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.

Meet the New Director of Bands: Elizabeth Stoyanovich

The Community School is excited to welcome Elizabeth Stoyanovich to the Colburn community. With ensembles rehearsing and performing in-person once again, we recently spoke with Ms. Stoyanovich to discuss her musical family, her teaching philosophy, and her plans for the coming year.

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

What attracted you to Colburn?
As a musician, I knew of the reputation of the Colburn School for many years and admired it from afar. I have known many high school students who studied at the Community School and thought highly of their experiences performing and the teachers they had worked with. When I saw the advertisement for the Director of Bands position, I jumped at the opportunity to become “part of the team.”

Outside of the Community School you work with high school and college students as well as professional orchestras. How does your approach change as you work with ensembles at different levels?
My job as a “Maestra” (the Italian word for “female teacher”) is literally to teach, so my approach always begins by building a deep understanding of the repertoire so that I can interpret and then convey the composer’s wishes to the ensemble. With young students especially, I like to meet them where they are—be it technically or musically—and inspire them to go further.

Our bands are made up of students from all over southern California—how do you connect with students from so many backgrounds and experiences?
The draw of performing live music together solidifies our collective goal to work together. In my experience, the variety of cultural experiences that students bring to the ensemble only enhances our relationships. This semester, the bands are performing music from the Western repertoire—some standard, others newly composed. While the language of Western music may differ from that of other parts of the world, all music shares the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, structure, and instrumentation. Ultimately, it is the energy and passion that music excites in us that allows music to communicate with everyone.

Our students have been learning remotely for over a year now. How does it feel to be able to rehearse in-person again?
We are so excited to be back in person and making music together. The ability to listen to someone sitting in the same room as you—to check balance, intonation, phrasing, dynamics, articulation, notes, rhythm—these are all things that can’t be done over Zoom or spliced together in a video. We currently rehearse in a large tent that is set up on the plaza. This gives us the space to socially distance “outdoors” while still having the luxury of good acoustics, lighting, shielding from the wind and cold, and a standard band set-up. The Community School staff have been fantastic with keeping everything set up correctly, taking attendance, and helping out with coaching the students.

What are you most excited for in the coming school year? Any upcoming concerts that you’re looking forward to?
I am very grateful to be rehearsing and performing in person! Having spent the entirety of my life in music, spending the last 18 months in virtual rehearsals has been difficult. There really is no substitute for in-person music-making. We are currently rehearsing outside in a tent, but I am looking forward to using more of Colburn’s outstanding facilities for rehearsals and performances. Our Concert Band and Wind Ensemble are currently preparing for their first concert of the year, which will take place on Saturday, December 4, in Grand Park! We are covering a range of band repertoire, from standards like Dmitri Shostakovich’s Festive Overture to sea shanties and folk songs.

I am also looking forward to promoting the ensembles and watching them grow and develop musically. I have worked with so many young people in the past who have gone on to join world-renowned ensemble, become professors and teachers, and start families of their own. It’s always fun to meet and work with new musicians because I see it as expanding my “musical family” who I will cherish for a lifetime!

Your career has taken you around the world and put you in touch with incredible artists and teachers! What lessons from them do you carry with you in your work today?
I remember the first time I played under Leonard Bernstein as an oboist—we were playing Sibelius’s Second Symphony at Tanglewood. It was an incredible orchestra, and in those days, Tanglewood rehearsals took place in an old wooden shed. Bernstein walked in, and he was wearing a baby blue hoodie and sweatpants. He went on to conduct us using really unusual hand gestures that I hadn’t seen before, but when I watched his eyes and his expressions, I understood exactly what he was conveying musically and emotionally. Later, when I studied conducting under him at Fontainebleau in France, he said “…when you perform, if you’re not feeling nervous or excited, you won’t be able to focus that energy into the music.” I’ve always liked that because it shows that even at the highest levels of performing, you need passion and excitement. We are lucky because performing music is never a boring job; it takes emotional commitment and energy!

Anything else you would like to share with our community?
When I was a kid, I played in my local youth orchestra, the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony, and by the time I was a senior I had been playing first oboe for a couple of years. All of a sudden, the conductor randomly promoted a new member to first chair without an audition, just because he was a friend of the student’s father! I was furious, but I stayed in the group playing second, still loving the music. My friends saw how upset I was and told me that on Sundays they would drive to Ann Arbor to play in the Wind Ensemble there under Carl St. Clair (who later hired me as an Assistant Conductor of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra) and encouraged me to try out for that high school group. I took their advice, and not only was it a great time, it also helped me get a full scholarship to Interlochen Summer Arts Camp. This paved the way for my studies at the University of Michigan, where I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Oboe Performance and Conducting. Now I can look back and appreciate how being demoted to second oboe really set my musical life in motion. Some of the repertoire that the Bands are playing this semester brings back memories from my time in those youth orchestras and in the U of M Wind Ensemble. Like I said before, music is family to me!

Learn More

Learn more about the Band Program.

Interested in auditioning for the spring semester? Submit an inquiry today!

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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.

Community School Spotlight: Celine Chen

This interview has been lightly edited for style and clarity.

How long have you been playing the flute and how did you get started?
I started when I was nine, so, that’s eight years. I wanted to play violin at first, but the junior high I was going into didn’t have an orchestra, and I wanted to be part of the music program. It only offered band, so that’s why I chose flute instead of violin.

How did that decision turn out for you? What did you learn about the flute?
I have actually played the piano since I was four, and I think picking up a woodwind instrument was first of all, very different, because I had never really had to think about breathing before. Now that I play a woodwind instrument, I have to think about where exactly I should take a breath. I thought a lot more about the phrasing, because it would matter where I took the breath since it would chop off the music if I took it in the wrong spot. Because of this, I transferred my “music-phrasing analyzing” skills to the piano, and in this way, I was able to grow a lot as a musician.

I also learned a lot about tone because with the piano, if you put your finger on it, it already makes a beautiful sound. But then the flute, the first time I tried playing it, I couldn’t even make a sound. So for the first couple months, all I worked on was my tone; while in my piano lesson, I would already be playing short pieces. Thus, because of the flute, I focused a lot more on my sound and that helped me become more sensitive overall, whether that be playing the flute or the piano.

Do you still play the piano?

What’s it like balancing the two?
It’s really hard. It used to be a lot easier before high school, but now that I’m in high school and I’m a senior, I’m taking a lot of hard classes. So it’s hard to balance the time, but I do try to balance it out as best as I can.

What are some of the differences you’ve noticed?
I’m not able to practice the flute as much as the piano because I physically get tired. After a couple of hours, for example, my embouchure starts getting worse because of fatigue. So compared to piano, the amount of time I practice has changed.

Also, the types of exercises I do to warm up have been very different. They’ve been more focused on tone and vibrato, as I’ve hinted at before.

How are you feeling about being back on campus at Colburn?
I’m excited to come back. I haven’t been able to do chamber and orchestra this past year, so I’m really excited to be back in person.

How were the virtual classes you took last year?
I took private lessons last year, and it was really hard, honestly. I think it’s a lot easier with piano. I also have to take virtual lessons for piano, and with woodwind the sound is a lot different. For example, the vibrato sometimes makes the sound cut out completely or the high notes aren’t even picked up. So, that makes it really hard. But I think my teacher made the best out of the situation, and I was still able to learn a lot and grow a lot.

What kinds of things did you learn during that time that you’ll continue to work on?
I practiced a lot for vibrato, and it was really weird practicing vibrato because I never had to do it for piano. I think it really helped my tone for the flute. And I really liked my sound after I did those exercises over and over again. So I think I’ll definitely be continuing those exercises in the future.

How has your time at Colburn been overall?
Colburn has been really great. Before I joined Colburn, I was just with a small music school and there weren’t a lot of performances. I love connecting with the audience, and I love performing. So Colburn really allowed me to foster my passion for performing even more. It was great with all the Friday Night Recitals, the School Recitals, and the Honors Recitals, too.

What were some of your favorite performances?
I only got to do Colburn [Youth] Orchestra for one year. So I think there was only one concert before the pandemic hit. That one will always be a really vivid memory for me. Also because I had the Honors Recital on the same day, so I had two big concerts in one day. It was really jam packed, but it worked out. We performed the Nielsen Flute Concerto with another flutist as the soloist, and I think Beethoven. And for the Honors Recital, I performed Eldin Burton’s Sonatina for Flute and Piano.

You’re in both chamber and orchestra. Do you prefer one over the other?
I think they both have their own perks. I really love both. I can’t really choose. I think orchestra is a little bit harder because you have to listen to so many other instruments.

With chamber, I’m in a woodwind quintet this year, so it’s just woodwinds. And I know the other instruments better because they’re part of the woodwind family. So I’d say orchestra is a little bit harder, but I do love being a part of both.

What do you hope to do with your music in the future?
I definitely plan on continuing to play flute, continuing to play in orchestra and chamber music. It’s been a big part of my life, and with how much it’s impacted me, I don’t think I’ll be able to just quit and not play anymore. So I think I’ll definitely carry it on as I transition to college.

How has music impacted you?
It definitely gave me a community to be in, because I grew up in Indonesia and then moved here. When I was in the US, I had a little bit of a hard time fitting in because I couldn’t exactly speak English. But then being part of band really helped me to make friends, for example, because I was really shy. But yeah, it gave me a community that I could be a part of and that I could be proud of too.

Meet the New Early Childhood Department Chair: Dr. Nita Baxani

The Community School is proud to welcome Dr. Nita Baxani to the Colburn community. She is taking over the Early Childhood Chair from Christine Martin, who recently retired after 20 years of service to the school. Ready to take on the mantle of leadership, we recently spoke with Dr. Baxani to dive deep into her passion for music, her love of performance, her education, and everything she is looking forward to at Colburn.

Why Colburn? What attracted you to the organization?
There are two main aspects that attracted me to Colburn. I was very impressed with the Colburn School’s mission of providing the highest quality performing arts education at all levels of development and its dedication to providing equitable access to excellence in performing arts education. My own research and practical work in early childhood music education reinforced for me the importance of fostering music development for all children. I am very passionate about this, and I am so elated to have the opportunity to serve and be part of the Colburn community.

Secondly, I was especially attracted to what the Early Childhood program offers to the community, a curriculum pathway that is inclusive of very young learners with quality content that supports young children’s musical development. This pathway is led by accomplished early childhood faculty who prioritize the child’s interests and skill development to inform individual pathways of learning.

What is your vision for the Early Childhood Music Program?
My vision is to music joyfully as a community. “Musicking” (Small, 1999) refers to the act of making music an action, or verb, thus “to music” is a social action. Offering an environment for young learners and their families to feel they have something to contribute and that they have a voice aligns with the Community School of Performing Arts’ commitment to making music education accessible to everyone who has a passion and curiosity for music. I believe that all people should be able to engage in music as they wish; whether at home, school, or in Colburnland, music is a social act, one that is deeply entwined within the idea of community.

The previous chair, Christine Martin, has big shoes to fill! What is number one on your agenda to step into this role at Colburn?
Christine Martin created a rich program, and she has impacted the lives of many individuals, both students and their families, as well as the faculty and staff at Colburn. I am truly humbled to continue this work. My priority lies in working closely with our early childhood faculty, staff, and families so that I may continue to not only honor Ms. Martin’s work, but to find my place in this special community so that I can support and contribute meaningfully towards Ms. Martin’s legacy.

What are you most excited about for this upcoming year?
I’m so delighted to be working at such a highly regarded institution as Colburn School where Music is so valued in early childhood. I am even more grateful to be working alongside distinguished colleagues who are knowledgeable and passionate about their craft. The idea of engaging in productive discussions of best practices for children at Colburn School, based on research and real time experience in the classroom, is so thrilling for me. However, I must say that I am most excited about musicking with the students and their families and being part of the Colburn community experience.

Why is Early Childhood education important to you and what inspired you to study and work in Early Childhood music education?
Song was an artifact of culture that helped me to acclimate into a new environment as an immigrant to the US at a very young age. I recall singing all the time as a child. In fact, my earliest memories are of singing spontaneous songs and listening to recordings of Disney songs in Chinese. Song offered comfort in the new setting—in this case, being unfamiliar with my new surroundings and not yet being able to communicate with others in English. Song served as an object of transition into this new world.

I didn’t have the opportunity to engage in any type of formal music training through most of my adolescence because we were not able to afford lessons. I danced and sang informally in the privacy of my own room or in the shower (best acoustics ever!), and when around my family and friends, I sang for them. I wish I had had the opportunity to take part in music classes when I was very young and to be part of something musical in a community setting.

From my perspective, working with very young children taught me to see the world differently—to hear their music. The arts can offer various pathways for communication and expression. Early childhood is an important time of development, and my own experiences revealed to me that children, including babies, have musical agency. When I work with young children, I learn more about myself. It is an honor for me to be able to partner with faculty and with families in providing musical spaces for children.

As far as what inspired me to study and work in Early Childhood music education, it was actually a surprise to me. At Teachers College, Columbia University, I met two incredible mentors, Dr. Lori Custodero and Dr. Susan Recchia. With both their expertise and guidance, I was provided the opportunity to work within an early childhood center that is inclusive and provides culturally responsive care for young children and their families. Engaging in music with children from ages three months and above brought so much joy to my life, and I realized quickly that that area of study would be so rewarding and enjoyable to experience. I became part of this magical community—and music revealed itself in various forms in our music classes and outside of it. Once I was captivated by these children, there was no going back!

It is evident that you not only bring your experience as a performer and educator, but as an academic as well. How will your education and your research inform your work at Colburn?
My experience at Teachers College was such a transformative experience. I inquired further into what a music facilitator in a student-centered environment really means, being aware that children have agency. My own research on examining the functions of infant musicality within a community setting allowed me to not only analyze data from the lenses of the parents/caregivers and teachers, but I also had the amazing opportunity to provide my own lens from two perspectives: the music teacher and the researcher.

Other research projects that I have been involved in emphasize the importance of hearing the individual child’s music and allowing those cues to be part of a collaboration that is respectful, inclusive, and mutually fulfilling. I am inspired by the music behaviors of young children both in and out of music class. Information that I collected outside of music class was valuable information, as it provided insight and informed how I might make music with these already musical beings. Being in partnership with families is an important part of this experience.

I like to be updated on what’s out there in research and to continue writing to really get intimate with data that I’ve gathered. I enjoy attending and presenting at conferences. These platforms provide opportunities to connect with individuals in the field, and I enjoy meeting and sharing experiences and insights with other researchers and practitioners. Research informs practice, and as I learn more, I refine and develop my own ideas accordingly. I also discuss these ideas with my colleagues and look at the ways [they] can inform and shape our practice going forward.

You were also a performer. Do you still perform?
I feel so fortunate because as a performing artist, I have met and continue to meet some incredible people in the arts with amazing ideas for artistic expression. From my own viewpoint, I feel that for me to be a music educator, I need the music. I practice my craft on a regular basis, as that’s what it takes to keep the skills intact and strong. Should a meaningful performance opportunity arise, I am able to express myself in an artful way. Communication and expression for me are released through singing/performance. That is a part of me, and it is my voice.

The music educator is the other part of me—when asked as a young child what I wanted to be when I grew up, without a pause I said, “a teacher.” I’ve come to realize that both the performer and the educator live together in me, and it’s very difficult for me to live as one without the other. For me, the reciprocal exchange of making music with others in the music class is just as fulfilling as the partnership of being a performer in the moment with other musicians, as well as in the exchange with the audience.

The Community School of Performing Arts is exactly that, a community. What does this mean to you?
Ever since I started teaching, I have been passionate in my commitment to engaging students through collaboration in music making, maximizing individual student musical potential that instills a sense of self-worth, inspiring students of all ages “to music” together. I have dedicated my career to these pursuits, and I will continue to advocate for music in the community. I’m looking forward to engaging with Colburn’s community of young children and their families. I have so much respect for the individuality of each child while learning about their interests and passions so that I might gain entry into their musical space. The musical space for young children affords a sense of community where children are the social actors. I also look forward to connecting with the wider Colburn community.

Anything else you want to share with our Colburn community?
I love singing, I love teaching, and I especially LOVE music in early childhood.

Having the opportunity to join Colburn’s Early Childhood program is like a dream come true for me. Thank you for welcoming me into your community.

Learn More

Learn more about the Early Childhood Music Program.

Registration for the 2021–22 academic year is now open. Sign up today!

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Small, C. (1999). Musicking—the meanings of performing and listening. A lecture. Music education research, 1(1), 9-22.

Music Theory

Music theory at the Community School of Performing Arts is a singing-based curriculum designed to enhance and support instrumental and vocal study through active engagement and kinesthetic exploration. From pre-reading exposure classes to 20th century atonality, music theory classes deepen understanding of the musical process and strengthen artistic expression and performance.

Music theory and Dalcroze classes are designed to be taken simultaneously or one at a time to accommodate each individual’s pace and progress. In the same way, upper level music theory classes are compatible with simultaneous compositional study as well as advanced Dalcroze Rhythmic Solfege study.

Music Theory Group Classes

Prior to enrollment, students complete an assessment test to determine which class(es) would be most appropriate. Evaluations are normally done in the fall, and enrollment is assumed to be a year-long commitment. At the end of the year, continuing students are reevaluated so that faculty can advise them on appropriate choices for further study.

Music Theory Assessment

Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

A course for students who were in Introduction to Music Theory previously and need a refresher course. Or, for those who wish to jump into a quick review on how to sing and write major scales, read treble and bass clefs, and clap basic rhythms with quarter, eighth, sixteenth and dotted notes. The class will progress at a quicker pace than the regular Introduction to Music Theory year-long class to enable students to progress into a higher level of theory for Fall 2022.

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Keren Schweitzer all ages 01/29 - 06/04 Sa 01:00 pm - 01:55 pm $545.00

Ages 5 and up. No prior musical experience necessary. An interactive and playful musical exploration of basic music theory and singing. Students will learn t o write and read basic musical notation, solfege, and be able to interpret simple rhythmic notations. This class is ideal for students who have just begun instrumental instruction or will be starting an instrument soon.

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Keren Schweitzer all ages 01/29 - 06/04 Sa 11:00 am - 11:45 am $520.00

This class allows students to gain a firm grasp of the core skills of ear training, sight singing, and rhythmic concepts. Students use this knowledge to expand their appreciation and analysis of music, and elevate their performance abilities. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

This curriculum is designed to introduce basic components of music. Students learn major and minor scales, intervals, and triads. They also expand their ear training with aural recognition of the concepts studied in written theory. Students begin working on sight singing using solfege. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 9yr - 99yr 09/09 - 05/26 Th 04:00 pm - 04:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 9yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 11:00 am - 11:55 am $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Keren Schweitzer 9yr - 99yr 09/12 - 05/29 Sa 02:00 pm - 02:55 pm $545.00

This curriculum is designed to introduce basic components of music. Students learn major and minor scales, intervals, and triads. They also expand their ear training with aural recognition of the concepts studied in written theory. Students begin working on sight singing using solfege. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 9yr - 99yr 09/10 - 05/27 Fr 04:00 pm - 04:55 pm $1090.00

Making sure students progress in their understanding of music and playing skills is key to our curriculum development. To keep them moving forward, this class furthers students sight singing and dictation. New materials focus on seventh chords and their inversions as well as functional harmony and classification of common non-harmonic tones. Placement test is required prior to enrolling.Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/14 - 05/24 Tu 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 05:00 pm - 05:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/09 - 05/26 Th 05:00 pm - 05:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 01:00 pm - 01:55 pm $1090.00

Students in this class are ready to tackle more complex elements. Instruction incorporates diatonic harmony, functional analysis, and recognition of all non-harmonic tones. They’ll also learn about four-part harmony and analysis of simple Bach chorales. They’ll continue progressing in simple binary and ternary forms and concomitant ear training. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/13 - 05/23 Mo 05:00 pm - 05:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/09 - 05/26 Th 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 02:00 pm - 02:55 pm $1090.00

Nonharmonic tones and 4 part writing is introduced. Secondary functions, modulation, Neopolitan chords and augmented sixth chords are analyzed, sung and written. Harmonic and melodic practice and dictation using fixed solfege of the subjects combined with progressively complex rhythmic patterns. Placement test is required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/13 - 05/22 Mo 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 07:00 pm - 07:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 03:00 pm - 03:55 pm $1090.00

Once students have a firm understanding of diatonic harmony and elementary chromatic harmony, they’re ready to explore music theory at a deeper level. Class instruction centers around Neapolitan 6th chord, the augmented 6th chord, and altered chords. Teachers also discuss modulation to distant keys and enharmonic modulation. Students analytical skills are challenged with larger forms, such as sonata, theme and variations, and rondo and sonata-rondo form. Placement test is required prior to enrolling.  Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/13 - 05/22 Mo 07:00 pm - 07:55 pm $1090.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/09 - 05/26 Th 07:00 pm - 07:55 pm $1090.00

Moduation using procedures other than common-chord procedures. Phrase analysis, binary, rouded binary, ternary, sonata form. Enharmonic notation, modulation and analysis. Advanced Neopolitan and augmented sixth chords. Introduction to atonality. Sightsinging, composition, and dictation involving the above, including appropriate rhythmic practice. Placement test required prior to enrolling. Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu. 

Click here for Placement Test

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 99yr 09/14 - 05/24 Tu 07:00 pm - 07:55 pm $1090.00


Music Theory Summer Intensive

The intensive is the equivalent of one year of theory and includes at least an hour of homework each day. Classes meet online multiple days per week in a condensed 4-week program. Students may use this opportunity to advance more quickly through the music theory curriculum offered by the Community School. Students must be continuing students or be pre-approved to enroll; a placement test is required.

Music Theory Assessment

Email the completed assessment to cspa@colburnschool.edu.

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 999yr 06/13 - 07/08 Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr 02:30 pm - 03:55 pm $570.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 999yr 06/13 - 07/08 Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr 04:00 pm - 05:25 pm $570.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Kathy Sawada 10yr - 999yr 06/13 - 07/08 Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr 05:30 pm - 06:55 pm $570.00


The Dalcroze philosophy relies on solfege, eurhythmics, and improvisation which lay the foundation for students serious about instrumental and vocal study. Class activities include vocal awareness, ear training, and sight-singing as well as rhythmic movement. Improvisational works unlock students’ innate musicality and develop musical security while a kinetic approach builds up “muscle memory”, a trait key to the spontaneous musician. Students’ own discovery in music brings joyful and powerful musicianship.

Dalcroze Placement

In-person assessments are required for younger students between the age of five and seven to determine readiness for Dalcroze Eurhythmics/Beginning Musicianship class as well as placement into Dalcroze II, III, or IV.

Please contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu to schedule an assessment.

Ideal for young students ages 5 – 7 years old who are just beginning to learn an instrument. New students, please contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu for an assessment prior to enrolling.

This class is for students to learn beginning musical concepts through a variety of kinetic activities with parents. The Dalcroze approach encourages students’ spontaneity and attentiveness. We train our whole body to respond to specific musical subjects including, but not limited to beat, subdivision, rests, phrase, simple and compound meter. Songs will be used as musical examples. One parent must participate with a student.

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 5yr - 7yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 01:00 pm - 01:45 pm $1040.00

In this introductory Rhythmic Solfege, fixed “Do” syllables are used to indicate pitch, and numbers are used to indicate function. Furthermore, students explore simple vocal improvisation in order to develop a keen sense of pitch. The following subjects include, but are not limited to diatonic scales, triads, measure shape, and syncopation. Specific examples will be taken from musical literature.

Students may need to be assessed to ensure readiness for class, contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu prior to enrolling or discuss options with Ms. Sawada to continue in Elementary Music Theory IA. 

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 7yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm $1040.00

This class is designed to focus on “Rhythmic Solfege” – the study of inner hearing. Students will deepen their musicianship through Dalcroze solfege, rhythmic movement. Furthermore, the class focuses on vocal/instrumental improvisation based on materials learned in class. Advanced topics include augmentation/diminution, complementary rhythm, unequal beats, modes, and the pentatonic scale.

Students need access to the piano or their musical instrument for ear training and improvisation.

Students may need to be assessed to ensure readiness for class, contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu prior to enrolling or discuss options with Ms. Sawada to continue in Elementary Music Theory II. 

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 9yr - 99yr 09/11 - 05/28 Sa 10:00 am - 10:55 am $1090.00

This class is specifically designed for Community School Suzuki string students to develop musical awareness through experience-based activities. Students gain active listening skills, rhythmic vitality, and a keen sense of pitch as well as coordination. Over the course of study, students internalize music which promotes confident and accurate music learning experiences. Specific examples will be taken from musical literature including the Suzuki repertoire. One parent must accompany a student.

This section is for students that have already taken at least one semester of Dalcroze for Suzuki. For more information, please contact Ms. Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 6yr 6mo - 10yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 05:15 pm - 05:50 pm $488.00
Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Mariko Izumi 6yr 6mo - 10yr 09/08 - 05/25 We 06:00 pm - 06:35 pm $488.00

Dalcroze methods engage students in interactive dynamic learning experiences that can help them develop analytical listening skills and open them up to their own innate musicality. This series of progressive lessons will enable participants to experience Dalcroze methods directly and show how they may apply these methods in their own teaching. Each session will feature a 70-minute session exploration of Dalcroze Rhythmic Solfege and a twenty-minute Q&A session. Designed specifically for music educators regardless of their prior exposure to Dalcroze methods.


Composition lessons provide students with an outlet to explore their knowledge of music and create works of their own. These lessons are available to students who have completed the Intermediate II level of Music Theory, or its equivalent. Students work one-on-one with our accomplished faculty and have opportunities to share their work in studio classes and with Colburn ensembles.

Trombonist Elijah Alexander
I want to be able to effectively match my compositional voice with my technical voice on the trombone. Colburn has helped me with this especially, with the teachers helping me on gaining a stronger understanding of what I need to work on and what directions I should head in. Trombonist Elijah Alexander

Composition students at the Community School of Performing Arts have been recognized for their achievements, including being accepted to the Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program at the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Designed for beginning composers to develop the skills and methodologies to pursue writing music. The course will commence with short composition assignments and build up to include opportunities to compose short pieces for solo and small chamber ensemble. Students will be exposed to different composers’ aesthetics and approaches as a means of expanding their own compositional toolboxes. Classes will include presentations, masterclass-like discussions of student projects, and guest composers and/or performers.

Pre-requisite: Intermediate Theory I or instructor’s approval required prior to enrollment.

Instructor Ages Dates Days Times Fees
Michael McLean all ages 09/14 - 05/24 Tu 06:00 pm - 06:55 pm $545.00

Private Lessons

To study composition with a private teacher, submit an inquiry form.