May 9th - 14th, 2021

Dr. Nancy O' Neill Breth - piano

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Nancy O’Neill Breth grew up in Spokane where she studied with Laura Luke and Margaret Saunders Ott. During her high school years she was an enthusiastic participant in the Spokane Music Festival. Because of her experience playing for the Festival adjudicator Bela B. Nagy, she subsequently enrolled in his studio at Indiana University, where she completed her Bachelor of Music in Piano. Other major teachers included Gyorgy Sebok and Carroll Chilton in piano and Joseph Gingold, Janos Starker, and Rudolf Kolisch in chamber music. Breth holds performance degrees from Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin.
Breth now teaches piano in the Washington, DC area. She served on the faculty of Washington’s Levine School of Music for 25 years, teaching piano, pedagogy, and chamber music, while maintaining a performance career in chamber music. For much of that time she directed Levine’s chamber music program.
In Washington, and while living in the Philippines, Mexico and New York City, she organized and performed in chamber music ensembles to critical acclaim. In summers she serves on the faculty of the Kinhaven adult four-hand workshop in Vermont.
Three Breth piano duet teams have won MTNA’s nation-wide Senior Piano Duet competition. One pianist and three chamber groups from the Breth studio were featured on National Public Radio’s “From the Top,” and several of the chamber groups she coached reached the finals of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.
Breth’s most recent book is Practicing the Piano: How Students, Parents, and Teachers Can Make Practicing More Effective. Other publications include The Piano Student's Guide to Effective Practicing, Parent’s Guide to Effective Practicing, and the elementary piano trio Six Songs from John Gay’s the Beggars Opera. All are published by Hal Leonard Corporation. She has contributed articles to American Music Teacher, Keyboard Companion and Clavier Magazine.
Breth has given two presentations at MTNA national conferences, and has judged the national finals of MTNA’s Senior Piano Duet. She has been guest clinician at New England Piano Teachers Association, Chicago Piano Teachers Association, the state conferences of Montana, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Oregon, and at numerous local and regional teacher organizations. In 2014 she was one of three US piano teachers honored by Florida State University's School of Music in their Pre-College Piano Symposium, where she was invited speak to the piano and pedagogy faculty members and students about her career teaching pre-college piano students.
Virginia State Music Teachers Organizations has nominated Breth for MTNA Teacher of the Year Award in 2015.

Important News!

Registration for Musicfest Northwest 2021 will open January 1st, 2021. Online registration deadline is March 5th, 2021

Online Registration


The complete syllabus is now available for all categories.

New Educational Programs!


This year's festival takes place May 9th - 14th, 2021

Young Artist Concert: Wednesday May 12th, 2021 at 7:30pm

Festival Highlights Concert: Friday May 14th, 2021 at 7:30pm

Both concerts take place at the Martin Woldson theatre at the FOX and are FREE and open to the public! Come and support the next generation of artists!

Location Information

All division adjudications take place on the beautiful campus of Gonzaga University.

Organ division takes place at St. John's Cathedral - 127 E. 12th Avenue


As we celebrate our 75th Diamond Anniversary in 2021 we are aiming to make it the best festival yet! We are always in need of sponsors, donors and volunteers. If you have any skills or ideas you would like to present to us please feel free to get in touch!

In the meantime, your donation to the Festival helps immensely in keeping future editions of this wonderful even alive and because as a non-profit organization, we rely on the generous support of our members.

Please send checks/cash to our Festival Office.

To Donate Online


Musicfest Northwest
1305 N Napa
Spokane, WA 99202
Tel: +1 509-327-3455


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Please see Rules & Regulations for more information on COVID-19 and how we are dealing with this issue.