Faculty & Staff

Ryan Reithmeier

Ryan Reithmeier

Director

Teaches: Opera Scenes, Vocal Forum, Bel Canto Singers, Pat and Mary Dirk Vocal Scholarship Program

ryan.reithmeier@ocsarts.net

Dr. Ryan J. Reithmeier completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree (D.M.A.) in Vocal Arts and Opera at the University of Southern California, with supportive environment field work in Music Education, Directing for the Operatic Stage, and Arts Leadership and Entrepreneurship.  While at USC he made his debut with the Thornton Opera as L’aumonier in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, and performed 13 songs from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn toward completion of his doctoral work.  Upon completing his work at USC he was presented with the Opera Area Award, as well as inducted into the USC Eta Chapter of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.

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Regarded as a versatile performer, Dr. Reithmeier regularly performs with notable opera, operetta, and concert organizations throughout California. Highlights from recent seasons include numerous cantatas of J.S. Bach with St. John’s Cantata Vespers in Orange, CA including Ich habe genug (BWV 82), Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen (Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11), as well as Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem and Haydn’s Missa in Angustis with the Oratorio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra at Azusa Pacific University in addition to numerous productions of Handel’s Messiah.  Recent appearances with the Operetta Foundation, Opera a La Carte, Soka Performing Arts Center, and Kallisti Ensemble have been met with high acclaim. In addition, Dr. Reithmeier is a two-time winner of the Beverly Hills National Consortium Auditions, a winner of the NATS-LA Gwendolyn Roberts Auditions, and was a Western-Regional finalist in the NATS-AA competition and has been featured in numerous recitals and chamber concerts throughout Southern California. He has received grants from the Opera Buffs of Los Angeles and held a teaching assistantship at the University of Southern California. Dr. Reithmeier is in high demand as a competition judge, serving on the adjudication panel for the Los Angeles Music Center's Spotlight Awards, California Music Educator’s State Solo and Ensemble Festival, and National Association of Teachers of Singing Los Angeles Chapter Collegiate Auditions and Student Evaluation Program.  Dr. Reithmeier currently serves on the Executive Board of NATS-LA, the nation’s largest chapter of the National Association of the Teachers of Singing, in the role of Parliamentarian. 

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Kelly Adams

Kelly Adams

Instructor

Teaches: Sing OC, OC Musique, Advanced Musicianship

kelly.adams@ocsarts.net

Kelly Adams has been studying music since she joined her elementary school's French choir at age five. She began her training in classical music at the San Francisco Conservatory, then progressed to musical theater and pop songwriting/performance. Kelly is a twice-over graduate of the University of Southern California, receiving a Bachelor of Music in Music Industry, and a Master of Arts in Music Education. In 2013, she fell in love with Kodály's revolutionary methods and ideology, and became certified under Dr. Kathy Hickey. She continues to build Kodály-based curricula for the Santa Monica-Malibu School District, National Children’s Chorus and Orange County School of the Arts. When she's not teaching, Kelly performs, writes and records with the band Karmina, and sings in feature films (Pan, The Lorax, The Hive). www.karmina.com

Daniel Babcock

Daniel Babcock

Instructor

Teaches: Art Song Literature, Music History, Pat and Mary Dirk Vocal Scholarship Program

daniel.babcock@ocsart.net

Daniel Babcock earned a master’s degree in music in vocal performance from University of California, Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree in musical theater from the University of Redlands. 

Professionally, Mr. Babcock is in high demand as a soloist and chorister. In addition to many years of singing with Pacific Chorale and the John Alexander Singers, he has performed with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Bach Collegium San Diego, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and The Clarion Singers. Mr. Babcock is engaged as a chorister in four Los Angeles Opera Productions during the 2015-16 season. Additionally, he is a staff singer at St. James’ in the City Anglican/Episcopal church in Los Angeles. 

 

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Amalia Cisneros

Amalia Cisneros

Administrative Staff, Instructor

Teaches: Beginning Musicianship, Theory I

amalia.cisneros@ocsarts.net

Amalia Cisneros received her bachelor’s degree in music from California State University, Fullerton, where she studied piano with Allison Edwards. She has been teaching private piano lessons for over 10 years. She also sings soprano with the Long Beach Camerata Singers, under the direction of Robert Istad. Ms. Cisneros is continuing her piano studies with Nedda Black.

 

Carrie Dike

Carrie Dike

Instructor

Theory III

carolyn.dike@ocsarts.net

Dr. Carrie Dike holds a Ph. D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick, Ireland, where she conducted field research on Irish traditional singing circles and interviewed Irish singers for an ethnographic study on the sustainability of tradition. She earned the prestigious Government of Ireland Irish Research Council Postgraduate Award, which funded her research endeavors. She has an MA in Music History and Literature from California State University, Fullerton, and a BA in both Drama and Music from the University of California, Irvine. She also studied Vocal Performance at Chapman University before transferring to UCI. Dr. Carrie is also a mezzo-soprano and has sung professionally in Southern California and Ireland, including in ensembles such as Los Angeles Master Chorale, Pacific Chorale, Horizon Music Group, and Choral Arts Initiative. She is very excited to be a part of the team at OCSA.

Denean Dyson

Denean Dyson

Instructor

Jazz Vocals

denean.dyson@ocsarts.net

A free-spirited Mezzo-Soprano with a genuine passion for music, this Vegas-born Chanteuse is a true artist fervently driven to share the beauty and influence music holds.  Classically trained yet accomplished in many genres, her additional vocal capabilities in R&B, soul, and jazz allow her to deliver a beautifully artistic sound imbued with skill and emotion.  Ms. Dyson received her B.A in music from Cal State Fullerton’s School of Music. She has gained exposure entertaining audiences in live solo and ensemble performances for public, corporate, and private events in the United States and abroad, and with that creative devotion to the performing arts, she has also ventured into stage and musical theater, Opera, and Cabaret.

Ms. Dyson’s vocal agility is beyond compare and has earned her the privilege of sharing a stage with many talented artists such as jazz and blues legend Barbara Morrison, and singer and actress Reba McEntire. She continues to showcase her vocal diversity throughout the world, and is often featured as a soloist in performances and recordings.  She is honored to have performed in ensembles for gifted conductors like Gustavo Dudamel, John Williams, Ludwig Wicki, John Alexander, Dr. Robert Istad, Keith Lockhart, and Carl St. Clair, in performances before large audiences in venues like the Hollywood Bowl, Staples Center, and many more.

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Sarah Gonzalez

Sarah Gonzalez

Choir Director

Teaches: Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Women's Chorus

sarah.gonzalez@ocsarts.net

Sarah Gonzalez holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in choral music from the University of Southern California. In addition to her job in the Classical Voice Conservatory, she serves as the Director of Music at St. James' Episcopal Church in South Pasadena.  In her spare time, Mrs. Gonzalez sings with the Golden Bridge Chamber Ensemble and the de Angelis Vocal Ensemble, based in Orange County.

Dr. Izumi Kashiwagi

Dr. Izumi Kashiwagi

Instructor

Theory II; On Stage!

izumi.kashiwagi@ocsarts.net

Izumi Kashiwagi has earned her masters and doctorate degrees in Keyboard Collaborative Arts from University of Southern California under the instruction of Kevin Fitz-Gerald. While at USC, Dr. Kashiwagi received a full-scholarship, Koldofsky fellowship, and teaching assistantship. She has been an active performer in the Los Angeles and Tokyo area, and has also been teaching as an adjunct faculty member at Vanguard University of Southern California and Cypress College. She recently joined as a faculty member at Orange County School of the Arts. In addition to teaching, Izumi has been working at the University of Southern California as a staff pianist of the studio of Ralph Kirshbaum.

Dr. Kashiwagi obtained a bachelor’s degree in music with an emphasis on piano performance from California State University of Long Beach in 2005. Dr. Kashiwagi studied with Edith Hirshtal, Junko Garret, and Craig Richey while at CSULB. She has attended many music festivals and schools, such as the Aspen Music School and Festival, where she has studied with Joseph Kalichstein and Rita Sloan in 2003 and 2004. She also attended The Quartet Program in Boulder, Colorado in summer 2009, where she performed with Charles Castleman, the violin professor at The Eastman School of Music. Dr. Kashiwagi has recently attended the Song Fest in Los Angeles in Summer 2014. The recipient of many scholarships and awards, she won the 2003-2004 concerto competition at CSULB by performing the third piano concerto by Prokofiev. In 2006 Dr. Kashiwagi performed in the Geijutsu Theatre Large Hall in Tokyo with her sister, as the Kashiwagi Sisters. She is also an experienced chamber musician and has performed with many renowned musicians. She has recently been acknowledged as Liszt scholar/Piano artist from Liszt international competition.

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Mark Lamanna

Mark Lamanna

Instructor

Opera Scenes

mark.lamanna@ocsarts.net

Information coming soon!

Gabriel Lawson

Gabriel Lawson

Accompanist, Instructor

Teaches: Barbershop Quartet, Men's Chorus, OCSA Vocal Ensemble, Opera from Scratch, Song Composition, Theory/Musicianship IV Accompanies: Chamber Singers

gabriel.lawson@ocsarts.net

Upon completing studies in piano performance and music education at California State University, Stanislaus, Mr. Lawson continued as a vocal/choral accompanist for its music department.

Concurrent to that position, he worked as the pianist and choir director at College Avenue Congregational Church, the beginning band instructor at Hughson High School, an accompanist for Stanislaus County Schools, and the Youth Entertainment Stage Company.

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Lee Ann Leung

Lee Ann Leung

Instructor

Teaches: Piano Class

leeann.leung@ocsarts.net

Lee Ann Leung has an MFA in music performance and certificate in ethnomusicology from University of California, Irvine. She also taught Class Piano and was the staff pianist for the Chamber Singers and the University Choir. She performed in immersive concert events across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, as well as Comic-Con International and E3 to revive classical music as an art form to diverse audiences. 

Julie Makerov

Julie Makerov

Instructor

On Stage!, Pat and Mary Dirk Vocal Scholarship Program

julie.makerov@ocsarts.net

The Toronto Star declares “Julie Makerov as Senta…was every inch the ringing life force Wagner intended.” As winner of the 2010 Dora Award, Canada’s most prestigious live theater honor, Ms. Makerov was recognized for her compelling portrayal of Senta in Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer and continues to captivate audiences internationally. This gifted young dramatic soprano’s voice has been described as “gloriously commanding” (la scena musicale), “sumptuous” (ArtsSF.com), and “soaring” (The Oakland Tribune).

The New York Times proclaims “Julie Makerov’s plush soprano voice and vulnerability were ideal for the goddess Freia,” and of her debut with Los Angeles Opera, The Huffington post wrote “Julie Makerov is triumphant!” Ms. Makerov’s upcoming engagements include returning to Houston Grand Opera in their production of Strauss’s Elektra. Previous recent engagements include singing Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth with Opera Theater Saint Louis, and making her debut with Houston Grand Opera singing Gerhilde in Wagner’s Die Walküre under the baton of Patrick Summers.

Ms. Makerov’s other engagements include singing Sieglinde in Die Walküre with the American Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leon Botstein, singing the role of Chrysotemis in Elektra with Des Moines Metro Opera and performing the role of the Queen of Hearts in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland with Opera Theater of Saint Louis.

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Arie Moriguchi

Arie Moriguchi

Choir Conductor and Summer Program Coordinator

Teaches: Class Voice, Sing OC! Summer Program

arie.moriguchi@ocsarts.net

Arie Moriguchi earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and music education form Azusa Pacific University. Before college, she studied for seven years in Osaka, Japan. Ms. Moriguchi is a Kodaly-trained music teacher and private vocal instructor. 

Aside from her work with the Classical Voice Conservatory, Ms. Moriguchi is also an instructor in the Instrumental Music Conservatory, a Kodaly instructor for National Children’s Choir, assistant director for California Children’s Choir, and continues to run a private voice studio. In the summer, she serves as a section leader for Idyllwild Choir Festival and continues to learn at the Kodaly Association of Southern California Certification Program.

 

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Tamara Paulino

Tamara Paulino

Instructor

Movement and Improvisation

tamara.paulino@ocsarts.net

Tamara studied voice at Carnegie Mellon University and earned her BFA in musical theater from the Boston Conservatory.  Her performing endeavors have taken her from many performances at the Three Little Bakers Dinner Theater in her home town of Delaware, to the national and international tours of Bye Bye Birdie, Nickelodeon’s Rugrats Live, and Dora the Explorer Live, both with unprecedented sold out performances at Radio City Music Hall.  She feels extremely blessed to have spent ten years performing on stages touring throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the Philippines. She is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association, the union representing professional stage managers and actors.

Tamara is currently a musical theater educator, director, and choreographer at several studios in the area, including Yorba Linda Spotlight Theater Company, Riverside Children’s Theater, and Acting Academy for Kids.

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Pepron Pilibossian

Pepron Pilibossian

Accompanist and Vocal Coach

Teaches: Art Song Literature, Class Voice, Opera Production Coach

pepron.pilibossian@ocsarts.net

Pepron Pilibossian holds a master’s degree in music and graduate certificate from the University of Southern California. She has served as studio accompanist at East Los Angeles College, Occidental College, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ms. Pilibossian has established herself as a recitalist and chamber musician in high demand. A winner of numerous national and international competitions, she has performed in major cities throughout the United States, Canada, Spain, and Bulgaria. Recent appearances include performances at Disney Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Zipper Hall, and Soka University. 

 

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Heather Reithmeier

Heather Reithmeier

Instructor

Soprano, Heather Reithmeier is a native of Fairmont, MN but has called Southern California home for the past 13 years.  She holds degrees from Concordia College, Moorhead, MN (B.M. Music Education) and California State University, Fullerton (M.M. Vocal Performance).  She has performed with several Los Angeles opera companies portraying the roles of Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Tessa in The Gondoliers, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Lucy in The Telephone, and more. In 2010 she was awarded the NATS L.A. Young Artist of the Year and was featured as a soloist in the Pacific Symphony Rising Superstars concert. Ms. Reithmeier and her husband, baritone, Ryan Reithmeier, have been recurring soloists with the La Mirada Symphony for their annual POPS concerts and present collaborative recitals throughout the area. Currently, Heather is an adjunct professor of voice at Vanguard University.

She was a prestigious Stern Fellow at Songfest in 2010, won the Concerto Competition at Cal State Fullerton, and sang the Bachianias Brasilieras with the Cello Choir at Cal State Fullerton under the direction of Bongshin Ko.  She also has performed as a guest soloist with the Corona Symphony and the Opera San Luis Obispo’s Broadway by the Sea concert.

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Advisory Committee

Ann Baltz

Ann Baltz

Educator, Director, Pianist, Founder of OperaWorks

Ann Baltz is recognized as one of the leading opera educators in America today. Inspired by her work with visionary Wesley Balk at the Merola Opera Program and as music director of his Minnesota Opera Institute, Baltz's revolutionary holistic approach to singer training became OperaWorks™, a vanguard of performer education which was the first of its kind to incorporate the cross-disciplinary education vital to singers. Founded in 1987, OperaWorks now boasts an impressive list of over 2,000 alumni worldwide, expanded pedagogical training for teachers and coaches, and documented success of Baltz's teaching methods in the International Journal of Music Education.

Ms. Baltz is sought after to teach residencies, master classes, and workshops nationwide. She is a frequent speaker at national conventions including National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Opera Association, and Classical Singer. As a steering committee member of OPERA America’s Singer Training Forum, she has served as a panelist for their national seminars Building a Career: Strategies for Success.

​She is a vocal advocate of musical improvisation as a tool for freeing musicians' innate musical and dramatic capabilities. As a collaborative pianist, Baltz continues to perform live improvised concerts and operas throughout the country. In 2015 she created OperaWorks’ Arts for Social Awareness Project (ASAP) to produce original, musically improvised opera/theater performance pieces that put a human face on social issues in society. She was nominated by the NAACP Theatre Awards as Best Music Director for ASAP’s first production, The Discord Altar, addressing homelessness, and she is the recipient of a Red Carpet Award from “Women In Theatre” recognizing her outstanding achievements in theater in Los Angeles.

​Her diverse professional background includes roles as assistant conductor, coach, and chorus master in productions with singers including Dame Joan Sutherland and James McCracken, and conductor Richard Bonynge. An accomplished collaborative pianist, Ms. Baltz played extensively on tour with Columbia Artist Concerts and Minnesota Opera. She studied at the San Francisco Opera where she received the Otto Guth Award for outstanding coach in the Merola Program.

Ms. Baltz currently maintains a private vocal coaching studio in Los Angeles.

 

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Ken Cazan

Ken Cazan

Resident Stage Director, USC Thornton Opera

Ken Cazan has directed over 160 productions of operas, musical theater, and plays in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Most recently, he directed the world premiere of Thomas Morse’s opera Frau Schindler for the Gärtnerplatz Theatre in Munich for which he also served as librettist along with Morse. Other world premieres include the Kaminsky/Campbell/Reed opera As One for American Opera Projects and the BAM Festival in 2014, and the Lieberman/McClatchy collaboration, Miss Lonelyhearts which was commissioned by the Juilliard School for their 100th anniversary and was a co-production with the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and the USC Thornton School of Music.

American premieres include Handel’s Agrippina (Ft. Worth Opera), Mozart’s Mitridate, Re Di Ponto (Opera Theatre of St. Louis), and the first American opera house production of Britten’s Gloriana (Central City Opera). He directed La Boheme in collaboration with Leonard Bernstein in Rome, Italy. The semi-staged production was recorded and released internationally on Deutsche Grammaphon and released on video throughout Europe on RAI. His work has also been seen on American PBS, the CBC in Canada, and on major TV channels in various countries throughout Europe. He has directed frequently for the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, Santa Fe Opera, the Seattle Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, the Long Beach Opera, and the Central City Opera Company where he will be returning for his 17th summer in 2019 to direct Britten’s Billy Budd. He has received various Outstanding Director and Outstanding/Best Production awards.

Mr. Cazan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting and Directing from Syracuse University in 1979. Before that he attended Kent State University Stark County Campus from whom he has received the Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Outside of opera, he has directed plays and musicals for various theatre companies across America and in Europe. In Norway, he directed West Side Story for the inauguration of the spectacular, new Kilden Theatre in Kristiansand. In Venice, Italy, he directed a production of the Gershwin's Lady Be Good for the venerated Teatro la Fenice which marked the first time an Italian opera-theatre company had created an original production of an American musical. He is also well known for directing musicals for opera companies, everything from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim. Additionally, Mr. Cazan conceived of and wrote the book and lyrics for a new musical titled Prodigy in collaboration with pop composer Billy Pace. Prodigy is the story of the professional life and death of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the great 1980s African-American fine artist. Combining hip-hop, pop, Latino music, and ballads, Prodigy received two successful staged readings with the Los Angeles Festival of New American Musicals.

Ken Cazan is a full Professor, Resident Stage Director, and the Chair of Vocal Arts and Opera at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for whom he has worked since 2004. At USC, he has been awarded both “Excellence in Teaching” and “Excellence in Service” awards. He has taught masterclasses and acting for the Metropolitan Opera and Central City Opera Young Artist Programs, the Chautauqua Opera, and at Indiana University, Ohio State University, Kent State University, Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and Cal State University Long Beach. He is on the Board of Advisors for the Classical Division of Orange County High School of the Arts.

In 2017, Mr. Cazan was inducted into the Grove Dictionary of Music. It was the first time in 25 years that the esteemed musical dictionary had been edited. The dictionary cited Ken Cazan as an expert in the works of Benjamin Britten and praised his skill in working with singer-actors on characters and relationships.

 

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Jonathan Talberg

Jonathan Talberg

Director of Choral, Vocal, and Opera Studies, Bob Cole Conservatory

Recipient of the President’s Award from the California Music Educators Association honoring "extraordinary accomplishments in music education," Dr. Jonathan Talberg serves as Director of Choral, Vocal, and Opera Studies at the Bob Cole Conservatory, where he is conductor of the international award-winning Bob Cole Conservatory Chamber Choir. Recent career highlights include leading the Chamber Choir to first place awards at the Spittal International Choir Festival in 2017 and the "Choir of the World" competition in Wales in 2016. Additionally, he and the choir have performed with groups as diverse as the Kronos Quartet, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Pacific Symphony and the Rolling Stones.

A passionate advocate for choral music education, Dr. Talberg is regularly engaged to conduct honor choirs across the US, including numerous all-state choruses, and the National Association for Music Education conference choirs. His choirs from Long Beach State have performed in venues throughout Europe and Asia, including the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s, and the Great Hall of the People in China.

His professional experience includes appointments as Director of Music at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Bach Festival. He also served as Conducting Assistant to the Cincinnati Symphony and the Aspen Music Festival and as principal choral conductor at Arrowbear Music Camp in Southern California. A past-president of the California Choral Directors Association, he also serves as an editor at Pavane Music Publishing, where a choral series dedicated to outstanding quality, collegiate-level music is published under his name.

Of the many hats he wears each day, the one he is most proud of is mentor to the next generation of choral musicians. Alumni of the Bob Cole Conservatory Choral Studies program are teaching at elementary, middle and high schools, churches, community colleges and four-year universities throughout the country. Scores of alumni are professional singers—in opera, musical theater, choirs, church music, jazz and pop. Recent Bob Cole Conservatory graduates are currently earning—or have finished—their doctorates in choral music at the University of Michigan, the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Iowa, and the University of Southern California.

Dr. Talberg received his BM in Choral Conducting from Chapman University, where he received the Outstanding Alumnus in the Arts award in 2014. He earned his MM and DMA in Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, and the May Festival Chorus. His conducting teachers include Roger Wagner, William Hall, Earl Rivers, John Leman and Elmer Thomas.

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