Faculty

Regular Faculty

Professor David Kasunic

David Kasunic, Chair

Associate Professor, Music
B.A., Amherst College; M.F.A., Ph.D.; Princeton University
David Kasunic teaches lecture courses on music history and opera, and seminars on music & food, music & literature, Mahler, and Chopin.
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Stephen S. Hudson

Assistant Professor, Music
B.A., University of California, Davis; Ph.D., Northwestern University
Stephen S. Hudson is an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Occidental College, after previously teaching at Northwestern University (where he received a PhD in Music Theory & Cognition) and...
Professor Shanna Lorenz

Shanna Lorenz

Associate Professor, Music
Ph.D. New York University
Shanna Lorenz is a settler scholar who lives and works on the ancestral lands of the Tongva peoples and whose expertise includes Indigenous-led research, Immigrant and First Nations cultural traditions, ecological and racial justice movements, and the digital humanities.
Professor Adam Schoenberg

Adam Schoenberg

Associate Professor, Music
B.M., Oberlin Conservatory of Music; M.M., DMA, The Juilliard School
Emmy award-winning and Grammy® Award-nominated Adam Schoenberg has twice been named among the top 10 most performed living composers by orchestras in the United States.

Non-Tenure Track Faculty

Joe Addington

Joe Addington

Director of the Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensemble, Visiting Instructor, Music
Joe Addington teaches applied Afro-Cuban drumming lessons, and leads the Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensembles at Occidental College.

Jongnic Bontemps

Visiting Instructor, Music Production
B.A., Yale University
Jongnic Bontemps, aka “JB”, is a classically trained composer with roots in the church and jazz world as a pianist. Read his Oxy Story profile.
Picture of Stephen Cabell

Stephen Cabell

Visiting Assistant Professor, Music
B.M., The Curtis Institute; M.M., The Juilliard School; P.h.D., USC
Stephen Cabell teaches courses in music theory.
Cesar Castro

César Castro

Visiting Instructor, Music
César Castro is a master of son jarocho, a music genre that originated over 250 years ago in Veracruz, Mexico, combining Indigenous Mexican, African, Spanish, and Arabic influences.
Instructor Max Foreman standing next to a chair

Max Foreman

Director of the Choi Family Music Production Center; Resident Assistant Professor, Music
B.A., UC Santa Cruz; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts
Max Foreman is a composer, producer, and audio engineer from San Francisco, CA.
Picture of Ramona Gonzalez

Ramona Gonzalez

Visiting Instructor, Music
A.B., Occidental College; M.A., UCLA
Ramona Gonzalez teaches songwriting, audio production, and music business.
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Julia Holter

Johnston-Fix Professor of the Practice in Songwriting; Visiting Assistant Professor, Music
B.A. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts
Julia Holter is a composer, performer, and recording artist based in Los Angeles. Her interest in sonic mysteries has led her to record in various settings--in her home, outside with a field recorder...
Photo of Edmond Johnson

Edmond Johnson

Director of Advising; Visiting Assistant Professor, Music
B.A., Lawrence University; M.A., Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara
Edmond Johnson is Director of Academic Advising and Core Program Coordinator. He also oversees the LA Encounters Program and teaches courses in Music History and Cultural Studies.
Chris Kim

Chris Kim

Choi Family Director of Instrumental Music; Resident Professor, Music
B.M., Northwestern University; M.M., University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Chris Kim is the Choi Family Director of Instrumental Music and conductor of the Occidental Symphony Orchestra. Read his Oxy Story profile.
Desiree La Vertu

Desiree La Vertu

Director of Choral and Vocal Activities; Resident Professor, Music
B.Mus., CSU Fullerton; M.M. University of Nevada, Reno
Desiree La Vertu is a highly accomplished conductor, soloist, and voice teacher in the greater Los Angeles area.
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Daniel Ryan Long

Visiting Instructor, Music
B.A., University of Virginia
Headshot of Celka Ojkangas

Celka Ojakangas

Visiting Assistant Professor, Music
B.A., Drury University; M.M., D.M.A., University of Southern California
Celka Ojakangas is an award-winning Los Angeles-based composer whose “work rates high on the bold and beautiful scales” and “takes molecular musical quirks and explodes them, then seizes precious...
Dina Ormenyi

Dina Ormenyi

Visiting Assistant Professor, Music; Piano Instructor
B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara; M.F.A., UCLA
Dina has been teaching piano since she graduated from high school in Ohio, where she studied privately with Robert Howat at Wittenberg University.
Fabio

Fabio Paolizzo

Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Audio/Music/Sound Engineering
B.A., 2 M.A., Tor Vergata University of Rome; Ph.D., University of Kent
Dr. Fabio Paolizzo investigates and teaches new methods and forms of expression for human and computational music creativity.

G. Simeon Pillich

Resident Professor, Music
B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
Pillich teaches courses in the music of the world and jazz.
JR

Jonathan Richards

Visiting Assistant Professor, Music; Director of the Occidental Jazz Ensemble
B.A., USC; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jonathan is an active member of the music industry as a bassist, composer and educator.
Headshot of Daniel Wohl

Daniel Wohl

Visiting Assistant Professor, Music
B.A., Bard College; M.A., University of Michigan School of Music; Ph.D.., Yale School of Music
Born and raised in Paris and currently residing in Los Angeles,  Daniel Wohl's music blends electronics with acoustic instrumentation to often "surprising and provocative effect" (NPR). HIs...
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Alexander Zhu

Visiting Assistant Professor, Music
B.M., New England Conservatory; M.M., University of Southern California; DMA, University of Southern California
Alexander Zhu is a composer, producer, and arts administrator who teaches Musicianship and serves as the department's Production Manager.

Applied Music Faculty

String Instructors
Aroussiak Baltaian headshot

Aroussiak Baltaian

Violin Instructor
“Emerging as if a highly burnished and glowing ruby,” violinist Aroussiak Baltaian has gained international attention through her extensive appearances as a prominent recitalist, soloist,...
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Ted Botsford

Classical Double Bass Instructor
As a teacher, orchestral musician, soloist and proponent of contemporary music, Ted Botsford enjoys a varied career, exploring the sonorities of the double bass and pushing back against its...
Jin-Shan Dai posing with violin

Jin-Shan Dai

Violin Instructor
Dynamic violinist Jin-Shan Dai has performed extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2010. Previously, he was a member of the Toronto...
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Michael Larco

Viola Instructor
Violist Michael Larco joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 2012 after seven seasons as Assistant Principal in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. A frequent participant of the LA Phil’s...
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Gloria Lum

Cello Instructor
Cellist Gloria Lum, a native of Berkeley, California, attended both the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, graduating from the latter institution...
Keyboard Instructors
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Galina Barskaya

Piano and Collaborative Piano Instructor
Galina Barskaya began studying piano at the age of four and started to perform professionally at the age of 7. Barskaya got her BM and MM at Kiev State College and Kiev State Conservatory where...
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Junko Ueno Garrett

Piano Instructor
Japan-born Junko Ueno Garrett has captivated audiences around the world with her colorful tone, poetry, expressiveness, dynamic technique, and wide range of repertoire. She began playing piano...
Dina Ormenyi

Dina Ormenyi

Visiting Assistant Professor, Music; Piano Instructor

Dina has been teaching piano since she graduated from high school in Ohio, where she studied privately with Robert Howat at Wittenberg University.

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Cathlene Pineda

Jazz Piano Instructor
Cathlene Pineda is a sought after pianist and composer in the Los Angeles area. In June 2020, Orenda Records released Cathlene’s third album of original music, “Rainbow Baby,” hailed by critics...
Headshot of Piano Instructor Vicky Ray

Vicki Ray

Instructor of Applied Piano
Described as “phenomenal and fearless,” Grammy nominated pianist Vicki Ray is a leading interpreter of contemporary piano music. Known for thoughtful and innovative programming which seeks to...
Voice Instructors
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Loren Battley

Jazz & Commercial Voice Instructor
Loren is an award-winning jazz vocalist and composer whose artistry was cultivated in Downey, CA. Her early exposure to gospel, jazz, R&B, and pop, contributes to her unique singing and...
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Scott Blois

Voice Instructor
Scott Blois recieved his Bachelor of Music degree from CSUN in 1984. He has participated in the Aspen Music Festival and the Music Academy of the West, as well as having a number of guest artist...
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Karen Hogle Brown

Voice Instructor
Praised by Mark Swed of the LA Times as “luminous”, Karen Hogle Brown is a coloratura soprano whose strong musicianship and flexible voice have helped her to champion and premiere new works, as...
Desiree La Vertu

Desiree La Vertu

Director of Choral and Vocal Activities; Resident Professor, Music
(323) 259-1333

Desiree La Vertu is a highly accomplished conductor, soloist, and voice teacher in the greater Los Angeles area.

Guitar Instructors
Jason Arimoto, guitar instructor

Jason Arimoto

Ukulele Instructor
Originally from Hawai‘i, Jason Arimoto, Ph. D., is a Los Angeles-based ‘ukulele creative with a professional background in ‘ukulele performance, education, and retail. Arimoto performs and...
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Ronald Berman

Classical and Jazz Guitar Instructor
Guitarist Ron Berman has been performing solo and group recitals of jazz, classical and original compositions in concert and on film, radio and television in the US and Europe for over thirty...
Steve Gregory Headshot

Steve Gregory

Instructor of Rock Guitar
Steve has toured extensively with the "legendary genius of soul" Ray Charles, pop icon Frankie Valli, and Chanteuse Anjani with her frequent guest the poetic Leonard Cohen.  He has performed at...
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Riner Scivally

Classical and Jazz Guitar Instructor
Guitarist Riner Scivally has performed with Alan Broadbent, Larance Marable, Stacey Rowles and Putter Smith. He received a bachelor's degree from Occidental College, an MM from USC, and later...
Harp Instructor
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Alison Bjorkedal

Instructor of Applied Harp
Hailed by the LA Times as"a force field unto her own, yet joined in something bigger, " Alison Bjorkedal is a passionate ambassador for the harp and a specialist in performing the music of Harry...
Woodwinds / Brass Instructors
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Catherine Del Russo

Oboe Instructor
Catherine Del Russo received her Bachelor of Music Degree and Performance Certificate at the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Robert Sprenkle, and her Masters of Music Degree from...
Jay Jennings Headshot

Jay Jennings

Instructor of Jazz Trumpet
Jay Jennings is a 3x GRAMMY Award winning trumpeter known for his work with jazz supergroup Snarky Puppy. He is a founding member of the band which started at the University of North Texas in...
Sara Marsh

Sara Marsh

Clarinet Instructor
Sara Marsh (Canning) has built a sterling reputation as a clarinetist and teacher in the Western U.S. Hailing from Texas, she studied at the University of North Texas and UCLA. Early in her...
Rachel Mellis

Rachel Mellis

Flute Instructor
Rachel Mellis enjoys a multi-faceted career as an orchestral, chamber, solo, and recording artist. She performs regularly throughout the U.S. and has toured internationally in Europe and Asia.  ...
Erm Navarro

Erm Navarro

Trombone Instructor
A native to Los Angeles, California, Erm Navarro began private trombone lessons and played in the public school system at age 12. Upon graduation from high school, Erm completed his Bachelors of...
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Stephanie O'Keefe

French Horn Instructor
Originally from Chicago, Stephanie O'Keefe has made her home in Los Angeles since 1987. A busy freelancer, O'Keefe enjoys a widely varied career, including performances and recordings with the...
Daniel Rotem

Daniel Rotem

Saxophone Instructor
Daniel Rotem is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, and educator. Growing up in Israel by the Mediterranean Sea, Daniel fell in love with the freedom and potential for expression he...
Allen Savedoff

Allen Savedoff

Bassoon Instructor
Allen Savedoff is a member of the Pacific Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and California Philharmonic, and has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic New Music Group, LA...
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Douglas Tornquist

Tuba Instructor
Doug Tornquist received his B.M. from University of Southern California, his M.M. from Wichita State University and his D.M.A from University of Southern California. Tornquist has been principal...
Percussion Instructors
Joe Addington

Joe Addington

Director of the Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensemble, Visiting Instructor, Music

Joe Addington teaches applied Afro-Cuban drumming lessons, and leads the Afro-Cuban Drumming Ensembles at Occidental College.

Part-Time NTT Percussion & Drumline Instructor

Yuri Inoo

Percussion Instructor
 A native of Kanagawa, Japan, Dr. Yuri Inoo is a musician and educator in the Los Angeles area. She has studied percussion under David Rosenthal at San Francisco State University, where she...
Music instructor Jamey Tate

Jamey Tate

Drum Set Instructor
Since arriving in Los Angeles, Jamey Tate has become one of the most sought after musicians on the national touring and studio scenes. He has performed and/or recorded with a diverse list of...
Alexander Technique Instructors
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Frances Marsden

Alexander Technique Instructor
Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Liverpool University and a Diploma of Education from Leicester University. Marsden's first experience with the Alexander Technique was when she was...