Meet the New Instructors in the Community School

New Community School Faculty Dominic Cheli, Sofia Kim, Ivana G. Malo, and Dimitry Olevsky

New Community School Faculty Dominic Cheli, Sofia Kim, Ivana G. Malo, and Dimitry Olevsky

We are thrilled to announce that the Colburn School has hired four new outstanding instructors! Learn more about their musical backgrounds and what they plan to contribute to the Community School of Performing Arts in the coming years.

Dominic Cheli
Opening my students’ eyes to new possibilities and empowering them to become strong individuals with their own unique voice is my ultimate goal. Dominic Cheli

A native of St. Louis, pianist Dominic Cheli has performed with orchestras across the country and is the LIVE Director of Tonebase Piano.

Can you describe your teaching philosophy?

My mission is to discover, nurture, and promote my students in ways that allow them to be artistically independent, imaginative, and knowledgeable so that they can develop healthy, sustainable relationships with their instruments. I believe in being an advocate of all types of music: traditional, unconventional, contemporary, and multi-stylistic. Opening my students’ eyes to new possibilities and empowering them to become strong individuals with their own unique voice is my ultimate goal.

What lessons did you take from your mentors that you still carry with you today?

Some vital things I learned from my past teachers include having an obligation to honor the music through educated and courageous performances infused with a person’s individual expression as well as having a technique that is always at the service of the music!

What are you looking forward to most as a new member of the Colburn Community School?

I am looking forward to being a part of a community that has the well-being and advancement of the students as their primary focus!
 

Sofia Kim
While strong technique is necessary and important, I believe that the real goal is to have a flexible technique that will best facilitate expressivity and artistry. Sofia Kim

Korean-American, Los Angeles native Sofia Kim joins our violin faculty with a varied and diverse performing career as a soloist and chamber musician.

Can you describe your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy aims to nurture my students into becoming exceptional whole beings who can express themselves freely and generously share music with joy, compassion, and empathy. While strong technique is necessary and important, I believe that the real goal is to have a flexible technique that will best facilitate expressivity and artistry. As a teacher, I take a deep interest and responsibility in the entire well-being of my students, not just musically, but intellectually and emotionally. Taking into account the unique qualities, learning styles, and temperaments of each student, I strive to keep my teaching approach fluid and adaptable so that I can develop each student mindfully and empower them as musicians.

What lessons did you take from your mentors that you still carry with you today?

During the many years I was studying with Almita Vamos, what struck me was how she was always learning, even after decades of impressive and impactful teaching. She never claimed to have all the answers and took so much joy and pride in learning and adapting. Her eagerness to improve and expand is something that inspires me every day.

What are you looking forward to most as a new member of the Colburn Community School?

So many things! I spent so much time here as a young violinist and look forward to experiencing this space and community as an adult. I hope to get to know my colleagues better and lastly, I am really excited to start working with my students here.
 

Ivana Malo
My piano teachers had a great influence on my life and love for music, and I hope to inspire the same in my students and help them reach their full potential. Ivana Malo

Croatian pianist Ivana Grubelic Malo has performed throughout Europe and the United States and is dedicated to inspiring a lifelong love of music within her students.

Can you describe your teaching philosophy?

I strive to inspire a lifelong love of music in my students, building on a solid foundation of healthy technique and musicality. In my mind, every one of my students is an individual so I shape my teaching to their unique needs – from psychology and motivation to the development of their technique. I take great care in finding the right repertoire for each student at every stage of their development so that they can not only develop and improve their technique, but also play music that resonates with them and helps them unlock their artistic sensibilities.

What lessons did you take from your mentors that you still carry with you today?

It was through my teachers that I developed my deep love of music.

The enthusiasm they showed when teaching me new pieces and revealing all the nuances that made each one so special heightened my excitement in practicing and strengthened my joy in discovering new material. They revealed a world of subtlety that I had not imagined, which made me realize that it’s when you reach beyond the surface that you can find your own unique expression and interpretation.

From a young age, my teachers taught me the importance of producing a beautiful tone and the use of arm weight in playing the piano, demonstrating that technique and musicality must always go together.

They emphasized the importance of playing without tension, which deepened my interest in the physical and psychological wellness of performers. Studying with Carola Grindea while assisting her at the International Society for Study of Tension in Performance in London is something that I still carry with me to this day.

My piano teachers had a great influence on my life and love for music, and I hope to inspire the same in my students and help them reach their full potential.
 

Dimitry Olevsky
My teaching principles are based on outlining the advantageous mental and physical practice techniques revealed through research in Sports Psychology. Dimitry Olevsky

Violinist Dimitry Olevsky blends classical technique with his own research in Sport Psychology to fine-tune the body and mind for performance.

Can you describe your teaching philosophy?

My teaching principles are based on outlining the advantageous mental and physical practice techniques revealed through research in Sports Psychology. These methods help my students strategically overcome the numerous psychological obstacles in order to develop a consistently high level of performance. High-level performance under pressure is the common goal among many students, and I apply my teaching methods to develop and increase control of muscular and mental functions, accuracy, precision, discipline, mental awareness, and overall coordination in violin performance.

Musicians ‘play’ music as athletes ‘play’ sports. Therefore, like sports, a musical performance is a physical activity with extreme demands on technical facility, training ethics, discipline, deliberate practice, structure, dedication, determination, motivation and inspiration.

What are you looking forward to most as a new member of the Colburn Community School?
I am looking forward to collaborating with other faculty as a violinist, and also for my students to have performance opportunities where they showcase their talent and be inspired by their peers.
 

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