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Faculty

Dr. Catharine Lysinger is the Artistic Director of the Piano Preparatory Department and a lecturer in piano pedagogy in the Meadows School of the Arts. After her arrival at SMU in 2004, Dr. Lysinger quickly gained enthusiastic praise for her energetic leadership of SMU's celebrated piano preparatory department and for her expert guidance of the graduate teaching assistants who provide a significant portion of the instruction for the preparatory students.

She has developed an award-winning studio of pre-college students. Dr. Lysinger was formerly the founding Director of the University of Houston's Moores School of Music Preparatory and Continuing Studies Department, currently serving over 300 students of all ages.

Dr. Lysinger has been a prizewinner in national and international piano competitions, earning top prizes in the Music Teacher National Association National Young Artist Competition, the Shreveport Symphony Wideman Competition, and the Corpus Christi International Young Artist Competition.

Matthew Kline has lectured and taught in Texas and Michigan and is beginning his 13th year teaching at SMU Meadows School of the Arts. In his time at SMU, Kline has developed an award-winning pre-college studio while engaging with the local community as a leader in the Dallas Music Teachers Association.

Kline’s research and study interests include early childhood education, music learning theory and the Emile Jaques-Dalcroze approach to music education, in which he has earned a Certificate Jaques-Dalcroze and has numerous hours of continued education.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in music and psychology from Hope College where he studied with Joan Conway, and a master’s in piano performance and piano pedagogy from Meadows, where he studied under Alfred Mouledous and Sam Holland. Additionally, Kline holds a Master of Social Work from Western Michigan University.

Kevin Gunter is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. He received his B.M. in Piano Performance from Samford University and his M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University. Mr. Gunter teaches at SMU, where he is the Class Piano Coordinator for the Division of Music, as well as the Theory/Musicianship Coordinator for the Piano Prep Dept. During the summers, Mr. Gunter also teaches piano camps at Samford and SMU. In May 2005, Mr. Gunter received the Roy and Sue Johnson Award from the SMU Division of Music for excellence in teaching.

Yihua (Eva) Cao is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Southern Methodist University under the instruction of Dr. Carol Leone and Dr. Catharine Lysinger. She is originally from Tianjin, China and started playing the piano at the age of five. She began her professional music education at the Middle School Affiliated to the Tianjin Conservatory of Music under the guidance of Ms. Yibo Wang. In 2007, She came to the U.S. and continued her musical education at the Interlochen Arts Academy where she studied with Dr. Thomas Lymenstull. She has recently completed her Bachelor Degree of Music in Piano Performance from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor under the tutelage of Dr. Logan Skelton.

Rachel Menscher is from Wentzville, Missouri and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Southern Methodist University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Music degree in May 2014. While at Vanderbilt, she studied piano and pedagogy with Karen Ann Krieger, and previously studied with Annette Burkhart at Washington University in St. Louis. Rachel has recently taught at the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, W.O. Smith Community Music School, and Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music where she student taught throughout her undergraduate years. She has also served as the Blair Collegiate Chapter President of MTNA, and is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. Rachel is excited to be sharing her love for both performing and teaching with the students in SMU’s Preparatory Department.

Astrid Morales is a 22 years old Mexican pianist graduated from National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, where she studied with Mr. Hector Rojas. She is pursuing her Master in Piano Performance in Southern Methodist University with Mr. Joaquin Achucarro. As soloist, she has performed with the most important symphony and philharmonic orchestras in Mexico like: State of Mexico Symphony (Enrique Batiz, conductor), Queretaro Philharmonic (Jose Flores, conductor), Mexico City Philharmonic (Jose Arean, conductor), among many others. She has won first, second and special prizes in Young Piano Competitions in Mexico and was the unique Latin American Pianist selected to participate at the 2005 Virginia Waring International Piano Competition in Palm Desert, California. She has performed in Canada, United States and in the most important places in Mexico.

Daniel Salisbury began his collegiate studies at Lone Star College in North Houston, where he studied with Diane Delk and with Dr. Roger Keele. While at LSC, he was selected as the student soloist for a recital christening the schools newly constructed concert hall and piano. He went on to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Stephen F. Austin State University where he studied piano with Dr. Andrew Parr and pedagogy with Dr. Mario Ajero. He also maintained a piano studio as a student teacher in the universities Music Preparatory Division. In the summer of 2013, Daniel attended the 2013 Vienna International Piano Academy where he studied with Krassimira Jordan. He remains active as a collaborator and soloist as well as teacher. At Meadows, he studies piano with Dr. Cathy Lysinger.

Jessie Welsh holds undergraduate degrees from the University of Central Florida in both Piano Performance and Music Education. Post graduation, Jessie studied privately with acclaimed pianist and pedagogue, Rebecca Penneys. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Southern Methodist University. She studies piano with Dr. Carole Leone. Prior to moving to Dallas, Jessie operated an active home studio and served on the faculty of a local music studio in Orlando. Additionally, she has served as an accompanist for churches, choruses, and a ballet studio.

Nick German, pianist and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, is currently pursuing his Masters in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. From Central, NY, he has been studying piano since the age of five. German has also been teaching piano privately since 2008. He made his debut on piano in 2010 after being invited to perform with the Utica Symphony Orchestra by conductor Charles Schneider. During his time at Eastman, he has collaborated with many different musicians and conductors. As a soloist, German has won numerous prizes throughout his studies. He regularly performs recitals, teaches private students, and teaches master classes throughout central New York. While at SMU, he studies piano under Dr. Carol Leone. His previous piano teachers have included Vincent Lenti and Tina Toglia.

Ligia Pucci started her piano studies in São Paulo, Brazil at the State Conservatory named Free University of Music. As a performer, Mrs. Pucci has won several local competitions in São Paulo, and was a finalist at the Great Claudio Arrau Piano Competition in Chile. In 2011, Lígia left her native country and moved to the United States to pursue a bachelors degree in Piano Performance. In addition to being a passionate teacher and performer, Mrs. Pucci enjoys playing chamber music, and researching new techniques for teaching and playing the piano. Lígia is currently pursuing a Masters of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy where she studies privately with Dr. Lysinger.

Su Hyun Kim, a native of South Korea, began her piano studies at an early age. Her talent was recognized early and she advanced to participate in a number of piano competitions. Among her competition successes include 1st prize at Berlin-Seoul International Competition 2009, 2nd prize at Music Teachers National Association in New York States in 2013. Ms, Kim was invited to play at the 2010 Euro-Music Festival in Leipzig, Germany, Cincinnati, USA 2014 Art of the piano fesitval and Chautauqau festival 2015 participated in masterclasses taught by Arie Vardi and Yoheved Kaplinsky in 2013. Ms. Kim graduated with a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Literature course at Eastman School of Music. She is excited to pursue her Performance Diploma at Meadows School of Arts where she studies with Prof. Caol Leone.

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