Angel Azzarra, Soprano

Soprano Angel Azzarra has performed at the Franz Schubert Institute, International Performing Arts Institute, Midwest Opera, and Operafestival di Roma, and she has collaborated with conductors and teachers from the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, The Guildhall School of Music, Opern München, Paris Opera, and Manhattan School of Music.  Ms. Azzarra has taught extensively in private studios as well as given master classes and seminars throughout the southern United States.  Her students have sung in the Miss America Pageant, as well as state and regional solo and choir competitions.  Her teaching philosophy is built on the principles of Alexander Technique, to create confidence in honest communication through song, and to help each student find an individual path to their healthy, beautiful voice.  

Brett Bakalar, Oboe

Oboist and English Horn player, Brett Bakalar has freelanced as a soloist and orchestral and chamber musician throughout the DC Metro Area and the NY/NJ Tri-State area. He has performed in venues throughout the United States, Ireland and China, including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Cork City Hall in Ireland, the Beijing Concert Hall, and the Qindao Grand Theater in China. Brett Bakalar earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Maryland and his Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music. His primary teachers include Robert Botti, Toyin Spellman-Diaz, Mark Hill and Lynne Cohen.

Jason Benjamin Balish, Guitar

Classical guitarist Jason Benjamin Balish is an active teacher and performer based in New York City. He has performed in master classes in the United States and Europe for such renowned guitarists as Benjamin Verdery, David Leisner, Thomas Kirchhoff, Michael Newman, Gerald Garcia, and Hans-Werner Huppertz. As a performer, Jason is an advocate for new music, having premiered new ensemble works by composers Jerry Tabor and Robert A. Baker. Jason holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Salisbury University, where he studied with Dr. Danielle Cumming. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music degree in Performance at Manhattan School of Music, under the tutelage of Mark Delpriora.

Christine Browning, Soprano

Ana García Caraballos, Saxophone

Ana García Caraballos is a Spanish musician, who received her Bachelor degrees with Honors in Piano Performance, Saxophone Performance, and Pedagogy in both Piano and Saxophone from the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. She also received a degree in Chemistry from the Universidad de Navarra. Recently, she graduated with her Master of Music in Classical Saxophone Performance from Manhattan School of Music, under the tutelage of Paul Cohen. This fall, she began her DMA studies in Classical Saxophone at MSM. In addition to teaching through MSM, she has worked at the New York Summer Music Festival and Imani Winds Chamber Festival, under Jeff Scott. In January 2012, she was featured in the recording of Allard Variations for Alto Saxophone and Piano by John Lissauer.

Alexander Crosett, Piano

Alexander Crosett has been described as "...a young pianist of extraordinary talent and accomplishment" (Thomas Mastroianni, American Liszt Society) for his performances throughout the United States and Europe. Alex is a Master of Music candidate in the studio of Andre-Michel Schub at Manhattan School of Music. Before coming to MSM, he received a Performance Diploma in Piano from Bard College-Longy School of Music. Alex has nearly a decade of teaching experience and has taught at Interlochen Arts Camp and PALS Summer Program, in addition to MSM Sunday. He also maintains an active private studio in Manhattan. His teaching emphasizes the development of a well-rounded musical education, precise skills, a confident stage presence, and, most of all, a lifelong love and appreciation for music! For more information, visit his website.

Lawrence DiBello, Cello

Lawrence DiBello received his Bachelor of Music from Purchase College in 2012, after studying with Julia Lichten for 4 years. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music and studying with Clive Greensmith and David Geber. He has played in chamber music master classes for members of the Emerson String Quartet, the Orion String Quartet, and the Guarneri String Quartet and participated in festivals, such as Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Beethoven Institute at Mannes. Teaching, performing, and community outreach are areas of great interest for Lawrence, and he is finding ways to combine them in unique and meaningful ways. As a teacher, he believes that learning to play music is much more than just learning how to play an instrument; it’s about discovering a new form of expression and understanding of oneself.

Hannah Elizabeth DeBlock, Soprano

Hannah Elizabeth DeBlock, holds her Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music and is a candidate for the Professional Studies certificate. As a student of Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, she has appeared with the Contemporary Opera Ensemble and the Summer Voice Festival, as well as Mignon Dunn’s Opera Workshop. Since moving to New York, she has performed twice with the New York Lyric Opera Theatre, as the Witch in Engelbert Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel in February 2012, and as title role of Cendrillon by Jules Massenet in August 2012. Ms. DeBlock most recently sang the role of Pamina with the Manhattan Opera Studio in their production of Die Zauberflöte. Her upcoming performances include Micaëla in Bizet´s Carmen, Jenny in Ned Rorem´s Three Sisters who are Not Sisters, and Armida in Handel´s Rinaldo. As an instructor, Ms. DeBlock has taught both flute and voice to students of a wide variety of ages.

Sharik Hasan, Jazz Piano

Chloé Kiffer, Violin

French violinist Chloé Kiffer entered the Paris National Conservatoire Superieur at age 15. She has won several international competitions including the prestigious “Prix de la Vocation” by the Bleustein-Blanchet Foundation, Paris (2012). Last year, she won the Eisenberg-Fried String Concerto Competition at Manhattan School of Music. Following studies with Joshua Epstein in Germany, she is pursuing a master’s degree under Patinka Kopec and Pinchas Zukerman at Manhattan School of Music.

Sam Nester, Trumpet

Sam Nester graduated with a Bachelor of Music Studies from the Queensland Conservatorium in 2007. In 2010, he was awarded an Australian-American Fulbright Scholarship, enabling him to study trumpet performance with Mark Gould at Manhattan School of Music, where he graduated with a Master of Music degree in 2012. He currently performs with Ensemble Moto Perpetuo, Tempus Continuum Ensemble, BERG, ExhAust and is a frequent collaborator with W4 New Music Collective. Nester has taught trumpet in Australia and assists in the Brass and Music History departments at Manhattan School of Music, while pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts.

Timothy Parsons, Countertenor

Timothy Parsons, countertenor and conductor, is an active soloist and ensemble member in the New York City choral scene, having performed with the Clarion Music Society, the Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue Choir of Men and Boys, and the Oratorio Society of New York. This season includes performances of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil in Quebec City and Mozart’s Requiem with the Clarion Music Society in New York. As a soloist, Timothy has been praised for his “splendid” singing of Bach, and his “high register” by Opera News. As a teacher, Timothy regularly works with choral groups and at several institutions, including Manhattan School of Music. Timothy holds a bachelor's degree in Classical Voice from MSM, where he studied with Mark Oswald and Joan Patenaude-Yarnell and is a candidate for the Master of Music in Choral Conducting, studying with Kent Tritle.

Andrew Shillito, Jazz Guitar

Andrew Shillito began studying guitar at the age of 9 and has focused primarily on performing and studying jazz music since the age of 16. In addition to jazz, he has experience performing a variety of musical genres, including gospel, R&B, hip-hop, contemporary Christian music, and southern soul. Andrew recently worked as a faculty member for the Roanoke Jazz Institute, a summer music camp for students ages 14-22. While staying in Roanoke, the faculty band, led by Chad Eby, recorded an album named “New Business” which can be found at Andrew is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Jazz Studies at Manhattan School of Music, where he works as a teacher assistant and faculty member for MSM Sunday.

Ruben Steijn, Drumset

Ruben Steijn, a native of Nienburg, Germany, has studied the drums since he was four years old. From 2006-2007, he studied at the Los Angeles Music Academy and in 2011, Mr. Steijn earned his Bachelor of Music from the Conservatory of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. With a full scholarship of the DAAD he is currently studying with John Riley towards a master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Steijn has a long history of teaching students from all levels in his private studio as well as in music schools in the Netherlands.

Eric Umble, Clarinet

Eric Umble is a vibrant soloist and chamber musician. He has given recitals across the Americas and Europe, and he is the founder of a benefit concert series in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that raises thousands of dollars for local charities. He has received many awards, including first place in the T. Gordon Parks Memorial Collegiate Competition, University of Kansas Concerto Competition, Naftzger Young Artists Competition and second place in the Skokie Valley Symphony Young Artist Competition and Eisenberg-Fried Concerto Competition. Eric is a teaching artist with MSM Sunday and is the managing director of the American Modern Ensemble. He studies with David Krakauer at Manhattan School of Music.