Sue Boyd Price, SMPI Administrator

Mamie Walters, Southern Miss School of Music Accounts Specialist

Ellen ElderDr. Ellen Elder (SMPI Director)—Dr. Ellen Price Elder is Assistant Professor of Piano at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she is the coordinator of the piano accompanying program, teaches class piano, and collaborates with faculty and guest artists.  In addition to her college teaching, Dr. Elder also serves as founder and director of the Southern Miss Piano Institute. 

She holds the D.M.A. in Piano Pedagogy and Performance and the M.M. in Piano Performance and Literature from the University of Michigan.  She received her B.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi.  She has served on the faculties of the University of Michigan, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Eastern Michigan University, Schoolcraft College, and William Carey University.  She has taught on the summer piano faculties of the University of Michigan All-State Program at Interlochen and the University of Michigan Summer Arts Institute.

Dr. Elder is the winner of many competitions and awards, both for solo performance and teaching.  She was the first place winner of the Ann Arbor Society for the Musical Arts Competition and the Lansing Matinee Musicale Competition, and second place winner of the Memphis International Beethoven Sonata Competition.  She was the recipient of the MTNA Star Award, as well as the Joanne A. Smith Piano Pedagogy Award for class piano teaching (for two consecutive years). 

In 2009, she was selected to receive the HEADWAE Award (Higher Education Appreciation Day/Working for Academic Excellence) established in 1988 by the Mississippi Legislature to honor faculty who have contributed to the promotion of academic excellence at each of the state's public and private institutions. 

She has appeared as soloist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and the Hattiesburg City Band.  She has also performed with the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and the University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra, as winner of the concerto competitions at those institutions.

Dr. Elder is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the southeastern United States and beyond.  She is an active member of the local and state music teacher organizations, and currently serves as President-Elect of the Mississippi Music Teachers Association and Vice President for Membership/Web Management of the Hattiesburg Music Teachers League.


Creighton HolderCreighton Holder is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in piano performance from the University of Southern Mississippi.  He is a member of the USM Southern Chorale, and is a student of Dr. Ellen Elder.  Before transferring to USM he attended Pearl River Community College, where he received the departmental music award and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  He currently serves as pianist at Grace Memorial Baptist Church in Slidell, LA.



Tae Young HongTae Young Hong is a Master’s student in Music Theory/Composition and Piano Accompanying at the University of Southern Mississippi.  He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance (pedagogy emphasis) from William Carey University.  He taught private lessons as an adjunct student faculty member in the Carey Institute of Fine Arts from 2008-2011, while also assisting in the children’s piano pedagogy laboratory group classes.  Since 2011, he has served as an adjunct faculty member in the Southern Miss Piano Institute.  As a graduate assistant as USM, Mr. Hong teaches sophomore music theory and aural skills classes.  His research interests include the music of Shostakovich and Ravel.  He has presented his research at a number of conferences including the South Central Society for Music Theory and the USM Graduate Symposium.  He is the winner of many competitions, including the Mississippi Music Teachers Association Junior-Senior Solo competition, as well as the Winters School of Music In-House Solo Competition (2009 and 2010) at William Carey.  In addition, he has performed in master classes for such artists as Petronel Malan and Ian Hominick.  Mr. Hong was the recipient of the William Carey University Scholar Award, which is the highest scholarship the university offers. 


Pablo SotomayorDr. Pablo Sotomayor is one of the most internationally active and versatile Peruvian pianists of his generation, performing as a soloist, in chamber music ensembles, and as an accompanist.  Born in Lima, Sotomayor graduated with honors from the National Conservatory of Music in his hometown, and later earned a Master's Degree in Piano Performance at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).  Past public presentations include several solo recitals and performances as concerto soloist in Peru and in the United States playing such pianistic war-horses as Rachmaninoff's second, Grieg's, or Tchaikovsky's first concerti.

In 2013, Sotomayor earned his Doctoral degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at USM, where he studied with Dr. Lois Leventhal.  His dissertation includes a technically graded catalog of the solo piano works by Peruvian composer Roberto Carpio.

Before coming to the United States, Sotomayor served as a piano teacher at the Arts Institute of the San Martin de Porres University, in Lima, Peru.  Also in his hometown, he was appointed instructor at Markham High School, one of the country's leading pre-college music programs.  At USM, Sotomayor obtained valuable experience as a class piano instructor during the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters.  He is thrilled to continue in the piano teaching field as a faculty member of the Southern Miss Piano Institute.