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19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA


2022 Inaugural Cohort

Ahmed Tofiq

Ahmed Tofiq is a violinist based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He graduated from Western Michigan University. Tofiq is the current Orchestra Project Director and Violin Teaching Artist at Kalamazoo Kids In Tune. Prior to working with Kids In Tune, Tofiq taught and conducted at the Institute of Fine Arts for 15 years.

Kalamazoo Kids in Tune

Alexa Rose Johnson

Alexa Rose Johnson is a performer, and a violin and viola teacher. She began the violin at her elementary school in New Hampshire at the age of nine. She participated in youth orchestras at the New England Conservatory as part of their Preparatory Program, as well as studied with various teachers there. She received her undergraduate degree in Music from Syracuse University, and her Masters in Violin Performance from the University of Houston. She has studied with Dr. Kirsten Yon, Dr. Peter Rovit, Antoine van Dongen, Jenny Stirling, the late Mimi Bravar, and Michelle Cronin. Before moving to the Raleigh area in 2019, she performed and taught in Houston, TX for seven years.

Her teaching experience includes the Coda program (part of Houston Youth Symphony), which is an El Sistema based program. She also taught for the Melody program through Houston Youth Symphony, which offered free private lessons to elementary students who otherwise would not have had the opportunity. She has taught private violin and viola lessons to students of all ages since 2012. In the Raleigh area she has taught with Kidznotes as a Violin teacher and Orchestra Conductor. She is currently teaching with the Raleigh Music Collective as a Violin and Viola Teacher in both private and group settings.

Notable performances include: a solo performance at the 2018 TEDx event in Sugar Land, TX; a 2014 performance with the Academic Orchestra of Leipzig and members of the University of Houston Orchestra at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in Germany; solo performances at Trinity College in Cambridge, UK as a part of the Cambridge International String Academy in 2013; a solo performance with Syracuse University’s Samba Laranja at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York in 2012; a solo performance with the Merrimac Valley Philharmonic in the Boston, MA area; and a solo debut at age 14 with the Granite State Symphony in New Hampshire. While living in Houston, TX she toured the state with the Texas Country band Bubba Westly and Interstate Heartbreak. She also played regular shows with The Recollection, a Texas country and bluegrass band. 

Alexa Rose
The Raleigh Music Collective

Ana María Quintero Muñoz

Ana María Quintero was born in Bogotá, Colombia and began her studies at the age of six with her mother, Clara Muñoz. Ms. Quintero graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Music degree from Fundación Universitaria Juan N. Corpas School of Music, where she studied Violin Performance and Chamber Music under the tutelage of Maestro Fabio Santana. She holds a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from New Mexico State University, where she studied with Professor Simón Gollo.

Ms. Quintero was principal second violinist, concertmaster and member of the Orquesta Filarmónica Juvenil de Cámara de Bogotá (Philharmonic Youth Chamber Orchestra of Bogotá) between 2013 and 2017. Ms. Quintero has been a guest performer with several chamber music ensembles including Camerata del Sol, the Dallas Chamber Symphony and the Lensic Festival Orchestra. She is also part of the education faculty for the New Mexico Music Festival and Orchestral Academy in Las Cruces, New Mexico and the Classical Music Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to her current appointment as Associate Concertmaster of the New Mexico Philharmonic for their 2021-2022 season, Ms. Quintero is Associate Concertmaster of the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale. She is also a teaching artist for Tocando Music Project, an El Sistema-modeled program at the border cities of Tornillo and El Paso, Texas.

Ms. Quintero is a proud recipient of the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS) initiative by the Sphinx Organization, which offers Black and Latinx musicians a customized combination of mentoring, audition preparation, financial support, and audition previews. Through this initiative she has gotten a chance to be mentored by Derek Powell (National Symphony Orchestra), Catherine Van Hoesen (San Francisco Symphony Orchestra) and Nancy Wu (MET Opera).

Ms. Quintero plays on a violin built by French luthier Ghaleb Hassan and lives a happy life with her wife and her cat in El Paso, Texas.

Ana María
Quintero Muñoz
Tocando Music Project

Anna Perkins

Violinist and Teaching Artist Anna Perkins has performed as a solo, orchestral, and chamber musician in festivals, recitals, and concerts across the U.S., Russia, Argentina, and Uruguay. Anna graduated from St. Olaf College in 2018 where she was concertmaster of the American Prize-winning St. Olaf Orchestra her senior year. Anna was a 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Student Research grantee in Moscow, Russia where she conducted research on participatory singing practices of the late and post-Soviet periods, played chamber music at the Gnesin Russian State Academy of Music, and performed solo violin in the theater production Greek Tragedy of Our Days, a play written and performed by the Moscow creative collective Freedom Words.

Anna began violin at the Indiana University String Academy with Mimi Zweig, and continued her private study with Romina Kostare, Carolyn Huebl, and Charles Gray, with coachings from Laurie Hamilton, Jessica Lee, Laura Bossert, and Sascha Mandl. She has performed in masterclasses with the Arianna String Quartet, the Lysander Trio, and Jessica Lee. Anna was a member of the 2013 NAfME All-National Honors Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Miriam Burns, and was an invited participant at the 2011 International Youth Music Festival of Violin and Cello Music at the State Academy of Music “A. Glazunov” in Petrozavodsk, Russia. She has also received awards from St. Olaf, The Brevard Music Center, The Concord Chamber Orchestra (Milwaukee), The Windham (VT) Orchestra, and the Springfield (MA) Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Anna has mentored and played side-by-side with young musicians of several U.S. and Buenos Aires high school and youth orchestras while on tour with The St. Olaf Orchestra, and young musicians of the string orchestra of the Children’s Music School “A.S. Arensky” in Veliky Novgorod, Russia while studying on a U.S. Department of State Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Anna is currently Lead Strings Teacher at Sistema Ravinia, the Ravinia Festival Association’s El Sistema-inspired program in the greater Chicago area. She has worked at Sistema Ravinia since 2019, teaching a variety of group classes and individual lessons to 4th-8th graders in violin, viola, general musicianship, and songwriting. Anna also served as a 2021 Teaching Ambassador at The Benedetti Foundation. Founded by Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, the UK-based foundation aims to connect the worlds of music performance and education and provide orchestral and musicianship-based workshops and sessions to students and teachers of all ages and stages around the globe. As an Ambassador, Anna led live warm-ups for the young people’s virtual sessions, developed online music education content, and participated in trainings, workshops, and other projects. In 2022, she will return to the Foundation as a Lead Teaching Ambassador and will mentor a group of new Ambassadors.

Anna also freelances in the greater Chicago/Milwaukee area, playing with ensembles such as The Racine Symphony, The Beloit-Janesville Symphony, and The University of Wisconsin-Parkside Community Orchestra, where she was assistant concertmaster for several seasons.

She lives in Evanston, Illinois and enjoys reading, writing, and drawing and painting handmade cards and illustrations in her free time.

Sistema Ravinia

Anthony Marquez

Anthony Marquez is based in Yakima, WA and a former student of local El Sistema- Inspired program, Yakima Music en Accion (YAMA). Anthony fell in love with music and realized it was a passion he wanted to pursue.

After graduating from college, Marquez returned to work with YAMA as a Teaching Artist. In his time since, he has enjoyed observing and learning from his peer Teaching Artists. He continues to seek out different opportunities and experiences to grow as an educator and person.

Yakima Music en Acción

Ashley Alarcon

Ashley Alarcon is known for her engaging, imaginative and interactive approach to music.
As a Teaching Artist and Coordinator for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra El Sistema-inspired Young Musicians Program, she shares music and creates opportunity within marginalized communities, promoting and instilling community values, character development, a deep love for artistic expression, and excellence.

Mrs. Alarcon holds a Masters of Music in Flute Performance from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Principia College, Illinois. As the Graduate Woodwind Quintet Flute Assistant at UNM, Alarcon chaired principal flute in the UNM Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and New Music New Mexico ensembles. She was the First Prize winner of the 2014 UNM Concerto Competition and, has since, played interim Principal Flute with the Queretaro Philharmonic (Mexico) and played with the Mexico City Philharmonic, Eduardo Mata Youth Orchestra, and Bellas Artes Opera in Mexico City.

Mrs. Alarcon’s most recent highlights include being a semi-finalist for the 2020 Texas Flute Society Myrna Brown Competition and a mentee with the prestigious Curtis Institute Mentorship Program.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Young Musicians

Auburn Wren

Auburn is a violist with a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from Central Washington University. They teach viola and improvisation at Yakima Music en Acción. Auburn strives to create an environment where students can feel safe and take risks. They admire the leadership of YAMA students and learn from them every day.

Auburn firmly believes that the human comes first when learning an art. When we are so often measured by our success, it's easy to push towards technical perfection. However, to truly create meaning in our art and have it be sustainable throughout our lives, we have to meet our own needs. Auburn is always learning how to meet people where they are.

Improvisation is one of the ways Auburn has made music sustainable for herself. They love creating new music with people and exploring different styles. This freedom gives Auburn permission to make mistakes and try new things, and she hopes to being that to others.

Outside of teaching, Auburn loves to listen to video game music and occasionally produces music herself. She also enjoys technology and how it interfaces with the human experience.

Auburn goes by she or they in English y ella o elle en español. They go by Mx. Wren to students (Mx. is said like "mix").

Yakima Music en Acción

Bobby Woody

Bobby Woody is an artist, music producer, and audio engineer born and raised in Baltimore, MD. While his musical journey started on the trombone, Bobby’s focus quickly steered towards computers and recording.

Bobby is an alumni of the Grammy Foundation’s “Grammy Camp” as a member of the audio engineering track. He has degrees in Studio Production (BM) and Math/Computer Science (BA) from SUNY Purchase. While at Purchase College, Bobby also acted as Student Activities Coordinator. He curated and booked most of the school’s weekly events and their major festivals.

Since leaving Purchase, Bobby has independently booked and performed a variety of shows throughout the NYC/Baltimore/Philadelphia region. He also produced/recorded many artists while also releasing his own music. Between recording, production, or live sound, Bobby has worked with a wide variety of major and independent artists including Phony Ppl, Raekwon, Boldy James, and more. Bobby now teaches music production and recording to students of all ages in the Baltimore/DC region. Bobby is a former student and current Teaching Artist at Peabody Preparatory's Tuned In program in Baltimore, MD.

Peabody Institute's Tuned In

Bryce Tempest

Bryce works with students of all ages, teaching instrumental and general music curriculum. Bryce teaches orchestral strings with Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts: Paterson Music Project, working with students in elementary, middle, and high school. Bryce is also a member of the NJPAC Arts Education RAMP faculty, coordinating and leading professional development for Newark Public Schools.

Bryce's early childhood experience includes leading Music Together classes (mixed-ages 1-4), Wolf Trap arts-integration residencies for Pre-K classrooms, and general music classes (1st and 2nd grades) at John P Holland Charter School. Bryce teaches private lessons at the Monmouth Conservatory of Music and Fine Arts Connection in Montville. and works with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in private and ensemble settings. While cello is his primary instrument, Bryce also teaches violin, piano, guitar, and double bass.

Paterson Music Project

Carey Shunskis

Carey Shunskis is a choral conductor and soprano originally from Philadelphia, and the current Music Director of ComMUSICation (St Paul, MN). Carey earned a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Boston University and Bachelors degrees in Music Education and Voice Performance from the University of Rhode Island.

As Music Director of ComMUSICation (CMC), Carey oversees and directs school year and summer programming for youth in St. Paul and beyond. Current programs include Performance Choir, an ensemble class for youth ages 8-14 focusing on social and climate justice through repertoire, social-emotional learning activities, and community building, Crescendo, a preparatory class for K-3, and Piano and Ukulele classes. Carey is an Ensemble Singer with VocalEssence and Soprano Choral Scholar at Pilgrim Lutheran St. Paul.

Prior to moving to the Twin Cities, Carey was the Director of Choral Programs at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School in Boston, MA directing six choirs with youth ages 5-18. She is the Co-Founder and former Director of the South Shore Children’s Chorus, a choral adjudicator and clinician for ACDA Choral Festivals, and in 2017 she was the Lead Teacher with the Vienna Boys Choir 2017 Summer Music Academy in Hong Kong under the leadership of Andy Icochea Icochea and Gerald Wirth.

In addition to her work with children’s choruses, Carey teaches voice, directs adult choirs, and sings professionally. At South Shore Conservatory she served on the Voice Faculty teaching private and class voice, masterclasses and was Director of Primo Summer Vocal Institute. Carey was the Music Director of the community choir Harvard pro Musica, the Soprano Choral Scholar and Director of Thurman Choir at Marsh Chapel, and is a current member of the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus. She recently served as a coach with the H+H Youth Chamber Choir, and soloists at Villanova University in Philadelphia. Carey is the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of et al., a collaborative choral ensemble with a mission of telling stories through diverse, thoughtful programming performed at the highest level.


Danielle Sinclair

Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Danielle Sinclair is an multidisciplinary violinist, violist, and teaching artist based in the New York City area.

As an orchestral musician, Danielle performs prolifically across the United States, including with the Marrowstone Music Festival (Bellingham, WA), the Miami Music Festival (Miami, FL), and the National Orchestral Institute (Washington D.C.). Locally, Danielle has performed with the Bergen County, Central Jersey, Summit, and Ridgewood Symphonies. Currently, she is the Principal Second Violinist in residence at the South Orange Symphony.

Her performances have received numerous accolades including the Best Solo Instrumental Performance award at the Walt Disney World Night of Stars Talent Competition, and a “Best Orchestral Performance” Grammy nomination for 2018 album Ruggles, Stucky & Harbison: Orchestral Works as a part of the 2017 National Orchestral Institute + Festival Orchestra.

An avid theatre-lover, Danielle regularly performs as Concertmaster for semi-professional and local theater companies including the Leonia Players Guild, the Villager’s Theatre, and the Opera Theater of Montclair. Most recently she joined productions of Anastasia, Spring Awakening, and Songs for a New World.

A passionate advocate for music as a vehicle for social change, Danielle is on faculty at Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema inspired program based in the city of Paterson, NJ. Danielle also maintains a prolific private violin studio where she practices a collaborative, conversational teaching philosophy to “foster love through music.”

Danielle holds two Bachelor's degrees: a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the Cali School of Music under the tutelage of Michael Ludwig, and a Bachelor of Arts in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies from Montclair State University.

Fun facts: Danielle is learning the Korean language, has a black cat named Moria, and wants to perform film soundtracks for movies one day.

Paterson Music Project

Elizabeth LaPeer

Elizabeth LaPeer is a professional flautist, recording artist, touring musician, teaching artist, and yoga instructor from Kalamazoo, Michigan. At thirteen years of age, she was the youngest wind player ever accepted into the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra. In 2016 she earned a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from Western Michigan University, and later, received a Master of Music in Flute Performance from The University of Michigan.

She is currently the head flute teacher at the after-school music program, "Kalamazoo Kids in Tune," where she has been teaching since 2014, while also maintaining a small private flute studio. Elizabeth is the lead vocalist and flautist of Celtic Folk band, "The Founding," which formed in 2015 out of the WMU Music Program. In 2017 they recorded and released their debut album entitled, "Form," and have since performed nationwide at Celtic Festivals including Boston (MA), Austin (TX), Muskegon (MI), and Yachats (OR).

In addition to teaching flute and touring with her band, Elizabeth also enjoys performing with her two sisters in the Flute, Violin and Cello trio, "Phlox," as well as acting as a sub for both The Holland Symphony Orchestra and The Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra. A lover of the arts, Elizabeth danced with The Ballet Arts Ensemble Company in high school and continued her dance studies into college. She has choreographed for multiple theater companies, and has had her choreography featured at The National Flute Convention (as performed by WMU professor, Martha Councell-Vargas). Elizabeth is passionate about incorporating her love of movement and body awareness into her music teaching, fervently holding to a belief in a whole-body approach to flute performance, and learning.

When not performing and teaching music, Elizabeth can be found teaching a weekly yoga class, baking with her husband for their burgeoning cake business, and chasing her nine month old son around her home.

Elizabeth LaPeer
Kalamazoo Kids' In Tune

Emily Rozanski

Emmy Rozanski is an enthusiastic music educator and active freelance trombonist in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas. She is a teaching artist for Sistema Ravinia, and low brass instructor at several high schools in the Illinois suburbs. In the summers of 2018 and 2019 Emmy traveled to El Salvador as a teaching artist with MusAid, leading classes in technique and ensemble skills, as well as teaching private lessons. She is currently a member of the Milwaukee Philharmonic and Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra and regularly performs with a variety of ensembles throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

Emmy has presented on the topics of growth mindset and motivation as they pertain to musicians and educators at the 2019 International Trombone Festival and International Women’s Brass Conference. She has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in trombone performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in trombone performance from Arizona State University. A passionate visual artist, as well as musician, she has written and illustrated a children’s book about the trombone, Mr. Fitch Joins the Band.

Sistema Ravinia

En-Ting Hsu

A native of Taiwan, En-Ting Hsu is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Uuniversity of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, studying with Scott Lee. She received her Master of Music and Performer Diploma at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and obtained her Bachelor of Music degree at National Taiwan Normal University.

As an orchestral musician, she has performed worldwide in the U.S., Japan, South Korea, China, and Hong Kong. As a chamber music enthusiast, she has attended Eastern Music Festival, Bay View Music Festival, Heartland Chamber Music Festival, and the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Her string quartet has won first prize multiple times in the National Taiwan Music Competition. Currently, En-Ting serves as the principal violist in Topeka Symphony Orchestra, teaches at UMKC Conservatory Academy, and El Sistema-inspired Youth Orchestra Salinas and String Sprouts Kansas City.

In the path of being a better music educator, En-Ting now is a Suzuki (Violin Unit 1-4) and Paul Rolland (Level 2) string pedagogy certified instructor. In addition, she attended the American String Teachers Association National Conference as a 2021 George Bornoff Memorial Scholarship recipient. In addition, she has participated in workshops such as “An Introduction to STEP by STEP Volume 1A for Violin” workshop, Karen Tuttle Viola Workshop, String Teacher Workshop at Ohio State, and the “Growing Equitable Music Studios” workshop.

Heartland Chamber Music's String Sprouts

Fredy Daza

Fredy Daza began his musical studies at the age of 12 in Bogota, Colombia.
At the age of 15, he competed in the first National Trumpet Contest-Selmer Paris hosted by the French Embassy in Colombia, where he reached the finals as the only under age participant.

After graduating from high school, Daza studied with Cesar Villamil at the Superior Bogota Academy of Arts and performed with Ensambla Colombia where he attributes his most important accolades and achievements of his early career.
In addition to winning first place at the Perusax 2011 Classical Saxophone competition, Daza has performed in jazz and salsa festivals across the country and regularly performs on board cruise ships. As a recording artist, one Daza's proud achievements was performing on the album Imaginare, which won a Latin Grammy Award in 2018.

Fredy Daza currently works as a Teaching Artist with the Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project, based in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project

Ghyas Zeidieh

French-born Syrian cellist and conductor, Dr. Ghyas Zeidieh is an active musician and educator in the Iowa and Illinois region. He earned his Doctor of Musical Arts and Master’s from the University of Iowa, and his Bachelor’s from the Damascus Conservatory. His dissertation topic is on the Cello Concerto by Syrian composer, Nouri Iskandar.

Zeidieh serves as the program coordinator at Harmony School of Music and is the director for the Cedar Rapids Community Orchestra and the Dubuque Symphony Youth String Ensemble and Philharmonia. He is a Suzuki Association of the Americas certified teacher and was the Instructor of Cello at Western Illinois University, where he was a member of the Julstrom faculty String Quartet.

An active orchestral musician, Ghyas has played with many orchestras in the Middle East, including the National Syrian Orchestra, Syrian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Arab Youth Orchestra, and the Euro-Med Orchestra, and can be heard on several Syrian film scores. Dr. Zeidieh has performed with numerous American ensembles including the National Geographic Midwestern Tour (MN and IL), Revival Theater Company (IA), Theater Cedar Rapids (IA), Dubuque Symphony (IA), Quincy Symphony (IL), and the Dirt Road Ensemble (NH). Since 2010, he has been involved with the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in N.H, serving as playing for peace participant, counselor and camp director.

Harmony School of Music

Jennifer LeCaptain

A love for all things musical began early as Jennifer picked up a saxophone for the first time in elementary school. This passion led her to a BA in Music Industry and French from Valparaiso University. Her interest in the power of music and what it does for the mind, body, and soul brought her to the United Kingdom to earn a Master’s in Psychology of Music from The University of Sheffield. Jennifer attributes much of her success to her music education growing up and believes that everyone should have the opportunity for a music education.

As a Teaching Artist for the Great Bend Center of Music, LeCaptain teaches El Sistema-based early childhood music classes virtually to students all around the country. She also takes part in the work of the organization to build community music through ventures such as a Memory Care Choir and the research that goes with it.

When not busy with music you will find her ballroom dancing, doing DIY projects, or riding motorcycles with her fiancé.

Jennifer lives in Wisconsin, so if you need any cheese recommendations she’s your girl!

Jennifer LeCaptain
Great Bend Center for Music

Jett Walker

Jett Walker is a professional trombonist and educator based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Trombone Performance at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Jett is a member of the CCM Graduate Brass Quintet, and also serves as a trombone Teaching Assistant, where he directs the CCM Trombone Choir, teaches applied trombone lessons and coaches chamber music ensembles.

Jett also enjoys an active freelancing schedule in both the central Texas and Cincinnati area. He has performed with the Dayton Philharmonic, Battle Creek Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Kentucky Symphony, Brazos Valley Symphony, Blue Wisp Big Band, The Cincy Brass, The “230” Big Band, and numerous musical pit orchestras in San Antonio. During his master’s degree, he was named winner of the Texas State University Concerto Competition, and during his DMA he was named winner of the CCM Brass Solo Competition.

Prior to pursuing his master’s degree, Jett was a band director for five years in the central Texas area. Bands under his direction were consistent recipients of the UIL Sweepstakes award among many others. Jett currently serves as Brass Teaching Artist for the MYCincinnati youth orchestra, a program of Price Hill Will that provides children with access to free, high-quality, music education.


Jingjing Hu

Jingjing Hu is an active performer and educator in the Chicagoland area. She is currently a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and has been a regular member of Civic Orchestra of Chicago since 2018. She has worked with Maestros such as Riccardo Muti, Yo-Yo Ma and Ken-David Masur. In 2019, Hu became a member of Illinois Symphony Orchestra. She was accepted as a fellow of Miami Music Festival and served as assistant principal in the orchestra in 2018. Recently, Hu joined the Peoria Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Principal Cellist. Other professional engagements have included performing with the North Brook Symphony and Chicago Philharmonic Symphony, as well as theatre productions, studio recording sessions, church services and corporate events.

Jingjing Hu is an enthusiastic teaching artist. She is currently a string instructor with Sistema Ravinia, an intensive and transformational orchestral music education program. In addition to teaching cello, Hu is also involved in teaching music theory, improvisation, and composition. She also has her own music studio, teaching cello students of all ages. She has been working with students to pass ABRSM exam and school orchestra auditions. Hu teaches Suzuki methods with her students, as well as traditional training.

Her journey as a cellist began at age of five with Xuping Zou, professor of Shanghai Conservatory of Music. During high school, she won second place at Shanghai Spring Festival playing as string quartet. Ms. Hu holds a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she studied with Richard Hirschl. She continued her studies at DePaul University as a student of Stephen Balderston, where she received her Master of Music in Cello Performance.

Sistema Ravinia

Juan-Carlos Mackay

Juan-Carlos Mackay is a composer, pianist, and vocalist based in West Valley City, UT. He currently works as a Choral Teaching Artist with Sistema Utah.

Mackay has been interested in music from an early age and values the experiences and educators he has had the opportunity to work and study with. He hopes to empower his own students by instilling values of trust and hard-work.

In his free time, Mackay sings with the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.

Juan-Carlos Mackay
Sistema Utah

Julia Gray-Lion

Julia Gray-Lion currently serves as a Teaching Artist with Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Young Musicians program. She is an alumnus of Oberlin College Conservatory, and Tarleton State University.

Julia continues to expand her pedagogy training through the Suzuki teacher training for violin and viola, books 1 through 5, and cello, book 1. In addition to her membership in the Suzuki Association of the Americas, she remains an active member of the Texas Private School Music Educator Association, and American String Teachers Association. With 20 years of school orchestra directing in her background and more than 25 years teaching in a private studio, Julia's students can be found worldwide as orchestra directors, youth music leaders, church worship directors, engineers, performers, lawyers, medical professionals, military service members, and many other career fields enriched by the study of orchestra music and staying in close contact with good people.

Never one to limit her musical tastes, she enjoys listening and teaching a wide array of music. The joy of sharing music shows in the awards she has garnered during her career including Teacher of the Year in 2006, AWARE Foundation Teacher of the Year finalist, recognition in the Texas State Legislature to her contributions to string orchestra in 2012, and by the Catholic Foundation "Work of Heart" Award Winner in May 2017.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Young Musicians

Julius McKee

Julius Mckee is a Sousaphone (Tuba) player and a native son of New Orleans, Louisiana. For the last 30 years, he has been a traditional brass band jazz musician. Mckee got his start on the streets of New Orleans playing second lines and hustling in the world renown "French Quarters" where he soon begin taking lessons from the late great "Tuba Fat".

McKee has toured with the "Dirty Dozen Brass Band" extensively throughout the continental United States and abroad for the past 20 years. ,He has played with artist such as Ray Charles and Doctor John and recorded multiple recordings with artists such as Nora Jones and Wide Spread Panic. McKee has also appeared on various television shows such as NCIS New Orleans, Conan O'Brien, and more.

Julius McKee is currently the Tuba Player with the great Perseveration Hall Brass Band and the Paulin Brothers Brass Band, in addition to wokring as a Teaching Artist with Make Music NOLA.

Make Music NOLA

Karina Eijo

Karina Eijo is a dedicated flutist, collaborator, and educator who has a passion for helping students build a good foundation. Ms. Eijo received a Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance from the University of Florida at New World School of the Arts, Cum Laude in 2015 where she performed in a variety of chamber music groups and was a flutist in the NWSA Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Eijo graduated in May 2020 with a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance with honors from Austin Peay State University where she held a graduate teaching assistantship as an instructor of record for Music Appreciation and social media. During her time at APSU, Ms. Eijo performed in the APSU Wind Ensemble, APSU Symphony Orchestra, and performed in multiple chamber music settings.

Ms. Eijo has performed at the Mid-South Flute Association Festival and has performed in masterclasses in Miami and Clarksville with such artists as William Bennett, Bart Feller, Dr. Lisa Wolynec, Boris Allakhverdyan, and Lorna McGhee. In summer 2021, Ms. Eijo participated and performed in the Virtual Flute Music Festival where she performed in Masterclasses for Demarre McGill, Robert Langevin, and James Walker among others. Karina Eijo has also performed at the Mid-South Flute Society Festival with the APSU Flute Choir.

As a soloist, Ms. Eijo has performed Concerto in G Major, K. 313 for Flute and Orchestra by W.A. Mozart with the NWSA Symphony College Chamber Orchestra for the orchestra's inaugural concert. During her graduate studies, Ms. Eijo competed and won the 2019-2020 APSU Concerto Competition and performed Concertino, Op. 107 by Cecile Chaminade with APSU Symphony Orchestra.

As an educator, Karina is passionate about making music accessible to everyone and is a current Teaching Artist for Miami Music Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide music education to children in underserved communities. Ms. Eijo teaches locally in South Florida and maintains a private studio in Miami. Karina's past teachers include Suzan Degooyer, Melanie Lançon, Rene Miska, and Dr. Lisa Wolynec.

Miami Music Project

Kathryn Brown

Kathryn Brown is a violist hailing from Evanston, IL. She is a graduate of the Eastman
School of Music where she studied Viola Performance and Music Education under the direction of George Taylor.
Kathryn received her degree in Music Education from Illinois State University where she studied viola with Dr. Katherine Lewis. Kathryn has performed, given lectures, and lecture recitals in cities around the world including Wellington, Poznań, Seoul, Nashville, and Salt Lake City.

An advocate for access to quality music education for aspiring musicians of all backgrounds, Kathryn teaches in the El Sistema inspired programs RocMusic and Bravo Buddies. Aside from playing and teaching, Kathryn is co-host of Classically Black Podcast, a classical music podcast that discusses classical music from the Black perspective. She is also the cofounder of the International Society for Black Musicians, an organization that centers Blackness in the scholarship of music. Kathryn is currently a fellow with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Theta Omega Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.

ROCmusic Collaborative

Kevin Merkel

Kevin Merkel lives in Flower Mound, Texas, and he teaches students of all ages and skill levels throughout the DFW area. Mr. Merkel graduated with a Degree in Music Education from Northwestern State University in Louisiana. He has a Teaching Certificate for teaching music in all grade levels (K-12) in Texas schools. He has performed professionally as a bassoonist and percussionist in Texas and Louisiana, including with the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Irving, Mesquite Symphony Orchestra, Natchitoches Symphony Orchestra, Centenary Orchestra, and more.

Mr. Merkel has over 10 years of experience teaching music, including experience as a High School and Jr. High Band Director, Drum Line Instructor, Orchestra Director, Site Leader and Teaching Artist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Young Musicians Program, and as a Private Lesson Teacher. He is continuing to expand his Lesson Studio, and always looking for new opportunities to grow as an educator and to further his career in music.

Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Young Musicians

Liz Grimshaw

Liz earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Utah, where she studied violin with Ralph Matson, the concertmaster of the Utah Symphony. As a student, Liz won numerous awards, including a full tuition scholarship and a concerto performance with the University's top orchestra. After earning a law degree and practicing as an attorney for several years, Liz began teaching violin lessons again and rediscovered her love of music and working with young people.

Liz thinks that every kid who wants to learn an instrument should be able to do. She founded Crescendo Phoenixville, an El Sistema-Inspired after school program for violinists in the Fall of 2018. Since that time, Liz has worked with over 40 students participating in the program. Liz designs the music curriculum and serves at the violin Teaching Artist at Crescendo Phoenixville.

Crescendo Phoenixville

Liz Snow

Liz Snow is a violinist, violist, and certified Music Therapist in Kansas City, MO. Music has been a part of her life from an early age, where she enjoyed participating in choir and orchestra with her siblings. Driven by her experiences with her older sister, who has autism, Liz earned a full scholarship to study Psychology and Music Therapy in college.

After graduation, Liz joined Harmony Project KC, an El Sistema-inspired program whose mission is to provide free music instruction to children and to help them achieve all they want in life despite the barriers they face along the way. Before her role as Music Therapist & Data Coordinator at Harmony Project KC, Liz served as the violin and viola Teaching Artist at HPKC for 3 years.

Currently, Liz lead’s group music therapy, as well as the guitar class at Harmony Project. She enjoys the opportunity to use her experiences to set up the Harmony Project Teaching Artists and students up for success in and out of the classroom.

Outside of music, Liz has a passion for learning through listening to podcasts, reading books, and watching educational videos. She is also highly competitive and loves to demonstrate this on the volleyball court by playing with several co-ed volleyball leagues.

Harmony Project KC

Macky Caldoza

Anne Marie “Macky” Caldoza, is a solo and collaborative Filipino pianist. In recent years she has performed Filipino and Western classical repertoire in the Boston area. She is on piano faculty at Noteworthy Experiences Music Studio in Sudbury, MA and at Community Music Center of Boston. At CMCB, Macky also serves as Teaching Artist for Piano and General Music in the Community Engagement Programs, which provides music education to various communities in the Greater Boston Area.

Macky has participated in various master classes with prominent international artists such as Peter Serkin, Igor Levitt, Spencer Myer, Yoonie Han, Victor Asuncion, Reynaldo Reyes, Aries Caces, Pascal Rogé, Mariel Ilusorio, Benjamin Loh, Andrew Ma Cong, Dorian Leljak, among others. She has performed at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, PhilAm Life Theater, and the Ayala Museum as a soloist and with orchestras such as the UST Symphony Orchestra, and the Manila Symphony Orchestra. She has also been a featured artist of the Manila Chamber Orchestra Foundation.

Macky began her piano studies at the age of 12 with the renowned Filipino soloist and collaborator, Najib Ismail. She received her Master of Music degree and Graduate Performance Diploma in Piano from the Longy School of Music under the tutelage of Wayman Chin, Dean Emeritus of the Conservatory. Macky graduated Cum Laude from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, Manila with her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. She has participated in multiple competitions and has achieved awards such as Honorable Mention from the National Music Competition for Young Artists; a Silver Award from the Asia International Piano Academy Festival and Competition, Korea; 2nd Prize from the UST Chopin Competition; 2nd Prize from the PTGP Bach Competition; Honorable Mention from the PTGP Mozart Concerto Competition; and Honorable Mention from the PTGP Haydn Competition.

Community Music Center of Boston

Mary Speight

Mary Speight is a bassoonist and educator residing in Austin, Texas. She received her bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and her master’s degree in Music & Human Learning from The University of Texas at Austin. Mary has served as band director and bassoon/woodwind instructor in North Carolina and Texas for 13 years. She recently began working as Band Education Manager for Austin Soundwaves, where she coaches directors and teaching artists in Austin, TX.

Austin Soundwaves

Matthew Melendez

Matthew’s passion is making music with people who don’t think of themselves as musicians: kids who have never sung in groups, seniors who haven’t sung since high school, or tourists who had no idea they were walking into a Beer Choir. Really, no one is safe from singing around him.

In addition to undergraduate degrees in the arts of persuasion (Advertising Copywriting and Social Psychology), he has a master’s degree in vocal performance and pedagogy with a thesis research focused on the power of cultural tourism to revitalize rural communities and a doctoral degree (ABD) in choral conducting. His current research is centered on the sociological effects of participatory music making and group singing.

In 2019, Melendez made his Carnegie Hall debut leading his non-auditioned youth and adult ensembles in a world-premiere choral cantata commissioned for the occasion. The Shelton, Washington performance of that work, “Borders” by John Muehleisen, won second in the community division of the 2019-20 American Prize: Ernst Bacon Award for the Performance of American Music.

Matthew is also a Skookum Shelton Rotarian, a co-founder of the Union Tourism Association, and was named Mason County’s 2012 Citizen of the Year by the Shelton Mason Chamber of Commerce.

When not being musical, he can usually be found with his husband (baritone) and son (still a soprano, barely) planting seeds, building new raised beds or a treehouse, and chatting with an amiable flock (15) of chickens in their orchard garden in the historic arts town of Union on the south shore of Hood Canal.

Matthew Melendez
Great Bend Center for Music

Megan Healy

Dr. Megan Healy enjoys a multifaceted career as a freelance performing artist and teacher. She currently serves as the String Department Chair for the El Sistema-inspired Kalamazoo Kids in Tune program. As Chair, Megan leads professional development seminars for staff, teaches daily elementary group classes, coaches middle school chamber music, teaches private violin and viola lessons, and assists with the symphony orchestra. She has developed a Prelude Pacing Guide that prepares beginning string students to perform successfully in a symphony orchestra by the end of their first year of group instruction, as well as a comprehensive String Curriculum that builds a strong foundation of technique and musicianship while considering concepts of culturally responsive and sustaining education. In addition to her work with Kalamazoo Kids in Tune, Dr. Healy maintains a thriving private studio of approximately twenty students between the ages of 5 and 75. Inspired by her adult students, her doctoral research focused on engaging the adult learner in beginning violin lessons.

As a performer, she has held positions with the Kalamazoo, Southwest Michigan, Cheyenne (WY), Holland (MI), and Southeast Iowa symphony orchestras. Additionally, she has performed with the West Michigan Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, Boulder Philharmonic, Fort Collins Symphony, Greeley Philharmonic, and the Boulder Chamber Orchestra. Recent special engagements have included a performance as guest soloist with the Elgin (IL) Youth Symphony, interdisciplinary collaborations with Life/Art Dance Ensemble, and the live premiere of Julián Brijaldo's Atravesa'o for violin and delay pedal. Her debut album, Aurora: A Tribute to Maud Powell, features five new commissions for solo violin written by American women and was released in March 2021.

As an avid chamber musician, Megan has been coached by members of the Tackács, Pacifica, American, Cavani, Daedalus, JACK, Jupiter, Fry Street, Avalon, and Kontras quartets, as well as members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Boston Chamber Music Society, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Vancouver Symphony. As a soloist, she has appeared in masterclasses presented by Joel Smirnoff, Ilya Kaler, Frank Almond, Blair Milton, Kevork Mardirossian, James Buswell, Lucie Robert, Mimi Zweig, Janet Sung, Lauren Roth, Michael Jinsoo Lim, Hal Grossman, Kimberly Fisher, and more.

Megan earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Violin Performance from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. She is a student of Károly Schranz and Harumi Rhodes, the former and current second violinists in the world-renowned Takács quartet. Dr. Healy also holds Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees from Western Michigan University, where she served as graduate teaching assistant to Professor Renata Artman Knific, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Iowa under the tutelage of Dr. Scott Conklin. She has studied viola performance with Professor Igor Fedotov and Dr. Megan Gray.

Kalamazoo Kids' In Tune

Michnari Robinson

Michnari is an active low brass and electronic performer in the Philadelphia area. He is a member of a variety of groups such as the West Philadelphia Orchestra, Weez the People Collective, The High Five, and You Do You.

In addition to performing, Michnari spends his time teaching. During the 2020-2021 school year, he served in the ArtistYear Americorps program, providing arts education in Title I schools. Currently, he works as a Teaching Artist with two Philadelphia non-profits: Musicopia and Play On Philly.

Michnari has a Bachelor's in Music Performance from Samford University and a Master's in Music Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Michnari Robinson
Play On Philly

Mitchell Player

Mitchell Player is a native of Shreveport Louisiana. However, Mitchell has been residing in New Orleans, Louisiana since 1994 and considers it home. Mitch began playing the string bass in elementary school at the age of nine years old and electric bass at sixteen years of age. Mitch began with classical studies under the direction of Johnette Parker Le Blanc before continuing to jazz studies at Northwood High School under the direction of Larry Parnell.

Mitch began his professional career performing with several symphonies and orchestras in Marshall, TX; Shreveport, Ruston, Baton Rouge, LA; and Biloxi, MS. He attended and performed in the legendary Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band’s Sideline Combo. Mitch took his very first international trip in 1988 with Grambling Band to perform at the Coca Cola Bowl in the Tokyo Dome.

After moving to New Orleans to pursue a career as a jazz musician in 1994, Mitchell has had the opportunity to perform with many jazz greats including Dr. Michael White, Wallace Davenport, Leroy Jones, Ellis, Wynton, Jason, Branford and Delfayo Marsalis, Lawrence “King” Cotton, Jewel Brown, John Brunious, Wendell Brunious, Mark Braud, Lucien Barbarin, Greg Stafford, Dave Bartholomew, Mac Rebennack, Shannon Powell, Phyllis Hyman, Percy Sledge, Brian Blade, Herlin Riley, Dick Hyman, Germaine Bazzle, Bernard ‘Bunchy” Johnson, Allen Toussaint, Tricia Boutte, Bob French, Jimmy Heath and many other local as well as international musicians. Mitchell performs regularly at the Preservation Hall Jazz Club and performed at the Maison Bourbon Jazz Club as well where he led his own band The Players New Orleans Jazz Band in 1999.

Mitchell is currently the Creative Director of Grammy Considered Players Ella & Louie Tribute Band which dedicates itself to music honoring the lives of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Mitch also performs regularly with the famed New Orleans Jazz Vipers every Monday night at the Spotted Cat Music Club on Frenchmen Street. Mitchell has traveled the world extensively performing at jazz festivals and other jazz venues throughout the years.

In addition to his extensive time spent performing, Mitchell is thrilled to lend his skills and experiences as a Teaching Artist with Make Music NOLA.

Mitchell Player
Make Music NOLA

Nayelii Duran

Nayelii is a classically trained violinist with a bachelor’s degree in music education from North Park University. Her passion for non-profit work has led her to teach students of all ages, styles, and levels of playing with various music programs in Chicago and Thailand.

Nayelii’s primary focus in teaching is to provide holistic educational experiences which nurture the character and emotional and mental well-being of the student, as well as their musical ability. Nayelli is double-certified in the “Education in Human Values” teaching method. In her free time, Nayelii also plays the ukulele and loves to create complex fiber art.

Chicago Arts and Music Project

Omar Ruiz-Lopez

Omar Ruiz-Lopez (he/him) teaches viola and violin and is a chamber ensemble coach and conductor with Kidznotes. He is also a bilingual songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and co-founder of the original Americana group Violet Bell. Omar was born in Panama and raised in Puerto Rico with Spanish as his first language. His love of music began at an early age thanks to his father's frequent vocal renditions of traditional Caribbean folk songs.

Omar is a composer at heart, and a true example of American diversity manifesting through music. He is experienced in music business, production and engineering, and as a virtual cultural diplomat, demonstrates his commitment to music education through decades of teaching. The diversity of his own experience as a multi-genre musician and Latin immigrant helps him connect with diverse, international audiences.

Omar is a gifted, experienced, and encouraging teacher who believes that a well-structured music and arts education is essential for the development of a growing mind. He has taught with the El Sistema-based program Kidznotes since 2011.


Peter Deal

Peter Deal began playing trombone at age 10 and quickly grew as a classical and jazz musician, playing his first gigs at age 14 with his brother's jazz band. As an orchestral musician, Peter was the second trombonist with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra (MI) for 8 years, and has also performed with the Fox Valley Orchestra (IL), Northwest Chicago Symphony (IL), Lima Symphony Orchestra (OH), Champaign-Urbana Symphony (IL), Danville Symphony (IL) and others.

An active chamber musician, Peter is currently a principal member of the Chicago Metropolitan Brass Ensemble. He has also been a member with the Glass City Brass Quintet (Toledo, OH), Chautauqua Brass Quintet (OH) and has performed with the Toledo Symphony Brass Quintet and Brass Ensemble. Peter holds a passion for solo trombone music and performs as a recital artist for schools, hospitals, churches and more.

Peter is a passionate music educator. He has been an active private lessons instructor for trombone, baritone, trumpet, tuba, and beginning piano since 2010. His private lessons students have ranged from fourth grade beginners to college students. He has worked regularly with local school band programs, both as a sectional leader and private instructor. He was also a mentor for the Detroit Civic Youth Ensembles from 2012-2014. In 2018, Peter joined El Sistema Ravinia (Highland Park, Waukegan, IL) and currently serves as the Associate Band Conductor.

Sistema Ravinia

Rhéa Gibson

Rhéa Gibson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University in Atlanta, GA where she majored in Sociology and Music (cello performance). She taught Kindergarten for the Atlanta Public School System for two years as part of the Teach For America program, and taught music for six years (both instrumental and general) at various public and public charter schools in Atlanta. While teaching, she took courses in Early Childhood Education at Agnes Scott College, earning a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate as well as her Georgia Teaching Certificate in both P-5 Early Childhood Education and K-12 Music Education. During her tenure with APS she took a year-long leave of absence to earn a Master of Education degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education with a concentration in Arts in Education.

Gibson was part of the first cohort of META fellows at the Massachusetts Cultural Council (Fall 2016) and most recently (Fall 2021) took a 3-day training with singer/songwriter/educator, Sally Taylor, learning how to teach her “Consenses” curriculum. The curriculum “offers educators a unique, multidisciplinary approach to building social-emotional skills through the arts.” Rhéa is currently the Assistant Program Director and Teaching Artist with City Strings United, a creative youth development organization providing free cello lessons and performance opportunities to youth in Roxbury.

City Strings United

Sandra Rodriguez

Sandra Rodriguez graduated from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico on Violin and Voice Performance. She played with the Puerto Rico Philarmonic Orchestra for 20 years and served as a substitute musician with the Puerto Rico Symphony.

Mrs. Rodriguez is currently a Site Leader and Teaching Artist for the Young Musicians El Sistema Program of the Dallas Symphony and has been an Orchestra Teacher at Bishop Dunne Catholic School since 2019. She is the former Suzuki Violin Teacher for the Conservatory of Music of PR and an Orchestra Director for 100x35 "El Sistema Puerto Rico".

Mrs. Rodríguez was a Participant of Eastern Music Festival, North Carolina, received a grant as a Teacher Trainee at the American Suzuki Institute of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and studied with famous Suzuki teacher trainers John Kendall, Alice Joy Lewis, Edward Kreitman, Teri Einfeldt, Edmund Sprunger and Tom Wyrmouth. She was also trained at the Chicago Suzuki Institute.

A soprano, Mrs. Rodríguez played the roles of Nella in G. Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, Amore in C. Gluck's Orfeo and Euridice, Frasquita in G. Bizet's Carmen, Juanita in R. Milano's El Espejo de la Reina (world premiere), Leticia in G. Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief. She has been a vocal coach for several musical productions in Puerto Rico, and Opera Choir singer in productions featuring Placido Domingo, Agnes Baltsa, Pablo Elvira, Justino Diaz, among others.

In addition to performing and teaching, Mrs. Rodríguez served as a Librarian, Educational Programs Coordinator and Personnel Manager for the Puerto Rico Symphony (1993-1998) and as a Vice Minister of Culture in Puerto Rico (1998-2002).

Sandra Rodriguez
Dallas Symphony Orchestra's Young Musicians

Sara Maria Blanton

Sara Maria Blanton, based in Raleigh, NC, is the founder, Executive Director, and Teaching Aritst for The Raleigh Music Collective, an El Sistema inspired program focused on actively integrating communities in Raleigh through music education.

She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a double concentration in music education and violin performance and studied under Yun Zhang, the associate concert master of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. While in school, Sara Maria led the CNU orchestra as concert master for 3 years, sat as first violinist for the CNU Quartet, and won the concerto competition her senior year.

Sara Maria performs with The Raleigh Symphony, Durham Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, DITA Orchestra, and has recorded with artists such as Jess Ray, Mission House, and Ryan of Sleeping at Last.

She has worked for El Sistema programs such as Soundscapes and Kidznotes and taught with the Foundation for the Advancement of String Education in partnership with SIFAIS in Costa Rica. These experiences have deeply shaped her passion for El Sistema inspired programs. Sara Maria is a Level I certified Bornoff Instructor and actively uses the Bornoff approach in all lessons and group classes.

Sara Maria
The Raleigh Music Collective

Sean Mulligan

Violist Sean Peter August Mulligan began his musical studies in the fourth grade. His formal training began in the seventh grade with violist Aliza Appel. Sean graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts high school program where he studied viola performance with Sheila Browne. During his time at UNCSA, Sean was awarded the Harriet Weaver Memorial Scholarship for the most promising rising senior, the John Ehle Merit Scholarship Award, the Bill and Judy Watson Scholarship, and was granted the Semans Art Fund Career Development Grant his freshman, sophomore, and senior years. He is currently a senior at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where he studies with the renowned viola professor and founder of If Music Be the Food, Carol Rodland.

Sean has enjoyed the opportunity of performing as principal violist of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra, and the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra, and most recently, the Eastman School Philharmonia. He has also performed in solo masterclasses for Kim Kashkashian, Carol Rodland, Karen Ritscher, Susan Dubois, Jeffery Irvine, Lynn Ramsey, Scott Wool-Weaver, Michelle LaCourse, Lila Browne, Sheila Browne, and Julia Wedman from the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra. Chamber music masterclass performances for significant artists include The Ying String Quartet, Daniel Avshalomov of the American String Quartet, Mathais Tacke of the Vermeer String Quartet, Joseph Genualdi, and Robin Sharpe.

Sean has also performed with renowned international artists, Peter Serkin, Pual Odette, Tafelmusik, and Christel Thelmann. Recent venues Sean has performed in include Alice Tully Hall (Juilliard), Bord Gais (Dublin, Ireland), and the National Concert Hall (Dublin, Ireland). As well as guest starring with Portland, Maine-based string orchestra, Palavar Strings, on tour with Warp Trio, in Portland, Maine, Boston, Massachusetts, and Brooklyn, New York.

Sean currently works as a Teaching Artist with ROCmusic Collaborative based in Rochester, NY.

ROCmusic Collaborative

Stephen Nick Siu

Stephen “Nick” Siu hails from Los Angeles, CA where he has been working as a Teaching Artist at the Angelica Center for Arts and Music since 2017. As a recorder player, Siu is Treasurer of the Southern California Recorder Society, and a member of Recorder Players West, the Los Angeles Recorder Orchestra, and Hollywood Hills Association of Recorder Players, as well as several private groups.

Siu holds a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science from UCLA and is a retired commercial electronics engineer.

Stephen "Nick"
Angelica Center for Arts and Music

Sydney Perez

Sydney Perez is a cellist and Teaching Artist based in the San Francisco Bay area. She received Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees of Music from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in Cello Performance at Cal State Long Beach.

Sydney has been teaching cello for 8 years, and recently began teaching with Enriching Lives through Music. She looks forward to continuing to grow as an educator and musician.

Enriching Lives through Music

Tyler James

Cellist Tyler James got his musical start attending the Virginia Governor's School for the Arts while working on his private teacher’s farm to pay for lessons. Tyler toured as principal cellist of the 2018 National Revival Tour of Miss Saigon. He has performed in venues across the globe including Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y, Radio City Music Hall, Mirabell Palace, the Kimmel Center, and the Boston Opera House. Tyler was recently featured in the Boston Globe for his performance of the Brahms B-Flat Sextet in Cambridge‘s Courtyard Concert Series.

He earned his Bachelor's Degree Magna Cum Laude on full scholarship from New York University where he studied cello performance and political science. Tyler is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree and Artist Diploma with Dr. Terry King, protegé of the legendary Gregor Piatigorsky, at the Longy School of Music Of Bard College as a Kristen Mortimer Scholar.

Boston String Orchestra

Tzipporah Johnson

Tzipporah is a Minneapolis-based guitarist, music educator, and singer-songwriter. She graduated from the music program at University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus in 2015 and studied under Maja Radovanlija. After graduating, she became involved with She Rock She Rock, a Minnesota based nonprofit focused on empowering women, trans, and nonbinary folks through the art of music. She taught for three years as a part of She Rock She Rock’s Girls’ Rock and Roll Retreat summer program and served for three years as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.

Tzipporah currently works for Hopewell Music Cooperative North, a Minnesota non-profit dedicated to breaking down barriers in access to music education in North Minneapolis. Tzipporah believes that music is a revolutionary force that can bring awareness to issues of injustice, promote understanding, and foster positive social change.

In addition to her involvement with She Rock She Rock and Hopewell Music Cooperative North, Tzipporah is an active performer around the Twin-Cities. In 2019 her artistry and unique sound helped her advance to the semifinal round of Sun snd Sky Entertainment’s “Celebration of Music” competition and talent search (at that time she had not yet reclaimed her Hebrew name and was performing under the name Wendy). She currently teaches guitar, ukulele, and songwriting at El Diablo Amps and Guitars in Northeast Minneapolis.

Tzipporah Johnson
Hopewell Music Cooperative

Victor Diaz

Victor began his musical training in Bogotá, Colombia at the National Conservatory and completed his undergraduate studies in violin performance with Professor Benny Kim at UMKC. He is currently completing his graduate studies in viola with Professor Ben Sayevich at the Park International Center for Music.

Victor has traveled the world with the sponsorship of orchestras and organizations such as the Colombian Youth Philharmonic, Colombian Republic Bank, Orchestra of the Americas and Sphinx Organization. He has been part of various educational programs such as Heartland Chamber Music Festival, Mahler Chamber Orchestra Academy, Allegro Vivo Festival in Austria, and Sphinx National Alliance of Audition Support.

Currently, Victor plays with numerous orchestras in Kansas and Missouri and participates in organizations that advocate for the development of a diverse group of young people in Kansas City. Working as a Teaching Artist with the Harmony Project and Suzuki Association of the Americas have highly impacted Victor's approach to Music Education by understanding a highly humanitarian teaching style.

Harmony Project KC

Victoria Nelson

Victoria Nelson is a percussionist and educator located in Raleigh, NC. Classically trained, she currently serves as the principal percussionist with the Fayetteville and Durham Symphonies, and the principal timpanist with the Raleigh Symphony. Victoria can frequently be seen performing on stage with other orchestras in the state including the North Carolina Symphony, Tar River Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, as well as in the pit for the Carolina Ballet.

Outside of the symphonic stage, Victoria is a founding member of the contemporary music ensemble earspace, an ensemble dedicated to creating invigorating multi-sensory performances of new music. As a member of earspace, Victoria has participated in two residencies at UNC Chapel Hill, in addition to performances at CAM Raleigh, Kings, and The Fruit in Durham. Victoria also frequently performs as a soloist, with recent memorable performances at NCMA in Raleigh, and with the Asheville Ballet. On the slightly more frivolous front, Victoria also plays drum set with the Durham Flash Chorus, and the all-girl rock band Kinda Nice.

As an educator, Victoria has maintained a private percussion studio for students of all ages and disciplines since 2009, as well as working as a Teaching Artist with Kidznotes since 2017. Victoria also instructs at UNC Pembroke as adjunct faculty. She has worked with numerous schools in the triangle area in various capacities including providing lessons, giving masterclasses, and instructing percussion ensembles, drumlines, and front ensembles.

Victoria received her bachelor’s degree in music from UNC Chapel Hill before going on to receive her graduate degree from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Her primary instructors include John Tafoya, Michael Spiro, Kevin Bobo, Juan Alamo, Cameron Britt, Lynn Glassock, and Matthew Richmond. Further information on current projects and featured discography can be found at


Vincent Tampio

“Basically he’s the go-to cross-genre horn-blowing utility man of the Philly scene” (John Vettese, WXPN’s The Key). Vince Tampio is a professional musician, arranger, composer, producer, engineer, and educator based in Philadelphia, PA. Although firmly rooted in jazz, he is comfortable with a wide variety of genres including rock, soul, funk, folk, classical, and electronic.

Vince’s original music has been described as “a contemporary instance of fusion done right,” and whose “nontraditional instrumentation maintains a spacious environment that proves ideal for a set brimming with imaginative, drawn-out improvisation” (Matthew Aquilin, All About Jazz). His latest album, Adult Children (2020), is a full length instrumental jazz album informed by Hard Bop and inspired by Highlife. “[Vince has] an approach that is more soulful, yet laid back in a way. The influence of Latin music adds more fuel to the fire.” (Homer Jackson, Philadelphia Jazz Project). Adult Children is preceded by Tides (2019), The Nook (2018), and Sound Plan (2017).

Vince has contributed to 75+ music and film productions; view his partial discography and filmography. He arranges for and frequently performs with York Street Hustle (trumpet), You Do You (trumpet), and the John Byrne Band (trumpet, banjo). Vince founded the Philly Phatness horn section, which has recorded with regional, national, and international artists. He also serves as Musical Director and bassist with Phloyd – A Pink Floyd Tribute. "His horn croons and wahs with touches of funk or blues, bridging the futuristic digital age with a snazzy sense of classic cool" (Geno Thackara, All About Jazz).

Vince authored and published Chromatic Cell Permutations for Trumpet, a technical studies book that explores permutations of chromatic cells as performed on trumpet. Vince earned the Master of Music degree in Jazz Performance from the University of the Arts; and earned the Bachelor of Science in Music degree concentrating in Jazz Studies and Theory & Composition from the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. He studied trumpet under John Swana, Rebecca Coupe Franks, and John Maguda, and studied composition under Don Glanden, Evan Solot, John B Hedges, and Vinnie Martucci.

Play On Philly

Zebadiah Coombs

Zebadiah Yusef Coombs is a freelance viola player and string teacher based in the Greater Philadelphia area. His musical education started in the Play On Philly Program. As a student, he was part of both the Philadelphia Sinfonia and Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. He was also a student at Kinhaven Music School. He has gone on to perform in prestigious venues across Europe and North America. Zebadiah is currently a senior at Rowan University studying music education with the head of strings, Assistant Professor Dr. Timothy Schwarz.

Zebadiah has been part of many amazing projects due to his musical abilities, organizational skills, and ability to capture an audience with his words. These include performing at a TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada, being featured in Jamie Bernstein’s documentary, “Crescendo! The Power of Music”, being on the executive board of Philadelphia’s Center City Chamber Orchestra, and speaking on a panel at the American String Teachers Association national conference in 2019.

Zebadiah Coombs
Play On Philly