Jonathan William Brown

Since 2002, Jonathan Brown has been the violist of the Cuarteto Casals, with whom he has performed in all of the major concert halls in Europe, North America, and Asia as well as making numerous recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label including repertoire ranging from Bach through Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven to Bartók, Ligeti and Shostakovich. As a guest violist, Mr. Brown has performed with the Tokyo, Jerusalem, Kuss, Marmen, Miro, Zemlinsky, Quiroga, and Armida quartets and has been on the jury of international quartet competitions in London, Salzburg, Prague, and Katowice. Mr. Brown has also been an artistic director of the Da Camara chamber orchestra, the contemporary ensemble FUNKTION and Musethica Spain.

Since 2003, he has been professor of viola and chamber music at ESMUC in Barcelona and since 2011, assistant professor of viola at the Escuela Reina Sofía in Madrid. Outside of these positions, he has given masterclasses in Köln, London, Aix-en-Provence, Den Haag, Weikersheim, Fiesole, Linz, Lübeck, Essen, Rotterdam, Los Angeles, and Cleveland, among others. Originally from Chicago, his principal viola teachers were Martha Strongin Katz, Karen Tuttle, Heidi Castleman, Thomas Riebl, and Veronika Hagen and he was deeply influenced by Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág.

Mr. Brown is Professor of Chamber Music for the Colburn Conservatory and on the chamber music and viola faculty for Colburn’s Music Academy.

Dr. Tammy S. Yi

Dr. Tammy S. Yi is a first-gen conductor-educator, string pedagogy specialist, and music education scholar from Los Angeles, CA. She is the orchestra conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic YIYO Orchestra, director of Mariachi Panteras, and assistant professor of music education at Chapman University. 

Dr. Yi emphasizes the significance of transformative social activism for youth in music, education, and the performing arts. She maintains an active conducting schedule with El-Sistema orchestra programs, local school communities, and All-State ensembles. In addition to conducting, she mentors pre-K–12 music teachers in the community, Teaching Artists in the YOLA program, facilitates professional development sessions, and designs music education curricula for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Dr. Yi’s research focus is on ethnic studies, culturally responsive pedagogy, and EDIA (equity, diversity, inclusion, and access) initiatives as they pertain to music performance and education. She regularly presents her work at music education and conducting conferences worldwide, gaining impressive international exposure for her and her research, including Oxford University, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, National Association for Music Education, California Music Educators Association, Sphinx Organization, and headlining the 2023 Texas Orchestra Directors Association Conference. Dr. Yi continues to serve on the American String Teachers Association’s national board to train current and future music teachers in a social justice ethos so that educators can develop culturally and community-responsive pedagogy in orchestra education. Her research has appeared in leading music education journals, including Music Education Research, Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, Oxford Handbook Series, and Music Educators Journal. 

Prior to teaching at Colburn Conservatory, Dr. Yi taught violin and orchestra conducting at Columbia University, was the conductor of the Manhattan School of Music Pre-college Orchestra, and was an assistant professor of string education and conductor of the UA Philharmonic at the University of Arizona. Dr. Yi earned her doctorate in music and music education from Columbia University as a Florence K. Geffen Fellow, and she was awarded the Ella Fitzgerald Scholarship for her master’s degree at the University of Southern California. 

Conservatory Saturday Spotlight: Emily and Christy Wu

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

Let’s go back to the beginning when you first were introduced to music. Would you share that background or experience?

Emily: We started around four, and both my parents really loved music. Actually, my whole family loves classical music, and I think it was the only type of music we listened to on the radio when we were younger. We grew up learning a lot of instruments. We started with violin and then piano a year later. I think it was when we were seven, we auditioned for the music program at our elementary school. We selected piano as our major, and we both got in. At the time, we were required to choose another instrument as our minor so that we could participate in the school orchestra. I think Christy chose viola and I chose flute. Because my parents really want everything to be fair with us, I also learned a little bit of viola. Christy also learned a little bit of the flute. Later when we auditioned for the music program in our middle school, we changed our minor to violin, and we have been playing both instruments ever since.

Do you have a favorite of the two instruments?

Emily/Christy: Definitely piano.

And when or how did you become aware of the Colburn school?

Christy: The Colburn faculty came to Taiwan for an audition when we were 13, I think about 2017. We auditioned at that time and played for the live audition. So that’s when we met the faculty and how we first heard about Colburn.

What was your audition experience like at that time?

Christy: It was our first time doing a live audition playing the full length of the repertoire. So that’s kind of scary but exciting at the same time. We heard about admission to the Music Academy a month and a half later.

You’re in your second year at the Conservatory. Thinking back, how different was your first-year Conservatory experience from your time in the Music Academy?

Christy: I think when I first came to the Conservatory I was kind of surprised because I knew Colburn had a small student body, but I wasn’t expecting that small of a student [to teacher ratio]. It was only four or five people in our class, so we were really close with everyone.

Emily: And I think Performance Forum is what’s really different from the Music Academy because in MAYAP [(Music Academy Young Artist Performance)] there used to be only about one-fourth of the audience, but in Forum there’s always a full audience. And knowing that all your colleagues and faculty are there can sometimes be nerve-wracking. But I think it’s inspiring too.

For piano, you are both studying with Fabio Bidini in the Conservatory. During your time in the Music Academy you also studied with Mr. Bidini and Ms. Kim. Have you found that there are differences in the teaching or your experience between the two Colburn units?

Emily: It is pretty much the same in instruction with Mr. Bidini. We do have more lessons and time with Mr. Bidini in the Conservatory though.

As sisters and both pianists, do you engage in giving one another feedback or do you avoid doing so?

Emily: We used to not talk to each other. Not until this semester. I would ask her to come to my practice room and listen and give me advice.

Christy: But before this semester, we didn’t interfere with each other. I think she takes critiques better than me because last year when we were doing piano duo, I usually would get very mad when she told me to do something.

Do you play any duets?

Christy: We do. We performed the piano duo in last year’s Performance Forum. We also did a piano duo concert in Taiwan last summer. The program was all Rachmaninoff.

How did you get the opportunity to perform in Taiwan last summer?

Christy: You have to send recordings to the National Concert Hall concert, and then if the recordings get approved you can perform there.

In reference to Taiwan, are you international students?

Christy: We were born in Los Angeles, but we grew up in Taiwan. We came back when we were 14 to attend the Music Academy.

Given your former music training in Taiwan and that you’ve had here at Colburn, are there any major or key differences?

Christy: When I was in Taiwan, when I played music, I was focusing on how I do different phrases, just the musical things. But when I came to LA, I started focusing on not only my playing but also the background of music.

Was it the same for you, Emily?

Yes, I think in America it led us to think more openly, not just playing but also enjoying our own music.

Having been students in the Music Academy and now the Conservatory, do you have any tips or advice for someone interested in Colburn?

Emily: Just take in as much as you can during the years you’re at Colburn, and try to enjoy every interaction you have with your colleagues and your teachers; get to know as much as you can.

Christy: Take every opportunity that you have.

Now in your second Conservatory year, what’s one of your most memorable moments?

Emily: I think it’s when we got the acceptance letter from the Conservatory. We didn’t expect to get in because it’s so hard to get in the Conservatory. And also because there were two of us applying, and we knew that there were other colleagues applying too. We didn’t think that it was possible, so we were really happy when we got the acceptance letter.

Christy: I think one memorable experience would be playing with the Colburn Orchestra. Yes, it was my first time playing, well not my first time playing in an orchestra, but my first time playing piano in an orchestra. It was new for me, and I think it was really fun working with such well-known conductors such as Miguel Harth-Bedoya.

Do you find that you like it more or less playing with a larger group such as in an orchestra?

Emily: I played in a Recovered Voices performance. I also performed in the gala concert last semester. Both were great experiences. I think I enjoy playing in both [scenarios] because they’re really different. For Recovered Voices, it was a smaller chamber group and for the gala concert, it was a big orchestra.

And Christy, how about for you? Is there any difference between the two experiences?

Christy: When you’re playing in an orchestra, the rhythms and everything are really strict. There are so many people in an orchestra you can’t change anything. But in chamber, you can talk to your colleagues about where you want to slow it down or what we can do differently in every piece.

With the fall semester coming to an end, is there anything you’re each looking forward to in the spring?

Christy: Right now we’re thinking of competitions. Before competitions, we need a wide repertoire, so we’re building up on the repertoire list.

Does music have a place in your future?

Emily: We both want to be teachers and also performers.

In mentioning teaching, do you want to teach private lessons or work at a school?

Christy: We applied for the Jumpstart program in the Conservatory this year, and we think that teaching is so inspiring. Especially in how we reflect on our own playing when we’re teaching students.

What is one thing that you hope to experience before you leave Colburn?

Emily: Playing with the Colburn Orchestra would be one of our goals. We might apply to the Concerto Competition next year.

Eloise Kim, DMA

Praised by Washington Post’s The Columbian as a “musician with great poetic phrasing and poised lyrical nature,” pianist Dr. Eloise Kim is a performing artist and passionate music educator. Kim regularly performs solo and collaborative music across the United States, and has been a featured soloist with the Vancouver Symphony (USA), Jefferson Symphony in Colorado, and the Columbia and Beaverton Symphony Orchestras in Oregon.

Kim has won numerous awards, including grand-prize of the Pinault International Piano Competition where she had her Carnegie Weill Recital Hall debut at age 11, semi-finalist of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and finalist of the New York International Piano Competition. Kim won top prizes in the Lennox, Kingsville, WPPC (dedicated to Leon Fleisher), and Jefferson Young Artists International piano competitions. In 2014, Kim was a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award, one of only 20 young artists in the United States to receive this award of a total of $100,000 scholarship for her graduate studies. She has also been a scholarship recipient of the Chopin National Foundation of the United States, featured young artist at Chamber Music Northwest, and a recipient of the Beaux Arts Society Award in Portland, Oregon.

As an active chamber musician, Kim was one of the six finalist groups of the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition where the Kim-Garbot Duo made their first debut at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. She was also a member of the Areta Piano Trio (2015-17) at Manhattan School of Music. The Areta Piano Trio performed in several outreach concerts together and was also one of the winners of the 2016 Lillian-Fuchs Chamber Music Competition.

Kim has participated and performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Orford Arts Centre, Banff Music Centre, “Art of the Piano” Festival, and the Lake George Chamber Music Festival, studying with renowned instructors including Jean-David Coen, John O’Conor, Lee Kum Sing, Marc Durand, Jacques Rouvier, Robert McDonald, Awadagin Pratt, Yoshikazu Nagai, and Gabriel Kwok.

Dr. Eloise Kim received her DMA at the USC Thornton School of Music studying with Daniel Pollack and was the recipient of the Outstanding Keyboard Departmental Award from the DMA program. Kim was also a Teaching Assistant and Studio TA at the USC Thornton School of Music, instructing group piano classes and individual instruction at the University. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree at The Colburn Conservatory with Ory Shihor and her Master’s at the Manhattan School of Music with Andre-Michel Schub. At the Manhattan School of Music, Kim graduated with the honorary Helen Cohn Award in recognition as an Outstanding Pianist in Chamber Music 

Dr. Kim is currently a Faculty at the Colburn Conservatory, teaching Keyboard Harmony Skills and also works as a staff pianist at the Colburn Conservatory. Kim maintains a private piano studio in Los Angeles, and serves as CAPMT (California Association of Professional Music Teachers) Vice President of Conferences. Her students have won many local and state competition prizes and honors including MTAC branch, MTNA, and Certificate of Merit exams in California.  

Ray H. Greene

Ray Greene is known for his work as a producer and director on seasons three through nine of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and as producer/director of the documentaries The Wedge: Dynasty, Tragedy, Legacy (2014), Vampira and Me (2012) and Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001).  Mr. Greene is a multi-award-winning journalist and radio producer, known for creating and hosting approximately 100 broadcast segments for NPR and Southern California Public Radio.  Greene’s book “Hollywood Migraine: The Inside Story of a Decade in Film,” about American cinema in the 1990s, was an L.A. Times Bestseller. He has served as a writer, editor and media director on numerous museum installations, including for the Images of Singapore Museum on Sentosa Island, Singapore; the Adler Planetarium in Chicago USA; and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.  Greene has been an adjunct professor of media for the School of Film and Television Studies at Loyola Marymount University since 2002. Greene holds an MFA in Cinema and Television Production, awarded by the School of Cinema and Television Studies at USC.

Eugene Izotov

One of today’s leading wind players, Eugene Izotov was appointed principal oboist of the San Francisco Symphony by Michael Tilson Thomas in 2014. He previously served as the principal oboist of the Chicago Symphony, appointed by Daniel Barenboim, principal oboist of the Metropolitan Opera, appointed by James Levine, and as guest principal oboist with the Boston Symphony and New York Philharmonic. Izotov has appeared over 70 times as soloist with Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Metropolitan Opera, Pacific Music Festival, and Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, and has collaborated with Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Valery Gergiev, Nicholas McGegan, Edo De Waart, and Ton Koopman performing works by Mozart, Strauss, Marcello, Haydn, Martinů, Vivaldi, Carter, Hummel, Krommer, and Bach. Eugene Izotov has recorded for Sony Classical, BMG, Boston Records, Elektra, SFSMedia, CSOResond, and was a featured soloist with the Chicago Symphony under the baton of John Williams on the Oscar-nominated recording for Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln. He has also recently been a guest soloist on NPR’s Live from Here with Chris Thile. Eugene Izotov has collaborated with Yefim Bronfman, Pinchas Zukerman, Jamie Laredo, Yo Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, André Watts, Itzhak Perlman, and the Tokyo String Quartet. Izotov teaches at the Colburn Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, Pacific Music Festival (Japan), and at the Music Academy of the West. He has previously served on the faculty of The Juilliard School and DePaul University. One of today’s most active teachers, he presents master classes at conservatories across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia including Juilliard, Cleveland Institute of Music, New World Symphony, Oberlin, Aspen, Manhattan School of Music, Verbier Festival, Glenn Gould School, McGill University, Domaine Forget, HuyndaI Center (Korea), Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Lynn University, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Born in Moscow, Russia, Izotov studied at the Gnesin School of Music. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University, where he continued his education after immigrating to the United States in 1991.

Benjamin Ullery

Praised by the Chicago Tribune for his “febrile intensity,” violist Ben Ullery enjoys a multifaceted performing career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral leader and educator.

In 2023 he was chosen by Music Director Gustavo Dudamel for the position of Associate Principal Viola of the LA Philharmonic and previously held the position of Assistant Principal in the same orchestra since 2012.  In addition to his appearances with the LA Phil, Ullery has performed across the country and abroad in the role of Guest Principal Viola with the Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Australian Chamber Orchestra.

An active solo performer, he has recently given recitals at Festival Mozaic and La Sierra University where he premiered his own arrangement for viola of Brahms’ Violin Sonata No. 1.  Ullery is currently planning his first full-length duo album with acclaimed pianist Dominic Cheli which will feature works of Paul Hindemith, Rebecca Clarke, and Lillian Fuchs.

As a chamber musician, he has been in high demand in the Los Angeles area and at festivals and concert series in the US and Europe.  In addition to having performed over 50 chamber works on the LA Phil’s chamber music series in Walt Disney Concert Hall, Ullery has appeared at the Mozaic, Music in the Vineyards, Mainly Mozart, Emerald City, Music at Millford, Leksand, Grand Teton, and Aspen festivals, among others.  He has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today as well as local broadcasts on KUSC in Los Angeles and Minnesota Public Radio.  As a recording artist, he has been featured on releases on the Bridge and Albany record labels.

An enthusiastic teacher, Ullery is on the teaching faculty at the Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles where he teaches orchestral repertoire as well as coaching the Colburn Orchestra’s viola section.  Many of his former students have gone on to hold positions with top orchestras in the US, Europe, and Asia.  He has given masterclasses at the Aspen Music Festival, California State University Fullerton, Azusa Pacific University, and the Shanghai Orchestra Academy.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Ullery earned a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the Oberlin Conservatory, and later studied violin at New England Conservatory and viola at the Colburn School

Brandon J. Rolle, PhD

Drawing on psychoacoustics, sonology, and computer programming, Brandon J. Rolle’s compositions engage interdisciplinary methods and technologies in order to realize the deeply-immersive sound worlds that define his music. Brandon has studied and worked with some of the century’s most groundbreaking composers, including Clarence Barlow, Pauline Oliveros, and Roscoe Mitchell; he holds a Master’s Degree from Mills College and a PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2017, Rolle moved to Los Angeles, where he works as a freelance composer. Brandon has given masterclasses and lectures on his music at universities across the United States, and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UC Santa Barbara, Cal State University Northridge, Chapman University, and at the Colburn School Conservatory of Music where he is Music Theory & Ear Training Faculty.

Brandon’s musical work and research have been supported through commissions, grants, and awards, including from the Borchard Foundation, New Music USA, the University of California, Synchromy, and the Hear Now Festival. Giovanni Albini’s 2021 recording of “Afterward” on A Contemporary Ukulele (Da Vinci Classics) was called “a work of considerable imaginative power” that “really shows off the instrument (and player) to the greatest musical effect” (Musicweb-International). Brandon’s upcoming projects include his forthcoming debut album, Glitch Portraiture, which is being released by Arpaviva Recordings through the support of the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, a commission for the electronics to Joel Feigin’s new opera, Outcast at the Gate, and a new audio-video collaboration with artist Christopher Richmond for the Hear Now Festival in Los Angeles. Rolle’s musical catalog includes orchestral, chamber, electro-acoustic, and intermedia music, which have been performed at festivals and concerts of new music across the United States and Europe.

As a conductor and ensemble coach, Brandon is passionate about supporting new works by living composers. He has premiered numerous compositions by his colleagues, including at ArtShare LA, as Resident Conductor of the 2020 Black House New Music Workshop at Oh My Ears! Festival, and as the director of a major concert of new works by algorithmic music pioneer, Clarence Barlow, at the Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles in 2017. While Composition Associate at UC Santa Barbara, Brandon guest conducted the Ensemble for Contemporary Music, worked with the orchestra, coached jazz ensembles, and was the director of an orchestral reading of new works by doctoral composition students.

Outside of his creative work, Dr. Rolle is a committed advocate for the arts. In 2019, he co-founded the Impulse New Music Festival, a nonprofit organization that supports talented early-career composers through creative training, professional development opportunities, and career mentorship. Under his guidance as Artistic Director, the festival has grown to include a faculty of Los Angeles’ top artists to teach and mentor participants, programs including workshops, lessons, readings, performances, recordings, and mini-grants, and the commissioning of more than 40 new works from emerging artists. He has worked with other L.A.-based organizations as well, including as Modern Music Writer at NewClassic.LA, and as part of the teams at Equal Sound and Brightwork New Music. In January 2023, Rolle joined the acclaimed contemporary piano series, Piano Spheres, as Associate Director.

Aaron Tindall

With his orchestral playing praised as “a rock-solid foundation” and his solo playing described as being “remarkable for both its solid power and its delicacy,” Aaron Tindall is the principal tubist of the Naples Philharmonic and the Sarasota Orchestra. Many of his students have obtained prestigious playing positions with top professional orchestras and premier military bands.

With his orchestral playing praised as “a rock-solid foundation” and his solo playing described as being “remarkable for both its solid power and its delicacy,” Aaron Tindall is the principal tubist of the Naples Philharmonic, Sarasota Orchestra, and the associate professor of tuba and euphonium at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami. In the summers he teaches and performs at the Festival Napa Valley in Napa, CA and at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC, where he also serves as Principal Tuba with the EMF Festival Orchestra under the direction of Gerard Schwarz.

Mr. Tindall has previously served as the acting principal tubist of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, held the principal tuba position with the Aspen Festival Orchestra where he was an orchestral fellow, and has collaborated as guest tubist with orchestras such as the Teatro alla Scala Opera and Ballet Orchestra (Milan, Italy), Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (Australia), Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (Kennedy Center), New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Utah Symphony.

He is a frequent soloist, guest artist/clinician, and orchestral tubist throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has been featured at all of the International Tuba and Euphonium Conferences since 2006, performed in England with the National Champion Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band, and his solo playing has been heard on NPR’s Performance Today. Mr. Tindall has been a prizewinner of many solo and chamber competitions across the world. He has also been a two-time finalist in the prestigious Concert Artist Guild Competition and released four highly acclaimed solo recordings; Yellowbird (solo tuba and jazz piano trio), Transformations (winner of the International Tuba Euphonium Association’s Roger Bobo Excellence in Recording Award, and winner of two 2017 Global Music Awards), This is My House… (awarded two 2015 Global Music Awards), and Songs of Ascent. His fifth album, At the Ballet, featuring the music of Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky will be recorded and released on the Bridge Record Label in 2023.

Many of Mr. Tindall’s students have obtained prestigious playing positions with the top professional orchestras in the USA and Canada and also in the premier military bands in Washington D.C. His students have won positions with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Florida Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, United States Navy Band, United States Air Force Band and Ceremonial Band, and the West Point Band. They are also frequent prizewinners at various national and international solo and chamber music competitions. His students have won Yamaha Young Performing Artists Awards, the Annual Leonard Falcone Artist Tuba and Euphonium Solo Competition, and the ITEA solo, mock orchestral, and military band competitions.

Mr. Tindall is an International Yamaha Performing Artist and a Denis Wick (London) artist and design specialist, having recently designed their complete Ultra Range AT signature series tuba mouthpieces.

Georgia E. Bell

As an educator with a creative practice, Georgia Bell fosters curiosity and creative thinking in the classroom. She is a teacher, composer, performer, and artist. Bell holds a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Bard College, where she studied composition with Kyle Gann. She went on to do a postgraduate composition apprenticeship with Bunita Marcus and was Artist-in-Residence at California Institute of the Arts in 2019. Bell hosts a quarterly salon for experimental artists and musicians in Los Angeles and regularly performs and presents work throughout the greater L.A. area and beyond. She has been teaching English and exploring the connections between language, music, and art since 2018. Bell currently teaches English to speakers of other languages at the Colburn Conservatory of Music and Music Academy.