Faculty

The Monteverdi Music School is very pleased to offer the following faculty members for instruction in a wide array of instruments and disciplines. If you are interested in joining the faculty, please CONTACT US. We have a variety of ways to join the faculty, including hourly rental of studio space, rentals of studios for blocks of time or full days, or a non-resident affiliation if you already have studio space.

* indicates a teacher who offers lessons in studios at Monteverdi.

 

PIANO

*Luke Rackers
Luke Rackers serves the community as a private educator, composer, performer, producer and arts administrator. As Executive Director of Abundant Silence, Luke is very passionate about new music and helping composers connect with performers, students & listeners. With a Masters of Fine Arts in music composition, Luke uses his education, experience in music as a performer, composer and educator, and expertise in a variety music business endeavors to help composers successfully present their artistic voice to the world. As an educator, Luke specializes in teaching private lessons to piano students of all ages and levels. He combines his piano teaching background with his composition and improvisation expertise to develop creative and unique learning opportunities. Luke has over a decade of experience in the music industry and loves learning about new ways to help promote and produce new musical works of art. Luke performs in a variety of ensembles including his new music ensemble, Musica Verto Novo, which performs many of the works in the Abundant Silence catalog. He composers primarily for solo piano and small ensemble. Finally, Luke spends much of his time as a recording and audio engineer, helping musicians, film producers and others capture high quality audio for their projects. Email Luke HERE.

Debra Smoller
Debra has enjoyed teaching piano to children since 1993. Debra began her Suzuki training at the Colorado Suzuki Institute and continued with Master Suzuki music teachers from the Pacific NW to New England to Canada. Teaching piano in the Suzuki method has come very natural to Debra through humor, love for the child, love of music, and a strong belief in Suzuki’s vision that “Perhaps it will be music that will save the world”! The structure and practices of the Suzuki method are wired to how children naturally learn. When the environment supports the child, these kids can’t help but thrive musically. Debra received a BA in Psychology from Burlington College in 1987 and graduate coursework in music education in 1991-92. After 15 years in Seattle, Debra returned to Vermont in 2011 with her husband and kids, now 13 and 17, both raised in Suzuki music environments. Email Debra HERE.

*Eliza Thomas
Eliza Thomas studied music as an undergraduate at Harvard University, and then much later, after a series of odd jobs that had little to do with music, attended New England Conservatory in the vocal and instrumental accompaniment program.  In 1992 she moved to Vermont, eventually making her way to Montpelier and to the wonderful music and arts community of central Vermont.  She has taught piano at the Monteverdi School since 1998 and collaborates with area musicians and with a number of organizations, including Echo Valley Community Arts, Vermont Opera Theater, Unadilla, Green Mountain Theater Group, Opera North and WordStage Vermont.  She is accompanist for the Spaulding High School Chorus and the Plainfield High School Initiative, and serves pianist/organist at the Unitarian Church of Montpelier. She is also a lapsed writer, but hopes soon to begin work on a mystery with musical overtones. Email Eliza HERE.

*J.D. Williams
J.D. Williams spent his childhood in West Virginia, began piano at age 6, and a school much like Monteverdi formed his early education in music.  At age 13, he started taking piano much more seriously, gave his first solo recital, and two years later attended the Tanglewood Institute.  After further study, competitions, and performances in high school, he went on to attend the Peabody Conservatory, graduating in 2001, as well as the Aspen, Banff,  and Meadowmount music festivals.  J.D. has made his home in Vermont since 2004, and feels very fortunate to be living in this beautiful state making his living teaching and playing piano while pursuing his other passion of homesteading in its many facets. Email J.D. HERE.

*Nora Zablow
Nora Zablow has been teaching music for over 40 years, in public and Waldorf Schools, church and community choruses (children and adults) and in individual lessons. As a piano teacher, she specializes in beginning through intermediate students of all ages, emphasizing efficient technique, creativity, and musicianship in developmentally appropriate and enjoyable ways. Voice students from shower singers to those preparing for college, All State, and other auditions are welcome. Lessons incorporate understanding how the voice works as part of our whole “bodyminds.” Music of all genres, including pop, folk, jazz standards, art song, and opera are taught. Email Nora HERE.

WOODWINDS

*Lisa Carlson – Flute
Lisa Carlson has taught flute in Central Vermont since 1985, and currently maintains a private studio on Langdon Street in Montpelier. She teaches privately, both in person and online, and is also on the faculties of Monteverdi Music School, Seven Stars Center for the Arts in Sharon, and Upper Valley Music School in Lebanon, NH. Her study of flute and flute pedagogy includes lessons with Katherine Borst Jones at Oberlin, as well as intensive study of the Suzuki Method at Suzuki Institutes in Tennessee, Ontario and Massachusetts. Her teaching style focuses on foundational development within the context of individual student inspiration. Flexibility of style includes contemporary technology where appropriate, and Lisa is well versed in a wide variety of teaching tools. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels, and has trained some of the finest high school flutists in New England. Her greatest joy is starting young children with the Suzuki Method, combining joy with a solid foundation, and nurturing their development, often to a highly advanced level. Lisa has spearheaded chamber ensembles with some of the finest musicians in the area as well as with her own two adult daughters, and she performs as principal flute with the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra. Her chamber ensembles are in demand for events throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and beyond. She maintains a web site and blogs at http://lisaflute.com. Email Lisa HERE.

Sandra Cathey – Oboe, Clarinet, Recorder
Sandra Cathey graduated from Goddard College in 1969 with a BA in Music and Education. Sandra’s performing experiences include playing with several orchestras; Vermont Symphony, Vermont Philharmonic and the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra.  She was principal oboe in the Vermont Philharmonic for 41 years and joined the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra as principal oboe in 2006. In addition, Sandra has been a member of several woodwind quintets and small ensembles, performing throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and the Boston area.

Sandra has advanced her studies in conducting, performing and teaching at the University of Vermont, the Hartt School and Berkley School of Music.  Her teachers include Lawrence Thorstenberg (Boston Symphony), Neil Boyer (Portland Symphony), and most recently, Humbert Lucarelli (world renowned oboe soloist and faculty member at the Hartt School and NYU).

Sandra began her public school teaching career after graduation and taught kindergarten through grade 12, general and instrumental music for 20 years. In 2000, Sandra became certified to teach Kindermusik, a child development program taught through music for children from birth to age 8. At this time, she also continued to teach private lessons on oboe, clarinet and recorder. Over the years, many of Sandra’s students have participated in the Winooski Valley Music Festival, All State Music Festival, and the All New England Festival. Sandra teaches Kindermusik and private instrumental lessons in her studio in Montpelier, Vermont.

Sandra lives with her husband, William in Middlesex where they brought up two now grown daughters. Both daughters were graduates of the Vermont Youth Orchestra, one as principal clarinet and one as concert master. Email Sandra HERE.

Werner John*Werner John – Recorder
Werner John has been an independent musician, teacher and recording artist specializing in wood flutes for 35 years. He studied baroque recorder with Lisa Goodman, Bernard Krainis and Steve Rosenberg and majored in music at Amherst College and Warren Wilson College. Werner teaches recorder at all levels, to players of all ages 6 and up, individually and in groups. Students may enjoy being part of an intermediate level recorder ensemble playing Baroque, Renaissance and Celtic music. Email Werner HERE.

Joni McCraw*Joni McCraw – Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute
Joni Hollis McCraw has been teaching woodwinds for more than 45 years. A busy freelance musician, she has performed in more than 125 musical theater productions on everything from piccolo to baritone saxophone. As a clarinetist she has performed with the Vermont Symphony, Vermont Mozart Festival, the Indian Hill Symphony, and many other groups. She has a degree in applied music from the University of Massachusetts. Joni studied clarinet and saxophone privately with Joseph Allard at the New England Conservatory of Music and flute with Nancy Jerome. Email Joni HERE.

 

STRINGS

*Michael Close – Cello
Michael Close is a composer, cellist, and teacher living in Worcester, VT. He graduated from Bennington College in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in music composition and a master of arts in education. He has been a composer-mentor with Music-COMP since 2004, a program which encourages and supports students in composing and arranging music. He teaches cello and chamber music classes at the Monteverdi Music School in Montpelier. He is also the music teacher at Doty Memorial School. Michael plays cello with a wide variety of orchestral and chamber groups around Vermont. He has been the section leader of and a soloist with the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra. He is a prolific composer and some of his most recent works have been performed by the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra, The Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony, The Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, Chamber Music at the Scarab Club of Detroit, the Eleva Chamber Players, and the Vermont Choral Union. Email Michael HERE.

owen lenz*Owen Lenz – Violin
Owen Lenz is a violinist and native Vermonter who has performed and taught throughout New England and New York for the past 15 years. Owen started playing the violin with renowned Vermont violin pedagogue Mary Gibson when he was 5. In the 22 years since, his teachers have also included Evelyn Read, Theodore Arm, Kevin Lawrence, New York Philharmonic violinist Lisa Kim, and founding member of the Mendelssohn String Quartet Laurie Smukler, with whom he studied for four years while earning a Bachelors degree in violin performance at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. Highlights of his performing career include playing with Green Mountain Opera Festival, Middlebury Opera Company, Burlington Chamber Orchestra and Vermont Symphony Orchestra as well as touring China with the Manhattan Symphonie and extensive musical theater work throughout the region. Currently living in Bethel, Vermont, Owen splits his time between teaching privately and performing in Vermont and New Hampshire. Email Owen HERE.

*Mary Theodore – Violin
Violinist Mary Theodore, a Montpelier resident, is originally from New York State. In her desire to explore the Pacific Northwest, she took her studies to the University of Washington in Seattle. There, she earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin with teacher Ronald Patterson as well as her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in violin and a Graduate Theory Certificate. Dr. Theodore has also studied privately with Joey Corpus in New York City and has performed in master classes led by such distinguished artists as Joseph Silverstein, Charles Castleman, and Norman Carroll.

“Theodore proved her mettle both musically and technically… played with depth and expressiveness.” (Jim Lowe, Times Argus)  As a performer, Mary enjoys solo, chamber, and orchestral playing. She has extensive orchestral experience, having performed with many orchestras while living in different parts of the U.S., including with the Spokane Symphony in Washington State and the Sonos Chamber Orchestra in New York City.  She has been a member of both the Wisconsin Chamber and Madison Symphony Orchestras since 2006.  Mary also has a love of chamber music. She founded and from 2012-2016 was Director and violinist of Sound Ensemble Wisconsin, an innovative chamber music organization based in Madison: “The performances were all splendid…and the command of technique and the precision of ensemble throughout was of the highest artistic standards. (SEW) will certainly bring a new dimension to Madison’s cultural scene.” (John Barker)  From 2010-2011, Mary founded and was Artistic Director of Chamber Music Vermont, a series which presented two critically acclaimed concerts in its first few months: “Theirs was another step in the cultural development of Burlington and indeed the entire state of Vermont” (Classical Voice of New England).

Mary has taught students of all ages and levels, from first lessons to preparing students for college and orchestral auditions. She has maintained a successful private studio for over eighteen years and has also taught as Assistant Professor at Beloit College as well as at community music schools in Seattle and the New York City area. Mary uses a firm foundation in technique to assist her students in finding the freedom they need to express themselves on their instruments. She believes that discovering efficiency and comfort on the violin is the key to unlocking one’s personal voice. Mary maintains an open mind and an understanding nature in teaching while at the same time she demands the very best from her students. Email Mary HERE.

*Christopher Stork – Violin
Christopher Stork was born in Berlin Vermont, and began studying the violin at the age of nine. He began studying music at the Monteverdi Music School before starting lessons with Sally Thomas in New York City in 2006. Currently Chris is enrolled as a Masters Student at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University where he obtained his Bachelors Degree in Violin performance in 2016. His teaching method is solidly grounded in Galamian pedagogy, a method that encourages students with principles and guide lines, rather than rules and regulations. He also has experience with teaching in the Suzuki Method.

Chris has performed solo with the Vermont Mozart Festival, Bathurst Chamber music festival, Orchanik, McGill Baroque Orchestra and in recitals at the McGill University and at Mannes the New School for Music. He was Concert Master with the Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bathurst Chamber Music Festival, and Orchanik Orchestra. He competed in several competitions, and won residency with his Piano Trio at the Zodiac Music Festival in France. He is the two time winner of the Chandler Hall Next Generation Competition, a two time finalist in the McGill University Chamber Music Competition, a two time finalist in the Vermont Young Musicians Award, and has played solo with the Vermont Philharmonic. Email Chris HERE.

Katie Trautz*Katie Trautz – Fiddle
Katie Trautz (www.katietrautz.com) is a native Vermont fiddler who has toured nationally and internationally sharing traditional music and original folk songs. Katie plays fiddle, guitar and banjo crossing genres with her numerous ensembles. She has studied with some of the greatest fiddle players in the US including Dirk Powell, Pete Sutherland, David Greely and Bruce Molsky. Katie has released a number of albums in the past seven years with her various bands (Mayfly, Wooden Dinosaur, Kick em Jenny, and more). Katie is the co-founder of the non-profit folk music school ‘Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture’ based in Montpelier, VT. Following her 8-year directorship at the Summit School, she became the Executive Director of Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph, VT. Following the release of her book ‘American Harmony Singing: Kid Songs’ in the fall of 2016, she decided to return to teaching fiddle lessons from her home in Vermont, while raising her new baby son. Email Katie HERE.

 

BRASS

 

*Ron Thompson – Trumpet
Ron is a former member of the National Symphony of Washington, D.C. He was privileged to play under the batons of Pierre Monteaux (his favorite conductor), and Danny Kaye ( his favorite non-conductor).  Ron also performed as principal trumpet at the Carter Baron Amphitheater and as soloist at the National Cathedral.After a move to the West Coast, Ron continued his music performance as principal trumpet with the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera.  An audiophile recording, “Baroque Music for Trumpet and Organ,” was released on Water Lily Records. During his seven years in Central Vermont, Ron has worked as a licensed counseling psychologist in private practice,  specializing in performance anxiety (stagefright). He has worked with people in diverse “performance” circumstances, including competitive high diving, major symphony auditions, public speaking, and medical school examinations.  He notes that trumpet playing is a wonderful place to learn about performance anxiety, as there are no “soft” mistakes on the trumpet. Ron and his family live in Calais. Email Ron HERE.

 

GUITAR

John Halvey*John Halvey
Originally trained in pop guitar, John began jazz/pop guitar lessons with Sal Raia at the Hartford Conservatory of Music in 1968. He played with 6-12 various rock bands in High School from 1969 through 1973. In 1975 John began classical guitar lessons and studied with Sal Raia at Windsor music Center in Ct. In 1976 John was accepted at Hartt College of Music , part of the University of Hartford in W.Hartford Ct. John studied with Dick Provost at Hartt and attended Master Classes with Oscar Ghiglia and Michael Lorimer. John performed his Junior recital at Hartt in 1978. John moved to Waitsfield, VT in 1978 to ski bum and performed guitar at several fine restaurants in the Mad River Valley from 1978 through 1984.  He performed at the Trapp Lodge from 1983 through 1986. John studied with Daniel Hecht in Montpelier in 1982 and in 1987 began studies with Thomas Geoghegan at the University of Vermont where he performed his Senior recital in 1989. John performed at many weddings and is part of the Chamber Music offering with the Vermont Symphony.  He has performed at dozens of weddings in Vermont from 1979 through the present. John has taught classical guitar throughout his life and has focused on the Segovia technique for Classical Guitar and the Mel Bay Jazz Series for Pop guitar. John also sings Shaped Note music and has sung in the past with the Mad River Madrigals, the Baroque Court, Onion River Chorus and UVM Choral Union. John has two recordings available on Cassette only at this time: Uncompromising Guitar I and II. John has a YouTube page and a link to that page on his website www.johnhalvey.com. Email John HERE.

 

VOICE

 

erikkroncke*Erik Kroncke
Erik has performed in opera, musical theater, oratorio, operetta, and art song throughout the world, working with companies such as Green Mountain Opera, Bronx Opera, Opera Colorado, and the Amato Opera. His symphonic and oratorio performances include engagements with the New York Philharmonic, the Korean Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony, and the American Classical Orchestra. Erik has won many awards, including the 2010 Gerda Lissner International Competition, Wagner Division, the 2008 American Wagner, and St. Bonaventura awards from the Liederkranz competition. He was a 2002 and 2003 winner of the Friedrich Schorr Vocal Competition. Erik has fifteen years’ teaching experience with all voice types, abilities, ages, and styles. He has been a student of master teacher Braeden Harris for over ten years, and his philosophy of teaching is that all singing and song interpretation is organic and comes from good tone, no matter the style. His performance experiences allow him to help students focus not only on voice but on performance, style, and technique. Erik’s studio is currently full.

Lindsey Warren
Lindsey Warren has enjoyed teaching voice and piano to students of all ages for the past 15 years. She received a M. M. from McGill University in Montreal and a B.M. Degree from Furman University in Greenville, SC, both in Vocal Performance. She has also attended Oberlin Conservatory’s  Baroque Performance Institute. Lindsey enjoys singing a variety of styles of music. With regards to teaching, she believes that good technique and musicianship can be applied to any style of music (folk, jazz, classical, Broadway, etc) and her lessons focus on relaxation, breathing, fun and creativity. In addition to piano and voice lessons at VTISA, Lindsey is the founding director or Ensemble Zephyrus and sings with Counterpoint and Green Mtn. Monteverdi Ensemble of VT. Email Lindsey HERE.

*Nora Zablow
See above under Piano.

 

COMPOSITION & THEORY

Erik Nielsen*Erik Nielsen
Composer Erik Nielsen has created works for chorus, orchestra, wind ensemble, solo instruments, chamber music, works for dance, film and electronic music. His pieces have been performed all over the world by ensembles including A Far Cry, the Amabile, Chiara, Emerson and Ying String Quartets; the National Symphony Orchestra; the Killington and Manchester Chamber Players; Bread and Puppet Theater; the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble; Vermont Opera Theater, Vermont Symphony; Vermont Youth Orchestra and Village and Northern Harmony. He has won awards from ASCAP, the Vermont Arts Council, and the Vermont Music Teachers Association. In September 2015, his opera, A Fleeting Animal, a collaboration with poet/playwright David Budbill that premiered in 2000, was performed in a newly revised edition to great acclaim in six locations in Vermont. Recent commissions include A Voice in the Night, a four-movement work for bassoon and piano, written for William Short, co-principal bassoonist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Bryan Wagorn, pianist and assistant conductor at The Met; Fanfare in B Flat, commissioned by the Vermont Symphony for their 80th anniversary, Glimpses of Azure, commissioned by the Boston string orchestra, A Far Cry; The Crane Maiden for chamber ensemble, narrator and three actors; Trajectory of Flight for mezzo-soprano and strings; and his Quartet for Strings #2. In 2002 he received the National Symphony Orchestra’s composition prize for Vermont. The resulting commissioned work, his Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, was premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. on March 20, 2004. Email Erik HERE.

*Luke Rackers
See above under Piano.

 

CHORUS

*Mary Jane Austin
Mary Jane Austin is enjoying a rich musical life in Vermont and abroad, where her interests range from recital work and full scale opera productions to conducting children’s choruses and teaching elementary violin.  She has been deeply inspired by her tutelage under the following internationally renowned vocal coaches and pianists Warren Jones, Dalton Baldwin, and Enza Ferrari, as well as Metropolitan Opera soprano Claudia Pinza, and conductor Maurizio Arena, former assistant to Tullio Serafin, and feels fortunate to be able to pass on beloved traditions to a new generation of musicians.  She was recently named “Honorary Conductor” by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.  She is currently the rehearsal pianist for Opera Company of Middlebury’s mainstage productions, and is the vocal coach at the EPCASO opera program in Oderzo, Italy, having worked there since 1994.  In Vermont, she enjoys collaborating with the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, Eleva Chamber Players, TurnMusic, the Mad River Chorale, Counterpoint, and Vermont Virtuosi, and this summer co-founded the Vermont Italian Opera Intensive with internationally acclaimed bass Erik Kroncke.  She has directed several opera and operettas at the Unadilla Theatre in Calais, as well as several works by Gilbert and Sullivan, including Gondoliers which opened this past June.  Currently teaching keyboard harmony, piano lessons, and vocal coaching at Johnson State College, she is also the organist at the Waterbury Congregational Church, directs the Monteverdi Young Singers Chorus, and teaches elementary music at the Montessori School of Central Vermont. Email Mary Jane HERE.