Sam Brown, Piano
Sam Brown has played the piano since age five. He took violin lessons and participated in a youth orchestra during his early school years but realized in high school that his true love was piano. In 2015 he graduated with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Bob Jones University, where he won the annual commencement contest in 2012 and served as a student accompanist. During his time at BJU Sam sang in the graded choral program and developed a love for choirs. In his last year as a piano accompanist he performed with Eliezer Yanson and the University Singers on Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall. His teachers include Maureen Penix, Peter Davis, Norman Krieger, and Alexander Kobrin. Sam recently earned a Master of Music in Piano Performance at Columbus State University's Schwob School of Music where he serves as the accompanist for Choral Union, under the direction of Constantina Tsolainou, and Voices of the Valley, under the direction of Dr. Michelle Herring-Folta.
In late February 2017, Sam collaborated with the Choral Union in John's Creek, Georgia on a concert featuring works by Ola Gjeilo, and in early March he gave a lecture recital on The Seasons Op. 37b by P.I. Tchaikovsky. In addition to his studies and collaborative work, Sam teaches private piano lessons at the Schwob Music Preparatory Division where he teaches over 25 students of all ages and ability levels. Sam and his wife Sarah live in Columbus, Georgia.
Bryan Canonigo, Saxophone
Bryan Canonigo is the Graduate Assistant in Jazz Studies at the Columbus State University Schwob School of Music. At this post, Canonigo directs the Cannonball Jazz Quintet, assists with the direction and management of the Schwob Jazz Orchestra, and tutors students in jazz improvisation, jazz saxophone, and woodwind doubling. Bryan holds a Bachelors Degree in jazz studies from Humber College in Toronto, Canada where he performed with Michael Brecker, Dave Holland, Dave Douglas, and Randy Brecker as part of the Humber Studio Jazz Ensemble. He was also a member of the Toronto All-Star Big Band where he was a featured clarinet soloist and shared the stage with Clark Terry, Buddy Defranco, Peter Appleyard, and Eddie Daniels. For ten years, Canonigo served as a Musical Director and professional musician with Carnival Cruise Lines where he performed, directed, and managed numerous ensembles across many genres. Bands under his direction opened for popular acts such as John Mayer, the New Kids On the Block, Lyle Lovett, Bernard Purdie, The Barenaked Ladies, and Patti LaBelle.
Ty Gable, Flute
Ty Gable recently received his BM in Music Performance from the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University under the tutelage of Dr. Andrée Martin. He has served as a flute instructor for the Schwob School of Music Preparatory Division since 2014 and also organizes the program's Conservatory Flute Choir.
As a performer, Ty can regularly be heard performing in many of Columbus State University's student ensembles, including the Wind Ensemble, CSU Philharmonic, and Contemporary Ensemble. He was a finalist in the 2016-17 Schwob School of Music Concerto Competition, recently served as a Performance Fellow at the 2016 nief-norf Summer Festival (Knoxville, Tennessee), and can be heard subbing at the Springer Opera House. In addition to his teaching position with the SSOM Prep Division, Ty spent the summers of 2014 – 2016 as a Resident Artist, Flute Counselor, and Preparatory Flute Instructor at Wyoming Seminary's Performing Arts Institute (Kingston, Pennsylvania). During his time at PAI, he led flute masterclasses, taught private lessons, coached chamber ensembles, and performed side-by-side with high school students in the festival's large ensembles.
Beginning in the fall of 2017, Ty is very excited to be returning to CSU as an Artist Diploma candidate, continuing his studies with Dr. Andrée Martin, and serving as the flute studio's Graduate Teaching Assistant.
April Jacobs, voice and Little Mozarts
Ms. April M. Jacobs grew up in Smiths Station, AL. She began voice lessons at the age of 9 and started playing trumpet in the 5th grade. She studied Music at Troy University and got her Masters in Music Education from Columbus State University. She taught in public schools for four years and as a private voice teacher since 2005. She currently has a private studio through the Columbus State University Preparatory Division, where she teaches voice to students ranging from 5 to 70 years in age. She's a certified Kindermusik educator and teaches Pre-K music at the St. Thomas Day School. In addition to her private teaching, she also performs in plays at the Springer Opera House; is a staff singer at St. Thomas Episcopal Church under the direction of Rick McKnight; and sings with Cantus Columbus, under the direction of William Bullock.
Jonathan Simmons, Cello
Cellist Jonathan Simmons is currently pursuing a masters degree in cello performance from Columbus State University's Schwob School of Music studying with Wendy Warner. He recently graduated from Bob Jones University summa cum laude with a BMus in Cello Performance studying with Yuriy Leonovich. At BJU he served as co-principal cellist of the Bob Jones University Orchestra and was twice the recipient of the William McEver String Scholarship. As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras in Tennessee and South Carolina with a performance of David Popper's Hungarian Rhapsody in the Greenville Peace Center and multiple performances of Haydn's Cello Concerto in D Major and. In 2016 Jonathan was a winner of the Tennessee Cello Workshop Concerto Competition at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Jonathan has attended the Cincinnati Young Artists Chamber Music Festival as a Conservatory Festival as well as the Masterworks Performing Arts Festival. His teachers include Dr. Christopher Hutton, Martha Brons, and Sharon Mulfinger Gerber. He has taken lessons and masterclasses with Zuil Bailey, Melissa Kraut, Alan Rafferty, Richard Weiss, David Kim, and the Rawlins Piano Trio among others.
Jonathan currently freelances and has taught at a number of studios including Musical Innovations Conservatory, Distinctive Music Studios, and Majesty Music Academy. His current and former students are music majors in college and perform with local youth orchestras.
Yunona Tabala, Violin
Yunona Tabala is a Russian born and trained classical violinist and pianist. She began playing violin shortly after her fourth birthday and entered a Rostropovich music school in her native city Saint-Petersburg at the age of 6. At a third grade of a music school, her interest towards keyboard studies encouraged her teachers to suggest adding piano as a second major instrument.
She completed her studies in the music School with the Excellence Award on both instruments at the age of 13 and continued her violin studies with Saveli Shalman, a distinguished Russian pedagogue, author of the book on violin playing "I will be a violinist".
At the age of 16 she was awarded a full scholarship at Columbus State University that gave her an opportunity to come to study in the United States under the guidance of Professor Boris Abramov and Professor Sergiu Schwartz. She is also continuing her piano lessons with Russian pianist Tatiana Muzanova. Yunona sincerely loves teaching and inspiring hearts of young people with the gift of music. She is using her knowledge of Russian school of violin and piano playing to help her students prepare for auditions and recitals and to feel confident while expressing themselves musically.
In her free time, Yunona enjoys swimming, jogging and yoga.
Ying Xu, Guitar
Ying Xu is emerging as an elite performer of classical guitar. She has given performances throughout the United States, China, and Thailand. Currently she is a sophomore studying at Columbus State University's Schwob School of Music with Dr. Andrew Zohn.
Prep Artist Teachers
Beibei Lin, Piano
Chinese American pianist Beibei Lin maintains an active schedule as an educator and performer. Hailing from a family of teachers, Dr. Lin is first and foremost dedicated to the development, growth, and success of her students and considers teaching her highest calling and greatest privilege. She believes in a thorough musical education that emphasizes, in equal proportion, theoretical knowledge, technical training, and historical understanding. She seeks to nurture dedication, independence, and responsibility in her students, qualities that allow students to become well-rounded musicians, mature thinkers, and thoughtful citizens of their community.
Dr. Lin debuted as a soloist with the MasterWorks Festival Orchestra at age seventeen, performing Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto. In the summer of 2015, she traveled throughout China, assisting and translating lecture recitals and masterclasses for Dr. Heidi L. Williams at major conservatories and universities. Significant recent performances include collaborative appearances at the 2016 International Double Reed Society Conference and a solo appearance at the 2017 Women Composers Festival of Hartford. She has presented guest artist recitals and masterclasses throughout the United States.
Dedicated to community engagement and service, Dr. Lin currently serves as the Secretary of the Columbus Music Teachers Association (CMTA); She is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the CMTA website. Dr. Lin was invited to adjudicate the 2016 Florida Junior and Senior Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Piano Competitions as well as the 2017 Alabama Music Teachers Association (AMTA) State Piano Auditions.
As an active researcher, Dr. Lin's work on the pedagogical trends in 21st Century China has recently been accepted for presentation at the 2017 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. She has appeared multiple times as a performer, presenter, and panelist at The Sport Professionals' Experience and Research Conference, speaking on interdisciplinary topics relating to music and sports performance.
Prior to her appointment at Columbus State University, Dr. Lin taught in the piano pedagogy program at Florida State University under the supervision of Dr. Victoria McArthur, a leading American pedagogue and Keyboard Editor of Alfred Music Publishing. Dr. Lin completed her Doctor of Music in Piano Performance at The Florida State University in December 2016. She holds a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from The Florida State University and a Bachelor of Music, Summa Cum Laude, in Piano Performance from Arizona State University. Her piano mentors include Heidi Louise Williams and Walter Cosand.
Beibei Lin lives in Columbus, GA with her faithful and loving cat, Zhazha.
Wendy Warner, cello
Wendy Warner is one of the world's leading cellists, praised by Strings magazine for her "youthful, surging playing, natural stage presence and almost frightening technique." Warner soared to international attention in 1990, winning the top prize at the 4th International Rostropovich Competition in Paris at age eighteen. Subsequently she was engaged to appear with the National and Bamberg Symphony Orchestras, Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich conducting. And then she embarked on two tours, making a Carnegie Hall debut in 1991 as well as debuts abroad in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Köln, Düsseldorf and Berlin.
The Chicago native performs regularly on celebrated stages all over the world, including Symphony Hall in Boston, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Paris' Salle Pleyel, Frankfurt's Alter Oper and Berlin's Philharmonie. Warner has collaborated with leading conductors including Vladimir Spivakov, Christoph Eschenbach, Andre Previn, Jesús López Cobos, Joel Smirnoff, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Charles Dutoit, Eiji Oue, Neeme Järvi and Michael Tilson Thomas. She has toured with Camerata Chicago and conductor Drostan Hall to Prague, Milan, Paris and other European cities. American engagements have included appearances with the Chicago, Boston, Detroit, New World, Dallas and San Francisco Symphonies; and the Philadelphia, Minnesota and St. Paul Chamber Orchestras. Internationally she has performed with the London, Montreal, Berlin, Iceland and NHK Symphonies; the St. Petersburg, Hong Kong and Japan Philharmonic Orchestras; L'Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse; Camerata Academica Novi Sad in Serbia; and L'Orchestre de Paris, with which she performed the Brahms Double Concerto with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, Semyon Bychkov conducting.
A passionate chamber musician, Wendy Warner has collaborated with the Vermeer and Fine Arts Quartets, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Jupiter Chamber Players and violinist Gidon Kremer. As a member of the Beethoven Project Trio, which also includes violinist Sang Mee Lee and pianist George LePauw, Warner gave the 2009 world premiere of a previously unknown Beethoven trio in Chicago's Murphy Auditorium, repeating the program at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall the following year. She also has worked with violinist Vadim Gluzman at Chicago's North Shore Chamber Music Festival in its 2011 inaugural and subsequent seasons. The Warner/Nuzova Duo, with pianist Irina Nuzova, performed the complete Beethoven cello sonatas at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., as well appearing by special invitation at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011. Audiences in Chicago, Boston, Washington D.C., Milan, Tokyo and elsewhere have heard Warner's solo recitals, and she is familiar as a frequent guest on Chicago classical radio station WFMT. Festival highlights include performances at the 2016 Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, El Paso Pro-Musica, the Grand Teton Music Festival and Penderecki's Beethoven Easter Festival in Krakow, Poland.
Wendy Warner's busy 2016-2017 season includes appearances with the Wichita and Columbus (Georgia) Symphonies, as well as the Reno Chamber Music Festival, Music in the Mountains Festival (Durango, Colorado) and return engagements with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Peru with conductor JoAnn Falletta and the Xiamen Philharmonic in China. A CD of works by Chicago composer Mischa Zupko, Eclipse, was just released on the Cedille label featuring Warner, violinist Sang Mee Leer and pianist/composer, Mischa Zupko.
The child of professional musicians and the granddaughter of composer Philip Warner, whose symphony was premiered by conductor Leopold Stokowski and the NBC Symphony, Warner began studying piano at the age of four and cello at age six, under the tutelage of Nell Novak. At age fourteen she made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a WTTW-TV broadcast. She continued her studies with Mstislav Rostropovich at the Curtis Institute of Music from which she graduated.
Wendy Warner's discography includes several recordings for Cedille: Haydn & Myslivecek Cello Concertos, Russian Music for Cello & Piano, Popper & Piatigorsky, Beethoven Project Trio and Double Play: 20th Century Violin & Cello Duos with Rachel Barton Pine. She has also recorded Hindemith's chamber works on Bridge Records, Barber's Cello Concerto on the Naxos label with conductor Marin Alsop and compositions by Dalit Warshaw on Albany Records. A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Warner teaches at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Georgia where she holds the Leah D. Hamer Distinguished Faculty Chair. She plays a 1772 Joseph Gagliano cello.