Xiao-yuan (Shannon) Huang Blankenship
Xiao-yuan (Shannon) Huang Blankenship (B.M. Performance, 2009) was born in Guiyang, Guizhou, South West China. At age four she learned the piano and has continued to play. She made her first debut in Guiyang, China at age 6, after her winning of the Xinghai Cup Piano Competition. In 1997, she was recruited to study piano performance at the Si Chuan Conservatory of Music, a highly reputable college of music in China. During her six year stay, she gained considerable knowledge and understanding of music and piano performance. In 2005 she pursued her bachelor's degree in music performance at Duquesne University under the tutelage of the pianist Mr. David Allen Wehr.
She received numerous honors and awards during her years at Duquesne University, including winning the Piano department's performance award four years in a row and being selected in 2008 the Woman's Advisory Board Scholarship. That same year, she was one of three performers to be selected from the Pittsburgh area to play in a master class with Lang Lang. From 2007-2009, she performed annual solo recitals and won the Concerto Competition at the Mary Pappert School of Music. After winning the Steinway Society Piano Competition of Western Pennsylvania, she was invited to perform Beethoven's piano concerto no. 2 with the McKeesport Symphony Orchestra in March, 2009. Also, she presented a solo recital in Steinway Gallery at Pittsburgh, for Steinway Society 2009-2010 concert season. Xiaoyuan received the distinguished piano performance award when she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Duquesne University.
She studied at the University of Miami Frost School of Music in 2009 for her master's degree in music under full scholarship. She graduated as a Summa Cum Laude in May, 2011 from University of Miami.
In 2012, she successfully performed nine recitals in Greensboro while she studying as a full time Doctoral student. Xiaoyuan also had tours and performances with distinguished saxophone performer and UNCG professor, Dr. Steve Stusek in 2013.
Currently, she is a candidate of Doctoral of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At the same time, she works as a graduate teaching assistant in UNCG. She teaches class piano at UNCG, and her students maintain the high rate of passing piano proficiency. She is also continuously teaching privately of all ages and levels. She is also active in teaching at different summer camps, including the UNCG music summer camp.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.
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