Our Faculty

Rebecca Abalutzk

Piano and Voice

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Becki received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and studied with Marjorie Melnick.  While there, she performed in several productions, including Benjamin Britten’s The Little Sweep, Ceremony of Carols and opera scenes from Le Nozze di Figaro, Dido and Aeneas and Die Zauberflóte.  While attending graduate school at Westminster Choir College, Becki received her Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy as a student of Sharon Sweet, former soprano at the Metropolitan Opera.  She was a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, and performed Mozart’s Coronation Mass with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Loren Maazel.  as well as performing in opera scenes from Rusalka, Die Fledermaus, and La Traviata.  Becki has been the  vocal director and accompanist for Westwood High School’s productions of Anything Goes and The Pajama Game, and Trottier Middle School’s production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.  She is presently on the Voice and Piano faculty at Dean College in Franklin, MA.

alexander badalov

Cello

alexander-badalov-encoreAlexander Badalov received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Cello Performance from the Tbilisi College of Music, his PhD from Tbilisi State Conservatory, and an Artist Diploma from the Longy School of Music. He also received a Kodaly Method Certification Level I from the New England Conservatory. He has since performed many times with the Cape Cod Symphony, Nashua Symphony, Central Massachusetts Symphony, New Hampshire Symphony and Bangor Symphony Orchestras.

 

 

 

Leandra Botta

Woodwinds and Piano

Lea is a professional freelance flutist in the Boston and surrounding areas.  She holds a BA with a concentration in flute performance from Bridgewater State College.  As well as a busy performing schedule with Two of Us, she is the founding member of the nationally recognized Sonare Wind Trio, Semifinalists for the Fischoff Chamber Competition.  The Fischoff is the biggest chamber music festival in the country.  Lea is also the assistant conductor and chamber ensemble director for The South Shore Conservatory Flute Symphony, which is one of the largest flute symphonies in the US, has numerous studio recordings under her belt, and collaborates with composer, Erik Lindgren, founder of Birdsongs of The Mesozoic.  When she is not performing, she has an active flute instruction studio in several school systems in Massachusetts.  Lea teaches all the woodwind instruments, including saxophone, flute, clarinet, and oboe.

 

Tom Carlisle

Guitar

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Tom has been playing guitar for 15 years and teaching for seven. While at Boston College he studied under composers including Thomas Oboe Lee and Ralf Gawlick. His studies focused on Classical music as well as Popular and World styles. Tom has played with various local bands and currently plays the Turkish Oud in Boston College’s Middle Eastern Ensemble.

 

 

 

Russell Chudnofsky

Guitar

Russell Chudnofsky has recorded and toured the world playing guitar for a number of talented artists including multiple Grammy Award winning songwriter Lori McKenna, Grammy nominated singer Tanya Donelly, Sarah Borges, Kris Delmhorst, and Catie Curtis. He has toured as an opening act for Frank Black of the Pixies, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood, Throwing Muses, Laura Veirs, and has opened for Gillian Welch, Hot Tuna, Steve Earle, Ellis Paul, Peter Wolf of the J. Geils Band, and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival. He has played Fenway Park, The Boston Garden, and arenas all  over the world. He has also played small cafes as large as a living from Italy to Ireland, and from Oregon to Maine.
Russell played guitar for Lori McKenna on the Faith Hill/Tim McGraw Soul to Soul II tour, the largest country music tour in history. He has also appeared at The Grand Ole Opry, Lincoln Center in New York City, and on Good Morning America with McKenna.
Additionally, Chudnofsky has written, recorded and produced Skypaint, an acclaimed rock opera that Jim Sullivan from the Boston Globe calls “terrific: immediately infectious, hard-rocking, and heartfelt. Skypaint may just be the best rock [or pop] opera by a small-scale band.”
Russell also plays with the Tim Gearan band most Friday nights at Atwoods Tavern in Cambridge, which has repeatedly won the Boston Music Award for Best Residency.

Brian Dollaway

Voice and Guitar

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Brian is a Boston-based musician with over 16 years experience.  He graduated in 2007 from Berklee School of Music with a BA in Songwriting, and has vocal training in both classical and jazz.  He is well-versed in guitar, percussion, bass, and piano and is a recording artist and an awarded vocalist.  Brian is experienced in all musical styles including, but not limited to, Rock, Jazz, Pop, Country, R & B, Folk, Hip Hop, and Classical.  He received the Clark Terry award for best solo Jazz vocalist at the UNH Jazz festival in 2003, as well as being selected to the Massachusetts All State Choir.  He has performed in Nashville, TN, as well as the Tanglewood Theatre and Boston’s Symphony Hall.  Brian is a licensed Music Teacher in the state of Massachusetts and has taught private instruction, as well as Song and Lyric writing workshops and seminars, and is a performing musician in the New England area.

 

Lois Francello

Harp, Piano, Voice

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Lois started classical piano lessons at the age of 8 with Maryanne Dedekind and performed in her teacher’s studio recital less than a year later. She was immediately fascinated the first time she saw a harp featured in a local concert in her hometown of Allentown, PA. Her parents arranged a meeting with the harpist, Dorothy R. Knauss, and Miss Francello began harp lessons at age 13. With her excellent training in piano, the technique of the new instrument came easily, and soon harp practice consumed most of her free time. She continued to sing with several school choruses, including the elite Vocal Ensemble. Deciding to pursue a career in music, Miss Francello enrolled in the Boston Conservatory in the Harp Performance program. She was active vocally, singing for group chorus concerts and special recital performances. She also accompanied several singers on the piano in their private rehearsals. Recently, she studied for four years with Judy Goff, soprano, a noted master voice teacher specializing in the Estill technique. From the courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to the shores of Walden Pond, harp, voice and piano has taken Miss Francello to many different locations. Her broad repertoire ranges from classical music to Broadway show tunes and light jazz. Recently, she has begun composing and hopes to soon incorporate some of her original material into her performances.

 

TOM KAROL

Guitar and Ukulele

Tom began playing the guitar at the age of 12 and started performing professionally at the age of 16. After earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Middlebury College, he studied arranging and composition at Berklee College of Music. He then pursued his guitar studies privately with the late jazz guitar great, Attila Zoller. Tom plays and teaches both acoustic and electric guitar and is well versed in most genres of American popular music. He performs in a variety of contexts – jazz, pop, soul, rock, reggae, folk, blues, country, and in support of singer-songwriters and solo vocalists. He has worked in recording studios as both a performer and a producer, and he has extensive experience as a private instructor – two of his former students now perform professionally themselves. Tom is thrilled to be at Encore Music Academy doing what he loves most – making and teaching music.

Don Krishnaswami

Violin and Viola

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Praised by the Boston Globe as “noteworthy among the solo voices”, and as giving his instrument “a soulful workout”, violist and violinist, Don Krishnaswami, is active in the Boston area as a performing musician and teacher. He has collaborated in chamber music with current and former members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is a founding member of the LiveARTS String Quartet. As an orchestral player, Mr. Krishnaswami has performed with orchestras from Boston to New York City to Philadelphia, including the Boston Pops, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra, Boston Ballet Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. He has toured domestically from coast to coast with the Boston Pops, including appearances at major music festivals such as Tanglewood, Ravinia, Wolf Trap, and Interlochen. Internationally, Mr. Krishnaswami’s career has taken him to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Canada, Iceland, Ireland, and Brazil. He has performed as back-up musician with such jazz and pop giants as Mel Torme, Cleo Lane, Natalie Cole, Sarah Brightman, The Moody Blues, Aerosmith, Yes, Barry Manilow, Joni Mitchell, The Irish Tenors, Donny Osmond, Smokey Robinson, Linda Ronstadt, K.D. Lang, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Peter Cetera (Chicago), Anne Murray, Diana Krall, Earth Wind and Fire, and Sarah McLachlan.

Mr. Krishnaswami has served on the viola faculty at Williams College at the invitation of BSO cellist Ronald Feldman. He is currently a Visiting Associate Professor at Bridgewater State University. Mr. Krishnaswami holds a Master of Music degree in viola and a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from The Juilliard School. He has studied with a remarkable array of renowned teachers, including Lillian Fuchs, William Lincer, Samuel Rhodes, and Christine Dethier in viola and violin; Roger Sessions and Leon Kirchner in composition; and Joel Krosnick, Robert Mann, and Samuel Sanders in chamber music. He plays a modern Italian viola made in Naples in 1916 by Armando Altavilla. http://www.classicaloccasions.com/donkrishnaswami/

Caitlin Medlin

Voice
Caitlin Chase

Caitlin received a Bachelor of Music with Emphasis in Education Degree, as well as a Voice Performance Certificate, from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.  She has studied voice and opera coaching with USC professors, Dr.  Tina Stallard and Dr.  Lynn Compass and has performed in Rome, Florence, and The Vatican with her Concert Choir under Dr.  Larry Wyatt.  Caitlin has performed in ensembles including Three Penny Opera, Our Town, and sang the role of Disdain in Il Ciarlatano under Dr.  Ellen Schlaefer.  She has performed in a variety of choral concerts featuring the works of Carmina Burana, Faure, and Mozart.

Alexander Morollo

Piano, Music Theory, Vocal Coaching

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An award-winning teacher and pianist, Alexander Morollo has been seen in performances in the United States and Canada. He has performed at piano festivals, master classes, and competitions, both as a solo recitalist and chamber musician.   He began his training at the age of six under pianist and composer Dianne Rahbee. Other piano teachers include Phyllis Lehrer, Galina Gertsenzen, and Hugh Hinton; coupled with master classes with Dianne Anderson, Andrew Staupe, Ena Barton, James Goldswerthy, Andrius Zlabys, Andreas Klein, Marvin Blickenstaff, and Mykola Suk. Highly trained in music theory as well, he has studied with Paul Brust and Judy Ross.  Mr. Morollo has competed in the NEPTA Piano Competitions, won the Catherine Dower-Gold Performing Arts Award, and won First Prize in the Young Artists Piano Competition of Western Massachusetts and Connecticut in the highest division. Additionally, Mr. Morollo was the 2015 recipient of the Mary Ellis Smith Prize for ‘Excellence in the art of Piano Pedagogy’.

An avid teacher, Mr. Morollo also hold positions on the piano faculty at The Starline Academy for the Performing Arts in Stoughton, MA, The North End Music and Performing Arts Center in Boston, Along with the Community Music Center of Boston. Throughout his teaching career he has prepared students for proficiency exams in piano, sight reading, solfege, and music theory, along with the MTEL teacher certification test. During his undergraduate education at Longy, he was hired by the school to co-instruct graduate students in secondary piano through classroom instruction and private lessons. Several students of his have been accepted into Bachelor of Music programs themselves, most recently at the Berklee School of Music in Boston and Ithaca College in New York.

Performance Diploma, Longy School of Music;  Bachelor of Music, Emerson College;  Master of Music, Longy School of Music of Bard College

Scott Nicholas

Piano, Theory, Vocal Coaching
Scott Nicholas

Pianist Scott Nicholas has appeared in Europe, Latin America and throughout the United States in solo and chamber performances.  He has been heard on WBUR and WGBH Boston and has performed with the Borromeo String Quartet and the New England Chamber Ensemble.  Scott has been the rehearsal and performance pianist for the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, the Boston Pops, Minnesota Opera, the Boston Lyric Opera, Chorus Pro Musica, the Boston Secession, Concord Women’s Chorus,  EC Schirmer’s Philovox Ensemble, and the Three Irish Tenors.  Having received his BA in Music Education from the College of New Jersey and a MM in Accompanying/ Coaching from the New England Conservatory, Scott is currently on the faculty of Emerson College and Senior Lecturer at Suffolk University where he teaches piano and coaches opera and music theatre.

www.scottnicholaspianist.com/

Jennie Ostrow

Piano and Woodwinds

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Jennie Ostrow could read music, at the age of 4, before she could read English. She has been avidly involved in the music world since then, performing solo recitals and participating in many ensembles, both vocal and instrumental, in addition to performing in the National Broadway Tour of “Evita” at the Colonial Theater in Boston, MA.

Graduating in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in Music Education, focusing in piano and flute, from the Ithaca College School of Music, Jennie has studied piano under the direction of world-renowned collaborative pianist, Scott Nicholas, sought-after concert and chamber musician, Dr.  Nathan Hess, Phiroze Mehta and, most recently, Dimitri Novgorodsky. In addition to her focus in piano performance and flute studies, Jennie is also proficient in Saxophone, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Trumpet, Trombone, and Percussion. She also has been a student of vocal studies for the past 12 years.

Jennie’s extensive teaching experience began at the age of 15 and has expanded through Encore and her experiences at Ithaca College.  She currently is President of the Ithaca chapter of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association, as well as Senior Class Representative for NAFME, (National Association For Music Educators).

John Salzillo

Trumpet and Flugelhorn

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John Salzillo Trumpet and Flugelhorn John studied with Gene Crisafulli (RI Philharmonic) at SMU Dartmouth, and Joe Giorgianni (Blood Sweat and Tears, Buddy Rich, Liza Minnelli).  He has played with the UC Irvine Jazz and Concert Bands, and was a regular in Tony Giorgianni’s Jazz Odyssey and The Loew’s Big Band, performing with Lew Soloff (Blood, Sweat, and Tears), Gerry Niewood (Chuck Mangione Quintet), and Hal Linden of Barney Miller fame.  John currently is a member of The Groove Doctors, a 7-piece funk band that performs regularly in the Boston area.

 

 alexander “lex” schmidt

Drums and Percussion

lexLex is a recent Berklee College of Music Graduate. He has been playing Drumset and Percussion since the age of 12 and has been teaching for about 7 years.

He also offers beginner Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, and Bass lessons. Lessons are focused on what the student is interested in learning and the lesson plans are developed according to the students’ abilities, desires and needs. His main goal while teaching is that the student is learning while having fun and progressing. To be able to express one’s self through music and share the experience with others is one of life’s greatest gifts. Everyone has the ability to find his or her voice in music. Lex is here to help you find your voice!

Stephen Shey

Piano and Violin

Stephen-Shey-EncoreStephen Shey completed his under-graduate studies at The Boston Conservatory under Prof. Lynn Chang. At 18, Stephen, a Chinese American violinist, made his international debut in Manila, Philippines at the James B. Reuter Theater, St. Paul University. In 2004, at the invitation of the Philippine Ambassador Albert del Rosario, he serenaded the Filipino veterans at the World War II Memorial dedication ceremony in Washington, D.C.  By invitation from the Philippine Ambassador of the Nordic States in 2005, he performed at The Music Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2007, he and pianist Kanako Nishikawa performed at the Zipper Concert Hall in Los Angeles in a concert entitled “Passion. Confession. Kundiman.” Stephen has performed in Philippines, Ukraine, Poland, China, Sweden, Germany, England, Canada.  In 2010 Shey embarked on a 3-week, 8-city concert tour in China with Maestro Cheung Chau’s Orchestra, Poland Sinfonietta. His primary teachers include Lynn Chang, Eric Rosenblith, Dana Mazurkevich, Mark Lakirovich, Aideen Zeitlin, and BlankaBednarz.

Stephen has been teaching in the greater Boston area for the past 12 years. Stephen is a Suzuki certified teacher and has done Suzuki teacher training for violin with Nancy Lokken and John Kendall. In addition, he has done Suzuki teacher training for piano with Jane Kutscher Reed. Stephen studied the art of teaching with Carolyn L. Bigler, Clayton Scott and Katherine Rapoport. He has prepared students on violin and piano for the RCM development program exams.

David Siegel

Violin and Viola

David holds a B.M. In Violin Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. His primary teachers were Erick Friedman and Aaron Rosand. He participated in master classes with the Hungarian violinist Sandor Vegh at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

He has performed extensively, often as concertmaster, with a variety of organizations such as Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Boston Ballet, Wang Center, Citi Center, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra and Springfield Symphony. He has toured with Philharmonia Hungarica, Goldovsky Grand Opera and Phantom of the Opera National Tour.

David has taught with the Wellesley, Newton, Lincoln, and Shrewsbury Public Schools.

Sasha Stern

Piano and Ear Training

Sasha Stern began her musical education at the age of 5.  She is a  third generation professional musician. When Sasha was 8, she won a prestigious Piano Competition dedicated to the music of J. S. Bach. She holds a BA from the State College of Arts in Russia as jazz pianist and graduated with Honors. Sasha went on to receive a Master’s Degree from the Rachmaninoff Conservatory where she studied musicology, composition, history, and music theory. She taught a course in  Jazz ensemble and arrangement at the Rostov College of Music for 13 years.  Her former students now perform professionally in Europe and the US.

Sasha has toured around the country as the music director of the L’Chaim Music Group and has been playing for the Boston Ballet School and is presently the Ballet pianist at the Palladino School of Dance at Dean College. She works with internationally recognized Ballet dancers and teachers. Sasha has been teaching piano/composition  at Steinway Company in Natick using her unique innovative method of ear training and composition.

Matt Stravakis

Bass Guitar


Starting with the tuba at age nine, Matt took an interest in learning the bass guitar at age 12, joining his high school jazz band at age 15 and beginning his studies on the double bass.  Since then Matt has received his Bachelor’s in Music from New England Conservatory with academic honors, studying with Cecil McBee, Jerry Bergonzi, Dave Holland, and several others.  After finishing his degree in 2014 Matt has been playing in the Greater Boston Area as a sideman and occasionally as a leader in the Boston jazz scene, performing alongside jazz greats like Jerry Bergonzi and George Garzone.  Although his expertise is in jazz, Matt is well versed in other styles of music, including but not limited to classical, pop, rock, R&B, hip-hop, and Brazilian music.

Matt currently teaches double bass and bass guitar at Medfield and Stoughton Public Schools.  Matt is also capable of teaching jazz improvisation and music theory for any instrument.

Jon Ustin

Drums and Percussion

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New Jersey-born percussionist and composer, Jonathan Ustin, discovered a passion for music at the age of 19, beginning with his study of the bass guitar, and including a brief stint with the double bass as well.  What began as an interest in percussion for the purpose of broadening his musical awareness, led him to the realization that he was, in fact, more so a percussionist at heart than a bassist (although the bass remains near and dear to him).  He has studied and is comfortable teaching drumset, hand drums, mallet instruments, electric bass, keyboard, and jazz theory, harmony and improvisation.

Jon’s training and study includes three years with Turkish master percussionist Atilla Engin, two years studying percussion and dance accompaniment with Tigger Benford, a Bachelors degree in Jazz Studies from Westfield State University, a Masters in Studio Music and Jazz from the University of Tennessee (where he studied with former Art Blakey sideman Donald Brown, and Chuck Mangione bassist Rusty Holloway), and a Doctor of Musical arts in Jazz Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, under the mentorship of Chicago-based master drummer Dana Hall.  He and his wife returned home to Massachusetts with their two young daughters in June of 2014 after nearly ten years away from the Northeast, and are quite happy to be home.

Matthew Visconti

Trombone, Tuba, and Euphonium

Matthew received his Doctorate from the University of Memphis, his Master’s degree from Boston University and his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Hartford all in Applied Performance and Pedagogy.

He is an active freelance musician in the greater Boston area and has had the privilege to perform in venues such as Boston’s Symphony Hall and Jordan Hall, Worcester’s Mechanics Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall, as well as venues in Spain and Portugal including a performance in the prestigious Granada Festival in Spain. Matthew has been asked to perform with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Jazz Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the Kentucky Opera Orchestra, the Louisville Ballet Orchestra and the Jackson Symphony Orchestra in Mississippi and in Tennessee. He has also been selected as a participant for the Cleveland Trombone Seminar, the Pokorny Seminar, and the Rafael Mendez Brass Institute. He has also given numerous master classes at many high schools, churches, colleges, and instrumental workshops.

His history of teachers include Gabriel Langfur, Bass Trombonist of the of the Vermont Symphony and Rhode Island Philharmonic, Don Lucas, an internationally renown trombone soloist, Toby Oft, Principal Trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Ron Borror, retired trombonist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, and Dr. John Mueller of the University of Memphis. Dr. Visconti has received additional instruction from, and performed in various master classes with trombonists of various orchestras including the Detroit Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony, the Croatian National Opera Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic, the Dallas Symphony, the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra and from various musical institutions across the country.

Dr. Visconti is currently the Director of Instrumental Music at Lexington Christian Academy and the Instructor of Trombone at Atlantic Union College’s Thayer Performing Arts Center. He has previously served as a faculty member at the University of Memphis, Jackson State University, Dyersburg State Community College and Mid South Community College where he taught Applied Trombone, Music Theory, Music History, Music Appreciation, Marching Band, Chamber Music and Orchestral Techniques. Dr. Visconti also writes reviews for the International Trombone Journal.