XIAOYUAN (SHANNON) HUANG BLANKENSHIP is a candidate of Doctoral of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At the same time, she works as a graduate teaching assistant in UNCG and receives the Holderness Scholarship for three years. She is a member of Music Teacher National Association since 2013.She teaches class piano at UNCG, and her students maintain the high rate of passing piano proficiency. She is also continuously teaching all ages and levels in both China and the United States. She also teaches at different summer camps, including the UNCG music summer camp.
Shannon’s extensive international performing experience starts with her first debut in Guiyang, China at age 6. She earns her Master’s degree at University of Miami and her Bachelor of Music at Duquesne University. As an active soloist and chamber musician, she wins numerous national and international piano competitions and receives many scholarships and fellowship awards. Her performance of Beethoven concerto no.2 has been broadcast nationwide. She was selected to perform on masterclasses include Lang Lang and Barbara Nissman. She can be reached at email@example.com.
LISA DUERR, piano faculty member, joined the Music Academy of North Carolina in fall of 2014. With nearly 25 years of teaching experience, Ms. Duerr has also taught at Salem College Community Music School, the Community Music School of UNCSA, The Community Music School of The University of Alabama, and Southern Arts Academy in suburban Atlanta. As an active member of the Music Teachers National Association since 1989, her students have consistently received Superior and Excellent ratings and have performed at North Carolina Music Teachers Association State Conferences. Several of her pre-college students have been accepted into established and reputable collegiate music programs.
Ms. Duerr holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music, with a secondary emphasis in science, from Agnes Scott College, and a Master of Music in piano performance, with secondary emphasis in piano pedagogy, from Georgia State University. While at GSU she was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity. Her primary teachers include Anna Hayward, and Cary Lewis of the Lanier Trio. As a performer, Ms. Duerr was a freelance pianist in Atlanta and Tuscaloosa , and participated in the 2002 UNCG Pianoforte Workshop taught by Andrew Willis. She received her Musikgarten certification in 2002. At the CMS of UNCSA, she developed and taught a successful Musikgarten program for toddlers from 2005-2013. Piano students range in age from 4 1/2 to 70+ years and include beginners of every age, music enthusiasts and hobbyists, as well as students auditioning for competitions and college music programs. Approaching each student as an individual, Ms. Duerr encourages communication between the parent-child-teacher triangle and uses unique instructional strategies that combine tradition with modern eclectic flair. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ELIZABETH LEDDY OCHOA, piano faculty at the Music Academy of North Carolina, received her Master of Music in Piano Performance at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Baylor University. In addition to managing a private piano studio in Texas, Elizabeth also taught in the Piano Laboratory Program community piano program at Baylor University. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association as well as NCMTA. She is also a certified Musikgarten instructor, and teaches early childhood music classes through Gate City Musikgarten.
Elizabeth is an active collaborative pianist and freelance artist in the Triad area and works as a freelance vocal, string, woodwind and brass accompanist at UNCG. She has performed as part of the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, the Liszt Bicentennial Keyboard Concert at Baylor University, as an accompanist for the Texas All-State Choir Camp, and with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and the Greensboro Philharmonia. Masterclass performances include Marialena Fernandes, Martin Katz, and Jane Magrath. She can be reached at email@example.com.
DR. THOMAS SWENSON, Artistic Director of the Piano Competition at the Music Academy of North Carolina, has distinguished himself as a national leader in the field of piano pedagogy. He is currently the President of the North Carolina Music Teachers Association and is published in books and articles. He has given presentations and workshops at the MTNA National Conference, Music Educators National Conference, the World Music Symposium and at other state and local events. As a leader in adult piano teaching he has had the fortunate opportunity to teach Recreational Music Making courses throughout the world.
Swenson has taught at Salem College, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University, and the University of North Carolina Greensboro Summer Music Camp. For ten years he was the Director of the Center for Musical Excellence at Salem College. Swenson has also served as an evaluator for the AP Music Theory Exams.
Dr. Swenson holds degrees from Minnesota State University (BM), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (MM), and the University of Oklahoma (PhD). He has also studied at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. His primary teachers include Jane Magrath, Barbara Fast, Howard Lubin, John Salmon, Olga Gross, and Nancy Harris.
Other areas of interest and research include the art of practicing, teaching composition and creativity, partner lesson pedagogy, and keyboard ensemble literature.
As a hobbyist composer, Dr. Swenson has a number of completed works which can be found on www.thomasswenson.com. Additional music can be heard on CD’s and other websites. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JANICE WELLS, piano faculty member and Master Teacher at The Music Academy of North Carolina, earned her Master of Music degree in Piano from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano from Newberry College. She has taught private and class piano since 1990, and enjoys teaching Suzuki-style lessons for young beginners. She is also an active freelance accompanist in the Triad area. Janice began teaching at MANC in 2002. She was a recipient of the 2004 Mary Elizabeth King Brown Teaching Excellence Award. She can be reached at email@example.com.
CHRISTY WISUTHSERIWONG, Master Teacher and Chair of the Piano Department, has been teaching at the Music Academy of North Carolina since 2006. She received her Bachelor’s of Music in piano performance and pedagogy at Meredith College in Raleigh and studied Collaborative Piano at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she earned her Master’s of Music in 2001 and Doctor of Musical Arts in 2011. Christy is a member of NCMTA and is active in the musical life of the Triad area. From 2009-2012, she was an adjunct faculty member in the music department at Guilford College in Greensboro. Christy has been an accompanist for the American Singers’ Opera Project in Winston-Salem, the Greensboro Opera Company, NC-NATS auditions, Community Theatre of Greensboro, and the Cello Competition and Vocal Festival at MANC. She has worked frequently as an accompanist for the UNCG Opera Theatre Department, playing for the Opera Tour to the Schools and the North Carolina premiere of Mark Adamo’s Little Women, among other shows. She has performed chamber music recitals as a guest artist at various schools around the country, including Elon University, Furman University, Duquesne University, and Ball State University. In the summer of 2006, Christy participated in the Summer Piano Pedagogy Institute at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. Internationally, Christy attended the opera performance and language study program Oberlin in Italy in 2001 and the University of Miami Frost School of Music German lieder program for singers and pianists in Salzburg, Austriain 2007. Christy was a recipient of the Mary Elizabeth King Brown Teaching Excellence Award for 2008-2009. She can be reached at 336.379.8748, ext. 112, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pianist and organist MENGFEI XU, has presented numerous solo and collaborative chamber music performances throughout the United States and China. Born in Dalian, China, Ms. Xu was admitted to the precollege program at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music at age twelve. In 2011, she earned Bachelor of Arts Degree at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music. Her primary piano teachers in China include Professors Peijie Sun, Jia Leng and Fang Li. She studied piano with Dr. Charis Dimaras and organ with Professor Jean Radice at Ithaca College, and received her Master’s Degrees in piano performance in 2013, and organ performance in 2014. Currently, Ms. Xu is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with Dr. Andrew Willis with a doctoral minor in organ performance with Dr. André Lash.
As a finalist in Yi-Tian National Piano Competition in China, Mengfei performed Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Shenzhen Philharmonic Orchestra. In February of 2012 Mengfei was awarded the first prize in the Bach Performance category at the United States Open Music Competition (USOMC) in San Francisco. In March 2013, as the winner of Ithaca College Concerto Competition, Mengfei performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra. Later that year, she won the Empire State Competition in piano category (Albany, NY). As the winner of Student Artist Competition, Mengfei performed Schumann Introduction and Allegro, Op. 92 with UNCG Symphony Orchestra in October 2015.
As an active chamber musician and collaborator, Mengfei has been working with many instrumentalists and vocalists for over fifteen years. In 2012, she was recognized as the winner of the Virginia Pleasants/CMM award (outstanding accompanist) in the 36th Civic Morning Musicals Vocal Competition. In 2013 Ms. Xu served as staff accompanist for Northeast Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Ithaca, NY. In the summer of 2015, she performed in Shenzhen Concert Hall with soprano Dr. Mengchun Yang. In January 2017, she performed with saxophonist Dr. Xin Gao in St. Mary’s Music Academy, High Point, NC.
Ms. Xu is also active as an organist. She was awarded the Richard VanSciver Church Music Scholarship in Organ by Metropolitan Music Ministries in April 2016. In June, she has performed in Greater Greensboro Chapter of American Guide of Organist Organ recital. She can be reached at email@example.com.