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.
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 has enjoyed teaching piano to children since 1993. Debra began her suzuki training at the Colorado Suzuki Institute in 1997. In subsequent years, she had the pleasure of studying suzuki piano with Peggy Swingle of Seattle, WA. Teaching music 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 tuned in to real kids, and when the environment supports the child and the music, these kids can’t help but thrive on their instruments. 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 two children, now 12 and 16. Aside from teaching piano and working in the local foods movement, Debra enjoys putting honest food on the table, hiking, bicycling, good health. Email Debra HERE.
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 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 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.
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 – 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 – 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.
*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.
*Matthew Avery – Trombone
Matthew Avery, a Barre native, has been an active member of the Vermont music scene for over four years. Under the guidance of Spaulding High School band director Robert Booth, Avery graduated from high school with a strong interest in music, particularly jazz. After working with world-renowned artists such as Jeff Galindo, Peter Apfelbaum, and David Dempsy through the Vermont All-State High School Jazz program, Avery decided to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education at the University of Vermont. Avery completed his degree program in May of 2016, graduating Cum Laude. While currently teaching music in South Royalton schools, Avery continues to perform in a variety of performance settings across the state.
Since the beginning of his college career in 2012, Avery has shared the stage with several Vermont-based groups, including Afinque, The Saturn People’s Sound Collective, Brian Boyes’ Big Band Bhangra Brass Band, Kat Wright and the Indomitable Soul Band, the Grippo Funk Band, the Funk Collection, TURNmusic, and many more. His classical performances stem from ensembles such as the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra and Revels Brass. Avery’s mentors include Robert Wigness, Richard Davies and Andrew Moroz, and have each uniquely contributed to his versatility as a trombonist. Email Matthew HERE.
*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.
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.
Naomi Flanders is an innovative voice teacher, director, administrator and producer. She studied with Marcy Lindheimer in NYC during the 1980s when the vocal world was changing its approach to how vocal technique was taught due to work of Kristin Linklater. She was tutored in Feldenkrais Body Work with Marcy Lindheimer and practices yoga. Flanders combines these two body disciplines with vocal technique to lay down a solid base for body flexibility and proper breath support for singers and actors. Naomi founded Echo Valley Community Arts in 2002 and has produced, directed and sung in over 36 productions in central Vermont over the past 13 years. Flanders also helped found Shakespeare In The Hills and Shakespeare Alive! summer camps for kids and teens. She directed G&S operettas for Unadilla Theatre for 15 years, and has directed 5 operas produced by Echo Valley Community Arts. Naomi also teaches group voice classes at the Montpelier Senior Center, and is currently preparing for her 6th opera, Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte” which will open in mid-October at the Plainfield Opera House. Email Naomi HERE.
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 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.
See above under Piano.
COMPOSITION & THEORY
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.
See above under Piano.
*Mary Jane Austin
Mary Jane Austin leads the Young Singers Chorus at Monteverdi. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and then pursued graduate studies in vocal coaching and accompanying, studying both art song and opera at Duquesne University with Warren Jones and Claudia Pinza. She currently teaches at Johnson State College and is the organist at the Waterbury Congregational Church. Email Mary Jane HERE.