Susan Wiersma Uchimura, piano
SUSAN WIERSMA UCHIMURA is a resident artist with the Merling Trio and a member of the piano faculty and staff accompanist at Western Michigan University. Previously she served on the piano faculties of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Augusta College in Georgia, and the accompanying faculties of the Meadowmount School of Music and the Aspen Music School.
Ms. Wiersma Uchimura graduated as class valedictorian from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she received bachelor of music degrees in theory and piano as a student of Jack Radunsky and Eunice Podis. Ms. Uchimura earned the master of music degree in pedagogy from the University of South Carolina, where she studied under Max Camp and Charles Fugo. She has also studied at the Banff School of Fine Arts and in New York with Dorothy Taubman and Edna Golandsky.
Ms. Wiersma Uchimura has performed with major young artists as resident collaborative pianist for the Stulberg International String Competition, the Music Teacher National Association-Wurlitzer Collegiate Artist Competition, and the Pensacola Summer Music Festival. As a faculty member at the acclaimed ENCORE School for Strings for 20 years, she performed with such esteemed alumni as Robert Chan, concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony, violinists Stefan Jackiw and Soovin Kim, and Sheryl Staples, Principal Associate Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. She recently concertized with violinists Scott St. John, Jun-Ching Lin, and Ivan Chan. She is currently official accompanist for the International Cello Institute in Minnesota, where she collaborates with such prestigious cellists as Anthony Ross, principal cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra, Turtle Island String Quartet cellist Mark Summer, and Joshua Koestenbaum, Associate Principal Cellist of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In the summer of 2012, she was resident collaborative pianist for the Carlos Prieto International Cello Competition in Morelia, Mexico.
As a member of the renowned Merling Trio, Uchimura has performed in 40 states, as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. The trio has appeared on prestigious series at venues such as Merkin Hall, the Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Columbus Museum of Art, to broad critical acclaim. The trio's 2013-14 season includes tours to Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, California, and Nevada. Their latest CD, postcards in e, featuring works of Dvorak and Shostakovich, was recently released by MSR Classics to rave reviews. The Sierra Vista Herald said, "The Merling Trio possesses tremendous talent, ingratiating tone quality, and unlimited technique. They are formidable."
Ms. Wiersma Uchimura maintains an active private studio. Her students have won competitions around the country, and participate in renowned summer festivals. In demand as a clinician and adjudicator, she has presented chamber music and solo master classes around the United States, most recently at Palm Beach Atlantic University and Arkansas State University.
The Uchimuras are the parents of two daughters, both of whom are proudly carrying on the family musical tradition. Melanie graduated with a piano performance degree from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory in Ohio, and received her MA and MBA in Arts Administration from the University of Cincinnati. She is currently the Performing Arts Box Office Manager at Kent State University. Marissa graduated in 2016 from Vanderbilt University with dual degrees in Piano Performance and Public Policy, and is currently teaching in Baltimore, MD as a member of the Teach for America corps.