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.
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 University. 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 a recipient of the Guild Teachers’ National Honor Roll Award from the American College of Musicians for preparing top students for piano adjudication and international composition contests. Dr. Roberson is currently a part-time professor at Howard Community College.
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 popular ethnic music, women in music, spectral music, and theory and analysis of 20th century music. Dr. Roberson is also the publisher of Roberson Music Publishing Company where several of her works have been published. To learn more about Dr. Roberson, visit her website.
Ms. Elizabeth Stamerra
Soprano Elizabeth Stamerra completed her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Ithaca College. Additionally, she is a Songfest and Miami Music festival alum. She has had the great fortune to connect with other musicians, be featured in various student films, perform solo recitals and work with children in music. While her specialty lies in classical and operatic singing, she keeps a diverse vocal repertoire.
Ms. Stamerra makes every effort to teach her students at the level that best fits their needs. She knows how to make lessons both educational and interesting for each individual student. She realizes the long-lasting value of dedicated instruction while placing serious importance on passing the gift of music to all her students. She strives to make each lesson productive and valuable.
Dr. Summer Xia
Dr. Summer Xue Xia graduated from University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music with a degree of Doctor of Musical Arts.
As a professional, Dr. Xia has had various solo and chamber performances. She has participated in numerous master classes, festivals and recitals. She was previously selected as a performer to represent the University of Cincinnati in the “National Association of Schools of Music.” She was awarded second prize winner for piano solo and sixth prize winner for piano duo at the Third Hong Kong Chinese Piano Works Competition. She also received second prize at Hong Kong Beethoven Piano Competition. Dr. Xia was a scholarship recipient for the John L. Magro Foundation in Cincinnati.
Besides solo experiences, Dr. Xia has abundant collaborative and accompanying skills. During her graduate assistantship in the doctoral program, she accompanied for more than 40 recitals and concerts with instrumentalists and vocalists, including distinguished musicians, professors, and guest artists from renowned symphony and universities. She has performed in recitals with horn players from Chicago Symphony Orchestra, trumpeters from Canadian Brass, tuba professor from Arizona State University, horn professors from Peabody Conservatory and University of Illinois. Dr. Xia has played in master classes with world-renowned artists such as the Swedish clarinetist Martin Frost, American singer Deborah Voigt and British Lieder Graham Johnson. In addition, Dr. Xia performs with composer friends. She performed composer Xian Wang’s piano work titled “the Sound from My Memory” which was featured in the Midwest Composers Symposium at the University of Michigan.
Born in China, mainland, Dr. Xia began studying the piano at the age of 5. Before coming to the United States, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in piano performance at Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Dr. Xia gained teaching experience during her college years. She taught students at various age groups. The students she taught were at different level; early beginners, intermediate and advanced beginners. She has helped many children pass piano grade exams and helped adults to learn the music they enjoyed. Dr. Xia hopes to share the joy of piano with new students and friends in the future.
Ms. Junghee SonPianist, Ms. Junghee Son has a second bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Music Therapy from Colorado State University and has a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from South Korea. She has performed as a solo pianist and duo pianist on recital programs in South Korea and the United States. In addition, she has competed in many competitions at an early age, and was awarded first place and third place winner in competitions in South Korea. Ms. Son has been teaching private and group piano lessons to students as young as age three to adults for many years. She finds it important to get to know student’s musical interest in order to incorporate their musical desire into the curriculum. At the same time, she also feels that it is important for students to play with correct technique and good musicianship. Her students participate in local and state competitions and have received various awards and honors. Ms. Son shares her music through volunteering in catholic churches as well as singing and accompanying in the choir. She loves to ignite others with her knowledge, skills and compassion for music in order to embody their full potential as musicians.
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.
Dr. Ji Eun KimSoprano Ji Eun Kim 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. Kim 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. Kim was a first prizewinner in both the local Metrowest Opera Competition and the Piccola Opera Competition in New Hampshire; 4th prize winner of the Bel Canto Competition and received the encouragement award from the NEMPAC competition in Boston. Dr. Kim 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. “Kim’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 Kim used her gleaming soprano to penetrating effect as Composer” in Ariadne auf Naxos, and “Ji Eun Kim 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.
Mr. Keith KarasikMr. Keith Karasik teaches double bass and strings. His biogrphay will be posted soon.
Mr. Arnell Byrd
Guitarist/Vocalist Mr. Arnell Byrd has been a renowned figure in the music world and especially in his native Washington D.C. He has studied and played extensively with various Local and National Acts Worldwide. Starting at age 12, he received his first guitar on Christmas day. He is self-taught, and began playing around the Seat Pleasant, MD area with friends throughout his childhood. As an aspiring artist, Mr. Byrd’s thirst for music knowledge led him to grow his talents by enrolling and finishing his AA degree at PGCC where he was a Classical Guitar Major. He continued that education at the highly acclaimed music program at Howard University in D.C.
Playing every venue nameable in the D.C. area, his quest for growth took him across the shores to various places around the world including China, Japan, Vietnam, Macao, Mexico, The Bahamas, Canada, All across Europe and at least 35 of the United States with the inclusion of the great extension of the country in beautiful Hawaii. With many great artists such as the local funk band called Maniquin and Kenny Lattimore, he signed a record contract with the former Sony label, Epic Records.
Mr. Byrd has recorded with the likes of Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic, Star Point’s Ernesto Phillips, EU’s Marvin Ennis, Charlie Singleton of Cameo, and World-class Funketeers The Gap Band. He has also done Disneyland and DisneyWorld tour dates with artist Shanice Wilson, and World Tours with The Jackson’s and Aaron Carter. His zest and enthusiasm for music has burned a ray of sunshine into the lives of many all over the planet and has handed that passion down to his many students over the years. His desire to make his students feel the serenity he has loved through music has given him the impetus to stay focused in the field of teaching as well as playing gigs locally and worldwide.
The thing that has made Mr. Byrd appreciate music is not just having the opportunity to work at venues like the Capitol Jazz Festival with artist such as Dwele, Peabo Bryson, Yolanda Adams, Oleta Adams, and Maysa, but the feeling he receives when he plays the guitar and hears the tone on the instrument. It’s the same feeling he has known since he received his very first guitar on Christmas day.
Mr. Devan Jaquez
Mr. Devan Jaquez is a recent graduate of the Colburn Conservatory in Downtown Los Angeles where he received a Master of Music Degree studying with Jim Walker. He received his Bachelor’s Degree of Art in Music Performance in the spring of 2017 from UCLA where he also received the Presser Scholar Award and studied with Sheridon Stokes. While in Los Angeles, Mr. Jaquez worked as a freelance musician and premiered works by Esa-Pekka Salonen and William Kraft among others. He appeared in recitals with revered oboe soloist and orchestral musician Ramón Ortega Quero while he was principal oboist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the Colburn Chamber Music Society 2018-2019 season.
Devan Jaquez is a 2020 instrumental fellow of the Music Academy of the West (MAW) and is a winner of the Keston MAX Competition—he will be appearing with the London Symphony Orchestra during their 2021 season. Mr. Jaquez was also selected to play in the 2020 Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra. He has played in the American Institute of Music, Graz Orchestra in Graz, Austria in 2019; the 2018 National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) in Breckenridge, Colorado; and was the 3rd Prize winner of the 2018 San Diego Flute Guild Young Artist Competition. He won the UCLA All-Star Concerto competition and appeared as a soloist with the UCLA Philharmonia Orchestra in their 2015-2016 season.
In addition to being a performer, Mr. Jaquez also enjoys teaching music and has served on faculty for the Jumpstart Young Musicians’ Program at the Colburn School and Soriel Music Academy in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Jaquez teaches flute, oboe and clarinet.
Mr. Jonah Kappraff
Jonah Kappraff is a trumpet performer and teacher new to the Baltimore area. Having trained at the Oberlin Conservatory (B.M. performance/education) and Boston University (M.M. performance) he spent a decade freelancing in Boston before relocating to central Pennsylvania in 2015. In Boston, Jonah was a regular member of the Lexington Symphony, the Marsh Chapel Collegium Musicum, and the avant-garde Boston Modern Brass Quintet, and performed frequently with the Boston Ballet, the Boston Pops, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Odyssey Opera. He also maintained a robust teaching studio, mentoring students who frequently competed in state and national competitions.
In Pennsylvania, Jonah performed with the Williamsport Symphony, York Symphony, Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra, and the Penn’s Woods Music Festival. Additionally, he was featured as a guest soloist with the Penn Central Wind Band in 2017 and in performances of the J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 2 with the Allegretto Chamber Orchestra of Lancaster and the Nantucket Baroque Festival. Jonah has played principal trumpet with the Boston-based Ambient Orchestra (dir. Evan Ziporyn) since 2016, a group with whom he has toured nationally and internationally.
As a recitalist and clinician, Jonah has presented solo recitals and masterclasses at Keene State College, MIT, Harvard University, Bucknell University, and Lycoming College. His primary teachers have been Terry Everson, Steve Emery, and Roy Poper.
Dr. Robyn StevensVocal instructor, Dr. Robyn Steven, biography will be added soon.