Mary Jane Cope

Music Faculty
University of California, Santa Cruz
Interests: piano, fortepiano


Mary Jane Cope has a broad performing background and extensive teaching experience at all levels. She has developed a natural, holistic approach to musical pianism which emphasizes anatomical and psychological considerations, strength through balance (with careful observation of the rules of gravity and motion), and an integration of the physical and musical gesture. Special attention is given to effective tone production and phrasing, the elimination of unnecessary tension, both physical and psychological, and the development of an injury-preventive technique. Among her students are frequent scholarship winners and competition finalists; many have since established successful musical careers.

A versatile performer, Ms. Cope has a strong commitment to the elimination of barriers between performer and audience, and to encouraging increased appreciation of the music of our time. In addition to a broad acquaintance with the standard repertoire, she has explored the music of lesser known composers of all eras. She is well versed in contemporary extended techniques and has a significant interest in piano and chamber music of the twentieth century. She has premiered a number of works (some written for her) and is recorded on Opus One and Centaur Records.

A member of the piano faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz since 1977, Ms. Cope holds the M.M. degree with distinction from Indiana University, where she was a student of Abbey Simon and Sidney Foster. She is a member of both MTNA and MTAC and holds the MTNA Master Teacher certificate in Piano in recognition of her distinguished and effective teaching career.

In evaluations submitted anonymously, students and colleagues comment:

"Undeniably one of the best music instructors with whom I've ever worked. Her ability to evaluate a student's difficulties and then provide useful and productive suggestions is fantastic."

"...a born teacher."

"She will not tolerate a brilliant but emotionally empty and unexpressive performance, and what she gives each student is a complete musical education, not just a technique that dazzles."

"As a performing musician she is remarkable, at home in all corners of the repertoire. Her interpretive understanding and taste are superb and imaginative."

"Her style is completely and refreshingly free of pretensions, condescension or snobbery, and she is dedicated to the music, and especially to student musicians."

"She is demanding, helpful, insightful; and she truly teaches out of her love for music."

Reviewers write:

"Cope carries the force of the score with a precision that is both lyrical and riveting."

Santa Cruz Sentinel

"The program was a smashing, crashing, exploding success, not only for its uniqueness, but also for its exemplary content and execution." "...Cope's kaleidoscopic maneuvers on, and inside, the piano were affected with absolute musicality."

Santa Cruz Sentinel

"Cope brought out fire and warmth from the evening's literature, giving each work its proper temperament and special brand of virtuosity. The Romantic works brimmed with passion and the Impressionists glowed liquid and clear."

Prelude Magazine


Inquiries regarding private study, performances, master classes, workshops, or other presentations may be addressed to:
Mary Jane Cope
, Music Center, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064. E-mail:
Telephone: (831) 423-2418.