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Class and teacher assignment for each student will be deteremined by the coordinator.


John Ellis (Director, private teacher)



Kelley Benson (Coordinator, group teacher, private teacher)


Faculty Members

Hagelthorn, Aya Higuchi (Group teacher, private teacher)

Dr. Hagelthorn is a native of Japan, and started studying piano in the Suzuki method when she was four years old. She came to North Carolina in 1995, and excelled in performance by winning many awards and competitions, including the NC Music Teacher's College Piano Auditions, and competing as a finalist at the National Convention of MTNA in 2001. Ms. Higuchi received a Bachelor’s degree in Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied with Francis Whang for four years. She is currently studying with Louis Nagel and John Ellis at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, from where she obtained her Master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance. She is now a candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, and was declared the winner of concerto competition at the University of Michigan in 2002.

Claiborne, Leah (Private teacher)

Hwang, Hyae-Jin (Private teacher)

Kaku, Akira (Private teacher)

Keith, Jonathan (Private teacher)


Schumann, Sonya (Private teacher)


Zick, Agnieszka (Private teacher)

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower