Below is a sampling of the Artist-Teachers we’re proud to partner with for our programming. Many of these wonderful artist-teachers are renowned performers and passionate educators that live and work in the nation. They are committed to consistent student growth and excellence.

Jade Dashá



Jade Dashá is a Cleveland born, Florida raised and Chicago based soprano and music teacher studying under Dr. Viktoria Vizin.Jade began 2023 as a Smith Young Artist with Cedar Rapids Opera singing Miss Jones in the world-premier of Charlie and the Wolf, which toured local schools. She has also had the pleasure of working with Opera Steamboat (CO) and Chicago Fringe Opera this year, and was a Studio Artist with Central City Opera (CO) this summer.

Joey Skoch



Joey Skoch is a Chicago transplant from Cleveland, Ohio. He came to Chicago in 2014 by way of his studies at DePaul Univeristy where he majored in Jazz Piano. He was mentored by Dennis Carroll, a bass instructor at the school. They now have a band together called DC & the Love.

Lindsay Fulton

Piano, Voice, Steel Tongue Drum, Accordion, Ukulele and Harmonica

Lindsay Fulton or ‘Miss Lindsay,’ was born in Omaha, Nebraska but has called Chicago home for over fifteen years. As a child, she was asked to perform violin duets and to serve on a select strings group. Today, she enjoys performing at private holiday events as well as watching her current piano students’ progress.

Thomas Kimball

Spanish Style Guitar, Vocals


Thomas Kimball began playing the Spanish guitar in 1992, following an inspiring trip to Mexico. Based in Chicago, he has been fortunate to be able to study Flamenco and Latin American styles with respected local and visiting artists.

Kirsten Leslie

Voice, Piano


Kirsten Leslie, originally from the Chicago area, has performed nationally and internationally as both a singer and actress. Her repertoire is quite diverse including operatic roles, musical theatre roles, and straight theatre roles.

Susie Smith



Susie is a versatile musician and educator in the Chicagoland area. She has toured with classical ensembles in London, Prague, Rome, and Los Angeles. Ms. Miller has played at prestigious venues such as St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Emily Zouras

Dance, Cheer

Emily began dancing at the age of 2 and was a cheerleader in high school. She continued her dance education in college as a dance minor at the University of Tennessee and was accepted into their Performing Arts Dance Company. Upon graduation, Emily moved to Chicago and continued to hone her craft at studios throughout the area.

Lina Mar Yamin



Lina has studied with Janet Sung (DePaul), Kevin Lawrence (UNCSA) and Edgar Aponte (El Sistema). Before coming to Chicago, she was for more than fifteen years a part of “El Sistema” – a social program focused on providing free music education to children and young students- in Caracas, Venezuela.

Michael Cepela



A University Park native, Michael began studying classical piano under the instruction of a family friend. He graduated from North Park University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Education in May 2020. Since his graduation, he’s worked as conductors assistant under two working conductors with the Chicago Children’s Choir.

Emily Munn-Wood


Emily will begin her first season with the Peoria Symphony in the fall. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in cello performance and from DePaul University, summa cum laude, with a master’s degree in cello performance.

Liza Micelli

Voice, Piano


A young visionary and promising artist, Liza Micelli has been the principal keyboardist for Jussie Smollett, Terrence Howard, and celebrity guest artists on 20th Century Fox’s hit television show Empire since its inception in 2015. Liza has performed with Alicia Keys, Patti LaBelle, Rita Ora, and others.

Kenny Smith


Kenny Smith was born into blues royalty. This helped mold him into the person and drummer he is today and later in life asked him to provide his famous backbeat on some of the largest and most respected stages and recordings in the world.

Valentina Guillen Mensello



Born and raised in Venezuela, Valentina began her violin studies when she was 7 years old. Years later, she became part of “El Sistema”, a music education orchestra program in Venezuela. Currently, Valentina is a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for the 2021-2022 season.

Paige Kizer

Voice & Beginner Piano


Paige is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she received a Bachelor of Music degree. Paige got her start in music on the saxophone in elementary school and later venturing into musical theater. She’s been releasing original music since 2019, and plays live with her band Paige and the Kizers.

Mike Hanko


Michael began playing piano at the age of six. He studied performance and composition at Northern Illinois University and jazz piano with Willie Pickens at the Chicago Conservatory College.


He also studied composition and creative writing at Columbia College, and arranging with Cliff Colnot at DePaul University.

Larissa Mapua



Larissa is a Filipino-American viola and violin teacher dedicated to sharing her passion for music.


Selected by the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, she performed Debussy’s String Quartet, Op.10 at the U.S. Capitol for members of the 114th U.S. Congress.

Sasha Brusin

Guitar, Electric Bass & Ukulele


Originally from Novi Sad, Serbia, Sasha Brusin’s musical education and performance experience spans Europe and the United States. He is comfortable and proficient on guitar, electric bass, and ukulele in many styles of music including jazz, rock, funk, R&B, blues, latin, Brazilian to European ethic blends.

Donny Walker

Piano, Bass, Guitar, Drums, Voice, Brass, Woodwinds, Strings, Composition & Music Production


Donny’s educational studies include DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, and Northeastern Illinois University. He learned from members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Lyric Opera & Chicago Jazz Ensemble, a past performer with Aretha Franklin, The Ojays, and The Dells.

Naomi Southard



Naomi Southard is from Portland, Oregon and began her violin studies at age five. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Music Performance from Pacific Lutheran University in Washington State and is pursuing a Master’s of Music in Violin Performance at DePaul University. Naomi primarily teaches classical violin, but also has experience playing jazz, pop, and worship music.

Dan McLean

Guitar, Bass, Drums


Dan McLean is a professional musician and music instructor from Evanston. For the last 15 years, Dan has passionately shared his musical expertise with students of all ages, promoting a love for music that resonates beyond the classroom. He studied under the guidance of some of Chicago’s most accomplished guitarists, focusing on jazz improvisation and ensemble dynamics.

Sam Frampton

Guitar, Ukulele, Electric Bass



Sam Frampton is a multifaceted performer, session musician, and music instructor. He teaches guitar, ukulele, and electric bass. Sam has a BA from Yale and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in jazz guitar performance at DePaul School of Music. Outside of music, he enjoys tennis and running.



Marija Bubanj



With extensive teaching expertise and a dynamic approach, she offers an engaging lesson plan that prioritizes correct technique and musical comprehension, nurturing student development through thoughtfully crafted assignments and objectives, all the while ensuring a fun and enjoyable learning experience for her students!