Howard University Library

The History Makers

Good teaching is as much an art as good performance. It opens the doors to learning and raises the windows to expanded musical understanding. To Dr. Raymond Jackson, teaching is revealing as one methodically and efficiently works for mastery over every aspect of performance. This is the philosophy which Dr. Jackson continues to embrace after years of successful teaching.

Having earned multiple music degrees in Piano Performance, including a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from The Juilliard School, his natural musical instincts, discerning musical ear, and intuitive, detailed pedagogical observations underscore his ability to teach, effectively solve problems, and inspire his students to perform with security and insight.

As a student at The Juilliard School in New York City Dr. Jackson received many years of advanced study with 3 of the world’s most celebrated pedagogues and concert pianists–great artists whose musical lineages scroll back to the greatest musical icons of all time.

Beveridge Webster was a master of the French school of pianism. He was honed by the great French pedagogue, Isidor Philipp–a technical disciplinarian whose musical line dated back to Frederic Chopin. With the influence of Webster as a sterling interpreter of French music, Jackson’s mastery of nuances expanded his palette of musical colors that characterize so much of his playing. Webster also studied extensively with the renowned German pianist and Beethoven scholar, Arthur Schnabel, whose musical lineage reached back through Leschetizky and Czerny to the inspiration of the master himself–Ludwig van Beethoven.

Sascha Gorodnitzki an exponent of the Russian piano tradition, was also a musical descendent of Beethoven. A pianist in the grand Romantic tradition, Gorodnitzki developed a brilliant brand of pianism that stemmed from the discipline of his compatriots to the scholarship and pianism of Edwin Hughes, the keyboard elegance and beauty of Rafael Joseffy and Theodore Leschetizsky, and the virtuosity and dynamism of Carl Czerny and Beethoven.

Ania Dorfmann Ania Dorfmann, the first woman soloist to perform under the baton of Toscanini, like Webster, was a product and descendant of the musical line that embodied the soul and fire of the great pianists and pedagogues of Russia and France. Reaching back through the master French technician, Isador Philipp, her lineage also touched the “Poet of the Piano”–Frederic Chopin.


Raymond Jackson Raymond Jackson began his professional teaching at the age of 16 in his home studio in Providence, RI. After moving to New York City he became a full-time Professor at Concordia College (Bronxville, NY), part-time Piano Instructor in the Preparatory Department of The Mannes School of Music, and summer instructor at the University of Rhode Island. In Washington, DC he was an Adjunct Professor at the Catholic University of America. In 1977, following 2 highly acclaimed piano recitals at The National Gallery of Art, he was offered a full-time position in the Department of Music at Howard University.

Presently a senior member of the Piano Faculty he is constantly in demand for his effective and inspiring teaching, his ability to develop musicianship, solve technical problems, improve sight-reading skills and prepare students as secure performers on the recital and concert stage. Following their graduation, many students return to his university or home studio to prepare for concerts, to advance their keyboard skills or to seek advice and guidance in the professional world. At the same time Dr. Jackson continues to offer his considerable skills as a coach and accompanist, in addition to travelling for his own performances as a recitalist, lecture recitalist and concerto soloist.

As an administrator Dr. Jackson served as Department of Music Chair for 3 years. His tireless energies and creative program-building brought added prestige and visibility to the Department, as well as an increase in Piano Performance Majors. For the University and the community-at-large he initiated the popular Sundays at Howard Concert Series. Held in the Andrew Rankin Chapel before capacity audiences, this series included the late legendary Metropolitan Opera tenor, Robert McFerrin, whose memorable recital in 1987, accompanied by Dr. Jackson, commemorated the 100th birthday of the magnificent tenor, Roland Hayes. Concurrently, he spearheaded the Howard University Founders Library exhibit that highlighted Hayes’ extraordinary career. (An archival recording of Negro Spirituals composed and arranged by Hall Johnson was made by McFerrin and Jackson at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.)

Celebrating other great historical music figures, Dr. Jackson engaged former Metropolitan Opera star and Howard University Voice Faculty Soprano, Mattiwilda Dobbs whose recital honored legendary contralto Marian Anderson. Other highlights included a concert by the Piano Faculty which celebrated composer Robert Nathaniel Dett and Hazel Harrison, the greatest of all African-American female concert pianists and former member of the Howard University Music Faculty.

Dr. Jackson is presently Coordinator of the weekly Thursday Student Recital Series and popular Wednesdays at Noon Fine Arts Series which he also inaugurated.



Dr. Jackson’s dynamic pianism and comfortable manner with others have guided numerous students who have taken advantage of his invaluable and far-reaching experiences as a teacher and performer. In his private studio he takes pride in bringing the joy of music to his students while successfully developing burgeoning talents and more seasoned pianists. Understanding the physics of piano performance and the interplay between mind, body and instrument, he quickly and easily brings solutions to inherent problems. As a result many have been competition winners, passed rigorous entrance auditions or found satisfaction in the freedom and confidence that supported performances in a variety of venues.



Recognized and respected as an outstanding performer and educator, Dr. Raymond Jackson has earned far-reaching respect of professional and amateur pianists and music enthusiasts. As an experienced adjudicator he is acknowledged as one who knows his craft, has an extensive knowledge of the piano repertory and totally understands the fine, meticulous art of performing. Highly respected for his fair evaluations and commentaries, his objectives have always been to offer thoughtful, comprehensive evaluations that hopefully might enlighten while at the same time offer encouragement and recognition for merited achievement.

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