Molly Sanford, pianist

Molly Sanford

Professional pianist and teacher
in Cincinnati, OH

  • CCM Doctoral Student in Piano Performance
    • Head Graduate Assistant for Secondary Piano Department
  • Instructor at Piano Sensei
  • Group Piano Instructor at CCM
  • Musicologist
  • Music Editor, Mixing and Mastering Engineer at Ravendor Studios


Molly Sanford is an active performer, teacher, scholar, and music editor. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, studying with Michael Chertock, and working with Dr. Michelle Conda in the Secondary Piano department. She previously graduated from Western Michigan University where she studied with Lori Sims.

Throughout her career, Molly has specialized in contemporary and American music. She made her professional debut in 2017 with the Livingston County Community Band playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and was a member of the Birds on a Wire New Music Ensemble under the direction of Dr. David Colson from 2016-2019. She performed for the Etude Premiere Project at Brevard Music Center in 2017 and 2019, and participated in the Carter Pann residency at WMU in 2019.

In 2021, her blog about Ives’ “Concord” Sonata was featured in her presentation at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory’s Charles Ives’s ‘Concord Sonata’ at 101: A Symposium, and her forthcoming lecture recital in January 2023 is centered around solo piano transcriptions of John Williams’ film music.

Molly has performed in many locations outside of her academic career. In February 2023, she will perform and give a masterclass at the Gilmore KeysFest in Kalamazoo, MI. She traveled to Horseheads, NY in 2021 for “Summer in France: A Living Room Concert” with pianist Benjamin Pawlak. In 2022 and 2018, she was selected as a Festival Fellow for the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. In the summer of 2019, Molly attended the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobbico, Italy, performing both solo and chamber music. She has also attended and performed at the Ascent International Chamber Music Festival in Cincinnati, the Piano Festival of the Americas at the University of Iowa, and the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute in Brevard, North Carolina.

Outside of performing, Molly has worked as a private and group instructor in various settings. She currently teaches Piano for Music Education and Group Piano for Non-Music Majors at CCM. Between college students at the University and private students at Piano Sensei, her teaching currently covers all age groups. Before moving to Cincinnati, she was also a substitute instructor at the Spring Valley Elementary Piano Lab through the Gilmore in Kalamazoo.

She has played an active role in the MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) groups at WMU and CCM, and she co-presented “Close Your Eyes And Make Music: A Case Study In Teaching Students With Visual Impairments” at the 2020 Collegiate Symposium and the 2021 National Conference. Molly also has experience with music editing, mixing, mastering, and producing, having worked with composer Jacy Pedersen on her 2020 opera Pretentious Hermeneutic Drivel, and composer Benjamin Pawlak on piano solos, chamber music, short films, and orchestral film score demos.

Upcoming Events

Solo Recital: Music Live @ Christ Church
January 5, 2023 – 12:05pm EST
Christ Church, Glendale OH

  • Excerpts from “Beyond the Classics: Music by Female Composers”
  • Excerpts from “Scoring Film for Two Hands: John Williams’ Orchestral Works from a Pianist’s Perspective”

Community Concert: Gilmore KeysFest
February 25, 2023 – 12:30pm EST
Masterclass TBA
The Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall

  • Prelude and Fugue, Op. 16, No. 2 – Clara Schumann
  • Four Lieder for Piano, Op. 8 – Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel
  • Jupiter’s Moons – Judith Lang Zaimont
  • Homages, Book 1 – Cheryl Frances-Hoad
  • Song Without Words, or “Pleading” – Florence Price

Lecture Recital: “Scoring Film for Two Hands – John Williams’ Orchestral Works from a Pianist’s Perspective
January 17, 2023 – 6:45pm EST
Mary Emery Hall Rm. 3250

Chamber Recital
April 12, 2023 – 5pm EST
Werner Recital Hall