Graduate Teaching Assistants
William J. Kazyak is a second-year master’s student in piano pedagogy. He obtained his Bachelor of Music in piano performance (Summa cum laude) in 2015 from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. At A-State, he was a student in the Honors College and, for his junior and senior years, a cadet in the US Army ROTC program. He was a 2013 recipient of the “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges,” and a recipient of one of A-State’s seven Distinguished Service Awards in 2015.
Kazyak is a native of Baltimore, MD, but now calls Manila, AR his hometown. He first studied piano during a summer with his grandfather, a church organist in West Virginia. In his last two years before college, Kazyak studied with A-State Professor Emeritus Dr. J. D. Kelly, and under Kelly’s tutelage, Kazyak participated in several competitions. He won the 2009 and 2010 Arkansas State Music Teachers’ Association Regional Festivals at levels 6 and 9, respectively, and received Honorable Mentions at the State Festivals both years. As a participant in the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Arkansas State University Summer Piano Festivals, he won awards for Theory all three years and for Music History in 2010. In 2011, he took second place in the Summer Piano Festival’s J. D. Kelly Solo Piano Competition. He has taught piano since December of 2010 as a private piano teacher, and taken courses in piano pedagogy from Dr. Lauren Schack Clark at Arkansas State University and Professor Emeritus Fay Adams at the University of Tennessee. Additionally, he studied Class Piano Pedagogy with Dr. Eunsuk Jung at the University of Tennessee, and has taught Class Piano every semester since his arrival at UT.
Mr. Kazyak enjoys studying history on the side, in particular WWII history. He has a fascination for aviation, and is considering pursuing a military aviation career as an officer in the United States Marine Corps after completing his master’s degree. Since entering the ROTC program at A-State, Kazyak has also developed a commitment to maintaining physical fitness, and consequently enjoys running, working out in the gym, and swimming. His favorite composer is Beethoven, but his favorite piece of music is “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa.
Pianist Nick DiPillo earned his Bachelor of Music degree in piano pedagogy and performance from the University of Tennessee, studying with multiple teachers along the way including Jericho Vasquez, David Northington, and Chih-Long Hu. Performing in master classes with teachers such as Byron Janis, Yuanji Fan, and Xak Bjerken, Nick has also performed and participated in the 2013 InterHarmony Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy and the 2016 East/West International Piano Festival in Weihai, China.
A member of both MTNA and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Nick has directed multiple recitals and performances as Music Director of Phi Mu Alpha. Currently in the second year of his master’s program as a graduate teaching assistant, Nick has taught private students at the University of Tennessee, as well as various sections of Class Piano. Set to graduate in the spring of 2017, Nick will leave the University of Tennessee with a Master of Music degree in piano performance and Pedagogy, as well as Graduate Teaching Certificate in theory pedagogy.
Curtis Bos is a second year graduate piano student working towards a Master's of Music in piano performance and piano pedagogy. Although he was born in Canada, he grew up in North Carolina and considers that state his home. He began his musical instruction at the age of 6 and spent a year taking group piano lessons through Music for Young Children. He continued to study piano with Jeremy Thompson in high school, and with David Ehrman at Liberty University, where he received his Bachelor of Music in piano performance. Continuing his education at the University of Tennessee, he now studies piano with David Brunell and pedagogy with Fay Adams and Igor Lipinski.