Please click on the links below to read more about a selection of our wonderful students who come to us from all over the world. Visit often to read new bios.
Music Business - Please see the Latest Showcase Newsletter for Student News and Bios
Craig Michael Davis is a composer, conductor and pianist who grew up in California and now lives in Manhattan, NY. He currently performs with “The White Noise” Contemporary Music Ensemble that was founded in 2012.
Currently a Master’s of Music Candidate in Theory and Composition from the New York University, Craig’s most recent work “The Creation” is a seven-part depiction of the creation account from the first book of Genesis, for string orchestra.
Since 2009, Craig has conducted various full and scratch orchestra type ensembles including the New Music Ensemble at California State University, Fullerton, the Fullerton Choir, and The White Noise Contemporary Music Ensemble. In which, these ensembles have curated music from the Renaissance through music of today including David Lang, Louis Andriessen, Terry Riley, Kyle Gann, Llyod Rodgers, and Frederic Rzewski.
Craig has won a number of awards and scholarships among which include the Henriquez Scholarship for Composition in 2012 and the Alan A. Mannason Scholarship for Composition in 2013. As a natural born ecologist, these scholarships have helped him to further his composition goals and save fifteen humpback wales from serious sunburn, off the coast of central California.
Some of his music can be heard via www.CraigMichaelDavis.com.
Gemma Peacocke is a New Zealand composer and the recipient of the Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship for 2014. In September 2014 her piece Lēthē for piano and fixed electronics was premiered as part of Århus Festival's Death Lines project in Denmark.
Gemma is a graduate of Victoria University in Wellington and the New Zealand School of Music. She holds a First Class Honours Degree in Composition and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. As well as instrumental writing, her compositional interests include dynamic video game music, film and theatre music, and soundscapes.
Composer Jonathan Bingham is a native of Southampton, New Jersey. In 2009 he began studying concert hall composition at Howard University with Anthony Randolph and Chinyerem Ohia where a number of works were performed and recorded in the Washington, DC area by the President’s Own string quartet, Marine Corps, Levine School of Music faculty and residents of the University of Maryland School of Music. Bingham also studied composition at the Chamber Music Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with composers Damon Lee and Tyler White and with the Siena Summer Music Festival in Italy with Rui Penha where several of his works received their premieres. He is currently writing a string quartet as he continues his studies at New York University under Justin Dello Joio.
Recent winner of the 2013 Carlsbad Composers Competition, Monte Weber (b.1991) is a Brooklyn based sound artist and composer currently studying at NYU Steinhardt under the tutelage of Joan La Barbara.
Weber’s music focuses on the application of repetition and natural shapes to transform noise into music. The hybridization of technology and acoustic instruments gives way to an innovative sound world. Often the idea of the meta-performer demands physical techniques which push performers beyond their comfort range and even towards live performance visual art. Most recent collaborations include: Claire Chase and Ryan Muncy of International Contemporary Ensemble, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Fonema Consort, choreographer Peter Carpenter, and Anubis Quartet.
Monte attained a B.M. in composition at Columbia College Chicago where he studied privately with Marcos Balter and participated in master classes with Ken Ueno, Chaya Czernowin, and Julio Estrada. Weber’s music has been performed nationwide including: 2014 Northwestern New Music Conference, Constellation’s Frequency Series IL, Carlsbad Music Festival CA, and the National Flute Convention FL, among many others. Upcoming collaborations include works for International Contemporary Ensemble, and Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble to be premiered in 2015.
Nicholas Kmet is a PhD candidate at New York University, studying Film Scoring. Originally from Tumwater, WA, he has worked professionally as a composer, music editor, and sound designer. He holds a M.M. in Composition from the Scoring for Film and Multimedia program at NYU and a B.A. in Music from Whitworth University.
Nick has worked professionally alongside Mark Suozzo and Todd Kasow on several films, and served as the music editor for After Spring, a documentary about Syrian refugees in Jordan that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016.
He maintains an avid interest in film music scholarship, having presented research papers three times at the Music and Moving Image conference, and is currently working on a chapter examining orchestration in the music of Star Wars for a European publication.
John Atorino hails from Ridgewood, New Jersey where he attended the public schools. At age seven he began studying piano, and at the age of eleven, discovered his passion for singing and acting on stage. Thus his education in choral/vocal music and theater commenced. Throughout high school, John sang with various choruses and choirs in New Jersey, composed music, performed in a dozen plays and musicals and directed various summer theater camps in Ridgewood.
In 2002, John left the east coast to pursue music education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he studied conducting with Dr. Jerry Blackstone and voice with Carmen Pelton. Inspired by these professors, he searched for creative outlets beyond the walls of the classroom. He began by sound- scoring plays and composing music for various student projects, and serving as music director and arranger for Pippin, presented by the student theater group, MUSKET. He also became immersed in the Department of Student Affairs' Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, where for three years he created and implemented a men's activism program that organized workshops for men's groups on campus. After graduation, John worked as a paid summer intern under Peter McDowell, in the department of public music programs at the Chicago Cultural Center. During this time, he was the assistant director for a production of The Magic Flute, the curator of a photography exhibition for the Gay Games VII, and co- produced and managed the Sondheim in the Park event in Millennium Park.
In 2006, John was hired as a conductor for the Chicago Children's Choir and was able to connect with students from all over the city of Chicago. After a year in this position, John became the music teacher at a Chicago’s Social Justice High School where, through grants, he purchased 28 electric keyboards and began a piano lab class in which he taught piano skills and music through the lens of community struggle and community action. During three years at Social Justice, John developed and initiated a choir program, an after-school drama club, a lights, sound, and theater tech club, a monthly student open mic series and the school’s inaugural day-long community arts festival showcasing its various arts programs and student work.
Before moving back to the East Coast, John competed in the Chicago Triathlon and is now riding his bike around Brooklyn, NY. After completing his M.A. in Music Education from NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, John plans to return to teaching to promote holistic music education in an urban setting.
Lauren Lexa is currently a junior in the undergraduate Music Education program at NYU Steinhardt. Originally from suburban Pennsylvania, Lauren chose NYU and music education because of the incredible college experience that New York City has to offer, the great connections to New York City public schools that the directors of the program provide as well as the phenomenal study abroad opportunities that NYU makes available.
Last semester, Lauren was in Florence, Italy with the music program, performing in some of the best venues Italy has to offer and learning from the best instructors in the world. She performs with the Madrigal Singers and University Singers through the choral program and is the Vice President of the Steinhardt Music Educators of New York University and our Collegiate MENC Chapter. Through the greater university community, Lauren is a member of the Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority (Music chair) and an orientation leader for new students.
Marie Ortinau is an undergraduate student in the Music Education program at NYU Steinhardt focusing on vocal performance. Marie came from Chicago to NYU to become a choir teacher, and her experiences in the Music Ed program have her well on her way. She takes classes to attain proficiency in all the musical disciplines, from Choral Conducting to Woodwinds Practicum, and from Music Theory to the NYU Madrigal Singers. Outside of class,
Marie is the founder and current president of the NYU Chapter of the American Choral Directors association and brings students with her to state-wide and national conferences to further their choral development as conductors. Next year, she will begin her elementary and secondary student teaching in the New York City public school system.
Outside of the Music Education program, Marie connects herself with the NYU community as a Resident Assistant (RA) in the upperclassman residence hall Greenwich Hotel and serves as the Recruitment and Training co-supervisor for the Undergraduate Admissions Ambassador program. Through all of her experiences at NYU, she looks forward towards a future as a high school chorus teacher and a career in higher education administration.
Peter Douskalis is a Master’ s Candidate in Music Education in the department of Music and Performing Arts Professions at NYU Steinhardt. He is a guitarist from the Washington DC area now living in New York City and specializes in many aspects of the guitar such as jazz, classical, rock, and world.
Peter graduated from the Conservatory of Shenandoah University with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies in 2009. He is on the faculty of The New York City and Queens Guitar Schools where he teaches classes and private lessons to students of all ages and abilities. During the summer he is also involved with the New York City Guitar School’ s Rock Camp program. Peter’s ongoing teaching experience includes seven years of private instruction in various music schools as well as one academic school year as a Substitute Teacher in Fairfax County, VA where he taught music, theatre and arts classes.
In late 2009 Peter Douskalis released his second album, The Dance of the Sea. The CD is a solo jazz guitar recording featured on independent record label, Shenandoah Records, and is Peter’s first as a solo artist. His CD has received national press with reviews by JazzChicago.net, JazzCDreviews.com, The Los Angeles Jazz Scene and was featured in The Astoria Times newspaper in Astoria, New York. He also released a CD independently in 2007 titled, Midnight Madrid with his guitar duo, Peter and Alex. The CD is an exploration of traditional Spanish, Greek, Latin, and American music’s for guitar duo.
While in the Washington DC metropolitan area, Peter composed musical works for the theatre departments at both George Washington University and Westfield High School. He was also the guest guitarist for the Westfield High School’ s production of The Wiz, which was featured on ABC/Disney's The Making of a High School Musical.
Since coming to NYU Steinhardt, Peter Douskalis has been involved with the local New York community music scene with appearances on the Different Voices and Minding Your Business television programs, which film at the Manhattan Network Neighborhood studios and air locally in New York City. He is a Gibson artist and holds product endorsements with GHS Strings, Rocktron, and Acoustic Image amplifiers.
Instrumental Performance - Brass
Andrew Niess is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Music Education at NYU Steinhardt. He studies tuba with Marcus Rojas.
Andrew plays tuba for the NYU Symphony Orchestra, NYU Orchestral Repertory Ensemble, NYU Brass Choir, NYU Concert Band, and the West Fourth Wind Ensemble. He has played both chamber and orchestral music in venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Symphony Space.
In 2012, Andrew earned first chair tuba at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Region VI and All-State Wind Ensemble.
An aspiring conductor, Andrew will conduct performances with the NYU Brass Choir and the West Fourth Wind Ensemble in spring of 2013.
Born in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, Elizabeth Phillipson-Weiner is a New York-based trombonist and composer for film and multimedia. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Performance degree at New York University. Elizabeth studies the trombone with Dr. Per Brevig and composition with Sergi Casanelles.
As a performer, Elizabeth has played at venues such as Symphony Space, Verizon Hall of the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and The Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall. She has performed with the NYU Symphony Orchestra, NYU Brass Choir, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, Bravo Brass, the Stay Human Brass Orchestra, and is a founding member of both the West Fourth Wind Ensemble and a trombone quartet that includes professional trombonists working in Manhattan. In 2008 and 2011 she performed abroad on a jazz tour of Italy, where she participated in the La Spezia International Jazz Festival.
As a composer, Elizabeth has composed and produced music for several short films. Titles include: (En)listless, Scratch, and Phyllis and Xenobia. Her work received critical acclaim at the DivX Film Festival in Philadelphia.
Emilio Martinez is an undergraduate trumpet performance student from Garden City, NY. He currently studies with Professor Vincent Penzarella. Prior to joining NYU Steinhardt, Emilio spent an enjoyable year at the Manhattan School of Music, but transferred in pursuit of a more balanced education.
Before reaching the college level, Emilio performed as principal trumpet with The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York and The Mannes Pre-College Philharmonic, and has played in numerous All County ensembles.
Currently, Emilio plays in the NYU Symphony, NYU Brass Choir, and NYU Brass Quintet and teaches a number of students privately. When Emilio is not making music, he enjoys cooking, reading, and watching the NFL.
Ilana Faibish, from Long Island, New York, is an undergraduate student at NYU studying French horn performance. Her experience includes a variety of classical and musical theatre works. She has played in the orchestra pit for productions such as Beauty and the Beast, Bye Bye Birdie, The Wizard of Oz, Kiss Me, Kate, Cinderella, and Into the Woods. She has also been the piano player in A Chorus Line.
Ilana has performed with the Greenwich Village Orchestra, New York All-State Symphony Orchestra, C.W. Post Summer Chamber Music Festival Orchestra, NYU Symphony, NYU Brass Choir, NYU Concert Band, and participates in the newly founded wind ensemble at NYU, The West Fourth Wind Ensemble.
Ilana currently studies with the principal horn of The Metropolitan Opera, Joseph Anderer. When not playing horn, she enjoys revisiting her roots as a piano player and spends some time arranging. She aspires to someday reach the orchestra pits of Broadway and beyond.
Janelle Francisco is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Music in french horn performance at NYU Steinhardt. She is from Los Angeles, California, and studied horn with Laura Brenes until her first year of college at the University of Redlands. She studies with Ann Ellsworth at NYU. She also had the opportunity to study with Zdenek Divoky at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague for study abroad and played with the Academy's orchestra. Janelle has been a part of many NYU ensembles – the NYU Brass Choir, Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Concert Band, orchestra for a production of Carousel, and various woodwind quintets. Beyond playing and performing on stage, she hopes to be involved after graduating in the creative process of setting live music productions in motion behind the scenes. Sushi is her soul food.
A native of Carthage, New York, Jonathan Busch is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in horn performance at NYU, where he studies with Philip Myers. He has participated in a wide variety of ensemble works, gaining experience with all types of music from classical to post-modern.
Jonathan has performed with the New York State Band Director’s Association All State Band, the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, the NYU Symphony Orchestra, the NYU Brass Choir, and various chamber ensembles, as well as actively subbing in ensembles throughout NYU and the New York City area. He has played under the baton of Constantine Kitsopoulos, Dr. Peter Boonshaft, Jens Georg Bachmann, Ari Pelto, and other renowned conductors. He has participated in master classes and sectionals led by Philip Myers, Thomas Hoyt, John Rojak, Per Brevig, Barbara Oldham, Ann Ellsworth, and others.
Jonathan aspires to pursue a career in orchestral horn playing. He includes Philip Myers, Myron Bloom, and George Szell as major influences. His hobbies include studying scores, listening to music, Game of Thrones, and relaxing.
Justin Smith is an undergraduate french horn performance major and journalism major at NYU. He was selected as the principal horn in All-State from 7th to 12th grades, and performed in the All-East and All-National ensembles. Justin was also a member of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO) and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO). Through BPYO, Justin has been on two international concert tours to the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland, and a concert tour to NYC to perform for a sold-out crowd in Carnegie Hall. Justin has also performed in the Berlin Philharmonie, the Royal Concertgebouw, KKL Luzern, Rudolfinum, and Boston Symphony Hall among others. Justin currently studies with Phil Myers and has previously studied with Gus Sebring, Jaime Thorne, and Elizabeth Gates. Justin also enjoys rock climbing, golfing, and exploring the city.
Matthew Weigl, from Long Island, New York, is an undergraduate studying bass trombone and pre-med at NYU. Currently, he plays bass trombone for NYU Symphony Orchestra, NYU Brass Choir, NYU Contemporary Chamber Orchestra. He played in the orchestra pit of Grand Hotel.
Matthew’s past playing experiences include Long Island Youth Orchestra, Queens College Chamber Orchestra, Mannes Prep Philharmonic, New York Youth Symphony, New York All-State Wind Ensemble, and All-National Orchestra. He has performed under conductors such as Charles Niedich and Gerard Schwarz, while also performing with orchestras oversees in Iceland, France, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
Matthew currently studies with American Brass Quintet bass trombonist and NYU Brass Director, John Rojak. While not playing or performing, he enjoys hobbies that include playing chess, tennis, and running. Matthew aspires to one day become an anesthesiologist or surgeon.
Megan Stollsteimer, of Overland Park, Kansas, is an undergraduate trumpet performance student studying under Thomas Hoyt. Megan previously studied under Kyle Unruh, Kate Umble, and Megan Earney. Megan has had the opportunity to play in the Kansas State Honor Band, Northeast Kansas District Band, Fountain City Youth Brass Band, the Sunflower Brass Quintet, and her school concert and jazz ensembles. She has also been involved in musical theater pits for productions, including The King and I and Pippin.
Megan is currently a part of the NYU Philharmonia and the NYU Brass Choir. She enjoys running along the Hudson River, watching Netflix, and playing piano. She aspires to play music every day for forever.
Melissa Hagstedt, from Waxhaw, NC, is a freshman at NYU Steinhardt, pursuing a bachelor's degree in trombone performance. Melissa plays in the NYU Brass Choir and Symphony Orchestra. She currently studies with Dr. Per Brevig.
Prior to her studies at NYU, Melissa studied with John Ilika, Fred Boyd, and Justin Isenhour. She attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts as a high school senior. There she performed frequently with many of the UNCSA Ensembles, including the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Band, and Trombone Choir. Melissa has also performed with the NAfME All Nation Concert Band, the Charlotte Youth Wind Ensemble, and both the North Carolina All State Band and Orchestra. She has also been principal for three seasons with the Union Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Nicole Ruggiero is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Music degree in Classical Trumpet Performance at NYU Steinhardt. She is currently principal chair in the NYU Symphony Orchestra, and performs in the NYU Brass Choir, NYU Brass Quintet and in the orchestra pit of Grand Hotel, The Musical. Nicole studies trumpet with Kevin Cobb.
As an undergraduate, Nicole attended the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York, where she held the principal chairs in the Crane Symphony Orchestra and the Crane Wind Ensemble. She was a member of the Frackenpohl Honors Brass Quintet and was awarded the prestigious Frackenpohl Honors Scholarship for Brass Performance. Nicole studied under Dr. John Ellis and Dr. Randolph Lee.
Nicole will be pursuing a career in orchestral trumpet performance, which will also include working in Broadway orchestra pits. She has been a long-time student and continues to study with Broadway trumpeter Dominic Derasse. Nicole includes Alison Balsom, Tine Thing Helseth and Maurice Andre as her musical influences.
Steven Holzer is a trumpet performance major from Phoenix, Arizona who is also enrolled in a Dual Degree program for a master's degree in Music Education. He has played with the NYU Symphony, NYU Concert Band, the Broadway Bach Ensemble, and even took a semester abroad in Prague, where he studied with the principal of the Czech Philharmonic, Ladislav Kozderka. As a multi-instrumentalist he can be heard playing in the studio and live with performing artists like Oshun, Modern Diet, and others. Watch for upcoming releases, as Steven also composes and produces his own music under the moniker Zerocole, encapsulating his training as a brass player within the scope of experimental rock and throwback 80s synthesized-funk.
Tung Li Chang
Tung Li Chang is a horn player in New York, originally from Taipei, Taiwan. She graduated from the University of Taipei, and is currently pursuing a master's degree in Music Performance at NYU. Tung Li has performed with the University of Taipei Orchestra, NYU Symphony, NYU Brass Choir, and participates in the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony as well as the International Chamber Orchestra of America. Tung Li currently studies with the principal horn of The Metropolitan Opera, Joseph Anderer. When not playing horn, she enjoys playing the piano. She aspires to pursue a future playing the French horn on Broadway, or in a full time orchestra.
Instrumental Performance - Woodwind
Jennifer Kuh is currently in her junior year at NYU Steinhardt, where she is pursuing her bachelor's degree in oboe performance. Originally from Flemington, NJ, she began her formal musical training at the age of four, studying piano at the Si-Yo Music Society School in New York City. She went on to attend the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division, where she studied piano with Dr. Deirdre O’Donohue and was a recipient of the Elva Van Gelder Memorial Scholarship.
In 2010, she participated in the Summer Woodwind Institute at NYU Steinhardt, and began studying oboe with Matthew Sullivan, with whom she continues to study, along with Artist Faculty member Humbert Lucarelli. She is the recipient of the Steinhardt Scholarship and the Ghez Double Reed Fellowship at NYU. Jennifer has had the opportunity to perform around the world, including performance halls in Prague, Austria, China, and the United States. Some of these venues include Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center, the Tenri Cultural Institute, the Greenwich House of Music, and Steinway Hall. In 2014, she had the opportunity to help as the Assistant Conference Coordinator for the International Double Reed Society’s 43rd Annual Conference held at NYU.
Jennifer has performed as principal oboist with the Manhattan School of Music Symphony Orchestra and has been a member of the NYU Philharmonia and Symphony, among others. Most recently, she has been seen performing throughout the tri-state area with such groups as the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra and the New York Opera Exchange.
Rachel Hacker is a first-year graduate student at NYU, studying with world-acclaimed contemporary flutist and composer Robert Dick. Originally from Southwest Ohio, Rachel participated in various youth orchestras, masterclasses, and workshops throughout her schooling. In 2008 she performed Frank Martin’s Ballade with the Richmond (IN) Symphony Orchestra. She has a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Baldwin Wallace Conservatory, located near Cleveland, Ohio, as a student of George Pope. Rachel’s musical interests vary greatly, and include contemporary music, improvisation, jazz, and baroque flute. She is a regular contributor to the online magazine The Flute View and is the social media manager for the New York Flute Club. In her free time, Rachel enjoys exercise, cooking, fashion, and socializing.
Ryan Sauer is currently a second year master's student in clarinet performance at NYU. He is a three-time winner of the Mason Gross chamber competition and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Steinway Hall in New York City, New Jersey Performing Arts Center and The New Jersey State Theatre, and Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall in London. Sauer has also participated in many summer festivals, most recently attending the Pierre Monteux School for Orchestral Conductors and Musicians. A multi-instrumentalist, he has performed in dozens of pit orchestras and has collaborated with Chicago-based jazz group Akalibrio.
Sauer is also an active teacher. In addition to teaching clarinet at NYU he has taught at music schools and summer workshops throughout New York and New Jersey. His private students have successfully placed in regional and state bands and orchestras and have also gone on to major in music. Ryan Sauer received his Bachelor of Music degree in education from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and has also studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. His teachers include Maureen Hurd, Alan Kay and Esther Lamneck.
Brooklyn-born flutist and composer Zachary Hicks is a senior at NYU Steinhardt pursuing a BM in flute performance, where he studies with Artist Faculty member Soo-Kyung Park. At school, he performs with the NYU Symphony, NYU Philharmonia, and various chamber ensembles consisting of all types of instruments, in venues such as the Frederick Loewe Theatre and Symphony Space. In November 2014, Zach performed Jacques Ibert’s Flute Concerto with the NYU Symphony as the winner of the 2014 Woodwind Concerto Competition. Outside of school, he has performed with the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra (NYYSO) and the NYYS Chamber Music program in Carnegie Hall, and frequently works as a freelance performer and studio musician within the tri-state area. Zach has played in master classes for flutists such as Robert Langevin, Stefán Hoskuldsson, Alberto Almarza, Keith Underwood, Jocelyne Roy, and Jeanne Baxtresser. During the 2015 school year, he participated in the Joffrey Ballet School’s Composer/Choreographer collaboration, which resulted in a performance of his original string quartet with choreography by members of the institute.
During the summer of 2015, Zach joined the NY Youth Symphony on its first ever tour. The orchestra went to Argentina, where they performed and collaborated with local students and musicians. A week later, he participated in flute master classes and studied Baroque music at the Centre d’Arts Orford in Orford, Quebec. Zach will be seen playing as an onstage musician during the Public Theater’s production of The Odyssey in Central Park’s Delacorte Theater this September.
In addition to studying flute, Zach has studied composition with Dr. Youngmi Ha at NYU. When he’s not making music, he enjoys eating Mexican and Indian cuisine, and playing frisbee.
Instrumental Performance - Piano
Alexandra Aria Scheer
Alexandra Aria Scheer began her piano studies at the age of seven. Born in West Windsor, NJ, she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance with Gorodnitzki Chair in Piano Studies, Eduardus Halim. Alexandra is a prizewinner in several competitions, including the Westminster Conservatory Scholarship Competition (2006, 2009, 2011), Crescendo International Competition (2013), and Prima Artists International Competition (2013). As a Grand Prize Winner in theMusic-Fest Rising Talents Festival, Alexandra performed at Carnegie Hall in 2009 and 2010 as both a soloist and chamber musician. In 2011, she was selected to play in a master class with Dorian Leljak and with the renowned NASH ensemble of London. A participant in the Young Artists Honors Program at Westminster Conservatory (2007- 2011), she has been recognized with a special certificate of honor for her outstanding contribution to the arts and to the community by the Paul W. Hofreiter foundation of Westminster Conservatory.
Serbian pianist Ana Petric began her piano studies at the age of seven. She is a prizewinner at major national competitions including The Republic Competition of Students and Pupils, the International Competition of Pianists (first prize), and the Tenthh EPTA Serbian Competition (2nd prize). She attended the program for gifted young students at Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria. Since then, Ana has performed throughout Serbia at such venues as Kolarac Endowment Small Hall and the Hall of the Cultural Center Rakovica, and in Vienna at the Schloß Laudon and Ehrbar Saal.
In 2013, Ana Petric graduated from Faculty of Music, University of Belgrade/Fakultet muzičke umetnosti, Univerzitet u Beogradu. From 2008 to 2014, she worked as a primary school piano teacher. Ana is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Piano Performance at NYU Steinhardt, where she studies with Marilyn Nonken and is also a member of the adjunct faculty.
Chantal Balestri made her debut at age thirteen with the "Città di Chioggia" Symphony Orchestra at the Auditorium San Nicolò (Chioggia, Italy). When she was eighteen, she graduated in piano performance from the Boccherini Conservatory of Lucca, where she studied with Giorgio Fazzi. In 2014, she earned an advanced diploma at the same Conservatory working with Carlo Palese (cum laude). During the 2012-2013 academic year, via the Erasmus exchange program, she studied at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg with Gilead Mishory. After earning her second degree, she studied chamber music at the Scuola di Musica in Fiesole and solo piano with Fabio Bidini at the Talent Music School in Verona. Additionally, she has taken courses in piano performance with Aquiles Delle Vigne at the Mozarteum (Salzburg), the University of Orihuela (Spain) and Aveiro (Portugal), and with Konstantin Bogino at the “Santa Cecilia” Academy (Bergamo) and at the AIM (Rome). She has been selected to perform in masterclasses with Paul Badura-Skoda, Benedetto Lupo, Pascal Devoyon, Florian Boffard, and Jura Margulis. Winner of many competitions and scholarships, she often performs with the “Città di Chioggia” Symphony Orchestra and concertizes throughout Europe, at venues including the Sala Piatti (Bergamo), Sala Stradivari (Cremona), Wiener Saal (Salzburg), Kaisersaal der Historisches Kaufhaus (Freiburg), and Auditorium La Loja (Orihuela). She has presented the premieres of works including Massimo Giuntoli’s "Piano Store" (2014), a work for six pianos commissioned by Yamaha Piano Europe. Currently, Chantal Balestri attends NYU Steinhardt on scholarship as a Masters Student in Piano Performance, studying with Artist Faculty Jeffrey Swann. She has also been appointed as an Adjunct Faculty member in Piano Studies.
Isabel Perez Dobarro
Isabel Perez Dobarro has appeared in solo recitals and chamber music concerts at venues in New York City such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Tenri Cultural Institute, Yamaha Center, DiMenna Center, Liederkranz Foundation, Frederick Loewe Theatre, Provincetown Playhouse, and Columbia University Faculty House; and abroad at the Rachmaninoff Hall at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, Sala Manuel de Falla, Ateneo de Madrid, and Sala Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli in Bolzano (Italy). She is a prize winner of the American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition (2nd prize), de Ciutat de Berga International Competition (1st prize) and the Cidade do Fundao Piano International Competition (1st prize), and the recipient of the Jorge Bolet Distinguished Performer Award at SBPF.
Isabel Perez Dobarro is a PhD student in Piano Performance, where she studies with Marilyn Nonken and Alexander Kobrin and served as an adjunct instructor in Piano Studies. She holds a Professional Studies degree from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Solomon Mikowsky, a master's degree from NYU Steinhardt, where she studied with Jose Ramon Mendez, and a bachelor's degree from Real Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Madrid, where she studied with Elena Orobio. Isabel Pérez Dobarro is part of the Executive Board of the Piano Teachers Congress of New York, and co-chair of its Honors Program.
From San Rafael, California, pianist Jake Holtzman has performed throughout the United States, with recent engagements at the Steinway Piano Gallery in San Francisco, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Kalamazoo Epic Center, and Avram Theater (Southampton). His honors include NYU Steinhardt's Walter Reinhold Scholarship, the Gilmore Master Class Fellowship, and the Oberlin Piano Faculty Prize in Accompanying. Currently, Jake is a graduate student at NYU Steinhardt, pursuing his master's in Piano Performance in the studio of Eteri Andjaparidze. He completed his undergraduate studies at Oberlin College & Conservatory in the double-degree program, completing bachelor's degrees in Piano Performance and Environmental Studies. His teachers include Peter Takács, John McCarthy, and Adam Domash. While not playing the piano, Jake engages in environmental activism and enjoys cooking and spending time surrounded by nature.
Having begun his piano studies at an early age, New York pianist Justin Wong has spent years in the study of piano performance at distinguished schools including the Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School and New York University's Steinhardt School. He has worked with artists including Matti Raekallio, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Karen Taylor and Stephan Möller. Justin has been featured at venues including ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Schloß Laudon in Vienna, the former Steinway Hall in New York, Frederick Loewe Theatre at NYU, Paul Recital Hall and Morse Hall at the Juilliard School, and Benaroya Hall in Seattle. He has also appearaed as a soloist with the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra.
Justin has received accolades and honours from competitions and festivals, including the Seattle International Piano Festival, Young Artists Concerto Competition, and New York Music Competition. His presentation of Balakirev's Islamey: Fantasie Orientale at the 2013 Bowdoin International Music Festival was reviewed by Broadway World as a performance demanding "virtuosity, temperament, and impeccable technique, all of which Mr. Wong possesses in amplitude'.
Currently an undergraduate at NYU Steinhardt, Justin continues his studies in the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions with Gorodnitzki Chair in Piano Studies, Eduardus Halim.
Maryam Raya Kheirbek
Maryam Raya Kheirbek has performed at venues including Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, the National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, the embassies of Poland and France, Levine School of Music, and Phillips Collection. A first prize winner of the American Protege competition and two-time first prize winner in the American Fine Arts Festival, Maryam has given recitals in France, China, Italy, and Dubai, and coached with Leslie Howard, Jerome Lowenthal, Robert McDonald, Steven Hough, Alon Goldstein, Norman Krieger, Gabriel Chodos, Boris Slutsky, Nina Lelchuk, Dmitry Rachmanov, Larissa Dedova, Mia Chung, Anthony di Bonaventura, Brian Ganz, and Jonathan Biss. She has performed at festivals such as the International Keyboard Institute and Festival (New York), the International Piano Festival (Italy), and the Beijing International Music Festival and Academy.
Maryam holds a master’s degree in Piano Performance from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Natalya Antonova, and held graduate assistantships in keyboard skills and accompanying. She holds undergraduate degrees in Piano Performance and English Literature from Eastman and the University of Rochester. She is now in the Dual Degree program in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at NYU Steinhardt, where she studies with Artist Faculty member Alexander Kobrin and is a member of the adjunct faculty.
Szu-Chun Wang, born in Taipei, Taiwan, graduated from National Normal Taiwan University, and is now pursuing a dual master’s degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy at NYU Steinhardt, in the studio of Gila Goldstein. Szu-Chun was a prizewinner in many competitions in Taiwan and received scholarships every year during junior high school and high school, while excelling at both piano and flute. During her undergraduate studies, Szu-Chun interned as a high school music teacher at Kuang Jen Catholic High School and received a teaching certificate for high school music education from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education.
New York-based contemporary pianist and multimedia artist Tristan McKay is a fearless explorer of uncharted musical terrain. Celebrated for his “dramatic” and “assertive” playing (New York Times), his performances have been featured across the United States as well as internationally. Mr. McKay engages with a diverse repertoire that includes seminal solo and chamber works from the twentieth century, experimental multimedia collaborations, and premieres of new works by composers worldwide. Recent New York concerts have been presented at iconic and underground venues alike, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Stone, Spectrum, The Flea Theater, and The DiMenna Center for Classical Music.
Tristan McKay is a co-founder and member of new music trio Dead Language. Known for their innovative programming, theatrical performances and a dedication to music that renegotiates composer-performer identities, Dead Language has performed on both coasts of the United States as well as in Brisbane, Australia, where they presented workshops and performances as ensemble in residence at the Queensland Conservatorium. Additionally, Mr. McKay is a co-founder and member of multimedia performance duo OUTLAW, and has performed with TAK Ensemble, TACTUS under Jeffrey Milarsky, and the Manhattan School of Music Chamber Sinfonia under George Manahan. He has made appearances at the Queens New Music Festival, ImproTech Paris/NY Workshop, Music With A View, East Bank Music, I Speak Music, Notes on Fiction, Immediacies Series, Eavesdropping, Make Music New York, River to River Festival (all NYC), soundSCAPE Festival (Maccagno, Italy), and Powerhouse Toy Festival (Brisbane, Australia).
Tristan McKay is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Piano Performance at New York University where he studies with Dr. Marilyn Nonken. His research interests are centered on the visual representation of musical data in contemporary notations and the translational and interpretive processes they engender for performers. Mr. McKay has previously received performance degrees are from New York University (B.M.) and Manhattan School of Music (M.M. Contemporary Performance).
Instrumental Performance - Strings
Alex Wong is a second year undergraduate violist studying under the direction of Professor Stephanie Baer. Born and raised in San Diego, CA, he began playing the violin at the age of 8 and switched to viola six years later, under the direction of Professor Alyze Dreiling of the University of San Diego. During his high school career he was heavily involved with multiple music organizations throughout Southern California. Most of his time was spent with the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (2007–2011) and the San Diego Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (2009–2011). He was assistant principal viola with the Symphony for three seasons (2009–2011) and principal viola for the Philharmonic (2009–2011). He has also held principal chairs with the University of San Diego Symphony Orchestra and the Greater San Diego Community Orchestra. He has had the honor of performing multiple concerts with the San Diego Symphony, collaborating with artists such as Jahja Ling and Cho-Liang Lin, and giving concerts at various venues throughout California, New York, and Europe.
Past festivals include the La Jolla Music SummerFest (2010–2011), Rotary International Youth Symphony (2009–2011), NYU String Quartet Workshop (2009), University of San Diego Chamber Music Festival (2007– 2010), and most recently the Strings Master Workshop held in Dobrichovice, Czech Republic (2012).
Aya Terki is majoring in Music Performance and is a cello student of Eric Jacobsen. Prior to studying at New York University, she was a member of the Children’s Orchestra Society for 12 years. Her previous teachers include Ms. Grace Wu and Dr. Diliana Momtchillova.
In 2010 and 2012, Aya was the winner of the Children’s Orchestra Society’s Discovery Competition and was featured as a soloist at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, of which The New York Times hailed that she "showed promise during her poised performance." In addition, Aya has sat principal chair of the All County Orchestra, the Long Island String Festival Association Orchestra, and the NYSSMA All-State String Orchestra. She is currently the principal cellist of the NYU Philharmonia.
Aya is passionate about using music to help others. She has volunteered with numerous summer music programs and co-founded a mentoring program for the students in the Children’s Orchestra Society. She also organized concerts that raised over $2,000 to benefit the victims of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. As a part of this global network at NYU, Aya hopes to discover her cultural identity through her Japanese and Egyptian heritage, as well as through her academic and musical studies.
Cellist Bryan Hayslett frequently performs as a soloist and chamber musician, works as a teaching artist for the Noel Pointer Foundation, serves as a dancing cellist with the group Percéptuum, performs with singer/songwriter Katie Garringer, and plays for yoga classes. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2009 as first prize winner of the Alexander & Buono International String Competition and returned the following year as a repeat top prize laureate. Hayslett has given three solo concert tours with new music as a central focus, including performances in Boston, Dallas, Chicago, Hartford, Albany, Tampa FL, Holland, MI, and Jackson, MS, and a residency at the University of South Florida. Hayslett holds degrees from The Hartt School of Music (B.M.) and The Boston Conservatory (M.M.), and his principle teachers include Marion Feldman, Rhonda Rider, Terry King, and Yuri Anshelevich. He can be heard on an Innova recording, A Special Light, featuring music of David Macbride. A proponent of new music, Hayslett frequently commissions and works with composers. Beyond performing and teaching, Hayslett teaches GRE and SAT classes, competes several times each year in triathlons, and enjoys practicing yoga. He currently resides in New York City.
Isabela Quines is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance under the instruction of Karen Ritscher. Born in New York City, Isabela took to the arts at a young age, taking violin lessons and dance classes at the age of four. She attended Suzuki violin classes at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division and studied privately with Amelia Gold and Carrie White.
Upon relocating to Poughkeepsie, New York, Isabela continued taking dance classes, studying jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet and tap. Along with the violin, she studied viola with Canadian concert violinist and teacher, Betty-Jean Hagen. She joined Stringendo (Orchestra School of the Hudson Valley) and competed with the top string orchestra Vivace, under the baton of Jonathan Handman, garnering the Overall Grand Champion Award at the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in 2009. Additionally under the same conductor, the award was given in 2012 to the Philharmonia Orchestra of Arlington High School, Isabela’s alma mater. As a winner/finalist of the AHS concerto competition, Isabela performed the Walton Viola Concerto later that year.
As a fiddler, Isabela was a member of the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers, with whom she opened concerts for Natalie MacMaster, Barrage, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, and toured throughout New York, North Carolina, Missouri, Vermont, and the United Kingdom. As singer and actor, she studied voice and acting with Nancy Auffarth and Sarah Combs. Favorite onstage credits are: Guys and Dolls as lead role, Sarah Brown, Thoroughly Modern Millie, as Rita/Miss Dorothy u/s, Joseph…Dreamcoat, Footloose andBizet’s Carmen.
Isabela is a passionate chamber musician. She cofounded the Komár String Quartet with whom she competed at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and St. Paul String Quartet Competition, where they were awarded 3 rd place, and were featured on Classical WMHT’s broadcasts and 40th Anniversary CD, performing Béla Bartok’s String Quartet No. 2.
She is honored to have worked with A Far Cry, Attaca String Quartet, Jasper String Quartet, Sweet Plantain and members of the Tokyo String Quartet and Shanghai String Quartet. Past festivals and workshops include Karen Tuttle Workshops, Point Counterpoint Summer Chamber Music Camp, NYU Summer String Quartet Workshop, and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, working with Karen Ritscher and Sheila Brown.
Alongside her viola performance track, Isabela continues to study acting with such teachers as James Miles and vocal techniques with Clare Bohrer and Erin Heisel at NYU. She was a featured soprano in the University Singers choir. She also performs with the indie rock/pop band Like Fake Humans, as violist and backup singer. Ms. Quines is a member of the NYU Symphony and NYU piano quintet, and she has worked on a number of projects including soul artist, Kelly*Jones’ album, due to release in the summer of 2014, the online musical Deck’d Last December written and directed by Dom Fera, and Natti Vogel’s “Cannibal” Live Release Orchestra. She has taught violin and viola privately, as well as group classes at the NEST+m after school music program in lower Manhattan. Isabela currently works as a freelance musician in the New York metropolitan area. She hopes to continue a career integrating a multitude of musical genres in live music performance, staged productions and recording
NYU Steinhardt sophomore Joseph Brock, classical double bass, is a student of Professor Joseph Bongiorno. He began playing bass in elementary school and in 2000 became a student of David Mazanec, formerly the principal bassist of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
Joseph attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) graduating in 2011. During his high school years, he held the principal positions in ASFA's Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, and enjoyed being a member of the top jazz bands. He also became a member of the National Honor Society.
Special awards include winning the 2010-2011 Lois Pickard Concerto Competition, as well as a solo with the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he was also principal bass. He has had the opportunity to play in the Alabama Symphony and has taken classical master classes with world-renowned soloists and leading educators.
Joseph has a passion for jazz that has allowed him to win competitions. He is a student protégé of the jazz legend Cleve Eaton. He has gained a great deal from master classes with jazz greats including Ron Blake, Carl Allen, Ben Wolfe, Esperanza Spalding, and T.S. Monk.
Joseph’s love of music and strong passion to continue his academic endeavors has led him to NYU to challenge himself in both areas. He has had a fantastic journey so far and looks forward to the future with anticipation and excitement.
The versatile violinist Josh Henderson is quickly gaining recognition as a musician for all seasons. He has performed classical music in venues all over the world, including prestigious European concert halls such as The Gasteig in Munich, the Kennedy Center in our nation's capital, Beijing's Forbidden City, as well as high energy electric violin performances in iconic venues of popular music such as Manhattan’s Highline and Hammerstein Ballrooms. As a soloist, he has performed with the Starling Chamber Orchestra, Accent X Orchestra, CCM Showcase Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and the China Performing-Arts Broadcasting Troupe Orchestra. Growing up throughout Georgia and Tennessee, he served as concertmaster of the Curb Youth Symphony in Nashville and the Augusta Youth Orchestra in addition to receiving honors in several competitions, including winning the Magellan String Quartet competition, winner of the strings division in the Curb Records Young Artists Competition, and winner of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Concerto Competition.
Upon graduating summa cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music at the age of 19, where he was a student of Professor Kurt Sassmannshaus and concertmaster of the Concert orchestra, Josh relocated to New York City to pursue a Masters degree at New York University under the tutelage of Professor Naoko Tanaka, where he was a recipient of the Walter Reinhold Scholarship, and is now pursuing his PhD.
He has toured throughout the country with the performance poetry group The Mayhem Poets and has performed in major performing arts centers in Vermont, New Hampshire, Indianapolis, Memphis, Nashville, South Carolina, Charlottesville, Houston, East Lansing, Madison, and Cleveland. Josh has also studied at the Aspen Music Festival, Great Wall International Music Academy, and The Blair School of Music Pre-College Program under Professor Christian Teal. Catch him online at www.joshhendersonviolin.com.
Violinist Patti Kilroy is a doctoral student at NYU Steinhardt studying with Naoko Tanaka. She has also received her bachelor and masters degrees at NYU. Described as “intensely focused” by The New York Times, Patti specializes in performing music by living composers.
At NYU, Patti has had the opportunity to explore a wide range of musical styles and areas of study. During her undergraduate study Patti also graduated with a minor in Mathematics and took elective courses in East Asian philosophy, Middle Eastern music, Chinese and African dance, and the Filipino language.
Patti has performed with the NYU Symphony Orchestra, the NYU Contemporary Ensemble, the NYU New Music Ensemble, and the NYU Telematic Ensemble. While at NYU, Patti has premiered solo violin pieces by NYU Steinhardt guest composers such as Lars Graugaard (video), Giampiero Gemini, Jeffrey Hass, and a number of NYU students and alumni.
Passionate about encouraging the wide dissemination of music by living composers, Patti is currently the coordinator of Mix Nouveau, a collaborative program dedicated to fostering connections between string studies and composition students in NYU Steinhardt. Patti's current research interests include 20th and 21st century contemporary chamber music, and knowledge synthesis in music performance practice.
Patti teaches violin at Hunter College and Western Connecticut State University. She has also performed with Alarm Will Sound, Argento New Music Project, The New York Pops, ensemble mise-en, ETHEL, Newspeak, Signal, The Wordless Music Orchestra, Cadillac Moon Ensemble and Noam Faingold's Burning City Orchestra. She has appeared at Carnegie Hall, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Merkin Hall, Roulette, Issue Project Room, Galapagos, The Tank, The Living Room, the Mercury Lounge and Death by Audio, among other places. She was a Bang on a Can Summer Festival fellow in the summers of 2010 and 2011, and a New Horizons Fellowship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival in 2013.
Phoebe Tsai is currently a second year undergraduate cello student studying with Professor Marion Feldman. Although born in California, she did not begin her musical studies until she moved to Taiwan. She began to take both cello and piano private lessons at age 9. Her previous cello teacher whom she studied with for 8 years before entering New York University was Jessica Chen who also studied with Marion Feldman in her graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music.
At her high school, Taipei American School, she was chosen during the years 2009-2012 as a soloist and cellist of the octet representing her school in a weeklong cultural convention between six schools called IASAS (Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools). Representatives of each school gathered at the school hosting for the year for a week of performing solo works, chamber music, and participation in the IASAS Orchestra during the convention. Phoebe was chosen as principal cellist of the IASAS orchestra for all three years that she participated in the cultural convention and performed solo works and the Mendelssohn, Shostakovich, and Enescu Octets with her school’s octet. In 2010, Phoebe performed as a soloist in a charity concert at Dong Wu University Concert Hall to raise awareness and raise money to medically support children with Down’s Syndrome in Taiwan. In summer 2011 and 2012 she performed in Taipei National Concert Hall in the performance of the Elijah Oratorio, and in the summer 2013 Tchaikovsky Night Performance she was the guest second seat cellist of the 3E Symphony in Taiwan.
She participated in many solo and chamber music competitions for piano and cello in Taiwan. In 2005 she was the winner of the National Prague Victory Cup Competition for both the piano and cello divisions which allowed her to represent Taiwan as a pianist in the Bohemia Europe Cup which took place in Czech Republic the same year. In 2009 she represented her high school Taipei American School as a cellist in a piano trio which earned first place in Taiwan’s National Piano Trio Competition. In 2010 she represented her high school again in Taiwan’s National Piano Quintet Competition as the pianist in the quintet which won the competition.
In addition to her love of cello playing, Phoebe is also an avid pianist and is interested in the art of lutherie, participating in a few luthier lessons and working along with string instrument luthier Christopher Germain and bow maker Rodney D. Mohr in her internship at a string instrument company CTC Rare Violins Co. over the summer. In the summer of 2013 she helped to organize an exhibition of rare bows and violins such as Sartory bows and Stradivarius and Guadagnini violins. These were brought to Taiwan for the exhibition by Isaac Salchow from Salchow & Sons and Bruno Price and Ziv Arazi from Rare Violins of New York. Phoebe worked along with these esteemed individuals and the owners of CTC Rare Violins to make the exhibition at the Grand Hotel in Taipei happen.
Phoebe hopes that during her cello studies here at NYU she will further deepen her love and expand her knowledge of classical music.
Instrumental Performance - Percussion
A native of Dallas, Texas, Adam Holmes began studying music at a young age and began playing percussion at ten years old. While in Texas, he was very active in the marching percussion scene while also performing with top groups such as the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra and the Texas 5A All-State Orchestra.
Since coming to NYU, Adam has kept busy by playing in an array of ensembles, including the NYU Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, concert band, percussion ensemble, marimba ensemble, steel band, and brass choir. He has also performed as a pit musician for theatre groups at NYU, playing drum set in Urinetown: The Musical! with the NYU Player’s club and playing timpani for The Marriage of Figaro with the NYU Opera. He has studied privately with faculty members Jonathan Haas, Simon Boyar, and James Saporito.
Outside of NYU Steinhardt, Adam finds work as a freelance drummer for various bands around the city. He also composes film scores for collaborative projects with filmmakers in NYU Tisch School of the Arts. When not pursuing musical endeavors, Adam enjoys reading, watching movies, running, and playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater on the Nintendo 64.
Brandon Nestor is a graduate student at New York University pursuing a Master of Music Degree in Percussion Performance. Prior to NYU, Brandon graduated from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford with a Bachelors of Music degree in Percussion Performance and Music Management. Mr. Nestor was born in Poughkeepsie, New York and grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. He began playing percussion at a young age following his father who played as a drummer in New York City for over 20 years. Mr. Nestor has studied with Jonathan Haas, James Saporito, Josh Quillen, Valerie Naranjo, Ben Toth, Nebojsa Zivkovic, Dave Weckl, Shane Shanahan, and Joe Galeota among other teachers. Brandon is proficient in a multitude of styles including African, Brazilian, Cuban/Haitian, and traditional Caribbean steel drum music. He spent extended time in Ghana, Africa studying traditional West African music. He has played drum set and percussion in productions of Miss Saigon, Pippin, Glorious Ones, Summer of ’42, Once on This Island, Fiorello, and Sweet Smell of Success. Steel drums are one of Mr. Nestor’s passions in percussion, with over 9 years of experience. In 2007, he was the first player in Las Vegas to ever bring steel drums to the finals of the State Solo and Ensemble festival. Brandon has played lead pan in multiple steel drum bands, including NYU Steel, which was featured at the Brooklyn Panorama and Drum Boogie Festivals this past summer. Most recently, Brandon played with the American Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. When not playing percussion, Mr. Nestor likes to cook, swim, and is an avid New York sports fan.
Chia-Lin Yu, born and raised in Taiwan, began studying music at a young age and began studying percussion at age thirteen with Kuo-Hsuan Wu. She is currently pursuing her master's of music in percussion performance at NYU Steinhardt. She was a member of Tainan Symphony Orchestra as a percussionist from 2010 to 2014. She has participated in various ensembles throughout college including percussion ensemble, wind ensemble and symphony orchestra.
In the summer of the 2009, she performed with TUT percussion group in the Closing Ceremony of The World Games in Kaohsiung. In the summer of 2010, She performed Keiko Abe’s ‘’Prism Variations’’ as a soloist with the percussion group form Nagoya College of Music in an Interflow Concert. She won the First Prize of Tainan Student Marimba Competition in the winter of 2010. In 2011, she toured with Creation Opera Institute as a timpanist in Taiwan. In the fall of 2012, she performed with NUTN Percussion Group at Wiener Konzerthaus. She got into the Semifinal of Italy PAS Marimba Competition, performing in the master class of Marta Klimasara. In the winter of 2012, she won the First Prize of the TUT Concerto Competition, playing “Concerto for Percussion and String Orchestra” by Eugene Levitas. She performed the concerto with the TUT Orchestra at Tainan Municipal Cultural Center in April 2013. In May 2014, she cooperated with a group of young musicians in Taiwan, performing the rearranged "Carmen Fantasy" by G. Bizet, along with electronic organ, flute and another percussionist.
She has experience cooperating with different instruments for a wide range of performances. Chia-Lin loves being on stage to share the passion with people through the music. She looks forward to starting an ensemble in the near future and exploring more possibilities of music.
Christian Melhado, an undergraduate from New York, has played percussion from a young age. At the age of six Christian started learning the Djembe with his sister’s African Dance Class. This love for percussion soon took off after he picked up percussion in elementary school. There he began learning snare drum, timpani and other classical percussion. Christian began playing the Steel Pan with the Adlib Steel Orchestra around the same time (8 years of age). During the summer of 2008 Christian had the pleasure to go Trinidad and play with the top bands. Ever since, the steel pan and all percussion have been Christian’s passions. Christian has participated in the Brooklyn Panorama since the age of 8 and also arranges/composes music for the Adlib Steel Orchestra.
Prior to NYU Christian went to Baldwin Senior High School where he had the experience of performing at Carnegie Hall with the Baldwin Wind Symphony alongside professional orchestras. The Jazz Band, Pit Orchestra and Pep Band were all groups that he had performed with during his four years at Baldwin Senior High School. Christian received the Helen Bauer Scholarship and The Band Director’s Award for Distinguished Performance due to his dedication for percussion. Christian has been in the All-County Orchestra/Band, All- State Band and was also part of the All- County Chorus where he was featured, on the steel pan, to play “Kyrie: A Caribbean Mass” composed by Glenn McClure.
Christian currently plays steel pan, drum set and composes/arranges for the Adlib Steel Orchestra.
Douglas J. Chew
Doug Chew is a sophomore in the NYU Percussion Performance program.
His interest in music began at the age of five when he started listening to his father's CDs. After learning to play the drum set, he started studying snare drum at the age of ten. Then he learned timpani and mallet percussion technique in middle school. At Greenwich High School, Doug was a member of the concert band, wind ensemble, percussion ensemble, marching band, and both jazz bands. He was also the timpanist of the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic from 2008-2012, a mallet player for the Connecticut 2011 Western Regional Band, and the timpanist for the CT 2012 All-State Band.
Doug's biggest musical influences are the Beatles, Queen, Elton John, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, Steve Reich, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, and Tchaikovsky. The drummers who have influenced him the most are Ringo Starr, John Bonham, Steve Gadd, Phil Collins, Roger Taylor (Queen), Jeff Porcaro (Toto), Don Henley (Eagles), and Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel). Doug's interests outside of the percussion world include drawing, reading, listening to classic rock, and rooting for the N.Y. sports teams.
At NYU, Doug has participated in the percussion ensemble, marimba ensemble, steel pan ensemble, African percussion ensemble, concert band, and Philharmonia. He has studied with Jonathan Haas, Simon Boyar, James Saporito, Sean Statser, Valerie Naranjo, and Josh Quillen. Doug is honored and thrilled to be learning from some of the greatest musicians in the world, and seeks to expand his knowledge about percussion.
Karina Yau Mei Ying
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Karina Yau Mei Ying is currently pursuing her master's of music in percussion performance at NYU Steinhardt, where she studies with professor Jonathan Hass and artistic faculty member Simon Boyar. In April 2013, Karina was selected in the American Symphony Orchestra-Bard Conservatory of Music Collaboration Project, performing Mahler No.2 Symphony under baton of Leon Botstein. She is also a freelance timpanist and percussionist in several orchestras including the Macau Orchestra, Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra, the SAR Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2012, Karina graduated from the Hong Kong Baptist University with a bachelor of arts degree in percussion performance and pedagogy, under Dr. Lung Heung Wing, Artistic director of the Hong Kong Percussion Centre; and James Boznos, principal timpanist of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. She also holds the Licentiate Performance Diploma from the Trinity College of Music of London.
Karina has particular interest in percussion chamber music, she is now the members of NYU marimba ensemble, NYU percussion ensemble, steel drum ensemble, contemporary ensemble, and African ensemble.
Luis Jacome is a sophomore pursuing a bachelor's of music in percussion at NYU Steinhardt’s School of Education. Luis studied drum set for seven years with drummer and Drumhead magazine contributing writer Art Bernstein. He also studied percussion under Richard Albagli, principal percussionist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra and a member of the music faculties of the University at Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Luis was principal percussionist for the Empire State Youth Orchestra under the direction of Helen Cha-Pyo. With this orchestra he performed at Proctors Theater, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, and went on tour to China and South Korea. He currently studies with Jonathan Haas, Simon Boyar, and James Saporito. He has also taken part in the NYU Broadway Percussion Seminar/Summit and Berklee's Festival for Percussion.
Recent professional highlights include performing drum set and percussion for The Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on The Roof, Guys and Dolls, Beauty and The Beast, and Malher's “Resurrection” Symphony with the American Symphony Orchestra. He was principal timpanist with the World Peace Orchestra at Lincoln Center. He aspires to play percussion and drum set on Broadway.
Luz Carime Santa-Coloma
Luz Carime Santa-Coloma is a percussionist from West Palm Beach, Florida. She is currently a sophomore, pursuing a B.M. at the NYU Steinhardt percussion program where she studies with Jonathan Haas, Simon Boyar, Josh Quillen, Sean Statser, and Valerie Naranjo. She participates in the NYU percussion ensemble, marimba ensemble, African ensemble, and steel band ensemble.
Before attending NYU, Carime graduated from Dreyfoos High School of the Arts in West Palm Beach where she focused on percussion and studied with Evan Rogovin, Jason Miller, Ron Hughes and Eric Rucker.
Carime is an experienced pianist, having studied piano for 10 years prior to attending NYU, as well as a self-taught guitarist and vocalist. She incorporates these into a collaboration with NYU Percussion Studio member Sarah Bennett.
Marc Akiyama is currently pursuing his bachelor's of music degree in classical percussion under the instruction of Jonathan Haas, James Saporito, Simon Boyar, Sean Statser, and Josh Quillen. Born and raised in San Diego, California, he has studied with percussionist Jonathan Szanto of the San Diego Symphony. He has been involved in many musical productions, both as a performer and musician, including Fame, Les Misérables, and 13 the Musical, the west coast premiere of Spring Awakening, and NYU Steinhardt’s production of Fiorello! At NYU, Marc performs with the percussion ensemble, marimba ensemble, concert band, and steel drum ensemble. He also studies music composition with Steven Rosenhaus and has written film scores for Tisch Film Studies students as well as his own short films and musicals. In addition to music performance and composing, Marc is an aspiring director. He is currently working on an original movie musical and hopes to continue a career incorporating music performance, composition, and film.
Matthew Overbay is a percussionist from Richmond, VA. He is currently a senior at New York University's Steinhardt School, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, minoring in Politics. Matthew performs regularly with the university's Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras playing under notable conductors such as Constantine Kitsopoulos, Jens Bachmann, and Ari Pelto. At NYU, he also is a member of the Percussion Ensemble, Steel Drum Ensemble, and Marimba Ensemble. Additionally, he has also been involved in the school's Community Orchestra, Contemporary Music Ensemble, and African Ensemble. His work with the NYU Percussion Ensemble has been called “deft and skillful” by The New York Times. In the fall of 2010, he collaborated with composer Peter Fish, premiering Fish's first keyboard percussion piece "Four: Mallets."
In the summer of 2011, Matthew attended the Eastman Summer Percussion Institute, performing in master classes with percussionists John Beck, Michael Burritt, and Bill Cahn. In the fall of 2011, he won the NYU Percussion Concerto Competition, playing Emmanuel Sejourne's Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra. He performed the concerto with the NYU Philharmonia in December 2011. In the spring of 2012, Matthew took part in a full production of Igor Stravinsky's L 'Histoire Du Soldat at Access Theater. He he has performed in various PAS Day of Percussion events at SUNY Purchase and SUNY Stony Brook, as well as at NYU. Most recently, Matthew performed Andrzej Panufnik's Concerto for Timpani and Percussion with the NYU Symphony after winning the 2013 NYU Percussion Concerto Competition.
Aside from his ensemble involvement, Matthew serves as the NYU Orchestra's Chief of Operations. He is also a member of the B-Haus percussion quartet, performing the repertoire of composers such as Steve Reich, Paul Lansky, and Julia Wolfe. In conjunction with his classical studies, Matthew seeks involvement in other musical idioms, playing drum set in the Richmond-based ambient rock band Floodwall. Applying his heavy marching band background, Matthew has also served as a percussion technician for Mills E. Godwin High School. He currently studies with Jonathan Haas, Simon Boyar and James Saporito. Matthew has also studied with Mike Boyd and Josh Quillen. He looks forward to using his classical training to contribute to the contemporary artistic environment.
Rose Egan was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began playing percussion at a young age with Juliette Trudeau. For her freshman year of high school she attended Westtown Boarding School in Philadelphia. There she met Morgan Maddox and Jeannine Maddox-Vogele. Both are percussionists so Rose was able to have private lessons, join percussion ensemble, concert band, orchestra, and participate in many other outside gigs. During her sophomore year, both teachers left the school and Rose made the decision to transfer to Interlochen Arts Academy.
This performing arts boarding school in northern Michigan helped Rose take her skills to the next level. She took private lessons with John Alfieri, played in concert band, orchestra, brass ensemble, and in the pit for musical theater, dance, and opera.
Now attending NYU, Rose has had the opportunity to play with many ensembles and work with some wonderful teachers. She is part of the NYU Philharmonia, marimba ensemble, percussion ensemble, and steel ensemble. She is currently studying with Simon Boyar and in the future will be able to work with other members of the faculty including Johnathan Haas and James Saporito.
Russell Fisher, born and raised in New York, began studying percussion at age seven. Since then, Russell has participated in various ensembles throughout high school including the Juilliard Pre-College Percussion Ensemble and Orchestra. Having studied with several teachers prior to NYU, Russell is now studying with Jonathan Haas, Simon Boyar, James Saporito, and Sean Statser. Since coming to NYU, Russell has participated in the NYU Percussion Ensemble, Marimba Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, Steel Drum Ensemble and Contemporary Music Ensemble. In the Spring of 2013 Russell and the NYU Marimba Ensemble premiered his original composition, "The Tempest," for marimba solo with percussion trio. Other than his studies at NYU, Russell has performed solo marimba recitals in various venues on Long Island including the Public Woodmere Library. Russell also coached and conducted the Juilliard Pre-College Percussion Ensemble in the spring of 2013.
Sara Barsky is a junior at NYU Steinhardt, double majoring in Percussion Studies and Food Studies and Nutrition. She has had the privilege of studying classical percussion privately with Professor Jonathan Haas, and Artist Faculty members James Saporito, Simon Boyar, and Sean Statser. Sara is a member of the NYU Symphony, Philharmonia, Percussion Ensemble, and Marimba/Chamber Ensemble. Two ensembles she has performed with and contributed creatively to are NYU Steel, directed by Josh Quillen, and the African Gyil and Percussion Ensemble, directed by Valerie Naranjo. She was honored that her arrangement of Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” for steel pans was selected by Josh Quillen to be performed at NYU Steel’s recent concerts. In addition, Sara’s dancing and drumming in the African Gyil and Percussion Ensemble over the last three years has brought her to the role of dance director, which includes solo dancing, choreographing, and teaching African dance to the whole ensemble.
Sara is the recipient of the 2016 Theodore Presser Award, the most prestigious award for the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions in Steinhardt. This award recognizes exemplary citizenship, musicianship, and academic achievement. Maintaining a high GPA in two majors is next to impossible. Dedication and discipline make it possible. Being able to balance the satisfaction of performance with the reflection of scholarly writing constantly keeps her mind refreshed on a daily basis. It is truly inspiring for Sara to be able pursue two different paths, especially when she is motivated by her supportive professors and likeminded colleagues.
Due to Sara’s vision to combine percussion and dance, she has been involved in various percussion, dance, and theatre related projects within, and also outside, the Percussion program at NYU. She has choreographed and danced in Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du soldat for the NYU Percussion Ensemble and Andy Akiho's Karakurenai for former student Yael Litwin’s senior recital. Over the past 3 years, Sara played percussion in Stockhausen's Musik im Bauch, drumset for the program in Vocal Performance’s production of A...My Name Will Always Be Alice, and took part in the collaboration between NYU Steel and the New York Theatre Ballet at New York Live Arts, performing ten of Philip Glass’s piano etudes arranged for steel pan.
During the summer of 2015, Sara interned for Alessandra Belloni, the world-renowned Italian percussionist and spiritual healer, acting as her administrative and teaching assistant in her Rhythm Is the Cure workshop in Tuscany, Italy. Over the past few summers, Sara has also performed in Long Island, where she grew up, playing percussion with the professional concert band Atlantic Wind Symphony and singing in her acoustic duo Heart & Soul in restaurants and venues across Long Island.
Sara could not be more grateful for her time spent playing percussion in the Nassau Suffolk Wind Ensemble and NYSSMA All-County, All-State, and All-National during her high school years, which led her to further pursuing a degree in music performance at NYU. She has cherished the opportunities presented to her at NYU Steinhardt so far and is looking forward to what will come in her senior year.
Sarah Bennett is a transferring sophomore from New York City pursuing a BM in percussion performance. She is currently a member of NYU Philharmonia, NYU Percussion Ensemble, NYU Steel Drum Ensemble, and NYU African Drum Ensemble. Through attending the NYU Broadway Percussion Seminar in the Summer of 2012, Sarah was able to work with world renowned percussionists Ben Herman, Joe Passaro, Javier Diaz, and others, and had the opportunity to view Broadway performances from the pit and audience. Outside of NYU, Sarah is a music therapy volunteer at Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn. She is also a vocalist and hand percussionist at 180 Church in NYC.
Prior to attending NYU, Sarah spent her first year of college at the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, where she studied with Frank Cassara and George Rothman. She spent her high school years at LaGuardia Arts, where she studied with Gary Fogel and Kevin Blancq. After graduating, Sarah professionally performed in the school's musical theater production of Sweet Charity. Having played this production and others, and having worked with Broadway musicians, Sarah has developed a strong interest in pit percussion and plans to pursue it in the future.
Sarah is currently a member of a collaborative duo with NYU Percussion Studio member Luz Carime Sante-Coloma that incorporates vocals, guitar, piano, and percussion.
Sean Millman is a PhD student in the NYU Percussion program. Sean earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Florida (2011, 2013), studying in the percussion studio of Dr. Kenneth Broadway. Before college he studied with Rick Dietrich, Bill Wilder, and Tony Iaquinto. While at Florida he had the opportunity to play in all sorts of ensembles, as well as the UF School of Theatre and Dance productions of Tosca, Susannah, Damn Yankees, Chicago, and Urinetown. As both drummer and classical percussionist, Sean’s audio and video recording experience runs the gamut from progressive metal, to solo recitals and avant-garde premieres, to published CDs with UF performing ensembles. He spent 2007 through 2010 in the snare section of the Florida Drum Line, and served as section leader and center snare in 2010.
In addition to performing and teaching percussion, Sean is also interested in historical musicology; in this field, he has studied primarily with Dr. Margaret Butler. To date, his work has focused on issues in the classical period of both meaning and periodicity, and the effects of meta-musical forces like genre crossover and sociopolitical context on 20th century musicians both classical and popular.
Since earning his graduate degree, Sean has been teaching drums and percussion across the North Florida area, having volunteered at nonprofit music school Studio Percussion and taught drums through Guitar Center. Scholastically, he worked with Trinity Catholic High School of Ocala as Percussion Director for the 2014/2015 academic year, and is an active percussion arranger and consultant for marching bands and drumlines.
While at Florida, Sean co-founded a student organization in support of the men’s basketball program and was active in other capacities within the athletic association. Sean enjoys gaming, watching movies, and ferociously supporting Gator athletics.
Based in NYC, Sean Perham will earn a master’s degree in percussion performance from NYU Steinhardt, in May 2014, under the instruction of Jonathan Haas. He received his bachelor’s degree in music education from SUNY Fredonia where he studied with Dr. Karolyn Stonefelt, Tiffany Nicely, and Dr. John Bacon. Sean has studied privately with Morris Lang of the New York Philharmonic, NYU faculty member James Saporito of the NYC Ballet, and Edward Balsamo. Other performance experience and teachers include the NYU Steel Band under the direction of So Percussion member, Josh Quillen; the NYU Marimba Ensemble under the direction of marimba soloist, Simon Boyar; and the NYU African Gyil and Drumming Ensemble under the direction of percussionist Valerie Naranjo.
Sean has traveled to Africa to study West African music in Ghana with world-renowned hand drummer and gyil master, Bernard Woma. Spending about a month and a half in Ghana, he was completely immersed in the African culture and fell in love with their traditional music. He is proud to have performed at the Drum Ban Lifting ceremony in the major city of Accra.
In October 2013, Sean performed at Carnegie Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra. He performed with Black Arm Band (music of the Australian indigenous experience) in early 2013 during their debut US tour. In June, 2012, Sean was selected to perform with marimba soloist Keiko Abe and her Japanese marimba ensemble during their visit to America. A few highlights of his time at NYU are playing with his quartet, B-Huas, at percussion events in the NYC area as well as his upcoming performance at the PASIC (Percussive Arts International Convention) in Indianapolis with the NYU percussion ensemble.
Sean’s passion for percussion is eclectic. As a drum set player for most of his young life, he has performed as a pit musician in many Long Island theater musicals, toured with his own projects and is currently doing studio work with musicians in the local NYC area. Drum set playing has also led him to performance opportunities such as sharing the stage with jazz vibraphonist Joe Locke.
Will Marinelli was born in London, England, and raised in New Jersey. He is currently a graduate student at New York University, where he is studying for a master of music in Percussion Studies. He has studied with Jonathan Haas, James Saporito, and Simon Boyar, and also has collaborated with Josh Quillen, Sean Statser, and Valerie Naranjo.
Prior to beginning his NYU studies, Mr. Marinelli earned a bachelor of music in Music Education from the Ithaca College School of Music, in Ithaca, New York, where he studied percussion with Gordon Stout and Conrad Alexander. He also has studied with Alfred Jorgensen, Greg Giannascoli, Brian Jordan, and Anthony DiBartolo.
Mr. Marinelli has performed with numerous ensembles in the Greater New York Metropolitan area, including New York Theatre Ballet, the Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey, Lyric Artists of New York Orchestra, Plainfield Symphony Orchestra, New York Repertory Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. He has performed under the baton of conductors including James Burton, John Nardillo, Charles Prince, Roger Malouf, Jeffery Meyer, Toshiyuki Shimada, Jonathan Pasternack, and Brian DeMaris. He also has played in the pit orchestra for productions of Don Giovanni, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, Aida, The Impresario, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Phantom of the Opera. Photos of his percussion setups have been featured on Billy Miller's website: The Miller Machine.
In addition, Mr. Marinelli has participated in various summer performance opportunities, including the Prague Summer Nights Festival, Washburgh Timpani Seminar, New England Percussion Institute, Northwestern Percussion Symposium, NYU Broadway Percussion Seminar, and the Alan Abel Orchestral Percussion Seminar. He also has performed in numerous master classes for many high-profile percussionists in both the United States and Europe.
In his spare time, Mr. Marinelli enjoys cycling, playing golf, traveling, and photography. He intends to freelance in New York City following the completion of his degree. Mr. Marinelli truly feels honored and privileged to be able to make his career in music.
Le`Roi Simmonds is a steel pan artist from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, with a bachelor degree in pop music from Florida Memorial University. At the tender age of ten years old, Le`Roi started playing the steel pan with the Downstreet Pandemonium Steel Orchestra. Today, as an adult, he specializes in performance, arranging, and education. Le`Roi presently works for the VI Superior Court Rising Stars Steel Orchestra as an instructor/arranger where he and his colleagues are always working hard mentoring the youth of the Virgin Islands using the steel pan, to keep kids off the streets and in school.
With over 20 years of experience, Le`Roi has traveled around the Caribbean and the United States, winning various awards, such as the Virginia Panorama Caribbean Festival, Florida Memorial University Research and Performing Arts Day in Miami, the Music USA Festival in Orlando, and the Trinidad and Tobago National Junior Steel Band Panorama to name a few. Simmonds has recorded with steel bands such as the Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra (St. Thomas), E. Benjamin Oliver Steel Owls (St. Thomas), Florida Memorial Steel Band (Miami), and St. Margaret’s Steel Orchestra (Trinidad).
Always looking to improve himself, Le`Roi is currently a master’s student in Jazz Studies at New York University. With a plethora of skills in his arsenal, Le’Roi is constantly looking to advance the musical movement in the Virgin Islands and around the world.
Mark McIntyre is a New York City based guitarist and composer originally from Yorktown Heights, New York where he began playing and writing music at the age 10. In high school, Mark immersed himself in an eclectic network of jazz, funk, and folk musicians, and performed regularly with his trio Harmonium featuring didgeridoo and percussion. In 2013, he began his undergraduate education at NYU where he has studied with guitar greats John Scofield, Peter Bernstein, Wayne Krantz, and Adam Rogers, and has performed and/or recorded with luminary faculty members such as Joe Lovano. In 2015, Mark was the youngest participant in the prestigious Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, an international composing and performing program under the direction of Jason Moran.
As an arranger, Mark has worked with fusion violinist Daisy Jopling on her world-touring String Pulse Experience, for which he also has compositional credit. Mark is currently a member of the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Orchestra with which he has toured in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the NYU Jazz Orchestra, and performs regularly with his double-drummer rock trio, as well as his quintet. In NYC has performed at The 55 Bar, The Appel Room, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, and the Blue Note.
Michael Bliss lives in New York City and studies at New York University. He is originally from Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, where he began playing the alto saxophone at the age of 7. Displaying an early aptitude for playing by ear, he was soon accepted into his elementary school jazz band. From this point on, he became immersed in music, studying privately and performing in a variety of different settings. In high school, he was a member of the Massachusetts district and all-state jazz band, through which he was given the opportunity to play at the world famous Newport Jazz Festival. He began his undergraduate studies at NYU in 2013, and has gone on to study with world class musicians such as Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, David Pietro, Mike Rodriguez, and Lenny White, performing at venues such as The Blue Note and Shapeshifter Lab, as well as recording regularly.
In 2014, he joined the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Band as lead alto, a band that he was invited back to in 2015 and is currently a member of. Through this well known ensemble, he has been able to preform with artists such as Luis Bonilla, Lew Tabackin, Robin Eubanks, and John Faddis at world class venues such as Dizzy’s Jazz Club and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s The Appel Room. He went on tour with the band to Sao Paulo, Brazil in March. He was also given the opportunity to join the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra at the United Palace as well as Carnegie Hall to perform George Gershwin’s An American in Paris. He continues to push his limits as an instrumentalist, studying both classical and jazz flute and clarinet, as well as adding bass clarinet and piccolo to his arsenal.
Vocal Performance - Music Theatre
Andreas Bongard is a first year Master’s candidate in the Program in Vocal Performance studying music theatre in the studio of Michael Ricciardone. He received his BFA in music theatre from the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany where he studied voice with Noelle Turner. Andreas is also a voice teacher, certified by the German National Association of Voice Teachers (BDG).
In Europe he has appeared professionally as Claude in Hair, Dick in High Fidelity (European Premiere), Dusoleil in Amour (German Premiere), and Rodney Hatch in One Touch of Venus. Other credits include Schroeder in You´re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Radames in Aida.
As a soloist he has been involved in CD recordings and TV productions. At the German Rock and Pop Music Awards in 2007 he received first prize as “Best Musical Theatre Singer” and the second prize as “Best Pop Singer”. He has participated in several master classes worldwide, one where he worked with Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown.
At NYU he has recently been seen in City of Angels (Luther/Werner/Yamato) under Director John Simpkins. Andreas is proud to be a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.
Rachel Womble is a first year Master’s candidate in the Program in Vocal Performance studying music theatre in the studio of Michael Ricciardone. She recently completed her undergraduate degree in vocal performance at Rice University in Houston, Texas where she finished her time playing Eve in The Apple Tree.
At NYU Steinhardt she has been seen in Beguiled Again: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart under Director Dallett Norris, and most recently as the femme fatale Alaura Kingsley in City of Angels under Director John Simpkins.
Last summer she had her professional debut with the LOOK Musical Theatre Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she performed as Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and as Dainty June in Gypsy.
Sophia Sapronov is a junior in the NYU Steinhardt Program in Vocal Performance studying music theatre in the studio of Dr. Scott Murphree. She was born and raised in the metro-Atlanta area. With the encouragement of her parents she studied dance and music for 15 years; in high school, she decided to pursue the arts professionally.
At NYU Steinhardt she has performed in City of Angels (Margaret/Stand-In), Fiorello! (Cutie/Heckler), The Most Happy Fella (Dance Ensemble), and Sweet Smell of Success (Ensemble). Regional credits include Hairspray at the TriArts Sharon Playhouse and Child’s Play with the 13th Street Repertory Company. Other favorite credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena), Anything Goes (Bonnie), Much Ado About Nothing (Leonardo), and The Sound of Music (Maria). In March 2013, Sophia will play Maria in the Tisch New Theatre student production of West Side Story in the Skirball Center.
Tzeitel Abrego is a junior in the NYU Steinhardt Vocal Performance Program studying music theatre in the studio of Michael Ricciardone. Originally from the Arctic tundra also known as Ottawa, Canada, she began studying singing, piano, and music theory/composition at age 8 after falling in love with music and the creation of art.
In her sophomore year, she performed her NYU debut at the Skirball Center as Marie in The Most Happy Fella. Other NYU credits include City of Angels (Angel City Four Alto) and Fiorello! (Cutie/Striker). Regional credits include Godspell (Herb), Once Upon a Mattress (Lady Larken), and Anne and Gilbert (Prillie/Trio).
In July 2013, Tzeitel will be the provincial representative of Ontario at the National Voice Competition hosted by the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Associations (CFMTA).
Vocal Performance - Classical Voice
Asha Nelson-Williams, a native of Brooklyn, is an undergraduate junior in the Program in Vocal Performance studying classical voice in the studio of Rosa Vento.
At the age of three, Asha discovered that singing was her passion and pursued it through high school. She attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia Arts High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts as a vocal major where she peformed in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers and Victor Herbert's Naughty Marietta. In her freshman year at NYU, she competed in the National Association of Negro Musicians vocal competition. Her NYU credits include Beguiled Again and Fiorello!.
Asha will be performing as Cherubino in NYU's spring 2013 production of The Marriage of Figaro.
Elyse Matthews is a first year Master’s candidate in NYU’s Program in Vocal Performance studying classical voice in the studio of Rosa Vento. Elyse earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Voice Performance from the University of North Florida in 2010 and was involved in music throughout Florida for over ten years before returning to her family’s native New York to further her professional career.
Ms. Matthews has been heard as a soprano soloist in Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore, Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Handel’s Messiah. Operatic experience includes the roles of Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul, the Touriere and Novice in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and internationally, Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the historic Estates Theatre in Prague, Czech Republic.
Ms. Matthews will perform as Rosina in NYU’s April 2013 production of The Marriage of Figaro.
Nate Morgan is a junior in the Program in Vocal Performance studying classical voice in the studio of Scott Murphree. He made his NYU debut in the ensemble of last year’s chamber opera, Cendrillon, and subsequently appeared in Steinhardt’s production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. He will be performing as Figaro in NYU's Spring 2013 production of The Marriage of Figaro.
Some of his favorite regional roles include Jack (Into The Woods), Koko (The Mikado), Bingly (Pride and Prejudice) and Lieutenant Cable (South Pacific). Nate feels blessed to be able to sing repertoire that he is genuinely passionate about, and to be in a program that supports and encourages him every day.
Tyler Lee is a first year Master’s student in the NYU Steinhardt Program in Vocal Performance studying classical voice in the studio of Michael Ricciardone.
At age 6, Tyler wrote and voiced the 50th episode of Cartoon Network’s Dexter’s Laboratory and guest starred on The Tonight Show. At age 8, he co-starred on Disney’s Out of the Box.
Tyler has sung as the tenor soloist in Richard Einhorn’s “Voices of Light” with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and has participated in the New York Opera Studio with Nico Castel and the Spoleto Arts Symposium. He will perform as Basilio in NYU’s April 2013 production of The Marriage of Figaro.
Zhang Zhi was born in Yangzhou, China and is a first year Master’s candidate in NYU’s Program in Vocal Performance studying classical voice in the studio of Dr. Brian Gill.
She completed her five-year undergraduate degree in vocal performance at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music where she also studied and performed in the Xiaoyan Zhou Opera Center. As a senior, she performed the role of Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor and performed French art songs in the “Night of Art Song Concert”.
In 2012 she participated in the China Xia’men International Vocal Master Class and performed in concert. In July of 2011, she participated in master classes and concerts in the Lingua e Lirica Italiana in Italy with Kent Smith and Tom Jaber.
This past semester at NYU she participated in a master class with Håkan Hagegård and performed in the Chamber Music concert.
Erik Gundel is a musician and producer from Charlotte, Vermont. He started piano lessons at the age of 7, and was soon seduced by the power of the guitar at age 10. The communal power of music carried him through the awkward years of high school into the arms of Skidmore College. There he majored in music with concentrations in composition and jazz guitar. Ever the art-lover, he spent his senior year creating a film score to the Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali collaboration Un Chien Andalou (the one with the infamous eyeball slicing). This project received the Periclean Scholar Award.
In moving to New York, Erik was met with the typical challenges of the struggling artist. Suffice it to say, he is now able to make a world class cappuccino. Yet his myriad musical projects took him on tours far and wide, bisecting the USA repeatesdly, and skipping across the pond to the United Kingdom. In 2009, the US Department of State sent his band Motel Motel on a cultural exchange program to Egypt. There they performed in multiple cities, as well as giving workshops for the youth on how to play rock music. It was also a rare opportunity to feel the uneven pulse of a country at the precipice of a world-changing revolution.
Erik was brought to the world of music therapy through a series of volunteering opportunities. First, as a visiting performer at NY Methodist Hospital, Erik was able to witness the calming power of music on inpatients. Intrigued, he sought out an environment in which he could observe what actual music therapy sessions are like. The Nordoff-Robbins center at NYU offered the immensely educational opportunity to film sessions led by world class music therapists, including the center's managing director, Dr. Alan Turry. Erik hopes to bring his eclectic music experiences to his own clinical work, with a focus on improvisation and adolescents.
Gabriela Pelosi is a singer and guitarist. Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she earned her BA in Music Therapy in 2009. In her undergraduate studies she began studying the role of music in neuroscience. During this period, she worked with patients suffering from multiple degenerative neurological disorders in the Center for Cerebral Aging of the Federal Medicine University of São Paulo. While this was a positive and enlightening two-year experience, her interest in the Nordoff-Robbins approach to creative music therapy began to blossom. In the summer of 2011, Gabriela attended a course at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University.
Gabriela has worked as a music therapist and art educator in hospitals and non-profit organizations, as well as in the aid of mothers and children in centers for motherhood. Additionally, Gabriela has implemented team-building programs through drum circles and lectured on music therapy in undergraduate and technical training programs in Sao Paulo.
As a graduate student in the NYU music therapy program, she is conducting her practical work under the supervision of Dr. Alan Turry at the Nordoff-Robbins Center. Gabriela is proud and excited to be part of NYU Music Therapy community, which continues to prove both stimulating and enriching in experience. She looks forward to the years ahead.
Jasmine Edwards is a vocalist from South Florida. After majoring in voice at Dreyfoos School for the Arts in West Palm Beach, she went on to major in Music Therapy at Florida State University. At FSU, Jasmine sang in a number of choral ensembles, and was the music director for the all-female a cappella group, AcaBelles. While in the group, she participated in competitions, campus and community performances, arranged music, and produced an album. In her music therapy training, she completed practicum experience in a preschool setting and earned her NICU MT certification at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. She completed her undergraduate internship at Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, NJ, where she worked with children and adults with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Lesch-Nyhan.
After graduation, she returned to South Florida and worked in private practice that focused on children with autism and other developmental delays. However, she had become increasingly interested in NYU's focus on music psychotherapy, and was eager to learn more. Jasmine feels incredibly lucky to be a part of NYU's program, where she is given the opportunity to compare, contrast, and combine her previous experiences with NYU's philosophy of music therapy. Jasmine is completing her advanced fieldwork training at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy. Jasmine has a particular interest the role of improvisation when working with children with autism and trauma, with hopes of continuing this work when she enters the professional world again. She is also interested in the role of psychological theory in music therapy education and has hopes of conducting research.
Josh Millrod is a electro-acoustic trumpet player and composer from Brooklyn, NY. He studied music and journalism at Indiana University and has toured internationally as an ensemble member and soloist. Josh has released albums which have been recognized in album of the year lists by NPR, Magnet Magazine, Baltimore City Paper and Foxy Digitalis. Josh has also scored short films by Margaret Rorison which have been included in film festivals internationally. From 2007 to 2014, Josh worked on award-winning advertising campaigns and was included in Business Insider's list of "The 30 Most Creative People in Advertising Under 30."
In 2014, unaware of the music therapy profession, he left advertising to find a way to combine his love of music and desire to help people live more full and meaningful lives. He found his way to the NYU community and began volunteering at the Nordoff-Robbins Center and Brooklyn Conservatory's music therapy program. As a graduate student in NYU’s Music Therapy program Josh is focusing on working with adults in psychiatric settings and the intersection of music and meditative states.
Hailed by The New York Times for her “delirious abandon” onstage, vocalist Melissa Fogarty’s wide-ranging experience has lead her to appear at diverse New York City venues ranging from New York City Opera to popular clubs such as Le Poisson Rouge and City Winery as well as touring nationally with a variety of ensembles.
From opera to jazz, from early music to yiddish songs with Klezmer bands, Missy sings just about everything. Her professional career started at age 11 singing children’s opera roles with several major companies, most notably at The Metropolitan Opera, as the Shepherd in Tosca in the 1985 Emmy award-winning broadcast starring Placido Domingo.
Missy graduated from the Eastman School of Music, and has sung with numerous opera companies and early music groups throughout the United States, and has appeared in concert with Pulitzer-prize winning composers David Del Tredici and Yehudi Wyner.
Currently, Missy sings in two highly acclaimed Klezmer bands, Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos. She is also a member of Pomerium, an early music vocal ensemble that has been at the forefront of renaissance polyphony performance practice for over 40 years. In 2012, she co-founded a jazz quintet called The Highliners, dedicated to exploring jazz standards and giving popular songs the jazz treatment. With The Highliners, Missy surprises listeners with her highly-developed ability to improvise, or “scat.”
Missy caught a glimpse of the therapeutic value of music by volunteering for bedside performances with Sing for Hope, and realized how music shaped her own psycho-social well-being growing up. Her experience volunteering at the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in the Bronx and working with NYU professor Benedikte Scheiby clinched her decision to become a music therapist. She is thrilled to be part of the NYU music therapy family. Last semester she worked with pre-school children with developmental delays at the Jackson Developmental Center in Queens and is enjoying her current field work at Mount Sinai West’s inpatient psychiatric unit where she is co-leading groups and working one-on-one with patients under the supervision of NYU graduate Audrey Morse. She loves working with both children and adults and is particularly interested in using music therapy to help people struggling with addiction.
Pepe Benavides is a Chilean psychologist and a professional percussionist. He worked for five years in several centers for rehabilitation with special needs children who are on the autism spectrum and those with Down syndrome and other types of cognitive deficits. Through these experiences he was able to gain a deeper understanding of how music can have a major influence on their wellness and enhance cognitive growth and development.
As the drummer in the Valparaíso Big Band and in MOLO, Pepe toured extensively in Europe and South America performing everywhere from public open spaces and festivals to historical monuments throughout Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, Russia, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium.
In 2013 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and a Chilean government scholarship, which gave him the chance to start this new adventure with the NYU music therapy program in the fall of 2014. Pepe is especially appreciative of how much the program has allowed him to fully embrace his own music, which plays a key role in guiding his future career as a music therapist
Reissa Ress is an actor, singer, and teacher who attended Nazareth College Music Theatre. In addition to performing, Reissa has been teaching children singing and acting while putting on musicals with Random Farms Kids Theater in Elmsford, New York. She loves helping the children to find self confidence as they learn how to put on a show with others as a team. Reissa also spent a year with Americorps working in geriatric care. She helped form a choir for seniors and pioneered the development of a creative aging program. She continues to work as an arts coordinator, keeping programs running and the seniors thinking creatively.
Reissa started acting and singing as a way to help others to find new ways of thinking about themselves, so going into music therapy was a natural transition. In her first semester of clinical experience, Reissa worked with children in palliative care at the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers, New York. After that placement she worked in outpatient mental health care the Partial Hospital Program at North Central Bronx Hospital. Reissa hopes to continue on to bring drama and music together and work as a medical music psychotherapist.
Tess Power is a drummer/percussionist who began her musical journey when she started taking piano lessons at age 8 after nagging her parents for several years. However, it wasn’t until she joined band in 6th grade and chose to play the drums that she discovered her true musical calling. She spent high school being as involved as humanly possible in her school’s music programs and annoying her family with her drumset which sat in the middle of the living room. In 2007, she began a program in Jazz Studies at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, Music Conservatory. It was during her time in undergraduate school that she discovered a budding interest in psychology and decided to pursue a B.A. as well.
After graduating with both degrees in 2011, she spent a year waiting tables and playing music in Chicago. She then found work at a preschool teaching two and three year olds for the next couple years. It was there that she discovered how a simple song could capture the attention of a room of wonderful but frequently screaming toddlers. She volunteered at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Institute for Therapy through the Arts, where she was able to sit in on group music therapy sessions for young adults with developmental delays and eventually help facilitate these groups. Tess began NYU’s Music Therapy M.A. program in the fall of 2014. She participated in a pre-internship experience at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital’s Inpatient Psychiatric Unit and plans to continue to work in a mental health setting for her internship. She is very interested in the way music therapy can be a force in helping to transform the way mental illness is treated and possibly effect change in the state of our country’s mental health system.
Anna Duvall, graphic designer by day, choreographic visionary by night, is an artist by design through a creative capacity that has no bounds. With her keen eye for such visual applications as graphics, set and costume design, her productions – previously showcased in Denver and New York City, as well as Jerusalem – exude her distinctly elegant, theatrical flair. Her most recent production was part of the Thespis Theater Festival in NYC.
Excelling in dance since an early age, Anna was a first place scholarship recipient of the Denver Ballet Guild and among the first Americans invited to study at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, a story which garnered news coverage from both CNN and the Moscow Times. Anna received full scholarships from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, San Francisco Ballet and Colorado Ballet School, and travelled to Japan as a guest artist to perform, teach, and further her training.
Anna's professional dance career began with Colorado Ballet, where she performed for over a decade in roles such as the Spring Fairy in Cinderella, Russian Girl in Serenade, and the White Cat in Sleeping Beauty. With the Colorado-based Ballet Nouveau, Duvall earned critical praise from the Denver Post for her role as Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Upon later joining California Ballet, she performed in such productions as the company’s Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and various repertory works.
In the fall of 2014 Duvall began an MA at NYU on scholarship to further her teaching credentials and partake in American Ballet Theatre’s Pedagogy Master’s Program.
Kaitlyn Yiu was born in Canada and grew up in Los Angeles where she started taking ballet lessons at age 3. She later trained with several Russian ballet masters before entering the BFA program in Dance at NYU Tisch in 2013. While in LA, Kaitlyn won many awards and scholarships in ballet competitions such as YAGP Regionals and LA Music Center Spotlight Awards and was invited to perform at the Anaheim International Dance Festival Stars of Tomorrow Gala. Internationally, Kaitlyn competed in the Helsinki International Ballet Competition (IBC), Moscow IBC, Istanbul IBC, Rudolph Nureyev IBC as semi-finalists, and won a Summer Intensive Scholarship in the Valentina Kozlova IBC and a Silver medal in the VKIBC for Contemporary Dance. As a student at Tisch, Kaitlyn had the privilege to work with esteemed choreographers such as Seán Curran, Cherylyn Lavagnino, Giada Ferrone, and many others. She also had the honor to perform in Crystal Pite’s Polaris at the New York City Center as part of the Lincoln Center White Light Festival and in Giada Ferrone’s NYC Nutcracker, a Contemporary Ballet as a soloist. In her junior year, Kaitlyn was selected to participate in a dance exchange program in Prague, Czech Republic, for 6 weeks where she took classes with different dance companies and teachers. In May 2016, Kaitlyn graduated from NYU Tisch with a BFA in Dance and Psychology. She was named recipient of the J.S. Seidman Award for Dance and received a scholarship to pursue a MA Degree in Dance Education at NYU Steinhardt. In July, Kaitlyn was invited to perform a contemporary solo in the Brighton Dance Festival in Michigan. Kaitlyn recently received her first professional contract to perform in Houston Grand Opera's production of Nixon in China as a principal dancer. Aside from dancing, Kaitlyn has many years of experience in singing and fencing. As a member of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus (LACC), she performed with the LA Opera, LA Philharmonic, and the LA Master’s Chorale, and toured with LACC in major cities in China. Kaitlyn is currently an executive member in AACF, NYU's intervarsity campus fellowship. She enjoys reading, writing, and singing in her spare time.
Leyland Simmons was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He began his formal dance training with Barbara Devereaux of the Royal Academy School of Dance in Anchorage and Michelangelo Canale of the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy. He later studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Miami City Ballet, The School of American Ballet, Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn, The Ailey School, and Ballet Divertimento in Montreal, Canada.
Leyland is a graduate of the Professional Performing Arts High School in New York City and a former member of Ailey 2 and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He has danced with the New York City Ballet, Peridance Ensemble, Forces of Nature Dance Company, Nathan Trice’s/Rituals, George Faison, and Ballet X. Leyland has also performed at Jacob’s Pillow and at the Cincinnati, Moscow, and Miami International Ballet Festivals.
One review of Mr. Simmons’s work noted that he was “vibrant in his solo, whipping off multiple pirouettes…” and “he added powerful turns and jumps while remaining sensitive to the otherwise gentle ending.” Leyland is also a sought-after teacher having taught at notable institutions like the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Harlem School for the Arts, Steps on Broadway, NYU, and the Ailey School. He has also appeared in numerous film, television, and advertising projects such as the History Channel's Honor Deferred, The Conan O’Brien Show, YRB magazine, Law and Order, Starbucks Red Campaign, Puma, and Sansha.
He is a graduate of the Workshop in Business Opportunities and a member of the School of American Ballet’s Alumni Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. He is also a certified teacher in the ABT Pre-Primary to Level Three Curriculum, and an ABT Affiliate teacher. Leyland holds a BA in English and will graduate from the K-12 concentration.
Leyland’s choreography has been presented at the Apollo Theater and the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington DC. In the fall of 2016 Leyland became the resident choreographer of the Harlem School of the Arts. For more information, visit www.LeylandSimmons.com
Sindy Folgar is a native of Guatemala where she began her studies in dance at the Escuela Nacional de Danza and she received a BA in dance with a ballet concentration. Folgar also received a BFA in Dance with a ballet concentration and a minor in body science and motion from Marymount Manhattan College. Folgar is currently a second-year MA student in the Teaching Dance in the Professions track.
Folgar is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5. Ms. Folgar currently serves as the Co- Artistic Director of the In Motion Dance Company and the Director of Corps Ballet Ensemble with the Performing Arts Center of Connecticut where she has been a dance instructor and choreographer for the past 8 years.
Folgar is a ballet instructor and choreographer for Sacred Heart University’s dance company and on faculty at The Ailey School. She has also taught at NYU’s summer dance Intensive.
Folgar has danced with the Comapania Nacional de Danza in Guatemala and as a member of the Marymount Manhattan Dance Company. She has worked with many great dancers and choreographers including: Pascal Rioult, Sidra Bell, Alexandra Wells, Pam Tanowitz', Mark Morris, Kate Weare, Deganit Shemy, Pedro Ruiz, Katie Lanigan, Denise Vale, Kristina Berger, Larry Keigwin, etc. Some of the venues where she has performed include: Teatro Nacional Miguel Angel Asturias, NYCDA at The Joyce Theater, Dance New Amsterdam, Palace Theatre CT, Solstice in Times Square: Dancers at the Crossroads, and Dancers Responding to AIDS (DRA, Aaron Davis Hall Concert and SUNY Purchase).
Tal Aronson is currently a first year Master’s candidate in Dance Education at NYU Steinhardt with a specialization in Teaching Dance in the Professions. Prior to entering the program Tal danced professionally in Montreal and Toronto, Canada. Tal has worked with many critically acclaimed choreographers, performing in several festivals including the Canada Dance Festival, and was a member of the OMO Dance Company. Always balancing her love for teaching and performing, Tal was a faculty member at Montreal’s Ballet Ouest, and an Artist/Educator for the National Ballet of Canada’s YOU Dance program. Tal is a graduate of the Quinte Ballet School and holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Ryerson University. Tal is thrilled to be continuing her studies at Steinhardt.
Victoria Huish is currently in her last semester in completing her MA in Dance Education in the Teaching Certification in Pre K–12 track at NYU Steinhardt.
Prior to coming to NYU she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from SUNY Cortland. Originally from Park City, Utah she has studied at Dance Tech Studios, the University of Utah, and many studios in the NYC area.
Since starting the program she has performed in NYC at Radio City Music Hall, LDS Church Lincoln Center Building, Alvin Ailey Studios, the Frederick Loewe Theater, and the NYC Dance Arts Festival. In January 2014, she studied abroad with the NYU Dance Education program in Uganda and studied traditional Ugandan dance and performed at the National Theater in Kampala. She is currently co-representative of NYU's chapter of the National Dance Education Organization and recently attended the NDEO Annual Conference in Chicago on scholarship.
Currently, she is in her first year of teaching dance full time with the NYC Department of Education. She has been hired to develop a dance program at two middle schools in the Bronx. She is excited to be implementing a curriculum model she developed during her time studying at NYU.
Carmen Meyers was one of the first two students in the newly revised Educational Theatre EdD program. She is excited, honored, and a little nervous. As with most things, she has learned that this combination is the perfect environment for her to begin her work. She feels proud and a great sense of responsibility to continue to create and explore new strategies for teaching and learning through theatre practice. Carmen is a full time instructor in the Communication Arts and Sciences Department at Bronx Community College, and she hopes are that her doctoral work will continue to help her serve her students. She is currently working with the Psychological Services Department to address domestic abuse and mental health issues on campus. It is in this area that she would like to focus her doctoral work by delving deeper into the barriers of mental health services within Latino/Hispanic cultures. Carmen plans to create forum pieces to help aid these conversations and bring awareness and understanding to this issue. She is eager to gain the knowledge and expertise that this program offers and that she will need to go forward. This program has been a pioneer in the exploration and potency of applied theatre practice and education around the world, and through its outstanding faculty Carmen hope to add to the work that has already been done.
Charlie W. Wright
Charlie W. Wright is a sophomore in the Educational Theatre Program. During his time in the program, Charlie has been seen in Educational Theatre main stage shows (Salvation Road,) NYU club productions (Company and The Can Do Duck) and other productions throughout the city (Columbia University’s Wasps.) He has also taken advantage of the city’s resources to start doing background acting on television shows such as The Carrie Diaries (The CW) and Elementary (CBS.) He joined the Uproar Writers Corps, a group of young playwrights who meet to create new theatre, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. Recently he had the honor of having his first poem published: “The Children in the Field Are All Sunburned” (Gallatin Review, Volume 28).
Outside of NYU, Charlie completed a technical/operational internship at the theatre at the 14th Street Y and served as a stage manager to MCC Theater’s youth company, where he was lucky to observe a group of Washington Heights students devise a piece of theatre about their daily lives.
In addition to Educational Theatre courses, Charlie participates in Dean’s Global Honors Seminars, through which he had the opportunity to travel to Cuba and soon to Israel. He is also spending his next semester in Paris, where he will not only get to take exciting experimental theatre courses, but also get to broaden his perspective to a global level.
“When applying to schools, I knew that I wanted to study theatre, but I also knew that I wanted to do something with my career that was of value to others. I found that perfect intersection when I discovered NYU’s program in Educational Theatre. The wonderful thing about this program is that it prepares its students to work strictly in theatre, strictly in education, or any combination of the two. Whether preparing lesson plans in Into to Educational Theatre or glow-in-the-dark dancing in Physical Theatre Improvisation, I am always stimulated.”
Chelsea Flores is a sophomore in the Educational Theatre Program. She recently worked as the assistant choreographer for a production of In The Heights at her former high school in the Bronx. She has also worked as a counselor at the Riverdale Y Summer Stage performing arts camp and stage managed their summer production of Mulan Jr. At NYU, she has been seen as a cast member in Instant Gratification Fall 2013 – The Story of Jack (Ruthie), Theatrix! 2013 – Corrientes de Agua (Rosa), and Forbidden NYU, and she is currently originating the role of Ligeia in the fall main stage production of META. “I chose the Educational Theatre program because ever since I was a little girl, I always loved teaching and was convinced that was the profession I would go into. After being exposed to and falling in love with the performing arts, however, my dream warped. After finding this program, I began to realize that I could undertake both things I love most in the world – theatre and teaching – and all the in-between.”
Clare Hammoor is excited to be in this new chapter of making and thinking in his life. He is enjoying the challenges this EdD program offers along with the connections, ideas, and next steps it will spark in his educational journey. This journey has been filled with inquiry-based projects, devised theatre-making, and collaborative arts practices with other educators, students, theatre people, and folks outside the traditional education spectrum. His work currently rests in the Blue School as the primary and middle school program's Drama Specialist where he recently directed a devised clown show with 14 third-sixth graders. He also has a ritual and theatrical practice that keeps him connected with sacred moments on stages, in living rooms, and in found spaces as a facilitator and director. These pieces support the teaching he does in the prison system with incarcerated men and women as they work to earn their Associates and Bachelors degrees. In Fishkill Correctional Facility, Clare recently taught Introduction to Ethics in which men in his class worked to earn their first college credits. Each of these elements of Clare’s practice intersect to form the web of understandings, dreams, and thinking on the ground — he is interested in navigating the potentialities of violence in facilitated dramatic play and play production during his studies. He can't wait to begin this work while growing as a thinker, maker, and educator through the incredible people, resources, and support of the program.
Corey Rubel is in his second semester at NYU as an educational theatre student. Outside of NYU, Corey is a teaching artist for both George Street Playhouse and Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey. Over the past few years, Corey has directed a large amount of youth musicals and is currently the Youth Program Director at Villagers Theatre in Somerset, NJ, where he directs two workshops; one designed for third through eighth grades and one for ninth through twelfth grades. Corey chose to obtain his master's in educational theatre at NYU in pursuit of a career in an education department at a regional theatre, designing new programs to both integrate theatre into public school settings and to take place outside of school. The NYU Educational Theatre community has been such a supporting and welcoming community that encourages risks and new ideas.
Daphnie Sicre holds a B.A. in Journalism, History & Theatre from Lehigh University; an M.A. in The Teaching of Social Studies from Teachers College, Columbia University; and an M.A. in Educational Theatre from New York University. She is working as a full time Speech, Commnication, and Theatre professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Prior to her appointment as full-time Instructor, she taught at BMCC as an adjunct for three years. She also taught various theatre and education courses at Manhattan Marymount College and New York University. Formerly a Swortzell Scholar, she is now Ph.D. candidate and finishing her doctorate in Educational Theatre at NYU. She was also a teaching artist for George St. Playhouse, MileSquare Theatre, and NJPAC.
When she is not teaching, you can find her directing plays in NY/NJ, devising new work and conducting various workshops on Theatre for Social Change. She recently directed Shower Me at Columbia University and PLAY/DATE for the Blind Spot Collective. In addition to her doctoral work, Daphnie has directed over 25 productions with high school teenagers in Miami, Florida. Raised in Madrid, Spain, but born in Guayaquil, Ecuador to Peruvian and Spanish parents, Daphnie shares a deep passion for discovering multiple Latino and African American perspectives in communication, sociology and drama. While at NYU, she plans to focus her doctoral research on AfroLatino theatre and performance.
Jamie Cacciola-Price is thrilled to be back at NYU Steinhardt after having completed his MA in Educational Theatre and English in 2013. As a student in the EdD program he aims to strengthen his pedagogy and craft by identifying the best practices for creating work with young people of varied learning needs in the classroom and on stage. Jamie currently teaches advanced acting, directing, playwriting, and musical theatre at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. His recent FSSA directing credits include: Clybourne Park, Aida, RENT, Little Shop of Horrors, Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Comedy of Errors, Blood Wedding, Paganini, Scapin, and The Trojan Women. Jamie looks forward to learning, creating, and growing as an artist and educator in this esteemed educational theatre community.
Lyssa Deehan is an Educational Theater and English graduate student and writer/director/actor from the great state of Vermont. She currently works at MCC Theater as their Education & Outreach Assistant and Assistant Director of the new GW Satellite Youth Company in Washington Heights. Lyssa holds a B.A. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, where she performed in faculty-directed productions of Some Girl(s) and To Pieces, and wrote and directed a senior adaptation project called The Quickening. Lyssa lived a few different lives before arriving at NYU, but the most important thing she's done as an artist and educator was sling on a backpack and travel the world. She has a lot of interests, from Shakespeare to Hip Hop, and she's grateful to the NYU program for giving her the opportunity to combine and play with all of them. She hopes to someday create a classroom where others can do the same.
Marco Santarelli is a senior in the Program in Educational Theatre. Since entering the program, Marco has tackled nearly all aspects of the theatre: acting, directing, writing, and working behind the scenes. Marco’s favorite performances include Educational Theatre’s main stages Salvation Road and The Crucible, along with a short-lived Off-Broadway production of The History Boys. He has been a cast member of Shakespeare-to-Go since 2011and has appeared in several student films in the NYC area. When not acting, playwriting and screenplay writing occupy much of his time. In 2012, his short play, Dandelions for Angels, was published in Piper Plays 2012: Smart Plays for Young Actors Anthology and produced at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange. He also co-wrote and directed 300: The Musical, which debuted in Theatrix! 2013.
In addition to exercising his own creativity, Marco finds time to generate opportunities for other students to get involved in theatre and art activities. This has garnered him positions on the board of Uproar Theatre Corps as its Vice President and currently as its President. Additionally, Marco has spent the last two years as a peer mentor and orientation leader, welcoming and supporting new students to the NYU Steinhardt community. To augment his Educational Theatre degree, he is pursuing a minor in Business in Entertainment, Media, and Technology. These theatre, television, and film classes provide diverse prospects for internships and careers. Marco interns at Ambitious Films and hopes to continue in business entertainment incorporating his educational theatre training upon graduation.
Melissa Phillips is a second year Masters Candidate in Educational Theatre with certification in Theatre and Secondary English Language Arts. Her work at NYU Steinhardt has involved diverse experiences ranging from Theatre Practices in San Juan, PR, to performing at the Snapple Theatre, to working with Rehabilitation Through the Arts under her advisor Nan Smithner. The network of teachers and artists gained in the department has also served as a springboard for outside opportunities, such as working with the Education Department at TADA! Youth Theatre.
Her love for the program in Educational Theatre rests in its inclusive nature. As an actress, singer and dancer, she is committed to exploring global theatre, with a particular interest in African Diasporic arts. After working in Miami, FL as an English teacher with Teach for America, she realized the potential for a true fusion of theatre arts and literacy. The ETED program offered a perfect coupling, providing essential pedagogical and artistic for this work. She returned to her native Brooklyn, NY fueled with a passion to pursue this unique opportunity afforded by NYU.
Off campus, Melissa is involved in a variety of things. In February of 2013, she won the title of Miss Metropolitan NY, a New York City title in the Miss America system. She was honored to represent her region at the Miss NY competition that summer. She also works at CUMBE: The Center for African and Diasporic Dance, in Brooklyn, NY, cultivating her understanding of storytelling, dance and song.
Micaela Blei holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. from New York University in Educational Theatre and English Education. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Theatre, with a research focus on personal narrative performance and its impact on identity and learning communities. She is also interested in process drama and classroom curriculum design at the elementary level, as well as storytelling and drama in history and social studies classrooms.
In addition to 7 years as a classroom teacher at the elementary level, Ms. Blei has been a teaching artist with the Story Pirates, Teaching Matters and The Moth (a national nonprofit dedicated to storytelling performance). Micaela served for three years as the curriculum director for The Story Pirates and led the design of their original educational programming. At The Moth, Micaela has been one of the two program designers and instructors for the High School SLAM program. She is The Moth's Education Program Development Manager. She is also a passionate storyteller: she is a Moth GrandSLAM champion and has appeared in storytelling shows throughout New York City as well as on the road with The Moth Mainstage and on tour nationally with the Unchained Tour. She can be heard on the Moth Radio Hour on Public Radio Exchange.
Micaela writes plays and fiction for young audiences. (She wrote a short musical about spelling for Educational Theatre's Theatrix!, which she will gladly re-enact on request.) She has had training in clown, trapeze, physical theatre, solo performance and comedy improv. When it's above 50 degrees, she can be found on her bicycle all over the city.
A teacher once told Michael Yurchak that to experience the sensation of being thrilled is to embrace the space where fear and excitement meet. He is thrilled! Thrilled to be embarking on a new journey at NYU and to be returning to the department of Educational Theater after 11 years in the field. Michael is also truly honored to be invited back to be part of this community. Michael lives in Los Angeles and commuted virtually as well as joins study groups and intensive semesters whenever possible. As a teacher, he is particularly influenced by the work he does as an associate instructor of Fitzmaurice Voicework, focused on the release of breath and body tension in order to discover and express with authentic voice. He tries to incorporate the principles of this practice into his work as a teaching artist, in an effort to help facilitate the empowerment of students as they seek to make themselves heard. Michael also performs regularly as a voice artist and actor, and (most importantly) he is a dad to two amazing little creatures (Luca and Sascha) who want desperately to see New York City! He hopes to focus his doctoral work on the design and implementation of meaningful teaching artist programs within the context of urban nonprofit arts organizations. As equal parts artist, educator, and administrator, Michael works full time across many facets of the field, and he hopes to learn more about ways to add leadership and value to the various organizations he represents. Since he started his career after getting his masters in 2004, he has consistently found connection with and inspiration from fellow NYU alums as mentors, colleagues, and friends all over the country. "There is no other program I know of with as far reaching impact, and it is with the most sincere gratitude that I join you!"
Nick Linnehan is an avid educator, director, actor, and writer. Nick has worked as an Educational Director for several theater companies since his graduation, including: TEST Theater Company, Nicu’s Spoon Theater, and Identity Theater Co., where he is the founder. Nick graduated from CW Post with his BA in Theater and holds a master's in Education from Queens College. Nick looks forward to making great theater with great people within the EdD community
Tammie L. Swopes
Tammie L. Swopes is over the moon excited to be returning home to the Educational Theatre program as an EdD student (MA in Educational Theatre Colleges and Communities class of 2004). Tammie has been in the business of theatre and education for over 20 years. Starting her career in theatre as an intern in the development department at the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta, GA, Tammie immersed herself in the art and business of theatre from top to bottom. During her time in Atlanta, she was inspired to take her love of theatre to a new level, working with youth. She went on to work with organizations such as Performing Arts Program for Youth (PAPY), the Atlanta Partnership for Arts in Learning, and the Names Project foundation, and she served as board secretary for an art in education organization led by Jane Fonda.
After earning a master’s degree in Educational Theatre at NYU, she worked as a lead teaching artist, in-residence arts in education specialist, after-school theatre director/instructor, and a full-time theatre instructor. For the past six years, she has taught middle-school performing arts at Hyde Leadership Charter School in the South Bronx, producing a variety of cultural and community events, writing and producing plays for youth with her students, and continuing her own work as an artist and proponent of social justice issues. Tammie hopes that her studies in the EdD program will allow her the opportunity to further develop her pedagogy to create meaningful Theatre and educational experiences for both youth and adults alike.
Adam Stevens was born and raised on the South Shore of Long Island, New York.
From a young age, Adam tended toward the creative and was drawn, in particular, to the theatre. He received his undergraduate degree from Marymount Manhattan College in theatre arts with a dual concentration in theatre performance and directing. He has been involved in productions in New York City and Long Island.
Adam went on to continue his education and pursued coursework in psychology.
Understanding the power of theatre, Adam has used his talent and love of theatre to promote social change. He traveled to Haiti, where he participated in the Anti-Sexual Abuse Project using drama as a means to educate on issues relating to AIDS prevention and unwanted pregnancy.
Currently, Adam works as a creative arts specialist for individuals with developmental disabilities. His body of work includes creating innovative wellness programs that feature Zumba Fitness and other forms of dance fitness as a means to healthier living.
This past year, Adam collaborated with a day habilitation program. There, he adapted and directed two classic tales, The Ugly Duck and The Emperor's New Clothes, solely casting young adults with Down syndrome and Autism. These productions have toured various schools throughout Long Island teaching local students valuable lessons whilst engaging them in entertaining live theatre.
He looks forward to continuing his work with the special needs community, and hopes to expand to other communities in need. Adam is absolutely ecstatic to begin his graduate journey at NYU with the Steinhardt School's program in Drama Therapy.
Marissa Messiah grew up in Trinidad. After graduating high school, she moved to Canada and eventually to New York City, completing her undergraduate studies at St. John's University where she majored in Psychology with a minor in multi-ethnic/multi-cultural studies.
She worked in both retail and a pre-school and started to observe the roles her customers and students adopted to cope. She also dealt with an emotional loss around that time and became frustrated with the traditional talk-therapy at school; it didn't feel applicable across cultures.
Upon graduating Marissa went to Newark, New Jersey to teach in a charter school. She thought that she could make a difference, she went to education reform meetings and assisted with a specialized curriculum for students. But there seemed to be a "one-size fits all" approach. Students sitting in a classroom for 9 hours of an extended school day expected to be still. She observed how much movement and storytelling helped her group of students absorb and retain the information.
After getting in trouble for her style of teaching, Marissa left the school to spend some time in Kenya with friends who lived there. One day her friend mentioned that Kenyans in rural areas wouldn't believe in "American therapy" because talking about it embraces the sadness. Instead they dance and drum it out in a circle and each family member enacts a scene of love for the traumatized person. This sparked her interest. She had known about drama therapy for a while and decided to pursue it. Once she read everything she could find on it she became convinced that this was her calling. She could see this being effective in the Caribbean and other cultural populations she’s interested in working with. She cannot envision herself doing anything else but this. When she came back from Kenya Marissa applied to all of the Drama Therapy programs she could find. Her first choice selected her as well and here she is!
Maya Rose Hormadaly
Maya Rose Hormadaly is a second year graduate student in the Drama Therapy program at NYU. She has lived most of her life in Israel, and has received her acting and directing training in the beautiful Tel Aviv. In addition, Maya is a published playwright and musician. Her play, Concerta for Eight is a musical about learning disabilities and is currently presenting in Israel's national theater, Habima. She is currently interning at Bellevue Hospital and is participating in the Drama Therapy department play about disability.