Petrie School voice students dominate at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) competitions and have placed at Metropolitan Opera Regional and National auditions. In addition to individual training with professional faculty members, voice students also participate in the Converse Opera Theatre, as well as in the school’s choral ensembles: the Converse Chorale and the Spartanburg Festival Chorus.
Our graduates have gone on to complete successful graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, the New England Conservatory, the Royal Academy of Music in London, the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School and other major institutions.
A renowned faculty and contemporary facilities—including 30 individual practice rooms (most with Steinway grand pianos)—enable the keyboard major to demonstrate her true musicianship. Pipe organ facilities include instruments by Casavant, Schantz, and Holtkamp. Many keyboard majors have used the strong foundation provided by the Petrie School as a launching pad for successful graduate studies at the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, New York University and Indiana University. Graduates find careers as solo and collaborative performers, professors, and teachers across the country.
Keyboard master classes have been conducted by Maurice Hinson, Jane Allen, Anthony di Bonaventura, Richard Cass, Seymour Fink, Enid Katahn, Jerome Rose, Emilio del Rosario, Elizabeth Pridonoff, Ursula Oppens and Susan Starr.
Every string student participates in the Converse Symphony Orchestra, the Petrie School’s orchestra. Chamber music is another component vital to the musical growth of a string player; ensembles range from early music ensembles, to ensembles that perform the cornerstones of the Classical, Romantic, Impressionist and 20th-century repertoire.
Converse’s American String Teachers Association student chapter is one of only two officially chartered in South Carolina. The College has hosted such renowned artists as violinists Eudice Shapiro and Robert McDuffie, and cellists Steven Doane and Carter Brey. Student chamber ensembles have been coached by the Ying String Quartet and the Eroica Trio.
Woodwind students, working closely with an exceptional faculty of actively performing teachers, learn solo and ensemble performance practices and techniques, pedagogy, reed-making skills and participate in weekly seminars with their respective studios. All woodwind students participate in the Wind Ensemble or Converse Symphony Orchestra and perform in such ensembles as the Clarinet Choir, Flute Ensemble, and various mixed chamber groups.
Woodwind students have sharpened their skills under the tutelage of renowned visiting artists from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; the Dorian Winds; Joseph Robinson, oboist; Christopher Sereque and Loren Kitt, clarinetists; flutist Bonita Boyd; and the Harvey Pittel Saxophone Quartet. They make careers as performers, professors, and teachers around the country.
Brass students at the Petrie School study with a distinguished faculty of artist/teachers who also enjoy successful performing careers. With individual professors for trumpet, horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba, students receive personalized instruction on their specific instrument, along with weekly seminars.
Some of the finest brass players in the world—including the Empire Brass, the Monarch Brass Quintet and Boston Brass—have taught master classes at the Petrie School.
Percussion majors have access to a fully equipped percussion studio that includes rosewood marimbas, a complete set of Adams tympani, full keyboard percussion and Latin percussion. Converse recently hosted Dame Evelyn Glennie, the world’s foremost solo percussionist, for a master class.