Additonal Rostered Part-Time Faculty
Tamsen Beseke is an active soloist, chamber, studio and orchestral musician, performing over 125 concerts a year. She has given several premieres of concertos, chamber music, operatic and orchestral works. Her career includes performances with such notable artists as: Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Zubin Mehta, Henryk Szeryng, Joshua Bell, and Gil Shaham. In addition, she has performed and recorded with popular artists like: Andrea Bocelli, Lalo Schifrin, Frank Capp, Ray Charles, Diane Schuur, George Benson, Barry White, Doc Severenson, James Galway, Roger Williams, and Bobby Vinton.
Along with her position in the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, Tamsen has been concertmaster of the Crystal Cathedral Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and West Coast Symphony. She is proud to have been a member of the New West Symphony for twelve years and has been principal second violin with the Glendale Symphony since 1991. She is the first violinist for the Avanti String Quartet who were Artists in Residence at Clemson University and were selected to perform student concerts for the Coleman Chamber Music series.
In addition to Tamsen’s concertizing, she has taught award and competition- winning students. She has been on the faculty of Citrus College, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Fullerton and, this year, Westmont College. Many of her students have gone on to graduate from universities and have pursued careers in music. Not only have they achieved high academic status in music but also the practices of medicine, engineering, science and education. Tamsen encourages all her pupils to become better at everything they do by employing introspective, physiological and analytical ways of thinking.
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.
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.
Marisa McLeod, violinist, a native of Newark, New Jersey, began her studies of the violin at the age of three. She received her Bachelor of Music degree at Montclair State University, and her Master of Music degree from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. She studied the Suzuki method and received her Suzuki certification from the Eastman School under Anastasia Jempelis.
She was a member of the Anderson String Quartet for ten years. She has studied string quartets with the Cleveland Quartet with Peter Salaff as her private teacher, Juilliard String Quartet, American String Quartet, and Le Quatuor de Deux Monde, in Fontaineblau, France. They were artists in residence and members of the music faculty at California State University, Los Angeles. Their travels took them all over the country and parts of France where they performed numerous recitals and children’s concerts. She has also performed and recorded for artists like Snoop Dog, Smokey Robinson, En Vogue, Moesha, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Buble and many others.
She presently performs with California Philharmonic, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks Philharmonic and various orchestras in Southern California. She conducts the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony’s Junior Strings and Chamber Ensemble. She also has a private violin and viola studio in South Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Santa Barbara.
For Marisa performance is sustenance. She relishes the interdependence between art , the artist and the audience, and as a teacher and coach, she finds herself in the enviable position of being able to pass on to others the how-to of creating this loving relationship.
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.