Our leadership team is dedicated to providing unique, creative learning experiences and programming for piano students of all ages, teachers, lifelong learners and the general public.

Our board of directors, program directors, and teaching artists bring in expertise from a variety of musical and organizational backgrounds. If you are interested in volunteering for The Festival for Creative Pianists or joining our team, click here.

Arthur Houle, Founder


Arthur Houle is the founder/artistic director of the Festival for Creative Pianists, a private teacher since the age of thirteen, a critically acclaimed performer, and a published writer, composer, arranger and editor. He has professor emeritus status from Colorado Mesa University, where he earned five Exemplary Faculty Awards. He also taught at the Universities of Iowa, North Dakota and Texas-Austin, College of Idaho, Dana Hall School of Music, and the extension divisions of New England & Boston Conservatories.

Houle was Abundant Silence’s Featured Composing Educator (2015-2016) and recipient of four Steinway & Sons Top Teacher Awards (2018-2021) and Music Teachers National Assoc. Fellow Award (2011). He penned two volumes of Cowboy Jazz (fun pieces for intermediate pianists), published in 2008 and 2015. Later, a lengthy research project culminated in the first-ever definitive edition of Clementi’s Sonatinas, Op. 36.

Most recently, Houle contributed his scholarship to an equally groundbreaking SuperScore iPad urtext edition of Clementi’s Op. 36, co-edited by George Litterst.

Evelyn Billberg, Educator

PROGRAM DIRECTORev.billberg@gmail.comtel:1-303-629-9209

Evelyn Billberg brings close to a half-century of teaching experience to her Denver, Colorado “Keyboard Magic” Teaching Studio. Evelyn received her Bachelor Degree in Music at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. She was involved for ten years in the Fairbanks community performing in theater, Sweet Adelines, the Fairbanks Light Opera Theater, and as a voice major, performing in several operas at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Later she moved to Arizona where she earned her Masters Degree in Music, Composition and Theory at Northern Arizona University.

In 2008, she enthusiastically volunteered to take on significant ongoing tasks in the annual Festival for Creative Pianists. As program director, she inspires everyone with her enduring selfless devotion to and passion for the festival’s unique and ever-evolving features.

In her role as a dynamic pedagogue, Evelyn is also an active member of the Music Teachers National Association as well as its three local chapters: Denver Area Music Teachers Association, Foothills Music Teachers Association, and Columbine Music Teachers Association.

Luke Rackers, Nonprofit Leader

EXECUTIVE DIRECTORlrackers@festivalforcreativepianists.orgtel:1-802-595-4656

Luke Rackers is passionate about new music and helping composers connect with performers, students & listeners. With a Masters of Fine Arts in music composition, he uses his education, experience in music as a performer, composer and educator, and expertise in a variety of music business endeavors, to help composers successfully present their artistic voice to the world. Luke is thoroughly at home in the music industry and loves learning about new ways to help promote and produce new music art works. He performs in a variety of ensembles – including his new music ensemble, Musica Verto Novo, which performs many of the works in the Abundant Silence catalog. He composes primarily for solo piano and small ensemble.

Luke lives in Montpelier, VT and loves performing Abundant Silence works and sharing his vision for the organization. During the daytime, Luke serves as the Director of Community Engagement for the Central Vermont Council on Aging, leading volunteer programs, developing creative aging opportunities, and working to enhance social connection opportunities for older adults.

Board of Directors

The Board provides oversight of our programs and the organization’s financial health. As dedicated volunteers, they are an essential part of our leadership team and our efforts to responsibly raise funds and awareness.

  • Evelyn Billberg, Board Chair
  • Aaryn S. Ricucci-Hill, Vice Chair
  • Luke Rackers, Treasurer
  • Tonya Rackers, Secretary
  • Evelyn Billberg
  • Ayumi Okada
  • Brady Wolff
  • John Salmon