Youth Conductors

Dr. Susan Nicholson

Youth Orchestra Conductor

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Susan Nicholson earned a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education from Winthrop University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Multiple Woodwind Performance from the University of Miami (FL).  Dr. Nicholson’s woodwind professors include Phil Thompson, Margaret Donaghue, Gary Keller, Francesca Arnone, and Luciano Magnanini.  She studied conducting with William Malambri and has had post-graduate conducting study with Virginia Allen, Eugene Corporon, Jack Stamp, and Dennis Fisher.

In the spring of 2017, Dr. Nicholson was appointed both Director of Instrumental Studies at King University in Bristol, Tennessee and the Youth Orchestra Conductor at the Symphony of the Mountains. Most recently, Dr. Nicholson was an adjunct professor of music at Winthrop University, woodwind specialist at Fort Mill High School (SC), and the Coordinator of the Carowinds Festival of Music in Charlotte.  Previous appointments include Director of Bands and Music Education Coordinator at Brevard College, Director of Upper School Bands at the Pine Crest School, and Director of the Jazz Band and clarinet and saxophone professor at Rhode Island College.  She has performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Providence Ballet, Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra, Asheville Symphony, Asheville Lyric Opera, Hendersonville Symphony, Charlotte Repertory Orchestra, and other performing organizations throughout the Southeast and New England areas.

Dr. Nicholson was awarded the Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts award at Brevard College in 2006 and 2007 for exceptional teaching in the arts.  She was selected as the Rock Hill Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year (1996) and Teacher of the Year at St. Anne School (1996).  Her professional affiliations include membership in Pi Kappa Lambda (Winthrop University and University of Miami), the College Band Directors National Association, National Association for Music Education, Delta Omicron, and Tau Beta Sigma (honorary member).

Wendy Allen Royston

Primo Orchestra Conductor

A native of Kingsport, at age 11, Wendy began studying violin in the strings program of Kingsport City Schools under the direction of Celia Bachelder.  She earned a bachelors’s degree from East Tennessee State University while pursuing studies in music, mathematics, and physics, later receiving a master’s degree in mathematics, as well, from ETSU.  Wendy has been the principal violist of the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years, played extensively with the Symphony of the Mountains as a section violist, and is a member of the Appalachian String Quartet.  She also was employed as an assistant professor of mathematics at Northeast State Technical Community College for five years, and she worked extensively with the TN Governor’s School for the Arts, held every summer at Middle Tennesse State University in Murfreesboro, TN, during its formative years.  Wendy and her husband, Mike, have four children – Meredith, Cullen, Savannah, and Caleb.