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.
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 Executive Director.
Dr. Hrant Bagrazyan - Piano
Described by the Armenian Weekly as a “technical wizard” and a pianist of “rich emotions”, an award-winning pianist Hrant Bagrazyan explores repertoire ranging from Baroque era to our modern times. Being a native of Armenia, Mr. Bagrazyan also actively champions music of Armenian composers.
Hrant Bagrazyan has performed in Armenia, Belgium, Poland and the United States. Living in the US since 2009, Hrant has made notable appearances on the American classical stage which included his orchestra debut as a soloist with Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra at the 3,000-seat Hawkins Centennial Chapel in 2014 and a solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2018.
Dr. Bagrazyan has also performed with other acclaimed orchestras such as Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra, Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and Heights Chamber Orchestra.
Dr. Bagrazyan has won top awards in many international competitions, including 3rd Prize in Aram Khachaturian International Piano Competition (2007, Yerevan, Armenia), 1st Prize in Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra International Young Artist Competition (2014, Bourbonnais, IL) and 1st Prize in San Jose International Piano Competition (2015, San Jose, CA). In October 2016 Hrant won the Outstanding Performance Award at NTD International Piano Competition in New York. Dr. Bagrazyan has participated in music festivals, most notably as a guest performer at the gala concert of Sergei Babayan International Academy in 2013.
In addition to the solo career, Dr. Bagrazyan is also an active chamber musician. He has been actively collaborating with the acclaimed Armenian American cellist Suren Bagratuni. Their collaboration includes a recent release of a double album titled “Songs of My Childhood” which was described by Blue Griffin Records as “...beautiful, charming, virtuosic, exciting”.
Dr. Bagrazyan has also served as a member of the Jury for MTNA-South Carolina State Piano Competition.
Having studied with world famous mentors such as Igor Yavryan, Sergei Babayan, HaeSun Paik and Margarita Shevchenko, Hrant Bagrazyan has earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University College of Music, Master of Music, Artist Diploma and Professional Studies degrees from Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Bachelor degree from Yerevan State Conservatory.
Dr. Myungsook Stoudenmire - Piano
Myungsook Song Stoudenmire, a native of South Korea, received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of South Carolina, a second Master Degree from Columbia College, and the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul where she was awarded one of the university’s highest-ranking full scholarships. She received a full scholarship for her doctoral studies at the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where she completed one year of residency and was a recipient of the Dowling Memorial Scholarship from Dowling Foundation in Charleston. Stoudenmire undertook summer studies at Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Festival in Germany, Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Italy, over ten years of International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York, three times of Piano Texas International Academy and Festival in Fortworth, Texas and the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina. Dr. Stoudenmire has appeared in recital and with orchestra in Korea, Germany and United States, including the Hangran Music Festival, National Elite Bachelor’s Music Festival, National Elite Master’s Music Festival in Korea, Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Festival in Germany, Stafford Steinway Series in Georgia, The Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, the Elms of Charleston, Music on the Mount, Remington Concert Series, Columbia College Cultural Series, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Sunday at Lowman, Francis Marion Chamber Series in South Carolina. She has been a concerto soloist with orchestra including the Southcoast Symphony Orchestra, the Sungshin University Philharmonic and the University of South Carolina Chamber Orchestra.
Stoudenmire is an active in piano duo, the Stoudenmire-Elshazly piano duo team. The SE piano duo team has appeared concert series in statewide avenue such as Guest Artist Series at Winthrop University, Costal Carolina University, Newberry Opera House and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival as well as local community concert series in Tri-county and school systems. She is currently on the faculty at Charleston Southern University, the founder and was the director of CSU Summer Piano Camp. Numerous of her students have won major competitions at the local, state, and regional levels.
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.
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.
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 Beach, FL). 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 Vengerova.
Keru Zhang - Piano
Ms. Keru Zhang holds a bachelor’s degree from Cleveland Institute of Music and a master’s degree in Piano Performance from The Juilliard School in NYC. Keru is a member of Suzuki Association of the Americas. She was a piano faculty at the Suzuki Program of Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in New York until September 2022 when she relocated to South Carolina.
Keru was born in China. Since the age of 7, she had performed around Asia and Europe. Being enrolled to the Pre-College of the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, Keru started her professional training at a young age. At the age of 13, she appeared in a children TV series with recordings of the complete Moszkowski Etudes, the Art of Finger Dexterity Op.740 by Carl Czerny, and complete Chopin Etudes Op.10, and after being accepted by the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School, she moved to the United States at the age of 15. Since thenKeru had performed as soloist on stages including Alice Tully Hall, Paul Hall, and Peter Jay Sharp Hall at the Lincoln Center in Manhattan. She has appeared as soloist and chamber musician in international music festivals including the Beethoven Music Festival in Germany, Pianofest in the Hamptons, Orford Musique in Canada, Montecito International Music Festival, Lincoln Center Chamberfest, Juilliard Focus Festival, and the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Keruwas also first prize winner of competitions including the Wiesbaden International Piano Competition, the Bauchauer Scholarship Competition of Juilliard, and the Union City Young Artist Competition. As a chamber musician, Keru worked with members of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Cavani Quartet, and the Juilliard String Quartet in masterclasses, and she also collaborated with the legendary cellist Lynn Harrell. Her school piano trio, the Asteria Trio, participated in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and was the winner of the MTNA Chamber Music Competition.
In addition to performing, Keru is also a passionate teacher. In the last five years, she had taught students between age 3 to 16 with levels ranging from beginner to pre-college and had coached chamber ensembles. She has completed the Suzuki Teacher Training at The School for Strings in NYC where she also served as faculty for the Start-up Program and the staff pianist for the school. She will be joining the Kawai Piano Gallery in Bluffton, South Carolina, from October 2022. Besides music, Keru’s other passions include Yoga, cooking, skateboarding, photography, and traveling.
Joanna Norwood - Piano
Joanna Norwood began studying classical piano during her childhood in Camden, South Carolina. After winning the KCMA Brevard Scholarship Competition and attending the Brevard Music Center in summer 2018 and 2019, she began studying with Dr. Douglas Weeks at Converse University. While there, she also studied piano pedagogy with Professor Erica Pauly and taught private lessons through the Lawson Academy of the Arts. Upon Dr. Weeks’ retirement, Ms. Norwood transferred to the College of Charleston where she studied with Dr. Paul Sánchez. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Her degree includes a concentration in piano performance and she has enjoyed many performance opportunities, including several through Piccolo Spoleto. Ms. Norwood also has experience with a variety of sacred music traditions and is currently the organist at Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity in Charleston, SC. Other piano teachers include Dr. Stephen Graff and Dr. Volodymyr Vynnytsky. She has also studied organ with Dr. Julia Harlow. Ms. Norwood has been on the Academy faculty since 2021.
Alina Galiyeva - Piano
Alina Galiyeva has been playing piano her whole life. She started her music path at the age of 5 when she started piano and vocal classes at a music school in Kazakhstan where she was born and raised. She has participated in numerous music competitions, which is an importantexperience for every musician. Alina was a winner of a music competition called “Cannes Stars” in Cannes, France in 2014. Besides that, she has been in a lot of competitions and festivals in Russia and Kazakhstan. One of them was “Salute of Talents” in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. At the age of 19, she graduated from the Regional Music College in her hometown in Kazakhstan. Her studying in the music school and music college had a big influence on her as an artist and musician. She started teaching kids and adults during the college using different methods and books. Right now, she studies in the College of Charleston as a music major. Alina loves music and wants to teach children to be passionate about learning music just as she has always been.
Alina joined the Faculty of the Charleston Academy of Music in 2022.
Karel Abo - Violin
Karel Abo, violinist, currently serves as Associate Concertmaster with the Midland Symphony Orchestra and has served Concertmaster of the Charleston Opera Theater. An avid performer, Ms. Abo also plays with the Lansing Symphony, the Hilton Head Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and other symphony orchestras throughout the United States.
Ms. Abo is an active recitalist and chamber musician who is frequently invited as a guest artist at faculty recitals, concerts, and music conferences at universities and colleges. Besides an active performer in South Carolina, Ms. Abo has performed throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia, including prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and St. Luke's Cathedral.
Corey Mike - Violin
Corey Christopher Mike began studying the violin at the age of three at the Michigan State University Community Music School where he studied with Dr. Judith Palac. At nine years of age, he continued his studies with professor I-Fu Wang of Michigan State University.
An active chamber musician, Corey founded The Town Quartet in 2011 and performed extensively with them for over an eleven-year-period all throughout the Bay Area in California. In addition to their weekly residency in Berkeley, The Town Quartet played in an extreme variance of venues and repertoire: from participating in The San Francisco Chamber Music Society’s series at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, to accompanying silent films at Berkeley’s Pacific Film Archive, to helping establish the Glenview Chamber Music series in Oakland. They were coached by members of both the Kronos as well as The Alexander String Quartets.
Corey currently performs with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and the Charleston Opera Theater. He has previously served in Michigan as principal 2nd violinist of the Midland Symphony, Jackson Symphony, and Michigan State University Symphony Orchestras.
Laura Diaz - Violin
Laura Diaz, originally from Guatemala, started music studies at the age of 11. At the age of 13 got accepted to join 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 at the College of Charleston with Charleston Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Prof. Yuriy Bekker where she graduated in May ‘23. Laura was a recipient of different scholarships and awards because of her musical abilities, these include: Marion and Wayland H. Cato, Jr. Endowed Scholarship, Reba Kinne Huge Award in Music, and individual sponsors who support her career. Laura also received funding from the College of Charleston to do research in Ethnomusicology with the support of her mentors and the Music Department. This research has received several awards and has been able to be presented in prestigious conferences.
Laura has received masterclasses with world renowned soloists like Andres Cardenes, Agustin Hadelich, Sarah Chang, Herbert Greenberg, and Gary Levinson. Laura has performed in prestigious orchestra programs accompanying artists such as Placido Domingo, Sarah Chang, and Agustin Hadelich.
Besides performing violin soloistic repertoire, Laura loves to play in orchestras and especially loves to teach music because she thinks that children are the future to keep music alive. She has been teaching at the Charleston Academy of Music since 2021.
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
Jessica Hull-Dambaugh - Flute
Known for her rich tone, Miyazawa Artist Jessica Hull-Dambaugh has quickly established herself as an avid orchestral flutist, chamber musician, and teacher. She is currently the Principal Flutist of the Charleston Symphony in South Carolina, a position she has held since 2004. Jessica has previously held both Flute and Piccolo positions with the Central City Opera Orchestra in Colorado, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra as Principal Flute, and has performed frequently with the Kennedy Center Opera Orchestra in Washington, DC. In addition to being the Adjunct Instructor of Flute at the College of Charleston, she enjoys performing locally in various chamber ensembles, maintains a private teaching studio, and has been an active member of the South Carolina Flute Society Board.
Jessica has most recently performed as a soloist with the Charleston Symphony, in addition to regular appearances in the Sound of Charleston recital series. She has also been a featured soloist with the Bar Harbor Music Festival (ME), the Charleston Bach Festival, the Kiawah Arts Council Recital Series, National Flute Association annual conventions, and numerous Piccolo Spoleto Festival performances as part of their Spotlight concert series. She was also recently a featured guest performer and clinician as a part of the Crane School of Music Alumni Recital series. She has attended the prestigious Schleswig-Holstein Orchestral Academy in Germany, the Music Academy of the West (CA), the National Orchestral Institute (MD), and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas Orchestral Training Institute. Through these and additional opportunities, she has performed throughout Europe, the Netherlands, China, South America, and Latin America.
She is featured in two world premiere recordings on the Taylor Festival Choir’s latest album So Hallow’dthe Time, and is also the professional video coach for the newest band series from GIA Publications, Habits of a Successful Beginner Band Musician.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Jessica received her B.M. in Flute Performance and Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam where she was a student of Ken Andrews. As a full scholarship and graduate assistantship recipient, she earned her M.M. in Flute Performance at Carnegie Mellon University where she was a student of Jeanne Baxtresser, Retired Principal Flutist of the N.Y. Philharmonic. Additional teachers include Alberto Almarza, Jennifer Conner, Robert Bush, and Alison Hubbard. She currently plays a Miyazawa Boston Classic RH-9k Gold Flute with silver keys. Outside of music, Jessica teaches various classes per week as a group fitness instructor and also enjoys spending time with her husband, Sean, and their two sons, Kyle and Jake.
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.
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.
Dr. Abigail Kent - Harp
Abigail Kent communicates emotions and stories through music, using the harp as a passport to the human heart. An international award-winning harpist, Fanfare Magazine recognized her for “immaculate playing and musical sensitivity.” Some of Abigail’s international awards and honors include winner of the touring “Concert Artist” position for the American Harp Society, Live Finalist for the Young Concert Artist International Auditions, and 3rd prize at the 2022 Korea International Harp Competition.
As a player of two worlds and genres, they incorporate music and influences from both classical and traditional Celtic music. Additionally, focusing on women as well as composers of other marginalized identities is integral to their programming. She especially champions the music of Henriette Renié, a harpist prodigy, composer, and pedagogue from the early 20th century. Renié’s music is virtuosic, often conveying a sense of spirituality or drama.
Abigail is also in high demand as an orchestral harpist. She is the Principal Harpist of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and also plays with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and New World Symphony. Her performances at international festivals include the Tanglewood Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and the Pacific Music Festival (Sapporo, Japan). She began teaching at Charleston Academy of Music in 20 A committed teacher and educator, Abigail is on the harp faculty at College of Charleston, having created two different and individualized pathways to study the harp that mirror her own double identity: traditional lever harp and classical pedal harp. Abigail has presented masterclasses and lectures for the American Harp Academy, the 2019 American Harp Society National Institute, the Curtis Institute of Music, and The Juilliard School. Kent studied at and earned degrees from the Royal Academy of Music in London, Curtis Institute of Music, Mannes School of Music, and most recently received the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts from The Juilliard School. Abigail joined the Faculty of the Charleston Academy of Music in 2021.
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.
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.
Ellen Brandwein - Music Together®
In Rochester, NY, public schools begin teaching instrumental music in the fourth grade, which was when Ellen Miriam Brandwein began playing the clarinet. Her dedication to music only grew throughout middle school and high school, where she won awards and played in numerous honors ensembles. Singing has always been a hobby alongsideinstrumental music, and in college, when Ellen began to pursue comparative religion, she continued to play clarinet and sing in regional performing groups. After college, Ellen attended Rabbinical School, where her vocal skills were an asset, enabling her to lead religious services and children's song circles in many congregations. More recently in Charleston, Ellen's musical skills have been on display with the Jewish Choral Society, where she has sung and played clarinet for the last eight years.
As the mother of 3 children, Ellen has attended many music and movement classes, and firmly believes Music Together to be the best general music immersion program, which is why she became certified to teach it in February 2016. Music Together helps children express themselves and engage with the world through an appreciation of the width and breadth of musical language. The informal, interactive, and communal setting of Music Together encourages musical literacy and social awareness. And just as important, making music is fun!
Lana Kammer - Administrative Director