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About Our Team

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

M Institute for the Arts was founded by lyric soprano, Susanna Barasch. The M opened its doors in 2015 in Georgetown, Washington, DC, on 31st & M Streets (where it got it's name) and has been providing meaningful and creative artistic resources and services ever since. After its extremely successful online, pandemic-era offerings, the M officially became an online platform in 2021 in order to continue serve the music community at-large.


Susanna Barasch, Founder & CEO

Ms. Barasch has performed throughout the United States and Italy as a professional operatic soprano before pursing her larger passion to not only be on the stage, but to be behind the creation of great art on all levels. Her most influential artistic mentors include Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, Virginia Zeani, and Tzvetan Konstantinov.


Since starting M Institute, she has organized, with the help of amazing committees and volunteers, hundreds of instrument donations, student grants, dozens of music-centric events and music salons and fundraisers, free music classes, as well as over 20 recitals. In 2020, Ms. Barasch and her team were on the front lines of online lessons and experiences for the music community, including a weekly livestream recital series and several online classes per week. In the Summer of 2020, she lead a very talented team of singers who created the "New Era Voice Festival," with celebrity hosts from around the world including Angel Blue, Capucine Chiaudani, Lori Laitman, and Joan Patenaude-Yarnell. In the Summer of 2021, she founded the Young Artist Program with a group of talented vocalists and pianists.


Ms. Barasch also enjoys philanthropy and has been involved with many non-profits and causes, including Hillwood House & Museum, the American Heart Association's Palm Beach Heart Ball, the oldest gala in Palm Beach, the Junior League, where she was named to 2011 Fundraiser of the Year, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. At the age of 25, she was named Executive Director of a county political party in South Florida. She also served as a founding board member of the The International Master Institute of Music "Leopold Godowsky."


In addition, Ms. Barasch enjoys teaching classical voice, with many students placing with high honors at the Royal College of Music's ABRSM exams. She also enjoys gardening, cooking, and playing with Minxie the Pomeranian.


 

Thomas Pandolfi, Artistic Director

Thomas Pandolfi is one of the leading pianists of our time, hailed a “phenomenon.” He began his career early on while at The Juilliard School (BM & MM) where the young prodigy caught the influential ear of Vladimir Horowitz, who would become his mentor, and legendary composer, Morton Gould. Since then he has been an audience favorite, selling out the world’s most prestigious stages, including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Strathmore, The Kennedy Center, Kiev Opera House, Bucharest’s Romanian Athenaeum, London’s Cadogan Hall, and many others.


DC Metro Arts calls him, “exhilarating… a rare mix of technical accuracy and cool confidence.” “His artistry and technique were simply astonishing,” said the Metropolitan Arts Reviews. The Washington Post boasted he is a “master of both the grand gesture and the sensual line… Pandolfi's large-scale pianism seemed under tight control yet in no way muted the passion of his performance… projected with an exquisite sense of lyrical gesture.” “A standout among today's young pianists... His virtuosity and strength… might have had some believing that Liszt himself had taken over the keyboard,” said the Asheville Citizen-Times. “The mastery of the scores, the precision of the playing, and the finesse of the expression were all simply spectacular. It was a truly bravura performance, both in the virtuosic and in the reflective pieces, yet one completely without gratuitous exaggerated display,” acclaimed The Boston Musical Intelligencer.


In addition to being recognized as one of the greatest interpreters of the Polish masters such as Chopin, Paderewski, and Godowsky, this versatile pianist has received accolades from everything from Bach to Gershwin, with Morton Gould saying, “It’s the finest performance of Gershwin I have heard since the composer himself.” His original and virtuosic transcriptions of popular works, such as West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera, are one-of-kind, jaw-dropping, and dramatic encores that keep audiences of all ages returning to his performances again and again.


Mr. Pandolfi is a Steinway Artist and will begin recording for Steinway Spirio later this year. Mr. Pandolfi’s performances have been broadcast by PBS, WETA (Washington, DC), WQXR (NYC), WRCJ (Detroit), DCN TV (China), The Sound (DC), and many others worldwide. During his 2019-2020 season, he will complete a 20-state tour of the USA, his fourth tour in China, third tour of the UK, and seventh tour of Romania and Moldova.


Born in Washington, DC into a musical family, Pandolfi began his studies with his father and continued on with principle teachers Sasha Gorodnitzki , Adele Marcus, Gyorgy Sandor. He holds a BM and MM from The Juilliard School. Maestro Pandolfi is available for recitals, concertos, and masterclasses.

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