Alessandra Feris

Alessandra Feris

Assistant Professor, Piano


W M Lee Center for Fine Arts 131

Phone: (605) 677-5723




Following undergraduate studies at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazilian pianist Alessandra Feris received a fellowship from KAAD (Katholischer Akademischer Ausländer-Dienst) to study at the Hochschule für Musik 'Franz Liszt' in Weimar, Germany, where she received the Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Thomas Steinhöfel and the legendary Lazar Berman. As a student in Weimar, she was awarded a Liszt Foundation fellowship to attend the Bela Bartók International Festival and Seminar in Szombathely, Hungary, and also participated in projects such as the entire performance of Bach's Das Wohltemperierte Klavier. In 2001, she came to the United States as a student and teaching assistant of Rene Lecuona at the University of Iowa. In Iowa she earned a master's degree in Piano Performance and was awarded the 'Becker Piano Scholarship' as well as the prestigious 'John Simms Piano Award For Outstanding Achievement in the Study of Music.' Under the direction of Carolyn Bridger and Read Gainsford, Alessandra Feris received a doctoral degree in Piano Performance at Florida State University in 2009. A devoted doctoral teaching assistant at FSU, she was the recipient of the '2008 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.' Dr. Feris served as Piano Faculty and Artist-in-Residence of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for seven years, where she worked with a wide diversity of students. Committed to excellence in teaching, she received the 'Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year Award' in 2012. A sought-after pedagogue, Dr. Feris has been actively adjudicating competitions on both national and international levels, as well as conducting masterclasses at major universities in the U.S. and abroad. She has also been a faculty member and performer at 'Festival Internacional de Pianistas' in Mar del Plata, Argentina, since 2011. Alessandra Feris has as an extensive career as soloist and chamber musician. She has performed widely in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, and in the United States, making successful solo debuts in major venues such as Theatro São Pedro, in Porto Alegre (Brazil) and Palácio de Bellas Artes (Sala Manuel M. Ponce), in Mexico City. She has recently been a guest artist/teacher at institutions such as Louisiana State University, James Madison University, Auburn University, University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast College, Huntingdon College, University of South Alabama, Universidad de Costa Rica, Southern University, Universidade de Aveiro in Portugal, Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina, and several universities in Brazil as UNICAMP (Campinas), UDESC (Florianópolis), UFRGS (Porto Alegre), UFSM (Santa Maria), UFPEL (Pelotas), UFOP (Ouro Preto), UNB (Brasilia) and others. Additionally, she is devoted to the diffusion of Latin-American music and is often requested to premiere works by Brazilian contemporary composers. Dr. Feris has recently joined the Music Faculty of University of South Dakota as Assistant Professor of Piano. A passionate collaborative pianist, she enjoys performing with colleagues and is a member of Duo Weimar with cellist Pedro Bielschowsky. She also thrives as a theorist, and has strong music-theoretical interests that vary from Schenkerian Analysis to basic-level theory.

Teaching Interests:

Studio Piano, Chamber Music, Piano Literature, Class Piano, and Piano Pedagogy

Research Interests:

Piano Performance, Latin-American Piano Music, Performance Psychology, and Schenkerian Analysis


  • D.M. Doctor of Music, Piano Performance, Florida State University, 2009
  • M.A. Master of Arts, Piano Performance, University of Iowa, 2003
  • Artist Diploma, Piano Performance, Chamber Music, and Lied Accompanying, Hochschule für Musik 'Franz Liszt' , 2000
  • B.M. Bachelor of Music, Piano Performance, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 1997

Awards and Honors:

  • Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year Award, The Mississippi Humanities Council, 2012
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Florida State University, 2008
  • John Simms Piano Award 'For Outstanding Achievement in the Study of Music', University of Iowa, 2002
  • Liszt Foundation Fellowship, Hochschule für Musik 'Franz Liszt', 1998
  • Fellowship, KAAD (Katholischer Akademischer Ausländer-Dienst), 1997