An Interview with American Pianists Association Board Member, Host “Mother” and Longtime Supporter – JANET NINE

APA: How were you introduced to the American Pianists Association?

JANET: Joan and Mike Kenniff discovered the American Pianists Association early after their 1998 relocation from New Jersey to Indiana.  Joan was a NJ friend who taught piano and served as President of the New Jersey Music Educators Association. She offered to ease my Indy assimilation after 37 years living in the NYC area.  My husband John and I were invited to a Great Homes, Great Music event and the rest is history.

John Nine & Michael Kenniff
John Nine & Mike Kenniff at an APA fundraiser in 2009

Shortly after the lovely evening, Joel Harrison asked that I join him at one of his famous lunches. Joan’s enthusiasm for the organization and Joel’s passion convinced me that APA’s mission was worthy of support.


Adam Golka, Janet Nine & Joel Harrison outside Lincoln Center after Adam’s 2015 debut at the hall


APA: Who was the first Finalist you hosted? Can you tell us about that experience? 

JANET: Aaron Parks, the 2001 Jazz Fellow, was our first APA house guest.  We made a miserably strong pot of Japanese green tea and reminisced about our years of living in Japan. I enjoyed hearing a jazz pianist for the first time ever.


APA: What has been your most memorable hosting experience?

JANET: My most memorable was a non-musical evening during the joint hosting of Dan Tepfer and Adam Golka. Dan holds a degree in Astro Physics. We spent the night standing in the driveway looking through my birding telescope observing the numerous moons of Saturn.  Other hosting experiences are all memorable for a variety of reasons. Michael Lewin, Jerome Lowenthal, Radoslav Kvapil, and Victor Rosenbaum each brought a unique visitor’s story which can’t be shared in anything less than a lengthy epistle and may need censoring.


APA: Have you made any lasting friendships through your involvement with the American Pianists Association?

JANET: I’d like to think that the friendships we have made through hosting young candidates will continue for multiple years. Michael Sheppard, Stephen Beus, Adam Golka and Eric Zuber are welcome house guests and considered honorary family members. I cherish newly developed friendships between APA board members and supporters alike.

Stephen Janet Eric

Stephen Beus, Janet Nine & Eric Zuber at the 2013 Classical Fellowship Awards


APA: What has been your most memorable APA concert or event?

JANET: My most memorable concert was the 2009 Classical Finals when Adam Golka played a glorious Rachmaninoff 3 and won one of the two first place awards. We were his host family making the win extra special.

Fixed best Adam and family

Janet Nine with Adam Golka and his family at the 2009 Classical Fellowship Awards

My most memorable event is ongoing. Everyday that our home is filled with live piano music is an ‘event’ whether it is a guest learning a new piece or refining something already in their repertoire.

Ben at practice

Adam Golka practicing at the Nine’s while their grandson watched in 2009 

Eric Zuber is currently here banging out Liszt’s beastly Dante Sonata. Believe me, that is an event! I’m sorry it can’t be shared.

Taking the guys to Raleigh Limited at The Fashion Mall at Keystone to purchase their first decent suit is another ‘event.’ They are deliciously excited and grateful to expand their starving artist’s wardrobe.




Janet and her husband John recently donated a Steinway piano to Purdue University (more about selection and donation process here). 

The piano will be dedicated at 7 PM on Friday, September 11, 2015 at  Purdue University’s Loeb Playhouse.

American Pianists Association’s President/CEO and Artistic Director, Joel Harrison will make an introduction, and Sean Chen and Eric Zuber will be the featured performers (more here).

Eric Joel Janet John Craig 2

Craig Gigax, John & Janet Nine, Joel Harrison, Eric Zuber at Steinway & Sons in New York selecting the piano



APA: What makes the gift of the Steinway D to Purdue University so special to both you and your husband John?

JANET: Aside from the fact that they are in great need of a concert instrument, it will allow them to invite top ranked musicians to perform on their concert series without fear of embarrassment by an inferior piano. We have a ten year agreement to sponsor American Pianists Association Jazz and Classical winners at a Purdue concert on alternate years. John and I have both been involved in giving to the athletic program at Purdue in the past, but with this gift we wanted to try and balance the scales between our athletic and artistic giving. Now, more so than perhaps any time in the history of this country, music and the arts need patronage in order to help sustain them and keep them flourishing in our society. We hope that this gift will contribute to a growing and vibrant musical community at Purdue, and that the beautiful music produced through it will touch the hearts and lives of all those who listen.




Author: americanpianistsassociation

The mission of the American Pianists Association is to discover, promote and advance the careers of young, American jazz and classical pianists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s