Our top-notch faculty are patient, experienced educators who are also professional musicians graduated from acclaimed music institutes such as The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, and The Manhattan School of Music, Jacobs School of Music, and The University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music to name a few. Our instructors welcome learners of all ages and ability.
Carlos Bendfeldt - founder/executive director
Guitar, Bass, Arranger & Producer
Carlos has been teaching students of all levels, skills and ages for over 30 years. Some of them choosing careers paths in the performing arts. His approach in teaching is catered to each individual lesson, understands that everyone learns at a different pace. Patience and encouragement are embedded into every private lesson.
Guatemalan-American guitarist Carlos Bendfeldt, First Prize winner in the Artists International Youth Awards, received his master’s degree in performance from the Juilliard School of Music in 1997 where he was the student of Grammy winner Sharon Isbin, and his bachelor of music degree in 1994 from the Manhattan School of Music with Maestro Carlos Barbosa-Lima Nicholas Goluses, and Mark DelPriora. Mr. Bendfeldt gave his New York debut in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1997 and since then his concert career includes a second appearance at Carnegie and major concerts through North and Central America, Hawaii and the Caribbean. Performances include the Williamsburg, Virginia Symphony, as well as with the members of the Johnson City, TN Symphony performing the World Premier of Appalachian Harmony. He has participated in various International and National music festivals which include the Aranjuez Guitar Series at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, NY, the inauguration of the Francisco Marroquin University Music Festival Guatemala,Central America, Jim Callaway Honors Series Colorado Mountain College, All Star Guitar Festival Hawaii, The Breckenridge Music Festival CO, to name a few.
Brandon Seyferth - assistant director
Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Drums, Songwriting & Composition
An easy going and experienced instructor, Brandon tailors his lessons to the interests and goals of his students while stressing good technique and fundamentals, to assist them in growing as quickly as their practicing habits allow.
Brandon Seyferth has written songs, performed, and recorded with such notable names as Jackson Browne, Victor DeLorenzo (Violent Femmes), Eric McFadden (dubbed "modern day Jimmy Hendrix" by Guitar Player Magazine), Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins) and Geri X ("Best of Indie," Rolling Stone Magazine, Bulgaria). His work has appeared on large market radio including Chicago's WXRT.
He has also composed, performed, and recorded music for short films selected and nominated for award at film festivals including The Sanford Film Festival and the International Film Festival of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles.
Asana Onishi uses different materials for each student according to their concentration, passion, and interest. Therefore, using different books, games, and cards helps cater each individual students learning style. She encourages technique, musical expression, music history, and theory into each lesson. Asana believes that from a young age, students should experience and appreciate the art of performing.
When approaching her students, she has two goals. First, to be familiar with composers, historical pieces and contemporary music, musical terms, and the history of the pieces. Second, she encourages the student to share what they have created and learned through musical performances.
“Music has always been a fortunate gift in this world, and my job as a teacher is to let their interests grow. I want my students to find joy and admiration in their musical skills – not boring or distance. Whether my students will pursue music professionally or as a hobby, guiding them a way to express themselves through music is something I hope they will look back in the future.”- Asana Onishi
German-Japanese pianist Asana Onishi, whether featured as a soloist or chamber musician, has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Asana recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Music in Piano under the President Award and the Arden Pianist Scholarship. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in Music in Piano Performance with Jose Mendez at the Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University.
Asana made her concerto debut as a soloist at the age of 11 with the Los Angeles Bach Orchestra in the 74th Annual Los Angeles Bach Festival in 2007. Since then, Asana has continued to perform and compete and was selected as a finalist in the Seattle International Piano Competition and placed first at the Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF) Open Solo. She has won top prizes in the MTAC California State Solo Competition, the American Protégé International Competition, and won first place at the Liszt International Competition in 2012. She was selected for the 2014 National Young Arts winner, and has performed annual solo concerts in Japan since 2012. In the summer of 2018, she toured Japan for duo, chamber, and solo concerts in Osaka, Nara, and Tokyo. In 2019, she will present a lecture recital at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, as well as a lecture recital in Nara, Japan.
In 2017, Asana studied abroad at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany. She continues to travel around the world by attending many summer festivals, including festivals in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
early childhood Piano education
Classical to Jazz
Lindsay Fulton has written songs, performed for various locations throughout the city. She enjoys teaching children of all ages from years 4-1/2 all the way up through adults watching them excel at their favorite songs.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska and having studied abroad in Besancon, France, Lindsay enjoys hosting performances at local Community areas to get students more exposure to the world of performing. She received a Piano Certification of Excellence while under the instruction of Private Instructor Phyllis Swoboda and was selected to be on a youth Orchestra group in her teenage years as well as having been asked to perform at various public events.
She focuses on positive encouragement with lots of feedback to build her students confidence and proficiency levels in the music genre of their particular focus while understanding that each student has different motivations and goals.
Phillip Matsuura began his musical studies at the age of four and has since gained a respected reputation as a performer, composer, collaborator, and teacher. An alumnus of YoungArts (2014), the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards (2012), and a gold medal laureate of the Southern California Junior Bach Festival (2012), Phillip has garnered prizes and recognition throughout his native Southern California and nationwide. He has trained at platforms such as Marrowstone Music Festival (2017), the International Festival Institute at Round Top (2016), where he was featured as a soloist with the Texas Festival Orchestra, the Dublin International Piano Festival (2015), and the Beethoven Institute at Mannes College The New School for Music (2013). Beyond his pianistic training, he has performed as a continuo harpsichordist and organist, and is adept at figured bass realization.
Prior to his appointment at the Glencoe Academy of Music, Phillip was on staff at the Oberlin Community Music School, where he worked one on one with students from kindergarten through high school. He was also on staff for the Oberlin Choristers, where he led sectionals, warmups and rehearsals, and was a staff pianist for the Oberlin City Schools, where he coached middle and high school instrumentalists and vocalists. He has also taught privately throughout Orange County, California, and has served as a Yamaha Practice Partner.
Phillip holds a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory (2017) where he was in constant demand as a collaborative pianist throughout Greater Cleveland. He is currently a master’s student at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, where he studies with José Ramón Méndez. Previous teachers include Javier González and Nina Scolnik.
Voice coach, Musical Theater & Piano
Mrs. Rutherford uses a natural approach to enhance the singing abilities of her students, giving each a unique vocal technique that can be applied to most singing styles. Many of her students have continued their studies in notable colleges and universities around the country in genres of Jazz, Musical Theater, and Classical.
Kay Rutherford holds her MM from Roosevelt University in Voice Performance and Pedagogy, and BM from the Eastman School of Music. Mrs. Rutherford is currently appearing with the touring production of Jane Austen’s Persuasion with Chamber Opera Chicago. She has previously appeared as Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice: A Musical. A featured artist in COC’s Te Amo and The Menotti Tribute, she has also appeared in the company’s productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors, Hansel and Gretel, Vanessa, and Carmen. Having performed in recital on such stages as New York’s Alice Tully Hall and the Odilien Institut in Graz, Austria, Mrs. Rutherford sang the role of Jennie in the Midwest premiere of Ronald Perera’s The Yellow Wallpaper with the Chicago College of Performing Arts. She also performed as Jezibaba in the Opera for the Young touring production of Rusalka. Her artistry has been recognized in competition as the recipient of the Dorothy Darr Foundation Scholarship and a semi-finalist in the renowned Meistersinger Competition in Austria. Aside from music, Mrs. Rutherford recently began a career in Early Intervention Speech Therapy.
Saxpohone, Piano, Harmonica, Flute & Clarinet
Chicago-based tenor saxophonist Nate Lepine has been working and performing in numerous musical settings throughout a career spanning 20+ years, participating in several notable ensembles that make up the rich Chicago jazz landscape. Currently he is leading two new ensembles, The Nate Lepine Quartet and the Nate Lepine trio while currently a member of the Nick mozzarella Quintet, The Quin Kirchner Group as well as the critically –acclaimed prog-jazz ensemble, Herculaneum. Mr. Lepine had an early tenure during the 90’s in one of Chicago’s most revered bands, The NRG Ensemble. In addition he has recorded / performed/ toured internationally with several established acts such as Cursive, Iron and Wine, Smog, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Afghan Wings, 10,000 Maniacs, Pete Yorn, Bobby Bare Jr., Poi Dog Pondering, David Amram, Manishevitz, Sister Machine Gun and others. He is currently working on an album with his Quartet. Nate Lepine has a Bachelor of Music from DePaul University and has been teaching for over a decade.
Daniel Baer has taught at the Eastman School of Music, the Eastman Community Music School, and Syracuse University. His students have won piano competitions, participated in local and statewide music programs, and earned admittance to college music programs. Dr. Baer lectured and worked as an accompanist at Syracuse University in 2017. In 2016, he was awarded the Teaching Assistant Prize in recognition of his work as a teacher for the Eastman School of Music. For his achievements in the study and performance of piano, the Eastman School of Music awarded Dr. Baer the 2017 Cobos Piano Prize.
Dr. Baer won first prize, the Marshall Prize, at the 2015 Grieg Festival Young Artist Competition held in Sarasota, Florida. He has since made his international debut, playing in the International Bergen Arts Festival and for the Grieg Society of Oslo. He has been a prizewinner in many other national and international piano competitions including the 2017 Iowa piano competition, the 2015 National Federation of Music Clubs Biennial Competition held in Fargo, North Dakota, and the MTNA young artist piano competition. In 2011, he participated in Juilliard’s ChamberFest program performing the Brahms G minor piano quartet in Paul Hall. He has also played solo and chamber music recitals in Avery Fischer Hall, Kilbourn Hall, Hatch Recital Hall, and Steinway Hall. Dr. Baer received his Master’s Degree in Piano Performance at Juilliard where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal and earned his Doctorate at the Eastman School of Music where he studied with Douglas Humpherys.
Jazz Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Composition, IMPROVISATION
Tim Stine focuses on teaching what the student wants to learn, but manages to make it fun and still sneak in large amounts of content. The student gains skill, whether it is on guitar, bass, or ukulele, and has fun too! Tim is highly trained with two undergraduate degrees in music and a Masters degree in Guitar Performance but still remembers what its like to be a beginner on the guitar, and proceeds very slowly, making sure each piece of information is thoroughly understood before proceeding. He believes understanding is the key to enjoying music and will teach your child (or you!) in a way that emphasizes understanding but is still enjoyable and effective.
Tim Stine – Guitar, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music from Minnesota State University Moorhead, Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Tim has studied guitar with Glenn Ginn and Jim Smith. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts degree, Tim joined the faculty of North Dakota State University, where he taught as an adjunct guitar instructor. Tim then went onto Cincinnati where he recently received his Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
Tim has been very active performing and composing music in the Chicagos thriving jazz scene. Tim leads his own trio, the Tim Stine Trio, and performs with various other groups including a trio performing the music of piano great Herbie Nichols. The Tim Stine Trio recently recorded an EP. Tim has lead bands at many of the city’s finest creative music venues including Constellation, the Rachet Series at the Skylark, the Hungry Brain and as part of an on-going series for music curation service Uncanned Music.
Classical to Jazz Piano & Voice
Chris Powell is a singer, keyboardist, composer, and educator from Des Moines, Iowa. He’s been teaching lessons for 10 years, and has a wide degree of experience onstage, backstage, in the recording studio, and in the classroom.
His lessons focus on engaging students and building their confidence and skills using a mix of fun exercises, classical theory, and jazz improvisation. Chris has experience with most other genres of music, and loves to adapt his method to suit a variety of tastes.
Chris studied vocal jazz and keyboard at the School of Music Vocations in Creston, IA with Grammy-nominated jazz arrangers Phil Mattson, Jason Smith, and Jeremy Fox. During this time he found his flair for composition and arranging, writing scores for several theatrical productions around Iowa. He also performed as a member of the award-winning vocal jazz group First Take with Dr. Fox, and began his educational career teaching jazz workshops with First Take across North America while on tour.
After learning about jazz, Chris turned his focus to classical music, which led him to the University of Northern Iowa, where he studied opera with Jeffrey Brich. It was at UNI that Chris developed his skills in stagecraft and studio work, working backstage managing lights, sound, and fly rail for over 50 touring Broadway productions, A-list musicians in concert, and celebrity guest speakers.
After graduating from UNI, Chris moved back to Des Moines to focus on performance, composition and education. He scored and designed sound effects for multiple productions around Des Moines, as well as performing 50-100 shows a year, both solo and as a member of several Des Moines bands.
During this time, Chris also directed summer music camps for the Des Moines Music Coalition, served as Music Director at Unity of Des Moines, and ran a private studio of 25 voice and piano students, as well as working with City Voices, a non-profit after school music program.
Chris is a recent transplant to Chicago, having just arrived in September 2018, but he is excited to be a part of Glencoe Academy of Music, and to pass along his knowledge and love of music to as many students as possible!
Piano, Songwriter, Music producer & Music Technology
Joey Lieberman is an accomplished pianist, songwriter, and music producer from the Chicagoland area. He has been had great success teaching students of all ages for over 5 years. As a long time piano student of private instructor Dr. Soo Young Lee, and graduate of the University of Oregon’s music school (2015), Joey has developed a deep knowledge of music theory, which he frequently inserts into his lessons.
Though he is most proficient in classical music, his background also consists of jazz, rock, and pop music. He has performed live keyboards with multiple Chicago bands at some of the city’s most prominent venues, including Lincoln Hall, House of Blues, and Thalia Hall. Joey also enjoys producing music electronically using digital audio workstations such as Ableton Live, Logic, and Pro Tools, and holds a Bachelor’s equivalent certification in audio engineering from the Recording Radio Film Connection school (2016).
Aside from his formal background, Joey is a friendly and approachable person who gets along great with his students and tries to keep lessons fun and engaging at all times.
Violin & Vioila
As an educator, she believes that early music lessons benefit children’s development and is passionate about teaching young kids. She plays on a Viola made by Eric Benning in Los Angeles.
Taisiya Sokolova started playing violin at the age of three and viola at the age of twelve in her native Russia, attending a Gnessin Special Music School for gifted children. She then came to the US to attend the Colburn Academy for Young Artists receiving her Bachelor of Music from Indiana University South Bend and Master of Music from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Taisiya is a prizewinner of numerous competitions, such as MTNA State Competition in 2014 and 2015, Imperial Symphony Orchestra Young Artists competition in 2014, and the International Competition “21st Century Art” in Kiev, Ukraine in 2009.
Taisiya has performed in Russia, Turkey, Israel, Germany and USA. Taisiya made her debut as a soloist with the Imperial Symphony Orchestra in Lakeland, Florida in March of 2014. In August of 2015, she has appeared with the Philarmonic Orchestra of the University of Alicante in Perugia, Italy. She is also an avid chamber musician, and appeared in festivals such as Heifetz, Red Rock Music Festival, and MusicFestPerugia. Additionally, she also played with orchestras such as Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra, and Symphony of the Lakes.
For those fortunate enough to have a voice, an ability to hear, and an ability to produce vocal inflections learning to sing requires a desire to build a connection between these three capabilities. In classical terms I use the Bel Canto approach singing. This technique views the voice as a natural phenomenon, one that requires muscle memory in various parts of the body in order to allow the freest, most unencumbered sound possible. Each voice sounding unique and true is the desired outcome. Repertoire serves as one vehicle for learning to sing. Each singer generally brings their own ideas for songs to sing. I am happy to work on music from any style or genre. Though I have much more experience in Classical, Musical Theater, and Jewish Music.
A graduate of Hebrew Union College, cantor David Goldstein began serving North Shore Congregation Israel in 2006. In addition to a Master of Sacred Music Degree from HUC-JIR-SSM, he holds three Master Degrees in Drama and Communications and Fine Arts (Voice) from the University of New Orleans and Tulane University. He also received his Honorary Doctorate from HUC-JIR-DFSSM.
Cantor Goldstein has entertained audiences throughout United States, Canada and Israel. He has performed as solo artist with the New Orleans Opera Guild, Gulf Coast Opera, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Greater Buffalo Opera among others. Critics have said of him that: his singing is “wonderfully communicative;” he “sings with great care;” his “singing is refreshingly lyrical,” and he was “mesmerizing.” He has been the soloist in numerous works including Handel’s Judas Maccabeus, the baritone (cantor) in Bloch’s Sacred Service, and Bernstein’s Arias and Barcaroles. He has been a featured performer at Merkin Hall and Town Hall in New York City and in numerous prestigious concert venues in the United States, Canada and Israel. As well, his performances and recordings have been broadcast on NPR, its local affiliates and WFMT.
Recording Engineer & Guitar
Nikola Dokic is a Chicago based musician, music producer and a sound engineer. After graduating from Columbia College Chicago in 2008 with degrees in both Instrumental Performance and Audio Engineering, he started his own music production company (HiZ Productions) where he wrote, produced and engineered original music for film and TV ads and commercials, and also worked with independent artists and bands. For the past three years, Nikola works as an audio engineer for Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins. He is also a guitarist in a Chicago band called Ode.
Guitar, Bass, Composer, Producer, Improvisation
Andreas Kapsalis began performing nationally with the Andreas Kapsalis Trio and recorded two discs featuring his compositions. While performing in LA, he was invited to apply for the Sundance Composers Labs. He was awarded the fellowship, an honor awarded to only six composers a year. This was his initiation into film composing. At the end of the Sundance Composers Lab, Andreas was invited by the directors to complete a score for their documentary film "Black Gold" among the documentaries selected for the January premier at the Sundance Film Festival. Founder of the Sundance Institute and Festival, Robert Redford, noted this was the first time in Sundance Institute history that documentary fellows and a composer fellow had an "official selection" at the Sundance Film Festival. Subsequently, he composed scores for several documentary and feature films such as "Pig Business" and "Mulberry Street" to name a few. He also has been commissioned by Northwestern University and Notre Dame to compose music for their silent film festivals as well.
Following this, Andreas performed and recorded several discs with the Megitza Quartet and the AKGI Duo. More recently, he has been performing internationally, solo and in various ensembles for festivals and concert series in Europe and Asia, such as Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Calcutta Guitar Festival in India, Austria Jazz festival and the Guitar Festival in the Phillipines. In addition, concerts have taken place in Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, France and Canada. Throughout his career he has also enjoyed teaching guitar for many years, first at the Kapsalis Music Shoppe then Elgin Community College, Old Town School of Folk music, and Northwestern University Mini Courses. Being very much a self taught musician with a relatively unique playing technique and musical perspective, together with the variety of cultural experiences in the world of music, and as a traveler, Andreas continues to be inspired and eager to share the beauty of music and how it can enrich one's life. Among his many projects, Andreas is composing and arranging pieces for a solo album.
Drums & Percussion
Mark Linley was a percussion and drumline coach for the Bronzeville Scholastic Institute until the program ceased in 2014. This past semester at DePaul, I spent a semester coaching an undergraduate percussion ensemble, overseen by percussionist and educator Michael Kozakis. I’ve taught private lessons to area musicians since high school, and have coached advance rhythmic studies classes for dancers.
Mark Linley began his percussion studies at age eight. By high school, he had already performed with groups ranging from the Colorado Air Force Band of the Rockies and the Disney Young Musician Symphony Orchestra, to pop sensation Shania Twain and the WSMA state honors jazz band. He received his bachelors of music from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, and is currently pursuing a masters degree in music performance from DePaul University. His teachers include Ed Harrison (Principal Timpanist – Lyric Opera of Chicago), Vadim Karpinos (Percussionist – Chicago Symphony Orchestra), David Herbert (Principal Timpanist- Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and Paul Wertico (Pat Metheny Group).
Equally active in both orchestral and jazz groups, Mark has performed with artists ranging from the Wisconsin Philharmonic to Chicago jazz legend Henry Johnson. He is highly active in world percussion, with an emphasis on the music of Cuba, Columbia, Venezuela, and Brazil. Mark also accompanies many modern dance classes throughout Chicago, and has been teaching percussion for many years.
Vocal coach, musical theater
Cristina Czaia aims to develop healthy and natural vocal production in each student. Mrs. Czaia grounds her teaching of the voice with an understanding of the vocal instrument as one’s entire body, guiding students to open, release, and then flexibly engage the muscles which allow students to sing freely and beautifully. Mrs. Czaia combines kinesthetic movement, sensory cues, and the power of students’ own imaginations to explore and develop a healthy technique. Her aim is to guide students to an emotional exploration of character and representation within a piece. This offers students the chance to create their own unique and transformative interpretation. Mrs. Czaia teaches individual private voice lessons to students age 4 and up of all musical styles and experience levels.
Mrs. Czaia earned her Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Wheaton Conservatory. Mrs. Czaia has studied and performed internationally with the Oberlin in Italy Program and Franco-American Vocal Academy where she studied with coaches Enza Ferrari, Frederick Burchinal, and French composer Isabelle Aboulker. She most recently performed as a young artist with OperaWorks.
Praised as an athletic singer with brilliant coloratura, Colombian American soprano Cristina Czaia has performed Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), Baron Puck (Le Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein), Lucia (Rape of Lucretia) and Lady Angela (Patience). In scene productions Mrs. Czaia has appeared as Baby Doe (The Ballad of Baby Doe), Rosina (Le nozze di Figaro), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutti), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). Mrs. Czaia’s concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Fauré’s Requiem and Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass.
Mrs. Czaia was a finalist in several Illinois and Chicago chapter NATS competitions and is an active member of the National Music Honor Society- Pi Kappa Lambda. In addition, Mrs. Czaia is an active member of Opera on Tap, a national initiative to bring opera to the masses. Mrs. Czaia has premiered her own work for voice, piano & flute and continues to develop a growing interest in composition.