Dr. Christopher Azzara
Pianist, arranger, author, and educator, Christopher Azzara has made important contributions to advancing the understanding of creativity and improvisation in the music learning process. An innovator in the area of music teaching and learning, Dr. Azzara is Professor and Chair of Music Education and Affiliate Faculty of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music.
Teaching and performing internationally, he is the author of numerous articles, arrangements, and books, including Developing Musicianship Through Improvisation, Creativity In Improvisation, and Jump Right In: The Instrumental Series (GIA). His arrangements for instrumental and vocal ensembles include A la nanita nana for choir and chamber orchestra or piano (Oxford), and Concert Selections for Winds and Percussion (GIA). His research and publications are concerned with meaningful relationships among listening, creating, improvising, reading, composing, and analyzing music in vocal and instrumental settings. Dr. Azzara’s work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Research in Music Education, the Music Educators Journal, Early Childhood Connections, and in The New Handbook of Research on Music Teaching and Learning (MENC/Oxford). He performs as a soloist and in various ensembles, including the Chris Azzara Quartet, and has played on and produced many studio and educational recordings. In Rochester, he performs with free-lance musicians, members of the Eastman School of Music faculty, and members of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. An active teacher and clinician, he has taught and performed extensively throughout the United States, and in Canada, the Caribbean, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Japan, and Australia. He has presented clinics and workshops in a variety of settings, including TEDxRochester, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and leading music schools in this country and abroad.
Christopher Azzara is a native of Virginia and attended public schools in Fairfax County. After receiving the Bachelor of Music degree from George Mason University, he taught instrumental music in the Fairfax County Public Schools and performed as a pianist in the Washington D.C. area. He later received a Master of Music and a Ph.D. in Music Education from the Eastman School of Music. Prior to joining the Eastman faculty, Dr. Azzara was a professor at The Hartt School of Music, Dance, and Theatre of the University of Hartford, CT.
Dr. Sarah J. Bartolome, an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Northwestern University, is a children’s music specialist with an interest in world music for the classroom. Sarah previously taught elementary general music and conducted children’s choirs in the Boston, Seattle, and Baton Rouge metropolitan areas. She is a frequent clinician at regional, national, and international conferences and has completed music fieldwork in Ghana, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Panama, Vietnam, and Lithuania. She is also a fully certified Kodaly educator, having received all three levels of certification from the New England Conservatory’s Kodaly Music Institute and serving on the faculty of the Kodaly Levels Program of Seattle.
Her scholarship in music education has been published in such journals as the Journal of Research in Music Education, Research Studies in Music Education, the International Journal of Community Music, the Kodaly Envoy, and the Music Educators Journal. Research interests include children’s musical cultures, ethnomusicology and music education, and effective music teacher preparation. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at Northwestern University, Sarah also serves as the Associate Director of the Evanston Children’s Choir.
Dr. John Feierabend is considered one of the leading authorities on music and movement development. He is a professor of Music and the Director of Music Education at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford and is a past President of the American Kodály Educators. A music educator for over thirty years, he continues to be committed to collecting, preserving and teaching the diverse folk music of our country and to using that folk music as a bridge to help children understand and enjoy classical music.
In addition to serving as the lead scriptwriter for the Van Cliburn Foundation's "Musical Awakenings" program of classical concerts for children, Dr. Feierabend promotes music education through frequent presentations in the United States and abroad. He is the author of more than 60 books, recordings and DVDs including the popular "First Steps in Music" series and the "Conversational Solfege" curriculum materials. Founded in 2012, the Feierabend Association for Music Education works to preserve Dr. Feierabend's research and pedagogical techniques through teacher training and certification in both First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege.
Sean Hagon serves as Chair of Berklee College of Music's Professional Music Department. A Berklee alumnus, he is an accomplished educator, composer, and conductor with years of experience in the film, television, video game and advertising industries. From 2009 to 2014 Mr. Hagon served as Director of Continuing Education at New England Conservatory, where he taught courses in music technology, introduced online curriculum and increased enrollment in certificate programs.
Prior to his time at NEC, he was director of music at Pingree School in South Hamilton, MA, where he directed jazz and chamber music ensembles and launched the school's first music technology lab. He has composed music for Fox Sports New New England, PBS, the History Chanel, and other major TV networks, in addition to serving as creative director for Sound Advice, a company that produces radio jingles. Mr. Hagon plays trumpet, violin, and piano, and sings. He has a degree in Professional Music from Berklee, where he focused on music technology, education, and composition; a diploma from the London School of Creative Studies; and a master's degree in music technology from Indiana University-Purdue at Indianapolis.
Dr. Robert G. Hasty is the Music Director of the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra and the conductor of the Chamber Orchestra and Philharmonia at the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where he also serves as the Associate Dean of Orchestras.
A noted researcher in music cognition, Dr. Hasty authored the book "Critical Listening While Conducting" and has been invited to speak on this topic internationally. As a conductor, Dr. Hasty has performed with the All-American College Orchestra at Walt Disney World, Beijing Youth Orchestra, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, Irvine Youth Symphony, Merit Symphony Orchestra, National High School Music Institute Orchestra, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, NU Opera Theater and the NU Contemporary Music Ensemble. He is sought after as an honor orchestra conductor, and is a member of the conducting and music education faculties at the Bienen School of Music.
Founding and Artistic Director of the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, Deborah Mello is the recipient of the Master Teacher Award from the New Jersey Music Educators Association, the Governor’s Award for Arts in Education, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Master Teacher Collaborative Award, sponsored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. A former National Chair of the American Choral Directors Association National Committee for Children’s Choirs, Debbie currently serves the American Choral Directors Association as Eastern Division Children’s Choir Chair for Repertoire and Standards.
Deborah has conducted regional and honor choruses in several states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana, Maine, Kentucky, Virginia, and New Mexico. She has taught numerous workshops on elementary music education and choral singing with children in the United States and as an Artist/Teacher for Doreen Rao’s Choral Music Education courses in England, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In May 2007, Deborah and her husband, Joseph, each received the Inaugural Distinguished Music Educator Award from Yale University. Deborah, in conjunction with composer, Jill Gallina, has published 2 music collections, All-American Sing Along Songs, and Songs Boys Like To Sing that can be used in schools, churches and community programs. Recently retired as Director of Choral Activities at Randolph High School, Deborah teaches the Choral Methods course for music majors at Seton Hall University and is also the director of the Junior Choir at Christ Episcopal Church in Newton.
Paul Rardin is Elaine Brown Chair of Choral Music and Chair of the Vocal Arts Department at Temple University, where he conducts the Concert Choir, teaches graduate conducting, and oversees the seven-choir program at Temple’s Boyer College of Music and Dance. He is also Artistic Director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. Rardin previously taught at the University of Michigan and Towson University, where his choirs appeared with the Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Baltimore Choral Arts Society. His choirs have performed for NCCO national conferences and ACDA division conferences. In 2015 the Temple University Concert Choir performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Bernstein’s MASS under the direction of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and in 2016 the ensemble performed Bach motets with Helmuth Rilling.
Rardin has served as a guest conductor for all-state choirs in seventeen states, for divisional honor choirs for the ACDA and Music Educators National Conference, and for Manhattan Concert Productions at Lincoln Center. He has presented clinics for state, regional, and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. His engagements for 2017-2018 include guest conducting the California All-State Choir and conducting Vierne’s Messe Solenelle at Washington National Cathedral with Manhattan Concert Productions.
Rardin is a graduate of Williams College and the University of Michigan, where he received the M.M. in composition and the D.M.A. in conducting. He has studied conducting with Theodore Morrison, Jerry Blackstone, and Gustav Meier, and composition with Leslie Bassett, George Wilson, and Robert Suderburg. He has also participated in conducting master classes with Helmuth Rilling, Charles Bruffy, and Dale Warland. His arrangements of spirituals and folk songs are published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and his articles, many on the topic of contemporary music, have appeared in the ACDA publications Choral Journal, Troubadour, Resound, and Bel Canto.
Rardin lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife, Sandy.
Kenneth Trapp teaches general music K-6 in Stratford, CT. He is also an adjunct Professor of Music Education at the Hartt School, University of Hartford, and at Gordon College in Wenham, MA. Ken has contributed chapters to two textbooks on the topic of developing aural skills; Engaging Music Practices; A Sourcebook for Middle School General Music, 2012, and The Development and Practical Application of Music Learning Theory, 2005. He is also a professional musician who performs in many ensembles both locally and nationally. Through years of study, Ken has used his knowledge of ensemble performance, harmonic awareness and improvisation to develop activities and materials for students of all ages to become successful playing the ukulele. He is committed to the challenge of bringing aural comprehension to young music learners.