Board of Directors
Vera Barskaya Anselmo -- Founder / Executive Director
Born in Moscow, Russia, Ms. Anselmo started taking piano lessons at the age of five under the guidance of her mother. She continued her music studies at Dunaevsky School of Music, and thereafter, at Ippollitov-Ivanov College of Music in Moscow. Graduating at the top of her class with diploma cum lauda, she proceeded to pursue a bachelor of Music degree as a full scholarship student at the Juilliard School in New York City. She also obtained a Masters of Music Degree at the Mannes College of Music where she has been on a part time faculty at the Preparatory and Extension Divisions since 1995. Vera’s solo engagements have included her New York debut at Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall as well as appearances at Steinway & Sons and the Mannes College of Music faculty recitals. Her international engagements have included multiple appearances in France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Netherlands. In the last several years, Vera’s focus has been on music education. Today, as founder and Artistic Director of The Piano School of New York City, and Piano Outreach of New York (PONY), Vera Anselmo is a proud New Yorker, an American citizen, and a music educator.
Andrew Anselmo, a native New Yorker, is a graduate of Columbia University currently working in real estate management. His exposure to and interest in piano began after meeting his wife, and with the advent of her successful piano school his interests soon joined hers by putting forth their joint effort of helping those who want to learn piano receive the assistance they need. The result of this was our formation of the Piano Outreach of New York (PONY) project, where Andrew has been a supportive man behind the scene since its 2003 inception.
Ms. Bulgari currently oversees special projects for Bulgari after having held managerial positions with the company’s jewelry and fragrance division since 1991. She is a graduate of Duke University where she earned a BA in Art History and Political Science and she received her MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1990. She is a collector of photography and contemporary art and has been involved in sponsoring several exhibits including Piranesi as Designer at the Cooper Hewitt and Luigi Ghirri at the Aperture Foundation . She is active with the Carnegie Hall Notables which promotes classical music to younger audiences through the Weill Music Institute. For the last 2 years, she has rekindled her love for piano playing and is currently studying with Sofya Melikian.
Throughout her diverse career, Irene's love of the piano has remained a constant in her life. Irene, is a graduate of Smith College, where she double-majored in music and microbiology.
After graduation she briefly worked as a research assistant at The Rockefeller University, before attending N.Y.U.’ s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences where she studied Musicology. Throughout high school, college and graduate school she continued studying the piano privately with Audrey Schneider, Lory Wallfisch and Lillian Kallir, respectively. Upon graduation from Fordham University School of Law, she practiced intellectual property law for many years at law firms and at a venture capital corporation in New York.
While living in the suburbs of Westchester, Irene was active on the Board of the Scarsdale High School PTA, as Scholarship Fund Treasurer, and on the Board of Maroon & White, an athletic fundraising organization. She kept her musical passion alive by accompanying students auditioning for music scholarships, college applications, and NYSSMA competitions. She played the piano for high school plays, Greek after-school programs and church fundraisers and played the organ regularly with the church choir. Through the Westchester Conservatory, she studied chamber music and became an avid member of several chamber music groups.
Irene is thrilled to be involved with PONY because keeping musical education, especially piano, in our schools is so important for the intellectual and emotional development of young students.
Keith is currently an Associate at KKR in midtown Manhattan. Prior to his current position, he was a Senior Analyst in the Leveraged Finance Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he played a key role in credit financings for clients such as Toys R’ Us, the Yankee Candle Company and the Hershey Company. Originally from Orlando, FL, he began studying piano at a young age and continued throughout high school, where he graduated as valedictorian of his class. Keith continued his studies at Harvard University, where he graduated in 2010 with an honorary degree in Economics and studied electroacoustic composition under Professor Hans Tutschku. During this time, he was the student manager of the Harvard Recording Studio and performed his own compositions live at Harvard College Theater. Currently residing in NYC, Keith continues to play piano regularly and is excited to be an advocate for such a worthy cause.
P. Conor Grimes -- Chief Financial Officer
Conor currently works as an analyst for an investment fund in midtown New York. He began studying piano when he was five and minored in music during college, whereafter his career went down a very different path into finance. Conor came across Piano Outreach of New York in 2004 and has been involved since, helping primarily with the financial and strategic aspects of the organization. Growing up on Long Island and living in NYC now, he still plays piano casually and is thrilled to be a part of such a worthy cause so close to his home. Prior to his current position, Conor worked in both investment banking and private equity. He received his AB in Economics with a minor in Music from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Marina is a piano sales consultant and entrepreneur. Her vast experience in the piano industry gives her considerable insight for helping to choose the right piano for both professional and amateur pianists. She holds a BA from Columbia University and an MA from the Parsons School of Design. As a specialist in the decorative and applied arts she has a keen interest in "functional art." For Marina, working in the piano industry satisfies a passion for music, history and bridging the connection between design and functionality. Marina has spent considerable time abroad researching various topics in the decorative and applied arts field, including the history of the piano, and has lectured or written about various related topics. In addition, Marina is a strong advocate for childhood music education, supporting such organizations as Piano Outreach NY as well as a number of other charitable organizations focusing on the welfare of children and animals. Married to composer and colleague Michael Harrison, Marina shares a home with him and their beloved Havanese dog, Contessa, in Westchester County.
Dawn is currently a Senior Vice President at Citigroup, responsible for marketing financial service products to retail bank and credit card customers. A marketing executive with a track record of successful turnarounds, new business launches, and product distribution, she is excited to join the PONY board and help expand the number of scholarships for music education in NYC.
A native New Yorker, Dawn has a BA from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia University. She lives in NYC with her husband and twin sons, one of whom is a private student of the Piano School of New York. She is also the Piano School of New York's parent liaison at the Lower Lab School for Gifted and Talented Education.
Board of Advisors
Jiin Wen Burns