|Justin Appel holds a bachelor's degree in piano performance from Pacific Lutheran University, where he studied with Richard Farner, and a master's degree in sacred music from the University of Notre Dame, studying organ with Craig Cramer and choral conducting with Nancy Menk, Tom Merrill and Carmen Helena Téllez. During his time at PLU, Justin received the Music Scholarship, the Bertha Gilbertson Scholarship, and was a winner of the Student Soloist Competition. He has also received coaching as a pianist from Gabriel Baldocci, Gilbert Kalish, and Christina Dahl, and as an accompanist from Marsha Baldwin. Justin has performed extensively as a pianist, a conductor, and an organist in academic and church settings.
Justin has also sung in the Tacoma Symphony Chorus, the Choir of the West at Pacific Lutheran University, and the Master Singers at the University of Notre Dame. He has been a professional church musician for eight years, currently serving as the director of music at Trinity Church, and the youth choir director at Grace Lutheran Church. He is an avid fan of the Anglican choral tradition, and has written original choral compositions on commission. Justin has also studied Gregorian Chant in Solesmes, France, and Baroque organs in the Netherlands and Germany. In spite of his broad interests, Justin's first instrument - and first love - is the piano.
As a teacher at the Columbia River Music Conservatory, Justin focuses on playing the piano with tension-free technique and musicality, using great literature, and developing good reading skills. He also believes in the importance of integrating the historical, theoretical, and aesthetic aspects of music into lessons. In addition to piano lessons, Justin offers vocal coaching, and organ or conducting lessons. He can teach the necessary techniques involved in moving from the piano to the organ – a specialized task indeed! Additionally, Justin enjoys collaborating with vocalists and instrumentalists, having extensively accompanied soloists and ensembles, such as the Choir of the West. Currently, he accompanies the Chamber Choir at Wenatchee Valley College.