Hillsborough Community College Music Faculty
*Full-time Florida Orchestra musician
***University of South Florida
**** University of Tampa
Carlos Audi (Cello) has performed numerous solo and chamber concerts in the United States, Germany, Austria, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Argentina, and Brazil. In addition, he has been a member of several orchestras in Brazil and in the United States such as the Orquestra Sinfônica de Santo André, the Orquestra Experimental de Repertório, the Orquestra Sinfônica da Universidade de São Paulo, the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tallahassee, Augusta and Albany Symphony Orchestras, and the Opera Tampa Orchestra. Audi performed in the Teatro Municipal de São Paulo as a finalist of the Orquestra Experimental de Repertório’s Concerto Competition.
Audi was born in Brazil where he started his music studies at the age of seven. Currently, he holds a Doctor of Music degree from the Florida State University having had as his main cello teachers Maria Cecília Brucoli, Zigmunt Kubala, Robert Suetholz, Robert Jesselson and Lubomir Georgiev. He has also attended master classes with renowned cellists such as Janos Starker, Alan Harris, Timothy Eddy, Steven Doane, Peter Rejto, Sara Sant’Ambrogio, and Antonio Meneses.
Dr. Audi is on the faculty of Hillsborough Community College, Clearwater Christian College, and Hillsborough County Public Schools and is a sought-after master class presenter, adjudicator, and lecturer. He has presented master classes in several universities and high schools in the United States and in Brazil and judged several competitions for the Florida Orchestra Association.
John Baker (Trumpet) has had a long and varied career as a professional trumpet player performing with such groups/entertainers as Ray Charles, Johnny Mathis, Pat Boone, Mel Torme, Temptations, Supremes, Four Aces, Drifters, Coasters, Bernadette Peters, Danny Thomas, Cab Calloway, Isaac Hays, Joan Rivers, Rich Little, John Davidson, Holiday on Ice, Ringling Bros, Circus, Ice Capades, Broadway touring musicals, Zorba the Greek starring Anthony Quinn, Sugar Babies starring Mickey Rooney, La Cage aux Folles starring Peter Marshall, Hello Dolly starring Carol Chaning, Man of La Mancha, Sound of Music starring Peter Palmer, and Damn Yankees starring Donald O'Conner. He was a bandsman with the United States Military Academy Band, West Point, New York, and staff trumpeter at Walt Disney World, Orlando. Currently, Mr. Baker leads a big band that free-lances frequently. Mr. Baker also has an extensive background as a music educator during which he has been on staff at the University of Tampa and Yamaha Trumpets. He was the first director of bands for Hillsborough Community College from 1976-1984. Mr. Baker’s trumpet teachers included Ray Crisara principal trumpet under Arturo Toscanini, Robert Nagel of Yale University, Irving Sarin, principal trumpet of the Israel Philharmonic, and Cliff Sproul lead trumpet of the United States Air Force Jazz Orchestra. Mr. Baker has a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Wichita State University and completed coursework toward a master’s degree from USF.
*John Bannon (Percussion) is the Principal Timpanist with The Florida Orchestra. He teaches at Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg Community College, and, during summers, at the Kinhaven Music School. He is a graduate of Northeast High School in St. Petersburg and earned degrees in Percussion Performance from the University of South Florida (BA), the University of Michigan (MM), and in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Miami (DMA). John and his wife Carmen, a flutist in the Sarasota Orchestra and herself an alumna of NEHI, USF, and Michigan, live in St. Petersburg. They have an adult daughter who is an elementary educator in Hillsborough County, and a son who attends the Oberlin Conservatory.
**** James Burge (Fanfare Concert Winds) received the Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Arts in performance degrees from the University of Denver. He taught in the Denver area schools before playing in the Las Vegas show bands for two years. Subsequently, he was staff musician and an assistant band director at Walt Disney World. Prior to coming to HCC, he taught at Valencia and Seminole Community Colleges and played in the Orlando-based Florida Symphony Orchestra. He is the conductor of Fanfare Concert Winds and performs with The Bay Area Saxophone Quartet as well as many jazz groups and Broadway show performances in the area.
***Amy Collins (Oboe) is currently the oboe professor at the University of South Florida from which she graduated with a Master of Music degree. Ms. Collins recently returned from performances at the Haydn Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. She will return in the summer of 2010 to perform again with The Haydn Music Festival and will also perform Madeline Dring’s Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano in the Haydnsaal (the very room in which Haydn premiered many of his works for Prince Esterhazy). In the fall of 2007, she was given the honor of performing for Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican where she made history as the first instrumentalist to perform in the Basilica of St. Peters since Pope John Paul I. Ms. Collins has played with The New York City Opera Company, Miami City Ballet Company, Joffrey Ballet, The Moisiev Ballet, Mannheim Steamroller, and with such greats as Luciano Pavarotti, Tony Bennett, and Diana Ross, to name a few. Ms. Collins released her first solo oboe recording in 1995 entitled “Amy and Friends” and her second oboe recording in 1998 entitled “Amy and Friends at Christmas”. Ms. Collins has given clinics around Florida including The Florida Music Educators Association Annual Convention. She has received two grants from The Pinellas County Arts Council and has served on the grant committee for The Pinellas County Arts Council. Ms. Collins is president of her own business; The Stellar Corporation, Inc. dba Stellar Oboe Products. http://music.arts.usf.edu/bio_collins.html
John Demas (Author, Educator, Inventor, and Performer) is the Program Coordinator for Classical Guitar Studies at the University of Tampa, Florida College and the Program Coordinator for Jazz and Classical Guitar Studies at Hillsborough Community College. A native of Ambridge Pennsylvania, John Demas has been a freelance musician in the state of Florida since 1979. Mr. Demas is an alumnus of Miami-Dade Community College, the University of Miami and earned his Degree with Honors in Classical Guitar Performance from University of South Florida. Mr. Demas is the author of: The Best of Greek Bouzouki, The John Demas Bouzouki Method, The John Demas Guitar Technique and Theory Workbook and The NailScale Handbook, which is a nail care and maintenance guide for the classical guitarist. John is also the co-inventor of The NailScale, a precision nail measuring devise for the classical guitarist and The FretMap, a clip-on fretboard navigational and illustration system. John has performed vocally and instrumentally playing guitar, mandolin and banjo with the Florida Orchestra, the Sarasota Opera Company and the Joffery Ballet. Mr. Demas has also performed throughout the USA at numerous Greek weddings, baptisms, church dances, festivals and national conventions. He has recorded bouzouki, guitar and vocally with many Greek bands during his career including: Mike Kakias, Pegasus, and The Omega Project, to name a few. John has made numerous television and radio appearances over the years educating the public and promoting the Classical Guitar and the Greek Bouzouki. Possessing a diverse background in the artistic and technological arenas, John’s dedication to creating quality live music with dynamic impact continues to lead him into a strong and productive future. http://johndemas.mysite.com/
TJ Glowacki (Double Bass – Electric Bass) performer, educator, and producer/audio engineer, has earned a B.M. and an M.M. with honors from the University of South Florida. A regular member of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, TJ has also performed with the Florida Orchestra, The Jacksonville Symphony, The Prague International Chamber Orchestra, and The Sarasota Youth Opera. As an active festival participant, he performed at The Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, The Gamper New Music Festival, and The Bonk New Music Festival. Mr. Glowacki has worked on numerous local and national Broadway shows throughout Florida including Thoroughly Modern Millie, My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, Wonderful Town, Phantom of the Opera, Will Rodger’s Follies, Godspell, Once On This Island, Kudzu, Smokey Joe’s Café, Annie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Little Shop of Horrors. He has also performed in large Florida venues as a backing musician to The Four Aces, Julius LaRosa, Monica Mancini, Doug Cameron, Shirley Jones, Robert Goulet, Michael W. Smith, The Kingston Trio, Marie Osmond and many other Pop, Jazz and Orchestral musicians. In the Tampa, FL area, TJ has played and recorded with some of the top jazz, rock and pop performers, many of them earning Best of the Bay recognition. Believing in the importance of education to the young musician, he currently maintains a private studio, and also teaches private lessons and Media Arts at the Patel Conservatory, Tampa. TJ is also an adjunct professor at the Hillsborough Community College. He also maintains a yearly commitment to the theater department at the Tampa Preparatory School where he plays in the music ensemble backing the school’s theater productions. Mr. Glowacki has produced and recorded numerous CD’s for bands and solo musicians in his home recording studio.
**Kenneth Hanks (Piano, Class Piano, Theory, History, Program Manager for Music) holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Florida, and a Master of Music from the Peabody Conservatory of Music/Johns Hopkins University. Hanks won first place in the Third Annual Florida West Coast Chopin Competition (1982) and the Maryland State Music Teachers Association Piano Competition, Graduate Division (1986). In July of 1996, Hanks performed in Graz, Austria for the International Music Workshops. He performs frequently with The Florida Orchestra, is past president of the Florida State Music Teachers Association, District VIII, and Vice president of the Jr. Friday Morning Musicale of Tampa Bay. He is a frequent festival/competition adjudicator and performs regularly in the area as a recitalist and freelance musician. In addition, Mr. Hanks and his wife, Jennifer, maintain active independent piano studios in the North Tampa area, both producing numerous local and state competition winners.
*Kenneth Kwo (Viola) is a graduate of the Oberlin College and Conservatory where he earned degrees in both Mathematics and Viola Performance. He also has a master’s degree in Music from the University of Iowa where he studied with William Preucil, Sr.. Mr. Kwo has been a member of the Tri-City Symphony of Iowa and the Colorado Philharmonic Orchestra. He has performed at summer festivals in Tucson, northern Michigan, and with the Swannanoa Chamber Players in North Carolina. A member of the Florida Orchestra since 1984, Ken is an active teacher, freelancer, and chamber musician in the Tampa Bay area. During the summer, Mr. Kwo enjoys the cooler weather of Vermont where he is a chamber music coach at the Kinhaven Music School.
Thomas McNair (Trombone) received his B.A., M.M. and Instrumental Conducting Certificate from the University of South Florida where he studied Trombone and Euphonium with Tom Brantley, Don Kneeburg and Dwight Decker, and Instrumental Conducting with William Weidrich, Stan DeRusha and Richard Floyd. His experience has encompassed both classical and commercial genres having performed with The Florida Orchestra, The West Coast Symphony Orchestra, The Imperial Symphony Orchestra, Five Star Brass, Bay Brass Quintet, The Brass Menagerie and the Florida Tours of the Musicals Chicago, The Full Monty, Guys and Dolls, and artists Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, The Manhattan Transfer, Johnny Mathis and Michael Bolton among others. Tom was also a staff musician for Busch Gardens for over fourteen years. Being an avid proponent of music education, Tom has taught at Blake High School for the Arts, Renaissance Academy for the Arts, and while a teaching assistant, organized and conducted the University of South Florida’s Brass Ensemble. Besides his duties at Hillsborough Community College, Tom currently teaches instrumental music for the School District of Hillsborough County, plays trombone and euphonium in the Florida Wind Band and Carl Fischer Publishing’s recording ensemble “The Trade Winds”, and is an active free lance musician. He resides in Temple Terrace with his wife Peggy and son, Jack.
Catherine Michelsen (Violin) received a Bachelor of Music from Florida State University, a Master of Music in Violin Performance from The Boston Conservatory, a Master of Music in Chamber Music from the University of South Florida, and a Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Arizona. Major teachers have included Mark Rush, Katie Lansdale, Carolyn Stuart, Bonnie Bewick, and Karen Clarke. Catherine has played in master classes for violinists including James Buswell, Martin Chalifour, Pamela Frank, Ani Kavafian, and Bayla Keyes, and has played the Baroque violin in master classes for Marilyn McDonald, Riccardo Minasi, and Stanley Ritchie. She has attended music festivals including Aspen and Meadowmount, and has served as a teaching assistant at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Vermont. Performances featuring Catherine have been broadcast on KUAZ-FM,
Tucson's public radio station. A Suzuki-registered teacher, Catherine is an active educator in the Tampa area, serving as a faculty member for the Patel Conservatory and Hillsborough Community College. She has played with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, New Bedford Symphony Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Ruthie Nelson (Voice, Director of Choral Activities) Highly sought after as a soloist and chamber musician, soprano, Ruthie Nelson has captivated critics and audiences alike with her "unerring" performances of concert and operatic literature that "cast a spell of sublime simplicity."
Ms. Nelson has recently delighted audiences in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Vivaldi's Gloria, Saint Saen's Christmas Oratorio, Handel's Messiah, and the Faure Requiem. Her performance in the Requiem “was the highlight of the Requiem - [and] of the entire concert.” Ms. Nelson was the winner of the 2011 St. Petersburg Opera "Opera Idol" Competition. She was also named the Florida Female Vocalist of the Year by the Florida Federation of Music Clubs in 2006. In May of 2007, Nelson was a member of the women’s quartet credited by the Tampa Tribune as “memorizing” and was a “high point” in the performance of Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light.
Nelson is no stranger to the recording studio. She is on the Grammy nominated recording of The Brahms Requiem with Miami based Seraphic Fire. She is the featured soloist on 3 volumes of The Richard Zielinski Singers American Voices Album, A Stephen Paulus Christmas Album, and Discover! with the The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay.
Nelson received her Masters in Music in Vocal Performance at the University of South Florida. She graduated summa cum laude from USF with a BA in music education. From 2008-2011 Nelson was the Choral Director of the Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida. There Nelson developed a love for vocal arts and conducted several "superior" rated ensembles. Nelson has been a clinician and adjudicator throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, Nelson is on the voice faculty at Hillsborough Community College, the College of Central Florida, and Patel Conservatory, the director of the Tampa Bay Children’s Chorus and The Ocala Children’s Chorus, has a private voice studio, and is the music director at the First United Methodist Church of New Port Richey.
Stephanie Barnett Sager (Voice) Last year, Stephanie Barnett Sager, soprano, made her Opera Tampa debut as Sister Dolcina in Suor Angelica. Since moving home to Florida, Stephanie has been heard as the soprano soloist with the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra in their “Evening at the Opera”, and as the soprano soloist in Brandon for their performance of Handel’s Messiah. Also in the Central Florida area, Stephanie covered the role of Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni this summer with St. Petersburg Opera.
In the summer of 2004, Stephanie was an Apprentice with Des Moines Metro Opera. With DMMO, Stephanie had the opportunity to perform scenes from Pagliacci, Anna Bolena, Eugene Onegin, and Faust. Mrs. Sager also performed as an Apprentice with Lake George Opera in 2003 where she sang the role of Mrs. Gleaton in Carlisle Floyd’s American opera, Susannah, and Mimì in Act III of La Bohème as part of their Italian Opera Gala. That July, Mrs. Sager was a featured soloist in Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra’s summer concert series, singing arias from Susannah. She returned to GFSO to sing the role of Mimì in La Bohème in February 2004 where reviewers noted her “full sound and effortless high range” and called her acting a “full expression of hope, innocence and tragic foreboding”.
Mrs. Sager spent the summer of 2002 at Seagle Music Colony performing the role of Micaëla in Carmen. In December 2001, she sang the title role in Manhattan School of Music’s Mainstage production of Amelia al Ballo, where critics called her performance “perfection”. She first joined MSM’s Opera Studio as part of the outreach production of The Amazing Adventure of Alvin Allegretto. Mrs. Sager has also performed the roles of Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos (New York Opera Project), Dolcina in Suor Angelica (Opera Buffs), Belinda in Dido and Aeneas and Jenny in Three Sisters Who are Not Sisters (Vertical Players Repertory). She has won numerous awards including Finalist in Palm Beach Opera Competition, Winner in NATS Southeastern Region, Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair (founded by the Florida Federation of Music Clubs), and scholarships from Manhattan School of Music and Florida State University.
Mrs. Sager has joined the voice faculty at Hillsborough Community College in addition to keeping her large private studio of voice students. She taught voice for two years on the Pre-College faculty at Manhattan School of Music. Mrs. Sager is currently the Music Director at Faith Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida.
Stephanie completed her Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance at Manhattan School of Music and earned a Bachelor of Music from Florida State University. She currently studies voice with Ashley Putnam.
Emi Stefanov (Piano & Staff Accompanist) was born into a family of musicians - her mother Ivanka is a piano teacher, and her father Petar was the principal bassoonist for the Belgrade Symphony Orchestra. Originally from Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Ms. Stefanov was classically trained at “Josip Slavenski” Music School, receiving Music Elementary and High School Diplomas. The Stefanov family moved to Tampa, Florida in 1991 where Ms. Stefanov received a full scholarship to Tampa Preparatory High School, continuing her classical training at the University of Tampa pre-college program. She performed frequent solo and chamber recitals, including the Schumann A minor Piano Concerto with Tampa Bay Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Stefanov further attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX where she studied with Alfred Mouledous and received Bachelor and Master degrees in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy. Ms. Stefanov has served on the staff at Midlothian HS, Southern Methodist University, FSU/Asolo Conservatory for actor training, Broadway Theatre Project and is currently teaching at Academic Piano Studio in addition to her work at HCC. She is also music directing and performing in countless shows, and serves as the music director for Eight O’Clock Theatre, in Largo, FL.
**Mark Switzer (Guitarist, Intro to Music, Humanities) is a classical guitarist and has toured internationally as a soloist, performing in Austria, Canada, Italy, the former Soviet Union, and throughout the United States. He has several editions of guitar music, published by Tuscany Publications, which are available through the Theodore Presser Publishing Company. He has appeared as a duo partner with Pepe Romero in Europe and the United States, and has toured with the renowned Los Romeros Guitar Quartet and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed locally as a soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Florida, the USF Orchestra, and the Florida Southern College Orchestra. He has collaborated on a compact disc recording with oboist Amy Collins, featuring music for oboe and guitar, and also on a compact disc recording featuring music for solo guitar, guitar and voice and voice and piano. Mr. Switzer holds a Bachelor of Music degree from UNC Chapel Hill, a Master of Music in classical guitar from the University of Miami and was granted the third DMA in classical guitar in the United States also from UM.
**** Dr. Jeffrey L. Traster (Tuba) is also the Director of Bands and Tuba Instructor at the University of Tampa. Born and raised in Texas, Traster earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree (tuba concentration) from Baylor University, a Master of Music degree (conducting) from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (conducting) from the University of Texas at Austin. Traster taught at Reagan High School in Austin, was Associate Director of Bands at Baylor University, and Director of Bands and Tuba Instructor at Wright State University in Dayton, OH prior to coming to Florida. Dr. Traster is an active tuba performer, frequently guest conducts high school bands and Honor Bands, and serves as an adjudicator and clinician throughout Florida. He and his wife, Denise, have four daughters: Jena, Jamie, Jessica, and Jodi.
* ****Maurizio Venturini (Bassoon), well-known bassoon virtuoso in his native Italy, was introduced to music through studies with his mother, an established concert pianist, at the age of five. When he was 15 years old, Mr. Venturini was an accomplished performer on both piano and bassoon. He has studied bassoon with masters W. Winstead, K. Thunemann, M. Turkovic, and M. Constantini. His degrees include a Bachelor’s degree from the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and a master’s degree from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. His career as soloist commenced with a first place finish in the Italian Lanciano International Competition in 1980, from which he progressed in Italy, Germany, Hungary and the U.S.A. Mr. Venturini has performed in national and international radio and television broadcasts as well as recordings and soundtracks on many major labels such as RCA, London, Summit, EMI, Columbia, and Erato. Mr. Venturini’s been the principal bassoonist for the Bulgarian Radio Orchestra, the International Chamber Ensemble, the Rome Opera Orchestra and Naples Philharmonic. He is also the assistant principal bassoonist with The Florida Orchestra, a position he has held since 1999.
**Robert Winslow (Music Theory, Jazz Ensemble Director, Music Technology, Piano, Music Program Accompanist) has been a Tampa Bay area performer, and arranger for over 30 years. Many of Mr. Winslow's recordings have been used for the Miss Florida Pageants. He also composes, having written numerous piano and vocal pieces as well as three children's musicals for American Stage and Ruth Eckerd Hall. Mr. Winslow has been musical director for American Stage's Summer Children's camps and the Tampa Bay premiere of Claudia Shear's play about Mae West. Mr. Winslow holds a Master of Piano Performance from the University of South Florida where he studied piano and organ. Robert has performed concerts in Germany, Paris, Montreal, Wisconsin and was the original accompanist for The Master Chorale under the direction of Dr. Robert Summer, Dr. Richard Zielinski, Dr. Duncan Couch, Dr. Joseph Holt and Dr. James Bass. He has been the pianist for various ensembles Mrs. Collins has put together and was the arranger for the Christmas album "Amy and Friends at Christmas". In addition to his activities at HCC, Mr. Winslow is the organist at Palma Ceia United Methodist Church in South Tampa.