The Music School at Dutchess Community College is proud to offer individual and group lessons by some of the region's most accomplished musicians. Learn more about them, below.
Ariana Barkeshli, a native of Tehran, received her first music lessons from her father, Dr. Mehdi Barkeshli. She studied in France with Yvonne Loriod (wife of Messiaen) and received a Master of Music degree from L’Ecole Normale de Musique.
Since 1985, Ariana has lived in New York. At SUNY New Paltz, she obtained a master’s degree in piano pedagogy under Vladimir Feltsman.
Among her recital performances are The National Gallery of Art and a celebration of J. S. Bach’s 250th Anniversary. Ariana functioned as Artistic Director of the conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies in Toronto in 2008.
Flute, Oboe, Chamber Music, Kindermusik
Lynnette Benner began playing flute at the ripe old age of eleven. An avid horse lover, she earned an A.A.S. Equine Science and worked in that field for eleven years while continuing to play and perform. Returning to college, she earned a B.S. Music Performance, Flute, from SUNY New Paltz. She studied with Marcia Gates, Lynn Cunningham, Sarah Trautman, and Gary Schocker.
Lynnette teaches Flute, Oboe, Chamber Music, and Kindermusik. She also can be heard on movie soundtracks and CDs. Lynnette lives in Millerton, NY with her husband, stepson, four cats, two horses, and two dogs (all rescues!).
Best known for his signature bass solos in a variety of styles, from jazz to bluegrass, Rusty is in demand as a performer, teacher, songwriter, and session player in the Hudson Valley. Education includes: Studies at Berklee College of Music and a B.A. from the Evergreen State College.
Trumpet, Chamber Music
Sage Boris is a trumpet player and educator from Kingston, NY. An avid fan of chamber music, he has enjoyed playing with brass quintets and mixed ensembles. He is especially interested in new music. As a freelancer he has played with symphony orchestras in New York and Michigan including the Final Fantasy game music touring production and the National Arab Orchestra. He enjoys learning about the history of music and music theory as it relates to composition, as well as musico-linguistic theories. He is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Potsdam magna cum laude and the University of Michigan, where he received master’s degrees in solo performance and chamber music performance.
CANDACE L. COATES
Candace was born and raised in Dutchess County, and she has played the Celtic harp since 1993. Like many of her own students, Candace started playing the Celtic harp as an adult. Candace has had many years of experience performing in a traditional Irish band which to her surprise earned her a mention in a work of nonfiction.
Before Ms. Coates's involvement with the Irish group, she had a Celtic band of her own. Ms. Coates has had the life-enriching experience of recording two independent albums in a Grammy Award recording studio in Poughkeepsie, NY.
In addition Ms. Coates has played out in a variety of venues ranging from performing outdoors in public spaces to more formal events. In the latter part of 2015 Candace founded a school harp program for Saint Therese Classical Learning Academy in Middletown, NY.
Katherine DeFiglio has been teaching Kindermusik since 2008. She also teaches voice classes and lessons. She has a master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Miami, and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. A classically trained singer, she has performed throughout the United States and Europe. She also loves outdoor activities such as running and skiing, which help her stay in shape for her high-energy Kindermusik classes.
Piano, Suzuki Piano
Richard Devens received his BS in Music Performance from Brooklyn College, where he studied with Augustin Anievas and Michael Rogers. He received his M.M. in Music Performance from The University of Arizona, where he studied with Nicholas Zumbro. Additional studies were with Richard Fabre.
Richard loves music from all periods, but has a special passion for Romantic piano literature and a particular interest in music for the left hand alone. He is active as an accompanist, as well as a solo performer. He has performed at Trinity Church, St. Paul's Festival of the Arts, Bargemusic, Alice Tully Hall, and in Russia.
Piano, Voice, Director of Summer Music Institutes
Katherine Doe has over nine years of experience as a music teacher, performer, music director, and piano accompanist. Katherine has taught at the DCC Music School since 2008 as a private piano and voice instructor, choir director, and music theory tutor. She has directed the Summer Piano Institute and the Performing Arts Institute since 2015. Katherine also directs the DCC Intergenerational Women’s Choir, which welcomes all ages and levels of experience.
Katherine has performed in over twenty musical theater and operatic productions, and has taught at various public and private schools across New York State. She currently teaches grades K through 9 general music and group piano classes at the Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District in Hastings-on-Hudson. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Crane School of Music, and Dalcroze certification from the Lucy Moses School in Manhattan.
Director of Music School
Laura Doe has performed in over 30 theatrical and operatic productions throughout New York State. She has extensive experience in musical and theatrical directing, as well as teaching and administration in DCC's Summer Music Institutes and DCC Music School at large. Laura holds a master's degree in Vocal Performance and a bachelor's degree in Vocal Music Education from the Crane School of Music. She also holds an associate degree in performing arts from DCC. Laura has taught "Kids and Teens Sing Musical Theater," "Intergenerational Women's Choir," "Kids Composition," Kindermusik, early childhood musicianship classes and voice lessons for all ages at DCC. She continues to teach general music and chorus for grades pre-K through 8 at local schools.
LORA LEE ECOBELLI
Lora Lee Ecobelli is an actress, writer, director and teacher. She has performed both on and Off Broadway and is the winner of the Harold Clurman Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Vise. Her many stage credits include: A Christmas Carol, The Seagull, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Trojan Woman, Antigone, Hamlet, The Cherry Orchard, Blithe Spirit and The Three Sisters. Favorite film and television roles: Judy Berlin, Speechless, The Veil, Dating A Zombie, The Abolitionists, The Lady of Larkspur Lotion, Upright Citizens Brigade (Comedy Central), Sesame Street's “Elmopalooza” and Deadly Devotions. She is a member of Hudson Air Radio Theatre, Walking the Dogʼs Off-Leash
Improv Ensemble, and is the Artistic Director of The Blue Horse Repertory Company. Lora Lee also teaches adult acting classes for the Blue Horse Repertory Company's Acting School at the Theatre Institute at Sage College in Troy NY and throughout the Hudson Valley. Lora Lee is a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
Elizabeth Gerbi is a frequent coach, clinician, conductor (100+ productions) and music educator/choral conductor at theatres and institutions across the country. She is also a versatile vocalist, having shared stages with Kenny Rodgers, Sutton Foster, and members of the City Opera. Liz recently completed training in Somatic Voicework: The Lovetri Method (tm) at Shenandoah University, an M.M. from Boston University, and is a current doctoral student of Vocal Pedagogy at Shenandoah Conservatory. Liz is a member of the adjunct faculty at DCC, where she conducts the DCC choral ensembles and teaches Vocal Repertoire, Applied Voice, and History of Musical Theatre.
John Howell, tenor, has sung throughout the United States, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Sydney, encompassing both opera and oratorio. He has performed with New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Bard Summer Festival, New York Virtuoso Singers, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, The Philadelphia Singers, and Seraphic Fire. He is a regular member of the Choir of Men and Boys at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 2005, he was a recipient of the prestigious J. William Fulbright Award and spent a year studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, Australia.
Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Music Technology
Multi-instrumentalist Justin Keller has amassed a myriad of experiences as both an educator and performer since graduating with a Masters of Music in Jazz Performance from the New England Conservatory in 2003. He has performed and recorded woodwinds, stringed instruments, and vocals on diverse musical projects, from experimental jazz groups to bluegrass bands, in New York City and nationally. Most recently he has worked with Chris Staples, The Gregory Brothers, and The Welcome Wagon. He currently is on faculty at the College of Staten Island where he teaches music history, ensembles, and private lessons, and also maintains active teaching studios in Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley. An avid composer, he writes, sings and records under the moniker Land of Leland and has a full-length album coming out in 2016.
Dave Laks is a harmonicologist, saxophonist, flautist, and vocalist. Mr. Laks has been a certified music educator for over 28 years and is also a Board Certified Music Therapist.
Dave performs and composes for Band Zumbi Zumbi which incorporates the genres of blues, jazz, and some rock with a twist of samba, montuno, calypso, along with the street rhythms of Bahia, Brazil.
Dave Laks has been mentored by the likes of: Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Anton Kuskin, Yusef Lateef, Joe Allard, Lee Konitz, John Signorelli, David Barrett, Joe Filisko, Richard Sleigh and Dennis Gruenling.
CAROL VANN LOSEE
Carol Vann Losee received her Bachelor of Music degree from North Texas State University. She taught public school music K-12 for six years. She received her Master of Arts degree from SUNY New Paltz in piano pedagogy. She has studied with Larry Walz, Vladimir Feltsman, and Eteri Andjaparidze.
Carol has taught piano for many years. She performs with Valentina Shatalova in the Two For You piano duo a well-known accompanist.
Carol is a certified NYSSMA adjudicator. She serves as organist for Trinity Lutheran Church in Walden. She has three grown children and lives with her husband Tom in New Paltz.
Piano, Recreational Music Making
Maria Peterson has studied at NYU and SUNY New Paltz and holds a B.S. in Music History and Piano Performance. She has been teaching since 1982 and is a life-long performer. She is currently the Music Director at the First United Methodist Church in Highland, as well as Director of The Highland Visual and Performing Arts Institute. In addition to individual piano lessons, Maria teaches Recreational Music Making, a group piano program for adults and senior adults.
Beverly Poyerd began her music training at age five and studied piano, performance and theory at the Henry Street Settlement School and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in New York City.
After a career in the brokerage industry, she continued her musical studies, graduating Summa Cum Laude from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Piano Performance in 2005. She performs as a soloist and accompanist in both the classical and jazz genres. She is a member of the MTNA, NGPT and Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Violin, Chamber Music
Born as a music-loving native Korean, Heeja started violin in 5th grade and never stopped. She earned a B.A. and M.A. from Seoul National University, Korea, while playing as Assistant Concertmistress in The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.
She earned her master’s degree in violin performance from Manhattan School of Music. Heeja has considerable solo and orchestral experience, including Radio City Music Hall, New York City Opera, Albany Symphony, Elmira Symphony, Down Town Singers, and Belleayre Summer Festival Orchestra. She served as Assistant Concertmistress of the Binghamton Philharmonic until 2008. She has always been an active chamber musician.
Bob Renino holds degrees from SUNY Potsdam and Manhattan School of Music. He is a regular member of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and principal clarinet with the Westchester Camarata. He has performed at the Saratoga Festival, the White Mountain Festival under Gerard Schwartz, Music in the Mountains, and many other orchestras and chamber groups.
His teaching career has included clarinet instructor at SUNY New Paltz, instrumental instructor in the Spring Valley and Port Chester schools, and twenty-seven years in the Nanuet schools as music director. Bob has appeared as an adjudicator, clinician and guest conductor throughout the state.
ANNA MAYTA RUHE
Anna Mayta Ruhe is a dance improviser, choreographer and teacher. She graduated from Empire State College in June 2001 with a B.A. in Dance in Education. November 2008, she got a certificate to teach yoga from Svyasa Swami Vivekananda Yoga University in Bangalore, India. In 2006, she was awarded a dissemination award from the Dutchess County Arts Council in Poughkeepsie, NY. She has taught, choreographed and performed for programs, in Bangalore India, England, the National Ballet of Zimbabwe in Africa, all over the greater area of Boston, and upstate NY.
Janet Salt teaches piano privately and for the Music School at Dutchess Community College. She accompanies the DCC chorus, vocal repertoire class, and Suzuki recitals. She is part-time organist at St. Andrews.
She served as musical director and accompanist for Ninety Miles Off Broadway and the New Paltz High School musicals: Meet Me in St. Louis, Nunsense, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Birds of Paradise, Pippin, and Footloose. With director Judy Elliot, she writes and directs original children's musicals each summer.
She studied with Harry Jensen at SUNY New Paltz. Other teachers include John Esposito and Eteri Andjaparidze.
With over twenty-five years of working with students and educators in the public schools, Ms. Segnit is now lending her expertise to the youngest of learners, as well as those embarking on college careers. As a certified Kindermusik and private lesson Instructor for The Music School at DCC, it is her hope to share skills, concepts and the love of making music, with future generations of student musicians. B.M. SUNY Potsdam, Crane School of Music, M.A.Ed., Virginia Tech, C.A.S., Educational Administration, SUNY New Paltz.
Valentina Shatalova holds a bachelor’s degree from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, and a master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz with a major in Piano Pedagogy. She has performed frequently as a duo-pianist, soloist, and accompanist in the NY Metropolitan and Mid-Hudson areas. She is a member of the “Two For You” piano duo, keyboardist for the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, and co-director of the New Paltz Pianofest. Valentina maintains a full piano studio in New Paltz, NY and is an active member of both the National Piano Guild and Music Teacher’s National Association.
Sara Silva began her violin studies in Colombia. As an undergraduate, she studied at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and the Frederic Chopin Conservatory in Paris, France. She performed as a full-time member of the Orquestra Sinfonica National de Colombia for six years. She came to New York in 2004 for her master's degree in violin performance at Syracuse University. Sara received her Suzuki Teacher’s Certification from the Suzuki Institute of Ithaca College. In addition to her current regular performances with Symphoria (the successor organization of the Syracuse Symphony), she has performed as a violinist with the Utica Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic, Binghamton Tri-Cities Opera, Ithaca's Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of Northern NY, and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. Since 2011, she has performed as a member of the Alzo Symphony Orchestra in New York's Carnegie Hall Festival of Latin American Music, and other orchestras in New York City. As a music educator, she has taught violin at the Latin American Center of Syracuse University, and Imagine Syracuse. Sara continues to maintain a private violin studio in the Hudson Valley.
Michael studied with third-stream pianist Ran Blake at New England Conservatory of Music, attended Yale University as a music major, and later studied with jazz violinists Julie Lyonn Lieberman in New York City and John Blake in Philadelphia. He studied North Indian classical music on the sarangi at the Bhatkhande School of Music in Lucknow, India, and composition and jazz arranging at City College in San Francisco. He has been a member of a wide variety of musical ensembles—jazz, swing, country, bluegrass, classical, contradance, rock, fusion, blues, avant garde, tango, and more — and has taught privately since 1982.
Tim completed his Bachelor of Music in trombone and music education at the Eastman School of Music in December of 2008. He received his New York State teaching certification in June of 2009, later completing his Master of Music in trombone at the University of Akron. Tim has performed with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the Warren Philharmonic, the Nickel City Opera, and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. He has also recorded with various rock groups on drum kit, keyboard and vocals and is a frequent substitute teacher in local school districts. Tim has taught at The Music School at DCC since summer 2011.
Daniel Stevens holds a master’s degree in classical guitar performance from SUNY Purchase and is an experienced teacher and performer of a variety of styles including electric, steel string acoustic, & classical guitar. Dan is the recipient of a 2011 Arts Fund Individual Artists Fellowship through the Dutchess County Arts Council. He has over fifteen years of performing and recording experience.
Voice, Musical Theatre
Erin Stewart was recently seen as Mrs. Nordstrom in the Tony nominated Broadway revival of A Little Night Music starring Bernadette Peters, Elaine Stritch, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury where she also performed the roles of Anne and Charlotte. Erin made her Broadway debut with The Phantom of the Opera and later traveled to Las Vegas to play Christine Daaé in Phantom as well as with The Broadway National Tour. Erin has performed regionally across the U.S. and has appeared as a soloist with the Omaha Symphony and The Manhattan Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, and Symphony Space. Erin's love for teaching has brought her to DCC where she is thrilled to be a faculty member.
JACQUELINE VENABLE JORDAN
Jacqueline Venable Jordan holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School. She has experience singing with opera companies, dance companies, choral societies, and symphony orchestras. She has served on the faculties of Dutchess Community College, Berkshire Choral Festival, Georgia Fine Arts Academy, Russell Sage College, and Columbia University. Jackie made her operatic debut at the Spoleto Festival in Juana, La Loca, by Gian Carlo Menotti in a production directed by the composer. Her Lincoln Center debut came in a critically acclaimed performance of Samuel Barber's "Andromache's Lament."
Jean Vilkelis (cello and fiddle) is a freelance musician who performs extensively throughout the Hudson Valley in orchestras, string quartets, and chamber ensembles.
Jean is also an avid fiddler, playing for local contra dances as well as traveling to folk festivals all over the North East. She began giving cello lessons in 2005 while still a student in high school. Jean is currently pursuing a dual degree in cello performance and philosophy.
Janice Vuoso received her Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and her Master of Arts in Teaching from CUNY Lehman College. She maintains a private teaching studio in Westchester County and is also a K-5 music teacher and band director in Queens, NY. Janice teaches at DCC’s Summer Piano Institute.
Eric Wagner is a drummer and educator with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music from the University of Connecticut. Eric performs in theatre pits, cruise ships, big bands, jazz, rock, country, and latin ensembles. He has performed with Joe Piscopo (SNL), Mark Small (Michael Buble), Chris Vadala (Chuck Mangione), John Mosca (Village Vanguard Orchestra), Joe Bouchard (Blue Oyster Cult), Jimmy Greene (Harry Connick, Jr.), etc. Eric teaches for The Music School at DCC, Trinity-Pawling Boarding School, Millbrook Prep School and privately. Eric is endorsed by Precision Drums & Silverfox Drumsticks.
Marta Waterman is a singer, pianist and composer with a background in classical studies and performance, as well as pop and jazz. A graduate of Philadelphia College with a major in vocal performance, she has taught music lessons ever since.
Marta teaches students to read music, play by ear, read chord charts, sing classical, jazz and pop styles, and compose their own music. She is an active performer and composer who enjoys sharing her love of music with her students.
Piano, Stage Fright Workshop
Julie Wegener, former Director of the Music School at DCC (2003-2014), began piano study at age six with Dr. David LeVita. She performed over WNYC radio and with the Symphony of the Air at age ten. She studied with Zenon Fishbein at The Manhattan School of Music and with Vladimir Feltsman and Robert Mumper at SUNY New Paltz. In 1996, Julie created her “Piano a la cart” project. With an acoustic piano mounted on a flatbed trailer towed behind her car, she surprised passersby with piano performances on rail trails and park preserves. Julie has taught piano for over twenty-five years and loves it.
NETTIE R. WEST
Suzuki Violin, Suzuki Piano
Nettie West received her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Music degrees from Skidmore College, and an MA in Humanities from the University of Buffalo. Continuing music studies at Vassar, she played in the Vassar, Bard, and Woodstock Chamber Orchestras. She studied the Suzuki method at Ithaca College, and completed the Apprentice program at The School for Strings with Louise Behrend in Manhattan. She studied with Dr. Suzuki at international conferences and in Japan. Piano training was with Carole Bigler and Valerie Lloyd Watts in Ontario. She taught orchestra at FDR High School, and continues to maintain a private studio.
Dennis Yerry is a musician, composer, arranger and musical director whose career has encompassed a myriad of musical genres.
He composed and musical directed the theatrical production of “Black Elk Speaks” in Denver, CO and L.A., in which he also performed. His film and TV credits include performances for the Ken Burn’s documentaries, “Lewis and Clark” and “The West”.
He is currently the musical director and composer for “Unto These Hills,” the outdoor drama in Cherokee, NC.
As a jazz pianist, he has performed extensively in NYC.
Dennis has been teaching at DCC since 2004.