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Carolina Summer Music Conservatory

Advanced high school students of woodwind, brass, percussion, jazz, voice, piano and strings can participate in this intensive one-week training period for both day and boarding students.

Carolina Summer Music Conservatory will be June 20-26, 2021. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE JUNE 1

Current plans are to hold the Conservatory in person.  If COVID numbers and vaccinations do not allow for this to be safely held, we will offer the program in a hybrid format for a lesser cost.  Any change of delivery will be decided by June 1, 2021 and all participants will offered a chance to have fees refunded, or to participate in the hybrid program for a lower cost.

General School of Music COVID Guidelines – Summer 2021

Mask guidelines have been updated. Based on the advice of the CDC and university medical experts, students, faculty, staff and audience members who are fully vaccinated may now forego masks both indoors and outdoors when using university facilities. We recognize that some members of our community may feel more comfortable wearing masks even after having been fully vaccinated. Individuals who are not yet fully vaccinated are expected to continue wearing a mask when indoors in any university facility unless actively engaged in eating or drinking.

The following information pertains ONLY to participants in Summer and Community Programs for no academic credit

In our commitment to the safety of every student, staff and faculty member, we will err on the side of caution in all that we do.  Breaks will be observed between concerts and rehearsals to keep aerosol production at lower levels. Instructors assigned to unvaccinated students will wear masks during instruction.  Class and audience sizes will be adjusted to observe University-established distancing requirements; aerosol producing events (involving wind players and singers) will take place in university recommended spaces and for limited periods of time. For your safety and the safety of others, a) a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours of arrival; b) documentation of positive COVID or antibody test within 90 days or c) proof of COVID vaccination is required to participate.

If you have not already done so, please present evidence that you have satisfied this requirement to the coordinator of your program.

Fee structure:
Application fee $75 (Application deadline is JUNE 1)
Tuition: $400
Room and board (includes housing and all meals for residential students): $275
Optional Meals for commuters (includes 5 lunches and 5 dinners): $110.

Participants study repertoire with USC music faculty in small chamber ensembles and together in a chamber orchestra culminating in a performance on the last day.

Students who have completed 9th through 12th grade focus on individual performance and chamber music, developing musicianship skills – the listening, rhythmic and ensemble skills that go into making chamber music.

In addition to master classes, chamber music coaching and private lessons, students are offered a variety of activities, including courses in music history, music theory, how to prepare for an audition, and jazz improvisation.

Conservatory participants rehearse and perform solo works with professional accompanists and hear concerts and recitals given by conservatory faculty members.

This year CSMC is offering two intenive study areas, click the links to learn more.

Pianists are also encouraged to apply for the CSMC separately from the Southeastern Piano Festival. Piano students have the opportunity to work in chamber ensembles in addition to daily lessons, master classes and classes with the other conservatory students.

Summer Music Conservatory FAQ
For more information: email Dr. Clifford Leaman or call 803-576-5893.

All participants will be required to submit a negative COVID test administered less than 72 hours prior to arrival.  Masks will be required indoors, and all University protocols for COVID instruction will be kept.

Summer Music Conservatory Faculty 



Craig ButterfieldCraig Butterfield is professor of double bass and jazz studies at the University of South Carolina where he directs one of the largest double bass programs in the Southeast. American Record Guide has said “Craig Butterfield is nothing short of magnificent. I haven’t heard such expressive playing and virtuosic command since Gary Karr. His tone is gorgeous, his intonation rock-solid, and his phrasing expressive and flexible.” Soundboard magazine stated, “Butterfield can make his instrument dance and sing with an effortless which is hard to credit. (He must have a bionic left forearm). Not only can he inhabit the range of a cello, but he can make it light and lyrical when needed.” Read More

Neil CaseyNeil Casey is the assistant director of orchestras at the University of South Carolina, as well as the conductor of the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra in Savannah, Georgia. At USC, he teaches conducting, violin, chamber music, conducts Opera at USC and the USC Campus Orchestra. Read More


Emma BrownEmma Brown is currently a viola and violin teacher at the Suzuki Academy of Columbia and frequently performs as a freelance musician throughout the Southeast. She started her musical training at the age of seven on the violin and later discovered her love for the viola. Emma received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY and her Master of Music degree in Violin and Viola Pedagogy from the University of South Carolina, serving as the Assistant Director of the University of South Carolina String Project under the direction of Dr. Gail V. Barnes. While at UofSC she studied viola and violin pedagogy with Dr. Daniel Sweaney, Dr. Ari Streisfeld, and Dr. Samara Humbert-Hughes.

Prior to moving to South Carolina in 2018 she served as the Assistant Director and master teacher for the SOAR (Strings Off and Running) program at St. Mary’s School in Cortland, NY in addition to teaching private violin and viola lessons and performing with the Catskill Symphony and Clinton Symphony Orchestras. Emma has also completed Suzuki teacher training with Carrie Reuning-Hummel (Every Child Can) and Amanda Schubert (Violin Unit 1).



Joseph EllerJoseph Eller is associate professor of clarinet at USC. He has performed solo and chamber music recitals throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. He was appointed principal clarinetist of the South Carolina Philharmonic in 2012 and has played extra with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra and numerous other orchestras throughout the southeastern U.S. Read More

Clifford LeamanClifford Leaman is associate dean and professor of saxophone at USC. He is in great demand as a soloist and clinician and has performed and taught throughout the U.S., Canada, Italy, Spain, France, Slovenia, Sweden, Thailand and in China where he has been a featured guest artist eight times since 2004. Read More

Reed HannaReed Hanna is principal bassoon of Symphony Orchestra Augusta in Augusta, GA. He also performs regularly on bassoon and contrabassoon with the South Carolina Philharmonic, the Charleston POPS!, the Valdosta (GA) Symphony, the Greenville (SC) Symphony, and others. Read More

Lauren WatkinsLauren Watkins Vaughn holds the second flute/piccolo chair with the Augusta Symphony and performs as principal flute with the Aiken Symphony. She has also performed as a guest musician with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, SC Philharmonic and the Long Bay Symphony. In addition to her private flute studio in Columbia, Lauren is on faculty at Newberry College and Limestone College and regularly presents guest clinics and workshops to high school students across the state. Read More



Ronald DavisRonald Davis is professor of tuba and euphonium at USC and is principal tubist with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra. As an orchestral player he has performed with the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Sinfonia Orchestra under Roger Wagner, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Charleston and Charlotte Symphonies. Read More

Michael WilkinsonMichael Wilkinson is a versatile music educator and musician who doubles on tenor and bass trombone (as well as alto, contrabass and euphonium) and taught middle school band in Arizona in his “past life.” Equally at home in varied musical styles, he has played with the South Carolina Philharmonic and the Brass Band of Central Florida, as well as being a member of the newly-formed South Carolina Jazz Masterworks Ensemble. Michael released his first solo CD, “Wait for Me!” on Random Act Records in 2017, and is an S.E. Shires Trombone Artist.  Read More

Dakota CorblissDr. Dakota Corbliss is an active horn teaching artist based in Columbia, South Carolina. 

As an ensemble performer, Corbliss is the Third Horn in the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and plays with many other regional orchestras including the North Carolina Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Augusta Symphony, Virginia Symphony, South Carolina Philharmonic, and Long Bay Symphony. In the past, he has performed with the likes of New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, South Florida Philharmonic, New River Valley Symphony, the United States Navy Band Southwest, the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band, and many others. 

He is an avid chamber musician, helping found Vice City Brass, a collective of brass and electronic musicians aiming to bridge the generational gap between the past, present, and future. He also performs and is a founding member of Cor4, a horn quartet focused on outreach and expanding the quartet repertoire. Corbliss has recently co-founded a new music group called Pivot, a horn and saxophone duo that aims to use their music to "pivot" the views of their listeners on important social issues. Their first album "Terraform" will be released in 2021.

Corbliss is currently the Adjunct Professor of Horn at UNC-Wilmington, Coastal Carolina University, Newberry College. He just finished the spring semester as the Sabbatical Horn Instructor at the University of South Carolina. He also maintains a full studio of high school students. 

In an administrative role, Corbliss is currently the Director of Operations for the Brass Institutes of Virginia, a series of brass chamber music festivals that take place in the summer in Fredericksburg and Norfolk, Virginia. He has also worked logistics on many projects including the Savvy Arts Venture Challenge and the College Music Society Summit. 

Corbliss has earned a DMA from the University of South Carolina School of Music, an MM from the University of Miami Frost School of Music, and a BA from Virginia Tech. His teachers have included JD Shaw, Richard Todd, and Wallace Easter.

Justin RobinsonJustin Robinson is Principal Trumpet of the Florence Symphony, an Adjunct Instructor of Brass at Benedict College, and Director of the Brass Ensemble at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC.  He completed his Doctorate in Trumpet Performance at the University of South Carolina, where he served as a Graduate Assistant for Music Theory and played principal trumpet in the USC Symphony Orchestra.  In addition to a DMA in trumpet performance, Dr. Robinson also holds a doctoral minor in music theory, a master's in music performance, and a bachelor's in music education.



Scott HerringScott Herring directs the percussion area at USC. He frequently appears as a guest artist with university percussion ensembles across the U.S. and has presented concerts and clinics at PASIC 1996, 2002, 2006 and 2011. Read More



Lauren MecciaLauren Meccia is director of jazz bands at the University of South Carolina and UofSC Aiken and instructor of saxophone at UofSC Aiken. She is the founder and director of the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) New Horizons Band for senior adults in Aiken, SC and assistant director of the Congaree New Horizons Band in Columbia, SC. 

Read More


Almond PongeAlmond Ponge started piano lessons at the age of 14 and has recently graduated from the University of South Carolina with his Graduate Certificate in Piano Performance under Dr. Marina Lomazov. He has completed his Master’s degree at Winthrop University, also in South Carolina, and his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Santo Tomas, Philippines.

Mr. Ponge won first prize in the 2016 South Carolina Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist Competition. In 2014, he garnered an honorable mention from the same competition. He was also awarded the Melle Beach Casey Award for Musical Excellence at Winthrop University, among assistantship and scholarship grants for the duration of his education for both Winthrop University and the University of South Carolina. His orchestral debut was with the Manila Symphony Orchestra in 2013; he has participated in the South Eastern Piano Festival both as an associate and a performer, the UST Sampung Mga Daliri, as well as Philippine Teacher’s Guild for Piano (PTGP) events such as the Forte@40, Mall Tours, and Paco Park Presents.

He has participated in masterclasses with pedagogues and performers such as Anton Nel, Carol Leone, John O’Connor, Walter Hautzig, Pascal Roge, Dorian Leljak, Sofya Gulyak, Angelo Rondello, among others.

Mr. Ponge is currently pursuing a DMA in Piano Performance at the University of South Carolina, where he is studying with Philip Bush and Charles Fugo.


Tina StallardActive as a concert artist, soprano Tina Milhorn Stallard has performed solos in works such as Brahms’ “Ein Deutsches Requiem,” Haydn’s “The Creation,” Bach’s “St. John Passion,” Poulenc’s “Gloria” and Handel’s “Messiah.” In June 2011, she made her Lincoln Center debut as soprano soloist in Timothy Powell’s “Incarnation Mysteria.” As part of the cultural prelude to the 2008 Summer Olympics, Stallard performed the soprano solos in Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the Beijing National Ballet Orchestra. She has also performed with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Johnson City Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, Bowling Green Western Symphony and the University of Arkansas Orchestra. Read More

Serena Hill-LaRocheSerena Hill-LaRoche, DMA, is an active concert artist having recently been featured in works such as Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Herbert Howells’s Hymnus Paradisi, Poulenc’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation and Seasons, Brahm’s Requiem, Charpentier’s Te Deum, Vaughan William’s Dona Nobis Pacem and Handel’s Samson. Hill-LaRoche’s recent locations for performance and/or master class engagements include East Tennessee State University, Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Light Opera Works, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, South Carolina Philharmonic, Coker College, Bechtler Museaum of Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, Palmetto Opera, University of Maryland, Central Florida Lyric Opera, Firenze Lirico, Columbia Museum of Art, and Abadía Benedictina de la Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos as well as other performances in both Spain and Italy. Her opera credits include Micaela (Carmen), Lady with the Cake Box (Postcard from Morocco), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) and the title role in Dominick Argento’s Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night.  Read More

Janet HopkinsJanet Hopkins joined the University of South Carolina School of Music in the fall 2008 semester, as Associate Professor of Voice, mezzo-soprano. Ms. Hopkins holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, cum laude, and a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance, cum laude, from the State University of New York, Potsdam, NY. In addition to touring extensively with The Met, Ms. Hopkins has performed in Japan and throughout Europe, as well as all over the United States. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall and at the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.  Read More

Dominic ArmstrongHaving recently been appointed Assistant Professor of Voice at The University of South Carolina, tenor Dominic Armstrong has been celebrated for his musicality, characterization, and beauty of tone on stages both nationally and internationally.  In the 2019-20 season, Mr. Armstrong was hailed by Opera News for ‘truly a classic, memorable performance on all levels’ of Janacek’s The Diary of One Who Vanished for the Brooklyn Art Song Society, and by Parterre Box for being ‘an absolute to pull from a wide expressive palatte in his utterly unflappable, fluid tenor...’ in his performance as Prologue/Peter Quint in OnSite Opera’s production of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw.  He was also seen as Don José in Kentucky Opera’s production of Carmen, and debuted the role of John and understudied the role of Mr. Marks in Ricky Ian Gordon and Lynn Nottage’s new work Intimate Apparel with Lincoln Center Theatre, under the direction of Bartlett Sher.Read More

Rachel CallowayAs an internationally recognized leading interpreter of contemporary and modern music, mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway brings versatility and compelling insight to stages worldwide. Her work has been praised by the New York Times for “penetrating clarity” and “considerable depth of expression” and by Opera News for her “adept musicianship and dramatic flair.”

Last season’s highlights included a debut with the California Symphony in works by Gabriela Lena Frank and Mahler, continued collaborations with John Zorn in Katowice, Poland, alto soloist in The Messiah with the Aiken Symphony and others, and performances and residencies with Duo Cortona, Calloway’s duo alongside violinist Ari Streisfeld, in Rochester and Pittsburgh. Read More

Lynn KompassVocal coach and collaborative pianist, Lynn Kompass provides musical preparation for all Opera at USC productions and teaches courses in song literature and diction for singers.   She also coaches both graduate and undergraduate voice majors in preparation for degree recitals and auditions.

Active as a collaborative pianist and chamber musician, Lynn Kompass has performed in Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Brazil, China, South Korea, and Thailand and has appeared in venues across the United States, including Weill Recital Hall and the Nicholas Roerich Museum (NYC), the Strings in the Mountain Festival (Colorado), Harold Washington Library (Chicago), and the North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh).  She has also given recitals at numerous colleges and conservatories nationwide, including the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico, Eastman School of Music, University of Tennessee, Western Michigan University, University of Florida and James Madison University.  For many summers she was also engaged as a pianist for the prestigious Steans Vocal Institute in residence at the Ravinia Music Festival.  While in residence, she played for many voice recitals as well as master classes led by Christoph Eschenbach, Christa Ludwig, Thomas Hampson, Thomas Allen, Barbara Bonney, among others. Read More

Ellen SchlaeferSince her appointment in 2004, Ellen Douglas Schlaefer has staged over 50 productions for Opera at USC and established the Carolina Opera Experience, a summer day camp for children. She received her BA from Davidson College and MFA (stage directing) from The Catholic University of America.

Early in her career, Schlaefer assisted directors Francesca Zambello, Gian Carlo Menotti, Julius Rudel, Sonja Frissell, Ann-Margret Pettersson, Ted Pappas, Michael Ehrman, Baayork Lee and Roman Terleckyj on productions with The Washington Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Opera Colorado, Central City Opera, Charleston Symphony, The Israel Festival (Jerusalem, Israel), Teatro Comunale di Modena (Italy), Spoleto Festival (Melbourne, Australia) and New York Harlem Productions (Munich, Germany).

Schlaefer is the Founder and General Director of FBN Productions, Inc., Opera for Kids, a professional touring company established in 1994 performing operas in schools, libraries and other venues throughout the Southeast. Read More

Jacob WillBass-baritone Jacob Will made his New York Philharmonic debut as soloist in the American premiere of the “Messa per Rossini,” a performance televised live nationwide.

An experienced concert artist, Mr. Will has appeared with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladamir Ashkenazy and with the Cabrillo Festival under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies. He has sung with the San Francisco Symphony in the “St. Matthew Passion,” with the International Bach Festival of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in the “St. John Passion” and with the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra in Frank Martin's “Le mystère de la Nativité.” He has also recorded Cherubini’s “Messe solennelle” under Helmuth Rilling and Zemlinsky’s “Kleider Machen Leute” under Ralf Weikert.

Mr. Will has sung for many years with the Zürich Opera appearing in roles such as Raimondo in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Mustafa in “L'Italiana in Algeri,” and Colline in “La Boheme.” Other companies with which Mr. Will has appeared include the New York City Opera as Figaro in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” Vancouver Opera as Oroveso in “Norma,” the Bavarian State Opera as Samuel in “Un Ballo in Maschera” and the San Francisco Opera as Masetto in “Don Giovanni.” Read More


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