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Mi-Young Kim


Mi-Young Kim, based in Santa Barbara, California, is a versatile collaborative and solo pianist, as well as a music director. She is a pianist for the Santa Barbara Choral Society and serves as the Director of Music at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, in addition to her involvement with Westmont College. Recognized for her talent, Mi-Young has performed at prestigious conferences like the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference. She holds a Master’s in Collaborative Piano from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s in Piano Performance from the University of Hartford. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at UC Santa Barbara, she studies under Professor Robert Koenig. Notable awards include placing in competitions such as the Korea-USA Foundation of Gifted Music Competition and the Korean Pianist Association Piano Competition.

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Vera Kong

Vera is a seasoned pianist, having performed in chamber and solo recitals across the United States, Russia, China, and South Korea. She collaborated with prestigious ensembles like Camerata Pacifica and Opera Santa Barbara, and served as a pianist at renowned vocal and instrumental studios and festivals. A recipient of numerous awards, including the Stern fellowship and the John E. Profant Foundation award, Vera holds a master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is highly sought after as a piano pedagogue, with her students consistently achieving top honors in competitions. Vera is also a certified yoga instructor and a practitioner of Ayurveda and Transcendental Meditation. Additionally, she proudly holds the title of Korea’s national abacus champion.

Our Story

Heinrich Neuhaus, a legendary piano teacher, believed that teaching goes beyond just piano skills. He said teachers should first help students grow as people, then as artists and musicians, and finally as pianists. Neuhaus thought the real job of teachers was to help students become smarter, more sensitive, honest, fair, and strong, not just good at playing the piano. He felt that teachers who only focus on piano skills without understanding music's true nature were missing the point.

Growing up in Korea, we were taught the importance of discipline, knowledge, and high standards from a young age. We aim to pass on these values to our students, helping them achieve their best. Our teaching goes beyond just technical skills like scales and arpeggios. We focus on building confidence and positive habits in our students.

Our studio is at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. This place is known for its top summer programs and festivals for talented young classical musicians. Our studio boasts a high-quality Steinway grand piano, creating the perfect environment for learning and growth.

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