“One does not play the piano with one’s hands. One plays the piano with one’s mind.”
-Hans von Bülow
Ekin Ustunel was born in Ankara, Turkey. She began her piano studies at the age of six with Öykü Petek Bilgili, to quickly discover piano was her passion and the future career path. She was accepted into the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University State Conservatory at the age of nine to study under Perim Hamidoğlu. Throughout her education, Ekin studied with many internationally renowned pianists including: Milena Mollova, Levon Eroyan, Toros Can, Emre Elivar, Paolo Gualdi, Huseyin Sermet, Laurent Cabasso, Greg McCallum and Ann Schein. As well as conquering competitions internationally, she has appeared as soloist with symphony orchestras, performed numerous solo and chamber music concerts. She has travelled and participated in international music events before settling in the U.S. for her graduate level education. Ekin dedicated her Master of Music education to learn music making on multiple keyboard instruments and discover many musical possibilities. She was not only a piano student of Dr. Andrew Willis, her education included harpsichord and fortepiano, in addition to organ with Dr. André Lash. Ekin completed her MM in Piano Performance at UNCG in 2018, and started pursuing her second Master’s of Music in Piano Performance&Pedagogy with an emphasis on Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique at Salem College. She is currently continuing her education studying under Dr. Barbara Lister-Sink.
Ekin’s ambitions include being a church organist and teaching piano to people of all ages. Her students vary between the ages of 5-70, her teaching aims to create healthy and happy individuals. As one of the many pianists who suffered from playing related injuries, she cares greatly for her students’ well-being and recognizes students’ individual needs. The emphasis she puts on physical awareness and mindfulness has roots in research and science. The lessons are tailored to each student, and all students are encouraged to have fun and enjoy their musical journey.