Music Academy

Faculty

Festival Napa Valley attracts some of the world’s finest musicians, who serve as faculty and coaches for the Academy.  Performing chamber and orchestral music with renowned musicians is a distinctive part of the Academy experience at Festival Napa Valley.

For a list of past performers, click here. 

Strings

David Kim
David Kim

Violinist David Kim was named Concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1999. Born in Carbondale, Illinois in 1963, he started playing the violin at the age of three, began studies with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at the age of eight, and later received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School.

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Laura Hamilton
Laura Hamilton

Laura Hamilton was Principal Associate Concertmaster for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where she led hundreds of performances over 33 years. She was previously a member of the Chicago Symphony and served as concertmaster at the Sydney Opera House. She currently teaches violin and chamber music at New York University.

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Katherine Fong
Katherine Fong

Violinist Katherine Fong has been a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra since 2000. A native of Amarillo, Texas, she began playing at age four.  Katherine leads a multifaceted existence as an orchestral musician, chamber musician, soloist, entrepreneur, studio musician, and mother. 

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Meredith Kufchak
Meredith Kufchak

Meredith Kufchak joined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as principal viola in 2019. Prior to her move to Dallas, she spent one season as a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Born into a talented musical family, Ms. Kufchak grew up in Columbus, Ohio as the youngest of six musicians. She completed her undergraduate studies in viola performance at Rice University, where she studied with Ivo-Jan van der Werff at the Shepherd School of Music.

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Jodi Levitz
Jodi Levitz

A recipient of the Sarlo Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching, Jodi Levitz serves as professor of viola at the Frost School of Music, Artistic Coordinator of Stamps Ensembles, and Co-Artistic Director of the Zephyr Chamber Music Festival. She was previously the principal viola soloist with the Italian chamber orchestra "I Solisti Veneti" and violist of the Ives Quartet and Chicago String Trio. 

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Bettina Mussumeli
Bettina Mussumeli

Violin soloist, pedagogue, and clinician Bettina Mussumeli enjoys a storied and varied career as a concert artist on the great stages of the world. She was co-concertmaster and soloist of the Italian chamber orchestra "I Solisti Veneti" and the first violinist of the Ives Quartet. She currently serves on the faculty of the Frost School of Music and the Zephyr Chamber Music Festival.

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Joel Noyes
Joel Noyes

Joel Noyes is Assistant Principal Cellist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and is also very much in demand as chamber musician and recitalist. He performed with Renee Fleming in the opening night concert of Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall and has been seen there many times since as part of the Musicians from the Met chamber series.

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Scott Pingel
Scott Pingel

Scott Pingel has been serving as the principal bass of the San Francisco Symphony since 2004, after having worked with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Pingel has served as a tenured Associate Professor of Music at the University of Michigan and is currently a faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

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Brian Powell
Brian Powell

Brian Powell is Associate Professor of Double Bass and Music Education at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. He has a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance and a Masters degree in Teaching from Indiana University, as well as a Doctoral degree in Performance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He is a former member of The New World Symphony, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, and has also performed with several professional orchestras such as the Louisville Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

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Harumi Rhodes
Harumi Rhodes

Harumi Rhodes is the second violinist of the internationally renowned Takács Quartet, performing 80 concerts a year worldwide. Acclaimed by the New York Times as a “deeply expressive violinist”, Rhodes has gained recognition as a multi-­‐faceted musician with a distinctive musical voice. She is Associate Professor of Violin, Artist in Residence and Ralph E. and Barbara L. Christoffersen Faculty Fellow at the University of Colorado-­‐Boulder. Rhodes combines her performing career with a passionate commitment to guiding young instrumentalists, composers, and ensembles.

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Sophie Shao
Sophie Shao

Cellist Sophie Shao, winner of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and top prizes at the Rostropovich and Tchaikovsky competitions, is a versatile and passionate artist whose performances the New York Times has described as “eloquent, powerful,” “beautifully phrased and interestingly textured,” the LA Times noted as “impressive” and the Washington Post called “deeply satisfying.”

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Melissa White
Melissa White

American violinist Melissa White has enchanted audiences and critics around the world as both a soloist and a chamber musician. Her February 2020 performance with the National Philharmonic was deemed “absolutely breathtaking” by Maryland Theatre Guide critic Katie Gaab, who cited the “grace, precision, and warmth” of her playing in Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 1; reviewing the same concert for The Washington Post, Matthew Guerrieri called her “an excellent advocate, prioritizing ease and fluency over intensity, suiting the music’s lyric and episodic nature.”

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Woodwinds

Gabriel Beavers
Gabriel Beavers

Gabriel Beavers is the Associate Professor of Bassoon at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Beavers is also a member of Miami’s Nu-Deco Ensemble and serves as 2nd bassoon with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra in Durango, CO. Prior to joining the faculty at Frost, he served on the faculty of Louisiana State University School of Music and as principal bassoon with the Baton Rouge Symphony.

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Alexander Fiterstein
Alexander Fiterstein

Alexander Fiterstein is recognized as one of today’s most exceptional clarinetists. He has been praised by the New York Times for possessing a “beautiful liquid clarity,” and the Washington Post wrote, “Fiterstein treats his instrument as his own personal voice, dazzling in its spectrum of colors, agility, and range. Every sound he makes is finely measured without inhibiting expressiveness.”

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Jennifer Grim
Jennifer Grim

Hailed as "a deft, smooth flute soloist" by the New York Times, Jennifer Grim's remarkable depth and breadth as a performer of solo and chamber repertoire has gained broad national acclaim. Grim is currently an associate professor at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, and she serves on the Board of Directors of Chamber Music America.

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Erin Hannigan
Erin Hannigan

Erin Hannigan is the principal oboe of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and an adjunct associate professor at Southern Methodist University. As the co-founder of the non-profit Artists for Animals, Hannigan has received the "Ford Award for Excellence in Community Service," and as a graduate of Eastman School of Music, she has received the Distinguished Alumni Award.

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Jessica Phillips
Jessica Phillips

Jessica Phillips won her position in the clarinet section of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 2001. She graduated cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was also enrolled in the joint lesson program with Manhattan School of Music. She has performed as Acting Principal Clarinet of the MET Orchestra during 2003-2004, 2011-2013, 2014-2016 and the 2021-2022 seasons. In 2013, she received the honor of having her chair endowed at the Metropolitan Opera by Ruth and Harvey Miller.

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Brass

David Byrd-Marrow
David Byrd-Marrow

Atlanta native, hornist David Byrd-Marrow is a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble and the Knights. On Broadway, David most recently was in the orchestra for the musical Carousel. He is currently an assistant professor of horn at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, and he has served as a faculty member at the Banff Music Centre.

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Timothy Conner
Timothy Conner

Timothy Conner, Associate Professor of Practice, Instrumental Performance, joined the faculty of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in 1995.  In addition to teaching individual studio lessons, he conducts the Frost Trombone Choir, coaches chamber music, teaches courses in trombone pedagogy and literature, and serves as a faculty mentor on multiple doctoral committees.  He has been a featured soloist with the Frost Wind Ensemble and Frost Symphony Orchestra several times, including the world premiere of David Maslanka’s “Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble”, written for him and Gary Green.  Their recording of this work has been released on the Naxos label. He currently performs with several regional orchestras in the South Florida area. Tim is an S.E. Shires Artist.

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David Garcia
David Garcia

David Garcia has been Solo Trombonist of the Philharmonia Zürich, Orchester der Opera since 2007.  Previously he was Principal Trombonist of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence, Italy) and the Hartford Symphony.  As a guest he has performed worldwide with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Orchestra of St. Lukes, San Antonio Symphony, US Coast Guard Band, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Orquestra Sinfonia de Galicia (Spain) and Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne (Germany).

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Craig Morris
Craig Morris

Grammy-nominated trumpet soloist Craig Morris is a versatile performer, comfortable in all genres of music. Prior to his work as a soloist, Morris was principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and associate principal trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony. Morris is currently a professor of trumpet at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. 

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Aaron Tindall
Aaron Tindall

With his orchestral playing praised as "a rock-solid foundation" and his solo playing described as being "remarkable for both its solid power and its delicacy", Aaron Tindall is the principal tubist of the Sarasota Orchestra and the associate professor of tuba and euphonium at the Frost School of Music - University of Miami. In the summers he teaches at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC, where he also serves as Principal Tuba with the EMF Festival Orchestra under the direction of Gerard Schwarz.

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Percussion

Joseph Petrasek
Joseph Petrasek

Joseph Petrasek was appointed Principal Percussionist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2017. Previously, he served as Associate Principal Percussionist of the Kansas City Symphony for 8 seasons and as a percussion fellow in the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida. Joseph has appeared as Guest Principal with the San Francisco Symphony and has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Pacific Symphony.

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Svet Stoyanov
Svet Stoyanov

Svet Stoyanov is a driving force in modern percussion who has performed more than 1,000 recitals and has presented over 200 masterclasses worldwide. Winner of the prestigious Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Stoyanov is currently an associate professor and Director of Percussion Studies at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

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Piano

Michael Sheppard
Michael Sheppard

Known as “a virtuosic soloist possessed of power, sensitivity, earthiness, and humor” (Whitney Smith, Indianapolis Star) with the “power to make an audience sit up and pay attention...thought-provoking for performers and listeners alike” (James Manheim, All Music Guide ), Michael Sheppard studied with the legendary Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory. He was selected by the American Pianists Association as a Classical Fellow, which designation led to the recording of his Harmonia Mundi CD of 2007.

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Conductors & Others

Robert Britton
Robert Britton

Robert Britton is an Alexander Technique instructor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he has also served as chair of "The Complete Musician" department. He was awarded the George S. Sarlo Award for Excellence in Teaching in Colleges and Universities in 2012, and he currently serves on the Board of the Alexander Technique Congress Association.

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Gemma New
Gemma New

Sought after for her insightful interpretations and dynamic presence, New Zealand-born Gemma New is Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. She is the recipient of the prestigious 2021 Sir George Solti Conducting Award. 
 

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