Dr. Stephen Pierce

Piano faculty at the University of Southern California; RCM Academic Ambassador and Examiner

South African born pianist, Stephen Pierce enjoys a multi-faceted career as a sought-after teacher, presenter, performer, adjudicator, clinician, and scholar. At the University of Southern California (USC) Thornton School of Music, he oversees the secondary piano and keyboard pedagogy programs while teaching applied piano, and courses in piano pedagogy, and keyboard literature. Stephen also teaches piano privately in Pasadena, CA, and at Interlochen Arts Camp, MI each summer. His students range in age from 7 to adult and have won awards for their playing at the local, state, and national levels.


Stephen holds degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM), and the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and two licentiates of music from the University of South Africa (UNISA). At the University of Pretoria, he graduated as the top student in the Faculty of Humanities and was honored with the Vice-Chancellor and Principal’s medal for academic excellence. At CCM, he won the award for teaching excellence for graduate teaching assistants. Stephen’s mentors include Joseph Stanford, Frank Weinstock, and Michelle Conda.


Stephen has performed in the USA, Canada, Czech Republic, and throughout South Africa, and with artists such as Carol Wincenc, and the flutists of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. During his studies in Cincinnati, he performed with the CCM Philharmonia as a result of winning the CCM Piano Concerto Competition. In South Africa, he has performed with orchestras such as the Natal Philharmonic, the National Symphony, and the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa. Stephen has won prizes and awards for his playing including second prize and two special prizes at the UNISA National Piano Competition in South Africa. He has also received awards for his teaching including the D.J. Rhoode Overseas Scholarship for Piano Pedagogy from the University of South Africa (UNISA). In addition, his performances have been broadcast on South African television and radio.

A regular speaker and clinician throughout the US and South Africa, Stephen has presented masterclasses, workshops, and lectures in South Africa and the United States at conferences such as the MTNA National Conference, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP), as well as for arts entities such as The Gilmore, and the International Piano Professionals Association. His articles, reviews and other written contributions have appeared in journals such as American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion, Piano Pedagogy Forum, The California Music Teacher, and The South African Music Teacher, as well on the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Online Teacher Portal, RCM Online Teacher courses, and the Yamaha Educator Suite. Stephen also formerly served as editor of CAPMT Connect, the official journal of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAPMT) from 2016–2022.

Stephen is also a proud member of the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) College of Examiners, an MTNA Foundation Fellow, an RCM Certified Teacher, and an RCM Academic Ambassador. At USC, he helped co-found the Musician’s Wellness committee, is the faculty advisor for the MTNA USC Collegiate Chapter, and previously served as the Pi Kappa Lambda Eta Chapter Secretary for eight years. At the state level, Stephen is the current Collegiate Chapter State Chair for the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (CAMPT), while formerly serving as the CAPMT Vice President for Conferences, District 9 Director and member-at-large for the South. At the national level, Stephen has been a member of the planning committees for both the MTNA National Conference, and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy (NCKP), while previously serving on the prestigious MTNA e-Journal Editorial Committee, and the MTNA Teacher Enrichment Grant Committee.