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Photo of Joel Clifft, DMA

Joel Clifft, DMA

Assistant Professor
Director of Keyboard Studies
Phone: (626) 815-6000, Ext. 3592
As an active collaborative pianist, Joel Clifft, DMA, has performed in concert with world-class musicians, including violinist Midori and erhu player Ma Xiao Hui. He also has performed with the Foothill Philharmonic Society, the Debut Orchestra, the Brand Library Concert Series, the Lake Avenue Chamber Orchestra, and the Idyllwild Faculty Series. Clifft has also been engaged for many master classes, including those given by the Jascha Heifetz Society, Alice and Eleanor Schoenfeld, Martin Katz, and Midori. He has performed in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Brazil, Korea, China, Singapore, and the United Nations headquarters in New York, and was commissioned to compose a chamber piece that was premiered at the Oriental Art Center in Shanghai, China. He earned his doctoral degree while studying with Alan Smith and Bernadene Blaha; Clifft’s primary area of study was keyboard collaborative arts, with minor fields in solo piano, music theory, and composition. He graduated Pi Kappa Lambda and was chosen as the Most Outstanding Graduate at the master’s and doctoral levels. Clifft is the director of keyboard studies at APU, where he teaches piano, music theory, accompanying, and ear training courses. He is also an adjunct faculty member at USC, where he teaches collaborative piano to undergraduate piano majors. Clifft created Music Theory Pro, an iPhone app that teaches music theory and ear training using cutting-edge technology. Clifft lives in San Dimas with his beautiful wife and four adorable children.


DMA, Keyboard Collaborative Arts, University of Southern California
M.M., Keyboard Collaborative Arts, University of Southern California
B.M., Piano Performance, Music Theory/Composition, Music Education (with honors), Azusa Pacific University


  • College of Music and the Arts
  • School of Music
    • Undergraduate Programs
    • Graduate Programs


  • Instrumental Accompanying
  • Music Fundamentals
  • Music Theory
  • Piano
  • Practical Musicianship
  • Vocal Accompanying

Professional Involvement and Accomplishments

Outstanding Graduate, Class of 2002, Keyboard Collaborative Arts program, USC
Gwendolyn Koldofsky Scholarship recipient