Faculty

richard

RICHARD SPENCER, DIRECTOR
Guitar, Jazz Studies, CHILDREN’S PROGRAM, Ensembles
Undergraduate studies at Berklee College of Music and the
University of Texas.  B.M. in jazz performance from University of North Texas, 1977; M.M.E. in jazz performance from UNT, 1979; M.B.A from University of Texas, Austin, 1996.  Major guitar teachers include:  Jack Petersen, John Abercrombie, John X. Reed, Larry Coryell, Mick Goodrick, and Pat Martino. Recipient of jazz study fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Performing experience includes gigs with Bob Berg, Wallace Roney, Ralph Moore, Tiger Okoshi, and others.  Toured and recorded with Chico Hamilton.  Former faculty positions at Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX, Eastfield and Cedar Valley Colleges in Dallas, TX and Concordia University Texas in Austin, TX.

PAULA SPENCER,  DIRECTOR
VOICE
B.M.E. in voice and clarinet from Arkansas State University, 1975, M.M. in vocal performance from University of North Texas, 1977, and Ph.D. course work in higher education administration from UNT.    Master classes with: John Wustman, Phyllis Curtin, Jurgen Jurgens, and Robert Shaw.  Participated in seminars on Heinrich Schutz, Schluctern, Germany.  Performing experience includes: numerous opera roles, soloist with the ASU male chorus and the UNT madrigals; soloist for various churches; Tupelo Symphony; Boston Pops.  Additional performing and recording experience with jazz and show bands in Texas and New England area.  Accompanying vocalist with Ray Kent and Andrew Culverwell.  Faculty positions have included University of North Texas, Denton, TX, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX, Christ for the Nations Institute, Dallas, TX and Austin Community College, Austin, TX.

JUSTIN VASQUEZ, VP OF RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
SAXOPHONE, IMPROV, Jazz Studies
Evolution and a fiercely open-minded approach to composition are the hallmarks of saxophonist Justin Vasquez. His writing, filled with surprises and twists, crosses boundaries of jazz, contemporary, country, classical, and singer/songwriter aesthetics. His sound, aggressive and muscular, bears the lineage of greats like Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Kenny Garrett and Michael Brecker yet is immediately identifiable. B.M. in jazz performance from the University of Texas in Austin 2005. Recipient of ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award in 2009. Influential teachers include Dick Oatts, Eddie Daniels, Vincent Herring, Dan Haerle, Andy Laverne, Jeff Hellmer. Recording/touring/performing experience with Randy Brecker (Brecker Brothers), Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), Mike Stern (Miles Davis), Manhattan Transfer, Bob Brookmeyer (Stan Getz), Dave Liebman (Miles Davis), Tom Harrell, Gerry Gibbs, VV Brown, Gretchen Parlato, Janek Gwizdala, Jojo Mayer. Justin has over a decade of experience teaching saxophone performance as well as composition and improvisation.

LAURA INGLES, VP OF PARTNER MANAGEMENT
VOICE
Laura has been singing and recording professionally since she was 11 years old. From solo classical performances and musicals, to recording and working in various studios in Florida, Laura has a decade of experience as a background singer for various blues, Jazz, Rock and RnB/Hip Hop groups during her formative years. Laura has also sang with local Austin icons like Dr. James Polk, Brian Andrew Lee, Alan Haynes, Keith Slack and many other greats. She also studied with Dr. Watkins at ACC here in Austin for three years. In addition to her musical expertise, Laura has over 12 years of extensive experience building and maintaining relationships with enterprise level clients at companies such as Electronic Arts, SailPoint, Marin Software, Nexxlinx and Yodle.

EVAN NICHOLSON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Acoustic & Electric Bass, Ensembles
B.M in Performance at the University of Memphis (TN), 2010; M.A. in Jazz Studies at the University of Memphis (TN), 2012.  Private studies with Tim Goodwin, Chip Henderson, John Chiego.  Recipient of full educational scholarship for undergraduate and graduate studies at University of Memphis.  Notable jazz collaborations with Mundell Lowe, Slide Hampton, Antonio Hart, and Kye Palmer.   Currently an active Austin bassist, with engagements at The Continental Club, Stubbs, Lamberts, White Horse, and others.  Extensive experience as an orchestra member for numerous off-Broadway musicals and studio recordings. Extensive teaching experience includes: jazz combos as a graduate assistant at University of Memphis; jazz camp instructor, and private instructor.

SCOTT BENNER
SAXOPHONE, Jazz Studies, THEORY, Ensembles
B.M. in jazz performance from University of North Texas, 1983;  M.M. in composition from Texas State University, 2008.  Professional musician, arranger, composer, teacher and clinician, in LA, NY, Las Vegas, Dallas, & Austin.    Performing  experience includes engagements with:  UNT One O’Clock Lab Band (lead alto sax), European jazz festivals, Village Vanguard (NYC), Natalie Cole, Marvin Stamm, Count Basie Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Al Hirt, Billy Eckstein, Sarah Vaughn, Slide Hampton, B.B King, James Brown, Steve Gadd, Butch Miles, Huey Lewis, Michael Bolton, Fats Domino, The Temptations, Tito Puente, Bill Withers, Steve Gadd, Martha Reeves and the Vandelas, The Platters, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Joe Walsh, and others.  Over twenty five years of professional teaching experience, and former music faculty at Texas A&M, Kingsville, TX, and Cedar Valley College, Lancaster, TX.

DUECE BENNETT
GUITAR, ENSEMBLES, IMPROVISATION
B.M. in guitar from Berklee College of Music, Magna Cum Laude, 2012.  Early music studies on piano began at age 4, and began guitar study at age 11.  Received piano and vocal awards in Ohio’s Solo and Ensemble Competition.  Expert transcription and performance work in Joe Pass’s solo guitar arrangements.   Extensive performing experience in Ohio, Boston, and Austin, including SXSW 2012, in a variety of funk, rock, blues, and jazz styles.  A highly experienced teacher who is able to provide teaching insight to all levels of students, while drawing on guitar, piano, and vocal applications.

CAT CLEMONS
GUITAR, ENSEMBLES
B.M. from Texas State, 2015. He played in their top Jazz Big Band Ensemble along with Jazz Combo One. Currently playing as a sideman around Austin with various artist such as: Hot Texas Swing Band, Elsa Cross, Rosie and the Ramblers, Bob Appel, and Morris Nelms. Currently teaching group guitar and private lessons ranging from beginners to advanced studies.

SARAH JANE HARGIS
FLUTE, SUZUKI FLUTE
Sarah Jane Hargis creates lessons that are full of fun, loving
encouragement, games, group performance & having playful discovery while learning the joys of music.  Sarah Jane is a passionate & inspired flutist, teacher & Suzuki method educator in Austin, TX. She has been teaching as a university professor/lecturer, a private instructor and a guest lecturer in public schools across the U.S. for over 17 years, and is currently a flute professor at St. Edward’s University.  Ms. Hargis has a Masters of Music in Flute Performance from the University of New Mexico, a Bachelor’s of Music Education from Eastern Kentucky University and 7 years training in Suzuki Method teaching from around the world. Her teachers include Adam Kunzel, Alexa Still, Valerie Potter, George Pope, Toshio Takahashi and many more.

MIKE HARRIS
GUITAR, Bass, VIOLIN, VIOLA, MANDOLIN
B.M. in theory from University of North Texas, 1978, Magna Cum Laude; M.M. in guitar performance from UNT, 1983; Master classes with Oscar Ghiglia, Eliot Fisk, Paul O’dette, Robert Guthrie and others.  Multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, violin, viola, mandolin) with extensive performing experience in diverse styles, including classical, rock, country, and jazz, and has worked extensively with Arthur Brown, Jimmy Carl Black, and Kim Fowley.  Over twenty years of teaching experience, including five years at University of North Texas as a teaching fellow and adjunct faculty member.  Instructor positions at St. Stephen’s, Childbloom, Austin Guitar School, Three Muses School, and Austin Piano & Strings.

DAVE LEE
TRUMPET, JAZZ STUDIES, ENSEMBLES
B.S. in ministries & music from Howard Payne University.  Graduate studies at Episcopal Theological Seminary.  Ensemble director of the NAJO, Mainstream Jazz Quintet, Rhythm Congress Band, and the Ken Ragsdale Orchestra.  Worship leader and choir director for the Sanctuary, and additional music ministry directing experience in the Seattle and Austin areas.  Extensive private trumpet teaching experience and ensemble directing, ranging from small groups to large jazz orchestras, in a diverse range of musical styles.

WENDY MURPHY-HARRIS
PIANO
B.M. in Piano Pedagogy, Magna Cum Laude, University of North Texas; M.A. in Piano Performance, 1991, Texas Women’s University; additional studies in Music Therapy, Texas Women’s University. Performing experience includes — Classical: Solo piano recitals, master classes, weddings, receptions, private parties from 1979 to present time;  Blues, Folk, Pop: Piano, acoustic guitar and vocals in various bands and duos from 1979 to 1993;  Singer/Songwriter: solo performances at private parties and clubs, self-accompanied on either piano or guitar; Accompanying: Student recitals, University theater, and for The Kids Acting Camp in Austin. Instructor positions at, University of Wyoming, Texas Women’s University, Briarcliff Music School, Austin Piano & Strings Studio, and private studio since 1992.

EVAN NICHOLSON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
(see directors’ biographies at the beginning of this section)

JOHN REED  (aka JOHN X. REED)
GUITAR, ENSEMBLES
Early music studies on guitar and fiddle at age 8 with his father and grandfather on a farm in eastern New Mexico.  Attended Texas Tech University, where he embarked on what would become long term musical associations with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Jesse “Guitar” Taylor and Ponty Bone.  Extensive performing experience throughout the United States and Europe.  Recorded and toured with many artists, including:  Freda and the Firedogs, Doug Sahm, Roky Erickson, Marcia Ball, Lucinda Williams, James Polk, Kimmie Rhodes, Alvin Crow, Kenneth Threadgill, The Lucky Tomblin Band, the Texana Dames, and Denny Freeman, Carnegie Hall performance with Doug Sahm.  Over 30 years teaching experience, and has been a major teacher and influence on a number of excellent guitarists.

ERICA SALINAS
VOICE, PIANO, CHILDREN’S PROGRAM
B.M. from Texas A&M International University, 2012.  TAMIU Study Abroad Program studies in Austria.  Extensive performing experience in both choral and theatrical settings, including
Laredo Philharmonic Choral, TAMIU Chamber Singers, and TAMIU Opera Workshop.  Staff member of Laredo Youth Choir and Soto Music Academy (Laredo, TX).  Elementary music teacher for Mary Help of Christians in Laredo, TX.  Highly experienced Early Childhood Music instructor utilizing Little Mozarts, Mommy & Me, and Music Discovery teaching methods, as well as intermediate and advanced Youth Choir instructor, musical theatre, and adult vocal instructor.

PEGGY STERN
PIANO, ENSEMBLES, JAZZ STUDIES
Undergraduate studies at Eastman School of Music. B.M. in Performance; M.M. from New England Conservatory. World-renowned solo artist along with in the early 1980s, playing in an octet with Priester Cole; she also worked in R&B groups and music during this decade. In the early 1990s she worked often with Konitz, played with Juris, others, in addition to leading her own band, with whom she recorded several albums. founder and Director of the Wall Street Jazz Festival, (“…where all the leaders are women”), held each August in Kingston, NY, Jazz Chorus, Blue Belles Youth Choir. In summers past, she has taught at Jazz Workshop, and Jazz Camp West as well as Homer, Alaska Jazz Choir.

NIKITA STOROJEV
PRIVATE VOCAL STUDIES & COACHING
Nikita Storojev is a Russian bass vocalist, who after receiving his degree in philosophy, entered the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Upon winning the prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition, he became a principal soloist at the Bolshoi Theater and the Moscow Philharmonic Society. He speaks Russian, French, English, German, Spanish, and Italian.   Mr. Storojev has performed in the world’s major opera houses, concert halls and appeared in international festivals in Vienna, Paris, London, Milan, New York, San Francisco, Florence, Munich, Berlin, etc. His vast repertoire today consists of over 50 operatic roles and more than 300 classical songs.  He has twenty-five commercial CDs and five DVDs, performed and recorded under the direction of conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir John Pritchard, Claudio Abbado, Neeme Jarvi, John Nelson, Marius Jansons, Gennady Rozhdestvenski etc., and with singers such as Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.

Mr. Storojev has taught many students in several countries, and is currently is an Associate Professor of Voice and Opera at the University of Texas Butler School of Music.   Eighteen of his students have won international singing competitions in Europe.  In the last four years, while teaching at The University of Texas, his students have won national competitions, participated in young artist programs, and begun professional careers. As a teacher, Mr. Storojev has also presented master classes around the world in Japan, Taiwan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, and Mexico, as well as in the United States.  In addition to his professorship at UT, Mr. Storojev has opened his Austin vocal teaching studio to the community for students who desire to perform at their highest vocal level possible.  Recent engagements for Mr. Storojev include the roles of the Police-Sergeant and the Old Prisoner in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Christian Badea and the Baltimore Opera; a program of excerpts from Boris Godunov and Prince Igor with Peter Bay and the Austin Symphony Orchestra; more performances of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, conducted by Donald Runnicles at the San Francisco Opera; a performance of the role of King Dodon in Le Coq d’Or with the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.  An extensive list of additional recent engagements for Mr. Storojev, and additional information, can be found at the following link,
http://www.music.utexas.edu/directory/details.aspx?id=10

TATIANA STOROZHEVA
Piano, accompanist and vocal coach
Tatiana Storozheva is a professional pianist, accompanist and vocal coach. She was born and raised in Yekaterinburg, Russia and attended a special music school for gifted children.  She received her Master’s Degree from the Mussorgsky Conservatory in Yekaterinburg in Piano Performance, Opera Coach, Piano Teacher and Collaborative Piano.  Mrs. Storozheva served as Head Coach at the Yekaterinburg Opera for 22 years. She also accompanied soloists in recital, served as soloist of the Yekaterinburg Philharmonia Society, and was the Artistic Director, Conductor and Pianist for Musical Theater, Yekaterinburg. For her work in opera, Mrs. Storozheva was named an Honored Artist of Russia. She also received the Best Accompanist award at the Mussorgsky competition. Her repertoire consists of numerous operas and over 300 hundred songs in Russian, Italian, German, French and English.

Mrs. Storozheva has also made several recordings with internationally recognized Russian singers such Nikita Storojev and Valentin Zacharov. During the course of her career she has
prepared and accompanied singers in national and international vocal competitions such as the Glinka Competition and the Rimsky-Korsakov Competition in Russia and the Belvedere in
Vienna. She has participated in many festivals in Germany, France, Belgium and Hungary and served as coach, assisting Mstislav Rostropovich, in a production of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the Teatro Real in Madrid, Spain.  Additional collaborative engagements include Baltimore Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Moscow, Bard Festival in New York, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall, Poland, and Washington, D.C.  Tatiana is a vocal coach and accompanist for University of Texas Butler School of Music students.

JACOB WISE
GUITAR, Jazz Studies
Undergraduate studies at the University of Texas’ Plan II Honors Program receiving a B.A in jazz performance in 2009; M.F.A. degree in Jazz Studies at the University of North Texas 2011. At UNT, he was a Teaching Fellow, directing the Super 400 guitar ensemble and teaching private lessons. As a member of the renowned One O’Clock Lab Band, he performed with Lyle Mays and John Mosca, the leader of the Village Vanguard Orchestra. In 2011, he earned his master’s degree, and released his debut album, “Jacob Wise Trio”, which features 9 original compositions, and has received positive notices at Allaboutjazz.com and Vintage Guitar Magazine. From 2011 to 2015, Jacob was a guitarist in the show band for Princess Cruises, traveling the world and playing a wide variety of music ranging from jazz, rock, Motown, to oldies and Broadway. Teaching guitar ensembles, Classes, and private instruction at New School since Fall 2015.

Arielle Nicole
Guitar, Voice, Ensembles
http://ariellenicole.com/

EARLY CHILDHOOD MUSIC INSTRUCTOR BIOGRAPHIES­­­­­­­­­
In partnership with Armstrong Community Music School

KERRI ATWOOD
EARLY CHILDHOOD MUSIC
Kerri Atwood received her BFA in Theater from Southern Methodist University and then promptly moved to Austin to be part of the Live Music Capital of the World! In the past seventeen years, while being a public school teacher and also a nanny, Kerri has started a pop punk band that traveled the world, performed in the highly acclaimed musical by Austin’s Rude Mechs “I’ve Never Been So Happy”, sung 1930’s music in a cabaret that toured throughout Texas, voiced the singing wildflower for the City of Austin’s “Grow Green” water conservation commercial, and currently sings and writes music with Austin’s space dance band, Pong.

MARILYN ERMAN
EARLY CHILDHOOD MUSIC
Marilyn Erman recently completed her Bachelor’s of Music in Music Therapy at the University of Iowa. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she began her music studies at the age of four with
Suzuki, classical piano, and later guitar. In high school, she moved to Austin with her family where her interest in music continued. She even interned at the Armstrong Community Music School where she assisted the Little Drummers, Big Voices class. After high school, she decided to study voice at The University of Iowa, where she became interested in music therapy. But the cold  winters drove her back to sunny Austin for her internship and now she is a practicing music therapist. She also teaches Music Together and Guitar for Grownups at the Armstrong School and is happy to be able to bring the joy of music to young minds.

PAUL SCHLICHTING
EARLY CHILDHOOD MUSIC
Paul Schlichting holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Texas State University where he majored in music education and trombone performance. Prior to that, he studied music composition at West Texas A&M University. He performed as a trombonist with Hill Country Brass and as a drummer with Joe West and the Sinners, Asylum Street Spankers, Giant City, The Jazz Pharaohs, The Hollywood Review, and others. He directed middle school band in Dripping Springs and spent nine years teaching elementary school music in Austin ISD.