Tony Caramia

Professor of Piano

Director, Piano Pedagogy Studies
Coordinator, Class Piano Program
Affiliate Faculty, Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media






Tony Caramia

Three extraordinary teachers, Claudette Sorel, James Lyke, and Frances Clark, aided in launching Professor Tony Caramia’s 45-plus-year career as a pedagogue, clinician, adjudicator, composer, author, and solo and collaborative performer.

Lessons with Sorel exposed him to her remarkable musical insights, communication skills, and world-class perspective, and in turn, nurtured his own teaching career.  Lyke helped him shape and define his pedagogical voice during his tenure at the University of Illinois from 1975-1990, and introduced him to Clark at the first-ever National Conference on Piano Pedagogy in 1979. 

In 2021 the Frances Clark Center awarded him the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Caramia’s article, “The Imaginative Piano Teacher:  Musings on Being More Creative in the Piano Studio,” appeared in the Sept.-Oct. 2018 issue of Piano Magazine, and over decades, he has contributed many other articles exploring aspects of jazz pedagogy to Keyboard Companion and Clavier Magazine.

Caramia has conducted numerous workshops in jazz piano for teachers at national and state conventions, as well as international workshops in Europe, Australia. New Zealand, and Brazil. 

Caramia treasures the relationship he has had with publishers:  a sample of his works includes:  “Mixed-Up Rag” (Frederick Harris Publications, RCM Celebration Series, Piano Etudes, Level 7, 2015), collections American Treasures (Alfred Music Publishing, Jazz Performer Series, 2011), Sounds of Jazz, Book 1 and 2, and Six Sketches (Alfred), Suite Dreams and Jazz Moods (Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation, Composer Showcase Series), Fascinatin’ Rhythms (Neil A. Kjos Music Co., 1985), Rag Times Four (Kjos, 1983) and Adventures in Jazz Piano, Books 1 and 2 (Bärenreiter, 1983).  He has co-authored all editions of Keyboard Musicianship, Books 1 and 2 (Stipes Publishing Co.), from 1979 through 2020.

A strong believer in theme recitals, Caramia has presented numerous multi-media programs, with tributes to composers George Gershwin, Billy Mayerl, Harold Arlen, Richard Rodgers, and Dana Suesse.  Other theme recitals include A Program of Preludes, Nimble Feet and Tricky Fingers, A Piano Valentine:  Love in All Keys, My “Senior” Recital, Homage to Chopin, A Jazzy Celebration of Spring, Summer Smiles, Sounds of Autumn, A Portrait of Marian McPartland, 1917:  Celebrating the 100th Birthdays of Jazz Icons, A European Jazz Travelogue, Celebrating the Music of Women, and his most recent, The Dawn of Eastman:  Music from 1921.

The Claudette Sorel Piano Competition, Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, Young Texas Artists Music Competition, Crescendo Music Awards, and the American Pianists Assoc. National Jazz Competition are among the events for which Caramia has adjudicated.

Recordings consist of Hot Ivories, Nimble-Fingered Gentleman, Zebra Stripes, Brass Knuckles, Upstate Standards with trombonist Mark Kellogg, and Tribute.

Awards include the Frances Clark Center Inaugural Outstanding Service Recognition Award (2019), SUNY Fredonia Outstanding Achievement Award (2010), and the University of Illinois Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (1988 and 1984).

Caramia continues his devotion to teaching at the Eastman School of Music (1990-present), where he directs the Piano Pedagogy Studies, coordinates the Class Piano Program, and teaches applied piano and beginning jazz piano.  At Eastman, he loves working with teaching assistance from around the globe and championing his students (Mr. C. and His All-Stars!) in studio concerts, also with themes:  Fringe Fingers, Celebrating Women in Music, 2 Pianos—140 Fingers, A Child is Born, and most recently:  Mr. C. and His All Stars Celebrate the Music of Women

updated 11/20/21

Selected articles regarding women in music and the composers heard on recent concerts.

Works / Publications

Stipes Publishing

  • Keyboard Musicianship, Book 2 (co-author), 2020
  • Keyboard Musicianship, Book 1 (co-author), 2019

Frederick Harris Music Co., Limited

  • Mixed-Up Rag (Celebrations Series, Level 7 Piano Etudes), 2015

Alfred Publishing

Hal Leonard Piano Student Library, Composer Showcase, Level 5

  • Suite Dreams (2009)
  • Jazz Moods

Hal Leonard Piano Student Library, Showcase Solos, Level 4

  • Ballad
  • Boppin Along
  • Carefree Song
  • Dreaming Song
  • Swaying Song

Hal Leonard Piano Student Library, Piano Solos, Book 4

  • Porch Swing

Hal Leonard Piano Student Library, Piano Solos, Book 5

  • Remembrances

Kjos Music Pub., San Diego, CA. 1986

  • Fascinatin’ Rhythms

Kjos Music Pub., San Diego, CA

  • Rag Times Four 1983

Barenreiter Verlag, Kassel, Germany

  • Adventures in Jazz Piano (2 Vol.)


Program for A Jazzy Tribute to William Gillock video, above.

Friday, December 6, 2019
Eastman School of Music lobby:  Holiday Sing
Performance with Anthony Dean Griffey

Recorded May 9th, 2018 as part of the Live from Hochstein/WXXI-FM series:

Live from Hochstein/WXXI-FM Series Program

Engagements / Professional Activities


Saturday, March 29, 7:30 pm; Kilbourn Hall
Eastman Virtuosi
Renee Jolles, violin
Sonata for Violin and piano, Germaine Tailleferre

Wednesday, April 27, 12:10 pm; Hochstein Performance Hall
Live from Hochstein
A Trio of Trios