Dimitry Olevsky, DMA

Violinist Dr. Dimitry Olevsky holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from UC Santa Barbara under the tutelage of the renowned violinist Yuval Yaron. The Master of Music degree was awarded from the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in New York under the guidance of professor Grigory Kalinovsky. It was during his studies at MSM that Dimitry pursued his interests in the field of Sport Psychology, which became the subject of his Doctoral thesis. ​By incorporating his researched principles in lessons, Dimitry’s methods successfully help develop and increase control of muscular and mental functions, accuracy, precision, discipline, mental awareness and overall coordination in violin performance. As feedback to his approach, students win title positions in prestigious music festivals, schools and orchestras, win honors awards in the Certificate of Merit program, and have performed at renowned concert halls in the USA, Prague, Vienna and Italy.

​In addition to solo and chamber recitals, Dimitry performs with symphonic and operatic orchestras in Los Angeles,has performed under the baton of premier conductors and has performed extensively in Russia, Egypt, Arab Emirates, Jordan, Amman, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Italy, England, Wales, Scotland, Austria, Czech Republic and France.

​Currently, Dimitry maintains a private studio, a faculty position with the Beverly Hills International Music Festival, Interharmony International Festival, Windward, and Colburn School. Working with students is an opportunity to share knowledge and experience while incorporating principles of the continuously developing science of Sports Psychology into improving as violinists, with further emphasis on social, mental, artistic performance, as well as on general psychological benefits and human enrichment.

Dr. Olevsky plays on an 1889 Riccardo Antoniazzi violin.

Ivana Malo

Croatian pianist Ivana Grubelic Malo received her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the Music Academy in Zagreb, where she studied with Sretna Mestrovic and graduated with top honors. She continued her studies at the London College of Music, where she completed a Master’s degree in Piano Performance studying with Raphael Terroni. While living in London she also had the opportunity to study with Philip Mead, Martino Tirimo and to assist Carola Grindea (founder of EPTA and ISSTIP) in the International Society for the Study of Tension in Performance. Ms. Malo has pursued doctoral work in Piano Performance at the USC Thornton School of Music studying piano with Antoinette Perry. During her studies, Ms. Malo had the privilege to learn from many prominent pianists including Malcolm Binns, Peter Feuchtwanger, Marina Horak, Tatiana Orloff-Tschekovsky, Edith Picht-Axenfeld, Alberto Portugheis and Penelope Roskell.

Ms. Malo has performed in England, Austria, Portugal, Croatia and the United States. She has been featured as a soloist on film soundtrack recordings with The Budapest Symphony, The Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra, The Budapest Strings and The Seattle Symphony Orchestra, released on Varese Sarabande Records, MovieScore Media and Quartet Records.

Ms. Malo is the Vice-President of the American Liszt Society SoCal Chapter, the President of the CAPMT San Fernando Valley Chapter, and CAPMT Contemporary Competition State Chair. She was the MTNA Senior Performance Coordinator for two years and was the Chair of the CAPMT Romantic/Impressionistic Competition for seven years.

Ms. Malo has developed a strong private piano studio and her students won many prizes at competitions (CAPMT Honors Competitions, Contemporary Competition, Romantic/Impressionistic Competition, Sonata/Sonatina Competition, Scholarship Competition, Glendale Piano Competition, Southwestern Youth Music Festival, the Southern California Junior Bach Festival). She is dedicated to inspiring her students with a lifelong love of music and also a solid foundation to develop healthy technique and musicality. Ms. Malo serves as adjudicator for various events and competitions, and she teaches on the faculty of the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts.

Dominic Cheli

Dominic Cheli’s playing has been described as “spontaneous yet perfect, the best of how a young person can play.” (Symphony Magazine). His rapidly advancing career included his Walt Disney Concert Hall Debut with legendary conductor Valery Gergiev where Dominic was described as “mesmerizing, (he) transfixed the audience…his fingers were one with each key.” (LA Times). He gave his Carnegie Hall Recital Debut in 2019 and has had a busy performing and recording career ever since. He recently recorded his 2nd CD on the Naxos label of the music of Liszt/Schubert, and a 3rd CD of the music of Erwin Schulhoff on the Delos Label featuring his collaboration on Piano Concerto no.2 with Maestro James Conlon. He also recently completed work as a composer, audio editor and performer on the documentary Defying Gravity (2021).

A native of St. Louis, Dominic has performed with orchestras all across the country and abroad including the San Diego Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Princeton Symphony, Colburn Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, Adrian Symphony, and the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie (Germany). He has worked with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, James Conlon, Kesho Watanabe, Gerard Schwarz, Yaniv Dinur, Markus Huber, Rossen Milanov, Arthur Fagen, Bruce Kiesling, Matthew Aucoin, and many others. Dominic recently debuted at several major festivals across the United States including the Ravinia Festival, Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Virginia Arts Festival. Upcoming engagements include appearances with the Seattle Symphony, a re-invitation to the Ravinia Festival, his debut at Alice Tully Hall, and recitals in Philadelphia, Washington D.C, and New York City.

In July 2017, Cheli’s 1st album, featuring the music of Muzio Clementi and released by Naxos, was hailed as “definitive performances, that match splendid playing with an appreciation of Clementi’s diverse, classically based style.” Also in 2017, Dominic was named 1st prize winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York City.

With a fascination and appreciation for the benefits of technology especially in our new virtual age, Dominic was appointed LIVE Director of Tonebase Piano in 2021. As a result, he is the host and presenter of numerous virtual lectures, performances and workshops each month to the 4,000+ subscribers on the platform. His mission is to share personal knowledge and invite guests to democratize high-level music education, allowing everyone to learn from and be inspired by the best!

Committed to engaging with his surrounding community, Dominic regularly perform at high schools, retirement homes, and gives both masterclasses and lectures for his younger audiences. Upon invitation, he has performed with Paul Coletti at ViolaFest in Los Angeles for younger students, and “Baby Got Bach” with Pianist Orli Shaham at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. Dominic has performed as an artist for Project: Music Heals Us,a non-profit organization that presents interactive classical music performances to diverse audiences in order to provide encouragement, education, and healing with a focus on elderly, disabled, rehabilitating, incarcerated, and homeless populations.

In his spare time, Dominic enjoys cooking and training for Ironman triathlons.

Sofia Kim

Korean-American, Los Angeles native Sofia Kim enjoys a varied and diverse performing career. She has concertized in esteemed venues like Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Kammermusiksaal at Beethovenhaus, Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Hilbert Circle Theater, and the Hollywood Bowl, among others. As a chamber musician, she founded the Monroe String Quartet, which formerly held the Kuttner residency at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Her quartet was invited to Bonn, Germany for a residency at the Beethovenhaus where they curated a recital program, working closely with Beethoven scholars. After the Bonn residency, her quartet recorded several unpublished Beethoven fragments for NAXOS’s 250th Beethoven commemoration set. As a soloist, Sofia was the concerto competition winner at Indiana University and has also been a top prize winner for the National Society of Arts and Letters Competition and the Los Angeles Rotary Competition. She is a former Dorothy Delay Starling fellow, a long-time recipient of the Maestro Foundation instrument loan program, and the recipient of scholarships from the Harmony Project Foundation and the Leni Fe Blande Foundation. As a freelance musician, Sofia has performed with orchestras such as the Indianapolis Symphony, collaborated with artists in various non-classical genres, and records regularly for video games, television, and film.

She has previously attended the Aspen Music Festival, the Colorado College Music Festival, Encore School for Strings, the Banff Centre, the Chautauqua Music Festival, and the Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea. Sofia holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University and prior to her studies at IU, she graduated with high honors from Northwestern University where she studied with Almita Vamos. Other former teachers include Simin Ganatra and Henry Gronnier.

Sofia is also an avid educator and has worked closely with Mimi Zweig and Stacia Spencer, teaching at Northwestern University’s String Academy and Indiana University’s String Academy. Alongside her Colburn position, she also teaches for the non-profit Caesura Program which provides a positive and enriching community through free, high-quality music education for low-income, urban youth.

Moni Simeonov

A native of Bulgaria, Moni Simeonov began playing the violin at age 5, and ten years later, came to the United States on a full scholarship to the Idyllwild Arts Academy in California. He earned his DMA at USC’s Thornton School of Music where he studied with Midori. An active member of the IRIS Orchestra, Mr. Simeonov also performs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Opera, Ensemble San Francisco, and until recently, served as the Concertmaster for the Sacramento Philharmonic. His doctoral studies included minor fields in Viola Performance, Schenkerian Analysis, Japanese Language, as well as an emphasis on the interpretation of Balkan folk music. On tour and in Los Angeles, Mr. Simeonov dedicates considerable time and energy to community engagement work and to musical activities and presentations for young people. Moni has performed and coached alongside Midori for her Orchestra Residencies Program American and International tours. Until 2014, he served as a director for the program. Outreach activities have taken him to places as diverse as homeless shelters in Los Angeles and at-risk centers in Tennessee, to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, and hospitals for the terminally ill in Sri Lanka.

Moni’s first CD recording was a result of his winning the Idyllwild Arts Academy Concerto Competition. Upon graduation from Idyllwild, he was named Most Outstanding Musician of his class. He continued his education at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Zvi Zeitlin on full scholarship, earned first prize at the school’s concerto competition, and was awarded a Performer’s Certificate. While at Eastman, Moni regularly performed on the school’s Antonio Stradivari of 1714. He also served as concertmaster for the Eastman Symphony, Philharmonia, and Opera Orchestras. Having earned his Artist Diploma from Yale University studying under Ani Kavafian, Moni completed his master’s in music there as well. He was the concertmaster for the Yale Opera, and Philharmonia Orchestras, as well as the New Music Ensemble. Following Yale, he earned his Graduate Certificate Degree from USC’s Thornton School of Music, where he studied with Midori and received the Outstanding Student Award.

Mr. Simeonov has attended several performance festivals, including Tanglewood, the Music Academy of the West, Pacific Music Festival, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

In the summers, Moni Serves as a violin teacher at the Interlochen Summer Festival, the Singapore Violin Festival, and the Atlantic Music Festival. In 2021, he created Bulgaria’s first chamber music festival “Quartet Intensive” in Sofia.

Mr. Simeonov has concertized and taught around the United States, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His recordings have been archived by PBS, NPR, KUSC, Bulgarian National Radio and TV, as well as Japanese Broadcasting Company—NHK. Upcoming tour destinations include Japan, England, China, Singapore, and Lebanon.

Past chamber music collaborations have involved members of the Berlin Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Tokyo and Ying String Quartets, as well as Jerome Lowenthal, Giora Schmidt, Joseph Silverstein, Zvi Zeitlin and Midori.

Moni served as Adjunct Instructor of Violin and Chamber Music at USC’s Thornton School of Music until 2014. That year, he was appointed Director of String Studies and Violin Professor with the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach.

Elizabeth Stoyanovich

Hailed as a charismatic and outstanding conductor, Elizabeth Stoyanovich was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times as “… extremely impressive…clean, emotional and translucent in performance [she] conducted an overplayed war-horse as a newly-played symphony full of vibrancy and originality…” during a Pacific Symphony Orchestra subscription concert in front of a 8,000 member audience at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in Southern California. The Orange County Register noted, “Stoyanovich showed that she is a splendid talent, musical and with rock-solid technique…[she] made the New World Symphony sound new again…her musical passion [is] unfailingly strong.”

Stoyanovich served for 12 seasons as Music/Artistic Director of the Orchestra of Saint Cecilia and has held many significant posts as a Music Director, Associate, Assistant, and Professor in the US. In fall of 2007, she had her English premiere guest conducting at the University of London, Kingston College Orchestra. In spring 2009 she premiered “Seven Last Words” by Patrick Stoyanovich at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.

With many years of teaching in the public schools, colleges and arts magnet schools, Ms. Stoyanovich serves as Music Department Chair at Palisades Charter High School teaching symphony orchestra, concert orchestra, jazz band, AP Music Theory and Business of Music. In the summer of 2019, she was hired as an adjunct faculty at Santa Monica College directing the symphony orchestra.

She completed successful tenures as Assistant Conductor of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Assistant Conductor of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Spokane Symphony, Education Conductor of the Fresno Philharmonic and Music Director of the Champlain Valley Symphony Orchestra and Bremerton Symphony Association. In addition, she served as Music Director of a number of outstanding ensembles for youths including the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Institute Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra and Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra.

Guest conducting appearances include: Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Women’s Philharmonic, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Chicago Civic Orchestra, L’Orchestra des Junes du Quebec, Paris Conservatory Orchestra, Newport Symphony Orchestra, Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, the Tulare County Symphony and a variety of events for young musicians. Elizabeth is also known for her appealing dialogue from stage “…Stoyanovich presented a splendid introduction to the complications of this work [Brahms Symphony #3] in her pre-concert talk-few people are better at this than she.” She was honored to present the pre-concert lecture in Orange County for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

In addition, she served as Music Director of a number of outstanding ensembles for youths including the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Institute Orchestra, Pacific Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra and Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra. Her teaching career has covered over 20 years working with the very young to seniors. She had a number of teaching posts including those with public schools in California (Saddleback Unified School District, Capistrano School District), Vermont, Connecticut and Michigan. She also has taught at the college level at California State University: Fullerton, State University of New York: Plattsburgh and as a guest at University of California: Los Angeles and University of California: Irvine.

Stoyanovich’s musical appeal makes strong impact on audiences of all ages, especially noted are her education concerts for their creative and dynamic approach. The PSO garnered special recognition from the American Symphony Orchestra League as one of three top education programs in this country along with the Boston Symphony and New York Philharmonic. She served as a board member of the American Symphony Orchestra League and in 1991 was chosen as the only woman from the U.S. to compete in the Min-On International Conducting Competition in Vienna, Austria. In 2006 she recognized as a significant emerging Music Director in the United States by being nominated for the ASOL Helen M. Thompson Award exhibiting excellence and dedication through exceptional musical leadership and commitment to organizational vitality.

Ms. Stoyanovich’s formal education was at The University of Michigan with further studies at Academie des Americaines de Musique in Fontainbleau, France under Leonard Bernstein and as an Augustus-Thorndike Fellow at The Tanglewood Music Center. She was born in Wisconsin has a home on Bainbridge Island, WA with her husband, Patrick, though she works in Pacific Palisades. Their two daughters artists: Antonia Stoyanovich is a visual artist and Sophia Stoyanovich is a violinist. Ms. Stoyanovich is also the CEO of Metrocitymusic.

Nita Baxani

Born in Hong Kong to a Chinese mother and Indian father, she immigrated to the United States at a young age. She grew up in Virginia and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Virginia Commonwealth University before moving on to attain a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. As a professional singer, she performed in U.S. National Tours, as well as at numerous venues across the United States and Europe as a soloist in operas, oratorio, and world premier works.

In her capacity as an educator, she has held leadership roles in arts programs and schools in both the United States and Germany. Her career includes leadership roles as Director of Music at elementary schools, Head of Music at an international school, and Head of Elementary school where she oversaw the day-to-day management and curriculum alignment between two campuses. Her work in creating new programs and curriculum design and implementation in early childhood and elementary school music programs are collaborative in nature and cover a variety of pedagogical approaches that foster an inclusive child centered environment. As an arts advocate, Dr. Baxani enjoys creating programs and cultivating partnerships with schools and community and cultural organizations.

Dr. Baxani is passionate about early childhood education and received a Doctor of Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, where her dissertation focused on the musicality of infants within a childcare community. At Teachers College, she was the music instructor and researcher at the Rita Gold Early Childhood Center working with children aged 3 months to 5 years. She also taught fieldwork courses in Early Childhood Music Education and supervised student teacher candidates. Her experience as a curriculum designer range from music and movement-based curriculum for infants ages 6 months to 36 months to music in elementary school classrooms. Dr. Baxani presents at conferences in the U.S. and internationally including at ISME and ECME. Her publications and work in research focus on young children, music, and community and include special research topics such as BambinO, an opera for babies, that was presented at the Metropolitan Opera.

A versatile educator, Dr. Baxani has experience teaching music to students in K-12 classrooms in both public and private schools, as well as serving as music facilitator in after school music programs, applied voice instruction, and group music instruction. Most recently, Dr. Baxani served as Director of Music at Carlthorp School, a K-6 independent school in Santa Monica. In higher education, she has served as Adjunct Assistant Professor at CUNY, teaching early childhood and elementary school music education courses. Dr. Baxani’s training also includes Elemental Music and Dance Pedagogy from the Carl Orff Institute in Salzburg, First Steps in Music, Conversational Solfege, Orff Schulwerk Level 1, and World Music Drumming Level 1. She focuses on the whole child and community, and she is passionate in her commitment to engaging students through collaboration in music making, inspiring students of all ages “to music” together.

Community School Spotlight: Anoush Pogossian

This interview has been edited for style, content, and clarity.

What is your musical background and how did you start playing clarinet?
My parents are both professional violinists and my siblings have both been playing music since I can remember. I actually started out on violin when I was around seven years old, but in the fourth grade, my best friend and I decided to start playing clarinet.

At my elementary school, they had a program where the older students showcased different instruments and you could choose to rent one out and attend little weekly rehearsals and group classes. So that’s what we did. And the way my mom puts it is that I came home one day with a box and said, “I’m playing clarinet now.” I guess that stuck.

Why do you like the clarinet?
I think it’s a way for me to sing because I don’t really have a good singing voice, but I always feel the urge to sing. So the clarinet is a good way for me to do that without making everyone’s ears bleed as much as they would from my voice.

How is it different from the violin?
With the clarinet, I think maybe it’s just the act of blowing air—where I feel like if I’m breathing as a part of the music, since it’s not an option on clarinet, I get to connect with it on a more natural level. I feel like I’m part of the instrument and music comes as a result of that connection rather than me just playing notes.

You mentioned that your parents are both professional musicians. How did that play into your relationship with music?
I think my relationship with music is something that I never really questioned or ever chose. It’s just another language that we kind of spoke in the household. And it’s something that I don’t think I could ever let go of because it is that personal to me. It’s tied to the experiences I had growing up.

What was the piece you chose to perform for this?
It’s the second movement of the Stravinsky Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet, and it’s notorious for having a lot of difficult passages because Stravinsky was very clear with what he wrote in the music.

It can be hard to try and not phrase actually, because you want it to be kind of rigid and robotic when it’s notated to be that way. And there’s a small section in the middle where you can sing, but for the rest he has very strict markings so it’s very difficult to try and stick to them. Yeah, and of course the notes aren’t any fun either.

What kind of music do you like to play the most?
Classical, but I’ve also been really getting into contemporary music, more modern things. The past couple of years I’ve been much more interested in that and have actually had the chance of premiering music.

How did you get into that?
It’s through the Yellow Barn’s Young Artists program, which I’ve gone to the past two summers. Part of the program is to work with composers your age and work side by side to premiere their pieces. I think that’s just as important as studying already existing repertoire.

It teaches me a lot about playing and how to approach existing repertoire. It’s also just exciting to get to work with composers and really make their pieces your own.

How did you bring that knowledge back to your classical studies?
I think it gives me some perspective on how to approach the music. Like each note I’m seeing, I try to see it as though I don’t know what’s coming next. It almost makes it feel like I’m writing the music.

I’m thinking “why would I put this particular note there? Why is it phrased a certain way? Why is this slur mark here and not over there?” It makes me question the little things that I wouldn’t notice before, and it drives me insane, but it’s a lot of fun.

What has it been like at Colburn the last four years?
It’s been really great. Something that I really like about the Community School is that there is a lot of flexibility. I get to kind of pick and choose different ensembles I want to be a part of, and I of course love taking lessons with my teacher, Michael Yoshimi. He’s been incredible to work with over the past three and a half years.

I participated in [Colburn Youth Orchestra] for a while and that was great, since I really enjoy playing in an orchestra. And I’m now in the Honors Chamber program in the [Ed and Mari Edelman] Chamber Music Institute. I love my group, and I’m really glad that I have the opportunity to do that here.

How do you think Colburn has contributed to your musical education?
The obvious answer is my teacher, Mr. Yoshimi. He’s the reason I’m here. I owe him a lot for the dedication and time that he’s put into my musical education and development. He really goes out of the way for his students—he records for us and he’s always there to answer our questions and help with our problems, and I’ve just been so fortunate to study with him during these past three and a half years. I feel like we really understand one another now and lessons are getting more and more productive as we keep working together.

Are you new to the Honors Chamber program?
This is my first year, but it’s been great. I love chamber music so much, and I really love my group. Chamber music was kind of my first introduction to playing when I had just started on the violin, and it’s something I get to do at Yellow Barn, and now it’s wonderful that I can do it here.

What’s different about this chamber group versus other ones you’ve played with?
Whenever I have other chamber groups, it’s in a very condensed amount of time. Like at Yellow Barn, we’ll have maybe 10 days to put together a piece. At other festivals, you just meet when you can.

But here it’s been really interesting to have rehearsals and coachings every week and see throughout the semester how our pieces change. So that’s been something that’s really nice, kind of letting what we do on the weekend marinate—we don’t have to rush to get it done for a concert that’s in two days. We have a lot more time to make the pieces our own. That’s something new that’s been really eye-opening.

You have a very impressive resume. What’s the most meaningful or exciting thing that you’ve done recently?
I was in the National Youth Orchestra this past summer, and we toured throughout Europe with Sir Antonio Pappano playing Strauss’s Alpine Symphony and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.

I still sometimes have a hard time believing it happened. I’ll look at the video of us playing at the BBC Proms, and I’ll think, “wait, that’s me. How did that happen?” It was just incredibly surreal.

That particular concert really stood out for me, because growing up in music, you constantly see videos of the Proms. You have that image in your head from different recordings on YouTube, so actually getting to perform on that very stage was just mind-blowing. Afterwards, I had to take a moment to stand there and look around me and just really appreciate the opportunity to be there.

What do you hope to do with your music in the future?
That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot with college applications and everything. I think I wouldn’t just want to perform since I’m excited to explore how music can fit into other areas of interest. Something I’ve had a lot of fun with is trying to bridge the gap between music and psychology and studying how they work with one another. Studying psychology in depth really helped me with my performance anxiety and how I think about and approach music.

What are your thoughts on the classical music field as a whole?
I think, in general, classical music could be a lot more about giving, because it can have a big impact on different people and different communities. I feel like the classical music industry could really think a lot more about what the point of performance is, or how we can help different audiences.

I’ve been involved with Music for Food for the past few years, for example, and I think the music has had much more purpose when I’ve performed through that rather than when I’ve just performed in a recital or something. With Music for Food, people will throw dollar bills in a violin case in front of us while we’re playing, but all of that money goes to food shelters. That’s been much more rewarding than any competition or video on YouTube.

I think more people should be asking, “how can we use this craft that we’ve all gotten to know and love to help other people?” People are starting to ask it more, like with the start of Street Symphony and how much Music for Food has grown in the past 10 years. And I think there are a lot of people who are asking that question, but I think the big organizations who already have power in the classical music field should be asking it too.

Anoush Pogossian performs Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet

Anoush Pogossian Performs Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet

The monthly Saturday Spotlight series highlights our outstanding students, faculty, and staff from across the school. Read other spotlight interviews.


Benjamin Lash

Benjamin Lash began studying cello at the age of six. In his early teens, as a first place winner of multiple Chicago area competitions, he performed concertos by Saint-Saëns, Shostakovich, Hindemith, and Haydn. Benjamin was a top prizewinner in the Washington International Competition. Recent concerto performances include Haydn’s C Major Cello Concerto with the University of Southern California (USC) Thornton Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Colburn Orchestra, and Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the Brentwood Symphony Orchestra.

Benjamin received his Bachelor’s of Music from the Colburn Conservatory of Music where he studied with Ronald Leonard. He completed a Master of Music degree at the USC Thornton School of Music where he studied with Ralph Kirshbaum.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Lash has participated in summer festivals including Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Sarasota Music Festival, Taos, Aspen, Holland International Music Sessions, Fortissimo Fest in Bulgaria, and Franco-American Chamber Music Festival in Missillac, France. He is also a member of SAKURA, a Los Angeles based cello quintet.

John Hallberg, DMA

John Hallberg, a Southern California native, is highly in demand as both a performer and educator in the Southern California area and ranks among the most esteemed and admired saxophonists of his generation. He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in the United Kingdom, Croatia, France, Belgium, Sweden, China, Hong Kong, and across the United States. Dr. Hallberg’s career has taken him to many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Segerstrom Concert Hall, McCormick Place, Bovard Auditorium, Zipper Concert Hall, and Meng Concert Hall. He has performed under the batons of notable conductors such as H. Robert Reynolds, Frank Battisti, Ray Cramer, Carl St. Clair, Larry Rachleff, Richard Heidel, and John Carnahan. Dr. Hallberg can be seen and heard on broadcasts of UITV, KUSC, and KCCK.

Dr. Hallberg currently instructs saxophone at California State University-Fullerton, the Colburn School, and the Orange County School of the Arts. He has also previously taught applied saxophone at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Many of his students have successfully auditioned into leading undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. They have also successfully competed in North American Saxophone Alliance solo and chamber music competitions, Music Teachers National Association solo and chamber music competitions, and multiple California honor bands across the state.

Dr. Hallberg received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Saxophone Performance with minors in Music Theory and Analysis, Music Technology, and Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California. Dr. Hallberg also holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Iowa, and a Bachelor of Music degree from The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University-Long Beach.

Dr. Hallberg is a Yamaha Performing Artist and plays on Yamaha Saxophones exclusively.