Our Teachers


 

Alexander Peña | Director

Alexander Peña serves as Director of ROCmusic, a unique music education program that offers group and private instruction within economically disadvantaged communities to help enable urban youth in Rochester, NY. His non-profit organization, inspired by the El-Sistema movement, is a partnership collaborative between the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester), Hochstein School of Music & Dance, Eastman Community Music School, City of Rochester, Rochester City School District, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra... full bio

Robert L. Pycior | Operations Director & Teaching Artist

Robert L. Pycior is a multi-instrumentalist and private instructor of over 15 years. He performs the violin professionally in a variety of contemporary outfits, and currently composes and records music for film and television. Most notably, Pycior is the violinist for the Brooklyn-based band O’death. Robert has composed the film scores to feature films including The Village of Peace (2014), a documentary that explores a community of African-Americans from Chicago, who in 1967 began the 2 year migration to Dimona, Israel... full bio

 

Humberto J. Colón Rivera | Teaching Artist

Humberto J. Colón Rivera began studying music in 1996 at the Preparatory School at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, and the “Escuela Libre de Música Ernesto Ramos Antonini.” He has a Bachelor’s degree in Double Bass Performance from the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, graduating magna cum laude under the tutelage of Professor José David Torres. Humberto also attained a Master’s degree in Double Bass Performance from the University of Arizona... full bio

 

Eunji Kang | Teaching Artist

Born December 17, 1991, Korean native, Eunji Kang’s involvement at church brought her first interactive exposure to music at a young age. She was served her church’s choir as a singer and accompanist. Her ability and desire to serve the church choir was amplified at age 13 when she started to play the cello. After graduation from Korea’s Kaywon High School of Arts, Kang pursued advanced musical studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in England. Under Karine Georgian’s guidance Kang focused her cello studies on the natural handwork and grasp the feeling for its acoustic possibilities. She then acquired her Master’s Degree at the Eastman School of Music... full bio

 

Bill Cahn | Teaching Artist (ROCdrummers)

Bill Cahn has been a member of the NEXUS percussion group since 1971, performing with orchestras and in solo concerts worldwide. From 2005 to 2015 he was an Associate Professor of Percussion at the Eastman School of Music and a visiting artist in residence at the Showa Academy of Music in Kawasaki, Japan. Bill was the principal percussionist in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1968 to 1995, and he is a life member of the orchestra’s Honorary... full bio

 

Lisa Button | Teaching Artist

Lisa grew up in Rochester, NY. She was performing professionally as a teen, and continued to collaborate with local music groups as a vocalist and keyboardist throughout her twenties. At Nazareth College she studied with Sr. Barbara Starapoli and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Music and Psychology, with a concentration in Music Therapy and Vocal Performance.  After moving to Boston, she attended Boston University as a Music Education major.... full bio


Alexander Peña | Director

Alexander Peña serves as Director of ROCmusic, a unique music education program that offers group and private instruction within economically disadvantaged communities to help enable urban youth in Rochester, NY. His non-profit organization, inspired by the El-Sistema movement, is a partnership collaborative between the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester), Hochstein School of Music & Dance, Eastman Community Music School, City of Rochester, Rochester City School District, and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

In addition to his position at ROCmusic, Peña teaches violin and viola, and directs string ensembles at the Eastman Community Music School. Peña is also a founding member, performing artist, and Children and Community Education Coordinator at the Lakes Area Music Festival in Brainerd, Minnesota. In addition to teaching, Peña frequently performs with ¡Voila!, an award-winning viola trio which has been recently featured on Western New York’s WXXI Radio FM’sBackstage Pass, hosted by Julia Figueras.

Peña’s musical studies began in the Texas public school system before later focusing on private lessons in high school with Eastman alumna and principal violist of the San Antonio Symphony, Allyson Dawkins. He attended the Eastman School of Music, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance and Music Education in 2010. Peña received his Master of Music degree in Viola Performance and Literature and an Arts Leadership Certificate from the Eastman School this past fall of 2013. Upon graduation, Peña was honored with the Robert L. Oppelt Viola Prize which is annually presented to an outstanding viola student at Eastman.

Alexander comes with a variety of leadership experience, including successfully hosting the 40th International Viola Congress. Most recently, Peña has continued his broad musical studies by training for certification in Dalcroze Eurythmics through the Dalcroze Society of Canada. He enjoys dancing, practicing yoga, and spending time with his partner and their cat.

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Robert L. Pycior | Operations Director & Teaching Artist

Robert L. Pycior is a multi-instrumentalist and private instructor of over 15 years. He performs the violin professionally in a variety of contemporary outfits, and currently composes and records music for film and television. Most notably, Pycior is the violinist for the Brooklyn-based band O’death.

Robert has composed the film scores to feature films including The Village of Peace (2014), a documentary that explores a community of African-Americans from Chicago, who in 1967 began the 2 year migration to Dimona, Israel; A Wife Alone (2012), a psychological thriller taking place in the suburbs of Rochester. Pycior has also contributed string performance and orchestration to the scores of Rich Hill (2014), winner of Sundance Grand Jury Prize for documentary; Marina Abramovic (2012), Emmy and Peabody Awards winning documentary.

Pycior received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the Music Conservatory at Purchase College, State University of New York.

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Humberto J. Colón Rivera | Teaching Artist

Humberto J. Colón Rivera began studying music in 1996 at the Preparatory School at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, and the “Escuela Libre de Música Ernesto Ramos Antonini.” He has a Bachelor’s degree in Double Bass Performance from the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, graduating magna cum laude under the tutelage of Professor José David Torres. Humberto also attained a Master’s degree in Double Bass Performance from the University of Arizona, studying with Professor Patrick Neher. He served as Professor of Double Bass at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, San Germán Campus, and as President and Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society Modern Academy Inc.

From 2001 to 2005, Humberto served as a member of the double bass section of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. He is also been part of other great orchestras in Puerto Rico and the United States, including the Arizona Symphony Orchestra, World Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of Institute of Puerto Rican Culture “Sinfonietta”. While still in high school, Humberto was highlighted as a soloist with the Advanced Strings Orchestra of the Preparatory School in New Canaan High School, Connecticut. He has also performed as a soloist with the University of Arizona Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.

His desire to grow as a performer led him to study with famed bassist Gary Karr on Victoria Island, Canada. He also studied with Lawrence Hurst, Christopher Hanulik, Eugene Levinson, among others. For three consecutive years he attended the prestigious Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan. He has participated in several festivals in the United States, such as the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Tennessee, Las Vegas Music Festival in Nevada and the acclaimed Aspen Music Festival in Colorado. Humberto has taken masterclasses with François Rabbath, Kristin Korb, Frank Proto, Volkan Orhon, Biava Quartet, among others.

After attending for two years to the Arizona Bass Player Festival, Humberto was invited to work as assistant manager for the year 2008. He also worked as an music editor for ISG Publications while still in Arizona. Among other employments, he has been Assistant Professor in The University of Arizona, bass teacher at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, the “Escuela Libre de Música” in Humacao and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Puerto Rico. He currently teaches double bass at the International School of Music and Arts (ISMA) located in Pittsford, NY.

In 2013, Humberto received the Art Business Scholarship bestowed by CEMCA (“Centro Empresarial para Músicos CulturArte”) for his ongoing projects with the Chamber Music Society Modern Academy, Inc. Other scholarships and awards he has received are the Arizona Top Scholars, which allowed him to study Graduate School with a full scholarship, the Robert I. Ferdman 2005 Award by Pro Arte Musical of Puerto Rico, the Emerson Electric Co. Scholarship Award for representing Puerto Rico in the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Double Bass Medal in the “Escuela Libre de Música Ernesto Ramos Antonini”, and the Medal of Honor of the Strings for Kids program of the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico. Humberto was a finalist in the XVIIIᵗʰ Southern Arizona Young Artists Competition and the Vᵗʰ Interdepartamental Competition at the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico.

Humberto currently is an active member for different ensembles in the Rochester area, such as the Penfield Symphony Orchestra and Cordancia Chamber Orchestra, among others. He also works as a producer, composer, and arranger for figures such as the famous Puerto Rican singer, Danny Rivera, and the Puerto Rican composer Jorge Ayala. His double bass and piano, Sonata 1949, is in the process of being published.

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Eunji Kang | Teaching Artist

Born December 17, 1991, Korean native, Eunji Kang’s involvement at church brought her first interactive exposure to music at a young age. She was served her church’s choir as a singer and accompanist. Her ability and desire to serve the church choir was amplified at age 13 when she started to play the cello. 

After graduation from Korea’s Kaywon High School of Arts, Kang pursued advanced musical studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in England. Under Karine Georgian’s guidance Kang focused her cello studies on the natural handwork and grasp the feeling for its acoustic possibilities. She then acquired her Master’s Degree at the Eastman School of Music, where she studied under Alan Harris. His influence and teaching pushed Kang to master playing highlights with high intensity and technical mastery. 

Cellist Eunji Kang’s first public appearance, at age 16, was at Ewon Art Centre in Seoul where she performed “Dvorak Cello Concerto.” Kang demonstrated her talent by placing in competitions such as the Brahms Competition (2nd prize), a competition held by Classical Music Magazine (3rd prize), and the Strad (2nd prize). 

Kang views herself as not only a musician, but also an ambassador of music to the community around her. She strives to use music to benefit everyday society. In 2014, the unfortunate Sewol ferry disaster occurred in Korea. To support families affected by the tragedy, Kang mobilized musicians from Korea, China, Russia, and Australia to perform a fundraising concert. Similarly she discovered a vision to inspire and educate future generations through her love for music when she went to Africa to work with children who had received a minimal education.

Eunji Kang’s cello is a magnificent instrument made in 1925 by German violin craftsman Johann Georg Meifel. She currently plays her magnificent cello in the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra and Houghton Symphony Orchestra as a sub cellist. Although she loves her magnificent cello, she leaves it at home when she teaches her very talented and extremely spirited students at ROC Music as the General Music teacher. 

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Bill Cahn | Teaching Artist (ROCdrummers)

Bill Cahn has been a member of the NEXUS percussion group since 1971 performing with orchestras and in solo concerts worldwide . From 2005 to 2015 he was an Associate Professor of Percussion at the Eastman School of Music and a visiting artist in residence at the Showa Academy of Music in Kawasaki, Japan. Bill was the principal percussionist in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1968 to 1995, and he is a life member of the orchestra’s Honorary Board of Directors.

Bill has performed with conductors, composers, ensembles, and artists representing many musical styles, including Chet Atkins, John Cage, Aaron Copland, Sir Andrew Davis, Chuck Mangione, Mitch Miller, Seiji Ozawa, Doc Severensen, Leopold Stokowski, Igor Stravinsky, Edgar Varese, and Paul Winter.

Bill has received the Rochester Philharmonic League’s FANFARE AWARD (1988) for a “significant contribution to music education in Rochester,” Mu Phi Epsilon’s MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD (1993), and with NEXUS, the TORONTO ARTS AWARD in music (1989), the BANFF CENTRE FOR THE ARTS NATIONAL AWARD (1997), and induction into the Percussive Arts Society’s HALL OF FAME (1999). In 2006 Bill received a GRAMMY Award as part of the Paul Winter Consort on the DVD titled, “2004 Solstice Concert.”

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Lisa Button | Teaching Artist

Lisa Button is passionate about being a collaborative music educator and artist. She is thrilled with this wonderful opportunity to work with the amazing ROCmusic Collaborative!

Lisa grew up in Rochester, NY. She was performing professionally as a teen, and continued to collaborate with local music groups as a vocalist and keyboardist throughout her twenties. At Nazareth College she studied with Sr. Barbara Starapoli and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Music and Psychology, with a concentration in Music Therapy and Vocal Performance. After moving to Boston, she attended Boston University as a Music Education major with a concentration in Vocal Performance. She studied with S. Mark Aliapoulios, and completed her master’s recital, A Woman’s Voice…Songs of Woman Composers Though-out History in the fall of 1997. While in Boston, Lisa worked as a free-lance vocal coach, session musician, and collaborative artist. This included work as a vocal coach at Bristol Studios, several productions with Boston Rock Opera including the role of Simon Zealotes in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, and with her own original music group Gel. She also has extensive experience performing in, directing, and music directing community and school based musical theater productions.

Lisa began as a public school educator in Chelsea Public Schools in 1993 through the Boston University/Chelsea schools partnership. She also taught in Watertown Public Schools as both a vocal music educator and middle school drama teacher. Upon moving back to Rochester, Lisa taught in Rochester City School District’s World of Inquiry School #58, and Spry Middle School in the Webster Central School District. She has since been a proud and active member of the Brighton Central School District community for 12 years as a vocal music educator, lead teacher, and music director for their middle school music program. She is certified in Orff Schulwerk levels 1 and 2, and throughout her career has taught and been involved with curriculum development for grade levels Pre-K through 12. Finally, she is a proud RCSD parent. She continues to support Children’s School of Rochester #15 where she was a school based planning team member, School of the Arts, and now Wilson Commencement as a PTSO member and parent advocate. She looks forward to further experiencing the joy of creativity and music with young people at ROCmusic!

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