Jason Aiello
Assistant Program Director and Cello coach

JASON AIELLO is the Director of the Sinfonia Orchestra and a cello coach for Elemental Strings. Jason has taught orchestra at Santa Monica High School since 2006, after graduating with honors from UCLA as the recipient of the Joyce Fahlman Fellowship. While at UCLA, he studied music education with Dr. Frank Heuser, cello with Antonio Lysy, and worked as a cello coach and student teacher at Santa Monica High School. As a guest conductor, Jason has worked with honor orchestras sponsored by CMEA (California Association for Music Education) and SCSBOA (Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association). Currently, he serves on the board of the California Orchestra Directors Association, where his primary responsibilities have included creating and maintaining the CODA website and auditioning junior high and high school cellists for various CODA sponsored honor orchestras.


Morgan Gerstmar
Violin and Viola

MORGAN LEE GERSTMAR is a Los Angeles based violist/violinist, composer, and educator from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in the Performer/Composer program from the California Institute of the Arts; a BA in Neuroscience, Musical Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California and precollege training from the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. Morgan's diverse career in Neuroscience and Music has provided her with unique tools for teaching her violin and viola students.

Education is the focal point of Morgan's career as an artist. Her private students have won concertmaster and principal chairs in school orchestras as well as seats in SCSBOA and CODA orchestra competitions; in addition her student placed 1st in Beginning Fiddle at the 2015 Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest. Morgan is a member of the Suzuki Institute of America and the Royal Conservatory of Music Development Program. As a performer she has had the privilege to tour cities across the world from Berlin to Guatemala City and has appeared on countless recordings for rock bands, TV shows and independent films. She also enjoys a career as a performance artist and composer, premiering original works in Los Angeles at venues such as the wulf., LACE, Human Resources and SPACE.


Emily Call
Violin

EMILY CALL is the Director of the Prelude Program and a violin coach for Sinfonia. In addition to her work with Elemental Strings, Emily is a Dream Strings coach for SMMUSD. She also acted as a coach for the Stairway of the Stars elementary honor orchestra in 2014. Emily maintains a private studio, in addition to teaching at Musical Beginnings in Westchester. Previously, Emily was a strings coach for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra and taught group violin lessons in Santa Clarita through the CalArts Community Arts Partnership.

As a performer, Emily has played at venues as diverse as REDCAT, the Gibson Amphitheatre, the House of Blues San Diego, the Silverlake Lounge, SPACE Arts Center, and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. She is a founding member of the Isaura String Quartet. Recent performances with ISQ include playing for the Anne LeBaron: Portrait Concerts series at REDCAT, as well as the 2013 RADAR L.A. Festival. Emily can also be seen performing with various groups across Los Angeles, including YMF's Debut Orchestra and Classical Revolution LA. Emily earned her MFA in Violin Performance from the California Institute of the Arts. Previously, she received her BA in Music from Bennington College.


Miki Garcia
Violin

JAR-EL MIKI GARCIA earned her Bachelor's degree in Music Education at California State University Northridge, where she studied violin with Michael Ferril. She is a violin coach for Elemental Strings and has been teaching elementary strings and chorus in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District since 2012. Before joining SMMUSD, she was the assistant orchestra director at Burbank High School and taught music to primary grades in afterschool programs throughout the San Fernando Valley. Her passion for the creative arts and holistic education led her into the UCLArts and Healing program, where she attained certification in Social Emotional Arts.


Victoria Duran
Program Assistant

VICTORIA DURAN is the Program Assistant of the Elemental Strings program and is currently enrolled in the Applied Music Program at Santa Monica College where she is studying classical vocal technique. For six years, Victoria worked for Harmony Project in Hollywood, where she acted as Assistant Director and Vocal Coach of their Leimert Park Choir in South Los Angeles. In addition to her work there, Victoria was an artistic mentor for the Inside Out Community Arts Program which caters to middle school and high school youth in low-income communities in and around Los Angeles.


Lydia Tseng
Violin

Violin coach, LYDIA TSENG has been teaching music in various capacities since 2000. After getting her Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education in 2003, she taught string music and orchestra classes ranging from elementary to high school level in the public school system of South Carolina for three years. Upon moving to California in 2006, she has been highly involved in the SMMUSD as a string specialist including Instructional Assistant to the director at Lincoln Middle School and Dream Strings Coach for the elementary string music program. In addition to being a coach for Elemental Strings, Lydia also served as the Music Director and Violin/Viola Coach for the Prelude Program during its initial year of 2012-2013. Lydia's primary instruments are violin, viola, and piano. She has been teaching privately since 2000 and currently maintains a large private studio of violin, viola, and piano students.


Dr. Josephine Liu Moerschel
Executive and Artistic Director

DR. JOSEPHINE LIU MOERSCHEL ("Dr. Jo") is the Executive and Artistic Director of Elemental Strings and directs the Elemental Strings Chamber Orchestra. She is on the faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, and the Long Beach City College. Recently, she served as co-director of the Los Angeles branch of Junior Chamber Music and ViolaFest Los Angeles. Josephine sits on the boards of the Southern California Viola Society and the Greater Los Angeles Area branch of the American String Teachers' Association.

In addition to her teaching, Josephine can frequently be heard in the viola sections of many southern California ensembles. She is a member of the New West Symphony, and has performed with many other groups in LA, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale and Long Beach Symphony.

Her students have been heard performing in leading youth orchestras in Los Angeles, as well as conservatories and music festivals across the country.

Josephine received a doctorate in viola performance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. Her primary teachers include Roger Myers, Donald McInnes, Masao Kawasaki and Catharine Carroll.


Susan Rishik
Violin

SUSAN RISHIK, violin, joined the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in 1999 and made her Carnegie Hall debut on the Orchestra's east coast tour in 2001. As a member of LACO, Susan has been featured both as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition to her appearances with LACO, Susan performs regularly with the LA Opera, and other local orchestras and chamber music groups. She also performs and coaches chamber music every summer as a faculty member of the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival, and has been a coach for the Junior Chamber Music program for the past two years.

Before joining LACO, she was assistant concertmaster for the LA Mozart Orchestra. In 1998, she served as the concertmaster for a two-month run of Matthew Bourne's production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake at the Ahmanson Theatre. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 1994, Susan was immersed in the world of string quartets. As a member of the Anacapa and Rider quartets, she performed throughout the United States and collaborated with such distinguished groups as the Colorado and Muir quartets.

Susan has recorded on the Nonesuch label in Steve Reich's You Are and on CRI in William Kraft's Quartet for the Love of Time. She has also recorded with LACO in Ned Rorem's More than a Day featuring Brian Asawa on BMG and in the Bach violin concertos with Hillary Hahn, Margaret Batjer and Allan Vogel as soloists on Deutsche Grammophon. She can be heard on many pop and jazz albums, as well as on the soundtracks of many major motion pictures. Susan holds a bachelor's degree in performance from Indiana University and a master's from UC Santa Barbara, where she was in the Young Artists String Quartet program.


Jody Rubin
Viola

Violist JODY RUBIN has been an active freelance musician since moving to Los Angeles in 1990. She has appeared with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Glendale Symphony and LA Master Chorale and can also be heard in numerous movie soundtracks. For the last twelve years she has been the violin/viola coach at Paul Revere Middle School in Brentwood and has also coached strings at Palisades and Mira Costa High Schools. She holds a degree in Viola Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.


Daniel Smith
Cello

After deciding to become a professional cellist in his senior year of high school, DANIEL SMITH pursued a career in cello performance vigorously, receiving both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with Richard Aaron at the University of Michigan. He finished these two degrees in four and a half years, and then then decided to pursue a Doctorate at the University of Texas in Austin. There, he studied with Bion Tsang and Joshua Gindele, and chamber music with the Miro String Quartet. He won the school’s Concerto Competition in his final year, performing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the University Orchestra. Shortly after school, he won the position of principal cellist of the Waco Symphony Orchestra, performing with Yo Yo Ma, among others. He relocated back to Long Beach a year ago, and is teaching privately in Long Beach, as well as for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles. .


Peter Senchuk
Director of Academy Philharmonic, Brass

PETER SENCHUK, the Director of Academy Philharmonic, is an active music educator, conductor, composer and trombonist, with experience in musical styles from orchestral to jazz and rock. After earning his Bachelor of Music degree from Wayne State University he continued with graduate work at the University of Southern California. Peter has played with the Detroit Civic Symphony Orchestra, Cypress Pops Orchestra, Bellflower Symphony and Southeast Symphony. As a jazz trombonist he has performed with the likes of Rob McConnell, Louie Bellson, Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme, and Johnny Mathis. Peter has also toured with Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson of the Supremes and Chubby Checker.

In addition to performing, Peter also is a busy composer and conductor. He has served as assistant conductor of the Palisades Symphony and is the current conductor for the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra. He has scored over 25 films, and his concert works have been performed by numerous groups including Masters of Music Big Band, The National Flute Association Professional Flute Choir, Santa Monica College Wind Ensemble and the Orchestra Santa Monica Woodwind Quintet.

Peter has a sizable teaching studio of private trombone, euphonium and tuba students. In addition to teaching privately, Peter is also a DreamWinds instructor at John Adams and Lincoln Middle Schools in Santa Monica, and trombone instructor at St. Matthew's School in Pacific Palisades. He is a member of Music Teachers' Association of California and created the current trombone syllabus for their Certificate of Merit evaluation program. He is also in the process of becoming an adjudicator for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program.


Dr. Josephine Liu Moerschel
Upper Strings

DR. JOSEPHINE LIU MOERSCHEL ("Dr. Jo") is the Executive and Artistic Director of Elemental Strings and directs the Elemental Strings Chamber Orchestra. She is on the faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, and the Long Beach City College. Recently, she served as co-director of the Los Angeles branch of Junior Chamber Music and ViolaFest Los Angeles. Josephine sits on the boards of the Southern California Viola Society and the Greater Los Angeles Area branch of the American String Teachers' Association.

In addition to her teaching, Josephine can frequently be heard in the viola sections of many southern California ensembles. She is a member of the New West Symphony, and has performed with many other groups in LA, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale and Long Beach Symphony.

Her students have been heard performing in leading youth orchestras in Los Angeles, as well as conservatories and music festivals across the country.

Josephine received a doctorate in viola performance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. Her primary teachers include Roger Myers, Donald McInnes, Masao Kawasaki and Catharine Carroll.


Betsy Rettig
Cello

BETSY RETTIG is a versatile cellist dedicated to innovation and experimentation in musical composition and practice. A dedicated teacher, she has through her many years of musical exploration, developed a versatile approach to teaching and is able to draw from a broad range of musical styles to best complement the goals and needs of her students. As a founding member of the Los Angeles based chamber music group, Isaura String Quartet, Betsy has had the privilege of collaborating on performances involving accomplished artists such as Gloria Coates, Anne LeBaron, Charles Gaines, Opera Povera, Timur and the Dime Museum, and Partch. Recent adventures in music making include creating a solo cello score to accompany New York based performance troop My Barbarian for the 2016 exhibition of acclaimed conceptual artist Mary Kelly's new work Circa Trilogy at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and joining Jose Gurria’s Gurrisonic Orchestra for the Angel City Jazz Festival 2016 at the Ford amphitheater.


Amanda Walker
Woodwinds

International clarinetist AMANDA WALKER is originally from the United Kingdom. Her training in England was at the Royal College of Music where she studied with the British legend Dame Thea King. In America, Amanda graduated from UCLA with a Master of Fine Arts in performance in 1991 where she studied with famed clarinetist Gary Gray and then at USC with the revered Yehuda Gilad. Amanda was Principal Clarinet of the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra where she performed Copland’s Clarinet Concerto. She has performed with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Los Angeles Music Center Opera Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Pacific Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony, the Royal and Swedish Ballets, the Los Angeles Music Center Opera Orchestra and the Santa Barbara Symphony. Miss Walker was acting Principal for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for a recording of Ned Rorem’s works. She has appeared as one of the Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra’s Chamber Musicians performing such works as the Mozart Clarinet Quintet. Several other Chamber Music series that Amanda has participated in include the Bach Camerata of Santa Barbara now called Camerata Pacifica, the Henry J. Bruman Summer Chamber Music series and the Summer Music series at the Getty. Amanda Walker has appeared on The Tonight Show playing for the 4 Tenors “Il Divo.” Other TV credits include “Legends of Chima” and Visa commercials with the voice of Morgan Freeman.

Ms Walker’s playing has been described as “a virtuoso technique which provided moments of unforgettable illumination”.

Amanda has recorded for film and can be heard on such films as Pirates of the Caribbean, Castaway, Peter Pan, Team America, Gattaca, South Park, City Slickers II, Atlantis,What Women Want, and America’s Sweethearts to name a few.

Recordings include The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s “Music of Ned Rorem”, Viklarbo’s “Songs and Romances” which can be found on the Raptoria Caam label, Morten Lauridsen’s “Northwest Journey” and the Mozart and Strauss Serenades with the California Philharmonic.

Amanda currently freelances and is very in demand as a teacher. She is currently on the faculty of UC Irvine where she has taught for 16 years. Her former students are currently studying Clarinet performance at Northwestern University, Cincinnati Conservatory, Minnesota Conservatory, Princeton and UCLA. During the summer she coaches at the prestigious Idyllwild School for the Arts. Amanda resides in Santa Monica with her husband Randy and is very proud to be Mum to their son, London.


Emily Call
Director of Prelude Program, Violin/Viola

EMILY CALL is the Director of the Prelude Program and a violin coach for Sinfonia. In addition to her work with Elemental Strings, Emily is a Dream Strings coach for SMMUSD. She also acted as a coach for the Stairway of the Stars elementary honor orchestra in 2014. Emily maintains a private studio, in addition to teaching at Musical Beginnings in Westchester. Previously, Emily was a strings coach for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra and taught group violin lessons in Santa Clarita through the CalArts Community Arts Partnership.

As a performer, Emily has played at venues as diverse as REDCAT, the Gibson Amphitheatre, the House of Blues San Diego, the Silverlake Lounge, SPACE Arts Center, and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. She is a founding member of the Isaura String Quartet. Recent performances with ISQ include playing for the Anne LeBaron: Portrait Concerts series at REDCAT, as well as the 2013 RADAR L.A. Festival. Emily can also be seen performing with various groups across Los Angeles, including YMF's Debut Orchestra and Classical Revolution LA. Emily earned her MFA in Violin Performance from the California Institute of the Arts. Previously, she received her BA in Music from Bennington College.


Diana Parmeter
Cello

Cellist DIANA PARMETER received her M.M. in cello performance from Rice University. After several years of extensive orchestral and chamber music concertizing, she began teaching cello in 1995 and was on the faculty of the Merit School of Music and the Waldorf School, both in Chicago. Ms. Parmeter started her Suzuki training there in 1998 and returns to the Chicago Suzuki Institute every summer, even after relocating to California in 2006. She currently maintains a teaching studio of about 20 cello students and is on the faculty of the Cornerstone Music Conservatory in Los Angeles. Although Ms. Parmeter has taught private and group lessons at all levels, she specializes in teaching beginners.


Miki Garcia
Violin/Viola

JAR-EL MIKI GARCIA earned her Bachelor's degree in Music Education at California State University Northridge, where she studied violin with Michael Ferril. She is a violin coach for Elemental Strings and has been teaching elementary strings and chorus in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District since 2012. Before joining SMMUSD, she was the assistant orchestra director at Burbank High School and taught music to primary grades in afterschool programs throughout the San Fernando Valley. Her passion for the creative arts and holistic education led her into the UCLArts and Healing program, where she attained certification in Social Emotional Arts.


Dr. Yuri Miyoshi
Percussion

A native of Kanagawa, Japan, DR. YURI MIYOSHI is musician and educator in the Los Angeles area. She has studied percussion under David Rosenthal at San Francisco State University, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree, graduating summa cum laude, and receiving the Most Outstanding Senior Award. Yuri has received her Master of Music and Doctorate in Musical Arts degree in Percussion Performance at the University of Southern California, studying under Erik Forrester, minoring in Music Education, Instrumental Conducting, and Music Industry. She has performed and collaborated with artists such as Yo Yo Ma, John Williams, Andrea Bocelli, Steve Reich, and Evelyn Glennie. An advocate for new music, she held the teaching assistant for USC's award-winning Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Donald Crockett, where she has performed Micro-Concerto written by Steven Mackey. Yuri is currently the percussion instructor at Occidental College, University of Redlands, Idyllwild Arts Academy, Principal Percussionist with the Redlands Symphony in Redlands, California, and an active freelancer with other regional orchestras and chamber ensembles in Southern California.


Emily Senchuk
Clarinets/Saxophones and Programs Manager

EMILY SENCHUK is the Programs Manager for Elemental Music and coaches clarinets and saxophones in Elemental Band. Originally from Detroit, Emily is a versatile woodwind performer and teacher, who performs in a variety of musical styles ranging from symphony orchestra and chamber ensembles to musical theatre and jazz big bands. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Music Composition from Wayne State University where she also studied flute, clarinet, saxophone and piano with Detroit Symphony musicians such as Clement Barone, and the top jazz performers in the Metro Detroit area. Emily has performed with Johnny Mathis, Steve Lawrence & Edie Gourmet, the Fox Theatre Motown Revival, Rick Marghiza, and many ensembles including Torrance and Antelope Valley Symphonies, Composers Ensemble of Los Angeles, Torrance Civic Chorale and has been a featured soloist with the Palisades Symphony.

Emily performs regularly with several ensembles including the Golden State Pops Orchestra, MESTO Orchestra, and the Orchestra Santa Monica Woodwind Quintet which brings educational programs to hundreds of school children each year and promotes new music by local composers in their chamber music concerts. She also performs with, manages and composes for the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra. Many of her works for flute ensemble have been performed at the National Flute Association's National Conventions and have received honors in the NFA's Newly Published Music Competition.

Her love of teaching is equal to that of performing and she has taught privately and in many schools in Michigan and California for over fifteen years. Like her performance resume, her teaching experience is multifaceted and includes private lessons, small group lessons, general music classes, chamber ensemble coaching, and band and orchestra classes. She is a member of Music Teachers' Association of Calfornia and in addition to teaching privately, she is a Dream Winds Coach at John Adams Middle School and she also teaches instrumental music classes at St. Matthews School and UCLA Lab School.


Peter Senchuk
Director of Elemental Band, Trombone

PETER SENCHUK, the Director of Elemental Band, is an active music educator, conductor, composer and trombonist, with experience in musical styles from orchestral to jazz and rock. After earning his Bachelor of Music degree from Wayne State University he continued with graduate work at the University of Southern California. Peter has played with the Detroit Civic Symphony Orchestra, Cypress Pops Orchestra, Bellflower Symphony and Southeast Symphony. As a jazz trombonist he has performed with the likes of Rob McConnell, Louie Bellson, Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme, and Johnny Mathis. Peter has also toured with Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson of the Supremes and Chubby Checker.

In addition to performing, Peter also is a busy composer and conductor. He has served as assistant conductor of the Palisades Symphony and is the current conductor for the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra. He has scored over 25 films, and his concert works have been performed by numerous groups including Masters of Music Big Band, The National Flute Association Professional Flute Choir, Santa Monica College Wind Ensemble and the Orchestra Santa Monica Woodwind Quintet.

Peter has a sizable teaching studio of private trombone, euphonium and tuba students. In addition to teaching privately, Peter is also a DreamWinds instructor at John Adams and Lincoln Middle Schools in Santa Monica, and trombone instructor at St. Matthew's School in Pacific Palisades. He is a member of Music Teachers' Association of California and created the current trombone syllabus for their Certificate of Merit evaluation program. He is also in the process of becoming an adjudicator for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program.


Christie Glaser
Flute

Christie Glaser is the Flute Coach for Elemental Band as well as the Flute Teaching Artist for the Bergmann Project. She graduated from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Calstate Long Beach in 2014 with her Masters in Flute Performance where she studied with John Barcellona, Rena Urso, and Ben Smolen.

After graduating, Ms. Glaser has assisted in the music programs at John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, the Santa Monica High School Viking Marching Band, and the SMMUSD elementary schools. She began her position as an Elementary Dream Winds Coach in 2016 and will also take on a teaching position with the Children’s Music Workshop this year.

Along with her teaching positions and maintaining her private teaching studio, she is an active musician in Los Angeles playing flute and piccolo with the American Youth Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony, SMC Symphony, Bellflower Symphony, Peninsula Symphony, and others. She has performed in several masterclasses with renown flutists such as Carol Wincenc, Sarah Jackson, Heather Clark, Jasmine Choi, and Jim Walker. Christie is a member of the National Association For Music Education, Music Teacher’s Association of California- Santa Monica Bay Branch, National Flute Association, and the Los Angeles Flute Guild.


Meghan Turner
Trumpet

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, MEGHAN TURNER completed her initial schooling in the Pacific Northwest. Ms. Turner received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Victoria, a Master of Music Degree from the University of British Columbia, and an Artist Diploma from the Vancouver Academy of music. In 2002, Meghan moved to Los Angeles to pursue a Doctor of Music Arts Degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, which she completed in 2006. As part of the UCLA trumpet ensemble, Meghan won 1st place in the trumpet ensemble division in the 2005 National Trumpet Competition. Meghan was an artist in residence at the famed Banff Centre for the Arts during the summers from 2002-2006. Here she had the pleasure of performing with renowned artists, as well as premiering solo works. For her current project, Meghan has commissioned five new works for trumpet, french horn and piano. She will be premiering them in concert in 2013. A versatile performer, Meghan has played in a variety of ensembles ranging from jazz and salsa bands, orchestras, chamber music and solo appearances. An advocate for music education, Meghan has been involved in music outreach programs through both UCLA and the Santa Monica School District. In the Santa Monica School District, Meghan is a Dream Winds instructor at Muir/SMASH, McKinley, Rogers and Edison elementary schools as well as at John Adams Middle School. Currently, Meghan is a freelance musician, teaching and performing in the Los Angeles area. As well, she is a member and founder of the 'Resonance' brass quintet. www.resonancebrass.com. Meghan is also in the process of becoming a certified adjudicator for the Royal Conservatory of Music Development Program. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys being a Board Member and volunteer at the Seal Beach Animal Care Center.


Daniel Smith
Cello

After deciding to become a professional cellist in his senior year of high school, DANIEL SMITH pursued a career in cello performance vigorously, receiving both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree with Richard Aaron at the University of Michigan. He finished these two degrees in four and a half years, and then then decided to pursue a Doctorate at the University of Texas in Austin. There, he studied with Bion Tsang and Joshua Gindele, and chamber music with the Miro String Quartet. He won the school’s Concerto Competition in his final year, performing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the University Orchestra. Shortly after school, he won the position of principal cellist of the Waco Symphony Orchestra, performing with Yo Yo Ma, among others. He relocated back to Long Beach a year ago, and is teaching privately in Long Beach, as well as for the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.


Paul Curtis
Bassoon

PAUL CURTIS, Bassoon and Contrabassoon, is a freelance musician who performs throughout Southern California. He has recently performed with the LA Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, and many other symphonies throughout Southern California. In addition to his orchestral work, Paul enjoys playing chamber music and collaborating with other performers and composers.

Paul earned both his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from the USC Thornton School of Music while studying with Judith Farmer and Rose Corrigan. Since his graduation he has studied with Patricia Kindel on Bassoon and Contrabassoon. Paul also enjoys teaching his many middle school and high school bassoon students privately.


Morgan Gerstmar
Viola and Violin

MORGAN LEE GERSTMAR is a Los Angeles based violist/violinist, composer, and educator from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in the Performer/Composer program from the California Institute of the Arts; a BA in Neuroscience, Musical Studies and East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California and precollege training from the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA. Morgan's diverse career in Neuroscience and Music has provided her with unique tools for teaching her violin and viola students.

Education is the focal point of Morgan's career as an artist. Her private students have won concertmaster and principal chairs in school orchestras as well as seats in SCSBOA and CODA orchestra competitions; in addition her student placed 1st in Beginning Fiddle at the 2015 Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest. Morgan is a member of the Suzuki Institute of America and the Royal Conservatory of Music Development Program. As a performer she has had the privilege to tour cities across the world from Berlin to Guatemala City and has appeared on countless recordings for rock bands, TV shows and independent films. She also enjoys a career as a performance artist and composer, premiering original works in Los Angeles at venues such as the wulf., LACE, Human Resources and SPACE.


Christie Glaser
Flute

Christie Glaser is the Flute Coach for Elemental Band as well as the Flute Teaching Artist for the Bergmann Project. She graduated from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Calstate Long Beach in 2014 with her Masters in Flute Performance where she studied with John Barcellona, Rena Urso, and Ben Smolen.

After graduating, Ms. Glaser has assisted in the music programs at John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, the Santa Monica High School Viking Marching Band, and the SMMUSD elementary schools. She began her position as an Elementary Dream Winds Coach in 2016 and will also take on a teaching position with the Children’s Music Workshop this year.

Along with her teaching positions and maintaining her private teaching studio, she is an active musician in Los Angeles playing flute and piccolo with the American Youth Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony, SMC Symphony, Bellflower Symphony, Peninsula Symphony, and others. She has performed in several masterclasses with renown flutists such as Carol Wincenc, Sarah Jackson, Heather Clark, Jasmine Choi, and Jim Walker. Christie is a member of the National Association For Music Education, Music Teacher’s Association of California- Santa Monica Bay Branch, National Flute Association, and the Los Angeles Flute Guild.


John Cross
Trumpet

JOHN CROSS was raised in Southern California in a family of musicians and began playing trumpet at the age of ten. Throughout high school, John received many awards including a music scholarship from Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach, CA. He then attended California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where he earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Music. While an undergraduate at CSULB, John received the Tom Talbert Jazz Scholarship and was accepted into Pi Kappa Lambda, a music honor society. As a graduate student at CSULB, John was a finalist in the Coleman Chamber Music Competition with the Bob Cole Conservatory Brass Quintet.

John holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where he was also a teaching assistant. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Long Beach Symphony, Pacific Chorale, Rio Hondo Symphony, Patriot Brass Ensemble and the Orange County Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, among others. In addition to Young Musicians Foundation, John is a Teaching Artist with the Bergmann Project in Santa Monica. He has also taught privately and coached chamber music at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and was on the faculty of the Mason Gross Extension Division. John has been fortunate to study with many great teachers including David Krauss, Christopher Still, Rob Frear, David Washburn and Charles Davis. This has made John a well-rounded trumpet player and private teacher, as he has been exposed to many different approaches to the instrument.


Aaron T. Smith
Percussion

AARON T. SMITH has been active as a freelance percussionist in Southern California since the early 1990s. During that time he has performed with many of the area’s leading orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, L.A. Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, New West Symphony and the Santa Barbara Symphony. He served one year as the principal timpanist of the New Mexico Symphony. When the Los Angeles Philharmonic was without a regular timpanist, Mr. Smith served as a substitute in subscription concerts, family concerts, new music concerts and in performances at the Hollywood Bowl during the 2007-2008 season.

Since 1996, Mr. Smith has served as Principal Timpanist and Percussionist with the Chamber Orchestra of Saint Matthew’s in the Pacific Palisades, where he has performed twice as a concerto soloist. The orchestra regularly commissions new works, and Aaron was pleased to be part of a recording with the orchestra of some of those works which was released in 2013.

In addition to playing the Western, orchestral percussion instruments, Mr. Smith has been a long-time student of the frame drum, specifically the Arabic tambourine known as riq. In 2010 Aaron performed on stage in a solo role for riq in the world premiere of Daniel Catán’s Il Postino, with the Los Angeles Opera.

Mr. Smith is on the faculty of California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and Loyola Marymount University; he maintains a private teaching studio in West LA, and serves as a clinician and adjudicator. Mr. Smith attended the University of California at Los Angeles (BA, MFA). His primary teachers were Mitchell Peters, Principal Timpanist (ret.) and Raynor Carroll, Principal Percussionist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.


Angie Shyr
Violin/Viola

Raised as a classical violinist and pianist, ANGIE fell in love with music instantly. A child prodigy at 7, Yehudi Menuhin invited her to attend school in England. She studied with 2 BSO principles, Marylou Speaker-Churchill & Emmanuel Borok, and was part of the first generation of youth orchestras under Benjamin Zander's baton to tour Europe extensively - from Austria's Musikverein to Paris Church St-Ephram. Also proficient in piano, she was an accompanist at Eastman School of Music for vocalists and instrumental soloists.

She began exploring countless musical styles and eventually, played violin with bands such as Led Zeppelin and Gorillaz. She also nurtured a private studio of students, finding a mutual exchange of fulfillment between teacher and student, and a classical-pop/rock string quartet in which she and others specialized in writing arrangements. In addition, she taught jazz theory at Northeastern University and was an Entrepreneurial Musician Advisor at New England Conservatory. Most recently, she is Santa Monica Symphony's Orchestra Manager, a keyboard instructor at LA Girls Rock n'Roll Camp and Strings instructor at New Roads School.


Emily Call
Violin

EMILY CALL is the Director of the Prelude Program and a violin coach for Sinfonia. In addition to her work with Elemental Strings, Emily is a Dream Strings coach for SMMUSD. She also acted as a coach for the Stairway of the Stars elementary honor orchestra in 2014. Emily maintains a private studio, in addition to teaching at Musical Beginnings in Westchester. Previously, Emily was a strings coach for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra and taught group violin lessons in Santa Clarita through the CalArts Community Arts Partnership.

As a performer, Emily has played at venues as diverse as REDCAT, the Gibson Amphitheatre, the House of Blues San Diego, the Silverlake Lounge, SPACE Arts Center, and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. She is a founding member of the Isaura String Quartet. Recent performances with ISQ include playing for the Anne LeBaron: Portrait Concerts series at REDCAT, as well as the 2013 RADAR L.A. Festival. Emily can also be seen performing with various groups across Los Angeles, including YMF's Debut Orchestra and Classical Revolution LA. Emily earned her MFA in Violin Performance from the California Institute of the Arts. Previously, she received her BA in Music from Bennington College.


Jessica King
Violin/Viola

At the tender age of four JESSICA heard the sweet sounds of the violin and she was mesmerized, as this sparked her love and passion for music. She began her study of the violin and through the years this instrument has taken her to perform in Europe, England, and all through out the United States. She has placed and won awards in competitions such as the North Carolina Music Teacher’s National Association, American String Teachers Association, Tar River Symphony Concerto Competition where she won and debuted as a soloist with this symphony. She was awarded a scholarship to study at Brevard Music Center and then awarded a full scholarship to attend Florida State University, where she received her B.M. in violin performance. Jessica was then accepted to the Boston Conservatory where she studied for the Graduate Performance Diploma. Her teachers include Nancy Kostek, Joanne Bath, Eliot Chapo, Lucy Stoltzman and she has participated in masterclasses with Fritz Gearhart and Donald Weilerstein.

Not only is she a performer, but she is Suzuki certified in Every Child Can! and Suzuki Violin Volumes 1 through 3. She has received teacher training with Liz Arbus and Carrie Reuning- Hummel and continues to work on her certification. Jessica has been on faculty at Cornerstone Music Conservatory and the Hermosa School of Music and Dance. She also serves as a violin coach at Hamilton High School and has coached the violin section at the Westside Youth Orchestra. Currently Jessica is the conductor of the Westside Waldorf Middle School orchestra and teachers strings to grades 3 through 8 at the Waldorf School. Jessica also has a studio in her home where she teaches private lessons to children and adults of all ages. Her private students have won awards in The Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival, local concerto competitions, and her students also perform in many youth orchestras in the Los Angeles area. Jessica is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, American String Teachers Association, and Association for Waldorf Music Education.

When Jessica isn't conducting or teaching she performs in area symphonies and has also recorded on several albums for local bands. She currently performs with the Culver City Symphony, Marina del Rey symphony, Peninsula Symphony, and has in the past performed with Beach Cities Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, Santa Monica Symphony, and the Brentwood Symphony.

Jessica enjoys spending time with her three children and husband, hiking, home decor, fiddling, and traveling. Jessica is hoping to add yoga to this list very soon!


Susan Rishik
Violin

SUSAN RISHIK, violin, joined the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in 1999 and made her Carnegie Hall debut on the Orchestra's east coast tour in 2001. As a member of LACO, Susan has been featured both as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition to her appearances with LACO, Susan performs regularly with the LA Opera, and other local orchestras and chamber music groups. She also performs and coaches chamber music every summer as a faculty member of the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival, and has been a coach for the Junior Chamber Music program for the past two years.

Before joining LACO, she was assistant concertmaster for the LA Mozart Orchestra. In 1998, she served as the concertmaster for a two-month run of Matthew Bourne's production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake at the Ahmanson Theatre. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 1994, Susan was immersed in the world of string quartets. As a member of the Anacapa and Rider quartets, she performed throughout the United States and collaborated with such distinguished groups as the Colorado and Muir quartets.

Susan has recorded on the Nonesuch label in Steve Reich's You Are and on CRI in William Kraft's Quartet for the Love of Time. She has also recorded with LACO in Ned Rorem's More than a Day featuring Brian Asawa on BMG and in the Bach violin concertos with Hillary Hahn, Margaret Batjer and Allan Vogel as soloists on Deutsche Grammophon. She can be heard on many pop and jazz albums, as well as on the soundtracks of many major motion pictures. Susan holds a bachelor's degree in performance from Indiana University and a master's from UC Santa Barbara, where she was in the Young Artists String Quartet program.


Emily Senchuk
Program Director

EMILY SENCHUK is the Programs Manager for Elemental Music and coaches clarinets and saxophones in Elemental Band. Originally from Detroit, Emily is a versatile woodwind performer and teacher, who performs in a variety of musical styles ranging from symphony orchestra and chamber ensembles to musical theatre and jazz big bands. She earned a Bachelors Degree in Music Composition from Wayne State University where she also studied flute, clarinet, saxophone and piano with Detroit Symphony musicians such as Clement Barone, and the top jazz performers in the Metro Detroit area. Emily has performed with Johnny Mathis, Steve Lawrence & Edie Gourmet, the Fox Theatre Motown Revival, Rick Marghiza, and many ensembles including Torrance and Antelope Valley Symphonies, Composers Ensemble of Los Angeles, Torrance Civic Chorale and has been a featured soloist with the Palisades Symphony.

Emily performs regularly with several ensembles including the Golden State Pops Orchestra, MESTO Orchestra, and the Orchestra Santa Monica Woodwind Quintet which brings educational programs to hundreds of school children each year and promotes new music by local composers in their chamber music concerts. She also performs with, manages and composes for the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra. Many of her works for flute ensemble have been performed at the National Flute Association's National Conventions and have received honors in the NFA's Newly Published Music Competition.

Her love of teaching is equal to that of performing and she has taught privately and in many schools in Michigan and California for over fifteen years. Like her performance resume, her teaching experience is multifaceted and includes private lessons, small group lessons, general music classes, chamber ensemble coaching, and band and orchestra classes. She is a member of Music Teachers' Association of Calfornia and in addition to teaching privately, she is a Dream Winds Coach at John Adams Middle School and she also teaches instrumental music classes at St. Matthews School and UCLA Lab School.


Angelo Quail
Clarinet

ANGELO QUAIL grew up in Dexter, Michigan, where he began playing clarinet at age 10. Now a resident of Los Angeles, he has worked as a music educator and professional clarinetist throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and China. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the Los Angeles Symphony, Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, South Florida Symphony, Aspen Chamber Orchestra, and Detroit Civic Orchestra. He is also a member of the SpeKtra wind quintet, finalists in the 2014 Coleman National Chamber Ensemble Competition. As an educator, Angelo has maintained private clarinet studios in Los Angeles; Ann Arbor, MI; and Karlsruhe, Germany. He currently performs educational concerts in schools, nursing homes, and homeless shelters with his reed trio, The Roamin' Reeds, who are recipients of a USC Thornton Gluck Fellowship. In 2013, he was awarded a Fulbright Grant for work as an educator in Germany. Angelo received bachelor's degrees in music and German from the University of Michigan. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree in clarinet performance at the University of Southern California, where he studies with Yehuda Gilad.


Susan Feldman
Violin and Viola

SUSAN FELDMAN, violinist, is an active teacher in Los Angeles and performer throughout the United States. Susan holds a Bachelor's degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master's degree from the University of Southern California, where she studied with Robert Lipsett, and a Doctorate from USC in early music performance where she studied with James Tyler, Ingrid Matthews and Elizabeth Blumenstock. She has devoted much of her professional career to the study of historically informed performance on period instruments from the Middle Ages through the Baroque. In 1999, Susan co-founded La Monica, a period instrument chamber ensemble dedicated to performing music of the Baroque period. Susan has played with Baroque Band in Chicago, Seattle Baroque, Los Angeles Baroque and Musica Angelica. She is an active and founding member of Tesserae and an active member of Bach Collegium San Diego. Susan is currently on the early music faculty at USC, where she coaches the Thornton Baroque Sinfonia and teaches private students, and recently joined the teaching team at Elemental Music.


Dr. Josephine Liu Moerschel
Executive and Artistic Director

DR. JOSEPHINE LIU MOERSCHEL ("Dr. Jo") is the Executive and Artistic Director of Elemental Strings and directs the Elemental Strings Chamber Orchestra. She is on the faculty of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, and the Long Beach City College. Recently, she served as co-director of the Los Angeles branch of Junior Chamber Music and ViolaFest Los Angeles. Josephine sits on the boards of the Southern California Viola Society and the Greater Los Angeles Area branch of the American String Teachers' Association.

In addition to her teaching, Josephine can frequently be heard in the viola sections of many southern California ensembles. She is a member of the New West Symphony, and has performed with many other groups in LA, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Pacific, Pacific Symphony, Los Angeles Master Chorale and Long Beach Symphony.

Her students have been heard performing in leading youth orchestras in Los Angeles, as well as conservatories and music festivals across the country.

Josephine received a doctorate in viola performance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. Her primary teachers include Roger Myers, Donald McInnes, Masao Kawasaki and Catharine Carroll.


Mak Grgic
Director of Elemental Guitar

MAK GRGIC, proclaimed "imaginative, gifted and expressive" the NY Times and a "guitarist to keep an eye on" by the Washington Post is an innovative player, who programs music as far reaching as works from the avant-garde, film music to the great classics of guitar repertoire and early works. His new recording on Marquis Music entitled Cinema Verismo focuses specifically on music used in cinema over the last few decades, which mixes classical works used in films and transcriptions of cinematic scores.

Mak, who was recently a Young Artist in Residence at The Da Camera Society of Los Angeles, is a co-founder of DC8, Da Camera's contemporary music ensemble, which strives to expand the definition of what a modern music ensemble can be and was named an "inspiring addition to the contemporary music landscape in Los Angeles" by the LA Times. His collaborators have so far included Martin Chalifour (Concertmaster of The Los Angeles Philharmonic), cellist Jay Campbell, Joshua Roman, The Assad Brothers, Ashley Bathgate (cellist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars), John Sant'Ambrogio (former principal cello of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra), Paul Vasile and Stephen Ackert on the organ, percussionist Ian Rosenbaum, and guitarist-composer Nejc Kuhar, with whom Mak made his first album String Modulations, sponsored by The National Radio of Slovenia and the Ministry of Culture in Slovenia.

Born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, he studied guitar in Zagreb with the revered Ante Cagalj at the Elly Basic Conservatory of Music and obtained his Bachelor's Degree with Alvaro Pierri at the Universitaet fuer Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Austria. At the moment he is finishing his Doctoral Degree at the USC Thornton School of Music as a student of William Kanengiser and Scott Tennant of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. He is also a teaching assistant at USC under the direction of Brian Head. His charitable activities include fundraising for Bosnian children with financial issues.


Kelvin McKay-Hill
Guitar Coach

KELVIN MCKAY-HILL is an alumnus of Loyola Marymount University, where he received his degree in classical guitar performance under the tutelage of Dr. Martha Masters. He is trained in blues, rock, folk, and fingerstyle jazz in addition to his aforementioned training. Kelvin has also sang in various choirs and recorded for several artists local to the Los Angeles area. Along with his B.A. he holds degrees in liberal arts, traditional music, and commercial music.


Ines Thomé
Guitar Coach

German-born guitarist INES THOMÉ is a multifaceted musician who performs internationally as a solo and chamber musician. A multi-instrumentalist in many different styles, Ines plays electric guitar, lute, theorbo, baroque guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Highlights of the 2015/16 season showcase Ines' diverse musical interests: Her most recent solo program features music by exiled composers who came to Southern California during World War II to escape the Nazi regime. She performed the program both in Germany and in the US. Ines maintains numerous chamber projects and is currently playing with violinist YuEun Kim as a winner of the Beverly Hills National Auditions. She is the electric guitarist and arranger of the newly founded Sunset Club Trio which explores new sound dimensions for violin, flamenco guitar and electric guitar. The trio won the Berverly Hills National auditions in 2016 and will perform in concert series around Los Angeles in early 2017. Ines' duo „Gifts from over Sea“ with soprano Katina Mitchell won the Ensemble Outreach competition at USC and played more than 30 concerts over the past months, including a tour to Italy and Germany in summer 2015. She was invited to join the Colburn Orchestra in Zipper Hall, conducted by John Adams and the USC Symphony Orchestra in Walt Disney Concert Hall, conducted by Carl St. Clair.

Since a young age Ines won first prizes as a solo and chamber musician in national competitions. Later she received awards from numerous international competitions in Germany, Italy, and the USA, including First Prizes at the International Guitar Competition in Walnut Creek, and the Guitar competition of the American Guitar Society in 2015. Her passion for Early Music was honored with a special prize for the best interpretation of a work by Johann Sebastian Bach at the International Guitar Competition in Erwitte.

She studied classical guitar in Frankfurt and Stuttgart and completed her Master's degree (with distinction) at Stuttgart State University of Music and Performing Arts where she studied with Professor Johannes Monno. In August 2013 she began post-graduate work at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and is continuing as a doctoral student and teaching assistant in the studio of Prof. William Kanengiser (LAGQ) since August 2014. Ines Thomé is supported by grants from the “Kogel & Schmidt foundation“, the “Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now“ foundation in Frankfurt, the Gluck fellows program at USC and from the “Society of Friends“ of the Stuttgart University of Music.


Jessi Spike Gravelle
Director of Elemental Choir

The Director of Elemental Choir, JESSI SPIKE GRAVELLE, has been active as a music educator, choir director and community music school director in the Santa Monica area for 20 years. Currently, in addition to her work with Elemental Choir and Elemental Band, Jessi is a full-time elementary music teacher with SMMUSD. Jessi directs numerous 4th and 5th grade choirs for the district, is the founding director of the SMASH middle school choir, and teaches instrumental classes for the district, primarily flute. Jessi’s previous choral experiences include singing in numerous church, school and youth choirs in Michigan, culminating in her inclusion as a sophomore in the prestigious University Chorale at Michigan State University, where she was a piano pedagogy major. After transferring to UCLA to complete her B.A., Jessi then earned her M.A. in English from California State University Northridge, followed by additional music education studies and two teaching credentials earned at California State University, Los Angeles. During this same time period, she opened the Santa Monica Academy of Music with her husband, Dr. Buzz Gravelle, and proceeded to build her private studio of piano, voice and flute students. In addition to private lessons, Jessi directed the Academy’s youth choir, the Academy Singers. Her current work with SMMUSD affords her the annual privilege of directing the Elementary Honor Choir, and preparing the SMASH middle school choir to perform, at the district’s premier music event, Stairway to the Stars.


María Eugenia León
Vocal Coach and Accompanist

MARIA EUGENIA LEON, the vocal coach and accompanist of Elemental Choir, owns a Professional Music Certificate, specialty of Piano, from Conservatorio Superior de Música de Canarias (Spain) as well as has had the opportunity to study voice with Soprano Wessela Zlateva (based in Vienna). She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the prestigious Berklee College of Music (Boston) after receiving a European Tour Scholarship; where she focused in Film Scoring, Classical Composition and Orchestral Conducting. Since 2014 she works as assistant conductor and accompanist at the SMMUSD Elementary Choirs, including being part of the team for Elementary Choir for Stairway to the Stars. In addition, she composes film and concert music. She has had the opportunity to premiere two choir songs with the SMMUSD Elementary Choirs called "El Océano" and "Los colores de mi vida". She just received in 2017 the Award Excellence for Original Score at the Depth Of Field International Film Festival for her score in the film "Sleep", in 2012 she received the Composition “Youth Concerts at Symphony Hall Award”. It's also important to mention the commission of her piece "Duerme" by Soprano Blanca Valido, who premiered the piece and won the first prize in the "María Orán" Competition Award. Her works has been selected by Triple Helix Trio and Kalistos String Orchestra among others. Her music scores have been in several festivals, including: Cannes, London Film Awards, Berlin International CineFest, Roma CinemaDoc, Woodstock Film Festival, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards, etc. She has had the chance to work in the conducting field with the Pacific Palisades Symphony, California Philharmonic, Berklee Silent Film Orchestra, etc..