Kristina Henckel


Dr. Kristina Henckel is an accomplished pianist and teacher originally hailing from the Czech Republic. She earned her degree from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, studying under the guidance of Professor Peter Toperczer. Kristina has been recognized for her talents in various competitions, placing third in both the Chopin Piano Competition and Smetana Piano Competition, and taking home first prize in the National Piano Competition of Conservatories, where she received a special award for the best performance of Antonín Dvořák’s compositions.

In pursuit of furthering her education, Kristina moved to the United States in 1999 to earn a doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. During her time there, she won several awards, including first place in both the Donna Turner-Smith Piano Competition and the 2012 Graduate Concerto Competition. Her dissertation, titled „Pianistic Analysis of Bedřich Smetana’s Piano Cycle Dreams,“ earned her a nomination for the University of Oklahoma Provost’s Dissertation Prize in 2016.

Kristina has performed as a soloist and collaboratively in recitals across Europe and the US. Her music has been broadcasted on various radio stations, such as Radio Vltava in the Czech Republic and King FM 98.1 in Washington. She is a Ritmüller piano artist and in 2022 became a laureate of The American Prize competition.

Kristina released a CD with the piano trio Turnía, featuring music of Antonín Dvořák and Bedřich Smetana. She also co-founded the 4HANDS Piano Duo with Cuban-American pianist Amanda Virelles. They have released two CDs, „Rhapsody in White and Blue“ in August 2021 and „Slava“ in November 2022. Most recently, the duo was awarded the Grand Prize and the Artist of the Year award in the Chamber Music category at the 2022 International Youth Music Competition. As a result, they will perform a concert at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in New York in September 2023. In May 2023, they won the Progressive Musicians Sound Espressivo competition and will be performing at Carnegie Hall in November 2023.


Currently, Dr. Henckel is a music faculty member at Sandhills Community College and Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.


Teaching Bio

As a piano teacher, Kristina is recognized for her expertise in music education. She is highly
regarded as a workshop presenter, clinician, and adjudicator, and her students have won top
prizes in national and international piano competitions. They have also performed at prestigious
venues such as Carnegie Hall. Kristina’s students have received awards in various competitions including the Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition, Piano League International Competition, National Federation of Music Clubs State Piano Competition in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State MTA Piano Competition, and Midwest Division MTNA Piano Competition. She has received teaching excellence awards from both the Carmel and Piano League competitions. Kristina has also shared her expertise in well-regarded pedagogy periodicals in the US. In particular, she created an instructional video presentation on Maria Szymanowska’s Six Minuets for the Inspiring Artistry Project, which was featured in Piano Magazine. 

Teaching Philosophy

As a music teacher, my primary goal is to inspire, involve, and challenge my
students. I am deeply passionate about music, and I strive to instill that same passion in my students. My approach to teaching piano involves exploring the rich history of the instrument and its composers and using that context to engage my students in their study of music. In order to build confidence in their playing, I provide plenty of opportunities for performance. I also use analogies to explain musical and technical concepts, always presenting them in a familiar way that my students can easily understand. My preferred teaching approach is through demonstration, but I always tailor my instruction to meet the unique needs of each student, taking into account their individual learning style.

My primary objective is to attain the utmost level of sound excellence in my student’s performances. To accomplish this, I adhere to the piano playing and teaching principles formulated by Heinrich Neuhaus, as outlined in his book, The Art of Piano Playing. According to Neuhaus, I prioritize the cultivation of a tension-free technique during my lessons. Additionally, I assess each student’s technical difficulties, which include advising on proper finger placement on the keys, selecting the most suitable fingering, and comprehending the connection between the fingers, wrist, arm, shoulder, and back to produce an exquisite sound.

Developing musicianship is just as important as perfecting technique. When teaching students, I assess their reading ability and select appropriate repertoire. Each student’s curriculum includes scales, arpeggios, etudes, and diverse piano pieces to fill in any gaps in technique, fingering, score reading, and stage presence. I choose challenging pieces to help students master their skills, and I also consider their unique personalities when selecting repertoire. My goal is to ensure that every student can perform with confidence and skill.

My teaching approach focuses on efficient practice techniques that prioritize quality over quantity. In group classes, I encourage participation and dialogue among students to accelerate progress. Whether teaching private piano lessons or collaborative classes, I rely on my performance and practice strategies and extensive knowledge of piano literature to guide my teaching philosophy.

Finally, I prepare my students for performances right from the start of learning a new piece. I provide them with effective memory techniques, encourage them to perform during our lessons as soon as possible, and ask them to record their at-home performances and assess themselves, which I then provide feedback on. Additionally, I make an effort to seek out and create performance opportunities for each student in order to boost their confidence.

Pedagogy Workshop List

Teaching excellence certificates


Awards & Competitions

National Winners: PIANO (solo), 2022
November 2023 Laureate Musicians, Kristina Henckel & Amanda Virelle

"Developing musicianship is just as important as perfecting technique. I choose challenging pieces to help students master their skills, and I also consider their unique personalities when selecting repertoire. My goal is to ensure that every student can perform with confidence and skill."

"As a music teacher, my primary goal is to inspire, involve, and challenge my students. I am deeply passionate about music, and I strive to instill that same passion in my students."


Kristina Henckel
Copyright © 2024 Kristina Henckel. All Rights Reserved.