Dr. Irina Pevzner - Piano
Dr. Irina Pevzner was born in Ukraine and raised in Latvia. After graduating from the Riga Jazep Medins Music College, she moved to the United States. Dr. Pevzner holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina. Her dissertation titled Forgotten Russian Piano Music: The Sonatas of Anatoly Aleksandrov was published by Scholar’s Press.
She also holds a Master of Music degree in piano performance and Piano Pedagogy Certificate from Carnegie Mellon University, Artist Certificate from the College of Charleston, and a Bachelor of Music degree from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.
Irina has performed in Latvia, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and throughout the east coast of the U. S. She is a frequent performer at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Locally, she has performed at the Monday Night Concert Series, International Piano Series, Bishop Gadsden Concert Series, and Emily Remington Concerts. In addition, she is one of the core performers with Chamber Music Charleston.
While continuing solo and chamber music performance career, she was on the music faculty at the College of Charleston for 11 years. She has also been teaching at Charleston Academy of Music since its founding year, and a number of her students have achieved success in local and national competitions. In 2015 Irina became Academy's Execute Director.
Madeline Hershenson - Piano
Madeline List Hershenson graduated from the Manhattan School of Music in New York with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano and a Master’s degree in Music Education. She taught for thirty-three years at public schools in New York City and Charleston. Over the course of her career, she has conducted classes in string orchestra, chorus and music theory from kindergarten through to the twelfth grade. Many of her students have been awarded scholarships and achieved excellent results at SCMEA events.
In addition, she has experience in teaching both classical and popular music to young beginners and adults. Some of her students have been accepted as piano majors into the Charleston County School of the Arts and Hart College of Music. Throughout her career, Ms. Hershenson has had continuous and varied performing experiences. She has given solo piano recitals, performed a number of concertos, and accompanied choirs in the United States, Europe, and Israel. She was also the pianist and the harpsichordist with the Kingsborough Orchestra in Brooklyn, New York for over a decade.
She is also a published arranger of choral music, as well as the founder and music director of the Jewish Choral Society, a community choir that has been part of the Yaschik and Arnold Jewish Studies program at the College of Charleston for the past fourteen years.
Patrick Boyle - Piano
Pianist Patrick Boyle holds a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Music (piano) and History from Boston College, where he was awarded the Athanasius Kircher SJ Award for Excellence in Music. He also completed his Master of Music in Piano Performance from the Longy School of Music, where he won the Mary Ellis Smith Prize for Piano Performance and Pedagogy. Patrick completed his piano studies with Linda Papatopoli and Dr. Sandra Hebert. He has performed in solo and chamber music recitals, collaborating with ensembles on both coasts of the United States.
A committed pedagogue, Patrick is fluent in a number of styles and techniques; furthermore, he enjoys working with students of all ages and levels. Patrick looks forward to making music a transformative and life-long means of expression for each student. Locally, he is proud to have had students accepted in to both the Charleston County School of the Arts and the Rollings School of the Arts in Dorchester County. Patrick originally hails from Washington State, but has made his way across the country to South Carolina and currently teaches in the Lowcountry.
Chee-Hang See - Piano
Chee-Hang See is a prize winning pianist who has been called "a cool and confident performer" by the Charleston City Paper. After an appearance at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Charleston Today.net wrote that "he displayed absolute clarity and through his refined dynamic range brought gorgeous contrasts to each section". He has appeared with the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, Chamber Music Charleston, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition, the Bela Bartok Orchestra in Italy, and has been soloist, orchestra and chamber pianist in his native Singapore.
In 2010, Chee-Hang formed the Tan and See Piano Duo with his colleague, Malaysian pianist Amy Tan. They have been described as “emanating a sense of pure fun that is always infectious to audiences” (CharlestonToday.net). They have been finalists of the International Web Concert Hall Competition and have performed in festivals and concert series in Europe, Asia and North America. Their solo and orchestral appearances have been broadcast on National Public Radio. They have attended masterclasses with the Aebersold/Neiweem Duo, DUO Stephanie and Saar, Oleyuria Duo, and Stenzl Duo. They have been faculty at the Charleston Academy of Music and the Chicago Duo Piano Festival.
Chee-Hang holds a Master's in Piano Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, an Artist Certificate in Piano Performance from the College of Charleston, where he graduated summa cum laude and was the recipient of the John A. Zeigler and Edwin Davis Peacock Awards for Excellence in Piano. Previously, he was awarded Piano and Accompaniment Diplomas from the Royal Schools of Music and London's Trinity College. His debut album, Violin Transcriptions, was released in 2014. Find out more at http://cheehang.weebly.com
Carol Comune - Piano, Composition
The music of American pianist and composer, Carol Comune dances between serious and light
and traditional and contemporary genres, with strong influences from her Italian heritage. Her
lyricism paired with technical precision have earned her a reputation as one of today’s
premiere pianists, performing extensively throughout the eastern United States both as a soloist
and a chamber musician. She has been a featured artist at: Westminster Conservatory of Music,
Bristol Chapel and Nassau Concert Series (Princeton, NJ); New England Conservatory of Music,
Gardner Museum, Art Complex at Duxbury, and Longfellow National Historic Site (Boston, MA);
Lincoln Center and Steinway Hall (New York, NY); and Flagler Museum and Kravis Center (Palm
The multi-faceted musician, teacher, composer, recording artist and Steinway Artist, Ms. Comune,
founded Elegant Entertainment & Co. (BMI) in 1985, which produced ten, critically acclaimed
albums ranging from Original Contemporary to Classical. She also created Comune Music Press
for her scored original compositions which were featured at the prestigious 30th Annual
Contemporary Music for the Young, Weston, MA and numerous other festivals. Ms. Comune
recently released for solo piano, “The Perfect Place to Be”, 2020. It was featured on Spotify’s
Classical New Releases and gained over 3 million listening within its first month. She has also
recently released “Classically Yours”, 2018 (8.62M Streams) and “From the Heart”, 2019 (1.9M
Streams). She has over 24 Million all time streams on Spotify. Her albums are exclusive with
Double J Music Record Label, United Kingdom. Her recording of Arabesque (3.45M Streams)
by Debussy was placed on a major Spotify playlist, Maksimum Konsantrasyon, 2018. Her music
has been featured on National Public Radio worldwide; Pandora, Spotify, Apple iTunes, and
Amazon; Enlightened Piano Radio; and Whisperings Solo Piano Radio. Ms. Comune’s music has
also been featured on the NBC Today Show.
Ms. Comune was a faculty member for Westminster Conservatory of Music Honors Music Program,
as a Chamber and Master Teacher for Piano Performance, private piano and collaborator,
Princeton, N.J. and has maintained an active private studio since 1973. Ms. Comune has had
memberships for over 30 years in many music organizations which include: BMI (Broadcast
Music Incorporated), MTNA from New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida. Ms.
Comune’s students are recipients for outstanding achievements for the following Music
Organizations: in NJ and PA: 1st Place and 2nd place winners-Weill Hall/Carnegie Hall and
Merkin Hall/ Kaufmann Center - NYC, NY Achievement Awards; Piano Teachers Forum Festival;
Music-fest; Golden Key Music Festival; Music Educators Association; Guild; New Jersey Music
Teachers Association; Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music; The Royal Conservatory
Achievement Program and Summer Music Camp Scholarship: Solo Pianists at Westminster
Conservatory Princeton, NJ. Performances include: Pater Hall, Moravian College; Jacobs Music,
Lawrenceville, NJ. Italian Academy Teatro, Columbia University, International Music & Arts
Society; Scholarship Winner Young Artists Westminster Conservatory The Royal Conservatory
Music Development Program Certificate of Excellence Recital - Carnegie Hall Westminster
Conservatory Faculty Recital Series. She has served as former faculty: New England
Conservatory Prep School; Berklee College of Music, MA and Palm Beach Atlantic University;
Conservatory at Lynn University, FL. She is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of
Music, Boston, MA (BM in Piano Performance with David Hagan). She continued graduate
studies in Piano Pedagogy with Jean Stackhouse (NEC); Composition with John Felice (NEC);
and influential mentors Donald Waxman; the late concert pianist, Anthony di Bonaventura, a
master teacher of international stature; and celebrated Russian teacher Madame Isabelle
LaRita Schoor - Piano
LaRita Schoor is a transplant to Charleston, having moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2018. For nine years she was a full-time faculty member of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, where she taught students of all ages and ability levels. She was also the piano instructor at Milwaukee’s Alverno College for eight years. LaRita completed her Masters of Music degree in piano performance at the University of Missouri Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance where she studied with Dr. Robert Weirich. She attended Goshen College for her undergraduate degree, where her studies in piano pedagogy tied her to a lineage of pedagogical figures such as Marvin Blickenstaff and Frances Clarke. LaRita is delighted to be a part of the Charleston Academy of Music, and to continue to grow and learn as a teacher and musician. Besides music, LaRita’s other passions include time with
her family, cooking, baking, and being outdoors.
Jesus Manuel Toro - Piano
Jesus Manuel Toro is a Venezuelan pianist whose studies took place at the National Conservatory of Music (Caracas), Centro Mozarteum School of Music (Venezuela), College of Charleston (Charlston, SC), and Azusa Pacific University. During the early years of his studies in Venezuela he was selected as one of the best music students to participate at the Aspen Music Festival and
Mr. Toro has played recitals throughout Venezuela, and he has participated at the Young Artist Series of Piccolo Spoleto (USA) and the Perugia Music Fest in Italy, where he performed as a soloist with "I Solisti di Perugia" Orchestra. Also, he has been engaged to perform with several professional orchestras in Venezuela, such as the Municipal Symphony Orchestra of Caracas, the Venezuelan Philharmonic and Solistas de Venezuela Orchestra. In 2016 and 2017 he was also invited to play as a soloist with the Spokane SymphonyOrchestra in Idaho and Spokane, Washington.
In 2010 he obtained the 1st Prize of the National Competition “El Piano Venezolano” sponsored by the Foundation Hilde and Edmund Schnoegass. In 2015 he was a prize winner in the V category of the Liszt International Piano Competition in LA, and the 1st Prize of the Concerto Competition at Azusa Pacific University in CA.
After several years of serving as Piano Faculty at Diamond Bar Yamaha Music School and Yamaha Music School of Walnut, California, Jesus Manuel is excited to share his musical gifts with students at the Charleston Academy of Music. His greatest passion is getting students excited about playing music.
Abdiel Iriarte - Jazz Piano
Abdiel Iriarte (Pianist, Musical Director, Arranger, Composer) was born in Valencia, Venezuela. He began musical studies in 1995 at the Music School: “Sebastian Echeverria Lozano” (Valencia) in where he became part of the Classical Piano staff as Piano teacher and accompanist from 2009 to 2016. He studied classical piano with Nelly Badillo, Aura Marina Rios and Abraham Abreu at the Simon Bolivar University (Caracas, Venezuela). He graduated with a Music Education Degree from the University of Carabobo in 2009. For several years acted as Pianist for the National Symphonic Choir “Simon Bolivar” under the direction of Maestro Gustavo Dudamel. He’s been piano accompanist for many other choral groups, vocal studios and solo artists both in Venezuela and abroad, including engagements with the Symphony Orchestra of Carabobo, Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado Guarico, Orquesta Sinfonica del los Llanos (Venezuela) and with the The Minsk Radio and Television Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra of Mogilev (Belarus). Abdiel enjoys great versatility in playing different genres from classical to pop and Jazz, and in doing so has played with several musical groups as the “University of Carabobo Jazz Band”, BeJazz Big Band, founded the “University Arturo Michelena Jazz Ensemble”, EMSEL Jazz and ROAD Jazz (Valencia, Venezuela). On 2012 was the recipient of an international scholarship from the “Festival de Jazz de Barquisimeto Foundation” to study at the Music Conservatoire Souza Lima/ Berklee College of Music (Brazil).
On June 2014 traveled to NY City in order to be pianist and vocal coach to the “Summer in The city” program of that year by The South of Broadway Theatre Company. There, he was commissioned to compose a new musical score for the play “THE NANCE”, for it’s regional premiere in Charleston, South Carolina in it’s first production since Broadway. He arrived in September 2014 to musically direct and play all performances at the The South of Broadway Theatre Company (SOBTC). Later on 2016 came back to Charleston, SC to become Musical Director for the SOBTC and since then, he’s musically directed, performed and arranged a variety of shows as the Opera Madama Butterfly (Puccini) at Daniel Island, Matt Shingledecker and Friends at Sottile Theatre, Charleston and several youth shows as Mary Poppins Jr., Alice in Wonderland Jr., School of Rock Jr. among others. He’s performed as guest artist on TEDx Charleston(2016) with drummer and producer Gino Castillo, with The Charleston Jazz Orchestra(2016), Charlotte Jazz Festival (2017), Savannah Music Festival/Carnegie Hall Music Education Program (2017), The Earl Klug’s Weekend of Jazz, Kiawah (2016-2018), The Jazz Corner, Hilton Head (2018) and many other venues around the region. He currently resides at Charleston and continues as an Educator, Pianist and Arranger collaborating with many other artists throughout the Low Country.
Laura Diaz - Violin
Laura Diaz, originally from Guatemala, started music studies at the age of 11 in a little project of the Education Ministry called
"Pentagrama."At the age of 13 joined the National Conservatory of Guatemala to study with the concertmaster of the National
Symphony Orchestra. In 2019 she started her Bachelor ́s degree in Music Performance with Charleston Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Prof. Yuriy Bekker at the College of Charleston.
Laura's most memorable orchestra playing experience was playing in Querido Arte Orchestra, accompanying tenors like Placido Domingo and Mario Chang. She also performed in opera productions like "La Bohème."
Laura loves to play in orchestras and especially loves to teach music because she thinks that children are the future to keep music alive.
Nina Sandberg - Violin
Violinist Nina Sandberg performs regularly as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician across the United States and Canada. From 2016 to 2018, she served as Artist-in-Residence at Judson Park in Cleveland, OH, where she performed a complete cycle of Beethoven’s Sonatas for Piano and Violin with pianist Chee-Hang See. She has also given recitals for Piccolo Spoleto, Charleston Music Club, and the Music Matters! Series in Charleston, SC.
Ms. Sandberg made her solo debut with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra as the winner of their concerto competition, and has performed as soloist with the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra. As a chamber musician, she has appeared in concert series in Texas, Ohio, and South Carolina in collaboration with faculty members at the University of Houston, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and members of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. She has also participated in the Robert Mann String Quartet Institute, the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and the Brevard Music Center's quartet residency. She has played with Firelands Symphony Orchestra, Earth and Air String Orchestra, Cleveland Women's Orchestra, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to performing, Ms. Sandberg enjoys teaching students of all ages. She was a teaching assistant at the Meadowmount School of Music, and taught violin at the Cleveland School of the Arts. Through the Distance Learning Program at Cleveland Institute of Music, she taught K-12 general music classes to schools across the U.S. Ms. Sandberg is currently a registered teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and has received training in early childhood education for Dalcroze Eurythmics.
Ms. Sandberg holds a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Jan Mark Sloman and David Updegraff. Previously, she was a student of Ken Goldsmith at Rice University. She has attended the Meadowmount School of Music, Foulger International Music Festival, the International Festival at Domaine Forget, and Madeline Island Chamber Music. In addition, she has participated in masterclasses with Donald Weilerstein, Rodney Friend, Peter Otto, Peter Salaff, David Geber, Juliet White-Smith, Cavani Quartet, Daedalus Quartet, Leipzig String Quartet, Cuarteto Casals, and the Albers Trio.
Yun Hao Jiang - Cello
Yun Hao Jiang, born in Shanghai, China, began his cello studies at the Shanghai Conservatory and continued his studies at the Municipal School of Music in Montevideo, Uruguay, the College of Chalerston, USA, and most recently, Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Among his teachers and coaches were Pedro Laniella, William Molinas, Claudio Baraviera, Owen Carmen, Steven Doane, Hans Jensen, Damian Kremer, Suren Bagratuni, and Natalia Khoma.
Mr. Jiang was the principal cellist of the Uruguay National Youth Orchestra for several seasons.At the age of sixteen Mr. Jiang had his Debut as a soloist with the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Symphony Orchestra. At the age of nineteen he became a core member of the Montevideo Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr. Jiang was awarded the Juvenalis Award in 1999 and won First Prizes in the Jeunesses Musicales Competition in 2002 for cello soloist and chamber music ensemble with Piano Trio Assai. In 2008, he was the winner of MTNA young artist competition in southeast division in Chamber music with the Terranova Piano Trio. In 2009, the winner of MTNA young artist competition in state division, and in 2010, Mr. Jiang received the Excellence in Performance award by the College of Charleston.
He took part and performed in Iberoamericana Festival in Venezuela, Green House Cello Festival and Luigi Silva Cello celebration in Greensboro, Early Music Festival, Monday Night Concert Series and Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, Musica en Trujillo Festival in Spain, as well as the prestigious Meadowmount Music Festival in New York. Mr. Jiang has also performed as a soloist and chamber music in different occasions in Uruguay, Peru, Argentina,Spain and San Salvador.
Currently Mr. Jiang is the faculty at the Charleston Academy of music. He continues to actively perform in solo and chamber music with Terranova Piano Trio concerts locally, nationally and internationally. Mr. Jiang plays on a Goutrot 1840 violoncello
Holly Avesian - Harp
Recently relocated from Washington DC, Holly Avesian obtained her Bachelors and Masters in Music Performance and Music Education at the University of Michigan studying under Ruth Dean Clarke. Prior to university studies she attended a number of years at Interlochen Performing Arts Program in the harp and orchestral departments. She has Suzuki training and attends ongoing teacher education conferences and workshops.
She has performed with numerous professional orchestras in the East Coast and Washington DC area and the Richmond Symphony, as well as throughout Michigan, including Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor Symphonies. She has been a frequent performer and entertainer both as a soloist and in collaboration with other musicians. She has played at numerous embassies, the Library of Congress, the US Capitol, the Blair House, the Constitution Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Strathmore Concert Hall, the Wolftrap, the US State Dept. The National Cathedral, The National Gallery of Art, the US Supreme Court and the Smithsonian to name just a few. She has also entertained a number of US Presidents including several inaugurations and national tree lightings, visiting foreign dignitaries and numerous celebrities and internationally respected musicians over the years
She has considerable theater and musical experience having done productions at the Kennedy Center, National and Warner Theaters, Arena Stage, Signature Theater and Shakespeare Theater among others.
Holly frequently has worked with singers and organists in recital, church and professional choral concerts.
Abigail Kent - Harp
One of the brightest young stars of the harp, Abigail Kent is an international award-winning harpist. Hailed as “superb” by the South Florida Classical Review, she was the February 2018 “New Artist” for Musical America International Magazine as well as the touring Harp Ambassador as “Concert Artist” for the American Harp Society 2017-19. With this prize, she presented 25 solo recitals and taught 18 masterclasses throughout the US. Most recently, she was a live finalist for the Young Concert Artist International Auditions in New York City. Ms. Kent is a highly sought-after concert soloist, harp educator, and harpist for symphony orchestras like the Charleston Symphony, “Symphony in C” in New Jersey, and New World Symphony. Additionally, she has performed at summer
music festivals around the world including Spoleto Festival USA, Pacific Music Festival (Sapporo, Japan), and the Aspen Music Festival. An avid proponent of new music, she has premiered commissioned works written for her, including dahlianum by Andrew Hsu, The Star at Night and The Angel at Dawn by Ben Yee-Paulson, and The Tolstoy Trio by Nicholas Bentz. Besides the classical
harp, she is also a versatile multi-instrumentalist and has won numerous prizes on the Celtic harp through the Scottish Harp Society of America. Abigail’s studies have taken her to the Royal Academy of Music in London, Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Mannes School of Music in NYC, and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree as a C.V. Starr Fellow at The Juilliard School.
Kathleen Cobb - Voice
Kathleen Bavaar Cobb is a voice instructor, a lyric soprano, and an actress. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Applied Voice at The Hartt College of Music, and has done graduate work in theatre, music education, and vocal pedagogy, having studied at The Westminster Choir College's Masters of Vocal Pedagogy program, Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy Institute at The Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, The Ward Method at Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at Catholic University, and Music Education at Trinity College, and at Bowie State University.
Kathleen began teaching private piano at fourteen years of age, and private voice at twenty. Her background in classroom and group instruction began with The Yamaha Music Education System, and continued with work in public, private, and parochial schools, where she taught general music, choral music, planned and conducted children's music liturgies, conducted church choirs, show choirs, choruses, and directed school musicals. She has taught group voice, and private voice and piano at the Levine School of Music, The Washington Conservatory of Music, Academy of Fine Arts, and The Olney Conservatory of Music. She has directed musical theatre programs for these institutions as well, in addition to teaching and directing at Aiden ArtSummer, and The Center for the Arts. She also specializes in teaching non-traditional voice pedagogy to Pop, Rock, Jazz, Blues, and Contemporary Christian artists as well.
Kathleen’s performing credits include Carnegie Hall, The National Theatre, The National Lyric Opera, The Potomac Valley Opera, Coachlight and Hayloft Dinner Theatres, The State of the Art State Department Recital Series, not to mention work in television and film.
Kim Powell - Voice
Kim Caldwell Powell currently serves as an Adjunct Voice instructor at the College of Charleston and formerly as the Voice Coordinator/Instructor at the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Mrs. Powell earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Columbia College; her Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas; and is near completion of her DMA from the University of Memphis (ABD). Mrs. Powell has performed in opera houses throughout the United States and the Umbria region of Italy. She has been heard in live Broadcasts on NPR for her work with the Santa Fe Opera. In addition to her operatic work, she has performed with numerous symphonies across the United States.
Ulyana Machneva - Guitar, Ukulele
Ulyana Machneva, born in Ukraine, started playing classical guitar at the age of 6. She graduated from Kharkiv State University of Arts as a classical guitar performer, teacher, and composer (theory of music). Her minor was in piano and academic vocal. As a classical guitar virtuoso, Ulyana has won high honors in many international performance and composition competitions in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, and Hungary. Her melodious musical renditions have resounded in concert halls throughout Russia, Belgium, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and America.
In 2008, she became a winner of "The 10th Annual Columbus State University Guitar Competition and Symposium" (Columbus, Georgia), and the "Rosario Guitar Festival and Competition" (Columbia, South Carolina). Her original musical compositions have been published in Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, and the USA. Many of them became performers' choice at the International guitar competitions.
After graduation, Ulyana worked as a teacher of music at the School of Arts, gaining great experience working with kids, and as an assistant professor at Kharkiv State Academy of Arts, teaching solo guitar and ensemble. Her students successfully graduated from the classical guitar course as performers. Ulyana recently moved to the USA, where she continues her musical carrier, playing solo recitals and teaching students classical, romantic and popular guitar, as well as composition/improvisation, and academic vocal. At the present time, Ulyana is enrolled at the Artist Certificate Program at the College of Charleston with Professor Marc Regnier.
Nikolai Svishev - Guitar, Jazz/Blues/Flamenco Guitar
Nikolai Svishev is an accomplished guitarist living in Charleston, South Carolina. He has an active international career which has taken him across Europe, the Midwest and East Coast of the United States. Being a native of Russia, he received his Master’s Degree from Kemerovo State University of Arts in Jazz Guitar Performance and Music Education. He continued graduate and post graduate studies at the University of South Carolina in Classical Guitar Performance. Nikolai is equally conversant with both Blues/Jazz and Classical guitar with many years of performance and teaching experience both in Russia and the United States.
He has performed at major stages worldwide throughout Russia, Europe and the United States with numerous musical groups, ensembles and as a soloist, shared stage and collaborated with Chet Atkins, Earl Klugh, Al Jarreau, Guinga and others world famous musicians in many concerts and festivals, including the 30th International Jazz Festival of Finland, Riga Jazz Festival, Dresden Jazz Festival in Germany, Chet Atkins Musician Days in Nashville, Earl Klugh Jazz Weekend, Spoleto USA, Piccolo Spoleto, has appeared at Chicago Jazz Convention, etc.
Equally conversant with Spanish/classical repertoire, Brazilian guitar music and gypsy Jazz, Nikolai is active in performing in both jazz and classical genres that exhibit his exceptional musicianship. He plays eight and ten string guitars, and has written works for orchestra, voice and various instrumental ensembles, as well as for solo guitar.
Jonathan Kammer - Saxophone
Saxophonist Jonathan Kammer teaches all levels and styles. In addition, he is a woodwind repair technician which helps him to know the instrument on multiple levels
Jonathan is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music. He received classical woodwind performance training under the tutelage of Professor Donald Sinta, Dr. Timothy McAllister, and Dr. Clifford Leaman primarily, and has studied with and performed alongside many other acclaimed classical and jazz artist-teachers.
As a gold-medalist winner of the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in 2001, Jonathan performed extensively across the USA and Canada. He performs on saxophone, flute and clarinet with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, and is the first-call saxophonist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He regularly performs with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Emerald Empire Band, Long Bay Symphony, Joe Clarke Big Band, and many musicians and music groups regionally. He played for stage productions with The Carolina Opry, Chamber Music Charleston, College of Charleston and Moranz Entertainment. He is also the artistic director of the HELLO, SAXOPHONE! concert series, through which he produced performances of classical and jazz music with saxophone and collaborating instruments to audiences from Maryland to South Carolina since 2015. HELLO, SAXOPHONE! programs have been chosen and featured on the Piccolo Spoleto Festival’s Spotlight Concert Series each season annually since 2016. He is also the founder, executive director, and lead instructor of Lowcountry Saxophone Camp, coastal South Carolina’s premier summer saxophone intensive, operating since 2013.
Philip Lipton - Clarinet
Performance is one of Philip's passions as he has performed in concert venues in the US including Carnegie Hall, as well as in Canada and Europe. He has appeared as a collaborative artist and chamber musician with renowned artists James Campbell, Denis Bluteau, James Mason, Stéphane Lévesque and James Sommerville. Philip is dedicated to performing chamber music and has worked with Brandon Vamos, cellist of the Pacifica String Quartet, and world-renowned pianist, Jean-Louis Haguenauer. At Indiana University, he served as Principal Clarinet with the Symphonic Band and Bass Clarinet with the University Orchestra.
Philip Lipton has taught clarinet throughout his college career. When it comes to teaching, Mr. Lipton embodies a positive and patient teaching philosophy. In his view “Constructive criticism is necessary for development of any skill, though there are certain ways of clearly presenting information in a positive light. As all students learn at different speeds, consistent positive reinforcement is essential to the learning process.”
The clarinet is a superb instrument choice for all ages as it is easy to learn and affordable. With only a couple of weeks of clarinet lessons and regular practice, the clarinet can quickly become a creative outlet for anyone.
Philip received his Bachelor of Music Degree summa cum laude from the University of North Florida under the instruction of Dr. Guy Yehuda. Mr. Lipton completed his Master of Music degree at the Jacob's School of Music, Indiana University where he studied clarinet with James Campbell.
Tacy Edwards - Flute
Tacy Edwards, Manager of the North Charleston POPS!, is Principal Flute of Orchestra Kentucky, the North Charleston POPS!, Second Flute in the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Piccoloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the New Sousa Band.
She co-founded the North Charleston Pops!, based at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, to bring invigorating popular entertainment with wide audience appeal to coastal Carolina, as well as to provide employment for the many highly talented musicians that make their home in the region.
Under her leadership, the new North Charleston POPS! has already gained recognition as a vibrant addition to the arts scene of the Low Country and is being sought after for concerts on sites throughout the region. They were featured as the headliner for the North Charleston Arts Festival Gala and for the 2013 4th of July celebration at Riverfront Park in North Charleston. In addition to her management skills, as a performing artist Tacy has three CD releases: The Water Is Wide. Hauntings, and Solo and Chamber Works for Guitar by Radames Gnattali (nominated for a Grammy Award in 2010). She is the flute professor at the College of Charleston and owns and operates the “Classically Charleston” booking agency for musicians.
If asked to describe herself in one word, it would be a “builder.” She enjoys construction and restoration work as a hobby and a vocation, building orchestras, relationships and opportunities as a volunteer, and memories, special events and mentorships as a musician.
Tacy has served as President of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League and has chaired four Designer Showhouses for the CSOL, including the Showhouse that was featured in Southern Accents magazine a few years ago. She has traveled as a performing artist to the Far East, South America and around the USA. She is a voting member of the Recording Academy and enjoys attending Grammy events. She divides her time between South Carolina and Kentucky (the Charleston and Nashville areas) and is very active in the music scenes in both regions. the mother of twin daughters and now a grandmother, she leads a very active family life, too, which she treasures.
Darrell Edwards - Trumpet
Darrell Edwards is a native of Louisburg, NC and attended Broughton High School in Raleigh. While at Broughton, he attended the NC Governor’s School for the Gifted and was first trumpet in the NC All-State Band and Orchestra for several years. Following the high school, Edwards received a full scholarship to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in Trumpet in 1969. During the summers of 1968 & 1969, Edwards was Principal Trumpet of the American Wind Symphony in Pittsburgh. Edwards joined the West Point Band in 1970 where he became Solo Trumpet in 1972.
Following his Army enlistment in 1973, he started his Arts Management career at Hudson Valley Philharmonic in addition to performing in the trumpet section and, eventually, becoming Principal Trumpet. During this time, Edwards was also the adjunct Trumpet Professor at Vassar College; performed as Principal Trumpet with the Pone Ensemble at New Paltz University, a contemporary music ensemble and the Canterbury Brass Quintet. Edwards has taught trumpet extensively over many decades. Several of his students have received scholarships to Juilliard, Oberlin, University of Georgia to name a few.
Julia Harlow - Organ
Julia Harlow has been teaching at CAM since 2017 and is adjunct faculty at the College of Charleston, where she teaches organ and harpsichord. She has been Director of Music and Organist at Second Presbyterian Church for 22 years; organist/keyboardist at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim synagogue for 10 years and teaches organ and harpsichord privately. She earned the DMA in Organ Performance and Pedagogy and MM in Early Keyboard Performance at the University of Oregon (Eugene), and the Bachelor of Music in Organ Performance from the University of Iowa. Active in the Charleston musical scene, areas of research interest include women composers of the Baroque and early Classical Periods and Baroque dance, the subject of her dissertation. She has often performed as harpsichordist or organist in Piccolo Spoleto, with the Charleston Symphony and with Chamber Music Charleston.
Whitney Hanna - Music Together®
Whitney is excited to be a part of the wonderful world of Music Together! She loves the opportunity to help keep music alive and thriving in families' homes. A Carolina native, she discovered her passion for singing at a very young age. Whitney has been very involved in music classes, choirs & bands since childhood & began performing and writing her own music in her early twenties. She’s reminded on a daily basis how important music is in peoples' lives.
For Whitney, singing and making music is a key element to feeling happy and fulfilled. She can't imagine life without music! Music Together is an exciting opportunity for Whitney to help more people experience everything music has to offer.
Her teaching philosophy is based on two fundamental principles: 1. Anyone can learn to sing. 2. Children need to have fun while learning anything, but especially music!
Our diverse staff is what makes us who we are! We have instructors for every age group and every skill level. Read about our teachers here, and learn more.