Meet Our Teachers
Nistha Raj (Owner & Founder)
VIOLIN (Indian & Western Classical)
My love for music started at an early age with my mother. Although not a musician, I think of her as my first music teacher because she instilled in me a desire for music. From the all night sessions at temples where music was the foundation of worship to Bollywood concerts as well her own personal favorites she would play at home, I was exposed to the beauty and power of music. Though I often didn't understand the context of the religious poetry and prayer, the music spoke to me. It led me to be curious about all music.
I started learning the violin in 5th grade and that was the beginning of a lifelong journey of discovering the beauty of music. I received a BA in Music from the University of Houston followed by an intensive period of formal study of the classical music of India in New Delhi sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. As a performer, I focus on presenting Indian Classical music in non-traditional settings to make the music accessible to a wider audience. I also hold an MA in Arts Management from George Mason University and am committed to continuing my education and development as a teacher/performer. Yearly, I attend various teacher trainings, conferences, workshops, and lectures to stay informed and current.
A huge part of my journey as a musician is being an educator. I love to share my passion and the joy music brings me with all, especially children because I truly believe music is a powerful way to express emotions and connect with anyone. For kids especially, music can teach so many wonderful things early on: discipline, creativity, self-expression, teamwork, commitment, confidence, and so much more. I have been an educator for over 15 years as a private instructor as well as leading group classes/workshops/seminars for kids and adults of all ages. I have also served as a coach for Strathmore's East County Strings initiative which is a free, after-school program for string players in middle schools in the eastern part of Montgomery County. Teaching with patience, encouragement, and passion are my key elements and approach. I started teaching privately in the Washington DC area in 2007 and in 2016 I expanded Soulfege Music Studio bringing on board additional teachers to meet the growing number of students as well as to include lessons in other instruments.
Nistha has been called “stunningly skilled in western and eastern classical music” by the Washington City Paper. Her self-released debut album, “Exit 1” has been described as “edgy, innovative, and clearly awe-inspiring…Indian fusion at its best” (Inside World Music). Nistha is a versatile musician that melds tradition with contemporary innovation – lending her talents to the Jazz trio The Fourth Stream, collaborations with National Symphony Orchestra Musicians The Last Stand Quartet, Grammy nominated hip hop artist Christylez Bacon, and recording on rock band NRI’s album. Nistha has performed at the United Nations, National Gallery of Art, Mansion at Strathmore, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the American Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. Nistha is a recipient of multiple grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, including a 2012 Artist Fellowship and was most recently awarded a Project Grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She also was an Artist in Residence at Strathmore for the 2013-2014 year. Learn more about her music or to find out when her next performance is, please visit www.nistharaj.com
VIOLIN, & PIANO
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Benedict Sin obtained his Bachelors in Violin Performance and K-12 Instrumental Music Education at the University of Missouri. He received his Master in Violin Performance at The Boston Conservatory, and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland. The dissertation topic Benedict currently working on is Music for Violin Composed by Composers from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau in the Twentieth Century.
Benedict spent four summers in Maine for the Bowdon International Music Festival and Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians, where he performed a wide variety of solo, chamber, and orchestral repertoires. As an opera enthusiastic, he participated in opera productions in the International Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy. Benedict is currently the co-concertmaster of the Philadelphia International Music Festival Orchestra.
Benedict is very passionate about teaching and working with school-aged children. He believes the success of students is the biggest reward for teachers. The high school string orchestras in Saint Louis all received the highest rating for the first time during his student teaching placement.
VIOLIN, VIOLA & PIANO
At just 27 years of age, she is a fast rising star in the classical music world. Ms. Tudor was born in Bucharest, Romania and attended The National University of Music in Romania where she received a Bachelor Degree in Performing Arts (Violin Performance). Internationally, she has performed with the European Royal Orchestra, Baroque Orchestra of St. Joesephs Cathederal, Romania and the Bayerischen Philatmonie of Germany. She also has performed with legendary pan flutist, Gheorghe Zamfir. Ms. Tudor has performed numerous recitals and concerts in Romania's finest concert halls to include the Romanian Opera, Romanian Athenaeum,” Dimitrie Cantemir” University, Parliament Palace, Romanian Athenaeum, Radio Hall, American School, Children’s Palace, and ” Maria Filotti” Theatre-Braila.
Competitively, Ms. Tudor has won several prestigious competitions: 2010, Third Prize in the 18th Annual George Georgescu International Music Performance Copetition; 2009, Second Prize, Timotei Popoviciu National Instrumental Performance Competition; 2008, Second Prize, Timotei Popoviciu Violin and Grave Strings Contest; 2008, Second Prize, G. Avachian National Performing Contest. Currently, she performs with Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic and the McLean Symphony. Ms. Tudor wants to share with students the ability to create music with an instrument and the mystery of music. Her motto is "To follow your dreams!"
A native of Northern Virginia, has enjoyed an active role in the DC Music community. He served as concertmaster for the American Youth Philharmonic, Regional, and All-state orchestras. He won first place in the Maryland Symphony Concerto competition, third place in the Fairfax Symphony Concerto Competition, and performed as a finalist in the National Symphony Young Artist Competition in the Kennedy Center. He studied with Viktor Danchenko at the Peabody Conservatory before continuing his studies with David Russell at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Eugene also enjoys exploring new genres of violin music, incorporating modern technology and styles to his repertoire, and performs regularly with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Emerging artist Phoebe Suzuki is an active solo recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and music educator. She recently completed her Bachelor of Music degree at The Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut. At Hartt, Phoebe regularly premiered new works by student composers, and also held concertmaster positions in the Hartt Symphony Orchestra and the Hartt Opera Orchestra. Phoebe made her solo debut in 2016 performing an arrangement of “Evening
Song” by Zoltán Kodály with the Hartt String Orchestra. She is currently continuing her violin studies at the University of Maryland under the tutelage of Irina Muresanu.
As an educator, Phoebe has taught group violin classes at Northport School District Summer Music Program and privately at Summit Studios Performing Arts Center. She hopes that in every lesson her student walks away feeling inspired and motivated. Music is her passion, and she loves guiding her students to find their own musical voice.
Justin Page received his Bachelor of Music degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill along with a second major in Exercise and Sport Science in 2012. During his time at North Carolina, he performed with the European Union Youth Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy. He then completed a Master of Music degree in cello performance at Florida State University.
He is a substitute musician for the Orlando Philharmonic, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, and the North Carolina Symphony. In May 2014 he performed a concert of new music at Carnegie Hall with his non-profit new music ensemble, What Is Noise. His teachers include Greg Sauer and Brent Wissick.
Vocal & PIANO
Adrienne Ivey graduated with honors from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance and a Teaching Certificate in K-12 Vocal Music. She also holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Maryland. Aside from her credentials, Adrienne possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in teaching vocal and piano technique, embodied in an approachable, humorous and joyful presence. She specializes in teaching piano and music theory, giving her students a solid foundation in the language of music which can transfer to any instrument. Teaching is a true pleasure and a chance to give back. She enjoys helping others find their talents most of all because of the impact it has on their confidence and overall self-esteem.
Jiashu has received many awards in competitions including first prize in Young Artist Competition in Gaithersburg, first prize in Piano Concerto Competition of Maryland State Music Teachers Association, first prize in DC Federation of Music Clubs competition and CUA Concerto Competition. Jiashu also took part in masterclasses of The Washington International Piano Series given by well-known pianist Igor Lebedev, professor Changxin Guan and professor Murray McClachlan. Jiashu received her Master of Music in Piano Performance with a music scholarship at Catholic University of America.
Jinha Park stands today on the verge of a significant career as a concert pianist, having engaged in numerous demanding and broadening preparatory steps in the last 20 years. Her competition experience has provided her with a keen sense of challenge and accomplishment, and her life experiences teaching, performing and even volunteering have given her a humanity and heart that clearly shows in her playing. Dr. Park began her piano studies at the age of six and gave her public debut at fourteen. Her education has been arts-based, beginning with the Seoul National University in her native country and ending at the Johns Hopkins Peabody Conservatory in the U.S. Her teachers have included such names as Marina Lomazov, Marian Hahn, Philippe Entremont, Elisenda Fabregas, HyungBae Kim, and Kook-In Son. She has also studied under Yong-Hi Moon, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Ann Schein, John Perry and Leon Fleisher.
JinhaPark has won major piano competitions including the Burgos International Music Competition, the Vienna Allegro Vivo International Chamber Music Competition, TMTA (Texas Music Teachers Association) solo and concerto competitions, the Etude and Baltimore Music Club competitions, the University of Texas at San Antonio Concerto & Aria Competition and several others. She has been a prize winner in yet other competitions such as the Chosun Newspaper’s competition, the Choon-Chu National Piano Competition in Korea.
TRUMPET & PIANO
As a prominent figure in the DC Music Community, Joseph Jamaal appears regularly as an educator, performer and advocate for the Arts. Alumni of the storied Duke Ellington School of the Arts and New Washingtonians Jazz Orchestra led by Davey Yarborough, Joseph earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance/Education(Trumpet) from Howard University as a student of Fred Irby III.
A World-Class Musician with multiple trips abroad, Joseph has performed for Carnival Cruise Lines, served 3 years in the U.S. Army Band as a Bugler, The Duke Theatre(NY), The Kennedy Center, Bohemian Caverns, Jojo's, Mr. Henry's, Columbia Station and many other venues throughout the DMV. Joseph thoroughly enjoys sharing the gift of music with people of all ages especially children. With over ten years of teaching experience, it's the curiousity and enthusiasm of children in music that keeps him motivated and focused on being a strong example of musical excellence.
An active teacher for almost ten years, Ruth Bright has experience with students of all ages. Her lesson style focuses on vital skills for practicing, performing, independent thinking, and problem solving while maintaining an engaged and social learning environment. Technique is addressed with attention to music theory and music history appropriate for age and repertoire. She believes in the power of music to enhance and hone one’s creative and analytical skills and is dedicated to spreading her passion for her art: visceral moments in time in which one has the opportunity to give a gift and transport an audience.
Ruth Bright, born in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is a collaborative pianist based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She studies with Rita Sloan at the University of Maryland (UMD) School of Music, currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts in collaborative piano.
In 2018, she graduated with her Masters of Music in Collaborative Piano also
studying with Rita Sloan at UMD. In 2015, she completed her studies with Bradford
Gowen, earning her Bachelors of Music in piano performance from UMD.
Ruth is a scholar of Chinese, poetry, and a world traveller, spending time in over two dozen countries.
Sammie Vats began learning piano at the age of six from the Coomber School of Music and Dance in Herndon, VA. In 2017, she received a Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance along with a teaching certificate from Hollins University. While in college, she played both the piano and violin in the Valley Chamber Orchestra of Roanoke, VA and was a staff pianist and violinist for the Blue Ridge Church of the Brethren.
Her goal is to make your piano playing dreams a reality in the convenience of your house. Sammie's quality lessons go beyond the traditional curriculum of merely learning how to read notes on a sheet of music. Students will be empowered by learning how to compose their own music, have the opportunity to unleash their creativity by improvising, and have fun by playing duets with her. A perfect balance of education and enjoyments is in each lesson.