Sarah Johnson, Concertmaster Emeritus of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Associate Professor of Violin at the Petrie School of Music at Converse College, is the Founder and Artistic Director of Chamber Music on the Hill at Converse College. She has performed on five continents as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Gian-Carlo Menotti invited her to give her European debut at the Spoleto/Festi dei Due Mondi after hearing her performance of his violin concerto at the Spoleto/USA Festival in Charleston, SC. and Pulitzer winning composer Robert Ward wrote his only violin concerto for her. Professor Johnson has given masterclasses and concerts in summer festivals, including Brevard, Grand Tetons, Austin Chamber Music Festival, the Franschoek Music Festival/South Africa, the Harlaxton Music Festival/Great Britain, and the Festwoche klassicher Musik in Germany. Her discography includes Scarlet&Blue, American Romantics and Fiddler’s Galaxy all on the Albany/Troy label. Her students have been laureates in national and international competitions, and have matriculated at schools like Juilliard, Vanderbilt, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Oberlin, and are working successfully in the field. She is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music where she was a student of Ivan Galamian, Jaime Laredo and the Guarneri Quartet.
Violinist, Assistant Director, and Scheduling Coordinator of Chamber Music on the Hill, Education Director of Greensboro Symphony, conductor of Greensboro Symphony Youth Strings, and Suzuki specialist. Former member of Philharmonica de Caracas in Venezuela, Columbus Symphony, and Cleveland Opera. Karen holds Masters in Violin Performance from Florida State University. She studied with Karen Clarke, Patricio Cobos, and Paul Biss.
Michael Heald is currently Associate Professor of Violin at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, University of Georgia and a member of the Franklin String Quartet. As a soloist and chamber musician Michael has performed nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. His performing career began in England where he was a member of the English Chamber Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle. Following a performance in the Wagner Hall in Latvia and then in the Elgar Museum in England he was invited to play Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on one of her official visits to Hereford, England. A dedicated pedagogue Michael has given public master classes at the Royal College of Music in London, Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota, and his article “What is the Point of Balance?” was published in the ASTA Journal. Michael studied violin in London and at the Royal Northern College of Music. He went on to earn his Master’s and Doctoral degrees at Michigan State University. His principal teachers were Emanuel Hurwitz, Richard Deakin, and Walter Verdehr.
* also ACMA coach