Pianist and Organist, Musicologist, and Mind/Body Instructor
Thanks for visiting! Explore my site to learn more about me, my musical performance and academic background, my yoga teaching experience, and what I may have to offer you. If you have questions or would like to discuss an opportunity to work together, feel free to get in touch.
View the video below to hear more about my musical story
as told through PBS's American Portrait Series.
I am an active musician and musicologist who has worked in higher education while pursuing ethnomusicological research in Iranian studies. I am continually seeking new ways to share music. Academically, my aim is to spread a greater awareness of global music cultures through my writings and presentations. Musically, I seek to create powerful moments of joy and gratitude as well as prayerful spaces for peace and reflection. I also teach mind/body awareness through the practices of yoga and pilates. Whether it’s through performing, publishing, teaching, pursuing additional skills, or meeting new people, I enjoy exploring and being amazed at how interconnected we are as human beings through the unique gifts we share. To learn more about me, keep exploring my site or reach out directly.
Background & Expertise
CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, GRACE CONCERT SERIES,
August 2018 - ongoing
With mezzo-soprano Madonna Byrkeland, I created a concert series in 2018 at Grace Baptist Church to provide another outlet to showcase professional musical talent and to raise money for charitable causes including the Virginia Holocaust Museum, ReEstablish Richmond, Hurricane Dorian relief in the Bahamas, Earthquake relief in Puerto Rico, Children Incorporated, and CARITAS. Past programs have included creative arrangements of gospel hymns and spirituals, popular Gershwin songs, four-hand piano works, 19th-20th century American chamber music, French chamber music, music that honored the lives of Jewish composers and musicians lost to the Holocaust, and original jazz arrangements of Advent and Christmas music.
PIANIST AND ORGANIST, GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, RICHMOND, VA
September 2016 - ongoing
Every week, music flows through the sanctuary of Grace Baptist Church. Music director, Rev. Wanda Fennell, leads the choir in wonderful anthems that showcase the diversity in choral repertoire. I carefully select and perform musical offerings that complement the tone of each service. It has become one of my greatest joys to provide music for others during times of uplifting joy and spiritual reflection. During the current pandemic, music continues to abound through virtual offerings.
ADJUNCT PROFESSOR OF MUSIC,
UNIVERSITY OF MARY WASHINGTON, FREDERICKSBURG, VA
September 2015 -
I have taught undergraduate music courses including piano, music history (Western art music), popular music studies, and musics of the world, and I have worked to bring guest artists into the classroom to enrich my students' learning experience. These artists have included the Bulgarian Kaynak Pipers Band, Indonesian keroncong and gamelan artist Danis Sugiyanto with Indonesian music scholar, Hannah Standiford, Turkish saz musician Latif Bolat with whirling dervish Serap Yilmaz, Japanese folk musician Minae Uehara, and members of UMW's Indian Music Ensemble. I have also mentored students with senior projects and independent research seminars. This has been as much of a wonderful learning experience for me as it has been for my students.
YOGA, BARRE, PILATES INSTRUCTOR, FREELANCE, RICHMOND, VA
Yoga has been a part of my life since childhood. In the last decade, I have been able to deepen my practice, and I have become inspired to lead others. I teach a mixed-level practice that encourages people of all backgrounds to embrace a yoga practice that works for them. In addition, I teach a barre practice that focuses on all around toning and strengthening. (Certifications in: YogaFit, ISCA Mat Pilates, and Barre Above.)
February 2015 - ongoing
PRIVATE PIANO TEACHER, RICHMOND, VA
I teach private piano lessons from my home studio to students of all ages and experiences. This includes organizing recitals for them to showcase their work. It is an absolute joy to nurture musical knowledge, ability, and passion in others!
September 2017 - ongoing
What I’ve Learned
My diverse education has not only provided the foundation for the rest of my experiences, but has also made me a lifelong learner who continually thirsts for new skills and knowledge.
PHD MUSICOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, UK
September 2008 -
With a focus on ethnomusicology, my doctoral research explored popular music practices and youth identity in post-revolutionary Iran and its diaspora, under the supervision of musicologist Elaine Kelly, sociologist Simon Frith, and Persian/Arabic studies scholar Kamran Rastegar. This was a highly interdisciplinary project, branching out into areas of Persian studies, anthropology, cultural studies, religion, history, and politics.
MMUS WITH DISTINCTION, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, UK
During this master of music degree program, I explored a variety of musicological research projects related to gender studies before choosing to focus my masters thesis on an ethnomusicological study of pre-revolutionary female singers in late 19th century and early 20th century Persia.
September 2007 - September 2008
BA MUSIC, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
While pursuing this musicology and performance based degree, I focused on piano performance in solo and chamber music capacities, studying under pianists Mimi Tung and George Francois.
August 2000 - May 2004
BS ARCHITECTURE, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
This design degree helped me broaden my creativity and knowledge of the design world, including graphic design. This degree allowed me to build a strong work ethic and a keen eye for design, especially while multi-tasking, which has remained with me to this day.
August 2000 - May 2004
ASSOCIATES OF ARTS AND SCIENCES,
WHATCOM COMMUNITY COLLEGE, BELLINGHAM, WA
In my last two years of high school, I attended community college as part of Washington state's Running Start program. I was able to graduate from high school and earn a two-year college degree at the same time. I had some of my best professors here, who pushed me and taught me to think critically for myself. Without this education and my transfer credits, I would not have been able to pursue dual degrees in both architecture and music at U.Va.
September 1998 - June 2000
PUBLICATIONS AND WORKS IN PROGRESS
Advisory Board Member. Ethnomusicology Review, Volume 22. Edited by Samuel Lamontagne. University of California, Los Angeles, 2020.
Music critic and contributing writer for Edinburgh International Festival, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra Concert Seasons. Musical Criticism, Edinburgh, UK, musicalcriticism.com, 2010-2011.
Steward, Theresa. “Beyond a Politicization of Persian Cats: Representing Iranian Popular Musicians in the Western Media.” In Middle Journal of Culture and Communication. Edited by Mehdi Semati, May 2020.
Steward, Theresa. “In Between Home and Homeland: A Study of the Iranian Musical Diaspora through Mohsen Namjoo’s ‘Cielito Lindo.’” In Popular Communications: Popular Music of Iran, Vol. 15, Issue 3. Edited by Mehdi Semati. 2017.
Steward, Theresa. “’We Just Make Music’: Deconstructing Notions of Authenticity in the Iranian DIY Underground.” In The Punk Reader: Research Transmissions from the Local and the Global. Edited by Mike Dines and Alastair Gordon. Bristol, UK: Intellect Books, 2019.
Steward, Theresa. Contributor. Music Around the World: A Global Encyclopedia. Edited by Matthew Milhalka and Andrew R. Martin. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, December 2019.
Steward, Theresa. Contributor. The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture. Edited by Janet Sturman and J. Geoffrey Golson. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2019.
Steward, Theresa. “A Muslim in a Baptist Church: Discovering my Calling as a Sacred Musician.” In The Routledge Companion to Women and Musical Leadership: the Nineteenth Century and Beyond, Part Five: Faith and Spirituality: Worship and Sacred Musical Practices. Edited by Laura Hamer and Helen Julia Minors, forthcoming, 2022.
Steward, Theresa, Contributor. "The Power of Claiming: Type Nine." Enneagram Exploration Project. Edited by Sandra Smith. Forthcoming.
Steward, Theresa. “'We Came From a Single Drop': Questions of Reception and Representation in the Rap-e Farsi Diaspora.” In Popular Music and Society in Iran: New Directions. Edited by Nahid Siamdoust and Houchang Chehabi. Harvard University Press, forthcoming.
What I Do
PIANIST FOR HIRE
Make Your Event Memorable
I am classically-trained with two decades of performance experience, but I offer a variety of repertoire - whatever you need to fit your occasion. I am available for hire for weddings, receptions, and various other public and private events in the Greater Richmond area.
Music for All Ages
With over 15 years of teaching experience, I believe that anyone at any age can learn a musical instrument. I offer masterclasses and teach intermediate to advanced piano with an emphasis on efficient technique, expressive musicality, and learning to perform with confidence.
Ever Wonder What Mozart ate for Breakfast?
As a musicologist, these kinds of questions are part of the overall picture of music history. I approach the study of music from an interdisciplinary perspective and offer lectures on understanding not only form and function, but cultural and social meaning in Western art music, popular music, and many other music practices around the globe. Oh, and apparently the musical prodigy enjoyed half a capon (small chicken) to start his day of composing!
YOGA, BARRE, AND PILATES INSTRUCTOR
Make Time to Feel Good
Start a practice or continue building upon it with private individual or group sessions. No flexibility required! Feel your body transform into a healthier you as we work on strengthening, toning, and stretching, working alongside the breath. I am a strong believer in creating a practice that fits your life and one that shapes your mental and physical needs. Create a little breathing space and observe how much more energy and focus you will have for the rest of the day! Click below to see some of my practices/workouts.
YOGA AT GRACE
Feed Your Mind and Body
Join me throughout the year for yoga classes at Grace Baptist Church. Stay tuned for future dates when we will hold sessions outdoors on the Portico! Classes are free and open to all. Donations are accepted to benefit needs in the greater Richmond community.
Grace Baptist Church
4200 Dover Road, Richmond, VA 23221
“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
I’d love to hear from you.