Pianist Christine Ciuffreda has performed extensively throughout the New York metropolitan area as a soloist and accompanist. She received the First Prize Award of the Piano Teacher’s Society of America in 1997 and subsequently has been a consistent prize winner in numerous competitions including the Young Pianist Competition of New Jersey, Music Educators Association of New Jersey, International Concert Alliance, Cecilian Music Club of Freehold, and New Jersey Music Teachers Association. She was both a finalist and winner in the Chinese American Cultural Association Competition and the Steinway Society Scholarship Competition.
In 2000, Ms. Ciuffreda participated in the Musica in Laguna, Italy Festival, where she made her orchestral debut with the Giavane Sinfonietta Clodiense under the direction of Roberto Boarini.
She was awarded the Silver Prize in the festival’s International Piano Concerto Competition. Ms. Ciuffreda has additionally participated in the Steger Cultural Exchange Institute where she received the pre-college Award for Outstanding Performance. She has performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Steinway Hall, The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, and the World Financial Center. Most recently, Miss Ciuffreda earned the silver medal in the American Protégé International Concerto Competition of 2013.
A native of South Korea, Christine Ciuffreda began piano in 1993 at the Mercy Conservatory of Music in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. She pursued piano performance at the College of Charleston on the Tate International Piano Scholarship. She has studied with Sister Mary Sharon Gross, Yelena Ivanov, Beatrice Long, and Enrique Graf. She currently teaches at the Wharton Music Center and maintains a private studio. Miss Ciuffreda continues her studies at the Juilliard School Evening Division.
Sung-Hae Jung is an active pianist and a long-time educator who came to the US to study after graduating at the top of her class with a B.A. in piano performance from Koshin University in Busan, Korea. Ms. Jung studied further in music education, concentrating on piano pedagogy at Leman College of City University of New York and Teachers College of Columbia University. She is a Founding Teacher of Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory The Achivement Program, a member of Piano Teachers Society of America (a recipient of Genia Robiner Pedagogy Awards) and Kappa Delta Pi (International Honor Society in Education).
Ms Jung is currently a piano faculty at Wharton Music Center in Berkeley Heights, Oak Knoll School in Summit and she maintains her piano studio in Summit, NJ. She is also a music director for Trinity Reformed Church in North Plainfield, NJ.
Pianist Diana Lin has performed on the stages of Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Steinway and Sons Hall, and Manhattan School of Music. She has won top prizes at the NJMTA Young Musician Competition, Professional Music Teacher’s Guild of New Jersey, and Cecilian Young Musician Competition. In addition, she has participated in master classes led by Jerome Lowenthal and Jonathan Feldman. She has also performed at the PianoSummer at New Paltz Institute, Summit Music Festival, and International Academy of Music at Castelnuovo di Garfagnana, Italia. She has enjoyed performing for seniors at assisted living centers in New Jersey since 2007; some venues include the Franciscan Oaks of Denville, Brookdale Florham Park, and Sunrise of Morris Plains.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Ms. Lin began her studies at age 5. Her principal piano and chamber teachers include David Dubal, Laurie Carney, Jon Klibonoff, Raymond Beegle, Alexander Rees, Stella Xu, and Grace Kuo. She received her Bachelor of Music in Classical Piano Performance at the Manhattan School of Music under the guidance of Phillip Kawin as a recipient of the President’s Award; she expects to receive her Master of Music in 2017.
Eric Olsen has crafted a distinguished career in both classical and jazz music as a pianist and organist, composer, and conductor. His recordings include Dyad, a collaborative jazz/classical duet with alto saxophonist Louis Caimano, his most recent release, and Jazz Inspired Classics, featuring works by American composers including Copland, Schuller, Gould, and Nancarrow.As composer and leader of his long-standing jazz group Urban Survival, Mr. Olsen released two CD’s, one with acclaimed tenor saxophonist George Garzone. Eric has also performed with guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli and Ed Cherry, sideman to Dizzy Gillespie. He has accompanied operatic bass Kevin Maynor on three recordings, the Grammy-nominated CD The Black Art Song, Jazz Hymns, and From Another American.
He recently collaborated with Kevin Maynor and former NJ Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka on his multimedia work Sisyphus Syndrome, and on a performance of Dorothy Rudd Moore’s opera Frederick Douglas. As an accompanist, Mr. Olson has worked with the internationally renowned vocal studios of Betty Allen, Klara Barlow, Walter Cassel, Giorgio Tozzi, and Virginia Zeani. Mr. Olsen has performed at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, and the Knitting Factory in New York and in India and New Zealand. Mr. Olsen has been a featured soloist with the Livingston Symphony, the Central Jersey Symphony, and the Orchard Park Symphony and a featured jazz performer at the AT&T, Berk’s, and Asbury Park Jazz Festivals.
He has given numerous classical and jazz piano recitals in the NY Metropolitan area. Currently Director of Music and Organist at the Union Congregational Church in Montclair, he has conducted Fauré’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Bush’s Christmas Cantata, Flagello’s The Passion of Martin Luther King, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio Part I, and Pärt’s Berlin Mass with members of the New Jersey Symphony. He has performed the first act of Wagner’s Die Walküre on piano and selections from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde on organ with his wife, Pamela Olsen, an accomplished soprano. In addition to serving on the faculty of Wharton Music Center, Mr. Olsen is an Adjunct Faculty member at Montclair State University. He holds two Master’s degrees in Piano Performance and Jazz Studies from Indiana University and a Bachelor’s with High Distinction in Piano and Organ Performance from Syracuse University.
César Orozco is a prolific Cuban/Venezuelan pianist, composer, music producer, and arranger with an innovative approach of fusion between Venezuelan and Cuban traditional music with jazz. After fourteen years living in Venezuela, Mr. Orozco moved to the United States in 2012. He received a full tuition Assistantship from The Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University, from where he completed a Graduate Performance Diploma (GPD) major in Jazz Piano, under the guidance of the great jazz pianist and organist Timothy Murphy. He also holds a degree in violin performance and ensemble conducting from the National School of Arts in Havana, Cuba. While in the States, Orozco has become a very in-demand pianist in both, Jazz and Latin-American music. Some of the artists he has performed and/or recorded with include Paquito D’Rivera, Pedrito Martinez, Gary Thomas, Yosvany Terry, Luisito Quintero, Giovanni Hidalgo, Horacio “El Negro” Hernadez, Alex Norris, Paul Bollenback, Peter Fraize, Alfredo Mojica, Origem Brazilian Project, Jeff Antoniuk, and Alberto Limonta (Limón).
Throughout his career, besides the United States, he has toured in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Scotland, The Netherlands, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico. As a band leader, Orozco has performed in venues such as An Die Musik in Baltimore, Twins Jazz Club and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Bolivar Hall in London, and the Bimhuis Jazz Club in Amsterdam. He has been part of more than 50 recordings as a guest artist and three solo albums with his project César Orozco & Kamarata Jazz: Son con pajarillo (2007), Orozcojam (2010), which besides receive four nominations, was awarded Best Vocal-Instrumental Album at Cubadisco 2012, the most important event of the Cuban recording industry, and the latest one No limits for tumbao (2015). He also received a DownBeat Magazine Student Music Award 2014 for Original Composition Small Ensemble Outstanding Performance for his piece Orozcojam. As an arranger and composer, Mr. Orozco has written music for diverse types of ensembles and styles, including but not limited to chamber music, symphony orchestras, big bands and musical theater.
Mr. Orozco was born in Cuba in 1980, and traveled to Venezuela in 1997, attending an invitation by the Carabobo Symphony Orchestra as a violinist. In Venezuela Orozco developed an extensive career as a pianist, arranger, music producer, composer, and orchestra musician. He performed and/or recorded with Venezuelan and international artists such as Biella Da Costa, Guaco group, Andres Briceño, Alfredo Naranjo, Latin Grammy winner Maria Teresa Chacín, Aquiles Báez, Ilan Chester, Orlando Poleo, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra (from El Sistema), Gilberto Santa Rosa, Simón Díaz and the Latin Grammy nominated flautist Huáscar Barradas, among many others. He was music director, composer, arranger and pianist for two of the most important Venezuelan musicals: Venezuela Viva, with more than 100 international performances, and “Orinoco”.
In 2010, he received the honor to be an exclusive Yamaha Artists in Venezuela. He also worked as a piano jazz, harmony, and ensemble professor for more than three years at the National Experimental University of the Arts in Caracas. Along with his performing career, Mr. Orozco is currently an active teacher and clinician. He has been invited to teach Master Classes at Berklee College of Music in Boston and Loyola University in Baltimore.
In addition to being on the faculty of Wharton Music Center, Kristine Peters is a candidate for the College of Adjudicators for The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program. She holds certification in Musikgarten Music Makers at the Keyboard and a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from The College of New Jersey. Influential teachers include Beatrice Long and Dr. Tomoko Kanamaru. She is a Master of Arts candidate at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.
Ms. Peters believes in educating the complete musician at the piano. Her student-centered teaching philosophy is that every person has their own connection to music. Her goal is to guide each student toward their musical identity through a complete study of music of all genres. Ms. Peters uses a multi-layered approach that includes repertoire, ear training, sight reading, and music theory.
Margarita Sturman was born in Kiev, Ukraine where she began taking piano lessons at the age of six and immediately felt a connection with what would become a life-long passion. Ms. Sturman graduated with honors and continued her music education at the Reinhold Glière Music University in Kiev. Upon graduation with honors from Glière, Margarita entered the Kiev State Conservatory.
At the Kiev State Conservatory, Ms. Sturman studied under such famous Russian musicians as Professor I. Raibov (piano), Professor J. Fastovskiy (chamber music), Professor G. Nikolayenko (accompaniment) and Professor B. Milich (music theory). While studying at the Kiev State Conservatory, Ms. Sturman performed numerous times in the famous Grand Recital Hall of the Kiev State Conservatory as well as a soloist and accompanist at the Kiev State Philharmonic.
Upon graduation, Ms. Sturman received her Masters Degree as a soloist, accompanist, and music educator. She began teaching piano and fell in love with a profession she would perfect over the next three decades. In 1992 her family moved from the Ukraine to the United States where Ms. Sturman spent 14 years teaching at the Brooklyn Music School and Shostakovich Music School, teaching piano students of all ages.
In 2006 Ms. Sturman moved to New Jersey and began teaching at the Wharton Music Center. Today Ms. Sturman brings her love of music along with a broad knowledge of piano technique and classical music for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students through contemporary musical methods of teaching. She brings over thirty years of experience as a piano teacher and accompanist. A nominee and winner of numerous awards, including a rare Ministry of Culture honorary award for achievements in excellence in teaching, and the development of understanding and appreciation of music in children.
Luba Vasilyeva began studies at the Scriabin Music School of the Arts at the age of six and continued with pianist Lubov Pevzner at the Mussorgsky School where she received her Bachelor of Music degree with honors. She performed at the Great Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg Capella and participated in numerous master classes including those of pianists Natalia Trull, Tatiana Kravchenko.
Ms. Vasilyeva earned her Master of Music degree studying with Vasily Kalmykov and Sergey Urivaev. She performed a series of piano recitals at the Great Conservatory Hall and participated in numerous chamber music ensembles. In 1999, Ms. Vasilyeva and her family immigrated to the United States where she became a faculty member and accompanist at Montclair State University. She also joined the faculty of Wharton Music Center where she continues to teach and perform today.
Ms. Vasilyeva is an active concert pianist and chamber musician. She has appeared in solo performance at the Millburn Library, Hinman Hall (West Caldwell), Montclair Women’s Club, Watchung Arts Center, Montclair Congregational Church, The Unitarian Church in Summit, Steinway Hall (NYC), and Wharton Music Center’s Library Concert Series.
Anna Vozhik has dedicated her career to teaching elementary and advanced piano for over thirty years, both in the United States and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Ms. Vozhik’s teaching style resonates with students on a profound level. She possesses the rare capability of expressing complex musical ideas that transcend spoken language, giving her students the advantage of not only building extraordinary technical skills, but also imbuing them a with deep emotional understanding of the musical landscape. Ms. Vozhik and her students have been the recipients of multiple national awards in the U.S. including the Golden Key Competition, Crescendo Competition, Talented Young Musician Association Program, American Concert Alliance, Young People’s Program Competition of American Chinese Culture Festival, and the Andrew De Grado Competition. Her students have been honored to appear at Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and Bristol Hall in Princeton, NJ.
Ms. Vozhik earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of Modest Mussorgsky in St. Petersburg, Russia. She earned her Master of Arts degree from the East Ukrainian State University. As Choral Director at East Ukrainian State University, Anna directed an eighty-member chorus for nearly a decade. Ms. Vozhik’s other roles included: piano and music instruction at The School of Music in Lugansk, Ukraine; Chair of Voice and Audition at Calderon School of Music; and Adjunct Professor of Piano at Kean University.
Ms. Vozhik has compiled several pedagogical publications including Piano Lessons in Elementary School (Ukraine, 1986) and Enjoy Your Music Lessons: Great Music for Small Hands (Ukraine, 1991). She is a member of the Music Educators Association, the Golden Circle of Teachers, and the Berkshire Choral Festival. Ms. Vozhik holds a National Pedagogy Certification from the National Music Certificate Program.