To celebrate 20 years of SEPF, 20 distinguished alumni are featured in performances, images, and words.

Picture of Lucas AmoryLucas Amory
A music-lover from an early age, Lucas Amory was published in the New York Times at age 8 when he sent chief critic Anthony Tommasini his personal lists of the ten greatest composers and his ten favorite ones. Now Lucas is enrolled in Harvard University and New England Conservatory’s joint program as a Piano Performance major, in the studio of Hae-Sun Paik. A 2020 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Semifinalist and National YoungArts Foundation Finalist in Classical Music, Lucas is also a past winner of the Lyra Music Young Artists Competition and the Claudette Sorel Piano Competition. He has performed at the 92nd St. Y, Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, and multiple times at Alice Tully Hall. He has collaborated with distinguished artists such as composer Bruce Adolphe and the Escher Quartet. In his off time, he likes to conduct, sight read music with friends, and go on runs.
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Picture of Caleb BorickCaleb Borick
Caleb Borick has won numerous awards and scholarships including first place in the 2020 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, third place in the 2020 MTNA Nationals Senior Division, first place in the 2017 Ronald Sachs International Music Competition, second place in the 2017 International Institute for Young Musicians International Piano Competition, first place in the 2017 SCGSAH Junior Artist Piano Competition, first place in the 2018 Steinway & Sons Junior Piano Competition, and fifth place in the 2019 International e-Piano Junior Competition. Caleb was also a 2020 National YoungArts Finalist and a U.S. Presidential Scholarship in the Arts Semifinalist. Caleb has been the featured soloist with multiple orchestras including the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra for their 20th Anniversary East Coast Tour to Carnegie Hall, and The Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra. He has appeared on WPR’s The Midday with Norman Gilliland, KPR’s Classical Music in the Morning with Michael Keelan, and on NPR’s From The Top. As an arts education leader, Caleb is a volunteer with the Medical University of South Carolina’s Arts in Healing Program. He is a student of Dr. Joseph Rackers.
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Picture of Hans ChanHans Chan
Hans Chan has received top awards at a variety of piano competitions in the past, including the MTNA National Young Artist Piano Competition, the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, the Lee University International Piano Competition, the Carles and Sofia International Piano Competition, the ArtePiano International E-competition, the NFMC Lana M. Bailey Concerto Competition, and more. He has given recitals and performances in Rochester, St. Louis, Seattle, New York City, Los Angeles, and other cities across the United States, as well as countries in Europe. Hans has attended a variety of music festivals in the past, including Pianofest in the Hamptons, Southeastern Piano Festival, PianoSummer at New Paltz, Gijon International Piano Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival. He has participated in masterclasses and taken lessons with world-famous teachers and performers, including Robert McDonald, Douglas Humpherys, Alexander Korsantia, Jerome Lowenthal, and Vladimir Feltsman. Hans is also a member of the national music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda. Hans is an undergraduate student at the Eastman School of Music, where he studies with Alan Chow while pursuing a second Bachelor’s Degree in Economics at the University of Rochester.
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Picture of Matthew FigelMatthew Figel
“With a tone and approach entrancing from the outset,” (New York Concert Review, Inc.) Matthew Figel has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe, in venues such as the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall. His successes in competitions have included top prizes in the Rosalyn Tureck International Bach Competition and the Harold Protsman Classical Period Competition. Eager to specialize in 18th-century repertoire, Matthew has studied harpsichord and fortepiano with Eduardo Bellotti in addition to lessons in historical performance practice under Paul O’Dette. He is also an avid collaborative pianist, performing in masterclasses for artists such as Renée Fleming and Jon Nakamatsu while receiving coachings from the Ying Quartet, Steven Doane, and Natalya Antonova. A past fellow at PianoFest in the Hamptons and PianoTexas International Festival and Academy, he has also attended summer festivals such as the Gijón International Piano Festival, Southeastern Piano Festival, and the Aspen School of Music. He is currently a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Piano Performance & Literature at the Eastman School of Music. He presently studies with Marina Lomazov, following his previous instruction under Nelita True.
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Picture of Avery GaglianoAvery Gagliano
“Avery Gagliano is a distinctive young talent who has already graduated to the big league of professional pianists while still a student at music college” (International Piano magazine). Making her Carnegie Hall debut this November, and having just released her debut album “Reflections” on the Steinway & Sons label, 20-year-old pianist Avery Gagliano captures audiences with her sensitivity, emotional depth, and musical expression. Avery gained international attention as the First Prize and Best Concerto Prize winner of the 2020 10th National Chopin Piano Competition, and was the only American semifinalist at the 18th International Chopin Competition. Her success has taken her to stages and concert venues such as the Gilmore Festival, Verbier Festival, Ravinia Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Chicago’s Millennium Park, WQXR Greene Space, WRTI Performance Studio, and the GRAMMY Salute to Classical Music at Carnegie Hall. Avery is originally from Washington, D.C., where she studied with Marina Alekseyeva. Avery currently resides in Philadelphia and studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Robert McDonald. She has also studied with Gary Graffman and Jonathan Biss while at Curtis.
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Picture of Solomon GeSolomon Ge
Solomon Ge is a pianist and composer from San Jose, CA. He currently studies piano with Prof. Yoshikazu Nagai at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In the summer of 2019, Solomon won fourth prize in the International e-piano Junior Competition and top prizes in the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition, and the Los Angeles International Piano Competition. He is the winner of numerous local and state competitions, including the Marilyn Mindell Piano Competition, Palo Alto Philharmonic Concerto Competition, California Youth Symphony Concerto Competition, Mondavi Young Artists’ Competition, Ross McKee Competition, and Emory University Young Artists’ Piano Competition, among others. He has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, Richardson Symphony Orchestra, Peninsula Symphony, Palo Alto Philharmonic, Round Rock Symphony Orchestra and California Youth Symphony. This summer, he has been invited to join the San Jose Youth Symphony on tour to Europe as a soloist.
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Picture of Anna HanAnna Han
Hailed by the Washington Post as “prodigiously gifted… a display of imagination, taste and pianistic firepower far beyond her years, American pianist Anna Han has given over 60 solo concerts and 80 chamber performances in venues around the world, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Alice Tully Hall, the Phillips Collection, Subculture, and the Lied Center of Kansas. She has also performed nearly a dozen different concerti with orchestras across the United States. She won the first prizes of the Juilliard Bachauer International Piano Competition, Music Academy of the West Piano Concerto Competition, and New York International Piano Competition, as well as the third prize of the 2019 Hilton Head International Piano Competition. She received the 2021 Bita Cattelan Philanthropic Engagement Award from Concours Musical International de Montréal, and a 2019 Salon de Virtuosi Career Grant. An alum of Yellow Barn, Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School, and Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival Winter Workshop, she has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavafian, John Myerscough, the late Vincent Lionti, and the Verona Quartet, and is a founding member of the Munin Piano Trio. She has given world premieres for several works, including Michael Brown's “Suite for Piano” (2013), which she recorded for the Steinway and Sons label.
Anna completed her Master and Bachelor degrees at The Juilliard School as a recipient of the Kovner Fellowship. Upon graduation in 2020, she was one of two students given the William Schuman Award for outstanding achievement and leadership in music. She would like to acknowledge her teachers, Christopher Elton, Robert McDonald, and Fei Xu.
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Picture of Sasha KasmanSasha Kasman
Praised for the “power and vividness” of her playing and commitment to rarely-heard repertoire, Russian-American pianist Aleksandra (Sasha) Kasman is in demand as a soloist and teacher with engagements across the USA, Italy, Russia, Ukraine, France, and Japan. Named a 2019-2020 Young Artist in Residence of NPR’s Performance Today, Ms. Kasman is the First Prize and Audience Award winner of the 2017 Premio Roberto Melini International Competition. She has won first prizes at the NFMC National Collegiate Piano Competition, High Point University Inaugural Piano Competition, and IKIF’s Dorothy Mackenzie Awards. Other awards include top prizes at the Seattle, Wideman, Vladimir Horowitz (Kiev), and Arthur Fraser international piano competitions. Recent performances include engagements with the Dayton Philharmonic and U of M’s University Philharmonia Orchestra, and a European tour alongside violinist Blake Pouliot and NPR’s Fred Child.
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Picture of Leyla KabuliLeyla Kabuli
Leyla Kabuli is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) at the University ofCalifornia, Berkeley. She received simultaneous degrees in EECS and in Music from UC Berkeley in 2021, graduating as the University Medalist. She was the keyboardist of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra for four seasons. She graduated from the Pre-College Division of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2017, where she studied piano, violin, and bassoon as a scholarship student. Leyla won prizes in piano solo, concerto, and duo competitions, including Virginia Waring International, Seattle International, Los Angeles Young Musician International, Pacific Musical Society, Ross McKee, and many others. She was also awarded a US Chopin Foundation scholarship and three National YoungArts Awards. She performed on NPR’s From the Top in 2016 and TEDxBerkeley in 2020. As concerto soloist she performed with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, Waring Festival Orchestra, Nova Vista Symphony, Sonoma Philharmonic, Palo Alto Philharmonic, El Camino Symphony, South Valley Symphony, and UC Davis Symphony. As a soloist, active chamber musician, and collaborative pianist, Leyla frequently participates in benefit and outreach concerts, and especially likes sharing music with retirement communities. She also enjoys rock climbing, running, and spending time outdoors.
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Picture of Adrian KingAdrian King
Adrian King has been a prize winner at many international competitions in both piano solo, concerto, and duet categories. He was the winner of the 2019 Seattle International Piano Competition. Adrian received 1st prize at the 2018 Aloha International Piano Competition. He was a National YoungArts winner in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Adrian and his sister, Mya, received 2nd place in the 2016-17 National MTNA Competition in Baltimore, Senior Duet Division. Adrian won the concerto competition at the 2017 Northern Lights Music Festival in Minnesota and performed Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto with the NLMF orchestra under conductor, Gavriel Heine. He has also performed concerti with orchestras in both Washington and Hawaii. Adrian currently attends Eastman School of Music and is a student of Douglas Humpherys.
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Picture of Kelsey LeeKelsey Lee
Kelsey Lee has earned recognition on the piano in numerous competitions, including First Prizes in the Marian Garcia International Piano Competition Pre-collegiate Division, the biennial National League of Performing Arts Young Virtuosi Competition, and numerous Steinway and Sons Piano Competitions. She is also a prizewinner of the Claudette Sorel International Competition, the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey Concerto Competition, and numerous MTNA state competitions. Kelsey has had the opportunity to perform in masterclasses with acclaimed pianists including Emanuel Ax, Ann Schein, John Perry, Rebecca Penneys, Jose Ramon Mendez, among others. Aside from the piano, Kelsey is a National Merit Scholarship recipient studying Optical Engineering at the University of Rochester, where she currently works at a research laboratory studying nanoscale and integrated photonics. Kelsey is an undergraduate student at the Eastman School of Music studying with Dr. Marina Lomazov.
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Picture of Brian LockeBrian Locke
Brian Locke is an American pianist, organist, coach, and répétiteur whose career spans throughout academia, opera, concertizing, and church music. Having been called "a stand out" (The Whole Note, Toronto), he has appeared before discerning audiences in cities and venues in North America and Europe. Brian was soloist with the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra, the Brevard Music Center Orchestra, the President’s Own Marine Corps chamber orchestra, and has coached operatic repertoire with companies including Opera Birmingham and at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Music Director of the Artists-in-Residence. Brian is active in church music, currently serving as Associate Director of Music and Parish Organist at St. Mary's Episcopal, Park Ridge, IL, and is a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians. Moreover, Mr. Locke’s specialty lies in chamber music and repertoire for the voice, increasingly in demand by instrumentalists and singers to coach and perform with him in this specialized niche.
Brian Locke has served on the music faculty at Loyola University, Chicago and the Interlochen Center for the Arts; and as coach/pianist at DePaul, Northwestern, and the University of Michigan. He has frequented festival stages and studios throughout the United States and Canada including Aspen, Brevard, Heifetz, Interlochen, Southeastern Piano Festival, Toronto Summer Music and has been heard in Merkin Hall (NYC), Hill Auditorium (Ann Arbor), Ganz Hall (Chicago), and Steinway Salon (Paris) to name but a few. His teachers and mentors include Katherine Collier, Barry Snyder, André Watts, Douglas Weeks, and Oxana Yablonskaya, and he holds degrees from the University of South Carolina (BM) and the University of Michigan (MM) in the studios of Marina Lomazov and Martin Katz.
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Picture of Micah McLaurinMicah McLaurin
Hailed as “a strong personality with technique and power to spare” (Philadelphia Inquirer), Micah McLaurin is a leading pianist of his generation. He has appeared in and been photographed and interviewed by major publications such as Paper Magazine, WWD, Resident Magazine, and other New York publications. His unique, singing tone-quality, depth of expression, commanding technique and personal flair and style have garnered him a large social media following, unusual for a classical musician. Micah has performed as soloist with major orchestras around the world including The Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmónica de Montevideo, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic, Musicfest Perugia Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, Music Academy of the West’s Academy Orchestra, and the North Carolina Symphony. A versatile artist, Micah does not adhere to a strict “classical” repertoire and creates original arrangements of pop songs and expresses himself through fashion, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a 21st century pianist.
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Picture of Chaeyoung ParkChaeyoung Park
A musician who “does not play a single note without thought or feeling,” (New York Concert Review) Chaeyoung Park is a passionate pianist who has most recently been featured on the Gilmore Rising Stars series, Bravo! Vail Music Festival and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall as a soloist. Winner of the 2019 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, she has performed with orchestras across the U.S., and as a dedicated chamber musician, at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, Four Seasons Winter Workshop and Kneisel Hall. A proud alum of the Kovner Fellowship, Park is currently pursuing the Artist Diploma at the Juilliard School with Robert McDonald. Her debut recording features the complete Musica Ricercata by Ligeti and Piano Sonata No. 3 by Brahms on the Steinway label, and is set to release in 2021.
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Picture of Sejoon ParkSejoon Park
Praised by the Philadelphia’s Inquirer as an artist, “one could hardly heap too much praise for,” Sejoon Park is a conductor and a pianist, born to cellist parents in Seoul, Korea. Mr. Park made his orchestral debut as a solo pianist with Korea’s Busan Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of ten. Moving to United States shortly after, Mr. Park was featured on Washingtonian Magazine as “Best of 2004” and his performance was broadcasted on NPR’s “From the Top.”In his pianistic career, Mr. Park received top prizes from the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the PianoArts Competition, the Southeastern Piano Competition, and the King Award for Young Artists. He is the winner of 2014 Astral Artists Audition. As a versatile musician, his performances as pianist include his solo recital in Philadelphia, which was broadcast in its entirety on WWFM Radio, and he has appeared on stages of Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen Music Festival. He appeared as the soloist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Salina Symphony, the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Park’s performances have been broadcasted on WQXR, WWFM radio in USA. Mr. Park holds Bachelor of Music and Artist Diploma degrees from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School in Piano Performance.
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Picture of Dr. Sonya SchumannDr. Sonya Schumann
Dr. Sonya Schumann is an expressive and imaginative pianist, both in solo and collaborative performance. She has performed with orchestras across North America, and has toured throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. She has appeared as a guest lecturer and masterclass presenter at several festivals and colleges, including Keys Fest, Music Teachers National Association, the Cornish-American Song Institute, Red Rocks Music Festival, and the Gilmore. Deeply involved in a multitude of aspects within the artistic community, she also serves as a faculty founder of Keys to Inclusion, a cross-collegiate initiative to expand the standard piano repertoire, elevating works of marginalized composers. Sonya is also internationally recognized for her involvement as a founding member of Piano Theatre, an artist group formed to engage audiences with innovative combinations of classical music, theatre, literature, art and technology. As champions of equity in the arts, she and her sister, Elizabeth, perform as the Schumann Duo, promoting classical music for children in areas where arts programs and funding have been cut or limited. Her publications as an editor, compiler, and producer can be found under publishers such as Hal Leonard, Schirmer, and Schott Music. She currently teaches at San Diego State University, where she also serves as Piano Coordinator within the Community Music School.
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Picture of Clayton StephensonClayton Stephenson
Named a 2022 Gilmore Young Artist and 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Clayton Stephenson is applauded for having “a bounty of talent that flows out of him, with impeccably mastered and correct musical instincts.” (Theater Jones). He’s been recognized with many accolades, including prizes from the 2015 Cliburn Junior International Piano Competition and the 2016 Cooper International Piano Competition. He is a proud recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award, a Gheens Young Artist, and Young Scholar of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation. Highlights of Clayton’s burgeoning career include recitals at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Kissinger Sommer Festival in Bad Kissinger, BeethovenFest in Bonn, Stars and Rising Stars in Munich, Swiss Alps Classics at Switzerland, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Clayton has been featured on NPR, WUOL and WQXR, and has also appeared at “Grammy Salute to Classical Music” Concert at Carnegie Stern Auditorium. Currently, he studies in the Harvard-NEC Dual Degree Program, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics at Harvard and a master’s degree in piano performance at the New England Conservatory under Professor Wha Kyung Byun.
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Picture of Leo SvirskyLeo Svirsky
Leo Svirsky is a Russian-American pianist and composer currently based in the Hague, Netherlands. His music explores the instability of listening and the disorientation of memory and affect while remaining grounded in history and symbol, song and story. His varied musical interests have led to performance situations as diverse as Richmond VA's Cat Mansion, the Kremlin Armoury, and the Cathedral of Nantes. In 2009, Leo moved to Netherlands to study with the late Dutch pianist Rian de Waal at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. He holds Masters Degrees in both Composition and Piano Performance from this institution, where he also studied with Martijn Padding (composition), and Ellen Corver (piano). His most recent album River Without Banks was released on Unseen Worlds in 2019. It's title is taken from a chapter in Genrikh Orlov's Tree of Music, in which he describes the experience of listening to the chant It is to be immersed with, not operated upon, for being, not for doing... It is not expected to lead back to where it started, but instead it leads forward, to an unknown yet anticipated point in the future…
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Picture of Karina TsengKarina Tseng
Pianist Karina Tseng is a San Francisco Bay Area native currently studying in Rochester, New York, at the Eastman School of Music. Karina has performed alongside orchestras such as the Palo Alto Philharmonic, New Millennium Chamber Orchestra, and the Golden State Youth Symphony and played in venues including Weill-Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Leighton Hall, Merrill Auditorium, and the Mondavi Center. She is a top prizewinner of the Kaufman International, Arthur Fraser International, National YoungArts, Pacific Musical Society, Enkor International, Ross McKee, and Junior Steinway competitions, among others. In 2020, Karina was inducted into the MTAC (Music Teachers Association of California) Young Artist Guild through which she is offered semi-professional recital opportunities throughout California. From 2017-2020, Karina was the pianist of the Fervida Trio, honored as gold medalists of the Junior Fischoff National, Pasadena Conservatory, and Galante Prize chamber music competitions. The trio was invited to appear on NPR’s “From the Top” Episode #379, at InterMusic SF’s Music Day, the San Francisco International Piano Festival, and more. Karina currently studies with Alexander Kobrin and is also a dual degree student concurrently pursuing a business information systems degree from the University of Rochester. Her previous mentors include Olya Katsman and Sujeeva Hapugalle.
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Picture of Nathaniel ZhangNathaniel Zhang
Nathaniel Zhang started learning piano at age 5 and performed his first piano solo recital at age 10. He made his orchestral debut with Florence Conservatory Orchestra at Music Festival Perugia, Italy. Nathaniel is the 1st prize winner of the 2018-2019 MTNA National Junior Performance Competition and Chopin Award, 2019 Waring International Junior Solo Competition and Junior Concerto Competition. His other achievements include 1st prize winner of 2018 Pacific Musical Society Competition, 2019 CAPMT Concerto Competition State Final, and 2018 & 2015 CAPMT Honors Competition State Final. He is the gold medalist of the 2019 Chopin Foundation Northwest Council Competition. Nathaniel loves sharing music with all ages and enjoys public performance. He participated in the Junior Bach Festival in 2017 and 2018. He played piano for first-graders in the elementary school during lunchtime and his story was featured on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, segment “America Strong”. Nathaniel loves playing chamber music too. He appeared in the “Rising Stars of Chamber Music” concerts in 2018 and 2019. He currently studies with Dr. Sasha Starcevich and previously studied with Tien Hsieh.
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Picture of Susan ZhangSusan Zhang
Acclaimed as a pianist with “astounding musical authority” (Columbia Free Times), Susan Zhang made her orchestral debut at the age of twelve with the Augusta Symphony. She has performed in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, the Woodruff Arts Center, Pianofest in the Hamptons, Burgos International Music Festival, the Southeastern Piano Festival, and Brevard Music Center, among other venues and festivals worldwide. Susan has won prizes in competitions including the Thousand Islands Chopin Competition, the Burgos International Music Festival Competition, and the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Passionate about sharing music with the next generation, Susan has written, directed, and performed in live and pre-recorded musical productions for children that have been presented across the Southeast. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Peabody Conservatory, and the University of South Carolina. Susan currently serves on faculty at the Peabody Conservatory.
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