Our FacultyWhether 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 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”.
Ms. Margaret BrackMs. Margaret Brack was born in Washington, D.C. into an educated, artistic and musical family. She began studying ballet at four years old and had her first performance on the piano at 5 years old. Ms. Brack was conservatory trained. She followed with studies in cello, organ and guitar. At 11 years old she had her first vocal solo. Ms. Brack went on to study voice throughout high school in the High School Music Honors Program held at the University of Minnesota, where she studied under Aaron Copeland, Gunther Schueller and had the opportunity to conduct the then little-known St. Paul Chamber Orchestra! She first attended college as a dance major with a political science minor in Southern California. During her time there, she performed with the L.A. Jazz Choir, doing concerts and radio shows, with performers that included Mel Torme, Louie Bellson and Al Jarreau. Ms. Brack went on to study opera at the Brooklyn Conservatory and made her operatic debut in Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte in the role of Fiordiligi, in which she was coached by Eleanor Steber. Ms. Brack took a break from her operatic career in 1989 to have her first child and that began her work in music ministry for the R.C. Church. She went on to be a Director of Music Ministries and work nationally for the church in music, catechism and liturgical training. All through these years she continued to perform throughout the U.S. and in several countries. Ms. Brack holds a B.A. in Religious Studies & minor in Cello Performance from Notre Dame University of Maryland, M.M. in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Divinity from the Nashotah House Theological Seminary. She hopes to begin her doctoral studies soon. Ms. Brack teaches voice, piano, guitar, cello & composition. She also plays handbells and is a percussionist. Ms. Brack and her husband Jim met singing Czech and Polish music in the Columbia Pro Cantare in Maryland. They have sung the National Anthem at many pro sports events and civic events. They have been married for 31 years and have four children and their first grandchild.
Mr. Quinn Cavallo
Mr. Quinn Cavallo (Annapolis, MD) recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music (Chicago, IL). Considered one of the top music education programs in the country, VanderCook College of Music requires its students to demonstrate proficiency on 19 different instruments including brass, woodwind, string, percussion, and piano. While at VanderCook College of Music, Mr. Cavallo was an active member of the horn and flute studio serving as assistant principal horn for the Symphonic Band and as a guest performer for the flute ensemble.
Throughout his musical career, Mr. Cavallo has had the opportunity to study under world renowned musicians including Frank Portone (Principal Horn of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra), Peter Jirousek (Horn of the Lyric Opera of Chicago), Mary-Christine Stingley (Internationally Acclaimed Flute Soloist), and Dr. Yu-Sui Hung (Applied Piano and Music Theory Professor at VanderCook College of Music). He looks forward to sharing his love for music with students of all ages and is available to teach horn, flute, piano, trumpet, and oboe.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Ms. Lily Josefsberg
Ms. Lily Josefsberg has played piccolo with the Baltimore Symphony and Midland Symphony. Her upcoming performances will be with the Boise Philharmonic and the Florida Grand Opera. She was a semi-finalist for the 2018 National Flute Association’s Piccolo Young Artist Competition and has been on the substitute list for the New World Symphony since 2016. She was a semifinalist for the Baltimore and Atlanta Symphony’s piccolo position and a finalist for the Miami Summer Music Festival’s 2014 Concerto Competition and the Boston University 2015 Concerto Competition. Ms. Josefsberg was the piccoloist for the Boston Civic Symphony from 2013-15 and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra under Benjamin Zander from 2012-15 where she performed in venues such as Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Berliner Philharmonie Hall. Other orchestral engagements include Symphony Hall in Boston and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Ms. Josefsberg received her Master of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma in Piccolo Performance from Peabody Conservatory where she was the teaching assistant of Laurie Sokoloff. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from Boston University where she studied under Linda Toote and John Heiss. She also attended the Manhattan School of Music Pre-college program, and was principal flute of their orchestras for three consecutive years. Ms. Josefsberg also served as an orchestral flutist at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
Ms. Josefsberg realizes the long-lasting value of dedicated instruction and places serious importance on passing on the gift of music to her students. For this reason, she strives to make each lesson productive and valuable.
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. Alexander Marte
Violinist and violist, Alexander Marte, currently attends Washington Adventist University, has loved music since he was an infant. When he was eight, he began taking lessons with Dr. Linda Whitesitt, a graduate of Peabody Institute with a doctorate in Musicology. Two years later Mr. Marte started performing with the Springs Chamber Ensemble. He continued his studies under Dr. Whitesitt until her retirement in 2013.In 2009, Marte was the winner of the Montgomery County (MD) Middle School Strings Competition. In 2010, he won the George Rink Memorial Scholarship. He was a recipient of the FAST Scholarship (Forum for Arts, Sciences and Technologies) in the same year. Mr. Marte is the 2013 winner of the Deborah, Leslie, and Christopher Bright Achievement Fund and since has served on their panel as a judge. MR. Marte was chosen by invitation to serve as Concert Master, Berkeley County High School Orchestra for two and a half years until joining the New England Youth Ensemble May 2013. In 2013, at age 15, Mr. Marte was invited to performed with the New England Youth Ensemble, based in Washington DC. In May of that year Preston Hawes, Director of the NEYE, invited Alexander to join the NEYE as a regular member. He is currently studying under the direction of Dr. Hawes, ARTC, AD, DMA, Washington Adventist University, Assistant Professor, Music, Head of Strings and Orchestral Studies and New England Symphonic Ensemble, Artistic Director. As a member of the New England Youth Ensemble, Mr. Marte took his first tour to Puerto Rico where he played at the castle in Ponce, among other note-worthy places, as well as in the capital rotunda for a packed house of invited guest including Speaker of the House (El Presidente), the Hon. Jaime R. Perello Borras in San Juan. Since that time Mr. Marte has toured with the ensemble throughout the East Coast, Europe, Australia and extensively in New England. He is privileged to be included in the Carnegie Scholars program which allows talented young musicians to play at Carnegie Hall along with the professional branch of the orchestra, the New England Symphonic Ensemble, based at Carnegie Hall, New York City. In 2015, Mr. Marte toured in Australia with the orchestra where they performed extensively along the East Coast. He was privileged to be a featured soloist, playing movements from the Mendelssohn Concerto at the historic St. John’s Cathedral in Brisbane, Australia. The tour was completed in the United States with several performances at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas where he was one of four soloist for Vivaldi Concerto for Four Violins. In his spare time Mr. Marte enjoys playing tennis, soccer, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and kayaking. To help defray the cost of his music education, he works at a commercial tomato farm where he assists in the production of several million tomato plants, helps to care for the farm animals as well as many other labor-intensive activities required to maintain a busy commercial farm. Mr. Marte is also active in his community, playing his violin as well as sharing the fascinating story behind his instrument. He volunteers weekly at the local library during the summer and enjoys sharing his love for his community with others.
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.