Meet Dr. Alissa Freeman
With a unique profile in education, performance, and entrepreneurship, Alissa Freeman is a passionate musician who is always working on a new project. Her accomplishments in performance, pedagogy, and research have been vast and varied as the recipient of both the undergraduate and graduate Presser awards, numerous full-tuition academic and music scholarships, winner of two university concerto competitions, and performances and presentations both nationally and internationally.
As a performer, Alissa invites audiences to have new experiences in classical music by incorporating and contextualizing diverse programming. She recently prepared a series entitled Passports: Piano Music from Across the Continents to be presented at elementary schools, senior living centers, and other community centers in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Believing in the importance of contextualizing historical music for audiences, she also recently prepared Clara Schumann and the Evolution of the Piano Recital after researching the topic in Zwickau, Germany. Though she is dedicated to finding works outside of the canon, she also enjoys tackling complex standards: she recently performed the entire set of Chopin’s Op. 25 etudes and was the soloist for performances of Rachmaninov’s 2nd and Prokofiev’s 2nd piano concertos.
Both in her personal and professional life, one of Alissa’s greatest goals is to build more inclusive environments by understanding barriers to inclusivity and finding creative ways to remove them. Her most recent project, ||:HerClassical:|| seeks to promote music written by 18th-century women composers by compiling and producing recordings, editions, and teaching resources. Very few pieces by women composers from this era are included in modern pedagogical compilations, though these pieces are wonderful additions to the student repertoire. By highlighting these pieces and creating new, more accessible editions, ||:HerClassical:|| opens the doors for pianists and teachers to explore this music. A committed ally dedicated to supporting marginalized people, Alissa also worked as a Program Assistant for the University of Michigan School of Music’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) department.
Alissa is a firm believer that music can shape and change communities, each with their own unique needs and solutions. As one of the principal instructors for Time for Me: Group Piano for Adult Beginners, a community program in the Ann Arbor area, she helped students find confidence, community, and fulfillment through a group piano course. She also directed the creation of the 5pm Series, a concert series that aimed to provide financial support to musicians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization hosted over 130 online concerts across the world and raised thousands of dollars for artist relief and charities.
Alissa has presented research at national and international conferences. Many of her research interests are related to issues of inclusion in piano pedagogy, particularly teaching the music of classical- and romantic-era female composers. She is also interested in wellness in music, and group piano learning.
University of Michigan
The time I spent completing my Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy allowed me to immerse myself in complex music and ideas about music. The dissertation I wrote was titled "A New Liberation: Reviving the Works of 18th-Century Women Composers." This was groundbreaking research, an important aspect of which was the ||:HerClassical:|| project.
University of Michigan
The Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy was my dream program! I was so thrilled to be able to fully devote myself not only to deep learning about piano playing with my amazing instructor, Logan Skelton, but also to my teaching of a variety of students in classes and private lessons.
Brigham Young University
During my Bachelor's of Musical Arts degree, I did everything! I accompanied choirs, opera rehearsals, and musicals, worked with composers of new music (my favorite was accompanying a musical saw), placed in competitions, and played concerti with all three of the university orchestras. My professors gave me strong foundations in music theory and history, for which I am very grateful.