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Piano Instructors

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Teresa Cappello

Piano Instructor

Teresa has been teaching at Settlement Music School since 1976 and came to The Conservatory through the Kardon Institute in Philadelphia. She has experience as a rehearsal pianist and instructor, dance accompanist and Music Therapist.

Russ Cody

Piano Instructor

Russ holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Lebanon Valley College with an emphasis in Recording Technology and has been a piano instructor for over 15 years. He studied classical piano at Westminster Choir College and Lebanon Valley College with an emphasis on the romantic period. He also has extensive experience playing and composing rock, jazz and blues along with performing at venues that include John and Peter’s, Puck Live, and The World Cafe. He has taught at various music schools and piano stores as well as his private studios in Doylestown, PA and Flemington, NJ. His students have varied in age from young children to adults with skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced. Russ develops individualized curriculum according to the goals and interests of each student.

Michelle Cosgrove

Piano and Flute Instructor

Michelle is one of the original students of The Conservatory, studying here from 1991-1994. She graduated with a Bachelors of Music Education degree from The College of New Jersey in 1998, and entered the educator workforce by teaching classroom music for the Archdiocese of Trenton, then Centennial School District until 2005. She returned to her alma mater (The Conservatory) to teach Flute and Piano in 2002. She joined The Conservatory's administrative staff as the Students On Tour Coordinator in 2005. In 2007, Michelle completed her Masters of Music in Flute Performance from West Chester University. As a chamber ensemble specialist, she organizes and coaches student ensembles, trains her piano students as accompanists, and exposes her pupils to all genres of music. She is Artistic Director of the ensemble Impromptu, featuring rotating music artists to create a variety of ensemble instrumentations. She performs with the baroque ensemble La Fiocco on baroque flute, and the 70's rock band Dillirgaff on improvisational flute and keys. Michelle is a member of the National Flute Association, the Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia, and the Guild for Early Music.

Allison Goldberg

Piano and Clarinet Instructor

Allison holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from West Chester University with a concentration in clarinet. She studied clarinet under Dr. Chris DeSanto and Tery Guidetti, and piano under Teri Kleinfelter. Allison has also completed several Graduate courses in Music Education and is certified in K-12 music education in Pennsylvania.

Allison's experience encompasses both classroom and private studio teaching. She worked as an instrumental group class teacher and band director for grades 4-8 for eight years in private schools. Her private clarinet/piano studio was established in 2001. She previously taught clarinet and piano for Music & Arts and then joined the Conservatory faculty in 2010. Allison is available to accompany her clarinet students on piano, giving her pupils an added advantage in preparation for solo performances.

Allison has performing experience in classical bands, Klezmer clarinet, and chamber music. She performed with Klezmer Band for Temple Shalom in Broomall, Philadelphia Doctors Orchestra, including 2 performances at the Kimmel Center, and Ensemble Impromptu (Chamber Music Group).

Bill Gottshall

Piano Instructor

Bill is celebrating 20 years teaching with The Conservatory! Along with teaching private lessons, Bill has worked to establish the Jazz Ensemble Program and increase live performance opportunities for Conservatory students. Bill is also a playwright and composer who has written several plays and composed or arranged hundreds of pieces of music for vocal and instrumental ensembles. Bill graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1978 with a degree in music composition. In 1979, he studied jazz arranging and orchestration with Don Sebesky, the Tony Award-winning Best Orchestrator for Kiss Me Kate (2000 revival). After college, Bill was an Assistant to the Music Director on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical My One and Only, during its pre-Broadway run in Boston and he held the same position in the Off-Broadway Motown musical revue Dancin’ in the Street!, directed by Tony Award-winner Billy Wilson (Bubblin’ Brown Sugar). Bill’s principal instrument is piano, but he studied trumpet for ten years, both in the Philadelphia area and at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. His teachers included Barry Mertz, Milliard Hensel, and Jeff Stout. Bill frequently performs throughout the Philadelphia area with small Jazz ensembles and larger bands that cover music from many different decades and genres of music.

Jamie Link

Piano Instructor

Jamie holds a Masters Degree in Piano Pedagogy from West Chester University, and a Bachelor's Degree in Music from York College of Pennsylvania. As a graduate student, Jamie accompanied vocal students for their lessons and various performances, such as senior recitals. Jamie maintains her own private piano studio out of Hanover, PA and is currently the church musician (piano and organ) for St. Paul Lutheran Church located in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. In 2017, she became St. Paul Lutheran Church’s choir director, and has found great joy in not only instructing and accompanying the choir, but in educating the members in music. Jamie is committed to further education and continuous study as a teacher. After the completion of her Masters Degree, Jamie began studying with Robert Durso, a Taubman Approach Master Teacher based in Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Durso’s teaching has broadened her understanding of how to move at the piano, release tension, address technical difficulties, and how to solve problems directly related to music. Jamie enjoys being able to share her new knowledge with her students as she continues her studies.

Viktoriia Popova

Piano and Clarinet Instructor

Viktoriia studied piano and clarinet at Music Arts College, Khabarovsk, Far East, Russia and graduated in 2007. From 2007 to 2009 Viktoriia worked with Far East Symphony in Khaboarovsk, Russia. She has considerable experience teaching all ages and skill levels and working with students who have disabilities. Viktoriia has taught piano and clarinet in China and Cambodia. Viktoriia develops innovative and imaginative, individual lesson plans for her students. She is multi-lingual and can speak English, Russian, Cambodian, and Chinese.

Sylvia Rea

Piano Instructor

Sylvia is a classically trained pianist and organist. Her education began at age 4 with private lessons. She studied with Alice Malloy, Phyllis Herring and acquired further studies with Sylvia Nickels of Westminster Choir College in Princeton. Piano is her principal instrument, but she has also studied pipe organ for many years. Sylvia has been a member of the Bucks County Association of Piano Teachers since 1992, and many of her students have performed at Bucks County Community College, as well as Jacobs Music. Her work experience includes private studio teaching, group classes, church services, funerals and weddings. Sylvia has been teaching Piano for over 40 years, classical, jazz, popular, new age, etc., but enjoys working with all ages and skill levels. She expects students to practice and excel in performing at recitals. She joined The Conservatory faculty in 2009.

Felicity Sipes

Piano and Harp Instructor

Felicity is a professional classical musician. She holds a Bachelor of Music in both Keyboard Performance: Piano Principal, as well as Orchestral Instrument Performance: Harp Principal. Felicity has had numerous opportunities to perform for a wide range of events over the last decade in both Pennsylvania and South Carolina. She has performed in chamber groups, ensembles, choirs, orchestras, and as a soloist through many different venues. She is associated with the Music Teacher’s National Association, American Harp Society, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Harp Society. Felicity’s passion is to share the joy of music with others by instructing them in music, and her goal is to equip her students with a knowledge and love of music, so that they can share that same joy with others. Felicity also enjoys studying and incorporating music theory for her student’s benefit. Felicity’s extensive experience of working with children also allows her to include, energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and incentives to bring music to life during the lesson.

Olga Smirnova

Piano Instructor

Starting at the age of nine years old, Olga attended two separate schools, one for regular education and a special music school to accomplish the goal of a musical college education. She excelled in music school and went on to obtain a degree in Choral Direction with a Music Education minor. After college, Olga moved to Volzhsky, Russia to begin work in her chosen field. She started her career as an accompanist for the Academic school of Olympic Gymnastics. She played during warm up for choreography, floor exercises and during floor routines for local and regional competitions in the towns of Vladimir and Volgograd (formally known as Stalingrad), Russia. In 1990, Olga transitioned to teaching in the same type of school that she had attended as a young lady. She taught piano for beginner to advanced students as well as training and accompanying a vocal group called “Little Suns”. The “Little Suns”, sponsored by a local church, performed throughout the local area. Olga also helped with costuming and makeup for all of the performances. Olga was also teaching at the Creek Orthodox School, and lead, vocally, the churches’ children’s choir during Sunday services, a cappella. Most evenings would find Olga working with the Metropolitan Concerts as an accompanist/costumer/make-up artist and stage crew. This was often in the Small Hall of the Rakhmaninov Theaters in Moscow. In the late 90’s, Olga moved to teach at the Children’s Creative Center in Volzhsky, teaching vocals and acting. The children were from the ages of 4 to 12. They performed in recitals and musicals around town, but also in local and regional vocal competitions. Olga moved to the United States in 2002, settling in beautiful Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She has been teaching at The Conservatory ever since, along with maintaining a private home studio. Olga has taught students across every age and skill level. Her students frequently participate in local and National competitions and they have won numerous prizes and scholarships over the years.

Valeria Sorokovskaja

Piano Instructor

Valeria is a graduate of Georg Ots Tallinn Music Conservatory, with a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy. Valeria's primary piano studies were with Ulle Sisa, a well-known Estonian piano teacher and methodologist. She also studied with Professor Lembit Orgse at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre until she moved to USA in 2010. Valeria's musical education began at age five. She attended Tallinn Music School for children, a community school where she intensely studied performance, theory, history, accompaniment and duets. Years later she was happy to have an opportunity to work at this school as a piano teacher. During her college career, Valeria performed in master classes given by world-class artists including Lauri Vainmaa, Ivari Ilja, Alexandre Sandler, Alexander Mndoyants and many others. She placed second at the musicians' contest between three prestigious Estonian music schools. Valeria has performed as a soloist, accompanist and in duet concerts. In 2008, Valeria soloed with the Georg Tallinn Music Conservatory Orchestra in Mozart's Piano Concerto at the Estonian History Museum. Valeria has been teaching students of all ages and skill levels since 2007. She enjoys playing and teaching music from Baroque to Contemporary, to classical music. She currently teaches privately in her home as well as at The Conservatory.

Laurel Strickland

Laurel Strickland is a sophomore currently pursuing a double major for B.M. in Performance and B.M. in Pedagogy at Wheaton College, Conservatory of Music. There, she studies with Dr. Daniel Paul Horn, has received an honorable mention in the 2020 Keyboard Concerto Competition, and serves as the freshman and sophomore student representative. Before her time at Wheaton, she studied with Prof. Edward Ferdinand and Ms. Olga Smirnova year-round and spent her summers at Cleveland Institute of Music: Virtual Piano Audition Intensive, Cleveland Institute of Music: Summer Sonata, Eastman School of Music: Music Horizons Piano Institute, and the Philadelphia International Music Festival Piano Program.

Her performance experience includes masterclasses with Kathryn Brown, Tianshu Wang, and Kenneth Borrmann; multiple performances in Weill Recital Hall and the Kimmel Center; an appearance on the Cunningham Piano Show; and collaborations with Wheaton College Women’s Chorale and Sola Gratia Musicians’ Chamber, Concert, and Youth choirs. Awards include silver and gold medals at the Golden Key Music Festival, performing as a finalist in the PhMTA Dr. Andor Kiszley Concert, the Stella Elkins Tyler Music Scholarship, and local and state honors in the Dorothy Sutton Festival. Laurel will continue her education at Wheaton College with the long-term goal of working in a music ministry that serves underprivileged children and neighborhoods. Her dream is to bring comfort and joy into students’ lives through the power of music and to nurture growth in all her students. Within this dream, her passion lies in using music’s healing touch to bring light into the lives of others.

Betsy Young

Piano Instructor

Betsy holds a BA in Music from the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey. She has served as the accompanist for All Children's Theatre in Parsippany, NJ for seven years, was a substitute piano accompanist for the New Jersey Ballet School in Morristown, NJ and a vocalist and keyboardist for a wedding band in northern NJ. Betsy began teaching piano from her home in 1993 while raising her four children. Twenty years later, having relocated to Doylestown, PA, she is continuing to teach beginner through intermediate students of all ages from her home studio and at The Conservatory. Betsy was first introduced to the Conservatory in 2008 as an accompanist for the Starstruck Theatre camps as well as accompanying student performers at the Conservatory student recitals. She has also accompanied the vocal students of Diana Larsen which included students, as well as adult professional artists, at their weekly lessons and recording sessions.

Teaching piano is very important and rewarding for Betsy. Through playing and teaching music, she has been able to share with her students the joy and satisfaction that music has brought into her own life. Pursuing one's talent or skill can enrich and fulfill a person's life and Betsy's hope is help her students to discover and develop their skills in a positive and creative way.

Violet Mandic

Voice and Piano Instructor

Violet Mandic, soprano, began studying classical voice at Muhlenberg College, and classical piano at the Tri-County Music Conservatory. She began her education at Bucks County Community College where she earned her Associates Degree in Music. She was a part of the Bucks County Community College Concert Choir, and Percussion Ensemble. She graduated from Bucks County Community College with honors and then transferred to Moravian College to continue studying music. At Moravian College, Violet became a part of the Delta Omicron Music Honors Fraternity, won the Charlotte E. Newcombie Scholarship, and the Louise Moore Pine Music Scholarship. She was a part of the Moravian College Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Song and Stagecraft Ensemble, and Salon Ensemble. Violet graduated from Moravian College with a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance with honors, summa cum laude. Violet held a church musician internship at Friedens United Church of Christ and began her teaching career at Miss Cindy’s School of Dance where she taught private voice and piano lessons as well as workshops in singing and acting. Violet most recently was a music teacher at The Stages Academy, a performing arts preschool with a kindergarten enrichment program, as well as an after-school program. She taught group piano courses as well as private voice and piano lessons at The Stages Academy and directed their recitals. Violet specializes in teaching preschool and kindergarten students. She currently teaches voice and piano lessons in her private home studio and at The Conservatory. Violet has taught students who have been accepted into the Lehigh Valley Performing Arts Charter School and who have competed in the Performing Arts Alliance Voice Competition. She is currently working on earning a certification in Music Education through a Masters degree program at Moravian College.

Faye Meyer

Voice and Piano Instructor

Faye Meyer graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music where she earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. She studied singing, acting, and dance. After graduating, she performed with many theatres in the Boston area. She then moved to the Philadelphia area and has since been active in the theatre community. During this time, she became a member of the Actor's Equity Association. During her acting career, she performed in over 15 professional productions. Faye has taught at The Conservatory since 2006. She offers both private voice lessons and vocal coaching. This includes song interpretation and different styles of the Musical Theatre Songbook. Many of her students have been successful in achieving roles in their school's musicals and local productions. Faye enjoys working with students of all ages and skill levels!

Christopher Schimpf

Piano Instructor

Christopher holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Westminster Choir College along with Masters Degrees in American and Public Musicology and Piano Performance from Westminster Choir College.

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