Meet Our Faculty, Staff, & Board

About

Meet Our Faculty, Staff, & Board

A Team Of Talented Teachers, Musicians, & Administrators

The heart of the Conservatory is our faculty, consisting of over 100 teaching artists. We build on the legacy of dedicated and talented musicians who have learned, studied and worked here before us for well over a century.

 

Faculty   Staff

Board of Directors

Michael Arnow

Senior Director of Financial Planning, SJA Financial Advisory, LLC.

Gerald Cannon

Faculty, The Juilliard School | Graphic Artist

Alan Giuffre

WCM Board Treasurer | Accountant, Alan Giuffre SC, Inc.

Arvind Gopalratnam

Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, Milwaukee Bucks, Executive Director, Milwaukee Bucks Foundation

Henry Herzing

President, Herzing College, Chancellor Emeritus, Herzing University

Juan Pablo Horcasitas

WCM Board Faculty Representative | Dept. Chair, Piano

Ulice Payne, Jr.

President, Addison Clifton, LLC

Mason Khan

WCM Board First Vice Chairman | Managing Director, Overture Limited

Jason Kuwayama

Attorney, Godfrey & Kahn

Jack Miller

WCM Board Immediate Past Chair | Director, Robert W. Baird & Co.

Vinny Moloney

Christopher Nolte

WCM Board Second Vice Chairman

Benjamin Pavlik

Senior Vice President, Legal Counsel, Johnson Financial Group

Anna Rasmussen

WCM Board Faculty Representative

Education

  • Bachelor of Music Education with a Strings Emphasis | Baylor University
  • Master of Music in Violin Performance | University of North Carolina

Background

  • Violin and Viola faculty at the Conservatory since 2016.
  • Completed Suzuki Teacher Training with Julia Hardie, Mark Mutter, Doris Preucil, Ann Smelser, Nancy Jackson, and Kathleen Spring and Sarah Bylander Montzka, and long-term training with Allen Lieb at the School for Strings in New York City.
  • Over 11 years of teaching experience in Suzuki, traditional, and El Sistema-inspired schools in Wisconsin, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Texas.
  • Plays Baroque violin in Early Music ensembles in Beloit, Madison, and Milwaukee.
  • Performed in the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, Western Piedmont Symphony, Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and the Waco Symphony Orchestra.
  • In 2016 recorded tracks for Grammy award winning Broadway composer, Paul Bogaev.

Margot Schwartz

Education

  • Yale School of Music
  • Northwestern University School of Music

Background

  • A member of the First Violin section in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
  • Summer performances include the First Violin sections of both the Bellingham (WA) and Peninsula (WI) Music Festivals
  • As a chamber musician, she has performed at New York’s Bargemusic, and for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW, and can be heard on numerous series in the Milwaukee area, including Frankly Music and Present Music.
  • Soloist with the Milwaukee, Berkeley, and Oakland East Bay Symphonies
  • Performs as a member of the Arcas String Quartet and the violin/viola duo Bowing Rogue.

Jennifer Sheehy

WCM Board Secretary | Executive Director, Relationship Executive, Commerical Banking

Eric Tillich

President, Chief Executive Officer

Education

BA from UW-Madison and his MA in Organization, Leadership, and Quality from Marian University

Background

Eric brings more than 20 years of experience working in an executive leadership capacity at several leading non-profit organizations, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, where he increased corporate giving by 25%, doubled contributions to the annual fund, and helped secure numerous seven figure gifts; the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, where under his leadership the organization reached new heights in annual fund contributions and donors; and Marian University where he led the first comprehensive capital campaign raising record amounts.  Recently, Eric has led his own consulting firm where he advised such clients as the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, and the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin in strategic planning, fund development, and board capacity.

His extensive experience driving record-setting revenue growth, his expansive leadership expertise and his ability to generate positive change and to build organizational consensus have been trademarks of Eric’s career.   Eric has served on several non-profit boards in the Milwaukee area including the Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin and Future Milwaukee.

Terrence R. Wilkinson

President, Cramer Coil & Transformer Co., Inc.

Wendell Willis

WCM Board Chair | Managing Director, Froedtert Health & Milwaukee Bucks


Faculty Emeriti

Joyce Altman

WCM Faculty Member 1970’s | President & CEO 1993-2003

Background

Joyce began her connection with music and the Conservatory as a five-year-old student studying piano. She continued her education at the Conservatory until she was eighteen years old and received a teaching certificate. In the 1970’s, she taught theory, composition, and ear training in the preparatory and college divisions of the Conservatory. As a parent, Joyce enrolled her two children in lessons at the Conservatory, so they would also share in her passion for music.

In 1993, Joyce “came back home” to the Conservatory (as she once said). When Joyce first came back the Conservatory it was on the brink of extinction from failing funds and a decaying building. Under Joyce’s leadership near extinction turned into growth. As President and CEO, Joyce undeniably spear-headed a renaissance of Music in Wisconsin through her work at the Conservatory.

In October of 2003, Joyce bid farewell to the Conservatory as President and CEO to venture out for new things. Although Joyce is no longer President and CEO, she continues to remain a loyal friend of the Conservatory because of her history and personal connection.

Raymond Mueller

WCM Guitar Faculty Member 1977-2021

Background

Raymond Mueller is a classical guitar instructor at WCM since 1977 and will be retiring in 2021. He received B.M., M.M. with Hight Honors from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Mr. Mueller’s principal teachers were James Yoghourtjian, John Holmquist and Gilbert Biberian. His performing credentials include numerous recitals as a soloist, as a member of the award winning WCM Classical Guitar Quartet and with Richard Siegfried as the Viennese Guitar Duo. Mr. Mueller specializes in teaching students who seek to establish a sound technical and musical foundation in solo and ensemble settings. His teaching emphasizes the understanding and integration of music theory and history into the interpretation of the standard classical repertoire.

In addition to his experience as a performer and teacher, Mr. Mueller was the music librarian at the Conservatory from 1985 to 2017.

Marlee Sabo

WCM Vocal Arts Faculty Member 1967-2020

Background

Marlee Sabo began her teaching career in 1967 as a college faculty member and performing artist of the Wisconsin College-Conservatory of Music, a precursor to today’s WCM. As Chair of the Voice department, Ms. Sabo was the first faculty member to have a Conservatory Scholarship fund established in her name and, in 2002, received the first WCM Faculty Honors Award. As soloist, Ms. Sabo has performed at the Salzburg Festival, the Stuttgart Staatstheater and on German television. U.S. solo performances include the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Lyric Opera and Chicago’s Grant Park. She has appeared as soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and is co-founder of the Washington Island Music Festival. She has recorded on the Nonesuch and Turnabout labels.

Ms. Sabo’s work at the Conservatory has included numerous recitals, premieres of new music and Opera Workshop productions. Her students have gone on to sing roles in opera and musical theatre, teach singing at all levels and sing locally in church and community choirs. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University School of Music, Ms. Sabo was awarded a certificate from the Akademie Mozarteum in Salzburg and was a Fulbright Scholar in Stuttgart, Germany. She has been inducted into the Stark County Citizens Wall of Fame in the McKinley Museum and National Memorial in her hometown of Canton, Ohio.

Ms. Sabo is married to Stephen Colburn, retired Principal Oboist of the Milwaukee Symphony and co-founder of the Washington Island Music Festival. Their daughter Sara is a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus and son Benjamin is an Attorney and Country Prosecutor in Hastings, MN.


Community Partnerships

Eliana Alcocer

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Percussion Performance | University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Background

  • Joined the WCM team in 2020.
  • Instructs, collaborates, and performs in a variety of settings.
  • Teaches through Ravinia’s Reach, Teach, Play program.
  • Received the Percussive Arts Societies’ Ludwig Industries Scholarship.
  • Was a soloist for the 2018 Wisconsin Days of Percussion.
  • Was a featured recitalist for the BMO noon concert series at UW-Parkside.

Jena Bliss

Education

  • Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education – Lawrence University

Background

  • Joined the WCM team in 2023 
  • Gained a teaching license in General and Choral Music in 2021 
  • Has been teaching for 2 years in K-12 public education in a variety of subject areas, including General Music K4-5th Grade and Middle School Choir 
  • Developed Choral virtual learning tools during the 2020-21 school year 
  • Taught private and small group voice lessons from 2019-2021 
  • Roles performed include Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Giovanna in Rigoletto and a Street Singer in Bernstein’s Mass. 
  • Worked as a Choral Section Leader at Neenah Presbyterian Church from 2018-2021 
  • Worked as a Counselor at UW-Madison’s Summer Music Clinic in 2018 and 2022
  • Believes that a quality music education is a fundamental human right, as music allows us to connect with and understand ourselves and the world around us. 

Laura Blumer

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Music | Maranatha Baptist University
Level 1 Certification | Early Childhood Music and Movement Association
Nationally Certified Teacher of Music | Music Teachers National Association

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I loved the opportunity to teach private lessons, early childhood, and in local schools.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

I didn’t want to be a teacher until I met Dr. Rick Townsend who taught me during my freshman and sophomore years of college. He inspired me to start teaching after he demonstrated the impact we can have on our students’ lives and the lives of their families.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023

Jennifer Rodriguez Burke

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Music Education | Ball State University
  • Master of Arts (in progress), Flute Performance | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Spent the past 5+ years teaching woodwind sectionals, flute sectionals, and private flute lessons at a variety of schools in the greater Indianapolis area.
  • Worked as the Community Programs Assistant for Classical Music Indy 2018-2019 and as Assistant Education Coordinator for the Muncie Symphony Orchestra in Spring 2018.
  • Worked as an Education Intern for the Chicago based not-for-profit, Fifth House Ensemble, in 2017.
  • Acted as inaugural secretary for the Flute Guild at Ball State University in 2017.
  • Performed Density 21.5 in Summer 2017 at the Milwaukee Art Museum through the Fresh Inc. Festival.
  • Sings with her band EKRUTEAK.
  • Spends her summers working as Program Coordinator for Music for the Sake of Music, a music not-for-profit providing free lessons and music ensembles in Green Bay, WI.

Alec Burke

Education

B.S.  PreK – 12 Instrumental / General Music Education | Ball State University
M.M.  Trumpet Performance, Secondary Concentration in Chamber Music | UW-Milwaukee

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I chose to work at WCM to connect with the amazing and talented faculty, help enrich the experiences of music students through diverse program offerings, and get involved in the greater Milwaukee community.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

When I was in 6th grade, the Dallas Brass came to do a week long residency and side-by-side concert with our band program. Seeing these spectacular performers live and getting to interact with them on a personal level influenced my desire to pursue music as a career. I wanted to do what they did – bring accessible, high level musical performances to people of all backgrounds. Through my work with other non-profit organizations, performing and commissioning music by under-represented and living composers, and collaborating with artists of diverse backgrounds, I hope to continue giving back to my community through music.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2019

 

Website

www.alecburkemusic.com

Elise Cismesia

Education

Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance | Eastman School of Music in Rochester New York

Background

  • An Illinois native, dynamic soprano and music educator Elise Cismesia has extensive knowledge and dexterity in opera, art song, and musical theater.
  • She is a versatile classically trained soprano with comprehensive performing experience throughout a vast milieu of works and genres from early to new music.
  • During her time at Eastman, she sang in the Eastman Treble Choir, Eastman Repertory Singers, and the Eastman Chorale under the baton’s of Dr. William Wiehart and Dr. Phillip Silvey, and she has studied in the studio of renowned Mezzo- soprano and pedagogue Kathryn Cowdrick.
  • In the Rochester community, Elise was the Choral Section Leader and Cantor at Church of the Ascension for three years.
  • Some highlights from Elise’s time performing with the Eastman Opera Theater include the roles of “Ms. Higgins/Chorus” in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and “Featured Ensemble/Chorus” in Sondheim’s Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
  • Notably, Elise performed in a filmed green-screened virtual production of Dominick Argento’s surrealist contemporary opera Postcard from Morocco singing the role of “Person with Old Luggage/Puppet #1/ Operetta Singer”.
  • In addition to her passion for singing, Elise is a committed educator having instructed voice and piano lessons at the Allegro Dance and Music Academy in Lemont Illinois.
  • She has a deep and strong enthusiasm to provide equitable, inclusive and accessible music education to all.
  • In addition to being on faculty at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Elise is a chorister in the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus.

Marcya Daneille

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Voice Performance | Roosevelt University (Chicago Musical College)
  • Graduate Level Vocal Training | University of Iowa

Background

  • Joined the Vocal Arts faculty at the Conservatory in 2017.
  • Is a cross-genre singer that is classically trained, jazz influenced, and soul inspired.
  • Has taught private voice to students of all levels for thirty years, which includes more than a decade in New York.
  • Began her career singing career as a soprano and has sung with Lincoln Opera Chicago, the Lyric Theater of Illinois and the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee.
  • Has gradually transitioned from singing classical music exclusively to performing an eclectic repertoire of music.
  • Has performed alongside a diverse group of critically acclaimed artists such as Simon Estes, Wycliffe Gordon, BeBe Winans, Vanessa Williams, Laurel Masse and Gerald Levert.

Anna Desfor

Education

B.M.- University of Illinois at Chicago
M.M.- Stephen F. Austin State University

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I wanted to work with teachers and students that would push my own levels of creativity and musicality.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

While at UIC, Dr. Jose Riojas always took the time to connect with students and see everyone as an individual; this made him an incredible leader in front of ensembles and a trusted friend off the podium.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023.

 

Megan Devine

Education

B.M Music Performance – Millikin University
M.A. Percussion Performance – Truman State University

Background

When did you start at WCM?

2023

Why did you choose WCM?

I’ve always wanted to teach music, and I love giving back to the community. The Conservatory seemed like the perfect place to do both!

Describe a musical experience that has had a positive impact on you?

My private lesson teacher through middle and high school is one of the best people I’ve ever met. He’s an amazing teacher, and makes sure to keep in touch with us even years after we left.

Deonte Ellis

Background

Born in Milwaukee, Wi, Deonte is a young up-and-coming percussionist setting an example for his peers and the next generation, by trailblazing the Milwaukee music scene.

Deonte currently teaches and is a part of a few ensembles and bands, all while maintaining his own business ventures.

Deonte has been most recently involved with the Milwaukee Bucks Drumline, coaches his high school drumline at Riverside, and is the drummer for bands “Nwa Na Agbe,” and “The Urbanites,” to name a few.

Adam Fisher

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Music Education | University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
  • Master of Music, Trumpet Performance | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in 2017.
  • Plays with groups such as the Wisconsin and Milwaukee Philharmonics and the Lake County Symphony Orchestra.
  • Premiered new music with Present Music and DIY Chamber Ensemble.
  • Plays in the pit orchestras of dozens of musicals around Wisconsin.
  • Taught master classes throughout the Midwest.

Mauricio Franco

Education

B.M. – University of Houston

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I was excited to be a part of the musical community of Milwaukee and become a fellow of teaching artistry.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

My first college professor was and still is my greatest influence. He has a positivity that is unparalleled and will always prioritize the success of those he teaches, and even those he does not.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023.

 

Danielle Gedemer

Education

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music, Vocal Performance | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in December 2021.
  • Has taught singing in various forms since 2013.
  • Composes and co-directs an annual musical for the West Bend Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Has attended two National Association of Teacher of Singing conferences and completed the Estill Singing workshops.
  • Enjoys singing at St. Paul’s Episcopal and throughout the Milwaukee community.
  • Wrote a libretto for the Florentine Opera for Kids program.

Benjamin Haimann

Chair – Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion

Education

  • Bachelor’s Degree, Music Education, Music Performance | Ohio State University
  • Master’s Degree, Music Performance | University of South Carolina

Background

  • Began his musical studies at age nine, playing drum set and taking private percussion lessons.
  • Coached the percussion ensemble and spent time conducting the wind ensemble as a Teaching Assistant and Counselor for the Instrumental Music Program at The North Carolina Governor’s School East(summers of 2014-2015).
  • Was the Front Ensemble Instructor with the Grove City High School Marching Band, including a trip to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California (2016-2017).
  • Received the prestigious Presser Foundation Scholarship while studying at Ohio State.
  • Worked as a Graduate Assistant for the University of South Carolina percussion studio and was the percussionist for the Spark Collective, a graduate quintet focusing on community engagement through music.
  • Won the concerto competition at the University of South Carolina in 2018 and performed Kevin Puts’ Marimba Concerto No. 1 with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra in 2019.
  • Enjoys practicing marimba, making coffee, and hanging out with his dog, Lila.

Alec Henry

Education

  • Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance – Butler University
  • Master’s degree in Performance – University of Oklahoma (where he expanded upon his ever-growing musical repertoire with Doctor Anthony Stoops)
  • Alec’s first private teacher was Laura Snyder, a prominent bassist in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, with whom he studied in high school in Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Studied under Professor David Murray, internationally renowned solo bassist and educator

Background

  • Joined WCM in 2023
  • Alec Henry is a multifaceted bassist and teacher
  • Born and raised in West Allis, Wisconsin, he is currently an instructor for the Connections program at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • He also maintains a private studio for various string students throughout Southeastern Wisconsin
  • Before settling down again in Milwaukee, Alec was the String Bass Graduate Assistant at the University of Oklahoma
  • He played in various local orchestras throughout the Midwest, serving as principal bass in both the Hendricks Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis
  • During his youth, Alec spent eight years with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
  • His Indiana summers were spent teaching for the various youth music camps led by the Butler Community Arts School on campus
  • Specifically, Alec specializes in the teaching and performance of 21st Century solo bass literature, euro-classical music, and modern jazz compositions on both the upright and electric bass.
  • In addition to his teaching at the Wisconsin Conservatory, Alec likes to stay involved with the string bass community by attending the biannual International Society of Bassists Conventions as well as volunteering with the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists in Madison, Wisconsin

Kaisa Herrmann

Freya Irani

Background

Born in Albuquerque NM, Freya Irani began to play the violin at age 4 and the viola at the age of 13. Her string quartet at the New England Conservatory garnered recognition as a 2017-18 Honors Ensemble, where they made their Jordan Hall recital debut in May 2018. Additionally, as a chamber musician, she won the Bronze Medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Junior Division 2016, the 2nd Prize Laureate in the inaugural M-Prize Chamber Music Competition Junior Division 2016, and 2nd place at the A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Competition with Quartet Vibrante. With Quartet Étoile, she has been named the Overall Winner and Strings and Piano category winner of the 2015 Midwest Young Artist’s Discover National Chamber Competition. She has also won 1st place at the Rembrandt Chamber Players High School Chamber Music Competition and has received recognition as a Rembrandt Young Artist 2015. In addition, her group placed as a Semifinalist in the Junior Division of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition 2015 and got invited to perform at Pianoforte’s “Playful Talk” with pianist Yana Reznik. They performed as guest artists with the Northbrook Symphony in their 2015-16 season.
She has been named a 2017 National YoungArts Honorable Mention Winner. As a soloist, she has received honorable mention from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Stars of Tommorrow Competition, MSO Bolz Young Artist Competition, and the WCO Young Artists Competition, and has been named a High School Showcase Scholarship Award Winner in the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee Competition of 2015.

Freya has had the honor to concertize in esteemed venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center, Northwestern University’s Pick Staiger Hall, Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, and Chicago’s PianoForte Studios, among others. She has been privileged to participate in masterclasses with Ettore Causa, Robert deMaine, Yizhak Schotten, Helen Callus, Tom Rosenberg, Stephen Wyrczynski, Peter Slowik, James Dunham, and the Ying Quartet. Additionally, she has received instruction from members of the Cleveland, Orpheus, Ariel, Borromeo, Parker, Dover, Cavani, Tokyo, and Vermeer Quartets. Her greatest inspiration outside of music is nature and the outdoors. She has performed in the Czech Republic, Mexico, United States, and Germany. Freya completed her Bachelor of Music degree with Prof. Hartmut Rohde at the University of Arts in Berlin.

Currently, Freya is a violist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, among other orchestras. She believes that being involved in musical communities brings joy to young  people’s lives, allowing them to express themselves, make close friends, and form lasting connections. Learning music at a young age provides children with experiences they will never forget. It also teaches vital life skills such as self-discipline, collaboration, and dedication.

Kari Johnson

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Piano Performance | St. Olaf College
  • Master of Music, Piano Performance/Pedagogy | University of Wisconsin-Madison

Background

  • Joined the WCM faculty in 2019 with 18 years of experience teaching private lessons as well as group piano.
  • Studied under Catherine Kautsky, Jessica Johnson, and Kenneth Graber.
  • Enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels, and her students have regularly participated in WMTA Auditions and the NFMC Festival.
  • Has served as an adjudicator for piano festivals and competitions.
  • Worked as a faculty member at community schools in the Boston, MA and Madison, WI areas.
  • Is a collaborative pianist for instrumental and vocal soloists and choirs.

Mikhail Johnson

Education

D.M.A.- Texas Tech University (Piano)
M.M.- Bowling Green State University (Piano)
M.M.- Bowling Green State University (Composition)
Piano Grade 8 Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)

Background

Why did you choose WCM?

I chose to work at WCM because of the mandate and commitment to serving disenfranchised schools with excellent music teaching and resources. Thus, fostering a more holistic and well-rounded arts appreciative community by making music accessible to all.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

I have had many music experiences in my lifetime. However, one I will forever cherish was when I was 18 and I thought it was too late to make music a career and I basically gave up music. A teacher by the name of Kimberly Cann showed me through her teaching that my dream of having music a career could be a reality. I haven’t looked back since and it also pushed me to share that knowledge and inspiration with others.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023.

Sofia Mattson

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Background

  • Sofia has been playing the harp since she was six years old.
  • She achieved several music honors and awards in high school, such as earning first place in the senior division of the Northern Illinois University Community School Talent Scholarship, and playing as principal harpist for the ILMEA Honors All-State Band in 2017.
  • Despite her success in music, she chose to complete a psychology degree over a music degree with the goal of becoming a clinical psychologist, while taking harp lessons at UWM and playing for various UWM ensembles to build her repertoire.
  • Sofia worked as a Child Research Technician for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study at UWM, and authored two publications for research in working memory appearing in Biological Psychology (2021) and Frontiers in Psychology (2022).
  • Since graduating, she has been focusing on returning to her musical, creative roots by working towards making harp music, and music education in general, more accessible to her community.
  • Sofia is thrilled to join the WCM team and the Smart Start program, fulfilling her background in cognitive neuroscience and passion for promoting music accessibility.

Laura Mintz

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | Indiana University
  • Master of Music | University of Michigan

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory in 2018.
  • Received Suzuki Teacher Training with Mimi Zweig and Judy Offman.
  • Has taught students of all ages and levels for 25 years.
  • Created and directed Suzuki and traditional instrumental programs in schools in New York, Texas, Wisconsin, and London.
  • Has enjoyed a varied career as an orchestral violinist and freelance chamber musician, performing in the US and Europe with the New World Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Bayou City Chamber Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra.
  • Chosen by Isaac Stern and Sir Georg Solti to perform and record as a member of the Solti Orchestra Project at Carnegie Hall.
  • Received first prize in the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.

Elizabeth Notestine

Education

  • St. Francis Xavier University (Nova Scotia)
  • A Cappella, Vocal Jazz | Phil Mattson’s School for Music Vocations (Iowa)

Background

  • Elizabeth Notestine is a vocalist with an eclectic set of experiences that shapes how she approaches music.
  • Played with the Creative Music Lab Ensemble, headed by her late mentor Jerry Granelli.
  • Practices mindfulness as a form of honest discipline, and deepens the relationship to her craft.
  • Elizabeth began sharing her passion by being a music teacher while she continued to perform and tour.
  • Elizabeth has lived in both Chicago and Los Angeles exploring the creative process as an actor.
  • She is proud to not only pass on the traditions of music like jazz, but also to inspire curiosity and joy through learning it.

Emmy Rozanski

Education

  • Doctor of Musical Arts, Trombone Performance | Arizona State University

Background

  • Emmy Rozanski is an enthusiastic music educator and active freelance trombonist in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas.
  • Adjunct music faculty at Alverno College, teaching artist for Sistema Ravinia, and low brass instructor at Highland Park High School.
  • Traveled to El Salvador in the summers of 2019 and 2018 as a teaching artist with MusAid, leading classes in technique and ensemble skills, as well as teaching private lessons.
  • Currently the principal trombonist for the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra (Skokie, IL) and has recently performed with the International Women’s Music Festival Orchestra (Madison) Summit Brass (Denver), the Powder River Symphony (Wyoming), and the Billings Symphony (Montana).
  • Toured Switzerland performing with the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble.
  • She is researching motivation and growth mindset as they pertain to musicians and educators and presented on these topics at the 2019 International Trombone Festival and International Women’s Brass Conference.
  • As part of her doctoral project she wrote and illustrated a children’s book about the trombone, Mr. Fitch Joins the Band.

Joshua Sevigny

Education

  • Bachelor’s in Music Performance | Crane School of Music
  • Master’s in Music Performance | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Background

  • Holds principal positions with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra and the Lake County Symphony Orchestra.
  • Has performed with the Southwestern Suburban Symphony Orchestra, Present Music Milwaukee, Northern Symphonic Winds, Racine Symphony, Wisconsin Philharmonic, Antioch Brass Quintet, and The Big Top Circus Band, and is on numerous sub lists in both Wisconsin and Illinois.
  • Performs with a number of local jazz and rock groups in the Milwaukee area.
  • Runs a large, successful low brass studio.
  • Has placed in and won numerous national and international competitions.
  • Does recitals and masterclasses at universities and solos with orchestras in the area, like the Lake County Symphony Orchestra this season.

Dana Sherman

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Music Performance and Mathematics | University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Master of Music, Music Performance | Northwestern University

Background

  • Started at the Conservatory in the Fall of 2018.
  • Is currently Principal Horn of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Third Horn of the Wisconsin Philharmonic, and a member of Alloy Horn Quartet, which was the Featured Guest Artist at the 2018 International Horn Symposium and featured soloists with the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.
  • Is a substitute musician with Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Symphony, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Symphony.
  • Held positions in Omaha Symphony (Acting Associate Principal Horn) and New Mexico Philharmonic (3rd Horn).
  • Served as Brass Instructor and Associate Band Director with the El Sistema inspired program at Ravinia.
  • Taught horn at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, Glendale Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Omaha Conservatory of Music.
  • Played at several summer music festivals, including Peninsula Music Festival (in Door County, WI), Grand Teton Music Festival (in Jackson Hole, WY), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Sarasota Music Festival (Sarasota, FL), and Aspen Music Festival (Aspen, CO).

Felipe Rocha Luiz Vianna

Education

  • Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance – Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE)
  • Master of Music in Viola Performance – Louisiana State University (LSU)

Background

  • Born in Vassouras/RJ – Brazil, Felipe Vianna started his music studies at PIM – Programa de Integração pela Música, a social project based on El-Sistema Music Education, having violin lessons with Daniel Andrade, and participating actively in Suzuki masterclasses with Suray Soren Doyle and Paulo Bosisio. Later, became violin, viola, and music theory teacher at the project from 2007 to 2009.
  • After migrating to viola, pursued his studies at Federal University of Pernambuco, where played actively as principal and section viola at UFPE Symphony Orchestra and “Sonoro Ofício”, a historically informed chamber orchestra, from 2010 to 2016.
  • Finalist at Paulo Bosisio National String Competition in Juiz de Fora/ MG – Brazil, adult division in 2013.
  • Co-principal viola at Orquestra Sinfônica da Paraíba, in João Pessoa/PB – Brazil, during 2015 season.
  • Received the Graduate School Tuition Award (GSTA) from Louisiana State University in 2017.
  • Worked as violin and viola teacher at Kid’s Orchestra in Baton Rouge, academic year 2019-2020.
  • Major viola professors (in chronological order): Dr. Savio Santoro (UFPE), Dr. Elias Goldstein (LSU) and Paul Cortese.
  • Participated in festivals in Brazil, US, and Italy, under the tutelage of many great violists, such as Emmerson diBiaggi, Leonardo Piermartini, Carlos Aleixo, Marcelo Jaffé, Alexandre Razera, Gabriel Marin, Nobuko Imai, Bruno Giuranna, Carol Rodland, Michelle LaCourse, Phillip Ying, Paul Newbauer, Raimi Solomonov, Karen Dreyfous, Susan Dubois, Wenting Kang, Hella Frank, Daphne Gerling and Glêsse Collet.

Early Childhood

Kathryn Craney-Welch

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Music Therapy/Voice | University of Evansville, Evansville, IN
  • Current Board Certification Cycle, initiated 2021 | Certification Board of Music Therapy

Background

  • Currently serving as a home hospice music therapist.
  • Specializes in working with adults 18+ with memory impairments.
  • Provided music education to elementary students through WCM partnership.
  • University-level music therapy educator through classroom and fieldwork experiences.
  • Presenter for community-based groups on topics including music relaxation, music appreciation, and diagnosis-focused music therapy.

Danielle Gedemer

Education

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music, Vocal Performance | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in December 2021.
  • Has taught singing in various forms since 2013.
  • Composes and co-directs an annual musical for the West Bend Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Has attended two National Association of Teacher of Singing conferences and completed the Estill Singing workshops.
  • Enjoys singing at St. Paul’s Episcopal and throughout the Milwaukee community.
  • Wrote a libretto for the Florentine Opera for Kids program.

Kaisa Herrmann

Kari Johnson

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Piano Performance | St. Olaf College
  • Master of Music, Piano Performance/Pedagogy | University of Wisconsin-Madison

Background

  • Joined the WCM faculty in 2019 with 18 years of experience teaching private lessons as well as group piano.
  • Studied under Catherine Kautsky, Jessica Johnson, and Kenneth Graber.
  • Enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels, and her students have regularly participated in WMTA Auditions and the NFMC Festival.
  • Has served as an adjudicator for piano festivals and competitions.
  • Worked as a faculty member at community schools in the Boston, MA and Madison, WI areas.
  • Is a collaborative pianist for instrumental and vocal soloists and choirs.

Sofia Mattson

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Psychology (Summa Cum Laude) | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Background

  • Sofia has been playing the harp since she was six years old.
  • She achieved several music honors and awards in high school, such as earning first place in the senior division of the Northern Illinois University Community School Talent Scholarship, and playing as principal harpist for the ILMEA Honors All-State Band in 2017.
  • Despite her success in music, she chose to complete a psychology degree over a music degree with the goal of becoming a clinical psychologist, while taking harp lessons at UWM and playing for various UWM ensembles to build her repertoire.
  • Sofia worked as a Child Research Technician for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study at UWM, and authored two publications for research in working memory appearing in Biological Psychology (2021) and Frontiers in Psychology (2022).
  • Since graduating, she has been focusing on returning to her musical, creative roots by working towards making harp music, and music education in general, more accessible to her community.
  • Sofia is thrilled to join the WCM team and the Smart Start program, fulfilling her background in cognitive neuroscience and passion for promoting music accessibility.

Elise Pennington

Chair – Early Childhood

Education

Bachelor of Music, Minor in Psychology | DePauw University in Greencastle, IN

Background

  • Joined the WCM faculty in 2005.
  • Taught preschoolers at the Tutor Time Child Care/Learning Center while attending DePauw University.
  • Worked as a music teacher for Little People’s Music. Inc and at the Academy of Learning and Leadership for three years as a preschool teacher of two- and four-year-olds.
  • Received training in the Kodaly Concept, completed coursework at the Community Coordinated Child Care Center, and is certified as a lead Early Childhood Teacher.
  • Teaches in the Early Childhood Program at WCM and also taught music to children in grades K4 – 8.

Anna Rasmussen

WCM Board Faculty Representative

Education

  • Bachelor of Music Education with a Strings Emphasis | Baylor University
  • Master of Music in Violin Performance | University of North Carolina

Background

  • Violin and Viola faculty at the Conservatory since 2016.
  • Completed Suzuki Teacher Training with Julia Hardie, Mark Mutter, Doris Preucil, Ann Smelser, Nancy Jackson, and Kathleen Spring and Sarah Bylander Montzka, and long-term training with Allen Lieb at the School for Strings in New York City.
  • Over 11 years of teaching experience in Suzuki, traditional, and El Sistema-inspired schools in Wisconsin, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Texas.
  • Plays Baroque violin in Early Music ensembles in Beloit, Madison, and Milwaukee.
  • Performed in the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, Western Piedmont Symphony, Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and the Waco Symphony Orchestra.
  • In 2016 recorded tracks for Grammy award winning Broadway composer, Paul Bogaev.

Dana Sherman

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Music Performance and Mathematics | University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Master of Music, Music Performance | Northwestern University

Background

  • Started at the Conservatory in the Fall of 2018.
  • Is currently Principal Horn of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Third Horn of the Wisconsin Philharmonic, and a member of Alloy Horn Quartet, which was the Featured Guest Artist at the 2018 International Horn Symposium and featured soloists with the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.
  • Is a substitute musician with Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Symphony, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Symphony.
  • Held positions in Omaha Symphony (Acting Associate Principal Horn) and New Mexico Philharmonic (3rd Horn).
  • Served as Brass Instructor and Associate Band Director with the El Sistema inspired program at Ravinia.
  • Taught horn at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, Glendale Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Omaha Conservatory of Music.
  • Played at several summer music festivals, including Peninsula Music Festival (in Door County, WI), Grand Teton Music Festival (in Jackson Hole, WY), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Sarasota Music Festival (Sarasota, FL), and Aspen Music Festival (Aspen, CO).

Annemarie Weyer

Education

B.M. Music Education | UW-Eau Claire
Kodaly Certificate | Silver Lake College
M.M. Music Education | Silver Lake College
Smart Start | Royal Conservatory of Music

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

After many years of full-time General Music teaching in public schools, the community partnerships program [at WCM] became the right fit for me and my family.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

Hearing little ones sing for the first time in a Smart Start class is as rewarding as directing an advanced choir. It gives me immense joy to make music with our youngest musicians at WCM.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2017

 

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Piano faculty member, Annemarie Weyer, demonstrates an Early Childhood sample lesson.

Guitar

Sam Catral

Ben Dameron

Background

  • Seattle born Ben Dameron picked up the guitar at age 11 and never put it down.
  • Received two degrees in classical guitar performance.
  •  An active performer and teacher in the greater Milwaukee area, making a name for himself as a versatile and prolific performer in classical music, jazz and gypsy jazz.
  • An enthusiastic teacher, Dameron has been on staff with the Latino Arts Strings program since 2017 as a classical guitar instructor, producing several prize winning students in the process.

Alexander Lekhtman

Education

Bachelor of Music | New York University

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

To unlock the rockstar hidden in all of us!

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

In 2020, I traveled to Mexico with my best friend and singer to meet her family for the first time. Inspired by the country’s natural beauty, welcoming people and amazing food, we wrote and recorded a song in English and Spanish working with a team of jazz musicians in Mexico City. Everyone contributed their own unique parts to the song, and we were honored to work with some elder and virtuoso musicians with decades of experience and wisdom to share.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023

Matthew Schroeder

Education

Bachelor of Fine Arts, with honors, Guitar Performance | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Background

  • WCM Faculty member since 1992.
  • Milwaukee based WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) winning guitarist who is equally at home on acoustic or electric guitar.
  • As a fingerstyle guitarist, studied under John Stropes, and graduated with a performance degree in American fingerstyle guitar.
  • Has performed in America and Canada, been featured on local television and radio, and can be heard on the CD compilation American Finger-Style Guitar circa 1999.
  • Is the Artistic Director for the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s annual Guitar Weekend Workshop and Interlochen College of Creative Arts’ Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop.
  • Performs acoustically as a soloist, in a duo with vocalist Lynda Lee, and with the trio La Guitarra.
  • As a rock guitarist, performed extensively throughout the Midwest with Blackfish, Pet Engine, Steve Grimm and the Thrill Cats, and Jamie Jess, and the WAMI-award winning Barbeez.
  • Is featured instructor on the Hal Leonard DVDs Acoustic Guitar Licks Goldmine and Rock Guitar Licks Goldmine, which were released in Spring 2011.

Marija Temo

Chair – Guitar

Education

BM | Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music
MM | Peabody Conservatory of Music
10 years of mentorship with Teo Morca, flamenco dancer, in learning how to accompany flamenco dance as a flamenco singer.
20 years of mentorship with Manolo Leiva, flamenco singer, in learning how to accompany flamenco singing as a guitarist.

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I wanted to be a part of a reputable institution.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

​I had the opportunity to be mentored by a few great classical and flamenco artists: (Loris Chobanian, Manuel Barrueco, Teo Morca, and Manolo Leiva). The combination of them has led me on the path to: discover and nurture the​ ideas of my own musical interpretations, learning how to refine them, put the integrity of the music first, give 150% of yourself to and enjoy the process and the performance regardless of the number of people attending.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2014

 

Website

marijatemo.com

 

Irina Yanovskaya

Education

  • B.M. & M.M., Classical Guitar, Conducting and Music Education|Kiev State University of Art and Music, Ukraine

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in 2022.
  • Began teaching guitar in prominent music schools in Kyiv.
  • Certified Suzuki instructor, registered with the Suzuki Association of the Americas since 2011.
  • Active performer and member of the “Serenata” duo with a mandolin virtuoso Misha Litvin.
  • Co-founder of the Milwaukee Classical Guitar Society.
  • Director of the Milwaukee Classical Guitar Society orchestra.

Piano

Dave Adler

Education

Masters Certificate (Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television) | USC

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

Great reputation.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

My first piano teacher, Rhoda Rabin, showed me how to play “Pop Goes The Weasel.” Still rocking that tune today!

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023

 

Website

https://www.daveadler.com

Laura Blumer

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Music | Maranatha Baptist University
Level 1 Certification | Early Childhood Music and Movement Association
Nationally Certified Teacher of Music | Music Teachers National Association

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I loved the opportunity to teach private lessons, early childhood, and in local schools.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

I didn’t want to be a teacher until I met Dr. Rick Townsend who taught me during my freshman and sophomore years of college. He inspired me to start teaching after he demonstrated the impact we can have on our students’ lives and the lives of their families.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023

Andrea DeGreiff-Beisser

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Music – University of Nebraska-Kearney
  • Master of Music – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • WCM faculty member since 2002.
  • Chosen at the age of 13 to participate in a solo concert with the Orchestra of the Conservatory of Music in Bogota, Colombia to play the Haydn Concerto in F.
  • Trained broadly in accompanying for instrumental and vocal ensembles and soloists.
  • Appeared as a recitalist at the University of Nebraska and the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango Concert Hall and Olav Roots Auditorium in Bogota, Colombia.
  • Appeared at several opera productions with the UWM voice students, as well as several voice faculty recitals here at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.
  • Studied under Harold Martina, Blanca Uribe, James Cook, Jeffrey Peterson, Katjia Phillambaum, and Judit Jaimes.

Maria Valentina Delgado

Education

  • Piano Performance Degree – Escuela de Música Manuel A. Lopez (Venezuela)
  • Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Master of Music in Piano Performance – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Joined the Piano faculty at the Conservatory in 2010.
  • Has worked with a full range of students, from beginner to musicians at the university level, since she began teaching in 2001.
  • Has taught several individual and group lessons at UWM.
  • Debuted as a soloist at the age of 11 with the Caracas Municipal Symphony Orchestra.
  • Has performed with all the major symphony orchestras and theaters throughout Venezuela.
  • Won first prize in three piano competitions, the Harriet Serr Competition in 1994, the MoisésMoleiro National Competitions in 1996, and the McDowell Club of Milwaukee in 2005.
  • Was awarded the highest honor to a Venezuelan young artist, the Medal of the Third Grade Order, by President Dr. Rafael Caldera in 1997.

Drew Donica

Education

  • Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with an emphasis in Piano Pedagogy – Lawrence University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Spanish – Lawrence University
  • Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy – University of Colorado-Boulder

Background

  • Joined the Piano faculty at the Conservatory in 2015.
  • Has been teaching since 2009 and enjoys teaching students of all ages and abilities.
  • Has presented on creativity, studio development, and Recreational Music Making (RMM) for the Music Teachers National Association national conferences (2017 Baltimore, 2016 San Antonio, 2015 Las Vegas).
  • Adjudicates for piano festivals, auditions, and competitions.
  • Serves as a board member of the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association.
  • Actively performs and collaborates with WCM faculty, students, and other musicians in the area.

Teresa Drews

Director, Education

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, cum laude, Piano Performance | Northwestern University
  • Master of Music, Piano Performance | Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University

Background

  • WCM faculty member since 2003, Piano Department chair since 2005, Director of Education since 2018.
  • Member of Pi Kappa Lambda, MTNA, WMTA and MMTA.
  • In her 23 years of teaching, she has taught group and private piano lessons at the Conservatory, as well as coached chamber music.
  • Through Conservatory Connections she has taught general music and piano to students throughout Milwaukee and most recently taught our Music Counts curriculum at St. Joseph Academy of Early Learning.
  • An active performer in the Milwaukee area, Ms. Drews often collaborates with WCM faculty and MSO musicians.
  • She also performs annually with the Washington Island Music Festival in Door County.
  • Has studied with Sylvia Wang, Ann Schein and Seth Knopp, and performed in master classes by David Burge and Menahem Pressler.
  • Prior to moving to Milwaukee, she taught piano in Baltimore, Maryland at the Friends School of Baltimore and the Music Workshop.

Mariia Foit

Education

Music school in Buchach, Ukraine – Graduation Diploma
Ternopil College of Music – Diploma of Junior Specialist
Odessa National Music Academy – Bachelor’s degree

Background

Why did you choose WCM?

Music is a gift to all of us  and it connects us as humans. It is important for me to be surrounded with same people who share the same passion and excellence toward the music. The Wisconsin Conservatory of music is exactly the school that inspires students and makes an invaluable contribution to the development of each individual by revealing their talent through the correct guidance.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

I grew up in a family where two of my sisters already played musical instruments, I had a good role models. Since childhood, we organized musical concerts where we played for our family and sang in the church choir together. It was from these experiences that instilled in me a love for music and understanding that music is an integral part of myself expression. Music is a beautiful language that can be spoken without words and everyone can understand. I realized this as a child when I was listening to my teacher as she played the piano. She taught me to feel the beauty of sounds, the spectrum of emotions and moods through music. All these people are like angels to me who helped me get on the path of a musician.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023.

 

Rachel Fritz

Chief Operations Officer

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude | University of Central Missouri
  • Master of Music | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Background

  • Has served as the Chief Operations Officer at the Conservatory since 2014 after previously managing the Student Services department for four years.
  • Has been a member of the WCM Piano Faculty since 2007, specializing in instructing young pianists.
  • Certified as a teaching artist by the International Piano Teaching Federation.
  • Participated in the 2017 Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI).
  • Taught group piano at Des Moines Symphony Academy and maintained private studios in Lincoln, NE, and Warrensburg, MO.
  • Has been an active member of the Music Teacher National Association.
  • Serves as President for the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association.
  • Serves as pianist at Redemption Lutheran Church.

Juan Pablo Horcasitas

Department Chair

Education

• Bachelor of Music | Manhattan School of Music
• Master of Music | Manhattan School of Music

Background

  • Horcasitas is an active collaborative artist, chamber musician, conductor, and teacher.
  • Since his solo debut at Carnegie Hall in NYC in 2009, Mr. Horcasitas has been actively performing and collaborating with many artists around the world, performing in the main concert halls in Mexico as well as recitals in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
  • Has participated at several international festivals such as the Suolahti International Music Festival in Finland, the Latino Music Festival in Chicago, The Latin American Cultural Week in New York, and the International Festival of Symphonic Music in Algiers.
  • For two years he was Music Director for Opera Hispánica, an opera company focused on Latin American and Spanish opera, and in January of 2012, he served as Music Director for the musical “La Llorona” –composed by Héctor Armienta- in its New York City premiere.
  • Since October 2009 he has been a faculty member at the Filomen M. D’Agostino Greenberg Music School- a school for the visually impaired.
  • In 2015 he received the Excellence in Classical Music Award at the Mexican Music Awards in New York City.
  • Was invited by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to present a lecture/recital on Mexican concert music from the 19th, 20th, and 21st. centuries.
  • Released his second studio recording, “Prelude,” in April 2021.

Catalin Iacob

Education

Doctor of Musical Arts, Piano Performance | Texas Tech University (May 2020)

Background

  • Started studying piano at the age of seven in his native country of Romania, where he pursued intensive music classes all throughout high school.
  • Attended an impressive number of national and international piano competitions at that time, and scored in the top three at all of them.
  • Came to the United States in 2013 to continue his education in music by enrolling in a master’s degree program in collaborative piano and chamber music at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, under the coordination of Dr. Ilonka Rus.
  • Traveled and performed in the US as well as Europe and South America in countries including Colombia, Romania, Italy, and Germany.
  • Started his doctoral degree in 2016 under the guidance of the well-renowned pianist and pedagogue Dr. William Westney.
  • Served as a teaching assistant at the TTU School of Music and was one of the main piano accompanists for the voice and instrumental departments, chamber groups, and large ensembles.
  • Won the TTU 2019 Piano Concerto Competition, for which he was scheduled to perform Franz Liszt’s “Totentanz” in Fall 2020 with the TTU University Symphony Orchestra.

Stefanie Jacob

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music, Magna cum laude – Harvard University
  • Master of Music, with highest distinction in Piano Performance – Indiana University

Background

  • Joined the WCM Piano faculty in 1987.
  • Focuses on the areas of educating an array of students and chamber music.
  • Received the Milwaukee Civic Music Association’s award for Excellence in Studio Teaching.
  • Enjoys being an active musician in the Prometheus Trio, and participating in the Washington Island Music Festival.
  • Made her solo debut with the Boston Pops at age 17, and her Carnegie Hall debut in 1984.
  • Twice awarded Second Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and received Indiana University’s Leo Weiner Prize for Chamber Music.
  • Has soloed with both the Milwaukee Symphony and the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra.
  • Recorded for the Arundax, CRI, Fleur de Son, Equilibrium, and the Wisconsin Conservatory labels.
  • Received WCM’s “Teacher of the Year” honor in 2017.

Kari Johnson

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Piano Performance | St. Olaf College
  • Master of Music, Piano Performance/Pedagogy | University of Wisconsin-Madison

Background

  • Joined the WCM faculty in 2019 with 18 years of experience teaching private lessons as well as group piano.
  • Studied under Catherine Kautsky, Jessica Johnson, and Kenneth Graber.
  • Enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels, and her students have regularly participated in WMTA Auditions and the NFMC Festival.
  • Has served as an adjudicator for piano festivals and competitions.
  • Worked as a faculty member at community schools in the Boston, MA and Madison, WI areas.
  • Is a collaborative pianist for instrumental and vocal soloists and choirs.

Mikhail Johnson

Education

D.M.A.- Texas Tech University (Piano)
M.M.- Bowling Green State University (Piano)
M.M.- Bowling Green State University (Composition)
Piano Grade 8 Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM)

Background

Why did you choose WCM?

I chose to work at WCM because of the mandate and commitment to serving disenfranchised schools with excellent music teaching and resources. Thus, fostering a more holistic and well-rounded arts appreciative community by making music accessible to all.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

I have had many music experiences in my lifetime. However, one I will forever cherish was when I was 18 and I thought it was too late to make music a career and I basically gave up music. A teacher by the name of Kimberly Cann showed me through her teaching that my dream of having music a career could be a reality. I haven’t looked back since and it also pushed me to share that knowledge and inspiration with others.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023.

Leah Kozelek

Education

  • Bachelor of Music Performance, emphasis in Piano Pedagogy | Viterbo University

Background

  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude and member of the Viterbo University Honors Program.
  • Has been teaching since 2006 and enjoys working with students of all ages and abilities.
  • Her students have participated in recitals, community music events, and Wisconsin Music Teachers Association (WMTA) district and state competitions.
  • She has served as adjudicator for the WMTA District Auditions
  • Her personal study of the Alexander Technique has been influential in her teaching and she has attended 13 summer workshops since 2006, working with teachers such as Michael Frederick, Martha Hansen Fertman, and Carol Boggs among many others.
  • Volunteered as WMTA Judges Coordinator, has enjoyed attending multiple WMTA state conferences, and most recently, the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) National Conference in Lake Buena Vista, FL in 2018.
  • She continues to serve on a local music worship team and has volunteered in several churches as main pianist and solo/ensemble vocalist since 2014.

Heinzel Kunsmann

Education

  • Bachelor of Music
  • Master of Music
  • Doctor of Musical Arts, Piano Performance – University of Kansas

Background

  • A piano teacher at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music since September 2013, and the Milwaukee High School of the Arts since November 2013.
  • His musical interests have taken him throughout the United States as well as to Europe and Asia.
  • Heinzel performs regularly at the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Clinic, David Barnette’s Art Gallery, Alexian Village, St. John’s on the Lake and Chai Point.
  • Many of his current students participate in annual events such as WSMA, the Federation Festival, Wisconsin Music Teachers Association Auditions and the Wisconsin Conservatory’s Piano Festival.
  • In addition, they perform twice every year in fall and spring studio recitals held at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.
  • His students span a wide range of age, ability and interest.

Emily Landry

Education

  • Bachelor of Music (Cum Laude), Piano Performance | University of Wisconsin Whitewater
  • Master of Music, Piano Collaboration (Member of Pi Kappa Lambda) | Illinois State University

Background

  • Emily has provided both individual lessons, as well as group piano lessons.
  • During her time at Illinois State University, she served as a graduate assistant teaching group piano to both music majors and non-music majors.
  • She began teaching private lessons in 2017 and has continued since, offering lessons to students of all ages.
  • Beyond her teaching, she has also collaborated with many musicians in performances, including accompanying choirs at both University of Wisconsin Whitewater and Illinois State University, accompanying private studio lessons for vocalists and instrumentalists, and performing with theatre and opera productions.

Sue Medford

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Music and Social Science | University of North Carolina at Western Carolina
Certificate in Piano Pedagogy | New School for Music Study, Frances Clark Center
Graduate Studies in Arts Administration | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

My WCM teaching colleagues, of the highest level caliber, and our fascinating diversity of students inspire and invigorate me as a teacher and artist.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

Frances Clark was my most influential teacher. A great thinker, musician, and teacher, her educational philosophy goes beyond learning to play the piano to that of creating a curiosity for a lifetime of learning about the art of music at the piano.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2009

 

Website

PianoArts.org

 

Katharyn Nelson

Education

Bachelor of Music, Performance, Minor in Piano Pedagogy | Lawrence University

Background

  • Joined the WCM Piano and General Music Faculty in 2018.
  • Earned her Bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University in the studio of Professor Anthony Padilla, graduating magna cum laude and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Has performed in several competitions and masterclasses, playing for musicians such as internationally-renowned pianist Jeremy Denk and pianist and harpsichordist Lorna Peters.
  • Enjoys exploring the arts of all kinds and holds an additional degree in English.
  • Continues to collaborate with instrumentalists and choirs.

Ruben Piirainen

Education

  • Lawrence University Conservatory of Music
  • Bowling Green State University

Background

  • Ruben Piirainen is a Milwaukee-based pianist, music director, vocal coach, composer, and local restaurant owner.
  • Was on the music staff of the Florentine Opera for six seasons where he coached and accompanied the Studio Artist Program.
  • During his time with the Florentine Opera, Ruben was also involved with music preparation for all mainstage productions, played in the pit orchestra, presented a recital of new operatic works at the National Opera Center in New York, and performed solo recitals with opera stars Alyson Cambridge and Noah Stewart.
  • He has also worked extensively with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, Present Music, Kenosha Symphony Orchestra, Festival City Symphony, Theatre Gigante, Sunset Playhouse, Music by the Lake, and Opera for the Young.
  • His original one act children’s opera A BUSY BEE was commissioned and premiered by the Florentine, and received subsequent performances by Opera Carolina.
  • A Hal Leonard Corporation recording artist, and has been on the faculties of Interlochen Arts Camp, Bluffton University, and Bowling Green State University.
  • Has also received commissions for compositions from Skylight Music Theatre and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Piano faculty member, Ruben Piirainen.

Lynn Roginske

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | Wisconsin College – Conservatory
  • Master of Music | Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
  • Wisconsin D.P.I. Certification in General Music, Adaptive Music, and Choral Education | Alverno College

Background

  • Has been a member of the Piano faculty at the Conservatory for over 30 years.
  • Provides lessons for beginners and continuing students of all ages.
  • Served as the music specialist with Milwaukee Public Schools for 25 years, retiring in 2014.
  • Specializes in songwriting, arranging for choral ensembles, and early childhood education, and enjoys contemporary piano styles including jazz, blues, pop, and rock.
  • Performs for various events throughout Wisconsin, in high demand as both a piano soloist and member of a jazz trio: Recent engagements have included Greendale Gazebo Village Nights, Wilson Center for the Arts, Alexian Village, Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, and the Ovation Jewish Home.
  • Stays active in the community by being the Children’s Program Notes Host for the Festival City Symphony.
  • Took part in summer studies at the KodályMusic Institute, which serves to promote professional development for music educators.

Haeshin Shin

Online Only

Education

  • Bachelor of Music Degree (Cum Laude) | Seoul National University
  • Master of Music Degree | Boston University
  • Doctor of Musical Arts | Boston University

Background

  • From professional musical engagements to educational activities and community service at various settings, Haeshin’s international and multi-cultural experience helped her develop a unique insight into the universal value of music education.
  • Native of South Korea, she has appeared in solo recitals, concerts, and festivals throughout the US, Russia, UK, Luxemburg, Belgium, Puerto Rico, China, and Korea.
  • During the recent seasons she has performed at Sejong Center for the Performing Arts (Seoul, Korea), Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) and Tsai Performance Center (Boston), as well as at Harvard, the Moscow Conservatory, among others.
  • Haeshin is the founder and Artistic Director of the Medtner Society of Korea, and joined the Conservatory faculty in the fall of 2019.
  • Haeshin’s performance in the 75th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein Piano Recital at Lenox Library (2018) was broadcast on CTSB, the public channel in the Berkshires, MA.
  • She won 1st prize at American Protégé Concerto Competition, 1st prize at American Protégé Romantic Music Competition, 2nd prize at Richmond Piano Competition
  • As a collaborative pianist, she was granted a fellowship at Garth Newel Music Center with her piano quartet, and recently went on concert tours in Washington, D.C. including the White House Holiday Performance Talent, Ireland, UK, and Spain with Boston College High School Concert Choir.

Katherine Turner

Percussion

Eliana Alcocer

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Percussion Performance | University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Background

  • Joined the WCM team in 2020.
  • Instructs, collaborates, and performs in a variety of settings.
  • Teaches through Ravinia’s Reach, Teach, Play program.
  • Received the Percussive Arts Societies’ Ludwig Industries Scholarship.
  • Was a soloist for the 2018 Wisconsin Days of Percussion.
  • Was a featured recitalist for the BMO noon concert series at UW-Parkside.

Anna Desfor

Education

B.M.- University of Illinois at Chicago
M.M.- Stephen F. Austin State University

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I wanted to work with teachers and students that would push my own levels of creativity and musicality.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

While at UIC, Dr. Jose Riojas always took the time to connect with students and see everyone as an individual; this made him an incredible leader in front of ensembles and a trusted friend off the podium.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023.

 

Megan Devine

Education

B.M Music Performance – Millikin University
M.A. Percussion Performance – Truman State University

Background

When did you start at WCM?

2023

Why did you choose WCM?

I’ve always wanted to teach music, and I love giving back to the community. The Conservatory seemed like the perfect place to do both!

Describe a musical experience that has had a positive impact on you?

My private lesson teacher through middle and high school is one of the best people I’ve ever met. He’s an amazing teacher, and makes sure to keep in touch with us even years after we left.

Benjamin Haimann

Chair – Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion

Education

  • Bachelor’s Degree, Music Education, Music Performance | Ohio State University
  • Master’s Degree, Music Performance | University of South Carolina

Background

  • Began his musical studies at age nine, playing drum set and taking private percussion lessons.
  • Coached the percussion ensemble and spent time conducting the wind ensemble as a Teaching Assistant and Counselor for the Instrumental Music Program at The North Carolina Governor’s School East(summers of 2014-2015).
  • Was the Front Ensemble Instructor with the Grove City High School Marching Band, including a trip to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California (2016-2017).
  • Received the prestigious Presser Foundation Scholarship while studying at Ohio State.
  • Worked as a Graduate Assistant for the University of South Carolina percussion studio and was the percussionist for the Spark Collective, a graduate quintet focusing on community engagement through music.
  • Won the concerto competition at the University of South Carolina in 2018 and performed Kevin Puts’ Marimba Concerto No. 1 with the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra in 2019.
  • Enjoys practicing marimba, making coffee, and hanging out with his dog, Lila.

Hannah Johnson

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies | Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in January 2019.
  • Teaches and plays various styles of music on the drum set, specializing in jazz.
  • Plays with her modern jazz quartet in the Milwaukee area.
  • Featured as an instructor for the Vic Firth video series “Inside the Teaching Studio” entitled How to Sound Like Elvin Jones.
  • Has played with musicians such as Leni Stern, Ingrid Jensen, and Jamie Baum.
  • Enjoys teaching the bucket drumming and world percussion classes through the Conservatory Connections program, as well as private percussion lessons.

Ryan Kahlbaugh

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Percussion Performance | Manhattan School of Music
  • Master of Music | DePaul University
  • Performance Certificate | DePaul University

Background

  • Has been teaching at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music since 2014.
  • Teaching a wide range of students, special areas of training include concert snare drum, xylophone, marimba, timpani, and drum set.
  • Performs extensively with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with tours to Carnegie Hall, Grant Park Festival Orchestra, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
  • Began as Principal Percussion of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra in the 2017/18 season.
  • While a student at DePaul University, he participated in the Music Academy of the West festival in Santa Barbara, CA, as well as the Pacific Music Festival held in Sapporo, Japan.
  • He has also recorded percussion and drum set for the Fireside Theater’s (Ft. Atkinson, WI) production of Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, It’s A Wonderful Life, Peter Pan and Sister Act as well as for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s production of The Color Purple and Dreamgirls.

Mitchell Shiner

Chair, Jazz & Contemporary Music

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Emphasis in Jazz Studies | Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
  • Performer’s Certificate for Senior Recital

Background

  • WCM faculty member since 2016.
  • Began playing drums at age eight and has been studying percussion since age nine.
  • Co-leads tour-de-force fusion group, “Match Stick,” which released a self-titled album in 2019.
  • Released his debut CD, “FLY!”, in 2014, which invites listeners on a musical journey of original compositions and out-of-the-box arrangements for 20-piece big band.
  • Featured clinician for the 2015 Summerfest Big Band Camp, along with Curt Hanrahan and Mike Steinel.
  • Conducted masterclasses at UW-Parkside, University of Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Park Tudor School, and Nicolet High School.
  • Teaches percussion at several Milwaukee public schools through the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Conservatory Connections program.

Paul Westfahl

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music, Percussion Performance, Composition and Jazz Studies | University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Background

  • Paul Westfahl is an active performer and educator in Southeast Wisconsin.
  • Paul has worked with many Milwaukee organizations including The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s ACE program, UWM Dance Department, Danceworks, Young Dance Academy and The Milwaukee Children’s Choir to name a few.
  • In addition to working with dancers and maintaining a demanding freelance performing schedule as a drummer and percussionist, Paul leads and composes for several of his own projects.
  • Is also involved as a sideman and co-conspirator/performer/composer with dozens of ensembles throughout the Milwaukee area.
  • Since 2015, Paul has dedicated himself to studying tabla and is a disciple of Pandit Hindole Majumdar.

Strings

Constance Aguocha

Scott Cook

Alec Henry

Education

  • Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance – Butler University
  • Master’s degree in Performance – University of Oklahoma (where he expanded upon his ever-growing musical repertoire with Doctor Anthony Stoops)
  • Alec’s first private teacher was Laura Snyder, a prominent bassist in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, with whom he studied in high school in Brookfield, Wisconsin
  • Studied under Professor David Murray, internationally renowned solo bassist and educator

Background

  • Joined WCM in 2023
  • Alec Henry is a multifaceted bassist and teacher
  • Born and raised in West Allis, Wisconsin, he is currently an instructor for the Connections program at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • He also maintains a private studio for various string students throughout Southeastern Wisconsin
  • Before settling down again in Milwaukee, Alec was the String Bass Graduate Assistant at the University of Oklahoma
  • He played in various local orchestras throughout the Midwest, serving as principal bass in both the Hendricks Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis
  • During his youth, Alec spent eight years with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra
  • His Indiana summers were spent teaching for the various youth music camps led by the Butler Community Arts School on campus
  • Specifically, Alec specializes in the teaching and performance of 21st Century solo bass literature, euro-classical music, and modern jazz compositions on both the upright and electric bass.
  • In addition to his teaching at the Wisconsin Conservatory, Alec likes to stay involved with the string bass community by attending the biannual International Society of Bassists Conventions as well as volunteering with the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists in Madison, Wisconsin

Freya Irani

Background

Born in Albuquerque NM, Freya Irani began to play the violin at age 4 and the viola at the age of 13. Her string quartet at the New England Conservatory garnered recognition as a 2017-18 Honors Ensemble, where they made their Jordan Hall recital debut in May 2018. Additionally, as a chamber musician, she won the Bronze Medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Junior Division 2016, the 2nd Prize Laureate in the inaugural M-Prize Chamber Music Competition Junior Division 2016, and 2nd place at the A.N. and Pearl G. Barnett Chamber Competition with Quartet Vibrante. With Quartet Étoile, she has been named the Overall Winner and Strings and Piano category winner of the 2015 Midwest Young Artist’s Discover National Chamber Competition. She has also won 1st place at the Rembrandt Chamber Players High School Chamber Music Competition and has received recognition as a Rembrandt Young Artist 2015. In addition, her group placed as a Semifinalist in the Junior Division of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition 2015 and got invited to perform at Pianoforte’s “Playful Talk” with pianist Yana Reznik. They performed as guest artists with the Northbrook Symphony in their 2015-16 season.
She has been named a 2017 National YoungArts Honorable Mention Winner. As a soloist, she has received honorable mention from the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Stars of Tommorrow Competition, MSO Bolz Young Artist Competition, and the WCO Young Artists Competition, and has been named a High School Showcase Scholarship Award Winner in the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee Competition of 2015.

Freya has had the honor to concertize in esteemed venues such as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Lincoln Center, Northwestern University’s Pick Staiger Hall, Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall, and Chicago’s PianoForte Studios, among others. She has been privileged to participate in masterclasses with Ettore Causa, Robert deMaine, Yizhak Schotten, Helen Callus, Tom Rosenberg, Stephen Wyrczynski, Peter Slowik, James Dunham, and the Ying Quartet. Additionally, she has received instruction from members of the Cleveland, Orpheus, Ariel, Borromeo, Parker, Dover, Cavani, Tokyo, and Vermeer Quartets. Her greatest inspiration outside of music is nature and the outdoors. She has performed in the Czech Republic, Mexico, United States, and Germany. Freya completed her Bachelor of Music degree with Prof. Hartmut Rohde at the University of Arts in Berlin.

Currently, Freya is a violist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, among other orchestras. She believes that being involved in musical communities brings joy to young  people’s lives, allowing them to express themselves, make close friends, and form lasting connections. Learning music at a young age provides children with experiences they will never forget. It also teaches vital life skills such as self-discipline, collaboration, and dedication.

Jasmin Kallin

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University
  • Master of Music | Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory Faculty in 2019.
  • Served as Principal Harpist with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic.
  • Performed at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago with Joshua Bell.
  • Played under the baton of Franz Welser-Most, Michael Stern, Giancarlo Guerrero, Andrea Quinn, and Bramwell Tovey.
  • Traveled to London to research performance related injury prevention techniques for musicians.
  • Taught an orchestral repertoire class to college harp students as the Associate Instructor at Indiana University, and is currently working towards completion of Suzuki certification.

Alexander Mandl

Violin

Education

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts | Carnegie Mellon University
  • Master of Music | Yale University
  • Artist Diploma | Yale University
  • Doctor of Musical Arts | University of Wisconsin – Madison

Background

  • Joined the WCM violin and chamber faculty in 2003.
  • Has taught worldwide with 35 years of teaching experience, ranging from beginners to graduate school and professional level musicians.
  • Has performed worldwide in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Avery Fisher, Auditório Manuel de Falla, and Memorial of Latin America.
  • Has shared the stage with eminent artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Mathieu Dufour, Eric Friedman, Sidney Harth, Caio Pagano, Frank Morelli, Wang Jian, Amit Peled, Susan Babini and Aldo Parisot.
  • Has enjoyed a multifaceted career as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician, recording artist, pedagogue, adjudicator, and conductor.
  • Founding member of the critically acclaimed Philomusica Quartet.
  • Concertmaster of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and Racine Symphony Orchestra, and Assistant
  • Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra/Milwaukee Musaik.
  • Has performed at Chamber Music Milwaukee, Frankly Music, Fine Arts at First, Sunday Live from the Chazen, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series; to name a few.
  • Has appeared under conductors such as Eleazar De Carvalho, Gunther Herbig, Robert Shaw, Claudio Santoro and Isaac Karabtchevsky.
  • Studied with violinists Sidney Harth, Erick Friedman, Robert McDuffie, and Vartan Manoogian; as well as conductors Eleazar de Carvalho, David Stern, David Becker, James Smith; and members of the Tokyo, Yale, and the Paganini string quartet
  • Recipient of the prestigious Ivan Galamian Award, Carnegie Tradition Award, Yale Alumni Prize and the Miles Prize.

Tatiana Migliaccio

Education

  • Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance | Lviv National Music Academy
  • Master of Music in Violin Performance | Lviv National Music Academy

Background

  • Joined the Violin faculty of the Conservatory in 2005.
  • Previous teachers include Alexander Tatarinzew, Eleonor Stanlis, and Mark Zinger.
  • Received Suzuki violin training for levels 1-7 from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Deerfield Trinity University.
  • An avid musician, Tatiana began her musical career performing in the Lviv Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, touring to countries such as Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, and Estonia.
  • Has also performed with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the American Polish Orchestra, and the Chicago University Orchestra.
  • Had the great privilege in performing with astounding musicians, including Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, and Doc Severinsen.
  • Has worked with artists such as Rachel Barton Pine, Regina Carter, and Almita Vamos in numerous workshops.
  • Previously taught at the Rockford College Music Academy.

Laura Mintz

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | Indiana University
  • Master of Music | University of Michigan

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory in 2018.
  • Received Suzuki Teacher Training with Mimi Zweig and Judy Offman.
  • Has taught students of all ages and levels for 25 years.
  • Created and directed Suzuki and traditional instrumental programs in schools in New York, Texas, Wisconsin, and London.
  • Has enjoyed a varied career as an orchestral violinist and freelance chamber musician, performing in the US and Europe with the New World Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Bayou City Chamber Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, and the Spoleto Festival Orchestra.
  • Chosen by Isaac Stern and Sir Georg Solti to perform and record as a member of the Solti Orchestra Project at Carnegie Hall.
  • Received first prize in the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition.

Talia Pavia

Chair, Strings

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | Northern Illinois University
  • Master of Music | Northern Illinois University
  • Performer’s Certificate | Northern Illinois University

Background

What year did you start working at WCM?

2018

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

Mentoring Milwaukee’s string students and diligently developing their musical and character skills to realize their full expressive potential, is central to my professional mission to cultivate a love for learning.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

Being whisked away on tour to Europe with Camerata Chicago as Associate Principal Second Violin, was a life changing experience. Meeting and sharing music with people of many languages and diverse traditions was both empowering and highly rewarding. Touching the hearts of people on the other side of the world was a poignant reminder to share one’s gifts and appreciate the ones we are sent in return.

 

Charlie Rasmussen

Chair – Suzuki Strings

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Music – Luther College
Master of Music in Cello Performance – University of North Carolina – Greensboro
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Music Theory – University of North Carolina – Greensboro
Certificate in Suzuki Pedagogy – The University of Denver
Suzuki Cello Books 1-10 – Suzuki Association of the Americas

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I chose to work at WCM to be part of a thriving Suzuki program and to teach lessons around the greater Milwaukee area.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

There are too many to recount! I’m very grateful to all my teachers, coaches, mentors, colleagues, and past and present students.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2016

 

Website

https://suzukiassociation.org/people/charles-rasmussen/

 

Anna Rasmussen

WCM Board Faculty Representative

Education

  • Bachelor of Music Education with a Strings Emphasis | Baylor University
  • Master of Music in Violin Performance | University of North Carolina

Background

  • Violin and Viola faculty at the Conservatory since 2016.
  • Completed Suzuki Teacher Training with Julia Hardie, Mark Mutter, Doris Preucil, Ann Smelser, Nancy Jackson, and Kathleen Spring and Sarah Bylander Montzka, and long-term training with Allen Lieb at the School for Strings in New York City.
  • Over 11 years of teaching experience in Suzuki, traditional, and El Sistema-inspired schools in Wisconsin, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Texas.
  • Plays Baroque violin in Early Music ensembles in Beloit, Madison, and Milwaukee.
  • Performed in the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra, Western Piedmont Symphony, Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, and the Waco Symphony Orchestra.
  • In 2016 recorded tracks for Grammy award winning Broadway composer, Paul Bogaev.

Taylor Skiff

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Master of Music | Juilliard School

Background

  • Cello instructor at the Conservatory since 2018.
  • Past cello teachers include Timothy Eddy, Parry Karp, and Uri Vardi.
  • Has been a featured soloist with multiple orchestras, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the  Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto, and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme.
  • In addition to his solo playing, Taylor is an avid orchestral musician, and has performed several times at both Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.
  • Most recent orchestral  appointments include the assistant principal cellist of the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra (2010-2011), co-principal and section cellist of The Juilliard Orchestra (2013-2015), and co-principal  cellist of The Orchestra Now (2015-2016).
  • Former cellist of the University  of Wisconsin’s Perlman Piano Trio (2010-2013).
  • Has been teaching the cello privately for over a  decade.

Felipe Rocha Luiz Vianna

Education

  • Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance – Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE)
  • Master of Music in Viola Performance – Louisiana State University (LSU)

Background

  • Born in Vassouras/RJ – Brazil, Felipe Vianna started his music studies at PIM – Programa de Integração pela Música, a social project based on El-Sistema Music Education, having violin lessons with Daniel Andrade, and participating actively in Suzuki masterclasses with Suray Soren Doyle and Paulo Bosisio. Later, became violin, viola, and music theory teacher at the project from 2007 to 2009.
  • After migrating to viola, pursued his studies at Federal University of Pernambuco, where played actively as principal and section viola at UFPE Symphony Orchestra and “Sonoro Ofício”, a historically informed chamber orchestra, from 2010 to 2016.
  • Finalist at Paulo Bosisio National String Competition in Juiz de Fora/ MG – Brazil, adult division in 2013.
  • Co-principal viola at Orquestra Sinfônica da Paraíba, in João Pessoa/PB – Brazil, during 2015 season.
  • Received the Graduate School Tuition Award (GSTA) from Louisiana State University in 2017.
  • Worked as violin and viola teacher at Kid’s Orchestra in Baton Rouge, academic year 2019-2020.
  • Major viola professors (in chronological order): Dr. Savio Santoro (UFPE), Dr. Elias Goldstein (LSU) and Paul Cortese.
  • Participated in festivals in Brazil, US, and Italy, under the tutelage of many great violists, such as Emmerson diBiaggi, Leonardo Piermartini, Carlos Aleixo, Marcelo Jaffé, Alexandre Razera, Gabriel Marin, Nobuko Imai, Bruno Giuranna, Carol Rodland, Michelle LaCourse, Phillip Ying, Paul Newbauer, Raimi Solomonov, Karen Dreyfous, Susan Dubois, Wenting Kang, Hella Frank, Daphne Gerling and Glêsse Collet.

Woodwinds & Brass

Alec Burke

Education

B.S.  PreK – 12 Instrumental / General Music Education | Ball State University
M.M.  Trumpet Performance, Secondary Concentration in Chamber Music | UW-Milwaukee

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I chose to work at WCM to connect with the amazing and talented faculty, help enrich the experiences of music students through diverse program offerings, and get involved in the greater Milwaukee community.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

When I was in 6th grade, the Dallas Brass came to do a week long residency and side-by-side concert with our band program. Seeing these spectacular performers live and getting to interact with them on a personal level influenced my desire to pursue music as a career. I wanted to do what they did – bring accessible, high level musical performances to people of all backgrounds. Through my work with other non-profit organizations, performing and commissioning music by under-represented and living composers, and collaborating with artists of diverse backgrounds, I hope to continue giving back to my community through music.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2019

 

Website

www.alecburkemusic.com

Jennifer Rodriguez Burke

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Music Education | Ball State University
  • Master of Arts (in progress), Flute Performance | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Spent the past 5+ years teaching woodwind sectionals, flute sectionals, and private flute lessons at a variety of schools in the greater Indianapolis area.
  • Worked as the Community Programs Assistant for Classical Music Indy 2018-2019 and as Assistant Education Coordinator for the Muncie Symphony Orchestra in Spring 2018.
  • Worked as an Education Intern for the Chicago based not-for-profit, Fifth House Ensemble, in 2017.
  • Acted as inaugural secretary for the Flute Guild at Ball State University in 2017.
  • Performed Density 21.5 in Summer 2017 at the Milwaukee Art Museum through the Fresh Inc. Festival.
  • Sings with her band EKRUTEAK.
  • Spends her summers working as Program Coordinator for Music for the Sake of Music, a music not-for-profit providing free lessons and music ensembles in Green Bay, WI.

Adam Fisher

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Music Education | University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
  • Master of Music, Trumpet Performance | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in 2017.
  • Plays with groups such as the Wisconsin and Milwaukee Philharmonics and the Lake County Symphony Orchestra.
  • Premiered new music with Present Music and DIY Chamber Ensemble.
  • Plays in the pit orchestras of dozens of musicals around Wisconsin.
  • Taught master classes throughout the Midwest.

Darcy Hamlin

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Music Education | Oberlin Conservatory of Music
  • Master of Music, Horn Performance | Cleveland Institute of Music

Background

  • Has served on the horn faculty of the Conservatory since 2017.
  • For over 30 years, she has taught a wide range of students from beginners to professionals that have gone on to attend prestigious universities and win positions in professional orchestras.
  • Featured as a concerto soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, she has also held the 3rdHorn position since 2003, and is the founder of the Milwaukee Brass Quintet.
  • Principal Horn with both the Akron and Canton Symphonies in Ohio,and Associate Principal Horn with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.
  • In addition to serving as Principal Horn for three summers with the Breckenridge Musical Festival, she has toured Asia with the Cincinnati Pops, as well as Europe with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Bill Helmers

Education

BM | Eastman School of Music, Performer’s Certificate
MM | The Juilliard School

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

WCM has a dedicated faculty and staff. There is a great variety in musical experience represented.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

Classically trained, I have broadened my outook in recent years studying jazz with WCM’s Aaron Van Oudenallen.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2020

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Woodwind faculty member, William Helmers.

Aaron Van Oudenallen

Education

  • Berklee College of Music

Background

  • WCM faculty member since 2005.
  • Moved back to his roots in Milwaukee after 10 years of living in New York and touring and recording with the band ulu.
  • Has played and recorded with many bands and artists, including De La Buena, Choir Fight, Jamie Breiwick, Steve Peplin, The Static Chicken, Tristan Royalty Squad, The Extra Crispy Brass Band, The Soul Trio, The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Eric Bennet.

Johnny Padilla

Background

  • Johnny Padilla is currently leading his group in support of his recording “Bright Morning” on the BP Music label.
  • Johnny has been a touring musician for Jimmy Buffett, Mongo Santamaria and Angela Carrasco.
  • Since moving to Milwaukee, he has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
  • Johnny has been a featured artist for:
    •  “Jazz in Cutler Park” Waukesha, WI
    • “ Third Ward Jazz Festival” Milwaukee, WI
    • “Starry Nights” Wilson Center Brookfield, WI
    • The Towers Concert” Narragansett, RI
    • “Arts Concert” Vero Beach, FL
    • “The Miami Latin Jazz Festival” Miami, FL
    • “The Dade County Youth Fair” Miami, FL
    • “The Dade County Book Fair” Miami, FL
    • “Tropical Nights” Hollywood, FL
    • “Artwalk” Hollywood, FL
    • “Riverwalk Sunday Brunch” Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    • “The Hispanic Heritage Festival” Miami, FL;
    • “The Beaux Arts Festival of Art” Miami, FL
    • “The Art Council’s Concert” Key West, FL
    • Pleasure Island @ Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL.
  • Johnny has toured as a musician to the countries of Austria, The Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, England, France, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and throughout the United States of America.

Sabrina Raber

Education

  • Undergraduate Degree | Ohio State University
  • Masters Degree | Music and Community Partnership – University of South Carolina

Background

  • Sabrina Raber is a performer, educator, and entrepreneur based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Fellow for the Global Leaders Program, where she earned an Executive Graduate Certificate in Social Entrepreneurship, Teaching Artistry, and Organizational Management in 2019.
  • As a student at the University of South Carolina, Sabrina developed a program entitled, Find Your Beat, a recycled instrumental music education program for underserved children.
  • Has performed with ensembles including the Long Bay Symphony, Aiken Symphony, Columbia Choral Society, the Spark Chamber Ensemble, and the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra where she performed as soloist.
  • Was a top finalist for the National Flute Association’s C.R.E.A.T.E Entrepreneurship competition, a two-time Masterclass winner of the South Carolina Flute Society Competition, and a winner of the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition.
  • Led masterclasses in both the United States and in Chile, where she was a guest artist for the international Peñalolén Flute Festival.
  • She has also presented research on the impact of music education on under-resourced children through the use of alternative music education techniques.
  • Outside of the music world, Sabrina is an avid photographer, a self-identified foodie, sports fan, and lover of all things wonderful.

Emmy Rozanski

Education

  • Doctor of Musical Arts, Trombone Performance | Arizona State University

Background

  • Emmy Rozanski is an enthusiastic music educator and active freelance trombonist in the Milwaukee and Chicago areas.
  • Adjunct music faculty at Alverno College, teaching artist for Sistema Ravinia, and low brass instructor at Highland Park High School.
  • Traveled to El Salvador in the summers of 2019 and 2018 as a teaching artist with MusAid, leading classes in technique and ensemble skills, as well as teaching private lessons.
  • Currently the principal trombonist for the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra (Skokie, IL) and has recently performed with the International Women’s Music Festival Orchestra (Madison) Summit Brass (Denver), the Powder River Symphony (Wyoming), and the Billings Symphony (Montana).
  • Toured Switzerland performing with the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble.
  • She is researching motivation and growth mindset as they pertain to musicians and educators and presented on these topics at the 2019 International Trombone Festival and International Women’s Brass Conference.
  • As part of her doctoral project she wrote and illustrated a children’s book about the trombone, Mr. Fitch Joins the Band.

Joshua Sevigny

Education

  • Bachelor’s in Music Performance | Crane School of Music
  • Master’s in Music Performance | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Background

  • Holds principal positions with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra and the Lake County Symphony Orchestra.
  • Has performed with the Southwestern Suburban Symphony Orchestra, Present Music Milwaukee, Northern Symphonic Winds, Racine Symphony, Wisconsin Philharmonic, Antioch Brass Quintet, and The Big Top Circus Band, and is on numerous sub lists in both Wisconsin and Illinois.
  • Performs with a number of local jazz and rock groups in the Milwaukee area.
  • Runs a large, successful low brass studio.
  • Has placed in and won numerous national and international competitions.
  • Does recitals and masterclasses at universities and solos with orchestras in the area, like the Lake County Symphony Orchestra this season.

Dana Sherman

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, Music Performance and Mathematics | University of Wisconsin – Madison
  • Master of Music, Music Performance | Northwestern University

Background

  • Started at the Conservatory in the Fall of 2018.
  • Is currently Principal Horn of the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Third Horn of the Wisconsin Philharmonic, and a member of Alloy Horn Quartet, which was the Featured Guest Artist at the 2018 International Horn Symposium and featured soloists with the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.
  • Is a substitute musician with Lyric Opera, Milwaukee Symphony, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Grand Rapids Symphony.
  • Held positions in Omaha Symphony (Acting Associate Principal Horn) and New Mexico Philharmonic (3rd Horn).
  • Served as Brass Instructor and Associate Band Director with the El Sistema inspired program at Ravinia.
  • Taught horn at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, Glendale Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Omaha Conservatory of Music.
  • Played at several summer music festivals, including Peninsula Music Festival (in Door County, WI), Grand Teton Music Festival (in Jackson Hole, WY), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), Sarasota Music Festival (Sarasota, FL), and Aspen Music Festival (Aspen, CO).

Rosemary McGee Walzer

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | Heidelberg University
  • Master of Music, Instrumental Conducting | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Music educator and saxophonist Rosemary McGee Walzer is Director of the UWM Youth Jazz Ensemble, and Director of Bands at Maple Dale Elementary School.
  • During her time at UW-Milwaukee, she studied conducting with Dr. John Climer, saxophone with Curt Hanrahan, served as a graduate conducting associate with both the University Band and the Youth Wind Ensemble program, and assisted with the overall administration of the university band program.
  • Additionally, she served as music director for Pankratz Arts Exchange in Mount Calvary, WI for five seasons.
  • In addition to her regular teaching gigs, Rosemary has served as a guest lecturer, clinician, and music camp instructor.
  • Is a regular clinician with the Woody Herman Jazz Festival, and has been invited to work with many instrumental ensembles throughout Southeast Wisconsin.
  • As a performer, Rosemary was one of the winners of the Heidelberg University Concerto Competition in 2003, and received the Arthur Bean Award there in 2005.
  • Freelances in the Milwaukee area and has been in several instrumental ensembles, including the funk/soul band Montage, the East Side Jazz Orchestra, the Kicks Big Band, and the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra.

Vocal Arts

Jenny Gettel

Chair – Vocal Arts

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Choral Education | Lawrence University
  • Master of Music, Voice Performance | University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Background

  • WCM faculty member since 2002.
  • Soprano soloist with the chamber group Great Lakes Baroque.
  • Also served as principal soprano soloist with Ensemble Musical Offering, where she worked with Stanley Ritchie, Marion Verbruggen, Joshua Rifkin, and other Baroque specialists.
  • Has appeared as a soloist with Present Music, Bach Chamber Choir, Racine Symphony, and Skylight Opera, where she performed in a cycle of Monteverdi operas directed by Stephen Wadsworth.
  • A founding member of the a cappella group Polyhymnia, and director of contemporary music at St. Boniface Episcopal Church in Mequon.
  • Taught voice at Alverno College, as well as general music at New World Montessori, 81st Street School, and in the Whitefish Bay Public Schools.

Martha Hellermann

Education

  • Master of Music in Opera Performance | Boston Conservatory at Berklee
  • Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance | Lawrence University

Background

  • Joined the WCM team in 2022.
  • Milwaukee-based soprano with experience performing roles within the operatic and musical theatre genres as well as soloist work in oratorio repertoire. Currently performs locally.
  • National and international roles performed include Younger Alyce in Glory Denied, Miss Jessel in Turn of the Screw, Anna Gomez in The Consul, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Despina in Cosí fan tutte, and Isolier in Le Comte Ory. 
  • Oratorio soloist work includes soprano soloist in The Messiah, Schumann’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and Mozart’s Mass in C Major.
  • Studied under renowned voice professors and coaches such as Joanne Bozeman, Victor Jannett, Delores Ziegler, Bonnie Koestner, Michael Strauss, Louise Pelletier, and Andrew Altenbach.
  • Has been teaching private voice and piano lessons for over 3 years and also teaches k-8 choir and general music.
  • Believes that singing is an act that should be free of judgment and produced through healthy technique and mindset, hard work and practice, and a willingness to be vulnerable.

Allison Hull

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance | Lawrence University
  • Graduate Studies in Vocal Performance | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Served as a young artist for the Skylight, Glimmerglass Opera and Seattle Opera, where she gave a notable performance as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro.
  • A district winner and third place regional award winner at the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions.
  • Recently appeared as Jane in Thank you, Next, Alto Soloist in Songs from the Uproar, Historian in Clara and Alto Soloist in The Poe Requiem.
  • Performed solos from Schubert’s Mass in G, Vivaldi’s Gloria, John Rutter’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Pauken Messe, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
  • Sang the first full US performance of Carl Jenkin’s Mass for the Armed Man at St. John’s Cathedral in Milwaukee.
  • Member of the voice faculties of Carthage College and Parkside University, where she teaches both classical and music theater students of all ages and abilities.

Shanti Lleone

Education

BM Vocal Performance Degree – Lawrence University
Vital Acting Degree – Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studios, Los Angeles

Background

Why did you choose WCM?

WCM has a standard of excellence and community outreach, supporting artists and musicians that resonates with my personal passions.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

Each teacher I have worked with, every song I have recorded, every show I have sung, every production I have been a part of, has deeply taught me about myself, honed my skill and deepened my love for life, humanity and the arts.  Whether performing with Grammy Award Winning artists or the hobbyist who is living out his dreams on stage, we each connect through our love of music and join together to bring more joy, peace, and hope to the world.  Each teacher I have had (over 13 and counting) has given me “tools in my tool box” that I use every day, at every show, with each student, and as metaphors for life!

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023.

Phillip Pearl

Education

PhD (h.c.) | Herzing University
M.M. – University of Wisconsin | Madison
B.F.A. Music and Theatre | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
Soloist, First Church of Christ, Scientist | Brookfield, WI

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

Its reputation…and it beat the heck out of telemarketing.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

Lenore Horsman and Kammersänger Jean Cox.

What year did you start working at WCM?

1994

Amelia Spierer

Education

B.A. – University of Wisconsin – Madison
M.M. – Rutgers University

Background

Why did you choose WCM?

I’m excited to work with students of all kinds from all different backgrounds and levels of experience. This matches well with the mission of WCM.

Describe a musical experience that had a positive impact on you:

My undergraduate voice professor was always encouraging and calm. He looked for the best and worked with my strengths, and encouraged me to continue my studies at the graduate level. I wasn’t sure I could do that, and his belief in me really changed my life.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2023.

Jazz & Contemporary Music

Hannah Johnson

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Jazz Studies | Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in January 2019.
  • Teaches and plays various styles of music on the drum set, specializing in jazz.
  • Plays with her modern jazz quartet in the Milwaukee area.
  • Featured as an instructor for the Vic Firth video series “Inside the Teaching Studio” entitled How to Sound Like Elvin Jones.
  • Has played with musicians such as Leni Stern, Ingrid Jensen, and Jamie Baum.
  • Enjoys teaching the bucket drumming and world percussion classes through the Conservatory Connections program, as well as private percussion lessons.

Aaron Van Oudenallen

Education

  • Berklee College of Music

Background

  • WCM faculty member since 2005.
  • Moved back to his roots in Milwaukee after 10 years of living in New York and touring and recording with the band ulu.
  • Has played and recorded with many bands and artists, including De La Buena, Choir Fight, Jamie Breiwick, Steve Peplin, The Static Chicken, Tristan Royalty Squad, The Extra Crispy Brass Band, The Soul Trio, The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Eric Bennet.

Johnny Padilla

Background

  • Johnny Padilla is currently leading his group in support of his recording “Bright Morning” on the BP Music label.
  • Johnny has been a touring musician for Jimmy Buffett, Mongo Santamaria and Angela Carrasco.
  • Since moving to Milwaukee, he has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
  • Johnny has been a featured artist for:
    •  “Jazz in Cutler Park” Waukesha, WI
    • “ Third Ward Jazz Festival” Milwaukee, WI
    • “Starry Nights” Wilson Center Brookfield, WI
    • The Towers Concert” Narragansett, RI
    • “Arts Concert” Vero Beach, FL
    • “The Miami Latin Jazz Festival” Miami, FL
    • “The Dade County Youth Fair” Miami, FL
    • “The Dade County Book Fair” Miami, FL
    • “Tropical Nights” Hollywood, FL
    • “Artwalk” Hollywood, FL
    • “Riverwalk Sunday Brunch” Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    • “The Hispanic Heritage Festival” Miami, FL;
    • “The Beaux Arts Festival of Art” Miami, FL
    • “The Art Council’s Concert” Key West, FL
    • Pleasure Island @ Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL.
  • Johnny has toured as a musician to the countries of Austria, The Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, England, France, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and throughout the United States of America.

Mitchell Shiner

Chair, Jazz & Contemporary Music

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Emphasis in Jazz Studies | Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
  • Performer’s Certificate for Senior Recital

Background

  • WCM faculty member since 2016.
  • Began playing drums at age eight and has been studying percussion since age nine.
  • Co-leads tour-de-force fusion group, “Match Stick,” which released a self-titled album in 2019.
  • Released his debut CD, “FLY!”, in 2014, which invites listeners on a musical journey of original compositions and out-of-the-box arrangements for 20-piece big band.
  • Featured clinician for the 2015 Summerfest Big Band Camp, along with Curt Hanrahan and Mike Steinel.
  • Conducted masterclasses at UW-Parkside, University of Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Park Tudor School, and Nicolet High School.
  • Teaches percussion at several Milwaukee public schools through the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Conservatory Connections program.

Rosemary McGee Walzer

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | Heidelberg University
  • Master of Music, Instrumental Conducting | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Music educator and saxophonist Rosemary McGee Walzer is Director of the UWM Youth Jazz Ensemble, and Director of Bands at Maple Dale Elementary School.
  • During her time at UW-Milwaukee, she studied conducting with Dr. John Climer, saxophone with Curt Hanrahan, served as a graduate conducting associate with both the University Band and the Youth Wind Ensemble program, and assisted with the overall administration of the university band program.
  • Additionally, she served as music director for Pankratz Arts Exchange in Mount Calvary, WI for five seasons.
  • In addition to her regular teaching gigs, Rosemary has served as a guest lecturer, clinician, and music camp instructor.
  • Is a regular clinician with the Woody Herman Jazz Festival, and has been invited to work with many instrumental ensembles throughout Southeast Wisconsin.
  • As a performer, Rosemary was one of the winners of the Heidelberg University Concerto Competition in 2003, and received the Arthur Bean Award there in 2005.
  • Freelances in the Milwaukee area and has been in several instrumental ensembles, including the funk/soul band Montage, the East Side Jazz Orchestra, the Kicks Big Band, and the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra.

Chamber Music

Susan Babini

Cello

Education

  • Graduate Diploma | The Juilliard School
  • Bachelor of Chamber Music | San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • Master of Chamber Music | San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Background

  • Holds the Dorothea C. Mayer Principal Cello Chair with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
  • Has appeared as Guest Principal Cello with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
  • Performed solos with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Century Chamber Orchestra, and the Princeton Symphony.
  • Gave the East Coast premiere with Symphony in C of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Colored Field for Cello and Orchestra.
  • Performed as cellist with the Cavani String Quartet on the Detroit Chamber Music Society series and at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
  • While in Milwaukee she has performed on the Frankly Music series and with the Philomusica String Quartet.
  • Participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, and the Yellow Barn Music Festival

Beth Breslin

Viola

Education

  • Master of Music | Cleveland Institute of Music
  • Bachelor of Music | Oberlin Conservatory

Background

  • Member of the viola section in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
  • Member of the viola section in the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.
  • Was a member of the San Antonio Symphony, and is currently a substitute with the Saint Louis Symphony and Houston Symphony.
  • Performs with the 414 Quartet and the Prospect Quartet.
  • Performer at festivals such as the Tanglewood Music Center, the National Repertory Orchestra, Kneisel Hall, and The Round Top Festival Institute.
  • Has also performed as a soloist with the Cleveland Institute of Music, National Repertory Orchestra and the New World Symphony.
  • Primary teachers include Robert Vernon (Cleveland) and Peter Slowik (Oberlin).

Stefanie Jacob

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Music, Magna cum laude – Harvard University
  • Master of Music, with highest distinction in Piano Performance – Indiana University

Background

  • Joined the WCM Piano faculty in 1987.
  • Focuses on the areas of educating an array of students and chamber music.
  • Received the Milwaukee Civic Music Association’s award for Excellence in Studio Teaching.
  • Enjoys being an active musician in the Prometheus Trio, and participating in the Washington Island Music Festival.
  • Made her solo debut with the Boston Pops at age 17, and her Carnegie Hall debut in 1984.
  • Twice awarded Second Prize at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and received Indiana University’s Leo Weiner Prize for Chamber Music.
  • Has soloed with both the Milwaukee Symphony and the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra.
  • Recorded for the Arundax, CRI, Fleur de Son, Equilibrium, and the Wisconsin Conservatory labels.
  • Received WCM’s “Teacher of the Year” honor in 2017.

Alexander Mandl

Violin

Education

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts | Carnegie Mellon University
  • Master of Music | Yale University
  • Artist Diploma | Yale University
  • Doctor of Musical Arts | University of Wisconsin – Madison

Background

  • Joined the WCM violin and chamber faculty in 2003.
  • Has taught worldwide with 35 years of teaching experience, ranging from beginners to graduate school and professional level musicians.
  • Has performed worldwide in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Avery Fisher, Auditório Manuel de Falla, and Memorial of Latin America.
  • Has shared the stage with eminent artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Mathieu Dufour, Eric Friedman, Sidney Harth, Caio Pagano, Frank Morelli, Wang Jian, Amit Peled, Susan Babini and Aldo Parisot.
  • Has enjoyed a multifaceted career as a soloist, orchestral and chamber musician, recording artist, pedagogue, adjudicator, and conductor.
  • Founding member of the critically acclaimed Philomusica Quartet.
  • Concertmaster of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and Racine Symphony Orchestra, and Assistant
  • Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra/Milwaukee Musaik.
  • Has performed at Chamber Music Milwaukee, Frankly Music, Fine Arts at First, Sunday Live from the Chazen, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series; to name a few.
  • Has appeared under conductors such as Eleazar De Carvalho, Gunther Herbig, Robert Shaw, Claudio Santoro and Isaac Karabtchevsky.
  • Studied with violinists Sidney Harth, Erick Friedman, Robert McDuffie, and Vartan Manoogian; as well as conductors Eleazar de Carvalho, David Stern, David Becker, James Smith; and members of the Tokyo, Yale, and the Paganini string quartet
  • Recipient of the prestigious Ivan Galamian Award, Carnegie Tradition Award, Yale Alumni Prize and the Miles Prize.

Music Theory

Jennifer Rodriguez Burke

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Music Education | Ball State University
  • Master of Arts (in progress), Flute Performance | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Spent the past 5+ years teaching woodwind sectionals, flute sectionals, and private flute lessons at a variety of schools in the greater Indianapolis area.
  • Worked as the Community Programs Assistant for Classical Music Indy 2018-2019 and as Assistant Education Coordinator for the Muncie Symphony Orchestra in Spring 2018.
  • Worked as an Education Intern for the Chicago based not-for-profit, Fifth House Ensemble, in 2017.
  • Acted as inaugural secretary for the Flute Guild at Ball State University in 2017.
  • Performed Density 21.5 in Summer 2017 at the Milwaukee Art Museum through the Fresh Inc. Festival.
  • Sings with her band EKRUTEAK.
  • Spends her summers working as Program Coordinator for Music for the Sake of Music, a music not-for-profit providing free lessons and music ensembles in Green Bay, WI.

Adam Fisher

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Music Education | University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
  • Master of Music, Trumpet Performance | University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Background

  • Joined the Conservatory faculty in 2017.
  • Plays with groups such as the Wisconsin and Milwaukee Philharmonics and the Lake County Symphony Orchestra.
  • Premiered new music with Present Music and DIY Chamber Ensemble.
  • Plays in the pit orchestras of dozens of musicals around Wisconsin.
  • Taught master classes throughout the Midwest.

Rosemary McGee Walzer

Education

  • Bachelor of Music | Heidelberg University
  • Master of Music, Instrumental Conducting | University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Background

  • Music educator and saxophonist Rosemary McGee Walzer is Director of the UWM Youth Jazz Ensemble, and Director of Bands at Maple Dale Elementary School.
  • During her time at UW-Milwaukee, she studied conducting with Dr. John Climer, saxophone with Curt Hanrahan, served as a graduate conducting associate with both the University Band and the Youth Wind Ensemble program, and assisted with the overall administration of the university band program.
  • Additionally, she served as music director for Pankratz Arts Exchange in Mount Calvary, WI for five seasons.
  • In addition to her regular teaching gigs, Rosemary has served as a guest lecturer, clinician, and music camp instructor.
  • Is a regular clinician with the Woody Herman Jazz Festival, and has been invited to work with many instrumental ensembles throughout Southeast Wisconsin.
  • As a performer, Rosemary was one of the winners of the Heidelberg University Concerto Competition in 2003, and received the Arthur Bean Award there in 2005.
  • Freelances in the Milwaukee area and has been in several instrumental ensembles, including the funk/soul band Montage, the East Side Jazz Orchestra, the Kicks Big Band, and the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra.


Our Staff

Administrative

Rachel Fritz

Chief Operations Officer

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, magna cum laude | University of Central Missouri
  • Master of Music | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Background

  • Has served as the Chief Operations Officer at the Conservatory since 2014 after previously managing the Student Services department for four years.
  • Has been a member of the WCM Piano Faculty since 2007, specializing in instructing young pianists.
  • Certified as a teaching artist by the International Piano Teaching Federation.
  • Participated in the 2017 Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI).
  • Taught group piano at Des Moines Symphony Academy and maintained private studios in Lincoln, NE, and Warrensburg, MO.
  • Has been an active member of the Music Teacher National Association.
  • Serves as President for the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association.
  • Serves as pianist at Redemption Lutheran Church.

Eric Tillich

President, Chief Executive Officer

Education

BA from UW-Madison and his MA in Organization, Leadership, and Quality from Marian University

Background

Eric brings more than 20 years of experience working in an executive leadership capacity at several leading non-profit organizations, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, where he increased corporate giving by 25%, doubled contributions to the annual fund, and helped secure numerous seven figure gifts; the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, where under his leadership the organization reached new heights in annual fund contributions and donors; and Marian University where he led the first comprehensive capital campaign raising record amounts.  Recently, Eric has led his own consulting firm where he advised such clients as the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, and the Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin in strategic planning, fund development, and board capacity.

His extensive experience driving record-setting revenue growth, his expansive leadership expertise and his ability to generate positive change and to build organizational consensus have been trademarks of Eric’s career.   Eric has served on several non-profit boards in the Milwaukee area including the Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin and Future Milwaukee.

Education

John Bragle

Director of Community Partnerships

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, Music Education (Graduated Cum Laude) | Michigan State University,
  • Master of Music, Choral Conducting | Michigan State University
  • Doctor of Musical Arts, Music Education | Boston University

Background

  • Dr. John Bragle is a passionate music educator, singer, researcher, and arts advocate with more than 20 years of teaching experience in public and private school music programs, higher education, and community-based music settings.
  • Most recently, Bragle served as the Director of Choirs and Instructor of Voice at the Interlochen Arts Academy, a premiere boarding arts school in Michigan.
  • While at Interlochen, choirs under his direction have performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and Interlochen’s World Youth Symphony Orchestra in venues such as Lincoln Center, DAR Constitution Hall, and Detroit’s Orchestra Hall.
  • In addition to establishing partnerships that connected Interlochen to the community through performance and collaborative learning, Bragle also led efforts to increase the diversity of curricular materials and highlight more inclusive best practices for faculty.

Nora Cahill

Community Partnerships Associate

Education

B.A. in English and Psychology | Washington University in St. Louis

 

Background

Why did you choose to work at WCM?

I chose to work at WCM because I wanted to join the vibrant music community and contribute to making music education more accessible in the Milwaukee area.

Describe a musical experience or teacher that had a positive impact on you.

My first harp teacher was very encouraging of me learning the instrument at an “older” age, and without her support I probably would have stuck with playing piano only and missed out on some amazing experiences in the harp world.

What year did you start working at WCM?

2022

 

 

Teresa Drews

Director, Education

Education

  • Bachelor of Music, cum laude, Piano Performance | Northwestern University
  • Master of Music, Piano Performance | Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University

Background

  • WCM faculty member since 2003, Piano Department chair since 2005, Director of Education since 2018.
  • Member of Pi Kappa Lambda, MTNA, WMTA and MMTA.
  • In her 23 years of teaching, she has taught group and private piano lessons at the Conservatory, as well as coached chamber music.
  • Through Conservatory Connections she has taught general music and piano to students throughout Milwaukee and most recently taught our Music Counts curriculum at St. Joseph Academy of Early Learning.
  • An active performer in the Milwaukee area, Ms. Drews often collaborates with WCM faculty and MSO musicians.
  • She also performs annually with the Washington Island Music Festival in Door County.
  • Has studied with Sylvia Wang, Ann Schein and Seth Knopp, and performed in master classes by David Burge and Menahem Pressler.
  • Prior to moving to Milwaukee, she taught piano in Baltimore, Maryland at the Friends School of Baltimore and the Music Workshop.

Krystal Esty

Associate Director, Education

Education

  • BM in Music Education | UW-Whitewater
  • MM | UW-Milwaukee.

Student Services

Madeline Tym

Student Services Associate

Marketing & Development

Erin Hutchins

Grants Manager

Education

· Bachelor of Science, Sociology, Vocal Performance – Illinois State University

· MBA, Music and Arts Administration – The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

Background

· Joined the Conservatory in September 2021

· Served in The Peace Corps in Ukraine from 2016-2018 as a Youth Development Specialist

· Has completed business consulting work with arts organizations in both Illinois and Massachusetts

· Has written grants to build capacity for schools, arts organizations, music festivals, and universities

· Has been an active member of the WIM (Women in Music)

Brittany Smith

Manager, Marketing

Saleaqua Winston

Development Associate

Teresa teaching piano

Employment Opportunities

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