Crossroads News

Mary Ann Cummins Named to Steinway’s Teacher Hall of Fame

The longtime Crossroads faculty member teaches EMMI keyboard skills and music theory classes.
In October, Mary Ann Cummins was named to Steinway & Sons’ Teacher Hall of Fame for the outstanding piano education she’s provided students for the last five decades. Steinway & Sons, founded over 170 years ago, started its Hall of Fame in 2019 to recognize piano teachers who have taught for at least 10 years, demonstrating outstanding instruction and leadership in acoustic piano education while exclusively using a Steinway or Steinway-designed piano in their teaching practice. The ceremony, held every other year, took place in New York City.

Mary Ann is a Crossroads legend. She began teaching at the School in 1971, the year of its founding. For Mary Ann, Crossroads is a family affair: her husband is the School’s co-founder and first headmaster; her daughters, Liesl Erman ’77, Julie Hansen ’78, Anna Cummins ’91 and Emily Polk ’94, are all alumnae; and two of her three grandchildren currently attend Crossroads.

Mary Ann was instrumental in developing the School’s music major program, which later evolved into the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute, enabling students to benefit from Crossroads’ college preparatory program while also pursuing their passion for classical music at a conservatory level. She continues to be a fixture of the program, teaching music theory and keyboard skills classes. In addition, Mary Ann gives private piano lessons and is involved with the West Los Angeles branch of the Music Teachers Association of California. 

“Mary Ann is EMMI,” said EMMI Director Gina Coletti. “She’s a visionary who saw what it could become and made it what it is. She’s so passionate about what she does—she just really wants the kids to learn and is probably the most enthusiastic teacher. She inspires them.” 

 Mary Ann and her family traveled to New York to receive the honor. The event included a dinner honoring the Hall of Fame inductees, where Paul and Mary Ann were delighted to run into her former EMMI student Judy Huang ’92 (who was also being inducted)! Honorees also enjoyed a private tour of the Steinway factory to learn about the inner workings of the company’s manufacturing center. 

“It’s not everyone who has a job that feeds [their soul], that keeps them alive,” Mary Ann reflected. “I might be tired, but I walk into this keyboard skills room, and when the class is over, I’m not tired anymore. It makes me think. It makes me use my imagination. And then to see how it changes students? How it informs their piano playing? It’s fun.”