Meet Our New Teachers For 2021-2022!

Meet Our New Teachers For 2021-2022!

We’re introducing several new teachers for the 2021-2022 school year!  Join us in getting to know a little more about our instructors this year.

Andrew “Drew” Williams – Violin & Viola

Violinist Andrew Williams has established himself as an extraordinary chamber musician, soloist, and teacher throughout America. As a former member of the critically acclaimed Fifth House Ensemble, he has performed at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre on their Composer Portrait series, on Rush Hour’s yearly summer music series, and participated in many master classes at institutions such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison and New Music on the Point. As a soloist, he has made numerous radio, TV, and Orchestral appearances performing such works as Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Aires and Kevin Puts’ Arches.

As a teacher, Williams has been on faculty at the Merit School of Music, teaching violin, viola, and served as string department chair. He was a co-founder of Merit’s Solo String Workshop, which hosted world class artists such as Helen Callus and Rachel Barton Pine. Andrew also served as Professor of Violin Studies at Carthage College. His students have been accepted to violin performance programs at Northwestern University, University of Toronto, and Peabody. Chamber ensembles coached by Williams have been selected semi-finalists at the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Competition.

Andrew Williams is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, receiving pedagogy training from Ed Kreitman and Michael McLean. Andrew received his Bachelors in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his Masters from Rice University. Former teachers include Ilya Kaler, Kathlene Winkler, David Cerone, and David Updegraff.

What drew you to SOUNDS Academy?
A: Kirk drew me to SOUNDS Academy! His energy, passion, and vision are contagious. Having someone like him at the head of an organization is crucial to its success.
When was the first time you realized music was your passion?
A: When I was 14, I remember practicing the Bach E Major Partita in my room. Though I had been playing the violin for 10 years at that point, I had always hated practicing. That day for some reason I fell in love with the challenge of practicing and its promise of expressing creativity.
Tell us something interesting about you?
A: I have run 4 marathons and will never do it again. I am married to a beautiful woman and have a 6 year old son. I recently took up golf and have an even greater appreciation for what my students feel like as beginners.

 

Bri Calvari – Piano & Guitar

Originally from south of Seattle, Bri is the daughter of two musicians who met in a cover band in the 80’s, and has been immersed in music since she was a very small child. She was classically trained in piano for 8 years, and transferred over that training to the guitar when she was 15, finding even more joy in the rhythms and sounds of strings. She has been experimenting on guitar and writing songs on multiple instruments ever since.

Bri is passionate about creative writing and believes in the power of processing raw emotion through music. She has released 4 Singer/Songwriter albums she recorded in her bedroom, as well as a studio album recorded as part of her duo, Aleuf.

Bri has a Bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and has spent the past 6 years educating elementary school youth, primarily where she grew up, in Federal Way, Washington. She is excited to unite her passions of teaching and music here at Sounds Academy. When she’s not teaching you can find her at a local coffee shop enjoying espresso, performing at an open mic, or at a nearby circus studio working out on aerial silks. She looks forward to meeting all of her students!

What makes you passionate about teaching and supporting music education?

A: Music has been the one thing in my life that always made sense to me, like I was wired to do it, while most everything else in education confused me. I know there are young ones out there like me in the education system, who naturally have more creative brains that operate the same way, and to have the opportunity to be able to teach them and support them, and others, inspires me. I don’t know what I would have done without access to music education, it was my saving grace.
What drew you to SOUNDS Academy?
A:
When I first found the website I was astonished that it existed, thinking about what it would be like if the school district I was working in at the time had this sort of program. I was in Washington and seriously thinking, “Should I move to Phoenix? That would be a crazy idea.” And well, 6 months later, I did.
Tell us something interesting about you?
A: I actually recorded my first song when I was 9 years old. I visited my dad, a bass-player/audio engineer, (one of the only times I got to see him) and he set up his recording equipment and I sang “Down Santa Claus Lane” by Hilary Duff into the mic with my little brother yelling “yeah!” in the background. It was heard by family and friends and even a teacher so I remember being more embarrassed by it, but it’s just funny to think back to that moment, because this past year I finally recorded my own album in a studio. I feel like it was a foretelling, like little Bri was clearly showing big Bri what she wanted to do, it just took me 20 years to finally listen, and be proud of my singing voice.

 

Chaz Salazar – Flute

Chicano flutist, Chaz Salazar, employs “classical” music as a tool for social justice and community building. Race equity is at the core of his work through the intersections of performance, teaching artistry, and musical activism. In his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, he served as the flute instructor from 2015 through 2019 for Harmony Project Phoenix, an El Sistema-inspired program.

As a performer, Chaz was a founding member of the in-home chamber music series, An Evening of Music, where he made appearances on over 30 concerts. Along with performances at churches, community centers, hospitals, and retirement homes, Chaz has also performed with the Phoenix Symphony as a substitute musician.

In his efforts to decolonize the field, he has collaborated with multiple organizations including the Sphinx Organization, Quinteto Latino, the National Philharmonic, Voices Unheard, and the Samuel Vargas International Music Foundation. As the 2020 National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F) Sphinx Futurist Fellow, Chaz designed and launched the Youth Mentorship Program (YMP) to catalyze racial equity in the orchestral ecosystem so that local BIPOC high school musicians can have access to the resources and assets of the summer festival. Mentees were paired with members of the NOI+F Philharmonic as their Mentors and participated in four main artistic components: observation of rehearsals, private instruction, masterclasses, and sharing and listening sessions.

A proud first-generation college graduate, Chaz earned his B.M. and M.M. from Arizona State University and an Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).

What makes you passionate about teaching and supporting music education?
A: I was given my early musical training from a similar program to SOUNDS Academy, called Rosie’s House, a music academy for children which provides free lessons to under-resourced youth. Now as a professional musician, I am passionate about using the skills and values I learned in music such as goal-setting, perseverance, and resilience to teach the next generation of musicians and to drive success in all aspects of their lives.
What are you looking forward to while teaching?
A: Learning from my students.
What drew you to SOUNDS Academy?
A: I am passionate about using “classical” music as a tool for social justice and community building. This is what SOUNDS Academy is all about.

 

Christopher McKay – Violin & Viola

Violist Christopher McKay joined The Phoenix Symphony in 2008 as section viola and is currently the Acting Assistant Principal Viola, a post he has held since 2009. From 2007-2008 he held a one-year position with the Louisville Orchestra and from 2001-2007 he was Principal Viola of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra (IN). His other orchestral experience includes positions with Central City Opera (CO), Lancaster Festival Orchestra (OH), New Jersey Opera, Owensboro Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and substitute with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Since 2012 he has been a regular substitute with the Grant Park Festival Orchestra in Chicago, IL.

In addition to his extensive orchestral experience, Mr. McKay is also a chamber musician, soloist, and teacher. From 2001-2007 he was violist of the Eykamp String Quartet, an ensemble that held a combined residency with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and the University of Evansville.

As a passionate chamber musician Mr. McKay, along with TPS first violinist Karen Sinclair, founded the modular chamber music ensemble Urban Nocturnes in 2009. Born out of friendship and a desire to collaborate together, this ensemble has expanded to a six-person roster and is dedicated to the highest level of performance of the traditional chamber music repertoire. As a Phoenix, AZ based ensemble they are currently Artists-in-Residence at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Phoenix.

Mr. McKay received his viola performance degrees from Louisiana State University (BM) and Indiana University (MM), and has twice been a TMC fellow at the world renowned Tanglewood Music Center (1998 and 2006).

What drew you to SOUNDS Academy?
A: The mission of SOUNDS Academy inspired me to want to teach there. I believe in the importance of giving all students an entry point into education, and Sounds gives everyone that opportunity.
When was the first time you realized music was your passion?
A: When I switched from playing violin to viola at age 15. Viola almost immediately became my passion as a high school student.
Tell us something interesting about you?
A: I help run and perform in a chamber music group Urban Nocturnes that is based in Phoenix!

 

David Espinoza – Guitar

David Espinoza was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He started playing guitar at 8 years old after watching his dad play. In high school he was a member of several bands and routinely played shows throughout the Phoenix area. After high school he attended the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, CA and studied guitar where he earned an honorable mention in the national John Lennon songwriting competition.

During his time in Los Angeles, he worked as a session player, working with a wide variety of artists from up-and-coming new artists to Grammy award winning songwriters and producers. David relocated to Colorado to raise a family, however guitar continued to be an important part of his life, he continued performing and recording with local artists, even touring extensively with several bands.

He won Denver’s Guitar Center Solo two separate years, placed in the top 50 in the worldwide solo competition for JTC in 2015, and top 10 in the national Ibanez 2017 “Flying Fingers” solo competition. In 2009 he began giving guitar, ukulele, and bass lessons and discovered a love of teaching. He has experience teaching all ages, from children as young as 5 to adults in their 70s, in multiple settings, from private lessons, classes, clinics, and workshops. He has taught everyone from students picking up an instrument for the first time to advanced players perfecting their craft. He enjoys being able to pass on the love of guitar and music to people.

What drew you to SOUNDS Academy?
A: It just seems like an awesome thing that SOUNDS Academy is doing. I didn’t have the opportunity that the students have here growing up and seeing the opportunities SOUNDS Academy provides to their students makes me excited to be a part of it.
When was the first time you realized music was your passion?
A: I was 13 when I saw my first live concert, a reggae band called Big Mountain. I had been playing since I was 8 years old, but after watching them I knew “I wanted to do that!”.
Tell us something interesting about you?
A: Me and my family like to visit haunted locations across the USA and go on Ghost Hunting excursions. It’s a fun and unique way to spend time with everyone.

 

Leslie Frey Anderegg – Violin & Viola

Leslie Frey Anderegg began playing violin at the age of 3 in her hometown of Clinton, South Carolina. Leslie received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Violin Performance from Indiana University and the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Henryk Kowalski and Stephen Rose. She has performed on the NPR show “From the Top” and was a featured soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra.

Leslie is currently Acting Assistant Principal 2nd violin of the Phoenix Symphony. Before joining the Phoenix Symphony violin section in 2005, Leslie was a member of many regional orchestras including the Greenville Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, Akron Symphony and Canton Symphony.

During the summer Leslie has performed with the American Institute of Musical Studies Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra in Boulder, and the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland. Most recently Leslie spends summers in Chautauqua, NY where she is a regular substitute violinist with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra. Leslie also regularly performs with a string quartet for Candlelight Concerts throughout the valley and with Downtown Chamber Series. She maintains a private teaching studio and is a teaching artist at Sounds Academy.

What are you looking forward to while teaching?
A:
I’m looking forward to interacting with my students each week and seeing how they can progress over the course of the year. As a teacher you have to be nimble and figure out the best way to teach each individual student since everyone learns a little differently, so I look forward to that challenge.
What drew you to SOUNDS Academy?
A:
I was drawn to SOUNDS Academy because I believe in their mission and think that every child should have opportunities like taking private lessons on a string instrument. I had previously heard of SOUNDS Academy and the great work the students there were doing through events that have taken place at Symphony Hall.
Tell us something interesting about you?
A:
I’m not a particularly athletic person but after I moved to Phoenix I got into distance running for a while and ended up training for and running two full marathons, the Rock and Roll Phoenix Marathon and the Go St Louis Marathon.

 

Sherri Maxson – Piano

I am a musician with fifty years of piano playing experience. I was classically trained through high school. I attended California Baptist University in Riverside where I earned a Behavioral Science degree and a music minor. It was during my time as a student that my musical focus turned to Gospel and more contemporary pieces.

I have worked in church settings as senior musician and music coordinator in multiple churches. I have directed and accompanied soloists and ensembles and have taught and directed choirs with children, adults, and senior adults from 80 to 99 years of age.

Outside of my world as a pianist, my professional career revolved around college admissions.  I also worked at the Arizona Kidney Foundation raising funds, planning events, and writing copy for their newsletter as well as providing information for kidney patients across the state. I have volunteered for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and currently volunteer as a pianist for the Mayo Clinic. All these positions have given me the passion to serve those from all walks of life and in any capacity.

What are you looking forward to while teaching?
A:
I am looking forward to seeing the ” light go on” when a student masters a concept or can finally play a piece that sounds right to them. ( and me!) I am looking forward to seeing my students perform after months of perfecting a chosen song. I can’t wait to see a parent’s pride in their child’s progress. Music can provide a family bond. I would love to see the changes in a student when they realize that music is much more than learning chords or songs in a method book. I hope they realize music is a communication of the soul!
What drew you to SOUNDS Academy?
A:
After turning down an interview to teach several months ago because the situation did not feel right, my friend ( and fellow teacher) told me about SOUNDS Academy, its purpose and success with kids. I was immediately drawn to the community SOUNDS serves! Their mission is clear, and there are many creative opportunities for kids. It was ” love at first sight!”
When was the first time you realized music was your passion?
A:
My first piano teacher, as an 8 year old, was excellent. She saw something in me; not just musically, but personally. I wanted to make her proud, and I worked hard. When I knew that the ” hard work ” required was fun for me, I then found my passion.

 

Dr. Yeil Park – Cello

Dr. Yeil Park (pronounced ‘Yale’) is a dynamic cellist who enjoys his career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and educator. He is a tenured member of Arizona Opera since 2014. Other orchestral engagements include the Castleton Festival Orchestra, where he sat assistant principal under maestro Fabio Luisi, and as a regular substitute with The Phoenix Symphony, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra.

As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with members of The Cleveland Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, the Shanghai Quartet, the Brentano String Quartet, and The Ying Quartet. Other highlights include performing the Elgar Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations as the winner of ISU’s Concert of Soloist competition.

Dr. Park was recently appointed as the cello faculty at Glendale Community College. He received his Doctorate in Cello Performance at Arizona State University, where he served as teaching assistant to Tom Landschoot and wrote his dissertation on the quantitative analysis of Skype lesson efficacy. He received his MM in Cello Performance at Arizona State University and was the recipient of the Atsumi Cello Scholarship. He received his BM magna cum laude at Iowa State University, where he studied with George Work of the Ames Piano Quartet. Previous teachers include Dr. Julie McGinnis Sturm, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Stephen Geber, and Yehuda Hanani.

What makes you passionate about teaching and supporting music education?
A:
I love watching growth, so to be a teacher and have a direct influence on students is something that gets me excited every time I teach! Music is an art that has fulfilled my desire for self-expression through sound, and it has connected me with a vibrant community who also share my passion. It’s a great privilege for me to be able to share this joy with others!
What drew you to SOUNDS Academy?
A:
I’ve known about Kirk and SOUNDS Academy for years through colleagues of mine, and I love his vision to build something special here in the valley.
Tell us something interesting about you?
A:
I love to cook and bake! Also I love distance running and have run three half-marathons since 2020. And lastly, I love to use my Etch-a-Sketch!

Mark is the Development Manager for SOUNDS Academy and is enthusiastic in his support for our mission to bring music education to children across Phoenix.

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