Bay Chamber Music School Faculty
At the heart of all our educational programs is a top-notch faculty that brings an enormous amount of experience and passion to what they do.
As a National Guild member, Bay Chamber Concerts is committed to making high-quality arts education accessible to all. A generous scholarship program is available to all who qualify.
All of our faculty, while devoted to teaching, maintain professional careers as performers, presenters and practitioners of their instruments.
Our distinguished Bay Chamber Music School Faculty includes:
John David Adams, Private Instructor, voice
John David Adams is an acclaimed concert soloist and recitalist, with repertoire ranging from Baroque masterworks to world-premier compositions. He began his professional music career on the West Coast before returning to New England where he currently enjoys a busy schedule of performing engagements. He has appeared with orchestras and music ensembles across the country, including the San Francisco Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, Arlington Philharmonic, North Shore Philharmonic, Maine Pro Musica, Masterworks Chorale, Oratorio Chorale, San Francisco Bach Choir, St. Mary Schola, Lincoln Arts Festival, Portland Early Music Festival, and the Blue Hill Bach and White Mountain Bach festivals. He is equally praised for portrayals in diverse opera and stage roles, from Cosi fan tutte to Sweeney Todd, in productions by Opera Boston, Granite State Opera, PORTopera, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Berkeley Opera, Apollo Opera, and New England Light Opera, to name a few. He has also performed professionally with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus (including three Grammy award-winning recordings), the Sanford Dole Ensemble, San Francisco Bach Choir, and San Francisco Chamber Singers in California; as well a being a founding member of Aureole Chamber Ensemble and Vox Nova Chamber Choir in Maine. He studied voice and opera at Hartt School of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; his teachers have included William Metcalf, Leopold Simoneau, Dr, Edwin Barlow, Eric Howe, and Malcom Smith.
Malcolm Brooks, Instructor, composition
Malcolm Brooks composes music for films, churches, and performing artists. Films he has scored are televised throughout the world and have earned numerous honors, including two Emmy nominations and a Peabody award. His works for churches are performed regularly, including his Sanctus, which has been sung at over 300 services. Malcolm holds degrees from Columbia and Berkeley and is currently working on a doctoral thesis through Prescott College about creating folk songs from the ethnographies of people in Maine.
Erin Chenard, Private Instructor, voice
Erin Chenard, is a graduate of the University Of Southern Maine School Of Music and holds a M.M. degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. She is a founding member of the St. Mary Schola, specializing in the performance of Early and Baroque vocal music. Erin has performed as a soloist with the Early Music duo Music’s Quill, the USM Chorale, Chamber Singers, and the Downeast Singers; she sang in the New York Philharmonic’s 2006 broadcast of Handel’s Messiah. Erin made her Boston debut in 2008 at Jordan Hall in Yeomen of the Guard with the Bostonians Opera Company; previous operatic roles include First Lady in The Magic Flute and Euridice in l’Orpheo.
Jessica Day, Instructor, Music Together
Licensed Director, and certified Music Together® teacher, Jessica, originally from Montreal, Quebec, first came to Music Together® in 2008 through her pursuit to share her love of music with her own children. She then completed her own training with Music Together® in Hingham, MA, at the South Shore Conservatory. She believes music is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child and that music creates a strong foundation for all other learning. She received a B.F.A. in Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design and completing her M.F.A. in Education from Boston University.
Kathryn DerMarderosian, Private Instructor, voice
Kathryn DerMarderosian, soprano, received her music degree from Rhode Island College, where she studied with Mary Beck, and her Orff-Schulwerk certification from the Hartt School of Music. She currently sings with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops as a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Kathryn has performed as a soloist with Opera Rhode Island, The Newgate Theater, the Brown Jazz Chorus, and numerous chamber groups, both here and abroad. She has served as a music educator in the Eastern United States, Ecuador and Italy. Kathryn resides in Owl’s Head, Maine.
Josie Davis, violin instructor – Envision, A Young People’s Chamber Music Workshop
Josie Davis began her musical studies at the age of six with Janet Ciano and Gilda Joffe. She received her undergraduate degrees in violin and sociology at Oberlin College and Conservatory where she was a student of David Bowlin. She has participated in various music festivals including the Bowdoin International Music Festival, New York University’s String Quartet Seminar, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, and has appeared with her sister on NPR’s From the Top. Josie has performed in a wide-range of venues from Carnegie Hall to the Monte Music Festival in India. She is committed to using music as a way to connect with people of different cultures and backgrounds and has taught music to children in Panama and India. Josie is currently participating in a two-year fellowship program at Community MusicWorks in Rhode Island where she performs regularly and teaches a full studio of students. In addition to music, Josie enjoys sailing, hiking, cooking, pottery, and exploring the coast of Maine.
Sophie Davis, violin instructor – Envision, A Young People’s Chamber Music Workshop
Sophie Davis, from Waldoboro is in her fourth year at Oberlin College and Conservatory where she is pursuing degrees in violin performance and environmental studies. She currently studies with David Bowlin. Sophie has participated in the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival and the Kneisel Hall Young Artist Chamber Music Program, and in 2010, she appeared with her sister on NPR’s From the Top. She has performed in masterclasses for Christian Tetzlaff, Sunho Kim, Marc Johnson, and has collaborated with members of the St. Lawrence, Colorado, Vermeer, and Muir Quartets. In 2012, she spent several months studying tango violin in Buenos Aires, Argentina with violinist Fernando Suarez Paz, and in 2014, she spent a month teaching music with the Child’s Play India Foundation in Goa, India – an incredible and humbling experience.
Lydia Forbes, Private Instructor, violin
Lydia has concertized throughout Europe with Ensemble L’Archibudelli, Zephyr Kwartet, Het Schoenberg Ensemble, Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Osiris Trio,and Ensemble Explorations. She has performed for festivals in Europe, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. Recordings include as soloist with the Czech Radio Philharmonic for Vienna Modern Masters, for Sony Classical with L’Archibudelli, for CNM with Zephyr Kwartet, and for Harmonia Mundiwith Ensemble Explorations. She is presently a member of the DaPonte String Quartet, based in Maine. Lydia lives in Alna, Maine, with her husband and three sons.
Maya French, violin instructor – Envision, A Young People’s Chamber Music Workshop
Maya French grew up in Midcoast Maine studying Suzuki violin with Janet Ciano and later with Gilda Joffe through Bay Chamber Concerts. She has had the opportunity to study and perform at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Manchester Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, Interlochen String Quartet Seminar, Virginia String Quartet Seminar, Bay Chamber Next Generation Program, Kinhaven Music School and at Boston University. Maya received her BMA in Violin Performance from Boston University in 2014 under the direction of Bayla Keyes. Currently, she lives in Boston and is a founder and Co-Executive Director of the musician led, string orchestra, Palavar Strings, made up of young professional musicians. Maya is dedicated to using classical as a motive for social change and community building.
Derek Herzer, Private Instructor, piano
Originally from Gaylord, Michigan, Derek began teaching himself to play the piano at the age of 17. He was accepted into the piano performance program at Western Michigan University and received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance in 2010 and his Master’s from University of Southern Maine. While at USM, Derek performed with the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra and has been both a finalist and a winner of several competitions. Before moving to Maine, Derek was on the faculty of Crescendo Academy of Music and The Gilmore Piano Camp in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has begun to specialize in the research, study and performance of obscure and neglected works from the early- to mid-twentieth century. He is on the piano faculty at Bay Chamber Music School.
Rachel Herzer, Private Instructor, piano
A piano teacher for more than ten years, Rachel Herzer relocated her teaching studio from Michigan to Maine in the summer of 2012. Rachel has taught students aged 5 through adult; her teaching concentrates on classical training and utilizes material from a variety of teaching curricula. Rachel has BA in Music from Western Michigan University’s School of Music and is on the piano faculty at the Portland Conservatory of Music, Breakwater School and Bay Chamber. "My teaching philosophy is to instill the love of music in my students. Technique, practice, and repertoire are important yet mean nothing without passion and a desire to learn. It is the teacher’s responsibility to not only help their students develop technical ability but also foster a lifelong love of music."
Gilda Joffe, Private Instructor, violin, Senior Faculty Chair
Gilda Joffe, violinist, received her B.M. and M.M. degrees from the Juilliard School of Music in New York where her principal teachers included Joseph Fuchs, Barbara Krakauer, as well as Joel Krosnick and Robert Mann of The Juilliard String Quartet. As a member of various chamber music ensembles, she performed frequently at Merkin Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall and Alice Tully Hall. During her many year tenure in Sweden as a 1st violinist of the Swedish Radio Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, and member of New Stockholm’s Chamber Orchestra she performed and toured frequently throughout Europe, including performances at the London Proms Festival, The Paris Opera and the Musikverein in Vienna. "One of the reasons I love teaching so much, is the opportunity to give someone else a chance to enter a completely different world. No matter the age, the excitement of learning, and playing with others, is a wonderful journey to a new place. I often feel like a travel adviser suggesting a beautiful itinerary!"
Nate Martin, Private Instructor, bass, Envision, A Young People’s Chamber Music Workshop
Nate Martin has been playing the double bass since he was 13, and participated with the top ensembles at the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras and the New England Conservatory Prep Program. He continued his education at Boston University (BM ’11) and New England Conservatory (MM ’13) where he studied with Edwin Barker and Todd Seeber of the Boston Symphony. While performing as a free-lance musician in all the great halls across Boston, Nate also performed with the Borromeo String Quartet at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and with Matt Aucoin and the Encounters Ensemble at the Peabody Essex Museum. Festival appearances include Music Academy of the West and Orford Summer Music Academy. Most recently he participated in the National Arts Center Orchestra of Canada’s Institute for Orchestral Studies, where he was seen in halls in Ottawa, Toronto, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Beijing under Maestro Pinchas Zukerman. Nate enjoys hiking, libraries, food, beer, and the night sky. He lives in Lincolnville, Maine.
Deirdre McClure, Odeon Ensembles Conductor
Deirdre McClure’s work conducting contemporary opera in the San Francisco Bay Area has earned her critical praise as Music Director and Conductor of the Oakland Opera Theater, an innovative and highly acclaimed company commissioning and presenting works by mainstream and emerging contemporary composers. Past work includes the Oakland Community Orchestra, the Women’s Orchestra of San Francisco, the University of California Youth Music Program, as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Contemporary Music Ensemble. She has toured the United States, Canada, and Mexico performing live music for silent film with the Club Foot orchestra, and composed and conducted music for a television cartoon series on CBS. McClure received both her Masters and Doctoral degrees in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory of Music. She teaches at the University of New England, conducts the First Parish (Portland) Choir, and resides with her family in Portland, ME.
John Mehrmann, Private Instructor, percussion and piano
Composer, pianist, percussionist, vocalist, and improviser John Mehrmann has written music for ensembles including the Bangor Symphony, the Portland Symphony (for its Kinderkonzert series), the choir VoXX: Voice of Twenty, of which he is currently music director, as well as music for film. John performs with ensembles including the Portland Symphony, Bangor Symphony, Portland Ballet, PORTopera and regularly performs his own compositions. As a musician with St. Brendan the Navigator Parish he has founded a choir for the authentic singing of Gregorian chant and in the past few years has composed dozens of antiphons to be sung during services. In addition to his work at Bay Chamber, he teaches composition, piano, percussion, voice and accordion at the University of Maine at Augusta. John received his MM in Composition from the New England Conservatory and his BM in Music Performance from the University of New Hampshire. At Bay Chamber, he loves helping students of all ages discover and rediscover their own unique creative voice.
Kirsten Monke, Private Instructor, viola & violin
Prior to joining the DaPonte String Quartet in 2008, Kirsten Monke served as Principal Violist of both the Santa Barbara Symphony and the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra, and was violist with the award winning Anacapa String Quartet. Ms. Monke has taught at UCSB and Westmont College, in addition to a variety of chamber music workshops across the country. Ms. Monke received her B.M. and M.M. degrees at Indiana University, where her principal teachers were Kim Kashkashian and Georges Janzer. She also studied at UCSB with Heiichiro Ohyama.
Jim Nga, Private Instructor, Piano
Originally from Malaysia, Dr. James Wesley Nga has performed publicly since he was six. He has performed nationally and internationally throughout United States, Belgium, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. He came to the United States of America after completing two music performance diplomas from the Trinity College of Music, London. At California State University, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in Keyboard and graduated Magna cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. He obtained his Masters of Music in Piano Performance from the Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, California. He was an active pianist and instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area, before relocating to Maine after twenty years of residency in California. He went on to obtain his Doctoral of Music in Piano Performance from Texas Tech University before returning to New England. Jim also serves as the Music Director for the Congregational Church in Cumberland. He enjoys working with students of all ages.
Carol Preston, Private Instructor, Suzuki Violin
Carol Preston, violinist, has been a Suzuki Method teacher for over 30 years in Damariscotta and the Washington, D.C. area. She also taught public school music for 15 years. In addition teaching, she is on the board of the Maine Suzuki Association, formerly served as board chair of the Suzuki Association of the Greater Washington Area, and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. As a performer, she has been concertmaster of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra since 2002, is a mentor for Mozart Mentors Orchestra in Brunswick, and plays with Maine Pro Musica. In the D.C. area, she was concertmaster of the McLean Orchestra for 14 years, was a member of the McBeth Quartet, and played all the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas as a member of the Washington Savoyards orchestra. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Concordia College (MN) and an MA in music from the University of Iowa, where she studied with Allen Ohmes of the Stradivari Quartet.
April Reed-Cox, Private Instructor, cello
April Reed-Cox began playing cello at the age of 4. She studied for 12 years using the Suzuki Method, and entered college at 16 as a performance major. She holds a BMP and a MMP from Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. She has competed all across the country, and has performed with symphonies in SC, NC, and GA. She moved to Maine to be with family and now performs with Maine ProMusica, the Bangor Symphony, The Ale House String Band, Putnam Smith, and numerous other folk groups. April melds classical and folk playing techniques, and knowledge of body mechanics to help her students find an enjoyable and painless way to play the cello. She lives on a farm in Waldoboro with her son and fiancé, two cats, one husky, one horse, and an ever-expanding flock of chickens. In her spare time she hand-processes wool and other fibers into yarn.
Sherry Rega, Private Instructor, flute
Sherry Rega received her BM in Music Performance from Keene State College, and her MA in Music History from UNH. She also studied in NYC with Keith Underwood and at Boston Conservatory with Randy Bowman and William Grass. She has played in various chamber music ensembles in the NH seacoast area, as well as the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra. She now lives in Vinalhaven, Maine where she balances music with a catering business.
Jeffrey Rojo, Private Instructor, guitar
Jeff began his musical studies at age 13 in Mexico City. Throughout his career he has collaborated with a wide number of musicians and has been part of many musical ensembles covering a variety of styles from Classical to Jazz, Latin and Rock. Jeff’s teaching is particularly focused on ensemble performance, giving students the opportunity to be part of various musical settings including the Bay Chamber Guitar Ensemble. He has taught guitar students of all ages and abilities helping them learn and expand musically through a systematic method covering a broad stylistic range. Currently Jeff teaches classical guitar at the University of Maine in Augusta. Jeff received his BM in 2002 from the CIEM (Center for Investigation and Musical Studies in Mexico City), and holds degrees in Music Education, Music Theory & Guitar Music Performance by the ABRSM (Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music).
Patricia Stowell, Private Instructor, piano
Pianist Patricia Stowell maintains an active schedule as a chamber musician and competition adjudicator. Regionally she has performed with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, in Husson University’s Kenduskeag Series, The VanderKay and All Souls Steinway Series. She loves teaching at Bay Chamber and also enjoys giving master classes, including working with teachers and students together. Patricia also brings expertise in chamber music as the director of the Kneisel Hall Maine Young Musicians Program in Blue Hill, one of the oldest chamber music festivals in the U.S., where she has been director for fifteen years. Patricia’s European performances include concerts in Bulgaria, Austria, Poland and Germany, in addition to lecturing in Moscow on composer Alexander Scriabin and the Russian Symbolist Movement. This was her dissertation topic while obtaining her doctorate at Northwestern University.
Jeff Weinberger, Private Instructor in Guitar and Ukulele + Ukulele Group Class Instructor
Jeff Weinberger has played guitar since age twelve and started teaching guitar in earnest at eighteen. He attended Berklee College of Music and recently received his B.M. in Music with an Education Concentration Summa Cum Laude from UMaine, Augusta. His private teachers include Mordy Ferber, Bob Thompson, Gary Hoey and other greats. He has worked as a recording engineer and producer in Atlanta, GA and Portland, ME. His live recording work for Bay Chamber Concerts has been broadcast on WBACH and MPBN in Maine. Some of his fondest memories are playing in Archie Bell and the Drells at a juke joint in Columbus, GA, playing both the Maine Festival and the Deering Oaks Family Festival, opening for Queen Latifah at Bowdoin College, as well as playing surf guitar at his own wedding. Jeff currently teaches between twenty and thirty guitar and ukelele students a week and his most recent recording of original music - recorded at Hearstudios with help from Midcoast Maine’s finest musicians – was released in the Fall of 2013. His debut ukulele class at Bay Chamber was well-received and Jeff looks very much forward to spreading the charms of uke music to an ever wider community.
Colin Wheatley violin and viola instructor – Envision, A Young People’s Chamber Music Workshop
Colin Wheatley is the orchestra director at East Lyme Middle School in Connecticut where he teaches lessons and directs five orchestras. A native of Bellingham Washington, Colin earned his B.M. at the Oberlin Conservatory studying with Peter Slowik, his M.M. from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Atar Arad, and his Masters in Music Teaching from the Oberlin Conservatory. An avid chamber musician, Colin has performed for members of the Emerson, Pacifica, Cleveland, Concord, and Takács quartets, and was selected to perform in a master class for Yo-Yo Ma. Colin has taught violin and viola for over ten years and is a certified Suzuki instructor. He has taught at the Oberlin Community Music School, alongside Mimi Zweig at the Indiana University String Academy, privately, and at Fairview Elementary School in Bloomington, IN as part of a grant-funded project studying the benefits of music education for disadvantaged children. When not performing and teaching, Colin enjoys spending time outdoors, running marathons, cooking, and traveling.
Mike Whitehead, Private Instructor, Trumpet
Mike Whitehead has been an active teacher and performer in the Maine music scene for many years. Mike studied trumpet at Berklee College of Music with Raymond Katwica, Lou Mucci and Wes Hensel. He loves to perform many styles of music from classical to jazz, folk to electronic, rock to world music. In his teaching Mike focuses on technique, musicality, performing in an ensemble and how to develop your own unique musical voice.