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.
Keyboard, Percussion, Strings, Woodwinds, Voice, Ensembles and Groups
Contact number for faculty: 973-655-4443
Contact number for faculty: 973-655-4443
|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.
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
Suzuki strings coordinator
Ruth Brons Website
Ruth Brons has overseen the development of the Preparatory Center Suzuki program since 2003 with the assistance of violin faculty and the ASTA Student Chapter teaching assistants. She has also developed a Suzuki program at the Montclair Cooperative School and maintains a full private lesson studio, teaches many Book Classes, and is sought after as a clinician, adjudicator and chamber coach. In recent years she has served in these roles for the South Carolina Suzuki Institute, ASTA String Festival, Cumberland Valley School of Music, NJIO Chamber Workshops, Stirling Duo Chamber Workshops, ASTA Certificate Advancement Program exams, and the Suburban Music School Certificate Program. In addition to teaching, she has extensive performance experience in period Baroque ensembles and modern orchestras. She has been Associate Professor in Music History at both Gettysburg College and Harrisburg Area Community College. Ruth is currently a member of the Westfeld Symphony, Colonial Symphony, Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, and St. Cecelia Chorus and Orchestra. In 2008 Ruth invented universal-fit, patent-pending bow accessories to help string students achieve an accomplished bow hold in an instant. She makes the trademarked Bow Hold Buddies bow accessory for violin/viola and CelloPhant bow accessory for cello. 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, Leonard Mogill, Max Aronoff and Evelyn Jacobs.
Wei Leng Cheang
Kimberly Chiesa recently received her Bachelors degree in Music Education from the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. During her time as an undergraduate she was an active member of the ASTA@MSU college chapter. She has been teaching at the Preparatory Center for the Arts for five years as a private lesson instructor, Pre-Twinkle beginning violin class instructor and as an assistant in the youth orchestra. Kim received her Suzuki Teacher Training for Violin Book I at the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut and Books II and III at Ithaca College’s Suzuki Institute in New York State. Recently, Kim began her public school teaching career as an Elementary Strings teacher in the Randolph School District. Additionally, in 2011, she helped manage the New Jersey Region I junior and high school orchestras.
Amelia DeSalvio Muccia
Amelia DeSalvio Muccia started playing violin as a Suzuki violin student at the Preparatory Center for the Arts at Montclair State University and later went on to study at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division. She received her bachelors degree in music education from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and a masters degree in performance from the Cali School of Music. Her Suzuki violin teacher training and certification was completed at the Ithaca College Suzuki Institute. Amelia has experience teaching private Suzuki violin lessons as well as public school strings and orchestra classes. She has performed with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra and Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra at various venues including Carnegie Hall. Amelia was also a performer at the School for Strings 25th Anniversary Celebration Concert. She has performed chamber music concerts with the Assisi Music Festival in Assisi, Italy. Currently, she performs with the Livingston Symphony Orchestra and the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra.
Kimberly Syvertsen is in her sixth year as director of the Youth Orchestra at the John J. Cali School of Music. She received her B.M. in violin performance from the Peabody Conservatory where she studied with Shirley Givens, and her Artist Diploma from Montclair where she was a scholarship student of Yi-Wen Jiang. She has taught in both the college and pre-college divisions of MSU. She has been the conductor of the Overture Strings (Youth Orchestras of Essex County) since 2006. Miss Syvertsen is also on the strings faculty of the Dwight-Englewood School. During her tenure in the Verismo Quartet, she was an Artist-Fellow at Hampden-Sydney College. An advocate in music education, she has been on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory Outreach Program and the JCC Thurnauer School’s Music Discovery Program. Under her direction as president, MSU’s ASTA Chapter was nationally awarded “Most Outstanding Student Chapter”. Miss Syvertsen is the Editor-In-Chief of NJ Strings. She enjoys guest conducting and clinician work, and her students have won awards, scholarships, and concerto competitions.
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.
Leigh Stuart - Website
Leigh Stuart is a versatile cellist who has toured the U.S. extensively as a chamber musician, performing in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Radio City Music Hall, the Spoleto Festival (Italy), and countless others. She has appeared with a wide range of ensembles and artists including Beyonce, Jay-Z, The Mahavishnu Project, The Roots, Savion Glover, Sufjan Stevens, and the Wordless Music Orchestra. Leigh is also a founding member of the boundary-breaking Fireworks Ensemble, which recently released an album of chamber rock pieces by Frank Zappa on E1/Koch. She received her bachelor’s degree from the Hartt School, her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, and her Suzuki training from The School for Strings. A dedicated teaching artist and certified Suzuki teacher, Leigh has been on faculty at The Preparatory Center for the Arts since 2004. She has also been on the faculties of the Harlem School for the Arts, the Hotchkiss School, the Third St. Music School, and is currently on faculty at the Diller-Quaile School of Music.
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.
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
Chikae Ishikawa serves on the faculty of the Thurnauer School of Music at JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly, NJ, the Lucy Moses School of Music and Dance outreach program in Manhattan (voice/chorus). She taught general music at the Chapin School and the Town School in Manhattan and Dalcroze eurhythmics at Lucy Moses School of Music and Dance. She has performed on Broadway in A Chorus Line (Dir. Michael Bennett), and nationally in Nine (Dir. Tommy Tune), Stop the World-I Want To Get Off (Dir. Anthony Newley). She has given vocal performances at the Shubert Theatre, Metropolitan Opera House, Madison Square Garden, Kennedy Center, Dorothy Chandler Pavillion and various jazz venues. She studied jazz theory, piano and improvisation at the Mannes College of Music, trained at the New York Dalcroze School, Hoff-Barthelson School of Music, and the Longy School of Music. She holds an Arts in Education Certificate from Marymount Manhattan College. She has also studied jazz piano, vocal and improvisation with Dr. Barry Harris, and piano, composition and theory studies with W. A. Mathieu.
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.
See bio under Voice
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.
See bio under Strings