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.

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.

Carter Willmann

Carter Willmann has been a clarinetist for 16 years. A California native, Carter developed a love for music and grew serious about the profession in high school, attending the Orange County High School of the Arts. During which, he joined many prominent youth orchestras and won various awards including the Pasadena Pops side-by-side competition and the Southwestern Youth Music Festival soloist competition.

After high school, he moved to Chicago where he studied clarinet at DePaul University. Carter was fortunate enough to study with Julie DeRoche and work with Larry Combs, two prominent clarinetists in both the country and worldwide. While in school at DePaul, he joined the Classical Symphony Orchestra and became a member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He formed various chamber groups and enjoyed starting his teaching career in addition to his orchestral work. Carter also picked up the flute and saxophone in college, taking extensive method classes for both instruments and taking lessons with the saxophone and flute faculty at DePaul University!

In 2010 Carter recieved his bachelors degree in clarinet preformance with an emphasis in education and moved back to Orange County, CA where he built a career as both a performer and educator. He is a member of The Neapolitan Trio, a prominent chamber music group in Orange County, plays regularly for the Limon & Carr musical players and has played with the West Coast Winds. Carter is proud to say he now works regularly performing with all three of his instruments!

Carter has had great success teaching in Orange County! He currently holds a position as woodwind instructor at the Orchepia School of Music and enjoys running his own private studio. He also works as a woodwind coach at El Toro High School. Carter's clarinet, flute and saxophone students develop a beautifully mature sound and soar through their music programs in school, even getting involved outside school with youth orchestras and bands! A couple of his students have even been accepted to collegiate programs with great scholarships! Carter is also a member of the Music Teachers Association of California which allows his students to participate in Certificate of Merit, a well respected progressive music program with levels of musical accomplishment the student must asspire to achieve. He enjoys giving students a well rounded education while still allowing the student to have fun and develop a life long passion for music!

Anson Brown

Anson Brown is a lutenist and guitarist, and is currently work on his graduate degree at UC Irvine under John Schneiderman. He has performed in the Orange County area and in the San Joaquin Valley in museums, radio, solo concerts and in group performances as a basso continuo player. Ansonís primary focus is on historical performances of the Renaissance and Baroque music using instruments that are appropriate to the era, such as lutes or early guitars. Although, historical performance is his primary study, he enjoys all styles of guitar playing from blues to pop music and any music the features the guitar or can be played on one. He has received scholarships for both guitar and lute, (Ruben Segal Memorial Academic Scholarship, Friends of the Arts Academic Scholarship, Outstanding Guitar Performance in Music Scholarship, Alice Lowell Scholarship for Musical Studies in the 18th Century) and strives to continue furthering his knowledge of music at present and in the past.

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.

Jordan Lomeli-Perez

Jordan Lomeli-Perez is a classical cellist and music teacher, completing a Bachelor of Music in cello performance with a minor in political science at Chapman University. Prior to attending Chapman, she attended University of the Pacific conservatory of music, working closely with musicians from the San Francisco conservatory. Aside from working closely with Thomas Lowenheim, student of Janos Starker, she now works closely with concert cellist and free lancer Jacob Braun. Jordan has performed in numerous master classes taught by concert musician, ranging from Robert deMaine, principal cellist on LA Phil, to faculty working at Colburn school of music. She has also attended many music festivals, her most recent being Montecito International Music Festival, where she worked closely with cellists from all over the United States. She currently plays for the Chapman Orchestra and is restarting her own string quartet with string players from UCLA and USC.

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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