Dr. Steven Huter has taught piano and music theory in conservatories and colleges around the world, including Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music Preparatory Department, Indiana University, and conservatories in France and Switzerland. He has given solo and chamber music performances throughout the world and made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1998. Dr. Huter holds a D.M.A. from Manhattan School of Music and an M.M. from Indiana University. His major teachers were Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio and Constance Keene.
Claudia Huter has maintained a private flute studio in Larchmont since 1990. Claudia grew up in Larchmont, attended Manhattan School of Music and received her B.S. in Music Education from Concordia College. She has performed with orchestras and chamber ensembles both in the United States and Europe. She made her Carnegie Hall debut on the flute at the age of sixteen, and the same year played a solo organ recital at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. She has won numerous international competitions, including the Littman International Competition, where she won an unprecedented first and second prize on flute and organ respectively. Claudia specializes in early childhood development and is Kindermusik-certified.
Rachel Alexander – Violin and Viola
Violinist Rachel Alexander is a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College where she studied with Laurie Smukler and Calvin Wiersma. Rachel also holds her MA in Music Education from Hunter College and holds her NYS Certification in Music Education (K-12).
Her professional performance career includes performances throughout the Tri-State area in such venues including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Pepsico Performing Arts Center and the Eastman School of Music. Rachel has also participated in the Wall to Wall: Stravinsky Concert held at Symphony Space NY, NY and can be heard on movie soundtracks and recordings of several bands and singer/songwriters.
As a passionate and dedicated musician and educator, it is Ms. Alexander’s objective to introduce students to a diverse selection of musical styles, instruments, theories and experiences in order to make music an accessible, meaningful and enjoyable medium.
Molly Aronson – Cello
Cellist Molly Aronson is an avid chamber musician, soloist and pedagogue known for her "solid[ity]" and "verve," (SFCV). She is a founding member of the Rt9 Ensemble and Anderson Hill Trio with whom she has toured throughout the Northeast, New York and Georgia, presenting concerts in non-traditional venues to concert halls. She has performed chamber music as a part of the Mohawk Trails Concerts, Classical at Cornelia St. Cafe, Interlochen Faculty Chamber Series, to name a few, and this season will be featured with the Rt9 Ensemble on the Queens Library and University of Massachusetts Amherst Faculty Recital Series. In 2010 Molly had her concerto debut with the Holyoke Civic Symphony.
A great proponent of new music, Molly has collaborated with numerous award-winning composers, performing chamber and solo works on such series as Lex54 concerts, Spectrum NYC, Neuberger Museum's “Wednesdays at the Neu,” Vox Novus- "The Composer's Voice" and Purchase New Music. Not limited to the classical realm of performance, she has performed and acted in The Crook of Your Arm as a part of FRIGID, the NYC winter Fringe Festival. Molly has also appeared on stage with such icons as singers Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, and Josh Groban, and can be heard on the records of a number of emerging indie-pop and jazz artists. She has also had her own compositions premiered in NYC and at the National Orchestra Institute's children's concert.
Molly is passionately committed to music education and has held teaching positions at Purchase College Conservatory of Music, the New York State Summer School of the Arts – Orchestral Studies, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has given masterclasses at the Savannah Arts Academy, and was awarded a teaching fellowship, joining the cello faculty of the Interlochen Arts Camp in 2012.
Surai Balbeisi – Violin and Viola (Traditional and Suzuki)
Surai Balbeisi, violist, is active as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician; a versatile musician she performs a variety of genre including classical, rock and roll, hip-hop, jazz, and modern classical music, appearing in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and on The Today Show, The View, The Martha Stewart Show, Saturday Night Live, and MTV Unplugged, with artists, including Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Katie Perry, Regina Spektor, and Il Divo. In the past year, Ms. Balbeisi toured with the Paris Chamber Orchestra and The Opera Show, and was viola consultant and teacher for the film, “A Late Quartet” due to be released Fall 2011. In addition to an active freelance career in New York City, she is a dedicated teacher.
Ms. Balbeisi is a Suzuki trained teacher and Level I certified Orff Schulwerk teacher. Additionally, she has extensive training in BrainGym, Alexander Technique and Dalcroze Eurhythmics. She has taught at Penn State University, the Virginia Commonwealth University Community School for the Performing Arts, and Hoff Barthelson Music School. In the summer, she is viola faculty at the New York Summer Music Festival. Ms. Balbeisi began her musical training in Amman, Jordan under the patronage of Queen Nour. She holds a B.M. in violin performance from the Pennsylvania State University, a Professional Studies Diploma in viola from the Mannes College of Music, and a Master of Arts from New York University. Her teachers have included Weigang Li, Tim Deighton, Karen Ritscher, John Graham, Martha Katz and Pedro de Alcantara.
Mercedes Beckman – Winds
A synesthetic with perfect pitch, Mercedes Beckman studied at the University of North Florida and then went on to complete her master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music as a Grusin/Rosen jazz scholar. She also studied classical flute and clarinet. Driven by a wide-ranging musical curiosity, saxophonist/multi-
Maya Bennardo – Violin and Viola
Maya Bennardo is a freelance violinist and teacher living in Brooklyn. She graduated from NYU as a Master of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory with a Bachelor of Music. She studied with Gregory Fulkerson at both institutions. Maya is passionate about opening the dialogue between composers and performers, and she works tirelessly to promote emerging composers and their music. She performs with Ensemble Moto Perpetuo, Ensemble Mise-En, and andPlay, the violin/viola duo of which she is a co-founder. Maya also enjoys a rich teaching life with students ranging in age from four years old to adult . She teaches at the Larchmont Music Academy, Midori and Friends, Brooklyn Music School, and in her private studio.
Josh Davis – Percussion and Piano
Originally from the Motor City, this native Detroiter now stakes his claim in the Big Apple. Besides leading his own trio, and being a member of the band, Manner Effect, Josh has also performed with some of the country’s finest musicians, top jazz and pop groups, such as: The Rodney Whitaker Quartet, Wes “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Jason Marshall, Gaby Moreno, The Jon Batiste Band, The Grand Hotel Big Band, Diego Rivera Quartet and Felicia Renae, among others. Josh toured throughout Japan in 2009, playing with Rodney Whitaker and the MSU Jazz Octet where they held concerts, clinics and master classes at several high schools and universities throughout the country.
Josh has also been a music educator since early in his collegiate career. Working for several inner-city programs in Detroit, such as The Arts League of Michigan and The Detroit Symphony Orchestra CIVIC Jazz Program, he has mentored and taught dozens of students who have gone on to attend music conservatories and major universities across the U.S.. After receiving his BA in Music Performance from Michigan State University in 2008, he relocated to New York City, where he continues to perform and teach locally and abroad. Josh is also music accompanist for the Joffrey Ballet in NYC.
Michael Davis – Percussion
Michael is active as a performer/recording artist in both the jazz and rock worlds, working with such artists as Joshua Redman, Dave Liebman, Cyrus Chestnut, Greg Tardy, Steven Lugerner, Jeremy Siskind, Ashley Daneman, Matt Marantz, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, The LeBoeuf Brothers, The Guggenheim Grotto and the E.Normus Trio. He was a founding member of soul-rock band The Broadcast, and together they spent 5 years touring extensively across the country. In addition to over 10 years as a private drum instructor, Michael has also served as faculty at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and the San Jose Jazz Summer Camp."
Kristen Engebretson – Voice, Piano, Clarinet
Kristen Engebretson graduated from the University of Montana, where she received degrees in both Music Education and Classical Performance. She played in the top ensembles and orchestras at the UM. She had two chamber ensembles, the Silverwind Trio and the Forbauxdon trio, performing the music of Brahms, Muczynski, Beethoven, Kahn, Krommer, Kummer, and D’Rivera. The Silverwind trio had the pleasure of performing for local schools, providing students with the opportunity to hear Classical music and to learn about playing the instruments. She played clarinet for the Montana Lyric Opera’s rendition of Rigoletto and Marriage of Figaro, as well as having the opportunity to play with the Montana Symphony Orchestra.
Kristen was a Presser Scholar her final year at UM, which is the top senior award that is voted upon by the entire music faculty. Kristen was always active in the music education scene, maintaining a teaching studio all through her studies in Montana. Her students received superior ratings district and state music festivals and even made the Montana All-State.
Kristen moved to New York City last October to pursue a career in jazz vocals. She enjoys playing standards, blurring genre lines, and learning more about the music that she loves. She has her own group, Standard Deviation, and has been a guest performer at clubs like Jazz Standard and Smalls Jazz Club.
Kristen loves to learn about all music. Fortunately, because of her music education degree, she has had the pleasure of playing most instruments, from bass drum in drumline to violin. Piano was her first introduction to music, playing at age 6. Her appetite to learn more about music is constantly growing-a quality which she loves to share with her students! On top of playing piano, clarinet, and singing, Kristen is currently learning how to play the upright bass! Kristen is excited to have the opportunity to share her passion for music and to help students grow in their journey as fellow musicians.
Kristy Fox – Voice and Piano
Mezzo-soprano Kristy Fox, a native of Washington State, graduated with her Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music in 2011. While attending Manhattan School of Music she performed the role of Mercury in John Eccles’ The Judgment of Paris under conductor Kenneth Cooper. Recent rolls for Ms. Fox include Mimí in La Bohéme, Marguerite in Faust, Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, Agathe in Der Freischütz and Salome in Herodiade. Ms. Fox has performed in masterclasses under Patrice Munsel, Carole Farley, Todd Thomas, Scott Rednour, and Ubaldo Fabbri. Before moving to New York City to pursue her operatic career, Ms. Fox made her professional debut in Spokane, WA with the Spokane Symphony and remained an active performer in the Inland Northwest; appearing with the Spokane Symphony orchestra and Spokane Opera. Ms. Fox began her musical studies at the age of 9 on the piano before moving to the flute and voice in middle school. Since 2002, Ms. Fox has maintained a voice and piano studio for young students as well as adults in Olympia, Spokane and New York City.
David Friend – Piano
Pianist David Friend holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music and is a doctoral candidate in Keyboard Studies at Cornell University. His primary teachers were Phillip Kawin and Xak Bjerken (piano), and Laurie Carney (chamber music). Originally from coastal Louisiana, he has lived in New York City for many years.
David Friend enjoys a lively dual career as both performer and educator. With critics having described his playing as ‘brilliant,’ ‘sensitive,’ and ‘magical,’ he has established himself as a soloist and chamber musician well-suited to concert life in the twenty-first century. As an educator, David Friend has taught students from a wide array of backgrounds in various settings-- as a teaching assistant at Cornell University, in community music schools in New York City, and through private instruction. On numerous occasions, he has been invited to teach and/or lecture as a guest artist by institutions including the Eastman School of Music, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. David Friend's active performance career has taken him around the world, including performances at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Chan Centre (Vancouver), Royal Festival Hall (London), and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), and he is known for his dedication to new music. He is a member of several successful chamber ensembles including Ensemble Signal, TRANSIT New Music, Hotel Elefant, and Grand Band, and he has recorded for the New Amsterdam, Innova, Albany, and Harmonia Mundi labels.
Hannah Fuerst – Voice and Piano
Hannah Fuerst holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music in classical voice performance. Ms. Fuerst maintains a busy performance schedule in New York and California, specializing in musical theatre and contemporary classical music. Ms. Fuerst has created leading roles with the Encompass New Opera Theatre and Apollo Opera in NYC, and was chosen to sing in a masterclass with musical theatre legend Marni Nixon. Before joining LMA Ms. Fuerst taught with the Manhattan School of Music Outreach program, teaching children in elementary and middle schools throughout NYC. She has been the director of LMA’s Kindermusik program since 2011.
Daniel Glaude – Winds and Piano
Daniel Glaude is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator based in New York City. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Purchase College in Jazz Performance, was awarded the Presser Scholarship, and graduated summa cum laude. Daniel has studied privately with Eric Alexander, Jimmy Greene, Jon Gordon, John Abercrombie, and Steve Wilson. He has also performed at several of New York’s most famous clubs including Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Birdland, Smoke, and Small’s. Daniel is a regular performer in many of New York's large jazz ensembles with groups including Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, the Ed Palermo Big Band, Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, Jason Marshall Big Band, Howard Williams Jazz Orchestra, and Cecilia Coleman Big Band, among others. He has performed with artists including Dee Snider, the Coasters, and Melissa Manchester. Daniel has a passion for education, teaching students of diverse age ranges, abilities, and backgrounds. He has taught throughout the tri-state area.
Devin Gray – Drums, Mallets and Piano
Mr. Gray received his Bachelor of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University and his Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He has performed throughout the world and toured extensively throughout Northern Europe and the east coast of the United States. Mr. Gray has recorded several records for the labels Umlaut Records and Flattened Planet Records. His CD "Corpulent" features Miles Davis Band Alum, Gary Thomas. He has taught in Stockholm, the Yarmouth, Maine Public Schools, and maintains an active teaching schedule in New York.
Thomson Kneeland – Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Composition
Acoustic bassist and composer Thomson Kneeland has established himself as a formidable sideman and leader since moving to New York City in 2003. He began his studies of classical guitar with Peter Clemente. Kneeland furthered his theoretical studies at New England Conservatory with John McNeil, Jerry Bergonzi, Paul Bley, and others. Kneeland has released 5 albums as a leader, most recently Mazurka for a Modern Man and The Voice of Silence, featuring a quintet of his peers making their mark on the NYC scene. In 2012, as a member of the Jed Levy Quartet, Kneeland was selected to participate in the Rhythm Road Abroad program sponsored by Jazz at Lincoln Center and the US State Department.
Kneeland has taught at Wellesley College, Queens College, Berklee College of Music. He has conducted clinics at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Washington, Schenectady Community College, the Winthrop School, the Cohasset Arts Camp, and the Peabody Institute.
As a leader, sideman, and composer, Kneeland has appeared on over 40 recordings to date and performed with such luminaries as Jerry Bergonzi, Kenny Werner, George Garzone, Chris Potter, Ted Rosenthal, Lynne Arriale, Rick Margitza, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Joe Maneri, Gunther Schuller, Peter Leitch, Paul Bollenback and many others. He has performed internationally at such venues as The Kennedy Center, Medellin University in Colombia, the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Perth Jazz Festival, the Vancouver Jazz Festival, and more.
Laurie Kono – Piano
Ms. Kono received her Bachelor of Music degree from USC and her Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music. She has a strong pedagogical background including positions teaching piano, theory and improvisation in California and the New York metro area. Her performing career has taken her to such places as Okinawa, Los Angeles and Madrid. She won the acclaimed Okinawa International Competition and the Puigerda International Competition in Spain.
Alex LoRe – Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, and Piano
Saxophonist and composer Alex LoRe is “…making the connections among about 70 years’ worth of contemplative, articulate and light-toned players” (Ben Ratliff, New York Times). Originally from Tarpon Springs, Florida, LoRe frequents some of New York City’s most revered jazz venues, including Smalls Jazz Club, Smoke Jazz Club, and The Iridium Jazz Club. He has performed alongside the likes of Dave Liebman, George Garzone, Jim McNeely, and John Riley, among others. Internationally, he has performed throughout the Netherlands, Israel, and Canada.
Most recently, LoRe released the debut album of his trio, entitled “Dream House” on saxophonist Greg Osby’s Inner Circle Music label. Featuring bassist Desmond White, drummer Colin Stranahan, and LoRe’s mentor Garzone on three of the eight numbers, the album has been praised by All About Jazz for having “…moments of pure beauty, belying a depth of experience and thoughtfulness.” LoRe holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston’s New England Conservatory and a master’s degree from New York’s Manhattan School of Music. He currently lives, performs, and teaches throughout the New York City area.
Tristan McCoppin – Guitar
Tristan is a passionate guitar teacher and music educator. He is a Suzuki Trained guitar teacher, and also has over ten years of experience in the Alexander Technique. He holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from the Victorian College of the Arts at Melbourne University, as well as a Bachelor of Music Education from the University at Albany. He has taught privately, in various schools throughout Brooklyn, Australia, and at the Larchmont Music Academy. He teaches jazz, blues, funk, rock, pop, folk and classical guitar. Tristan is also a certified Kindermusik educator.
Nikita Morozov – Violin and Viola
Praised by La Presse as a “violinist with genuine strength,” Nikita Morozov is a Grand Prize winner in competitions including the Festival du Royaume, Montreal Classical Music Festival, Sorel Music Festival, and the Canadian Music Competition. A quartet performance of his was praised by Allan Kozinn of The New York Times as ‘the best performance of the evening... This was a virtuosic performance, but it achieved the often elusive, typically Brahmsian goal of putting virtuosity at the service of bigger ideas, rather than celebrating it for its own sake.” Nikita studied the violin with the Turovsky family in Montreal for 16 years and completed his Bachelor of Music degree at the Université de Montréal in 2008, under the guidance of Eleonora Turovsky. He earned his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School in 2012, having received the Naumburg and DePetris Scholarships, and studied with Lewis Kaplan and Joseph Lin. Nikita is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts at The Graduate Center (CUNY), where he studied with Rolf Schulte and Mark Steinberg. He has also worked with violinists Igor Oistrakh, Régis Pasquier, Rodney Friend, Mauricio Fuks, Michael Frischenschlager, Jeanne Lamon, and Augustin Dumay.
Teaching violin and music are among Nikita’s favorite activities. Throughout his 13-year teaching career, he taught countless violinists and violists of all levels, always encouraging an open-minded, curious and warm-hearted approach. His fascination with the infinite potential of mankind made him discover and thoroughly study Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory, Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics, as well as the Feldenkrais Method. Nikita believes the music learning process to be one of holistic personal improvement, developing not only our musical talent, but also our interpersonal, creative, analytical and bodily-kinesthetic abilities. He teaches and lives by the words of the late Dorothy Delay: “The secret to concentration is enjoyment.”
Adrianne Munden-Dixon – Violin and Viola
Adrianne Munden-Dixon is a soloist, collaborator, and innovator praised for her “animated and driven” performances (Connect Savannah). A native of Savannah, Georgia, she began her violin studies at the age of four with Kerri Sellman and has since become an in demand artist with engagements up and down the East Coast. She has appeared as a soloist with the New Artists Ensemble, the Carnegie Mellon Baroque Ensemble, and as a recitalist from New York to Georgia. Adrianne spent three summers studying and performing at the Aspen Music Festival and School where she was featured on their Spotlight Recitals at Aspen Chapel. As a founding member of the Anderson Hill Trio, she has given performances at Mannes, Spectrum NYC, and a tour of the Southeast.
Adrianne is a current member of the Savannah Philharmonic and has served as concertmaster of the Purchase Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Concertmaster of the Butler Symphony Orchestra. Adrianne has commissioned and premiered works by Stephanie Ann Boyd, Rodrigo Castro, Nicholas Virzi, Dana Malseptic, and has been featured of Purchase New Music and CMU Contemporary Ensemble concerts. She was featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for her project “Yoga Sebastian Bach”, which combines yoga with live music ranging from Bach to newly commissioned works. She is currently involved in Boyd’s 50 States Project and will give the Georgia premier of her violin sonata Amerigo in 2016.
She received her B.M. from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music and completed her M.M. on a full tuition scholarship at Carnegie Mellon University in May 2016. Adrianne has taught privately for over a decade, has led master classes at Savannah Arts Academy, and teaches at Larchmont Music Academy.
Tristen Napoli – Brass and Piano
Tristen Napoli holds a Bachelor of Music from Purchase College where he studied Jazz Music, Piano and Trumpet Performance. In addition to being featured on several recordings, he maintains a rigorous performing schedule in the New York area and has performed at such venues as Birdland, the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Smalls and the Falcon. Renowned bassist Dr. Todd Coolman said about Tristen,” He is one of the bright new emerging voices on the trumpet today, and his selfless dedication to the music is evident at all times. His playing represents the finest of any emerging artist in that it is steeped in the critical aspects of the jazz tradition while being fresh and forward looking. Tristen's new and unique voice in the music is sure to be embraced by all who hear him, and his future and the future of the music he creates will find a meaningful place for many years to come. He is poised to make a lasting imprint in music.” Tristen regularly works with school band programs including All-County audition prep, NYSSMA festivals, All-State and other school related festivals. As an educator, Tristen teaches piano, brass, composition and coaches numerous jazz ensembles throughout the area.
Martin Nevin – Bass, Guitar, and Piano
Martin Nevin grew up in Los Angeles and started playing electric bass and guitar when he was 12 years old. After hearing his first Thelonious Monk record, he became deeply interested in jazz and picked up the upright bass. In 2006 Martin received a scholarship to attend Manhattan School of Music, where he studied bass with Jay Anderson and David Grossman, piano with Inesa Sinkevych, and composition with Michael Patterson. Since then he has performed and/or recorded with notable artists such as Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire, Logan Richardson, and Aaron Parks, and in venues such as The Jazz Gallery, The 55 bar, the Deer Head Inn, and Kuumbwa Jazz Center. His talent has been recognized by the Downbeat Student Music Awards, Stanford Jazz Workshop, and Disney Spotlight Awards among others. Martin is also an educator, and has taught at programs including the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Martin currently resides in New York City where he continues to compose, teach, perform and record.
Jonathan Ragonese – Winds and Piano
Jonathan Ragonese, composer-arranger-saxophonist, is a native of New Cumberland Pennsylvania. He has lived in New York City for seven years, where he attended the Manhattan School of Music. As a saxophonist he has performed and recorded with Terell Stafford, David Liebman, Jon Faddis, Tim Warfield, JD Walter, The Harrisburg Symphony & Stuart Malina, Steve Rudolph, Steve Wilson and James Moody. As a composer his works have been commissioned and premiered by saxophonist Steve Wilson, Jazz @ Lincoln Center, The Museum of Modern Art, the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Harrisburg Symphony, and the The Righteous Girls, Bucknell University, West Chester University and the Harrisburg Youth Symphony. In 2014 Ragonese premiered his ‘Not-this’ for two saxophones, at Carnegie Hall. Jonathan is an active educator, his educational endeavors continue to broaden with lectures, writings, and the development of an early childhood music program at Explore + Discover Learning Center in Manhattan. In the fall of 2013 Ragonese released his first album, Ardent Marigolds with long-time musical father Steve Rudolph on PACT Records. Jonathan has served on the faculty of the West Chester University Summer Jazz Institute & The Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Camp; his educational endeavors continue to broaden with lectures, writings, and the development of a National Music Education Program as well as curating and leading a music-focused summer program for pre-school aged children at the Children’s Learning Center in New York City.
PJ Roberts – Bass, Guitar, and Piano
PJ is a bass player, composer, and arranger originally from Ada, Michigan and now residing in New York City. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and recently finished his masters degree from CUNY Queens College. PJ has won many awards including the Sir Roland Hanna Memorial Award(2008) and Louis Armstrong Jazz Award(2002), and was a recipient of the Gilmore Emerging Artist Grant in 2006. In NYC he leads his own trio, is a member of the Atlantic Quartet, Charli Perisp’s trio and big band, as well as freelancing with various ensembles. In addition, he composes and arranges for big bands as well as smaller ensembles. He has had the great fortune to study with, and be mentored by the great Ron Carter for the past two years. PJ has performed at many prestigious jazz clubs including The Blue Note, Iridium, Sweet Rhythm, Smalls, Fatcat, and Smoke.
Samuel Ryder – Winds and Piano
Mr. Ryder holds both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Dick Oatts, Steve Wilson, George Garzone, and David Liebman. He has appeared in New York with the Saxophone Summit's big band ensemble featuring David Liebman, Ravi Coltrane, and Joe Lovano as well as other original music settings. Mr. Ryder also works as a composer for different ensemble types ranging from traditional classical groups to varying size jazz ensembles to experimental music arrangements. His recording experience includes the 2010 Grammy-Nominated jazz album of the year Urbanus, Presented by Stefon Harris and Blackout. His teaching experience includes New York City public schools through the Manhattan School of Music Outreach Program as well as his own private studio.
Nicole Sharlow – Violin and Viola (Suzuki, Traditional)
Ms. Sharlow graduated with honors from Carnegie Mellon University and received her masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music in violin performance. A gifted educator, Ms. Sharlow is the head of the String Department at the Larchmont Music Academy where she teaches violin, viola and chamber music. She also maintains a private teaching studio comprised of students from the New York City area as well as summer students in Maine. An active performer, she is currently principal second violin of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra in Harrisburg, PA. Habituated to leadership, she has been concertmaster of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany and principal second violin of the Jerusalem International Symphony Orchestra, among many others. Since 2001 Ms. Sharlow has been spending her summers in residence at Quisisana Resort in Maine, performing chamber music. Dedicated to the genre, she has won the Silberman Chamber Music Competition and the Lilian Fuchs Chamber Music Recital Honor. She has performed with Trio Solas, the Claremont Ensemble and Fireworks, all dedicated to 20th century music. In addition to her devotion to chamber music, she has appeared as soloist with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and the National Repertory Orchestra. Her foremost teachers have included Andres Cardenes, concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony, and Lucie Robert. Nicole currently resides in Westchester County with her dog, Kezar.
Olivia Smith – Voice and Piano
Olivia Smith is an artist and teacher living in the New York Area. Olivia holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Music degree from Mannes School of Music at the New School. From Mozart to Britten, she has performed as a soloist in venues including Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space. In addition to her position as soprano section leader at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Olivia has been a soloist with the Forest Hills Choir, Astoria Choir, and Mannes Baroque Ensemble. Olivia's concert work has included the Lord Nelson Mass, Ein Deutsches Requiem, The Messiah, Ceremony of Carols, and a John Cage Tribute Concert with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She has performed in the Westchester Arts Festival, the AIMS Lieder Festival in Graz, Austria, as a Studio Artist in the Sherrill Milnes VOICExperience Festival in Savannah, Georgia, and will be joining the IVAI Summer Festival in New York City this June. At the VISI Songfire Program in Vancouver, Canada, Olivia played Emme in the original production of Seaworthy!. Prior Roles include Casilda (The Gondoliers), Fiordiligi (Così Fan Tutte), and Bea (Three Decembers) while working with composer Jake Heggie during his residency at Blair. She has sung Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Drusilla (L'incoronazione di Poppea), and Zerlina (Don Giovanni) in opera scenes with the New York Lyric Opera and Frau Fluth (Die Lustige Weiber von Windsor), Beth (Little Women), and First Lady (Die Zauberflote) with the Mannes Opera Workshop. She has performed in Masterclasses most notably with Roger Vignoles, Barbara Bonney, Gabriele Lechner, Sherrill Milnes, David Friedman, Joan Dornemann, William Lewis, Frederique Added, and Margo Garrett. Olivia is strongly committed to education and studied pedagogy in depth during her tenure at Mannes. She currently maintains a private voice studio in Queens, and is the incoming Music Director at the St. Luke's of Forest Hills Summer Camp.
Andie Springer – Violin and Viola
Andie Springer is primarily a violinist specializing in new and experimental music. As a soloist and through her ensembles Redshift, TRANSIT and Hotel Elefant, Andie has commissioned and premiered numerous works by young and established composers alike. The 2015-16 season will see the release of an audio-visual album of commissioned pieces for solo violin and electronics, and an album of music for violin and steel-string resonator guitar with duo partner James Moore. Andie is also active in the theater through her work with New York City Players and Object Collection, whose pieces resulted in performances on mandolin, accordion, electric bass, percussion and voice. A native of Alaska, Andie is a cofounder of Wild Shore New Music — a presenting organization dedicated to bringing adventurous new chamber music to the communities in and around Kachemak Bay, Alaska — and the New Music Coordinator of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival.
Andie earned her BFA at Carnegie Mellon University with Professor Andres Cardenes, and her MFA at New York University with Professor Arturo Delmoni. She has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Strings Festival Orchestra in Steamboat Springs, the Orchestra for a New Century and the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys teaching and is currently on the faculty the Larchmont Music Academy.
Paul Swensen – Cello
Paul studied with Dr. Natasha Farny at SUNY Fredonia where he earned his B.M. in Cello Performance as well as a Performer’s Certificate. While at Fredonia, Paul was awarded the Isaac Stern Award for outstanding string player and was honored to perform Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in a masterclass for Yo-Yo Ma. After Fredonia, Paul continued his studies at SUNY Purchase where he earned his M.M. and Artist Diploma under the tutelage of Julia Lichten.
Paul has performed in the cello section of several orchestras including the Buffalo Philharmonic, Harrisburg Symphony, New Haven Symphony and Binghamton Philharmonic. Most notably, he joined the Buffalo Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall during the 2013 Spring for Music Festival and appeared on their recording of Gliére’s Third Symphony for Naxos Records. In addition to his orchestral work and freelancing, Paul has served as a resident chamber musicians as cellist of the Quisisana Piano Trio at the Quisisana Resort in Center Lovell Maine since 2013.
In addition to Larchmont Music Academy, Paul is on the faculty of the Paterson Music Project in Paterson New Jersey - an El- Sistema inspired after school program designed to provide children in underserved communities with music lessons and instruments. As a teacher, Paul believes that music is for everyone and hopes to leave his students with a passion and enjoyment for music and the learning process.
Logan Thomas – Piano (Classical, Jazz)
Mr. Thomas received his Bachelor of Music degree from Western Michigan University in 2007. Mr. Thomas has received numerous awards for both performing and arranging. In 2008, he was 1 out of 4 pianists nationwide chosen to participate in Fred Hersch's "Solo Duo Trio" workshop and present a concert in Carnegie Hall. At the Notre Dame Jazz Festival 2 years in a row, Mr. Thomas received a total of 6 outstanding performance awards and Downbeat Magazine honored him with two different awards. Logan has been teaching both classical and jazz piano to students of all ages for the past five years. He was the musical director for the "All Ears Theatre Program" in Kalamazoo, MI.
Seth Weaver – Brass, Piano, and Voice
Seth Weaver is an award-winning jazz vocalist, trombonist, composer, arranger, and educator originally from Nashville, Tennessee. He completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas in 2013 and graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in 2015, with a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies.
Seth won the Downbeat Student Music Award for Best Vocal Jazz Soloist in 2011 as an undergraduate, and a Downbeat Student Outstanding Performance Award as a Vocal Soloist in the graduate category in 2014. He is the winner of the Texas State Jazz Trombone Competition, and was one of three finalists in the International Trombone Association’s J.J. Johnson Jazz Competition in 2014 and 2015. Seth also received an Honorable Mention in the International Trombone Association’s Carl Fontana Jazz Competition. He was a member of the Downbeat award-winning UNT Jazz Singers for all four of his years at UNT. He was also member of the 2 O’clock Lab Band, which won a Downbeat Student Music Award for Best College Large Ensemble in 2014.
In high school, Seth received the Louis Armstrong Award his senior year. He also won numerous talent shows, and performed regularly around Nashville in many professional groups. When he turned fifteen, Seth was already singing and playing with the Blair School of Music Big Band (Vanderbilt University) and Establishment Big Band. Seth recorded multiple CD's with the Blair Big Band and played with the Nashville Jazz Orchestra. He was selected for both Classical and Jazz All State every year possible, and was first chair in Jazz All State his junior and senior years.
As an educator, Seth has had a private studio since 2010, teaching trombone, voice, and piano. He teaches voice through the MSM Distance Learning Program, including students studying all styles of singing. At MSM, Seth also co-wrote and performed “Swing Makes You Sing,” an interactive show for kids teaching them jazz, different instruments, and music history at several schools in Manhattan.
Ava Wing – Voice and Piano
Hailing from upstate New York, soprano Ava Wing is a professional opera singer and teacher in the Tri-State region. She received her Bachelor of Music at Purchase College Conservatory of Music with a major in Vocal Performance. She made her operatic debut as Gretel from Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel at the conservatory.
Throughout her time at Purchase College Ms. Wing sang the roles of Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rosalinda in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus and understudied the role of Cendrillon in Massenet’s Cendrillon. Ms. Wing made her New York City debut with the Metro Chamber Orchestra in the roles of Blonde and Erna in the American premier of Van de Vate’s All Quiet on the Western Front. She also appeared with Maryland Lyric Opera in their production of Roméo et Juliette by Gounod. Ms. Wing was a Graduate and Teaching Assistant at the University of Maryland within the Maryland Opera Studio. Within the studio she performed the roles of L’écureuil in Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges and Jason in Patton’s A Family Reunion. She also served as the cover for Laetitia in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief as well as performed scenes as Mimí from Puccini’s La Boheme and Juliette from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. Ms. Wing studied opera through Juilliard’s renowned Daniel Ferro Vocal Program in Italy. She has performed in master classes for Deborah Birnbaum, Gordon Hawkins, and Marni Nixon. Ms. Wing was the Assistant Director of Music for the Concert Series at the Little Flower parish in Bethesda, Maryland.
Ms. Wing realized her passion for music at the age of five when she started studying the piano. She then realized the importance of teaching years into her own training, and values spreading the joy of music to students with an emphasis on good and healthy technique. She believes that a strong foundation in piano and ear training is essential for young students who wish to pursue singing. Along with her passion for singing is an equal appreciation of the piano and she loves to teach beginner students, since she believes that her piano training at an early age played a large role in shaping the person she is today! Before joining the faculty at the Larchmont Music Academy Ms. Wing was a voice and piano teacher for the International School of Music, Music & Art’s, and Lessons in Your Home within the Washington D.C. metropolitan region.
Jennifer Wong – Piano
Ms. Wong received her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia. She has given numerous performances throughout North America and is the recipient of awards from the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Chopin Foundation Competition. Ms. Wong maintains an active performing and teaching career.