Accompanying resources are available to all students enrolled in applied lessons, and in a variety of forms. The Ithaca College Collaborative Pianist resources are not intended to cover all the accompanying costs, but are provided as a supplement to help offset the out-of-pocket expenses.


If you would like to request an Ithaca College Collaborative Pianist, follow the link below to a request form. 

This request must be submitted ONE week in advance for vocalists and THREE weeks in advance for instrumentalists.

Music students can request a collaborative pianist for:

  • Juries
  • Private lessons
  • Repertoire class
  • Rehearsals - for any preparation needs of students enrolled in applied lessons
  • Recording 
  • Degree-required recitals (included dress rehearsal)

Collaborative Pianist Request Form


Expand each section below to find out more about our pianists and their availability

Ms. Darling graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Music Education. She has an extensive repertoire of vocal music and has collaborated with vocalists and instrumentalist for many years. 


  • Mondays
  • Tuesdays
  • Thursdays

Tyler Hayford received a B.M. and M.M. in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music. His collaborative repertoire covers a wide range of instrumental and vocal works in all styles, but he also specializes in sight-reading and improvisation. 


  • Monday, Wed-Fri, flexible
  • Unavailable: 11/9/23-11/28/23

Dr. Vera Hui-pin Hsu is a pianist and conductor and the winner of the 2009 International Conductors Workshop and Competition in Georgia, U.S.A. She studied piano with Prof. Martin Canin at Graduate Center, City University of New York, where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree. She gave recitals and lecture concerts in Austria, China, Germany, Italy, Israel, Taiwan, and the U.S. In 2017 and 2016, Vera gave piano workshops at NYU Shanghai and the University of Chicago, respectively. In 2015, Vera served as an Artist in Residence at the University of Haifa in Israel, during which she also held concerts and masterclasses in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. She toured with the New Haifa Symphony Orchestra in Israel in 2012. Vera Hsu recorded Sung-jen Hsu’s piano concerto, “Pounding Rain,” as the soloist with Taiwan Philharmonic (aka NSO in Taiwan), and the album, available in Naxos Music Library, was issued by National CKS Cultural Center in the Voice of Taiwan series. Her piano performance could also be heard in two CDs released in 2021: From Formosa and Reading Pushkin.

As a pianist, Vera Hsu engages in a wide range of musical activities beyond solo performances. In the capacity of orchestral pianist and rehearsal pianist, Vera has collaborated with the Taiwan Philharmonic regularly since 2011: performing in all kinds of concerts; participating in the recordings of Taiwanese contemporary compositions (including a nationally televised world premiere); serving as a rehearsal pianist for operas and vocal-related symphonic works, such as Salome, Fidelio, Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, and Chesky’s The Mice War. In 2017–2019, Vera serves as a rehearsal pianist at National Taichung Theater in Wagner’s Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung. Other opera rehearsal engagements include ZHOU.

Vera will be available for Ithaca College students to request beginning in September.


  • Voice students only

Mr. Vallery is an alum of Lawrence University of Wisconsin and Ithaca College.  He predominantly focuses on vocal music.


  • Monday through Thursday.
  • Usually not available on Friday afternoons/evenings.
  • Available Saturday and Sunday for performances.



Senior Voice Performance Majors should enroll in MUMC 47301 - Required Senior Voice Recital. This is a course that meets one hour a week with a vocal coach. For more information, contact Dr. Chris Zemliauskas (

For students interested in individual coaching with their collaborative partner, we offer the course MUEN 31800 - Piano/Vocal Duos. For more information, contact Dr. Charis Dimaras (

For students interested in individual coaching with their collaborative partner, we offer the course MUEN 31700 - Piano/Instrumental Duos. For more information, contact Dr. Charis Dimaras (


In addition to the resources provided by Ithaca College, there are many collaborative artists available for hire. Please contact your private teacher for recommended names and contact information.


Please join us in warmly welcoming our 2023-2024 Collaborative Piano Young Artist Apprentices Qianran Gao and Robert Irvin. We are thrilled to welcome them as the inaugural cohort to this wonderful new program! These experienced pianists will be playing in classes, ensembles, lessons, and rehearsal, and featured in various performances across the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. They may also be requested for freelance accompanying as their availability permits. 

You can learn more about the new program here:

Qianran Gao

Qianran Gao

Qianran Gao

Qianran Gao is a sought-after pianist simultaneously navigating both solo and collaborative piano. Her recent highlighted collaborations include performances with the University of Minnesota Symphonic Band, Boston Conservatory at Berklee Orchestra, and Virtuosi Brunenses Orchestra. Beyond ensemble collaboration, her artistic flair was on full display at the Source Song Festival, where she captivated audiences with premieres of contemporary pieces; and showcased her impeccable technique with Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major at the Music Fest Perugia.

Serving as a collaborative piano teaching assistant at the University of Minnesota, Qianran has been partnering with opera theatre, workshops,  ensembles, and a diverse group of vocalists and instrumentalists. Earlier in her career, she was a chorus pianist for MIT’s CCCS, the International Choir of Guangzhou, and the New Voice choir of South China Agricultural University.

Qianran's musical journey spans iconic venues in the US, China, and Italy, including the Ted Mann Concert Hall, Jordan Hall, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Oratorio Santa Cecilia, Guangzhou Opera House, and Canton Tower. Her skill has been recognized with a second-place award at the German Irmler Piano Contest and a top honor at the Brandenburg International Music Competition.

Qianran completed her Bachelor’s in Musicology and Piano Performance at South China Agricultural University, where she was trained by Ni Ye and futhered her studies with Oleh Pavlov. She holds a Master’s degree in Piano Performance and undertook an advanced one-year study in Collaborative Piano from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, guided by Aleksandr Poliykov and Jessica Shinn. Currently, she is delving deeper as a Doctoral Candidate in Collaborative Piano and Coaching, under the mentorship of Timothy Lovelace.

In an exciting new chapter of her career, Qianran will be joining Ithaca College as a Collaborative Piano Young Artist Apprentice for the 2023-2024 season.