Rita Merlo- Piano

Classically trained yet clued into the music of today, Rita (maiden name Rita Rowe) conducts lessons based on formal technique while being well acquainted with pop repertoire. Rita began playing piano at age six, studying with Akiko Hasunuma. She enjoyed many years of success in Certificate of Merit, National Guild, and won numerous awards in competitions such as Southwestern Youth Music Festival, Lighthouse,and Rotary Club. Rita attended University of California, Irvine, studying under the tutelage of Dr. Lorna Griffitt. While at UC Irvine, Rita was awarded with several scholarships such as Vacca & McDade, Medici, Winifried Smith, and Rawlins Scholarships. Rita attended the Schlern International Music Festival in the summer of 2007, where she had a rigorous performance schedule while studying under well acclaimed musicians from around the world.

Rita has had her private piano studio since 2007 and is an active member of Music Teacher’s Association of California. For eight years, Rita performed as a staff musician for UC Irvine’s Dance Department, which has received world-wide recognition for their renowned faculty and and performances. In 2015, Rita joined the Dance Department at Chapman University as a staff musician. She accompanies Ballet and Modern classes and performances, where she works with dancers by improvising and creating music that supports dancers both rhythmically and  melodically. She has also worked with many important figures in Dance, such as Alonzo King of Lines Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and members of the Moscow, Kirov and Joffrey Ballet.

As a dedicated piano instructor, Rita Merlo uses her classical technique, improvisational skills, and knowledge of music genres to help her students reach their maximum potential in music. Her students have won awards at the Composers Today State Festival, MTACOCC Contemporary Festival, received Branch Honors for Certificate of Merit, Senior Medallion, and more.

To listen to Rita’s original compositions, please click here:

Emily Peterson

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Ann Ojeda

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