Growing up in the school band culture of Japan, Hitomi started playing piano and euphonium at an early age. Upon majoring in music at Indiana University, she was inspired by David Baker, the famous jazz educator, to take up the study of trombone. She completed her masters at De Paul University in Chicago. Among her professional performances are the New World Symphony, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Jack Daniel’s Original Silver Cornet Band, and the Broadway production of “War Horse” at Lincoln Theatre Center. Recently, she founded the “MADE IN SPAIN BRASS BAND” where she arranges and leads the band.
Originally from Buffalo, Kate Gentile moved to NYC in 2011 and has played and recorded with a variety of renowned musicians and bands as a sideman and collaborator. Areas of creative musical interest and experience include jazz, indie rock, experimental metal, Balkan music, orchestral music, electronic music, and the avant-garde. Kate also leads bands performing her own music and can be heard in venues across NYC. In addition to having a strong jazz and rock background, Kate is a classically trained percussionist and holds a dual degree in Jazz Performance and Music Education from the Eastman School of Music. Kate has enjoyed sharing her passion for music and drums through teaching for over 10 years, both privately and in schools and summer programs. Kate’s approach to teaching is influenced by leading research in how music is learned as well as real-world experience as a musician/educator/human being.
Jon’s fascination with the trumpet started early. Starting lessons at age six, he writes, “I rested the trumpet bell on my knee because I couldn’t lift it for the first few months.” He played in classical and jazz bands throughout middle school and high school, competing in regional competitions. Jon majored in music at Muhlenberg College, where he also studied education. After graduation, Jon moved to NYC and earned his Masters degree in Jazz Performance and Composition from New York University. Jon has been part of the teaching faculty at NYU as well as Lincoln Center’s Webop jazz program for kids, and we are happy that he brings his love of music and teaching to our studio.
Melanie is a musician with over 10 years of professional experience and has a passion for both education and performance. She holds a B.A. in Music Education from Western Illinois University and an M.M. in Opera/Music Theater Performance from Southern Illinois University. Her performing credits range from off-Broadway theater to choral work. After teaching in multiple music studios in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York, she is excited to begin this new adventure as a teacher and co-director at WMS.
Scott Kacenga, co-director at WMS, displays a variety of talents as a teacher, performer, and composer. Scott began taking guitar lessons as a young teenager.His interest in jazz guitar evolved into formal study at Skidmore College, and then graduate studies at New York University. Scott left NYU with a Masters in Jazz Guitar and found his calling teaching and performing, and is excited to bring his knowledge and experience to WMS.
Michael Eaton is a Brooklyn-based performer, composer, and educator, teaches saxophone, flute, and clarinet. Michael earned a degree in jazz studies from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University-Bloomington, and he has studied with top jazz educators like David Baker, David Liebman, and James Moody, and classical saxophone with Eugene Rousseau. A patient, analytical, and insightful teacher, he focuses on imparting solid fundamentals while working with each student to achieve their personal musical goals and direction. You can hear Michael perform his original music in venues across NYC, and as a sideman he has shared the stage with internationally known artists Ingrid Jensen, Jim Snidero, Fred Hersch, and The Temptations.
Cameron holds a bachelor of music and a B.A. in psychology from Bard College. While in school, he toured both China and Europe with the conservatory orchestra. As a member of the Hudson Valley Brass Quintet, he travelled to South Africa for the Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival where the group performed and mentored. As well as having taught privately for over 5 years, he has led masterclasses at public schools, after-school programs, and juvenile detention centers. His has recorded horn for many bands and songwriters, and has performed with both David Byrne and Natalie Merchant.
Nicki’s passion for teaching piano reflects his joy for performing, composing and song-writing. He received his bachelors degree in piano performance on a full-scholarship at the Oberlin Conservatory. Since moving to New York, Nicki has collaborated with fellow performers at venues including Jazz at Kitano, Jazz at the Lincoln Center, the Knitting Factory, ShapeShifter Lab, the Sedona Jazz Festival and the Hopscotch festival. He is an dance accompanist at Mark Morris, Martha Graham and Marymount Manhattan, a vocal accompanist for Marcelino Feliciano and arranges for the future-folk band, The Oh Ones while leading his own ensemble, GADADU.
Nadya Meykson began playing violin in Moscow at the age of five. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe and the United States. Nadya holds a Master’s Degree in Music from the Eastman School of Music, where she served as Teaching Assistant for Mikhail Kopelman. Nadya’s teaching style is deeply influenced by the traditional Russian violin school. Although classical music is her passion, she also enjoys exploring different traditions of musical expression such as folk. Her own compositions are influenced by ancient and ethnic music.
Originally from Baltimore, Kristen has studied at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, and the Boston Conservatory, primarily with teachers Troy Stuart, and Rhonda Rider. Kristen holds a Masters in Music Education and teaches students of all ages. She has taught cello in private, public, and charter schools in Boston and New York, and now brings her skills and experience to Williamsburg Music Studio.
As a performer, Kristen has toured nationally and internationally, and her cello playing with Gem Club can be heard on NPR’s “All Songs Considered” and “Tiny Desk Concerts.” You can hear her on the soundtrack to ABC’s “Private Practice” and “Revenge”, as well as NBC’s “Parenthood”. Kristen also performs with various chamber groups in the Boston area and has been featured as a soloist with Chorus Pro Musica.
Drums and Percussion
Sarah Mullins is a Canadian-born percussionist, drummer, and music educator based in NYC. She plays drums and sings in rock band for baby classes, and has been a member of Gamelan Dharma Swara since 2010. Sarah earned a Masters in Percussion Performance from City University of New York, Queens College, and teaches private lesson in drums and percussion to students as young as 3, and up to any age. She performs newly composed classical music, orchestral, improvisation, rock, pop, and Balinese gamelan. Sarah performs regularly as a percussionist with Periapsis Music and Dance, and has performed with the Glenn Branca Ensemble, Talujon Percussion, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Violin & Alexander Technique
Mr. Austin has been a member of the Asheville Symphony, Hilton-Head Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, Winston-Salem Symphony, and countless pick-up orchestras and chamber groups. In addition to his classical roots he has recorded and performed live with numerous folk, jazz, and hip-hop groups. Mr. Austin served as the University of North Carolina School of the Arts viola teaching assistant while pursuing his undergraduate degree. Mr. Austin also teaches Alexander Technique at our studio. He is an AmSAT certified Alexander Technique teacher, and trained at American Center for the Alexander Technique in Manhattan. He has been invited as a guest Alexander teacher at Columbia and McGill Universities.
Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Julia Chen began studying both jazz and classical piano at an early age. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio. Her previous teachers include Marco Benevento, Roberta Piket, Billy Hart, and Dan Wall. She has led, composed, and arranged for groups in New York and Oberlin, performing at venues including the Cutting Room in NYC and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Julia has nine years of experience teaching piano lessons in NYC, through the Oberlin Conservatory and at the Encore/Coda Music Camp. She encourages her students to learn music in multiple genres, and to bring in songs or pieces of their own choosing when possible. During lessons she emphasizes improvisation, basic theory knowledge, and ear training. Above all, she attempts to give students music that challenges and excites them, to help students find a connection to music both within and outside of their lessons.
Natalie Oliveri began exploring and creating music through piano at age eight. In addition to teaching voice and piano at WMS, she is a professional Soul singer-songwriter and recording artist. She studied composition piano and classical voice at an early age at Sherwood Conservatory of Music, and received her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance and Music Business Management from Columbia College Chicago. Natalie released her first EP titled “Eclectic Soul” which became distributed by River City Music Co. in Japan. Her compositions have been featured in the Latino Film Festival, Oxygen Network, BBC Player documentary, BET and an award winning web series titled “12 Steps to Recovery”. Before moving to New York, she lived in London for 3 years working as a private voice and piano teacher at London School of Arts, Cherry Pie Music and taught Songwriting workshops for Song Academy UK. She currently resides in Brooklyn, working as a professional musician, performer, songwriter & music educator.
Composer, musician and educator Hannah Selin has appeared at venues throughout New York City including Carnegie Hall, Roulette, and Le Poisson Rouge. Her compositions merge acoustic instruments with electronic sounds, field recordings and recorded interviews to imagine new and unlikely sound-spaces. Hannah has studied composition with Wang Jie, Per Bloland and Missy Mazzoli, viola with Karen Ritscher, Robert Vernon and C.J. Chang, and voice with Fay Victor. She performs frequently throughout New York City with ensembles including the AEON Ensemble, Ensemble Mise-En, and the Delphi Chamber Orchestra as well as her own group, GADADU. After receiving the 2015 Miriam Gideon Award for excellence in the study of musical composition, Hannah was selected as Composer-In-Residence with the Brooklyn College Orchestra in the spring of 2016. In the fall of 2016, GADADU was awarded residencies at Avaloch Farm Music Institute and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Hannah Selin was a finalist in the 2016 Verdant Vibes Call for Scores.
As a music educator, Hannah strives to provide her students with a lasting musical foundation that will assist them in whichever musical path they take. She has over five years of experience teaching private and group classes, lessons and workshops for students of all ages and backgrounds.