Gracias Music

MUSIC

CONDUCTOR

Boris Abalyan

Boris Abalyan is a Russian choir conductor. He founded the Lege Artis Chamber Choir in 1987 and is its chief conductor. Lege Artist became recognized and widely known, winning at five international competitions. Boris was awarded the best conductor prize in the Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition and Busan Choral Festival and Competition. He teaches conducting at Saint Petersburg Conservatory and the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music. Boris received his Masters of Art in Choir Conducting from St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia.

CHOIR

Mark Bailey

Mark Bailey is an American conductor and baroque violist. He is the founder and artistic director of the American Baroque Orchestra. From 1992 to 2008, Bailey served on the faculty of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, where he taught composition, analysis, choral leadership, and Church Slavonic. He also served on the conducting staff for the chapel choirs, and he founded the Composers Seminar at St. Vladimir’s in 2007 and 2008. Bailey continues to teach and conduct Orthodox sacred music at various conferences and seminars throughout North America. He teaches conducting and performance practice to a select number of students and is a Fellow at Davenport College, Yale University.

VOICE

Seong Sook Choi

Seong Sook Choi received her Doctor of Musical Arts from State University of New York at Stony Brook and Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music. While she was studying, she has won several major opera competition including 1st place in the Dicapo Opera Theater Opera Competition and 1st place in the Five Towns Music and Art Foundation Competition and New York district winner at Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. Ms. Choi has worked at YonSei University, Kyung Won University, and Korea National University of Art as a faculty member. Currently, she has been working as the president of N.Y. conservatory of Music and Art and the president of Kaliope Music Society.

Saffron Chung

Graduated from Oberlin College with a double major in Piano Performance and Vocal Accompanying. Received a Masters of Music in Accompanying from University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. For many years, Saffron has worked as a vocal coach and accompanist, preparing hundreds of singers for auditions, concerts, opera performances and recitals. She is a former Adjunct Faculty at William Paterson State University and former staff accompanist at Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, and Mannes School of Music. Saffron has also worked at Hansei University and Rutgers University.

Mezzo Soprano Eunjoo Lee-Huls

Critics have described Mezzo Soprano Eunjoo Lee-Huls interpretations as “brilliant,” “impressive,” and possessing “a big warm voice.” .
Ms. Lee-Huls has sung main stage roles with New York City Opera among other Opera companies throughout the United States. Her performing career embraces a combination of oratorio, symphonic soloist, opera and recitals.
Currently, she is a music director at HUMC in NJ.

Eunjoo Lee received her M.A. from Licinio Reface Conservatory Frosinone in Italy.

Hearan Kim

Hearan has taught at many top Korean universities in music and has won first place at the KBS Seoul New Artist Competition. She has recorded three albums and is currently performing and developing herself as a soprano artist.

Eunmi Moon

A graduate of the Juilliard School, Ms. Moon was the first Korean student to receive a Master’s degree in Collaborative Piano, where she subsequently worked as Associate Coach at the school’s famed Juilliard Opera Center.  She is a doctoral candidate in Teachers College at Columbia University where she has received her second Master’s degree in Music Education. Ms. Moon was a vocal coach at Manhattan School of Music. Currently, she teaches at Monmouth University, Rowan University and is a co-adjutant while she is also a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University.

PIANO

Jun-Young Cho

Pianist Jun Cho has appeared as both solo and chamber musician in United States, Italy, Spain, and Korea. He is largely active in New York City, performing a wide range of repertoire in major venues including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center. An avid collaborator, Mr. Cho has performed with renowned musicians including Ithzak Perlman, Kathleen Winkler, and Nicholas Kitchen. He currently serves as a faculty member at the Perlman Music Program, and the current studio pianist of violinist Ithzak Perlman. Jun received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music degrees at The Juilliard School and currently resides in New York City while pursuing a doctoral degree at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. His mentors include Julian Martin, Jon Kimura Parker, and Seymour Bernstein.

Kalina Mrmevska

Hailed by critics as “a pianist of enviable power,” “an artist of clear and vivid vision,” award winning pianist Kalina Mrmevska made her debut at the age of nine. Kalina has performed as a recitalist, chamber musician and orchestra soloist all around the world. She is also an active teaching artist and educator at Stony Brook University, Long Island Conservatory, and Danube International Concerto Masterclass. 

Kalina received her D.M.A. from State University of New York at Stony Brook.

KEYBOARD HARMONY

Bowei Chen

Bowei is currently studying for his D.M.A. from Stony Brook University. He is currently working at Southold Opera, Thalia Greenhalgh’s Suzuki Violin Studio and Smithtown United Methodist Church.

Bowei received his M.M. from State University of New York at Stony Brook.

VIOLIN

Sean Wang

Sean Wang is a violinist, conductor, and music historian. The American Record Guide has called him “a brilliant violinist” whose “quality [of] playing is exceedingly high,” while Fanfare Magazine has remarked on his “formidable technique.” Having performed extensively in North America, East Asia, and Europe, he currently teaches at the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA, where he directs the Longy Conservatory Orchestra, chairs the Strings Department, and serves on the violin faculty. He has worked as Violinist-in-Residence with the Guild of Composers in New York City, concertmaster with Grammy-nominated early music group Ars Lyrica Houston, Interim Director of Bach Society Houston, and Founder/Director of New York Intercultural Music Society. His principal teachers have included Rafael Druian (violin), Otto-Werner Mueller (conducting), and Jacques-Louis Monod (theory). He holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music (BM, violin), Juilliard School (MM, orchestral conducting, as a Bruno Walter Memorial Scholarship recipient), and Stanford University (Joint PhD, musicology and humanities).

Claudia Schaer

Violinist Claudia Schaer is recognized for beautiful and insightful interpretations, alongside intriguing programming. An advocate of creativity in music, Claudia Schaer has inspired many composers to write for her. Other recent highlights include her Carnegie Hall Weill Recital debut, recital tours of Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, the USA, and China; chamber music performances in England (Prussia Cove), Denmark (Thy), France (Fontainebleau), and Italy (Barga, with Berlin Philharmonic members). In New York City, she performs as soloist and concertmaster of the North/South Chamber Ensemble, and is on faculty at the Mannes Preparatory Division and the Bloomingdale School of Music.

Claudia Schaer earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University, working with Phillip Setzer, Ani Kavafian, and Pamela Frank, and writing about Varèse, Boulez, and the intersection of philosophy and music, under the mentorship of Judith Lochhead and Lydia Goehr. She earned Master’s and Bachelor degrees from the Juilliard School, where she was assistant to her teacher, Sally Thomas.

VIOLA

Lauren Siess

Violist and composer, Lauren Siess, has enjoyed a varied musical career, beginning her musical life studying jazz/classical guitar and violin at a young age. She has taught masterclasses and led conducting workshops in Israel, on the Navajo Reservation in NM, NYC, and Portland, OR. She also has participated in numerous ensembles including the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Oregon Sinfonietta, and Juilliard Orchestra. Lauren graduated with her bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School as a student of Carol Rodland, and a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. She is currently a Teaching Artist with Bronx Arts Ensemble.

CELLO

Jenny Kwak

Cellist Jenny Kwak holds a master’s degree from Yale School of Music. She was principal cellist at the Pacific Music Fes- tival, and has appeared as soloist with the Music in the Mountains Chamber Orchestra and Texas Christian Univer- sity Symphony Orchestra, where she was the winner of the concerto competition.

CONTRABASS

Troy L. Rinker, Jr.

Troy Rinker’s musical journey began in the public schools of Jacksonville, Arkansas at 10 years old. At age 15 he was play- ing professionally with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, their youngest full member to be appointed to a position. Mr. Rinker’s musical education continued at Indiana Uni- versity, the University of Central Arkansas, and The Juilliard School, where he was fortunate to study from great bass lu- minaries Lawrence Hurst, James Hatch, and Homer Mensch. An enthusiast of modern music, Mr. Rinker has been a partic- ipant in many world premier performances and recordings by composers such as John Corigliano, Sebastian Currier, Charles Wuorinen, David Brynjar Franzson, Frances White, Roscoe Mitchell, Richard Toensing, Peteris Vasks, Mark O’Connor, Brian Ferneyhough, and Peter Kotik, to name a few. As a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra member Mr. Rinker regularly appears on all of New York’s concert stages, including Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, the 92nd Street Y, BAM, and Carnegie Hall. A member of several ensembles, Mr. Rinker performs regularly with the West Side Chamber Orchestra, New York City Chamber Orchestra, New York Symphonic Ensemble, Oratorio Society of New York Orches- tra, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Metamorphosen Cham- ber Orchestra, SONOS Chamber Orchestra, EOS Chamber Orchestra, SEM Ensemble, New York Pops, American Com- poser’s Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Stamford Symphony. In addition to Mr. Rinker’s busy performance schedule, he teaches double bass at The Third Street Music Settlement, the oldest public music program in the United States, and at the Noel Pointer Foundation. His summer festival credits include OK Mozart, Tanglewood, Spoleto, the Naumburg Bandshell concerts, the Kilkenny Arts Festival, and Caramoor. Mr. Rinker can be heard on labels Sony Clas- sical, Telarc, Naxos, and North/South, in addition to several studio recordings for television and film. His instrument is a fine example of the modern bass maker Chris Threlkeld- Wiegand, of Iowa.

FLUTE

Lisa Jaklitsch

Lisa Jaklitsch Westervelt hails from Long Island, New York and has performed as a soloist in major concert halls throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City and the Tonhalle Concert Hall in Zurich, Switzerland. A dedicated flute instructor, Lisa served as Adjunct Professor of Flute at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida from 2007-2012, before returning to Long Island to pursue her DMA studies with Carol Wincenc at SUNY Stony Brook. In addition to working as teaching assistant to Ms. Wincenc at Stony Brook University, Lisa maintains her own private studio in Suffolk County. This past summer, Lisa presented classes at the Pocono Flute Camp, where she worked with an enthusiastic group consisting of both high school flutists and adult amateurs.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory as a student of Michel Debost, a Masters of Music from Rice University as a student of Leone Buyse, and a Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Conservatory as a student of Marina Piccinini.

OBOE

Slava Znatchenii

Slava Znatchenii has been called “a beautifully crafted musician” by The Met Opera Guild and the New York Times has noted Mr. Znatchenii for his shapely sound and velocity. Slava Znatchenii has served as the Principal Oboe of Chamber Orchestra of New York since the fall of 2007. Most recently, Mr. Znatchenii became the principal oboist with the Classical Concert Chamber orchestra and toured extensively throughout Spain, France, and several other European countries. A native of Moldova, Slava Znatchenii started his musical studies at the age of 10. He completed his Bachelor degree at the Mannes College of Music and holds a Masters and a Post Graduate Degree in Orchestral Performance from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Joseph Robinson, the principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic and Steven Taylor, the principal oboist of St. Lukes orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Currently, Slava Znatchenii resides in New York City where he also enjoys an active chamber music career and maintains a private teaching studio.

CLARINET

Sergiy Dvornichenko

Sergiy Dvornichenko began his music studies at the age of five, under the tutelage of his father, Viktor Dvornichenko at the Kharkov School of Music in Ukraine. He moved to the United States in order to pursue his clarinet education at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he began his studies with Richard Hawkins. He continued working with Mr. Hawkins at the Oberlin Conservatory, where he received a B.M. in 2006. In 2008, Mr. Dvornichenko received his M.M. degree from the Yale School of Music, studying with the world-renowned musician and professor of clarinet David Shifrin.

Mr. Dvornichenko has been the winner of numerous international clarinet competitions, including the International Competition in Lvov, Ukraine, the Second International Clarinet Competition in Moscow, Russia, the Selmer-Paris International Competition, the Concursal International de Muzica in Bucharest, Romania, as well as the Yale Chamber Music Competition in 2009.

BASSOON

Oleksiy Zakharov

A native of Ukraine, Oleksiy Zakharov is an active freelance musician in New York City. Mr. Zakharov has held positions of acting Associate Principal bassoon of Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as Second bassoon of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2015.

Mr. Zakharov received a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory. Mr. Zakharov also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Orchestral Performance studies from Manhattan School of Music. His primary teachers include Patricia Rogers, Whitney Crockett, George Sakakeeny and Barrick States.

HORN

Eric Huckins

Hailed for his “sparkling, crystal clear sound” (Brass Legacy) New York based french horn player Eric Huckins is dedicated to creatively sharing music through diverse musical styles. Eric’s anticipated debut album ‘Drifter’ is a collection of new works for horn by 9 other composers evoking vivid night scenes. In traditional performance settings, Eric is currently Principal Horn of Symphony in C and has appeared with orchestras throughout the United States and internationally such as American Symphony Orchestra, The Netanya Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra, and The Philadelphia Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Eric was a founding member of The Brass Project and Tangent Winds who a prize winner at The Fischoff Competition. Eric received his Bachelor’s Degree from Curtis Institute of Music and his Master’s degree from The Juilliard School.

TRUMPET

Matthew Muckey

Matthew Muckey joined the NY Philharmonic in June 2006. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in music, studying with Charles Geyer and Barbara Butler. A native of Sacramento, California, he has appeared as soloist with the Omaha Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, California Wind Orchestra, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, and on NPR’s program, From the Top. He has also played with the Boston Pops Orchestra, New World Symphony, and Chicago Civic Orchestra. Mr. Muckey was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center during the summers of 2003 to 2005, and was the recipient of the Roger Voisin Award in 2004 and 2005.

TROMBONE

Daniel Schwalbach

New York City-based tenor and bass trombonist Daniel Schwalbach enjoys a varied career of orchestral playing and chamber music. Mr. Schwalbach performed with major orchestras throughout North America including the Atlanta Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, New York City Ballet, and American Ballet Theater. Mr. Schwalbach has performed in prestigious chamber music residencies and festivals including the Bravo! Vail Music Festival (2019), Rockport Music (2019), American Brass Quintet Seminar at Aspen (2018), Santa Fe Pro Musica (2016), and Music from Angel Fire (2016), the latter at which he collaborated with Ida Kavafian, Gregory Zuber, and Peter Lloyd for a staged performance of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. Daniel was born and raised in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, where he began his studies with Samuel Schlosser. He continued his studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Nitzan Haroz, Matthew Vaughn, Blair Bollinger, and Craig Knox.

PERCUSSION

Victor Caccesse

Victor Caccese is the founder of the Brooklyn-based percussion quartet, Sandbox Percussion. As a member of Sandbox, Victor has performed over 150 concerts worldwide and taught at institutions such as The Peabody Conservatory, The Curtis Institute, Michigan State University, Vanderbilt University, University of Kansas, and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Victor holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and the Yale School of Music. He is also a member of The Percussion Collective, a stunning ensemble founded by performer and pedagogue Robert van Sice. Victor serves on faculty at the Dwight Conservatory in Manhattan and was a visiting artist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with Sandbox Percussion as the ensemble in residence in the Fall of 2019. Victor endorses Pearl/Adams instruments, Vic Firth drumsticks and Remo drumheads.

MUSICAL STUDIES

James Massol

James Massol is a bassoonist and music educator with a focus on musicology. In the past, he taught at University of North Florida. Dr. Massol has published articles about eight- eenth-century performance and bassoon reed mak- ing in the journal of the International Double Reed Society (IDRS). He has also presented academic papers at the Inter- national So- ciety for the Promotion and Research of Wind Music, Ameri- can Musicological Society chapters, and IDRS. Dr. Massol has a diverse educational background, including a focus on music history and theory in addition to bassoon. In 2007, he received a Fulbright grant to study eighteenth- century bas- soon repertoire with Albrecht Holder in Würz- burg, Germany. He holds a D.M.A. in bassoon performance and pedagogy from he University of Colorado, where he studied bassoon with Yoshi Ishikawa and musicology with Carlo Caballero.

SOLFEGGIO

Kyle Werner

A passionate music educator, Dr. Werner is a member of the faculty at the Geneva Conservatory of Music in Manhattan. He has taught in the Doctoral Teaching Fellow Program at the Manhattan School of Music.

Kyle received his D.M.A. and M.M. from Manhattan School of Music. He received his B.M. from University of Cincinnati- Conservatory of Music.

LIBERAL ARTS

ART HISTORY

Alexander Guerrero

Alexander is an educator whose goal is to stimulate and nurture a space of learning that explores the multiplicity of art history and inspires students to harness their research skills in their ultimate field of study.

Alexander received his M.A. from New York University.

SPANISH

Esther Acevedo

Esther is an expert in Spanish education. She has been teaching Spanish for over thirty years in the education field. She has led teacher training workshops and participated in many district curriculum developments in Spanish.

Esther received her M.A. from City University of New York at Queens College.

ENGLISH COMPOSITION/AMERICAN LITERATURE

Tammy Morgan

Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan is the founder of the North Sea Poetry Scene and is the editor of the series “Long Island Sounds.” She is the author of five poetry collections including “Let Me Tell You Something,” “For Michael,” and “Life’s a Beach.” Her awards include the Mobius’ Editor-in-Chief Choice Award and the LIWG Community Service Award. She champions poetry through her writing, teaching and support of the Long Island community of poets. She has been resident poet for the Southampton Historical Museum for the last 10 years. Her poetry writing workshops and readings by East End poets are held at the 1843 Rogers Mansion and the 1648 Thomas Halsey Homestead. Mrs. Nuzzo-Morgan taught at Stony Brook University, Union Institute & University, Briarcliffe College, and is currently teaching at Long Island University. She received her MFA in Creative Writing & Literature – Poetry from Stony Brook and is currently earning a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Union Institute & University.