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Music gives a Soul to the universe,
Wings to the mind, Flight to the imagination, and
Life to everything!” ~ Plato ~

DOMNA CANDIDO, a pianist and teacher with over 20 years experience teaching students of all ages and levels, children to adults and beginners to advanced, has received critical acclaim in the press as “…quite extraordinary…” and as a pianist possessing “…superior digital prowess…” (Peter G. Davis, New York Times) and “considerable technique…”, and whose performances impressed as an “…enlivening experience at its best …” (John Rockwell, New York Times) and “…breathtaking…”, with musicality that “…turned the piano into an instrument of poetry…”. (Sunday Chronicle-Herald, Augusta, Ga.). As a musician, Domna’s unique focus and artistry was summed up by Edward Rothstein of the New York Times when he wrote: “Love of the piano and its music would seem a prerequisite for anyone taking up the instrument, but there are few pianists in whose playing that care can be heard. Domna Candido is one of their number.”

Domna began piano lessons when she was 4 years old. Since appearing as soloist in performances with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra at age 7 playing a Mozart concerto as winner of its Young People’s Concert Competition, she has won first place prizes in many competitions and other awards, including the Artists International Competition, N.Y. Chopin Foundation Competition, Augusta Symphony William S. Boyd Piano Competition, Musical Showcase Competition, University of Connecticut Concerto Competition, William Inglis Morse Trust for Music Award, Victor Borge Scholarship, and was sponsored by the Institute of International Education as an American representative to the Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano, Italy. She has performed in the United States and abroad in prestigious venues, including her New York City Debut at Carnegie Recital Hall and other recitals at Carnegie Recital Hall (Weill Recital Hall), Merkin Concert Hall, Juilliard’s Paul Hall at Lincoln Center, and Steinway Hall, and has been a featured artist on WQXR Radio, the Beethoven Festival, and as a soloist with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra and the Miami Symphony Musical Showcase Orchestra, and in instrumental chamber music and as vocal accompanist.

Domna received her Master of Music degree and Professional Studies in Piano Performance from The Juilliard School where she studied piano with Rudolf Firkusny, chamber music with Paul Doktor and piano pedagogy with Jane Carlson. She studied piano privately with Nina Svetlanova and Jeaneane Dowis, completed her Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude with Honors, at the University of Connecticut where she studied with Louis Crowder, and studied pre-college with Donald Currier at the Yale University School of Music. Domna was chosen by Andre Watts to participate as a member of his Master Class at the Tanglewood Berkshire Music Festival, and studied with Alexander Fiorello at the Temple University Summer Festival, where she also attended master classes of Adele Marcus and Leon Fleisher. In addition, she studied organ with Leonard Raver at The Juilliard School and with Virginia Herrmann at UConn, and has been organist and music director at several churches in the past in New York and Connecticut working with both children’s and adult’s choirs. Domna also holds a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar and received the Carroll G. Harper prize in intellectual property, has practiced intellectual property (trademark and copyright) law, including in the entertainment and sports fields, since 1990, and during that time achieved the honor of being named one of the top women attorneys in the field of intellectual property. This background also gives Domna a broader perspective when working with students with multiple interests and/or career paths.

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

Domna has taught piano students of all ages and levels for over 20 years and is a member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). Over the years, she has worked with students who have gone on to colleges, universities and music schools, others majoring in music, and those who turned back to their piano studies after or while pursuing other careers. Her teaching philosophy is that the enjoyment of the music and the process of learning should always be kept in mind, and that the elusive concept of “talent” has much to do with combining proper training and approach to the instrument, technique and physiological mechanics with the tenacity to persevere and strive for excellence. Working on the premise that students enjoy those things they believe they are good at and that give them personal satisfaction, her goal is to provide students instruction of the highest quality and excellence to establish a solid musical foundation and pianistic skills appropriate to their level, including those skills that make it easier to learn new pieces of music, such as sight reading and ear training, with a variety of repertory and musical styles to enable and inspire them to experience their world and express their individuality and imagination through the piano and the language of music. As with any language, since the embodiment of music is not just black and white, her focus of instruction extends beyond the notes on the page and the piano keyboard, encompassing a full understanding of the theory, compositional style of various periods and genres and history, and engaging in collaborative or ensemble playing, that allows the students to develop into well-rounded musicians.

Whether the students identify their goals as personal enrichment or even as a possible future career, the more immediate joy and satisfaction of cultivating musical abilities and being able to express themselves through music is immeasurable. It has also been documented that so, too, are the long term rewards and benefits of utilizing the valuable skills acquired in the course of music lessons, such as creativity, problem solving, listening skills, collaboration, focus, self-discipline, perseverance to stick to a task and accomplish it, identifying patterns and relationships between like and disparate elements, weaving ideas into cohesive solutions and developing confidence – as the training for all of these not only helps to produce excellent music and musicians, but also applies to success and satisfaction in many other aspects of students’ lives. See Royal Conservatory, "Benefits of Music Education Survey" ; NY Times, "Is Music The Key To Success?"

Based on her training and background, Domna’s teaching approach is individualistic, with various methods used to tailor the instruction to the particular student’s needs, abilities and objectives (including following the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program where appropriate for the student). The shared dedication of a mentoring teacher-student relationship providing specific guidance for practice and performance, and parental support and participation in the learning process, help to foster the ongoing motivation necessary to allow the student to experience a sense of accomplishment in achieving one’s best. Performance opportunities include scheduled master classes and recitals at her Studio and in venues such as Steinway Hall, and participation in competitions, as appropriate.


  • Dedicated students of all ages and levels
  • College students and advanced adults
  • Professional pianists
  • Gifted children beginning as young as 4 (children starting one-on-one lessons at this age should have the requisite attention span and knowledge of numbers and the alphabet. Having started at this age herself, Domna understands the unique learning needs, invaluable benefits and sensitivities of providing early instruction to children displaying interest.)
  • Preparation for auditions, including university and conservatory admissions
  • Also, coaching for collaborative piano - four-hand (duo), chamber music and vocal accompaniment

Focus of Instruction

  • Development of an injury-avoidance technique – with the goal of playing without pain or tightness and enabling a high level of facility.
  • Developing a full range of pianistic skills and tone production, in order to be able to draw from the instrument a broad palette of colors and textures.
  • Nuanced pedaling technique and appropriate fingerings to facilitate execution.
  • Ear training, theory, sight reading, transposing, improvising – all needed to better understand and communicate what we are playing and facilitate learning new pieces and memorization. Digital technology is utilized in the learning of these skills to enhance comprehension, interactivity and to support self-paced progress.
  • Broad range of repertory building on skill sets and exposure to a variety of periods, styles and genres.
  • Musicianship – stylistic interpretation with different periods of music, rhythmic precision, and artistry.
  • Memorization skills – solidifying confidence and performance.
  • Optimization of performance techniques (based on sports psychology principles) – skills of centering and focus in pressure situations and techniques to address nervousness to better allow students to share their best music with others … and enjoy doing so!
  • Practice skills – since results are greatly based on the quality of our efforts, and that a student’s practice time is the most critical element in his or her progress and accomplishment of goals - and ultimate enjoyment of music, students are trained in proactive practice techniques to know how to work independently, creatively and effectively to achieve their desired results and be able to apply those skills to learning music they wish to play.

General Lesson Information

Lessons are in 45 min., 1 hour or longer blocks depending on the student’s age, level of ability, commitment and objectives, and are usually scheduled once a week, but more frequent lessons can be accommodated based on preference. The suggested duration and frequency can best be determined at the initial interview evaluation and introductory lesson and may be adjusted over time as the student advances. Tuition is by the semester or year (monthly installments can be set up). Lessons are given in Domna’s Croton-on-Hudson Studio. For situations involving unavailability due to travel and other circumstances that may come up, certain lessons may be able to be conducted via Skype or Face Time, by mutual agreement. Tuition rates and other Studio policies and guidelines are available upon request.

Now accepting new students!

For more information or to inquire about scheduling an interview for evaluation and introductory lesson, please email candidopiano@aol.com or call 914.589.0923.

“Where words leave off, Music begins.” Heinrich Heine

Studio Location
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
(914) 589-0923