Teachers

Clavier-Werke offers lessons with classically trained and degreed teachers. We are a family business and consider our teachers a part of the family as well. We welcome you to join our musical family too! Read more about our amazing teachers below.

Susan Allen, Director

Both Locations

Clavier-Werke School of Music grew out of the thriving home studio of Susan Allen in Austin, Texas in the mid-nineties. Susan holds degrees from North Texas State University and the University of Texas.

Over the years, Susan has developed a curriculum based on sightreading, technique, ear training, theory and improvisation. She believes these elements should be a regular part of every lesson. Susan encourages her students to learn many styles of music and to perform as often as possible. Through this comprehensive approach her students become dedicated, accomplished pianists who enjoy a lifetime of music.

“My task is to inspire my students to practice and to present every lesson as a model for how to practice. As an educator, I believe I can have a positive and meaningful impact on the lives of my students. There is nothing more rewarding than witnessing the musical growth of each one and to see the excitement and joy they experience through their music.”

 Ms. Allen received the Top Teacher Award for outstanding instruction and leadership in piano education from Steinway & Sons for 2016, 2017 and 2018.


Maggie Allen, Assistant Director

West Lake Location

Maggie Allen, the Assistant to the Director of the Clavier-Werke in West Lake Hills, works in her studio office Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 6:00. Maggie is available to take messages for teachers and answer questions either by phone or in person. You can also turn your tuition payments of cash or check in to Maggie’s office. Maggie can answer most of your general questions and requests such as directions and dates for festivals and signing up students for some events. Maggie holds a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology with honors from the University of Texas at Austin.


Nathan Allen, Assistant Director

Southwest Location

Nathan Allen, the Office Manager of Clavier-Werke South, works in his studio office Monday – Friday, 12:00 – 6:00. Nathan is available to take messages for teachers and answer general questions about lessons and scheduling either by phone or in person. Nathan lives in the Austin area with his wife Shauna and their daughters Riley and Colbie Rose.


Sara Aldana, Violinist

Southwest Location

Sara Melissa Aldana is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at the University of Texas at Austin. A current student of Professor Brian Lewis, Sara is the recipient of the Starling Distinguished Violinist Scholarship. While at The University of Texas at Austin, Sara won The University of Texas Concerto Competition and Austin Civic Orchestra’s Texas Rising Stars Competition. Throughout her career, Sara has also been a prizewinner in competitions such as the Luis Angel Arango Library’s Youth Performer National Competition, Mary West Solo Competition, Mankato Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, Thursday Musical Competition, Schubert Club Competition, and Schmidbauer Young Artist Competition.

A native of Bogota, Colombia, Sara spent four years as concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra of the National University of Colombia and toured Spain with the National University of Colombia Orchestra. She has been a member of the Bogota Foundation Symphony Orchestra, the Bogota Youth Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Clara Schumann Women’s Orchestra.

Sara leads a very diverse career as a violinist, chamber musician, teacher, and conductor. She has been part of the UT String Project faculty since 2017 and has taught group technique classes, theory classes, early childhood music classes, and many other mixed age and mixed level classes. She currently serves as co-conductor of the String Project Chamber Orchestra and aims to provide young musicians the opportunity to make high quality music in a nurturing environment. She uses this same philosophy with her private students, and most enjoys introducing young students to the violin.

Most recently, Sara has been given the position of co-conductor of the UT Lab Orchestra, where she conducts an orchestra composed of college musicians. She has also been invited to be part of the UT Undergraduate Conducting Symposium along with three other undergraduates.

Sara currently plays on an Oliver Radke violin graciously loaned by the Virtu Foundation.


Jessy Eubanks, Theory Lab and Composition

West Lake Location

Jessy Eubanks is a teacher, composer, vocalist, percussionist, pianist, and audio engineer from Northern Virginia. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Music in Composition and a minor in business, where she studied composition with Yevgeniy Sharlat and Russell Podgorsek, voice with Cynthia Morrow and David Small, and drum set with Wayne Salzmann II. Jessy teaches both theory lab and composition lessons at Clavier-Werke, where she also recently started an online composition camp where students wrote and performed original works. Jessy is active as a vocalist, percussionist, pianist, composer, and she works as an audio engineer at the Butler School of Music. Recently she contributed to The Golden Hornet Project’s MXTX Sample Library, and her sound installation “Accumulation” was published in Apricity Art Magazine.

As a teacher, Jessy believes students should learn the material thoroughly and feel comfortable with music theory and the learning process. She understands that confidence, discipline, and creativity are the keys to good musicianship.


David Fong, Theory Lab and Composition

West Lake Location

David Fong is a composer, oboist, pianist, and vocalist who recently graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering. A student of composition professors Yevgeniy Sharlat, Donald Grantham, and Russell Podgorsek, David is the recipient of the 2019-2020 Rainwater Innovation Grant for his musical theater project Mothership: The Musical. He plans to return to school for a M.M. in composition and music theory after saving up and completing his musical. Before teaching at Clavier Werke, David worked as a teacher, arranger, and web engineer for the non-profit YouthCUE, which brings youth choirs across the nation together for choir tours and festivals, giving kids the opportunity to perform in concert with professional symphony orchestras. He is also active in the Austin music scene as the keyboardist of the alt rock band Valice.

David believes that music theory is the science of the emotional spectrum of music, and should be taught from a humanistic perspective. He likes to have fun with his students and encourage them to think creatively while reinforcing the fundamentals that will make music later in life even more enjoyable and intuitive.


Jeffrey Fratus, Guitarist

West Lake Location

jeffreyfratusHailing from the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Jeffrey Fratus (pr. Fraytis) was raised in the small city of Knoxville.  He began taking guitar lessons at the age of six. Throughout his formative years, Jeffrey studied predominantly in the classical vein, but also enjoyed playing and singing on the steel string some of his favorite folk songs.  In high school he was a member of a Knoxville band that played in and around the East Tennessee valley.

At the age of seventeen, Jeffrey received a guitar performance scholarship to attend music school at Middle Tennessee State University, right outside of Nashville.  After graduating in four years, he immediately went on to accept a graduate assistantship and full scholarship to CCM, the music conservatory at the University of Cincinnati.  It was during his time at CCM that Jeffrey was able to realize a love for the art of pedagogy, due mainly to the inspiration given him by Clare Callahan, who is one of the guitar world’s most renowned teachers.

Benjamin Franklin once said that, “Genius without education is like silver in the mine.”  It is Jeffrey’s goal as music instructor to help his students realize the silver that lies within them in order that they might uncover it and refine it into something beautiful.  There is an unlimited wellspring of potential in everyone.  Jeffrey aims to help his students dig deep enough to find it.


José Ramón García, Pianist

Southwest Location

José Ramón García is a concert pianist from Spain, currently living in the United States since 2015. He holds a master’s degree in piano performance at Sam Houston State University and is currently completing his doctoral studies in musical arts degree at Butler School of Music – University of Texas. His trajectory as performer and teacher has been recognized by both institutions, where Jose Ramon was offered full scholarship and positions as graduate teaching assistant as well as one year as lecturer-pool faculty.

His performing experience includes solo recitals as well as chamber music in venues all around the world. He has performed as concerto soloist with orchestras such as the Symphonic Orchestras of Galicia and Valencia, Çukorova State Symphonic Orchestra, International Orchestra “Virtuosos de Madrid” and Parnassós Orchestra in Monterrey.

Jose Ramon has been awarded in more than thirty national and international piano competitions. Some of his latest and most important awards include the First Prize at the International Piano Competition “Spanish Composers” in Madrid, Second Prize at International Piano Competition “Frechilla Zuloaga” in Valladolid, Third Prizes at International Piano Competitions “Parnassós” and Ciudad de Ferrol and Fifth Prize, best Spanish Classified and best compulsory work at the International Piano Competition “José Iturbi” in Valencia.

As a way to connect with other musicians, José Ramón attends piano and chamber music festivals worldwide. More specifically, he has been invited with full scholarship to Pianale International Academy, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Gijón International Piano Festival or Miami Piano Academy where he has had the opportunity to receive masterclasses from the most prestigious professors and performers of the international music scene.


Rachel Garner, Cellist

Southwest Location

rachel_garner_pic_squareRachel A. Garner, a San Antonio native, has been playing cello since she was 10 years old. She recently received her Bachelor’s of Music in Cello Performance from Texas State University. At Texas State she maintained the position of principal cellist of the Texas State University Symphony Orchestra for 4 years. Additionally, she participated in Texas State String Project as a private lessons teacher. Rachel is actively involved in the music community through her string quartet, as a sub for Laredo Philharmonic, and as a guest artist with several local music groups. Rachel is a guest artist on local Austin band The Antiques premier album “If you have to ask.” Currently Rachel teaches in San Antonio and Austin.

As a teacher, Rachel believes in cultivating all aspects of the young musician. While technique is the focal point of each lesson Rachel also incorporates music theory, aural skills, and music history. She believes these are all vital aspects of a well rounded musician. Her teaching style is best described as nurturing and adaptive to each student’s unique needs. Rachel enjoys teaching all ages and levels.


Jake Holtzman, Pianist

West Lake Location

Pianist Jake Holtzman grew up in San Rafael, California, and is currently pursuing a D.M.A. degree in piano performance at UT Austin. He received an M.M. and Advanced Certificate in piano performance and pedagogy from NYU Steinhardt, and completed his undergraduate studies at Oberlin College & Conservatory. His piano teachers have included Anton Nel, Eteri Andjaparidze, Peter Takács, John McCarthy, Peter Horvath, and Adam Domash.

In addition to teaching at ClavierWerke, Jake is a teaching assistant at UT Austin, and has previously taught at a number of schools in New York, including The Browning School, the Rubato Music School, and NYU.

Jake has performed throughout the United States with recent engagements in San Francisco’s Noontime Concerts, the Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture’s “Bach to the Future” Concert Series, and Columbia University’s Music at St. Paul’s. He has garnered several awards recognizing his work, including Second Prize in Category A of the I Málaga International Piano Festival Competition, the NYU Walter Reinhold Scholarship, the Gilmore Master Class Fellowship, and the Oberlin Piano Faculty Prize in Accompanying. In Summers 2018 and 2019, Jake interned at the Castleman Quartet Program where he collaborated and performed with many of the festival students in addition to faculty members Csaba Erdélyi, Charles Castleman, and Tom Landschoot.

In addition to his experience as a classical pianist, Jake also plays jazz, having performed both as a solo jazz pianist and as a member of many jazz combos. While not playing the piano, Jake enjoys cooking, and devotes time to activism for various social justice causes.


Jim James, Pianist and Performance Event Coordinator

West Lake Location

Dr. Jim James grew up in rural Iowa , where he began his piano studies at the age of 7. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, a Master of Music Degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a doctorate in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. He also spent a semester studying at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, France. In 2002 Jim took first prize in the Badger Piano Competition of the Wisconisin Music Teachers Association, and received the Margaret Daniels and Jane Shephard Keyboard Awards at Lawrence University .

As a teacher, Jim focuses on giving students the musical and technical tools they need to confidently practice during the week. He also encourages students to think creatively and positively during their lessons so that they can see their daily practice can be more of a challenge and less of a chore.


Shruthi Kattumenu, Violinist

West Lake Location

A native of Plano, Texas, Shruthi Kattumenu recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Masters degree in violin performance.  During her time at The University of Texas at Austin, she served as concertmaster and principal second of The University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, the Butler Opera Center, and the UT Lab Orchestra. She was also selected to take part in the Intensive Seminar led by the Miro Quartet.

Over the years, Shruthi has been awarded prizes in numerous competitions. Her most recent masterclass appearances have been with Frank Almond (ex Concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony, Nathan Cole (First Associate Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Philharmonic), and Robert Chen (Concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra).

Shruthi regularly plays in the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Waco Symphony Orchestra, and Canton Symphony Orchestra. For the past two seasons, she has also been an artist with Austin Camerata, an ensemble dedicated to innovative chamber performances. Shruthi is a passionate educator who has been teaching for almost ten years. In addition to her private violin studio, she is also a faculty member of the UT String Project, where she currently teaches individual lessons, theory classes, and mixed ensemble groups.

Ms. Kattumenu currently plays a Silvio Levaggi violin (2009).


Felicia Kim, Pianist

Southwest Location

Felicia Kim holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Maryland at College Park and M.M. and B.M. in Piano Performance from Baylor University in Texas (Pi Kappa Lambda).  She has studied with Larissa Dedova, Krassimira Jordan, Andre Watts and Young Hi Moon. She worked with Guaneri String Quartet, YoYo Ma, Josheph Gingold and Rita Sloan for chamber music.

As a soloist and collaborative pianist Ms. Kim played throughout the United States including Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana and Texas.  She performed at the Bösendorfer International music Festival in Vienna, Austria and Bathurst, Canada.  Ms. Kim received recognition from national as well as international competitions including: Russell Wonderick Piano Competition, New Orleans International competition, Alabama International competition, Baylor University Piano Competition, etc.

Ms. Kim served as collaborative pianist at Sam Houston State University. She has taught piano for 20 years in a variety of teaching setting.  She believes the best teachers tailor their teaching to the needs of the individual student, rather than being welded in all respects to a single approach.


Daniel Kopp, Cellist

West Lake Location

danielkoppCellist Daniel Kopp is an active performer and educator in the Austin area. As co-founder and artistic director of Austin Camerata, he performs collaborations of chamber music, dance, storytelling across the city.  As an educator, Daniel is on faculty at Clavier-Werke School of Music, Austin Chamber Music Center, and the University of Texas String Project. Outside of Texas, Daniel has had the pleasure of performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Aspen, Kneisel Hall, and Orchestra Hall of Minneapolis. Highlights include performances as principal cellist of the New York String Orchestra Seminar and the Colorado College Summer Festival. Daniel graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in cello performance from Rice University, and Masters Degree in cello performance from the University of Texas in Austin. His principal teachers were Norman Fischer, Bion Tsang, and Cathie Lehr.


Lan Kratzke

West Lake Location

Lan Kratzke began her college studies as a piano student of Dr. Ray Luck on a Trustee Scholarship at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, where she became the music theory and ear training tutor and earned the Departmental Prize in Music.  She transferred to The University of Texas at Austin and earned a Gilbert Scholarship to finish her BM in piano performance in 2005 under the direction of Dr. Betty Mallard.  From Austin, she moved to Miami University of Ohio with a graduate assistantship and earned an MM in piano performance in 2007 under the direction of Dr. Siok Lian Tan.  At MU, she taught two college courses in piano for non-pianist music majors, accompanied several string and vocal students, performed with the Miami University Graduate Piano Trio, accompanied the Adams Elementary Choirs, Talawanda High School Choirs, and Oxford Choral Ensemble, became the pianist at Faith Lutheran Church, earned the MTNA Student Achievement Recognition Award, and was recognized as a winner of the Miami University Concerto Competition.  As an independent project related to her MM research in temperament, she built a clavichord.  After graduating, Lan became certified in the Music for Young Children program and worked at the West Chester Academy of Music as a piano instructor for a few years before moving back to Austin, where she resumed teaching for Clavier-Werke School of Music, judged various ADMTA festivals, and worked on repairing pianos at Mollberg Piano Restoration in Blanco.  She currently plays for Koenig Lane Christian Church and loves spending time with her two children, Drakeson and Millicent.


Sohee Kwon, Pianist

Both Locations

Ms.Kwon was born in Seoul , Korea and began playing the piano at the age of five. She graduated from Sunhwa Art middle school and high school there and after graduation, she studied at the Manhattan School of Music and Rutgers University under the tutelage of Daniel Epstein and Dr. Min Kwon. A recipient of Manhattan School of Music scholarship and Presidential Scholarship in Rutgers, Ms. Kwon was a semifinalist in the Heida Hermanns International Piano Competition and winner of both the concerto and chamber competitions at Rutgers. Upon graduation at Rutgers, she was awarded the Elizabeth Wyckoff Durham Award for excellence in Keyboard Studies. Recently, Ms. Kwon won third prize in the 2016 Ruth Barr piano competition.

Ms. Kwon graduated from Rice University in 2017 as a full scholarship holder under the tutelage of Dr. Jon Kimura Parker.  An avid chamber musician, she has served as a member of the piano quintet in residence at Lincoln Center Stage. Recently, she was a semifinalist in both the Wideman International Piano Competition and the Ann & Charles Eisemann Young Artist Competition for Piano. Currently, Sohee is pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Texas at Austin with Dr. Andrew Brownell.

Ms. Kwon was a graduate teaching assistant at Rice University. She has taught piano to a diverse range of students of all ages and levels in Korea and USA. She finds that teaching has been the most rewarding part of her music career.


Kaitlin Lalmond

West Lake Location

Wisconsin native, Kaitlin Lalmond, has been playing piano since she was four years old. At age 14, she received 2nd place in the AACS (American Association of Christian Schools) National Piano Competition. In 2016, Kaitlin was selected as one of four winners of the Master Works Festival Concerto Competition and performed the first movement of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with the Master Works Festival Orchestra. Later in the year, she was selected to perform the first movement of the concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra in Ted Mann Concert Hall. Other recent prizes include Marvin O. Mechelke II Scholarship Competition (1st place), Thursday Musical Young Artists Scholarship Competition (1st place tie), Schubert Club Scholarship Competition (Honorable Mention), and more. She has also participated in master classes with artists including Joyce Yang, Arthur Greene, Douglas Humphreys, and Steven Mayer.

Kaitlin received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where she studied with Distinguished McKnight Professor Lydia Artymiw. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin under the guidance of Anton Nel.

Now in Austin, Kaitlin is a sought-after teacher with students, ages four to adult. She has taught privately at the University of Texas as well as her independent studio. Kaitlin is also actively involved in the UT collegiate chapter of Music Teachers National Association and traveled to Spokane, Washington, to give a presentation at the MTNA 2019 National Conference.


Karli Leal, Violist and Violinist

Both Locations

Originally from California, Karli Leal began her musical education in high school under a wide variety of Russian and Eastern European violin and viola teachers, participating in statewide CMEA competitions and the National High School Honors Orchestra inColumbus, OH while also serving as a section violist in the Tulare County Symphony. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her BM in Viola Performance with Professor Roger Myers. Karli continued her studies at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, completing her Masters in Music Performance with professors Masao Kawasaki and Dr. Catharine Carroll.

Since 2004 Karli has played in both the United States and across Europe in numerous international music festivals, and played in a variety of ensembles over the years. Her diverse background allows her to connect on multiple levels with her students and determine what pace is best for each individual.

She loves to share her enthusiasm for playing string instruments with a wide variety of ages, and advocates the fusion of classical music with rock, heavy metal and other popular genres. With her students she ensures that all aspects of music education are brought together, so that the function of music theory, music history and technique can be applied to the performance side of playing. Through this she hopes that all her students gain knowledge of and appreciation for classical music that stays with them, no matter what direction their life may take.


Maria Lyapkova, Pianist and Guest Artist

West Lake Location

Dr. Maria Lyapkova maintains a versatile career as a pianist, keyboardist, chamber musician and educator. ​A native of Moscow, Russia, Dr. Lyapkova received her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Music Degree from the Moscow State ​Tchaikovsky ​Conservatory. ​She feels equally at home performing on modern piano and historical keyboards including harpsichord and early fortepianos. ​Her extensive repertoire spans a period of five centuries with a special interest in contemporary music and undiscovered works. ​Lyapkova has appeared at music festivals around the world, including the Aspen Music Festival and School and the National Music Festival in the United States, “Spotlight on Young Musicians” in France, the “Music of Norway” Concert Series in Norway/Russia and “Pentatonic” in Russia. ​An accomplished collaborative pianist, Maria Lyapkova has performed with principals of orchestras such as the “Moscow Virtuosi” State Chamber Orchestra, ​The Bolshoi Theatre, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra and Vancouver symphony orchestra. Lyapkova has held collaborative pianist appointments at various prestigious music schools including a position at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory and a full-time Staff Accompanist position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Currently, Dr. Lyapkova leads a comprehensive Piano Studio in Austin, Texas and presents masterclasses and recitals across the United States.


Giovanni Mera, Guitarist

Southwest Location

Giovanni Mera was born in New York City, and started playing the guitar when he was 8 years old. He holds a guitar performance Degree from the Crane School of Music, where he studied with Dr. Douglas Rubio and Dr. Lynn Mcgrath. While at The Crane School of Music Giovanni studied abroad in Madrid, Spain where he supplemented his musical studies under guitarist Astur Kirichian. He graduated with honors in 2007. In 2011 Mr. Mera received his Master of Music Degree in Classical Guitar from the University of Texas at Austin, under Professor Adam Holzman. He has had master classes with William Kanengiser, David Tannenbaum, Dr. Andrew Zohn, Bruce Holzman, The Miro Quartet and DuoMelis. Mr. Mera is currently residing in Austin, Texas where he has been teaching for over 10 years.

Mr. Mera is closely associated with the Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra programs. He has prepared multiple students for entry into the ensembles and the UT Guitar Project. Giovanni is at home teaching all styles of guitar ranging from classical to electric. He is a passionate educator and seeks to bring out the best in all of his students.


Celeste Morales, Vocalist

Both Locations

Celeste Morales is a Masters graduate of Manhattan School of Music majoring in Vocal Performance. Before moving to New York City, she graduated from Texas State University with her bachelors in Music Education and a minor in Business Administration. During her undergraduate career, she taught piano and voice in surrounding schools across the South Texas Region. Upon receiving her degree, she became the Assistant Entertainment Director for the Texas State Choir Camp. It was through her undergraduate career that she discovered her passion of teaching and developing a private voice studio. She has sung in professional church choirs and ensembles including a tour to Beijing, China where she performed Mozart’s Requiem with the Texas State Chorale and the Shanghai Conservatory. She recorded an album in 2016 called OneVoice with Vocalibre, a hybrid a-cappella ensemble that fuses together Pop, R&B, choral and South African freedom songs. Before returning to graduate school, she was chosen to be a Resident Artist with Opera San Antonio for their upcoming 2016 season. 

In 2018, she performed in Germany with the Musiktheater Bavaria Opera Scenes Program and showcased a new off-broadway musical written by Chard Harden called SIX with Shoreline Theatrical Arts. Her most recent engagements included a South African tour performing the role of Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme with the Lowveld Chamber Music Association. In 2019, she debuted the role of Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme with the Lowveld Chamber Music Association in Lowveld, South Africa. Recently, she was chosen to be an Emerging Artist with the Living Music Institute and will hopefully perform with the Mississippi University Orchestra as their featured Aria Competition Winner. In 2021, she will perform with the prestigious Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, California.

 “Every child I teach has a story and it’s my job to help them grow, develop and learn through the basic and humanistic foundation that is music literacy. Music can be a part of their story.”


Alex Ngo, Pianist

Southwest Location 

Alexander Ngo Is a native Austinite and candidate for a Bachelors Degree in piano performance from Huston-Tillotson University where he is studying with Dr. Stephen Burnaman. Alex holds an Associate of Arts in Music Degree from Austin Community College, Austin, Texas. His former piano teachers are Carlos Fernandez and Dr Leslie Spotz.

He is an enthusiastic music educator with experience teaching many ages and levels of students. In addition to teaching piano, he enjoys teaching sight reading, music theory, composition and improvisation. He believes that learning piano should be fun and likes to teach in a creative and lighthearted way. He also enjoys animals, tennis, working with jewelry and trying new recipes.


Milla Nyaga

West Lake Location

Milla Nyaga is an accomplished pianist and experienced piano and music teacher. She has over 15 years of successful teaching experience with children and adults and over 10 years of performing experience in classical music. Her performances include a series of solo, concerto and chamber music concerts in Russia and the US. Milla has collaborated with many other instrumentalists and singers throughout her years of performing and teaching. Also, she assisted at universities and various venues as a guest pianist.

Ms. Nyaga graduated from Professional Music High School in 1999 in Tyumen, Russia, then in 2004 from Tyumen Music College. In 2008, she earned a Masters Degree in Instrumental Music Performance at Tyumen State Academy of Fine Arts where she also qualified as a Concert Performer, a Chamber Ensemble Performing Artist, an accompanist and a K-12 music teacher. In 2017 she earned a Masters Degree in Education with Specialization in Curriculum and Instruction with All-Level Certification in Music from Houston Baptist University.

When not teaching music, Ms. Nyaga enjoys reading, surfing, hiking, running and spending time with family and friends. She looks forward to working with prospective students and providing them with an enriching musical experience.


Jenna Quiroz, Vocalist

Southwest Location

Jenna Quiroz is a music educator from El Paso, TX. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Music Education with a choral emphasis and all level certification from Texas State University, where she is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Choral Conducting. Jenna’s passion is educating those of all ages as her students have ranged from six to sixty. Ms Quiroz is a first place winner of the ACDA Choral Conducting Competition. She has worked with the Austin Children’s Choir, the Hill Country Youth Chorus and the Cantamus Youth Chorus for which she serves as the Associate Director. Ms. Quiroz has also served as Associate Director for the Texas State University Women’s Choir and currently serves as the head Director for the Texas State University Treble Chorus. 

Ms.Quiroz’ teaching goal is to create a safe space for expression, creativity and growth through music.


Sean Riley, Violinist

West Lake Location

seanrileypicViolinist Sean Riley maintains a career throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as a performer, entrepreneur and educator. As a solo artist he was given the honor to perform for Charles, the Prince of Wales at his 65th birthday celebration and the Sultan of Oman in a special evening performance in London.

Sean’s interest in innovative methods of communication has led him to creating performance programs with social media at the Royal College of Music, using Critical Response Process to teach communication and leadership at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and winning an innovation grant to 3D print a six-string electric violin to perform John Adam’s The Dharma at Big Sur. These entrepreneurial practices have led him to a professorship at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London.

Sean holds both Bachelors and Masters Degrees in violin performance from The Juilliard School as well as an artist diploma and Master in Philosophy on the subject of performance training and peer communication in higher music education from the Royal College of Music, London. His teachers have included Radu Blidar, Kyung-Wha Chung, Hyo Kang, Roland and Almita Vamos and Brian Lewis. Sean the recipient of the Williamson Foundation of Music annual grant, Rayne Foundation grant, Donald Paterson Award and the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal and the Rainwater Innovation Grant.


Kimberly Sandoval, Vocalist

West Lake Location

kimberlysandoval1Kimberly Sandoval, from McAllen Texas, is a graduate from Texas State University with a Bachelors Degree in Music Studies and a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance.  She has performed such roles as Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Mother Marie from Dialogues of the Carmelites, Dido in Dido and Aneas, and premiered the title role of the newly commissioned opera Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land, which premiered in the Spring of 2016.  Ms. Sandoval also performed 2nd Lady from The Magic Flute with Landesbühnen Sachsen Opera Company during their 2016 season in Germany. Branching outside opera, she worked with the Texas State Chorale where she sang as a member and as a soloist – performing and premiering works such as Peterson’s Shadows and Lights, Bach’s Magnificat and Bernstein’s Songfest – working in conjunction with Texas State University’s biannual Art Song Symposium.  Ms. Sandoval has worked with students from K-12 at schools such as Boone Elementary, Dahlstrom Middle School, and Weiss High School. She worked as a clinician and adjudicator at local and regional choir festivals, and she was an active mentor working with young choirs and vocalists at Texas State Choir Camp and in other festivals such as the Tejada All-Star festival.

Ms. Sandoval’s teaching goals are to build a healthy vocal approach to singing and a solid foundation in breath support. Learning to sing is a journey of enjoyment, and she wants to help her students discover themselves through music. “Relax, breathe, love and enjoy the process,” is what she lives by.


Noah Simon, Pianist

Both Locations

Noah Simon is a pianist, composer, and teacher from Austin. He started playing piano when he was six, and he currently studies with Professor Sophia Gilmson at the UT Butler School of Music, where he taught in the UT Piano Project. He enjoys playing all sorts of piano music, but is especially partial to Bach and Prokofiev. He grew up playing in chamber music groups, and he now also accompanies opera, art song, and instrumental music. He is also an active performer of new music, having premiered new works by composers such as Nathan Nokes, Akshaya Avril Tucker, and Jessy Eubanks, as well as his own music. He served on the board for the Golden Hornet Project, a local nonprofit dedicated to commissioning new music by composer-performers.

As a teacher, Noah believes that music is a wonderful way for kids to explore and strengthen their imagination, and that it instills a sense of effort, discipline, and perseverance in students.


Scott Simon, Guitarist

West Lake Location

Scott is a professional guitarist and educator located in Austin, Texas . He studied with guitarists for Miles Davis, Bobby McFerrin, Pat Metheny and more while earning his PhD in Music & Technology at the University of North Texas.  After graduating, he extended his music studies with post-doctoral work at the University of South Florida.

Simon has served on the faculty of the University of South Florida (2006 – 2011) and earned degrees from Northern Oklahoma College (1990, A.A.), and the University of North Texas (2000, B.A., 2002, M.S., 2005, Ph.D.).

Highlights in his diverse career in music education include the publication of his dissertation on improvisation (ProQuest 2006), and his featured presentation at the UNESCO International Music Council World Forum on Music (Tunis, Tunisia 2009).

In addition to his extensive teaching and performing schedule, Scott is deeply committed to community service and is an active member and devoted volunteer with the Austin Classical Guitar Society (ACG).

As a soloist, Scott has a versatile range of capabilities and is fluent in jazz, classical, and contemporary styles. He teaches all ages and levels from beginner to advanced, and has a pragmatic teaching philosophy based on the goals of the student. His method focuses on building strong fundamentals while learning the style(s) of choice.


Andres Vargas, Pianist and Early Childhood Music Director

Both Locations

Andres Vargas was born in Chile, where he began his piano studies at the age of 3. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance from the Universidad Austral de Chile where he studied with Ximena Cabello. In 2004, he became a private student of Krassimira Jordan, artist-in-residence at Baylor University. In the fall of 2008, Andres relocated to the United States in order to pursue a Masters Degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance at Baylor University. He has performed in several cities in Chile, as well as Europe, and the USA.

Prior to coming to the US, Andres taught in two Chilean music Conservatories. He has been teaching piano as a private teacher for more than twenty years. Andres is currently a piano teacher and also the director of the Early Childhood Program at Clavier-Werke school of Music in Austin.  As a teacher he enjoys having fun with his students and likes to communicate to them his love for music. Andres is fluent in English, Spanish and German.


Grace Wallace, Theory Lab Teacher, Early Childhood Music Instructor and Social Media Coordinator

West Lake Location

gracewallacepicGrace Wallace is a music educator originally from Wichita Falls, TX. She graduated from Midwestern State University in 2013 with a degree in Music Education and taught elementary general music in both Wichita Falls Independent School District and Lubbock Independent School District. Grace moved to the Austin area in May 2018 with her husband Zach in order for them both to pursue careers in music. She is passionate about developing and inspiring young musicians, and she teaches Music Pups at Clavier-Werke School of Music. In her free time, Grace enjoys practicing yoga, leading worship at her local church, and eating good food and watching movies with friends and family.


Cheng Wang

West Lake Location

The young pianist, Cheng Wang, has distinguished himself in solo and chamber music. He has given recitals in major cities throughout China, Hong Kong and US.

Cheng has been a top prizewinner of numerous competitions. He is the winner of the Third KAWAI Asia Piano Competition, Shen Yang division in 2010, the 16th Hong Kong-Asia piano open competition, Liaoning province division. In 2011, and the Fifth Shenyang Conservatory piano competition in 2011. (This is the most important piano competition in Shenyang Conservatory of Music). As a solo pianist, he won the 1st Prize at the MTNA (Music Teachers National Association ) Steinway Young Artist Piano Competition of Wyoming state in 2015, the 1st Prize at the MTNA Steinway Young Artist Piano Competition of North-West Division in 2016, and was a finalist at the MTNA Steinway Young Artist Piano Competition. In 2015, he performed Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No.3, Allegrowith the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra, the conductor was Dr. Michael Griffith.

Cheng began teaching as a freshman in China and has been teaching for ten years. He has studied pedagogy with Dr. Theresa Bogard at the University of Wyoming and Prof. Sophia Gilmson at the University of Texas in Austin. In August 2018, he started his DMA career with Dr. Andrew Brownell in University of Texas in Austin and has taught for the Piano Project there as well.

Cheng lives in Austin with his wife Yingying and son George. After fatherhood, Cheng has been blessed with the gift of patience and is skilled in communicating and working with young children.

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