Meet Our Teachers

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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. 

Performer Bio:
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  

 
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CRISTIANA Tudor
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!"

 
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Eugene Kim
Violin

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.

 
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SABRINA BOGGS
VIOLIN & PIANO

Sabrina Boggs is a graduate assistant at University of Maryland, College Park pursuing her Masters in Violin Performance. Her most notable teachers include Irina Muresanu, Ann Miller, and Barbara Gorzynska. Before moving to Maryland, she was an accomplished musician at University of the Pacific in California, which recognized her academic and musical achievement through extensive scholarships, the title of concertmistress, a Conservatory Faculty Recognition Award, and induction into the prestigious honors societies Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda. She has received regional and national awards such as the Lorraine Burtner Young Artists Award from the Tulare County Symphony League, the Hildred Minich Scholarship from the Fresno Musical Club, and the Alberta Denk and Beth Landis Violin Scholarships from the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation. An active advocate for new music, Sabrina also received a grant from the Powell Scholars Program in 2018 to commission and perform a composition for violin and electronics. Outside of her professional endeavors, Sabrina commits to providing music to her community at venues like homeless shelters, nursing homes, schools, and hospitals.

 
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Justin Page
Cello

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.

 
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Adrienne Ivey
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.

 
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Jiashu Song  
Piano

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.

 
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jinha Park
PIANo

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. 

 
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JOSEPH Jamaal
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.

 
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Suk-Yi Hyun
Piano

Pianist Suk-Yi Hyun has appeared as a soloist and collaborative pianist in the United States, Canada, Europe and Korea. Dr. Hyun was a prize-winner at numerous international competitions and she has also performed in several festivals and concerts including the recital at Carnegie Hall, William Kapell Competition Festival, the Las Vegas Music Festival, the Boston Piano and String Festival, Frederick Community College Piano Faculty Extravaganza, Lunchtime recitals, and four hands piano concert,“Three Four One.” Her concerto performances include those with Seoul Philharmonic, KoreanSymphony, Bucheon Philharmonic, Seoul Wind Ensemble, and Bulgarian Symphony.

Prestigious music critics Julian Kreeger and Tim Smith lauded her performance “the best performance of Aaron Copland Piano Sonata”, “passionate and exciting performance, a variety of tone colors.” Dr.Hyun was born in Korea and received her Bachelor's Degree, Summa Cum Laude, at Seoul National University in Korea. She was a recipient of Albert Lockwood Memorial Scholarship at the University of Michigan, where she earned her Master of Music degree. She earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland. She was a student of Santiago Rodriquez, Arthur Greene and Cleveland Page. She also played for master classes with such renowned pianists as Lazar Berman, Andre Watts, Jerome Lowenthal, Nelita True, Robert Roux and Michael Lewin.

She has been on the piano faculty of the International School of Music in Bethesda and is currently teaching at Frederick Community College. Dr. Hyun enjoys sharing her passion for music with students and many of her students have won awards at numerous competitions and festivals. She is currently a pianist with Aerius Ensemble.

 
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Sammie vats
PIANo

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.