Our Director

Stella Kotova

Stella Kotova was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (one of the former Soviet Republics). She emigrated to the United States in 1979 and settled in Chicago, IL where she attended DePaul University to pursue a degree in Piano Performance. Concurrent with her studies, she began performing throughout the Chicago area, playing piano and singing in five languages.

In 1985, Stella moved to Tustin, CA where she she began teaching. She opened Orange County Music School School in 1999 and assembled an international faculty of highly credentialed music teachers to offer individual and group lessons for a variety of instruments.

From classical to jazz to pop, Stella's repertoire embraces music in all its forms, and allows her to share her love of music with a wide range of young and adult students. Stella belongs to the Music Teachers' Association of Southern California (MTAC - Orange Coast Cities Branch) through which her students may participate in Theory, Musicianship and Performance testing at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

In addition to teaching, Stella continues to perform as a solo pianist and accompanist, providing music for all occasions and venues. She has recorded numerous CDs, both solo and in collaboration with Southern California musicians. She has also composed and arranged original children's music including a collection of pieces that accompany a fairy tale book series produced for the Vietnamese community.

Stella believes that music is a universal language that stirs the soul, unites cultures even bridges generation gaps. It is a gift that we can all share - an invitation to a better world of peace and harmony.

Allison Zema

Allison is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance at University of California, Irvine and will be graduating in June of 2013. She has performed both as a member of many world-renowned choirs at the university as well as a soloist in venues such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.. Allison is classically trained in opera and also specializes in vocal jazz, musical theater and pop. Her multi-dimensional background of ballet, drama and piano also influence her unique and fun teaching style. She has been teaching voice since 2010 and is incredibly passionate about her student's development in both technique and performance.

Remy Converse

Remy Converse is a concert violist in Orange County, California, pursuing a Bachelor of Music in viola performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. Aside from working closely with renowned violist, Dr. Jerzy Kosmala as part of her music performance program, Remy has also performed in masters classes taught by classical musicians Manheim Pressler, Trio Celeste and the Szymanowski Quartet. She currently serves as assistant principal in the UCI Symphony and most recently became a member of the Dana Point Symphony, performing in their 2012-13 concert series. In April 2013 Remy had the honor of performing new composer, Pablo Rubio Vargas's world premiere piece "Kuiya Xaa" for viola and electronics.

Remy's scholarships and awards include: The Robert and Marjorie Rawlins Scholarship (for four years of music education at UCI), Hildred Minich Scholarship (2011), TKMEA Music Scholarship (2011), and first place in both the Lorraine Burtner Young Artist Competition (2011) and the ASTA Fresno Chapter Solo Competition (2010).

Tasha Locke

Tasha graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2013 with a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Nina Scolnik. She started piano lessons at age four with Dr. Linda Mazich-Govel and was trained through such programs as the Piano Guild and the MTAC's rigorous Certificate of Merit, through which she was regularly invited to perform for state conventions and other prestigious honors. She is currently pursuing a career as a collaborative pianist, working as an accompanist, coach and repetiteur for recitals and opera productions. Her performance experience includes engagements in the U.S. and Europe, comprising of solo and collaborative recitals, solo appearances with orchestra, and extensive ensemble experiences with orchestras and wind symphonies.

In addition to almost ten years as a private music instructor, her teaching experience includes lecturer for college theory courses and studies in early childhood development at Long Beach City College, where she also holds an Associate of Arts degree in classical saxophone. Though her passion is classical music, she encourages her students to explore all styles and creative interests, and most importantly to develop a love for music.

Kudrat Kamiljanov

Kudrat Kamiljanov is a pianist, film composer and a music producer. He has composed music for Splinters (a short film premiering at Cannes Film Festival). Kamiljanov spent the early part of his career in Uzbekistan before coming to the United States. He studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco State University. Kamiljanov is a founder of Kudrat Music and head of the film music division at FD Productions.

Kudrat Kamiljanov is the recipient of the following recognitions: Winner of the William Corbett Jones Award for Piano Performance, Winner of the Ross McKee Award for Piano Performance, Winner of Mu Psi Epsilon Competition for Piano Performance, Winner of SFSU Concerto Competition "Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor" 2010.

Denean Dyson

Holding a BA in music from CSU Fullerton School of Music, Denean Dyson is a free spirited Mezzo-Soprano with a true love for music. Classically trained yet accomplished in many genres including Jazz, Soul and R&B, Denean continues to showcase her artistry as a soloist throughout the US and abroad in various public performances and recitals, for USO Tours, and for corporate and private events. Her vocal capabilities have bestowed her the privilege of performing with many well-known artists including singer/actress Reba McEntire, famed Mezzo-Soprano Susan Graham, and jazz legend Barbara Morrison and have more recently earned her a featured solo in the premiere performance and Delos Music recording of Jake Heggieís Choral Opera "The Radio Hour." Since her graduation from CSUF in 2010, Denean has also been performing locally with several choral ensembles, including the Long Beach Camerata Singers, The Pacific Chorale, The John Alexander Singers, a chamber ensemble comprised of singers who are the professional core of The Pacific Chorale, and for gifted conductors like Gustavo Dudamel, John Williams, Ludwig Wicki, Keith Lockhart, and Carl St. Clair.

Denean is driven by the emotion and inspiration music can bring, and sharing that harmony with the world is her joy. She is excited to share her experience and methods with her students, helping each student find a passion for music and obtain the technique and performance confidence they need so they too can share their art with the world.

Matthew Fang

Matthew Fang is a concert violinist and teacher in the Orange County. He is currently Majorie Rawlins Endowed scholar, studying violin performance as a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, under the tutelage of the distinguished Haroutune Bedelian. He has performed in many venues around the world, such as Carnegie Hall in New York, KHS Hall in Taiwan, and Tedako Hall in Japan. He also performs frequently at UCI's Winifred Smith Hall. Notable performances include UCI's chamber series with UCI string faculties and a benefit concert for victims of Great East Japan Earthquake. Aside from performing, Matthew has also participated in masterclasses taught by many renowned classical musicians, such as Levon Chilingirian, Peter Marsh, Daniel Rothmuller and the Szymanowski Quartet.

Christian Lopez

Christian Lopez is a trombonist, pianist, and composer/arranger based out of Orange County, CA. Christian received his masters degree in Bass Trombone Performance from Northwestern University, and specializes in classical, jazz, Latin, worship, and alternative trombone playing. Christian has performed all over the U.S., China, and Europe and was recently named a finalist in the 2014 Donald Yaxley International Trombone Association Bass Trombone Competition. His bass trombone playing can be heard on soundtracks scored by L.A. film composer Brian Ralston, on Indie rock sensation Calexico's CD Algiers, and also on his recordings of his band run with his brother, affectionately known as the LoBros.

As a pianist, Christian has a special affinity for Latin and jazz styles of piano playing. He has studied jazz piano with Professor Emeritus and former Director of Jazz studies at the University of Arizona (Composer/Arranger for Linda Ronstadt, Fight Club, Fairly Odd Parents). On piano, Christian has performed with jazz combos, big bands, praise bands, world-music groups, and salsa bands.

As a teacher, Christian has helped students reach their potential through sound teaching, encouragement, and a strong belief in each individual student's ability for improvement. Christian has taught masterclasses and privately, with his students achieving success in earning All-State Band and Orchestra honors.

Fatima Rizvi

Fatima immensely enjoys sharing her passion for the vocal arts with students of all ages and abilities! Her background in classical vocal performance provides her with insight in teaching diverse genres of music. She believes that strong technical foundations are critical for a musicianís growth as a performer and artist.

Fatima is an active musician in the Orange County area with a passion especially for choral music and opera. She has also performed in recitals and opera productions at the University of California, Irvine, where she received her BA in Music in 2012, and at Cal State Fullerton, where she is currently pursuing a master's degree in vocal performance.

Regina Golovina

Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan of Jewish descent, Regina Golovina began her music studies in the Special Music School named after V. Uspensky. She is a dedicated adherent of the old Russian Music School. At the age of seven she started playing cello and piano. In 1999, Regina entered the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan and got Bachelorís degree with award. During her studies period Regina participated in numerous competitions, concerts and festivals. Her solo appearances include: performances with National Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan, with Chamber orchestras: "Turkistan" and "Singing Strings", and an Ensemble of the modern music "Omnibus". She also was involved in the teaching program in Tashkent and always had many students. In 2007, Regina was accepted at Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance with a full scholarship. During her studies at Temple University she played with TUSO in Kimmel Center and Carnegie Hall. Regina and her friends gave a first performance to a trio by a wonderful composer Andre Singer in The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. She was a concerto competition winner. During her studies Regina took part in masterclasses with such great and famous cellists as Janos Starker and Lynn Harrell. She likes playing with orchestras, in chamber ensembles, as well as enjoys teaching children and always happy when they show good results and make a noticeable progress. In her teaching practice Regina encourages students to have fun, but be serious about making the most of their practice time.

Randy Cully

Randy is an enthusiastic and encouraging Guitar & Bass Instructor at Orange County Music School. His goal is to inspire students to pursue music as a lifelong journey of creative expression. He is quite experienced in both instructing and playing, as he first picked up a guitar 11 years ago and began teaching professionally in 2012.

He has experience with a broad spectrum of genres and styles, including Classic Rock, Blues, Funk, Reggae, & Ska. He has worked with all levels of students; from those picking up their instrument for the first time, to more advanced players who want to take their playing to the next level. Lessons are built around learning music theory, chord progressions, scales, and songs.

“ There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself. ”

- Johann Sebastian Bach

Did you know?

The "average" piano has 88 keys, of these, 36 are black keys commonly known as "sharps". There are also some pianos made with 85 keys and one with more than 88!

The first note (on a standard 88 note keyboard) is A . The exact middle of the keyboard is not middle C, it is actually the space between E and F above "middle" C. The last note of the keyboard is C.

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