PROJECT STEP FACULTY 2012-2013
Jason Amos (Viola) began the viola at age eleven in his hometown of Southfield, MI. He placed 4th in the 2007 Sphinx Competition and 1st in the 2006 Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Bradlin Scholarship Concerto Competition. He has also performed as the featured young artist of the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings and as soloist with the Ann Arbor Symphony. After undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Mr. Amos received a Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory of Music. During the summers, he has enjoyed serving as faculty for the Sphinx Performance Academy and the Four Strings Academy (Lexington, MA), as well as mentoring the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. Jason studied primarily with Martha Strongin Katz, Yizhak Schotten, Caroline Coade, and Catherine Carroll. Mr. Amos completed the Fellowship program at Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI. In addition to viola, Jason enjoys singing and directs a young men’s choir (“The Fellas“) as part of the Boston City Singers. Jason serves as violist in the Boston Public Quartet, which has a permanent residency at the Chittick Elementary School in Mattapan, MA.
Javier Caballero (Cello), born in Puerto Rico, serves as Co-Artistic Director of Project STEP. A versatile freelancer, he has performed with Diana Ross and the Supremes, musical theater shows at Boston Lyric Stage, early music with Florida Pro Musica (Tampa), contemporary opera with Guerilla Opera and recorded several albums with Middle Eastern, New Age, Balkan and Indie Rock groups. Mr. Caballero toured China with the Tim Janis Ensemble and was featured on the TV stations PBS and QVC. He also regularly travels to Palestine and Israel as part of the Baroque Festival organized by the Al Kamandjati Music Center and has served on the faculty of Point Counterpoint Music Camp. M.M. and Graduate Performance Diploma, Boston Conservatory; B.A., University of South Florida.
Elisabeth Christensen (Violin) maintains an active career as a teacher, freelancer, and arts administrator. She began teaching violin when she was 12 years old, and has always enjoyed the ways in which teaching and performing intersect and build on one another. Ms. Christensen has performed as Principal Viola in the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra since 2008. She is General Manager of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, with specific responsibility for the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, launched in 2012. From 2005 to 2012, she was Director of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, where she also taught on the faculty. She has been a member of the Powers Music School’s Music on The Hill faculty since 2009. From 1999 to 2005, she was Executive Director of the Crowden Center for Music in the Community, in Berkeley, California. While in California, she was also active as a freelance violist in the San Francisco bay area, and as a member of the faculty of the UC Berkeley Young Musicians Program and the Crowden Music Center. M.M., New England Conservatory; B.A., Stanford University.
Educator, conductor, and cellist Mark Churchill (Cello) is Dean Emeritus of New England Conservatory’s Department of Preparatory and Continuing Education, which he led for 31 years. As a cellist Churchill has appeared as soloist, recitalist, and chamber music player throughout the United States and on tours of South America. He has also appeared in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Taiwan with the Trio Pro Musica. Churchill has been an active advocate for the improvement and expansion of music education programs in American schools. He currently serves as director of El Sistema USA, the advocacy and service organization for American programs that emulate the renowned Venezuelan model of social development through music. In 2005, Churchill spearheaded the signing of the "Friendship Agreement" between New England Conservatory and Venezuela's massive El Sistema youth orchestral training program—planting the seeds for NEC's close relationship to that program. Churchill was married to violinist and educator, the late Marylou Speaker Churchill. He resides in Newton, Massachusetts, with their twin daughters. B.M., M.M., New England Conservatory; D.M.A., University of Hartford.
Esther deGrunigen (Violin), a graduate of Vassar College and Boston University, has been an active teacher and freelance musician in the New England area for over 20 years. Her appointments have included the Longy School of Music, the Rivers School of Music, and Kinhaven Music Camp. She has served on the string faculty of the Dana Hall School of Music since 1990.
Andrew Goodridge (Music Theory) accompanies regularly in the violin studio of Roman Totenberg and many other prestigious studios and is the official accompanist for Project STEP. Mr. Goodridge is active as a teacher, lecturer, and writer. He teaches piano and coaches chamber music at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, the Powers Music School, and the Lexington Music School, and has taught music history at the New England Conservatory. Mr. Goodridge received an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Harvard University (BA, 1993, cum laude), and a Masters degree in Piano Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music (M.M., 1995), as a student of Patricia Zander. He holds a doctorate in Collaborative Piano (accompanying) from NEC.
Mariana Green-Hill (Violin & Chamber Music) serves as Co-Artistic Director of Project STEP, performs as a soloist and chamber musician and teaches at New England Conservatory’s Preparatory Division and privately. She also serves as Founder and Director of Four Strings Academy and is on the faculty of Boston Arts Academy.
Mariana Green-Hill is a Second Prize Winner of The Sphinx Competition, who honored her as the 2009 winner of the Sanford Allen Award. She has also won first place in the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Harry and Marion Dubbs Competitions. Mrs. Green-Hill has been a featured guest soloist with the New Jersey, Memphis, Detroit, and Boston Symphony Orchestras and The Boston Pops. The Amaryllis String Quartet, of which she was a member, was awarded First Prize in the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, Jr. Division. Ms. Green-Hill has performed with YoYo Ma, Pamela Frank, Lynn Chang, and Marcus Thompson. She was also a member of the Young Eight String Octet for six seasons. Mariana Green-Hill is co-concertmaster of the Soulful Symphony whose recording earned an Emmy. Ms. Green-Hill is a member of the MarNi Duo that performed for a benefit concert for the now President Barak Obama. She enjoys performing with non-classical musicians such as the Gorillaz, Joss Stone and Alicia Keys and has also recorded with gospel artists Donnie McClurkin and Richard Smallwood. Ms. Green-Hill is an alumna of Project STEP and attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts. B.M. and M.M., The Juilliard School; Professional Studies Diploma, Mannes College of Music.
Robert Merfeld (Chamber Music), has appeared as a lecturer at Dartmouth College, the Brattleboro Music Center, and the Damascus Conservatory, and has taught at Brandeis University, the Juilliard School, Dartmouth University, and elsewhere. He has collaborated with numerous prominent artists, including singers Lucy Shelton, Jan de Gaetani, Dawn Upshaw, and Will Parker, as well as instrumentalists Arnold Steinhardt, Charles Neidich, and Stanley Ritchie. Mr. Merfeld has performed widely, including at the Aspen, Marlboro, Ravinia, Caramoor, and Olympic Music Festivals and in solo recitals at Merkin Hall, the Brattleboro Music Center, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. He has been a performing member of and teacher with the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music since 1969. B.M., Oberlin Conservatory of Music; M.M., The Juilliard School.
Dubravka Sajfar Moshfegh (Viola), Graduate, Zagreb University and Brussels Royal Conservatory; Diplome Superieur for violin and Premier Prix for Chamber Music; studies with K. Hauser, I. Pinkava, A. Gerller, Yankelewitch, and Chugajewa; masterclasses in Budapest, Weimar, Salzburg, Goslar; solo and chamber music performances in Europe and U.S.; faculty, New England Conservatory; TV and radio recordings; member Duo Affetuoso.
Lisa Orfaly (Violin) is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance and a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy. At CIM, she was a student of Linda Cerone, David Russell, and Michele George. Lisa has also studied with Koji Toyoda at the Talent Education Institute in Japan. She has been a member of the faculty at the Preucil School of Music, the University of Northern Iowa Suzuki School, and the New World School of the Arts. She was assistant concertmaster of the Waterloo Cedar Falls Orchestra and also played with the Cedar Rapids Symphony. From 2006-2010, she lived and taught in Valencia, Spain. She is currently teaching at All Newton Music School, Winchester Community Music School, and Powers Music School.
Janet Packer (Violin), BA with honors, Phi Beta Kappa, Wellesley College; MA, Brandeis University. Violin with Millard Taylor, Broadus Erle, George Neikrug. Chamber music with Gyorgy Sebok, Sander Vegh, Guarneri String Quartet. Soloist with Warsaw Philharmonic, National Orchestra of Panama, Boston Pops, and Rochester Philharmonic. Recitals throughout the U.S. and Europe. Commissioned and premiered works for violin and piano by Vagn Holmboe, Edwin London, Mary Mageau, and Gardner Read; for solo violin by Andrew Imbrie and Ezra Sims; and for violin and orchestra by Vittorio Rieti and William Thomas McKinley. President: Pro Violino Foundation. Recordings: Centaur, CRI, Northeastern, Opus One. Chair – Longy School of Music Strings Department.
Chris Rathbun (Bass) has enjoyed decades of bass playing from orchestra and chamber music to blues, free improvisation, be-bop, kluegrass, Dixie-Land, swing, Broadway shows, cabaret, klezmer, Latin and World music. As a teacher of very young to advanced bass students he draws upon these experiences and Suzuki training to nurture the joy of all music and the amazing ubiquitous bass.
Rathbun has performed with internationally recognized jazz artists, "Papa" Jo Jones, "Tiny" Grimes (guitarist with Art Tatum), Tom Lindsay (trumpet player on Coleman Hawkins’ recording of “Body and Soul”), Joe Marani (clarinet player with Louis Armstrong), Herb Pomeroy, "Sir Charles" Thompson (pianist with Charlie Parker), Benny Waters, and Sabby Lewis. Rathbun is currently a faculty member of the South Shore Conservatory of Music teaching students whose ages range from five to sixty four and coaching a variety of chamber ensembles. Former co-chair of the SSC Suzuki Department.
Michael Reynolds (Cello) teaches at Boston University and has been the cellist of the renowned Muir String Quartet since its inception in 1979 winning first prize at the Evian Competition (1980), the 1981 Naumburg Award, the Gramophone Award (1987), a Grammy (1995), and an internationally acclaimed PBS broadcast, "In Performance at The White House" for President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan. A native of Montana, he attended the Curtis Institute of Music, where he was a student of David Soyer and Martita Casals, continuing with Karen Tuttle and George Neikrug and studies at Yale University. He is also co-founder and Artistic Director of Classics for Kids Foundation, which offers matching grants for quality student instruments and inspirational mentoring to strings programs around America, and he directs the Muir Quartet’s Emerging Quartets and Composers program in Park City, Utah. He also is Artistic Director of Bay Chamber Concerts’ Fall Foliage Weekend, a yearly gathering of amateur musicians in Rockport, Maine. Mr. Reynolds has also served on the faculties of New England Conservatory, Rutgers University, the University of Utah, and UC Santa Cruz. He received an honorary doctorate from Rhode Island College in 1995. In his spare time he is an avid flyfisherman and outdoorsman. His most recent appointment is as Artistic Director of the Fredericksburg Festival of the Arts.
Aristides Rivas (Cello) made his solo debut at age fourteen with Los Llanos Chamber Orchestra in Guannare, Venezuela, where he became the Associate Principal Cellist the following day by audition. His musical training began at age seven when he started to learn the cuatro, one of the most representative folk instruments in Venezuela. At age ten, Mr. Rivas joined the Barinas city wing of the internationally known Venezuela National Youth Orchestra Program, a musical-social project created by the visionary Jose Antonio Abreu in the 1970’s. Mr. Rivas has been a member of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra since 2005.
Victor Romanul (Violin), BSO Violinist, holds the Bessie Pappas Violin Chair, has been performing professionally since he was seven. An active recitalist, teacher, and soloist, he has performed throughout the world. As a soloist, he was named in “Best of Boston” in 1997 by the Boston Globe. Mr. Romanul recently completed a three-year tenure as concertmaster of the Ars Poetica Chamber Orchestra, based in Detroit and made up of outstanding players from major U.S. orchestras. He has given master classes throughout the country at many schools, including Northwestern, Columbia, Oberlin, and SUNY Stony Brook. As a professor of violin at Boston Conservatory, he has taught violin, chamber music, and pedagogy. He has served as a coach for the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the New England Conservatory Preparatory orchestras. He served as the BSO’s assistant concertmaster from 1993 to 1995 and from 1981 to 1986 was associate concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Mr. Romanul studied with Ivan Galamian, Joseph Silverstein, and Jascha Heifetz. Recent career highlights have included performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Boston Pops and the New Hampshire Symphony, a three-concert series of the ten Beethoven violin sonatas at the Goethe Institute in Boston, performances of Bach’s sonatas and partitas for solo violin in one recital, a recital of the complete solo sonatas of Eugene Ysaÿe, during the 2006-07 season, recitals around the country featuring solo violin music of Paganini, Sauret, Ernst, Wienawski, Vieuxtemps, and Ysaÿe.
David Rubinstein (Violin) has played as a substitute violist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops, touring Europe, South America, Asia, and the United States. Rubinstein was a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra for many years, principal violist of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, under Benjamin Zander, and a member of the new music group Alea III. Rubinstein has also performed as a recitalist and chamber musician with the Martha Vineyard Chamber Music Society, and the Atlanta Virtuosi. In addition to his teachings at NEC, Rubinstein is currently strings department co-chair of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and Music School, where he teaches both violin and viola, and has developed the school's string certificate program.
B.M., New School of Music. M.M., New England Conservatory. Current faculty of Rhode Island Philharmonic and Music School, Brown University.
Keith Sanders (Viola),one of the most diverse and versatile performers on the music scene today, is a violist, aerial circus violinist, and has performed on four continents in the classical, jazz, pop, contemporary and avant-garde genres. A graduate of the Longy and Hartt schools of music, Keith has profited from the teachings of artists such as Laura Bossert, Peter Cassino, Lonnie Smith, Rosalita Mikulinsky, Steven Larson, and David McBride. Mr. Sanders is a founding member of the Award-winning VOX4 string quartet, second prize winner of the 2009 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition. He is also an accomplished athlete, circus artist and visual artist, which he incorporates with his musical career.
Joung Hoon Song (Violin), after winning the Seoul Philharmonic Concerto Soloist Competition, made his debut with the orchestra at the age of 15. His concerts as a soloist with orchestras include appearances with the Budapest Radio Symphony, Seoul Philharmonic, Korean Symphony Orchestra, and the Aspen Baroque Chamber Orchestra. His major recitals and chamber music appearances have been in Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Michael C. Paul Hall at Lincoln Center. Dr. Song has also been a featured artist on Classical Music, the CBS radio program in New York. In 1987, Song entered the Pre-college Division at The Juilliard School and received his Bachelor’s degree from Juilliard, where he studied with Dorothy DeLay, Hyo Kang, and assisted Eugene Becker. He completed his Master of Music and Artist Diploma degrees in 1996 at Yale University on a full scholarship. Most recently, Song completed two Doctorate degrees (D.M.A) in violin and viola at Boston University. Song currently serves as Conductor for the Preparatory String Orchestra as well as faculty member of at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. B.M., The Juilliard School; M.M. and Artist Diploma, Yale University; D.M.A. violin and viola, Boston University.
Emileigh Vandiver (Cello, Fundamentals, & Solfege) performed at the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts by age 10 and by age 12 performed as a regular recitalist on the Houston Young Artists Concert series. As a member of the Camerata String Quartet she was awarded 1st prize at the Southern Methodist University’s Chamber Music International competition. She has also performed with dancer Savion Glover and singers Charlotte Church and Gloria Estefan. As soloist, she has performed with the New England Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, the Virtuosi of Houston Chamber Orchestra, and the Houston Civic Symphony Orchestra. She holds her Bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music where she is currently completing her Master’s degree under Natasha Brofsky. Her former teachers are Christopher French and Ann Victor. She maintains a private studio in Jamaica Plain with her student's ages ranging from 5-65. She is currently learning Spanish. On weekends she is often found in the kitchen cooking Tex-Mex with her sisters and friends.
Michael Zaretsky (Viola),born in the former Soviet Union, graduated from the Moscow State Conservatory cum laude. He began his career as a member of the Moscow Philharmonic String Quartet and the Moscow Radio and TV Symphony Orchestra. In 1972, he immigrated to Israel and became principal viola of the Jerusalem Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra and a soloist of Radio Israel. The following year he played for Leonard Bernstein, who brought him to Tanglewood, where he successfully auditioned for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Besides being a member of the BSO for the past thirty-three years, Mr. Zaretsky regularly plays solo recitals and chamber music. A faculty member at Boston University and the Longy School of Music, he regularly performs in Israel, Japan, and Mexico.
Peter Zazofsky (Violin) has enjoyed a career as soloist, chamber musician and educator that spans twenty years and thirty countries on five continents. He has performed with many of the great orchestras in the US and Europe, including the Boston Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, in collaboration with maestros such as Tennstedt, Ozawa, Ormandy, Kurt Sanderling and Charles Dutoit. As a recitalist, Mr. Zazofsky has given innovative programs in Carnegie Hall, Sala Cecilia Meireles in Rio de Janeiro, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. He also tours the world's music centers as first violinist of the Muir String Quartet. Peter Zazofsky was born in Boston, where his father was assistant concertmaster of the Boston Symphony. Joseph Silverstein was his first teacher, and he later studied with Dorothy Delay, Jaime Laredo and Ivan Galamian at the Curtis Institute. Beginning in 1974, Mr. Zazofsky won a series of prizes and awards culminating in the Gold Medal at the 1980 Queen Elisabeth Competition and the Grand Prize of the 1979 Montreal International Competition (he remains the only American to win this award). In 1985 he was honored to receive the Avery Fisher Career Grant. B.M. and Graduate Certificate, Curtis Institute of Music.