Non-Credit Music Instructors

The Music School at Dutchess Community College is proud to offer individual and group lessons by some of the region's most accomplished musicians. Learn more about them, below.


Ariana Barkeshli, a native of Tehran, received her first music lessons from her father, Dr. Mehdi Barkeshli. She studied in France with Yvonne Loriod (wife of Messiaen) and received a Master of Music degree from L’Ecole Normale de Musique.

Since 1985, Ariana has lived in New York. At SUNY New Paltz, she obtained a master’s degree in piano pedagogy under Vladimir Feltsman.

Among her recital performances are The National Gallery of Art and a celebration of J. S. Bach’s 250th Anniversary. Ariana functioned as Artistic Director of the conference of the International Society for Iranian Studies in Toronto in 2008. 

Flute, Oboe, Chamber Music, Kindermusik

Lynnette Benner began playing flute at the ripe old age of eleven. An avid horse lover, she earned an A.A.S. Equine Science and worked in that field for eleven years while continuing to play and perform. Returning to college, she earned a B.S. Music Performance, Flute, from SUNY New Paltz. She studied with Marcia Gates, Lynn Cunningham, Sarah Trautman, and Gary Schocker.

Lynnette teaches Flute, Oboe, Chamber Music, and Kindermusik. She also can be heard on movie soundtracks and CDs. Lynnette lives in Millerton, NY with her husband, stepson, four cats, two horses, and two dogs (all rescues!).

Bass, Guitar, Banjo

Best known for his signature bass solos in a variety of styles, from jazz to bluegrass, Rusty is in demand as a performer, teacher, songwriter, and session player in the Hudson Valley. Education includes: Studies at Berklee College of Music and a B.A. from the Evergreen State College.

Trumpet, Chamber Music

Sage Boris is a trumpet player and educator from Kingston, NY. An avid fan of chamber music, he has enjoyed playing with brass quintets and mixed ensembles. He is especially interested in new music. As a freelancer he has played with symphony orchestras in New York and Michigan including the Final Fantasy game music touring production and the National Arab Orchestra. He enjoys learning about the history of music and music theory as it relates to composition, as well as musico-linguistic theories. He is a graduate of the State University of New York College at Potsdam magna cum laude and the University of Michigan, where he received master’s degrees in solo performance and chamber music performance.

Piano, Voice

Nick Denizard, a Hudson Valley local, earned a bachelor's degree in contemporary music studies from SUNY New Paltz. He has performed in local choirs, including the Hudson Valley “Bachfest,” and various choirs situated in DCC and New Paltz. Nick was also a founding member of the Poughkeepsie barbershop quartet “The Pough-Tones.”

Nick has studied music for fourteen years. His formal training began with classical piano lessons, and eventually came to include voice and composition. He has been an accompanist for students and pianist for various theatrical productions at DCC ("The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee," "Kiss Me, Kate").

In this teaching, Nick believes that each student brings a unique mind-set to lessons. Students are able to both achieve a greater technical understanding of the instrument and relate their musical instruction to their own personal tastes, through a mix of both classical and chosen repertoire. Enjoyment is an integral part of the music learning process.

Piano, Suzuki Piano

Richard Devens received his BS in Music Performance from Brooklyn College, where he studied with Augustin Anievas and Michael Rogers. He received his M.M. in Music Performance from The University of Arizona, where he studied with Nicholas Zumbro. Additional studies were with Richard Fabre.

Richard loves music from all periods, but has a special passion for Romantic piano literature and a particular interest in music for the left hand alone. He is active as an accompanist, as well as a solo performer. He has performed at Trinity Church, St. Paul's Festival of the Arts, Bargemusic, Alice Tully Hall, and in Russia.

Piano, Music Technology, Composition

Alex DiCicco is a music educator, keyboard player, and composer. A transplant from New England, Alex has spent the last decade performing and teaching with a particular emphasis on music technology, keyboard harmony, music theory, and music creation. As a composer, he wrote music for a five-part documentary series about the history of southern New Hampshire ("Reflections: An Oral History of the Monadnock Region"). An award-winning musical director (2011 TANYS, "RENT"), Alex also wrote the music and book for "EXTRA: An Original Musical." Alex holds degrees in Music and Music Education from Franklin Pierce University and Boston University. In addition to performing, he enjoys long-distance running and science fiction novels.

Piano, Voice, Director of Summer Music Institutes

Katherine Doe has over nine years of experience as a music teacher, performer, music director, and piano accompanist. Katherine has taught at the DCC Music School since 2008 as a private piano and voice instructor, choir director, and music theory tutor. She has directed the Summer Piano Institute and the Performing Arts Institute since 2015. Katherine also directs the DCC Intergenerational Women’s Choir, which welcomes all ages and levels of experience. 

Katherine has performed in over twenty musical theater and operatic productions, and has taught at various public and private schools across New York State. She currently teaches grades K through 9 general music and group piano classes at the Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District in Hastings-on-Hudson. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the Crane School of Music, and Dalcroze certification from the Lucy Moses School in Manhattan. 

Director of Music School

Laura Doe has performed in over 30 theatrical and operatic productions throughout New York State. She has extensive experience in musical and theatrical directing, as well as teaching and administration in DCC's Summer Music Institutes and DCC Music School at large. Laura holds a master's degree in Vocal Performance and a bachelor's degree in Vocal Music Education from the Crane School of Music. She also holds an associate degree in performing arts from DCC. Laura has taught "Kids and Teens Sing Musical Theater," "Intergenerational Women's Choir," "Kids Composition," Kindermusik, early childhood musicianship classes and voice lessons for all ages at DCC. She continues to teach general music and chorus for grades pre-K through 8 at local schools. 

Violin, Chamber Music

David Fiedler's first violin teacher was his father, an artist by profession, who was also an amateur violinist and devoted music lover. He attended the High School of Music and Art in New York City, and Juilliard Pre-College and College, where he was a student of Ivan Galamian. After graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree, he joined the South Dakota Symphony as concertmaster, and the Dakota String Quartet as first violinist. He has performed in the violin sections of the Dayton Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Opera Orchestra, and Minnesota Orchestra. Concerto appearances include performances of the Mendelssohn and Beethoven concertos, Brahms Double Concerto with the South Dakota Symphony, and Mozart Concerto no. 5 with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. He currently teaches violin at an arts academy in New York State.


Elizabeth Gerbi is a frequent coach, clinician, conductor (100+ productions) and music educator/choral conductor at theatres and institutions across the country. She is also a versatile vocalist, having shared stages with Kenny Rodgers, Sutton Foster, and members of the City Opera. Liz recently completed training in Somatic Voicework: The Lovetri Method (tm) at Shenandoah University, an M.M. from Boston University, and is a current doctoral student of Vocal Pedagogy at Shenandoah Conservatory. Liz is a member of the adjunct faculty at DCC, where she conducts the DCC choral ensembles and teaches Vocal Repertoire, Applied Voice, and History of Musical Theatre.

Violin, viola, cello

Amanda Heaton has been playing the violin since the fourth grade. She grew up in Poughkeepsie, NY and attended school in the Arlington School District, where she found her love of music. She started taking private lessons in sixth grade from Master Violinist/Violist, Charlotte Dinwiddie, and continued throughout her college years. Amanda graduated in 2017 with honors from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and graduated with distinction in 2018 from the Crane School with a Master’s Degree in Music Education. Throughout her time at Crane she has had the opportunity to teach private lessons and orchestra. Amanda has performed as a soloist in her church, private violin recitals at Crane and in her hometown, and violin studio classes at Crane. She has performed as a first and second violinist in String Quartets/Quintets and Orchestra at Crane as well. Amanda currently teaches private violin lessons in Poughkeepsie, NY and is always welcoming new students. 

French Horn, Trumpet

Stephanie Hollander holds a B.M. from the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Randy Gardner.  She also holds an M.M. from the Eastman School of Music, where she taught French horn method classes to undergraduate music education majors. After finishing her masters, she pursued a fellowship at the Bard College Conservatory of music and received an artist performers certificate. Currently Ms. Hollander is completing a professional studies certificate at the Manhattan School of Music as a recipient of the 2016-2017 Richard E. Adams Scholarship. Stephanie has performed with many distinguished groups, including The South Florida Symphony Orchestra, Miami Symphony, Bard Conducting Institute, The Orchestra Now, Albany Symphony, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra, and Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. Her playing has brought her to Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully, among other venues, as well as to Italy and Cuba.


John Howell, tenor, has sung throughout the United States, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, and Sydney, encompassing both opera and oratorio. He has performed with New York City Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Bard Summer Festival, New York Virtuoso Singers, Santa Fe Desert Chorale, The Philadelphia Singers, and Seraphic Fire. He is a regular member of the Choir of Men and Boys at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue in New York City. In 2005, he was a recipient of the prestigious J. William Fulbright Award and spent a year studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, Australia.


Guitar, voice, songwriting, acting

Zoe Levy-Serrano has been teaching voice, guitar, and songwriting at the DCC Music School since 2016. She is a certified Kindermusik Educator, and teaches songwriting year round through her “Songwriting for Teens” class. She wrote the curriculum for and directed the Songwriting Week Summer Institute at DCC, which has been active since 2017. Zoe has also taught at the Performing Arts Institute at DCC and the Teen Activity Resource Center at Family Partnership Center. 

She has extensive contemporary music experience, and is a graduate of DayJams, and Paul Green’s School of Rock in New York City. She also worked as a personal assistant to Stephen George at Gimme That Sound Productions, a recording studio in upstate New York. While at Dutchess Community College, she majored in music performance and composition, studying under the direction of Dr. Christopher Brellochs. 



Carol Vann Losee received her Bachelor of Music degree from North Texas State University. She taught public school music K-12 for six years. She received her Master of Arts degree from SUNY New Paltz in piano pedagogy. She has studied with Larry Walz, Vladimir Feltsman, and Eteri Andjaparidze.

Carol has taught piano for many years. She performs with Valentina Shatalova in the Two For You piano duo a well-known accompanist.

Carol is a certified NYSSMA adjudicator. She serves as organist for Trinity Lutheran Church in Walden. She has three grown children and lives with her husband Tom in New Paltz.


Nicole Moody holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Drake University. She has participated in prestigious masterclasses under the guidance of artists such as Clive Greensmith from the Tokyo String Quartet and soloist Amit Peled, among others. Nicole has experience performing in Italy and New York as well as many states in the Midwest. She is a recipient of a German cello from the Carlsen Cello Foundation and a first prizewinner of the James and Katherine Andrews Young Artist Competition. 

Nicole is following her passion for music through teaching and performing in NY. Nicole believes that with the right guidance, music is attainable by anyone in any stage of their lives. Sharing music with others is a fulfilling experience that everyone should be involved in!


Beverly Poyerd began her music training at age five and studied piano, performance and theory at the Henry Street Settlement School and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in New York City.

After a career in the brokerage industry, she continued her musical studies, graduating Summa Cum Laude from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Piano Performance in 2005. She performs as a soloist and accompanist in both the classical and jazz genres. She is a member of the MTNA, NGPT and Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Violin, Chamber Music

Born as a music-loving native Korean, Heeja started violin in 5th grade and never stopped. She earned a B.A. and M.A. from Seoul National University, Korea, while playing as Assistant Concertmistress in The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

She earned her master’s degree in violin performance from Manhattan School of Music. Heeja has considerable solo and orchestral experience, including Radio City Music Hall, New York City Opera, Albany Symphony, Elmira Symphony, Down Town Singers, and Belleayre Summer Festival Orchestra. She served as Assistant Concertmistress of the Binghamton Philharmonic until 2008. She has always been an active chamber musician. 


Anna Mayta Ruhe is a dance improviser, choreographer and teacher. She graduated from Empire State College in June 2001 with a B.A. in Dance in Education. November 2008, she got a certificate to teach yoga from Svyasa Swami Vivekananda Yoga University in Bangalore, India. In 2006, she was awarded a dissemination award from the Dutchess County Arts Council in Poughkeepsie, NY. She has taught, choreographed and performed for programs, in Bangalore India, England, the National Ballet of Zimbabwe in Africa, all over the greater area of Boston, and upstate NY.


Janet Salt teaches piano privately and for the Music School at Dutchess Community College. She accompanies the DCC chorus, vocal repertoire class, and Suzuki recitals. She is part-time organist at St. Andrews.

She served as musical director and accompanist for Ninety Miles Off Broadway and the New Paltz High School musicals: "Meet Me in St. Louis," "Nunsense," "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," "Birds of Paradise," "Pippin," and "Footloose." With director Judy Elliot, she writes and directs original children's musicals each summer.                      

She studied with Harry Jensen at SUNY New Paltz. Other teachers include John Esposito and Eteri Andjaparidze.


Valentina Shatalova holds a bachelor’s degree from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, and a master’s degree from SUNY New Paltz with a major in Piano Pedagogy. She has performed frequently as a duo-pianist, soloist, and accompanist in the NY Metropolitan and Mid-Hudson areas. She is a member of the “Two For You” piano duo, keyboardist for the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, and co-director of the New Paltz Pianofest. Valentina maintains a full piano studio in New Paltz, NY and is an active member of both the National Piano Guild and Music Teacher’s National Association. 

Jazz Violin

Michael studied with third-stream pianist Ran Blake at New England Conservatory of Music, attended Yale University as a music major, and later studied with jazz violinists Julie Lyonn Lieberman in New York City and John Blake in Philadelphia. He studied North Indian classical music on the sarangi at the Bhatkhande School of Music in Lucknow, India, and composition and jazz arranging at City College in San Francisco. He has been a member of a wide variety of musical ensembles—jazz, swing, country, bluegrass, classical, contradance, rock, fusion, blues, avant garde, tango, and more — and has taught privately since 1982.

Violin, Viola, Cello, Chamber Music

Stephen Starkman, violinist, violist and conductor, began his career with a Carnegie Hall debut at age ten. Violin studies followed at Juilliard and Indiana University with renowned pedagogues Ivan Galamian, Josef Gingold and Nathan Milstein.

After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in addition to many national awards for outstanding performance, he embarked on a 16-year tenure with the Pittsburgh Symphony. During his tenure he collaborated with many of the world’s greatest conductors including Previn, Bernstein, Maazel, and Michael Tilson-Thomas, as well as many great soloists of the day. 

An active chamber musician and conductor, Mr. Starkman established the first collaborative chamber music series in Pittsburgh (1984-1996) using symphony and freelance musicians. He served as music director of the Edgewood Symphony in Pennsylvania (1988-1992), and has guest conducted extensively. He has also been a violin soloist with more than a dozen orchestras nationwide.

Mr. Starkman has served on several prestigious faculties including Ohio University (Athens), Rhode Island Youth Orchestras, Music Conservatory of Westchester NY, and has been a distinguished judge for the Juilliard pre-college string competitions. 

Stephen Starkman’s CD recording “Fiddler of the Opera” marks his debut as a recording artist.


Jacqueline Venable Jordan holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School.  She has experience singing with opera companies, dance companies, choral societies, and symphony orchestras. She has served on the faculties of Dutchess Community College, Berkshire Choral Festival, Georgia Fine Arts Academy, Russell Sage College, and Columbia University. Jackie made her operatic debut at the Spoleto Festival in Juana, La Loca, by Gian Carlo Menotti in a production directed by the composer. Her Lincoln Center debut came in a critically acclaimed performance of Samuel Barber's "Andromache's Lament."

Cello, Violin

Jean has been teaching cello since 2005 and violin since 2010, and has been teaching at The Dutchess Community College Music School since 2010.

As a member of the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra and an occasional player for the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra, she is involved in the Hudson Valley string community as a freelancer. She is alumna of The Stringendo Orchestra School and former counselor at Summer Strings Stringendo.

​Her love of cello and the communicative power of music is the basis for all of her teaching.

Jean is active in preparing her students for all levels of NYSSMA, and her work with Stamell Stringed Instruments informs her assisting students with instrument selection and maintenance. Many of Jean’s former students are pursuing musical careers at various colleges and beyond. 


Janice Vuoso received her Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and her Master of Arts in Teaching from CUNY Lehman College. She maintains a private teaching studio in Westchester County and is also a K-5 music teacher and band director in Queens, NY. Janice teaches at DCC’s Summer Piano Institute. 

Piano, Voice

Marta Waterman is a singer, pianist and composer with a background in classical studies and performance, as well as pop and jazz. A graduate of Philadelphia College with a major in vocal performance, she has taught music lessons ever since.

Marta teaches students to read music, play by ear, read chord charts, sing classical, jazz and pop styles, and compose their own music. She is an active performer and composer who enjoys sharing her love of music with her students.

Piano, Voice

Dennis Yerry is a musician, composer, arranger and musical director whose career has encompassed a myriad of musical genres.  

He composed and musical directed the theatrical production of “Black Elk Speaks” in Denver, CO and L.A., in which he also performed.  His film and TV credits include performances for the Ken Burn’s documentaries, “Lewis and Clark” and “The West”.

He is currently the musical director and composer for “Unto These Hills,” the outdoor drama in Cherokee, NC.

As a jazz pianist, he has performed extensively in NYC.

Dennis has been teaching at DCC since 2004.