Additional Rostered/Former Part-Time Faculty
Helen Callus, hailed as “one of the world’s greatest violists” (American Record Guide), “a violist of the highest caliber” (Strings magazine), and “one of the foremost violists of her generation” (Fanfare magazine), continues to captivate audiences with her lyrical tone, technical command, and profound artistry. Sought after as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist, Ms. Callus has performed with such world-class ensembles as the Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets and the BBC Concert Orchestra. She is described by The Seattle Times as “a player with impeccable sensibilities and a beautiful sound, infinitely malleable into all kinds of musical subtleties.” The American Record Guide observed that “her playing is so deeply felt [that] the music’s message goes straight to the heart.” Space in Ms. Callus's studio is limited and interested students are selected for placement by audition. Students should pursue the regular music scholarship audition procedure and request consideration for assignment to her studio at the time of their audition or when recorded materials are submitted. Alternative studio placements will be made with other regular faculty when appropriate. Current students wishing to transfer to Ms. Callus's studio may request to do so at any time with the performance or submission of an appropriate audition. Continue reading Helen Callus' bio here.
Yue Deng was born in Hebei, China. At the age of eight, she won First Prize in the National Violin Competition in China. She received her B.M. from the Oberlin Conservatory, and her M.M. from the Juilliard School. For two summers, 1998 and 1999, she attended the Music Academy of the West, studying under Zvi Zeitlin. In December 1999, she perfomred at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Seminar Orchestra. In 2003, she collaborated with Roger Kellaway and Bill Charlap at Birdland. Gene Lees wrote an essay about her in his book “Friends Along the Way”, which was published by Yale University Press. She was the concertmaster and soloist for the Henry Mancini Institute in 2002 and 2003. Roger Kellaway arranged and wrote an album for her “Both Sides Now”. In 2006, she was the featured soloist in the tribute concert for John Williams and Ginny Mancini at Kodak theater. As a recording artist, she has recorded with Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Diana Krall, Josh Groban, Johnny Mandel, Willy Nelson and Dionne Warwick, and on movie scores such as No God No Master ( Soloist, 2012), Invictus (2009) and In Her Sleep (2008). Her album with Jean-Yves Thibaudet titled “Ogermann: Violin and Piano works” was released on Decca in 2007. As the principle Concertmaster, Ms Deng will be leading the Pacific Shore Philharmonic in the inaugural season at the Libby Bowl in the summer, 2012. She served on the jury for the strings competition hosted by American String Teachers Association and the Annual Henry Schwab Ventura County Violin Competition. Yue is an active member of American Federation of Musicians, American String Teacher’s Association and Music Teacher’s Association of California.
Michael Evans grew up in Goleta, CA and started playing trombone in 8th grade at Goleta Valley Jr. High. While at Dos Pueblos High School he studied bass trombone with Garr Crowely, in addition to teaching himself tuba. During his years at Santa Barbara City College he performed with every performing group the school had to offer, including the professional level choir, Quire of Voycesm and the Monday Madness jazz band.
John Knecht has been performing and teaching music since he was 14 years old. His musical journey continued at the University of North Carolina, where he earned top honors as a drummer and percussionist.
In 1994, he first moved to the west coast to join the Los Angeles Performing Arts Center. John's role was to design and manage long-term arts residencies in the LAUSD public schools. After earning a master's in Business from UCLA, he headed to Chicago to work in strategic consulting. He then formed a company called Pulse Beat Music, which offers world music programming in the Chicago public schools. John also taught privately at Chicago high schools while performing professionally. Additionally, he taught arts education programs through the House of Blues, Chicago Symphony, and Urban Gateways.
Over the last 6 years, John and his wife Ashley have traveled to study music in over 20 countries. John is extremely excited to be back on the west coast and living on the Mesa with Ashley and their sons Ashton and Dylan.
Claude-Lise Lafranque, violinist, studied in Bordeaux, France graduating from Bordeaux's conservatory with a first prize in performance. In Paris she studied with maestro Nerini and attended many music festivals throughout Europe giving her the opportunity to work with great masters such as Irina Boshkova of Moscow's conservatory. She came to Santa Barbara to attend the Music Academy of the West and prolonged her stay to attend University of California, Santa Barbara. She currently performs in Santa Barbara with the Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. She shares her love for music with her own two children and many students in the community.
Michael Lieberman, Violist, pursues a busy and varied career as a chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher. During the 2000/01 season, he performed for the World Premier production of Philip Glass's opera, "In the Penal Colony" written for a single string quintet that was on stage and in costume during the entire performance. With over a hundred performances in New York, Chicago and Seattle, the production was reviewed to critical acclaim. In 2007 Michael was the Violist and Music Director for “Tempo of Recollection”, an innovative collaboration of Chamber Music, Dance, Drama, Projected Images and Sound set in a 1920s Prague dance-hall bringing to life the music of Czech composer and holocaust victim, Erwin Schulhoff. From 2011-2013, he was the Assistant Music Director and Violist for Cirque Du Soleil's "IRIS" at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. With the musical score written by Danny Elfman, Michael is featured as the solo violist on the Soundtrack Recording. The production ran for over 500 performances including an appearance on the Tonight Show. Since 2013, Michael has been composing, arranging, writing and performing as the violist in Wet the Hippo. Wet The Hippo, nominated for Best Comedy in the 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival, is a collection of LA’s most twisted and uncontrollable performers in sublimely irreverent and beautifully chaotic live performance. Michael has played principal Viola with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and Opera Santa Barbara in addition to performances with the Los Angeles Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Oregon Symphony among many others. For 10 years he was Violist in the Saint Helen's String Quartet with performances in every major venue, on television and radio throughout the Pacific Northwest including a residency at Cornish College of the Arts. The Saint Helen ’s String Quartet will be releasing its debut recording in the fall of 2015. Michael has taught at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and is currently on the faculty at Westmont College. Michael studied at the Peabody Conservatory and currently lives in Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.mdlieberman.com
Valerie Malvinni, violist and violinist has an active private studio in Santa Barbara and at Santa Barbara City College. Westmont students interested in studying in her studio may do so by arrangement with Dr. Philip Ficsor. An active orchestral musician, Valerie performs with the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and occasionally performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. As an active chamber musician she has participated in several festivals including Taos, Recontres Musicales ‘d’Evian, France, the Isaac Stern Chamber Music Festival.
She previously served as Assistant Professor of Music at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ and was strings director of The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara. In summer, Valerie has taught at the inaugural Adriatic Chamber Music Festival in Italy and is founder and teacher of the Santa Barbara String Camp. In addition to her current college teaching, Valerie teaches privately at her violin shop, Malvinni Stringed Instruments.
Valerie received her B.M from The Curtis Institute of Music with Karen Tuttle, Joseph de Pasquale and Felix Galimir. She came to California to pursue her M.M. degree at UC Santa Barbara as a member of the Young Artist String Quartet, studying with Heiichiro Ohyama.
A Santa Barbara native, Kathryn Mendenhall has given solo and chamber music performances across New York, Eastern Europe, Italy, Korea, and Indonesia. An avid supporter of new music, Kathryn was a long-time member of the Illustrious Theatre Orchestra, a composer-performer ensemble dedicated solely to the performance of modern and new works. Over the years, she’s performed for both Lynn Harrell and Yo Yo Ma, and studied primarily under Ben Hong, Bongshin Ko, and Daniel Rothmuller and Geoffrey Rutkowski. Locally, Kathryn serves as a Teaching Artist for the Incredible Children Arts Network and the Musical Mentor Coordinator, bridging Westmont & iCAN. She holds bachelors in both Music Performance and Physics from Cal State University, Fullerton, and a masters from UC Santa Barbara.
Jon Nathan has been a figure in the Santa Barbara musical scene since his arrival here nearly ten years ago. He holds a B.M. in Jazz Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an M.M. in Percussion Performance from Cal State University at Northridge. During his time there, he was introduced to William Kraft, and was asked to continue studies with Professor Kraft at UCSB, where he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Currently, Dr. Nathan is principal timpanist with the Santa Barbara Grand Opera Association as well as Director of Jazz Ensembles and Lecturer in Percussion and Percussion Ensemble at UCSB. He has also served as Principal Percussionist with the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera, and continues to perform regularly with the Santa Barbara Symphony, as well as for other regional orchestras including Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra and Santa Monica Symphony.Dr. Nathan was also the original drummer in the Animal Liberation Orchestra and in various jazz groups in Santa Barbara, including the Nate Birkey Quintet. He has also served on the faculty of the Jazz in July Improvisation Workshop, held on the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, with such jazz luminaries as Yusef Lateef, Dr. Billy Taylor, Sheila Jordan and the Turtle Island String Quartet.
Helen Park currently teaches clarinet at Westmont College. A native of Orange County, CA, Ms. Park earned her Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees in Clarinet Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara studying with Paul Bambach where she was awarded a Teaching Assistantship for the Wind Ensemble and was a winner of the Concerto Competition. As a free-lancer in the Santa Barbara area, Ms. Park has taken part in various ensembles and organizations such as the Thomas Aquinas College, Gold Coast Wind Ensemble, Santa Barbara Choral Society, the Master Chorale, and the Pacific Convservatory of the Performing Arts of Allan Hancock College. In addition to performing, Ms. Park operates a full private studio teaching clarinet and piano of all levels. An advocate of community outreach and early music education, Ms. Park teaches clarinet classes at under-resourced elementary schools in Goleta and Santa Barbara.
Nona Pyron has an active private studio in Santa Barbara and Pasadena, in addition nationally recognized master classes on the Westmont campus and other locations. Westmont students interested in studying in her studio may do so by arrangement with Dr. Philip Ficsor. She iis an internationally known cellist and a recognized authority on the history of the cello and its performance. In London, where she lived for 17 years, she worked closely with William Pleeth and collaborated with him on the book Cello for the Yehudi Menuhin Series. Prior to coming to London, Dr. Pyron, who holds a MM and DMA from the University of Southern California, taught cello, chamber music and music history at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon and played in the Portland symphony. While in London she conceived the idea of combining performance on period instruments (Baroque and Classical) with works on the "modern" cello in a single concert, illustrating the wide scope of the sound of the cello over three centuries. She launched this idea in a series of six concerts at the Wigmore Hall in London and later carried out this concept in concerts throughout Europe and the U.S. Dr. Pyron is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Grancino Editions which has published over 100 unknown or forgotten compositions from the 18th century. These are taken from her collection of over 8,000 works which she uncovered in years of research in Europe.
John Sant’Ambrogio studied music at Lebanon Valley College (B.A., 1954) and at Ohio University (M.M., 1959). He studied cello with Diran Alexanian (1948 to 1950), with Paul Olevsky (1950 to 1952), and with Leonard Rose(1953 to 1955). Sant’Ambrogio was principal cellist with the U.S. Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra from 1956 to 1958, and then played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1959 to 1968. He was cellist with the Boston Piano Trio from 1965 to 1968. He was principal cellist with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1968 to 2005 under music directors Walter Susskind, Jerzy Semkow, and Leonard Slatkin. He has been a private cello instructor since 1959, and former pupils have obtained positions in major orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He has taught at Boston University (1963 to 1965), Washington University in St. Louis (1970 to 1974), the Grand Teton Music Seminar (1980 to 1985), the St. Louis Conservatory of Music (1985 to 1989), and at the Mountain Team Concepts Music Camp (founder and director, 1992 to 1996). He joined the Westmont Music Department in fall 2011 to teach private cello lessons.
Celeste Tavera is a National Winner of the Metropolitan Opera Competition in New York City. She has also performed a variety of operatic roles with Opera Companies such as the New York City Opera National Tour, San Diego Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Santa Barbara Grand Opera, and San Francisco Western Opera Theater. Celeste has also performed in Italy at the festival dell' Opera Lirica Siciliana with Vincenzo La Scola. She sang in concert with Jose Carreras, in Vincenza, Italy and again at the Villa Albergati in Bologna, Italy. Other honors include the Golden Eagle awards, International Bellini Competition, Leiderkranz Foundation, and winner of the Victor Fuchs competition and People's Choice Award. She performed as soloist for the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as well as soloist with the Pacific Symphony, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Las Vegas Symphony and the Palm Springs Desert Chorale. Celeste is a versatile performer of concert, Broadway and commercial music. Her recording credits include: musical promotion for the 1996 Academy Awards and background vocals for Universal Studios soundtrack "Land before Time." Other CDs include "Their Thought & Back Again," "Ivory Joe Cole," "Best Loved Arias," and "You Keep Me Singing." In Musical Theater Celeste has performed in "West Side Story," "Kismet," and in the world premier of "Cole & Will (together again)." She studied voice and vocal performance at Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State. She also studied Italian at the Cultura Italiana language school in Bologna, Italy and studied voice under the tutelage of Jane Randolph, Herta Glatz, and Egidia Bonessi. She has also coached with Metropolitan Opera's Jane Dornermann and Carol Neblett and in Italy with vocal coach Paula Molinari. Celeste has taught voice at Westmont College for the past nine years. Her students have participated in various orchestral concerts and competitions, Celeste developed the vocal program for the Yamaha Music Education Center in Irvine, California, and she went on to produce, direct, and stage the Not So Royal Opera Company's production of "Iolanthie." Ms. Tavera has taught privately for over twenty years and is a member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singings). Website: celestetavera.net
John Wakefield has been a professional percussionist for over 24 years and is currently playing in the L.A. Opera and Santa Barbara Symphony. He is also playing, writing, and producing music with Omar Torrez (Latin, Soul, and Groove music). John received his degree from the University of Maryland in Music Performance (Percussion) and did graduate work at USC for his Master’s Degree in Music. He teaches private percussion lessons and coaches the orchestra percussion section at Westmont.
Chan Ho Yun is currently on the faculty of The Colburn School of Performing Arts and California State University, Long Beach, and is the Executive Director/Founder of the Montecito Summer Music Festival and the Rainbow Music Academy, a non-profit organization bringing music to underprivileged children. He has been awarded DSCM, Sydney Conservatorium of Music; MM, Southern Methodist University; and DMA, University of Southern California. His violin studies have been with Harry Curby, Alice Schoenfeld, Eduard Schmieder and Abram Shtern. Honored with the Big Brother Foundation Scholarship for studies in London and the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Music Award to study in the U.S., Mr. Yun has performed chamber music concerts and conducted Master Classes at summer residencies at the Pan Pacific Music Festival, the Idyllwild Arts Summer Festival, Beverly Hills International Summer Music Festival, and the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival. Mr. Yun has performed extensively in solo and chamber music concerts, as well as being heard on radio broadcast in Australia and the U.S. He has played with the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Pasadena Symphony, and L.A. Musica Viva.