Music Instructor Bios

Naseer Ashraf (piano) completed a degree in Music Theory & Composition with a minor in Viola Performance at the University of Rhode Island. He received his Master of Music degree in Classical Composition at SUNY Purchase. Naseer was then offered a competitive scholarship to complete an Artist Diploma in Piano Performance at SUNY, studying under Stephanie Brown. He teaches and performs in Westchester County and New York City.

Savannah Bisset (voice, piano) received her BA in Vocal Performance from SUNY Purchase. Her NY Debut received a New York Times review as Marguerite in André Grétry’s Richard Coeur-de-lion. Recent engagements include Marguerite from Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots and Ophélie in Thomas’s Hamlet with the Cantanti Project. She was a winner of the “Riverside Opera Competition” which was televised on “The Manhattan Classical Opera & Concert Series”. Savannah’s performance credits include work with the “NY Opera Exchange”, “LOFT Opera” and “New York Lyric Opera Theatre”, and opened the world premiere as Sofie in Raphaël Lucas’s award-winning opera Confession. Other roles performed include Die Erste Dame and Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Tirésias in Les mamelles de Tirésias which won the esteemed award from the National Opera Association.

Lucas Brode (guitar, bass) received his BA with Honors in Music from Skidmore College. During his time at Skidmore, Lucas worked as a Sound Tech and Recording Engineer. Lucas’s scoring credits include having produced Going Pro: American Soccer, 2013 (a full length documentary) and short projects with animator Ken Siu. He has performed with various rock, jazz, and experimental bands over the past decade and has played at such venues as The Chance, The Bitter End, and The Knitting Factory. In addition to joining The Rye Arts Center, Lucas teaches at the New York City Guitar School, Blue Bus Music and School of Rock.

Gerry Fitzgerald (drums) has been teaching in Westchester for 15 years and performing the New York Area for 30 years. In that time, he has played with Joey Calderazzo, Michael Brecker, Bill Crow, Sir Roland Hanna, John Abercrombie, Jimmy Hall, Joe Beck, and Carmine Leggio. He is presently appearing with Michelle LeBlanc and Doug Proper in Westchester and Putnam Counties. Gerry can also be heard on several CD’s by various recording artists.

Andrew Fox (piano, voice) is an award-winning musical theatre orchestrator and arranger whose previous clients include Stephen Schwartz and Starkid Productions. He co-runs Stacks of Wax Production, which creates music in all popular genres. He is the co-founding faculty of Creative Vocal Lab & Choral Conservatory at Purchase College and a teaching artist at Westhampton PAC.

Anne Bach Fumasoli (flute, piano) is Music School Director at The Rye Arts Center. She received her BS summa cum laude in Music Education from the University of Bridgeport. She has taught in the Stamford and Darien public schools, the Greenwich Academy, the School of the Holy Child and in various community based programs. Her performance credits include work with The Connecticut Grand Opera, Connecticut Public Television, Silvermine Art Guild and The Whitney Museum. Anne continues to perform throughout the tri-state area as a soloist, chamber musician, and clinician. She is an active member of the New York State School Music Association and is a certified woodwind adjudicator for NYSSMA evaluation festivals.

Matt Garrison (woodwinds, beginning piano) joins The RAC holding both a BS and MS in Music from Purchase Conservatory where he was presented with the Anthony Newman Award for exceptional jazz studies. Matt has taught privately for several years in the Westchester County Area among them at the Soloman Schecter School and JCC of Scarsdale. Matt performs regularly at various jazz venues in the NYC area. He can be seen at the Jazz Standard and Smoke in NYC.

Daniel Glaude (woodwinds, beginning piano/guitar) received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Purchase College in Jazz Performance. He has studied privately with Eric Alexander, Jimmy Greene, Jon Gordon, John Abercrombie, and Steve Wilson. Daniel’s performance credits include appearances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Birdland. He is a regular performer with Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, the Ed Palermo Big Band, Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, among others. He has performed with artists including Dee Snider, the Coasters, and Melissa Manchester. Daniel has several years experience teaching throughout the tri-state area.

Naomi Graf (Suzuki violin/viola) received her BM from The Juilliard School and her MM from Yale School of Music. She brings several years of teaching experience with her to The Rye Arts Center. Naomi has been the Director of Chamber Music and Viola Programs at Hoff-Barthelson Music School since 1999 and has also taught at The Westchester Suzuki Institute and served as a consultant for the Mamaroneck, NY School String Program. Her performance credits include work with the National Chorale Orchestra at Lincoln Center, principal violist with The CT Grand Opera Orchestra, Greenwich Symphony, Bridgeport Symphony, and Hudson Valley Philharmonic to name a few. In addition to her teaching and performing credit, Naomi has served as Educational Coordinator for the American London Symphony Orchestra Foundation in NYC.

Jason Jacob (Suzuki Guitar, guitar, guitar pals) holds a BM in Guitar Performance from University of Missouri and a MM in guitar Performance from the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, The University of Memphis. He holds an Artists Diploma from SUNY Purchase as well as a Certificate of Suzuki Teacher Training from The Longay Conservatory of Guitar, San Jose, CA. In addition to his teaching at The Rye Arts Center, Jason also teaches at The Guitar Conservatory of Northern Westchester and has taught at The Community Music School at The University of Memphis.

Alexandra Jenkins (violin, viola) holds a BM in Violin Performance from SUNY-Purchase (2011), where she was a student of Calvin Wiersma. While at Purchase, she studied chamber music with Laurie Smukler, Ira Weller, Julia Lichten, and Ayako Oshima. Alexandra has played in regional orchestras and pit orchestras throughout the Tri-State area for over 10 years. She has toured China three times as Principal 2nd of the Manhattan Symphonie. She has also performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall), and Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Center, NJPAC, the PNC Bank Arts Center, and many more. A frequent studio musician, Alexandra has played and arranged strings for film scores, television and commercials (for companies including Google) and recorded with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Jewel, and The Lumineers. She also plays a great deal of musical theatre. Alexandra has students of all ages and skill levels, and looks forward to teaching any genre of music you want to learn!

Teresa Hitchcock (piano, voice) received her Bachelors degree at SUNY Purchase College and her Masters of Music in Opera Performance under a Graduate Assistantship from the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland. While opera is Ms. Hitchcock’s main focus, she also enjoys a variety of other musical styles. In addition Teresa is an accomplished pianist. She teaches privately in the Westchester County area.

Grace Kim (piano, piano pals) is a New York based classical pianist, accompanist, and educator. She received her Master’s degree in Piano Performance from SUNY Purchase and Bachelor of Music from Queens College. Her recent performances include her solo recital at SUNY Purchase, NYC’s Rising Stars at Queens Borough Performing Arts Center, and duo recitals at Atria senior residence.

Valerie Luzzi (voice piano) holds a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in voice from Concorida College and a Mastaers in Education from Mercy College. She holds several years teaching voice and piano in the Fairfield/Westchester County Area. She has performed in multiple choirs, community events, and theater productions throughout the area

Jaana Narsipur (voice, piano) is a private and group class teacher for voice and piano. She has a diverse background and training that includes classical, musical theater, jazz, and pop music. Jaana studied voice and music history at Northwestern University, followed by her music education certification at DePaul University. She completed her Masters in Jazz Performance in 2013 at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and holds over 10 years’ experience teaching in public schools as well as teaching private and group classes in the Westchester/Fairfield County. Jaana has studied with jazz legends Sheila Jordan, Chicago vocalist Jackie Allen, and New York vocalist JD Walter.

Heather Rinello (piano, piano pals) is a graduate of Manhattanville College with a degree in music and concentration in management. She studied piano privately at the Music Conservatory of Westchester with the renowned Russian piano teacher Natalia Krassii-Watson. For three years she held a position as Rental Manager at Steinway Hall on 57th street in Manhattan, where her responsibilities included performing for clients. In 2002 Heather played piano in scenes from the movie Unfaithful, directed by Adrian Lyne, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. For the past several years Heather has taught at two Westchester music schools for students’ ages 5 and up, teaching all genre of music and theory and all of her students have performed in recitals.

Joe Sabia (trumpet) is a resident of Westchester, NY and has been teaching privately for almost a decade. He regularly performs as a soloist, chamber musician, and section leader through a realization of his goal: being a truly versatile musician. Joe expertly executes a variety of genres from baroque to the blues, classical to club date, folk to funk, soul to swing, rock to R&B, and from country to klezmer. After graduating with honors from SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Music, Joe earned a master’s degree from the Hartt School (University of Hartford) on full scholarship. In addition to teaching privately, Joe is the Assistant Director at the Westchester Summer Music Center in White Plains. In his spare time, Joe plays piano and guitar and also loves arranging rock/pop songs for brass ensembles of all sizes and skill levels.

Deborah Scharbach (violin, viola) holds a BM from Crane School of Music and a MS in Mathematics from CUNY Lehman. Her Teaching experience includes several practicums in the Potsdam Central School district, JFK Magnet School in Port Chester and at Rye Middle School and Rye High School.

Rachel Weishoff (voice, piano) attended New York University and is presently completing her Master of Music in Voice and Opera Studies at SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory. She holds extensive chorus and ensemble experience while attending both NYU and SUNY Purchase and has performance experience in many genres of music (opera, musical theatre, jazz, pop and r&b). She has lead such roles as Prince Orlofsky from Die Fledermaus and Dorothee from Cendrillon while attending SUNY Purchase. Rachel’s teaching experience includes work at Theater in the Woods and Richmond Music Center in Staten Island, New York. She presently teaches in the Westchester County Area.

Jessica Westerman (piano pals, piano) joins The Rye Arts Center holding a BM Summa Cum Laude from Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. While at Crane she received the Susan Smykla Edell ’57 Award for Excellence in Piano Accompanying. She has been teaching privately in The Westchester County Area and has served as an accompanist for the Crane Opera Ensemble as well as collaborating choirs with mixed instruments for recitals and performances.