History came full circle for Ji-Eun Lee and Doug Whisman, who purchased Meridian Music School in Carmel from longtime owner Craig Gigax in July 2023. Founders and owners of Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy in Fishers, Lee and Whisman met at Meridian where Lee was a teacher. There they were inspired to start their own school.
Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy will celebrate 20 years in Fishers Feb. 17.
“We were really the first to market with the concept of a stand-alone school,” Whisman said. “We learned a lot from Meridian.”
At the time, Meridian Music School also operated a music store.
The two facilities combine to offer 30 rooms with pianos and two concert halls. Meridian Music School contains a 60-seat recital hall and community room while Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy has a 150-seat black box theater – all available for public use.
“The combined schools have over 40 music teachers and performing arts directors offering music lessons in most instruments as well as youth theater productions and classes,” Whisman said.
In addition to music education, Lee and Whisman work closely with nonprofits to provide meeting space and professional support.
“We have already partnered with Carmel Community Players, Carmel Symphony Orchestra and Indiana Piano Teachers Association hosting their rehearsals, recitals and contests at Meridian Music School,” Whisman said.
Gigax contacted Lee and Whisman about the opportunity to acquire Meridian when he decided to step back from the business he had owned since 1995.
“Our lease was up, and Ji-Eun and Doug were the only people I would consider,” Gigax said. “They are really sharp and innovative. They are the future.”
Whisman described the opportunity as a “perfect fit,” as Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy was already looking to expand.
Gigax retained ownership of Meridian Music, the exclusive dealer for Steinway & Sons, Boston and Essex pianos in Indiana, at 14300 Clay Terrace Blvd., Suite 140 in Carmel.
“I am honored to still serve the community in this way,” Gigax said.
Meridian Music School continues to operate out of 845 W. Carmel Dr. Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy is at 10029 126th Suite D, in Fishers.