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Phyllis Bethel, MA, MT-BC
Music Therapy
Phyllis Bethel, MA, MT-BC
Music Therapy

Music Therapy Division: Music Therapy

Degrees and Studies: BA, Wesleyan University; MA, Music Therapy, NYU

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2000

Provides individual and group music therapy onsite and outreach.

Born in: Harlem, NY

Distinctions: Over 23 years of experience as a music therapist working with special needs individuals. Studied with various noted African and Latin percussionists before settling at the world-renowned Harbor School of the Performing Arts in East Harlem, New York. During her tenure there, she studied at the National School of Modern Dance and Folklore in Havana. She performed with several Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, and African folkloric groups, including Women of the Calabash, Retumba Con Pie, Obini Aché, and Riské. She founded the internationally known women’s percussion and vocal ensemble ASÉ which was the first group to record women playing bata drums. She has also recorded with Paul Simon (producer) on Edie Brickell’s “Picture Perfect Morning.” She is versed in pop, rock, gospel, and percussive styles and finds accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists some of the most rewarding creative endeavors.

Teaching Philosophy: “I believe it is a privilege and an honor to work with special needs individuals. This work has provided some of the richest learning experiences in my professional life.”

Paula Chan Bing
Chamber Ensemble, Flute
Paula Chan Bing
Chamber Ensemble, Flute

Classical Division: Flute, Chamber Ensembles

Degrees and Studies: MM, Flute Performance, Indiana University; BA, Music Education, University of Maryland

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2015

Born in: Washington D.C.

Performances and Distinctions: Assistant Principle flutist of the Xalapa Orchestra (Vera Cruz, Mexico); performances with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Queens Symphony, Harlem Festival Orchestra, Opera Ebony, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey, and the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York. Solost with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vanderbilt Chamber Symphony of Long Island.  Flute/piccolo and Asian flute soloist for the Broadway production of Miss Saigon. Performances on western and world flutes for numerous documentaries, and with the World Myth and Music Ensemble. Recordings with Celine Dion, Oud virtuoso Simon Shaheen, and on The Billie Holiday Songbook with composer Terrance Blanchard, as well as on numerous movie soundtracks, including Malcolm X and other Spike Lee projects.

Served as Associate Director of Juilliard’s first interactive CD-ROM project, The Juilliard Musical Adventure, which won two Codie Awards in for “Best Innovative Use of Sound and Music in a Software Program” and “Best Middle School Educational Music Software Program.  Teaching activities include creative music education specialist for the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Music Center, Lincoln Center Institute, Midori and Friends Foundation, New York Philharmonic, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Young Concert Artists International.  Current faculty, Music Advancement Program at The Juilliard School, Rockland Conservatory of Music; former faculty, Indiana University.

Teaching Philosophy: The Latin root of the word “educate”—is“educe,”– to bring forth that which is within. Learning to play an instrument can help bring forth the talents and passions within any child or adult, enhancing their lifelong relationship with all music. For me, one of the greatest joys, and challenges, in playing the flute is the development of a beautiful tone–our musical voice. Our lessons will also focus on the use of the body in tone production and learning about performance practices through many styles and genres of musical repertoire. While a teacher must point out a student’s challenges, she must also guide musical growth to transform those challenges into hope. This includes helping develop practice techniques and clarifying the all-important role of parents. I also encourage communication between myself, the student, parents, the Music Conservatory of Westchester and, at times, the school music teacher. Learning to play the flute can be an exciting journey, but it is also a vehicle through which students can develop commitment and discipline through the joys of creative discovery and self-expression—all of which are transferable to their life skills and development as human beings.

Douglas Bish
Chamber Ensembles, Clarinet, Conducting
Douglas Bish
Chamber Ensembles, Clarinet, Conducting

Classical Division: Clarinet, Chamber Ensembles

Degrees and Studies: B.M., University of the Pacific; M.M., University of Oregon; Artist Diploma in Clarinet, Vienna Music Academy (Austria); D.M.A., Boston University

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2006

Born in: Menlo Park, California

Performances and Distinctions: Solo and recital appearances throughout Europe, the Middle East, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Principal clarinetist with such ensembles as the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Philharmonic, Charleston (SC) Symphony, ALEA III (Boston), American Chamber Winds, Northwest Clarinet Quartet, Keystone Wind Ensemble, Tanglewood’s Fromm Festival, and on Broadway. A recording contract with the Austrian National Radio.  A music faculty member at Boston University, the Boston Conservatory of Music, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and Dean at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and City College of San Francisco. Clarinet student of William Dominik, Robert Vagner, Rudolf Jettel (Vienna Philharmonic) and Pasquale Cardillo (Boston Symphony). Conducting a study with Hans Swarovsky. Dr. Bish has conducted professional, community, and academic orchestras and wind bands around the world, and high school All-State, Area All-State, and Regional bands and orchestras in seventeen of the United States. Formerly the Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, he currently serves as the Conservatory’s Dean of Students and Faculty.

Teaching Philosophy: “Sharing the benefits of music study with another individual is a chance to connect on a personal level through an artistic medium respected and revered throughout history. Over the years, I have taught a few students who were so passionate about their study of the clarinet that they were driven to become professional musicians, and several have succeeded in achieving that goal. But for most of my students, learning about music through the study of their instrument is the best way ultimately to develop an appreciation of music, and all the arts, in a deeper and more meaningful way than the person who has not committed themselves to this practice. Music is largely responsible for shaping my life and my perception of the world, and sharing this with others through the clarinet or saxophone, by teaching orchestral conducting, coaching chamber music, or conducting bands and orchestras continues to be my great privilege. From my own experience, I know that studying music changes lives for the better, often profoundly, and every day in this wonderful career as a music teacher I consider to be a gift.”

Katherine Branch
Suzuki Violin
Katherine Branch
Suzuki Violin

Classical Division: Violin

Suzuki Division: Violin

Degrees and Studies: Degrees and Studies: Suzuki violin/viola certification, Books 1-8, The School for Strings, NYC. Studies at the University of New Mexico, and with Victor Lionti in Westchester. Master’s degree, Lehman College.

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2016

Born in: Berwyn, Illinois

Performances and Distinctions: Violist with the Chappaqua Orchestra since 1978; formerly violist with Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador. Numerous chamber music performances in the Westchester region. A former faculty member at the Conservatorio in Quito, Ecuador. Award from the Journal News as one of the Top Ten Educators in Westchester County.

Teaching Philosophy: “My teaching philosophy is that of Dr. Suzuki – ‘Every child can learn given the correct environment, supportive parents, and effective teaching.’ “

Dr. Tina Brescia, MT-BC, LCAT
Music Therapy
Dr. Tina Brescia, MT-BC, LCAT
Music Therapy

Music Therapy Division: Music Therapy Institute Director of Onsite Services

Degrees and Studies: BS Music Education, Skidmore College; MA, Music Therapy, NYU; DA, Music Therapy, NYU

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2001

Music Therapy Institute Director of Onsite Services 

Provides individual and group music therapy onsite and outreach.

Born in: Rockville, CT
Distinctions: Over 32 years of experience in the field of music therapy including work in hospital settings & schools. 2005 published a study in the monograph series: Qualitative Inquiries in Music Therapy, Vol. 2.; She has been an adjunct member of the NYU Music Therapy faculty since 1996 and enjoys her role as a teacher and clinical supervisor to master’s students during their training process.
Teaching Philosophy: “I believe that music should be accessible to all those who want to enjoy this creative means of expression. It is through the act of listening intently and without judgment to everything that an individual brings to us through their physical and emotional expression that we as music therapists can build a world of music with those individuals where growth and change can occur.”
Efrem Briskin
Piano
Efrem Briskin
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M., M.M., Diploma with Honors, Leningrad Conservatory of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1990

Born in: Gomel, Belarus

Performances and Distinctions: Performances as soloist and as a member of the Emelin Trio in the U.S., Canada, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Venezuela and South Africa. He has also made many appearances with orchestras, chamber ensembles and as a soloist throughout Russia, as well as television and radio broadcasts throughout Eastern Europe and Russia. Mr. Briskin is a founder and artistic director of the Summit Music festival in Purchase, New York, and serves on the faculty of the Burgos International Music Festival in Burgos, Spain. He has taught at the Petrozavodsk branch of the Leningrad Conservatory, and currently teaches at Manhattan School of Music.

Angeline Brown, MMT, MT-BC
Music Therapy
Angeline Brown, MMT, MT-BC
Music Therapy

Music Therapy Division: Music Therapy

Degrees and Studies: BA, Music Binghamton University, MMT, Music Therapy, Temple University

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2001

Provides individual and group music therapy onsite and outreach.

Born in: Manhattan, NY

Distinctions: Angeline works extensively as a pianist and Music Director for several community theaters in New York and Connecticut

Teaching Philosophy: “I believe that music is truly universal – it is a wonderful medium through which change and growth can happen. I encourage all of my clients to freely express themselves musically; I act as a musical guide as I address physical/cognitive/emotional goals. It is truly an amazing process to witness.”

Sarai Buchanan
Piano, Suzuki Piano
Sarai Buchanan
Piano, Suzuki Piano

Classical Division: Piano
Suzuki Division: Suzuki Piano

Degrees and Studies: Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, B.M.A., The City College of New York, M.A.

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2018

Born in: Chicago, Illinois
Performances and Distinctions:  As a soloist and collaborative artist, Sarai has appeared at several international music festivals including the International Music Academies in Cremona, Italy and Regensburg, Germany (2011), the Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy (2012-13), and the American Fine Arts Festival (2018). In 2016, she formed DUO RAÍZ with Mexican-born guitarist Andrea Salcedo. They presented their debut recital in Chicago’s Pianoforte Salon in November 2016. Additionally, Sarai has performed at New York’s Merkin Hall and Shephard Recital Hall at the City College of New York, where she has participated in chamber and solo recitals.
 
Teaching Philosophy: “As a Suzuki piano teacher, I rely on the tenets of the Suzuki approach, using the “mother-tongue” approach to nurture a love for music and to build consistent practicing habits. I use my own technical background from the Russian school of the piano to develop my students’ technique and performance skills.  I have a wide knowledge of the piano repertoire, which I use as a supplement to the Suzuki repertoire according to the student’s needs.”
Dario Chiazzolino
Electric Guitar
Dario Chiazzolino
Electric Guitar

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Electric Guitar

Degrees and Studies: B.M. G. Verdi Conservatory, Turin – Italy; M.M at UM, Rome – Italy

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2016

Born in: Turin, Italy

Performances and Distinctions: Internationally acclaimed artist Dario Chiazzolino is deemed as one of the most considerable of today’s jazz guitarists. The recipient of numerous awards, Dario has been playing the guitar professionally since age 14. He was awarded as “Best Guitar Player” in diverse music competitions, including Umbria Jazz Festival ( IT ), Top Jazz (UK) and in several magazines such as Italian Jazz Magazine, Guitarlist, and D-Magazine. He has performed all over the world both as a bandleader and sideman with many of the top American and European jazz artists including Yellow Jackets, Billy Cobham, Bob Mintzer, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Andy Sheppard, Dominique Di Piazza, Jason Rebello, and many others. According to Guitar WorldMagazine, Dario particularly impresses thanks to his innovative improvisational skill. His phrasing is unpredictable and looks forward to the future.  He has recorded 8 albums as a leader, and 12 as a sideman and an in-demand educator, Dario has been teaching in Italy for 15 years and has held teaching residencies in Europe and the USA.  Dario the artist endorser of many prestigious music instruments brands including Gibson, DvMark, Kinmann Pick Ups, Essetipicks and Mogami cables.

Teaching Philosophy: “As a music teacher, it is my belief that all students should be offered the opportunity to discover and explore their innate potential as musicians, and to increase these natural capacities through formal music instruction. I aim to value the individual learning styles of my students and optimize their potential by providing music activities that stimulate their ears, their creativity and their musicality.  In summary, my charge as a music educator is to bring all of my students into a life-long love of music, while solidifying that appreciation with practical skills and true musicianship. In practical terms, my guitar teaching approach is based on 4 basic elements: development of guitar sound; development of a strong sense of time & rhythm; development of technique; development of phrasing.”

Peter Davis, MS, MT-BC, LCAT
Music Therapy
Peter Davis, MS, MT-BC, LCAT
Music Therapy

Music Therapy Division: Music Therapy

Degrees and Studies: BA, SUNY, Empire State College; MS in Music Therapy, Molloy College

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2013

Provides individual and group music therapy onsite and outreach.

Born in: New York, NY

Distinctions: Original recordings: “Radio Imagination!” &” Brand New Lullabyes and Love Songs, Vol. I”; Publication:

Philosophy: “I approach my work with the goal of meeting each individual’s needs while focusing on the joy of being in and making music. By presenting a program of preferred music/songs, each client is motivated to spontaneously and purposefully engage in music in their own unique way. Thus, engagement and positive responses stem from the individual’s inherent desire to participate in music. Put simply, my clients join in the music because they want to. They are motivated, inspired, and moved to do so. I “open the door,” and invite each individual to join me in making music.”

Katherine Dennis
Suzuki Violin, Violin
Katherine Dennis
Suzuki Violin, Violin

Suzuki Division: Suzuki Violin & Viola

Degrees and Studies: Hunter College Lincoln Center Scholar: M.MusEd (2017), McGill University, M.Mus. Orchestral Performance – Violin (2015), East Carolina University: B.Mus. Performance- Violin (Cum Laude 2012) , Long Term Professional Suzuki Training: Violin Books 1-10 with Joanne Bath (2009-2011).

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Born in: Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Distinctions: The eclectic landscape of the chamber music repertoire forms the ideal musical playground for Jamaican-American violinist, Katherine Dennis. Already in her young career, she has performed in venues across the Europe and North America, including Carnegie Hall. Additionally, she has participated in a bevy of international music festivals.

Teaching Philosophy: “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel”- Maya Angelou
My primary goal as a teacher is to build deep connections with students and provide them with a safe, open environment in which to broaden their abilities and understanding. I believe students learn best when they are challenged within a nurturing environment. It is my duty to encourage students to try new things, help them embrace the discomfort of learning the unfamiliar, and co-navigate the joys and difficulties of growing into better musicianship. Every child is capable of greatness with enough confidence and support.

Awards/Honors:

VH1 Save the Music Foundation Grant Applicant and Recipient 2016

Sphinx Connect 2019 Fellow

Sigma Alpha Iota Alumnus

National Society for Collegiate Scholars

Richard Devens
Group Piano for Adults, Piano
Richard Devens
Group Piano for Adults, Piano

Classical Division: Piano, Group Piano for Adults, Music Theory for Adults

Degrees and Studies: B.S., Brooklyn College; M.M., University of Arizona

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1998

Born in: Brooklyn, NY

Performances and Distinctions: Richard Devens received his bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Brooklyn College, where he studied with Augustin Anievas and Michael Rogers. He received his master’s degree in music from the University of Arizona, where he studied with Nicholas Zumbro. He is also on the faculty of Dutchess Community College and has a private teaching practice. Richard was formerly a faculty member at Marymount College and the Mount Kisco School of Music. He has performed at Bargemusic, the Trinity Church Noon Day concert series, St. Paul’s Festival of the Arts in Nyack, and the Music Conservatory of Westchester. He is active as a dance and ballet accompanist, as well as an instrumental and vocal accompanist (he has a special passion for German lieder). In addition to his musical activities, Richard is a writer whose articles on music have appeared in Clavier and Piano Guild Notes.

Teaching Philosophy: Richard believes that instruction should be tailored to the individual needs and interests of each student and that students can become more “talented” through solid practice.

Frederick Draper
Classical Guitar
Frederick Draper
Classical Guitar

Classical Division: Classical Guitar

Degrees and Studies: San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2005

Born in: Kewanee, Illinois

Performances and Distinctions: His musical career began at age 14 when he formed a rock-and-roll band, “Fred and the Fenders”. In the late 1960s, he entered the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to pursue serious training in the classical guitar. While still a Conservatory student, he was named Associate Teacher to his own teacher, José Rey de la Torre, at the Music and Arts Institute.  Fred was fortunate to participate in Andrés Segovia’s 1966 North Carolina master class.  Past performance highlights include critically acclaimed Carnegie Recital Hall concerts in 1976, 1978, and 1981. He continues to give concerts in the Segovia tradition.  He has recorded two CD’s: A Frederick Draper Recital, and Romance.

Teaching Philosophy: In his teaching, he has two basic precepts. The first is that young people know what they like but don’t always know what they could like if given the chance. “I started out as part-owner of a coffee house, exploring rock, jazz, and folk, so I think I can understand what attracts students to music. Initially, I work with my students on what’s familiar and enjoyable to them. I introduce them to the classical form a little later.” Second, Fred feels that to keep the spirit of music alive in each person, we must “give that music away” to another person. “I ask students to think about the person(s) with whom they want to share the piece they’re studying. This form of musically “paying it forward” gives perspective to all study.”

Tatiana Feigin
Violin
Tatiana Feigin
Violin

Classical Division: Violin

Degrees and Studies: B.A., Music College of Moscow Conservatory; M.A., St. Petersburg State Conservatory

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2003

Born in: Moscow, Russia

Performances and Distinctions: Numerous performances in Russia with members of the Moscow Philharmonia Society.  Performances in the New York area at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall (Kaufman Center), Long Island University and other venues, as well as numerous performances in The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy.  Ms. Feigin performs in The Feigin Duo with her brother, pianist Eugene Feigin, as well as with The Rachmaninoff Trio, with whom she recorded Rachmaninoff’s Piano Trios Nos. 1 & 2 on the Centaur label.  She has been heard on WQXR radio in New York, and AVRO radio in The Netherlands.  Ms. Feigin has taught at the Rockland Conservatory of Music and Newark School for the Arts.

Ming Fong
Piano
Ming Fong
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M., University of Kansas; M.M., Rice University

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1995

Born in: Beijing, China

Performances and Distinctions: Ming Fong is one of the most active musicians of his generation in his native country. He has successfully given concerts in most major concert halls in China, including the National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing Concert Hall, Forbidden City Concert Hall, Shanghai Concert Hall, Tsinghua Center for Arts Education to name a few. His concert highlights include the acclaimed performance of Rachmaninoff Second Concerto in the ten thousand-seat Great Hall of People in Beijing with the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra of Russia on its first historic visit to China, and his China-premiere performance of Shostakovich First Concerto with Beijing Symphony Orchestra. Other notable performances include successful concert tours appearing as a concerto soloist with Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin Symphony Orchestras, the Guangzhou Philharmonic and Harbin Opera House Orchestra in addition to numerous solo and chamber music concerts throughout China.

Mr. Fong has performed extensively in his adopted home in the United States, including solo recitals in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts and Steinway Hall in NYC; appearance at the Aspen Music Festival and Summit Music Festival; and concerto performance with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, Hutchinson Symphony Orchestras, the Southeastern Music Center Orchestra and the Lawrence Chamber. In 2004, Ming Fong founded the Beijing International Music Festival & Academy (www.bimfa.org) — the first and only international music festival of its kind in the historic Chinese capital. Ming Fong won the Grand Prize of the Edmund and Thelma Miller Young Artists’ Competition, the First Prize of the Naftzger Young Artists’ Auditions and the Third Prize of the Kingsville International Piano Competition. He was also a finalist in the Pro Musicis International Competition in New York City. Mr. Fong currently resides in New York City where he serves on the piano faculties of The Music Conservatory of Westchester and The Third Street Music School Settlement.

Teaching Statement: “I encourage my students to develop a disciplined and comprehensive approach to learning the piano. Building strong techniques, understanding the history and theory of music, presentation of performance, enjoying one’s own playing and participation in ensembles are all essential and inseparable aspects of learning music. I believe this surely leads to the ultimate fulfillment “Joy of Music” in life.”

Colin Fullerton
Classical Guitar
Colin Fullerton
Classical Guitar

Classical Division: Classical Guitar

Degrees and Studies: B.M. Columbus State University, Schwob School of Music; M.M. University of Texas at Austin

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2018

Born in: Glendale, CA

Performances and Distinctions: Colin Fullerton is an award-winning guitarist from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Marked by the sincerity and a heightened sense of drama, his work as a classical soloist has taken him across the United States and Europe. Since completing his master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 2016, he has lived in NYC and collaborated extensively with musicians across a variety of genres, performing regularly at such cutting-edge venues as The Owl Music Parlor and National Sawdust. A proponent of new music, he was a founding member of the “Blue Morpho” contemporary ensemble at the Schwob School of Music, and he has premiered and recorded multiple chamber works by New York-based composers.

Teaching Philosophy: “My goal is to instill an appreciation for the process of learning in every student – ultimately, I consider it the teacher’s job to show students how to teach themselves. Within a pedagogical framework that emphasizes fundamentals, I encourage my students to take a creative role in practice and problem-solving, instilling a sense of independence and ownership over their musical studies from the very beginning. With music as the medium, I aim to foster habits of critical and creative thinking in each student that can impact their lives well beyond the realm of guitar playing.”

Song Gonzalez
Group Piano, Piano
Song Gonzalez
Group Piano, Piano

Classical Division: Piano, Group Piano

Degrees and Studies: BM in Piano Performance, Indiana University Jacob School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2016

Born in: Xuzhou, China

Performances and Distinctions: Has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist at venues such as Steinway Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space, and Avery Fisher Hall.

Teaching Philosophy: “Just like building a complex structure, laying a solid foundation is the key to all that come next. I think of teaching young beginners as an opportunity to show them a way, a creative and fun way, to begin a journey to self discovery and expression. It is extremely important to establish the technique, the fundamentals of good piano playing, at the beginning stage of learning, while offer useful tactics to help parents help their children form a healthy practice routine outside of the classroom. Patience is a virtue, creative learning is the key, a nurturing and positive environment is what will allow young children to flourish into the individuals they choose and want to be.”

Juliet Gopoian
Chamber Ensembles, Piano
Juliet Gopoian
Chamber Ensembles, Piano

Classical Division: Piano, Chamber Ensembles

Degrees and Studies: B.M., The Juilliard School

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1991

Born in: Tehran, Iran

Performances and Distinctions: As a performer, Ms. Gopoian was a founding member of the Hitchcock Trio.  As an educator, she has been an active member of the New York State Music Teachers Association, serving as Co-Chair of its annual competition.  As an avid music supporter, she was a founding Board member of the Westchester Philharmonic, later becoming co-chair of the Orchestra’s programming and education committees. Ms. Gopoian holds a Certificate in Arts Administration from Purchase College and served as the Conservatory’s assistant dean and coordinator of the piano department from 1994 through 2007.

Teaching Philosophy: Ms. Gopoian said, “I believe that all students should experience music at their highest potential. This can be achieved if a teacher is able to impart all the elements of music-making — reading, rhythmic accuracy, hand position, finger dexterity, style and dynamics. This should be a goal for beginning as well as advanced students. To accomplish these goals one must introduce each musical concept separately, always keeping in mind that each student processes materials and learns at his or her own pace.”

Svetlana Gorokhovich
Chamber Ensembles, Piano
Svetlana Gorokhovich
Chamber Ensembles, Piano

Classical Division: Piano, Piano Partners, Chamber Ensembles

Degrees and Studies: M.A., Kazan State Conservatory (Russia); Diploma, Leningrad State Conservatory

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1997

Born in: Kazan, Russia

Performances and Distinctions: Svetlana Gorokhovich is an internationally recognized pianist and recording artist who has appeared in major concert halls in the United States, Germany, Italy, Holland, Japan, the Caribbean, and Iceland. In New York she has appeared in Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, and Weill Recital Hall.  Ms. Gorokhovich performs with Irena Portenko as a piano duo in the U.S. and Germany, and with cellist Misha Quint with whom she has made numerous recordings, including “Tempo Trapezio” (2014) on the Blue Griffin label, “One Piano Four Hands” (2012) for SMH Records, and “Valse Sentimentale” (2010) for Volshebnik Productions. From 1991-1996 Svetlana collaborated with internationally acclaimed violinist Dmitri Berlinsky, touring worldwide. Their unique recording of Russian chamber music compositions, Souvenir D’un Lieu Cher (Helicon), released in 1997, received enthusiastic reviews. Ms. Gorokhovich is a winner of the International Bartok-Kabalevsky Piano Competition at Radford University (1997) and IBLA International Competition in Italy (1999).

Teaching Philosophy: “My teaching philosophy is based on the concept of the uniqueness of each student’s individuality. Therefore, my goal is to discover the distinctive personality of every student and to bring it to a higher artistic level. I pursue my students to develop deep interest and passion for music as a form of art and use it as a means to express themselves and to make it their lifelong companion. I believe in a combination of inspiration, strict discipline and warm personal relation with every student and their family.”

Silvia Grendze
Suzuki Violin, Viola, Violin
Silvia Grendze
Suzuki Violin, Viola, Violin

Classical Division: Violin, Viola

Suzuki Division: Suzuki Violin & Viola

Degrees and Studies: B.M., Manhattan School of Music; School for Strings, Suzuki Teacher Training; Studies in Education and Special Education at Manhattanville College; Independent Studies about J.S. Bach with Dr. Francis Brancaleone

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2018

Born in: New York, NY

Performances and Distinctions: Silvia Padegs Grendze is a freelance violinist and a Suzuki violin/viola teacher. As a violinist, she has performed with local, national, and international orchestras and ensembles. Ms. Grendze’s violin studies began at the age of three years, studying with the disciples of Dr. Suzuki, and later studying with Louise Behrend at the School for Strings in NYC. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, studying with Erick Friedman and Burton Kaplan. Since graduating, she has been an active freelancer and has pursued her passion for teaching. She has taught privately, in schools, in choirs, and elsewhere. She is also currently pursuing her passion for J. S. Bach, by researching, together with Dr. Francis Brancaleone, and doing a complete harmonic, historic, and philosophic analysis of the Bach partitas and sonatas for solo violin. Silvia continues to perform internationally, including countries such as Canada, Austria, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Venezuela, and Australia. Concertmaster of the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra for 10 years, she has performed as Principal/section leader for both the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra and Ridgefield Symphony Orchestras. She plays on an 1864 Samuel Nemessanyi violin.

Teaching Philosophy: “Music and all of the arts are essential parts of everyone’s education. The parent/teacher/child triangular relationship is the most important factor for success in a child’s education. Through teaching music, we are not only training the future Artist, but the future creative thinker, compassionate citizen, and sophisticated audience member.”

Renee Guerrero
Piano
Renee Guerrero
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M., Texas State University, San Marcos; M.M. and Professional Studies Certificate, Manhattan School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2009

Born in: San Jose, California

Performances and Distinctions: New York City solo debut at Yamaha Young Artist Showcase. Appearances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall under the auspices of the Italian Academy Foundation, at Kaufman Center’s Merkin Hall, and internationally at the Young & Jazz festival in Amalfi, Italy, where she performed George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and the International Music Festival in Osimo, Italy.  As a collaborative pianist, she has performed with Bronx Opera, New Rochelle Opera, VoiceExperience with Sherrill Milnes, the Altamura Arts Festival, and numerous performances under the baton of Maestro Anton Coppola. Ms. Guerrero is music director of Leonia Presbyterian Church, piano faculty member for the Narnia Festival in Umbria, Italy, and has served as a vocal coach at the Altamura Arts festival.

Kristin Halliday
Voice
Kristin Halliday
Voice

Classical Division: Voice

Degrees and Studies: B.A.; University of Maryland; Adv. Cert.; Institute for Music Arts

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2018

Born in: Potomac, Maryland

Performances and Distinctions: A winner of the Rosa Ponselle vocal competition’s Peggy and Yale Gordon Award and the top prize in the Gretchen Hood Vocal Competition, Ms. Halliday performs in concerts and recitals throughout the world. Noted by the late Maestro William Yannuzzi for her “uncommon voice of great beauty,” and “exceptionally moving interpretation of all kinds of music,” some of Ms. Halliday’s credits include the Altenburg Music Festival in Altenburg, Germany, and recitals in Iceland, alongside the late visual artist, Eirikur Smith. Kristin Halliday has transformed her clients’ voices and lives through her groundbreaking approach for over 15 years. Through their partnership, clients who came to Ms. Halliday with vocal injuries rehabilitated their voices to completely healthy functioning as confirmed by multiple medical doctors. Singers who have worked with Ms. Halliday have performed nationally and internationally, both on and off Broadway at venues including: the Kennedy Center, Fords Theatre, Arena Stage, and Carnegie Hall. Her singers have been recognized with: Helen Hayes nominations, Distinguished Scholar in the Arts, Washington Post Performing Artist Scholarships, Cappies Awards including BEST VOCALIST, 1st Place in the NAACP Act-SO Awards, 1st place in Golden Voices of America Award, 1st place in NATS Competition, Foundation Scholarships, MCPS Singing and Theatre Awards, Superintendent Performing Artist Awards, University Scholarships as well as numerous other honors and awards. Young singers who have trained with Ms. Halliday have been accepted to renown institutions including: Manhattan School of Music, NYU Tisch School, Carnegie Melon, Indiana, Yale, Stanford, and Emory. Ms. Halliday attributes her successful approach to her years of apprenticeship with internationally acclaimed soprano and master pedagogue, Betti McDonald.

Teaching Philosophy: Kristin Halliday’s teaching philosophy is to empower clients and lead them to awareness and mastery of their own instrument. She uses a holistic approach rooted in physiology and artistic expression to guide clients to speak and sing consistently with freedom and stamina. She provides a welcoming and nurturing environment for her clients to gain technical awareness, explore authentic dramatic expression, and acquire tools to navigate all aspects of vocal production for public speaking, acting, a singing career or their own empowerment. Kristin believes every person’s voice is a unique gift that each of us has the divine right to experience freely, joyfully, and effortlessly.

Adrienne Harmon
Violin
Adrienne Harmon
Violin

Classical Division: Violin

Degrees and Studies: The Cleveland Institute of Music 2016-2017 (artist diploma two semesters completed and Suzuki Pedagogy trained in books 1-4), DePaul University Master of Music Violin Performance 2011, The Cleveland Institute of Music Bachelors of Music Violin Performance 2007.

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Born in: Albany, New York

Performances and Distinctions: Adrienne Harmon is an active performer and teacher in the Hudson Valley region. Originally from New England, Adrienne received her pedagogical foundation at the New England Conservatory and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She received multiple degrees in music performance from The Cleveland Institute of Music and DePaul University School of Music and trained in the Chicago Civic Orchestra program as a principal musician. Adrienne received Suzuki teacher training from Kimberly Meier-Sims at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Ann Smelser in Chicago Suzuki Summer Institute. Ms. Harmon’s teaching philosophy is that everyone has musical ability and it is her pursuit to set students up for success in reaching their musical goals with the tools they already possess.

Ms. Harmon’s musical career span over ten years and throughout many states including Illinois, Kentucky, New York and Tennessee, where she served as a second violin in The Nashville Symphony for multiple seasons. Adrienne has also performed with notable ensembles such as The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and most recently has become member of The Sullivan County Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Harmon is also the Assistant Concertmaster of The Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra and performs regularly with The Hudson Valley Philharmonic and The Chappaqua Orchestra.   Ms. Harmon is also violin faculty at the Nesin Cultural Arts music program in Monticello, New York and serves an associate musician with The Orchestra Now program at Bard College.

Teaching Philosophy: Every person has music inside of them and my job is to help them find the right tools to access their ability. My pursuit is to set the student up for success in reaching their musical goals.

Jarrett Hoffman
Clarinet
Jarrett Hoffman
Clarinet

Classical Division:Clarinet

Degrees and Studies: B.M., B.A., Oberlin College and Conservatory; M.M., Manhattan School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2020

Born in: Morgantown, West Virginia

Performances and Distinctions: Performances with the West Point Band, The Chappaqua Orchestra, Taconic Opera, and Garden State Philharmonic. Appearances at Carnegie Hall and the Barclays Center. Fellowships at the Round Top Festival Institute, the Banff Centre, and Atlantic Music Festival. Guest artist for the Uganda Village Project. Former teachers include Anthony McGill (principal clarinet, New York Philharmonic), Richard Hawkins (clarinet professor, Oberlin Conservatory), Jeanne Frieben (bass clarinet, West Virginia Symphony), and John Weigand (clarinet professor, West Virginia University).

Teaching Philosophy: My teaching is all about tapping into the personality, creativity, and emotional expressiveness of each individual student, combined with a dedication to the art of problem solving. From young players to senior citizens, and from the many who have achieved All-County and All-State honors to those whose goal is simply to fill their hearts with music, I’m so grateful to all of my students for the joy they’ve brought me through working with them.

David Hurd
Trumpet
David Hurd
Trumpet

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Trumpet

Degrees and Studies: B.S. in Music Education SUNY Potsdam; M.A. in Music Education Columbia University

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2016

Born in: Utica, NY

Performances and Distinctions: Senior Recitals on Trumpet, Trombone, Euphonium. Director of Music: Nanuet UFSD, Nanuet, NY. Teaching Experience at New Rochelle and Nanuet Schools Band, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Choir for 37 yrs. Gr.4-12 Private Trumpet & Trombone Studio in Mahwah, NJ. Executive Officer of New York State Band Directors Association Past President of Rockland Music Educators Association. Currently performing with Ridgewood Concert Band and Reflections Big Band.

Teaching Philosophy: ” All students will find their way if they are in love with what they do.  My job is to find that passion in them.”

Thomas Jamerson
Teen Vocal Ensemble, Voice
Thomas Jamerson
Teen Vocal Ensemble, Voice

Classical Division: Voice, Teen Vocal Ensemble

Degrees and Studies: B.M. and M.M., Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2001

Born in: New Orleans, Louisiana 

Performances and Distinctions In his long and illustrious career, Thomas Jamerson has performed leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera National Company, New York City Opera, Opera Metropolitana, Caracas Venezuala and regional opera companies throughout the United States, including: the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Baltimore Opera,  Greater Miami Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Tulsa Opera.  His concert roles include performances with the St. Louis Symphony, Hartford Symphony and the Israeli Philharmonic with which he toured, singing the role of Schaunard in La Bohéme. As a leading artist with the New York City Opera for 15 years, Mr. Jamerson sang over 60 roles. In his debut role as Silvio in Pagliacci, he shared the stage with opera greats Beverly Sills and Norman Treigle. Other notable roles include: Germont in La Traviata, Sharpless in Madam Butterfly, Ping in Turnadot, Valentin in Faust, Brétigny in Manon, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Fanial in Der Rosenkavalier. He also appeared in the movie Foul Play with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase in the role of Pish Push in Mikado. He has recorded on RCA Red Seal. In addition to his teaching, Mr. Jamerson is the baritone soloist at Grace Episcopal Church in White Plains.

Lubima Kalinkova-Shentov
Chamber Ensembles, Double Bass
Lubima Kalinkova-Shentov
Chamber Ensembles, Double Bass

Classical Division: Double Bass, Chamber Ensembles

Degrees and Studies: M.M. The Juilliard School; M.A., Academy of Music, Bucharest, Romania

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2007

Born in: Sofia, Bulgaria

Performances and Distinctions: Appearances with orchestras throughout Europe and the United States. Solo and chamber music performances at Lincoln Center in New York.  Recordings with Budapest Radio Orchestra and winner of Silver Medal from Bulgarian Ministry of Education, and international competitions in Germany and Italy. Ms. Kalinkova-Shentov is a faculty member in the Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School.  She currently teaches instrumental music in the Tuckahoe School District, and formerly taught in the Mt. Vernon School District.

Hyemin Kang
Piano
Hyemin Kang
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.A., Yonsei University, Korea; M.M., Carnegie Mellon University; Piano Pedagogy Certificate, Dalcroze Eurhythmics Certificate, Carnegie Mellon University

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2013

Born in: Seoul, Korea

Performances and Distinctions: Top prize winner at the Steinway Society Competition of Western Pennsylvania, University of Seoul, and Suri Music Competition. Performed at the Johanesen International School of the Arts Festival. Expertise in group piano and young children’s pedagogy.  Has taught “How to Begin Piano for Young Children” at Carnegie Mellon Preparatory school.  Lectures on “Teaching Music and Movement with Dalcroze Eurhythmics” at Yonsei University. Piano accompanist for numerous schools and choirs including Cornell University Music Department, White Plains School District, and the Music Conservatory’s vocal and musical theatre ensembles.

Casey Kearney
Oboe
Casey Kearney
Oboe

Classical Division: Oboe

Degrees and Studies: Bachelor of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, 2017; Master of Music, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 2019.

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2020

Born in: Yorktown Heights, NY

Performances and Distinctions: Casey has performed with the San Francisco Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the latter ensemble as English horn. She has been playing in orchestras and ensembles since age twelve, when she played with the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s chamber orchestra the year of its conception. In addition to the chamber orchestra, she also participated in chamber and baroque ensembles at MCW before leaving New York to begin her collegiate studies.

Prior to joining the Music Conservatory of Westchester faculty, she freelanced in the greater Chicago area after completing her Master’s degree. She has participated in various festivals, including the Music Academy of the West, National Orchestral Institute, and the National Repertory Orchestra. She was a finalist in auditions for positions with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Oregon Symphony, and the Elgin Symphony, and was a semi-finalist in the most recent oboe audition with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, she performed the English horn with the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra in Sibelius’ The Swan of Tuonela, the recording of which is streamable online.

Teaching Philosophy: “I strive to help my students find their own voice on their instrument, and how to use it as a tool to make beautiful things that they take pride in. I aim to help students find authority and confidence and to make art and find joy. I’m also a firm believer in being open about things like performance anxiety, mental health, and injury prevention. We all encounter these hurdles, and by being open about our struggles we can better be prepared going forward.”

David Krieger
Cello
David Krieger
Cello

Classical Division: Cello

Degrees and Studies: B.M., Rubin Academy, Tel Aviv; M.M., Peabody Conservatory; Additional Graduate Studies, Yale University, Indiana University

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1983

Born in: Israel

Performances and Distinctions: Born in Israel and raised on a kibbutz, David Krieger became the first cellist and soloist with the Israel Orchestra of the Kibbutzim for three years. After immigrating to the United States and completing his musical training, he established himself as a sought-after performer and educator.  Mr. Krieger was a founding member, along with Conservatory faculty pianist Efrem Briskin, of the Emelin Trio which has performed extensively in Westchester. He and Mr. Briskin also co-founded SUMMIT Music Festival, an intensive summer program of pre-professional training for high school and college students. He was principal cellist with the Westchester Symphony and has toured extensively in the United States and Europe.  He has served on the Conservatory’s faculty for 26 years. Mr. Krieger has served on the faculty at Fordham University and has been affiliated with Columbia University and Purchase College Conservatory of Music.

Teaching Philosophy: “Learning to play an instrument should be well planned and well structured, much like the inspiring shape of a pyramid: the broader the base, the higher the reach. As such, the teacher and student can measure achievements, and can project to future accomplishments.”

John Lang
Electric Bass, Group Guitar for Adults
John Lang
Electric Bass, Group Guitar for Adults

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Electric Bass, Group Guitar for Adults

Degrees and Studies: Bachelor of Music, San Diego State University. Studies with Michael Moore, Greg Jones, John Clayton, Garry Dial, Andy Gonzales, Carlos del Puerto

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2015

Born in: Fresno, CA

Performances and Distinctions: John Lang has had Broadway, touring and regional appearances in Legally BlondJersey Boys, Forever Plaid, Fat Camp, The Full Monty, Flat Stanley, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Annie. Appearances regularly at clubs: Fat Cat, Little Branch, 55 Bar, and Bar Thalia. Numerous sideman credits including Cady Huffman, Tadataka Uno, Vikki Burns, Melissa Hamilton. Composing: 2 solo CDs and film score credits. Faculty: Neighborhood Music and Arts and Create! New York, organizations that bring music and the arts to New York City public schools. John also leads his own electric jazz trio “Jello Jams,” to be featured on a CD release in 2016. He can be heard rocking out with local acts “The Justice League” and “River of Dreams,” an outstanding Billy Joel Tribute Band. He is happy to be appearing often at Trinity Rivertowns Church, subbing in a wonderful band for the great John Pattitucci.  A skilled arranger and producer, John works in his own recording studio.

Teaching Philosophy: When I was 10 years old I was a member of the ensemble in my mother’s dance company. I was constantly getting in trouble or not paying attention and missing my cues. The company manager would often find me with my head stuffed in the PA speakers rapt in attention. No one, including me, realized at the time that I was transfixed by the sound of the orchestra, and unable to concentrate on what my body was supposed to be doing. My interest in music and sound has never wavered in the past 30 years. Music and studying music has always been a passionate experience for me. I have been so blessed with the teachers and fellow musicians in my life. You should realize that your study of music may start with me, but it will last your entire lifetime. I hope that all of your life be a rewarding relationship to music and the spirit of great sounds!

Julian Langford
Cello
Julian Langford
Cello

Classical Division: Cello

Degrees and Studies: Stony Brook University, Doctor of Musical Arts, Cello Performance 2019; The Juilliard School, Master of Music, Cello Performance 2016; The Juilliard School, Bachelor of Music, Cello Performance 2014

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Born in: New York, NY

Performances and Distinctions: Chappaqua Orchestra Concerto Competition, first prize; Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow, first prize Pearl and Julius Young Music Competition, prizewinner; Performed the Schubert Two Cello Quintet with Yo-Yo Ma at the Waldorf-Astoria; Guest artist with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center

Teaching Philosophy: Teaching is my way of passing down knowledge to eager students and giving back to the community. I have been so fortunate to have studied with some of the most brilliant cello pedagogues of recent time and I am motivated to follow in their footsteps. I believe every student is unique and should be taught according to his or her individuality. I don’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all” approach to teaching.  I make it a point to get to know my students as people, so I can ascertain the most effective pedagogical approach to each student.

Jaejin Lee
Piano
Jaejin Lee
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M., Seoul National University, Korea; M.M., Michigan State University; D.M.A., University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2012

Born In: Seoul, Korea

Performance and Distinctions: Appearances as a soloist in Chopin Gala Concert in San Francisco, Pianomania in Walnut Creek, CA, Graves Sunday at Five in Ohio, Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, SUNY International Piano Recital Series in New Paltz, Music 2000 and Grandin Festival in Cincinnati, Sul-Ak Music Festival in Korea, Tong-Il Han Piano Institute Music Festival in Hawaii, Academie de Musicque de Sion in Switzerland, Schuleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Germany, and London Piano Festival in England. Numerous appearances as a member of Veritas Ensemble, performing and premiering works of contemporary composers in the San Francisco bay area. Extensive training and teaching experience in both private and group setting such as Suzuki, Orff, Music Mind Games and Peery Piano Method. Dr. Lee has taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Capital University and University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department. During summer, she teaches at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan and Summer Music and Arts at MCW.

Teaching Philosophy: “My goal as a teacher is to bring out each student’s potential to the highest artistic level. I emphasize a strong foundation of technique and intervallic reading skills for beginners, developing artistic interpretation according to various musical style for intermediate students, and expanding repertoire for advanced students. I individualize my teaching plan according to each student’s age, temperament and learning style.”

Jasper Lewis, MT-BC
Music Therapy
Jasper Lewis, MT-BC
Music Therapy

Music Therapy Division: Music Therapy

Degrees and Studies: BA in Sound Recording Technology & Jazz Guitar Performance, Duquesne University; MS in Music Therapy, Molloy College

Born in: Manhattan, NY

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Provides individual and group music therapy onsite and outreach.

Distinctions: Jasper has released several albums of original music.  Jasper has performed with many independent artists and singer-songwriters in New York City and Pittsburgh as a guitarist and bassist.

Teaching Philosophy: “I use a music-centered and relationship-based approach to build communication and self-expression skills.  I believe that music can be a way for people of all ages and abilities to uncover new truths about themselves, to build on their resources, or to share their unique experience with others.”

James Lorusso
Classical Guitar
James Lorusso
Classical Guitar

Classical Division: Classical Guitar

Degrees and Studies: B. M., Mercy College

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1973

Born in: New Rochelle, NY

Performances and Distinctions: James Lorusso is a graduate of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, through its collaboration with Mercy College, where he was the recipient of a Conservatory scholarship as well as a scholarship from the Epstein Fine Arts Fund.  He studied guitar with Leo Brouwer, Alirio Diaz, Angel Romero, Manuel Barrueco and musical interpretation with renowned pianist Bruce Hungerford.  Mr. Lorusso made his New York Debut at CAMI Hall in 1984, and was a top prize winner in the 1983 international guitar competition at the Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Puerto Rico. Mr. Lorusso has served on the Conservatory faculty for over 30 years and is also a faculty member at Manhattanville College and Westchester Community College.  He has also taught at Marymount College and the American Institute of Guitar.  He has studied in Spain with guitarists Narciso Yepes and Jose-Luis Lopategui.

Teaching Philosophy: Of his approach to teaching, Mr. Lorusso says, “Ï try to treat students as individuals and learn as much as I can about their musical tastes so I can help them fulfill their musical dreams.  Instead of following traditional rules of pedagogy I like to use whatever works for each student.  Each person has a system of thinking that is unique and as a teacher, I need to understand that system.”Mr. Lorusso identifies each student’s strong and weak points.  “For example, some people have naturally good technique but can’t read well, while others excel at reading but struggle with the physical aspects of playing.  I first try to build up what is weak because what they do naturally will always get stronger.  It’s important to let students know what their strong points are because sometimes people aren’t aware of their own gifts.  I try to mix this with a sound foundation of technical training on the instrument starting with things that I believe to be essential.”

Elliot Magaziner
Chamber Ensemble, Violin
Elliot Magaziner
Chamber Ensemble, Violin

Classical Division: Violin, Chamber Ensemble

Degrees and Studies: B. M., The Juilliard School

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1980

Born in: Springfield, Massachussetts

Performances and Distinctions: Elliot Magaziner has enjoyed a long career as a violinist, conductor, and educator.  As a recitalist, he appeared in major cities around the world including New York, Washington, Paris, Amsterdam, and many others. Orchestral appearances include the New York Philharmonic and L’Orchestre Symphonique de Paris. As a chamber musician he has played with the Guilet Quartet, the Metropolitan String Quartet, and the Columbia Broadcasting Quartet. For 27 years he was a violinist in the CBS Orchestra, appearing weekly on television and recording on major labels. Mr. Magaziner formerly served on the faculty of Manhattanville College and has also taught Concordia College, New York University, Purchase College, and SUMMIT International Music Festival.

Teaching Philosophy: “I firmly believe that approaches to technique and musicianship should be incorporated with major composers from the beginning. One of the great values, aside from the aesthetic enjoyment of this fine art, is instilling discipline from the start which can be as easily learned from Bach and Mozart as from purely pedagogic composers.”

Matt Malanowski
Jazz Piano, Music Theory
Matt Malanowski
Jazz Piano, Music Theory

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Jazz Piano and Music Theory

Degrees and Studies: MM. Master of Music in Jazz Piano Performance, Manhattan School of Music. NY, NY. May, 2020 BM. Bachelor of Music in Jazz Piano Performance, Manhattan School of Music. NY, NY. May, 2018.

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2020

Born in: Farmingdale. New York

Performances and Distinctions: Matt has performed at many prestigious venues in the United States, as well as across Europe and Brazil.  Some of the United States performance venues include the Grammy Awards, Capitol Records Studios, and Carnegie Hall.  Matt has also toured in Germany, France, Austria, and Brazil playing at multiple venues and different jazz festivals. 

Teaching PhilosophyMy goal as a teacher is to spread the same joy that music has brought me. I think music is the most powerful way in which human beings of all kinds can connect to each other to find common ground. It is important to continue to educate the new generations about the importance and significance of music and art in this world. I pledge, as a teacher, to do my part in furthering the education of new generations, and to help push the music forward. I believe in getting to know each student to be able to determine exactly how to help them individually. I pride myself on my ability to find a very specific path which each student could take in order to get them learning in the most comfortable and suited way possible. It is important that a student helps guide their own path of learning just as equally as the teacher does. Keeping the students’ interest and having patience will lead to a great connection and a willingness to learn. Finally, I believe that each generation has a new take on the music and it is important to nurture that and help bring it about, not diminish the excitement that surrounds it. It is our job as teachers to provide the platform with which students can excel and discover their individuality and voice within the music. 

Christine Mann
Suzuki Cello
Christine Mann
Suzuki Cello

Classical Division: Cello

Suzuki Division: Suzuki Cello

Degrees and Studies: B Mus. Performance – Cello University of Massachusetts Amherst, Performance Certificate – Cello University of Massachusetts Amherst 

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Raised in: White Plains, New York

Performances and Distinctions: Christine Mann earned her B.M. and Performance Certificate in Cello Performance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she studied with Astrid Schween and Edward Arron. As an active cellist in the metro area, her performances include northeast venues such as Boston Symphony Hall, Barrington Stage Company and at festivals such as the Bach Festival and Symposium in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Teaching Philosophy: As a former MCW student, she enjoys giving back to the community that started her interest in a music career. Christine meets students where they are and takes an individualized approach in lessons. She guides students towards a love for music using a positive environment and strong musical foundation.

Rale Micic
Electric Guitar, Songwriting Workshop, Young Songwriters
Rale Micic
Electric Guitar, Songwriting Workshop, Young Songwriters

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Electric Guitar, Young Songwriters, Songwriting Workshop

Degrees and Studies: Diploma, Music School Davorin Jenko (Serbia); B.M. Jazz Composition and Guitar, Berklee College of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2007

Born in: Belgrade Serbia

Performances and Distinctions: Rale Micic came to the US in 1995 after receiving a scholarship to attend the Berklee College of Music where he studied with George Garzone, John Thomas, and Bob Brookmeyer. Numerous performances in prominent jazz clubs including the Village Vanguard, Catalina, Blues Alley, Scullers, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, and many others.  Appearances in San Jose, North City, and Hartford jazz Festivals among others. Mr. Micic is a member of the Tom Harrell Chamber Trio, Modern Life Trio, and the Rale Micic Trio and Quintet, with whom he regularly performs. His recordings and performances have been acclaimed in Downbeat, Jazz Times, Jazzwise, All About Jazz and other print and online publications.  A CTA recording artist, Micic has recorded three albums, collaborating with saxophonist Bob Reynolds, trumpeter Tom Harrell, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.  He is a D’Addario Strings artist along with renowned guitarists Pat Metheny, John Scofield, and Lenny Kravitz.

Charlotte Ann Moore
Music Skills
Charlotte Ann Moore
Music Skills

Classical Division: Music Skills

Degrees and Studies: BA, Music, Mount Holyoke; MS, Education, Fordham University; American Orff Shulwerk, Elias Howe, NYCCOASA; Dalcroze Eurythmics, Solfege, & Improvisation, Julliard, Kaufman Center, Diller-Quaile; Lovitri Method Studies, CCNY

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2017

Born in: Manhattan, NY

Performances & Distinctions:
 Director, Mount Vernon Intergenerational Choir; Associate Faculty, Music Improv Camp, Teachers College, Columbia University; Conductor, All City Elementary Chorus, Mount Vernon All-City Music & Art Festival

Teaching Philosophy: “In much the way a dancer, writer, actor, visual, or other performing artist commits to optimal engagement in the arts, I believe teachers of the arts need to continually train themselves to perfect their teaching craft. As a veteran music teacher certified in the Orff Schulwerk approach, I enjoy teaching students how to use all of their senses – their whole being in fact, to create music while accessing their own unique artistry in the process. Orff Schulwerk is a developmental approach to music-making that addresses multiple parts of a child’s psyche, emotions, and kinesthetic energy. Having emerged at the turn of the 20TH Century from the collaborative efforts of composer Carl Orff and co-founder Gunild Keetman in Munich, Germany, this approach emphasizes three foundational threads. These include: 1) exposure to early childhood musical experiences, 2) awakening curiosity in a natural and playful manner that develops and encourages musicianship, and 3) offering child-centered music and movement education which presents skills and concepts in a sequenced, logical way. In Orff Schulwerk, elemental forms of expression – namely, rhythmic speech, singing, playing simple percussion instruments, and bodily movement are all integrated to facilitate music-making in an organic and meaningful way. Typically, this process may begin through imitation during playing children’s games and rhymes, and through storytelling with accompaniment, movement, and vocalization. Ultimately, music learners conclude with greater potential and preparation for music literacy, improvisation, and self-expression.”

Sandra Munoz
First Notes
Sandra Munoz
First Notes

Classical Division: First Notes

Degrees and Studies: Universidad del Valle, Colombia, Bachelor of Music Education and Choir Conducting. Conservatory Antonio Maria Valencia, Colombia, Diploma in Piano. Specialty in early childhood music education. Certification, Music Together.

Music Conservatory of WestchesterFaculty since 2015

Born in: Colombia

Performance and Distinctions: Conductor of children’s and adult choirs, performances of four-hand piano repertoire, and appearances as piano accompanist for numerous concert events, including: Universidad National, Palmira Choir, Sala Beethoven in Colombia; Harbor Conservatory, Unity Center, Performing Arts Conservatory, Hispanic Women’s Society, Rye Arts Center, Bechstein Hall in New York.  Performances include Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Faculty member for Pre-K to grade 8 music at Saint Raymond Elementary School, Bronx, NY.

Jean Newton
Chamber Ensembles, Harpsichord
Jean Newton
Chamber Ensembles, Harpsichord

Classical Division: Harpsichord, Chamber Ensembles

Degrees and Studies: Master of Music, harpsichord, Aaron Copland School, Queens College, C.U.N.Y.; Ph.D, Graduate School and University Center, C.U.N.Y.

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2005

Born in: New York, New York

Performances and Distinctions: New York recital Debut at Merkin Concert Hall in 1983, including the world premiere of David Alpher’s American Reflections.  Performances in the New York area with the New York Baroque Ensemble, Cantabile Chamber Players, Bronx Arts Ensemble, New York String Ensemble, Concert Artist Guild productions.  Appearances at Weill Recital Hall, 92nd Street YMHA, Bruno Walter Auditorium (Lincoln Center Library), Deutsches Haus-Goethe Institute, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, Christ & St. Stephen’s Church and others. Dr. Newton has recorded for Ongaku Records.  A specialist in historical tuning and temperaments, Dr. Newton was harpsichord and fortepiano tuner for artists such as Leonard Bernstein, Malcom Bilson, and Steven Lubin, and at venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Manhattan School of Music and others. She formerly taught at Manhattan School of Music, and Queens College (City University of New York).

Teaching Philosophy: Most harpsichord students have previously played piano, so I emphasize how to make music sound beautiful and expressive on the harpsichord, which is fundamentally very different from the piano. I also focus on developing a solid technique and an understanding of musical structure, as well as historical context. The harpsichord had an important role in chamber music, and I encourage students to join an ensemble.  It’s a challenge to try your hand at playing continuo, but it’s an amazing and joyful experience to play music with others.

François Nezwazky
Piano, Suzuki Piano
François Nezwazky
Piano, Suzuki Piano

Suzuki Division: Suzuki Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M., University of Michigan School of Music;  Suzuki Certification Piano Books 1-7, School for Strings, New York, NY

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Born in: Detroit, Michigan

Distinctions: Pianist, performer and teacher FRANÇOIS NEZWAZKY has played frequently in solo, vocal and chamber music concerts around New York City at Lincoln Center, Carnegie-Weill Recital Hall, Steinway Hall, Yamaha Piano Salon, the Tenri Cultural Institute, NYU Skirball Center and other venues. He has premiered works of composers Elodie Lauten and Sebastian Danila. He has soloed in concerti with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony and, on harpsichord, with Musica Bella. François is also a member of the Piano Technicians Guild, has worked as a concert technician for Yamaha Artist Services, given lecture-recitals to demonstrate historical tuning temperaments and also lectured on the acoustical interaction of piano hammers and strings. François serves on the board of the Leschetizky Association and is chair of the Members Musicales program. The Leschetizky Association published his article, “Should We Really Be Playing In Equal Temperament?” in their Annual Bulletin. François currently teaches piano privately in Queens and is also on the faculty of the Virtuoso Suzuki Academy in Mineola, NY.

Teaching Philosophy: Music is a gift for a lifetime. It is important to recognize students’ individual learning styles and to cultivate their unique talents. I find the Suzuki approach ideal for the application of my teaching philosophy, especially to children, young and old.

Michael Pallas
Jazz Workshop, Music Theory, Trombone
Michael Pallas
Jazz Workshop, Music Theory, Trombone

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Trombone, Jazz Workshop, Music Theory

Degrees and Studies: B. M., The Hartt School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2015

Performances and Distinctions: Michael Pallas is known for his clear tone and melodic improvisation. He has performed with his quintet at New England’s longest-running jazz series “Monday Night Jazz in Bushnell Park,” and was one of fifteen young jazz musicians nationwide to participate in the Ravinia Steans Music Institute Jazz Fellowship program in Chicago where he has the opportunity to work with Rufus Reid, Billy Childs, and NEA Jazz Master Nathan Davis.  Pallas has performed with such notable artists such as Rene McLean, Gary Bartz, Lewis Nash, Nat Reeves, Wayne Bergeron, Wycliffe Gordon, Andy Martin, and Gordon Goodwin, and has appeared at many well-known venues in New York City.  Pallas is a teaching artist at the Renaissance Youth Center in the South Bronx and is also a producer for R&B and hip-hop artists.

Adriana Maria Pera
Cello
Adriana Maria Pera
Cello

Classical Division: Cello

Degrees and Studies: B.M., University of Buffalo; M.M., University of Toronto; Artist Diploma, SUNY Purchase College

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2010

Born in: Niagara Falls, NY

Performances and Distinctions: Member of the ‘Scape Trio which performs chamber music influenced by the work of living visual artists.  Ms. Pera participated in the landmark performance of American Grain, produced by Torn Space Theater and taking place inside the largest grain elevator on the complex known as Silo City in Buffalo, NY.  She has been a cellist with the Slee Sinfonietta, Principal Cellist with the Symphony Orchestras of Toronto and Buffalo Universities, and a member of the Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra – a contemporary rock band.  Ms. Pera has participated in the International Bach Festival, directed by Maestro Helmuth Rilling, and in the “June in Buffalo” Series, an annual festival of contemporary music hosting notables such as Steve Reich.  She has taught at School of the Holy Child (Rye, NY), Rye Arts Center, and Jewish Community Center of Westchester.

Nicole Peragine
Conservatory Sinfonia, Junior Strings, Music Theory, Viola
Nicole Peragine
Conservatory Sinfonia, Junior Strings, Music Theory, Viola

Classical Division: Junior Strings, Music Theory, Conservatory Sinfonia

Degrees and Studies: B.M. in Music Education from the Crane School of Music; M.M. in Viola Performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2017

Performances and Distinctions: Violist and conductor Nicole Peragine received her Bachelor of Music Education at the Crane School of Music and her Master of Music from the UNCG School of Music in Viola Performance. She had the great privilege of studying viola with Dr. Shelly Tramposh and Dr. Scott Rawls. During her years of study, she attended the Max Aronoff Viola Institute and Brevard Music Center. While at the Crane School of Music, she was a Presidential Scholar Grant recipient for her work in curriculum design focused on injury free performance. During her time in North Carolina, Ms. Peragine taught HS Orchestra and AP Music Theory while also playing viola for the Fayetteville Symphony and Carolina Philharmonic. She had the great honor of playing in Carnegie Hall with the Carolina Phil under the baton of Maestro David Michael Wolff. During this time, she also worked with Maestro Wolff to launch the youth orchestra program associated with the Carolina Phil. Ms. Peragine has served as an education writer for the North Carolina Symphony’s Friday Favorite concert series and has consulted on or coordinated a variety of education projects. She currently directs the Orchestra Program at Fox Lane High School, sits principal viola for the Chappaqua Orchestra, and freelances in the Hudson Valley region.

Teaching Philosophy: Nicole Peragine believes all people have the ability and should have the opportunity to make great music. She believes music enables one to be a more complete human being and that it is a critical component to a child’s overall development. Through exploration and connection with our rich musical heritage, Ms. Peragine’s students walk away from rehearsals empowered with a deeper understanding of the literature, technique and how it helps us to achieve musical goals, and the importance of perseverance.

Charles Pillow
Saxophone
Charles Pillow
Saxophone

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Saxophone

Degrees and Studies: BME Loyola University, New Orleans, MM Eastman School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2020

Born in: Roanoke, Virginia

Performances and Distinctions: After college at Loyola University, Charles Pillow pursued his Masters Degree in Jazz Studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, NY. Since moving to NYC in 1987, he has appeared on over 100 recordings of jazz, pop luminaries such as Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, Jay Z, Luther Vandross, Paul Simon, Michael Brecker, Bruce Springsteen, John Scofield, Tom Harrell, Dave Liebman, David Sanborn, to name a few.

Hi solo recordings include Currents, In this World, Pictures at an Exhibition, The Planets, and van Gogh Letters. 

In addition to an active performing and recording schedule, he is an Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Eastman school of Music.

Mary Elizabeth Poore
Voice, Women's Vocal Ensemble, Youth Chorus
Mary Elizabeth Poore
Voice, Women's Vocal Ensemble, Youth Chorus

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Voice, Women’s Vocal Ensemble

Degrees and Studies: B.M. and M.M., Indiana University

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1993

Born in: Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

Performances and Distinctions: Mary Elizabeth Poore has performed throughout the United States in concert and opera at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Merkin Concert Hall, The American Academy in Rome, and the Library of Congress, and has sung with companies including Michigan Opera Theater, Orlando Opera, Virginia Opera, Mobile Opera, Des Moines Opera, Sarasota Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Lyric Opera of Cleveland. She has been featured in solo and chamber music recitals throughout the country and was the soprano soloist for the annual Basically Bach Festival in New York for many years. Ms. Poore created the title role in the world premiere of Libby Larsen’s Mrs. Dalloway for the Lyric Opera of Cleveland and performed in the world premiere of John Kelly’s Light Shall Lift Them at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the Next Wave Festival. She has recorded for labels including Capstone Records, Living Artist Recordings and Newport Classic Records. She was the national winner of the National Federation of Music’s Young Artist of the Year, and a first prize winner of the Oratorio Society of New York, which led to her Carnegie Hall debut singing the soprano solos in Handel’s Messiah, She was a winner of the Distinguished Performance Award of the Minna Kaufman Ruud Fund and a finalist in the Bayrische Rundfunk Munich International Vocal Competition. In addition to her busy performing schedule, Ms. Poore, a devoted music educator, is currently on the faculty of the Bel Canto Institute in Florence, Italy, and the Music Conservatory of Westchester. Ms. Poore has lived and performed in Italy where she studied with the world-renowned Italian opera coach, Luigi Ricci.

Teaching Philosophy: “I enjoy teaching students of all ages and in various stages of vocal development, striving to bring out the best in each, finding a healthy vocal production with good technique, and building confidence while sharing my joy of vocal music! I enjoy preparing students for competitions, auditions and roles both professionally and in their schools and sharing in their successes. All my students have a wide variety of musical interests including classical, opera, musical theater and pop and I encourage them all to continually perform as part of their musical training.”

Irena Portenko
Music Theory & History for Adults, Piano, Piano Partners
Irena Portenko
Music Theory & History for Adults, Piano, Piano Partners

Classical Division: Piano, Piano Partners

Degrees and Studies: B.M. and Post-Graduate Study, Kiev National Academy of Music (Ukraine); M.M., and D.M.A., University of Michigan

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2007

Born in: Kyiv, Ukraine

Performances and Distinctions: Irena Portenko made her New York debut in 2009 at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, under the auspices of Concert Artists International. She has appeared as an orchestral soloist under the batons of Volodymyr Kozhuhar (Ukraine), Kenneth Kiesler (USA), Rossen Milanov (Bulgaria), Volodymyr Sirenko (Ukraine), Uwe Harrer (Austria), Allin Vlasenko (Ukraine), and Dai Uk Lee (Korea). An avid chamber musician, and has appeared with distinguished artists at festivals and recitals in the Ukraine, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, and the US. Ms. Portenko’s recordings include Chopin’s Études on the Blue Griffin Label, and Tchaikovsky’s First and Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerti with the Ukrainian National Symphony. Her passion for collaborating with contemporary composers has led her to perform numerous works by living American, Ukrainian, Chinese and German composers, including the Tryptich “Venetian Blinds” for solo piano by Grammy Award winner Michael Daugherty (2003).  In 2014, she launched “Music in the Alps,” a summer music festival in Austria.

Teaching Philosophy: “Piano is an instrument I love. Piano has an incomparable variety of sounds and possibilities. It can also sound like a human voice or like another instrument. One has to practice and to study a lot to be able to open the world of music to a listener. Besides that, one has to feel, understand and experience even more in order to teach piano. To be called “a teacher” is a gigantic responsibility, that involves everything that a human being has: its emotional, intellectual and physical aspects. It is my job as a teacher to ignite the spark of curiosity in the mind of the students and to make sure, they feel safe, creative and appreciated for what they give back, as they learn and explore music. I feel grateful for being able to continue sharing my passion, my skills and to have this exclusive profession – a pianist.”

Rick Prokop
Piano
Rick Prokop
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M., SUNY Purchase College

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1981

Born in: New York, New York

Performances and Distinctions: Appearances throughout the tri-state area with the Rick Prokop Trio, featuring Mr. Prokop’s original compositions; regular appearances at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, performing a mix of classical and jazz repertoire. Mr. Prokop is the author of Piano Power – A Breakthrough Approach to Improving Your Technique.  He is also a widely sought after piano tuner and the technician who trained with Steve Borell, then chief concert technician for Baldwin Pianos.  Mr. Prokop is currently the staff tuner at SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center and at numerous recording studios including Acme and Minot, where he tunes for many major artists.

Alyssa Reit
Harp
Alyssa Reit
Harp

Classical Division: Harp

Degrees and Studies: B.M. and M.M., The Juilliard School; Graduate Studies, Manhattan School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2005

Born in: Chicago, Illinois

Performances and Distinctions: Alyssa Reit began her studies of the harp at age seven in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois.  She considers herself lucky to have had a strong Salzedo method background in her early years as well as the influence and guidance of Marcel Grandjany at the Juilliard School, where she received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Alyssa enjoys a wide range of musical styles, both as a performer and as a listener.  Currently, the focus of her performing career is with her theater company, Singing Harp, which presents myths and fairy tales set to her original music. She teaches at the pre-college division of Manhattan School of Music, and has been on the faculty of the Music Conservatory of Westchester since 2005.

Teaching Philosophy: “I see each student as a unique wonder, so I adapt my approach depending on his or her special package of strengths, weakness, and inclinations.   I work by ear with all students, introducing reading when they are ready.  Along with insisting on strong technical fundamentals, I stress good practice methods, encouraging each student to learn how to think for him/herself as to how a problem can be solved.  I also introduce principles of musicianship and composition from the very beginning, so that the student’s understanding grows along with technique.”

Alfred Renino
Electric Bass
Alfred Renino
Electric Bass

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Electric Bass

Degrees and Studies: B.M. and Performer’s Certificate, SUNY Potsdam Crane School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2005

Born in: White Plains, New York

Performances and Distinctions: Performances with the Leslie West Band, Micky Dolenz (formerly of The Monkees), Legends in Concert on Broadway, and Celebrity Pro Jam Band at China Club in NYC. Mr. Renino has recorded with The Vineyard Sound a cappella vocal ensemble on the Critique Records label, with The Nude Ants on “Greetings from…..” on the Teldec label, and on Jonathan Sprout’s album “American Heroes #3” which was nominated for a Grammy award in 2010.  He has taught at Concordia College, Harrison High School, and Westchester Music and Arts Camp.

Jacob Robinson
Buckets & Beats, Drum Set
Jacob Robinson
Buckets & Beats, Drum Set

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Drum Set, Buckets & Beats

Degrees and Studies: B.M., Oberlin Conservatory of Music; M.M., Manhattan School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2011

Born in: Whately, Massachusetts

Performances and Distinctions: Drummer Jake Robinson has been teaching and performing in the New York area since earning his Masters in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School of Music on scholarship. While in school, he studied under world-renowned drummers Billy Hart and John Riley, and additionally with Gary Bartz, Marcus Belgrave, and Robin Eubanks. A most versatile player, Jake is well versed in many different styles and stays busy performing Jazz, Funk, Pop, and everything in between. He gives clinics and masterclasses throughout NYC and New England, tours nationally and internationally, and has performed at world-class venues including Birdland NYC, Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, and Canterbury Cathedral in England. At the Conservatory, Jake also serves as Assistant Dean and Director of the Summer Music & Arts Programs.

Teaching Philosophy: “My approach to teaching the drums is based on 3 tenets: Building proper fundamentals and technique, introducing a variety of music and styles, and guiding students’ down the musical paths towards which they gravitate. It is important to me that all of my students learn how to read music and play with good technique, but it is equally important to open up their ears to the vast amount of music that pertains to the instrument. Not only does this expand students’ knowledge of the instrument and of music, but it helps them discover which music speaks to them the loudest. When capable enough, I utilize the Alan Dawson method for drum set, which uses several classic percussion texts, such as Syncopation by Ted Reed, and Modern Rudimental Swing Solos by Charley Wilcoxon, to apply rudiments to the drum set, develop limb independence, and discover the challenges and applications of Jazz drumming.”

Maryna Rogozhyna
Piano
Maryna Rogozhyna
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M. and M.M., Kiev State Conservatory (Ukraine); Post Graduate Diploma, National Academy of Music (Ukraine); Professional Studies, Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2007

Performances and Distinctions: At the age of 8, Ms. Rogozhyna won a Bach Competition in her native Ukraine.  When she was 15, she received the first prize at the National College Student Competition.  In 1991, Maryna won the All-Union Piano Competition in Samara, Russia.  She extensively performs solo and chamber music recitals in Ukraine, Russia, Czech Republic, Belgium, and The Netherlands.  Ms. Rogozhyna’s concert engagements in the U.S. include recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, LeFrak Concert Hall, Donnel Library, Tenri Cultural Institute, Hunter Music Festival, the Manhattan Virtuosi Concert Series, and many others.  She is a faculty member at Mamaroneck School of Music, the Northern Westchester School for the Arts, and the Music Conservatory of Westchester, and she has served as a faculty member at the Long Island School of Music and Arts and the Kiev Pedagogical Institute in Ukraine.

Christina Khimm Rosand
Violin
Christina Khimm Rosand
Violin

Classical Division: Violin

Degrees and Studies: B.A., Sarah Lawrence College; Graduate Studies, Manhattan School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1988

Born in: Seoul, Korea

Performances and Distinctions: Christina Khimm Rosand has had a successful career as a pedagogue in the U.S.A. since 1989 when she began to teach at Queens College. She was born in Seoul, Korea in 1953 and made solo debut with the Seoul Philharmonic at the age of 10. She came to America in 1970 to study with Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1971 the Manhattan School of Music gave her a full scholarship to study with Raphael Bronstein that resulted in winning the concerto competition at MSM as well as Young Artist Competition in New York. She moved to Sarah Lawrence College in 1973 to broaden her educational horizons,where Dorothy Delay continued to teach her and where she earned her B.A. degree. She continued her studies with two legendary violinists in 1975, studying with both Ruggiero Ricci and Aaron Rosand, in 1988 she acquired a certificate to teach the Suzuki method that enabled her to teach less advanced students. Her success has led to positions at the Hoff-Barthelson music school,Music Conservatory of Westchester, Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College.

She has enjoyed a varied career as a soloist and chamber musician in addition to her work as a teacher. Her solo engagements elicited critical praise for “insightful musicianship, elegant tone, and technical mastery of her instrument.” She was also a member of the Laurentian String Quartet for several years. Since 1994 she has served as outreach director and faculty member of the annual Summit Music Festival. Christina Khimm Rosand married legendary American violinist Aaron Rosand. In 1996 they founded “The Aaron Rosand Intensive Program “at the Summit Music Festival where she currently serves as director of the program.She has 2 CDs available on the Sohn and Artkor labels featuring works by Schnittke, Foote, Grieg, Vivaldi, and Mozart.

Laetitia Ruccolo
Piano
Laetitia Ruccolo
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M. Ecole Normale Supérieure de Musique, Paris; B.A. Languages, University Aix-Marseille; State Diploma in Piano Pedagogy, Paris; M.M. University Mozarteum Salzburg; M.M.Mannes College of Music, New York

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2013

Born in: Mulhouse, France

Performances and Distinctions: Laetitia has performed all over Europe and the States as a solo pianist and accompanist. In New York, she played at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the Metropolitan Opera Guild. She performed in concerts hosted by violinist Joshua Bell and soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. She is one of the founding members of the companies Loft Opera and Bare Opera, and she regularly collaborates with opera companies in New York and Europe. She was a young artist at the National Opera Studio in London, where she did some residencies at the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera and Opera North Leeds. Passionate about art songs, she participated in SongFest and the Schubert Institute, where she worked with artists like Helmut Deutsch, Christa Ludwig, Elly Ameling, Julius Drake, and Roger Vignoles. Laetitia has always been interested in new music, she often collaborates with The Center For Contemporary Opera, and she has worked with many living composers, like John Musto, Libby Larsen, Mohammed Fairouz and Christian Lauba. She was also part of the Klezmer group 12th Night Music, coached by David Krakauer.

Teaching Philosophy: “My goal as a piano teacher, as well as an accompanist, is to develop the natural musicality of the students as early as possible. I encourage them to experiment a lot of dynamics, articulations or different kinds of repertoire. I advise them also to listen to a lot of different music and to go to see performances, starting with the concerts at the Conservatory. I often play for beginner pianists during the lesson. The intention is to give them the autonomy to be able to make their own musical decisions. My thesis for the French State Diploma of Pedagogy was on Liszt’s technique applied to beginner pianists. He was convinced that having a clear musical idea helps to develop the technique, and recommended to work on the technical problems in the context of a piece, rather than pure exercises without musical interest for the student. As an ex ballet dancer, I give a lot of importance to the student’s position at the instrument. An unhealthy position can create many unnecessary difficulties or even some injuries. It is important to have a good posture from the very beginning. Reading music fluently is essential, and I always make sure that the students make the connection between written music and the keyboard. For the children who have difficulties or who are still very young, I use a method inspired by Kurtág, that uses signs instead of notes. For the others, the Thompson method is fun and interesting. I usually complete it with some little 4 hands pieces that I play with the students. We are lucky to have a huge piano literature, many of the most famous composers wrote easy piano pieces, from Bach to Bartók. I’m mostly inspired by the Russian and French schools.”

Bill Ruyle
Concert Percussion
Bill Ruyle
Concert Percussion

Classical Division: Concert Percussion

Degrees and Studies:

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2017

Performances and Distinctions: Bill Ruyle has been a percussionist/composer/collaborator for new music, dance, and theater in NYC and abroad for over forty years. He began his career playing percussion at Lamama for the landmark original production of “Fragments of a Trilogy” (Elektra, Medea, The Trojan Women) composed by Elizabeth Swados and directed by Adrei Serban. He has served as music director for numerous revivals of the “Trilogy” in NYC, Asia, and Europe. His off-Broadway experience is extensive and includes playing for the original productions of “The Garden of Earthly Delights” and “The Hunger Artist” by Martha Clarke. On Broadway, he has played for the shows “The Pirates of Penzance” (dir. Wilford Leach),”Three Penny Opera”, “Juan Darien” (dir. Julie Taymor),”The Secret Garden”, “The Green Bird” (dir. Julie Taymor), “Aida”, “Big River”, “The Boy from Oz”, “Wicked”, and played percussion and hammered dulcimer for “Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark” (dir. Julie Taymor). Bill has also played for 8 “Shakespeare in the Park” productions in NYC including, “Cymbeline” (dir. Andrei Serban), “Julius Ceasar” and, “The Seagull” (dir. Mike Nichols). He has played in the ensembles of Peter Zummo, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Bill Obrecht, Scott Johnson, Phillip Jonston, “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Bob Een, Naaz Hosseini, The Feetwarmers, The Manhattan Marimba Quartet, Last Forever with Dick Connette, Newband, and The Hudson Valley Philharmonic. His own compositions have been performed nationally and internationally. He has composed modern dance scores for choreographers Diane Madden, Susan Rethorst, Joanne Jansen, Lila York, and Tamar Rogoff. Bill has taught in many educational outreach programs including The Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Institute, and Link Up! at Carnegie Hall.

Lisa Sandagata, MA, MT-BC
Music Therapy
Lisa Sandagata, MA, MT-BC
Music Therapy

Music Therapy Division: Music Therapy Institute Director of Outreach Services

Degrees and Studies: BMus, Manhattanville: MA, Music Therapy, NYU

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1988

Music Therapy Institute Director of Outreach Services

Provides individual and group music therapy onsite and outreach.

Born in: New Haven, CT

Distinctions: Over 30 years of experience working as a music therapist with special needs individuals, Lisa also has extensive experience teaching piano and adapted instruction.

Teaching Philosophy: “I learned early in my musical career that I was inspired and motivated to share music with others, using it as an avenue for connection, growth and change.  I believe in the power of music to affect change.  I believe in the innate musical nature of all individuals. My work involves providing a musical experience that is unique to each individual, helping them connect to themselves and others and helping them reach their highest potential in music and in life, Music is so versatile and so many elements of music can be manipulated. I love welcoming individuals into the music and observing the many different ways one can “be in music”.
Adam Schommer
French Horn
Adam Schommer
French Horn

Classical Division: French Horn

Degrees and Studies: Mr. Schommer received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Rick Solis of the Cleveland Orchestra, and he earned a Masters in French horn performance from the University of Cincinnati where he studied with Randy Gardner, formerly of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Schommer did an artist diploma at SUNY Purchase studying with John Clark and Ann Ellsworth.

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Born in: Monroe, NY

Performances and Distinctions: Adam Schommer serves as adjunct faculty teaching French horn at Lehman College and Nyack College. He has had the privilege of working with a multitude of artists and ensembles such as Ray Chew, Benji Kaplan, Gerard Schwartz, Lanfranco Marcelletti, John Clark, Sting, David Amram, Miguel Harth-­Bedoya, George Saenz, and The Artemis Ensemble, The Allentown Symphony, and John Luther Adams. Mr. Schommer has been a soloist with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and the Chelsea Symphony, and was concerto competition winner at the Lucca Opera Theater’s 2002 season in Italy.

Teaching Philosophy: “My teaching philosophy is geared towards long term learning. This means I build a student’s skill from the ground up and will spend as much time as it takes for the student to demonstrate correct embouchure, posture, and breathing practices. This frustrates some students in this day of instant gratification, but the benefits over time are worth the wait and diligence. I am a visual and kinesthetic learner myself, so I rely greatly on mental images, and the specific bodily functions and tiny muscles necessary to produce the best result.”

Gili Sharett
Bassoon, Chamber Ensembles
Gili Sharett
Bassoon, Chamber Ensembles

Classical Division: Bassoon, Chamber Ensembles

Degrees and Studies: DMA State University of New York, Stony Brook 2005; MM State University of New York, Stony Brook 1999; BA, Magna Cum Laude, Rubin Academy, Tel Aviv 1995

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2016

Born in: Tel Aviv, Israel

Performances and Distinctions:
 Performed with the Israel Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, American Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New Jersey Symphony, and Encores! at City Center. An experienced chamber musician who has performed classical, jazz, and 20th-century works. Dr. Sharett is a member of Ariel Winds, an all-female woodwind quintet. Broadway performances include The King and IA Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Beauty and the Beast, 110 in the Shade, South Pacific, West Side Story, A Little Night Music, and Lincoln Center’s productions of The Frogs and The Light in the Piazza, winner of eight Tony awards and cast album Grammy nomination, for which she also played the Live from Lincoln Center broadcast. She currently performs in the orchestra for The Phantom of The Opera. Festival appearances include the Verbier Music Festival (Switzerland), Winter in Jerusalem (Israel), Vermont Mozart Festival, and Bard SummerScape (New York). Honors include an America-Israel Cultural Foundation Award (1993–1995), and she played a solo recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2005. Her teachers include Mordechai Rechtman, Kim Laskowski, Arlen Fast, Frank Morelli, Lenny Hindell, and Dennis Godburn. As an active educator, Sharett has performed for the New York Philharmonic Education series KidZone, Young Audiences, Midori and Friends, and the 92nd Street Y. She has taught at Hartwick Music Festival in Oneonta and the Brevard Music Center, and is currently on the faculties of Queens College, The Bloomingdale School of Music, in addition to The Music Conservatory of Westchester. Sharett has recorded on the Nonesuch, Naïve, and Tzadik labels.

Teaching Philosophy: “My driving force is to show the next generation of bassoonists how to to create a beautiful tone and share true musical expression. I think it’s important that studying is enjoyable yet concise in order for my student to learn proper technique and the tools to create fantastic musicianship.”

Julie Sherwood, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Music Therapy
Julie Sherwood, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Music Therapy

Music Therapy Division: Music Therapy

Degrees and Studies: BFA Music Theater, The New School, NY, NY; MA in Music Therapy, NYU

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2013

Provides individual and group music therapy onsite and outreach.

Born in: New Orleans, LA

Distinctions: Has specialty training and experience working with trauma, anxiety, and PTSD. Teaches continuing education courses for board-certified music therapists. Provides music therapy presentations in medical and psychiatric settings. Has experience as a clinical music therapy supervisor. Has more than 26 years of experience teaching voice and piano lessons, music directing theatrical productions, and performing professionally.

Teaching Philosophy: “I believe passionately in a strengths-based approach to music therapy. This means collaborating with each participant to explore and celebrate their unique strengths and abilities and promote a greater sense of empowerment and self-appreciation. I believe creative expression is inherently therapeutic, and music therapy has the power to help each of us experience more joy, tranquility, and satisfaction.”

Sally Shumway
Suzuki Viola, Suzuki Violin
Sally Shumway
Suzuki Viola, Suzuki Violin

Suzuki Division: Suzuki Violin, Suzuki Viola

Degrees and Studies: Bachelor of Music degree in Viola from the University of Kansas, Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Born in: Kansas

Distinctions: Sally Shumway, viola, grew up in Kansas and received a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola from the University of Kansas. She earned her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where she received the Hugo Kortschak Award for Excellence in Chamber Music. Since then she has been a freelance viola player in the New York City Area. As a freelance musician, Ms. Shumway has had the opportunity to do a wide variety of work. She has played on many recordings ranging from Strauss operas to video games, movie soundtracks, and Broadway shows including Sondheim’s “Passion”, ”Titanic: A New Musical”, and ”Gypsy” with Patti LuPone.

Ms. Shumway has performed with the Colorado Philharmonic, Illinois Chamber Orchestra, Vermont Symphony, Portland (Maine) Symphony, and Cedar Rapids Symphony, where she was the principal violist. She has been a member of the Riverside String Quartet and “Infusion”, a chamber music group which specialized in music of the 20th century. She currently performs with the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bronx Arts Ensemble. She can be heard on the Bronx Arts Ensemble recordings of composers Carlos Surinach, Robert Baksa, Meyer Kupferman, Soong Fu Yuan, and Roberto Sierra.

Sara Silva
Suzuki Violin, Viola, Violin
Sara Silva
Suzuki Violin, Viola, Violin

Classical Division: Violin, Viola

Suzuki Division: Suzuki Violin & Viola

Degrees and Studies: Bachelors in Violin performance Frederic Chopin Conservatory Paris – France, Master in Violin performance Syracuse university Suzuki Teacher’s certification Violin books I – III Ithaca College

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2016

Born in: Bogota, Colombia

Performances and Distinctions:  After her 6 years tenure with the National Symphony of Colombia, she came to the USA for her master’s degree. She is a member of Symphoria (the successor organization of the Syracuse Symphony), she is a member  of the Binghamton Tri-Cities Opera, Utica Symphony, she has performed with organizations as the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of Northern NY, the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, the Catskills Symphony Orchestra and the Bowdoin Music Festival. Sara performs with the Alzo Symphony Orchestra in New York City, The Distinguished Concert International of NY, The Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the New Rochelle Opera and the Chelsea Symphony Orchestra. She is also a recipient of the Syracuse University Full Scholarship and Teaching Assistantship, the Frederic Chopin Conservatory Scholarship and the Colombia Government Carolina Oramas Scholarship for abroad studies.

Hunter Somogie
Classical Guitar, Elementary Group Guitar
Hunter Somogie
Classical Guitar, Elementary Group Guitar

Classical Division: Classical Guitar

Degrees and Studies: B.M., Crane School of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2018

Born in: Albany, NY

Performances and Distinctions: Guitarist-Composer Hunter Somogie has been making music since the age of ten. Beginning with clarinet, he then switched to guitar at 13. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music in May 2017 with a degree in Guitar Performance. After graduating, he attended the inaugural year of the guitar program at the Brevard Music Festival. Since then, Hunter has been teaching and performing in the New York City area, as well as premiering new music with the vocal group, Ös Ensemble. Hunter has studied guitar with masters Marcin Dylla, Martha Masters, Adam Holzman, Chris Stell, Alex Tsiboulski, and Doug Rubio.
Teaching Philosophy: “I believe a wholesome and holistic approach to education is the most beneficial for students and teachers alike. It is a teacher’s obligation to communicate musical thoughts to students by relating new ideas to familiar concepts. On top of musical and technical proficiency, I strive for my students to learn how to develop a strong work ethic.”
Donald Stevens, MA
Music Therapy
Donald Stevens, MA
Music Therapy

Music Therapy Division: Music Therapy

Degrees and Studies: BA – Music, Southern Connecticut State University; MA- Music Therapy, NYU

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2011

Provides individual and group music therapy onsite and outreach.

Performances and Distinctions: Over the past 11 years, Donald has worked as a Music Therapist in the Westchester area. During his time at the Music Conservatory, Donald has written music for students and was able to perform original pieces on huge platforms such as Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Capitol Theatre, and much more. Outside of his work as a music therapist, Donald works as the Director of Music at Bethel Baptist Church, where he oversees various singing groups.

Teaching Philosophy: “I believe that music can bring out the best in an individual, and also has the ability to speak directly to a person. Music has always been a natural source of medicine that heals the soul. I approach music and therapy with the mindset that every child and adult has an ability, not a disability. The goal is not how well you can play an instrument or sing, but how well are you able to receive the universal sound of music.”

Inna Sukonik
Piano, Piano Partners
Inna Sukonik
Piano, Piano Partners

Classical Division: Piano, Piano Partners

Degrees and Studies: M., Odessa State Conservatory of Music (Ukraine)

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 1975

Performances and Distinctions: As a young soloist, Inna Sukonik participated in the Ukranian Competition in Kiev. Soon after immigrating to the United States she founded the Émigré Trio and performed with numerous chamber ensembles, appearing at Town Hall, Merkin Hall and on WQXR. For the last thirty years, she has lived in New York City and served on the faculties of the Music Conservatory of Westchester and the Lucy Moses School of Music and Dance.  Ms. Sukonik also teaches at the Lucy Moses School in New York City.  She formerly served on the faculty of the Odessa State Conservatory and the Moscow Gnessin Musical Pedagogical Institute.

Teaching Philosophy: “I try to introduce music to my students as an art form that brings an added dimension to life. I do believe that art has great meaning for each individual. As a teacher, it gives me pleasure to work with students on understanding the structure of each composition. I start by explaining simple cadences to beginners, and with more advanced students I discuss deeper aspects of the music. I believe that positive reinforcement and warmly supportive teaching produces the best results.”

Svitlana Syrtsova
Piano
Svitlana Syrtsova
Piano

Classical Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: M., Kharkiv Conservatory, Ukraine; D.M.A., National Music Academy of Ukraine; M.Ed., Columbia University

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2018

Born in: Ukraine

Performances and Distinctions: Svitlana Syrtsova has been the Special Award winner of the 21st Bartok-Prokofiev International Piano Competition, Radford, VA, and a finalist of the 9th Simone Belsky Competition, Litchfield, CT, and J. S. Bach Piano Competition, Boston, MA. Ms. Syrtsova has performed extensively as a piano recitalist and a chamber musician and developed a diverse repertoire from Baroque to Contemporary. Her concert highlights include late works by Messiaen, National House of Organ and Chamber Music, Kiev, Ukraine, all-Bach program, Donnell Library, NY; Roerich Museum, NY. In 2010, together with her husband, pianist Sergey Krivonos, Svitlana founded Syrtsova-Krivonos Piano Duet. Since then, the duet has been successfully performing in New York/Tri-State Area presenting versatile programs of solo and four hands repertoire. Svitlana Syrtsova teaches piano at Riverdale YM-YWHA, Bronx, NY and maintains a private studio in Manhattan, NY. She is a member of MTNA and NYSMTA.

Teaching Philosophy: “With joy and excitement, I meet every child or adult who wants to learn to play piano. For me, their interest in music is precious, and I am happy to open the door to the magic world of piano and share the passion and joy of music.”

“My pedagogical approach is based on 30 years of piano performing and teaching experiences. I am constantly in search for the best pedagogical methods, new or old. To give the foundation of musicianship and technic of piano playing, to sustain students interest in music and ignite their imagination and creativity would be my primer goals in my teaching. I have been fortunate to study with remarkable pianists and musicians who passed me a legacy of the Russian piano school and, they cared for my individuality and enable me to fulfill my potential and I hope to continue this tradition.”

Lisa Tipton
Suzuki Violin, Violin
Lisa Tipton
Suzuki Violin, Violin

Suzuki Division: Suzuki Violin

Degrees and Studies: B.A. from Cornell University, M.A. from The Aaron Copland School of Music, Suzuki two-year Teacher-Training at School for Strings, DMA from the CUNY Grad Center

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2019

Born in: Westfield, NJ

Distinctions: Violinist and co-founder of the award-winning Meridian String Quartet, Dr. Lisa Tipton has toured internationally, held residences at Queens College and Bard College and numerous summer festivals. She has won distinctions from the Evian International Competition, Artists International and Chamber Music America. Dr. Tipton has performed as a soloist with the Cornell, Vari Musici, Barbad, NY Chamber Orchestras and the Bronx Symphony. A devoted interpreter of new music, Lisa established the Made in America series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, performed on the Interpretations series at Merkin Hall and recently launched The NY Chamber Music CoOP, a new creative performance collaborative in NYC devoted to social justice programming. Lisa’s critically acclaimed recording of Charles Ives’ violin sonatas, Hammers and Strings, was released on Capstone Records in 2006. Lisa performs with Amici NY, Stamford Symphony, Little Orchestra Society, American Symphony Orchestra, has been heard on WQXR and WNYC and Broadway performances include Sunset Boulevard, Sister Act, Spamalot, Phantom of the Opera, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Aladdin and My Fair Lady. Dr. Tipton is the Director of the NY Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program, on the faculty of School for Strings, and this past summer was on the faculty of Princeton Playweeks in Maryland, The Oklahoma Arts Institute and the Kammerfest in Schloss Weinberg, Austria. Lisa grew up in a musical family and now lives with her husband, violinist Sebu Sirinian.

Teaching Philosophy: As a teacher, I believe in challenging all students to develop their individual strengths and talents, as well as explore expression outside of their comfort zone in order to exceed their own preconceived ideas about their artistic potential. I encourage students to develop their own musical voice and statement for each performance backed by an understanding of the historical context, harmonic and theoretical analysis and their own emotional relationship to the work. My aim is to inspire a lifetime of musical explorations, as well as to encourage and promote pro-active musicians who will make a difference in their communities and the world through their creative work.

 

Katsuko (“Kay”) Tsuji
Suzuki Piano
Katsuko (“Kay”) Tsuji
Suzuki Piano

Teaching: Suzuki Piano

Born in: Osaka, Japan

Bio: Katsuko (“Kay”) Tsuji is a leading instructor of Suzuki piano pedagogy. Ms. Tsuji was born into a musical family and started her early music training at age 3 at the Yamaha and Suzuki music schools. Her musical passion extended not only to classical music but also Jazz and Latin. Ms. Tsuji earned her bachelor’s degree in music from Osaka College of Music and her master’s degree in music from Mannes College of Music and the Juilliard School, with additional studies at the Aspen Music School, Yamaha Music School, and Suzuki talent education in Japan.

As a Suzuki teacher, Ms. Tsuji studied pedagogy with Cathy Hagrave, Jane Reede, Fey Adams, and Joan Krzywicki while being inspired by Nancy Model’s Suzuki/Taubmann approach. She has taken continuing education courses in Suzuki training at the School for Strings under the guidance of Marina Obukvsky. Ms. Tsuji is active member of ASCAP, MTNA, NGPT, MEANJ, and PMTGNJ. Her students range from ages two to ninety-nine and she enjoys working with special needs students.

Ms. Tsuji has received numerous teaching awards, including the National Honor Award, Piano Teacher Hall of Fame from American College of Musicians, and the Highest Score Award from ABRSM (Associate Board of Royal School of Music). In addition to teaching, Ms. Tsuji also serves as organist/keyboardist at Paramus Congregational Church, Mission Church, and as a music therapist at Bergen Regional Medical Center.

Teaching Philosophy: Everyone have different goals when they sign up for piano lessons. Some students strive to become very accomplished pianists. Some students just enjoy learning to play. All children develop differently and require different kind of support to meet their individual needs. I establish small specific individual goals and customized curriculums for each of my students. My studio’s wide goals are to all my students to have great appreciation for music and play music for their lives.

Hiroshi Yamazaki
Jazz Piano
Hiroshi Yamazaki
Jazz Piano

Jazz/Pop/Rock Division: Piano

Degrees and Studies: B.M., Osaka College of Music (Japan)

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2002

Born in: Japan

Performances and Distinctions: A native of Japan, Hiroshi Yamazaki gave his first professional jazz performance at age 22 at the popular S.A.B. Hall in Osaka.  Shortly after completing college, he moved to NYC where he studied with the great pianist Buddy Montgomery and forged his own voice as an improviser, composer and arranger.  His New York debut took place in 1988 at the Jazz Center of New York where he appeared with bassist Paul West and drummer Leroy Williams.  He has appeared at some of the most popular jazz venues in New York City including the Village Gate, Bluenote, and Birdland.  In 1996, he released his debut recording, Sketch Of Bridge, with Ron Carter on bass and Lewis Nash on drums.  A second album, We May Say Love, followed in 2000. Currently, Hiroshi performs in the New York region and in Japan with Rufus Reid, Akira Tana, Tony Jefferson, Steve LaSpina, and Andrew Beals.  He leads his own jazz groups and serves as a sideman with the Glenda Davenport Quartet, Bill Crow Trio and Jan Leder Quartet.

Mikhail Zeiger
Composition, Piano, Piano Partners
Mikhail Zeiger
Composition, Piano, Piano Partners

Classical Division: Piano, Piano Partners, Composition

Degrees and Studies: B.M., Simferopol Music College; M.M., Gorky Conservatory; Ph.D. Composition, Moscow Conservatory (Russia); Certified Teacher of the Royal Conservatory of Music

Music Conservatory of Westchester: Faculty since 2003

Born in: Moscow, Russia

Performances and Distinctions: Mikhail Zeiger earned his bachelor’s degree with the highest honors at Simferopol Music College.  He went on to receive a master’s degree in piano and composition at Gorky Conservatory, and a Ph.D. in composition at Moscow Conservatory.  He has resided in the United States since 1995. Mikhail is also a professor of piano and composition at SUNY Old Westbury. As a performer, Mikhail has toured Russia, Germany, and the Czech Republic.  He made his New York recital debut at Steinway Hall in 1996.  He has made solo appearances with the Liederkranz Orchestra New York, the Moscow Cantilena Orchestra, and the Voronezh Philharmonic. Chamber music appearances include performances with members of the New York Philharmonic, violinist Nina Beilina, and bassist Mikhail Svetlov. As a composer, his works include symphonic, operatic, ballet, vocal, choral and chamber pieces.  His work has been performed throughout Russia; in 1992, he received the All-Russian Composers Union Award, and in Europe, he was named ‘Man of the Year 1992-93’ by the Cambridge Biographical Center in England.  In 1996, New York’s Bacchanalia Festival Orchestra commissioned his arrangement for violin and string orchestra of Schnittke’s Suite in the Old Style, which was premiered at Weill Recital Hall.

Teaching Philosophy: “My teaching is based on personal experience as an active performer and composer. I encourage the student to enjoy music first by listening to it closely and thinking about it before learning it. I believe that for students to perform music successfully, they need to gain the ability to express themselves in accordance with the specific style of the music.” The technique is also an important component of Mikhail’s teaching approach.  “The student should understand how the instrument works, how to achieve a good touch in order to produce the best sound and unleash the instrument’s potential.  I also emphasize good practice methods.”