Hye Jin Park

Hye Jin Park is currently an Artist Diploma candidate at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where she studies under the guidance of Fabio Bidini. She envisions music as a powerful channel for empathy and connection, striving to communicate the composers’ intentions with sincerity.

Throughout her career, Ms. Park has achieved numerous awards. She was a prize winner at the Amigdala International Competition, the Orbetello Competition in Italy, the ICA International Competition in Vietnam, and the YMIC Competition. She has been featured at Third@First as part of the Colburn School showcase. Her orchestral collaborations include performances with the National Symphony Orchestra of Teleradio-Moldova (2016), the Vienna CMS Chamber Orchestra (2016), the Romania Oltenia Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Banatul Timisoara Orchestra (2014). In the United States, she has performed with the Colburn Orchestra and made her debut with the Los Angeles Virtuosi Orchestra.

At the Colburn School, Ms. Park has participated in significant projects such as “Recovered Voices,” “Discovering Debussy,” and the opera “Pelléas et Mélisande” under the baton of Maestro James Conlon, further enriching her performance experience.

Ms. Park’s dedication to her craft and her passion for connecting with audiences through music continue to shape her as a distinguished artist in the classical music world.

Since 2023, she has been appointed to teach Piano Sight-reading Skills at the Colburn Academy.

Wendy Waggener

Wendy Waggener earned degrees in Violin Performance from Oberlin Conservatory and New England Conservatory.  She performs with two symphonies and maintains a large private studio, in addition to coaching three youth symphonies and freelance performing. Wendy completed her Alexander Technique training with the Contemporary Alexander School with Robyn Avalon in Santa Fe and Midori Shinkai in Kyoto, and has worked with musicians at Meadowmount School of Music, Montecito International Music Festival, Oberlin Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, La Sierra University, and the Colburn School. She is a supporting faculty member of the Contemporary Alexander School, and director of the Contemporary Alexander Los Angeles branch.

Gina Luciani

Flutist Gina Luciani has a diverse career in music that includes recording for top film and television soundtracks and main stage live performances. Most recently, Gina performed at the Academy Awards with Beyoncé (“Be Alive” from King Richard) and Billie Eilish (Oscar Winning Best Original Song “No Time To Die”). She has also performed and recorded alongside legendary artists such as Ariana Grande, Steve Lacy, Carrie Underwood, Billy Idol, Julia Michaels, Chance The Rapper, Guns N’ Roses, DMX, Hanson, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Kid Cudi, Josh Groban, Michael Giacchino, Pentatonix, Pete Townshend (The Who), Ty Dolla $ign, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Wu-Tang Clan at Coachella. She was the featured flute soloist on “Land Down Under” with Colin Hay of Men At Work for ABC’s nationally televised Greatest Hits. Gina has been a regular member of the Game Awards Orchestra for the live show since 2018.

As a flute soloist, Gina has recorded on many projects including the Oscar-nominated score for Minari and Emmy-nominated scores for Planet Earth II and Chef’s Table. She was also the flute soloist on M3GAN, Arcane, Cobra Kai, Hellraiser, Locke & Key, Windfall, and League of Legends. Some of her other credits include Only Murders In The Building, Lady And The Tramp, The Simpsons, The Nun, Straight Outta Compton, Kimi, The Voice, and Under the Silver Lake.

In addition to her session work, Gina has performed as a soloist with the Colburn Chamber Music Society, Colburn Contemporary Players, Utah Valley Symphony, Long Beach Mozart Festival and the Salt Lake Symphony. Recently, she was a guest artist for the Grand Performances Concert Series, San Diego Guitar Festival, the National Flute Association Convention, and the “Sundays Live Series” at LACMA which was broadcast on KUSC. She performs with many ensembles throughout Southern California including the San Diego Symphony, The Echo Society, the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, The Long Beach Opera, and the American Contemporary Ballet.

Gina has released two albums. Her debut flute album (2016) features works by Rhenè Baton, Georges Bizet, Eugène Bozza, Ian Clarke, Benjamin Godard, Georges Hüe, Lowell Liebermann and Astor Piazzolla. The album includes flute classics, original arrangements, and rare flute works. Her second album, Hyperion, features works for flute and harp.

Gina received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Flute Performance from the Colburn Conservatory of Music and her Master of Music Degree from the University of Southern California, both under the instruction of Jim Walker. She travels to top schools and universities throughout the country including Berklee School of Music, FIDM, OCSA, Texas A&M, UCLA, UC Irvine, University of North Carolina School of The Arts, USC, Fortissima, as well as the NPR radio program, From The Top. Her masterclasses and recitals are highly sought after, as well as lectures on Music Technology, Branding, Social Media, Entrepreneurship, and Networking.

She is on the Alumni Advisory Council for USC’s Thornton School of Music and has served on the Board of Governors for the University while being nominated to the Executive Committee as the Co-Chair for Student Outreach. Gina is an Avid Artist and was the face of Avid’s “I Am Avid” campaign and is also a Global Ambassador and International Artist for Trevor James Flutes.

Chi-Jo Lee

Chi-Jo Lee, is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in piano performance at the Colburn Conservatory of Music. Having earned her master’s degree from Colburn in 2023 under the tutelage of Fabio Bidini. As a keyboard instructor at the Colburn Academy since 2023, she shares her knowledge with young musicians. Prior to her time at Colburn, Chi-Jo honed her craft under the guidance of pianist André Watts at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Her musical journey has taken her to venues in the United States, Italy, Japan, China, and Taiwan.

Chi-Jo Lee emerges as a versatile pianist, navigating diverse genres from solo performances to chamber and contemporary music. As a solo pianist, she won prizes at The Wideman Piano competition, The Odyssiad festival and competition, and the concerto competitions at Indiana University and at the Colburn School. She made her radio live show solo debut at the WFIU public station in Indiana. She was recently a semi-finalist at The Gurwitz Competition in the United States.

As a native of Taiwan and a chamber music enthusiast, her piano trio was the 2022 winner of the Eslite chamber music audition. Prior to this achievement, she received multiple prizes from Taipei Education Department competition on both solo piano and piano trio from 2011 to 2015.

Chi-Jo, as a chamber musician, collaborated with esteemed artists such as Susan Graham, Andy Akiho, Tessa Lark, and Arnaud Sussmann, as part of the Colburn Chamber Music Society. She performed at La Jolla Music Society and Le Salon de Musiques chamber series in San Diego. Additionally, she has engaged in collaborative projects with the LA Opera. Her performance was reviewed and featured in publications such as The San Diego Union-Tribune (2023) and The Santa Barbara Independent (2022).

Her interest in Contemporary Music was sparked during her time as an Alto singer in NOTUS, the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble directed by conductor-composer Dominic DiOrio. She has been a part of Colburn School’s Contemporary Ensemble. Throughout but not limited to this involvement has led to performances featuring compositions by Steve Reich, Guillaume Connesson, Christopher Cerrone, Andy Akiho, Juri Seo, Nico Muhly, and more.

Ms. Lee’s festival experiences include the Aspen Music Festival and Music, Music Academy of the West, and Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Jessica Edmond, ESOL

Jessica Edmond brings over a decade of experience in teaching English as a Second Language to a diverse array of language learners.  Having earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Master of Arts degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from California State University, Northridge, she has cultivated a deep understanding of language acquisition and pedagogy.

With a teaching philosophy grounded in empathy and understanding, Ms. Edmond endeavors to empower her students not only to improve their language skills but also to cultivate confidence, a sense of belonging, and the ability to navigate their daily lives with ease.  In her classroom, she fosters a culture of collaboration and mutual respect, encouraging students to express themselves freely and to embrace their unique cultural identities, believing that by celebrating diversity and embracing differences, students can develop a deeper appreciation for the richness of human experience.

Ms. Edmond is currently teaching ESOL at the Colburn Music Academy. In addition to her role at Colburn, she has been serving as an adjunct ESL instructor at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita since 2018 and as a summer-sessions ESL lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles since 2023. Her multifaceted teaching experiences across different educational settings have equipped her with a diverse skill set and a nuanced understanding of the varying needs of language learners at different stages of their academic journeys.

Angelica Bell

Angelica Bell is a dance educator, performer, and choreographer. She earned her BFA & MFA degrees in Dance and has dedicated her career to performing and teaching in a variety of community and educational settings. She currently directs a dance program at a local high school in Los Angeles. She has published articles in two academic journals: Journal of Dance Education and Dance Education in Practice. When she is not in the classroom or studio, she continues to train in various dance techniques and choreographs her own artistic work.

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.

Music Academy Saturday Spotlight: Esme Arias-Kim

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

What is your musical background Esme? How did you start playing? 

Both of my parents are violinists and my older sister started the violin when she was very young. So when I was born, it was not really a question of what instrument I would play! I was two and a half, almost three, when I started in a Suzuki group back in Chicago, and that is really the place and the teacher who shaped the way I approach music now. 

How did you learn about or decide that you wanted to study at Colburn? 

I first came to Colburn about two years back for the one week in-person Fortissima program with a small cohort of about 10 other female musicians. The entire program was comprised of six months of mentorship and discussions, always about empowering each other, and learning about how diversity and different backgrounds can have a place in the classical music field. I had a lesson with Dr. Lipsett during my time then, and the School really spoke to me. After that it was an application process and a Zoom audition. Now I’m a senior in the Music Academy and have been working with Mr. Lipsett for the last two years. 

What does a day in your life look as a senior? 

I would say on most of the weekdays, it looks like waking up, doing a routine; I’ll go running for a little bit, make sure I eat breakfast, then I’ll practice for a few hours before lunch. Then a little more practicing, or I’ll have a lesson, class, or chamber music. Evenings can be more different. It’s sometimes practicing or a class or just being with people and trying to also have a social outlet.  

What does the future look like from here? 

Right now, I have some performances that I’m preparing quite intensely for. Next year, I would definitely love to go to a music conservatory. Music is the thing that I love the most. And then thinking long-term, I’m aiming for a solo career. I would also love to be able to do chamber music and teach. So just any aspect of music that I could find. 

What are you looking forward to this coming year? 

There’s a lot of cool things happening: I’m in a chamber group, a trio with two other Music Academy students, and we are learning the Schubert E-flat Trio. That’s been really fulfilling—to be able to be in a group where I feel that there’s such a level of trust—and it’s only been a couple of weeks of rehearsing together! It’s just so great to be able to connect with others to make music. And the piece is wonderful too. At the end of May, I will be soloing with the Chicago Symphony, which is very much something I’m looking forward to and even mentally preparing for now. 

How do you mentally prepare for any concert, especially a performance like that? 

Visualization is very helpful, at least for me. When running through the piece, I find it more impactful, more helpful when I’m really imagining this is the actual performance, visualizing the space I’m going to be in. Whatever happens, happens; you have to keep going. That’s something that my teacher always talks about. He’ll say, “right here in this room, that sounds fine, but in the concert hall, that’s not going to translate the same way.” So I’m always thinking about that as well. Doing a lot of run-throughs—as many as you can do—and in front of different kinds of people, teachers, students; just any way to put yourself in that environment where it’s a very high pressure situation—the more you do it, the more natural it will feel. This is a process, to be sure. Even in the times where I felt like I haven’t performed my best, I feel like I’ve learned something from it. I’m trying to see each performance as a steppingstone for the next thing and as a way to improve my playing so that I can be more prepared in the future.

What advice would you give to a Music Academy student or someone considering joining the Music Academy? 

First, for someone considering coming to the Music Academy, I would say join! It’s a wonderful program where you can meet so many lovely people, and I’m not talking just about your music making group, but everyone here is so nice and very welcoming. The environment at Colburn feels very safe; a place where you can freely express yourself. I would also say that the Music Academy is a commitment, so be able to prioritize your time well. Lastly, whether it’s socially or in your music making, you can feel like our own technical or personal barriers get in the way of connecting with other people, so always put connections with people and with music first, and that will help you to create and to keep sharing with other people. 

Will you share some memorable Colburn experiences? 

Yes! There’s been so many. I would say our Academy Virtuosi concerts, the conductorless orchestra led by Margaret Batjer, have been so much fun. It’s a time when a lot of us can be together and perform music. And then on Saturdays when we have all our classes, eating lunch with people and seeing and getting to know everyone and their different personalities is just wonderful. Enjoying the collective environment of the student body is lovely. 

Do you have time for any other interests? 

Yes! I have a lot of other interests. I love writing, and I’ve been reading more. I’m a true crime fanatic too, so I like listening to podcasts. But a big one for me is that I’m very interested in the intersection between visual arts and music. It feels like a natural way for me to approach music; when I hear a piece, I’m not just thinking about what it sounds like but how it would appear. I like to do ink drawing, so when I listen to music, I produce a sketch that I feel represents the music. It makes each art form more vibrant and more enriching when you can see how they all overlap and intersect.  

White artwork against black background

This piece is inspired by Richard Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration, which I heard the Chicago Symphony perform a couple of years ago.

What have the performing arts brought to your life? 

The performing arts have given me not only a space to communicate with other people but to find a way to connect with others in a way that is so meaningful. They’ve made me feel like I can speak without barriers. Performing arts can help people understand themselves, and then help them to better communicate with others. It’s a kind of collective and shared empathy that I think is really powerful. 


We are proud to recognize Esme Arias-Kim as a Kohl Scholar. Kohl Scholar students receive full room, board, and tuition scholarships to support their total Colburn experience and develop the next generation of promising young artists. Terri and Jerry Kohl created this scholarship to make Colburn accessible to and competitive for deserving students in violin and piano studios in the Music Academy.

About Margaret Tracey

Since retiring from New York City Ballet in 2002, Ms. Tracey has become an admired and dedicated teacher and arts advocate. She served as the Director of Boston Ballet School (BBS) from 2007–2021 and was profiled in a 2009 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine. During her tenure at BBS, Ms. Tracey drew upon her teaching experiences, studies in psychology, and ties to community clinicians to initiate a comprehensive Wellness Program at BBS. She also created the Next Generation, a year-end performance showcasing pre-professional students, which has become an annual highlight that spotlights BBS as a leader in local and regional arts education. Her stature in the dance world brought BBS extraordinary access to the Balanchine and Robbins repertoire, enhancing the training and performance experience for students. In addition, Ms. Tracey committed to commissioning underrepresented voices in choreography by amplifying the work of women and BIPOC choreographers such as Jill Johnson, Lia Cirio, and Ja’ Malik, among others. Ms. Tracey further distinguished BBS internationally by establishing exchange programs with Canada’s National Ballet School, Paris Opera Ballet School, the Royal Danish Ballet, and Dresden’s Semperoper Ballet. And under her leadership, BBS also became a partner school with the prestigious Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition.  

Ms. Tracey continues to dedicate her efforts as a dance educator with a strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to champion change. She has served on panels for MoBBallet’s annual educational symposiums (2019, 2020, and 2022) and has worked with colleagues at Dance USA School Directors Affinity Group to share learning around culturally responsive teaching practices to better support faculty.  Tracey’s work as an international arts educator continues as she serves on the organizing committee for World Ballet School Day (2020 and 2021), and the 2023 edition of Assemble Internationale; an Olympic-caliber gathering of pre-professional students and directors from schools around the globe empowering young artists to develop their voices, hosted by Canada’s National Ballet School.  

Born in Pueblo, Colorado, Ms. Tracey began ballet studies with her mother, Nancy Tracey, at age six. In 1982, she was accepted as a student at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet (NYCB). At SAB, she was the recipient of an Atlantic Richfield Foundation scholarship (198285) as well as a Princess Grace Foundation award (1985–86) that cited her “exceptional promise and dedication to excellence.”  

In 1986, Ms. Tracey joined the NYCB corps de ballet, launching a celebrated 16-year stage career. A principal dancer from 1991 until her retirement in 2002, she excelled in the Balanchine repertoire, appearing frequently in such core works as Apollo, Allegro Brilliante, Ballo della Regina, Concerto Barocco, Serenade, Square Dance, Symphony in C, Vienna Waltzes, Western Symphony, and Who Cares?, among others. She was also featured in a range of Robbins’ ballets, including Andantino, Afternoon of a Faun, The Four Seasons, and The Goldberg Variations, and created a role in the choreographer’s Ives, Songs (1988). She originated roles in works by William Forsythe, Richard Tanner, Ib Andersen, Trey McIntyre, and Peter Martins, including his Les Petit Riens, Fearful Symmetries, Zakouski, and his production of The Sleeping Beauty, in which she appeared both as Princess Aurora and Princess Florine. With NYCB, Ms. Tracey toured Europe and Asia, appeared in the PBS “Live from Lincoln Center” series, and danced the Marzipan Shepherdess in the 1993 film of Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.  

As a Balanchine Repetiteur, Ms. Tracey has staged several of his works including, Concerto Barocco, Theme and Variations, Scotch Symphony, Raymonda Variations, and Divertimento #15, among others in both professional companies and schools. And in 2011 she was recognized with a Jerome Robbins Foundation award for her distinguished interpretation as a Robbins’ dancer. 

Music Academy Saturday Spotlight: Arian Cazares

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

Please introduce yourself and share a little bit about your background.

My name is Arian Cazares, I’m 18 years old and a senior in high school; I play the viola. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and lived in a small town in Mexico City for a few years during my early childhood. I grew up in Waldorf education. [Waldorf is an education environment that integrates the arts in all academic disciplines for children from preschool through twelfth grade.] Waldorf school is where I began playing. In the third grade, I was introduced to the stringed instrument family. That was a really special moment for me because it was also my first encounter with the viola. The teacher started to play the instruments and asked us to listen to them in order to choose which one we liked. It was this moment when I first heard the sound of the viola and thought, ‘wow, this is something really special,’ and I wanted to explore it. I was fascinated by its warmth and depth of the lower register. And now, almost 10 years later, I’m still exploring it! Now, I’m at the Colburn School. This is my first year in the Music Academy, and I’m studying with Tatjana Masurenko.

Would you provide some background on your Waldorf experience?

In Waldorf, you stay with the same class from kindergarten to eighth grade, often into high school if offered. We also stay with the same teacher; you go through all these different stages of education with one teacher who is a main person guiding you through. It helps to develop a more personal relationship between teacher and students and supports each child in their own way. I attend the Pasadena Waldorf High School in Altadena.

You spoke about your first exposure to string instruments. What was it about music that drew you in and made you determine to invest yourself?

That’s a big question. I’ve been with music for a while, though my family is not actually very musical. I’m more or less the first person in my family to really pursue music. I’ve been singing since I was in kindergarten; through Waldorf, we’re taught about the development of the human voice through singing with each other. And so even though it’s a different type of music, it’s always been a big part of me. And the viola is just another way of accessing that part of me. Over the years, I’ve had a number of instances where I’ve felt a growing passion for music and for what it does. And for me, it’s about the community building—when you’re engaging with someone else, let’s say in chamber music or in orchestra and other musical activities, and there’s this vibrant energy that I have experienced. This experience is sometimes even more meaningful than just playing the music. It’s connecting with others on a different level and that keeps me going and doing what I love to do, which is music.

How did you learn about the Colburn School and the Music Academy?

I’ve known about the Colburn School for a while. When I was much younger, my mom wanted me to be a dancer because both my parents were dancers when they were younger. One time, my mom brought me to Colburn for a modern dance class but it was not for me. Before COVID, I was in the Community School for chamber music but unaware of the Music Academy. I was a quarter finalist in the Fischoff Music Competition, competing with a quartet from Pasadena. And it was the Music Academy’s Olive Trio’s win that I found out about the Colburn Music Academy. I was excited to learn that there were other musicians in my community area performing at this level. So I mentioned the Academy to my mom and that we needed to research it.

What have the performing arts brought to your life?

The performing arts helped me find courage to express my ideas; trust the work that I do as a musician. I think that’s really important for musicians that spend hours and hours in a practice room, questioning whether we’re doing things right, experiencing self-doubt, and all of those things. But the experience of performing is extremely important to become comfortable and to trust yourself and what you’re doing. And I think this important because it’s also reflected outside of music.

Also, to be curious about things. In working with Tatjana this year, she’s brought a whole different perspective of not just music but of life and culture. And it’s really inspired me to discover and find out more about other parts of the world—how other people approach music. This has recently influenced my playing and the way I approach music, and I’m eager to learn more.

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to a new Music Academy student?

I would say most importantly, come with an open heart, with an open mind. At the beginning of the year, I came in not knowing anybody and not really knowing what to expect. It took me saying to myself, ‘Okay, I’m here now and what can I learn? What can I see? And how can I get ahead?’ Oh, also to have patience with yourself. I came in with a very ambitious attitude at the beginning. I told my teacher, Tatjana, that I want to do all these competitions, all these programs; I want to aim for all these things. And I was really surprised when she told me, “I think you should actually wait and organize yourself first.” And I was like, ‘What? But everyone else is doing all these things.’ And she said, “Yes, but it’s most important that you organize yourself and that you find peace in yourself and in you’re playing before you go out into the world.” And that’s really changed the way I think about music.

How about some memorable Colburn experiences?

There’s definitely been a couple; it’s hard to choose. One of them was the first time I played in Tatjana’s studio class with another Academy student and some Conservatory students. It’s a bit daunting since they are older and so talented. But back in November, I played on stage for the first time for everyone and there was a moment where all the stress melted away. I felt really supported by everyone; I could feel their attention for what I was doing. And that helped me loosen up and be more comfortable with my performance. I try to remind myself of that feeling every time that I play.

As the spring semester comes to a close, what’s on your summer schedule?

One thing I’m very much looking forward to is spending a couple of days in Switzerland, accompanied by Tatjana. I’ll be taking some master classes by Tatjana. I’m looking forward to being in such a beautiful landscape in the mountains.

As you applied to the Conservatory and have been accepted, you’ll be joining as part of the fall 2023 incoming class. What do you envision for your future?

I absolutely want to continue playing music. It’s my goal to continue this as a career. I’m very passionate about chamber music; one of my dreams is to tour the world with a quartet. I’m doing a lot of solo work to, and I envision continuing to do so. But for now, I’m most focused on absorbing as much as I can from my teachers and those immediately around me. I leave the rest to the music gods!


Special appreciation goes to Colburn Society members whose annual giving supports transformational scholarship opportunities for our Music Academy students. To join the Colburn Society and contribute to the futures of our exceptional students, please visit colburnschool.edu/give or contact philanthropy@colburnschool.edu.