Our Faculty

A defining feature of Gifted Music School is its world-class faculty. Our caring, dedicated, and highly qualified instructors create a culture of excellence, achievement, and inspiration that has characterized Gifted Music School since its founding in 2009. The teaching artists at Gifted Music School are experts in their fields who strive to nurture and challenge each student at their appropriate level.

Our faculty have produced students who have gone on to study at every top music conservatory in the United States, including Juilliard, Curtis, Colburn, New England, Peabody, Cleveland, Bard, Indiana, and San Francisco. Other academically oriented students have been accepted on scholarship to every local university and top academic programs like Stanford, Harvard, Rice, Columbia, and Yale. Students of our faculty have placed at local and national competitions, have been heard on NPR's From the Top, and are frequently awarded national and regional level honors.



Eugene Watanabe, Artistic Director & Co-Founder
Dr. Vera Oussetskaia Watanabe, Co-Founder


Brass Area

Dr. Seretta Hart


Chamber Music Studies

Dr. LeeAnn Morgan, Director of Chamber Music Studies
Katherine Baird, Preparatory Chamber Music Coordinator


Choral Music Studies

Dr. Sarah Houghton, Choir Director


Music and Movement

Mira Larson, Dalcroze Eurythmics
Ariel Haubner, Yoga for Musicians


Music History

Dr. Koji Attwood
Kimberly Marsden


Early Childhood Area

McKenzie Clawson
Brecklyn Ferrin
Jeanne Lancaster
Dr. Lisa Matsuda
Kristina Turner


Guitar Area

Sophie Stanley


Orchestral Studies

Conner Gray Covington, Conductor
Eugene Watanabe, Conductor
Shenae Anderson


Percussion Area

Dr. Tia Harvey, Bucket Drumming


Piano Area

Dr. Vera Oussetskaia Watanabe, Piano Area Co-Chair
Dr. Whitney Pizza, Piano Area Co-Chair
Joanna Oshida, Supplemental Piano Coordinator
Dr. Koji Attwood
Yelena Bates
Dr. Alie Yorgason


Project GRIT (Growth Resilience Instinct Tenacity)

Rachel H. Taft, GRIT Program Director
Yelena Bates
Julie Beistline
Jeanne Lancaster


String Area

Eugene Watanabe, String Area Chair
Stacy Smith, Suzuki Program Director
Katherine Baird, Suzuki Program Coordinator
Kristina Turner, Suzuki Program Coordinator
Dr. Kate Jones, Suzuki Teacher Trainer-in-Residence


Shenae Anderson
Thomas Baron *
McKenzie Clawson
Brecklyn Ferrin
Tina Johnson
Deborah Moench
Rebecca Moench *
David Price
Stacy Smith
Rachel H. Taft
Melissa Thatcher *
Monica Thiriot
Kristina Turner
Brynn Vance
Eugene Watanabe


Dr. LeeAnn Morgan
Erin Nolan
Kristina Turner
Alan de Vertich *



Double Bass
Hillary Fuller
Dr. Kate Jones
David Yavornitzky *


Theory Area

Dr. Michael Chikinda, Theory Area Chair
Dr. Matthew Durrant
Micah Fleming
Kimberly Marsden
Sebastian Neugebauer


Voice Area

Dr. Sarah Houghton


Woodwind Area

Dr. April Clayton, Woodwind Area Chair

Dr. April Clayton
Nancy Toone

Susan Swidnicki

Erin Svoboda

Dr. Jennifer Rhodes


* denotes adjunct faculty
denotes emeritus faculty current and founding board member