Sophia S. Ahmad
  • Title Piano Instructor, Chamber Music Coach

Sophia S. Ahmad is Senior Director of Development of Mercy Foundation. Prior to this recent appointment, she was Vice President of Public Relations at the Greater Des Moines Partnership and, from 2011-2015, she served as Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Des Moines Symphony and Academy. During her tenure, she oversaw earned revenue and under her leadership, the organization consistently reported its highest subscription and single ticket sales revenue in history.

As a pianist, she collaborates regularly with Simon Estes, she has recorded for Prentice Hall’s Inside the Orchestra DVD and she has performed with artists from the New World Symphony, the National Portuguese Symphony Orchestra and the Des Moines Symphony, among others. In 2013, she presented a lecture recital entitled Schumann’s Romantic Forest: A Musical Journey Through ‘Waldszenen, Op. 82 throughout Central Iowa and at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. An advocate of new music, she has premiered numerous pieces and worked with composers including Libby Larsen, Bright Sheng and Simone Fontanelli. Her solo performances have been broadcast on Iowa Public Radio, and in 2012, she made solo appearances at Iowa State University and Drake University, performing the music of Philip Glass. She also appeared as the keyboard soloist in Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso No. 1 with the OSSIA new music ensemble.

Ms. Ahmad is a Presser Scholar and active as a music teacher, performer, critic and writer. At the Eastman School of Music, she taught piano class, and she co-founded and performed in the annual Women in Music Festival. She was invited to make a solo appearance in March 2014 at the tenth anniversary of the Festival, which featured Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon as its composer-in-residence.

Ms. Ahmad holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Literature and an Arts Leadership Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., with additional chamber music studies in collaboration with New England Conservatory in Boston, Mass. Her principal teachers have included Edward Ferdinand, Mia Chung-Yee, Anne and Raymond Hanson and Douglas Humpherys. She has appeared in master classes and coachings with Malcolm Bilson, Martin Canin, Ursula Oppens, David Deveau and James Buswell.

How I got started playing my instrument

My sister played the piano and I wanted to be just like her!

Favorite composer

Beethoven, Schumann, Bach and Mendelssohn.

Favorite solo piece

Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata and any Schumann character piece.

Other than classical music _____ is on my iPod

U2, Madonna, Tori Amos, '80s rock