Susanna made the switch from violin to viola in 1999. She is a graduate of Smith College and holds masters degrees from Harvard and Berkeley. She obtained a B.S. in Music Education from U.S.M. in 1997. She is a member of Maineblend, the Woodfords choir, ChoralArt Masterworks Chorus, and the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra where she plays viola. She is co-chair of the Advisory Council of the Portland Conservatory of Music. Susanna has been a member of Rossini Club since 2009 and currently serves as Secretary of the Executive Board. Seth Blank, horn: Seth has played horn since elementary school in New York. He participated in a wide variety of symphonic, opera, chamber and solo work while attending Boston University for both undergraduate and Medical School. Since settling in Maine in 1992, he has played with the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra, the Maine State Ballet Orchestra and the Centennial Brass Band and substitutes in the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra. Seth is a physician in the Portland area and has been a member of Rossini Club since 2004.
Steven studied piano with Niels Østbye of Columbia University. While pursuing his medical education and later directing a pediatrics emergency room in Queens, New York, he continued post-graduate music studies at Columbia University and at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He participated in master classes with Jeanne-Marie Darré. He now lives in Cape Elizabeth with wife and PSO violinist/teacher Holly Ovenden, and has a pediatrics practice in Portland, Maine. Steve has been a member of Rossini Club since 2009.
Mark grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, moved to Chicago at age 28 and arrived here in Maine on the winds of the blizzard of ’96. He has been an active member of both the Marston-Kotzschmar Club and the Portland Rossini Club since 1996. In past years, he has played a variety of music, has performed solo, four-hand and eighthand compositions, and chamber music, including works for French horn and piano, trios for piano, French horn, and violin, as well as works for voice and piano. He likes to write his own program notes, finding that the process helps him to better understand and interpret the musical works he’s performing. He serves on the Board of the Portland Conservatory of Music. In his professional life, he is an internist and geriatrician in solo practice in Scarborough.
A native of California, Tim is an adopted New Yorker and a recent immigrant to Cape Elizabeth. He attended the same conservatory as YoYo Ma (aka Harvard), but alas, as a double bassist, where he played in the HRO and in the first iteration of the WGBH studio orchestra under Joshua Rifkin. In 1976 he co-founded Music at Gretna, part of the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, where he performed chamber music in broadcast concerts with the Audubon Quartet and members of the Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Chicago Symphonies. Formerly principal double bassist of the Harrisburg and Norwalk Symphonies and of the International Chamber Orchestra of NY, he downsized to cello in 2000 after being ambushed by crippling bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, beginning studies on that instrument with Maxine Neuman and Barbara Stein Mallow, and quickly becoming principal cellist of the Lawyers Orchestra of NY and a founding member of the Abbey String Quartet and the TAHJ piano trio. He currently studies with Patrick Owen, cellist in the PSQ. He has participated as a cellist in the Chamber Music Conference of the East at Bennington College for 17 years. His meager professional cello resume includes section cello in the Hawthorne (NJ) Symphony and the yearly engagements as a soloist performing the Bruch Kol Niedre on Yom Kippur. Currently a member of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, he is still playing with the TAHJ piano trio in NY, a clarinet trio in Portland and is in the process of forming a string quartet. In a recent echo of his former life, he has been appointed Emeritus Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at St. John’s University in NY.
Judith took piano lessons from age 9-18, and graduated from Bates College in 1971, majoring in English Literature. She returned to music in the early 80’s, taking many courses at U.S.M. and studying piano with Portland area teachers. She has played for the Rossini and Marston Kotzschmar Clubs for 30 years. She devoted the first 15 years of performance to solo repertoire, the next 10 to chamber music, and the last 5 to 4 hands piano music. Judith has taught piano in her home in Standish for 30 years, and now is semi-retired, with just a few delightful young students. She enjoys many activities with her retired husband Phil and their 2 sons and 2 granddaughters. In the past, she served on the Board in a number of capacities, including President.
Scott, who comes from Kennebunk, started studying piano with Kim Karchenese of Cape Neddick, at age 5, and continued through high school, where he accompanied the choruses and musicals. While studying electrical engineering at Northeastern University he became more interested in classical music and started taking lessons with Valentina Lass through New England Conservatory’s Continuing Education program. He now lives in Portland, and is a student of Martin Perry in Brunswick. He joined the Rossini Club in 2016.
Born in Portland, Maine, Carol holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the New England Conservatory and a Master of Music from Syracuse University where she was awarded membership in the honor society Pi Kappa Lambda. Her piano studies began in Portland under Ocy Downs and continued at the Manhattan School of Music with Dora Zazlavsky. Her teachers also include Jean Alderman, Frederick Marvin and Frank Glazer. She has appeared as guest soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony and as part of numerous recital series throughout the Northeast. She was a piano faculty member and recitalist at Phillips Andover Academy for many years. Carol Elowe is a Founder and the first Director of the Portland Conservatory of Music. Presently she is a member of the piano faculty, and serves on the Advisory Council. Carol became a Rossini Club member in 1989.
Robert studied both piano and violin as a youth in Oregon. As a graduate student at Yale his focus was on the piano where he earned a Master’s Degree in performance. While he has taught piano and appeared in solo and chamber music in each of his teaching positions at the college and private school levels, he has also maintained his skills as a violinist in several symphonies, including his current role as a member of the first violin section in the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. Having recently retired, Robert is increasingly active in several chamber groups including a piano trio, various instrumental duos, a two piano team, and as violinist in a string quartet. Robert joined Rossini Club in 2013.
Barbara grew up in Glencoe, Illinois and attended New Trier High School. She received her music degree at Oberlin College where she played in the orchestra and sang with the Oberlin College Choir. On choir tours she sang as well as played cello in the Bach Cantatas. After graduating from Oberlin, she taught third and fourth grade in Evanston, Illinois, in Beirut, Lebanon, and then in Portland, Maine, where she married John. Barbara played cello in the Portland Symphony Orchestra for 16 years and now plays in various ensembles, sings in ChoralArt Masterworks and in the Royal River Chorus, which is part of Sweet Adelines International. Barbara and John have two grown sons, both physicians. They all enjoy tennis and biking. Barbara joined Rossini Club in 2006.
A Maine native, Beth is a graduate of Westminster Choir College where she sang under such inspiring conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Leopold Stokowski, William Steinberg, and Sir Malcolm Sargent. She recently retired after being Director of the Chancel Choir at Cumberland Congregational Church for thirty-six years. Beth is also a longtime member of ChoralArt Masterworks, and a former member of ChoralArt Singers and Camerata. A member of Portland Rossini Club since 1980, she has served on the Board in a number of capacities, including Secretary, Program Chair, and President. Currently, she is Scholarship Chair.
Cynthia attended Chatham Hall in Virginia where she won the Music Prize in her senior year. She was a piano music major at Smith College, where she also sang with the Smith College Chamber Singers. She pursued further piano study with Horace Alwyn at Bryn Mawr College. She currently studies with Martin Perry in Brunswick, having previously worked with Kate Lewis and Mary Carr. In addition to her music, Cynnie volunteers in a few community projects, particularly the Carriage Museum at Skyline Farm. She joined the Portland Rossini Club in 1999. Derek Herzer, piano: Originally from Gaylord, Michigan, Derek began teaching himself piano at the age of 17 with virtually no prior music training. After years of intensive study, he was accepted into the piano performance program at Western Michigan University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in music. Subsequently, he received his Masters in Music from the University of Southern Maine. In both his training and career, Derek has won numerous scholarships and awards. He has played in a wide variety of musical settings, including symphony orchestras, choral groups (including the Oratorio Chorale), and more. He is skilled at working with both vocalists and other instrumentalists. Derek teaches piano privately and at the Portland Conservatory of Music and at the Bay Chamber Music School in Rockport. He specializes in researching, studying, and performing obscure and neglected works from the early- to mid-twentieth century.
Mary attended Boston Conservatory for both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Opera. She has received additional education from the “Seagle Music Colony” in upstate New York and “Flagstaff in Fidenza” in Fidenza, Italy. She studies with Dr. Rebecca Folsom. Mary has enjoyed membership in the Music Honors Society Pi Kappa Lambda since her junior year of college. Recently, she has performed in La Traviata as Violetta, The Mikado as Peep-Bo, Hansel and Gretel as the Sandman, The Old Maid and the Thief as Mrs. Pinkerton, La Rondine as Magda, and Don Pasquale as Norina. In addition, Mary served as Soprano section leader for Boston’s historic Old North Church under Libor Dudas’s direction. Mary joined Rossini Club in 2012.
Hugh grew up in Naugatuck, CT and has been playing the cello since the age of 8. Hugh studied the cello with John Ruggiero of the Waterbury (CT) Symphony Orchestra, Harry Clark of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (CT) and with Lorne Munroe of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a 1981 graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Hugh has been a member of the Portland Rossini Club since 1996. When not making music, Hugh works as Vice President and Portfolio Manager for R.M. Davis, Inc. in Portland, and currently serves on the Board of the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick and as a member of the Town of Cumberland Coastal Waters Commission. In the past, Hugh has served as President of the Board of Directors of the Portland Chamber Music Festival, Board President of the Portland Conservatory of Music and on the Annual Fund Committee of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Hugh lives in Cumberland Foreside with his wife, Lois, and they have 3 grown sons. In his spare time, Hugh enjoys running, hiking, reading history, golf and sailing along the Maine Coast.
Rachel was raised in a musical family in Yorkshire, England. She began soprano vocal studies as an undergraduate music major in York, England, where she was also a member of the Yorkshire Bach Choir as well as performing supporting roles with York Opera. Her graduate studies shifted her focus to Music Therapy. Subsequently she immigrated to Philadelphia in the USA to be with her husband. There she explored the Music Therapy profession while continuing vocal practice which included singing with Ancient Voices, an early music ensemble at the University of Pennsylvania. Moving to Maine in 2002, Rachel devoted herself towards raising a family and then to resuming vocal studies and practice. In Portland she has studied voice with Kathleen Grammer and Ellen Chickering and she was previously a member of Renaissance Voices and ChoralArt. She currently performs with the St. Mary Schola, and she is an active soprano soloist in the Greater Portland area. Other interests include yoga, running, gardening, hiking, kayaking, Nordic skiing and keeping up with her growing kids.
A native of Maine, Christine maintains an independent piano studio, Piano Learning Center, in Falmouth and teaches the piano pedagogy curriculum at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano performance from Plymouth State College, in Plymouth, NH (now Plymouth State University) and received a Master of Music degree in piano pedagogy from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. A national winner of the D. H. Baldwin Teaching Fellowship Award recognizing excellence in piano teaching, Christine is an active member of the Maine Music Teachers Association having served in a variety of positions on the MMTA Executive Board for fifteen years. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music by the Music Teachers National Association and most recently served as MTNA Certification Commissioner for Eastern Division. A frequent adjudicator at piano events in New England, she has also presented topics in piano pedagogy to piano teachers in Maine, New Hampshire and Florida. She lives in Cumberland with her supportive husband, Alan, and entertaining cat, Jack. Edith Leary, flute: Edith received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in flute performance at the New England Conservatory where she studied with the legendary solo flutist of the Boston Symphony, Georges Laurent, as well as James Pappoutsakis. While at the New England Conservatory, she performed solos at the Gardner Museum and numerous other venues in the Boston area including live broadcasts over WGBH from Jordan Hall. She also received a full scholarship for a summer at Tanglewood where she had the opportunity to play first flute in the Tanglewood Orchestra with Leonard Bernstein conducting. She was awarded membership in Pi Kappa Lambda. She moved to the New York area as a free lance musician, performing recitals in Carnegie Recital Hall, Town Hall, and the Brooklyn Museum (many were broadcast live on WNYC). During this time she was also teaching privately. She recently moved to Maine, joining the Rossini Club in 2015.
Eleanor began her musical studies a age 5 on violin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She received a degree in music education and performance from San Francisco State University in 1963 and joined the teaching force in the public school system of San Francisco as a music teacher for the year prior to being offered the opportunity to move to Mexico where she lived with her husband and children working as a violin, viola teacher at the Conservatorio National de Mexico and performing in many of the professional orchestras of the region in and around Mexico City. In 1973, she spent a year living in Holland and was active in the musical community of Nijmegen as violist. In 1986, she returned to California where she took music education classes at the University of the Pacific in Stockton and played viola with the San Rafael, Merced, Modesto and Stockton symphonies before entering the teaching force for the Merced City School District. In 2003, she moved to Maine where she continues to teach both violin and viola in her studio and at the Portland Conservatory of Music. In 2007, she initiated violin classes at USM, Portland, for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She is an active member of both the Portland Rossini and Marston-Kotzschmar music clubs of Portland, Maine.
Shaunna was classically trained at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. It was there that she performed scenes as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Sandman in Hansel und Gretel. Upon graduation, to fulfill her desire for community service, Shaunna pursued a career in the Assisted Living field, specializing in the care of residents living with dementia and Alzheimers. Her love for classical singing has led her back to the stage. Shaunna lives in Portland and is pursuing many artistic avenues both in the region and nationally. Her recent engagements include appearances in a vocal seminar at Northwestern University, where she performed a ‘stunning Rosalinda’ in Die Fledermaus. She currently studies with Dana Lynne Varga.
Ruth studied piano for 13 years between the ages of five and eighteen. As a teenager she accompanied choirs, instrumentalists, musicals, and the local ballet society in Princeton, NJ. At Cornell University, she accompanied private voice lessons and musicals. While her major was in Spanish Literature and her career is now in investments and financial planning, music has always been a passion and inspiration. She enjoys collaborating with other musicians on any instrument with a current focus on piano duets. Ruth was a student of the late Richard Roberts. She and her husband have lived in Portland since 1988, and have one son, Peter. She joined Rossini Club in 2011.
Leah studied piano from the age of 9 and began college as a music major at Brandeis University, where she studied with the French pianist Evelyne Crochet. She later earned a Master’s in Social Work degree at the University of Michigan, and went on to have a career as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. Music continued to be a passionate avocation, however, and after she moved to Maine in 2006, music once again became central to her life. Since that time, Leah has studied piano with Laura Kargul, and recently earned her Masters of Music degree in piano pedagogy at USM. Leah teaches piano at L’Ecole Franc̡aise in South Freeport and in her home studio in Cumberland Foreside. She is a member of the Maine Music Teachers’ Association, the Marston-Kotzschmar Club, and plays in various chamber groups. She joined Rossini Club in 2012.
A versatile and multifaceted musician, Mathew avidly performs both new music and the standard repertoire; he has premiered works by composers Kyle Grimm, Jonathan Schmieding, and Michael Albaine, among others. Mathew is equally at home performing with orchestras or chamber groups of varied instrumentations. In addition to his performing career, Mathew maintains an active teaching schedule. Mathew received his B.M. degree in cello performance from the University of Connecticut, studying with Katie Schlaikjer and Michael Nicolas. He received his M.M. degree in cello performance from the University of Hartford, where he studied with Mihai Tetel and Andrew Mark. Mathew lives in Portland and became a Rossini Club member in 2017.
Eric Peppe has Master’s degrees in piano performance and piano pedagogy from the University of Southern Maine, where he studied with Laura Kargul. He has performed solo piano throughout Maine, at Jordan Hall in Boston, and at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. He studied privately with Jeffrey Kahane, Robert Glover, and Boaz Sharon. He has been music director for productions at Portland Players, Lyric Music Theater, City Theater, Waynflete School, Scarborough High School, and elsewhere. A recording engineer, he has recorded CDs for The Portland String Quartet, The Gorham Community Chorus, Musica de Filia, The Boy Singers of Maine, and more. He produces and often accompanies student audition recordings. He lives in Buxton with his family and works as a piano tuner-technician.
Luette holds degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory and University of Southern Maine. She joined Rossini Club in 2013 and recently served on the Rossini Club Executive Board as Program Chair. She teaches voice at Bates College and at her studio in Portland.
Prior to moving to Portland, Stephen Schiffman, emeritus faculty member at Babson College and the F.W. Olin College of Engineering, lived in Boston for 30 years and played with various ensembles and chamber music groups there. He has been playing the clarinet for over 55 years and his teachers have included Sherman Friedland, Julie Vaverka and Thomas Hill. Also a member of the MarstonKotzschmar Club, he joined Rossini Club in 2015. He serves on the Board of Visitors of the New England Conservatory of Music.
Virginia began to study cello in the fifth grade of the public school system in Salina, Kansas. She studied privately with professors at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas, during high school and throughout her BA program, earning her degree in Spanish and music. She was initiated into Sigma Alpha Iota in 1958 and continues her membership with the Boston Alumnae Chapter. While living in Washington, DC, Massachusetts, Ohio, and New York, Virginia performed with string ensembles and community orchestras, and studied privately at Ohio Wesleyan and Kenyon Colleges. At present, she is playing with several ensembles.
A Portland resident, Danielle has performed as a featured concert soloist in Maine with groups including the Oratorio Chorale, Midcoast Symphony Orchestra, the Maine Music Society, Bowdoin Chorale and ChoralArt. She has also sung as a soloist in the greater Boston area, with the Salem Philharmonic, Longwood Opera, the Masterworks Chorale, and most recently in a gala performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Dvorak’s Requiem with the Paul Madore Chorale. Works she has sung include Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor, Brahms and Verdi’s Requiems and many other oratorio works, as well as selections from opera and Broadway. Of her performance of Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Oratorio Chorale, the Portland Press Herald stated, “Vayenas was superb throughout what is really an operatic role. She and the woodwinds played in the Elysian fields for several minutes during the “Et Incarnatus Est” section of the credo, which is Mozart at his most charming.” Margaret Vishneau, soprano: Maggie grew up in the Midwest, has lived at various times in Orlando, Boston, and Atlanta, but has happily called Maine home for 22 years. She has been singing all her life, performing at various times in church choirs, community choruses, and musical theatre productions. Maggie sang for several years in an Irish band in Boston and has often performed as a soloist for weddings and funerals. In 1982, she began studying vocal repertoire with Donna Rolle in Boston. Successive teachers have included Pamela Stewart of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and Melissa Fontaine of Atlanta, Georgia. Maggie is now studying with Margaret Yauger of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She retired from Delta Air Lines and is currently employed by the University of Southern Maine. Maggie joined Rossini Club in 2006.
Diane grew up in New Jersey. Her first piano teacher was her mother, Estelle Walsh, who taught her to read music before Diane entered kindergarten. At age seven she began attending the Juilliard School’s preparatory division on Saturdays and she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree at Juilliard; her teachers were Henrietta Wendt and Irwin Freundlich. Graduate studies were with Richard Goode at the Mannes College of Music, where she was awarded a master’s degree. She has performed concerti, solo recitals and chamber music concerts worldwide. She appeared with the American, Austin, Delaware, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Syracuse symphonies, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart radio symphonies, and Orpheus, St. Luke’s and Prague Virtuosi chamber orchestras. She has presented recitals in major venues throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Russia, made summer festival appearances at Marlboro, Santa Fe, Bard, Chesapeake, among many others, and led the Skaneateles Festival as artistic director from 1999 to 2004. She was associate professor at Mannes for 32 years. Since 2014 Diane Walsh has lived in Portland, Maine with her husband, the writer Richard Pollak. She recently performed with the Portland Chamber Music Festival, Portland’s ChoralArt, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. She joined Portland Rossini Club in 2016.