Music Faculty


Becker_LectureMichael Becker
World Music, Music History
Michael Becker received his Bachelor of Arts degree in music from North Park University, and a Master of Music degree in musicology from Roosevelt University.
At VanderCook, Becker teaches undergraduate and graduate music history and world music courses, and is co-facilitator of the community drum circles. He also teaches world music courses at Waubonsee Community College and Saint Xavier University.
An active performer, Becker 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 that performs recorder repertoire of the 13th-20th centuries. Becker collects and plays a variety of instruments, including Native American flutes, and sells instruments from around the world through his business Native Sounds.


Bistrow,_Doug_headshot_2017_BRIDoug Bistrow
Applied Bass
Doug Bistrow received his bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he majored in string bass performance, and jazz and contemporary media. An active performer, giving 150-200 concerts per year, he has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Edgar Meyer, Time For Three, members of the Silk Road Ensemble, Johnny Osborne, Ky-Mani Marley, Corey Chisel, Keith & Tex and many others.
Bistrow is a member of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony, and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. He teaches double bass at VanderCook, and is on the faculty at the Merit School of Music, where he teaches double bass, jazz studies, music history and music theory.
Bistrow has performed and recorded with artists including Jeff Parker of Tortoise, Steve Million, Greg Ward, Bobby Schiff, Katie Todd and the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. He also owns and operates Audio Bistro Recording Studio in Chicago's Logan Square. 
Campbell,_Bonnie_headshot_2016Dr. Bonnie Campbell
Applied Clarinet
Dr. Bonnie Campbell received a Doctorate of Music in music literature and clarinet performance from Indiana University. She also holds degrees from Yale University and Roberts Wesleyan College (summa cum laude), and attended the Banff School of the Arts. Her teachers included James Campbell, Keith Wilson, Margaret Quackenbush and Alan Hacker.
Dr. Campbell's orchestral experience includes performances at the Evian Festival (France), as well as the opening ceremonies of the Bastille Opera House in Paris. She has performed in New York City at Merkin Hall and at Lincoln Center, where she played the Mozart Clarinet Quintet as part of the Mozart Bicentennial Celebration. Dr. Campbell performs frequently at the Chicago Cultural Center and has been heard on WFMT’s "Live from Studio One" and on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series.
She has been a member of the South Bend Symphony and the Camerata Chamber Orchestra of Bloomington, and is a founding member of the Daedalus Duo and Vermillion (with pianist Diana Schmück and cellist Judy Stone). At the invitation of the International Clarinet Association, she presented the world premiere performance of Robert Kritz’s "Diaspora Dances" at ClarinetFest 2009 in Oporto, Portugal. 
Davila-CortesDr. Yvonne Davila-Cortes
Director of String Education

Dr. Yvonne Davila-Cortes is originally from Chicago and began Suzuki violin at the age of five. She attended DePaul University and received her B.M. in Music Business and Violin Performance under Joseph Genualdi. During that time, she had the opportunity to substitute for the Chicago Civic Orchestra. She received her M.M. in Violin Performance at UW-Madison under Vartan Manoogian. Mrs. Davila-Cortes has appeared as a soloist at the AIMS Music Festival in Solsona, Spain and at the Rural Musicians Forum in Spring Green, WI. While in WI, she was a member of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and a substitute with The Madison Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Davila-Cortes has served as an Adjunct Instructor at Ripon College, conducted an elementary string orchestra in McFarland, Wisconsin and established Suzuki violin studios in both Madison and Spring Green. She has presented at the Suzuki of the Americas Association and American String Teacher of America Conferences. Dr. Davila-Cortes moved to the Austin area to attend UT-Austin. She is a faculty member of the University of Texas String Project and has served as a Suzuki violin teacher, Preschool Coordinator, and Assistant Director from 2009-2011. Yvonne is also the conductor of the Austin Youth Concertante Orchestra. Currently, Mrs. Davila-Cortes is finishing up her doctorate in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin with an emphasis in Parental Involvement.

Dolan,_Stacey_headshot_2012_cStacey Larson Dolan (MMEd ‘98)
CAO, Undergraduate Dean, Associate Director of Bands

Dean Stacey Larson Dolan teaches music education courses, conducting courses and band at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dolan was a successful teacher at the elementary, middle, and high school levels before joining the faculty at VanderCook in 2004. She earned a Bachelor of Music Education (BMEd) from Millikin University where she studied flute with Dr. Mary Ellen Poole and conducting with Dr. Gary Shaw. Mrs. Dolan completed her master's degree at VanderCook College of Music where she studied flute with Kaye Clements and conducting with Dr. Charles Menghini. She is currently ABD and working on her dissertation in diversity and inclusion in music ensembles. She will graduate in 2021 from University of Northern Colorado with an EdD with a minor in Statistical Research Methods.
Mrs. Dolan served on the design and teaching staff for the National Champion Lake Park Marching Band for 12 years, and was the creative director and conductor of the Bensenville Young Musicians Mentor Band from 1995 to 2007.
Dean Dolan has conducted honor bands and presented workshops at MEAs and festivals throughout the United States and China. She has taught thousands of middle school and high school students through her work as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor. Her professional affiliations include NAfME, Phi Beta Mu, AIMS, AERA, NBA and CBDNA.
Durairaj,_Manju_headshot_2012Dr. Manju Durairaj (MMEd ‘03)
General K-5 Methods


Dr. 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. Dr. Durairaj is certified in Orff Schulwerk, having completed her levels training at VanderCook, George Mason University, University of St. Thomas, and the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria.

She  frequently teaches Music Education Center of America (MECA) continuing education courses at VanderCook. In addition, Dr. Durairaj teaches PreK-5 general music at the Latin School of Chicago. She is president of the Greater Chicago Orff Chapter, 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.

Mariana_Gariazzo_Dr. Mariana Gariazzo 
Applied Flute 
Flutist Dr. Mariana Gariazzo joined the faculty of VanderCook College of Music in August, 2021. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Music from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Music from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Argentina. 

Dr. Gariazzo enjoys a growing reputation as an engaging and thought-provoking pedagogue, lecturer, and performer. She is a sought-after clinician and has served on the adjudication panels of many national and international competitions. Her research focuses on new music by Latin American composers and she has presented on the subject in Europe, Asia, Latin and North America. In solo and orchestral settings, she has performed with such ensembles as the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Fe Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra at Yale, New Music New Haven, Neither Music, and the National Orchestra of Argentina.
Gariazzo serves as President of the Chicago Flute Club and chairs the National Flute Association Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Current performance projects consist of presenting her new CD at national and international venues and inspiring generations of flutists to optimize performance through nutrition.  As an advocate for low flutes, she actively collaborates with composers in commissioning, recording, and performing new music for C, alto, and bass flutes. Her debut CD, Revelations, will be released by MSR Classic Records in 2021.
julie-goldbergDr. Julie Goldberg
Applied Guitar
Named Guitarist of the Year by the international radio program "Classical Guitar Alive," Dr. Julie Goldberg joined VanderCook it 1999. She was the first guitarist to receive a Doctorate in Music Performance from Northwestern University, and also holds degrees from the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, and College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. A Chicago native,
Dr. Goldberg leads the Chicago Community Classical Guitar Orchestra, directs VanderCook’s annual Day of Guitar festival, presents yearly guitar clinics for the Wisconsin Center for Music Education, and is a faculty member for Teaching Guitar Workshop, sponsored by Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (GAMA.) Overseas, she has taught master classes at the Vietnam National Academy of Music in Hanoi, and the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music. Dr. Goldberg performs frequently as a soloist and with the Avanti Guitar Trio.
She is co-author of 100 Classical Guitar Lessons, published by Hal Leonard. Her educational guitar ensemble arrangements are published by Guitar Chamber Music Press.
Hogan,_Matthew_headshot_2017_CROPMatthew Hogan
Applied Bassoon
Matthew Hogan received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bassoon performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he also served as associate instructor of the bassoon studio. His bassoon teachers included David McGill, Kim Walker and Arthur Weisberg.
An active bassoonist in Chicago, he has performed with many area orchestras including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, currently holds the position of second bassoonist with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and is a performing member of the Chicago Philharmonic. Hogan is also director of music and organist at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Elmhurst, Ill. 
_Y0A6881Dr. Yu-Sui Hung
Applied Piano, Music Theory
Dr. Yu-Sui Hung received her Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance with secondary expertise in theory from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She also holds a master’s degree in piano from Temple University, and a bachelor’s degree in piano and clarinet from National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei.
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 Orchestra and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. She is an active member of the Music Teachers National Association and the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.  
jirousek_peter_semi-retouchPeter Jirousek
Applied Horn
Peter Jirousek received his Bachelor of Music Performance degree from the University of Illinois and a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University. He served as principal horn of the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Chamber Orchestra for 15 seasons. Jirousek currently performs as an extra with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Lyric Opera, Grant Park and Grand Rapids symphonies. He currently is performing for the Joffrey Ballet in the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra and the Northwest Indiana Symphony. Recently, Jirousek performed in the Broadway in Chicago productions of Wicked, Billy Elliot, Mary Poppins, Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera


Lisa Marie Kahn
Applied Harp
Lisa Marie Kahn is one of the most in-demand harpists in Chicago, known for her artistry and musicianship. Known equally for both ensemble playing and solo performances, Kahn has worked with many notable orchestras, and in such venues as the Chicago Symphony Center, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall, and the Michigan State Capital. Currently, Kahn serves as the harpist for the Drake Hotel, where she is featured several days a week as a soloist. In addition to her position as adjunct professor of harp at Vandercook, she is the president of the Chicago American Harp Society. 
Prior to moving to Chicago, Kahn was the solo harpist for the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich., and has been a prize winner in several competitions. She competed in the Lyon and Healy Awards International Competition in 2011. Kahn earned a Bachelor of Music on Scholarship from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Gillian Benet Sella, harpist for the Cincinnati Symphony. Kahn went on to earn a Master of Music at the University of Illinois, known for its internationally recognized harp program. She then completed a performance diploma at the Chicago College of Performing Arts under the tutelage of Sarah Bullen, world-famous harpist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Kaminsky_p1Alex Kaminsky
Director of Bands
Alexander Kaminsky was appointed Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at VanderCook College of Music in 2019 after a highly successful tenure at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Previous to that, Kaminsky led the band programs at Buchholz High School, Lincoln High School, Auburndale High School, and Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr High School, all of which excelled under his direction. He holds degrees from the University of Florida and Indiana University, is active as an adjudicator, and is in demand as a guest conductor/clinician across the country. Throughout his 30-year career as a high school band director, Kaminsky’s ensembles have consistently earned Superior ratings at all levels of evaluation. In addition to earning straight Superior ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) State Concert Band Assessment beginning in 1997 for an unprecedented 21 years (the last 11 years with both his first and second bands), he is the only director in the history of the FBA to have had three concert bands from one school earn straight Superior ratings at State, which he achieved three times (2009, 2018, and 2019).

Kaminsky’s high school bands performed at the Midwest Clinic (2005, 2009, 2014, and 2018), ABA National Convention (2014), CBDNA/NBA Southern Division Conference (2004 and 2014), FMEA State Conference (2014), Music for All National Concert Band Festival (2002 and 2012), and the National Wind Band Festival at Carnegie Hall (2009 and 2018). In 2018, the Stoneman Douglas Wind Symphony was named a Mark of Excellence National Wind Band Honors winner as one of only ten 6A bands in the nation. His marching bands consistently placed in the Florida Marching Band State Championship Finals, twice winning consecutive FMBC State Championships (2013 and 2014, 2017 and 2018) as well as being named a finalist band at BOA regional competitions.

Kaminsky has presented his clinic “How Can I Get My Band to Sound Like That” at various conferences and workshops, and his hands-on rehearsal demonstrations for the annual “How To Fix It” series at the FMEA Professional Development Conference received high acclaim with over 900 attendees in 2019. He has been awarded the National Band Association’s Citation of Excellence numerous times and has been recognized with several achievement awards for education, including Florida’s 2019 FMEA Secondary Music Educator of the Year Award, FBA Oliver Hobbs Award, FBA Andrew J. Crew Award, National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teacher, Nobel Educator of Distinction, Teacher of the Year, and is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

Kaminsky is a Conn-Selmer Educational Clinician, an elected member of the prestigious American Bandmasters Association and the American School Band Directors’ Association, and also holds memberships in CBDNA, NBA, NAfME, and Phi Beta Mu. He has served on many state and national committees, and currently serves on the ABA Sousa/Ostwald Award Committee and the ABA School Bands Task Force. Kaminsky is a National Board Certified Teacher and has been featured in several periodicals including The Instrumentalist, Teaching Music, Halftime Magazine, School Band & Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make A Difference” and Home Magazine’s “12 Exceptional Educators.”

To visit Professor Kaminsky's web page, please click here.


44rnmj0c8d1i9tpgjw12tvzmnbdmpuxAnthony G. Kidonakis (MMEd '09)
Applied Saxophone, Jazz Studies
Anthony Kidonakis joined the faculty of VanderCook in 2009. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in music education from Northern Illinois University, studying saxophone with Steve Duke. Kidonakis toured the U.S. and Europe with the Northern Illinois University Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Ronald Carter, and alongside legends including Benny Golson, Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Heath, Ed Thigpen, Frank Foster and Wynton Marsalis. Kidonakis maintains an active performance schedule with numerous local musicians and has worked with recording artists such as the Drifters, Gene “The Duke of Earl” Chandler, and the Cryan’ Shames, including a guest appearance with the Redwalls on NBC’s The 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. In addition to his master’s degree in music education from VanderCook, Kidonakis earned a master’s degree in wind performance and literature from Northwestern University, where he studied saxophone with, and served as a teaching assistant for, Dr. Frederick L. Hemke.
Kidonakis currently serves as VanderCook’s director of jazz studies and associate professor teaching courses in saxophone, jazz and arranging. He is also the artistic director of VanderCook’s One City outreach program, in which fifth to eighth grade students from Chicago’s Bronzeville and surrounding South Side neighborhoods are given free music lessons and jazz ensemble instruction on instruments provided free of charge. 
Presutti_Korbitz,_Angela_headshot_2015_CROPAngela Presutti Korbitz
Applied Voice
Angela Korbitz joined VanderCook in 1994. She has a bachelor of music degree in voice performance from the University of Illinois, and a master of music degree in voice performance and pedagogy from Roosevelt University. Korbitz has also studied at the International School of Vocal Arts in Chiari (Italy) and the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh (England).
She has appeared as a soloist with orchestras and choruses including Grant Park, Park Ridge Civic, the Naples Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Korbitz has also recorded Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera for Lakeshore Records. She is a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Grant Park Chorus. Her work in art song and chamber music has been featured on WFMT radio. 
Liu,_Yang_headshot_2016Yang Liu
Applied Violin
Yang Liu’s playing has been praised as “scorching” by the New York Times and a “dazzling talent” by the Washington Post. Liu is the winner of China’s National Violin Competition and a prize winner of the 12th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. He has performed as a soloist with some of the world’s leading orchestras including Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Danish Royal Odense Philharmonic. His award-winning album Song of Nostalgia showcases his virtuosity and musicality. His repertoire ranges from baroque to the most contemporary works, and from western classical to eastern traditional. An avid advocate of cultural exchange via classical music, he is a founder of the Yang & Olivia Foundation and Momento Virtuosi, a chamber ensemble of diverse ethnicity and instrumentation. He also performs with his wife, pianist I-Hsuan Tsai, in the duo Yang & Olivia.

Born in QingDao, China, Liu studied at Central Conservatory in Beijing, China, and the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati under Kurt Sassmannshaus and Dorothy Delay. Liu became an American citizen in 2014, under the extraordinary ability immigration program.
Martorano,_Joe_headshot_2017Joseph Martorano
Applied Voice; Musical Theatre
Joseph Martorano received his Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees 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. Martorano was a 25-year resident artist with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and for four years with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. He has performed throughout the Midwest with numerous regional orchestras.
Martorano has taught VanderCook students since 2001, and currently teaches courses in Applied Voice, Vocal Techniques, Vocal Diction, Solo Vocal Repertoire, and Musical Theatre. He spent more than 30 years teaching applied voice to high school students in three Chicago-area schools, having previously taught at Mansfield State University in Pennsylvania, and in the All-State Voice Program at National Music Camp, Interlochen Academy in Michigan.
Martorano began his work for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1980. Under the mentoring of Richard Proulx, he served as a member of the Holy Name Cathedral Chamber Singers and a cantor soloist until 1985. He has held various music ministry positions in five parishes throughout his music ministerial career, and has been Director of Music at St. Alphonsus in Lemont, Illinois since 1998. 
Meir,_Eran_headshot_2016Eran Meir
Applied Cello
Eran Meir was born in Israel, where he started playing cello at the age of nine. In 1989, as a member of the Aurora Piano Quartet, Meir was invited by world-renowned violinist Isaac Stern to perform in the 50th Anniversary Gala concert of the American Israel Culture Foundation at Carnegie Hall. He joined the Guarneri String Quartet to perform Tchaikovsky’s "Souvenir de Florence."
After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he received the Allis Feinman Award for Excellence in Cello, Meir joined the New World Symphony, where he performed alongside pianists Jean-Yves Thibaudet, John Browning and Seymour Lipkin. He also soloed with the orchestra as a winner of the concerto competition. In 1997, Meir joined the Kansas City Symphony, where he played for seven years. In 2001 he joined the Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra. Meir has also played with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Milwaukee Symphony. He has also played chamber music with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Chamber Musicians. 
Unknown-1Ruth A. Rhodes (BMEd '69)
Woodwinds, Director of Student Teaching

Ruth Rhodes teaches woodwind courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, and previously served as graduate dean, director of continued education and professor of clarinet at VanderCook. After receiving her bachelor's degree from VanderCook, Ms. Rhodes earned a master of music degree from the 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 (including live broadcasts in the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series on WFMT); and performed with the Opera Theater of Illinois for several seasons, in addition to the Orchestra of Illinois and Lyric Opera of Chicago. 

Ms. Rhodes has had great fun performing on stage with the Moody Blues, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, ABBA, Manheim Steamroller, Itzhak Perlman, Marilyn Horne, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Tony Bennett, among others. 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 Hal Leonard Publishing, and was an adjudicator for the Boosey & Hawkes Buffet-Crampon Clarinet Competition.

She is very proud to have served her alma mater for more than 40 years as a faculty member and administrator. 

Timothy_Riordan_2020Timothy Riordan
Applied Trombone

Timothy Riordan teaches trombone at VanderCook College of Music and heads the acclaimed trombone studio at Merit School of Music in Chicago. He also teaches at the Washington Brass Institute and Northern Illinois University and is the trombone instructor for the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, a program to develop future professional orchestral musicians from underrepresented backgrounds.

Riordan presented masterclasses at Juilliard, Eastman, Northwestern, DePaul, Lawrence, Indiana University, and University of Illinois focusing on his methods of teaching young trombonists. He taught at Carthage College and served as brass chamber coach for the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. He also served as trombone choir director for the International Trombone Festival Youth Workshop and led the Merit Trombone Choir in performances at both the 2018 and 2019 International Trombone Festivals. He presented and performed at the 2015 and 2018 Midwest Trombone and Euphonium Conferences.

Students and chamber groups from Riordan’s studio have won numerous awards and honors, including six $10,000 Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships for talented, low-income high school musicians. His student trombone quartets and brass groups have performed eight different times on the From the Top National Public Radio program and the PBS From the Top: Live from Carnegie Hall television show. They also won the American Brass Quintet Prize at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020. Riordan was the coach of the M-Prize Junior Winds first and second place winners at the 2017 M-Prize competition.

Riordan’s high school students have been named principal and bass trombone of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra (NYO) several times, including bass trombone for both NYO and NYO-2 in 2020. Former students have attended many of the nation’s top schools of music and have performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Illinois Symphony, and many other orchestras worldwide. They have also performed on Saturday Night Live and the Grammys and toured with some of the biggest names in jazz and popular music. 

An S. E. Shires Performing Artist, Riordan received his Bachelor of Music and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with John Marcellus.

Rosenthal,_Roseanne_headshot_2014_CROP_RETOUCHDr. Roseanne K. Rosenthal

Dr. Rosenthal is in her second tenure as president of VanderCook, having previously served in that capacity from 1989-2004. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from SUNY Fredonia, and her Master of Science and Doctor of Education degrees from Syracuse University, under the direction of Dr. Cornelia Yarbrough.

Dr. Rosenthal taught instrumental and general music in upstate New York for many years prior to joining VanderCook. A past president of the Illinois Music Educators Association, Dr. Rosenthal is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Music Education. She has published and presented numerous research articles pertaining to music teacher education and music learning, and participates in the Biennial Research in Music Behavior Symposium. She has also served as chair of the National Association of Music Education (NAfME) Music Education Research Council. 

Between presidential terms, Dr. Rosenthal taught coursework in methods of music teaching, research, technology and education psychology at VanderCook. She remains an avid clarinet player.


Schuman,_Leah_headshot_2017Dr. Leah Schuman
Dr. Leah Schuman holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts and a master’s 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’s degree in trumpet performance from Northwestern University. Dr. Schuman has worked with hundreds of teachers and students to refine and develop their work on brass instruments. Since 2018, Dr. Schuman has been the executive director of VanderCook's One City outreach program, providing free music instruction to underserved middle school students from south of downtown. In addition to teaching at VanderCook, Dr. Schumanis is an active performer and clinician across the Chicagoland area, and a former member of the St. Petersburg State Chamber Orchestra.
Sinclair,_Robert_headshot_2016Dr. Robert L. Sinclair
Graduate Dean, Director of Choral Music Activities

Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Robert L. Sinclair has served VanderCook as Director of Choral Activities since 2001. His educational background includes three years at Luther College, where he sang in the Nordic Choir under the direction of Weston Noble. After transferring to Sam Houston State University, Sinclair completed his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Music degrees with B.R. Henson. In December 2000 Sinclair completed a PhD. in curriculum and instruction (music education) at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he worked with Drs. David Rayl and Wendy Sims.

Sinclair has 10 years of public school teaching experience, and presented sessions to the Music Educators Associations of Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Texas; the Illinois Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), as well as the Southwestern and Southern Divisions of ACDA.

He continues to work as an active choral clinician and adjudicator for junior high and high school students from across the nation and abroad, including honor choirs in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, and Japan in addition to all-state choirs in Illinois and Wisconsin. Sinclair is an active member of ACDA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Fraternity and the National Association for Music Education.  


Stevenson,_Deborah_headshot_alt_CROP_REBALDeborah Stevenson
Applied Oboe

Deborah Stevenson studied oboe and English horn at the University of Louisville, Northern Illinois University, Boston University and Northwestern University, where she received her master’s degree. She has studied with Marion Gibson, Grover Schlitz, Ray Still and Larry Thorstenburg.
Stevenson is a founder of the Metropolis Quartet, and has also performed with the Metropolis Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Apollo Chorus. She can be heard on recordings of the Strauss Alpine Symphony and Stravinsky’s complete Firebird with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; I Know Where I’m Going and Christmas in St. Charles with the St. Charles Singers; Messiah with Apollo Chorus; numerous recordings for GIA Music Publishing company; and Music from the Bolivian Rainforest with the Metropolis Symphony.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Stingley,_Mary-Christine_headshotMary-Christine Stingley
Applied Flute
After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, Mary-Christine Stingley studied in Paris with a scholarship from the French government. She ultimately earned a master’s degree in flute performance with first-prize honors from the renowned Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien in Vienna, Austria. Stingley has received numerous awards and prizes, including the Prix de Concours de l’UFAM and the prestigious Bourse d’Étude (both from France); an Artistic Grant from the American Ambassador to Austria, Ronald S. Lauder; the Musicians Club of Women’s Farwell Award (twice); and the Allerton Arts Award (twice).
Stingley has appeared as a soloist throughout France, Austria, Germany, Japan and the United States. She has also been a featured soloist with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Wheaton Symphony Orchestra, Classical Symphony Orchestra and the West Suburban Symphony Orchestra.
Applied Piano, Music Theory

Dr. I-Hsuan Tsai received her Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a master’s degree in piano and bassoon, and a bachelor’s degree in piano from Indiana University. An active soloist and chamber musician, she is a winner of the Buckeye Piano Competition and the Graves Piano Competition.

Tsai’s performances include concerts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the United Nations, live performances on WFMT radio, the Aspen Music Festival, Roosevelt University, Northeastern University and the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series. Tsai has also performed and taught in Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, China and Taiwan. In addition to teaching at VanderCook, Tsai performs with her husband, violinist Yang Liu, in the duo Yang & Olivia.

WirtJoshua Wirt
Applied Euphonium/Tuba

Joshua Wirt has maintained an active professional career on the tuba, euphonium and bass trombone over the past 25 years. While completing his Bachelor's degree in tuba performance from Virginia Tech and studying with Jay Crone, Wirt performed regularly with the Chamber Winds of Southwest Virginia, and was also a member of the Virginia Tech Faculty Brass Quintet. He then went on to earn a PGDip (hons) from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester (UK), where he studied with Roger Bobo, Mel Culberston and James Gourlay.
During his time in the UK, Josh performed around England and Austria as a regular member of the world-famous Fairey Band (formerly the Williams Fairey Brass Band), as well as the North Cheshire Concert Band under Dr. Timothy Reynish. Wirt moved to Chicago in 2009 to pursue a master’s degree at DePaul University with Floyd Cooley. He was also an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2010-2013, and performed frequently with the Civic Orchestra Brass Quintet.
Currently, Wirt is principal tuba with the Elmhurst Symphony and regularly performs as an extra/sub with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Rockford Symphony and New Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as tubist with the New Chicago Brass. Wirt teaches tuba and euphonium concurrently at VanderCook and Merit School of Music. He has also been an active member of the Chicago Gargoyle Brass, appearing on their 2016 recording Flourishes, Tales and Symphonies. In addition, he maintains a large private studio of students from around the Chicagoland area, and regularly adjudicates ILMEA/IHSA events. 
Yakas,_Jim_headshot_2015_CROPDr. James Yakas

Director of Percussion Studies Dr. James Yakas joined VanderCook in 2015, and since has completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in percussion performance from the University of North Texas, where he also earned his bachelor's degree in music education.
After earning his master’s degree in percussion performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University, Yakas spent 12 summers in the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps, eventually becoming their percussion coordinator and arranger in 2003. Yakas has performed at festivals in Trinidad/Tobago and Seoul, South Korea. He studied Afro-Cuban drumming with Orlando Cotto, and accompanied ethnomusicologist Dr. Steven Friedson for tribal drumming studies in Ghana.
Yakas is a member of the Percussive Arts Society Education Committee, as well as the vice president of the Illinois Chapter of PAS. He endorses Yamaha Percussion, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Remo Drumheads and World Percussion Instruments, and Sabian Cymbals.


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