Apply Now MSA Visit

Catharine Lysinger

Catharine Lysinger

Catharine Lysinger

Senior Lecturer, Piano Pedagogy and Piano, Artistic Director, Piano Preparatory Department

Catharine Lysinger is on faculty at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts where she teaches piano pedagogy and applied piano. She is also coordinator of the piano pedagogy area and the artistic director of the Piano Preparatory Department. The program at SMU attracts students nationally and internationally, drawing some of the finest young pianists and teachers to study piano performance and piano pedagogy simultaneously in a highly specialized and individualized environment.

Lysinger is widely sought after as pianist, teacher and lecturer. She is a prizewinner in national and international piano competitions, including first prize in the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Young Artist Competition, first prize in the Wideman Piano Competition (Shreveport, La.) and second prize in the Vietri-Sul-Mare (Italy) duo-piano competition with SMU colleague and Chair of Keyboard Dept. Dr. Carol Leone. Lysinger has performed with orchestras including the Filarmónica de Jalisco (Guadalajara, Mexico), the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Civic Symphony and the Clear Lake Orchestra, and frequently collaborates with the Meadows Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Jack Delaney. Recent performances include the Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds, Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Lysinger is also an active soloist and collaborator in chamber music concerts. With duo-piano partner Dr. Alex McDonald she has performed the Bartók Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with percussionists of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and numerous other works for two pianos by Mozart, Brahms, Liszt, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and more. Lysinger’s ongoing collaboration with Voices of Change, a Dallas-based professional ensemble comprised of members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, features chamber music written by living composers.

In 2014, Lysinger was named Pre-Collegiate Teacher of the Year by the Texas Music Teachers Association. She was also nominated for the SMU Provost’s Teaching Recognition Award, which honors faculty who demonstrate a commitment to excellence and a consummate dedication to teaching. Many of her students have been awarded first prize in numerous competitions, including the American Protégé Competition; the MTNA Junior and Senior Piano Competitions in Texas; Dallas Symphonic Festival; Dallas Piano Solo Competition; Plano Symphony Young Artists Competition; Baylor-Waco Competition; Texas Music Teachers Association solo and concerto divisions; and the Dallas Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition. Graduates of her studio have been accepted to music schools and conservatories nationwide including SMU, Baylor, University of Houston, New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory and Peabody Conservatory.

Lysinger is a frequent guest of festivals nationally and internationally. Recent invitations to perform, give master classes and present lectures include the Vienna International Piano Academy (Austria), the May Festival at the Tianjin Conservatory and East China Normal University in Shanghai (China) and at the National Conservatory in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) hosted by Estudio Diná. In summer 2016 she will be on the artist faculty of the Brancaleoni Festival (Italy).

Lysinger is also a frequent adjudicator for and presenter to MTAs regionally and nationally and has been a featured presenter at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She is the founding director of the SMU Institute for Young Pianists (SMU IYP), an intensive, week-long summer program that attracts the best and brightest young pianists in the region and from as far away as China and Australia. Guest artists invited to give master classes for SMU IYP in conjunction with the SMU Institute for Piano Teachers have included Nelita True, Seymour Bernstein, Logan Skelton, Jennifer Hayghe and Jane Magrath.

Lysinger earned the Master of Music and the Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Houston where her professor was Nancy Weems. Additional studies were with Horacio Gutiérrez, and master classes with Abbey Simon, Christoph Eschenbach and Christopher Elton. Summer lessons at the Aspen Music Festival were with Gabriel Chodos and Evelyne Brancart.


D.M.A. Piano Performance, University of Houston
M.M. Piano Performance, University of Houston
B.M. Piano Performance, Southwestern University


For information on year-round Piano Preparatory Department:

For information on week-long summer Institute for Young Pianists:

Areas of Study



Art History

Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts



Welcome to the Division of Music

About the Division of Music

Undergraduate Studies

Graduate Studies





Faculty and Staff

By Instrument/Discipline

Student Resources

Student Internships & Collaborations

Meadows Artist Bridge

Dallas Resources

SMU Meadows Licensed Music Rights

Workshops and Special Programs

Opportunities for Non-Music Majors