Piano and Classes
Aria Matthews, Owner & Founder
A native of Rochester and piano primary graduate of the School of the Arts, Aria Matthews has created and inspired music in every community she has been a part of. In 2001, Aria received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Music with a concentration in Piano from Nazareth College of Rochester. From an early age, Aria began her commitment to community engagement and outreach by teaching rising musicians in the Rochester area. 2002 marked the opening of "Aria's School of Music and Art" with the intent of bringing a more positive and modern attitude towards musical and artistic instruction. Aria's students have gone on to participate in the prestigious Howard Hanson Competition for aspiring high school pianists and have performed annually in the Nation Federation of Music Clubs festivals receiving an overwhelming number of Superior Ratings. As an adjudicator, Aria has served on the panels for various festivals in the area, the Howard Hanson Competition, and most recently for the Fingerlakes Music Teachers Association. Continually promoting the school's ideal of "fun and inspiration are our main goals," students at Aria's School have successfully performed and progressed through twice annual recital performances. In 2013, the school moved to its present location with the intention of adding a family-friendly, allergy concious cafe. New Roots Coffeehouse was born from this idea, providing a venue for consistent student and community performances while allowing for student art work to be displayed for the general public. As a result of her work, in 2014 the Greece Chamber of Commerce awarded New Roots Coffeehouse the Renovation Award. Through her teaching, students, and colleagues, Aria has continued to bring music into the lives of many and continues her commitment to inspiring musicians and artists of all ages.
Dailin Zeng is a pianist holding a Bachelor degree from Eastman School of Music in a piano performance major. Originally from China, she began to study the piano at age six. She decided to do music professionally when she was twelve years old and went to the middle school attached to Xi’an conservatory in China. Among her accomplishments include the first prizes of Xi’An Conservatory of Music Piano Works Competition, the first prize of Steinway & Sons National Youth Piano Competition, and top prizes of the Piano competition in the international piano festival in Shanghai Conservatory of Music and IMOLA international piano competition. She came to the U.S. to continue studying piano at Walnut Hill School of Arts since 2014 under the guidance of Ya-Fei Chuang. She had masterclasses with many world-renowned pianists including Hung-Kuan Chan, Robert Levin, Alexander Kobrin, Meng-Chieh Liu, Jerome Lowenthal, among others. She has also attended numerous music festivals, including the Beijing International Music Festival & Academy, the International Piano Festival in Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Music Festival at Walnut Hill in Boston, Piano Institute for the Miami Music Festival, Texas State International Piano Festival, East Carolina Music Festival, International Keyboard Institute & Festival.
In 2020, she won the grand prize of Ronald Sachs International Music Competition. She studied with Professor Nelita True and Professor Boris Slutsky and is currently studying with Professor Joseph Rackers for her Master degree at Eastman school of music majoring piano performance. As an instructor, she thinks that teaching is not just “telling” students what to do, but to teach students how to think in a disciplined and effective way, helping them to learn how to work out problems independently. Dailin has a deep love for teaching and she strikes a balance between technical training and embracing the passionate, artistic aspects of music. She knows this is the best way to help her students achieve their musical goals.
Guitar and Drums
Chris Davis is a Rochester native who has been teaching music in the Rochester area for over twenty-five years. Chris has a passion for teaching and performing and has performed at many venues around the area including retirement homes, festivals, coffee shops, nightclubs, weddings, and art galleries for special events. Chris has a personalized approach with each of his students and strives to find a balance between learning and having fun. Chris attended Monroe Community College and Majored in Music Theory concentrating on Classical Guitar, with a minor in Music History. Chris also studied piano, songwriting, and vocals at MCC, and went on to further his classical guitar studies at the Hochstein School of Music, studying under the head of the Rochester Guitar Society at the time, John Wiesenthal. Chris has been in bands that have headlined the East End Festival (Jametafuze), and have been named amongst the most popular bands in Rochester (Anti-M). Chris has had top finishes in the Guitarmageddon, and King of the Blues competitions, and in the Gibson Rochester Acoustic Guitar contest. Chris has been a session musician on several albums, and has a self produced CD that has received warm reception. Chris also works at the Arc of Monroe as a Supportive Employment Specialist for individuals with Developmental Disabilities. This occupation gives Chris the experience to relate to everyone with compassion, respect, empathy, and patience.
Chris Bull has always been a musician, studying piano, voice, and viola in his formative years. He followed his passion to the University of Wisconsin: Platteville, majoring in Vocal Music Performance and minoring in Viola and French. Multiple music achievements ensued, including several Opera, Music Theatre, operetta revues, and orchestral works, both as a vocalist and viola player. Chris followed the day job to the Rochester, NY area in 2012, where he had the distinct pleasure to study with Derrick Smith and Jan Opalach at Eastman School of Music. His day job is filled teaching people how to use their voices effectively to communicate with others. His other hobbies including raising his young son and playing disc golf.
Eileen truly believes that making stuff (art, crafts, music, food) makes us better human beings. We learn to communicate, empathize, problem solve, categorize, innovate, and so much more. When Eileen teaches her students, she asks them to lead the way, supporting them as they develop the skills they need to make the kind of art that speaks to them. Since key to success in art is a strong foundation in drawing, so she always pushes her students to practice their drawing as they learn to develop their own styles. So while drawing with pencils is the backbone of her art program, practice with a variety of media such as paint, clay, fibers, photography and even digital design are introduced to show students all the things that art can be !! Eileen has been teaching art for 7 years, has a past life as a graphic designer and freelance artist, and has a Bachelors in Art from Nazareth College and Masters in Art Education from Boston University. In her own work, Eileen specializes in Watercolors, Printmaking, and Graphic Design. In addition to teaching, she chases two toddlers around her house and runs an art blog, Make It Like Monet.
Joyce Stanzel is an experienced Music Educator with a Bachelors of Music degree from Eastman School of Music, and graduate hours from SUNY Brockport, Nazareth College, Robert’s Wesleyan College and The Institute for Music, Health, and Education with Don Campbell, Author of The Mozart Effect. Joyce has certification requirements for Transformational Sound School, and Images of Breath and Color, Columbia, Maryland, The International Piano Teaching Foundation, The Listening Program with Alexander Doman through Advanced Brain Technologies, and The Making of a Steinway Course, Long Island, NY, as well as Orff/Schulwerk Music Making.She has taught General Music at Schools #12, #14, #15, #16, #22, #23, and #36 in the Rochester City Schools , the Rochester Christian School, and is State certified for grades K-12. Joyce has provided educational seminars, teaching how music enhances health, wellness, and learning, through her company Visible Sound, especially for senior citizens in the states of New York, Florida and Michigan. Her professional memberships have included The National Federation of Music Teachers’ National Association, National Guild of Piano Teachers, Music Teachers’ National Association, and Rochester Piano Teachers Guild. Joyce is the organist for Bethlehem Lutheran Church and lives in Webster.
Coming from the Chicago area, Terry Dunphy is a piano player and Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media and Music Teaching and Learning major at the Eastman School of Music. Terry is currently studying with Grammy-nominated pianist/organist Gary Versace at Eastman. During high school, Terry played in several ensembles including the Youth Jazz Ensemble of Dupage, the Chicago Youth Jazz Orchestra directed by Pharez Whitted, the Merit Jazz Ensemble, the ILMEA All State Jazz Band, and had the honor of sharing the stage with the former tonight show trumpeter Doc Severinsen with the Quinlan and Fabish All Star Concert Band. Terry also has had experience with small ensembles, whether that be extracurricular ones such as the Birch Creek Jazz Ambassadors Combo or the Merit Honors Jazz Combo, or his own small group projects with other young musicians from Chicago and the Chicago area. Since moving to Rochester, Terry has continued his career as a free-lancing musician. Terry has also played in the Eastman Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Bill Dobbins, with whom he traveled to New York City to compete in the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship. Terry has also played in the Lance Hoffman Orchestra, the New York State Ballet, and Naples Central School’s pit orchestra for their production of Guys and Dolls. Terry has also volunteered to help teach early childhood music classes at the Eastman Community Music School, and has enjoyed playing in and attending concerts at Eastman throughout his undergrad.
Alex Merz a state certified art teacher on a mission to make the world a beautiful place. She moved to the Rochester area from Vermont, where she studied Art Education at the University of Vermont. In addition to her time at Aria’s, she teaches art at Midlakes Elementary School, a public school in the Finger Lakes region. She has an eclectic approach to teaching art, taking inspiration from multiple philosophies and practices in order to give her students the very best education. Alex has a strong belief that every student has the capacity to become a skilled artist, and encourages students to stretch and explore in order achieve their goals. She helps them develop core skills and techniques with a variety of mediums while giving them the freedom to investigate and nourish their own interests, curiosity, and creative instincts. Alex likes to take an eclectic approach to her own art making as well, enjoying sculpture, acrylic painting, drawing, and bookbinding. Because she feels passionate about learning, in her free time she is currently studying oil painting, raising chickens, and attempting to learn Japanese.
Shannon Vanderlaan is a singer/songwriter, pianist and classical oboist from the Western New York area. Shannon is a 2015 graduate from The College of Saint Rose, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Music Industry. At her time at Saint Rose, she served as principal oboist of the college’s Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Woodwind Quintet, Double Reed Choir and Advanced Chamber Winds ensemble. Shannon also served as a founding board member and aided in the launch of the college’s student-run record label, Rose Record Label Group. In addition to being a board member, Shannon served as the Vice President of Artist Development as well as a Songwriting Mentor, leading a group of songwriters signed to the label’s publishing company. In May of 2015, Shannon released her self-produced album, Atmosphere, a full album of original songs all written, performed, engineered and mixed/mastered herself. Shannon is currently teaching voice, piano, and composition at Aria’s School. She instills passion, confidence, and originality in her students by encouraging them to be themselves as they grow as musicians.
Marcus Kramer is a classical guitarist constantly expanding his horizons by exploring the various genres of guitar music, with collaboration with instruments, including strings, woodwind, and brass. The grandeur of his collaborations is equaled by the diversity of his repertoire, ranging from Baroque music to the guitar heroes of today. Just as reputable is his performance in percussion and drum set, collaborating with various ensembles, from jazz to rock n’ roll.Marcus has performed in various stages throughout the Rochester area, as well as his hometown in Baltimore, MD. Notable performances include his various community outreach gigs, as well as performing with OSSIA, a new music ensemble based in Rochester.
Marcus achieved his Bachelor’s at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University under the guidance of Ray Chester & Julian Gray. He perused his Master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music with Nicholas Goluses, and is continuing on for his DMA.
TJ Cappiello, a pianist and euphonist, is from the Rochester area. TJ began piano at the age of 6, and at the age of 10, began studying with Aria Matthews. TJ also started playing trumpet at age 10, switched to euphonium at age 17, and since then, has focused majority of his time with brass instruments. TJ is a 2016 graduate of Greece Odyssey Academy, as well as a 2016 graduate of ASOMA. As a member of the graduating class of 2020, TJ is studying Music Education with a concentration in Instrumental Music at Roberts Wesleyan College. At Roberts, TJ is a part of the Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Paul Shewan, as well as part of the low brass ensemble. With euphonium being his primary instrument in college, under the instruction of W. Craig Sutherland, TJ has also continued to concentrate his studies in piano as well.
Heidi Connorton is a native of Rochester, New York. Heidi graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She studied Art Education at Nazareth College of Rochester and graduated with a NY State k-12 Teaching Certificate in Visual Art. Currently Heidi is teaching Drawing and Painting, Metal and Jewelry, Portfolio Prep and AP Studio Art courses in Greece Central School District. She is experienced in teaching young children up through adults in both lesson and party style learning experiences. Heidi has also worked with students from that Arc of Monroe and School of The Holy Childhood and Industry Residential to share her love of all things art. Heidi has a passion for learning and enjoys sharing that with her students. She believes that it is important to guide students by teaching to their interests so they develop a life long love of art . To Heidi there is nothing like watching a students face when they feel success in what they have created.
Heidi enjoys painting and working in Metals . Her metal work has been recognized by Irish Dancing Magazine multiple years. Recently she has also been creating logos for local businesses , tattoos and clothing designs using drawing tablets and various drawing software platforms to keep with current art practices .
Heidi has a passion for learning and enjoys sharing that with her students. When she is not teaching or creating artwork she enjoys camping or kayaking with her family and dog Willa.
Samantha Day is a recent graduate from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Music education with a concentration in voice and music in special education. Originally from Jericho, Vermont, Samantha moved to the Rochester area to pursue a master’s degree in music therapy at Nazareth College. Her primary instruments include voice and piano. During her time at Crane, Samantha spent 3 years studying in the voice studio of soprano Colleen Skull. Additionally, Samantha has taken piano lessons for 15+ years. While pursuing her music therapy degree, Samantha continues to study voice, piano, as well as guitar. Samantha will be teaching voice, piano, beginner saxophone and beginner violin. Samantha has a passion for teaching and helping others reach their personal musical goals. She loves to see the positive impact that music can have on an individual emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When she is not teaching or taking classes, Samantha likes to draw, play video games, and take care of her two sweet kitties, Electra and Penelope.
Voice, Piano, Sax, Violin
Andrew Flory is a classical guitarist from Dallas, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Arkansas in 2015 and his Master of Music degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2020. He is currently a doctoral student at the Eastman School of Music. Andrew has also received instruction from world renowned guitarists such as Paul Galbraith, Pavel Steidl, Eliot Fisk, and Rene Izquierdo. As well as a love for performance, Andrew loves teaching and feels strongly about the responsibility of musicians to share their knowledge to help others experience the same joy that music brings themselves.
Ryan Farnung has been teaching music in the Rochester area for over fifteen years. As a professional drummer and percussionist Ryan has performed throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada with critically acclaimed groups. In 2010, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Nazareth College of Rochester. While there he honed his skills on classical percussion instruments, as well as expanding his abilities on wind, string and keyboard instruments and gaining exposure to a wide variety of teaching methods. In addition, Ryan has studied drum set extensively for over 20 years. From performing in traditional orchestral settings to recording and touring with pop/rock groups, Ryan’s real world experience has helped him develop a teaching style focused on students’ individual goals and needs. Some of Ryan’s students have gone on to pursue music as a career, and all have gone on to enjoy music in their everyday lives.
Julia Fedor, mezzo soprano, holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance and an Arts Leadership Program Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. During her time at Eastman, Julia trained in the studio of Grammy Award-winning mezzo soprano Katherine Ciesinski. Equally comfortable singing classical and musical theater repertoire, Julia also studied and performed vocal works in German, French and Italian. A multi-instrumentalist, she studies and plays guitar and piano. In 2018, Julia made her Kodak Hall debut as Clara Johnson in Eastman Opera Theatre’s production of The Light in the Piazza. She also portrayed Phyllis in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe as part of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s outreach and education program. As an instructor, Julia welcomes students of all abilities and encourages a love of music in a supportive environment. She works with each student’s skills and goals to develop his or her musicality while building foundational techniques. She continues to study voice and acting, while pursuing musical theatre roles and performance opportunities. Julia enjoys baking, outdoor activities and spending time with her silver tabby cat, Felix
Voice - Guitar - Piano
Guitar - Violin
Maya Lončar is a Croatian-American guitarist with a rich musical upbringing. She began lessons at the age of six with her father, Miroslav Lončar, as her primary teacher. Maya has a passion for performing and an energy that commands attention on any stage. She has been invited as a guest artist for multiple concert programs and festivals throughout Europe and America. In addition to her solo career, she is also an experienced chamber musician, often taking advantage of any opportunity to play with friends and colleagues. She has played in a multitude of venues, including three separate performances at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. as both a guitarist and as a violinist. Maya has won many festivals and other top prizes including the Appalachian State Guitar Festival Competition, the Charlottesville Guitar Festival Competition, and the Southern Guitar Festival Competition. She has also had the pleasure of working closely with some of the worlds most legendary guitarists in masterclasses. The names include David Russell, Pepe Romero, and Berta Rojas.
Maya is an active teacher and advocate of music in her community of Rochester, New York. She is a teacher at Aria’s School of Music and Arts and enjoys performing often with Eastman Performing Arts Medicine. She is a graduate teaching assistant for music theory and secondary lessons at the Eastman School of Music, where she is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in performance with Nicholas Goluses. Maya received her Bachelor’s Degree in performance at the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia under the tutelage of Julian Gray.
Sarah Hendrickson is originally from the Webster, New York and has recently graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music with concentration in piano. Her love of music started at a young age, specifically in fourth grade when she started violin and chorus. Throughout her school career, she participated in school musicals and fell in love with theater and also participated in marching band drumline. In college she realized her true passion was piano. While attending college, Sarah worked at the YMCA and realized her other passion for working with children. She is excited to become part of ASOMA as a kindergarten readiness teacher. Her goals are to help kids prepare for school in a fun, safe learning environment while learning the arts.