Ellen McQuilkin is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano (NCTM) with over 30 years experience as a studio teacher. She is a member of Oregon Music Teacher’s Association (OMTA) and a lifetime member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and is past president of OMTA Eugene District. She began her formal piano studies at the Instituto de Bellas Artes in Toluca, México, and later earned her B.A., magna cum laude in Piano Performance from California State University, Chico, under the guidance of Dr. Robert Bowman. At the University of Oregon, she earned a M.A. in Spanish while simultaneously pursuing graduate studies in the School of Music, where her principal teacher was Dr. Dean Kramer.
Active as a musician, writer and educator, Ellen enjoys performing at the Jazz Station in Eugene with the quartet, Lotus Jazz. At the OMTA state conference in 2006, she gave the premiere performance of Legacies: A Fantasy Suite on American Folk Songs by her husband, composer Terry McQuilkin, with duet partner Margaret Littlehales. She has also performed classical and jazz piano at the FOUR BY FOUR piano series in Portland, the University of Oregon Faculty Artist Series in Beall Hall, local coffee houses and the Eugene Symphony Guild Christmas Walk.
Many of Ellen’s students have completed Level X of the OMTA Syllabus program and a number of them have won honors and medals at State competitions including the Composition Festival, the Junior Bach Festival and the Sonatina Festival. Several of her advanced students have pursued careers in music after completing study at postsecondary institutions such as the California Institute of the Arts, University of Oregon, Portland State University, and Lawrence University.
Ellen’s experience and commitment is widely recognized by teachers in Oregon where she serves as an adjudicator for syllabus and other OMTA festivals. She is currently Sight-Reading Chair for the State Syllabus Program in addition to chairing the Beverly Soule Memorial Competition and the Composition Festival for Eugene District. To broaden her professional knowledge, Ellen regularly attends conferences and workshops on music pedagogy and performance. She has taken courses in the Suzuki method and Dalcroze Eurythmics, and has received training in techniques that promote healthy body movement in musicians, including the Alexander Technique and the Taubman approaches. She has reviewed new music for the professional journal, The California Music Teacher, and in 2011 revised the OMTA Jazz Syllabus with professor Toby Koenigsberg of the University of Oregon.
In addition to performing, teaching and writing, Ellen also works as a freelance translator (English/Spanish), primarily of literary works, arts related documents and educational materials. She has two adult children, Angela and Daniel, and currently resides in wooded southeast Eugene with her husband and her Steinway.