Lisa Ann Benfield Thorman

1959 -

Lisa Thorman, a pianist and violinist, has taught piano lessons since she was twelve years old. She has also played violin in orchestras and served for a year as concertmaster for the Ukiah Symphony.

Lisa was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, one of four children born to Robert and Phyllis Wical Benfield, Seventh-day Adventist missionaries in that country for seventeen years. During her childhood years her father was director of the music conservatory in Sao Paulo, and her mother taught piano and directed string ensembles and marimba groups.

All four of the children were expected to start music lessons at age six, Lisa beginning lessons on both piano and violin at that age. Like her siblings, who also played at least two instruments, she was expected to practice from three to four hours each day. Lisa took piano lessons from her mother for five years.

Following the family's return to the U.S. when she was twelve, she studied with Eleanor Fenley in Sacramento, California, for four years. At the end of her sophomore year, she transferred from Sacramento Union Academy to the preparatory school at Pacific Union College in Angwin, California, where she studied piano under Lynn Wheeler in the college preparatory program.

Following graduation from PUC Prep in 1978, Lisa enrolled at PUC as a piano performance music major, continuing her piano study under Lois Case for one year and Lynn Wheeler for three more years. She particularly enjoyed study with Wheeler, appreciating his insistence on her mastering the small details and musical nuance needed to create great music.

While at PUC, she performed McDowell's Piano Concerto in d minor in 1981 and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto in d minor in 1982 with the college orchestra. She also performed a movement from the McDowell concerto with the Napa Symphony in 1981.

Lisa married Marvin Thorman, an education major, in 1982 and graduated from PUC in 1983 with a B.Mus. in piano performance. She has since taught privately in schools or in their home.

She completed a master's degree in piano performance at the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1985, studying with Ron Williams. The Thormans have two sons, Marlin and Russell.


Source: Information provided by Lisa Thorman, January 2009.