Elena received her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Kharkov Conservatory of Music, and her Master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy/Performance from Melitopol Institute of Music in Ukraine. For the past 30 years, she has been teaching students in Ukraine and in the United States. She is the co-owner of Kramer’s School of Music in Eden Prairie, MN. Elena is a co-founder of the North Star Piano Festival Duet and Concerto Competition. Elena’s teaching and professional affiliations: Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA), Music Nation Teachers Association (MTNA), Minnesota Music Teachers Forum (MMTF), American College of Musicians, St Paul Music Teachers Association (SPPTA)
Eleonora Fishman (Piano, Theory)
Eleonora (Ella) received her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from the University of Minnesota, and her Master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy from St Thomas University. For the past 13 years, Eleonora has been teaching piano, violin and music theory at Kramer’s School of Music in Eden Prairie, MN. Eleonora’s Teaching and Professional Affiliations: Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA), Music Nation Teachers Association (MNTA), Minnesota Music Teachers Forum (MMTF), American College of Musicians, St Paul Music Teachers Association (SPPTA).
Dr. Larissa Simanenkova (Piano)
Dr. Larissa Simanenkova is a Piano Teacher and Piano Performer with over 41 years of Experience. Larissa is a 1st Place Winner of College Young Artist Competition of Russian Federation. She holds her BA degree with Honor in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy, Master degree with Honors in Piano Performance, Collaborative Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy, and a Doctorate in Piano Performance from a very prestigious St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music of Russia.
Larissa is a former professor of Petrozavodsk Conservatory of Russia (for 20 years), a Master Teacher of Jan Erickson Music Studios, Eden Prairie, MN ( from 1995 – 2009 ) and an independent piano teacher (from 1993 — Current). She served as a Program Director and Co- Chair of MMTA Young Artist Competition for 3 years (2006 – 2009 ). Larissa’s students have been winners of MMTA Piano State Contests, MMTA Young Artist Piano Competitions, MMTF 9th Grade Award Auditions, MMTF Senior Music Award Auditions, Piano Fun Competition and Upper Midwest Music Festivals. Larissa joined Kramer’s School of Music in February 2015.
Iaroslava Leonova (Piano, Theory)
Iaroslava Leonova graduated from Academy of Music, Theater, and Fine Arts in Chisinau, Moldova with a Bachelor’s Degree in June, 2006. She worked as piano accompanist playing with wide variety of students, singers, string instruments, and actors. At the same time, she offered private piano lessons for students of all ages. Iaroslava worked at various music schools in the Minneapolis area, preparing students as young as 5 years old for recitals, concerts and exams. She is a professional, engaging and hard-working pianist focused on students’ progress in learning the piano. Along with private piano instruction, Iaroslava teaches group music theory, helping students develop musical skills such as notation, ear training and rhythm. Iaroslava joined Kramer’s School of Music in March 2015. She teaches piano and music theory.
Galina Shatskaya (Piano, Theory)
Galina Shatskaya is a member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association and Music Teachers National Association. She offers more than 30 years of piano teaching experience and adheres to the highest standards of professionalism. Mrs. Shatskaya holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Pedagogy from the Rimsky-Korsakov Musical College and Master of Arts Degree in Pedagogy from the Mogilev State University in Belarus. She is also the author of the ‘Developing Proper Piano Playing Technique’ teaching aid recommended for use at musical schools in Belarus.
Mrs. Shatskaya spent a big part of her career in her hometown of Mogilev, Belarus, where she taught piano and headed the Piano Department at a musical school. From 1998 – 2015 Mrs. Shatskaya owned and operated a successful piano studio in Omaha, NE. Her students have participated in numerous competitions and festivals with outstanding results.
A firm believer in traditional piano teaching methods, Mrs. Shatskaya strives to maintain a diverse and comprehensive student body by accommodating various musical interests and abilities. Her own musical preferences are broad, ranging from classical to jazz and rock. She will be joining Kramer’s School of Music in June 2015!
Yelena Tsvetovat (Piano, Early Childhood Education)
With over 40 years of teaching experience, Yelena Tsvetovat is a true seasoned professional. She has graduated from Leningrad College and Saratov Conservatory of Music in Russia and taught piano in St. Petersburg.
In the U.S, Yelena has worked as a private instructor in her piano studio, and an early childhood teacher at McPhail Center for Music. She instills the life-long love of music in children from babies to young adults
As a Master Certified Piano Teacher and a member of Minnesota and National Music Teacher Associations, Yelena prepares her piano students to participate in events including festivals, concerts, competitions and exams. Yelena’s students have been winners of MMTA Piano State Contests and National Federation of Music Clubs festivals.
Yelena joined Kramer’s School of Music in February 2017.
Galina Ikhareva (Piano, Theory)
Galina was born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) into a family of pianists and artists. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music in the areas of Solo Performance, Chamber Music, and Piano Pedagogy. Her Masters of Music was earned at the Leningrad Conservatory of Music in Solo and Chamber Ensemble Piano performance, Accompanying, and Piano Pedagogy. After graduation she worked as an accompanist and piano pedagogy instructor at the Leningrad Conservatory and as a piano instructor at the College of Music Pedagogy in Leningrad. After a decade of teaching in Russia, she emigrated to the United States in 1989 where she has been continuously active as a private teacher and professional accompanist. She has held positions at St. Paul Academy, Nova Classical Academy Yamaha School of Music, St. Joseph’s School of Music, and the University of Minnesota. Concert performances include the Schubert Club, St. Joseph School of Music, University of Minnesota, as well as performances in Europe. Her professional memberships are in the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, the Music Teachers National Association, the Minnesota Music Teachers Forum, and the St, Paul Piano Teachers Association. Among her students are numerous winners of MMTA competitions, Upper Midwest Piano Festival, Around the Piano Festival , and the Schubert Club. Galina joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.
Margarita Dorfman (Piano, Theory)
Margarita was born and raised in Almaty, Kazakhstan. During her school years and throughout college, she became a winner in many piano contests. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tchaikovsky College of Music in Piano Performance, Pedagogy, and Collaborative Music. She received her Master Degree from the Kazakhstan National Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance, Pedagogy, and Piano Accompaniment.
Margarita was a former piano teacher and accompanist in the music school and Conservatory of Music in Kazakhstan for over 15 years. In 1992 she moved to the United States and has been a piano teacher in Jan Erickson Music Studios, Walker West Music Academy in St. Paul, and St. Louis Park JCC (1993-2013). Margarita has also been a worship accompanist in St. Luke Lutheran Church. She is also an Independent Piano teacher since 1996.
Margarita’s students have been winners of MMTA piano contests and BAMTA Music Clubs festivals. Some have received scholarships for continuing theory music education in different universities across the U.S.
Margarita joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018 and is very excited to meet new hard working students who love music as much as she does.
Mark Hedman (Piano)
Mark Hedman was born in Philadelphia, PA, and educated at West Chester University, where he was the winner of the Junior year Piano Competition. He earned the B. S. in Music Education with a Vocal-Choral concentration, and a Master’s in Music in Piano Performance. Attracted by the musical and cultural scene, Mark moved to the Twin Cities. He is presently the Director of Music at Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. Mark has previously served in several churches as organist, pianist and choir director. He teaches at the after school music program at the Cyprus Academy in Burnsville, teaching classes in music composition and music theory. He has successfully prepared piano students for over 40 MMTA exams, all the way from the preparatory level to level 9. He has taught winners of the MMTA Piano Contest, and has entered students in the Thursday Musicals competition. One of his piano students was a finalist in the Northwestern Piano Festival. He has taught for the last 18 years at the Chaska Music Studios. Mark joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2015.
Daniel J. Coe (Piano, Guitar, Brass, Theory)
A versatile Classical and Jazz pianist Daniel studied music education at Ithaca College, graduating with honors. He then earned an MM in music composition at the University of Florida. Daniel has shared his musical talents with Aerosmith, Yoko Ono, Marina V, Danielle Evin, The Trews, The New York Dolls, David Johansen, Tim Hockenberry, Jennifer Cella, and many others. He has also orchestrated Golden Globe-winning dramas (Flesh and Bone, Dave Porter), prepared music for various Star Wars trailers and video games, and assisted film composers (Marcelo Zarvos, Too Big To Fail, Beastly, You Don’t Know Jack, Remember Me, Brooklyn’s Finest; Angelo Badalamenti, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive). His music has been on Saturday Night live, The Daily Show, NASCAR and much more. His extensive experience in music education makes him a very appreciated teacher by parents and students alike. Daniel joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2016.
Sharon Jinmyeong Seo (Piano, Theory)
Canadian pianist, Dr. Sharon (Jinmyeong) Seo completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in Collaborative Piano & Coaching at University of Minnesota. Dr. Sharon Seo has worked and played as a pianist with numerous instrumentalists, singers, choirs, and opera throughout South Korea, Canada, Germany, Italy, and United States. As an experienced, enthusiastic, and talented piano instructor, she is able to teach diverse repertoire music in different ages and levels. She loves the process of helping students to enjoy music and develop their musical abilities. Along with piano instruction, she teaches music theory, which help students to understand music elements, such as rhythms, forms, harmony, and ear training. She holds her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance at Brandon
University in Canada, and her Master of Music in Collaborative Piano & Coaching at University of Minnesota. Sharon joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.
Jacob Sergeant (Piano)
Pianist Jacob Sergeant, a native of the Twin Cities, started playing at the age of two. In piano he has competed in various national and international competitions, and in music has volunteered for various groups and organizations, including the Minnesota Chorale, the University of Minnesota, and Mount Olivet Lutheran Church. He has a strong passion for teaching and sharing music with the community. He holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Music from the University of Minnesota. Jacob joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.
Angela Drees (Piano)
Angela Drees, a native of the Twin Cities, received her Bachelor degree in piano performance the University of St. Thomas. She has been playing piano since the age of 5 and took part in MMTA events and other local recitals through high school. Since then, she has accompanied musicians, played in chamber groups, and participated in a Concerto festival. Outside of classical music she enjoys taking part as a keyboardist in a progressive rock band She hopes as a teacher to spark a passion in playing and motivate a desire for challenge in students. Angela joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Amanda Godin (Piano)
Amanda began playing piano when she was three years old in the YAMAHA music program. She started private lessons at age seven and continued under various instructors, including Dr. Paul Wirth. Throughout the years, Amanda has attended music festivals including the Masterworks Festival in Winona Lake, Indiana as well as the Young Artist World Piano Festival in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Amanda also greatly enjoys accompanying. She accompanied the University Choir at the University of Wisconsin Platteville for two years as well as many instrumentalists and vocalists. Amanda attended the University of Wisconsin Platteville and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a piano emphasis in May of 2016. Amanda has taught over 60 unique students privately over the past eight years as well as in the Montessori school setting. She works with each student on focusing and achieving previously set goals as well as working with each individual and their family to set new goals. Over the past years she has enjoyed the opportunity to teach a diverse group of children, including those with ADD/ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, noncompliant behavior, learning disabilities, and physical challenges. These experiences have strengthened her to be a well rounded, flexible, and compassionate individual, who takes into account each student’s learning ability, needs, and goals and creates successful lesson plans to accommodate them. Each student receives special attention during lesson preparation, guaranteeing that each lesson is as successful as it can be. Amanda understands the challenges that come with learning music, but turns those challenges into fun! Her approach to teaching has allowed her students to progress at a rate that fits their learning style, which leads to a feeling of success and satisfaction. Amanda joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.
Adrian Volovets (Organ, Piano, Violin, Saxophone, Flute, Recorder)
Adrian is working toward his Bachelor’s degree in Pipe Organ Performance at The University of Minnesota School of Music. With musical interests ranging from baroque to jazz, Adrian draws upon a diverse set of influences and genres in his performances. His biggest inspiration is Karl Richter, the world-famous conductor, organist, harpsichordist, and choirmaster. He has performed at venues such as The Basilica of Saint Mary, Cathedral of Saint Paul, Lake of The Isles Lutheran Church, Cedar Cultural Center, The Museum of Russian Art, and The Dakota Jazz Club. Adrian started in Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Allen Teyvel (Piano)
Allen started learning piano at 7 years old. He was a competitor in the MMTA competitions for many years and participated in many of the Honors Concerts. He is very excited and passionate about the work he does with students. He earned his Associates in Fine Arts Degree from North Hennepin Community College. While getting his associates degree he studied piano from Dr. Heather Maclaughlin and Dr. Kevin Hobbs. He is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance at the University of Minnesota while being instructed by Dr. Kyung Kim. Recently he was a Pre-College Piano instructor at the Kim International Piano Camp. His goal is to make piano a fun and an educating experience for all, and that piano stays in the student’s life forever. His favorite pianist is Emil Gilels and his favorite composer is Sergei Rachmaninoff. Allen joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Joan Wallace (Piano)
Joan Wallace is currently a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota, and has been teaching professionally since 2011. She is originally from Michigan, but has spent seven years living abroad, three of which have been as a piano teacher at an international school in Northern India. She returned to the United States in 2017 to pursue a DMA degree in Piano Performance.
After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy, Joan went on to obtain both a B.Mus in Piano and a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She subsequently received her M.M. in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma, where she was also assistant to Dr. Jane Magrath. She is a Harvey V. Berneking Fellow at the University of Minnesota.
She has presented at collegiate, state, and national MTNA conferences on a variety of pedagogical topics. She has also adjudicated for piano competitions and auditions in both India and the United States. Her interest in chamber music has led her to perform as a fellow in the UNL-Chamber Music Institute and for Hot Springs Music Festival. She has also performed in the Haydnsaal of Esterházy Palace and for the Beethoven Institute at Mannes College of Music. Joan joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.
Sarah Wabaczynsky (Piano, Voice, Conducting, Choir, Theory, Early Childhood Education)
Sarah Wybaczynsky is a recent transplant from Southern California, where she worked for eight years as a freelance vocal coach, music director, piano instructor, and classroom teacher in Los Angeles and Orange County.
She was enrolled in formal classical piano lessons from age 5-18, and began experimenting with pop, rock, sacred, and musical theatre accompaniment styles in high school. She was an annual participant in state theory testing in Texas and Louisiana, and regularly performed in competitions and recitals for piano, solo vocals, and choir.
Sarah earned her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Music Education and her K-12 Vocal Music teaching credential from Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) in 2009. She studied Operatic Vocal Performance at the Franco-American Vocal Academy in France (through University of Texas, Austin) and at California State University, Fullerton for two years before switching degree programs. She earned her Master’s degree in Music History & Literature in 2017 after the completion of her thesis: a theoretical analysis of the musical themes from the film Gone with the Wind.
Sarah’s resume includes 100+ theatrical productions in musical theater and opera, as well as concerts, recitals, masterclasses, and other special projects for which she provided music direction, piano accompaniment, vocals, conducting, adjudication, arranging, editing, and recording. Her students span all ages and experience levels (beginners to Broadway performers), and performance venues range internationally from small churches and recital halls to regional theatre.
Since moving to Minnesota in 2017, Sarah has worked as a freelance accompanist and classroom teacher at various locations in the Twin Cities. During the 2017-2018 school year, she served as the vocal director for 9th grade choirs at Washburn High School under the mentorship of Nancy Lee, three-time honorable mention award recipient for the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University’s Excellence in Theatre Education. Sarah took last year “off” to spend time with her newborn son, and is excited to jump back into teaching.
Students can expect to become well-rounded musicians when studying with Sarah. In addition to learning healthy technique and sustainability, vocalists will learn basics of music theory, piano, and musicianship. Her specialty with vocalists is releasing tension in the body to discover the “true” voice. For pianists, Sarah focuses on balancing classical and modern techniques and repertoire, and how to use written and implied chords to hone improvisation skills and improve sight reading ability. Sarah joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2019.
Irene Merz (Violin, Viola, Guitar, Piano)
Irine is an academically trained musician, performer and teacher accomplished in a wide variety of musical styles, from classical to traditional and folk music. Irine is experienced in entertaining live audiences at concert halls, operas, music theaters, hospitals and nursing homes. She is eager to bring professional expertise to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced, in private studios or classrooms, using a unique combination of 30 years of educational and performance experience. Irine has expertise in violin, viola, guitar and piano.
Jennifer Lang (Violin, Viola)
Jennifer Lang has been teaching the violin for over 15 years, beginning in high school as a one-on-one tutor within her private teacher’s studio. After completing her music performance degree at the Oberlin Conservatory, Jennifer taught violin to students at the International School of Paris and Ecole Koenig in France. A trained Suzuki teacher, Jennifer continues to attend professional development workshops and trainings yearly to stay up-to-date with the latest teaching techniques and innovations. As a free-lance performer, Jennifer plays regularly with the Minnesota Sinfonia and the Lyra Baroque Ensemble. She is especially passionate about collaborating with other artists and composers to create unusual and unique recital programs! One of her more recent recitals collaborations was with local dance historian Jane Peck, for a program integrating baroque instruments and dance. Prior to this, she collaborated with local composer Janika Vandervelde to create an acoustical composition, KAYAK, that incorporates violin improvisations with themes of nature and sound. Jennifer joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.
Dr. Galina Ajunts (Violin, Viola)
Dr. Galina Ajunts graduated from Michigan State University in 2003 with the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Violin Performance. Since early childhood, she was exposed to the wonderful sounds of Concerti of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and Brahms. She studied with many pedagogues in different parts of the former Soviet Union. In the US, her teachers were the world famous concert violinists Walter Verdehr, the founder of the Verdehr Trio, and Dmitri Berlinsky.
Her teaching experience in the US encompasses years 2002-2015. Galina teaches violin, viola, and beginning piano, for all ages. Working as both private and group teacher she had opportunities to prepare students for solo performances, auditions, as well as led sectional practices for the orchestras. Galina joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2015.
Andrew Oliver (Guitar)
Andrew has a Bachelor of Music Degree from The Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He has been teaching guitar lessons for over 25 years to students of all ages. He can teach a wide variety of styles. Jazz, Classical, Blues, Rock and Popular Music on Acoustic and Electric guitar. Andrew has most recently performed with The Sneetches and the Ska band Topper Norris in and around the Twin Cities area. Andrew Joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2015.
David Collins (Guitar, Bass Guitar)
David is a passionate native Twin Cities artist and teacher. He is an accomplished lead, rhythm and bass guitarist and also enjoys playing original works on piano. He has recorded and performed as the originator, front man and lead guitarist, for his former band and for solo engagements such as Mill City Nights 2014 winner of Gorilla Music Battle of the Bands, City Hall Denver, CO., Raw Artists Underground Denver CO and Mpls., with Minneapolis venues such as; The Fine Line, The Pourhouse, The Honey, The Skyway Theater, Acadia and Dangerfield’s in Shakopee MN and many local coffee shops, schools and private venues since 2005.
His focus is on student, teacher rapport, growth in technical ability, music theory, ear- training, composition, and writing. The styles of music that inspire David in his teaching are rock, indie, contemporary and classical music for relaxation and healing. He is also fundamentally inspired by family and faith, nature and fitness.
David’s teaching and professional affiliations: Hennepin Technical College and special studio project involvements with the Institute of Production and Recording, (IPR), and as an instructor for his personal band, other band members and students at Shakopee Senior High School. David joined Kramer School of Music in 2016.
Anatoly Shapiro (Guitar)
Anatoly Shapiro, a classical guitarist, received his degree in guitar performance and pedagogy from the M. Mussorgsky St. Petersburg College of Music. Since graduation, he has worked as a soloist and accompanist at the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra and Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra. He taught guitar at music colleges in Kiev and other schools in Kiev and Moscow. He recorded guitar music for television and radio. Since coming to United States twenty years ago, he taught guitar at music schools and as a private instructor. He performed at restaurants, jazz clubs, theaters and other venues across the Twin Cities area. He participated in the Guitaratone with the best guitarists in the state. Anatoly has taught guitar and performed in Russia, Ukraine and United States for the past 45 years. One of his best students, Daniel Volovets, is a very accomplished guitarist and performer in Minnesota. Anatoly joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2015.
Daniel Volovets (Guitar)
Daniel Volovets is a guitarist, composer, arranger, and instructor specializing in classical, flamenco, Latin American, and jazz music. Although born in the United States, his music is informed first and foremost by his Russian heritage. Daniel is a prolific performer, giving concerts regularly throughout the Twin Cities. Daniel’s mastery of many musical genres and aesthetics is evident in the breadth of his extensive repertoire, which spans numerous countries and eras. He is an accomplished arranger and composer, utilizing the harmonic and tonal possibilities of the guitar in his arrangements and compositions for both solo guitar and various ensembles. Daniel graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a B.S. in Neuroscience and currently attends the University of Minnesota Medical School, aspiring to balance careers in medicine and music. Daniel works with students of all ages and skill levels. Daniel joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Brad Richardson (Guitar)
Brad Richardson has been playing guitar since 1975. Heavily influenced by his father’s college students in the late 60’s, he bought The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” when it was released and has witnessed first-hand the entirety of the evolution of rock and roll.
In college at Harvard, Brad majored in Folklore and Mythology, and with the cooperation of the Harvard Music Department, focused on American traditional music roots — blues, gospel, Appalachian bluegrass, country, as it all culminated in a form called rock and roll. Brad also attended the University of Arizona as a graduate Theater Director.
As a professional, besides a decade-long stint as guitarist/song writer for the American band, Matinee Idol, Brad has worked largely as a theater artist, and in recent years, has been the Audio Engineer for a television production company, Magnetic Productions, editing, mixing, and sweetening hundreds of television shows.
Brad feels the beauty of playing guitar is in its range of expression and circumstance — from recording, to playing live with a band, solo or duo, to sitting at home alone singing favorite songs to suit a mood.
Brad is blessed with three children who all play multiple instruments, and when not busy playing, he spends most of his time cultivating the St. Louis Park Theater he and his wife co-founded, Maggie’s Farm Theater. Brad joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.
Olga Platova (Voice, Choir, Conducting, Piano)
In 1985 Olga was admitted to the girted children’s music school in Moscow. In 1992 she entered the College of Music named after A. Schnittke. Olga studied music for 9 years in colleges and universities. During the years of training, she took part with the student choir and orchestra in various competitions, celebrations and concerts. In 2005, she entered graduate school at Moscow State Pedagogical University.
Olga has 11 years of teaching experience in children’s music schools in Moscow. She was the head of the choral department. From 2004 to 2006 she was the Head of the Theory Division of the School. In 2005, the Choir School of Music, under her leadership, won 2nd place in the International Competition in Bulgaria.
Olga has 20 years of experience in choral activities. In 1992 she became the conductor of the teenage choir at the Moscow Central Baptist Church. Since that time, Olga worked as a conductor of the church choirs.
After arriving in the US in 2010, Olga worked in the music schools of Minneapolis as a conductor and teacher of Solfeggio music theory, piano, conducting and vocal. Olga is currently the Lead Conductor at Kramer’s School of Music. She joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2015.
Elena Denny (Cello)
A native of Chicago, Elena Denny is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Cello Performance at the University of Minnesota, studying with Tanya Remenikova. In March of 2017, Elena was a second place prize winner in the Strings III division of the Schubert Club Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship Competition. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Illinois Wesleyan University where she studied with Nina Gordon and performed the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto with the Illinois Wesleyan University Civic Orchestra as a winner of the Henry Charles Memorial Concerto/Aria Competition. Elena attended the Virtuoso & Belcanto Festival in Lucca, Italy, in the summer of 2017. Elena has participated twice in the International Chamber Music Academy in Kyustendil, Bulgaria, where she studied with cellist, Anatoli Krastev. Other private teachers include Silvio Righini in Milan, Italy, Teddy Rankin-Parker in Chicago, IL, and Nancy Blum in Chicago, IL. Elena joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Hocheol Shin (Cello)
Cellist Hocheol Shin began his early musical training at age four, and continued his studies at the prestigious Yewon Middle and Seoul Arts High Schools. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Korea National University of Arts, and holds a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music as a full scholarship recipient. Mr. Shin was appointed principal cello of the Manhattan Symphony, Manhattan Opera Orchestras, and the Manhattan Cello Ensemble.
Mr.Shin has been awarded top prizes at the Joong Ang National, Busan Music Competition, Strad Competitions, and Busan’s Metropolitan Mayor award.
His has performed as concerto soloist with the KBS (Korea Broadcasting System) Symphony Orchestra, Busan Philharmonic Orchestra, Gangnam Symphony Orchestra and Hyup String Chamber Orchestra.
Hocheol has been featured in many summer music festivals including Music Academy of the West, Great Mountain Music Festival & School, Ishikawa Music Academy, and the Kronberg Cello Academy.
Mr. Shin has worked with renowned cellists Myungwha Chung, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Edward Aron, Aldo Parisot, Ole Akahosi, and Peter Bruns.
Hocheol is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Minnesota as a School of Music Graduate Fellowship recipient under the tutelage of Professor Tanya Remenikova and He is working as a Thursday Musical Artist. He joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.
Yun Kyong Lee (Voice)
Operatically trained Mezzo Soprano, Yun Kyong Lee has competed around the world, securing prizes in Japan and the United States. No stranger to the stage, Ms. Lee has performed principle roles throughout the United States including Sue from the newly written opera ‘Trio’ by Natalie Draper, Maman and Dragonfly from ‘L’Enfant et les sortileges’ by M. Ravel at the Peabody Institute. Most recently Ms. Lee performed the role of Suzuki in Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ with the University of Minnesota Opera Theatre. In the fall of 2016, UMN Opera Theatre will be mounting Benjamin Brittens’s ‘Rape of Lucretia’ in which Ms. Lee will perform the title role.
In addition to her performance endeavors, Ms. Lee possesses an extensive background in vocal pedagogy and choral leadership. Besides private teaching for all ages, Ms Lee’s most recent appointment was music director of New Life Presbyterian Church in Catonsville, Maryland. A recipient of both a Master of Music degree and Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Ms. Lee is currently a doctoral candidate at the University Of Minnesota.
Yun joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2016
Seda Bagdasarova (Voice, Choir, Piano)
Seda was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. She started taking piano lessons at the age of six. At the age of 16, she was admitted to the Azerbaijan Music College, majoring in Choir Conducting/Piano. Seda worked as a soloist with a pop/jazz ensemble. After college, Seda spent two years in a program emphasizing theatrical acting skills and classical voice performance. Seda was admitted to the State Opera Theater, where she became the youngest Mezzo-Soprano performing fully stage Operas.
Seda worked at the Russian Academy of Music as a voice instructor, collaborating with composer and chamber music vocalists. After moving to Twin Cities, she started working with the Minnesota Chorale as an Alto Section Leader and a Soprano Section Leader with Wayzata Community Church. Seda specializes in voice instruction. She joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2015.
Arlys Alford (Voice, Performance, Public Speaking, Audition Prep)
Arlys’ vocal & artistic exploration began at age 3, singing solos at her church, dance lessons at 5 and piano at 6. She sang alto in her high school’s classically influenced concert choir and madrigal singers. As a young artist diversity of style and broad experience became her goal and with that in mind she wrote, sang and performed with numerous original rock, pop, funk & blues bands while simultaneously acting, singing, dancing or choreographing stage musicals. As Arlys says “without training, I ruined my voice thru overwork and eventually wasn’t able to sing a single note.” After spending years studying with a private voice teacher to recover her own ability to produce sound, she took on her first private voice student in 1997 and found her path forever altered. From 2008-2012 she acted as her own master teacher’s regular substitute at Culver City and Santa Monica Music Schools, then returned to Minneapolis in 2012 to continue aiding singers develop their voices.
Arlys studied voice for 12 years with master teachers of bel canto & contemporary singing techniques. She has a lifetime of performing experience, spent 12 years living and working in Los Angeles and has 18 years of professional voice teaching experience. Her cross-training in dance, yoga, Tai Chi, commercial & improvisational acting help provide a well-rounded platform from which to deliver information, guide vocal explorers and help develop talent. She focuses on helping you develop an easier way to sustain the best posture, breath support, resonance and pitch control for today’s music, bringing awareness to your existing vocal habits and providing tools to adjust those habits so you can hear and feel the difference. Arlys joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2016.
Claudia Finsaas (Voice)
Claudia received her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in 2016. While at Wheaton she studied both violin and voice and was an active member and soloist of the Wheaton College Concert Choir, Opera Program, and Wheaton College Symphonic Orchestra. She started taking violin lessons at the age of four, and voice lessons at the age of fifteen.
While she has a passion for singing opera, she is equally fond of singing musical theatre and sacred music. Growing up she had the privilege of studying with a violin teacher who taught her to appreciate classical music and fiddle music and prepared her for multiple competitions in both. Her love for music performance, entertainment, and the theatre continues to grow with each encounter. Claudia joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Tara Priolo (Voice)
Soprano Tara Priolo leads a diverse career teaching and performing with passionate tenacity and bold creativity. She finds herself at home in both the choral and chamber communities lending her hand as a section leader, administrator, and soloist. As an educator she shares her propensity for enlivening students’ confidence paired with her strong interest in vocal pedagogy. Frequently requested as a guest soloist by smaller organizations and colleagues, Tara enjoys performing a variety of new compositions as well as the classics. Tara
has affliations with Opera on Tap, Thursday Musical, Exultate Chamber Choir, Vox Nova Chorale, and Minnesota Chorale.
Tara welcomes students of all performance levels, from beginning to elite and enjoys teaching many different genres, prepping students for auditions, and finding healthy and true ringing tones in each student. I live by the phrase “Don’t sing trained, sing free.” Every few months, we will re-evaluate our goals and repertoire to ensure we are always on the path to the student’s definition of success.
Anastasiya Nyzkodub (Clarinet, Theory)
Anastasiya Nyzkodub is currently completing her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Clarinet Performance at the University of Minnesota where she studies with Alexander Fiterstein. Prior to her DMA studies she also completed her Master’s degree at the University of Minnesota. Ms. Nyzkodub received her Bachelor Degree in Clarinet Performance at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Born in Ukraine, from a young age she attended a music school. She moved with her family to Siberia where she studied clarinet with her father, Sergiy Nyzkodub at the College of Arts in Khanty-Mansiysk. Before coming to the US, Anastasiya participated in a summer program ‘’New Names’’ and played in a chamber ensemble ‘’Consone’’. While pursuing her Bachelor degree she played and toured with New Music Ensemble. In 2015 Ms. Nyzkodub received a First prize at the Thursday Musical Young Artist Competition. During past seasons she performed with Minnesota Fringe Opera and Mankato Symphony. In addition to performing Ms. Nyzkodub worked as a teaching assistant for the Theory and Ear-Training Department at the University of Minnesota. She was a semi-final candidate in William Byrd Young Artist Competition in 2017. She is also a member of the Sonora Ensemble whose main focus is to perform and give master classes in colleges across Minnesota. Anastasiya joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Laura Vosika (Harp, Piano, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, and Trombone)
Laura Vosika teaches harp, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. She began organ lessons at the age of 7, and trombone at the age of 11. From there, she steadily added multiple instruments to her repertoire. She holds a B.A. Music from Lawrence University, and an M.S. Education from Old Dominion University.
She has enjoyed more than thirty years playing, teaching, and performing on multiple instruments, ranging from dockside solo performances on fife for the arrival of tall ship recreations, to playing trombone for ballets, musical theater, and oratorios, to playing harp for art shows and banquets, to recording with a big band, to playing on the dockside during the historic departure of the USS Missouri from Bremerton, WA to Hawaii.
Past experiences include founding and directing a school band, and serving as a regular member of the Buz Whiteley Big Band (Poulsbo, WA), the Farragut Brass Band (Bremerton, WA) playing for navy ship departures and arrivals, and principal trombonist of the Sammamish Symphony (Issaquah, WA). Laura has loved the worlds that music has opened up, and the people and experiences it has led to, and loves the chance to bring that joy to students of all ages. She joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2015.
Ming-Hui Lin (Flute, Piano, Theory)
Born in Taiwan, Ming-Hui Lin started to play piano and flute at age 6. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree in flute performance and secondary area in music theory at the University of Minnesota studying with Immanuel Davis. In 2015 Spring, Ming-Hui got her Master of Music degree in flute performing and was awarded the lifelong membership of the National Music Honor Society Pi Kappa Lumbda at Boston University where she studied with Elizabeth Ostling, the associate principal flutist in Boston Symphony Orchestra. Before she came to the United States, she studied with Sarah Wu for flute performance and with Yu-Min Su for piano performance. She earned her Bachelor degree in music from Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan.
Ming-Hui is an active soloist, orchestral and chamber musician. She has participated in many concerts including the chamber and the orchestra in Taiwan, Japan, China, Europe and the United States. She is also an experienced teacher in the music field for seven years. She plays as a substitute flutist in the Minnesota Opera Orchestra and also acts as a mentor working with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. Recently, she won the first prize from Upper Midwest Flute Association Young Artist Competition. Ming-Hui joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Rachel Baruch (Art)
Rachel (Rachelika) Baruch was born in city Baku, Azerbaijan. She lived in Israel few years. She traveled toCosta-Rica few times for dance and art work. She has been living in USA since 2001. She is a ballroom danceInstructor and she always enjoyed learning & teaching fine arts. She is an artist with focus on sketching,drawing & painting. Rachelika specializes in drawing Instruction for kids, and art techniques that build skills andhelp children to become creative artists. To view more of examples of Rachelika’s art work, please visit herinstagram online at: “Rachelika’s Art”. Rachelika joined Kramer’s School of Music as an art instructor in 2015.
Alec Tonjes is a young up-and-coming Musician and Teacher. He was fortunate enough to attend Mainstreet School of performing arts in Hopkins and Perpich Arts High in Golden Valley. There he was able to expand is musical knowledge and get ahead in his music education. He went on to study at Mcnally Smith College of music where he received The Marv Dalghren Scholarship for Excellence in Percussion, an Award given to in coming Performance majors. Alec has been actively teaching since 2013 and has been a full time teacher for 2 years teaching 35+ students a week. He has taught wide variety of students, some as young as 4 and as old as 60. Alec is also comfortable teaching students with disabilities and has worked with kids who have autism, scoliosis, and more severe speech impediments.
Comfortable teaching most genres of music, Alec is proficient not only in drum set, but bass guitar too, as well as the basics of Hand drums, world percussion and Bell percussion(xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone,etc.). Alec jointed Kramer’s School of Music in 2017.
Robert Fletcher (Drums)
Originally from Eden Prairie, MN, Rob received his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Drums performance from DePaul University School of Music in Chicago, IL. For the past ten years he has continued to have a passion for teaching music on the drums and percussion with emphasis on creativity, musicianship, and the importance of learning the lineage of the modern drum set.
He has brought his musical knowledge to students young and old in Chicagoland, Central America, and, most recently back in his home state of Minnesota.
With a deep interest in the melting pot which is modern music, Rob has been able to work with many creative musicians in the Chicago jazz, chamber, and rock scenes. These groups have brought him into recording studios and many stages locally and on tour throughout North America, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
In addition to challenging himself to grow as a musician every day, Rob enjoys composing music on the piano, and spending time with his Samoyed/Sheltie, Elvin. Rob joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2019.
Kismat Shrestha (Drums, Percussion)
Kismat D Shrestha, 27, has been playing drums for the past 21 years and touring around the world. He has been teaching music for the past 6 years. Kismat studied jazz drumming at the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory from 2008 and became a faculty member at the very place from 2012. He plays and teaches a wide variety of styles including jazz, latin, fusion and rock. Kismat also plays in one of the most popular rock groups from Nepal, Albatross. He has extensively toured Nepal, Finland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Hong Kong, the USA and played some of the biggest music festivals such as the South By SouthWest (SXSW) in Austin, South Asian Bands Festival in Delhi, South Asian RockFest in Dhaka, with his band Albatross and other groups. Kismat joined Kramer’s School of Music in 2018.