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School of Music

Summer Conservatory violin students

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.

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.

A limited number of pianists are accepted into the program and must apply through the Southeastern Piano Festival website. Piano students have the opportunity to work in chamber ensembles in addition to daily lessons, master classes and classes with the other conservatory students.

2017 Dates

June 11–17, 2017
Application deadline May 1, 2017.


Application fee: $50 (nonrefundable)
Tuition: $400
Room and board: $275
Total fees: $725

Application fee: $50 (nonrefundable)
Tuition: $400
Total Fees: $450

Optional meal plan for commuting students: $85 (5 lunches and dinners; for commuting students only)
Commuting students must live off campus with an adult guardian.

A limited number of scholarships are available. All students wishing to be considered for scholarship assistance must submit a taped recording and indicate on the application that they wish to be considered.

To apply

  • Apply and pay online here.  Application deadline is May 1, 2017.
  • Include an electronic audio file link or send us a CD recording of 5-10 minutes of you performing on your major instrument (or proof of inclusion in your Allstate ensemble). A recording is required if you wish to be considered for a scholarship.
  • Mail to: Clifford Leaman, Carolina Summer Music Conservatory, USC School of Music, 813 Assembly St., Columbia, SC 29208

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

Summer Music Conservatory Faculty


Craig Butterfield

Craig Butterfield, double bass

Craig Butterfield is associate 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. Comfortable in many styles of music, he has performed extensively as a jazz artist as well as a classical soloist and clinician. During 2004 and 2005, he toured with the legendary jazz trumpet player Maynard Ferguson.

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Neil Casey, violin, conductor

Neil 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.

Ari Streisfeld

Ari Streisfeld, violin

Violinist Ari Streisfeld has garnered critical acclaim worldwide for his performances of diverse repertoire and has established himself as one of the foremost interpreters of contemporary classical music. Praised for his “dazzling performance” by the New York Times and “scintillating playing” by New York Classical Review, Dr. Streisfeld is a founding member of the world renowned JACK Quartet.

William Terwilliger

William Terwilliger, violin

Violinist William Terwilliger has enjoyed an exceptionally active and diverse career as a soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral musician and teacher. Currently professor of violin at the University of South Carolina, Mr. Terwilliger is also a gifted and dedicated pedagogue, and has given masterclasses throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

Daniel Sweaney

Daniel Sweaney, viola

Daniel Sweaney made his New York debut in Avery Fisher Hall at the 1999 Mostly Mozart Festival. Strings Magazine said about him “...extremely talented and highly trained...poised and accomplished...” Mr. Sweaney began his musical studies in his public school’s string program at age eleven and has since had a diverse education in the United States and Europe and performed across the globe.

Robert Jesselson

Robert Jesselson, cello

Robert Jesselson is a Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina, where he teaches cello and plays in the American Arts Trio and the Jesselson/Fugo Duo. In 2013 he was named as the Governor’s Professor of the Year by the SC Commission on Higher Education.  

Samara Humbert-Hughes

Samara Humbert-Hughes, viola

Samara Humbert-Hughes is director of Suzuki Strings at USC. She was a violin and viola instructor in Cambridge for the Cambridge Suzuki Program and at the Community Center at RAF Mildenhall as well as an active performer in the Cambridge area.



Rebecca Nagel

Rebecca Schalk Nagel, oboe

Assistant dean and professor of oboe at the USC School of Music, Rebecca Schalk Nagel has performed across the U.S. and in Europe. As director of Spark: Carolina's Music Leadership Laboratory, she explores new ways for students to engage with their communities.

Joseph Eller

Joseph Eller, clarinet

Joseph 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.

Clifford Leaman

Clifford Leaman, saxophone

Clifford 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.

Reed Hanna

Reed Hanna, bassoon

Reed 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.

Lauren Watkins

Lauren Watkins, flute

Flutist Lauren Watkins enjoys an active career as a performer and educator. She has performed as featured soloist with the Ohio State Symphony Orchestra and the Sewanee Festival Orchestra and is currently a flute instructor and Sunrise Band director with the Congaree New Horizon’s Band, flute instructor at the Hammond School, graduate teaching assistant for the flute studio at USC, and has a private studio in Columbia, S.C.



James Ackely

James Ackley, trumpet

 James Ackley is professor of trumpet at USC and has performed with the Charleston Symphony, Moscow State Radio Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Bogota Philharmonic, the Cincinnati Symphony, and many others. As a soloist and recitalist, he has performed in more than 30 countries and in the most famous concert halls in the world. He is a member of the award winning Bala Brass Quintet. He is is a Yamaha Performing Artist and Clinician.

Ronald Davis

Ronald Davis, tuba and euphonium

Ronald 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.

Michelle Smith, horn

Michelle Smith, horn

Michelle Smith is pursuing her doctor of musical arts degree in horn performance and is a graduate assistant for USC Bands. She received a master of music in horn performance from the University of New Mexico and played in the Sandia Brass Quintet, Graduate Woodwind Quintet, University of New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, Brass Choir and Wind Symphony. She has performed with ensembles in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and New Mexico, and has worked as a private teacher and horn instructor for schools throughout the Southeast.

Stephen Wilson trombone

Stephen Wilson, trombone

Stephen Wilson has more than 40 years of experience as a professional trombonist. He has performed with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., George Benson, Natalie Cole, Frank Rosolino, Bill Watrous and Wycliffe Gordon, among others. His performance of Chris Brubeck’s Concerto for Bass Trombone with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra was broadcast on NPR.