Active 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.
Dan Bos currently teaches guitar lessons at Westmont College. Dan is an award-winning composer, record producer, and performer living in Santa Barbara. He has written music for clients, such as Target Stores, Office Depot, ABC Television, HGTV, Coldwell Banker, March of Dimes, David Jay Photography, and Dane Sanders Photography. His composition "Pendulum" won a 2009 ADDY Award. He has produced all the Westmont Chapel recordings as well as recordings for Westmont Phoenix, Santa Barbara Community Church, Philip Ficsor & Emma Lou Diemer, Cal State Channel Islands, Montecito Covenant Church, Elise Witek, and Leif Tinsley. He has been teaching guitar to students of all ages and skill levels for over 12 years specializing in contemporary rock and popular music. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music and Religious Studies from Hope College (Holland, MI). www.truetoneproductions.com
Jim Connolly, string bass instructor, is a composer and performer living in Santa Barbara, California. He writes music for The Gove County Philharmonic, The Gove County String Quartet and Lit Moon Theatre. He has composed for choir, musical saw, five string violin, string quartet and various chamber ensembles. He plays the double bass, saw, banjo, piano and sings. He attended New England Conservatory. Jim has received five Independent Theater Awards, numerous commissions, grants, ASCAP Plus Awards and in 2001 was listed as one of the twenty-five most intriguing people in Santa Barbara. He has collaborated or performed with Nate Birkey, Gilles Apap, Jeff Kaiser, Brad Dutz, Headless Household, Jeff Bridges, Vinny Golia, Eugene Chadbourne, Cougar Estrada, Anna Abbey and his brother Kevin Connolly. The Gove County String Quartet is Laura Hackstein and Sally Barr on violin, Kirsten Monke on viola and Jim Connolly playing bass. The Gove County Philharmonic has included Ron McCarley on clarinet, Jeff Kaiser playing trumpet, Bruce Bigenho on piano, Jim Bement and Brett Larson on accordion, Gilles Apap and the members of The Gove County String Quartet are the strings. For listening and more information please visit http://www.jimconnollymusic.com
Born in Romania, Emil Dorian Cristescu left the country in 1986. After a few years spent in Italy, Germany, Switzerland he moved to United States where he went back to school. A Bachelor’s Degree in voice/performance from the University of Arizona, a Master’s Degree from Indiana University and a Doctoral Degree from University of California at Santa Barbara, gives him more than adequate academic background but also a vast performing background.
He has performed in a wide variety of operatic roles among which two world premiers, Performed in Oratorios, Requiems, as well as TV and other camera appearances His facile ability to learn music and memorize text as well as a cognizant grasp of English, Russian, French, German, Italian and his own Romanian language is testimony of a fine academic knowhow and musicianship. His acting technique is sure and he is capable of dramatic interpretations, from broad comedy, where his comic timing is sure and effective, to the heartfelt and honest sympathy required in productions such as “ La Boheme”. He had worked with famous teachers in the filed. Among them are Giorgio Tozzi, Virginia Zeani, Elizabeth Mannion. He performed on stage with the likes of Pablo Elvira, Eduardo del Campo, Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu, etc. He performs in Oratorios/Requiems, such as the 2006 Requiem tour in Western Europe with CalPoly University. He is also the winner of numerous competitions, honors and grants, including among them the Igor Gorin Memorial Award, Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, Academy of the West in Montecito -Leni Fe Bland competition, Ellen Faul Gordon, and The Metropolitan Opera Voice Competition. And now, he is a faculty member of the prestigious Westmont College, in Montecito, California where he continues to give his amassed knowledge from around the world to a new group of young artists, all part of Westmont and part of a new refined group or classical artists, that will happily represent Westmont College on the world stage.
Christopher Davis earned his BA Degree in Music from UC San Diego, his MM Degree from the University of Arkansas, and completed his DMA Degree from UC Santa Barbara in 2013, studying with Paul Berkowitz and Robert Koenig. Chris has been a prizewinner in the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, California Young Artists Competition, and San Diego Symphony Young Artist Competition, and has been a concerto soloist with several orchestras. In addition to being the Music Academy of the West’s house manager since 2009, he has worked for Camerata Pacifica and collaborated independently with many of their musicians. Dr. Davis is also currently on the staff of the Santa Barbara Music Club and the Ojai Music Festival. His other hobbies include composition, tennis, and salsa dancing.
Nichole Dechaine currently teaches private voice lessons at Westmont College. She graduated from the University of Redlands and earned her master’s degree and doctorate from UC Santa Barbara, where she taught for six years. Dechaine is an active performer with UCSB, Opera Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West, the Amherst Early Music Festival Baroque Academy in Connecticut, and numerous local ensembles including Vocal Scholars, Santa Barbara Quire of Voyces and the Santa Barbara Choral Society. She also sings at All Saints’-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.
Catherine Del Russo received her Bachelor of Music Degree and Performance Certificate at the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Robert Sprenkle. She also received her Masters of Music Degree from Ohio University where she studied with John Mack in Cleveland. Since then, Ms. Del Russo has performed around the world, beginning with the Eastman Wind Ensemble to the Far East as Principal Oboe. After that, she performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Filharmonic de Caracas and Orquesta Municipal in Caracas, Venezuela. Ms. Del Russo has played with many orchestras since moving to Los Angeles, for example, the Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, the Honolulu Symphony. Currently, she is Principal Oboe of Orchestra Santa Monica, Downey Symphony, Symphony in the Glen, Solo English horn of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Asia America Symphony. Catherine has enjoyed playing on many films, commercials and television shows. She has been a promoter of chamber music and new music in Los Angeles. Her oboe, viola and piano trio won the Consortium of Southern California Chamber Music Presenter’s. Catherine is Professor of Oboe at Pepperdine University and Occidental College.
Marcia Dickstein (B.M., M/M.) currently teaches harp lessons at Westmont College. She is attracting new audiences to the harp in chamber music and solo with orchestra. To date she has inspired composers from classical, film and jazz/fusion genres worldwide to write over 100 new works. As Founder/Artistic Director of The Debussy Trio she has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, over NPR radio and on commercial and public TV. Important concerts include appearances in Copenhagen, Prague, Geneva (Switzerland), San Francisco, Kennedy Center (Washington, DC) and solo with orchestras in Louisville, Glendale and Seattle. Recordings are available at www.fatrockink.com and on the Klavier, First Edition, Harmonia Mundi, Koch and RCM labels.
Ms. Dickstein’s has played on over 350 film scores such as Toy Story I-III, Matrix I-III, Alice in Wonderland, Royal Tennenbaums, Minority Report, Memoirs of a Geisha, Horton Hears a Who, Indiana Jones 4; CD solos with Roger Wagner & William Hall Chorales; CDs Chamber Music of Arnold Bax and The Debussy Trio’s 3 Friends, a “best pick” by Gramophone Magazine of London. Adjunct Professor of Harp at Cal State University/Long Beach, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Westmont College (Santa Barbara), Ms. Dickstein is also Teacher/Artistic Director of the Central Coast (CA) Harp Workshop. She holds Master Classes throughout the USA and maintains a private studio in Los Angeles. Her transcriptions and scholarly editions of solo and chamber music for professional and student level harpists are published by Fatrock Ink of Los Angeles.
Andrea Di Maggio has been praised for her “stellar playing and social grace” by the Santa Barbara Independent and is in demand as both a teacher and performer in the Santa Barbara area. Andrea graduated from San Jose State University in 2001, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance where she studied with Paris Conservatory French flutist, Isabelle Chapuis. Andrea was granted a teaching position at Arizona State University during 2001-2002, and while completing her first year of graduate school, she taught private lessons to the undergraduate flute majors, implemented and taught a flute course to music education students, and performed in faculty recitals. Andrea transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara in Fall 2002 to study with Jill Felber on a full scholarship. She graduated with honors with a Masters Degree in Flute Performance in 2004. While a graduate student at UCSB, she was the recipient of performance awards from the Santa Barbara Foundation, the Santa Barbara Music Club, and the Leni Fe Bland Foundation.
Andrea has performed in masterclasses with Robert Stallman, Tadeo Coehlo, Marianne Gedigian, Michel Debost, and Jill Felber. Performing regularly in solo and chamber music recitals, she is a founding member of Sonos Montecito, the Woodwind Quintet-in-residence at Westmont College, where she is the Flute Instructor. Andrea also maintains a small and competitive private flute studio, with students winning awards from the Santa Barbara Music Club, The Music Teachers Association of California, and the National Flute Association. Andrea performs on a silver Miyazawa Boston Classic flute with gold and platinum headjoint.
John Enrico Douglas has conducted jazz ensembles and taught private piano lessons at Westmont College since 2006. He is a pianist, composer and arranger whose performing credits include tours with the Pointer Sister (1983), Donald O'Connor and Eddie Fisher (1976-81), and performances with Aretha Franklin (2005) and Dizzy Gillespie (1978). Since 2005, John has served as music director and/or pianist for dozens of Broadway musicals and revues at high schools, junior high schools and summer camps, as well as for professional and community theatre companies (PCPA, Ensemble Theater, Circle Bar B Dinner Theater), in the Santa Barbara area. He composed the music and songs for recent plays at Santa Barbara High School (Village Fable 2008 and Pinocchio 2009), and has been composer/music director for City at Peace, a theater program for at-risk and other teenagers, at Center Stage Theater since 2007. He directs the jazz band at Goleta Valley Junior High School, and accompanies voice classes at Santa Barbara City College and at SBCC adult ed, and accompanies choirs at adult ed and Dos Pueblos High School. In past years, John played gospel music in Santa Barbara Baptist churches, and since 2008 he has played for Sunday morning services at the Unitarian Univeralist churches in Goleta and Santa Barbara. He records and performs with singers and bands in diverse genres, and in 2010 was part of the orchestra recording the score of Peter Pan for PCPA, Santa Maria. He is a retired deputy public defender for Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties.
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.
Trey Farrell, oboist, received his BA Degree from Pennsylvania State University and his MM Degree from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. Currently Adjunct Instructor of Oboe at Westmont College, he is an active freelance musician performing throughout Southern California. In addition, Trey teaches instrumental music at Roosevelt Elementary School and maintains a private oboe studio in Santa Barbara.
Daniel Gee received his Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California where he studied with Morten Lauridsen, Sean Friar, Jo-Michael Scheibe, and Nick Strimple. As a graduate student Gee conducted the USC University Chorus and was accepted into the USC Thornton Mentorship program to work with Grant Gershon, Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Gee completed his undergraduate work at Westmont College, majoring in both Music Composition and Philosophy, where he was graduated summa cum laude as First Senior of his class. Gee is currently adjunct instructor in theory and composition at Westmont College. He also maintains his post as choir director at Evergreen Baptist Church SGV, as well as a private studio of cello students in the Los Angeles Area. As a composer, Gee has fulfilled several commissions including from the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation for the Santa Barbara Choral Society and Westmont Orchestra, as well as for the Temple City High School Festival Orchestra. His The Ploughman, for SATB chorus and piano, is soon to be published by Colla Voce Music on the Jo-Michael Scheibe Choral Series. For more information, please visit www.danielgee.co.
Dr. Steven Gross is Instructor of Horn at Westmont College. He is also a former member of the Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony, Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, and for 24 years Principal Horn of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. His international solo appearances include the Orchester der Stadt Vöcklabruck in Austria, Moscow Conservatory, L'Abri International Arts Festival in Switzerland, Nairobi Symphony in Kenya, NTUA Wind Ensemble in Taiwan, and the Camerata Filarmonia Bohemia of Prague. His Carnegie Hall debut was described by the New York Concert Review as, "offering some of the cleanest articulation and purest musicality."
Dr. Gross has released four solo CDs with orchestra on the Summit label. Gramophone Magazine praised his playing for its "subtle flair and vibrant character," as well as its "suave and poetic conversation." Reviews from the American Record Guide describe his playing as "outstanding, striking the right balance between thoughtfulness and verve, planning and spontaneity... an excellent tone and the ability and temperament to play heroically." Horn Call magazine states that he "plays technically flawlessly and highly expressively throughout... Highly recommended."
In 2008, Dr. Gross was awarded the Stich-Punto Commemorative Plaque from the Czech Horn Society for outstanding devotion to Czech horn music. He is only the second American to receive this award.
Steven Gross has given numerous international masterclasses. These include Switzerland, at music schools in Zurich, Basel, Lucerne, and Winterthur. Other European masterclasses include the Moscow Conservatory, Royal Academy of Music in London, and in Austria. Dr. Gross has been a featured artist at Hornclass and the Ameropa International Chamber Music Festival in the Czech Republic. In South Africa, he was clinician at the Stellenbosch Conservatory and the University of Cape Town. Dr. Gross was a faculty artist in China at the First International Music Festival at SIAS University, as well as guest Principal horn with the Hunan Symphony. In the summer of 2014, he was artist faculty at the Crescendo Summer Institute in Tokaj, Hungary. In 2008, the National Taiwan University for Arts appointed Dr. Gross Visiting Professor of Horn.
In the United States, he has presented concerts and masterclasses at the Eastman School, Peabody and Oberlin Conservatories, and Indiana, Southern Methodist, Baylor, and Temple Universities, among others.
At the age of 21, Steven Gross won the First International Heldenleben Horn Competition. He is now Director of the International Horn Competition of America, North America's leading solo event for horn.
His summers include performing as principal horn of the Oregon Coast Music Festival Orchestra, and horn faculty at the Crescendo Summer Institute in Sárospatak, Hungary.
Steven Gross considers his family his greatest pride and joy-his wife Julie and his children, Mike and wife Lily, as well as Katie.
Trevor Handy enjoys an active career as a freelance musician in Los Angeles. A member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 2002, he also is Principal Cellist of the Santa Barbara Symphony, performs frequently with LA Opera, in various chamber music series, at festivals and as a studio musician in Hollywood.
He has been a member of orchestras across the country, from Honolulu to Jacksonville. Trevor has also presented recitals and chamber music concerts and taught in every community in which he has lived.
While freelancing in New York, Trevor was a member of the Griffon String Quartet, which won the grand prize at the 1991 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and performed throughout the northeast and midwest for several years.
A native of Boston, Trevor made his solo debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and went on to study with Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins at The Juilliard School. While there, he also studied and played Baroque cello professionally under the tutelage of Albert Fuller and Jaap Schroeder. He spent summers at Aspen and Tanglewood, as well as in Switzerland at Yehudi Menuhin’s Summer Academy and at Lausanne’s Academy of Music in master classes given by Maurice Gendron.
Paula Hatley earned a bachelor of arts degree in music from the University of Arkansas, where she studied with William Gant. She has worked as a vocal studio accompanist, performing in numerous song recitals, and has been a member of various chamber ensembles. In addition to her work at Westmont, she has accompanied the Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus and the Santa Barbara Master Chorale.
Eric C. Heidner currently teaches private trombone lessons at Westmont College. A native Santa Barbaran, he is in his sixth year as the Director of Bands at Santa Barbara City College, where he directs both the SBCC Concert Band and the "Good Times" Jazz Ensemble. Before recently joining the faculty at the college, he held the position of Director of Bands for Santa Barbara High School for five years. In addition, he has worked with a great many local school music programs, including those of Dos Pueblos High School, Arroyo Grande High School, Bishop Diego High School, and numerous public elementary and parochial schools. He holds a B.M. in trombone performance from UCSB (studying under Bill Booth), as well as an M.A. in musicology. He earned his teaching credential from Westmont College in 1997. As a professional brass instrumentalist, he has worked with Doc Severinsen and has played for such people as Dizzy Gillespie and former President Ronald Reagan, and has served as both principal hornist and principal trombonist to the SBCC Concert Band between 1992 and 2003.
Egle Januleviciute was born in Lithuania, into family of professional musicians. She holds the Diploma with Highest Honors from Academy of Music of Lithuania, Vilnius, Master of Music in Piano Performance degree from Bowling Green State University, OH, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from University of California Santa Barbara.
Egle Januleviciute has toured Lithuania, Germany, Finland, Japan, Italy, Belgium and the former Soviet Union, both as soloist and collaborative artist. Egle was awarded the Premiere Prix Concert Recital Diploma from Guildhall School, London, was a finalist and prize-winner in Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition, Cleveland, Ohio, and the first prize winner in the Young Keyboard Artists Association International Piano Competition, Oberlin, Ohio. Her discography includes M.K.Ciurlionis (1875-1911) Pieces for Piano (Tembras Studios, Lithuania, 1992), works by Faure, Franck, Debussy and Ravel for “Young Maestros Label” by Hurstwood Farm Music Studios, U.K., 1998, J.S.Bach Keyboard Works by Eroica Classical recordings, 2006, and works by W.A.Mozart and Chopin, (Opus One recordings, 2013). Egle currently teaches piano at Westmont College and Cate School, as well as privately.
More about Egle at http://www.eglej.com
Clarinetist, Joanne Kim, has concertized as solo performer and chamber and orchestral musician in many parts of North America and Asia. Her performing career began in her late teens with the honorable Stamas Scholarship Fund from the New York Philharmonic offering her a new clarinet for her studies and concerts.
She has performed with New York Soloist Ensemble, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Korean Chamber Orchestra, OSH Opera Orchestra, YN Philharmonic, Astoria Symphony, New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra, and Chelsea Symphony.
Concerts have led her to renowned venues including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Massey Hall, Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto Centre for the Arts, Roy Thompson Hall, and Merkin Hall. She has also performed at colleges, conservatories and festivals including Royal Conservatory of Music, Mannes College, Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music, Queens College, Hunter College, Wilfred Laurier University, University of Western Ontario, Ball State University, New School University, Long Island University, Late Romantics Festival, Waterloo Windfest, and Centre d'arts Orford.
Ms. Kim has earned her Bachelor of Music at Mannes College, and Master of Music degree with merit scholarship in clarinet performance and the prestigious Orchestral Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music, and is a candidate of Doctor of Musical Arts at Manhattan School of Music with a fellowship under the tutelage of Professor Mark Nuccio.
As a passionate educator, Ms. Kim travels to give lectures and classes while maintaining an active performance schedule. Ms. Kim performs with her husband, Han Soo Kim, a violinist, and will be recording under Promessa Records. Ms. Kim is on the faculty at Westmont College, Westmont Academy for Young Artists, and InterHarmony International Music Festival.
Vera Kong has appeared in chamber and solo recitals throughout the United States, Russia, China, and South Korea. She has served as a pianist at the renowned vocal studios of Marilyn Horne, Marlena Malas, and Carlos Serrano; the violin studio of Yuval Yaron; the Manhattan School of Music; the Collegiate School in New York; the Hawaii Performing Art Festival; the Brevard Music Festival; and the Ojai Youth Opera. She was a recipient of a Stern fellowship to study with eminent pianist Martin Katz at SongFest and a two-time, first prize recipient for the John E. Profant Foundation award.
Vera's education includes a master's degree in collaborative piano from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, as a merit scholarship recipient under the tutelage of Kenneth Merrill. She received her bachelor’s degree in collaborative piano from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she was recruited by Anne Epperson as the first undergraduate student accepted to study both in collaborative piano and solo piano. She was privileged to study solo piano with distinguished pianist and teacher Dr. Charles Asche, who has become her mentor and supporter.
In great demand as a piano pedagogue, Vera is an active piano faculty member at Westmont College in Santa Barbara and a vocal coach at Ojai Youth Opera. She maintains a full schedule at her piano studio at the Music Academy of the West, and her students consistently receive top honors in festivals and competitions.
Heather Levin was born and raised in Redlands, California and attended the University of California Santa Barbara where she received her M.A. While a student there she also worked as an accompanist for voice lessons, singing classes, studied voice with Marjorie McKay and played in the jazz band. During her junior year of undergraduate study, she participated in the Education Abroad Program furthering her studies in French and Music at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France. Upon completing her Masters at U.C.S.B. she became a member of the Music Teacher’s Association of California and has since become extremely active in Santa Barbara and its vicinity as both a solo pianist and teacher and in the areas of vocal accompaniment, choral accompaniment, chamber ensemble performance, church and religious organizations’ music programs, school and community music theatre productions and opera. Very recent and/or current appointments include but are not limited too: Westmont College, Santa Barbara City College, Cate School, Carpinteria High School, Laguna Blanca School, Dos Pueblos High School, Montecito Union School, The Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus, the Goleta Valley Children’s Choir, the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara and Congregation B’nai B’rith. As an educator, Heather creates a warm and comfortable teaching environment that is at the same time challenging, rewarding and successful. Curriculum is determined individually, based on a careful assessment of current ability, personal tastes and the specific goals of a degree program and departmental requirements. Heather greatly enjoys teaching and collaborating with people of all ages and backgrounds.
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
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.
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.
Henry Michaels was born and raised in Morganton, North Carolina, a small town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Musicology at UC Santa Barbara. He received his Master of Music in Trombone Performance from Towson University. He completed undergraduate degrees in both History and Music Performance at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where he was graduated summa cum laude and received program honors in both disciplines. His current research areas include audience practice, nineteenth century attitudes toward the study and practice of music, rebel music in Northern Ireland, and philosophies of history. Michaels is currently adjunct Instructor in Music History at Westmont College.
Jim Mooy currently teaches trumpet lessons at Westmont College. He holds music and education degrees from U.C.L.A. (B.A. and M.A.). His trumpet performance studies have been with Jimmy Valves, Ron Thompson, Tony Plog, and Mario Guarnerri. A Music Academy of the West Alumnus, he has toured the U.S. and Japan as a professional trumpet player.
Paul Mori '77 first gained his reputation as a conductor with the Bach Ensemble of Baltimore in the 1990s. That chamber orchestra performed a wide-ranging repertoire, from Bach to Bartok, and was featured numerous times on the public radio station WBJC's prestigious "Music in Maryland" series. Dr. Mori went to Baltimore to study at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, earning a master's degree in bassoon performance with Phillip Kolker and later completing a doctorate in orchestral conducting, stuyding with the legendary Frederik Prausnitz. He has served as musical director of the Rainier Symphony (1996-2001) and as the music director of the Bainbridge Orchestra and the Rainier Youth Symphony. He has also appeared as guest conductor for various orchestras, including the Northwest Mahler Festival Orchestra and the Huntington Chamber Orchestra (a professional orchestra in West Virginia). Dr. Mori returned to Baltimore, the place of his musical roots, in December 2005 when he conducted a concert with the world-renown violinist Hilary Hahn and members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. At Westmont he teaches bassoon, conducts the Wind Ensemble, and coaches chamber ensembles.
Jonathan Palmquist, percussionist, received his Bachelor’s degree from Westmont College and his Master of Music degree from California State University, Northridge. His primary instructors were Norm Freeman, Jon Nathan, Aaron Smith and John Magnussen. At CSUN he performed with the Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble, and was the principal percussionist and timpanist of the CSUN Symphony. He and three other CSUN percussionists are winners of CSUN’s 2015 concerto competition, and will be performing William Kraft’s Concerto for Four Percussion Soloists in the Valley Performing Arts Center this December. He is also principal percussionist of the West Coast Symphony, and has performed with the YMF Debut Orchestra and the Santa Barbara Master Chorale. He received scholarships from CSUN and the Leni Fe Bland foundation.
Jonathan performs as a freelance percussionist and drummer in the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas, as well as teaching private lessons. He is currently teaching Percussion Techniques and private percussion lessons at Westmont.
Andy Radford, is the Principal Bassoonist of the Santa Barbara Symphony and the California Philharmonic. Active in the recording industry, Radford has played in over 300 soundtracks including the recent films: Up!, Star Trek, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Forrest Gump. He has performed and recorded with artists such as; Neil Diamond, The Three Tenors, Dixie Chicks, Joshua Redmond, Pat Benatar, Chris Botti, The Who, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Josh Groban, Michael Crawford and Faith Hill.
A free-lancer for many years in the Los Angeles area, Andy now lives in Ojai and splits his working hours between bassoon performance and music education. Radford is the Education Coordinator for the Ojai Music Festival and is an Artist-in Residence for the Festival’s BRAVO! Program. Along with his wife, violinist Amy Hagen, Radford co-founded the Ojai Youth Symphony in 2001. Andy became Music Director of the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony in 2004 and serves on the faculty of UCSB and Westmont Colleges.
Dr. Robert Rockabrand, Professor Emeritus from Principia College, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in vocal performance, and his Master of Music Degree in Choral Performance from Westminster Choir College. He joins the Westmont College faculty as an adjunct voice instructor in fall 2011. In 1969 he was awarded a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Stanford University. He was a professor at Westminster Choir College, Ball State University, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and Principia College, and held the Charles Stewart Harding Mott Distinguished Professorship Chair at Principia until his retirement in 1997. At Westminster he prepared major choral works for, and also sang with, The New York Philharmonic Orchestra and The Berlin Philharmonic. While a doctoral student at Stanford, he performed the same duties for The San Francisco Symphony. As Principia College’s choral director, Dr. Rockabrand conducted major choral works with orchestra, led frequent tours in the United States, conducted the orchestra and also acted in musical theater productions. He was a voice teacher and vocal coach at Ball State University, NCSA and Principia College, where he chaired numerous junior and senior voice recitals. Many of his students now earn their livelihoods in the professional world and/or as college or private studio voice teachers. Dr. Rockabrand has lectured and performed in England, France, Germany, Austria, India, and Hawaii, taught in Elderhostel programs, and soloed and accompanied in churches for more than 50 years. With his wife Sara and other musicians he has presented classical recitals and Broadway-variety shows.
Sara Turner Rockabrand has enjoyed an active career as a performer and teacher. She will join the Westmont College faculty as an adjunct voice instructor in fall 2011. She is a graduate of Westminster Choir College, where she studied voice, choral conducting and piano, and earned degrees in both Music Performance and Music Education. She pursued master's level work at Westminster Choir College, the University of Utah, and Southern Illinois University, as well as studies in historic dance at Stanford University. Her performing experience includes solo recitals, oratorio work, and church soloing, as well as choral performances with The New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony and other orchestras. In 2008 she performed on a program at Steinway Hall in New York City. While serving as a teacher in the Princeton, New Jersey Public Schools from 1962-66, she co-authored the first comprehensive vocal music curriculum for the district. She continues to serve as a consultant for Kodaly and Suzuki-based programs in music education, as well as in historic dance. Mrs. Rockabrand served as a voice teacher and vocal coach at Ball State University from 1969-1974, and at Principia College from 1975 to 2010, where she chaired numerous junior and senior voice recitals. Her students have gone on to complete successful graduate degrees at major universities, and many are pursuing careers as professional singers and teachers. Together with her husband Bob she has lectured and performed in England, Germany, Austria, India, and Hawaii, presenting both classical recitals and Broadway-style productions. They also received the Alumni Merit Award from Westminster Choir College in 1996 for excellence in teaching.
Adelle Rodkey earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton Conservatory of Music, where she studied under Carl Sonik. She has received awards from the Music Teachers National Association and the Pillsbury Foundation. A member of the California Music Teacher Association, Adelle maintains a private studio of piano and oboe students in the Santa Barbara area and performs frequently in orchestras and chamber ensembles.
Bethany Stevens is currently a freelance horn player and teacher in the Santa Barbara area. She earned her bachelor of music degree in French horn performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, graduating summa cum laude and with distinction in the major. There, she studied with Dr. Steven Gross and participated in masterclasses with Ronald Janezic of the Vienna Philharmonic, Adam Unsworth of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Steven Becknell of the Los Angeles Opera. Bethany has played professionally with the Oregon Coast Music Festival Orchestra, Santa Maria Philharmonic, the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, and the Santa Monica Orchestra. In addition to her performance experience, Bethany is skilled in music industry and business, having worked with the marketing staff for the Music Academy of the West, UCSB Music Department, and the agency Oniracom. She teaches private horn lessons at Westmont College.
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
Craig Thomas Saxophone instructor Craig Thomas is a long time performer and educator whose work spans his years as a studio musician and sideman with artists like Al Jarreau, Les MCann, the Temptations, Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Tom Jones, Freda Payne, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Toni Tennille and many others. With a background in classical as well as jazz, he still performs on clarinet with the Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra, as well as on saxophone with the critically acclaimed jump blues group the R&B Bombers. He also has his own jazz trio with the long time studio and Tonight Show guitarist Mitch Holder and bassist Domenic Genova.
Mr. Thomas has been teaching privately for over twenty years and maintains a busy schedule of teaching and performing.
Flutist Laura Walter has performed widely across the United States, and is an active adjudicator at prestigious competitions. Her students have gone on to successful careers as musicians, doctors, scientists and major symphony conductors. After studying flute, piano, and jazz extensively in the Midwest, she played with the Lexington Philharmonic (KY), Dayton Philharmonic (OH), Springfield Symphony (OH) and Richmond Symphony (IN). She then furthered her studies with Peter Lloyd of the London Symphony, and Kyril Magg of the Cincinnati Symphony. Her M.M was earned at the University of Kentucky, and she now performs with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Opera Santa Barbara, and other chamber groups in the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles area. Alry Publications has published several of her pieces for flute choir, and an etude book written to highlight difficult orchestral flute passages. She has taught at Wright State University, Miami Valley Music Academy, and been a featured guest lecturer at the Dayton Philharmonic.
Ms. Walter has been on the faculty of Westmont College for over 20 years. She has recorded over a dozen CD’s with various artists, performed on the Today Show, and for Oprah, as well as with Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, Yanni, Steve Allen and others. Her solo album “The Nature of Nurture” has won critical acclaim. Recently she was featured on a recording of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Santa Barbara Master Chorale, and locally premiered “Cut Pieces” with Ursula Gallenkamp, performance artist. As a piccoloist in John Luther Adams’ ground breaking “Inuksuit” for 48 percussionists and 3 piccolos, she performed at the Ojai Music Festival, in a tree.
Formerly the Executive Director of The Richards Institute of Education and Research, a non‐profit group, she continues working with teachers and children, especially at‐risk youth, using the experience of interactive play to develop motivation, intelligence, literacy, emotional stability and beauty. She is the regional coordinator of Education Through Music (ETM) and leads workshops for teachers to incorporate the arts into the current STEAM philosophy, integrating song, movement and play into daily activities for a more effective classroom. Traveling extensively in the summers, she continues working with young musicians across the US and Japan, at Fine Arts camps and workshops. A special interest in trauma has led her to the exploration of the uses of music and art in healing, creating empathy, and hope.
JoAnne Wasserman serves as the director of the Westmont Women's Chorale and also as conductor and artistic director of the Santa Barbara Choral Society. She has worked with an impressive list of outstanding choral and orchestral conductors, including John Alexander and Lawrence Christensen and was chosen to participate in master classes with Paul Salamunovich, the late Robert Shaw and Roger Wagner. She has been Master Class Conductor of the Oregon Bach Festival, Chorus Master for Opera Santa Barbara, and has served on the faculty of California State University, Northridge. JoAnne's dedication to music education, the development of emerging young artists, and her philosophy of increasing cultural awareness has enlivened the Santa Barbara Choral Society's commitment to sharing excellence in choral music with the arts community both locally and internationally. In their frequent collaboration over the last decade, Ms. Wasserman has prepared choral works for the Santa Barbara Symphony, including Leonard Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms," Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis" and Symphony No. 9, Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3, Zemlinsky's "Der 23rd Psalm," the Verdi "Stabat Mater" and "Requiem," the Bloch "Sacred Service," and Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria.” In the debut season of The Granada, she conducted the Choral Society and Santa Barbara Symphony orchestra in excerpts from Orff's "Carmina Burana" at the Gala Grand Opening in March 2008, and the full production in May 2008 in collaboration with State Street Ballet. Most recently, she conducted the Choral Society and Orchestra in the Verdi “Requiem” at the Granada.
Anthony Ybarra is an active, sought out soloist and recording artist in many styles. He has recorded 5 albums under his own name with his last album entitled "Flamenco Latino" (2009) which contains 12 original Flamenco Latino pieces. His music has been featured on documentaries, film, and television such as Turner Classic Movies, Showtime's original series "Dexter", and the film "Species". In 2008, Anthony was asked to perform for then, Presidential candidate, Barack Obama at Oprah Winfrey's estate in Santa Barbara. Anthony is a graduate of the University of Southern California's studio guitar department where he holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in guitar performance.
Laurence Young, clarinetist and musicologist, teaches clarinet and occasional academic music classes at Westmont College. A Baltimore native and graduate of The Peabody Conservatory, his previous teachers include Fred Jacobowitz, Marcia Diehl, and Edward Palanker of the Baltimore Symphony. In 2012 he earned his Master of Music from the University of California, Santa Barbara; studying with Paul Bambach of the Columbus Symphony. At UCSB he has participated in masterclasses with Matthias Schorn of the Vienna Philharmonic and Fred Ormand from the University of Michigan. In addition to performing solo and chamber repertoire, Laurence has been featured in performances of Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte and Copland’s The Tender Land as well as Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony with the University Symphony. His research interests include opera and musical nationalism in the nineteenth-‐century Czech lands.
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