, which pairs elementary-age piano students from the community with piano pedagogy majors so they may gain valuable experience in a pre-professional setting. In 2018, he received the university's Outstanding Adjunct Teaching Award.


He holds degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder (D.M.A.), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.M.) and Ithaca College (B.M.). He is a colleague with the American Guild of Organists and a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. He has received additional training in the Taubman Approach at the Golandsky Institute in Princeton, NJ.


Contact: (904) 620-2961 -

Lynne Radcliffe, Adjunct Professor, Class Piano

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UNF Adjunct Professor, performer, and composer Lynne Radcliffe will begin her second year teaching Class Piano I and II. Lynne is Director of Music at St. Paul's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Jacksonville Beach as well as Program Coordinator and teacher at the First Coast Community Music School. She serves on the boards of the Beaches Fine Arts Series and BRASS, Beaches Residents Arising in Support of the Symphony. Having received a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Memphis State University and having done graduate work in Musicology at the University of Memphis recently, she was formerly a regular contributor to Encore!, the magazine of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, as well as a former host of WJCT Presents the JSO.


Contact: (904) 620-2961 -

Gary Smart, Professor, Piano/Composition/Improvisation

Gary Smart headshot

Dr. Gary Smart's career has encompassed a wide range of activities as composer, classical and jazz pianist, and teacher. Always a musician with varied interests, he may be the only pianist to have studied with Yale scholar/keyboardist Ralph Kirkpatrick, the great Cuban virtuoso Jorge Bolet, and the master jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. A true American pluralist, Dr. Smart composes and improvises a music that reflects an abiding interest in Americana, jazz, and world musics, as well as the Western classical tradition.


Dr. Smart's work has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Music Educator's National Conference, the Music Teacher's National Association, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Smart's music has been performed in major venues in the U.S., including the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, as well as venues in Europe and Asia. His "Concordia" for orchestra won the "Concordia Jazz Composition Award" and was premiered at Lincoln Center, New York.


Dr. Smart's "Song of the Holy Ground" for string quartet and piano won the "2008 John Donald Robb Musical Trust Composers' Competition" and was premiered at the 2009 Robb Composers' Symposium at the University of New Mexico. His compositions are published by Margun Music (G. Schirmer) and his work has been recorded on the Mastersound, Capstone and Albany labels. Several of his CDs have been released recently by Albany Records: "The Major's Letter," songs for voice and piano, "American Beauty - a ragtime bouquet," "Hot Sonatas," third stream duo sonatas, "Turtle Dreams of Flight," third stream piano music, and "Blossoms", a group of abstract, unedited solo piano improvisations which critics have praised as "truly a delightful concoction" and "protean music...utterly unique...defies categorization".


Dr. Smart has spent two residencies in Japan, teaching in programs at Osaka University and Kobe College. He has also taught in Indonesia as "Distinguished Lecturer in Jazz" under the auspices of the Fulbright program. From 1999-2003, he served as Chairman of the UNF Music Department (now the UNF School of Music).


Dr. Smart is currently a "Presidential Professor of Music at the University of North Florida.


Contact: (904) 620-3856 - Dr. Smart's Website