Our Founder

About our Founder:

Leah Claiborne, D.M.A. promotes diversity in the arts by championing piano music by Black composers in her performances, research, and teaching. She is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion column editor for American Music Teacher through Music Teacher National Association. She also serves as Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Frances Clark Center/National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy.

In 2019, Dr. Claiborne was named winner of the Father Merlet Prize in the ProMusics International Music Competition. This award was given to a competitor who exemplified high-performance excellence and an unparalleled commitment to social outreach. In 2016 she was a top prize winner in the National Association of Negro Musicians National Piano Competition. Dr. Claiborne has performed across the United States and Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Japan. She is a highly sought-after adjudicator and clinician in national piano competitions.

Dr. Claiborne received her undergraduate degree from Manhattan School of Music, where she received the Josephine Whitmore graduation award. She received her Masters of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees at the University of Michigan. She was the first pianist to be awarded the Rackham Predoc fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship awarded by the graduate school. This fellowship allowed her to further research, compile, and edit piano music by Black composers.

Dr. Claiborne currently teaches at the University of the District of Columbia, where she serves as coordinator of keyboard studies and teaches History of African American Music.

Our Board Members

  • Akilah Kidd
  • Dr. Gena Flynn
  • Alan Gibson
  • Beverly Lucas
  • Nick Luby