Faculty and Staff
Preparatory Center Director
Marla Meissner has been awarded degrees from Ithaca College (B. Mus), Montclair State University (MA), and New York University (PhD). Her training includes electronic music composition studies with Peter Rothbart; acoustic music composition with Ting Ho and Ruth Schonthal; Saxophone studies with David Henderson, Steven Mauk, and Daniel Trimboli; Music theory and analysis studies with Lawrence Ferrara, John Gilbert, and Marc Holland. She recently completed an extensive study of the music of the Delaware or Lenape Indian. Her compositional output includes an eclectic variety of electronic, electroacoustic, and traditional compositions for various types of instrumental ensembles as well as film soundtracks, theater music, and rock and jazz compositions. Her music has been performed in various venues including Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall and New York City's Angelika Film Center. Her first CD, Selections from the Kaleidoscope, was released in 1999.
Stokes Forest Music Camp
Lou Kosma received his degree in music education with applied double bass from Temple University. He has taught in Philadelphia (PA) and Belleville (NJ) and served as orchestra and musical show conductor at Holy Family Academy in Bayonne (NJ). He teaches privately and is an adjunct double bass instructor at New Jersey City University. He is a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He has also performed as principal bassist for the American Ballet Theatre, Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and acting principal for the New Jersey Symphony. He was a member of the Chautauqua Symphony for 17 years and continues to play radio and television jingles and industrials. He has organized and participated in chamber music concerts and recordings with Music Amici and Alborada Latina. He is music director and conductor of the Junior Orchestra of the Youth Orchestras of Essex County and has guest conducted several district, regional and all-state festival concerts in New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Vermont. He is also the music director of the Vermont Philharmonic. Lou was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Thurnauer Symphony Orchestra in Tenafly, New Jersey, in May of 2003. Mr. Kosma conducts the Festival Orchestra at Stokes Forest Music Camp and Festival in Sussex County, NJ.
Letitia Stancu is a pianist, keyboardist, educator and administrator. Ms. Stancu has served as an administrator for the Cali School Extension Division (formerly Preparatory Center for the Arts) and the Stokes Forest Music Camp since 2005. She has previously worked for both programs as a piano teacher and accompanist. Ms. Stancu has been a Cali School collaborative pianist since 2006, working with instrumental and vocal students. She has performed with the MSU Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band as well as in the pit orchestras for the MSU Musical Theater productions of Side Show and The Producers. In addition, Ms. Stancu has also performed as a keyboardist and backing vocalist with various cover and original bands of rock/pop genres. Performance venues include the Hard Rock Café in Atlantic City, Webster Hall in New York City, Seacrets, Ocean City, MD and Rainbow Room in Los Angeles. Ms. Stancu joined the Cali School of Music Faculty in 2008 as an Adjunct Professor of Keyboard Musicianship. She holds a B.M. degree from Oberlin Conservatory.
Keyboard, Percussion, Strings, Woodwinds, Voice, Ensembles and Groups
Contact number for faculty: 973-655-4443
Maria DelVecchio received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Caldwell College. She attended The New England Conservatory of Music on a full scholarship in accompanying and holds two masters degrees in music from Columbia University. She served as accompanist for the Uniroyal Chorus, Tufts University Choir, Ohabei Shalom Men’s Chorus, and the Garden State Ballet Company. For two years she served as the accompanist for opera star Licia Albanse’s solo performances and recitals. Additionally, for four years in the Berkshires, she was the pianist for Fiorella Keane of the Royal Ballet and the Juliard School of Music. Ms. DelVecchio studied piano with Robert Armstrong of the Juliard School of Music and Martha Motchane, a student of Alfred Cortot and Robert Hebble. Most recently, she studied The Taubman Technique with Edna Golandsky. Ms. DelVecchio is a certified Suzuki Piano teacher who, for eight years, served as the coordinator of the Preparatory Center’s piano program. She has also served as adjunct faculty in the Cali School of Music. Over the past 35 years, Ms. DelVecchio has had numerous students in the state’s piano competitions. Her students have won 1st and 2nd place in the NJ Music Educators Association’s piano competitions.
Pianist Robert Grohman has been praised for his artistry and musical sensitivity and enjoys an active career as a soloist and chamber musician. New York Times music critic James Oestreich wrote of his most recent Carnegie Hall performance, “Robert Grohman stood out among the players.” Other recent performances include recitals in Washington, DC and New York City, as well as an appearance as soloist with the Vienna International Orchestra, where his original cadenza for Mozart’s Concerto, K.467 was hailed by conductor Robert Lehrbaumer as “the best cadenza for this concerto that I have ever heard.” Other engagements include a performance on Chicago’s WFMT Radio to two appearances in Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Mr. Grohman received his DMA degree from Rutgers University, winning the Irene Alm Memorial Prize for excellence in scholarship and performance and the Music Department Award. He was recently selected to present his paper, “Not the Slightest Reverberation – Did Mozart’s fortepiano lack knee levers?” at the conference of the Historical Keyboard Society of North America. His studies took him to numerous summer festivals, Mannes College of Music (MM degree), the Manhattan School of Music, NJPAC, the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, and Northwestern University, from which he holds both a BM and BA degree in Math cum laude.
|Mansoon Han Kim
Mansoon Han Kim has won numerous competitions including the Yale Gordon Competition, the Yook Young Competition, the Piano Music Competition, and Nan Pa Music Competition. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Seoul National University in 1991. In 1992, she began studies with concert pianist Ann Schein at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore (MD), where she received her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. She has performed throughout the United States, Canada, South Korea, and China. She has performed with members of the Maia String Quartet, Ceruti String Quartet, the Anchor Trio, and soprano Hyunah Yu. Kim has won the Clara Ascherfeld Accompanying Award, Peabody Career Development Grant. She has studied at summer festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival, the Orford Arts Center, and the Kent Blossom Summer Chamber Music Festival and participated in master classes by Mennahem Pressler, Leon Fleisher, Abbey Simon, Jörg Demus, Sergei Dorensky, and Gabby Casadesus.
Youn-Hee Bang Kim
Pianist Youn-Hee Kim has performed internationally in solo concerts and appearances with orchestras including the Chamber Ensemble of Roma and L'orchestra de Perugia in Italy, Muenster Hochschule Orchestra in Germany, and the Gangnam Symphony in South Korea. She was the first recipient of the first Alicia de Larrocha Scholarship. Mm. de Larrocha wrote to her: “With or without competitions, you will be a fantastic artist!” Her performance of Rachmaninoff Études-Tableaux (Op. 39) was praised in Peninsula Review as "…simply the best performance among any other performers’ live or recording.” Dr. Kim has numerous awards to her credits including first and best performance award in the 2000 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, the third prize in the Carmel International Piano Competition and two-time grand prizes in the Music Associates Performance Award Competition in Southern California among many others. She holds a BM degree in piano performance from Sungshin Women's University, MM degree from California State University-Fullerton, Professional Studies from Manhattan School of Music and DMA degree from Stony Brook University. She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.
Pianist Florence Liu, holds a DMA degree in piano performance from the Graduate Center of CUNY where she studied with the legendary pianist Abbey Simon. She received her Masters and Bachelors degree in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Dr. Liu made her New York Recital Debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and has performed in solo and chamber music concerts in Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Yamaha Hall, and Steinway Hall. Additionally, she has performed throughout the New York metropolitan area, Taiwan, France and Spain. Her awards include the Dora Zaslavsky Piano Competition, Artist International’s Special Presentation Award, Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society’s Young Musician award, the Henry Levine Memorial Award, the Anne-McDermott Memott Memorial Award, and Manhattan School of Music’s President Award. As an educator, Dr. Liu has been awarded “Certificates of Excellence” from the International Concert Alliance, the National League of Performing Arts, Forte International Competition, Golden Key Festival, Music-Fest and Prima Music Competition recognizing her work as a leading teacher. Currently, she is director of the concerto/chamber competition for the National League of Performing Arts and also serves as co-chair of the competition committee for the Music Educators Association of New Jersey.
Ruth Rendleman was educated at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Manhattan School of Music, and Columbia University. She is a specialist in the performance of eighteenth-century music. She has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for research and studies at the University of Maryland and has served on the faculty of the Aston Magna Performance Institute. She has performed as a solo artist and in chamber recitals throughout the New York metropolitan area. Her tours abroad have included performances in Korea, China (where she was artist-in-residence at the Shanghai Conservatory), and Australia. In the New York Times, Joseph Horowitz wrote that: "The performance showed force and fluency, consistently communicative. Her work had a firmness of design and continuity of emotion." Her interest in contemporary music led her to commission her colleague, Ting Ho, to write a piano sonata for her. She has received two major commissions from the N.J. State Arts Council for new piano works. Prof. Rendleman founded Montclair State's Preparatory Center for the Arts and Stokes Forest Music Camp. She has served as the music coordinator of the New Jersey School of the Arts and served on the board of the College Music Society. She also served as chair of the Committee on the Status of Women for the College Music Society.
Guerguan Tsenov is born in Bulgaria, where he graduated Secondary Music School in Plovdiv, and later The State Academy of Music in Sofia where he studied piano with Prof. Jenny Zaharieva, and opera and orchestral conducting with Prof. Vassil Kazandjiev. He continued his education at Montclair State University where he studied piano with Prof. Mark Pakman. He has worked in the Preparatory Center since 2005. As a pianist Mr. Tsenov has performed in Bulgaria, West Europe and United States. He has recorded for the Bulgarian National TV, Bulgarian National Radio, Unison Records. He has won prizes and distinctions at many international competitions, including Svetoslav Obretenov (1984), Dimitar Nenov (1987), Albert Roussel (1996) and Music and Earth (1997) for composition. He has been awarded the Prize of the Foundation Open Society (1996) and the Prize of the International Academy of Arts (1996) as a composer.
Yuka Yanagi is currently an adjunct faculty member of the music department at County College of Morris and the Preparatory Center for the Arts at Montclair State University. Ms. Yanagi performs frequently throughout the New York metropolitan area and has performed in venues such as Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and the Steinway Piano Gallery. Additionally, she has performed in Japan and Taiwan. In 2008 and 2009, Ms. Yanagi served as the Second Vice-President for the Music Educators Association (MEA) in New Jersey, and as co-chair for the MEA competition from 2005 to 2008. Her students have won numerous competitions within the tri-state area. Ms. Yanagi holds a Bachelor of Music degree, Summa Cum Laude, and a Master of Arts degree in Piano Performance from Montclair State University. In 1996 she was the recipient of Montclair State University’s Outstanding Performance Award. Ms Yanagi has studied with Dr. Julie Jordan and Mark Pakman. Additionally, from 2001 to 2009, she took concentration courses at the Juilliard School.
Violin, Viola, Cello, String Bass, Harp
Contact number for faculty: 973-655-4443
James is a Licensed Andover Educator, violin teacher, and freelance violinist based in the NY metro area. After beginning violin lessons at age 12, James went on to attend the Cali School of Music, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in Performance. A full scholarship from the city of Graz, Austria brought him there to do additional studies at the Universiät für Musik und darstellende Kunst. James received his Master of Music degree in Performance from Ithaca College while serving as the graduate teaching assistant to Susan Waterbury. In addition to traditional violin studies, James is also a SAA Registered Suzuki Violin teacher. He has taught violin students of all levels, as well as Body Mapping to musicians of many instruments, using accurate information about the body to produce free, effective, and non-injurious movement. James often presents workshops to students, professional musicians, teachers, and parents alike on the benefits of Body Mapping in performance and pedagogy. Notable influences include: Jennifer Johnson, Carrie Reuning-Hummel, Edward Kreitman, Boris Kucharsky, Susan Waterbury, Weigang Li, and Sylvia-Elisabeth Viertel. James has also performed in master classes with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Cho-Liang Lin, Sylvia-Elisabeth Viertel, the Shanghai Quartet, Mark Fewer, the St. Lawrence Quartet, and Judith Ingolfsson.
Suzuki strings coordinator
Ruth Brons Website
Ruth Brons has overseen the development of the Preparatory Center Suzuki Strings program since 2003 . She maintains a full private lesson studio, teaches six Book Classes, and is sought after as a clinician, adjudicator, chamber coach and performer. Ruth holds multiple United States and International Patents for the popular line of Things 4 Strings bow hold accessories: Bow Hold Buddies for violin/viola and CelloPhant for cello. In addition to teaching, she has extensive performance experience in period Baroque ensembles and modern orchestras. She has also been Associate Professor in Music History at both Gettysburg College and Harrisburg Area Community College. She holds a Masters in Music degree in viola performance from Temple University and a B.M. from the New School of Music (Philadelphia, PA). Her primary teachers were Davyd Booth, Heidi Castleman, Leonard Mogill, Max Aronoff and Evelyn Jacobs Luis.
Agnes Simkens is a native of Belgium. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with a specialization in historical performance from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and a Masters degree from Yale University. She has studied violin with Erik Friedman and Emanuel Borok. Dr. Simkens has performed with numerous ensembles specializing in historical performance and symphony orchestras in the United States and Europe including Opera Lafayette, Rebel, American Classical Orchestra, the Princeton Symphony and others. In addition to performing, Dr. Simkens has a true passion for teaching strongly driven to share her knowledge and experiences with her students. She teaches students of all ages and levels - beginning through adult.
|||Kimberly Syvertsen McCrann
Kimberly Syvertsen McCrann is in her ninth year as music director of the Montclair State University Youth Orchestra, where she conducts the Youth Orchestra, Junior Orchestra and Chamber Sinfonia. She has taught in both the college and pre-college divisions of MSU. Kimberly also conducts the Overture Strings (Youth Orchestras of Essex County) and the Gill St. Bernard's School Strings Ensemble. She is on the violin faculty of the Dwight-Englewood School. In the summer Kimberly co-directs "fiddle+stick", an interactive performance class for gifted violinists at Five Towns College. A Maryland native, Kimberly directed an after-school string class in the Baltimore City Public Schools through the Peabody Conservatory Outreach Program. The ergonomic pedagogy materials she developed for the class received praise in a performing arts medicine lecture of the MedChi (MD) Medical Society. She was also a feature panelist in a MedChi lecture at Peabody. As a clinician, Kimberly has given lectures at NJ CMENC (now NAfME) and conducted the Marywood University (PA) Honors String Orchestra. During her presidency, the MSU chapter of the American String Teachers Association was nationally recognized as "Most Outstanding Student Chapter" for 2007. While serving on the ASTA/NJ Board, she was editor-in-chief of NJ Strings. Her students have won awards, scholarships and competitions. Kimberly received her B.M. in violin performance from the Peabody Conservatory where she studied with Shirley Givens, and her Artist Diploma from Montclair State, where she was a scholarship student of Yi Wen Jiang. Her summer festival studies took place at the Heifetz International Music Institute. She studied jazz violin with John Blake and Suzuki pedagogy with Martha Thomas. Additional violin studies were with Matthew Pierce, Pamela Frank, Joseph Lin, and Tao Chang Yu. As a member of the Verismo Quartet, she was an Artist Fellow at Hampden-Sydney Music Festival.
Yen Yu, grew up in China and began studying the violin with her father at an early age. She entered WuHan Conservatory of Music at age 14, under the tutelage of Professor Zhou Xin Min. Ms. Yu was chosen by world renowned pedagogue Dorothy DeLay to study with her as a full scholarship student at the University of Cincinnati, and continue at the Juilliard School of Music. Her teachers were Kurt Sassmannshous; Masao Kawasaki and Robert Murray. She also spent many summers at the Aspen Music Festival, Grand Teton Music Festival, and Tanglewood Music Festival. Ms. Yu is an active chamber musician and recitalist, and has been praised by critics for her "mellow tone and rich timber." Her performance was named "best chamber concert of the year" by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. For over ten years Ms. Yu was a member of the Richmond Symphony, and served on the music faculty at the University of Richmond and the Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently, she lives in Montclair, New Jersey with her husband Honggang Li of the Shanaghai Quartet and their two children.
Lanny Paykin was born in New York where he attended the High School of Music and Art. He received his BA from Wesleyan University and the MM in Cello from the Juilliard School. Mr. Paykin maintains a diverse career in the New York area, appearing regularly with the NY City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera, in recording studios, and in solo and chamber music concerts. He is a member of Westchester Philharmonic, American Composers' Orchestra, and Brooklyn Philharmonic, often performing as principal for these orchestras, as well as for NY City Opera, NY City Ballet, Long Island Philharmonic, and American Symphony Orchestra. He has toured Asia with New York Philharmonic and performed with them at Avery Fisher Hall. His honors have included the Juilliard Alumni Award and the Paderewski Foundation Award.
Loretta O’Driscoll began studying music at the age of six, learning first piano and then flute. At the age of 12 she began studying harp and soon thereafter made it her primary instrument. At age 16, Loretta became the principal harpist for the New Jersey Youth Symphony. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Northwestern University and graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Masters of Music in Harp Performance and Literature. Loretta went on to perform frequently with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis Children’s Choir and the Saint Louis Women’s Chorale. She maintains a private studio and has also taught at the Thurnauer School of Music at the Kaplen JCC in the Palisades.
Contact number for faculty: 973-655-4443
Sophia Anastasia is a premier concert flutist in the New York area. She is a founding member of the Electrum Flute and Percussion Duo who were recently hailed by the New York Times as a duo whose “playing had an air of conversational spontaneity,” and how “Ms. Anastasia played with brightness and vigor...” In addition, she has also performed with the Shanghai String Quartet, flutists Carol Wincenc, Gary Schocker, and Linda Chesis. She has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Avery Fisher Hall, Town Hall, The Kennedy Center, Alice Tully and Merkin Concert Halls. She received her Bachelor’s degree in music education from Montclair State, a Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and a Doctoral degree from SUNY Stony Brook. She maintains a private teaching studio in New Jersey and is on faculty at Montclair State University’s Preparatory Center for the Arts.
Alyssa DiNapoli holds degrees from Rutgers University (MLIS) and Montclair State University (BM- Music Education and Flute Performance). She studied with Tanya Witek and Laura George and has performed throughout the state of New Jersey, including NJPAC. In addition to teaching at the Preparatory Center for the Arts, Ms. DiNapoli is also on faculty at the Wharton Music Center and maintains a private flute studio. Additionally, as a NJ state certified music educator, she teaches preschool through 8th grade vocal/general music at St. Mary’s Prep, in Denville.
Timpanist/Percussionist Adrienne Ostrander graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University School of Music. She has studied with George Gaber, Roland Kohloff and Buster Bailey. Adrienne is the timpanist/percussionist with SOLID BRASS and has traveled the United States, Canada and Mexico performing with this group and has made numerous recordings with them. Her local credits include the Broadway shows Into the Woods and Sunday in the Park With George and she has performed several productions at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ. Adrienne performs with the Princeton Symphony, Princeton Pro Musica, Westminster Choir College, Plainfield Symphony and the Garden State Philharmonic. . Adrienne has performed in festivals in Greece, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, France and Cuba. Adrienne coaches the New Jersey Youth Symphony and performs over 100 educational concerts yearly in NJ schools with Young Audiences of New Jersey, Solid Brass, The New Philharmonic of New Jersey, Arts Horizons, Arts Alive and BRAVO!
Contact number for faculty: 973-655-4443
George Spitzer is a versatile and vibrant singer in the fields of opera, oratorio, and the art song literature. He has sung in numerous operas, oratorios, and recitals. Recent appearances include the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Boston Early Music Festival, and the Kaufmann Center for the Arts. Professor Spitzer has built a solid reputation for teaching as well as performing. His students have received numerous accolades including scholarships and competition winners. Professor Spitzer has been elected for full membership in (NATS) National Association of Teachers of Singing, and the (NJMEA) New Jersey Music Educators Association He holds a B.M. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a M.M. from the Eastman School of Music.
Ensembles and Groups
Unless otherwise noted, contact faculty at 973-655-4443.
Charles Yassky - Director
Mr. Yassky has a BS & MS in Music Ed from the University of Illinois and a MS in School Administration from Iona College. He has taught at the University of Illinois, Baruch College, Bergen Community College, Northern Valley Regional HS in Old Tappan, NJ and is on the music staff at South Orangetown Central School District in Rockland County, NY. He is the Music Director of the Ramsey Wind Symphony and the Orangetown Concert Band and has been featured as a conductor and performer in the US, Canada, Europe and Israel. His publications include a transcription for wind orchestra of “Ouverture en Hommage á Mozart” by the Swiss composer Frank Martin (Universal Editions, Vienna) and the “Introduction to Act III” for Solo Clarinet and Wind Orchestra from Verdi’s opera La Forza del Destino (Baton Music, Netherlands). His transcription of the overture to Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute was performed in July at the 2010 Salzburg Music Festival in Austria and in China as part of the Ridgewood Concert Band’s recent concert tours. In addition, his TV theme for “ESPN College Football” was broadcast for the 18th season this year, and is one of the longest running sports themes currently on the air. Mr. Yassky has led recording sessions in studios throughout the world and has collaborated with many of today’s outstanding musical artists. He has produced and appeared on numerous albums for Angel-EMI, New World, Arabesque, and Helicon Records and his performances from these albums are heard frequently on NPR stations throughout the country.
Kimberly Syvertsen McCrann
See bio under Strings