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Jon Minei began his performing career at age 19, premiering at the Mirabell Palace in Salzburg, Austria and also at Mozart's Residence in Vienna. In addition to classical guitar, he has performed with a variety of musical theater companies; performing as a pit musician for Man of La Mancha at the renowned 2001 Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah. David Nichols of the Los Angeles Times calls his playing "Superb!" The late Poly Warfield of Backstage West describes his playing as "...plangent strains of enchantment ..."
As a soloist and ensemble player, Jon has performed extensively locally and abroad. His principle instrument is a 7-string classical guitar with extended lower and upper registers, made by Michael Thames of Taos New Mexico.
As an educator, Jon Minei owns and directs Opus Music of South Bay and conducts and arranges music for the Opus Music Rocktet (a rock 'n' roll orchestra). He is also an adjunct faculty member at El Camino College in Torrance. Jon is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California pursuing a DMA in classical guitar.
Kim Cuda is a Los Angeles-based guitarist who has been composing and producing for television, film and national commercials (radio and TV). A studio guitar player for many years, Kim uses his versatility by composing in many different styles of music. From the beautiful acoustic slide guitar heard on Ken Burn's Emmy award-winning documentary "Unforgivable Blackness," to the hard-edge driving rock guitar on the Golf Channel's Monday Night Lights.
Kim is a very committed and highly knowledgeable guitar teacher. He works well with kids and adults. As a guitar teacher in high demand, his main focus is on the rock/blues repertoire but he is also committed to teaching music fundamentals to beginners, including reading and developing a thorough knowledge of chord vocabularies.
Ori Huberman studied Music and Music Education in Israel and graduated from Musicians Institute in Hollywood as "The Most Outstanding Student of the Year". Ori is a phenomenal guitar teacher with insights into the rock genre. An active performer, Ori performs frequently with various cover bands in the LA area, performing music ranging from rock-and-roll and jazz to swing and blues. In addition to his cover bands, Ori is an active member of tribute bands of The Beatles, Heart, Carole King, CSNY, and much more. He is also an avid fingerstyle guitarist and is well versed in many American traditional guitar styling of Chet Atkins and Laurence Juber.
Ori is also our electric bass guitar teacher.
Miguel Velazquez has studied classical guitar for over ten years. He received his musical education at El Camino Community College where he studied under the guidance of John Dearman and Matthew Grief. He graduated with Honors from El Camino College recieving his Associates of Arts degree in Music Performance. He then went to obtain his Bachelors of Arts degree in guitar studies from California State University Northridge where he graduated with honors from the music program. He has studied under the guidance of Steven Thachuk, Kate Lewis, Bryan Fasola and Ron Borczon. Miguel is continuing his musicial education at Cal State Northridge where he will obtain his Masters of Music degree in guitar performance.
His teaching methods revolve around classical guitar studies specializing in technique and musicality, as well as pop, rock and finger style music. Miguel's devotion to teaching and attention to detail have made him a much sought after teacher in the South Bay Area.
Francisco "Pancho" Burgos, originally from Madrid Spain, graduated in Classical Piano Performance from Madrid Royal Conservatory, and in Classical Composition and Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He was assistant conductor for the Longwood Symphony Orchestra in Boston under the supervision of musical director Francisco Noya. During his years in Boston, Pancho worked as a teacher at schools in Boston and Providence and as a private instructor.
He has also toured and recorded extensively through Spain and in the US. Among the numerous artists that Pancho has recorded and toured with are: jazz singer Gabrielle Goodman, pop-rock band Blue Water, singer-songwriter Matt Chase, pop recording artist Chris Emmerson - featured in the WB series Dawson's Creek - and R&B recording artist Chrissy Poland. A Film Composer, Pancho recently landed in LA to pursue his career as both a composer and performer. He is also the Musical Director for the Contemporary Opera of Los Angeles.
Christopher Michael Hill is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in classical piano performance at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB. He has received prestigious awards, such as the Bob Cole Conservatory Scholarship and the Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship. He performed in YPLN’s (Young Professional Leadership Network) “Young Professionals on Stage” at the Cole Conservatory. He is also a member of MTNA (Music Teacher’s National Association) and serves as secretary of the MTNA collegiate chapter at CSULB. He currently is studying with Althea Waites, who earned her Master’s degree in piano performance at Yale University.
Michael was also a part of the “49er’s Chorus”, a choir at the Cole Conservatory; their venues included the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center and at First Congregational Church of Long Beach. He also had the lead role in the musical “Honk!”, and has helped lead the worship team at his church.
Athena Murphy holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music from the Towson University in Maryland. She's been a musician since she was in the cradle, and even learned to read music before she could read English. Over the past twenty-two years of teaching piano, voice and guitar she has learned how to use her student's brain, and the basic musical skills her students already have to help turn themselves into a great musicians and performers. She's worked with children and adults of all ages throughout her 22 years of experience. Her specialty is taking the simple skills students already have and using them to teach students everything they want to know about how to play their own instrument. Her lessons will always be geared toward what the student wants to learn, and if it seems like they are working on something that doesn't match that, Athena will always take the time to make clear why what they are doing will help the student be able to play what they want. She believes if you can tap your foot along with a song, and you can recognize Mary Had a Little Lamb, you've got what it takes to become an amazing musician. Athena Murphy will I always figure out the best method to have your brain master the musical skill you wish to achieve.
DanMichael Reyes is a pianist, producer, and audio engineer. Reyes holds a Master's Degree from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Jazz Piano as well as a Bachelor's in the same subject from New York City's famed The New School. During his academic career Reyes has studied under the jazz idiom's greatest practitioners including Reggie Workman, Vic Juris, Jean-Michel Pilc, Gerard D'Angelo, Alphonso Johnson, and Vinny Golia to name a few.
A busy musician, Reyes has since gone on to work in some of the world's most iconic recording studios from Capitol Records, Electric Ladyland, Island Sound Studies (formerly known as Avex Studios), Converse Rubber Tracks Brooklyn, Sunset Sounds, and many more. His experience as a session musician eventually led him to a career on the other side of the glass as he now spends a majority of his time as a producer and audio engineer at Pasadena, CA's The Pie Studios where he has worked on numerous pop and hip-hop hits.
More recently, Reyes has partnered with music industry veteran Louis Stephens to start Trailer-Trash Audio, a production company specializing in film trailer music. The pianist/producer is also in the process of building Avogato Kitty Studios, his own post-production facility named after his three-legged cat, Avocado.
As impressive as the previous statements sound, none of these would ever be possible without Reyes attending Opus Music South Bay during his formative years growing up in Torrance. Reyes first started taking jazz piano lesson with current Opus Music teacher Pancho Burgos during the very beginnings of Opus Music South Bay. DanMichael Reyes is proud to share his experiences and expertise to the school where it all started. He specializes in jazz piano technique, repertoire, improvisation, harmony as well as beginning piano lessons.
Mika Yamamoto is from Japan. She started her piano lessons when she was four years old, and joined a childrens choir at eight years old. For the next decade she performed extensively, as a member of a variety of choirs. She regularly assisted choir rehearsal as a leader of the group and as a sectional leader, in addition to her service as an accompanist.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from California State University, Northridge, where she studied piano with Dr. Jacqueline Salas, Ms. Francoise Regnat, and studied voice with Ms. Diane Ketchie.
Spending two years in the Music Therapy program to experience the field, she worked with children and adults who would seek specialized musical treatment for various conditions.
Ms. Mika enjoys working with young children who wish to bring musical knowledge and joy into their lives. Ms. Mika teaches Voice and also Beginning Piano.
Nisha Ram is a California native. Nisha has been performing since the age of 4 and fell in love with music ever since. She began her formal training at the age of 6, and went on to participate in many well-known and prestigious music festivals and competitions both in the United States and around the world. Music was always an extremely vital part of Nisha’s life, and that is because she grew up in a family filled with musicians. Growing up Nisha would be exposed to a numerous amount of musical genres and music; Classical, Jazz, Broadway, Musical Theatre, Bollywood (Indian Music) and R&B to name a few. Having access to all these different genres shaped Nisha to be the musician she is today.
In middle school, Nisha began to realize that music is her passion and it was something she wanted to pursue for the rest of her life. It was during those adolescent years that she began to expand and further her knowledge of music to become a versatile musician. Nisha has studied under many well-known music instructors, two of which were Julliard alumni. She focused on perfecting her skills in Voice, Piano and Music during her education in both school and college. Nisha also has a vast amount of experience touring with music groups and performing in large venues with them. One of which being performing alongside classical vocalist Andrea Bocelli . She has also performed at the Sydney Opera House, and The University of Honolulu. Nisha has a knack for songwriting and studied it as well during her education. Nisha has an album which she Co Produced, Composed and Performed on.
Ms. Ram has had the pleasure of collaborating and working with several musicians throughout her career. Ms. Ram enjoys teaching children and adults of all ages, and levels. She has had experience teaching Classical, Jazz and Pop.
Jennifer Holly is a professional musician specializing in violin and voice. She has been privileged to study violin with Linda Wang, Marcy Vaj, and Chan Ho Yun of the Colburn School. Born and raised in the South Bay, Jennifer received her Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of California, San Diego in 2009 and went on to pursue a career in music. Currently she holds the position of principal 2nd violinist in Beach Cities Symphony and in the Corelli Ensemble, and regularly performs with Culver City Symphony, Peninsula Symphony and Topanga Symphony. Jennifer also sings with the Joanna Medawar Nachef singers, and works with the choir and orchestra at California Academy of Math and Science.
Even though she is classically trained, Jennifer also has experience in many different styles of music, including jazz, fiddle, and rock. She has been teaching private students from the ages of 3 to 63 since 2012 .
Navid Hejazi, born in Spain, graduated from Madrid Royal Conservatory and later extended his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has extensive knowledge on classical violin techniques and other styles such as bluegrass and jazz.
In Spain he was part of Luigi Bocherini Chamber Orquestra and performed at Auditorio Nacional with the MRC Symphony Orquestra. In the US he was part of the Berklee World Strings, performing in NYC and Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Navid is an international award winning film composer and his solo violins can be heard on many movies in Hollywood and video games such as ‘Resident Evil: Revelations 2’.
Navid Hejazi believes the ultimate purpose of playing violin is to have fun and express one’s artistic talents, which everyone possesses and just have to educate. This satisfaction will come with effort, discipline, strong skills and a spirit of self-improvement.
Mindia is an artist who sings and plays the cello simultaneously. Born into a classical music family in Chengdu, China, and raised in San Francisco, Mindia started classical piano education at the age of 3, and cello education at the age of 6. She attended Berklee College of Music, where she studied composition, vocal and cello performance. She has performed in many locations in Boston and Los Angeles including the Outside the Box Music Festival, the Berklee Performance Center, the Mint, and she was a speaker for TEDxManhattan Beach .
Yao Wang was born in Xinjiang, China, and began cello study at the age of five with his father. After attending Shanghai Conservatory in China from 2004-2005, he completed his Performer’s Certificate at La Sierra University in Riverside under the study of Professor Pin Fei Tang. Accepted to the Thornton School of Music, University of Southern California, Yao began study with Eleonore Schoenfeld in 2006, and received his Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance as a full scholarship student under the instruction of Professor Alexander Suleiman (Student of Deniel Shafran and Natalia Gutman) and Daniel Rothmuller (a formal principal assistant cello of Los Angeles Philharmonic). In 2013, Yao received his Master Degree of music performance under the instruction Dr. Marek Szpakiewicz at Azusa Pacific University.
In 2000 Yao was awarded 2nd Prize in the National Competition and top prize in the Central Conservatory String Competition in China. In 2002 he received a full scholarship to the Itzhak Perlman Music Program, and performed with Perlman in that year. Also in 2002, Yao was the featured soloist in a performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto with Xinjiang Philharmonic. Yao won 1st Prize in the American String Teachers' Association competition in 2005 in Redlands, Los Angeles and California State divisions, followed by a full scholarship to the International Cello Master Program Gregor Piatigorshy Seminar that year. He attended ASTA’s Summer Institute for Chamber Music in 2007. In 2008, he became one of the winners of the Sigma Alpha Iota Competition. Yao has been invited to play in many concerts in Los Angeles, Hollywood, and he has been principal cellist of the Corona Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2010. During his Master degree studies at Azusa Pacific University (2010-2013), Yao was appointed to be a teaching assistant of the cello studio in Azusa Pacific University. In 2013, Yao played as a soloist with Corona Symphony Orchestra, and he was invited immediately after the concert to give cello master classes and lecture recitals at La Sierra University, California State University Dominguez Hills, and Los Angeles City College.
Yao has great interest and passion not only to cello performance, but also to the conducting practice. In his primary school studying, Yao had shown talent on his conducting. He was appointed to conduct the student choir from his primary school in sixth grade and had received a great success. Later, he had won choir conducting awards many times from his high school, the Attached middle school of Xinghai Conservatory of Music, Guang Zhou, China. In 2011, Yao decided to take conducting practice as a major study under the instruction of Professor Christopher Russell at Azusa Pacific University. He conducted the Azusa Pacific University Symphony Orchestra on September 23rd, 2012 for his debut practice in the U.S. for the public.
Yao currently plays the principal cello in Dream Orchestra (since 2015) and coaches the cello section in Yaola Orchestra. He also just got a new position coaching chamber music at the Orange County School of Arts (Aug. 2016).
Yu Fujii currently performs with the Pacific Flute Ensemble. Ms. Fujii has performed in numerous ensembles at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music such as Wind Symphony, the Symphony Orchestra, University Flute Choir, Japan America Chamber Ensemble and the Viridian Wind Quintet. Yu Fujii played principal flute in the Symphonic Band for two consecutive years and has traveled with the group to perform in Fresno, CA and Reno, NV.
She has performed in masterclasses with artists such as Robert Langevin, Shigenori Kudo, Robert Dick and Dorli McWayne. She is a member of the Suzuki Music Association and has experience teaching children as young as 4 years old. Ms. Fujii is a Dean's List graduate from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Cal State Long Beach where she received her Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance.
Grace Mehm holds a Master's Degree in Oboe Performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of music at California State University, Long Beach. At the Cole Conservatory she had the privilege of studying oboe and English horn with Carolyn Hove. Her Bachelor's Degree, also in Oboe Performance, is from the Hartt School of Music of the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut. While there she studied with oboist Humbert Lucarelli.
Grace has extensive experience teaching private and group lessons, including lessons in English Horn and reed making. Her students have gone on to win scholarships and place in honor orchestras. Currently, her students hold the top spots in nTyme's (North Torrance Youth Musicians Ensemble) Chamber Orchestra.
Locally, Grace has performed with the Dana Point Symphony, Symphony Irvine, as well as other groups around Southern California. Previously, she was a long time member of the Cheshire Symphony.
Alfonso Manuel Pimentel Garcia (Al Pimentel) was born in Mexico City. Shortly thereafter his family moved to the United States where he would be brought up. Music never lacked being a part of his everyday life since he came from a family of musicians. Growing up he would be exposed to many kinds of music such as Classical, Jazz, Pop, and Folk music. By age 12, music would become his passion and soon after he was looking toward a career in that particular industry, whether it be arranging, composing, or producing.
It wasn’t until he was in high school that he decided to focus on performing since being on stage gave him a thrill like nothing else he had done. Soon his listening habits changed to more accommodate his taste in music since by now he had been focusing on Jazz Saxophone. At the time that he started his formal musical studies at El Camino College he had picked up other instruments along the way that were not in the woodwind family such as Euphonium, Trombone, and Tuba. He studies both Jazz and Classical saxophone and is now recognized as one of the better known gigging Saxophonists in the college.
A versatile musician, Mr. Pimentel has had the pleasure to work in a variety of musicals where he has been able to show his range by being featured on saxophone, flute and clarinet.
Mr. Pimentel enjoys teaching children and adults of all ages and levels. He has had experience teaching both classical and jazz.
Dr. Caster J. Teoh hails from Penang, Malaysia, Caster started playing the violin when he was 6 years old but switched to the trumpet in 1997. Caster served as principal trumpet in the Penang Symphony Orchestra from 2000-2002. In 2015, he was appointed Principal Trumpet with Dream Orchestra of Los Angeles and has been performing with this wonderful ensemble since then. Since coming to the United States, Caster has appeared in numerous orchestras, including the American Youth Symphony, Orange County Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony, Quad City Symphony, Cedar Rapids Opera, West Coast Chamber Orchestra, etc. While in college, he was one of the finalists in the Maia Quartet competition and was awarded outstanding Pi Kappa Lambda award in 2007. Caster performs with many professional ensembles, including the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Brazilian Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Malaysia, Kumamoto International Orchestra, etc. under numerous conductors and artists, such as Kees Bakel, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kurt Mazur, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, and many more. During the summers, he has performed in many countries, including Brazil, Italy, Japan, Korea, Belgium, Taiwan, Australia, Thailand, Canada, etc. A doctorate graduate from the USC Thornton School of Music, Caster was inducted as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society in 2007 and 2013. While at school, he was also a Fulbright scholarship student and was awarded the 2013 outstanding Brass Chamber Music award. In the past summers, Caster has been performing in many world-class music festivals, including the International Winter Music Festival in Brazil, Alba music festival in Italy, etc. In 2014, he was invited to perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with West Coast Chamber Orchestra. His primary teachers include Andrew Balio, Boyde Hood, David Greenhoe, John Bourque and William Theis. Aside from being an orchestra musician, Caster has also served as Music Director/Conductor of the Youth Symphony West Orchestra, Brass Coach at California Summer School for the Arts and Adjunct Professor of Brass at Grace Mission University. Caster is a much sought after teacher of trumpet. His students have won numerous music awards and have been admitted to credited universities, such as Michigan University, Eastman School of Music, University of California, Los Angeles, Cal state University at Northridge, etc. At the same time, Caster’s students also performed in music festivals, orchestras, and competitions throughout the country, including the International Trumpet Guild competition, Colburn Youth Symphony and Jazz Orchestra, Pacific Youth Symphony, Idyllwild Music Academy, and Colorado Youth Jazz Ensemble.
Richard Fultineer is a professional musician specializing in drums & percussion. Richard has performed in local institutions such as the Santa Monica Civic Center with Conductor Victor Bae, and the Gibson Amphiteather with Kenny Loggins. Internationally, he has played at the Korean Annual Peace Festival with the Nigeria Drum Ensemble and toured Singapore with String Theory, a collaborative ensemble of dancers and musicians. Richard has more than 15 years of experience teaching. He participated with LA Opera Community Programs teaching in LAUSD schools and taught at the South Bay Conservatory and the Music Center. He also taught Drums and percussion to children in Miyagi Prefecture in the Tsunami affected town of Watari-cho. Richard has also worked in film, recording television and publishing. Some of his work can be seen in “Wedding Crashers,” HBO’s True Blood” and BBC’s The Eco Challenge.
*Japanese speaking teachers available upon request