Meet the Instructors
Fourth Grade Conservatory Recital
Anna Kopansky received her Bachelor of Arts in piano instruction with highest honors from Stefan Nyaga College of Music, and Master of Arts in piano instruction with highest honors from Gavril Musichescu Conservatory in Kishnev, Moldova, USSR. She also attended Rimsky-Korsakow Conservatory of Music in St. Petersburg, Russia as a Resident-in-training. In addition to becoming a laureate of the National Music Competition in Kishinev and playing as a soloist on international tours, she has taught a number of prize-winning students on both national and international levels in the U.S., the former Soviet Union, and Europe. Kopansky is also the accompanist to our choral organizations.
Leonardo Le San
Celebrated composer and pianist, Leonardo Le San has had notable premieres and performances throughout the world. In 2022, Leonardo’s Microbiome Vol.2 for string quartet was premiered at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow by the Rusquartet. The Condor and Woodpecker, sonata for violin and piano, were premiered in 2022 in New York City at the BMS Theater. Juilliard alumni, Leerone Hakami and Shay Slusky championed Leonardo’s sonata and etudes for violin and piano. In the same year, Concert pianist Edward Cohen recorded Le San’s Scherzo No.1 “Migrant Species” in Glasgow, Scotland. In 2023, renowned Naxos artists, Duo Villa-Lobos, will perform Leonardo’s work for cello and guitar. Le San’s recording of Nocturne to Luz Ofelia was chosen by multiple playlists curators on Spotify. For the past two years, Le San has been composing orchestral, ballet and new chamber, vocal works as well as co-directing current- international projects. Leonardo has performed as composer and pianist at Carnegie Hall, The Merkin Hall, The White House, The Harvard Musical Association, Palais Ehrbar Hall in Vienna, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and The Queens Museum to name a few. Le San’s work Blessed Are the Poor won first place at the Golden Key of Vienna competition. Leonardo Le San has been featured in classical music tv- broadcasts to millions of viewers through the Euro-Channel and RCN international tv. Le San’s recordings have also received airtime in public radio in the US, the national classical radio of Serbia, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Italian radio, as well as publications in Spain and in other parts of the world.
Beth Dzwil - violin and viola
Beth Dzwil, director and principal violist of Fairmount Strings, has been teaching violin, viola, and chamber music for over thirty years. Having formerly taught at Abington Friends School, the Community Partnership School, Germantown Friends School, St. James School, and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, she is currently an adjunct professor of upper strings at the Community College of Philadelphia and was recently named conductor of Philadelphia Sinfonia Strings. She is a seasoned chamber musician, performing for over thirty years with the Fairmount String Quartet and for fifteen years with the Elysian Camerata. She served as principal violist of the Pottstown Symphony for over twenty years and has been a featured soloist with several area ensembles. In addition to her classical work, she has performed internationally and recorded six critically acclaimed jazz albums with the Tyrone Brown String Sextet earning her the status of voting member in the Grammy organization. Her May 2019 album with the Fairmount String Quartet, “Spoken with Strings” is available on all major streaming platforms. She is currently recording an album of works by women composers with the Fairmount String Quartet that is scheduled for release in late 2022.
Ryan Kiple - violin and viola
Violinist Ryan Kiple has been an avid performer in the Greater Philadelphia area for over a decade, and performs with orchestras such as the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and New Jersey Capital Philharmonic. Ryan also regularly performs as a violinist in pit orchestras at many of the area’s theaters including the Arden Theater Company, Media Theater, Broadway Theater of Pitman, Bristol Riverside Theater, the REP at U-Del, Philadelphia Theater Company, Resident Theater Company of West Chester, Theater Horizon, and 11th Hour Theater Company. Festival appearances include the Mozarteum, Strings International, and the Castleton Festival.
In addition to performing, Ryan is also a passionate teacher with over 10 years of experience. Ryan has formerly served on faculty for City Strings, the Lumberton School of Music, Settlement Music School, and led the orchestra program at Foundation Academies. His work with Foundation Academies involved coaching chamber music groups, teaching private lessons, conducting string orchestras, and coaching music teachers. He believes that both kids and adults alike possess the capability of learning to perform music at a high level. His primary mission is to foster a love of great music-making in the medium of string instruments while always maintaining an inclusive, equitable, and nurturing environment.
Ryan holds a BM in Violin Performance, MM in Violin Performance, and MM in String Pedagogy from Temple University where he studied with Dr. Vladimir Dyo.
Justin Yoder - cello
Justin Yoder is a Philadelphia-based cellist and teaching artist. A southeastern PA native, he holds a bachelor’s degree from Goshen College and a Master of Music in cello performance from Temple University’s Boyer School of Music. In addition to working with students at The Haverford School, Justin performs regularly with orchestral and chamber ensembles throughout the region and maintains a private cello studio in West Philadelphia for students of all ages. Trained and anchored in the world of classical music, Justin’s career has also featured extensive cross-disciplinary collaboration; he is passionate about exploring diverse genres in his performance work and encouraging young musicians to do the same. Justin is a regular pit musician with some of the region’s leading professional theaters and is frequently sought after as a versatile studio musician. His playing can be heard on the soundtracks of several recent feature films from major distributors, including Netflix, Universal Pictures, and A24.
Michael Brodine - guitar
Michael Brodine received his Bachelor of Arts from Villanova University and studied guitar with Chuck Anderson. Brodine plays a wide range of musical styles including, country, bluegrass, jazz, classical, and rock 'n' roll. In addition to serving as the staff classical guitarist for the Romig, Carney, and Lewis orchestras, he has performed with the bluegrass band, The Keystone Ramblers, and with a rock 'n' roll band that went on to be #49 on the Billboard charts. Brodine writes and performs original music. Some of his compositions have been recorded and played on national radio.
Jonathan Dichter - guitar
Jonathan Dichter holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University. His teachers include Denis Sandole, Joe Sgro, Pat Martino, and Steve Giordano. He performs with Gypsy jazz virtuoso Stephane Wrembel and has led numerous jazz, blues, bluegrass, folk, big band, and rock ensembles. He has performed in many venues, including The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Chris’ Jazz Café, and Sellersville Theater. Dichter has produced seven CDs and is currently working on another recording. In 1998, he created a summer concert series with Philadelphia’s own Gene Shay that continues to thrive with a tradition of music and community spirit.
Dichter has taught guitar for more than 25 years, both privately and at schools including The Philadelphia School and The Baldwin School, and is proud to have taught the first guitarist to win the prestigious Greenfield Philadelphia Orchestra Competition. Through his musical versatility and deep appreciation of each student’s unique learning style, he has developed an individualized teaching method. Dichter recognizes that the best approach to teaching music is by fostering and encouraging a student’s natural affinity for music.
Paul Butler - saxophone, clarinet, flute
Paul Butler has performed in concert with Grammy Award-winning cellist David Darling, most notably at the International Cello Festival in Montreal, Canada. He has collaborated with David on the recordings Balance, In Tune, and Open Window, and on the soundtrack for the Knosis film, “The Song of the Stars.”
In 1999, Paul and the Hot House Trio (with Eric Henry, tuba, Jim Smith, tenor guitar and vocals) were selected Jazz Ambassadors to the Middle East by the U.S. State Department and the Department of Cultural Exchange. As Jazz Ambassadors, they performed and taught in Syria, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Paul earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from Mansfield University and is a certified Music For People teacher, leading workshops in music improvisation for self-expression and is committed to sharing his passion for music with children of all ages.
- Charles Cacioppo - trumpet, music theory, composition, improvisation
- Barry McCommon - trombone and bass trombone
- Daniel Rotz - trombone, baritone horn, tuba
- Martina Smith - French horn
Charles Cacioppo - trumpet, music theory, composition, improvisation
In addition to being a trumpet player and teacher, Charles Cacioppo is also a composer and scholar. He has written chamber, vocal, orchestral, jazz, and electronic music, and has earned degrees in music from Cornell University, UMD College Park, and SUNY Purchase. His scholarly work covers a wide range of topics from Renaissance music to hip-hop, and his dissertation dealt with jazz trumpet solos. A native of Haverford, Charles grew up studying at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz, and performing with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. He has performed at some of the city’s most beloved venues including the Mann Center, the Kimmel Center, the Curtis Institute, and Ortlieb’s, as well as at several museums, schools, churches, hotels, and restaurants.
Barry McCommon - trombone and bass trombone
Barry is a musician that defies categorization. Having begun his career while still enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music, he also cut his teeth in the clubs of Philly and Atlantic City. His versatility has earned him respect as a “crossover” artist, performing in venues ranging from Lincoln Center to the House of Blues with anyone from the Royal Ballet, to the Jaco Pastorius Big Band, to R&B legend Aretha Franklin.
In addition to his work as a performer, he is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Arts, an Associate Conductor of Bravo Brass, a Teaching Artist for the Kimmel Center of the Performing Arts, has taught at the Philadelphia International Music Festival through chamber music coaching and a solo performance class, and has given Masterclasses throughout the United States(West Chester University, Drexel University, Auburn University, Merit School of Chicago).
Rather than accept the parameters that so many try to place on musicians, Barry plays what he wants to play—his love of rock, jazz, r&b, pop, and classical show every time he hits the stage.
Daniel Rotz - trombone, baritone horn, tuba
Daniel received his Bachelor of Music from James Madison University, where he studied Tuba with Kevin Stees. He has performed with many concert bands and brass bands including The James Madison University Brass Band, The Lukens Steel band, and the Chester County Concert Band. Daniel has been teaching in his private studio since 2012 and has work as a brass instructor at Fairfax County High School, Prince William County High Schools, West Chester Bayard Rustin High School, and most recently Upper Dublin High School.
Martina Smith - French horn
Hornist Martina Smith is currently working towards earning her post-baccalaureate diploma at the Curtis Institute of Music, studying under Jeffrey Lang and Jennifer Montone. Martina also studied with Jeffrey Lang at Temple University where she received her Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance. Martina is a freelancer in the Philadelphia area playing with various chamber groups and orchestras. She has played with Symphony in C and was a substitute player in the Curtis Symphony Orchestra while still a student at Temple University. Martina has worked and taught at the Philadelphia International Music Festival the past two summers as the Assistant Orchestra Director, chamber coach, and private practice coach. She has also attended other summer festivals such as the Atlantic Brass Quintet Seminar, Imani Woodwind Quintet Music Festival, Curtis Summerfest, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute’s Horn Workshop. While in high school she was the principal horn of the All-City Philadelphia Orchestra’s Italy tour.
Percussion & Drums
Drummer Phil Giordano, whose band plays in the great tradition of Count Basie and Woody Herman, is both founder and music director of the Phil Giordano Jazz Orchestra.
Born in 1951, he studied drums privately with some of the finest jazz drummers: Mel Lewis, Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Igoe, and Joe Morello. Giordano attended the Philadelphia Music Academy and studied percussion with Nick D’Amato and arranging with Manny Album and Jim Amdei. He has performed with the Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras, the Four Aces, the Howard Lanin Orchestra, Al Grey and Jimmy Forest, and most recently with Ted Curson and Pat Martino.
Abundant Sounds magazine voted Giordano “Most Popular Musician,” and his big band was voted most popular jazz ensemble in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Daily News.
Drummer and percussionist Kyle Struve brings a lifelong love of music and a genuine passion for teaching to every lesson and every student.
After being largely self-taught aside from the school band, Kyle attended Lawrence University, where he majored in classical percussion with a jazz emphasis. He then moved to NYC to study with John Riley at the Manhattan School of Music and Purchase College. In the following years, he performed and/or recorded with a broad range of musicians, including Walter Blanding Jr., Nir Felder, Adam Niewood, Mika Pohjola, and the Asphalt Orchestra. He was also mentored by drummers Felix Lecaros, Dan Rieser and Kenneth Salters. His gratitude for all his guidance and experiences helps fuel his love for teaching.
Carole Latimer is originally from Nova Scotia, Canada. She is active as a soprano soloist and voice teacher in the Philadelphia area. She has taught voice, French Diction for Singers, and Opera History at Eastern University for the past 13 years. A long time member of the Opera Philadelphia Chorus, Carole was recently seen in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Choristers of Upper Dublin, Die Meistersinger at The Metropolitan Opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites with Curtis Opera Kimmel Center Perlman Theater, and Nabucco at the Academy of Music. She holds post-graduate degrees in opera performance and a master’s in vocal performance from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.
Vocal lesson package
$250 for six-half hour lessons, taught by Conservatory vocal instructor Carole Latimer. This offering is ideal for students who want extra assistance in preparing for any PMEA choral auditions. Please contact Conservatory Director Brian Adamczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org to enroll.