Whether you are 3 years old or 75 years old, new to music, an experienced musician, desire a fun extracurricular activity or professional career Roberson School of Music is the choice for you. Deciding on the appropriate school and teacher will effect your enjoyment and success in music.
What makes RSM’s teachers so unique?
RSM provides professionally educated instructors. Our faculty is consisted of experienced musicians with excellent credentials. They come from diverse, educational and performance backgrounds. Each holds advanced music degrees, certifications and performance credentials, which enables us to uniquely work with students of all ages, levels and backgrounds. Our instructors undergo extensive background checks to ensure the safety of all our students.
Meet Our Faculty
Dr. Monica Tripp-Roberson, Director
Monica Tripp-Roberson, D.M.A, is a recognized performer, composer and music educator. Before receiving her Doctorate of Music in Composition/Theory and Piano Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Roberson also studied at Peabody Conservatory of Music where she received her Master’s of Music and the University of North Florida where she received her Bachelor’s of Education in Music.
As a pianist, she has performed throughout the United States to rave reviews. She has been featured on public television in Jacksonville, FL. Her piano playing has been described as “passionate and energetic.” She has competed in various piano competitions and received awards such as third place winner of the DeBose National Piano Competition.
As a composer, Dr. Roberson has composed various pieces ranging from solo to symphonic works. Her music has appeared in master classes with world-renowned vocalist, Dawn Upshaw. She has won several composition competitions, some of which include winner of the Margaret Blackburn Composition Competition. She was also awarded the Eubie Blake Scholar Award for outstanding musician and composer. During her studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she was awarded a grant from the Women’s Studies program in order to compose her chamber opera piece titled “A Room of One’s Own” based on the book by Virginia Woolf. She currently accepts commissions and participates in collaborations with artists. With every note she writes, she strives to touch the souls of listeners through rich, colorful, and energetic sounds.
As a teacher, Dr. Roberson has received positive ratings from her students. She teaches piano, strings, woodwind, brass and percussion. Her students have won various competitions and scholarships such as first place in the ACT-SO competition for vocal performance and second place in the ACT-SO competition for violin performance. She has recently taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Spelman College, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, Anne Arundel Community College and Howard Community College. She has also assisted with the growth and development of private piano programs at the Nathan Carter School of Music, Maryland Conservatory of Music and Champaign School of Music. Dr. Roberson is currently a professor at Howard University.
Dr. Roberson is also active in church music ministry. She has served as musician and assistant director at the Cross Creek Presbyterian Church and Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL, Warner Baptist Church in Falls Church, VA, and Friendship Lutheran Church in Savoy, IL. She has also served as the Director of Music at the Oakland Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA.
Additionally, Dr. Roberson is a writer and publisher. She has written several articles for Salem Press and EBSCO Publishing’s multi-volume of biographical and analytical publication of Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century as well as The Forties in America. She has also written several articles in their upcoming multi-volume of The Twenties in America, The Thirties in America, and Great Lives from History: African Americans. She is currently engaged in research in reference to Black Women Composers. Dr. Roberson is also the publisher of Roberson Music Publishing Company where several of her works have been published.For more information about Dr. Roberson visit http://monicaroberson.com.
Ms. Naho BesshoNaho Bessho, born in Japan, is a concert pianist and piano instructor. She has taught more than 70 private students over the years. She teaches students ranging from ages 3 to adult and enjoys sharing the joy of music. At age 19 she won the highest award at the Japan Classical Music Competition in Chubu district. She graduated from Aichi Prefectural University of Fine Arts and Music with a Master of Music degree. In 1999 upon graduating from the college she played a piano concerto with Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra from Poland. In 2001 she won the 2nd prize at Yangtze-River Cup International Competition in Osaka. She came to the United States in 2002, and she graduated from Boston University with Performance Diploma in 2006. Since then she has given many piano recitals in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire. In 2010, She released her first CD “Invitation”, and April in 2013 she released her second CD “Spianato”.
Mr. Willie SantiagoWillie Santiago is a woodwind and brass instructor. He has taught middle school and high school band at Pinegrove Middle School and West Hill High School in Syracuse, NY. He has taught individual woodwind and brass students on instruments ranging from flute, saxophone, clarinet, horn and trumpet. Mr. Santiago has been a member of the teaching faculty at the Music Academy of Eastern Carolina. He was the teaching assistant for the East Carolina University flute studio. He also holds K-12 music teacher certification from New York Sate. He received his Master’s of Music in Flute Performance from East Carolina University and his Bachelor’s of Music Education with Performance Honors from Syracuse University. He has performed in master classes for Nina Assimakapolous, Mario Caroli, Ian Clarke, Dr. Bradley Garner, Gary Schocker, and Jim Walker and has studied with Elaine Thoma, Kim Collins, Kelly Covert, and Dr. Christine Gustafson. As a performer, Mr. Santiago is a strong advocate for contemporary music. He has premiered several compositions for concerts organized by the North Carolina NewMusic Initiative and various new music concerts in eastern North Carolina. Most recently, Mr. Santiago was involved in a project organized by the North Carolina NewMusic Initiative to record Travis Alford’s Loose Strands for wind ensemble. Mr. Santiago has been named a semi-finalist with Stranded Silver in the Savvy Musician in ACTION Chamber Music Competition (April 2015) and will perform with them at the 2016 New Music Gathering held at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, MD. He has won third place in the Emerging Artist Competition hosted by the International Flute Symposium at West Virginia University (July 2014) and the Hampton Roads Flute Faire’s Collegiate Division Competition (February 2015). He has also received an honorable mention and a superior rating for his solo and quartet performances at the Raleigh Area Flute Association’s Solo Competition and Solo/Ensemble Festival Review. In 2014, he was invited to attend the National Music Festival, a Summer orchestral institute, and participated as a flute apprentice where he performed in the festival orchestra and in multiple chamber music concerts. Mr. Santiago has been active in many different aspects of music that include a variety of ensembles and experiences. As a performer, he has served as a member of the East Carolina University Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, he has sung with the ECU Chorale and Syracuse University’s Hendrick’s Chapel Choir, and he has been a member of the SU Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Baroque Ensemble, and Samba Laranja, a Brazilian percussion and folk music ensemble. Recently, Mr. Santiago accepted the position of concert manager for the music department of the University of Maryland Baltimore County where he is responsible for overseeing all concerts and events hosted by the department.
Mr. Jared BaileyMr. Jared Bailey is a graduate of Howard University and Rutgers University in New Jersey. He holds degrees in Music Business and Jazz Performance. As a trumpeter, Mr. Bailey has performed in the DMV area for the past seven years with a variety of local ensembles and is now teaching in the DMV area. Aside from performing with DuPont Brass and other groups in the area, he performs under the name “MKZ” as a rapper, trumpeter and singer. Mr. Bailey has had the privilege of headlining the St. Louis Jazz Festival in Senegal, Africa with the Howard Jazztet, performing with Grammy-nominated Christian Scott, and touring with award winning R&B legend Genuine. Mr. Bailey teaches brass instruments to students ranging from beginner to advanced.
Dr. Ji Eun ParkSoprano Ji Eun Park was born and grew up in Seoul, South Korea. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Voice from Yonsei University in Korea. In the United States she received her Masters Degree in Voice from the Peabody Conservatory studying with Prof. Phyllis Bryn-Julson, and an Artist Diploma in Voice and Opera from the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Dr. Mary Schiller. Recently, she received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice and Opera from Boston University studying with Penelope Bitzas. Now, she has relocated to Gaithersburg in Maryland and is teaching, conducting and singing for the choir at Korean Presbyterian Church of Baltimore. Dr. Park has performed numerous roles in opera productions of the Boston University Opera Institute including Violetta (La traviata, act 3), Lidoine (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Miss Wingrave (Owen Wingrave), Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito), Eliza (Dark sisters), and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni). Also, she performed Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos and Beatrice in Beatrice et Benedict while at Cleveland, and Countess in Le nozze di Figaro and First Lady in Magic Flute while completing her Masters Degree. For concert work she performed the whole work of Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s The Creation in the Yonsei Concert Choir and was the soprano soloist of Handel’s Dixit Dominus, HWV 232 with Neponset Choral Society. Recently, she made her debut at Boston Symphony Hall as a soprano soloist of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony conducted by Ken-David Masur. In the summer of 2015, she was a featured artist at Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and performed the role of the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. Dr. Park was a first prizewinner in both the local Metrowest Opera Competition and the Piccola Opera Competition in New Hampshire; 4th prizewinner of the Bel Canto Competition and received the encouragement award from the NEMPAC competition in Boston. Dr. Park has received several accolades for her opera performances. Among them includes the fall 2012 performance of Violetta in the third act of La traviata at the Fringe Festival with the Boston University Opera Institute. “Park’s initially delicate singing accurately depicted Violetta’s physical and mental frailty, but she revealed a clean, well-tempered sound in her passionate duet with Alfredo.” “Ji Eun Park used her gleaming soprano to penetrating effect as Composer” in Ariadne auf Naxos, and “Ji Eun Park brought warm charisma to the opera’s subversive protagonist, Eliza, and shaped a strong, resolute persona with minimal resources” in Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters.
Ms. Emilie FloresViolinist and Pianist, Ms. Emilie Rose Flores was born in Takoma Park, Maryland and began her violin studies at the age of seven under the tutelage of the legendary master, Korean teacher and performer Mr. Ang. Ms. Flores was selected as the concert mistress to perform chamber music and solo concerto performances at the College Park Youth Orchestra. While finishing high school, Ms. Flores was accepted into the New England Youth Ensemble (NEYE) of Washington Adventist University as the first violinist. As an avid pianist and violinist, Ms. Flores has toured with NEYE throughout the world performing a myriad of concerts from New York to Australia. Though her performances overseas and throughout the United States have included recordings, solos with orchestras and chamber music concerts. Her recital programs invariably include shorter works, of which she is so fond, as well as the larger masterpieces. Ms. Flores is a Carnegie Scholar and has performed with several recording artists such Pentatonix’s MR Kevin Oulusola, Beatriz Taylor, and others. Ms. Flores is pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Music Education and Performance from Washington Adventist University, is an active piano and violin teacher and in addition to teaching, Ms. Flores enjoys performing as a free-lance musician in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area.
Mr. Nathaniel ElmanGuitarist Nate Elman has been playing the guitar for over ten years. In his early years, he was exposed to grunge and alternative rock music, which influence him to learn the guitar. Mr. Elman started as a self-taught guitarist and later had his formal training under jazz guitarist Mike Raitzyk, he graduated in 2014 with an Associate of Arts degree in Music Performance- Jazz at Howard Community College. He was honored to perform during an HCC Spotlight Recital and played his own arrangement of “Oleo” by Sonny Rollins. His performance of “So Nice (Samba de Verão)” created “a vision of a beach in Brazil” according to DC Metro Theater Arts at the Coffee House Under the Stars of the Arts Collective event. Mr. Elman also studied Jazz composition and improvisation at UMBC where he will receive his Bachelor’s Degree.
Mr. Jerram JohnEqually at home on the piano, cello and violin, Mr. Jerram John is native of Lexington, Kentucky and graduate of the University of Kentucky. He received a Bachelor of Music in cello performance, summa cum laude, under Benjamin Karp. While at the University of Kentucky, Mr. John performed in the Symphony and Opera Orchestras under John Nardolillo, giving him the opportunity to tour China, as well as perform with world-renowned artists Itzhak Perlman, Lang Lang, and Joshua Bell. Mr. John has participated in several summer festivals, where he played in master classes and lessons for Timothy Eddy, Paul Katz, and Uri Vardi. In 2016, he studied with Jonathan Spitz at the Brevard Music Festival, where he previously received the Outstanding College Student Award in 2014. Mr. John has also received several awards and scholarships from the University of Kentucky. After graduating with his Bachelor’s degree, Mr. John spent two years freelancing full-time as a cellist, collaborative pianist, and private teacher in central Kentucky. Currently, Mr. John is starting his a master’s degree in cello performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and studies under cello soloist, Amit Peled.
Dr. Eun Suk ChaDr. Eun Suk Cha, a passionate and prolific pianist from South Korea, has concertized in renowned venues across the United States, Europe, and Korea. She has performed for the Winners’ Recital of the National Artists Competition at Lincoln Center, NY, United States; Kresge Hall at Carnegie Mellon University, PA, United States; Jessen and Bates Halls at the University of Texas at Austin, TX, United States; Sala dei Notary, Perugia, Italy, at the Music Fest Perugia; Winner Saal, Salzburg, Austria, for the Akademie Konzert at the Mozarteum International Summer Academy; Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Universal Arts Center, and Yurim Art Hall, Seoul, Korea. In 2018, she will perform at the Bates Hall at the University of Texas at Austin, TX, and the Stoughton Opera House, WI, United States. As a versatile artist with theoretical and technical expertise in classical music, Eun Suk has a broad repertoire including solo, concerto, and chamber works ranging from Baroque to 20th-century music. Her perspectives on 20th-century music, as presented in her thesis “Charles Ives’ Paradoxes in the Three-page Sonata,” earned high praises from internationally-acclaimed music theorists such as Profs. E. Antokoletz and B. Glenn Chandler. She has performed concerti with the Parlarte Symphonic Orchestra, Perugia, Italy, conducted by Dan Wen Wei; Yonsei University Orchestra, Seoul, Korea, conducted by Sang-Jin Kim, as a Concert Competition winner; and Sunhwa Arts School Orchestra, Seoul, Korea, conducted by Kwang Yu, also as a Concert Competition winner. Eun Suk has won a number of notable prizes at various national and international competitions, including the Second Prize from National Artists Competition, NY, United States; the First Prize from the 6th Competition of the Piano Society of Korea, Korea; the Second Prize from Brahms Competition, Korea; and the Third Prize from Sunhwa Chamber Music Competition, Korea. In addition, she has won several scholarships from the International Keyboard Institute & Festival, NY, United States, the Malinin Fedkina Internatinale Sommer Meisteklasse, Germany, Carnegie Mellon University, and Society of Lee Sumie, Korea. Notably, she was an honorable recipient of A David Renner Endowed Presidential Academic Excellence Scholarships. Eun Suk was born in Seoul, Korea, and started honing her performance skills at Sunwha Arts School in 2003. Her formative studies took place at Yonsei University, Korea, where she obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in 2008 and a Master of Music degree in 2011 under Prof. Keum-Bong Kim. After she moved to the United States, she was supervised by Profs. Sergey Schepkin and Enrique Graf for her Master of Music degree at Carnegie Mellon University, and achieved Pedagogy skills with Prof. Hanna W. Li. Thereafter, she studied with Profs. David A. Renner and Andrew A. Brownell at the University of Texas at Austin for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree until 2017. During her doctoral training, Eun Suk achieved profound insights and understanding of the 20th-century musicology under the mentorship of Prof. Elliot Antokoletz.
Mr. Jordan McRaeMr. Jordan McRae (Beltsville, MD) received his Bachelor’s degrees in Music Performance (B.M.) and in English (B.A.) from St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM). Throughout his undergraduate career at St. Mary’s, Mr. McRae was able to expand his musicianship through various ensembles, and thrive as a soloist on the Alto Saxophone. While at St. Mary’s, Mr. McRae was a member of the SMCM Jazz Band & Jazz Combo, the Orchestra, the Chambers Choir, and St. Mary’s top choir, PING. Mr. McRae’s participation in these varying musical groups brought him from playing in auditoriums in Southern Maryland, to recital halls at Bowie State University, to the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Mr. McRae’s time at St. Mary’s allowed him to perform internationally at the University College of Dublin (UCD), and throughout Yunnan, China. In his final two years of college, Mr. McRae, was fortunate enough to mentor and teach saxophone students in the area of the classical and jazz saxophone. Mr. McRae is dedicated to teaching the joys of music, and the wonders of the saxophone to any student, at any expertise level.