Advanced, Honors, and Institute of Contemporary Songwriting Faculty
Bass: Marty Quinn
Brass: Casey Dickey
Conducting: Jack Holtz
Drums: Oscar Dorta, Ryan Hecker
Guitar: Aaron Lebos
Jazz: Casey Dickey, Hugh Gonglewski, Carolina Calvache, Jack Brandfield
Jazz Arranging & Composition: Carolina Calvache
Music Biz: Brian Wilkins
Music Theory: Inesa Gegprifti, Brent Charran
Music Production: Camilo Salas
Musical Theater: Stephannie Moore
Orchestra: Brent Charran, Vivian Ventura, Jack Holtz
Piano: Inesa Gegprifti, Hugh Gonglewski, Carolina Calvache, Alex Sancho
Songwriting: Raina Murnak (Program Director), Stephen Gleason, Brian Wilkins
String: Brent Charran, Vivian Ventura
Voice: Cassandra Claude, Stephen Gleason, Stephannie Moore, Roxana Amed
Winds: Jack Brandfield, Jack Holtz, Casey Dickey
Marty Quinn is a bassist who actively tours and performs locally across multiple genres. Originally from Chicago, Marty completed his master's in Jazz Pedagogy from the Frost School of Music. He teaches and works equally on upright bass as well as electric. Marty has had the pleasure of performing with artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Adam Rogers, Shelly Berg, Nicole Yarling, and more.
Casey is a composer, trumpeter, and educator from Kansas City, Missouri. He has had the privilege of writing for and performing with a variety of artists in Mali, Italy, Chile, and throughout the U.S., including Terence Blanchard, Alkalifa Diarra, and Antonio Arnedo. From 2013 to 2018 he was assistant professor of jazz studies at EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM) and the University of Miami's Frost School of Music (MM), where he is currently pursuing a DMA in jazz composition.
Oscar Dorta has performed as a drummer/percussionist & touring musician for 35 years. His recordings included are with members of Bon Jovi, Funkadelic, synth pop group C.C.C.P. and the like. His T.V. on stage appearances include Bonnie Tyler, Herbie Hancock,the late Tito Puentes, Maria Conchita Alonso and Wild Cherry ,among others. Oscar also heads his own group Skintrade.us and performs with R&B, fusion, and rock groups across S.Florida. Besides being a private drum instructor he also writes music for cable t.v. under his own company Genome Music Group.
Ryan Hecker is a resident of South Florida who has been an active performer in the tri-county area for over fifteen years. Ryan is a graduate of Florida International University with a B.A. in Jazz Performance and the University of Miami with a M.M. in Jazz Performance. Ryan can most often be heard in the theatre, with recent performances including Titanic at the Broward Center of Performing Arts, Sweeney Todd and In the Heights at the Arsht Center of Performing Arts and Mamma Mia! and On Your Feet! at the Actors' Playhouse. Ryan spent his pre-college career as a member of the Florida Youth Orchestra and continued playing with the Sunrise Symphonic Pops Orchestra throughout college. This experience combined with his schooling in jazz has shaped Ryan's goal for his music career, which is to expand and redefine the definition of what a "Drummer" can and is expected to perform. Currently, Ryan is the percussion and jazz drum instructor at the Ransom Everglades School and actively performs clinics, masterclasses and coaching in middle and high schools throughout the tri-county area.
Aaron Lebos began piano at 5, switched to guitar at 11 and spent his teens playing blues and classic rock with friends and his older brothers band The Kind. He has Bachelors in Jazz Performance from UM and Master in Jazz from FIU and has been a full-time professional guitarist since 2001. He has played with many of the biggest names in south florida like Spam-Allstars (electronic latin funk), Nu-Deco Ensemble, Nicole Henry, Tony Succar and many more. He toured and was part of the latin pop scene for years as well. Ten years ago in addition to being an in demand sideman he began his original group Aaron Lebos Reality recording 6 albums. In 2021 he launched two new original groups: Anemoia and Abstract Citizen. Practice/improvement and development is the core of his career. He is currently doing recording sessions from his home studio and launching new projects such as his new jazz trio, and experimental groove based band as well as continuing playing and arranging for Nu Deco and normal sideman calls.
Hugh Gonglewski is a pianist and instructor in the Miami area. He received his Bachelors Degree in Piano Performance from the Philadelphia college of the Performing Arts where he studied with Susan Starr and his Masters in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University. He taught piano and jazz history at Lake Forest College where he also directed the jazz and blues ensembles. He played for ten years in the Chicago area with his own trio and septet before coming to the University of Miami for his Doctoral work. He is instructor of the University of Miami's Computer/Keyboards & Music courses and teaches jazz, theory, and piano ensembles for the university's Piano Preparatory programs as well as improvisation, jazz ensembles and advanced theory for the university's young Musician's Camp. He has played with such diverse artists as Sugar Blue, Sandra Bernhardt, Tom McCormick, Nicole Yarling and Mark Colby. He frequently performs in the Miami area as a solo pianist and with the eclectic group LEGM. His private piano students have received numerous prizes and awards from such groups as Ars Flores, Music Teachers National Association, and Florida Federation of Music Teachers.
Critically acclaimed pianist and composer Carolina Calvache articulates spontaneous ideas as skillfully as she composes. The Colombia native's appetite for harmonic exploration across a range of musical styles has prompted collaborations with such pioneering voices as Jaleel Shaw, Michael Rodriguez, David Binney, Hans Glawischnig, Johnathan Blake, Claudia Acuña, Marta Gomez, Juan Andrès Ospina, Achilles Liarmakopoulos, Samuel Torres and Camila Meza, whose single "La Ultima Vez," that won Best Love Song at the Independent Music Awards, features integral contributions from Calvache. Her composition Trombonsillo, which appears on Liarmakopoulos' 2017 released Ethereal, has emerged as a modern standard for trombone, enjoyed worldwide.
The New York-based artist-composer has headlined such institutional venues as The Kennedy Center, Dizzy's Club Coca-cola and The Jazz Gallery, and shared the stage at Smalls and Smoke. Her touring projects comprise Carolina Calvache Quartet and Poems & Strings. She has toured internationally and regularly receives invitations to appear at iconic festivals, including Denton Arts Jazz Fest, Crested Butte Music Festival and Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival. Calvache receives frequent commissions to render master-level projects which have included art songs, and arrangement for the NY Phill Harmonic, and pieces "Transitions" and "Encuentros" for world premiere at the Trombone International Festival.
Following her widely praised debut release Sotareño (Sunnyside, 2014), Calvache unleashes the resonating extent of her talent as a composer, orchestrator and songwriter on her sophomore album Vida Profunda, released in 2020. Engaging a range of guest artists, Calvache stretches her own mastery as a player and leader across 10 original tracks. Calvache holds a Master of Arts from University of North Texas and currently enjoys a faculty lecturer position at LaGuardia College.
Wilkins built a successful 18-year career utilizing his passion for music, technology, creative partnership building, and artist relations to help clients grow their businesses and brands. He is the founder and president of 137 Entertainment, an innovative music management agency specializing in artist development, digital marketing, business development consulting, and artist-label relations. Most recently, he served as strategic advisor and business development director for leading music companies PledgeMusic and Cyber PR where he helped establish music business curriculums at the Berklee School of Music and Middle Tennessee State University. As an entrepreneur, he helped create, launch, and build a client base of over 75 artists and 100,000 users for the music mobile social application, CrowdStream. Wilkins has held positions with major and independent music label partners including Sony/BMG Entertainment, RED Music, and INgrooves. He was also an artist manager and director of new media for Rebel-One Management, where he helped guide the careers of top-tier artists and producers including Rihanna and Alex Da Kid.
Pianist Inesa Gegprifti was born in Tirana, Albania, where she began her piano studies at the National Arts School "Jordan Misja" under the guidance of Valbona Kasaj. She left her home country in 2006 to continue her studies abroad. Over the years, Dr. Gegprifti has pursued her piano studies under the guidance of Dario de Rosa, Maureen Jones, Alberto Miodini, Igor Cognolato, Max Levinson, Evelyne Brancart, Santiago Rodriguez, and Naoko Takao. A graduate of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee (B.M.) and Jacobs School of Music - Indiana University (M.M.), she completed her D.M.A. at the Frost School of Music - University of Miami in 2017.
As a soloist and chamber musician Dr. Gegprifti has appeared in concerts across the U.S.A., Europe, and South America. Of note are the performances with the National Radio Television Orchestra of Albania and the Indian Hill Orchestra, chamber concerts in Italy, Slovenia, and Puerto Rico, as well as artist residencies at the "Vivace Vilnius International Summer Festival," International Portogruaro Festival "A tempo," the Conservatory of Cuenca, and the Museo de Arte Contempor√°neo in Ecuador. Dr. Gegprifti has also appeared as a guest speaker at the University of North Texas, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico - San Juan, and Heidelberg University - Ohio. Most recently, her performance of Michael Coleman's Four Bagatelles was selected by RMN Classics for production and release in their upcoming collection Modern Music for Piano 4.
Dr. Gegprifti is one of the founding members and current president of Kaleidoscope MusArt, a non-profit organization based in Miami, dedicated to bridging the gap between canonical classical music and rarely heard or recently composed works while prominently featuring living composers and emerging artists. She is on the faculty of the Frost Preparatory Program, the Frost Young Musicians Camp, and an Adjunct Faculty member for the Keyboard Department at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami.
Brent Charran is a cellist from Miami, Florida. An active member of the Miami music community, Brent has performed and recorded across the Classical, Jazz, R&B, Latin, Modern, and Rock genres. Brent won the NWSA Concerto Competition with the Dvorak Cello Concerto (2007) and also received a full scholarship to the Aspen Music Festival (2009). Recent collaborations include a solo performance for the corporate reveal of Ralph Lauren's Love fragrance line and an appearance with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Miami during their Lost Christmas Eve concert tour.
Camilo Salas is a composer, arranger, producer and music educator from Colombia. He graduated with a Mention of Honor from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogot√° with a Bachelor of Music in Comercial Composition. Before his arrival in the US, Camilo studied and teached Braille to share his musical knowledge with people who have visual limitations, and was the music producer of Barranquilla's Carnival, one of the biggest carnivals in the world and declared as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. With a short stay in the city of Miami, Camilo has been recently invited to teach production master classes at the prestigious Abbey Road Institut of Miami. He's currently pursuing his Master of Music in Media Writing and Production at the acclaimed Frost School of Music, where he's also a Teaching Assistant and expects to graduate in Spring, 2023.
Dr. Stephannie Moore brings an eclectic array of experience into her work as a performer and educator. Known for her colorful stage characters and expressive musicianship, she is equally comfortable on the operatic, concert and theater stages. Dr. Moore is an adjunct lecturer in the Vocal Performance program in the Frost School of Music. She holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Miami. She has worked as a voice teacher and vocal coach for Magic City Opera's TOI (Teen Opera Intensive) in Miami, the Act Healthy musical theater summer program in Belluno, Italy and she is an active Board member of the Gold Coast Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Her private voice studio is located in Pembroke Pines, Florida and includes award-winning professional singers and emerging artists across vocal genres. Dr. Moore's interests include singing voice science and singing voice rehabilitation and she is actively engaged in research and pedagogical work with voice professionals across the country.
Vivian Ventura studied in the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico until she moved to Jacksonville, Florida in the 1990's. In Jacksonville, she graduated from the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts receiving a National String Orchestra Award for outstanding dedication and violin performance. She also was a member of the Jacksonville Youth Symphony for many years and was a concerto competition winner who performed with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra with the Vivaldi 4 Violin Concerto. She has also performed as a violinist in various music Festivals throughout the Americas including the Pablo Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina, and the Trujillo World Opera Competition in Peru. Mrs. Ventura received a full scholarship to attend the Florida State University to attain a K-12 Instrumental Music Education Degree. At Florida State, she performed in the Philharmonic, Symphony, Chamber and Opera Orchestras as well as Interned at Coral Reef High School as conductor of both Strings and Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. Ventura taught at Arvida Middle School for over 17 years receiving the "Teacher of the Year" Award for the American String Teacher Association for the State Of Florida in 2012 as well as for Arvida Middle School in 2021. The Middle School Orchestra program at Arvida became the largest program in Miami-Dade Public Schools and the Orchestras consistently received superior ratings at Music Festival evaluations for all levels. As a violinist she has performed for various occasions and is a freelance musician throughout the South Florida tri-county area. Mrs. Ventura was the Strings conductor for the Greater Miami Youth Symphony for 10 years as well as the Advanced Orchestra "Orpheus" conductor for MusicAll for 3 years. Mrs. Ventura began working at Southwood Middle School Orchestra Magnet in 2021. Mrs. Ventura was selected to conduct Superintendent Elementary Honor Orchestra for the 4th time this year. She was also district chair for the Florida Orchestra Association from 2011-2013 for Miami-Dade County. Mrs. Ventura is also pursuing a graduate degree in Conducting. She is looking forward to joining the Frost Young Musicians' Camp this summer.
Alexander Sancho was born of Filipino descent on February 18, 1989. Raised in Miami, he started playing piano at the age of 12 and was self-taught in theory/music history.Though having a late start, Alex was determined to pursue a music career. He had played with many different orchestras/ensembles across South Florida. Some awards won are 1st Prize in Florida Federation of Music Clubs (Composition), 2nd Prize in the FIU Concerto Competition, 2009 and 2011, the Undergraduate Performance award from the FIU School of Music, 2011, as well as the Teaching Assistant position in Piano. In 2012, he was awarded the Philippine Consulate of South Florida Leadership Distinction Award for Outstanding Achievement and Performance in Music. Though coming from a classical background, Alex takes a musically-eclectic approach in his endeavors, with influences from Hip-Hop to Electronica that help shape his understanding of music. Alex plays regularly for Dr. Rosenberg, President of Florida International University, and graduated from FIU with his B.M. (2011) and M.M. (2013) in Piano Performance, under Professor Kemal Gekic and Dr. Jose Lopez. He is currently a piano instructor at SharpMinds Music Academy where he teaches piano and composition.
Dr. Raina Murnak is Assistant Professor and Head of Contemporary Voice & Performance Artistry department at Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in the Music Media and Entertainment Industries Department. She has served as the Artistic Director of the Bruce Hornsby Creative American Music Pop Ensembles, co-founder of the renowned Frost Method of Experiential Musicianship, the founder and director of Frost Summer Institute of Contemporary Songwriting and a co-creator of the widely successful MADE program at Frost where she has been innovating in higher education for the last 17 years.
She is a sought-after vocalist and performance coach with over 20 years of experience on stage, television and in the studio. Her extensive training in both classical and pop/contemporary voice has afforded her the rare ability to fluently perform/coach a vast array of styles and genres from opera to classical avant-garde to theater to rock. Her gift is her ability to unleash performers and help them create compelling honest performances grounded in freedom and expression.
Dr. Murnak is a multi-talented artist well versed in not only music, but also in dance and the visual arts. She holds a BM and MA degree in Vocal Performance and Composition from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a DMA in Music Theory and Composition and Vocal Pedagogy from the University of Miami. She remains active as an online educator for Frost Graduate programs, Continuing Education and the Top Hat platform in music theory and peak performance.
Stephen Gleason is a New York-born musician, artist, and educator. With heavy roots in both jazz and popular music - a unique career of performing, composing, producing, and teaching music has been curated. For over fifteen years he has been a highly sought-after guitarist, vocalist, and conductor, performing for major network television, corporate, and political affairs including Rachael Ray, The Food Network, and The Presidential Inaugural Ball. As a studio musician, he has been featured on many recordings, including the likes of Carly Simon, and appeared as a sideman on various recording label sessions.
As an award-winning ensemble director, his original vocal arrangements are heralded as a "modern and vibrant interpretation of classic jazz and the Great American Songbook", garnering attention from the likes of Manhattan Transfer and Phil Mattson from the renowned A cappella quartet, Singers Unlimited. He has since gone on to arrange and sing in the CASA nominated, award winning vocal jazz ensemble, Quintet, as well as direct the Contemporary A cappella ensemble at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami.
Born and raised in Miami, FL, Vivian is a freelance professional violist, President of Friends of Collegiate Music, a 501 C3 dedicated to raising music scholarships for college students. Vivian is also the founder of Share the Music, Inc., a music education organization that donates a percentage of its proceeds to local arts nonprofits.
In May 2020, Vivian will be completing her teacher training certification in the Alexander Technique in Philadelphia. She will be the only certified teacher and musician in all of South Florida. Through her training, she intends to help performers rehabilitate from and prevent performance-related injuries, manage performance anxiety, improve stage presence and increase awareness of body alignment in performers.
Vivian has been a music educator for over 15 years and is currently a faculty member at Westminster Christian School, Gulliver Academy, NWSA's ViolaFest and UM Frost School of Music's Young Musicians Camp. She is an alumni of New World School of the Arts High School, the FIU School of Music, where she received her Bachelors & Masters degrees in Music Performance, and the UM Frost School of Music where she received her Artist Diploma in Music Performance. She has studied under the direction of Juilliard graduates Richard Fleischman, Paul Coletti, and Michael Klotz. She performs regularly with chamber ensembles and orchestras throughout Florida.
An accomplished and in-demand voice teacher, Cassandra has become a staple and representation of fine vocal technique to emerging singers today. In addition to upholding a thriving vocal studio, she is currently a vocal instructor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and is a leader in promoting cultural and artistic awareness through vocal instruction. Her students have performed on stages cross-country.
Though Miami is her home base, she travels to Los Angeles and New York to work with singers as well. She also maintains part of her vocal studio nationally and internationally via videotelephony systems. Cassandra has also had students chosen for lead roles in theaters in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Sarasota, and Los Angeles. Acclaimed as a vocal pedagogue, Cassandra was named as the Superintendent for the Vocal Competition of Miami-Dade County Youth Fair, which offers youth accessibility to stage-performances and critiques from world-class vocalists. Under her leadership, Cassandra produces singers that mesmerize audiences through pure tonal ability and skill of the vocal instrument. Yet beyond that, her goal with these vocalists is to produce a confident and "honest" singer with a timeless voice that stands out.
Latin GRAMMY nominee and LARAS member Roxana Amed is an Argentine-American jazz artist born in Buenos Aires. Amed is an award-winning vocalist, songwriter, producer, and educator considered by colleagues, audiences and critics as one of the most important voices in South American music.
Amed, exclusive author for Sony Music Publishing and worldwide licensed artist by Sony Music Latin, released seven critically acclaimed albums and one DVD concert as a leader. She has written for different artists in various genres. For ten years she has led a memorable vocal workshop for hundreds of jazz vocalists at the Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival and she is currently voice professor at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, as well as in her private studio, working on her training method for popular music singers.
In 2021, was recipient of the the "New Jazz Works" grant supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through Chamber Music America to write new music to be performed and recorded in 2022.
New York City Native tenor saxophonist Jack Brandfield is a passionate musician who brings his own style in carrying the torch for interpreters of the Great American Songbook. His talents have been recognized by jazz luminaries that he has shared the stage with such as John Pizzarelli, Rodney Whitaker, Bill Cunliffe, and Harry Allen. Jack holds a B.M in Jazz Studies from Michigan State University and is currently a scholarship recipient from The Frost School of Music at The University of Miami where he is completing a M.M in Studio Music and Jazz.
Jack moved to East Lansing, Michigan in 2016 to pursue a B.M degree in Jazz Studies at Michigan State University and study under saxophonist and pedagogue Diego Rivera. He also studied with professors Xavier Davis, Etienne Charles, Micheal Dease, and Randy Gillespie. Jack had the privilege of building close relationships with professor and guitarist Randy Napoleon and Distinguished Professor and world renowned bassist Rodney Whitaker, working in both of their quartets. As a member of Jazz Orchestra 1 led by Rodney Whitaker, Jack performed across the state of Michigan and helped conduct over twenty high school educational workshops. When the band traveled to New York City to compete in the Jazz at Lincoln Center's Inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Competition they received third place and he was awarded as an Outstanding Soloist. Most recently, Jack was presented an Outstanding Soloist Award by Wynton Marsalis at the Inaugural Jack Rudin Jazz Competition at Jazz @ Lincoln Center.