Paul Landefeld and Lorraine Landefeld

Paul Landefeld and Lorraine Landefeld

Paul Landefeld is Executive Director Emeritus of the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas (SMID). Mr. Landefeld holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Music Education degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

In 1981 Mr. Landefeld received a Certificate of Study and Observation from the Talent Education Research Institute (TERI) in Matsumoto, Japan where he studied violin under the tutelage of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Mr. Landefeld performed with colleagues at the memorial service for Dr. Suzuki in March 1998 at the Civic Center in Matsumoto, Japan. He has participated as speaker and/or clinician at music educators conventions and Suzuki conferences, workshops, and institutes throughout the USA as well as Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea, and the Philippines.

Mr. Landefeld taught in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area for 20 years, both in public and private programs. He founded and became the Executive Director of Talent Education of Greater Pittsburgh, an umbrella organization sponsoring support activities and outreach for the Suzuki movement in that area.

Prior to moving to Dallas, Texas in September 1986, Mr. Landefeld was Director of the American Suzuki Talent Education Center (ASTEC), now named Aber Suzuki Center, and the American Suzuki Institute (ASI) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His responsibilities included organizing and directing the summer Suzuki institute program (ASI) and teaching Suzuki Pedagogy classes to undergraduate and graduate students for a university degree with an emphasis in Suzuki Method.® In July 1990 he served as Director of the Texas Christian University (TCU) Suzuki Institute in Fort Worth, Texas. He has also participated in Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) conventions as a presenter/panelist and has served on the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) Ad Hoc Committee for String Education. Mr. Landefeld has also been a guest speaker at the Texas Music Teachers State Convention in Austin, Texas.

Mr. Landefeld is an Honorary Life Member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), as well as a Past President/ Board Chair (1986-1988), and a Registered Teacher Trainer of that organization. Mr. Landefeld is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the SAA for Vision, Leadership and Outstanding Service.

From 2002-2011 and from 2016-2017, Mr. Landefeld served as CEO of the International Suzuki Association (ISA). From 2011-2016 he served the ISA as an At-Large Member of the Board of Directors. During his tenure as ISA Board Member and ISA-CEO, he assisted in the reorganization of the ISA’s Asia region which led to the development and legal incorporation of the Asia Region Suzuki Association (ARSA).

Mr. Landefeld is currently semi-retired with a small class of 15 students. Mrs. Landefeld completely retired in January of 2020 and avoided all the online teaching that Covid necessitated. Our two sons, Mark and John, live in the greater Dallas area and both are performing musicians.

Lorraine Landefeld holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, PA. She studied in the studio of Harry Franklin, Chairman of the Music Department and former keyboardist with the Pittsburgh Symphony. Her other mentors with whom she studied privately were James Friskin, Edwin Hughes, Haruko Kataoka, Ozan Marsh and Eunice Norton.

As a performer, Ms. Landefeld won numerous awards and scholarships and appeared as soloist with the Butler Symphony, the Chautauqua Symphony, with Walter Hendel as conductor, and twice with the Pittsburgh Symphony, under the baton of Karl Kritz and William Steinberg respectively. She appeared as soloist on radio stations WNYC in New York City and KDKA in Pittsburgh and was winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society both in the Junior and the Young Artist divisions.

As a teacher, Ms. Landefeld’s students have won prizes in national and international competitions and have graduated with music degrees from prestigious music schools and conservatories such as Carnegie Mellon, Cincinnati, Indiana, New England Conservatory, Peabody, Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University and University of Arizona.

Her intense interest in teaching began in her early twenties after her marriage to Paul Landefeld, whom she met at CMU and married in 1964. Together, along with their two young sons, they began their life long journey as Suzuki parents and Suzuki teachers at the American Suzuki Institute in Steven’s Point, WI.

After being introduced to Haruko Kataoko, the co-founder of the Suzuki Piano method, at the American Suzuki Institute in 1973, Ms. Landefeld decided to pursue intense training with Kataoka. In December 1981 she completed 15 months of study with both Dr. Suzuki and Dr. Kataoka which earned her a certificate of Study and Observation from the Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. Before her return home from her sabbatical in Japan she introduced the Suzuki Piano method in Manila, Philippines by invitation of Carmencita Arambulo. After graduating from TERI and settling back into American life she and her husband Paul were invited to teach at the American Suzuki Talent Education Center as well as the American Suzuki Institute at Stevens Point, WI. At ASTEC and UWSP Ms. Landefeld taught students and pedagogy courses in the Suzuki method at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Ms. Landefeld, along with her husband, Paul, formally founded and directed the Suzuki Development Center of Pittsburgh and subsequently incorporated Talent Education of Greater Pittsburgh, a not for profit organization which was an umbrella organization for Suzuki teachers, parents and students. This organization is still in existence today under the name of Suzuki Association of Pittsburgh.

Ms. Landefeld became a registered Suzuki Piano teacher trainer through the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) and served the SAA as Piano Column editor of the American Suzuki Journal and Chair of the Piano Committee. In retirement she holds the prestigious title of Teacher Trainer Emeritus on a long list of wonderful pioneers who paved the way for the future teachers of the Suzuki method.

In the fall of 1986 the Landefelds moved to the greater Dallas area where they co-directed and taught at the Suzuki Institute of Dallas, now named the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas. They retired in 2005 from that position and continued to teach privately at their home studies.

Instruments studied in Japan: Violin (Paul); Piano (Lorraine)

Dates in Japan: My wife, Lorraine (pianist), and I were students at the Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto from September 1980 through December 1981. We did a combined graduation concert of piano and violin repertoire.


When in the fall of 1980 we went to Matsumoto to study, we went as a family. Our two sons, Mark and John, also studied at the Talent Education Institute. Mark, age 15, studied violin with Suzuki and John, age 12 and turned 13 in October, studied cello with Nagase. Both boys played on Monday Concerts, and Dr. Suzuki called John “small Casals.” Both boys have pursued music as a co-river and are our Eastman School of Music graduates.

While in Matsumoto they also studied magic with Nagase, who would come to our house for dinner every Friday evening and show them magic tricks. Nagase also gave us an old TV and video tape machine to use, along with a box of video tapes of magic shows. The boys watched the videos over and over to figure out how to do the magic tricks. Almost like Suzuki Magic training. They got rather good and participated with Nagase in some of his magic shows. They also did a few shows on their own for kindergarten classes and retirement homes. To do some tricks that required small animals, they were able to convince a local pet shop owner to rent them animals by the day. The boys sewed pockets into their sports jackets and with a certain amount of showmanship were able to seemingly pull birds out of thin air. They have fond memories of their time in Japan.


The program of study at the Talent Education Institute (TEI) in Matsumoto included the opportunities to perform for Dr. Suzuki and fellow students at the Institute. One such opportunity was Monday Concert. Every Monday afternoon an informal concert was held in the TEI auditorium. TEI students could sign up to play on Monday Concert when they had a piece somewhat performance ready. This gave students an opportunity to practice performing as well as have feedback from Dr. Suzuki, who would take notes on the performances and quite often come onto the stage to give the performer a short lesson or make and demonstrate a teaching point to the observers. Students who were approaching their graduation were encouraged to sign up every week in preparation for their graduation concert.

In the autumn of 1981 my wife Lorraine, a piano student of Dr. Kataoka, and I were preparing for our joint graduation concert. Dr. Suzuki had asked us to do a joint recital in which we each individually played a concerto followed by performing together a Beethoven sonata and a Brahms sonata. As we were approaching our graduation date, we made it a point to sign up every week for Monday Concert.

One Monday when we were scheduled to perform on Monday Concert, I had a problem with my neck. Somehow, I had slept wrong on my futon mattress and awakened with a sharp pain in my neck. I could not turn my head from side to side therefore making it very painful to hold my violin in performing position.

Just before the concert was to begin, I explained my situation to Dr. Suzuki. He asked me to sit beside him during the concert. He had his special auditorium seat in the higher raised section of the hall. As the concert began, he placed his hand on my back at the base of my neck. He held his hands there for about a minute and a half and then proceeded to listen to the various performers. After a few performers had played he came onto the stage to give some instruction on tone production. He then came back to his seat and again briefly placed his hand on the back of my neck. After a few more performances he again went to the stage to offer suggestions. This time instead of going back to his seat he went to the row behind me and sat directly behind me. Then he put a hand over my head and another near the base of my neck. Although he did not actually touch me, I could feel his energy. Shortly after he started this procedure, I could feel a tingle in my neck and scalp. While still not touching me his energy transfer became stronger. Soon the very back of my neck became very, very hot. After a couple of minutes, he took his hands away and came back to his seat. I looked over at him and discovered I could turn my head and neck without any pain. I smiled at him and said thank you. He smiled back at me and had that special soft twinkle in his eyes which let me know of the depth of his caring.

For our graduation recital in December 1981, I played the Bach A Minor Violin Concerto with the orchestra, and Lorraine did a Mozart Piano Concerto (No. 23, if I recall) with second piano. For the second half of the recital, we did a Beethoven sonata and a Brahms sonata at Suzuki’s request.

About a month before the recital, I saw Prof. Hiroko Kataoka in the hallway of the Talent Education building, and she asked me how the preparation for the graduation recital was going. I said that while good progress was made initially, at this point progress had slowed, like we had hit a wall, and things were just not improving in spite of the fact that we were practicing together and individually. I know I was practicing several hours a day in addition to other activities and rehearsals. Dr. Kataoka then asked me how much listening to artist recordings I did to get inspiration and catch artistic ideas. I said that I was listening some and Lorraine and I listened sometimes together but there was not a lot of time to listen, as busy as we were. She suggested that we really needed to listen more. She said if we practiced that much with not enough listening, we would become our own model. She said we probably needed a better model. We tried the increased listening approach, and things definitely got better.


I was very fortunate to be with Dr. Suzuki on a few of his birthdays. When he turned 88 years old my wife, Lorraine, and I went to visit him in Matsumoto. The number 88 is a very special number in Asian cultures. There were two or three parties held in Suzuki’s honor. During the birthday party that the student teachers had for him in the kenkyusei meeting room, some of the English-speaking students suggested I ask him something about how he was feeling at the age of 88. So, I asked him this question: “Dr. Suzuki, how is it that at the age of 88 you still have such vitality to come and teach students every day and do so with such enthusiasm?” He replied, “It is because my spirit has no desire to be somewhere else.”

What an amazing man!

Photo in Matsumoto

Graduation Concert on December 4, 1981