Performing Artists, July 2023

Sandra Heinke’s (Jul 18) earliest piano memories begin in the years of her childhood in Oakland, California, where at the age of 8 she was accepted as the only child pupil of Alexander Libermann, faculty member at Mills College. Upon graduation, she then went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree at Pomona College (studying under the guidance of Karl Kohn, composer and pianist) and a Master of Fine Arts degree at Western Washington University — with her teacher and mentor, Ford Hill. Upon admitting her to graduate study at Western, the Music Department invited Sandra to join the staff as an accompanist, which role she happily fulfilled even after obtaining her Master’s degree. In addition to her life as an accompanist, Sandra also performs as a soloist and last year presented a full-length recital.

Inspired by his grandmother and singing “The Sound of Music” in middle school choir, Michael Housley (Jul 18) began teaching himself piano before studying with Dr. David Brunell at the University of Tennessee. Since moving to Seattle to pursue a career in Architecture, Michael collaborates regularly with Melet Whinston (cellist), accompanies the Seattle University Chapel of St. Ignatius Choir and has participated in several Chamber Music Madness retreats with various chamber ensembles.

Melet Whinston (Jul 18) studied under Maria DeRungs, and was first chair in the Portland Junior Symphony and Princeton University Orchestra. She has presented school performances as a member of the Leschi Trio and as a duo with Michael Housley, pianist. She has many years of experience as a chamber musician and solo performer, and performs regularly at St Andrew Presbyterian Church and local recitals.

Dhanushi Wijeyakulasuriya (Jul 18), originally from Sri Lanka, holds a Licentiate Diploma in Singing from Trinity College of Music, London. She began voice lessons in 2004, in Sri Lanka with Menaka Sahabandu and also studied with Asitha Tennekoon. At 17, she made her debut with the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka. Dhanushi has performed extensively in Sri Lanka. Highlights include soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria, scenes from The Marriage of Figaro (Susanna) and The Barber of Seville (Rosina), and The Workshop Players’ The Phantom of the Opera (Christine Daae). After moving to the U.S. in 2015 she studied voice with Timothi Williams and Dr. Rachel Copeland at Penn State. Dhanushi has since presented several solo recitals in the U.S. She currently continues her vocal studies with Rachel Anne Moore and Barbara Bonney. In addition to her musical pursuits, she holds a Ph.D. in Statistics from Penn State and works as a Senior Data Scientist at Microsoft.