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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.

Kevin Gunter is the Class Piano Coordinator at SMU, where he instructs undergraduate students in a state-of-the-art Yamaha keyboard laboratory and supervises graduate students in the Piano Pedagogy/Performance program. Mr. Gunter holds degrees in piano from Samford University and SMU, where he studied with Dr. Betty Sue Shepherd and Dr. David Karp, respectively. He also maintains a nationally recognized, award-winning studio of pre-college students in SMU's Piano Preparatory Department and teaches adult students in SMU's CAPE program.

Mr. Gunter is an active musical director/conductor in the DFW theatre scene. He has given hundreds of performances in over 50 different productions at theatres such as Uptown Players, WaterTower Theatre and Lyric Stage, including Titanic and La Cage Aux Folles in 2017.

During the summers, Mr. Gunter is Co-Director of the SMU Institute for Young Pianists.

Ryan Greene lives in Dallas and serves as piano faculty at the SMU Piano Prep Department and the Centre for Musical Minds. Dedicated to the advancement of piano pedagogy, he is associate director for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and digital management for Clavier Companion magazine. Mr. Greene holds a Master’s in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from SMU, and a Bachelor’s in Piano Performance from Butler University. He spent recent summers as a teaching assistant at Interlochen Arts Camp and faculty at the SMU Institute for Young Pianists.

Jessie Welsh holds a Master's in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from SMU, as well as undergraduate degrees in both Piano Performance and Music Education from the University of Central Florida. She is an active performer, teacher, collaborator, presenter, and church musician in Dallas with special interests in piano ensemble and practice habit development. Her primary teachers include Carol Leone, Rebecca Penneys, and Laurent Boukobza. Jessie is currently pursing a second Master's in Piano at SMU under the direction of Dr. Carol Leone.

Nick German, pianist and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, is currently pursuing his Master's 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. 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. More recently, German has been invited to adjudicate the New York Association of Christian Schools Fine Arts Competition. In the upcoming academic year, he will also be performing the Piano Concerto No.2 by Stephen Paulus with the SMU Wind Ensemble. While at SMU, German 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, Ms. 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 Bachelor degree in Piano Performance. In addition to being a passionate teacher and performer, Ms. Pucci enjoys playing chamber music, and researching new techniques for teaching and playing the piano. Lígia is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy where she studies privately with Dr. Lysinger.

Su Hyun Kim, from Seoul, South Korea, graduated in 2015 with a Master's of Music degree in Piano Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Enrico Elisi. Ms. Kim is currently a teaching assistant at SMU while pursuing her Piano Performance Diploma on full scholarship with Prof. Carol Leone. Ms. Kim earned a Silver Medal at the 2016 Odyssiad International Piano Competition, 1st prize in the 2014 American Protégé International Piano Competition, and 1st prize at the Berlin-Seoul International Competition in 2009. Additionally, she earned awards in the 2015 Chautauqua Piano Competition, 2013 MTNA Competition, and 2011 Franz Liszt competition, among others. Most recently, she won the 2016 SMU Concerto competition, representing her US concert debut.

Adam Salas began his studies at the age of 16 under Dr. Shiho Saito and Joshua Vogel at the Fox River Academy of Art and Music where he was awarded a full tuition waiver. It was during this time that he realized his passion and potential for the piano, sparking his musical career and steering him toward higher education in music.

Mr. Salas earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and Music Business from Illinois State University, studying under Dr. Geoffrey Duce and Dr. Joshua Russell. He has also studied applied organ and accompanying under Dr. Carlyn Morenus and Dr. Tuyen Tonnu, respectively. Mr. Salas is pursuing a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Cathy Lysinger at SMU, where he was awarded a teaching fellow position.

Eun Seon Shin earned her Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University under the direction of Benjamin Pasternack. At the Peabody Institute, she also studied with Hyun Sook Park, Alexander Shtarkman, Seth Knopp, and Katherine Jacobson Fleisher. She received Artistic Scholarships from the Peabody Institute, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and SMU. While she studied at Peabody Institute, she was featured on the Dean's list, as student with High Honors. Her primary teachers include Carol Leone, Benjamin Pasternack, and Michael Coonrod. Ms. Shin is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at SMU under the guidance of Dr. Carol Leone.

Aveline Chan, from Richardson, Texas, is a senior pursuing undergraduate degrees in Piano Performance and Accounting at Southern Methodist University. She is passionate about helping all students--no matter their personal goals--have fun making music at the piano. Her primary teachers include Alfred Mouledous and Rozalie Levant.

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