Guitar, Rock Ensembles
Alex Faulkner holds a bachelors degree in Guitar Performance from Western Connecticut State University. He has been a performing musician since the age of 13, and has professionally studied jazz, rock, and classical music. Alex has taught guitar full-time throughout Fairfield County since 2002, and he is a founder and co-owner of The Southbury Music Studio. Alex can be heard performing throughout Connecticut with No Big Deal and original rock and jazz groups.
Arianna Carlo is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Degree in Audio and Music Production, with a concentration in Voice, at Western Connecticut State University. Arianna’s passion for singing started at an early age. She started soloing at St. Joseph Church in Brookfield in the fourth grade. Arianna continues to solo at St. Joseph Church today and occasionally solos at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Church in Brookfield. At 11 years old, Arianna started taking private voice lessons with Lynn Paulella Beard, and currently takes private voice lessons with Dr. Margaret Astrup at WCSU. She has performed in many musicals such as “How to Succeed in Business”, “Grease”, and “Oklahoma” in which she played Aunt Eller. She has performed in various operas as well, such as “Almahl and the Night Visitors”, “Die Fledermaus”, and “The Tender Land”, in which she performed the lead role of Laurie. She also sings in the WCSU Chamber Choir, Concert Choir, and Opera Ensemble. Arianna won first place in the Lower College Division of the New England Regional round of the 2015 National Association of Teachers Singing Competition. In addition, Arianna writes and performs original music. She released an album called, “Love & Other Pointless Things” under her stage name, Arii, which was produced by multi-award winning songwriter/producer Funkee Boy. Arianna performs at various local venues, charity benefits, and concerts.
Violin, Viola and Cello
Ashley Dunne is a professional violinist and music educator who is passionate about both performing and working with students. Ashley holds a Master of Education Degree from the University of Bridgeport, where she was nominated for the “Outstanding Student Teacher” award after spending time in the Stratford school system and in Regional School District #6. During her time at the University of Bridgeport, Ashley interned at Andrew Avenue School in Naugatuck working with students in a multitude of settings. Ashley also graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music, where she studied under Theodore Arm and Julie Rosenfeld. In addition to being an active member in the local music scene, Ashley has played violin in the UConn Symphony Orchestra, various chamber ensembles, and the Danbury Symphony Orchestra. Ashley is also a K-5 General Music and Chorus teacher at Gainfield Elementary School in Southbury, where she loves instilling an appreciation of music in kids from an early age.
Billy Bivona graduated from the Hartt School of Music with a bachelors degree in Composition with a concentration of French Horn performance. He has studied composition privately with Dr. Larry Allen Smith, Dr. Tawnie Olson, and Professor Ken Steen, has studied French Horn with Susan Spalding and David Wakefield, jazz guitar with Tony Lombardozzi of Wesleyan University, and has been playing piano since the age of four. Billy’s original compositions have been performed across the state by numerous amateur, youth, collegiate, and professional groups alike. His work with voice and choir granted him a year long residency with the West Avon Congregational Church and a premiere by the New York City based a cappella ensemble “khorikos.” He was a semi-finalist in NoteNova Publication’s 2015 “Composers’ Composition Competition”, and has choir pieces currently published through NoteNova Publishing. He has worked extensively in theater as a principal composer, orchestrator, transcriber, assistant music director, and performer on a number of productions, and worked with Tony award-winning theater director Darko Tresnjak, composer Stephen Flaherty, and lyricist Lynn Ahrens, among many others, as a part of the creative team for the world premiere of “Anastasia” at the Hartford Stage, which will be opening on Broadway in 2017. Billy is a member of the National Association For Music Education and has been an adjudicator for Connecticut’s annual Regional and All-State auditions since 2014. He is a substitute organist and pianist for churches in Connecticut, as well as an actively gigging guitarist and core member of the musical group/artistic collaboration “World Soul.”
At Hartt, Billy played Horn for the Hartt School Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Brass Choir, Horn Ensemble, Composers’ Ensemble, pit orchestras for numerous musical theater and opera productions, was principal horn of the Hartt Symphony Band, and played in recording sessions with the Hartt Swing Band. As a freelance horn player he continues to perform with groups and orchestras across the state in a variety of venues. He has been teaching privately for many years, always working on technique but prioritizing engaging students with passion about creation and expression, harvesting a love for music and art.
Dexter is currently studying K-12 music education with a concentration in piano and composition at Western Connecticut State University. He started studying piano at age 15 with Martha George and concentrated on classical music. He started playing guitar at the age of 12, saxophone at ago 17, and he began composing music at age 16. His compositions have been used for the play “Waiting on the Sun” in 2011. He has premiered compositions as well as performed in recitals with the concert choir, symphonic band, and jazz combos at WCSU. He loves teaching and believes that everyone can and should take part in music making.
Doug Alley, 28, is quickly becoming one of Connecticut’s most up and coming drummers and teachers. A graduate of Western Connecticut State University (WCSU), Alley obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Education with an emphasis in classical percussion in 2011. Studying under the tutelage of Dave Smith and Patrick Smith (New Haven Symphony), he would eventually obtain his Connecticut State Teaching Certification the following year in 2012.
At WCSU, Alley vigorously studied all of the major percussion instruments. He focused most of his energy on snare drum, marimba, and timpani, but also fell in love with playing all of the percussion accessories. Spending hours each day practicing various orchestral excerpts on different percussion instruments, he would always find himself being drawn back to his first passion, the drum set.
Currently, Doug is the drummer of the hard rock band, Mile Marker Zero (MMZ), and his music has been promoted on various platforms including the Rock Band video game series on XBOX.
While playing with MMZ, Doug has been fortunate enough to be featured twice inModern Drummer Magazine. The first being in October 2009 in the article “30 Drum Stars Give it Up For Neil Peart,” alongside famous percussionists including Cindy Blackman (Lenny Kravitz, Mike Stern), Daniel Adair (Nickleback), Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Jon Wysocki (Staind), and many others. He also had a blog feature onwww.moderndrummer.comin January 2014.
Doug has also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with some of the world’s best drummers such as Gavin Harrison (King Crimson, Porcupine Tree), Matt Halpern (Periphery), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob, Winery Dogs), and Nick D’Virgilio (Spock’s Beard). He has also performed and recorded with other Connecticut musical powerhouses as a session drummer, continually entertaining audiences nation wide with his energetic performances and famous “comfy” feel.
In addition to his rock endeavors, Doug also plays an abundance of musicals and symphonies around the New York and Connecticut areas.
Doug has had the opportunity to perform with the Connecticut Symphonic Winds, the Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Westchester Symphonic Winds while also performing as a pit musician in musicals such as, “Chicago,” “Aida,” “Snoopy! The Musical,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “The Pajama Game,” “Curtains,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Nine,” and many more.
Emily Boyer is an active performer and educator. In addition to performing regularly throughout Connecticut with orchestral and chamber ensembles, she is a founding member of the innovative horn and harp duo Apple Orange Pair, which can be heard on their debut album, Seeds, released in 2013. As an educator, she has been a lecturer at Naugatuck Valley Community College teaching both music history courses and applied brass lessons. Prior to this position, Emily taught applied horn lessons at Yale University, music theory and ear training courses, and has coached public school horn sections.
Emily has been in residence at various festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine, the Banff Music Festival in Canada, and the Institut Musical de Provence-Aubagne Music Festival in Aix-en-Provence, France. Originally from Michigan, Emily is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and holds degrees from Peabody Conservatory and the Yale School of Music.
Emily Bryant is currently a flute performance major at Western Connecticut State University. Originally from East Hartford, Connecticut, Emily started playing piano at the age of 5, flute at the age of 9, and bassoon at the age of 17. While becoming a more experienced musician, she auditioned and participated in the Northern Regional Music Festival on flute from 2003 to 2009. From 2006 to 2009, Emily was a flutist in the Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble and had the opportunity to perform in Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna during their European Tour in 2008. At Western Connecticut State University she has participated in the Wind Ensemble, New Music Ensemble, Orchestra, Opera Ensemble, Woodwind Quintet, Flute Choir, and Symphonic Band (bassoon). Emily has been teaching private flute and piano lessons since 2007.
Emilie Morgenthaler has been teaching violin and viola in central CT since 1997. She holds a Master’s Degree in violin from the University of Illinois. She plays frequently as a freelancer in several regional orchestras, and enjoys sharing her passion for music with students of all ages.
Eric Hallenbeck is an experienced drummer, percussionist, bandleader, and educator from Connecticut. He received a bachelor’s degree in jazz studies with a drum set concentration from the prestigious Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at The Hartt School located in West Hartford, Connecticut, where he studied and performed with high caliber musicians such as Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, Eric McPherson, Rene McLean, Eddie Henderson, and Peter Bernstein. Eric keeps a busy performance schedule appearing in the tristate area at venues such as Infinity Hall, Smalls Jazz Club, The 9th Note Jazz & Supper Club, and many more. Eric loves teaching private lessons. His students focus on rudiments, reading skill, and drum set technique covering all styles of music.
Strings, Viola, Cello, Violin
Hafez Taghavi is a professional violinist and teacher in Connecticut and New York City. Originally from the greater Washington D.C. area, Hafez received his early violin training from Martha Shackford. Later, he studied in the prestigious studios of Ronda Cole and David Strom. Before entering college, Hafez started a widespread performing career which included concerts at the Kennedy Center, Strathmore Hall, Constitution Hall, as well as a three city tour in Bolivia. He attended Western Connecticut State University and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance. While studying under Eric Lewis at WCSU, Hafez maintained the concertmaster position of both the Symphony Orchestra and Opera Ensemble for four years. As a featured soloist with the WCSU Symphony Orchestra, the Danbury News Times described him as a “…promising, talented soloist.” Hafez then completed his Master of Music studies at the conservatory at Purchase College in the studio of Calvin Wiersma. While pursuing both of his music degrees, Hafez received extensive chamber music coaching through a fellowship with the Manhattan String Quartet. Through this fellowship, he was invited to play at workshops in New York City, Colgate University, and internationally in Budapest, Salzburg, and Leipzig. Outside of chamber music, Hafez is a member of the Ives Symphony orchestra, where he has sat as Principal 2nd and Associate Concertmaster. In addition to classical music, Hafez actively plays in a wide variety of other genres. This includes performances with country recording artist Ashton Shepherd, Moroccan singer Saida Fikri, as well as recording a trailer for the acclaimed computer game, World of Warcraft.
Hafez currently holds teaching positions at the Wooster, Millbrook, and Marvelwood schools, the Southbury Music Studio and also maintains a private studio based in Fairfield County. Hafez also teaches through the non-profit organization, Neighborhood Studios of Fairfield County. His program at NSFC, funded by the John Mayer Foundation, provides instruments and group violin classes to children in the inner city.
Outside of music, Hafez enjoys soccer and all food.
Jake Habegger is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University where he received his Bachelors degree in music performance. He began his musical journey when he was nine years old by taking piano lessons with Julie Cook. When he turned 13, Jake’s interest shifted to the drums and he took up lessons with Gary Michaud and later Bill Rotella. He currently studies with Jeff Siegel and Patrick Smith at WCSU.
Jake has been teaching privately since 2007 and has performed with many jazz and rock bands in Connecticut and New York. At WCSU, Jake had the great opportunity to perform with jazz legends John Scofield and Rufus Reid. Jake is an experienced drum set player, percussionist, and also a skilled pianist.
John is a Saxophonist, Clarinetist, Flautist, composer, arranger and educator. John graduated from New School University in Manhattan with a BFA in Musical Performance and a BA in History. At New School John studied with some of NYC’s best jazz musicians including, Reggie Workman, Jane Ira Bloom, Jim Snidero, Tim Price and Walt Weiskopf. An extremely sought after performer, John has experience with a wide array of genres such as Jazz, Blues, Rock, Reggae, Salsa, Merengue, Samba, Choro and Afrobeat. His talent has taken him to tour the United States and share the stage with such greats as the Heath Brothers, Bobby Sanabria, The Fabulous Thunderbirds,Vernon Reid, Rachel Z, and Popa Chubby, just to name a few. As someone who is very open-minded and believes in expanding the joy and amusement that music has to offer, John always welcomes the prospect to share his knowledge and experience with his students.
Guitarist John Tuohy has performed with many groups across multiple styles and genres such as Reptillicus (multi-stylistic), Blanck Stare (jazz fusion), The Steve Gregory Band (modern rock covers) ,and his main group Mile Marker Zero www.milemarkerzero.com (progressive rock). He is equally at home writing progressive rock riffs or playing over jazz standards, and is an in-demand sideman in the New Haven area. John’s songs “A Thousand Nights” and “Laceration” with Mile Marker Zero are available for download on the game “Rockband” for Xbox 360.
John graduated Magna Cum Laude from Western Connecticut State University with a degree in Jazz Performance in 2005. His work as a private guitar instructor and business owner for 11 years has given him unique insight into overcoming hurdles and challenges that come into play as a serious student of any instrument. John has also done session work for various artists and companies, such as “The Sonic Saints”, “Porter” and various cruise lines. He also has had musical equipment related feature articles done on him by Gearwire.com, as well as judging the “King of the Blues” contest at Guitar Center for 2 years.
John cites a sample of his musical influences as Eddie Van Halen, Chick Corea, Porcupine Tree, The Eagles, Frank Zappa, and Bireli Lagrene .
Throughout high school Kristin had lead roles in numerous musical productions and was a part of the Newtown Chamber Singers. She then attended the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan where she finished out her final two years of high school with an emphasis on voice. During her time at Interlochen she took part in masterclasses, had solos in opera workshop performances and was a member of their choir. Kristin went on to earn a degree in vocal performance from DePauw University in Indiana where she was a recipient of a Merit Scholarship for Voice. She began studying with Pamela Coburn, a distinguished internationally acclaimed singer and over her last year at DePauw studied with Kerry Jennings, an actively performing tenor. Over her time at DePauw she was selected to sing lead roles in their opera production all four years and took part in singing solos in their Opera Workshop and Musical Theater Workshop performances. Kristin was chosen to sing for several masterclasses and various performances, highlights include a master class with Tony Award winning Broadway composer Adam Guettel and composer Roberto Sierra. During Kristin’s senior year at DePauw she was selected to sing the role of Amy in their production of Little Women, where the composer Mark Adamo was involved in masterclasses and working with the production. She has taken acting classes, was a member of the DePauw choir and has had extensive training in English, French, German and Italian diction. Kristin was also selected to attend the summer program San Miguel Institute of Bel Canto in Mexico. At the Institute she participated in master classes and lessons with performers Michael Sylvester, Shirley Close, and Laura Brooks Rice, of the Metropolitan Opera and other leading opera houses across the globe. At the San Miguel Institute Kristin was also coached by Ted Taylor, a Metropolitan Opera Coach and a teacher at the Yale school of music.
Violist Lindsey Tuttle has her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Western Connecticut State University where she studied privately with Professor Erick Lewis and Professor Hannah Levinson. Lindsey grew up going through the Region 15 school system, and ultimately completed half of her student teaching at Pomperaug Elementary School. Lindsey has also played in a variety of ensembles, including pit orchestras for Westconn’s opera productions, pit orchestras for Newbury Theatre Company’s summer musical productions, as well as in quartets for a variety of different events. Lindsey is a passionate music educator and enjoys teaching viola, violin, and cello. She also teaches general music in Bridgeport to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. In the next few years, Lindsey hopes to continue her studies and complete masters degree in Music Education.
Matthew Volpe is a certified PK-12 music educator from Western Connecticut State University with a concentration in jazz and classical trumpet. He began studying trumpet at age 15 with Domonic Talotta, focusing on classical and jazz trumpet. At age 18 he began studying with jazz trumpeter Dave Scott and studied with him for 2 years. He then studied with Rich Clymer, the first trumpet player for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, for two years studying classical trumpet.
He has performed in the WCSU Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Combos, and Brass Quintet.
Music is for everyone, and He believes that every student has the potential to be great, so long as they desire to be such.
Violin, Viola, Cello
Megan was born and raised in Monroe, CT, where music has always been one of the most important aspects of her life. At age 8, she chose to play the violin and has loved it ever since. As a student at Western Connecticut State University, Megan is working toward her Bachelors in Music Education, and she studies violin under Eric Lewis. She has played with numerous orchestras such as the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras, University of New Haven Orchestra, and the WCSU Orchestra. She has also been part of pits for both musicals and operas. Teaching is all Megan has ever wanted to do and after graduation she is looking into getting her masters degree in Music Therapy.
Michael Mosca is currently studying Music Performance at Western Connecticut State University with a concentration in jazz guitar. Michael started playing guitar at the age of 11 studying under Shane Peters. After making it into the CMEA Western Regional band in high school, he developed an interest in learning jazz guitar, which later led to pursing a degree in music at Western and studying under Chris Morrison. Outside of jazz, Michael can also be seen performing with his original rock band Standby throughout the local tri-state area and currently has three recordings available on iTunes with them. Michael also has experience in several musical settings including pit orchestras, big bands, and church bands.
Instructor of Voice
Noelle Chave graduated Magna cum Laude from Western Connecticut State University with a degree in Music Education and holds her Connecticut license for teaching music K-12. While at WCSU, she was a member of the Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Opera Ensemble and Symphonic Band (flute) and was the recipient of the Connecticut Choral Society Scholarship, which is awarded to a music major “with a record of academic achievement and who possesses extraordinary singing or musical talent.” Noelle studied voice with Dr. Margaret Astrup and music composition with Dr. Kevin Jay Isaacs and was a music theory and sight-singing tutor as well as a private voice and flute instructor for students of all ages during her time at WestConn.
Noelle recently returned to Connecticut after spending a number of years in Wisconsin, where she sang with the Madison Symphony Chorus, the Madison Chamber Choir, and the Milwaukee Chamber Choir. She also worked as a choral music editor for Hal Leonard where, in addition to editing sheet music and teacher resource books, she collaborated with colleagues, McGraw-Hill and esteemed writers, educators, and directors to create a choral music textbook. She has performed in venues ranging from local churches in Connecticut and Wisconsin to the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin, and Avery Fisher Hall and Carnegie Hall in New York City. In addition to teaching privately, Noelle is currently a cantor at St. Edward the Confessor Church in New Fairfield and sings with various ensembles throughout the state. You may also find her working the front desk at the studio, so stop by and say hello!
Rosemary is currently studying Audio and Music Production at Western Connecticut State University with a concentration in jazz piano. She began taking piano lessons at age 6, mainly studying classical piano with Pamela Toffey and Michael Ferrari. At age 14, Rosemary first attended the Litchfield Jazz Camp, where she discovered her passion for jazz. Since then, she has studied with Jack Tyrrell and Peter Tomlinson and has taken lessons with Julian Shore and Caili O’Doherty. At WCSU, Rosemary has had clinics with Curtis Fuller, Diego Urcola, Renee Rosnes, and Kenny Barron. In addition to being a jazz pianist, she has played in a variety of musical settings including musical pits, choirs, and churches. Rosemary enjoys teaching and sharing her passion for music with others.
Instructor of Drums
Ryan Dunne holds a Master of Music Education Degree from the University of Bridgeport and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Jazz Percussion Performance from the Western Connecticut State University. Ryan began studying percussion at the age of 13 and performed with various rock groups throughout the early stages of his career. While studying at Western Connecticut, Ryan performed in a variety of ensembles including the Western Connecticut State University Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, Choir, and Small Jazz Combo groups. Throughout his career, Ryan has studied and professionally performed a wide range of musical genres including rock, jazz, funk, r&b, and various types of world music. Ryan currently performs professionally with the wedding band No Big Deal, with the saxophone group the Saxtet, and as a sideman with various jazz groups/projects. In addition to the Southbury Music Studio, Ryan teaches elementary general music and band in the Ridgefield Public School system.
Instructor of Voice
Samantha Feliciano is in the process of completing her Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education with a concentration in Voice from Western Connecticut State University. She currently studies classical voice with Laura Mashburn as well as Jazz voice with Atla De-Champlain. Throughout her college career she has been apart of several Operas, Choirs and Chamber Voice Ensembles, Jazz Combos, and been a guest vocalist for the WCSU Symphonic Band and the Jazz Orchestra.
Included here are some examples of her performances of solo classical voice with The Bird by John Duke, as well as with a past jazz combo performing Sometimes I’m Happy by Vincent Youmans. She continues to perform all across Connecticut as well as compete in vocal competitions. In the past, she has won first place in the Furman Competition at WCSU as well as ranking in the New England NATS competition.
As for her teaching, she has had students ranging from ages 6 to 32 and loves to take on any student with a passion for music. She focuses on sight-singing, ear-training, and music literacy while continuing to sing with ease in all genres of music. Her goal is to inspire her students with all the music that can be made possible and get them to appreciate musicianship on a new level.
Violinist Stephan Tieszen has a Bachelors from the Mannes College of Music, a Masters from the Juilliard School and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music. He studied violin with Mischa Mischakoff, Guila Bustabo, Sally Thomas, Sidney Harth, and Gabriel Banat.
Dr. Tieszen teaches violin and chamber music at Mannes College of Music and the Tabor Community Arts Center in Branford CT, and orchestral violin classes at the Meadowmount School of Music in Elizabethtown, NY. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Connecticut, Connecticut College, and Fairfield University. He has been Concertmaster of the Norwalk, Meriden, Bridgeport and New Britain Symphonys, and he is currently the Concertmaster of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra in New London, and the Principal Second Violin of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Tieszen appears frequently with the Wall Street Chamber Players, was a founding member of the Concord Chamber Music Ensemble, and is an active performer and lecturer in educational outreach programs.
For this performance, Dr. Tieszen has written his own cadenzas in the style of Mozart, and he will be playing on a violin made in the mid-1700’s that was in use in Mozart’s time, using a reproduction of a contemporary Dodd bow. He has based his interpretation on Mozart’s manuscripts as published by Gabriel Banat.
Piano, Music Composition, Music Theory
Stephanie Biello holds a Master of Music Degree from Purchase College in NY and a B.A. from Western Connecticut State University in Music Education. Stephanie is an experienced performer, piano instructor, composer, arranger, and a founder and co-owner of The Southbury Music Studio. You can find her playing solo piano at local venues, fronting her original band, or performing with No Big Deal.
Tim Smith graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a B.M. in Classical Piano Performance. Tim is an experienced accompanist and has performed with choirs, and has been a part of pit bands for musicals and operas.
He also performed two solo recitals while at WCSU. Tim also plays the organ and is substitute organist at many churches in Connecticut. He also enjoys singing and playing French horn and was a part of WCSU’s chamber choir, Symphonic band, and Orchestra.