University of Calgary

Marilyn Engle

  • Retired Short -Term
  • Professor Emerita - School of Creative & Performing Arts

Research Interests

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


Pianist Marilyn Engle began her studies in Canada, then went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Juilliard School with renowned teachers Ilona Kabos and Adele Marcus.  She followed her piano studies with graduate studies in musicology from New York University while also studying with Jeaneane Dowis.  In Europe, she worked with Peter Feuchtwanger and Nikita Magaloff.

After winning many competitions, Ms. Engle received national exposure as the winner of the CBC Competition.  She subsequently won many other competitions, including the J.S. Bach International Competition, the Music Teachers’ National Association Competition, and was also a winner in the Washington International Competition. 

Performing widely on radio and television, she has given numerous solo, chamber and orchestral performances in North America, Europe, Israel, and Asia.   She has also been heard frequently in concert and on radio with the chamber ensemble, Aubade, of which she was a founding member.

In 2011, Marilyn Engle was inducted into the U of C’s Student Union newly established Teaching Excellence Awards Hall of Fame, formed to recognize professors who had repeatedly received SU Teaching Excellence Awards.  She has taught, lectured, given classes and residencies at major Canadian and U.S. institutions such as Juilliard, Oberlin, and NYU, the Glenn Gould School, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, and McGill.  In Asia, she has done the same in major schools in Japan and China, most recently in Hong Kong (Baptist, Lingnan), Xiamen Central Conservatory at Gulangyu, as well as the Central Conservatory in Beijing.  

Marilyn Engle taught and performed in several summer programs in Canada and Europe before establishing, in 2001, with several friends and colleagues from Juilliard, the Académie Musicale Internationale in Vaison-la-Romaine (Provence), France.  In the summer of 2014, Prof. Engle rejoined the Morningside Music Bridge Programme.

Many of her students have won major prizes in international competitions and now teach and perform successfully around the world.


As a pianist and piano teacher, my research has been ongoing and eclectic.  Virtually from childhood and continuing until today, much of it has pertained to trying to discover more and better questions for approaching both musical and pianistic problems I personally encountered but often did not hear discussed. 

So, I have continually been experimenting with ways of meshing the musical with the technical issues that pertain to the performance of works, mainly for the piano.

As a child and teenager, I was immensely fortunate to have been involved in painting and dance, the latter mainly as an accompanist for ballet and jazz for renowned teachers both in Calgary and the Banff Centre. These, plus extensive study in a variety of areas had profound effects on both teaching and performing music.

Among my strongest interests are or have been anatomy, kinesiology, modalities of injury treatment; varieties of music analysis; music, art and literary criticism; philosophy—especially phenomenology; and rhetoric (ancient and modern, especially Kenneth Burke).

All of these have had a major impact on my life as teacher and performer.

Recent extended trips to France and China have provided numerous opportunities for performances, lectures and master classes.  Some local performance highlights have included a chamber concert honouring the late Janice Waite as well as performances of Schubert’s Winterreise with tenor Timothy Shantz.


Teaching is my passion, be it solo piano, chamber music, or history and analysis.  I love the idea of being able to consider ways of approaching music as it relates to “lived experience”—every kind of experience.  Being curious about finding connections between music as performed and “life” is both fun and deeply meaningful.

Although Plato is not my philosophical “God”, I am fascinated by his method of inquiry.  I really stress problem solving through discovering the most fruitful questions that students or I, as professor, can formulate, and using responses to create other questions.  Finding the one “perfect” way of doing something or the one “ideal” performance is never my goal.

I have a huge “family” of students on several continents who have gone on to brilliant careers in music as performers, teachers, collaborators, and composers, in addition to many other fields such as medicine, law, business, management . . . the list is endless.

My teaching has been widely recognized, but knowing how much these students have contributed to music and to society is for me the greatest gift.


  • BM
    Julliard School
  • MScM
    Julliard School
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