Instructors of East Valley School of Music have many years of training and experience and share the love of teaching, but they have different areas of expertise. All teachers offer a well-rounded curriculum and a complete musical education for their students. Here is a complete listing of all our instructors.
Tabitha Kaminski, NCTM – Piano
Tabitha Kaminski was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She has been classically trained in piano since the age of 9. During her beginner years, Tabitha studied piano and theory with pedagogue Mary Lou Edgecomb, and later transferred to her sister, concert pianist and music director, Annette Masterson, to study piano performance. In high school, Tabitha had the honor of studying under Dr. Gary Fisher at The Eastman School of Music and at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. During this time, she performed and competed extensively throughout Western NY, gave concerts at local churches and retirement homes, and was a special guest on Tri-State Christian Television’s live show “Celebrate,” where she performed an original composition.
When Tabitha began teaching at the young age of 15, she immediately fell in love with it as a career. After moving to Arizona to attend college, she continued giving piano lessons in students’ homes throughout the Phoenix metro area. During this time, she met her future husband, Mike Kaminski, who was a keyboardist in a local Christian rock band. After 2 years of college-level training in classical piano performance, she took some time off from school to get married and focus on teaching fulltime.
A year later, Tabitha and Mike founded KaminsKEYS Piano Studio (now called East Valley School of Music) and quickly grew the business from 20 students to 60 students in less than 2 years. During this time, they also became actively involved in the East Valley Music Teachers Association, participating and chairing various local events throughout the year. In the fall of 2008, Tabitha became a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) through the Music Teachers National Association.
During the past years, Tabitha has been privileged to study under the tutelage of Dr. Judy Lively, Dr. Andrea Fennig, Dr. Walter Cosand, Professor Ashley Bradford, and Professor Ruth Yandell. She recently finished her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance at Grand Canyon University under the instruction of Dr. Julie Harvey, and graduated in the spring of 2013.
Click here for Tabitha’s full resume.
Mike Kaminski – Piano
Mike Kaminski is a native Arizonan who began playing piano when he was 10 years old. When he was first learning to improvise at 13, he knew he wanted to play piano the rest of his life. From 1998 to 2006, Mike spent many weeks improvising on the piano in churches and playing keyboards with his former band, Rezound. Mike has traveled around the country and even as far as India performing with Rezound. In addition to improvising and performing, he continued taking classical lessons up through college at ASU. He later decided to pursue a degree in accounting through the W.P. Carey business school at ASU. Mike graduated with honors in 2006. Also in 2006, Mike founded KaminsKEYS Piano Studio (now called East Valley School of Music) with his wife, Tabitha, where he spends much of his time heading EVSM and teaching with his wife. He wrote two books in 2007, the KaminsKEYS Book of Chords and the KaminsKEYS Book of Scales.
In addition to teaching, Mike is the President of the East Valley Music Teachers’ Association and is currently offering his services at SonicPhish recording studio, where he stays up-to-date recording keyboards and composing songs for studio clients. The studio is operated by Ken Mary, a world-class drummer and first-class producer and sound engineer.
Click here for Mike’s full resume.
Aida Olarte – Piano
Aida Olarte, a native of Colombia, is a doctoral student in Collaborative Piano at Arizona State University with Russell Ryan. Aida earned her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Duquesne University in the piano class of Natasha Snitkovsky, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Duquesne University, where she was one of the piano faculty at the City Music Center.
Also, She was the music director for Hebron Presbyterian Church (Clinton, PA) for about five years. Aida was the choir director as well as the pianist for the church.
In 2016, she received a full fellowship award to pursue an Advanced Music Studies Certificate for the Collaborative Piano Program at Carnegie Mellon University. Additionally, she was selected to be one of the Resident Artist Pianist, for the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh Summer festival.
She earned an Associate in Arts from Miami Dade College (Miami, FL). She has served as an accompanist for the Percussion Ensemble at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA), Symphony Orchestra at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA), Wind Symphony at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA), Coro Latino Americano (Pittsburgh, PA), Undercroft Opera (Pittsburgh, PA) and went on tour with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (USA).
In 2013, she was a finalist in the 2014 Women’s Advisory Board Competition.
She is also a member of the National Music Honor Society Pi Kappa Lambda.
Aida was a soloist of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Cundinamarca (Bogotá, Colombia) and in 2015 with Orquesta Filarmónica de Cali (Cali, Colombia). She has also participated in master classes coached by outstanding pianists such as Barbara Nissman, Eugene Alcalay, Christopher Guzman, David Allen Wehr, Mark Zeltser, Jae Hwang.
Aida is passionate about helping students develop enthusiasm for playing piano, teaching them to respect their teachers and peers, and cultivating a genuine and long lasting love for music. She has learned that compassion, communication, and encouragement are just as essential to imparting musical knowledge as technical skill.
Click here for Aida’s full resume.
Anabelle Corrigan – Piano/Voice
Anabelle is thrilled to be a part of East Valley School of Music’s team of instructors. She has been teaching music for over a decade, and this will be her fourth year teaching music in the public educator sector. She currently teaches as a full-time music educator in Gilbert at Legacy Traditional School.
Anabelle has performed piano and sung at a multitude of venues, but her favorite experience was at the Philadelphia Convention Center where she performed a collaborative work along side Darius Brubeck, which featured classics such as “Take Five.” Her educational background includes an A.A. in Piano Performance from Bucks County Community College, a B.M. in Music Theory from Temple University, and a M.M. in Music Education from Boston University.
In addition to playing piano, singing, producing and composing music, she enjoys practicing on her various penny whistles (Celtic flutes), playing the kannel (Estonian lap harp), and attending the opera. She named her black and white rescue cat, “Tosca,” as tribute to Puccini’s opera by the same name.
Click here for Anabelle’s full resume.
Bill Clay – Guitar
Bill Clay is an active music teacher, composer, and guitarist. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Composition from Arizona State University and a Masters Degree in Music Composition from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in Kansas City, Missouri. He has also studied guitar at the postgraduate level with Douglas Niedt at the UMKC.
Bill has been teaching for over ten years. He has also performed his own compositions and presented original musicological research and analysis on popular music around the country. His composition Music Box is published in the SCI Journal of Music Scores, and Bill’s original research will be featured in two articles in ABC-CLIO’s exciting upcoming publication, The 100 Greatest Rock Bands. Bill currently teaches general music at ASU Preparatory Academy’s Polytechnic Middle School STEM Academy and music appreciation at ASU Preparatory’s Polytechnic High School.
Click here for Bill’s full resume.
Chaz Martineau – Woodwinds
Chaz Martineau received his Bachelors of Music in performance from Arizona State University in 2015. During his time at ASU he performed with guest artists such as Donny McCaslin, Wycliffe Gordon, Ingrid Jensen, and Benny Golsen. He has returned home to Arizona after working as a professional saxophone, flute, and clarinet player onboard Princess Cruise ships. Recently he has just released two albums of his original compositions after playing a release show at The Nash. Chaz started learning the saxophone at the age of 12 and took private lessons throughout Jr. High, High school, and during his time at ASU. Also during that time Chaz taught several private students along with teaching group woodwind jazz classes at The Nash as part of it’s summer education program. More recently Chaz has taught as a sub for Michael Kocour’s Jazz Improvisation classes at ASU, and acted as a coach for one of the Nash’s legacy combos. Chaz has taught students of all ages around the valley and is excited to teach through EVSM.
Click here for Chaz’s full resume.
Cheyne Fehser – Guitar
Cheyne Fehser is a performer and educator with over a decade of professional experience. Most recently he taught music ensemble courses at Arizona State University as a Faculty Associate. He just recently completed his doctoral degree in classical guitar performance at Arizona State University, where he also graduated Summa Cum Laude with a M.M. and B.M. in classical guitar performance.
Cheyne has given multiple performances throughout the valley at venues such as Tempe Center for the Arts and the Musical Instrument Museum. Additionally, he has performed in master classes with David Russell, Scott Tennant, Pavel Steidl, Carlos Bonell, Dale Kavanagh, Raphaella Smits, Roland Dyens, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Throughout his studies Cheyne has been the recipient of multiple awards and scholarships including the Louise Kerr Endowment, the Bruce Munson Memorial Scholarship, the ASU Special Talent Award, and the Richard and Babette Burns Guitar Scholarship. While Cheyne has a passion for Classical music he also has a love for many other genres and enjoys playing Gypsy Jazz, Funk, Blues, and Rock.
Cheyne’s philosophy for teaching is to challenge students while making difficult and intimidating concepts fun.
Click here for Cheyne’s full resume.
Curtis Sebren – Woodwinds
Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone
Curtis Sebren received his Bachelors of Music in performance from the University of Central Arkansas in 2010 and his Masters degree in clarinet performance from Arizona State University in 2013. He is currently working on a doctorate in clarinet performance at Arizona State University and is on the teaching assistants for the clarinet studio. He has studied with and performed in master classes for Robert Spring, Joshua Gardner, Kelly Johnson, Nophachai Cholthitchanta, William O. Smith, Eric Mandat, Deborah Bish, Alcides Rodrigues, Eddy Vanoosthuyse, Frank Kowalski, and many others.
As an active performer, Curtis has performed in several countries, including solo and chamber performances in Shanghai and Belgium. He also performs with ensembles around the valley including the Arizona Pro Arte ensemble and the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble. In the past, he has performed with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, the Conway Symphony Orchestra, and the Pin Bluff Symphony Orchestra, as well as several other orchestras and ensembles in Arkansas and Arizona. In 2012, he presented a solo recital tour in Arkansas, including a performance in the Under the Dome concert series in Conway, Arkansas. In addition, he recorded supplemental recordings with Bruce Pearson for the Bb clarinet, and alto clarinet editions of Traditions of Excellence, Book 3 in 2014.
In addition to teaching at East Valley School of Music, Curtis also helps teach undergraduate music majors at Arizona State University and the clarinet portion of the Woodwind Methods course as part of his teaching assistantship. He is passionate about helping students of all ages discover their potential on their chosen musical instrument. Though his main instrument is clarinet, he also has experience playing and teaching flute and saxophone.
Click here for Curtis’ full resume.
Ellen Sassano – Piano
Ellen Sassano, granted Nationally Certified Teacher of Music status by Music Teachers National Association, began piano lessons at age 6 when her first teacher declared: “She’s a natural!” In high school she was chosen to participate in the National Musicians’ League competitions at Carnegie Hall in New York City. As a music major, she obtained her B.S. in Music Education, piano concentration, with certification for grades K-12, from Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. After marriage to her college sweetheart, she continued her passion for the piano by opening a private piano studio in Connecticut where she accompanied numerous adult and children’s community choral groups in classical, popular, and sacred repertoire. Furthering her piano proficiency, she studied under Burton Hathaway of Fairfield, Connecticut. Upon moving to Arizona, she transferred her MTNA membership to East Valley Music Teachers Association, serving as treasurer, president, Certification Chair, and Music Showcase Chair. She also served as state Certification Chair.
Ellen was the 2007 national recipient of the Piano Technician’s Guild Certified Teacher of the Year, which provided the opportunity to further her piano technique and knowledge of repertoire with Frances Kaspar, MA, NCT of Mesa, Arizona and she is now permanently certified by MTNA. Over the years Ellen has publically performed at many community and church events on the piano and organ as featured soloist, duettist, and accompanist and is a long-time member of her adult church choir and directed the children’s choir for 10 years. Ellen’s husband passed away in 2014 after a cancer diagnosis and currently shares her Chandler home with two very spoiled cats, Mozart and Treble. Ellen first began teaching at East Valley School of Music in January 2012.
Click here for Ellen’s full resume.
Elliot Yang – Cello
Since making his solo orchestral debut at age 18 with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Cellist Elliot Yang has had a distinguished career as soloist, chamber musician, and pedagogue. Mr. Yang’s performances have been on concert stages ranging from Vienna’s Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Prague’s Dvorak Hall, Overture Hall, and Uihlein Hall. Mr. Yang has made appearances with both the Milwaukee and Madison Symphonies performing the Elgar and Shostakovich Concertos respectively. His performances have been heard on Wisconsin Public Radio and Television. In 2012, he was the featured artist in Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square series.
Awards include top prizes in the Final Forte: Bolz Young Artist Competition, Milwaukee Symphony Young Artists’ Competition, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Young Artist Competition, Second prize in Vienna Konzerthaus’ Summa Cum Laude International Festival, and first prize in the WI ASTA competition.
In addition to solo performances, Mr. Yang has held teaching positions with Peabody’s Preparatory Program, Baltimore Symphony Orch Kids, and the East Valley School of Music. In addition, he has participated in the Chautauqua, Green Mountain, and Madeline Island music festivals. Mr. Yang has also served principal cello positions with the Peabody Concert and Symphony Orchestras.
Mr. Yang is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he received the Grace Clagett Ranney Prize in Chamber Music. He is proud to acknowledge his teachers Amit Peled and Stefan Kartman. He has studied chamber music with members of the Peabody and Kneisel Trios and the Ying, Arianna, and Jupiter String Quartets. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance at Arizona State University with Thomas Landschoot.
Emilio Vasquez – Violin/Viola
A native of Arizona, Emilio is an active violinist around the valley. He received his Masters in Music Performance at Arizona State University in May 2018. Beginning his studies at age 10, he had the opportunity of performing in ensembles such as the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and the Phoenix Youth Symphony throughout middle school and high school. Emilio studied with violinist and pedagogue Dr. Jonathan Swartz. At ASU, Emilio engages in the Visiting Quartet Residency Program which allows him to work with a number of world-renowned quartets such as the Julliard String Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Shanghai String Quartet, Brentano String Quartet, and the Ying String Quartet. He has had the opportunity to study and perform at music festivals such as the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, Innsbrook Institute, and St. Lawrence String Quartet Seminar. He is also a current member of Symphony of the Southwest and West Valley Symphony and an impassioned teaching artist hoping to encourage and engage aspiring musicians of all ages.
Click here for Emilio’s full resume.
Holly Johnson – Little Pianist
Holly Johnson has over a decade of experience in musical studies such as technique, artistry, theory and performance. She also has experience in writing her own original compositions. Her musical training has been with both Mike and Tabitha Kaminski. Under their instruction she discovered a passion to be a teacher herself and she has been teaching at EVSM since 2015.
Holly is currently attending college pursuing a degree in music education. She adores working with children and sharing the gift of music with them and their families. She introduces each of her students to technique, early theory concepts and performance skills. Her teaching techniques involve a variety of musical games and activities. Games enforce note recognition, rhythmic patterns and elements of theory. Such games are engaging and educational while being fun and rewarding for the students. Holly’s goal is to give each of her students a firm foundation in all the basic areas of piano. It gives her great joy to see a child grow and progress as a young musician.
Izayah Dutcher – Violin & Viola
Izayah Dutcher has studied music and violin performance for almost fifteen years, and has been teaching for seven. He recently completed his Bachelor of Music degree in Performance at ASU, under the guidance of Dr. Jonathan Swartz, and is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree at ASU. He was a violin and viola instructor for the ASU String Project for all four years of his undergraduate studies, and has been a self-employed instructor since 2012. Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Dutcher began studying violin at age of eight at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, with several instructors including Leisha Moxness, Mary Gindulus, and William Wolcott, respectively. He briefly studied with director of the conservatory, Ruth Meints, and participated in masterclasses taught by renowned violinists such as Dylana Jenson. As a soloist and as a member of an ensemble, Dutcher has performed in significant venues such as the Holland Performing Arts Center, the Joslyn Castle, and St. Cecelia’s Cathedral. From 2006 – 2011, he toured with the Omaha Conservatory of Music’s Frontier String Ensemble, where he performed for various important events all around the country. In this ensemble, he was introduced to music of various genres, studying elements of fiddle, folk, sacred, jazz, and holiday music, as well as show tunes. Izayah is committed to helping students further investigate their own love and interest in music. His goal is to validate and strengthen his students’ musical curiosities, offering a safe and welcoming space where discussion is encouraged and learning is the highest priority. He finds happiness in bringing awareness to music’s culture and historical impact, its inherent collaborative qualities, as well as how music performance contributes to one’s community.
Click here for Izayah’s full resume.
Jameson Staley – Piano
Jameson Staley has been playing piano for twelve years and teaching music in public schools for seven years in Tennessee and Arizona. He received his dual Bachelor of Music degree in Music and Education and Commercial Music with an emphasis in Composition and Arranging from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where his primary instrument was voice. He currently teaches four choral ensembles as well as beginning and intermediate guitar at Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona. Before moving to Arizona, Jameson taught middle and high school choir, music theory, and general music, incorporating piano and guitar into his curriculum. Additionally, Jameson has served as music director or pit orchestra conductor for high school productions of Les Miserables, Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, and Footloose. He holds membership in the National Association for Music Education and the Arizona Music Educators Association.
Growing up in home with two parents who played piano in church and an older brother who played guitar, Jameson developed a passion for music very early. While building his aural skills by improvising vocal harmonies in church and learning favorite rock songs on guitar and bass by ear, he also learned to read music and was introduced to music theory through participation in school music ensembles and classes. In high school, Jameson played bass guitar and was lead singer of a rock band, where he gained experience writing songs and experimenting with the various elements of music. In college, he further developed these skills through the study of composition and arranging. During his time at Belmont University, Jameson wrote arrangements and transcriptions that were performed by various ensembles including choirs, the vocal jazz ensemble, the symphony orchestra, and the contemporary a cappella group. After college, Jameson spent several years singing with the Nashville Chamber Singers, a respected ensemble that includes many current and former music educators and performs everything from Renaissance music to contemporary choral compositions.
As a teacher and performer, some of Jameson’s greatest interests are music theory and aural skills. He loves transcribing music by ear and reharmonizing familiar melodies with new and interesting chord progressions. He strongly believes that an understanding of music theory and aural skills will help each student better understand and appreciate the music they study and, as a result, perform it more musically. Jameson’s musical interests include everything from classical to jazz, rock, and gospel. He strongly believes that students should study and perform a wide variety of music from various styles and time periods to reap the musical benefits that each unique form of expression offers.
Click here for Jameson’s full resume.
Jill Khaleghi – Voice
With 17 years of experience as a singer and 9 years as a music educator, Jill is well-trained to safely teach all voices and most genres: including musical theatre (“belting”), pop, rock, jazz, classical/opera, choral, and folk. Before moving to Chandler in 2016, she worked full-time in San Diego, where she taught private voice and piano lessons, children’s group singing and piano classes, and directed summer camps, as well as various youth, teen, and adult choirs. A recent graduate of ASU’s master’s program in Vocal Performance, with a concentration in Pedagogy (the subject of teaching), Jill considers herself a vocal technician. She is able to help her students understand and correct their specific vocal faults, in order to achieve a more consistent and appealing sound, and also have fun while figuring it out! Taking the time to learn proper vocal technique allows her singers to achieve their musical goals: get cast in musical theater roles, prepare choral/solo songs for upcoming performances, gain entrance into college voice programs, learn how to “belt” properly without strain, or simply perfect their favorite karaoke song!
Jill’s students learn music theory and ear-training as part of their lessons and homework assignments, as being able to read music well is essential to becoming a well-rounded, independent singer-musician. She encourages all younger singers to join a local children’s choir, as it is highly beneficial to sing in harmony (2+ parts) at a young age. This allows crucial ear-training skills to develop quickly, plus it’s fun to sing with peers/friends! Jill also enjoys working with adults, and specializes in rehabilitating voices that struggle with long-time harmful vocal habits: by finding their “resonant voice” for speaking and singing, and pairing this healthy sound with good breathing technique. She believes that a strong foundation in vocal technique not only makes singing in any genre possible, but also ensures healthy singing habits for life! Jill hopes to inspire her students to explore and share their own love of music, regardless of age or prior musical experience.
Click here for Jill’s full resume.
Kasandra Smith – Little Pianist
Kasandra Smith is an Arizona native who recently moved back after living on the east coast and working in New York for Universal Music Group. Before that, she was the co-owner of Rockasorri Music (a Montessori-inspired program that inspires the love for music at a young age) and taught piano at Waterfront Montessori.
She has the desire to connect and share her love for music with students of diverse backgrounds. Kasandra has extensive experience with students from the ages of 6 months up to 6 years old. She first started teaching piano to elementary school students through the Kyrene school district. Piano has been the building foundation in her continuous love for music and its form of expression. Her love for children and having been a young student once herself, allows her to see the importance in making music not only a learning experience, but a fun and exciting one as well! Kasandra also understands that every student has a different learning style and that it is important to be intuitive to the needs of the child while engaging them.
In her spare time, Kasandra also works on her own music as she is a singer/songwriter and spent time performing in New York with her band. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Humanities with an emphasis in multi-cultural awareness from Northern Arizona University. Kasandra is excited to join Easy Valley School of Music as a Little Pianist teacher!
Click here for Kasandra’s full resume.
Katherine Thilakaratne – Voice
Soprano Dr. Katherine Thilakaratne received her degree in vocal performance at Arizona State University. Recent performances include Die Zauberflöte (First Lady) with the Landesbühnen Sachsen-Germany, Owen Wingrave (Mrs. Coyle) and Le Nozze di Figaro (Marcellina) with Arizona State Lyric Opera Theater, and L’enfant et les Sortilèges (La Bergère) with Wichita State Opera Theater. Katherine also sang the title role in the world premiere of James DeMars’ opera Guadalupe. She has appeared in recitals across the United States, Mexico, Italy, and Germany. In addition to being an avid performer, Katherine has taught both at West Valley Music Studio, Milano’s Music Studio, RLS Music Studio, and as a Teaching Assistant at Arizona State University. She holds an MM/Opera Performance (Arizona State University), and a BM/Voice (Wichita State University).
Click here for Katherines’s full resume.
Mac Christensen – Piano
Mac Christensen began playing his family piano at the age of four, and began taking lessons at age five. He received his B.M. in Piano Performance from Brigham Young University, where he studied with Dr. Richard Anderson. His studies there included experience as an independent piano teacher and tutor. One of his favorite experiences was accompanying the French diction lab for vocalists. He was also a tenor in the BYU Concert Choir.
Mac is currently pursuing a master’s degree in music therapy at ASU. He believes that music has fundamental power to promote wellness and quality of life. He is also gaining experience working with children with autism and other disabilities through his clinical work.
Mac had a stretch from when he was 9 to about 13 when he wanted to quit piano. It wasn’t until he started playing Chopin that he fell in love with piano again. Due to that experience, he is committed to helping students not only build fundamental skills like sight-reading and technique but also find ways to love music so that it can become an important part of their life. There is nothing more rewarding to him than seeing a student progress from week to week and find joy in music and the same instrument that he loves.
Click here for Mac’s full resume.
Mary Cota – Piano
Born in the small town of Marion, Alabama, Mary moved to Birmingham at age 11 to attend the Alabama School of Fine Arts as a piano major. While living and studying at ASFA, she won awards in piano competitions from local to international levels, and competed in the national round of the Music Teachers National Association Competition. At the age of 15, she debuted with orchestra, performing Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor.
Mary completed her Bachelors of Music Degree in Piano Performance at the University of Houston under pedagogue, Nancy Weems. She then went on to complete her Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano at Arizona State University under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Campbell. Mary is currently a doctoral student in collaborative piano at ASU. She held the position of Collaborative Piano Teaching Assistant for four years there. Mary has participated and performed in summer festivals such as Brevard Music Center, International Institute for Young Musicians, New Orleans Piano Institute, Eastern Music Festival, Texas Music Festival, and Fresh Inc Festival.
Mary is a passionate teacher who champions the positive and far-reaching benefits music education has for all people, and places a special emphasis on collaborative piano. Her students have won highest honors in the Arizona Study Program Competition. She is an active performer and collaborator at ASU and in the greater Phoenix area, and is a regular commissioner of new works with the Rogue Trio – an innovative violin-saxophone-piano ensemble.
Click here for Mary’s full resume.
Matthew Shaver – Percussion
Matthew Shaver is a composer, performer, and music educator who is passionate about sharing music with others. His musical journey began with piano lessons when he was eight years old, and grew to include percussion, guitar, bass guitar, and music composition before turning eighteen.
After graduating high school, Matthew earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music composition from Baylor University and a Master of Music degree in percussion performance from the University of Alabama. Some highlights from his time in college include winning the competitive Baylor Symphony Composition Contest his freshman year, winning Baylor’s Outstanding Composition Award, performing at the Livestrong 15th Anniversary Gala, and working with Pulitzer Prize winning composers Steve Reich, David Lang, and John Luther Adams.
While completing his degrees, Matthew maintained a passion for guitar. Inspired by rock and metal guitarists like Joe Satriani, Jeff Loomis, and Tosin Abasi, Matthew pursued a greater technical and theoretical understanding of the guitar alongside his composition and percussion studies.
In 2015, Matthew moved to Austin, Texas and started teaching music lessons. At first Matthew only taught music theory and composition, but eventually began teaching students ages 3 to 50 how to play piano, guitar, electric bass, and percussion. These initial teaching experiences ignited Matthew’s
passion for sharing music with others and transformed teaching from a part time job into a lifelong pursuit. It also helped define Matthew’s teaching philosophy, which is to help students find a personal connection with music and to create a foundation of knowledge and skills to make every student a self-sufficient musician.
When Matthew isn’t teaching lessons, he is improvising music on the piano or drums for dance classes at Arizona State University.
Click here for Matthew’s full resume.
Nick Medlock – Guitar
Nick Medlock has had a love of music since his first rainbow xylophone at the age of 3. When his parents got a piano in his house at age 6, he couldn’t stop playing it. Both of his parents were naturally gifted in music, and, as a child, Nick took every opportunity to make as much music as he could on many different instruments.
His first paying performance came when his middle school jazz band director hired him on trombone to perform in the youth band. There he learned many skills about performing and improvising, and he even met some of his future high school music teachers. Nick attended North High School for 3 and a half years taking group guitar, and he performed in marching, symphonic, and jazz bands. He transferred to Arizona School for the Arts and was awarded scholarships for private Guitar from ASU professor Charles Houlihan and private trombone from Kim Ohlemeyer of the Phoenix Symphony. Arizona School for the Arts also awarded him with the honored John Philips Sousa Award in 1998.
Nick’s teaching career started immediately after graduating from high school in 1998, and he has been a full-time teacher since 2001. Nick has never lost the desire to perform; he continues to play bands in various styles of music to stay active. Ever the book worm, Nick is also the head of worship and youth minister of Living Stones Christian Church.
Click here for Nick’s full resume.
Nina Tahbaz – Piano
Nina Tahbaz, from Iran, began taking piano private lessons at the age of 12. After five years of playing Persian repertoire, she started studying western classical music and has been learning and performing ever since. Nina would compose and accompany for her school choir and she was given several prizes from Student Choir and Music Festival Competition during her high school years in her hometown, Tehran.
In 2010, Nina moved to the U.S. and has been living in Mesa with her husband and her children since then. In 2014 she completed the Beginning and Intermediate Piano Pedagogy Certificate as well as Associate in Arts Degree from Mesa Community College. Also, she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in piano from Arizona State University in 2016. Over these years, she studied solo piano with professor Ruth Yandell, Walter Cosand, Dani Shraibma and had collaborative piano lessons with Dr. Daian Baker and professor Russel Ryan. Also, she finished piano pedagogy courses with Dr. Radmila Stojanovic. In addition, she was a winner in Mesa Community College Piano Competition and Maricopa Community Colleges District Piano Competition.
Nina’s Piano Teaching experience goes back to 25 years ago when she was in Tehran. As a high school student, she used to substitute her piano teacher’s studio and teach her younger students. After that excellent opportunity, she considered teaching more seriously and decided to run her own piano studio which lasted for years. Since 2011, Nina reestablished her home- studio and has been a member of Music Teacher National Association, Arizona State Music Teacher Association and East Valley Music Teacher Association.
Click here for Nina’s full resume.
Rosa LoGiudice – Piano
Rosa LoGiudice is a doctoral student in Collaborative Piano at Arizona State University studying with Dr. Andrew Campbell. Rosa earned her Master of Music in Collaborative Piano in June 2015 at University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied with Robert Koenig and Natasha Kislenko. Previously, Rosa attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Portland State University, and Hunter College in New York City, where she earned a dual Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in Piano Performance in January 2003. While living in New York, Rosa studied piano with Dorothy Taubman and John Bloomfield.
Rosa has over 20 years of teaching experience. She began teaching in Maui, Hawaii, in 1994-1996 at the Maui Music Conservatory where she assisted and taught with Ruth Murata-Eisen for group keyboard classes in the Yamaha method. Rosa also gave private lessons and her students performed in recitals presented by the conservatory twice per year. Rosa also taught the Suzuki and traditional piano methods at Andy’s Family Music Center in Livingston, New Jersey from 1999-2002 while earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at Hunter College. She taught varying ages and levels, and her students participated in twice yearly recitals. Rosa received Suzuki teacher training for all seven levels. Rosa moved to Thousand Oaks, California in 2003. She established her own private teaching studio which she maintained the entire time she lived in southern California, from 2003-2016. She taught all ages and levels from four years old to high school seniors. Her students participated in her studio recitals twice a year, in the Southern California Junior Bach festival where they received honors, and in the state sponsored Certificate of Merit program for theory and performance evaluations. Her students were awarded honors every year they participated in this program.
In addition to teaching Rosa is also an experienced performer as a collaborative pianist. She accompanied singers and instrumentalists for her undergraduate career and performed with chamber music groups. While pursuing her teaching career in southern California from 2003-2016 Rosa frequently performed with singers, instrumentalists, and in chamber groups in concerts with the Santa Barbara Music Club. She also performed at least once a year at the Glendale Noon Concert Series, where she is a founding member with her frequent violin performing partner Jacqueline Suzuki. Rosa was staff pianist and assistant director for the choral department at Newbury Park High School from 2005-2013. She rehearsed and performed with all the choirs, led rehearsals when the teacher was absent, and was substitute teacher for music theory and music appreciation classes at the high school. She also coached singers individually on classical and musical theater solos for the school concerts. Rosa was awarded a teaching assistantship in accompanying at UC Santa Barbara from 2013-2015 while earning her master’s degree. She accompanied vocal and instrumental students in their lessons and recitals, and played for the university choirs. She was an orchestral pianist with the wind ensemble and chamber orchestra.
Rosa is committed to teaching and helping students find their own passion for music. Her goal is to inspire her students to discover the joy of performing both as soloists and with other musicians.
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Sara Rollins – Voice/Piano
Sara Rollins is a passionate pianist, vocalist, and music teacher from Cedar City, Utah. Her love for music began at the young age of 6 when she began to take private piano and voice lessons. This love increased through high school and eventually inspired her to pursue music as a career at Southern Utah University, where she is currently finishing up a Bachelors of Art Degree in Music. At SUU, Sara worked as an accompanist for the women’s chorus, was the Alto sectional leader for the chamber choir 2 years in a row, and sang as a chorus member for 2 Josh Groban concerts. Sara loves to sing and play a variety of musical styles and genres. She encourages diversity in her students’ skills, and looks forward to sharing her love for music and inspiring others to follow their dreams.
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Shiloh Jezek – Piano
Shiloh Jezek began her musical career at the age of 7. Only 2 short years later, she began studying under EVSM’s own Owner/Instructor, Tabitha Kaminski. At age 12, she began teaching private lessons to beginners from her home and eventually grew her piano business to over 25 students. Shiloh has completed many years of Arizona Study Program through ASU both as a student and a teacher. She has been classically trained for the majority of her music career and continues to be an avid pianist now 16 years later. She studied with Tabitha for over 10 years as well as studying piano pedagogy courses with Radmila Stojanovic.
As owner and operator of her own piano studio, she has become highly proficient in teaching important musical skills such as sight reading, theory comprehension, rhythm and more! Her main objective in teaching is to pass along her love for music onto the next generation of musicians. She plays with an immense amount of passion, artistry and technical precision. By continuing her teaching career at EVSM, she hopes to give her students the skills to grow as musicians and help them gain confidence in themselves!
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Simone Mancuso – Percussion
Simone Mancuso, percussionst and conductor, was born and raised in Italy. He has been internationally recognized for his interpretations of contemporary classical pieces with prizes including the Kranichstein-Stipendienpreise from the Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt in 2002 and the First Pirize from Stockhausen Stiftung f ü r Music in 2005, which was awarded to Mancuso directly by Karlheinz Stockhausen. In 2007, Karlheinz Stockhausen selected him as a recommended performer of his works. His career as a soloist has taken him throughout Japan, Russia, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States. He has performed in such prestigious venues and festivals as the Kennedy Center, Blues Alley, Strathmore Hall, the Martha Argerich Project, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, ISCM World New Music Days, Internationale Ferienkurse f ü r Neue Music Darmstadt, RAI Radio Tre, Teatro Nacional of Brazil, and the Moscow Conservatory, among others.
As a soloist, he has appeared with the Basel Sinfonietta, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, SONUS Ensemble, and Orchestra da Camera Ungherese under the baton of Alexander Rabinovitch-Barakovsky, Johannes Kalitzke, Giorgio Bernasconi, Denise Fedeli, and Diego Fasolis. He has collaborated with composers including Karlheinz Stockhausen, Salvatore Sciarrino, Klaus Huber, Chaya, Czernowin, Edoardo Soto-Milan, Rudolf Kelterborn, Adriana H ö lsky, Giovanni Damiani and Glenn Hackbarth among others. In a chamber music setting, he has performed and recorded with celebrated pianists such as Martha Argerich, Gabriele Baldocci and Giorgia Tomassi.
Mancuso’s critically acclaimed, internationally released recordings can be heart on Deutsche Grammophon, Stradivarius, Col Legno, Curva Minore, Suisse Grammont Portrait, and Chelandia. His solo CD La Parala al Legno features the world premiere recording of Il Legno e la Parola for solo marimba by Salvatore Sciarrino. His second solo CD is entirely dedicated to John Cage and features the world premiere recording of Variations VIII . He is the founding member of the Swiss-based Lugano Percussion Group, the jazz/classical crossover duo Mancuso-Suzda Project, and the Sonus Duo with renowned saxophonist Timothy McAllister. Since 2009 he has collaborated with the Phoenix-based ensemble, Crossing 32nd Street.
As a conductor, he recently toured with his New York based trio Ensemble Nomade where he conducted Stravinsky Histoire du Sol dat at the Martha Argerich Festivals in Japan and Switzerland. For this project Ensemble Nomade was paired with the members of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Saito Kinen Orchestra, Tokyo University (Japan) and the Swiss Radio Orchestra.
Currently, Mancuso lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Percussion, Director of the Arizona Contemporary Music Festival at Arizona State Unversity. He holds a Conservatory Diploma in Percussion from the Conservatorio A. Scontrino in Trapani, Italy, where he studied with Professor Fulvia Ricevuto. He also received the Solisten Diplom from the University School of Music of Lugano, Switzerland where he studied with Professor Mircea Ardeleanu. The Solisten Diplom is only given four times per year, and Mancuso was the first percussionist ever to receive this recognition.
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Steve Martin – Brass
Stephen Martin, originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, attended St. Olaf College and Bemidji State University for his undergraduate studies where he completed his Bachelor of Arts. For his graduate studies he attended Arizona State University where he completed his Master’s of Music in the Spring of 2018. His Teachers have included Robert Dorer, Martin Hodel, Charles Lazarus, Delon Lyren, and David Hickman.
Stephen is an active freelance musician, he has performed with the Tuscon Symphony Orchestra, Arizona Philharmonic, Amy Grant, Micheal W. Smith, Doc Severinsen, Steve Smith, Graham Breedlove, Paulo Padilha, The Phoenix Chamber Brass, local theater companies, and has toured with La Chica Cumbia. Before moving to Arizona, Stephen performed regularly with the Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra and the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra. Along with this, he has performed as a featured soloist with various ensembles throughout Minnesota, performing works by Handel, Tartini, Telemann, and Vivaldi. In addition to performing, Stephen is an active educator and maintains a private studio.
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Tyler Schoep – Guitar & Piano
Tyler Schoep is a singer, songwriter, and music instructor from Montevideo, MN. He began taking piano lessons when he was six years old and continued until he was thirteen. From that age through college he sang in various functions, namely choirs and bands.
Tyler continued his education at Southwest Minnesota State University. There, he studied piano with Dr. Daniel Rieppel, voice with Dr. Stephen Kingsbury, and guitar and Composition with Dr. Peter Lothringer. Completing his Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory/Composition in Spring of 2015, Tyler has discovered a passion for teaching and developing musical appreciation and ambition in his students. His rounded approach to music in studying a wide array of instruments has given him exposure to a useful array of experience. He’s accompanied jazz ensembles, orchestra, and has sung solos for choirs.
Tyler now lives in Mesa, AZ with his wife and is pursuing songwriting, classical composition, and teaching. His warm demeanor allows for his students to grow comfortable quickly and begin to shape their own goals with his direction. His teaching philosophy is to assist the student in discovering what they want to get out of their training and helping them to achieve those goals. He believes that music should be developed as a passion, but that it requires study of technique, theory, and repertoire.
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Vladimir Gebe – Violin/Viola
Vladimir Gebe, a native of Romania, has been playing the violin for more than 25 years. He was first taught by his father, who is also a violin teacher. He is an established performer and educator in the Phoenix area, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University, working on his dissertation centered around the violin works of composer Hans Gal. He is a recent recipient of ASU’s Herberger Institute Research Grant as well as the Joan Frazer Memorial Award for Judaism and the Arts.
Aside from his violin performance degrees, Vladimir also holds a minor in Violin Pedagogy. He has taught students of all ages and levels. He has also taught at a collegiate level during his tenures as teaching assistant at Arizona State University and Bowling Green State University.
Vladimir is an experienced orchestra player and is a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. He has also collaborated with Phoenix, Ann Arbor and Toledo Symphony Orchestras. He has been a National Repertory Orchestra fellow twice, a Young Artist of the Manchester Music Festival and has participated and performed in the Chautauqua Music Festival, Red Rocks Music Festival, Riehen Opera Festival and the George Enescu Festival among others. In his spare time, Vladimir likes to cook (and eat), follow soccer, and listen to rock music.
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Zach Jones – Piano
Zach Jones is a composer, pianist, drummer, guitarist, educator, and published scholar from Bethlehem, PA. As a composer, he likes to create an emotional musical experience similar to his own experiences of classical, film, and ambient rock music. Starting out as a rock transcriber and songwriter in high school, Zach has since explored composing acoustic and electronic concert music, incidental music for theatre, and short film scores including virtual reality films. As a composition fellow, his music has been premiered at the nief-norf Summer Festival in Tennessee, Cortona Sessions for New Music in Tuscany, and Atlantic Music Festival in Maine.
Zach has also presented at regional, national, and international conferences since college and has premiered his piano music in Sweden, Italy, and across the United States. He holds degrees from Lafayette College, where he was a Marquis Scholar, EXCEL Scholar, and Phi Beta Kappa inductee, and Arizona State University, where he was a teaching assistant for music theory and treasurer for Arizona State’s chapter of the Society of Composers, Inc. His composition teachers included Rodney Rogers, Kirk O’Riordan, Jody Rockmaker, and Robert Paterson, and his piano teachers were Peter Carpenter and Anna Maria Marzullo.
Through his many years of piano training, Zach learned to value creativity and expressivity over flashiness. By focusing on creating and expressing, he finds music-making and performing more rewarding and self-fulfilling. He aims to inspire his students to express themselves, achieve meaningful performances, and create lasting connections with music.
Aside from musicking, Zach likes to stay active, travel, and watch hockey to beat the desert heat.
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