Faculty

Click on an instructor to see his or her biography.

Administration

  • Louis Caimano, Jr.DIRECTOR, WOODWINDS

    Lauret Du Conservatoire De La Region De Bordeaux, France; M.M., Woodwind Specialist, Saxophone, Flute, Bassoon, Clarinet, Oboe with Honors, Michigan State University; B.M., B.S., Michigan State University. Studied saxophone with Jean-Marie Londeix; flute with Maurice Prouvo and Andrew Lolya; clarinet with Yves Didier, Dan Trimboli and Les Scott; bassoon with Loren Glickman, William Scribner and Dr. Edgar Kirk; oboe with Mark Hill and Marsha Heller; improvisation with Phil Woods and Eric Kloss. Former Director of Jazz Studies, and Instructor of Saxophone, Flute, Bassoon and Theory at Bemidji State University; Assistant Director and Instructor of Saxophone, Michigan State University; Adjunct faculty, City University of New York – QCC; Instrumental Music Teacher, Harrington Park and Ridgewood NJ public schools. Composer/arranger of numerous jazz fusion, new age and commercial compositions, including “Manhattan Twilight” and “Dyad.” Performance credits include the Broadway orchestras of A Chorus Line, Baby, CATS, Dancin’, David Copperfield, Evita, 42nd Street, La Cage aux Folles, Mame, Manhattan Showboat, Woman of the Year and Shrek the Musical; as well as the Saxophonist “Salaire” at Grand Theatre de Bordeaux, Musique Municipal, Orchestre de Harmonie, and the Lansing Symphony. Performed on saxophone with such well-known acts as The Four Tops, The Temptations, the Mellow Kings, Gary Burton, Urbie Green, Jimmy Holmes, Arnie Lawrence, John Mahegan, Rita Moreno, Marvin Stamm, Larry Stuart, Enzo Stuarti, Clark Terry, Jerry Vale and Nancy Wilson. Appeared in the movies “Muppets Take Manhattan” and “The Juror.” Radio performances on “France Inter,” the French National Radio Station. Founded The Ridgewood Conservatory in 1998 after providing private woodwind instruction to more than 200 student musicians. (Hear Lou Caimano perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Woodwind Faculty Quartet, ‘Six Cuban Dances’ by Ignacio Cervantes: https://youtu.be/8e7EyNzo3hA. Also, hear Lou Caimano perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Jazz Faculty Trio, ‘Stella by Starlight’ by Victor Young: https://youtu.be/YTw2BVFArFY.) 

  • Jan King CaimanoASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

    Jan Caimano holds a degree in Elementary Education from the City University of New York – Queens College, with a focus in open classroom and non-traditional teaching techniques. After teaching in both NYC and New Rochelle, she spent thirty years as the Founder, President and Chief Copywriter of King Graphic Studios, an award-winning design firm specializing in helping not-for-profit and business-to-business ventures. Co-founder of The Ridgewood Conservatory, Jan is responsible for the educational components of the instrumental, Early Childhood Music, Dance and summer programs, special events planning, program development and advertising. In addition to her role as the Associate Director of The Conservatory, Jan is a hypnosis professional certified by both the American Academy of Hypnotherapy and the International Hypnosis Federation, specializing in helping clients of all ages overcome stress and anxiety, increase confidence and self-esteem, overcome fears and phobias, and deal more effectively with issues related to health and wellness.

Woodwinds

  • Louis Caimano, Jr.DIRECTOR, WOODWINDS

    Lauret Du Conservatoire De La Region De Bordeaux, France; M.M., Woodwind Specialist, Saxophone, Flute, Bassoon, Clarinet, Oboe with Honors, Michigan State University; B.M., B.S., Michigan State University. Studied saxophone with Jean-Marie Londeix; flute with Maurice Prouvo and Andrew Lolya; clarinet with Yves Didier, Dan Trimboli and Les Scott; bassoon with Loren Glickman, William Scribner and Dr. Edgar Kirk; oboe with Mark Hill and Marsha Heller; improvisation with Phil Woods and Eric Kloss. Former Director of Jazz Studies, and Instructor of Saxophone, Flute, Bassoon and Theory at Bemidji State University; Assistant Director and Instructor of Saxophone, Michigan State University; Adjunct faculty, City University of New York – QCC; Instrumental Music Teacher, Harrington Park and Ridgewood NJ public schools. Composer/arranger of numerous jazz fusion, new age and commercial compositions, including “Manhattan Twilight” and “Dyad.” Performance credits include the Broadway orchestras of A Chorus Line, Baby, CATS, Dancin’, David Copperfield, Evita, 42nd Street, La Cage aux Folles, Mame, Manhattan Showboat, Woman of the Year and Shrek the Musical; as well as the Saxophonist “Salaire” at Grand Theatre de Bordeaux, Musique Municipal, Orchestre de Harmonie, and the Lansing Symphony. Performed on saxophone with such well-known acts as The Four Tops, The Temptations, the Mellow Kings, Gary Burton, Urbie Green, Jimmy Holmes, Arnie Lawrence, John Mahegan, Rita Moreno, Marvin Stamm, Larry Stuart, Enzo Stuarti, Clark Terry, Jerry Vale and Nancy Wilson. Appeared in the movies “Muppets Take Manhattan” and “The Juror.” Radio performances on “France Inter,” the French National Radio Station. Founded The Ridgewood Conservatory in 1998 after providing private woodwind instruction to more than 200 student musicians. (Hear Lou Caimano perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Woodwind Faculty Quartet, ‘Six Cuban Dances’ by Ignacio Cervantes: https://youtu.be/8e7EyNzo3hA. Also, hear Lou Caimano perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Jazz Faculty Trio, ‘Stella by Starlight’ by Victor Young: https://youtu.be/YTw2BVFArFY.) 

  • Gary HammeOboe

    M.M., Juilliard, B.M., University of Central Florida. Studied with Ronald Roseman at Juilliard. Founding member of the Artists International Competition-Winning Brioso Woodwind Quintent, leading to his Carnegie Hall debut and multiple return engagements. Performed with many notable orchestras including the Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York Chamber Symphony, New York Pops, Mostly Mozart Festival, New York Choral Society, Little Orchestra Society, Opera Orchestra of New York, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Jupiter Symphony Orchestra, National Chorale, Amor Artis Chorale Orchestra, Philharmonia Virtuosi, Soloisti New York, American Ballet Theatre and the American Symphony Orchestra. Affiliated member of numerous Broadway shows – including Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Aida, Miss Saigon, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Ragtime, Titanic, Jekyll and Hyde, Cinderella, and Showboat. (Hear Gary Hamme perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Woodwind Faculty Quartet, ‘Six Cuban Dances’ by Ignacio Cervantes: https://youtu.be/8e7EyNzo3hA.)

  • Don MokrynskiCLARINET, BASS CLARINET

    M.M., The Juilliard School; B.M. Eastman School of Music. Studied with Herbert Blayman (former principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra); Stanley Hasty, Leon Russianoff, and Richard Waller. Principal Clarinetist with the national tours of Phantom of the Opera and The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber starring Michael Crawford. Performed with the NJ Symphony, the New Haven Symphony, Solisti NY, and Orchestra New England, as well as the Jersey Lyric, New Haven and Connecticut Grand Opera companies. As an avid chamber musician, has performed with members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Mr. Mokrynski is a founding member of the critically acclaimed Palisades Virtuosi, performing in concert throughout the tri-state area as well as in Hawaii and Canada. The first five volumes of their New American Masters series has been named to Fanfare magazine’s “Most Wanted” lists. Attended the music festivals of Aspen, Waterloo and Heidelberg and has recorded for Albany, Koch International, Soundstream and Elektra records.  (Hear Don Mokrynski perform ‘Spring Song’ and ‘Country Dance’ by Frank Bridge: https://youtu.be/8ERn9On7VAw. Also hear Don Mokrynski perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Woodwind Faculty Quartet, ‘Six Cuban Dances’ by Ignacio Cervantes: https://youtu.be/8e7EyNzo3hA, and with Palisades Virtuosi, “Nutcracker Overture’ by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: https://youtu.be/P29RGcdNhqk.) 

  • Margaret SwinchoskiFLUTE, PICCOLO, RECORDER

    M.A., Aaron Copland School of Music, CUNY-Queens College; B.F.A., B.A., Johnson State College. Studied flute with Edward Powell, Thomas Nyfenger, Sophie Sollberger, and Trudy Kane. Has taught flute privately to students of all ages and levels for over thirty years. Debut recital by Artists International at Carnegie Hall. Featured soloist at the National Flute Association Convention in the World Premiere of Leo Kraft’s “From The Hudson Valley,” and Richard Lane’s Flute Concerto with the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra. Has appeared as a concerto soloist with numerous orchestras, and has served as principal flutist with the Westchester and Harrisburg Symphony Orchestras and the Lancaster Festival Orchestra. Has performed regularly with the NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and with the Broadway orchestra of Phantom of the Opera since 1991. Formed the Legacy Duo with harpist Emily Mitchell, performing in concerts and on radio and televisions stations in the NY metropolitan area. As a founding member of the Palisades Virtuosi, has commissioned and premiered over 70 works for flute, clarinet and piano from such well-known composers as Paul Moravec, Melinda Wagner, Eric Ewazen, Carlos Franzetti, Robert Manno, Dan Cooper, Frank Ezra Levy, and Allen Shawn among others, playing concerts throughout the tri-state area and in Hawaii and Canada – with Volumes 1 though 5 of Palisades Virtuosi’s New American Masters series being named to Fanfare magazine’s “Most Wanted” lists. Ms. Swinchoski’s solo debut CD From The Hudson Valley garnered rave reviews from Fanfare magazine and American Record Guide. She can be heard on the Albany Records, Newport Classics, CRI, and High Point labels.  (Hear Margaret Swinchoski perform ‘Concertino’ by Cecile Chaminade: https://youtu.be/zMQmLKkEkjw.  Also hear Margaret Swinchoski perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Woodwind Faculty Quartet, ‘Six Cuban Dances’ by Ignacio Cervantes: https://youtu.be/8e7EyNzo3hA and, with Palisades Virtuosi, “Nutcracker Overture’ by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: https://youtu.be/P29RGcdNhqk.)  

Strings

  • Natalie KrieglerViolin, Viola

    New England Conservatory; Manhattan School of Music – Violin/Music Performance. Studied with Raphael Bronstein, Arianna Bronne, Alfredo Cavalieri, David Nadien, Glen Dictorow, and Sam Kissel. Teaching credits include The Bronx House, The Riverdale Y, Montclair State University Preparatory Dept, and Westchester Conservatory of Music; former substitute teacher at the Preparatory Depts of Manhattan School of Music and Mannes College of Music. Critically-acclaimed violinist, has received numerous accolades in more than 40 years of performance. Appeared as a violin soloist with The Vermont Symphony Orchestra, The Amphion Chamber Orchestra, The Mohawk Trails Chamber Orchestra, and with the Capriccio Ensemble, where she is currently Artistic Director and first violinist. Has been a NYS-sponsored and featured recitalist at The Empire State Plaza on several occasions. Freelance credits include performances in Broadway shows such as Grand Hotel, Guys and Dolls, Hello Dolly, Damn Yankees, Phantom of the Opera, and Les Miserables. Has performed in orchestras such as Music Sacra, served as concert mistress for The NY Gilbert & Sullivan Players and a run of My Fair Lady at The Westbury Music Fair, has been the concert mistress for Joel Grey, Bel Canto Opera, and has performed in concert with such well-known artists as Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Jay Black, Gladys Knight, Connie Francis, Mel Torme, Dionne Warwick, Smokey Robinson, Barry White, and Johnny Mathis. Commercial credits include performing the original string music for the Nickelodeon TV show Power Pets (later called Wonder Pets). Performed as part of a string trio at the wedding ceremony of Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Sklar, has recorded for artists such as Billy Joel (An Innocent Man) and for Kiri Tekanawa (Kiri Sings Gershwin), and is in demand as a commercial recording violinist for television spots and advertisements, including the CBS Evening News, Coca Cola, Amtrak, AMC Classics, Volvo, Nickelodeon, and many others. (Hear Natalie Kriegler perform ‘L’inverno: Allegro Non Troppo’ by Antonio Vivaldi: https://youtu.be/rBofwzU4a0g.)

  • Diane MichaelsHarp

    B.M., Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Studied with Alice Chalifoux, Joan Holland (Interlochen Arts Academy). Faculty member, Wharton Music Center. Orchestral credits include principal harpist with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea since 1993, Thoroughly Modern Millie on Broadway, and performances with the Queens Symphony, Metro Lyric Opera, the New York Verismo Opera Company, RTG Productions, the Garden State Philharmonic, and the Monmouth Symphony. Has performed with Tony Bennett at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City and was a member of the All American College Orchestra at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center, currently performs for tea at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City, and has performed at New York’s most prestigious hotels and restaurants, including the Plaza Hotel, the Rainbow Room, the Waldorf-Astoria, the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and the Hilton at Short Hills. On the roster of Music for all Seasons, a non-profit organization through which she performs at numerous facilities including hospitals and shelters for victims of domestic abuse. Has toured with the NY Harp Ensemble in the U.S. and Italy,and with the Paulson Harp Ensemble in NJ and Ireland. A Masterwork Music and Arts Foundation Young Artist Recitalist and a four-time gold medallist in the harp division of the United Irish Counties of New York, Inc. Feis. As a winner of this competition, she appeared in the winners’ concert at Carnegie Recital Hall. Mid Atlantic Regional Director of the American Harp Society. Published arrangements for harp ensemble and a book for beginning harp students.

  • Hannah MinViolin

    M.M., Manhattan School of Music; B.M., University of Toronto. Studied with Burton Kaplan, Annalee Patipatanakoon and Mark Fewer. Former violin faculty member of the Turtle Bay Music School, 92nd Street Y School of Music, and current faculty at the Arete Music Academy. Korean-Canadian violinist Hannah Min is an active New York freelance performer. Reviewed by the New York Times as playing a “vivid, colorful and urgent performance” with “piercing clarity,” she has been heard in venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall and Isaac Stern Auditorium, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall as well as in performance spaces throughout Europe and Asia. Orchestral/ensemble credits include performances with the New York Pops, Westchester Philharmonic, New York Chamber Players, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Distinguished Concerts International NY, Arco Ensemble, New York Opera Society, Sinfonietta of Riverdale, West Village Players and neoLIT Ensemble. Has recorded music for the film The Greatest Showman and performed on Broadway’s Rocky the Musical, appeared on television’s “Good Morning America,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Good Morning America Summer Stage.” (Hear Hannah Min perform ‘Duo No. 1 in C Major, Allegro Commodo’ by Ludwig van Beethoven: https://youtu.be/DJkSsm7vJP4.)

  • Bill MoringElectric Bass, String Bass (Double Bass)

    Indiana State University. Studied harmony and piano studies with Michael Moore, classical bass repertoire and technique with Homer Mensch (Julliard, NY Philharmonic), Gregory Dugan (Indianapolis Symphony), and Stuart Arfman (Principal, Indianapolis Symphony), jazz bass and sound reinforcement studies with Rufus Reid, jazz and classical bass with George Mraz. Currently on the faculty at Montclair State University, Sarah Lawrence College, and NJPAC’s Jazz for Teens. Has hosted an assortment of student clinics at various high school and college jazz festivals in the US and abroad; has worked with students individually and in groups at North Texas State, Rutgers, The New School, Jersey City State, Long Island University, and SUNY Purchase, among many others. A versatile bassist whose scope includes gigging with the big bands of legends Count Basie and Woody Herman, jammin’ jazz/funk and beyond with the Dave Stryker/Steve Slagle quartet, or stretching harmonic and rhythmic boundaries with John Hart and Chris Potter to performing in the classical vein as a freelancer or orchestra member. During his early years, played bass in cellist Hank Roberts’ group, was a member of the Indianapolis Philharmonic, worked with John Von Ohlen’s big band, and played with Dizzy Gillespie, Slide Hampton, and Cal Collins. Later worked with drummer Mel Lewis, toured with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd and the Count Basie Orchestra, and gigged with the Village Vanguard Orchestra and the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabakin Jazz Orchestra. Has performed with such renowned singers as Joe Williams, Mel Tormé and Susannah McCorkle, and with jazz legends Frank Foster, AI Cohn, Clark Terry, Mickey Roker, Tommy Flanagan, Junior Cook, Roland Hanna and Ray Barretto. Has performed and/or recorded with many contemporary artists including John Abercrombie, Gary Bartz, Manolo Badrena, Larry Coryell, Vic Juris, Dave Kikoski, Billy Hart, John Hart, Eddie Henderson, Joe Locke, Mulgrew Miller, Chris Potter, Dom Salvador, Dave Stryker, and James Williams, as well as on nationally aired jingles. Notable concerts and festival performances include Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall and Carnegie Hall in NYC; Monterey (CA), JVC Jazz (NY), Pori (Finland) and Winnipeg (Canada) Jazz Festivals. Former member of Intl Assoc. of Jazz Educators, current member of Intl Society of Bassists and Intl Federation of Musicians, Local #802. (Hear Bill Moring perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Jazz Faculty Trio, ‘Stella by Starlight’ by Victor Young: https://youtu.be/YTw2BVFArFY.) 

  • Lanny PaykinCello

    M.M., The Juilliard School; B.A., Wesleyan University. Studied with Bernard Greenhouse, Harvey Shapiro, and Lynn Harrell. Recipient of the Juilliard Alumni Award and the Paderewski Foundation Award. Taught cello at Wesleyan University, Manhattan School of Music’s Precollege Division, and School for Strings; currently on the faculty of Montclair State University’s summer program at Stokes Forest. Orchestral credits include the New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera, has appeared as the Principal Cellist for the New York City Opera, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Long Island Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra, and as the Assistant Principal Cellist with the Adelaide (Australia) Symphony Orchestra. Member of the American Composers’ Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Westchester Philharmonic. Traveled throughout Asia with the New York Philharmonic with performances in Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, as well as at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. Professional credits also include various solo and chamber music concerts, numerous summer festivals including the Bard Music Festival, Manchester Music Festival, Philomusica at Dartmouth College, Aspen Festival, and the Paros (Greece) Festival, and recordings on the Premier Records, DRG and MMD labels. (Hear Lanny Paykin perform ‘Kol Nidre Duet for Cello and Piano’ by Max Bruch: https://youtu.be/TS8Gs0LDqaQ.)

  • Sally ShumwaySuzuki Violin, Viola

    M.M., Manhattan School of Music; B.A. in Viola, University of Kansas. Studied with Karel Blaas, Michael Kimber, Karen Tuttle and William Lincer. Recipient of the Hugo Kortschak Award for Excellence in Chamber Music. Suzuki training at Ottawa Suzuki Institute in Ottawa, The School for Strings (NYC) and Hartt Suzuki Institute. Suzuki group and private violin lesson instructor at the Montessori Spring School in Tenafly; previously started a Suzuki violin program at The Learning Center of Clifton NJ. Taught beginning Strings classes to 5th and 6th graders and conducted the orchestra at the Fieldston School of the Ethical Culture Society. Currently a member of the American Symphony Orchestra and the Bronx Arts Ensemble, and a freelancer performing with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Riverside Symphony. Previous member of the Riverside String Quartet and “Infusion,” a chamber music group which specialized in music of the 20th century. Outside of New York, performed with the Colorado Philharmonic, the Illinois Chamber Orchestra, the Vermont Symphony, the Portland Symphony (Maine) and as principle violist with the Cedar Rapids Symphony. Broadway shows include Sondheim’s Passion, Titanic: A New Musical, and Gypsy with Patti LuPone, as well as numerous others. Classical recordings include Strauss Die Agyptische Helena and Die Leibe Der Danae with the American Symphony Orchestra, and music by Carlos Surinach, Roberto Sierra, Robert Baksa, Meyer Kupferman, Soong Fu Yuan with the Bronx Arts Ensemble. Other recordings include Kristina (ABBA), Gypsy (2008 cast album), Harry on Broadway Act 1 (Harry Connick Jr.), Christmas Carol (cast album), My Favorite Broadway, Music by Allen Brings, Titanic (Broadway cast album), Sondheim’s Passion (Broadway cast album), Vitamin C, Jerry Hadley In the Real World, and Gershwin’s Strike Up the Band. Movie soundtracks include Two Weeks Notice, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Snake Eyes, The Notorious Bettie Page, Flawless, A Time to Kill, Wide Awake, Striptease, Ed, and The Castle. (Hear Sally Shumway perform ‘Arabesque / Swanee River’ by Antonin Dvorak / Stephen Foster: https://youtu.be/rby_P6C2f-w.)

  • Jacqueline SternCello

    M.M. Performance, Manhattan School of Music; B.M. Music Education, Ithaca College. Formerly an Artist-Fellow with the Bach Aria Festival and a full scholarship student at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in England. Cello instructor, orchestra conductor and co-chair of the Music Committee at the Green Meadow Waldorf School. Conducts the Westchester Junior Strings of the Greater Westchester Youth Orchestras. An active orchestral and chamber musician in the tri-state area, performs on cello with the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, Westchester Camerata, and as a member of the Terzetta trio and the Spirit improv group, among other ensembles. Has performed on Baroque cello with the Artek Ensemble. (Hear Jacqueline Stern perform ‘The Swan’ by Camile Saint-Saëns: https://youtu.be/LkRDmtaOq14.)

  • Ellie SturrockViolin, Suzuki Violin

    M.M. – Violin Performance University of Michigan’s School of Music; B.M. – Violin Performance, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Over 20 years of experience teaching students of all ages and levels at various music schools, universities and academies, from the youngest Suzuki beginners through professional-level musicians. As a performing artist versatile in a wide range of musical genres, has performed and collaborated with such well-known orchestras and artists as the Los Angeles Philharmonic; various members of the New York Philharmonic; former Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert; internationally acclaimed conductor, Leonard Slatkin; the award-winning composer, John Williams; famed songwriter and folk-singer, the late John Denver; British songwriter and lead singer of the rock band the Who, Roger Daltry; classical pianist Joyce Yang; and Victor Goines and members of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Participated in numerous music festivals including Encore, National Music Academy at Interlochen, Aspen Music Festival, Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, and Schloss Pommersfelden, Germany. As the Founder and Director of Zion Entertainment, has produced concerts at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Bergen PAC, Merkin Concert Hall, and Miller Theater at Columbia University.

  • Catherine YangVIOLIN

    M.M., B.M. in Performance, Manhattan School of Music; Juilliard Pre-College. Studied with Peter Winograd (American String Orchestra), Dorothy De-Lay. Faculty member at Green Meadows Waldorf School and at the Rockland Conservatory of Music. Began studying violin at age six and won multiple Gold prizes in competitions in Korea at eight years old. Entered Juilliard Pre-College in NYC at age nine, giving recitals at Paul Hall at Lincoln Center, performing as a soloist with Inter-School Orchestra of NY at Alice Tully Hall and as a scholarship recipient at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall at age 12. Performed during college at the Caramoor Center, the Rosen Theater, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC as a member of Chamber Sinfonia, Isaac Stern Hall at Carnegie Hall, and as associate concertmaster for The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in collaboration with the Oratorio Society of New York. As a professional chamber musician and soloist, has given solo concerts at Carnegie Weill Hall and at Merkin Concert Hall, and performs with professional ensembles at such prestigious venues as Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center, Issac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, NJ PAC, Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell, and Bargemusic in NYC. Currently serves as concertmaster of both Verismo Opera of New Jersey under Maestro Lucy Arner and New York Festival Orchestra under Maestro Hirai, and assistant concertmaster of the Symphony of Westchester. (Hear Catherine Yang perform ‘Partita No.3 in E Major Preludio’ by Johann Sebastian Bach: https://youtu.be/GmjIso39acQ.)

Brass

  • Bill AshTrombone, Baritone, Euphonium, Tuba, Trumpet

    B.A., Princeton University. Studied trombone with Jack Gale, Charles Baker; trumpet with Edward Treutel, Valery Ponomarev, Jeanne Pocius, Laurie Frink, Uan Rasey, Clint “Pops” McLaughlin, Harold Lieberman; master class with Benny Carter. Has taught lessons to students of all ages and levels privately, at the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, Wharton Music Center in Berkeley Heights and at the Link School in Newark. Brass musician, band leader, composer/arranger, teacher and music journalist with over 45 years of professional credits ranging from big band, musical theater and classical performances to smaller jazz groups, pop, rock, polka and Klezmer bands. Has performed at numerous NY-area venues including Lincoln Center, NJPAC, Giants Stadium, Izod Arena, the Iridium, Fat Tuesday’s and Trumpets, as well as in Las Vegas and along the East coast. Classical appearances include the New Jersey Pops and North Jersey Symphony Orchestras, Rockland Symphony, Garden State and Rockland County Concert Bands, Imperial Brass Quintet, Garden State Brass Ensemble. Performed with 18-time Grammy winner Jimmy Sturr, the Temptations, the Happenings, Marlene VerPlanck, and Bobby Rydell. Selected as one of NJ’s top jazz musicians by the Newark Star Ledger in 2003. Recorded with the Jazz Composer’s Workshop Orchestra (which recorded his composition Stealing Fire), Kennsington Brass (which recorded several of his arrangements), Michael Treni, Linda Torchia, the Acme Brass Co., the James L. Dean Big Band, Dick Wells with the Big Band Swing Machine, the Bensen-Scott Big Band, the Infernos, Doug Ferony, Bibi Farber, the Planet Jazz Big Band and Jimmy Sturr, among others. Led 15-piece big bands including the Princeton Swing Band, and smaller groups such as Touch of Brass and the 7-piece brass-plus-rhythm Brass Pack. His arrangements and compositions are regularly performed by a number of NY-area bands. Has written about music for Gannett Newspapers, for whom he interviewed such trumpet greats as Doc Severinsen, Maynard Ferguson, Wynton Marsalis and Arturo Sandoval. (Hear Bill Ash perform ‘Back Together’ by Todd Beaney: https://youtu.be/ZRZkxMkCZyU.)

  • Kathleen DitmerFrench Horn

    M.A., Western Illinois University; B.M., Hartt College of Music. Studied with Paul Ingraham, William Capps, James Jacobs. Former faculty member, pre-college divisions of Manhattan School of Music and Hartt College of Music. Currently teaches privately, at the Wharton School of Music, and at select summer band camps nationwide. Well-known French Hornist with a wide variety of solo, chamber music, orchestral, brass band and jazz band credits in New York and New Jersey as well as throughout the U.S. Extensive career includes performances with the Metropolitan Opera, American Ballet Theatre, Long Island Philharmonic, Queens Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. Broadway credits include Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. Recordings with Odyssey, Audio Media, Sound Stage Productions, LSI Studios, Nashville Sound Studios, and Opryland USA Show Orchestra.

Percussion

  • Kory GrossmanPERCUSSION, DRUMS

    M.M., B.M., Manhattan School of Music. Studied timpani with Fred D. Hinger, percussion with Buster Bailey, Latin percussion with Frankie Malabe. Formerly taught at St. Annes School. Performs and teaches privately in a variety of genres including jazz, rock, Latin, Afro-Caribbean, and other popular styles. Prolific freelance NY-based percussionist with a wide range of orchestral, Broadway, film, television and recording credits. Current member of the American Symphony Orchestra, serves as principal percussionist with the Bard Music Festival and with the Mostly Mozart Orchestra. Performs regularly with the Stamford Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the American Composers’ Orchestra, and the New York Pops. Played in numerous Broadway shows including My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, Sunday in the Park with George, Follies, Les Miserables, 42nd Street, and Ragtime. Has recorded numerous albums, performed in a concert series at Carnegie Recital Hall, premiered many new works, and toured extensively as a member of the New Music Consort; played with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; worked with John Cage; and has performed with a variety of contemporary artists ranging from Chita Rivera and Sutton Foster to Queen Latifah.

  • Joe LicinksiHAND DRUMS, PERCUSSION

    Studied Music at Rutgers University and William Paterson University; Lynn Oliver Rehearsal Studios. Private study with Ron Spagnardi Carl Wolfe, John Hvasta, Lou D’Amico, Lynn Oliver; The Drummers Collective with Hank Jarmallo, Robbie Gonzalez, Robbie Amen; as well as with Ladji Camara (Djembe), Andy White, Tony De Nicola and John Quigg. Currently on the teaching faculties of the Institute of Music for Children and Xaverian High School, in addition to teaching privately and facilitating drum circles for schools and senior centers. Performed in the orchestras of Chorus Line and Les Miserables on Broadway; in the big bands of Tito and the Blackrose Orchestra, Lynn Oliver Big Band, Bob Harris Big Band featuring Jerry Niewood, Pat Lungos’ East Coast Hollywood; and jazz big bands The 3C Trio, Lynn Oliver Octet and Quintet. Other professional performance and recording credits include a wide range of musical genres such as dance music, salsa, rock, country and religious music with The Cover Girls, Columbia, (Epic Records), Lissete Melendez (Columbia Records), Corina (Atco Records), African Ensemble (Ladji Camara), The 7th Principle (Yahya Kamate), The Moreno Brothers. The Arlyn Gale Band (Railroad Records), The Watch, Joe Arminio and the Family, and Bruce Benson (Grammy Nominated CD); highland bagpipe music with The City of Washington Pipe Band, Saffron United Pipe Band, Manchester Pipe Band, St Columcille Pipe Band; as well as with popular show bands and club date agencies.

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  • Scott W. SimpsonPERCUSSION, THEORY AND MUSICIANSHIP

    M.M., The Juilliard School; B.M., Hartt School of Music. Director of the NJ Youth Symphony Percussion Ensemble. Current faculty member Bergen Community College, William Paterson University, Juilliard Music Advancement Program, Music Outreach. Former faculty member, St. Thomas Aquinas College, Montclair State University, St. David’s School. Performed with such notables as Leonard Bernstein, Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Andre Watts and Sal Mosca. Orchestral credits include the American Symphony Orchestra, New York City Opera, Grand National Opera, New York Grand Opera, Korean Ballet-Lincoln Center, Canadian Brass, Musica Viva, New Philharmonic of NJ, Frank Sinatra Jr., Westchester Symphony Orchestra and Aspen Symphony Orchestra. Broadway shows include Cats, Les Miserables, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show and Hercules; as well as Paper Mill Playhouse productions of Annie, A Chorus Line, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan and Singing in the Rain. Other credits include the U.S. National Tour of Starlight Express, and the Aspen and Waterloo Music Festivals.

Guitar

  • Jack DeSalvoJazz, Electric and Classical Guitar; Ukulele, Mandolin, Banjo

    B.A., Berklee College of Music. Studied classical guitar with Leonid Bolotine; theory, harmony, composition and orchestration with Ariada Mikéshina; the Lydian Chromatic Concept with George Russell; and jazz guitar with Bill Connors, Mick Goodrick and Al Faraldi. Currently an adjunct professor at Passaic County Community College. Has taught privately for over 40 years (previous students include John Flansburg of They Might Be Giants and Steve Brown of Trixter). Hailed in The Wire magazine as “masterful,” has played most of the major jazz festivals and clubs in Europe on tours with Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society, and has performed with Miles Davis Band, Ornette Coleman, and many great jazz artists. Has performed on and/or produced more than 100 albums, and has written over 5000 compositions, mostly for small jazz ensembles. Along with his partners, runs Unseen Rain Records, a visionary record label offering jazz and improvised music by contemporary innovators. (Hear Jack DeSalvo perform, with The Ridgewood Conservatory’s Jazz Faculty Trio, ‘Stella by Starlight’ by Victor Young: https://youtu.be/YTw2BVFArFY.) 

  • Sergio Garcia-MarruzGUITAR, ELECTRIC BASS, THEORY

    M.F.A. in Music, National School of Arst, Havana, Cuba. Baccalaureate, Pre-Universitario del Vedado, Saï– Delgado. Participated in Don Sebesky’s “Film Scoring Workshop,” the “Professional Composer’s Workshop,” and completed the “Paths’ Electronic Music Seminars.” Studied classical guitar with Isaac Nicola, Leo Brouwer and Martha Cuervo. Former lecturer-demonstrator for the Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Science, composer/sound designer for Marymount Manhattan College, Music Instructor for Fieldston Summer Performing Arts Institute. Taught workshops in composition using computers, synthesizers, and MIDI technology. Began professional career as a performing guitarist of classical and popular music, then became in-house arranger for the Musicians’ National Union in Cuba. Currently composer-arranger for TV Radio commercials (SGM Music), as well as guitarist performing throughout the tri-state area. (Hear Sergio Garcia-Marruz perform ‘Milonga en Tango’ by Sergio Garcia-Marruz: https://youtu.be/ru5NRFA0J5s.)

  • Richie RannoGuitar, Electric Guitar

    Legendary Hard Rock and Heavy Metal guitarist, most notable for his unique ability to “blend crisp, powerful hard rock rhythms with bluesy guitar riffs.” Made his early appearance on the Rock scene in the late 1960’s by founding the Rock trio Bungi, recording the single Six Days on the Road and opening for many well-known acts, including Bob Seger, Fuse (later Cheap Trick), REO Speedwagon and Styx. Joined the Rock band Stories (Brother Louie) in 1973 replacing Steve Love, appearing as a headliner and as an opener for such acts as Black Oak Arkansas, Johnny Winter and The Eagles among others, as well as on American Bandstand. Co-founded the band Starz in 1975 – noted by Rock journalist, Doug Brod (formerly of Spin Magazine) in his forthcoming book as one of the Top 4 Most Influential Rock Bands of all times along with Kiss, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick. Starz recorded and released their debut album Starz, but it was their second album, Violation, that achieved fame with its two hit singles: Top 40 hit Cherry Baby and Sing It Shout It. Later albums, Attention Shoppers and Colesium Rock also received critical acclaim, featuring songs written by Ranno and his fellow band members. Continued to perform with his bands Starz, Hellcats and Richie Ranno’s All Starz in playing arenas and stadiums throughout the U.S. alongside a host of major acts, including ZZ Top, Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rush, Foghat and many more, most recently playing in London to sold-out crowds. In addition to writing, recording and playing with his own bands, often jams and performs with other rock ’n roll greats, including Michael Schenker of UFO and MSG and Uli Jon Rother (formerly of the Scorpions), received a Platinum Album award for playing guitar on Tunnel of Love on Gene Simmons’ solo album, and recently performed with Cactus (subbing for their guitarist). As a teacher, Richie Ranno has been sharing his considerable expertise with both fledgling guitarists and more experienced rockers.

Piano

  • Jeanette AufieroPiano

    M.M. and Artist Diploma, Cleveland Institute of Music; B.M. Manhattan School of Music; Juilliard Pre-College. Studied under Antonio Pompa-Baldi, James Tocco, Artur Papazian and Vladimir Feltsman, and was mentored by legendary Alexander Slobodyanik. Has performed at such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the New Jersey State Theatre, Steinway Hall in New York City, PianoForte in Chicago, and the Teatro Nacional Eduardo Brito de Santo Domingo. Recipient of many highly prestigious scholarships, including the Vera Blacker Scholarship, the Mary Eaton LeFevre Scholarship, the Larry Robinson Scholarship and a Gilmore Festival Fellowship; winner of numerous competitions including the New York Concert Artists’ Rising Artist Competition, El Primer Concurso Iberoamericano para Jóvenes Pianistas, the Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition, the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition, the Jacob Flier Intl Competition, the NJSO Young Artist Audition, and the Young Pianist Competition of NJ; and Arthur Loesser Memorial Award recipient. Praised by the New York Concert Review as a pianist of “warm lyrical lines and an enormous sound” whose performances are full of “contagious energy, ablaze with passion that threw caution to the winds.”  (Hear Jeanette Aufiero-Peña perform ‘Etude Tableau Op.39, No.5’ by Sergei Rachmaninoff: https://youtu.be/rEJ4xIgt77Y)

  • Catherine CampbellPiano

    D.M.A., Eastman School of Music, M.M. New England Conservatory, B.M., Manhattanville College. A traditional, classical piano teacher, has taught in numerous music schools in the tri-state area, including the 92nd Street Y, Rockland Conservatory of Music, Dwight Englewood School, and Thurnauer School of Music, as well as maintaining a private teaching practice. Has held prominent roles in music education, including Co-Director of Piano Scape, Executive Director of the Garden State Academy of Music, Executive Director of the Turtle Bay Music School, and Board of Director’s member for the Friends of Mozart, and has sat on various boards of contemporary opera, served as a freelance concert pianist, and performed lecture demonstrations on Baroque composers, women composers, American women and 20th-century composers. Received the Distinguished Leadership in Education Award from NY’s Mayor Dinkins, the Who’s Who Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in piano education.

  • Eric ClarkPiano

    M.M. in piano performance, B.F.A, Certificate in Piano Pedagogy, Carnegie Mellon University. Studied with Enrique Graf, Sergey Schepkin and Earl Wild. Winning first-prize in the 2009 Concerto Competition at Carnegie Mellon, Eric was invited to perform the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, conducted by Ronald Zollman. Former piano instructor at Carnegie Mellon Preparatory School in Pittsburgh, Believe in Music Studio and Stella Music School. Current piano instructor at NJ Music School and maintains a private teaching studio of students from beginner to advanced levels. Has been a ballet and vocal accompanist for Carnegie Mellon and continues to accompany at various New York studios. Former Music Director and church organist at Arcola United Methodist Church in Paramus; Currently the organist at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Bedford NY. Performed multiple concerts to great acclaim throughout much of the United States and in Europe. In 2018, he was invited as the only American contestant to attend the First International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments in Warsaw, Poland, where he was admitted to the semifinal round. In 2014, Eric performed the Grieg Concerto with the Space Coast Symphony in Vero Beach and Melbourne FL. Selected to perform a recital at the Rockefeller University in New York City for the screening round of the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013. Other performances include recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall sponsored by the Cuban Cultural Center of NY, and Concerts at One series at Trinity Wall St. in New York.

  • Linda DeckerPiano

    Certified in Performance Piano, Mannes College of Music. Kean University, M.A. Education, University of Phoenix, B.A. Music Education. Taught music in Ho-Ho-Kus and Rahway public schools as well as directing and teaching at Musically Yours School of Music. For many years, she was a member of the faculty of the Phoenix Center, working with multiple disabled individuals including sufferers of autism. Possesses over 30 years of experience teaching, performing and accompanying on Piano. Won First Place in the Music Educators Council Competition and First Place in the Piano Teacher Society of America’s National Recording Competition, leading to her Carnegie Hall debut. Member of the Association of American Educators and Music Educators National Conference.

  • Ron LevyPIANO

    B.A., Oberlin Conservatory; Juilliard Preparatory School. Studied with Joseph Schwartz at Oberlin, Diana Arlyck, and Leland Thompson of Juilliard. Former Exec. Director of the Bergen Youth Orchestra. President of the Professional Music Teachers’ Guild. Currently on the faculty of the Cali Music School of Montclair University, he has chaired the Music Dept at Felician College, and taught at Kean University, Juilliard Preparatory School, and Green Mountain College, among others.  Music Director of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood; pianist and Assistant Conductor of the Orpheus Club Mens’ Chorus. Founding member of the Hudson Trio, Kaleidoscope, the New World Trio, the Manchester Chamber Players, the Breucklin Trio, Arundo Chamber, and the Palisades Virtuosi; has been pianist and harpsichordist of the Oberlin, Albany, NJ Philharmonic, Westchester and Adelphi symphony orchestras. Faculty and board member of the Manchester Music Festival; Music Director of the historic Equinox Hotel (VT).  Residency – University of Hawaii @ Oahu. Composer of many works for voice and piano.  Prominent composers have written well over 100 works for Mr. Levy and Palisades Virtuosi, notably Eric Ewazen, Joseph Turrin, Lee Hoiby, and Pulitzer prize winners Melinda Wagner & Paul Moravec. Adjudicator, conductor, critic, lecturer and writer on musical subjects.  Board of Trustees – Rockland Symphony.  Consultant – BIM Music Publications/Switzerland. Recordings by Mr. Levy are available on the Albany, Centaur, Eroica, 4-Tay, Great Kate, High Point, Koch International, MMF, Phoenix, South Mountain and Summit labels. (Hear Ron Levy perform ‘Tuileries,’ ‘Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks’ by Modest Mussorgsky: https://youtu.be/KqqrZ34GA-0.  Also hear Ron Levy perform ‘Ruins of Athens Variations’ by Ludwig van Beethoven: https://youtu.be/E0_-Kegrd-4).

  • Ayako MorinoPiano

    M.M., Manhattan School of Music in Piano Performance, B.A. and Certification in Music Education K-12, New Jersey City University. Studied piano with Jeffrey Cohen, Min Kim, Tonatiuh de la Sierra, and Haruko Tsuchida. Multiple awards winner for the First Annual Eastman Young Artist International Piano Competition, Third Prize and Classical Period award. Former adjunct faculty member of New Jersey City University for 12 years teaching piano, theory, ear training and piano pedagogy. Former faculty of many public and private schools throughout New Jersey, teaching piano, vocal music and general music to students in grades K-12. Currently teaching music to students in grades K-4 for Union Township Public Schools, in addition to maintaining a private teaching studio in Manhattan, Hoboken, Jersey City and Bayonne. Member of the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) and the New Jersey Educators Association (NJEA). Classical piano credits include performances as a soloist for the New Jersey City University Symphony of Winds and Percussion and the New Jersey City University Orchestra, in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in New York at Carnegie Hall and at the Flea Theatre in Sister and Mise Lexie. Opera and musical theater credits include Secret Garden, Candide, Mikado, Something’s Afoot, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Three Penny Opera, Kiss Me Kate, and Merry Poppins. Ayako has also been the Music Director for a number of musical theater productions, including How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, You’re Good Man Charlie Brown, Godspell, Honk!, and Grease.

  • Bob RodriguezPiano, Jazz

    Baldwin Wallace University, Modern Music School. Studied piano/composition with Manny Albam, Richie Beirach, Jim McNeely, Roger Kellaway; jazz piano with Hank Kaout, Bill Gidney, Phil Rizzo, Pat Pace. Has taught jazz piano at the Turtle Bay Music School in NYC since 1989, former jazz piano teacher at Houston H.S. for the Performing and Visual Arts. Worked with many famous artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, and Billy Hart, and arranged for four hands with classical pianist Cathy Campbell. Performed at such well-known jazz venues as NY’s Blue Note, Birdland, Iridium, Sweet Rhythm, The Kitano, Cornelia Street Cafe, Trumpets, Cecil’s, and has played solo concerts at Gracie Mansion and broadcast performances on NPR in Texas, Maine and NY. As a composer/arranger, his catalog of work includes seven solo CDs. Recipient of 2007 commission by Chamber Music America to write a piece for Tina Marsh and the Creative Opportunity Orchestra. As an educator, Bob Rodriguez is a very much in demand clinician/instructor in the world of jazz and classical music education.

  • Olga SedyciasPiano

    M.M. – Piano Performance, Webster University; B.M. – Piano Performance, University of Brasilia. Studied with Daniel Schene at Webster University and New Salgado at the University of Brasilia. Attended many master classes with acclaimed pianists such as Jane Solose, Ian Hobson, Cristina Ortiz and Paul Badura Skoda. Taught master class and adjudicated for piano competitions in the St Louis and Southern Illinois area. Has taught piano privately and in music schools at all levels both in the U.S. and abroad. Currently Adjunct Professor of Piano and Music Theory at New Jersey City University, formerly Adjunct Professor of Piano at Webster University. Ms. Sedycias has enjoyed a versatile musical career as a solo and collaborative pianist in South America and the U.S. As a soloist, has played with orchestras in Brazil and United States, performed solo recitals in Florida and Missouri, and accompanied opera singers in New Jersey and New York; was the featured artist in a recital in Holland (recorded live); won prizes in several piano competitions and performed chamber music recitals extensively throughout Brazil. (Hear Olga Sedycias perform ‘Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2’ by Ludwig van Beethoven: https://youtu.be/Hq1qRCU6HNE.)

  • Pamela Ibeth VeraPiano

    M.A., Hunter College/CUNY, conducting and piano. B.M., Queens College/CUNY; Post Graduate Degree, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Professor of Music at Bergen and Passaic County Community Colleges; and faculty member of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Winner of the 1995 Herbert Rogers Performance Studies Award. Varied orchestral and choral conducting experience including Assistant Conductor of the Hunter College Symphony Orchestra, and Founder, Conductor and Music Director of the Maya Chamber Orchestra. Critically acclaimed pianist with numerous live, television and radio performances throughout New York and Ecuador, including performances at Lang Recital Hall, Weill Recital Hall, First Presbyterian Church of New York Choir, Queens College Concert Hall, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Recital Hall, City University of New York and Teatro Principal Centro de Arte. (Hear Pamela Ibeth Vera perform ‘Oblivion’ by Astor Piazzolla: https://youtu.be/GF1VMzk-4K4.)

  • John WardPiano, Organ, Voice, Composition

    Ph.D., M.M., Catholic University of America; B.M. Eastman School of Music. Additional studies at the Manhattan School of Music, George Mason University, Westminster Choir College, Lucy Moses School. Piano studies with Eugene List, Arthur Balsam, William Masselos, Bela Nagy; organ with Gerald Wheeler; singing with Leslie Luxemburg, Rosemary Houghton, Ann Mills, Marcia Gronewold-Sly. Organist, St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s, Haverstraw; Organist , St. John’s, New City; Sub-organist, St. Aedan’s, Pearl River. Representative for northern New Jersey of Trinity College London. Former faculty, Catholic University of America, Governor’s Magnet School for the Arts (VA), Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Private teacher of piano, singing, organ, music theory, musicianship, and composition. A freelance performer and composer, John has been involved in 250 concert performances as pianist, conductor, organist, singer, or promoter, and in over 100 theatrical productions from children’s theater to professional companies, as music director, composer or actor. Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music – Piano, Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music – Organ (with Distinction) and Singing, and Fellow of the American Guild of Organists. (Hear John Ward perform ‘G-sharp Minor Fugue’ by Johann Sebastian Bach: https://youtu.be/LhKbgaIVdCs)

Voice / Acting

  • Justyna GiermolaVoice

    M.M., New Jersey City University; B.A., Seton Hall University. Studied vocal performance with Josephine Mongiardo. Has taught both privately and at Y Arts 691 in New Jersey, and is currently an Adjunct Voice Professor at New Jersey City University, with private students going on to Tanglewood Music Festival, Boston Conservatory and Berkeley School of Music. In addition, she has extensive experience with children and adults with special needs, including physical handicaps, autism spectrum and Down’s Syndrome. Bringing a traditional European flavor to opera, critics have called her a soprano with a “rich, velvety timbre.” A versatile artist, her repertoire includes Opera, Musical Theater, The Great American Song Book, as well as newly composed Modern Works which she has premiered both nationally and internationally. Has performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Lincoln Center in New York, as well as in Spain, Italy, Poland and Germany. Most notably, she has sung the roles of Auretta in Mozart’s L’oca del Cairo, Violetta in La Traviata, Musetta and Mimi in La Boheme, Micaela in Carmen, Nedda in Pagliacci, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, and the title roles in Tosca, Manon Lescaut and Suor Angelica. Her other roles include Mother in Hansel and Gretel, Aldonza in Man of La Mancha and Lucy Harris in Jekyll and Hyde. Winner of the Marcella Sembrich Vocal Competition – American Council for Polish Culture. (Hear Justyna Giermola perform ‘He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands’ by Margaret Bonds: https://youtu.be/jliTz8fSrb4.)

  • Claudette PetersonVoice

    B.M., San Francisco Conservatory of Music; graduate of Merola Opera Program (San Francisco Opera). Studied voice with Leopold Simoneau, and coaches Warren Jones, Dennis Giauque and Susan Webb. Held faculty positions at San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory Division, and locally at Action Theater Conservatory in Clifton, Paramus Community School, Broadway Bound in Lyndhurst, NJ, as well as maintaining a private studio. Taught Master Classes at Tanglewood, Brown University, Ball State University, Barnard College and Montclair State University. Teaching private voice lessons to students studying Opera, Musical Theater and Pop, has sent over 100 students to top music schools, and a number of her students have played leading roles on Broadway, many are singing leading roles with opera companies both in the U.S. and abroad, while others have appeared on television and in the movies, or are well-known for their successful a capella groups. Over the course of her illustrious career, soprano Claudette Peterson has sung over 35 leading roles. Hired by Beverly Sills to be a star at New York City Opera, performed 15 leading roles during her nine-year tenure ranging from the title roles in Massanet’s Manon (which one of the New York critics called “The greatest Manon New York has heard since Beverly Sills”) and Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, to Sophie in Werther and Cunegonde in Candide. “Live From Lincoln Center” broadcast of the “Gala of Stars” where she sang Cunegonde’s aria “Glitter and Be Gay” conducted by James Levine leading the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. Has appeared on PBS’s “Live from Lincoln Center” broadcast of Puccini’s La Rondine, as well as on PBS’s broadcast of “The Kennedy Center Honors” which honored Beverly Sills; featured on Robert Sherman’s “Rising Star Showcase” on WNCN in a recital of French music on radio. Created and recorded the role of Fan in the world premiere of Thea Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol for MMG Records. In America, has sung with major opera companies including San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Opera Company of Boston, and Washington Opera. Acclaimed for roles ranging from the title roles in Manon, La Fille du Regiment, Lucia di Lammermoor, and The Cunning Little Vixen; to Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore and Gilda in Rigoletto, as well Olympia in Le Contes d’Hoffmann and Adele in Die Fledermaus; and for her Mozart repertoire as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Papagena, Pamina and The Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte, Mme. Silberklang as well as Mme. Goldentrill in The Impressario, Servilia in La Clemenza di Tito, Serpetta in La Finta Giardiniera and Bastienne in Bastien & Bastienne. Received rave reviews internationally at Grand Théâtre de Genève in Geneva, Switzerland for her role in Offenbach’s Barbe Bleu, and in Nice, France as the title role in Lehar’s La Veuve Joyeuese (The Merry Widow) with Opéra de Nice, and as Yum-Yum in Canadian Opera’s production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado. Has collaborated with maestros Julius Rudel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Jose Serebrier, John Mauceri and James Levine. Featured artist of Columbia Artists Management, including a collaboration with her husband, bass-baritone David Kline, in a duo recital From Opera to Broadway, performing throughout North America. Founder and Artistic Director of OperaFest, LLC., producing 13 Opera Festivals, performing in Tolentino Italy, on Martha’s Vineyard and in Ridgewood NJ, as well as nine Recital Concerts at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.

  • Angelica Sokolovic (aka “Angel Leah”)Voice, Musical Theater, Pop/Rock

    B.A., William Paterson University. Studied vocal performance with Stephen L. Bryant, Dr. Stephen Oosting, Anastasia Swope, Karen Born Cafaro and Vivian Lord. Professional vocalist and voice teacher with over 20 years of experience in a wide range of musical styles including Pop, Rock, Musical Theater, Jazz, R&B and Classical. Well-versed in classical voice techniques, has been instructing and coaching amateur and professional vocalists since 1997. Current assistant to the band director at Lakeland Regional H.S.; former director of musical theater productions at St. Francis School. Known as “Angel Leah” in the Pop/Rock genre, has traveled with numerous professional bands since the early 1990’s. Performing Pop, Rock, R&B, and Dance music, has played at such well-known venues such as The Borgata Hotel and Casino, The Hard Rock Café, and The Baker Ballroom, where she opened for Blood, Sweat & Tears, and has worked with international artists such as Constantine Maroulis (American Idol, Rock of Ages) and Ted Poley (Danger Danger). Currently lead female vocalist for Rock Kandy The 80s Experience, one of the longest-standing tribute bands to the 1980’s with performances in New York, Los Angeles, Atlantic City, Met Life Stadium pregame shows, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as at numerous music festivals and corporate events. In the Musical Theater genre, has been cast in musicals such as The King and I, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie, and Godspell. In a more classical vein, she is Leader of Song at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Wanaque NJ and previously at St. John Kanty Roman Catholic Church in Clifton NJ. As a contributing writer to Musicplayers.com, Angelica gives in-depth reviews of musical equipment and is part of the editorial team at NAMM in Anaheim, CA.

  • John WardPiano, Organ, Voice, Composition

    Ph.D., M.M., Catholic University of America; B.M. Eastman School of Music. Additional studies at the Manhattan School of Music, George Mason University, Westminster Choir College, Lucy Moses School. Piano studies with Eugene List, Arthur Balsam, William Masselos, Bela Nagy; organ with Gerald Wheeler; singing with Leslie Luxemburg, Rosemary Houghton, Ann Mills, Marcia Gronewold-Sly. Organist, St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s, Haverstraw; Organist , St. John’s, New City; Sub-organist, St. Aedan’s, Pearl River. Representative for northern New Jersey of Trinity College London. Former faculty, Catholic University of America, Governor’s Magnet School for the Arts (VA), Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Private teacher of piano, singing, organ, music theory, musicianship, and composition. A freelance performer and composer, John has been involved in 250 concert performances as pianist, conductor, organist, singer, or promoter, and in over 100 theatrical productions from children’s theater to professional companies, as music director, composer or actor. Fellow of the Royal Schools of Music – Piano, Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music – Organ (with Distinction) and Singing, and Fellow of the American Guild of Organists. (Hear John Ward perform ‘G-sharp Minor Fugue’ by Johann Sebastian Bach: https://youtu.be/LhKbgaIVdCs)

The Rock Shop

  • Angel Leah (aka Angelica Sokolovic)Pop/Rock Vocals

    Angelica Sokolovic is a professional vocalist and voice teacher with over 20 years of experience in a wide range of musical styles including Pop, Rock, Musical Theater, Jazz, R&B and Classical.

    Known as “Angel Leah” in the Pop/Rock genre, she has traveled with numerous professional bands since the early 1990’s. Performing Pop, Rock, R&B, and Dance music, Angelica has played at such well-known venues such as The Borgata Hotel and Casino and The Hard Rock Café, opened for Blood, Sweat & Tears at The Baker Ballroom, and has worked with international artists such as Constantine Maroulis (American Idol, Rock of Ages) and Ted Poley (Danger Danger). She is currently the lead female vocalist for Rock Kandy The 80s Experience, one of the longest-standing tribute bands to the 1980’s, performing in New York, Los Angeles, Atlantic City, Met Life Stadium pregame shows, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as at numerous music festivals and corporate events.

    A graduate of William Paterson University’s Music Department, Angelica has been instructing and coaching amateur and professional vocalists since 1997. With her strong pedagogical background in Vocal Performance and extensive performing experience, she has helped her students make significant strides in their vocal studies.

  • Richie RannoGuitar, Electric Guitar, Rock

    Legendary Hard Rock and Heavy Metal guitarist, Richie Ranno, is most notable for his unique ability to “blend crisp, powerful hard rock rhythms with bluesy guitar riffs.”

    Richie made his early appearance on the Rock scene in the late 1960’s by founding the Rock trio Bungi, recording the single Six Days on the Road and opening for many well-known acts, including Bob Seger, Fuse (later Cheap Trick), REO Speedwagon and Styx. He joined the Rock band Stories (Brother Louie) in 1973 replacing Steve Love, appearing as a headliner and as an opener for such acts as Black Oak Arkansas, Johnny Winter and The Eagles among others, as well as on the television classic American Bandstand.

    Richie co-founded the now-iconic band Starz in 1975 – noted by Rock journalist, Doug Brod (formerly of Spin Magazine) in his forthcoming book as one of the Top 4 Most Influential Rock Bands of all times along with Kiss, Aerosmith and Cheap Trick. Starz recorded and released their debut album Starz, but it was their second album, Violation, that achieved fame with its two hit singles: Top 40 hit Cherry Baby and Sing It Shout It. Later albums, Attention Shoppers and Colesium Rock also received critical acclaim, featuring songs written by Ranno and his fellow band members. Richie has continued to perform with his bands Starz, Hellcats and Richie Ranno’s All Starz in playing arenas and stadiums throughout the U.S. alongside a host of major acts, including ZZ Top, Peter Frampton, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Rush, Foghat and many more, most recently playing in London to sold-out crowds.

    In addition to writing, recording and playing with his own bands, he often jams and performs
    with other rock ’n roll greats, including Michael Schenker of UFO and MSG and Uli Jon Rother (formerly of the Scorpions), he received a Platinum Album award for playing guitar on Tunnel of Love on Gene Simmons’ solo album, and recently performed live with Cactus.

    We are so proud to announce that Richie Ranno continues to share his considerable expertise and his wealth of performance and recording experience with both fledgling guitarists and more experienced rockers here at The Rock Shop at TRC.

Early Childhood Music

  • Anna Maria FerroneEarly Childhood Music

    B.A. Music Education, Rutgers University; additional studies at New York University’s Graduate School of Music. Studied music composition and arranging with NYU professor, Rudolph Schramm. An Early Childhood Music Specialist, “Miss Anna” is certified in the Music Together® curriculum. Has taught music both in school and privately for several years to children of all levels and abilities. Active full-time as a Public School Music Specialist, teaching music to children from preschool through fifth grade in northern New Jersey. Member of NJEA, Nafme and the North Jersey Elementary Music Educators Association.