Clarissa Shan – Voice, Piano
Clarissa Shan earned her Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Arts at the University of Southern California (USC), under full scholarship, where she studied under Cynthia Munzer, Erie Mills, Raejin Lee, and Aram Barsamian. Her specialty major is Opera and Sacred Music. She is currently on the faculty as a vocal instructor at La Sierra University, and also teaches private and group voice classes as a Teaching Assistant at USC. In addition to her busy schedule, she is also Choir Director at Emerson Unitarian Universialist Church and serves as a Soprano Soloist at the Glendale City Seventh-day Adventist Church. While working towards her degree, she taught at several music schools on voice and intermediate piano to young children. Her notable awards include 1st places at the Redlands Bowl Young Artist Competition, and the Riverside Opera Guild Vocal Scholarship Competition, Grand Prize at the Brentwood Westwood Symphony Young Artist Competition, and top prizes at the California Women’s Chorus Vocal Scholarship Competition and NATS-LA Gwendolyn Roberts Young Artist Competition. Ms. Shan has performed with the Brentwood Symphony, the Burbank Philharmonic, and performed in masterclasses with Michelle DeYoung and Vladamir Chernov. Clarissa has also performed multiple opera roles and solo concerts throughout Southern California. She has many years of teaching experience in both voice and piano; and is proficient in preparing students for Certificate of Merit.
Jessica Hall - Piano
Oregon native Jessica Hall is a professional coach/pianist in the Southern California region. She has performed in recital with baritone Rod Gifry, and for masterclasses with Nathan Gunn, Eric Halfvarson, Sherri Greenawald, Kate Lindsey, Erie Mills, Georgine Resick, and W. Stephen Smith. At the 2011 Classical Singer National Convention, she served as one of the official pianists for masterclasses and competitions, including the final masterclass with Wagnerian soprano, Jane Eaglen. Jessica has worked in the vocal departments at Chapman University, Pasadena City College, and Scripps College, and has been the primary pianist for the prestigious Spotlight Awards Classical Voice Master Class since 2009. She attended the New York Opera Studio Summer Program with Nico and Carol Castel as a pianist/coach on full scholarship. She is an Operaworks alumna and a staff pianist for OperaWorks’ summer and winter programs.
In productions, Jessica served as a Fellowship Opera Coach/Pianist at the 2012 and 2013 Aspen Music Festival and School, primarily coaching Candide under conductor George Manahan and Sweeney Todd under conductor Robert Spano and director Edward Berkley. She has served on the musical staffs of several Los Angeles area opera companies, including Pacific Opera Project for their productions of Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte. She was the rehearsal pianist for the world premiere of The First Lady, a chamber opera by Kenneth Wells, presented by the UCLA Semel Institute, and for The RED Stamp’s musical theater productions of Ragtime: In Concert and Songs for a New World.
Jessica holds a Master of Music and Graduate Certificate from the University of Southern California. This year, she has completed her doctoral studies in the Keyboard Collaborative Arts program under the tutelage of Dr. Alan Smith.
Juan Hernandez – Classical & Electric Guitar
Juan Hernandez has been a guitarist for over 20 years and has been teaching privately for more than 10 years. He pursued the study of guitar in schools such as Santa Monica College and Los Angeles City College. He received his Bachelors and Masters degree from California State University Los Angeles where he was a recipient of the Friends of Music Scholarship under the tutelage of the well known guitarist Dr. Matthew Elgart of the celebrated Elgart/Yates Duo.
Mr. Hernandez’ students have varied widely in age and music experience. He has been particularly successful in taking beginning students and transforming them into confident-level guitarists. Apart from classical guitar, Juan is also an accomplished electric guitarist and instructs in rock and pop styles as he has participated in the modern music scene by playing in diverse rock and pop bands and has performed in various Hollywood venues such as The Whiskey, The Roxy, The Viper Room, and The Cat Club. He has also provided motivational and professional support to other bands and groups with music arrangement and the development of distinct musical styles.
Mr. Hernandez has performed in more than 50 guitar performances that include recitals and private events and he performs regularly at All Saints Episcopal Church in Highland Park.
Michael Couper – Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Hailed by the New York Times for his “sweet intensity” and “insinuating smoothness,” Michael Couper, saxophone, is a proponent of the advancement of saxophone repertoire to include new music, traditional music reinterpreted, and innovations in pop styles. Dr. Couper is a founding member of the critically-acclaimed Mimesis Ensemble, a group based in New York City that is dedicated to performing contemporary works. With the Mimesis Ensemble, he performs premieres in many venues across New York, including Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, and Carnegie Hall. Utilizing the saxophone, clarinet, and flute, Dr. Couper plays frequently for musical theater productions and studio recording sessions. He is an active teacher and performer in the community, with a private studio comprised of woodwind and music theory students, and positions at several local community music schools and conservatories. He holds degrees from the University of Southern California, the New England Conservatory, and San Diego State University and is a Conn-Selmer artist endorsing Yanagisawa saxophones. He is a member of the MTAC.
Jessica Chou - Piano
Jessica Chou, currently based in the Los Angeles community, is an active performer of both solo and chamber music. A native of Taiwan, Ms. Chou has worked with numerous world-renowned pianists and pedagogues such as Ivo Pogorelich, Konstantin Ganev, Alexander Kobrin, Boris Berman, Ruth Slenczynska, Vladimir Krainev, Barry Snyder, Arie Vardi, Hae Sun Paik, Gwyneth Chen, Alessio Bax, Jeffrey Swann, and Steven Mayer. Her many awards and honors received in the Chicago area include the Samuel and Elinor Thaviu Award in Piano Performance and the Lucy P. Cantrell Fund for Piano students. Ms. Chou has also participated and performed in many summer festivals such as Bowdoin International Music Festival, International Keyboard Institure & Festival at Mannes College, Aspen Music Festival and School, and Masterworkds Festival. A recent Master’s graduate from Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where she studied with Alan Chow, Ms. Chou is currently pursuing her studies of the Doctoral of Musical Arts at the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California under the tutelage of Norman Krieger. Her former and current chamber music coaches include Elizabeth Buccheri, Sylvia Wang, Alan Smith, and Kevin Fitz-Gerald. In addition to being an artist and a performer, Ms. Chou devotes her time in teaching and greatly enjoys working as a teacher. Ms. Chou specializes in teaching students of all ages from age 3 and up (group and private lessons), including Young Musician’s group classes. Jessica is a member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC).
Hannah Chen – Violin, Viola & Piano
Hannah Chen is a classically trained pianist and violinist, raised in Taiwan. She is a member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC). At the National Taiwan Normal University, she was trained by primarily three well-known violinists: Professors Chia-Hong Liao , Keng-Yuen Tsen, and Nai-Yuan Hum. After her move to California, she has attended many masterclasses with renowned musicians, including Katia Popov, Moni Simeonov, David Lisker, and performed with the Avalon quartet. Throughout her music career, Hannah has a garnered performance experience with various orchestras, chamber music, musicals, and pop concerts. She has won several competitions in violin and chamber music. She has studied with well-renowned artist Professor Henry Gronnier, the faculty of USC and the Colburn School of Music. She is a scholarship student at California State University, Long Beach, and was under the tutelage of renowned pedagogue Linda Rose. Ms. Hannah has been teaching strings and piano in private and group settings for several years to date.
Ryan Luevano – Trumpet, Composition, Music History
Ryan Luevano is a local composer, conductor, musician, and musicologist. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Musicology from California State University, Long Beach – Cole Conservatory of Music, where he also worked as a teaching associate. As a classical/jazz trumpet player he has performed with tournament of Roses Honor band, the Pasadena Pops Orchestra, the Crown City Symphony, and in various musical theater productions. He performs regularly with his jazz band, The Crown City Combo, in various venues in the greater Los Angeles area.
In the field of music composition, Ryan is an avid composer, composing for various genres and ensembles. Among these genres, Ryan’s specialty is composing new musical theater works. In 2010, he joined the Academy of New Musical Theater and with that organization, he composed his first musical theater piece, Shoot Ma!, which premiered at the Colony Theater in Burbank. Additionaly, in 2011 he composed his second musical, Experience Magic! A Musical Within a Magic Show, which premiered at the Sierra Madre Playhouse in 2012.
In addition to musical theater, Ryan has created a new market for himself – composing for magic shows. Since 2010, Ryan has been writing music for magic shows for many professional magicians from in infamous Magic Castle. Ryan is currently writing a book on the use of music in the magical arts.
Shenhua Hu – Violin
Shenhua Hu, a professional violinist, was a concertmaster of the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra for seven years. He has performed in several countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Thailand, and Singapore, performing as the first violin chair of the Shenzhen Orchestra. He has also collaborated with several famous musicians, such as world renowned pianists Lang Lang and Yuan Fang, violinists Midori, Adam Lamoum, Zhang Le, Huang Bin, Li Chuanyun, and tenor vocalist Jose Carreras. He as organized several string quartets for the past decade, receiving high acclaim for his technique and performing skills. His other talents include transcribing music scores and giving solo violin concerts.
As an instructor, Mr. Hu has been teaching the violin for almost 10 years, providing his students of all ages his skills in bowing technique and performing virtuosity. He is known to be very patient and able to resolve difficult techniques for his students. He has experience in preparing his students for annual violin examinations and competitions, several of them winning first prize.
Mr. Hu received his Bachelors degree from the Central Conservatory of Music in China; and is now living in California, where he garnered a Graduate Certificate at the University of Southern California, under the tutelage of Professor Suli Xue.
Vincent Yang – Piano
Beijing born Canadian pianist Vincent Yang received his Bachelors of Music from the University of Southern California under the tutelage of Dr. Stewart L. Gordon. Vincent is an accomplished performer whose recordings have aired on KUSC radio as well as NPR’s From The Top. Vincent is also a top prize winner at numerous competitions. Prizes include the Grand Prize from the Los Angeles Liszt Competition in 2010, Glendale Piano Competition, and Torrance Symphony Competition. Vincent has received scholarships from the Musical Merit Foundation of Greater San Diego four separate times as well as scholarships from the Young Musician’s Foundation and the Leni Fe Bland Foundation. As a bilingual piano teacher, Vincent has many years of experience teaching beginning to advanced students (private and group lessons) and regularly prepares students for the Certificate of Merit program as well as other Music Teachers’ Association of California sponsored events. Vincent is an active member of the Pasadena Branch of MTAC.
Corinne Sobolewski – Viola, Violin
Beginning her classical music studies at age 11, violist Corinne Victoria Sobolewski has achieved many accomplishments despite having started learning her instrument at a late age. She describes herself as a “pure bred violist,” having started on viola and not violin. She began her studies with Philadelphia Orchestra violist, Che-Hung Chen and was later accepted into The Juilliard School of Music in New York. During this time, she participated in several trios, quartets, and quintets at school as well as the Pacific Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. After four years of study under the tutelage of renowned violist and violinist, Masao Kawasaki, Corinne graduated Juilliard with honors and pursued her graduate studies at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music under full scholarship. An avid chamber and orchestral musician, Corinne has performed in many great concert halls in the world, including: Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as abroad in Japan and Italy. In 2011, she was accepted into the prestigious Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, and sat as an assistant principal for almost the entirety of the festival. She is currently under the tutelage of violist, Che-Yen Chen. Corinne is proficient in teaching strings in private and group settings of all ages. In the future, Corinne plans to continue teaching students and also performing for a major symphony orchestra.
Rhythm Luna – Drums
Born with a name for music, Rhythm Luna began his music career at age 9 playing the violin. By 10, he had found his passion for the drums and has been playing ever since. Rhythm attended South Hills High School where he participated in a multi-award winning band and percussion ensemble, studying under Tony Nunez. His drumline ensemble won the World Championships in 2008. His college education was at Citrus College followed by Berklee College in Boston. He studied Jazz Performance, Electronic Production and Design under mentors Dave Weigert and Bertram Lehman. While in Boston, he helped run a collective of local electronic musicians, and hosted a weekly radio show. Following college, Rhythm has played and toured with high-ranking artists including Shwayze, Riff Raff, and Devin K. Playing a wide range of styles including jazz, gospel, hip-hop, pop, etc., he can be found playing various groups across the Los Angeles area. In addition to his drumming expertise, Rhythm is an avid producer and DJ, and has performed in various clubs and festivals around the country.
Vítor Melo – Acoustic & Electric Guitar
Vítor Melo is a Brazilian multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer based in Southern California. He started playing the guitar at the age of nine, influenced by his father, who had worked with music and taught his first chords. From the very beginning, Vítor was in contact with a broad variety of music styles, which made him develop into a highly versatile musician. He has been performing and working in different music groups and as a solo artist since his early teenage years. After being awarded scholarships in three different colleges, he moved to the United States to attend the Los Angeles College of Music Guitar Program. He graduated with the highest honors in the program and was hired to work and represent the Guitar Department while still a student. Vítor is a prolific musician and is part of several projects that range from upbeat funk rock to virtuosic jazz fusion. He performs all over Los Angeles on a weekly basis on original projects or as a sideman and session musician. Along with performing, he also has many years of teaching experience, having worked with students of all ages and levels.
Jose Ruiz – Trombone
Jose Ruiz is a seasoned trombone player with 20 years of experience. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance from Florida International University in Miami, FL.
Through the years, Jose has played with several noted artists in the Latin/Latin Jazz/Salsa/Latin Rock/Jazz/Funk/R&B/SKA/Reggae/Classical communities, proving his versatility. Some of the artists with whom Jose has shared the stage include: Christian Castro, Eddie Santiago, Rey Ruiz, Lalo Rodriguez,Tito Nieves, Ismael Miranda, Lefty Perez, Arturo Sandoval, Nestor Torres, Paquito De Rivera, Richie Rey y Bobby Cruz, Tony Vega, Bobby Valentine, Tito Puente Sr., Tito Puente Jr., and Bill Watrous. In 2013, Jose won a Grammy award for recording the Best Tropical Album of the Year, “Retro.”
In addition to playing, he is skilled in writing and arranging in a variety of genres.Also, he has 10 years of education experience teaching in the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, both privately and in the public sector. During this time, Jose has not only taught students in the classroom, but has directed school bands to successfully perform in their yearly evaluations.
Alexandra Tseng Engen – Flute, Piccolo
As a biracial performer and composer, Alexandra Tseng Engen writes & performs music that calls attention to the identity struggles and conflicts multiracial people often face in society, contrary to the idealized image created by media. Her keen interest in new music and composition as a medium of expression developed during her undergraduate studies in flute performance at the University of California, Davis, where she decided to take on composition lessons, studying with Ross Bauer, Mika Pelo, Laurie San Martin, and Sam Nichols. In 2011, she wrote her first string quartet, Mixtures, which incorporated dissonance throughout the piece to symbolize the internal dissonance that mixed people, like herself, experience on a daily basis. Alexandra’s goal, as a performer-composer, is to tell her story through writing the music she performs, and to inspire a new generation of musicians to express themselves through music as she has learned to do through her own.
Alexandra earned her Masters of Music degree in Flute Performance from the NYU Steinhardt: School of Performing Arts Professions, where she studied with world-renowned performer-composer, Robert Dick.
Till Richter – Drums, Percussion, Piano
Born in Braunschweig, Germany, Till started playing drums at the age of three and played his first professional gig at the age of nine with his father’s band. He also learned piano since the age of six. Through his teens, Till continued to play in several high school and private music school bands in his hometown. He had the privilege of studyiing with Benny Greb, Jost Nickel, and Stephan Emig. He worked with renowned musicians Brad Rabuchin, Phil Bynoe, David Garfield, Joe Porcaro, Dorian Holley, Richie Garcia, and Pathik Desai. He recorded and performed with artists such as Alex Knolle, Jazzkantine, and Satellite View. He also participated and won the nationwide competition Jugend Musiziert as well as the Drumheads-Playalong contest.
Till attended the Los Angeles College of Music in Pasadena, earning a degree in Drum Performance. He founded the pop/rock band and Grammy U Amplifier Contest winner Bonavox, who released an EP at South by Southwest in March 2014. Till currently performs drums throughout Southern California, including music videos and live concerts. He teaches drum and piano lessons for all ages.
Charlotte Yap – Cello, Piano
Charlotte, a graduate of Berklee College of Music, is a performance and session cellist and has been playing for over 15 years. She started learning the piano at the age of 4 and began simultaneously learning the cello at age 6. Since her stint at Berklee College of Music, Charlotte has played in over 300 film and studio sessions, and on various albums including the string section for Dream Theatre, Solo for the Society of Composers recital and Berklee’s Opera orchestra.
Charlotte has mastered classical piano and cello in Singapore. She was accepted into Singapore National Youth Orchestra at the age of 12, and has played in various orchestras including the National University of Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Saint Nicholas Girls’ School String Orchestra. Charlotte has also held her own concert with her quartet – Deja vu and performed at many prime venues in Singapore such as Marina Bay Sands and Raffles Country Club. She has been teaching piano and cello consistently for 8 years and taught students of all ages. Charlotte currently teaches cello and piano and does session work for feature films and various bands around Los Angeles.
Ark Sano – Jazz Piano
Known as the pianist of the jazz band Black Note, Ark Sano is reputed as one of the top pianists on the jazz scene. As a Summa Cum Laude graduate and scholarship recipient of the Berklee College of Music with a major in Jazz and Composition, one of his highest achievements was when he became a finalist of The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. He has appeared in numerous recordings with Black Note, and produced four albums, including “Jungle Music” and “Nothin But Swing.” He has appeared in well-known Jazz Festivals at North Sea, Monterey, Montreal, and JVC. In addition to his talented jazz skills, Ark is a composer, music arranger, music director and conductor of the Japan Chamber Music Ensemble.
Stephanie Jones- Voice, Piano
Stephanie Jones, Mezzo Soprano, is currently pursuing her Masters degree at the University of Southern California, and studies with Professor Cynthia Munzer. She will be highlighted this Spring as Miss Jessel, in The Turn of the Screw in the Opera Scenes program and as Diane in Iphigenie en Tauride in the Spring Opera. She is a member of USC’s Chamber Singers. She won second place in the senior division of the Intimate Opera Company’s 9th Annual Vocal Competition. She sang in musical theatre productions as Sister Sophia in The Sound of Music, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, and Stephanie in Godspell. She has won scholarships from The Riverside Opera Guild, The Raincross Chorale, and Intimate Opera Company. Stephanie is featured as a solo artist in recitals across Southern California. In Opera Scenes productions she performed the Countess in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, and other characters in Hansel & Gretel and Menotti’s The Old Maid and The Thief. Miss Jones teaches voice as a Student Instructor at USC and sings at Orange Coast church and Claremont United Church of Christ.
Jonathan Stehney – Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Saxophone
Jonathan Stehney is an active bassoonist whose focus is contemporary & experimental music. He has traveled throughout the United States as well as abroad performing new works for bassoon and contrabassoon. He had the great opportunity to work with new composers on new ways to write for the bassoon, as well as working with known composters such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Pierre Boulez, Peter Eoetvos, Olga Neuwirth, James Tenney, Mark Menzies, Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others. Jon’s studies have brought him abroad several times where he studies extensively with Pascal Gallois, Paul Riveaux, and the EIC. He received his BFA in performance from Cal Arts in 2004, where he currently works as the adjunct bassoon teacher. He followed with his Master’s degree and PSD from SFCM, and is finishing his DMA at SUNY Stonybrook. Jon also plays oboe, english horn, saxophone, and clarinet frequently for various orchestras and musical theater pits.
Annie Chen – Piano
Annie Chen is the co-founder of 88 Keys Music Academy in Arcadia, California. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Southern California, where she studied with Nancy Bricard, Bernandene Blaha, and James Bonn. Ms. Chen has performed in master classes with such world-renowned artists as Nelita True, Menahem Pressler, John Perry, Cecile Ousset, and Andre Watts. Privately she has also worked with Constance Keene, Cecile Ousset (Puycelsi, France), and Bernardo Segall. Ms. Chen’s has earned many awards and honors such as first prize in the International Piano Concerto Competition of Washington D.C., the International Young Artist Peninsula Music Festival and numerous Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) piano solo/chamber music competitions and scholarships. Ms. Chen is an active board member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California-Los Angeles Branch, Music Teachers National Association, and California Association of Professional Music Teachers. Ms. Chen maintains an active schedule as a solo artist and keyboard collaborative performer. She is currently on the faculty at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. Ms. Chen also serves as a member of MTAC’s Certificate of Merit Council.
Carrie Lui-Deguzman – Piano
Carrie Lui-Deguzman is the co-founder of 88 Keys Music Academy in Arcadia, California. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry, and a minor degree in Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Years later, she received her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Southern California. She studied under the keyboard instruction of Norman Krieger, Lucinda Carver, & Antoinette Perry. She has also performed in the masterclasses of Peter Feuchtwanger and Andre Laplante. Carrie has been teaching piano to students of all ages for over 20 years, preparing them for annual state music examinations and numerous piano competitions. Her many personal awards include first prize in the Glendale competition, first prize in the MTAC Memorial Scholarship competition, multiple awards from the Southwestern Youth Music Festival, placements in the Long Beach Mozart Festival, and the Los Angeles International Liszt competition. Aside from her musical career, she works as a Clinical Lab Scientist Specialist at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She has been an active member of the MTAC Los Angeles County Branch for over 15 years and currently serves as their Treasurer and co-branch chair of the Southern California Junior Bach Festival and chair of the LA Branch College Scholarship.
The 8 E’s: 88 Keys’ Goals to Musical Success
Every students’ goal is to…
To learn music theory, music history; to develop sightreading and aural skills and to evaluate the student’s progressive learning through the schools’ unique curriculum: 8 Keys to Musical Achievement Program. State and nationwide evaluations are also offered: Certificate of Merit, Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, and ABRSM(Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) exams. There are opportunities to prepare for Music Competitions and AP Music Theory exams [high school students].
To learn to develop musical skills in performance by guidance from 88 Keys instructors. By interpreting and understanding the music they learn, they will utilize music as a tool to evoke mood and passion.
To introduce other areas of music – jazz studies & improvisation , composition, conducting, offer workshops and group sessions on learning about today’s music industry: i.e. digital sound media, midi programming, film scoring, music arranging, etc.
…but most of all:
To make music fun to learn, enjoyable, and to share the students’ talent/skills with their friends & family. We expand students’ performance skills through themed recitals and ensemble performances.
88 Keys Instructors will provide…
Staff consists of highly trained music teachers with strong musical backgrounds and 5 or more years of teaching and performing experience. They all come from reputable universities and conservatories.
88 Keys instructors strive to provide the best possible education to students, and are able to adjust their teaching methods to cater each student’s learning ability. However, if ever a student is not currently satisfied with their instructor, arrangements can be made to learn from another one.
88 Keys instructors accesses each student’s progress through annual evaluations. Students will be prepared by their instructor to accomplish elements of an instrument curriculum level and be evaluated every year.
Teachers have a passion for music! They love to share their musical expertise and knowledge and encourage their students to develop musical talent and creativity through careful guidance.