For a list of our faculty members by instrument they teach, please click the links below, or scroll down to see a complete list of our faculty and staff in alphabetical order.
|Bass Guitar||Clarinet||Drums and Percussion|
A native of Connecticut, Annie Bryson received her Masters of Music in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College and her Bachelors of Music, magna cum laude, from Western Connecticut State University. Annie’s opera roles include Rose Maurrant in Street Scene, Miss Pinkerton in The Old Maid and the Thief, First Lady in The Magic Flute, Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Countess in The Marriage of Figaro and Nursing Sister in Suor Angelica. Her favorite musical theater credits are Thoroughly Modern Millie (Mathilde), Children of Eden (Snake), Into the Woods (Lucinda), High School Musical (Martha), Kismet (Princess of Ababu), Tommy, Cabaret, and The King and I. While at Westminster, Annie performed frequently with the Symphonic Choir at Carnegie Hall and The Kimmel Center with world-class ensembles such as The Berlin Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Simon Bolivar Orchestra, and The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Annie loves sharing her passion for music with her students. She currently sings with the choirs at Trinity Church in Princeton, NJ.
Music Motto: “Ah, music… A magic far beyond all we do here!”- Albus Dumbledore
Sean Christiansen is thrilled to join the drums and percussion staff at Cornerstone Music Studios. Sean has been playing drums for over 20 years and has been teaching drums privately for over 4 years. He enjoys playing and teaching many styles of drumming, from Rock and Metal, to Jazz and Hip Hop. He graduated with honors from Mercer County Community College in 2012, and has received three recognition awards for musical proficiency. Currently, Sean plays in two bands and has been a member many bands for the past 16 years. Check out his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/christdrums1.
Music Motto: “Keep it on the one”
Donata Cucinotta is thrilled to join the exceptional faculty at Cornerstone Music Studios! Donata’s performance experience allows her to provide a well-rounded learning experience to students of all ages. She holds a Bachelors of Music from Ithaca College where she first started teaching community members as well as accompanying voice lessons. Donata continued to earn a Masters of Music from Mannes College of Music, where she was selected to be a teaching artist by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, teaching private voice lessons. Her extensive teaching background includes experience as a member of the Shreveport Opera and Opera Colorado’s Young Artist program, the Bergen School of Music, Wellsley Academy of Music and Fusion Music School.
An active performer of both Opera and Theater, Donata’s notable engagements this season include a leading role in the World Premiere of a new musical by Grammy winning composer Paul Sullivan’s The Last Ferryman at the Stonington Opera House, The 2nd Lady in Opera Tampa’s Die Zauberflöte, Josephine in Knoxville Opera’s HMS Pinafore, as well as performing as a featured singer at the Bristol Riverside Theater’s Winter Musicale. She has performed leading roles at Avery Fisher Hall, Opera Colorado, Opera New Jersey, Shreveport Opera, Amarillo Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Tampa Opera Fort Collins, Ohio Light Opera, Morningside Opera, GLOW Lyric Theater, Dixon Place Theater, Prince Music Theater, The American Music Festival, The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players and the Actor’s Studio.
Music Motto: “Only YOU can teach yourself how to sing. Only YOU can find your voice. I am only a guide, because at the end of the day, it’s all about you finding your own voice.”
Thomas Cunningham is excited to join the piano, voice and bass guitar staff at Cornerstone Music Studios. Thomas is artistic director of the NYC-based Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra. He recently made his New York City debut conducting a performance of Tchaikovsky’s final opera, Iolanta, for Opera Slavica. Mr. Cunningham is conductor of the Ripieno Ensemble in Bucks County, PA, and works regularly with The Princeton Festival, Opera Slavica and the CoOPERAtive Program. Previously, he has assisted on productions ranging from Jenůfa and Eugene Onegin, to Alcina, Così fan tutte and Der fliegende Holländer.
As a composer/arranger, his output includes Puccini’s Madama Butterfly for 8 players, and chamber orchestrations of works by Dvorak and Smetana. He is currently orchestrating arrangements of songs by the duo Addi & Jacq. Mr. Cunningham’s previous engagements include Bard SummerScape, the Berkshire Choral Festival, Opera Forza, String Orchestra of Brooklyn and Westminster Opera Theater. He holds degrees in performance and education from Westminster Choir College. More at: www.thomascunningham.us
“But a sound may be truer than reason
And a word may be stronger than man.”
Holly Deitz, Studio Manager at Cornerstone Music Studios, is responsible for scheduling, billing and student registration. Holly received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Rutgers University and law degree from the American University in Washington D.C. Active in community service, Holly currently has served the residents of Millstone as a member of the Millstone Township Board of Education. Prior to joining the BOE, Holly volunteered her time with Millstone Township Foundation For Educational Excellence (MTFEE), a not-for-profit organization of volunteers raising money for the Millstone Township School District to supplement the District’s curriculum.
Greg has taught private piano, saxophone and clarinet lessons for over a decade. Currently, Greg is a music teacher in central New Jersey where he runs an elementary band program. There he teaches students to play flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone and percussion. In addition to teaching piano at Cornerstone Music Studios, Greg has also taught at Westminster Conservatory and “Bach to Rock Music Music School”.
Greg earned his Master’s degree in Piano Performance from The Boston Conservatory and received his undergraduate degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University with a double major in Music Education and Piano Performance.
Julia Henderson is thrilled and honored to be on flute faculty at Cornerstone Music Studios since March 2011. She has always had a love of music. Beginning from childhood holidays seeing The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center to listening to Beatles albums in the living room. In 2003, Julia took her passion and earned her Bachelors of Science in Music Education from Lebanon Valley College. While studying there she was a flautist in the orchestra, symphonic band and flute choir. She spent a semester abroad studying at Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge, England where she also sang in the College Choir.
In addition to teaching at Cornerstone Music Studios, Julia works as a vocal/general music teacher at Errickson Elementary School in the Freehold Township School District. There she sings, plays, dances and integrates technology into music class. In addition, Julia is a director for the Performing Arts Club, a group of fifth graders which desire more time on the stage, eager to be in front of an audience! Recently, Julia played flute in Opera Forza’s production of Madama Butterfly.
Music Motto: “Music is the key that can open the hearts of all.”
Connecticut native Meagan Lee Hodson, mezzo-soprano, has been on voice and piano faculty at Cornerstone Music Studios at Millstone since April, 2011. She also holds an active teaching schedule in the Princeton area at The Chapin School and JWActor Studio. Meagan is thrilled to share her passion for voice and piano instruction with all her dedicated, talented students, especially at Cornerstone Music Studios! In addition to maintaining a full teaching studio here, Meagan has been Co-Director for Cornerstone Music’s highly popular summer camp “Storybook Series” since its inception in 2011. She brings excitement and inspiration to our younger campers, ages 5-8 years, with creative, musical adaptations of such classics as Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Lion King, Three Little Pigs and The Jungle Book. Meagan and fellow faculty member and Co-Director, Annie Bryson, have big plans for the 2015 Storybook Series camps!
Meagan completed her Master of Music degree in voice pedagogy and performance with distinction from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ in the spring of 2011. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in classical voice performance from Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT. Previous operatic appearances include Der Rosenkavalier (Octavian), Béatrice et Bénédict (Ursule), Le Nozze di Figaro (Cherubino), and Pirates of Penzance (Kate). In concert, Ms. Hodson has appeared as the alto soloist for Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Mendelssohn’s Gloria, Handel’s Messiah, and numerous Bach cantatas.
Contributing to her extensive Classical repertoire, Ms. Hodson was first trained in musical theatre and performed throughout Connecticut in regional theaters while pursuing a modeling/commercial career through 1999 when she gained membership to SAG-AFTRA. Her recent music theatre credits are The Last Five Years (Cathy Hyatt) and Shrek the Musical (Gingy/Sugarplum Fairy). In addition to teaching and performing, Meagan musically directs local theatre productions and assists with pit accompaniment. Favorite productions include Meet Me in St. Louis, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Hello Dolly.
Music Motto: “I teach music to people of all ages because everyone deserves to have a closer connection to music, whether they are 5 or 85. Cornerstone Music Studios is an ideal place, reaching out to all students and giving a chance to become better musicians.”
Guitarist and Baritone Jacob Kinderman obtained a M.M. in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in 2012 and a B.M. in Voice Performance and Guitar Performance from Saint Martin’s University in 2010. Jacob has taught guitar and voice throughout Washington State and in New Jersey at both the college level and with young musicians. His teaching curriculum includes guitar technique, facility, music theory and group ensembles. During his time at Saint Martin’s University, Jacob had the honor of performing in a master class with internationally renowned classical guitar Christopher Parkening. His operatic performance credits include the title role of Don Giovanni, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, the title role of Eugene Onegin, Schaunard in La Bohème, Melisso in Alcina and many others. He has received such accolades as the first annual Dalton Baldwin Artsong Prize for his performance of selections from Before and After Summer by Gerald Finzi, The Encouragement award in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Vancouver, B.C. and was a District Winner and Regional Finalist in the NATS Artist Award Competition. He has apprenticed with opera companies all over the country including an Apprentice Artist position at Des Moines Metro Opera in Des Moines, Iowa and an Apprentice Singer position with Ash Lawn Opera in Charlottesville, Virginia, two summers as a Fellow in Westminster Choir College’s CoOPERAtive program, the young artist training program at the University of Miami in Salzburg and the Florence Voice Seminar. Jacob’s performance experience in various musical arenas allows him to provide a well-rounded musical experience to students of all ages.
Daniel Kochersberger, originally from Canandaigua, New York, is active in the New York contemporary music scene. In addition to orchestral appearances with the New World Symphony, Mansfield Symphony, and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, Daniel has performed as a soloist, recitalist and chamber player with Contemporaneous, the Contemporary Music Ensemble of Oberlin, the Chamber Winds Ensemble of Manhattan, and the Manhattan Wind Symphony. He is one of the founding members and the tenor saxophonist of Manhattan Saxophone Quartet, which has performed at Yale University, The Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, and Symphony Space. Daniel received his B.M. at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and his M.M. at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Dr. Paul Cohen.
Willene Lagrimanta has been teaching private piano lessons for many years. A former elementary school teacher in Denver, Colorado, Willene has two daughters and four grandchildren with whom she enjoys sharing music.
Willene received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education, with a major in piano and a minor in organ, from Texas Lutheran University. She began playing the organ for church services at the age of 11. Now, she accompanies singing for various groups in her community and plays in the Bell Choir at her church. She is happy and thankful to be a piano teacher at Cornerstone Music Studios where her music values are embraced. Willene has been a teacher here at Cornerstone since its beginning!
Music Motto: Children must be encouraged to be able to play piano music fluently for their enjoyment, and for the enjoyment of others, and to nurture their own creative musical talents with a lasting appreciation of music.
Entering his third teaching year at Cornerstone Music Studios, Dylan Lloyd is excited and honored to be on guitar, piano, violin, ukulele and voice faculty. Dylan’s goal as a faculty member at Cornerstone Music Studios is to shape students into well-rounded musicians by creating a comfortable, enjoyable environment that is conducive to developing and sharing musical skills and ideas. Ultimately, these skills will promote confidence, self-esteem, measurable achievement, and a reason for living.
Dylan Lloyd holds a Bachelors of Music Education in guitar and voice from The College of New Jersey, where he graduated magna cum laude in 2013. In addition to teaching at Cornerstone Music Studios, he has instructed a wide variety of classes and groups including Vocal Music and Music Appreciation at Chestnut Ridge Middle School.
Dylan performed in the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society Festival in 2012 and the Wall Guitar Festival in 2011. He has participated in master classes with guitarists Kevin Gallagher, who was the winner of the 2003 GFA (Guitar Foundation of America) competition and Scott Tennant, who is the author of the guitar technique book, Pumping Nylon.
Dylan had the honor of performing two benefit concerts with the TCNJ chorale alongside multiple choirs from Japan to promote the rebuilding of Japan. These performances included Mahler’s 2nd Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre in New York City, with the New York City Opera Orchestra. Under his direction, the Trentones, an a cappella group at TCNJ, advanced to the 2013 ICCA (International Collegiate Competition of A Capella) semifinals.
Music Motto: “I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” -Billy Joel
Colleen McDonald, Senior Faculty Advisor at Cornerstone Music and accomplished soprano, is a graduate of Westminster Choir College with a Masters of Music in Voice Pedagogy and Performance. A New Jersey native, Colleen received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Muhlenberg College, graduating magna cum laude with emphases in Music History, Theory and Performance. There she received such distinctions as the Dorothy and Dexter Baker Foundation Award in the Performing Arts as well as the Muhlenberg College Summer Research Grant for her work on the female Czech composer Vítězslava Kaprálová. Her operatic experience ranges from roles and performances with such programs as Opera Slavica, Westminster Opera Theater, Opera MODO, New Jersey Opera Theater and the Ameropa International Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic. Colleen’s performance and teaching experience in such genres as opera, art song, music theater and jazz improvisation, allow her to provide a well- rounded musical experience for her students.
Colleen currently teaches private voice and piano lessons at Cornerstone Music Studios and is a section leader at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Freehold, NJ.
George Massina Jr.
George Massina has been a drum instructor for many years at Cornerstone Music studios and is definitely our closest brush with rock-n-roll fame! In addition to completing a Bachelors of Music Education at The College of New Jersey, George was taught by Tony DeNicola (of Harry James), Rod Morgenstein (of Dixie Dregs and Winger), Sandy Genaro (of The Monkees and Cyndie Lauper), and studied for two years with the New York Drummer’s Collective. Also proficient in teaching brass, woodwinds, and strings, George has over 25 years’ experience as a music teacher in public high schools in instrumental music and marching band.
During his incredible career George has recorded and toured in New York, California and Jamaica and opened for The Police, the Eurhythmics, The Ramones, The Smithureens, Three Dog Night and Brian Setzer (Stray Cats). He has played with members of such diverse groups as Styx, The Doors, Bon Jovi, the Partridge Family, Toto, The Supremes, David Bowie, The Crystals, Richie Cole, 4 Seasons, and The Animals. He still regularly plays with The Monkees for local shows. George’s former students have moved on to play with The Fray and Tonic, and two are currently touring with Dancing With the Stars. Once, George and the Lawrence H.S.Band were selected to play before the President of the United States at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.
Brandon Motz, tenor and skilled pianist, is thrilled to be on the faculty at Cornerstone Music Studios. Brandon earned his Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in 2012. He brings with him a love of teaching and a personal goal of creating lifelong music-lovers. As a performer he is frequently praised for his “significant stage presence” and his clear and vibrant tone.
Growing up in Grand Junction, CO, Brandon began performing in children’s theatre productions when he was five years old and quickly developed a love of all things music and theatre. Before graduating high school Brandon had built a resume of over 20 leading rolls in plays and musicals in both amateur and professional productions. Favorite musical rolls include Marius in Les Miserable, Tony in West Side Story, Jack in Into the Woods, Annas in Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Artful Dodger in Oliver!
While attending Otterbein College in Ohio he turned his attention to classical singing. His operatic roles include Alfred in Die Fledermaus, Beppe in I Pagliacci, and Fredrick in The Pirates of Penzance. This past summer Brandon made his professional debut as a last minute replacement in The Magic Flute at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC.
Music Motto: “Music speaks what cannot be expressed.” – Victor Hugo
Ed O’Connor has been teaching guitar and saxophone at Cornerstone since 2007. He has been playing professionally since 1983, spending ten plus years with Trenton-based oldies groups such as Stormy Weather and the Cop-Shoo Bops. In 1987, he joined the Mahoney Brothers Band and their Jukebox Heroes and Long Live the Beatles shows, doing over 200 performances per year.
During the eight years with the Mahoney Brothers, Ed did seven national television appearances including Dick Clark’s Summer Safari (CBS), Charlie Daniel’s Talent Roundup (TNN), and several spots on the Disney Channel during one of their several stints at the famous park in Orlando, Florida. Ed has performed in 35 of the 50 states and played for President Clinton in Washington, D.C. He currently performs all over the tri-state area with Kindred Spirit along with a few other Cornerstone faculty members.
His “real” job is as a Regional Supervisor for the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, overseeing all traffic safety programs in the seven Southern Counties. Ed is considered a national expert in the field of vehicle occupant protection and speaks at safety conferences all across the country. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The College of New Jersey.
Daniel Santos is a drum set player and hand percussion specialist from New Jersey. Daniel graduated Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in Professional Music. Known as a “musician of many hats,” his stylistic versatility allows for musical options as well as a holistic approach to education, paying homage to tradition while innovating for the future.
Prior to teaching at Cornerstone, Daniel taught at Berklee College of Music through the Berklee City Music program, where he lead an ensemble of high school students in addition to teaching private lessons. Through extensive performance and diligent study, Daniel has developed a teaching method that not only facilitates learning, but promotes both creative and positive thinking.
Amanda Lee Schneider, a Florida native, is a graduate of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. She has performed with a variety of internationally acclaimed orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and Dresden Philharmonic under the baton of Joseph Flummerfelt and Rafael Frühbeck De Burgos, respectively. Among her operatic experience are performances in Der fliegende Holländer, Carmen, Sweeney Todd, Falstaff, Il Trovatore, Beatrice et Benedict, and Tosca with such companies as Princeton Festival, New Jersey Opera, Westminster Opera Theatre, and the Lyric Orchestra. She most recently appeared as Princess Eboli in Don Carlo for the Metropolitan Opera Guild. Mrs. Schneider comes to Cornerstone Music with six years of private music instruction, including a thriving studio in Fort Lauderdale, FL before her return to New Jersey. She currently enjoys a busy schedule of teaching voice, violin, and piano, and has recently founded an opera company, Opera Forza.
Music Motto: Music opens the door to a greater form of self-expression. With musical study, children and adults will develop a new way of looking at themselves, and at the world around them.
Danyel Shiflet is excited to be on staff as the Arts Administration Advisor and on faculty for Musikgarten and Story-to-Stage at Cornerstone Music Studios. Danyel completed her Master of Music in Voice Performance, cum laude, from the
College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati in 2013 and received her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance, cum laude, from Westminster Choir
College of Rider University in 2011.
Danyel filled her summers by participating in various young artist programs such as The Florence Voice Seminar in Florence, Italy in 2010, Songfest at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, CA in 2012, and Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2013. While attending BASOTI, she earned the role of the Governess in Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw while
being assigned various scenes such as Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte. At Songfest 2012, Danyel worked one-on-one with contemporary composers and coaches such as Jake Heggie and
During her time at Westminster Choir College, Danyel was extremely fortunate to learn from the best instructors at Westminster Choir College. She was selected to perform major works with world-renowned conductors and orchestras,
including “Mahler’s Third Symphony” with the New York Philharmonic’s premier concert under the direction of Alan Gilbert at Avery Fischer Hall, Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” with the KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) Symphony
Orchestra under the direction of Shinik Hahm at The United Nations, and John Adam’s “El Niño: A Nativity Oratorio” with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the direction of John Adams at Carnegie Hall.
While at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, the
Cincinnati Opera and the CCM Opera department selected Danyel to
participate in “Opera Fusion,” a workshop initiative created to further develop Ricky Ian Gordon’s opera, Morning Star, which was being composed at the time.
Music Motto: “Fortunately, something always remains to be harvested.
So let us not be idle.” -Gustav Mahler
Neil Winkler teaches trumpet at Cornerstone Music Studios. Neil earned his Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from The College of New Jersey. While at the College, Neil played with a variety of ensembles, including the Orchestra as principal trumpet, the Wind Ensemble as assistant principal trumpet, and the Brass Ensemble. He also played principal trumpet in the TCNJ Chorale’s performance of “Gloria” by John Rutter. Prior to college Neil was a member of the NJMEA Region II Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble.
In addition to teaching in private music studios Neil has also spent time teaching in several New Jersey public schools. Neil has also been performing in brass, wind and concert ensembles throughout New Jersey.
Isabel, Administrative Staff, is a lifelong New Jersey resident. A contralto, she has been studying voice for 6 years, piano for 13 years, and viola for 8 years. A recent graduate of the Peddie School of Excellence, she currently lives in Memphis, TN and attends Rhodes College, where she is double majoring in Vocal Performance and Biology. Her recent credits include Much Ado About Nothing, Our Town, Metamorphoses, Into the Woods, and Madama Butterfly. Isabel has also worked at various theaters in New Jersey including The Count Basie and The Kelsey Theater. Isabel also is the Assistant Director for the MPAC Musical Theatre and Arts Camp and co-facilitates the Youth Music and Theatre Arts “Storybook Series” Camp.
Growing up on a steady diet of classical music of such composers as Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Debussy and Chopin hardly prepared Laura for her current repertoire of music of Sara Barreilles, Cold Play, The Eagles, Brandi Carlile or Gavin DeGraw. Laura grew up in a musical family, beginning her classical piano studies at a typically young age. Laura’s fondest memories include those of playful, intricate duets which she performed with her sister, Dianne. Fortunately, her parents always believed in the value of learning a musical instrument. Gratefully, she didn’t have a choice!
As a resident of Millstone Township, NJ for over twenty years, Laura has enjoyed her share of volunteer appointments to various committees, boards and foundations within the community and Monmouth County. Several years ago while (as a mother and homemaker raising daughters, Olivia and Isabel) Laura began teaching piano lessons in her private studio. It was a modest arrangement, yet served an important purpose. As the years progressed, she began to feel inspired to create a space in the community that would welcome and nurture music students of a wide range of instruments. The opportunity presented itself and Cornerstone Music Studios at Millstone became a reality.
Laura holds her Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Master of Arts in Organizational Communication from the University of South Florida, where, during a part-time assistantship, spent semesters in a dance rehearsal hall, accompanying USF ballet students during their demanding advanced performance classes. She currently assists with the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Freehold, NJ, “Wiggle-n-Worship” music program.
Music Motto: Every being is musical and has the unique ability to foster and express creativity through melody! “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” Psalm 104:33
Questions or comments? Please email us or call our studios (732) 446-1919. We look forward to speaking with you!