The Main Line Conservatory of Music was founded in 1967 by Dr. Andor and Joy Kiszely to provide music loving piano students with an exceptional opportunity to develop their talent to the highest level through a comprehensive program of performance skills and musicianship training.
Encouragement and moral support for the school's launch came from a meeting with Zoltan Kodaly at Tanglewood, who had traveled to the US as an honored guest at the summer Festival in Boston in 1966. Dr. Kiszely had been among the prominent artists working with Zoltan Kodaly in Hungary before the Hungarian revolution to establish what has become known as the Kodaly System. The Kodaly System was soon incorporated into the Hungarian education system as a part of their general schooling to provide music education for every child from pre-school to artist level.
The Main Line Conservatory of Music has given its students who desire to perform opportunities to take part in local and international competitions, as well as college preparatory courses for those planning to major in music. Each decade of the school's history has had its share of outstanding achievements.
Joy Miller Kiszely (1941-2020)
Co-founder of the Main Line Conservatory, Joy Miller Kiszely received her musical training in both the U.S. and Europe. Before college she studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and then went on to earn degrees in piano performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, with additional studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. Over her 50-year teaching career, Mrs. Kiszely produced a steady stream of winners in international, national, state, and local competitions.
Five of Mrs. Kiszely's students each performed a concerto with the Kostroma Symphony Orchestra in Russia. (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff 2nd, Rubinstein 4th in D minor, and Saint-Saens No. 2 Concerto, Haydn Concerto in D). Their prizes also included master classes at the Moscow Conservatory with faculty members Slesarev, Ovchinnikov, and Plotnikova.
Five MLCM students were Grand or Gold Medal Prize winners in the Concerto section of the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. They performed their prize winning performances with the Cincinnati Festival Orchestra (Prokofiev Concerto No. 3, Franck Symphonic Variations, Beethoven Concerto No. 1, Mozart D minor Concerto K. 466 and Mozart Concerto K. 414 with the Cincinnati Festival Orchestra).
Local Concerto winners:
Southeastern Pa. Symphony Orchestra, Chopin Concerto No. 1 in E minor
Chester County Youth Orchestra, Grieg Concerto
New Jersey Plainsfield Symphony Orchestra, Mozart Concerto K. 450
Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition finalist, Beethoven Third Concerto, Mvt. 3
Mrs. Kiszely lectured on a variety of topics including: "Competition Preparation: Techniques to Develop High Achievement in Music and Life.” The lecture discussed the fascinating process of helping the young pianist reach their full potential as a musician and as a person through performance preparation.
On numerous occasions, Mrs. Kiszely was among the distinguished and accomplished musicians and historians who delivered lectures for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Lecture/Luncheons program. The program is designed to enhance an appreciation of the composers and their works featured in that week’s concert.
Other facets of her distinguished career, including master classes, chamber music, accompanying, are listed in the International Who’s Who of Music and Who’s Who of American Women.
Dr. Andor Kiszely (1922-2006)
Dr. Andor Kiszely was born in Balassagyarmat, Hungary on November 17, 1922. He received his musical and pianistic training at the Franz Liszt Royal Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. His artist-teachers in piano were Dr. Ernö Daniel, and Dr. Bela Böszörmenyi-Nagy, who studied with Dohnanyi. His third piano teacher was Lajos Hernady, a Bartók student, who was an adjucator in the 1970 Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow. Dr. Kiszely also studied with Zoltan Kodály. Shortly after he received his master’s degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the Franz Liszt Academy, he received his Doctorate in Political Science from Peter Pazmany University in Budapest.
After the Second World War, under the auspices of the U.S. Special services, he toured West Germany, giving concerts in Munich, Augsburg, Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Heidelberg, and other cities. Until 1956, Dr. Kiszely led an active life in Budapest as a well-known performing artist and a respected teacher at the Budapest Academy of Music. He gave numerous recitals, was a soloist with the MAV Symphony Orchestra, and made recordings for Budapest Radio.
During the days of the Hungarian Revolution, Dr. Kiszely was one of the musicians chosen by his colleagues to lead the reorganized Ministry of Education. After the failure of the Revolution in 1956, Dr. Kiszely made Vienna, Austria his home. He received a Ford Foundation Scholarship for two years of post-graduate study in orchestral conducting with Hans Swarowsky at the State Academy of Music (Akademi fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst).
Among his classmates were Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado and Lorin Maazel. He received his Diploma in Orchestral Conducting in 1959.
In Vienna, he gave many recitals in the Musikvereinsaal and the Brahmssaal, and made recordings for the Austrian Radio and Television, (Österreichischer Rundfunk). Other appearances in Austria included Salzburg, Linz, and numerous other cities.
Dr. Kiszely came to the U.S. in 1959, giving recitals in Judson Hall, New York; Rutgers University, New Jersey; Klein Memorial Hall, Norwalk, Connecticut; and in Philadelphia at St. Joseph’s University, La Salle University, Holy Family College, International Institute, and International House.
Dr. Kiszely and his wife, Joy Miller Kiszely, founded the Main Line Conservatory of Music in Ardmore in 1967.
Over his 40 years of teaching, Dr. Kiszely produced winners in major competitions like the Philadelphia Orchestra Greenfield Competition and The Mann Music Center Competition. He had medal winners in major competitions including the Bartok-Kabalevsky National, The Stravinsky International, The International Piano Recording Competition of the NGPT, The World Piano Competition, The American Fine Arts Festival, The Young Pianist Competition of New Jersey, The West Chester University and Drexel University Competitions, The Pottstown and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Competitions, the Baldwin Junior Keyboard, PMTA Concerto and Solo Competitions,
In addition, many of his students have gone on to serve on the faculties of universities and colleges while others have followed Dr. Kiszely’s example and founded music schools that are thriving today and proudly carrying on the musical tradition they learned at the Main Line Conservatory.
Dr. Kiszely was nominated as a Master Teacher by the American Music Scholarship Association, and in 1983, received the Teacher of the Year Award from PMTA. He is listed in Who’s Who in Music in the World, The International Who’s Who of Music, and Who’s Who in American Education.