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Biography

Internationally acclaimed American pianist Althea Waites has concertized extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as a brilliant soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative artist. In addition to performances on concert stages around the world, she has also participated in numerous festivals as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and ensemble coach, including Aspen, Tanglewood, the Yale Summer Festival, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Idyllwild Arts Festival in Southern California and as guest artist for the National Arts Festival at Grahamstown on the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Praised by the Los Angeles Times for “superb technique and profound musicality,” Ms. Waites has a long and distinguished history of championing new music by American composers and has received several honors and commendations for her work. She has also been guest soloist for National Public Radio’s Performance Today, KQED in San Francisco, KCET in Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Geneva Conservatory of Music in Switzerland, Wigmore Hall in London, Merkin Hall in New York City, concerts for the UC/ San Diego World Music program in Indonesia, Phillips Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to name a few.

Her recording credits include Black Diamonds, a landmark CD of music by African-American composers, Along the Western Shore and Celebration, a 2012 recording featuring new music by American composers.

Ms. Waites holds degrees from Xavier University of Louisiana and the Master of Music degree in Piano from the Yale School of Music where she studied with Donald Currier. Previous teachers and mentors include Alice Shapiro, a protégé of Rosina Lhevinne, Russell Sherman and Sister Mary Elise Sisson.

In addition to maintaining her concert schedule, Ms. Waites is currently on the keyboard faculty for the Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University/Long Beach, and is in demand for recitals, residencies, and masterclasses at colleges and arts institutions throughout the United States. She also collaborates with pianist Mark Uranker as the Orpheus Duo in performances of music from the traditional repertoire as well as new music for two pianos.

Her commitment to community service is evident through her work with many outreach programs in retirement homes, hospitals, prisons, and art institutions including the Los Angeles County Music Education program and Chamber Music in Historic Sites.

Althea Waites is a Yamaha artist and a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. Her recordings are now incorporated on her new label, Kuumba Music.

Awards and Honors

2020: Pioneer Award for outstanding service as a concert artist and teacher of music; presented by the Black Faculty Association of California State University/ San Bernardino

2017: Ovation Award presented by the Standard Bank of South Africa for excellence in performing four recitals of music by American composers. Standard Bank is the major sponsoring organization for the National Arts Festival which is presented in June and July at Grahamstown on the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

1993: Brody Arts Fellowship, California Community Foundation/ Los Angeles

1991: National Association of Composers/ USA

1990: Min-On Cultural Award, Soka Gakkai International Society

1988: Los Angeles Sentinel Woman of the Year

1987: Brody Arts Fellowship, California Community Foundation/ Los Angeles

1986: League of Allied Arts Fellowship, International Congress of Women in Music

1977: National Organization for Women

Performance Highlights

Artes De Mexico Festival, Los Angeles
Tours of Denmark and Japan (recitals in Farum, Copenhagen, Tokyo, and Osaka)
Tour of Russia (recitals in Moscow, Minsk, Kiev, and St. Petersburg)
Tour of Germany (recitals in Bremen, Heidelberg, and Frankfurt)
Loyola Marymount University,
Los Angeles Bing Theater, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Phillips Gallery , Washington, D.C.
Merkin Hall, New York City (solo recital debut)
University of Michigan
Damrosch Park, Donnell Library, Brooklyn Museum; New York
University of Southern California
California State University/Long Beach

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