What is a Collaborative Pianist?

A collaborative pianist is someone who works in collaboration with one or more instrumentalists, vocalists, or directors to create a finished, polished musical experience for the listener. It is a discipline which combines piano performance, accompanying, and music pedagogy. Collaborative pianists work with choirs, chamber musicians, or soloists as the primary means of performance. Many collaborative pianists also engage as a vocal coach; topics such as lyric diction, text interpretation, dramatic presentation, audition strategies, and stage presence are covered. Sometimes a collaborative pianist is referred to as an accompanist. However, an accompanist does not generally assume the role of coach; an accompanist’s only role is to play the piano for the soloist or group.

Collaborative Piano & Vocal Coaching Services

Kaarin is sought after for collaborative piano engagements and vocal coaching because of her attention to expressiveness, diction detail, and character development. As a graduate of renowned Westminster Choir College’s Master of Music in Piano Accompanying and Coaching program, Kaarin’s philosophy on vocal coaching centers around lyric diction, text interpretation, dramatic presentation, confidence on the stage, and the elegance of historically informed performance practice.

In vocal coaching sessions, specific attention is paid to articulation and the interpretation of French, German, English, and Italian texts, incorporating both diction and dramatic coaching into the lesson.

Coachings are available in either 45 minute and 60 minute intervals.


Accompanying services (without coaching) for festivals, juries, college auditions, and a host of other scenarios are also available.

  • College choral groups rehearsals and performances

  • Church groups at all levels of ability

  • All County, All State, festivals and competitions (instrumental and vocal)

  • Community and professional choral groups

  • Musical theater auditions and productions



Kaarin's experience as a coach includes a position as a collaborative pianist with the CoOPERAtive program at Westminster Choir College. This intensive program for operatic vocal soloists focuses on operatic style, performance techniques, dramatic presentation, language, diction, and body awareness. Collaborations, coachings, and master classes were held with Eric Weimar (Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago), Howard Lubin (Juilliard, Oberlin, Cologne Opera), Joan Dornemann (Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Opera Paris), Susan Ashbaker (Opera Company of Philadelphia), Stephanie Sundine (Sarasota Opera), and Kathleen Kelly (Vienna State Opera, Wolf Trap, Glimmerglass).

Kaarin has almost two decades of experience as a church music director (Presbyterian, Baptist, and Unitarian Universalist) and 26 years of experience as a choral director and general music teacher for public school districts in New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina. She was a co-director of 6 state and national award winning high school choral groups and vocal director/pianist for over 30 full scale public school musical and theatrical productions. Kaarin has written dozens of vocal arrangements for SSA, SATB, TTBB/TTTBBB voices, including scores for the Princeton University-based a cappella rhythm and blues group “Old NasSoul."

Kaarin has been my collaborative pianist and vocal coach for the past 2 years. She has an extensive knowledge of repertoire and she does her due diligence when researching a piece. She has helped me tremendously with not only diction and musicianship but also expression and connection. Kaarin is a fantastic musician and an even greater person. She cares for people in a way that is truly inspiring. Kaarin instills self value in a person and builds their self confidence immensely. Kaarin is one of the best in her field, no contest.
— Hannah Steele, Soprano, Westminster Choir College, 2018

Collaborative Piano Repertoire

The following list is only representative of works performed; it is not comprehensive.

Collaborative Piano: German Opera

  • Berg, Alban; Lulu

  • Mozart, W.A.; Die Zauberflöte

  • Strauss, Johann; Die Fledermaus

  • Strauss, Richard; Arabella, Ariadne auf Naxos

  • Weber, C.M. von; Der Freischütz

Collaborative Piano: French Opera

  • Bizet, Georges; Carmen

  • Donizetti, Gaetano; La fille du regiment

  • Gounod, Charles; Roméo et Juliette, Faust

  • Poulenc, Francis; Dialogues des Carmélites

  • Ravel, Maurice; L’enfant et les sortileges

Collaborative Piano: Italian Opera

  • Bellini, Vincenzo; I Capuleti e i Montecchi

  • Mozart, W.A.; Le Nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte

  • Puccini, Giacomo; Suor Angelica

  • Rossini, Gioacchino; Il Barbiere di Siviglia

  • Verdi, Giuseppe; Don Carlo, La Traviata, Falstaff

Collaborative Piano: English Opera

  • Britten, Benjamin; A Midsummer Night’s Dream

  • Jonathan Dove; Flight

  • Moore, Douglas; The Ballad of Baby Doe

  • Stravinsky, Igor; The Rake’s Progress

  • Walton, William; Troilus and Cressida

Major Choral Works (conducted, sung, or accompanied)

  • Barber, S.; Prayers of Kierkegaard

  • Bernstein, L.; Chichester Psalms

  • Brahms, J.; Nänie (op.82)

  • Britten, B.; Ceremony of Carols, War Requiem

  • Bruckner, A.; Te Deum

  • Cherubini, L.; Requiem in C Minor

  • Fauré, G.; Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine

  • Handel, G.F.; Messiah

  • Mahler, G.; Symphony No. 3

  • Mendelssohn, F.; Elijah

  • Mozart, W.A.; Mass in C minor (KV427), Davide Penitente (KV469)

  • Stravinsky, I; Symphony of Psalms

  • Rossini, G.; Petite Messe Solennelle

  • Verdi, G.; Requiem, Nabucco

Theatre Productions (conducted or accompanied)

  • ‘Annie’ by Thomas Meehan

  • ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ by Joseph Stein

  • ‘Give My Regards to Broadway’ by G. M. Cohen

  • ‘Godspell’ by John-Michael Tebelak

  • ‘Grease’ by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey

  • ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ by Tim Rice

  • ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ by Howard Ashman

  • ‘Oklahoma’ by O. Hammerstein II and R. Rodgers

  • ‘Peter Pan’ by J. M. Barrie and Libby Hamilton

  • ‘Pirates of Penzance’ by W.S. Gilbert and A. Sullivan

  • ‘Runaways’ by Elizabeth Swados

  • ‘Shrek The Musical’ by David Lyndsay-Abaire

  • ‘The Secret Garden’ by Marsha Norman

  • ‘The Who’s Tommy’ by Des McAnuff and Pete Townshend

  • ‘Wizard of Oz’ by Weber, Arlen, and Stohart

  • Zémire et Azor, an opéra comique in 4 acts by A. Grétry

Art Song/Oratorios

  • Bach, J.S.; Magnificat, B Minor Mass

  • Debussy, C.; Ariette oubliées

  • Fauré, G.; La Bonne Chanson

  • Handel, G.F.; Messiah, Semele

  • Korngold, E.; Abschiedslieder

  • Rodrigo, J.; Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios

  • Schubert, F.; Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise

  • Schumann, R.; Frauenliebe und –leben, Dichterliebe, Liederkreis

  • Strauss, R.; Brentanolieder

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