The Juilliard School, DMA, MM

Oberlin College, BM

@Rex Lott Photography

Instagram Diary: vivigirl158

Virtual Music Class

Just for fun: duos with the hubs


Vivian earned DMA and MM degrees from the Juilliard School as a student of Samuel Sanders. She was recipient of the William Petschek Piano Scholarship and awarded the Citibank-Juilliard Stipendium for a year of study at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” and as vocal coach at the Leipzig Opera House. Additionally, a fellowship from the Huntington Beebe Fund for European Study and the Haskell Oberlin Alumni Travel Grant supported her studies with pianist Phillip Moll in Berlin, Germany.


Vivian earned both Violin and Piano Performance degrees at Oberlin College-Conservatory, where she studied piano with Joseph Schwartz, violin with Stephen Clapp, chamber music with Robert McDonald, and accompanying with Jeanne Kierman Fischer and Phil Highfill. She graduated Pi Kappa Lambda and was recipient of the Oberlin Conservatory Dean’s Talent Award and Piano Faculty Prize in Accompanying; she also taught as Music Theory and Keyboard Skills Assistant under Professor Allan Cadwallader. While pursuing further training at the Summer Kodály Institute at NYU, she studied Vocal Pedagogy, Choral Conducting and Kodály Methodology, focusing on best practices in teaching school-aged students. Vivian has also trained in Stanley Greenspan’s “Floor Time”, an approach which continues to inform her teaching.


As a collaborative pianist, Vivian has performed in venues all over NY including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street Y, Alice Tully Hall, MoMA, and the Jewish Museum. For over a decade, Vivian performed as an Official Pianist for Juilliard entrance auditions and for numerous competitions and auditions in official capacity, including Artist International of Europe. She also collaborated and toured with singers in performances presented by the Marilyn Horne Foundation and performed as Artist-in-Residence at the Monteverdi in Tuscany, Italy in 2016 and 2019. Vivian performs in several chamber groups and as core member of the ASCAP/NEA award-winning Chameleon Arts Ensemble in Boston. She has also performed live on Boston Public Radio on multiple occasions. In 2018, Vivian joined Metropolitan Opera Orchestra musicians Sylvia Danburg Volpe and Joel Noyes to perform for the Hudson Valley Music Club as the newly formed Tempus Trio.  In addition to freelancing in the metro DC area, Vivian performs as Pianist at the Levine School of Music, as Choral Pianist throughout the DMV area, and as both Pianist and 1st Violinist in the NIH Philharmonia Orchestra. Vivian is very active in community service and performs regularly for patients and their families at the Safra Family Lodge and Children's Inn on the NIH campus.


Vivian performs as Piano Department Lead and Artist Faculty of Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard in Geneva, Switzerland. Vivian also works as a Curriculum Consultant for the Juilliard Global K-12 department and teaches chamber music for "Afterschool Arts with Juilliard" at the British International School. As faculty at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., Vivian teaches in Educational Outreach, First Music, the American Songbook Chorus, and collaborates with faculty, instrumentalists and singers of all ages. Vivian maintains a strong private studio; her students perform in monthy studio concerts, participate in local productions and ensembles and while in NY, earned high and top marks at NYSSMA.

Previously, Vivian worked as an Early Education Music Specialist at several metro NY schools and was known as "Miss Vivian" to her youngest students. An advocate for inclusion, she has continuously offered musical opportunities for children with special educational needs. In March of 2016, the Westchester Jewish Council of NY recognized Vivian with the  Julian Y. Bernstein Distinguished Service Award for creating interactive, musical programs for special needs kids and their families. In February of 2018, Vivian began collaborating with the Music Therapy department at the Levine School in piloting a new offering of music classes for children with special educational needs.

In August of 2017, after 25 years of living in NY, Vivian relocated to the D.C. area with her family. When not at the piano, she loves exploring the museums and landmarks, going to concerts, and finding new trails to hike on the weekends.


I have been blessed with a life in music and value the relationships I’ve made through teaching, learning and playing. I strive to get my students and their families excited about music, aim to connect with each individual, and am also devoted to giving my students meaningful musical instruction and experiences to reach their fullest potential as both performers and music lovers.



April 24, 2017

GERALD FINZI "Five Bagatelles" for Clarinet and Piano

Performed by Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit


Finzi’s Five Bagatelles for clarinet and piano, Op. 23 certainly stands as one of the highlights of the clarinet repertoire. He penned these charming pieces in 1941 prior to his service in the Ministry of War Transport in London during World War II. The first four debuted at one of the famous lunchtime concerts at the National Gallery. Finzi’s publisher, Boosey and Hawkes, however, requested a finale in a fast tempo. The Bagatelles became the composer’s most popular work, which annoyed him as he considered them mere “trifles.” Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca and pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit found much charm and beauty in their felicitous introduction to these rather irresistible mere bagatelles.


May 22, 2016


OLIVIER MESSAIEN “Chants de terre et de ciel”

Performed by Soprano Mary Mackenzie and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit


Mary Mackenzie sang Olivier Messiaen’s Chants de terre et de ciel for soprano & piano from memory with near-perfect success. Throughout the half-hour cycle reveling over the French composer’s faith, his wife and son, focus really remained steadfast on Mackenzie and Chang-Freiheit. Both musicians shouldered the unmistakable language of Messiaen. Mackenzie produced an amazing array of color, something Messaien, who beholds the interval of the tritone as replicating all the colors of the spectrum, would surely have to admire.


All in all, it was less a spiritual voyage à la Messaien than a clear display of fascinating vocal timbres. When Mackenzie was in lower register or in lower volume anywhere in her vast range, she was most compelling and surprisingly alluring. Chang-Freiheit toned down to excellent effect the percussive nature of Messiaen’s piano writing, bringing to it a gorgeousness and robustness. This duo had you listening all the time.


THE BOSTON GLOBE, David Weiniger

March 30, 2015

GEORGE CRUMB “Apparition”

Performed by Soprano Mary Mackenzie and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

“…the performance, by soprano Mary Mackenzie and pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit, was sensational, a fact the audience clearly appreciated.”



March 30, 2015

GEORGE CRUMB “Apparition”

Perfomed by Soprano Mary Mackenzie and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

The musicians ranged brilliantly over a huge spectrum, from intense emotional outcry… to literal whispers and sprechstimme, from percussive piano passagework to barely audible brushed harp effects… This memorable performance was evocative, cathartic, and simply ravishing; at the conclusion the spellbound audience hardly moved a muscle for nearly half a minute before applauding wholeheartedly.


 "Brilliance from Two Chameleons" March 9, 2015


JOHANN STRAUSS OPUS 6 Sonata for Cello and Piano

ELLIOT CARTER 1948 Sonata for Cello and Piano


BEETHOVEN Sonata in A Major for Cello and Piano

Performed by Cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

Now in its 17th season, Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston has just introduced cabaret-type concerts, called “Up Close.” The first, last Sunday afternoon at the Goethe-Institut Boston, one of their usual venues, featured the brilliant, peripatetic cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer with the equally brilliant pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit. Seated around 20 small tables with the instrumentalists in the middle, 80 attendees were treated to a most memorable performance, also wine and chameleon-shaped cookies baked by Artistic Director Deborah Boldin. Before the afternoon’s four pieces, Boldin spoke briefly, illustrating with short excerpts, to explain how she put the program together and to have us see how the cello became a breakout instrument over the years.

Having won awards for her illuminating programming, Boldin put together works for cello and piano by Richard Strauss, Elliott Carter, Frank Bridge, and Beethoven. I had not heard the first three, but off-the-beaten-path pieces on Chameleon programs are the norm, and trust in Boldin’s programming is always richly rewarded.


Written in 1881, completely revised and then published a couple years later, when Strauss was 19, the difficult Opus 6 Sonata features piano with an orchestral sound that throughout the afternoon was a perfect partner for Popper-Keizer. The doleful, almost funereal second movement was a revelation of gorgeous, soulful cello playing. One doesn’t think of Richard Strauss as a composer of string sonatas, but the writing here seemed unusually idiomatic, at least for cello. The third movement, Allegro vivo, hints at the mischief to come in Don Juan and Til Eulenspiegel.

Elliot Carter’s 1948 Sonata for Cello and Piano has become part of the repertoire. While Boldin reminded us that Carter composed 60 works after the age of 90 (he died shortly before he was 104), as a young man he wrote “for the public” in a neoclassic style favored by teacher Nadia Boulanger, but no one seemed interested. So he decided to simply write for himself. She also briefly—no small trick—explained his metric/speed modulations, and how in this Sonata he tries to pry the two instruments apart, assigning “chronometric time” to the piano and “psychological time” to the cello. Carter wrote it when was a young man of 40.

After the brief talk and musical illustration, the two stars treated us to a thrilling performance, which managed to make sensible, often captivating music out of this complex score. Sometimes, the cello and piano battling it out for aural prominence with their very different attacks and rhythms, it felt like sitting at a conservatory in front of two practice rooms whose connecting wall had collapsed. Chang-Freiheit deserves extra applause for navigating the shoals of a knotty piano part, but a huge bravo to both.

Following intermission, the duo played Elégie by Frank Bridge. Written in 1904, it resembles, unsurprisingly, Fauré’s popular Élégie for the same pairing, from 1883. The audience (and I) loved the piece in this dazzling performance.

The best came last, Beethoven’s Sonata in A Major, a perennial favorite. Gabriel Langfur’s informative notes reminded us that this sonata’s sketches appeared about the same time as those for the Fifth Symphony, that the master’s middle period was extraordinary even for Beethoven, with the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the Choral Fantasy, the Fourth Piano Concerto, and the Opus 70 Piano Trios. The performance by the duo was absolutely wonderful, even to someone familiar with every famous recording of Opus 69.


I have raved many times in these pages about Popper-Keizer’s cello playing, and urge anyone who has not heard him, or pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit, to attend the next Chameleon concert, March 28th and 29th. The next “Up Close” will feature two Chameleon pianists, Gloria Chien and Elizabeth Schumann, in a program of four-hand works by Debussy, Steven Stucky, Schubert, and Stravinsky (Rite of Spring) on April 19th.



March 26, 2014


Performed by Soprano Rachel Calloway, Violinist Tessa Lark and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit


“Lark’s tonally sweet entrance, and the remarkable shimmer of Vivian Chang-Freiheit’s accompaniment perfectly set the atmospheric elements of this piece.”

JOHANNES BRAHMS Sonata No. 1 in f minor for clarinet and piano

Performed by Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

“Chang-Freiheit’s piano playing was soulful, passionate, playful, delicate, and her sense of ensemble brilliant.”




April 7, 2013



Performed by Violinist Jesse Mills, Cellist Rafael Popper-Keizer, and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit

Mills and Popper-Keizer teamed up with pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit for an equally sharp rendering of the Trio in D Minor, Op.3….

The Symphonic grandeur of the three-movement trio featured the musicians in expansive dialogue. The strings, throughout, put across the colorful score with a creamy, yearning sound. Chang-Freiheit answered with deliberate touch and pearly tone.


WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART Quintet in E-Flat Major for piano and winds, K. 452

Performed by Oboist Nancy Dimock, Clarinetist Kelli O’Conner, Bassoonist Margaret Phillips, French Hornist Whitacre Hill


“It was a special treat to hear Chang-Freiheit… in an elegant reading of Mozart’s Quintet. The winds achieved a sweet ensemble blend in the outer movements to match Chang-Freiheit’s august playing.”


THE BOSTON GLOBE, Matthew Guerrieri

May 28, 2008


KEVIN PUTS “Ritual Protocol”

Performed by Marimba Soloist William Manley and Pianist Vivian Chang-Freiheit


Seven is an important number in Kevin Puts's vibrant "Ritual Protocol" (dating, like the ensemble, from 1998), be it the seven slow steps of the chorale at the piece's center, or the pulsing seven-beat pattern underpinning much of the finale; Chang-Freiheit and marimba soloist William Manley gave a finely shaded, persuasive reading of the music, which borrows freely from populist tonality and minimalism without coming off as beholden to either.