New Asheville Neighborhood News

For nearly 20 years, the Wendelken Piano Studio in New Asheville has been a popular destination for pianists of all ages who want that European conservatory-style training with a 21st century twist.

But now, with its new home within Grace Episcopal Church, founder Mary Wendelken’s studio has expanded its services to include quality musicianship training in stringed instruments and voice, as well as piano, under a new name: the Wendelken Studio of Musical Arts.

Wendelken has always prided herself on offering students in the Asheville area and beyond a place to master traditional classical piano repertoire, technique, theory, and ensemble and concerti. This year, Wendelken is excited to announce the addition of training in cello, guitar, violin, viola and voice, all of which are taught at the studio location at Grace.

“We’ve received calls for strings lessons for years, on the strength of our piano program,” Wendelken explains. “I never knew who to recommend before. Now, we have the best teachers assembled to offer instruction for all of these different instruments.”

Students from age 5 through professional level adults benefit from the studio’s faculty of nine concert-trained instructors, each of whom, Wendelken says, have (or are in the process of earning) a Master’s degree in their craft and hold extensive experience in musical education. The studio’s staff includes: classical pianists Ines de Erausquin (Webster University, St. Louis, MO) and Shawna Stushnoff (Concordia College, Morehead, MN); classical violinists Roy Meyer (University of Wisconsin, Madison); and Bonnie Deeds (State University of New York, or SUNY-Fredonia); classical cellist Mikel Thomas (Boston Conservatory of Music); guitarist Cameron Schmitz (Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA), musicianship instructor Natalya Kushnir (Moscow Conservatory of Music, Moscow, Russia) and, of course, Wendelken herself, who teaches intermediate and advanced piano.

Wendelken began her education as a pre-med student at Kent State University in Kent, OH, before deciding to pursue a career in music education. She graduated from SUNY-Purchase with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Piano Performance in 1990, before attending the Royal Academy of Music in London. After graduating in 1993 with a Master’s degree in Piano Performance, she says that she remained in England before moving to Tampa Palms in 1994.