Dra. Ellen Elder
University of Southern Mississippi
Associate Professor of Piano
Dr. Ellen Price Elder is Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she teaches applied piano to graduate and undergraduate piano majors, serves as coordinator and teacher in the class piano program, and teaches piano pedagogy. She is an active collaborator with USM faculty and guest artists, and has performed throughout the United States and South America as soloist, collaborator, and masterclass clinician. In 2011, Dr. Elder founded the Southern Miss Piano Institute, which offers private lessons to pre-college students and adults in the community. Her college and pre-college students receive numerous awards and honors for their performance.
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. Her primary instructors included Louis Nagel, John Ellis, and Joanne Smith. She did additional study in vocal accompanying with Martin Katz and fortepiano with Penelope Crawford. 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, the University of Michigan Summer Arts Institute, the FestivalSouth Piano Concerto Academy, the University of South Alabama Piano Camp, and the Piracicaba International Piano Festival.
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. In March 2010, she was selected to compete in the 7th International J. S. Bach Competition in Würzburg, Germany, and was one of thirty-seven pianists chosen to compete in the 2006 Johann Sebastian Bach International Competition in Leipzig (one of three chosen from the U.S.).
She is the recipient of the Steinway & Sons Top Teacher Award, 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 been featured as soloist with the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and the University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra, as winner of the concerto competitions at those institutions. She has been featured as soloist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the Mississippi Symphony Chamber Orchestra, the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, and the Hattiesburg City Band.
Dr. Elder is a reviewer for the American Music Teacher Magazine. She edited Three Pieces for the Young Pianist by Luigi Zaninelli, published by C. Alan Publications. A collaborative CD with Dr. Jason Bergman, trumpet, “On the Horizon” was released in the fall of 2013 and is available for purchase through msrcd.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes.
Dr. Elder is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the United States. She is an active member of the local and state music teacher organizations, having served as President of the Mississippi Music Teachers Association from 2014-2016. She currently serves as President of the Hattiesburg Music Teachers League.