Music Faculty (New York City)
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Piano, Recorder, Opera Theater Workshop, Collegium Musicum, Music History, Opera Coaching, Hymnology, Music and Worship
A native of Oregon, Dr. Sue Lane Talley studied piano from the age of five, and from the age of six, was performing in recitals; she won her first piano competition at the age of eight, and debuted with the Santa Barbara Symphony in Mendelssohn’s G-minor Concerto at 16. For the first twenty years of lessons, she studied under great piano teachers on the West Coast: in Portland, Karleen Huddleston (faculty at George Fox University), in Santa Barbara, California, Miss Galina Michniuk and both Dr. and Mrs. Erno Daniel (faculty at USC and UCSB); at Whitworth College, with Margaret Saunders Ott, and in Los Angeles, with Carol Rosenberger (faculty at USC). Immediately after high school, she studied at the Music Academy of the West with Reginald Stewart. She received her MA in Piano Performance from Western Washington University under the tutelage of John McIntyre. She continued her postgraduate studies in New York City with Joseph Raieff (The Juillliard School).
Very important to a developing musician is the opportunity to play collaborative piano, and even prior to high school, Sue was performing as accompanist in churches and in the schools, both for singers and instrumentalists. She emphasizes the importance of this aspect of a musician’s career, as it took her to Italy, where she played for 17 major opera festivals, was featured on RAI, and accompanied in the private studio of Mario Del Monaco and other great artists, also performing throughout the country as a collaborative artist with her husband, Dr. Dana Talley. Upon playing for the Metropolitan Opera auditions, she also received a National Opera Institute grant to study Opera Coaching at The Metropolitan Opera, where she worked with Joan Dornemann as an Apprentice Coach and studied, as well, with Alberta Masiello and Martin Katz. She and Dr. Dana Talley travelled throughout the United States as concert artists, giving Master Classes in colleges and also performing with symphony orchestras and as soloists in over 2000 community concerts. They returned many times as concert artists to Italy, Albania, and Russia as a duo and solo pianist. They also recorded a number of albums of sacred and classical music which were nationally distributed. In most cases, arrangements were original with Sue Talley and many were inspired by years of experience in classical, Gospel, and popular music.
Recently, the Talleys have repeatedly had the opportunity to take groups of students to perform in both Italy Puerto Rico, and in Korea, including the Nyack College Chorale, the Jazz Ensemble, and quartets. They have performed throughout the Veneto, and more recently in Siena, Italy as well. Sue was an opera coach for Siena Summer Music and has performed at the beautiful Cathedral with music students on the Nyack College Fine Arts Winterim tour, which she and Dr. Dana have conducted annually for the past seven years.
Dr. Talley has been active in editing and publishing, having worked for McGraw-Hill Books as an editor of the Share the Music Series for elementary and middle schools. This interest helped her prepare a Doctoral thesis in Music Education, focusing on adapting the series for home teaching (which she did for the Talleys’ son, Jonathan, until his sophomore year of high school). Sue has also produced numerous articles and has been a contributing editor for books and magazines including as The Encyclopedia of Christian Worship (Dr. Robert E. Webber), Worship Times, The Third Hour, and Modern Liturgy, Ministry and Liturgy, and others. For Oakwood Publications, she also edited Alexander Men: A Witness for Contemporary Russia (Yves Hamant), as the result of the trips she and Dr. Dana made to Russia a number of times with their organization, “Russia for Jesus.” She produced a voiceover of the Orthodox Christian classic, The Way of a Pilgrim, which was nationally distributed by SVS Press, along with several of her recordings of sacred music. After postgraduate studies at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Sue also received a second Doctorate in Worship Studies from the Robert E. Webber Institute of Worship Studies, with her thesis being on The Healing Psalms of Christ for the Students at Nyack College, NYC. A Fellow of the Sophia Institute at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University, Sue has also presented several papers there and has lectured on Women in the Arts at Columbia University. As a calligrapher, she helped produce the national award-winning Illustrated Gospel of St. Matthew (with iconographer/calligrapher Vladislav Andrejevs).
Sue is passionate about early music and the recorder in particular. Although she has studied cello and enjoys playing harp and other instruments as a dedicated amateur, she focused on the recorder and had ten years of lessons, studying primarily with Elaine Henzler and Deborah Booth in New York City. She has performed as a recorderist in Italy, in Korea, and in New York City. Having edited a recorder methods book, she felt that recorder should be taught to young students as a beautiful solo instrument, not only as a “pre-band” or “pre-orchestra” instrument that was often disregarded as a virtuoso instrument. She owns and teaches all sizes of recorder from sopranino to great bass.
Dr. Sue Talley’s philosophy as an administrator in the School of Music at New York City is to introduce students to as many ways of making and enjoying music as possible, to the end that music and learning will continue to form students’ lives and shape their careers after they graduate from Nyack College. From the beginning of her tenure with the program, she urged that Gospel music be considered as a vital component of the ensemble program, even while expanding the experience of the gifted students into the area of classical music, particularly introducing the Chorale to great sacred oratorios and major works. Knowing that there are a limited number of credits that can be squeezed into a college program, she hopes that the music students at NCNYC will learn strong practicing techniques and will take a vital interest in the many areas of music production and study available today, including classical, jazz, musical theater, and therapeutic music. Nyack College since 2000.
Guitar, Lute, Early Musical Instruments, Collegium Musicum, Senior Seminar, Music Theory and History
Dr. Lars Frandsen was a student of the late Leif Christensen who was a pioneer in the rediscovery of nineteenth century guitar literature and a strong advocate of its historical performance.
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Yale University, and Eastman School of Music, Dr. Frandsen holds a doctoral degree in performance and literature. He was the assistant to renowned lute player Paul O’Dette while at Eastman, where he also studied in master classes and doctoral seminars with equally renowned forte-pianist Malcom Bilson. His principal guitar teachers after Leif Christensen include John Mills (RAM), Benjamin Verdery (YSM) and Nicholas Goluses (ESM). He has performed several times in master classes conducted by John Williams, David Russell and Manuel Barruecco.
Dr. Frandsen was the first guitarist to play and coach chamber music (during five consecutive concert seasons) at the Apple Hill summer music school with members of the London Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras.
Dr. Frandsen is the Director of Guitar Studies at Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music at the City University of New York. At Nyack College’s Manhattan campus, where he also teaches counterpoint, music history and directs the theory and ear training program, where he has taught since 2007.
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Music in the Elementary and Secondary Schools, Foundations for Excellence, Functional Piano, Basic Music Skills, Student Teaching, Fine Arts
M.S.W. Fordham University. B.M.E. West Virginia Wesleyan College, M.S. Lehman College. Recipient of "Model Classroom Teacher Award" by Music Educator's National Conference and "Jenkins Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education." General music specialist and hostess of "The Classical Music Show" on WCWP-FM from 1997 to 2000. Presented workshops at Concordia College, Hunter College, Mt. Vernon Hospital, and King's Highway United Methodist Church. Chairperson of the Westchester Task Force on Issues of Loss and Grief in Children. Maintains a private social work practice in White Plains, N.Y. Formerly. General and choral music educator and music department chairperson in the Mt. Vernon (NY) Public Schools. Former leader of Asbury United Methodist Church, Tuckahoe, NY, from 1991 to 1997. Currently a member of the administrative board, chairperson of Missions, and certified Lay Speaker.
Chorale, Conducting, Ear training, Music Theory, and History
Elizabeth Swanson, D.M., is an Assistant Professor at Nyack College School of Music in New York City. She conducts the Nyack College Chorale and Chamber Singers, and teaches courses in conducting, rehearsal methods, music history, and sight singing and ear training.
Prior to her tenure at Nyack College, Professor Swanson held appointments as Assistant Director of Choirs at The University of Chicago, Assistant Professor at Ithaca College School of Music (Ithaca, NY), and served as the conductor of choral ensembles at North Park University, Northwestern University, and Roosevelt University (Chicago Center of Performing Arts) in Chicago, IL.
As a mezzo-soprano, Professor Swanson has performed professionally as a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Grant Park Chorus. More recently she has been a member of the Oratorio Society of New York and the Parish Choir at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City.
Dr. Swanson holds D.M. (Conducting), M.M. (Conducting), and B.M. (Education) degrees from Northwestern University, Ithaca College, and St. Olaf College, respectively. Her teachers and mentors have included Anton Armstrong, Lawrence Doebler, Janet Galván, Robert Harris, Steven Stucky, Mallory Thompson, and Bernard J. Dobroski. Her doctoral thesis is a contextual analysis of Steven Stucky’s oratorio, August 4, 1964. She has lectured on this work at Bowling Green State University (MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music) and most recently at the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) National Symposium on American Choral Music in Washington D.C.
Swanson is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), College Music Society (CMS), and National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) for which she a National Board Member and representative of New York.
Coordinator, Vocal Program, Music History, Opera Workshop, Diction, Italian, BS Internship Program, Music of Diverse Cultures, Fine Arts in Italy
Dana Talley was a winner of the 1978 Metropolitan Opera Auditions, and in the same year won the San Francisco Opera Auditions, the Sullivan Award, and the Beethoven prize, as well as a grant recipient of the National Opera Institute and the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for music and a winner in six other national and international competitions, including the Puccini Voices International Competition and Voci di Verdi in Bussetto, Italy.
In the early 1970’s he began his career on Broadway with the musical, The Student Prince and continued as an Equity and AFTRA actor for 20 years.
In February of 1979, Dana made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Verdi's Don Carlo, and subsequently appeared as a principal tenor with the company, in 23 roles and over 350 performances. Concurrently, he debuted in Carnegie Hall in the title role of Judas Maccabaeus and appeared in the Carmel Bach Festival, and with the Paris Radio Orchestra in the title role of Hindemith's Mathis der Mahler, in addition to performing with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony, and with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as tenor soloist in Handel's Messiah, which was aired internationally on PBS for ten straight seasons and 13 other symphony orchestras. He performed The Verdi Requiem with 16 symphonies including Detroit, Rochester, Spokane, Springfield (MA), Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and on the 75thanniversary of the composer's death in his hometown of Bussetto, Italy. Opera galas with Bulgarian State Orchestra, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, San Francisco, National Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota, Atlanta, Dallas and Seattle orchestras.
He also performed with the New York City Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, Munich Opera, Arena di Verona, La Fenice in Venice, and other opera companies in Italy, and with many regional companies and symphonies throughout the United States and Canada. Dana has performed throughout Europe and Russia with over 100 opera performances in Italy. His final appearance with the Live from the Met TV series was January, 2001.
As a duo, Dana and Sue Talley performed over 2300 solo recitals and concerts throughout the U.S. They have given Master classes at 58 colleges since 1973 and recorded 19 albums of opera and song literature. Dr. Talley was co-founder of Russia for Jesus, supporting missionary work in Russia and Albania. And has ministered in more than 2,000 churches, Billy Graham Institute, Maranatha! Music, Pensacola Theological Institute, Fairhaven Bible Conference, and Eternal Word Television Network. He has been director of Vocal studies at Siena Summer Music in Siena, Italy. He has been on the faculty of Nyack College, New York City, since 2000.
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Voice, Diction, Vocal Literature, Music Appreciation, History of Opera, Christian Folk Ensemble
Jhásoa Omar Agosto, Tenor, has been singing and performing for over twenty years. A native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, he moved with his family to the mainland U.S. at age five and was raised in Homestead, Florida—which he describes as "a southern town with all the typical small-town charm one could ever want!" He began to study music full-time at the age of 12 with Dr. John Morris Wright, Music Pedagogy theorist, with whom he commenced piano studies. He also studied composition and theory with Dr. David De La Rosa, composer and teacher. It was when he began singing with the Homestead-based Chorale "The Redlands Singers" that his talent as a soloist was recognized. Additionally, it was through this chorale as well as the testimony of his teachers that Jhásoa was drawn to the Christian faith. He has been a faithful believer since age 13.
A published composer of instrumental and choral music. Mr. Agosto has also served as Director of Music and Choirmaster at several churches both in Florida and in New York City. In 2009, his original composition was featured by the Nyack Chorale in their tour to Venice, Italy, where he also returned in the summer as a soloist and a member of a quartet featuring both operatic and sacred music. As a professor, he assisted in bringing a select group of Nyack singers to Puerto Rican churches and universities.
Mr. Agosto began attending Nyack College, Manhattan Campus in the Fall 0f 2006, graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance in 2010. Jhasoa studied voice at Nyack College, NYC with Dr. Dana Talley, piano (his minor) with Prof. Colin Fowler, and Recorder with Dr. Sue Lane Talley. Upon graduating Nyack, he attended Manhattan School of Music, receiving his Master of Music Degree in Vocal Performance. During his time at MSM, he participated as the lead in Falstaff and sang was featured in an opera as a flamenco singer, bringing him to the favorable attention of The New York Times reviewer.
While singing in and directing many sacred and community concerts throughout the tri-state area and beyond, Mr. Agosto was selected as soloist for the Brahms Requiem. He brought his dynamic and powerful voice to churches and colleges in Seoul, Korea and to Italy in succeeding summers. He also served as Youth Pastor at La Hermosa Christian Church for four years (2003-2006) and taught music at Evangel Christian School (grades Pre-k-8th) and is currently serving at Calvary Baptist Church.
Jhasoa Agosto has been teaching at Nyack College since 2010.
Piano, Studio Class, Piano Literature and Pedagogy, Accompanying, Functional Piano, Opera Workshop
Margrit Julia Zimmermann, pianist, is an artist with uncommon poetic talent. Her fine gentle touch represents the best tradition of European and Russian piano schools. She possesses an unusual musical creative ability and virtuosity that flourishes in her interpretations of Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Rachmaninov, described by one reviewer as having " fascinating intensity and highly poetic play."
Ms. Zimmermann is an Artist-in-Residence at the Nyack College, Manhattan campus. She completed her studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow with Dmitri Bashkirov, where she studied with Lev Naumov, Sergei Babayan, Vera Gornostaeva, and Vadim Sukhanov.
Her concerts have frequently been televised throughout Russia, Lithuania and Germany, where she continues to perform as a soloist with recitals and orchestra, as well as in England, Austria, Holland, the United States, Switzerland, Peru, the Caribbean Islands, and Mexico.
Ms. Zimmermann was a prizewinner in the 1996 International Johannes Brahms Piano Competition in Austria and the Roma International Piano Competition 1997 in Italy. Her recordings on major labels such as ASV and BIS in England and Sweden were highly praised in Gramophone magazine (England), Das Orchester (Germany) and Penn Sounds (USA) for revealing a “deep musical sense and technical perfection.”
Since 1992 Margrit has maintained a home in Germany, where she received the Arts Prize of the Wolfgang-Zippel Foundation. She was a founder and for many years Artistic Director of the International Music Festival "Cascades" in Germany.
She has performed in major music centers worldwide such as Moscow Conservatoire Hall, Hall of Vilnius Philharmonie, Philharmonie Hall in Kaunus, Organ Hall in Kishinev, Vienna Hall of the MusicTheater Society, Graz Music Hall, Kaliningrad Philharmonic Hall, Sala Beethoven, and Teatro Isauro Martinez among others.
In 2007 she made her debut in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.
Margrit Julia Zimmermann has beens an Artist-In-Residence at Nyack College, NYC, since 2010.
Intro to Therapeutic Music, Voice, Acting.
Jamée Ard has enjoyed a varied career in music, as performer, educator, arts administrator and, most recently, as a music therapist.
Opera companies with whom she sang included the San Francisco Opera (in the Adler Fellowship performance of Handel’s Rodelinda), Deutsche Oper Berlin (in their Los Angeles Performances), and Glimmerglass Opera. As an arts administrator, she served as an Artist Manager for Young Concert Artists and Director of National Advancement at The Juilliard School.
Ms. Ard holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Juilliard, a Master of Music from The University of Southern California, a Bachelor of Music from St. Olaf College and a Master of Science in Music Therapy from Molloy College. Prior to Nyack College, she was a member of the faculties at Smith and Hunter colleges.
Ms. Ard has contributed articles to Grove Dictionary of Women in Music, Women Making Music, Opera News, and is a contributor to the forthcoming Communication and Aging: Creative Approaches to Improving Quality of Life. In addition to her teaching duties at Nyack, she is a music therapist for Hospice of New York. Nyack College New York faculty since 2014.
Voice, Assistant Music Education Supervisor
Mary Carey, soprano, is an instructor of voice, an opera singer and a musical actress. A native of Chicago, Mary was in her first show at age 3. She started formal musical training in piano at age 8. Her love for the piano helped her decide that she wanted to pursue a musical career.
Mary started taking voice lessons at 16 and soon after directed her career choice to opera. She appeared in musicals, operettas and operas during her undergraduate and graduate years at Western Illinois University and Illinois State University, respectively. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, a comprehensive Education major from K-12 with a Choral emphasis, and a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance.
Upon returning to Chicago after college, Mary was runner-up in the Miss Chicago (Miss America) Pageant and was a soloist with the Chicago Opera Repertory Theatre. Later, her love of singing brought her to New York where she studied voice with Anne Ottaviano LoMonaco and Franco Iglesias. She performed in the United States staged premiere of Alzira by Giuseppi Verdi with Amato Opera in New York City in the title role. Her performing credits include Nedda in I Pagliacci, Musetta in La Boheme, Norina in Don Pasquale, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Monica in The Medium, Maria in West Side Story, Jenny in Company, Sergeant Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Carrie in Carousel, Amahl in Amahl and The Night Visitors, Apostle Woman in Jesus Christ Superstar, and Martha Jefferson in 1776.
Active in church work for more than thirty years, Ms. Carey was soloist and conductor in Christ Tabernacle Choir for 27 years, where her husband, Rev. Steven Carey was music pastor during that period. She was a soloist on all of the Christ Tabernacle Choir recordings and DVDs, being featured on an Ira Stamphill tribute recording that in 2003 was nominated for a Dove award. With the Christ Tabernacle Choir, she was also a soloist at the Rockefeller Tree Lighting and Today Show Weekend Edition.
As a former member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers, she traveled with that group for over ten years. She appeared at such venues as the 1996 Billy Graham Crusade in Charlotte, N.C., Good Morning America, The Today Show, the Republican National Convention, and on many well-known Christian television networks. She was a soloist on the Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas album 'O What A Love', and did extensive studio singing on many of the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir projects. Mary also appeared as a guest soloist for the US and Canadian National Anthems at Shea Stadium, and the National Anthem at the famous Angola Louisiana Rodeo.
Prof. Carey was involved at Evangel Christian School in Long Island City, NY from 1994-2007 where she directed the Middle School Music program for nine years and the High School Chorus for 6 years. She and her husband are currently leading the music ministry at Rock Church in Manhattan. She lives in Queens with him and their two children, Joshua and Anna. Mary has been on the Nyack College, New York City faculty since 2007.
Applied Guitar, Collegium Musicum
Classical guitarist and early plucked instrumentalist Carlos Cuestas is an active performer throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. His musical versatility has allowed him to perform as a soloist, chamber and orchestral player on diverse plucked instruments, including modern, classical, and baroque guitars, lute, and theorbo.
As a guitarist, Mr. Cuestas has done in-depth studies of early nineteenth century guitar repertoire, particularly music for keyboard and guitar. He has extensively studied and performed the art of improvisation in the style of the early Romantic period. As a continuo player, Mr. Cuestas has participated in numerous projects including opera and oratorio productions in NYC, New Jersey, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and San Francisco.
Along with Dr. Sue Talley, Carlos has co-directed Nyack College's Collegium Musicum. In December 2014 the Cline/Cuestas flute and guitar duo will release their debut album and future engagements will involve Mr. Cuestas performing with chamber ensembles in Washington D.C., Boston, and as a soloist with the Summit Symphony Orchestra in the 2015-2016 season.
Carlos is currently a candidate for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the CUNY Graduate Center and has been on the Nyack College, New York City faculty since 2012..
Adjunct Instructor - Jazz, Double Bass
Dave Edwards is a worship leader, singer, professional multi-instrumentalist, and music director in the NYC metro area. Mr. Edwards has performed in a variety of venues from NYC’s CBGB's and Rockwood Music Halls to Lincoln Center, and appears on over 30 recordings as a multi-instrumentalist and singer, having been heard on Jazz88 (WBGO Newark/NYC), TBN, QVC, FOX, ABC, with many tracks streaming regularly on internet radio.
Dave has shared the stage or studio with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Ali Ryerson, Laila Biali, Vivian Lord, Alexis Cole, Rufus Reid, Nick Jonas, Richie Havens, Rob Mathes, and has been a featured worship leader for events hosting pastors Luis Palau, Tim Keller, Rick Warren, N.T. Wright, & Joe Stowell.
For the past 15 years, Dave's main effort has been serving as a worship & arts leader in his local congregation. Over this time, he has equipped nearly 100 musicians and technical artists in the pursuit of spiritually building up the church through worship arts and music ministry.
Adjunct Instructor - Harp.
Margery Fitts began her music studies at the age of ten at the Eastman School of Music
Preparatory Department, and went on to receive a BA from the University of Oregon, and a MA from the CUNY Aaron Copland School of Music at Queen’s College. Ms. Fitts originally moved to New York to be a member of the New York Harp Ensemble, which toured extensively, going to Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, Vatican City and the White House.
She is an active free-lance harpist in the New York area, having played with Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Long Island Philharmonic, Queen’s Symphony, Princeton Symphony, Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Choral Society of the Hamptons, Canta Libre, North Shore Pro Musica. Ms Fitts has also played in many broadway shows including Beauty and the Beast, Thoroughly Modern Mille, Gypsy, A Christmas Carol and the Fantasticks. Nyack College New York faculty since 2010.
Adjunct Instructor - Jazz Studies, Voice
Darryl, a singer/songwriter, graduated from New York University and Boston University, where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, respectively. He has spent the better part of his career training multi-faceted young singers for a new generation in Harlem as the Chair of Performing Arts and Vocal Music at the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts and currently as Director of Music of the Harlem Village Academies. Armed with the desire to “develop singers for every stage,” he has spent the past twenty years training singers in Maryland, D.C., and New York for everything from classical to jazz. His students have performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, National Black Theater, Aaron Davis Hall, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore’s Center Stage, and a host of churches, community centers, and public events! Thanking God for his own musical gift, he continues to perform as a baritone/tenor soloist in and outside of the Tri-State area with Opera Ebony in their jazz production of Sass ‘N Class, as a gospel and jazz soloist with Redeemer Presbyterian Church, as a cantor with St. Frances De Sales R.C. Church, with Randolph Noel and the Brooklyn Arts Ensemble, with Dion Parsons and the 21st Century Band, and as a solo artist with his music group FreeMind bringing a unique brand of free-gospel style music to the world! He is an Apollo Amateur Night winner and released his debut project The Only Way in 2012! He seeks to empower the community through the gift of song, and is blessed to continue to share that gift here at Nyack NYC campus in our growing Jazz Voice program. Nyack Faculty since 2014.
Trumpet, Brass methods, Jazz
Dr. Holsberg holds the position of Arts Director and Chair of Music at The Berkeley Carroll School, an independent school in Brooklyn, NY. He previously was the chair of instrumental music at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, where he was involved in creating a music program from scratch for the second time in his career. He also created the award winning music program at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, NJ. The groups led by Mr. Holsberg captured outstanding ratings in Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble at music festivals in the United States and abroad.
Dr. Holsberg has been active in the field of education teaching in both public and private schools in New York City and New York State. His performing groups have received NYSSMA Gold medals in adjudication festivals as well as superior ratings and first place awards in music festivals in Boston and Montreal. He has written and arranged music for band, jazz ensemble, salsa band and marching band. He recently premiered his first original work for band Passacaglia and Chorale. Dr. Holsberg serves on
the governing board of the Master Teacher Collaborative of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and has been named a Master Teacher by that organization.
Dr. Holsberg has led an eclectic career as a professional trumpet player. He has performed as a trumpeter for a number of Broadway shows, including Cats, Carousel, Crazy for You, Camelot, and A Chorus Line in New York City and throughout North America and Europe. He has performed many different styles of music in a variety of ensembles from regional symphonies and salsa orchestras to playing with the Motown legends The Temptations. Before coming to New York City, Dr. Holsberg was a
featured trumpet soloist with the touring brass ensemble The Busch Brass, and spent three years touring the globe as a trumpeter on Holland America and Carnival Cruise Lines. He is currently the principal trumpet in the New York based Cornerstone Chamber Orchestra and performs as a freelance musician in New York.
Dr. Holsberg has continued his conducting and music education studies at the Eastman School of Music, Long Island University, Northwestern University and Columbia University. He received his Doctorate from the Teachers College, Columbia University, his M.Ed. from Teachers College, Columbia University, M.M. from SUNY Stony Brook, a B.S. in Music Education from Duquesne University, and is an alumnus of the nationally-renowned band program of DeMatha Catholic in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Holsberg is a member of Nyack College, New York City’s resident jazz faculty ensemble, and has been on the Nyack College, NYC faculty since 2012.
Acting, Harp, Voice
Lisa Radakovich Holsberg is also on the faculty of the Department of Music at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, where she teaches voice, diction, and vocal pedagogy, and has served as Program Director and Artist Faculty member for the vocal festival Songfest and the accompanying Songfest Young Artist Program at Creek Washington State.
An MFA graduate of the University of California, Irvine, she received a Rotary International Foundation Scholarship to study early music in England at Hull University, and subsequently traveled around the world singing on luxury cruise liners and in international tours of music theatre, opera and concert performances. She has presented her commissioned 9/11 song cycle Race for the Sky numerous times since its premiere at the New York Historical Society on September 11, 2002, including performances at the People’s poetry Gathering as well as the Park Avenue Untied Methodist Church Concert Series in Manhattan, Songfest in California, the Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival in Washington State, and most recently at the 48th National Association of Teachers of Signing (NATS) National Convention in New Orleans.
Theatrical roles include Anne in A Little Night Music, Kate in Kiss Me, Kate, Phyllis in Lolanthe, Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, and Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls.
Lisa is completing her Ph.D. in Theology from Fordham University. Her theological research centers on questions surrounding the intersection of theological anthropology and theological aesthetics across Christian history. She completed her M.A. thesis, "Piercing the Soul: Beauty, Affliction, and the Love of God in Simone Weil," at Union Theological Seminary under the direction of Roger Haight, S.J. Recent publications include “Understanding Artistic Creativity through the Aesthetics of Jacques Maritain” (Cithara, November 2013) and “Beauty and the Unceasing Movement of Desire in St. Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Life of Moses” in The Concept of Beauty in Patristic and Byzantine Theology, ed. J.A. McGuckin (Theotokos Press, 2012).
Lisa is curator of Heaven and Earth: Sacred Music from the Byzantine Greek and Slavic Traditions at Columbia University’s Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, May 1, 2014; and co-chair of the joint Fordham and Heythrop College international conference Shaped by Beauty: Art, Religion, and Ethics in Conversation at Heythrop College, University of London, June 26-27, 2014. She was a co-curator for the 2013 exhibit "Writing the Word: A Selection of Medieval Latin Biblical Manuscripts in Columbia Collections" at the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of Columbia University.
Also an active performing artist and composer, Lisa recently conceived and presented "Sanglots: Songs of the 20th Century on Art, Politics, Suffering and Solace" on the 2014 MOSA music series in Manhattan. Other NYC chamber music concerts include "Songs of the Spirit: Spiritual Poetry from Different Traditions"; "Race for the Sky: Songs for New York and 9/11"; and performances of Ravel’s "Trois Poèmes de Stephane Mallarmé," Villa-Lobos’ "Bachianas Brasileiras No.5," Rachmaninov’s "Vocalise," and Handel’s "Messiah" with chamber orchestras.
Lisa has presented her award-winning 9/11 music peace project Race for the Sky, a contemporary reflection on the human impulse to create form out of chaos and crisis, across the U.S. and in the U.K. Her musical compositions of Byzantine texts, "Akathist to Jesus Christ" for chorus, chanters, and congregation, and "Come, True Light: Prayer of St. Symeon the New Theologian" for voice, piano, cello, bells and cymbal, premiered respectively at the 2011 and 2009 annual conferences of The Sophia Institute at Union Theological Seminary. She presented these compositions at the 2013 International Institute of Orthodox Church Music Conference in Joensuu, Finland. Lisa performs regularly as a liturgical musician, often with her harp.
Lisa has served on the music faculties of Long Island University, Nyack College Manhattan, Rocky Ridge Music Center, and The Diller-Quaile School of Music. Nyack faculty since 2013.
Sharmi Harper, Soprano holds a Master's degree from the Juilliard School where she was awarded a full scholarship as well as having been a scholarship student at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California. Her studies carried her to Siena, Italy at the Dante Alighieri Scuola di Lingua for language study as well as to Rome where she studied voice with Tina Rella Scapini and Renato Federighi.
She has sung leading roles with the Aspen Music Festival, Des Moines Metro Opera, American Opera Center at the Juilliard School, Daytona Chamber Opera, Lake George Opera, Western Plains Opera, Minnesota Opera, Daytona Chamber Opera, Cantiamo Opera, University of Iowa and Teatro Corleone under such conductors as James Conlon, James Dixon, Roger Nierenberg, Dr. Robert Larson, Don V Moses, Peter Herman Adler and John DeMain. She also devoted much time to the performace sacred music in New York and abroad appearing as soloist in the Mozart C Minor Mass, Bach B Minor Mass, Bach Magnificat, Schubert Mass in G, Dvorak Te Deum, Handel's Messiah, the Mozart Exultate Jubilate and Britten War Requiem.
Equally at home in contemporary music, she was a resident performer as both violinist and soprano with the Center for New Music at the University of Iowa in collaboration with William Hibbard and Donald Jenni. She has premiered new works with the New York Contemporary Opera Arts as well as many other contemporary works with American composers from the Juilliard School in Alice Tully Hall. She sang the New York Premiere of the Bizet's Djamileh with the Theatre Opera Music Institute in New York City under the baton of Joshua Greene.
In her early musical years, she was an accomplished violinist and attended the Interlochen National Music Camp under scholarship for several years, as well as beginning vocal studies.Growing up in North Dakota, she began her beginning voice studies with Dorothy Thomas, mother of renowned Juilliard violin teacher Sally Thomas. As a student, she was winner and finalist in many competitions, such the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, Pavarotti International Competition, NATS, and MTNA.
In New York, she has studied with Rose Bampton, Beverly Peck Johnson, Joan Dornemann, Gwendolyn Koldovsky, Barbara Balk, Nico Castel, Barbara Honn, Olga Chernov, Vahan Mirakian, Alan Dornak and currently studies with Judith Coen.
Miss Harper garnered her skills as a voice teacher being a teaching fellow at the University of Iowa. She has maintained a thriving teaching studio in New York City since 1992. She has taught at The International Music Camp at the Canadian/American Peace Gardens. Her students have performed at New York City Opera, Broadway and Off Broadway as well as the Oudekerk Concertgebouw of Amsterdam. She has been an Adjunct teacher at Nyack College, New York City, since 2005.
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Kyle Hoyt is an active horn player in the New York metropolitan area, and can be regularly heard with the American, Detroit, and New Haven Symphony Orchestras, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and in numerous Broadway productions.
He recently completed three seasons as Associate Principal and Third horn of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and has held positions with the Columbus and Syracuse Symphony Orchestras. Kyle has recorded for Naxos, Telarc, and Nimbus Records, and is currently on the faculty of Nyack College in addition to maintaining a private studio.
As soloist, he has appeared with the Jerusalem and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestras. In recital, Kyle was featured at the Jerusalem Music Center and live radio broadcast on Kol Ha Musika, Israel's premier classical music station.
As a chamber musician Kyle has appeared on the Israeli concert series of Ein Kerem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and in Eilat. He is also affiliated with Israel's premier new music ensemble, The Israel Contemporary Players. Kyle can now be heard frequently playing with the American Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, New Haven Symphony, and the Harrisburg Symphony. On Broadway Kyle performs in shows "The Lion King" "West Side Story" and "Mary Poppins." Kyle studied at the University of Michigan and Manhattan School of Music. His principal teachers were Bryan Kennedy, Soren Hermansson, Erik Ralske, and Jeffrey Lang. Kyle resides with his wife Shoshana in Brooklyn NY. Nyack Faculty, since 2010.
Percussion, Jazz Ensemble, Orchestration, Composition, and Percussion Ensembles
Chris Hughes (composer/arranger and drummer) has had a diversified musical career having played drums for Broadway shows, numerous recording sessions, and for a number of years for Skitch Henderson's New York Pops at Carnegie Hall where he played with Doc Severinsen, Clark Terry, George Shearing, Margret Whiting, Peter Allen, Liza Minelli and many others. He has worked with Latin music legends Charlie Palmieri, Dave Valentin, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and the Mighty Sparrow, jazz artists Holly Hofmann, Vincent Herring, Donny McCaslin, Chuck Loeb, and John Patitucci and recorded with folk legend Pete Seeger. He has composed and arranged music for Fox News, CNN, National Geographic, The Detroit Symphony, the New York Pops, and the New York Philharmonic Brass. He composed the score for the independent feature film "The Journey" and in recent years has been the arranger/producer for a number of gospel CDs. He was a founding member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and serves as Musical Director for Redeemer Hoboken. He and his wife Jan have 1 son, Timothy. Nyack College faculty since 2004.
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Violin, Viola, Orchestra
Internationally acclaimed as one of the finest violinists of this generation, Byung-Kook Kwak enjoys a versatile career as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. From coast to coast, critics have hailed him as a premier violinist whose musical gifts and technical wizardry are powerful and sensitive.
Mr. Kwak has performed with orchestras including the Baltimore Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, American Symphony, Kansas Philharmonic, Edmonton Symphony, Montreal Symphony, New Philharmonic of New Jersey, Westchester Symphony, Houston Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Queens Symphony, Little Orchestra Society, as well as Los Angeles Chamber Symphony.
In Europe, he has appeared as a soloist with Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Cologne Radio Orchestra, Bamberger Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and French National Orchestra. He has been featured soloist with New York Virtuosi on its European tour in 14 major cities, including Ton-Halle in Cologne, Civic Hall in Hanover, Royal Albert Hall in London, and most of the major concert halls in Germany, Holland, and France. In Scandinavia, he has appeared with Helsinki Philharmonic, Gothemberg Symphony, and Oslo Philharmonic.
Active as a chamber musician, Mr. Kwak participates in chamber music in diversity, playing from baroque ensemble to Schonberg and Penderecki, and is a member of the Sea Cliff Chamber Players. He is also very active as a concertmaster and appears in that capacity with many major symphony orchestra in the Metropolitan New York area.
Mr. Kwak has a busy conducting schedule as well. He has been the conductor of the Summit Music Festival Orchestra for the past five years, has conducted the Queens Symphony Orchestra, and the Manhattan School of Music Summer Festival Orchestra from 1999 to 2006. He has been engaged as a guest conductor with the Long Beach Symphony, South Shore Symphony, and the Queens Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Orchestra of the Westchester Conservatory of Music. From 2002 to 2007, he was principal guest conductor of New York Chamber Symphony. Mr Kwak founded Solisti Ensemble, which he has also served as Artistic Director since 2008. Solisti Ensemble has performed in Stern Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and Zankel Hall and at Carnegie Hall, which is Solisti Ensemble’s new home.
He has also been active as a choral conductor for over thirty years, and has led numerous performances of Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Creation, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, and other oratorios with Central Presbyterian Church Choir, where he is serving as music director, and with Queens College Choir.
Born in Seoul, Korea, Mr. Kwak was hailed as a child prodigy who made his orchestral debut at the age of seven with Seoul Philharmonic. He was awarded first prizes in most prestigious competitions in Seoul, including the President’s award and Dong-A National competition.
Continuing his studies in the U.S., he became one of the youngest
violinists ever to be accepted to study with Jascha Heifetz at age twelve. Having earned his Bachelor and Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay, Ivan Galamian, and chamber music with Felix Galimir and the Juilliard Quartet. Mr. Kwak plays on a J.B. Guadagnini, ex ”Brodsky”, circa 1751.
He has been an assistant to the legendary Aaron Rosand at Mannes College of Music for ten years, and he is currently a faculty member at Manhattan School of Music, Lehman College, Queens College, Westchester Conservatory of Music, and chairman of strings at Jewish Academy of Fine Arts. And has been on the Nyack College, New York City faculty since 2013.
Violin, Viola, String Methods
Violinist Natasha Lipkina continues to captivate audiences with her vivacious and charismatic performances throughout the world. Interwoven with great intelligence and sensitivity, her unique approach to programming allows her listeners to be both Inspired and challenged. Ms. Lipkina is dedicated to a vast repertoire from Baroque to Contemporary, proving that the past and present connect and continue to affect our lives. She has been praised by The Moscow Times for her rich sonority of the violin and demanding technique and by The New York Times for the lyricism and the character of her performances. Her audiences are always led on an emotional journey from beginning to end.
Currently on the faculty of the music department at Nyack College School of Music, Manhattan Campus, Ms. Lipkina received her own education on violin at the Central Special School of Music, the Moscow Conservatory, and Indiana University, where she
studied with Boris Belenky, Igor Bezrodny,Alexander Bonduryansky, Tatiana Gaidamovich and Miriam Fried. While at Indiana University, she began to study viola with Atar Arad and made her viola debut in the Dubinsky Quartet later that year.
Natasha has performed as a recitalist in Russia and other countries in the former Soviet Union and as a soloist with orchestras and in Russia, Romania, Germany, Finland, Japan, and the United States. She has since participated in numerous festivals including Marlboro, Norfolk, Grand Teton, Rauma (Finland), Waterloo (Belgium), Musique et Amitié (Switzerland), Southampton Arts and others. In addition, she has performed with the St.Luke’s Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (with Claudio Abbado), SONYC, and other ensembles. She has made several tours in Japan with New York Symphonic Ensemble.
She won top prizes in the Enescu Violin Competition (Romania) and in the Shostakovich Chamber Music Competition (St.Petersburg). Natasha's performances have been broadcast on Russian Radio and TV and on WQXR in New York She has been recorded on Sony and other established labels, and on numerous soundtracks for movies. She was featured as a viola soloist in the documentary “Dance Maker” about the Paul Taylor Dance Company. She has performed on the world's major stages, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Halls, Merkin Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Schauspielhaus in Berlin, and the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire.
Ms. Lipkina is a founding director of Interplay Chamber Music Society and has been on a faculty of NYU music department. She has been seen on “Saturday Night Live”, “Today”, and “David Letterman” Shows as a member of a string quartet.
Adjunct Professor - Voice, Gospel Music History, Worship Leading, Freshman Seminar, Christian Folk Ensemble, Gospel Music Practicum
Willana Mack’s first solo performances began when she was ten years of age, in the church. She has been singing in churches, concert halls, and onstage ever since.
Between the ages of 12 and 19, Willana was Vocal Captain for CityKids Foundation. A church worship leader for many years, Ms. Mack ministered throughout the five boroughs in concerts of Gospel music. She was a winner in the sony-Bertelsmann World of Expression competition as a Senior in high school, presenting her original Gospel song, He Took My Place, in the city-wide concert.
In 2008, Ms. Mack performed as soloist in the 80th Annual Academy Awards, having been featured in the nominated song from the motion picture, August Rush. She was subsequently invited to Good Morning, America, Good Day, New York, and also appeared on Disney’s Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra Special on ABC television.
A graduate of Nyack College, Willana travelled twice to Italy as a featured Chorale soloist and in a select quartet, as well as touring Korea both as a quartet member and a soloist. She has been featured at Madison Square Garden, Giants Stadium and in Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, the latter on the occasion of Nyack College’s 125th Anniversary Concert celebration.
Not only does Ms. Mack sing opera with authority, but she is a leader in the expanding Gospel music program on the Manhattan campus. She is currently completing her Master’s of Music Degree at Queen’s College. Additionally, she has appeared as the “Diva” in an off-Broadway production of The Wonderful Wizard of Song, the life story of Harold Arlen, by George Bugatti.
Willana Mack-Jones has been on the Nyack faculty since 2010.
The music of Clarinetist MEDINA has been described as “Dynamic and exotic, with the virtuosic writing pulled off flawlessly.” The Classical Voice of North Carolina noted: “With extraordinary breath control, Medina spun a flowing and seamless line. . .” As an active performer Medina plays in an array of classical styles from Mozart to Cage to Jacob TV. She has made solo appearances with the Costa Contra Chamber Orchestra in celebration of Mozart's 250th Anniversary, the UNC-Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, and Ensemble 212 of New York. Her artistry has won her numerous awards. Medina was the only American selected to partake in the 2013 Beijing International Music Competition and is a two-time awardee of the 2007 and 2006 Lilian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition. Between 2001 and 2003, she won the Euterpe Club Music Award three times.
Medina received her master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and her Artist’s Diploma from the Mannes College of Music under the tutelage of world renowned clarinetists Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima. Medina has been an Adjunct Professor of Clarinet at Nyack College, New York City since 2012.
A native of Japan, Sanae Miyazaki started studying piano at the age of 4. In Japan, She received Piano Performance certifications from Yamaha Music Foundation and PTNA(the Piano Teachers’ National Association of Japan). She graduated Ferris University in Kanagawa, Japan, where she studied piano, organ, voice, and sacred music, with a BM in Vocal performance.
Since coming to the United States, she has studied organ at Concordia College-New York, Nyack College, and received her MM in organ performance at Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Miyazaki was a pianist at Washington Japanese Christian Church, and an assistant organist at Larchmomt Avenue Church, and is currently coördinator of Music at the Church of St. Bernard in White Plains, NY. She plays the organ and the piano at English and Spanish masses.
Sanae is an active collaborate pianist and Basso Continuio player. She has worked with numerous chorus groups and ensemble productions, including the Nyack College Chorale, the Westchester Chorale, and the Jubilee Chorus.
Ms. Miyazaki is a member of The American Guild of Organists in the New York City Chapter. She has volunteered for music therapy at nonprofit organizations both in Japan and United States. Music Faculty at Nyack College since 2012.
Trombonist/ composer Mark Patterson was inspired in music by his father, bassist/trombonist Dick Patterson, who took Mark at an early age to sit in with saxophonist Spike Robinson and Dale Bruning. Mark continued studies at the University of Denver—graduating with honors— and, in New York, in the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop with Bob Brookmeyer, Manny Albam, and Jim McNeely. Mark works in a variety of settings: the jazz sextet, Convergence; various jazz orchestras (Maria Schneider, Manhattan Jazz Orchestra, Mike Holober, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra; the Sound Assembly); symphony orchestra (the New York Pops; Concordia); wind ensemble (Gotham Wind Symphony); on tour (with Barbra Streisand, and Audra McDonald); Broadway shows (Spamalot, 42nd Street, South Pacific); recording studios (Donald Fagen—Morph the Cat, Tony Bennett—Duets); movie soundtracks (Radio Days, Six Degrees of Separation, The Aviator); and as soloist (with the Ridgefield Symphony). Mark keeps his pencils sharp for assignments from various aforementioned groups; recently, he completed a suite commissioned for a special Distinguished Alumni concert at the University of Denver. In the concert hall, he appeared as soloist with the Ridgefield (CT) Symphony (including a trombone-premier of music from Eddie Sauter's Focus); and in the sections of such aggregations as the New York Pops, the Gotham Wind Symphony, the Concordia Orchestra, and the Central City Opera. He toured Japan with Jim Pugh, Bill Watrous, and David Taylor in Dave Matthews' Manhattan Jazz Orchestra; and toured the US and Europe with the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Barbra Streisand, and Steely Dan. He appeared or recorded with jazz artists Clark Terry, Sir Roland Hanna, Charli Persip, Jaki Byard, Dale Bruning, Eddie Palmieri, John Pizzarelli, Tom Pearson, The Westchester Jazz Orchestra, and the Gotham Jazz Orchestra (Mike Holober). Mark is kept alert by faculty appointments at New York University, Nyack College, and various summer jazz camps.
Debbie, Liang-Kuan, Shen, flautist, was born in Taichung, Taiwan, where she began her musical studies at an early age. Ms. Shen holds a BA degree from Case Western Reserve University and an MA from New York University Department of Music and Performing Arts, as well as a Music Education Teachers Certification Program from Queens College. With more than twenty years of experience as a music instructor, she has mentored students of all ages.
Ms. Shen is an active performer in chamber music ensembles, bands, woodwind ensembles, and chamber orchestras. Her honors include the first place in the Taiwan National Music Competition in flute; Case Western Reserve University’s Kennedy Prize for Creative Work in Music; and an Outstanding Achievement Award in Graduate Instrumental Studies from New York University. Residing with her family in New York City, Ms. Shen now performs regularly in solo and chamber music recitals and is a member of the National Flute Association and the New York Flute Club.
Ms. Shen also coached chamber music groups in the music camp in summer of 2001, and conducted a youth flute choir performance at Taiwan Center in Flushing, New York for two years. Ms. Shen performed at Donnell Library Center in NYC and Zuang Ren Taiwanese Community Journal in Queens as a guest flutist. She gives flute recitals at Messiah Lutheran Church regularly as well. She has two recordings of a short film “Yoni” and “The Mere of Haven” with a tape synthesizer. Ms. Shen is very interested in promoting and performing new music. She has been a flute adjunct professor at Nyack College, New York City, since 2008 as well as a Music Education Columnist for Epoch Times Newspaper.
Applied Piano, Ear Training, Sight Singing
Damien Sneed is a rising star in the music world. A pianist, conductor, choral director, composer and arranger, he is widely admired for his range of musical talents and his extraordinary achievements in his burgeoning career. Sneed is a 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence. The award recognizes emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music who demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination and leadership potential. On March 19, 2014, Sneed received the award at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and was among the guests of honor at a black tie dinner at the United States Supreme Court, hosted by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Sphinx Medal of Excellence carries a $50,000 honorarium to further his budding career.
Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia, Sneed was a musical prodigy who was playing the piano at three years old. He began playing at his family’s church when he was five years old, and by age eight. He is a graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts School, and he has studied at some of the finest conservatories and universities, including Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music – Piano Performance; the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University; New York University, where he earned a Master of Music in Music Technology: Scoring for Film and Multimedia; and the Manhattan School of Music. In 2010, he was presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Music from the Christian Bible Institute and Seminary. Sneed’s other professional affiliations have included The Juilliard School as a staff accompanist, Jazz at Lincoln Center as an artistic consultant, the City University of New York as a professor of music, New Brunswick Theological Seminary as an instructor, the Martina Arroyo Foundation as an artistic consultant, and Yamaha as an endorsed Influential Artist. And he recently joined the faculty of New York University’s Clive Davis Department for Recorded Music.
An acclaimed artist with a global reach, Sneed has performed in Europe, Japan, the U.S. Virgin Islands, South America, Africa and over 42 states in the United States. He has performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Minneapolis Symphony, Darin Atwater and Soulful Symphony, Opera Ebony and Opera Noire. He has collaborated with award-winning opera singer Jessye Norman on several performances. In November 2010, he had his debut at Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, NY, accompanying Norman for a gala performance. In 2012, Sneed accompanied Norman for her performances at the International AIDS Conference Gala held at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and at the 10th Annual Jessye Norman School of the Arts Fundraising Gala at Augusta State University in Georgia. Sneed has also accompanied prominent mezzo sopranos Denyce Graves and Lorna Meyers. March 13, 2010, marked Sneed’s solo classical piano debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. On December 12, 2012, Sneed made his Carnegie Hall debut as a featured soloist in the work, Fier Herzog for Piano and Orchestra by composer Diogo Pereira. Sneed has been collaborating with the rising international opera star Lawrence Brownlee for live performances and recordings. At his recital debut at Carnegie Hall, Brownlee performed spirituals arranged by Sneed. In March and April of 2013, Sneed was featured with Brownlee in several recitals of arias, art songs and spirituals at venues around the country, including the Cincinnati College Conservatory in Ohio and the Asheville Opera in North Carolina. In January, 2014, Sneed and Brownlee were featured in the Allen Room for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook, where they performed music from their project, Spiritual Sketches, which was produced by Sneed and released by his independent label, LeChateau Earl Records. The New York Times’ film and music critic, Stephen Holden, lauded Sneed and Brownlee for their resounding performance, writing that Sneed’s fresh arrangements turned the traditional gospel tunes into “concert art songs.”
Sneed has conducted and arranged music for several choral groups and orchestras. On March 8, 2013, Sneed was featured as conductor of the premiere of Nkeiu Okoye’s new opera, Harriet Tubman, at the Recital Hall at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He also was an accompanist for the Boys Choir of Harlem and the Oakwood College Aeolians. He founded and directs Chorale LeChateau, a choral group that has gained a global reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance period pieces to art songs to jazz, spirituals, gospel, and avant garde contemporary music. Members hail from various parts of the world and come from various performing arts institutions and venues such as The Juilliard School, The Metropolitan Opera, Howard University, Yale University, The City University of New York and more. Ensemble members include professionals, GRAMMY® Award winners, college professors, students and ministers. Chorale LeChateau has performed in concerts and other events around the world.
Sneed has also garnered attention in a wide range of other musical genres, including jazz, gospel, pop and R&B. He has been featured in the New York Times multiple times for his work in various genres. He has worked with jazz, pop and R&B legends such as Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Carlos Santana, Ashford & Simpson, David Sanborn, and Kenny Burrell. He has served as music director for GRAMMY® Award-winning gospel artists, including The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Kim Burrell and Kierra Sheard. He also served as musical director for season four of Sunday Best, Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) hit gospel singing competition show. In April 2014, he was a featured vocal soloist at Carnegie Hall along with Lalah Hathaway and Nicole Cabell performing Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert. Sneed also has performed at important national and international events, including the 2012 Olympics in London and activities related to the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Sneed performed in Washington, DC, at “A Celebration of America” at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Art’s Eisenhower Theater on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2013. The event was hosted by Angela Bassett, Courtney Vance, and Wynton Marsalis and retired United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In addition, in 2008, he conducted the world premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Abyssinian Mass with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and a 150-voice choir. He has also conducted the Mass in London and in October 2013 on a 16-city U.S. tour. Nyack faculty since 2014.
Piano, Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Ensemble, Music Technology, Songwriting
A member of Nyack College, New York City’s resident jazz faculty ensemble, Prof. Jonathan (“Jon”) Werking holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano, with a minor in Communications, from Ithaca College, as well as a Masters of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Music from Eastman School of Music.
As may be seen from his Web site, jonwerking.com, Jon has performed and recorded with a virtual “who’s who” of contemporary artists. He is a songwriter and producer as well as a performer, and penned the Christmas song, “Love’s in our Hearts (on Christmas Day)”, for the pop group, N’Sync, that sold over five million copies worldwide. He also wrote the title track to Chuck Loeb’s album, “In a Heartbeat”—Chuck Loeb is the number one selling smooth guitarist.
In addition to his busy career as a songwriter and producer, Jon has worked extensively on Broadway, in such noted musicals as “Aida” and “Come, Fly Away” (Twyla Tharp, based on the music of Frank Sinatra). He also has worked on films (“Beauty and the Beast,” “You’ve Got Mail,” “Gangs of New York” and “The Last Mimzy.”)
Jon has been teaching at Nyack College, New York City, since 2006. His passion is improvisation and helping the student find his own personal “voice.” A committed Christian, his prayer for his students and Nyack College, taken from Psalm 16, is that we would see the Lord always before us and follow the path of life He has shown us, with passion and excellence.
Trumpet, Orchestration, Orchestral Conducting, Wind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, 20th Century Music, Brass Methods
Ed.D., Columbia University B.S., M.S., The Juilliard School B.M., Eastman School of Music Member of Board of Directors of Sibelius Society, Ltd. Research for doctoral dissertation on the Post-Sibelian Symphony in Finland conducted as a Finnish government scholar. Lecturer on the subject of contemporary Finnish music since the mid-seventies. Dr. Koponen’s choral arrangements are published by Boosey and Hawkes, and “Zion’s Walls” has sold more than 475,000 copies, having been recorded by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony. Member of the International Trumpet Guild, the American Choral Director’s Association, the Christian Instrumental Directors Association, the Sibelius Society, and the Finlandia Foundation. Official college representative to the National Association of Schools of Music since 1984. Nyack College since 1968.
Administrator of the School of Music
Resident Ensemble at Nyack College.
Tom Christensen, Sax
David Edwards, Double Bass
Darryl Jordan, Voice
Peter Holsberg, Trumpet
Chris Hughes, Percussion
Jon Werking, Piano