Chetan Tierra

Co-founder and Artist-in-Residence

CHETAN TIERRA, a Yamaha artist, is an American concert pianist, composer, and songwriter. He has been seen on concert stages across America, Europe, Asia, and Africa in solo recital and with orchestra. While he has earned top prizes, performing in the world’s most prestigious piano competitions, including the Van Cliburn, Queen Elizabeth, Jose Iturbi, Seoul, Unisa, Hilton Head, and New Orleans, he has been at the forefront of innovative classical piano evolution. His Carnegie Hall debut in 2006 was praised as ‘magnificent’ by the NY Concert Review, and his charismatic persona and emotional style have led to many praises from audiences and critics alike. Chetan is also an avid composer whose works are quickly garnering international attention, most notably his modern piano cycle called Moonshadows. Chetan Tierra comes from a long line of world-class pedigree, having studied with some of the most predominant pianists of today.

Melissa Evans Tierra

Co-founder and Academy Chair

MELISSA EVANS is an active pianist in a variety of musical outlets. She currently is a soloist, duo artist, collaborative artist, and composer. She received her BM degree from Baylor University and her MM degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Cliburn winning pianist, Antonio Pompa-Baldi. She also received a Postgraduate Diploma from the Koninklijk Vlaams Conservatorium in Antwerp, Belgium.  Ms. Evans has performed recitals in Austria, Italy, Belgium, and Israel and has been highly praised for her interpretation of modern music, frequently premiering new works on her recitals. She has studied with many other notable teachers including Jerome Rose and Kum Sing Lee and worked closely with composer, Lowell Liebermann.

Melissa is also in high demand for her collaborative skills, having worked with singers from the Metropolitan Opera as well as many virtuoso flutists. She enjoys coaching other pianists who are looking to improve this area of music making.


BRENDAN NGUYEN displays uncommon versatility as a performer, artist, and thinker. His bold programming style, infusion of technology, and extravagantly produced concert concepts aim to explore new musical territory while casting a contemporary eye on the established canon. Brendan has performed at the REDCAT Theater, the Monday Evening Concert series, wasteLAnd, The Stone, and has recorded with Carrier and Populist Records. He is currently working with long-time colleague mezzo-soprano Leslie Leytham on a new concert series called PROJECT [BLANK]. Brendan’s enthusiasm for contemporary music has lead to a number of premieres and commissions, including works by Wojtek Blecharz, Aaron Helgeson, Nicholas Deyoe, Clint McCallum, Beat Furrer, and Pulitzer Prize winner Roger Reynolds. He has also worked with composers George Crumb, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Lewis Nielson, and has performed with violinist David Bowlin, pianist Aleck Karis, and percussionist Steven Schick. Brendan is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and UC San Diego.

Brendan Nguyen



Megan Gleeson

Preparatory Teacher

MEGAN GLEESON graduated from San Diego State University in 2019, receiving a BM degree in classical piano under the instruction of Scottish concert pianist Dr. Toni James as well as Symphony pianist Dr. Tina Chong. She studied both instrumental and vocal accompaniment as well as collaborative works at SDSU where she performed in various public recitals.  She has also been an active pianist for contemporary worship bands at Reliance Church in Temecula and Existence Church in San Diego for over five years.  Megan has performed as an entertainer for various events around San Diego, including restaurant entertainment and corporate events. She has also performed in the Goldegg Music Seminar in Austria as an accompanist. Megan has been teaching piano for over a decade, working with students of all ages and varying levels.  She has been playing the piano for 20 years and knew she wanted to become a teacher by the age of 15. Megan is an innovate, creative individual who uses her fun personality and musical passion to help her students become articulate, versatile, and well-rounded musicians who love to play and perform.

Lillian Li

Administrative Assistant


© 2019 by The San Diego Piano Academy.