Share Your Passion




Becker_LectureMichael Becker received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from North Park University, and a Master of Music in Musicology from Roosevelt University. He is an adjunct member of the faculty of VanderCook College of Music, where he teaches the undergraduate and graduate music history and world music courses, and is co-facilitator of the community drum circle.  He also teaches world music courses at Waubonsee Community College and Saint Xavier University. Michael is also an active performer. He is a member of Digitally Correct Meta-Troubadours, a group dedicated to exploratory performance of improvised and semi-improvised music combining world music instruments with digital sound processing. He is also a co-founder of the Home Street Recorder Ensemble, a trio which performs recorder repertoire of the 13th-20th centuries. Michael collects and plays a variety of instruments, including Native American flute, and sells instruments from around the world through his business Native Sounds.

Manju Durairaj was born and raised in India. She studied in London, England, and was involved in graduate research projects on comparative pedagogical practices of Indian (carnatic) and Western Music. She graduated with her second master's degree from VanderCook College of Music, Chicago. Manju is certified in Orff-Schulwerk, completing her levels training at VanderCook College, George Mason University, University of St. Thomas, and at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. Manju currently teaches Pre K-5 general music at the Latin School of Chicago. She is president of the Greater Chicago Orff Chapter. She has presented at ISME, AOSA, OAKE, ILMEA, ECMMA, MKMEA and NAfME (formerly MENC) and has been published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.

David F. Eccles is a native of Norfolk, Virginia and the son of a music educator. He currently serves as Director of String Music Education and Orchestral Activities at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois. He has held string education positions in Virginia and Florida. An active conductor and cellist, Eccles has held conducting and music director positions with the Florida State University Summer Music Camps, Tallahassee Symphony Youth Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra, Greater Miami Youth Symphony, Jubilate Youth Orchestra, and Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra. He has served as a guest conductor for various state, county, regional, and community orchestras. Mr. Eccles is also a clinician for the Hal Leonard Corporation. Mr. Eccles is completing his doctoral studies at Florida State University. He holds a Master of Music Degree in Music Education from University of Miami (Florida) and Bachelor of Music and Media from Norfolk State University. His principal teachers include Elizabeth Eccles, Laurien Laufman, Ross Harbaugh, and Dr. Michael Allen. His most influential lessons have come from scores of energetic students and thoughtful colleagues who continue to be a constant source of inspiration. David is a member of NAfME, Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Kappa Lambda, and serves as President of the Illinois Chapter of American String Teachers Association. He also serves as Administrative Vice-President of the Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra Board.

Matthew Gaunt
currently performs and records as a member of Burning River Brass and Proteus 7. An active chamber musician, he has also performed with Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet, Millar Brass Ensemble, Rhythm & Brass, Center City Brass Quintet, Empire Brass, and is a former member of Majestic Brass, Boston Brass, Paramount Brass and Epic Brass Quintets. As an orchestral musician, Mr. Gaunt has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Portland Symphony, Vermont Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Sarasota Opera. Mr. Gaunt has also held principal positions with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Berkshire Symphony Orchestra and Indian Hill Symphony Orchestra. He received the bachelor of music in tuba performance from Boston University and has studied with J. Samuel Pilafian, Gary Ofenloch and Chester Schmitz. Mr. Gaunt also served as the Massachusetts State Representative of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association. Mr. Gaunt joined the Rockford Symphony Orchestra as Principal Tuba in the fall of 2013.

Named Guitarist of the year by Classical Guitar Alive, internationally-broadcast radio program, Dr. Julie Goldberg is the first guitarist to receive a Doctorate in Music Performance from Northwestern University, and holds degrees from the Chicago Musical College, and College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. Julie has performed solo recitals in New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Michigan and Washington, D.C. and has been featured on the internationally known Dame Myra Hess Concert Series. Dr. Goldberg is on the faculty of North Park University and VanderCook College of Music. She is a guest artist at the Interlochen Music Academy, CCM Summer Guitar Workshop, Wisconsin Center for Music Education, Illinois Music Education Association, Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival and Michigan Music Conference. Over seas she has taught master-classes at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, Hanoi and the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music.

Dr. Michael Hall has been with VanderCook since 2000. He previously taught at the University of Chicago, Illinois Wesleyan University, Guilford College, the Chicago Academy for the Arts, and the Positano, Italy International Chamber Music Academy. Dr. Hall has a doctorate of musical arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro, a master of music degree from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and a bachelor of music degree from Ball State University. He has extensive performing experience as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He has performed with the with the Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Opera Theater, Cincinnati Philharmonia and the North Carolina and Chicago Civic orchestras. Dr. Hall has also serves as the President of the Chicago Viola Society and has performed twice at the International Viola Congress.

Dr. Yu-Sui Hung joined the faculty at VanderCook in 2006 after teaching piano, theory, and musicianship at the University of Cincinnati and Temple University. She received her doctor of musical arts in piano and theory from University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, her master of music degree in piano at Temple University, and her bachelor of fine arts degree in piano and clarinet from National Taiwan Normal University. A chamber music enthusiast, Dr. Hung performs frequently as a solo, collaborative, and orchestral pianist, and has appeared in major concert venues throughout the U.S. and her native Taiwan, collaborating with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. She is an active member of Music Teachers National Association and its regional chapters, as well as Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.

Tony Kidonakis joined the faculty of VanderCook in the Fall of 2009. He earned his bachelor of music education degree from Northern Illinois University, studying saxophone with distinguished research professor Steve Duke. Mr. Kidonakis performed and recorded with the NIU Wind Ensemble under the direction of Stephen Squires, and toured the United States and Europe with the world-renown NIU Jazz Ensemble, and  withlegends such as Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Heath, Ed Thigpen, Frank Foster and Wynton Marsalis under the direction of Ronald Carter. Mr. Kidonakis maintains an active performance schedule with numerous local musicians and has worked with recording artists such as The Drifters, Gene "Duke of Earl" Chandler, and The Cryan Shames, including a guest appearance with The Redwalls on NBC's Tonight Show With Jay Leno. He taught band for five years in Downers Grove Grade School District 58, and is the composer for the Paideia Projects, a series of video documentaries on the contributions of Ancient Greece to Western civilization. Mr. Kidonakis earned his master of music education from VanderCook College of Music in 2009, and a master of wind performance and literature degree from Northwestern University in 2012, studying saxophone with and serving as a teaching assistant for Dr. Frederick L. Hemke.

Joseph Martorano has been with VanderCook since 2001. He received his master of music and bachelor of music degree from the University of Michigan. Post-graduate opera apprentice programs in Italy and Austria allowed him to study with opera legends such as Tito Gobbi, Mignon Dunn and George Shirley. Mr. Martorano is a resident artist with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and formerly with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He has performed throughout the Midwest with numerous regional orchestras. Mr. Martorano has spent 26 years teaching applied voice in the Chicago area. Prior to coming to Chicago, Mr. Martorano also taught as an instructor of applied voice at Mansfield State University, PA, and as a class-voice instructor for the All-State Voice Program at National Music Camp, Interlochen, MI.

Ruth A. Rhodes is a Professor of Music Education at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago.  She currently teaches woodwind courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and served as professor of clarinet and graduate dean at VanderCook College.  She is very proud to have served her alma mater for over 40 years as a faculty member and administrator.

Ms. Rhodes received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music and her Master of Music degree from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University.  She is a clarinetist with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra; co-founded and performed with the chamber group Ensemble d’Accord (which performed live on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series on WFMT); performed with the Opera Theater of Illinois for several seasons; and has performed with the Orchestra of Illinois and Lyric Opera of Chicago.  She has had great fun performing with the Moody Blues, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, ABBA, Mannheim Steamroller, Cherish the Ladies, Itzhak Perlman, Leon Fleischer, Marilyn Horne, Frank Sinatra Jr., Shirley Jones, Pete Fountain, and Tony Bennett to name a few.

Her articles have been published in Bandworld Magazine and in The Instrumentalist; she served as a woodwind consultant on the Essential Elements Band Method DVD for the Hal Leonard Publishing Co., and was an adjudicator for the Boosey & Hawkes Buffet-Crampon Clarinet Competition.

Dr. Roseanne K. Rosenthal is president emeritus, Director of Professional Education and professor of music education at VanderCook College of Music.  She received the Bachelor of Music degree from SUNY Fredonia, and Master of Science and Doctor of Education degrees from Syracuse University under the direction of Dr. Cornelia Yarbrough. She currently teaches coursework in methods of music teaching, research, technology and education psychology; supervises student teachers; and coordinates  graduate masters projects. She was president of VanderCook College from 1989 - 2004. She is a past president of the Illinois Music Educators Association and on the editorial board of the Journal of Research in Music Education and the newly established Reviews of Research in Human Learning and Music. She has published and presented research articles pertaining to music teacher education and music learning and has served as chair of the NAfME Music Education Research Council.  She is a current participant in the Motor Learning Research Forum. She taught instrumental and general music in upstate New York. She is a former member of her local school board (HInsdale-Clarendon Hills CCSD181) and is a current member of the Ada S. McKinley Community Services Board of Directors.

Dr. Leah Schuman has been with VanderCook since 2003. She has broad teaching experience and maintains an active career as a free-lance trumpet player. Dr. Schuman has a doctorate of musical arts and a master of music degree in trumpet performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music, a graduate certificate in performance from the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia, and a bachelor of music degree in trumpet performance from Northwestern University. She has played with the St. Petersburg State Chamber Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Eastman Wind Ensemble, Merit Faculty Brass Quintet, Merit Chamber Players, Mahler Festival Orchestra and the Millar Brass Ensemble.

Timothy Riordan comes to VanderCook College of Music from the Merit School of Music, where he is the active director of the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition - Free Conservatory, the Dynamic Stars Preparatory Program, as well as the Artistic Director of Merit. Mr. Riordan has worked with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Eastman School of Music and Carthage College.  He has performed with the Southwest Symphony, Viennese Symphony of Chicago, Star Plaza Orchestra, Crossroads Big Band, Northwest Indiana Symphony and the Chicago Philharmonic. Mr. Riordan studied trombone performance with John Marcellus at Eastman School of Music, and  conducting with Dr. Robert Hasty of Northwestern University.

Dr. I-Hsuan Tsai
joined the teaching faculty at VanderCook in 2004. Previously, she taught at the University of Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina Community College. Dr. Tsai received a doctorate of musical arts in piano from the College-Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati, a master of music degree in piano and bassoon, and a bachelor of music degree in piano from Indiana University. An active soloist and chamber musician, she is the winner of the Buckeye Piano Competition and the Graves Piano competition. Dr. Tsai’s recent performances include concerts at the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, live performances on 98.7 FM WFMT, the Aspen Music Festival, Roosevelt University, Northeastern University and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series. She has also performed and taught internationally in Mexico, Brazil, China, Portugal and Taiwan.

James Yakas is the Director of Percussion Studies. He is also currently pursuing a Doctoral of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance from the University of North Texas. He also holds a B.M. in Music Education from the University of North Texas and a M.M. in Percussion Performance and Pedagogy from Northern Illinois University.

Mr. Yakas' diversity in percussion education and performance has led him to many unique opportunities. He spent a total of twelve summers in the drum corps activity spanning from performing as a snare drummer with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps to being a staff member and arranger to eventually becoming their Percussion Coordinator and Arranger in 2003. Mr. Yakas has also studied and performed a variety of world music including performances with Northern Illinois University’s Steel Band at the World Steelband Festival in Trinidad/Tobago and the Seoul Drum Festival in Seoul, South Korea; Studying Afro-Cuban Drumming with Orlando Cotto and Studying abroad in Ghana with Ethnomusicologist Dr. Steven Friedson, specifically the Ewe Culture of the Volta region.

Mr. Yakas is an endorser of Yamaha Percussion, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Remo Drumheads and World Percussion Instruments and Sabian Cymbals.



VanderCook College of Music

3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

Stay Connected

Powered by Website design and development by, Inc