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Afrim Shabani, Piano/Composition 

 Faculty member at Illinois State University and Heartland Community College, member of the American Composers Forum.



Robert Nakea, Piano 

Robert Nakea is originally from Hawaii. He started learning piano at age six, and by age 15 made his solo debut with the Honolulu Symphony. He is a two-time laureate of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition (1988 and 1994), and was the winner of the Joseph Fisch International Piano Competition in 1986.  He has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, performing in such venues as the Bergen International Music Festival in Norway, the Eisteddfod Festival of Wales, and Operafestival di Roma.  An active concert pianist, Mr. Nakea enjoys teaching young musicians of all skill levels, instilling in them a love for music and for the instrument.


Sarah Strand, Piano 

Sarah has a Bachelor’s of Music Education degree from Illinois State University where she graduated with departmental honors.

Along with teaching piano for 30  years, Sarah has also taught high school choirs and music appreciation classes.  Sarah comes from a very musical family and herself has enjoyed playing piano since the age of 5.  Sarah’s specialty is teaching children of all ages and being able to share the world of music with them.


Lu Witzig, Piano 

Originally from China, Lu Witzig received her Bachelor degree in piano performance from Shenyang Conservatory of Music. She earned Master degrees in both piano performance and collaborative piano from Illinois State University. 

 As a passionate piano teacher, her students gain a love for music. Her students often win competitions, including the MTNA Sonata Festival. She also prepares her students for college auditions to pursue their degrees in music. 

 Lu joined Illinois Wesleyan University in 2012. She serves as a staff accompanist in the School of Music and a piano instructor for the Preparatory Department. Lu performs actively as a chamber musician and soloist. She toured in China in 2018 and 2019.