Sue Boyd Price, SMPI Administrator

Mamie Walters, Southern Miss School of Music Accounts Specialist


Beverly Culpepper

Beverly Culpepper, a native of Laurel, MS, graduated from Jones County Junior College with an AA degree, and from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.M. in Music Education (piano), and an M.M. in Piano Performance.  Her teachers were Charles Wroten and George Imbragulio.  She completed further study in London, England with teacher and concert pianist Denise Lassimone, daughter of Tobias Matthay, who founded the Royal School of Music in London.  Mrs. Culpepper has maintained a piano studio for thirty-five years in Laurel.  She was accompanist for the Jones County Junior College theater department for five years, pianist at First Baptist Church in Laurel for eighteen years, and is presently Director of Music Ministries at Immaculate Conception Church of Laurel.  She serves as an accompanist at the University of Southern Mississippi, and has taught in the Southern Miss Piano Institute since the spring of 2012.

Ellen Elder

Dr. 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.


Tae Young Hong

Tae 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. 


Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones holds a Master's degree in Piano Performance from The University of Southern Mississippi where he studied with Dr. Elizabeth Moak and Dr. Petronel Malan.  Previous instructors include Dr. Theresa Sanchez and Mrs. Ellen Gunn.  During his time as a graduate assistant at USM, Mr. Jones gained a significant amount of experience as a collaborative artist as well as a teacher of class piano. 

In addition to his pursuits as a pianist, Mr. Jones has also studied organ since the age of fifteen, and has continued to serve as a church organist since that time.  He has studied organ with Dr. Graham Purkerson, Mrs. Kay Guiles, and Mr. Lorenz Maycher.  Most recently, Mr. Jones has taken a great interest in composition, and has studied with Mr. Luigi Zaninelli for the past five years.  He has written for piano, organ, and chorus.  Many of his choral works have been premiered by the University of Southern Mississippi choirs.