Our Faculty

Dr. SHERRY OVERHOLT, soprano Dr. Sherry Overholt has combined a long and successful career with operatic and concert performances in addition to her teaching positions at Queens College, Purchase College Conservatory and the recently the Curtis Institute of Music. As a private voice teacher in Manhattan and at three academic colleges her students have been contracted by opera companies and festivals including New York City Opera,The Metropolitan Opera and Santa Fe Opera and The Caramoor International Festival. Her students have also won numerous competitions including the National Association of Teachers’, Jenny LindCompetitions and the Metropolitan Council Awards.This past summer marks the 14th season for Ms. Overholt as Artistic Director/Vocal instructor for The Westchester Summer Vocal Institute which is dedicated to empowering emerging operatic artists.This past season she also completed her 5th season as Artistic Director/Vocal Instructor for the QueensSummer Vocal Institute a high school classical vocal program at Queens College where she is Director ofVocal Studies. As a performer, Dr. Overholt performed for Columbia Artists Management in joint operatic concerts for ten years, sang title roles in regional opera houses. Her discographies include the title role inFrank Lewin’s opera Burning Bright for Albany Records, VincentPersichetti’s Song Cycle: Harmonium and Legacy of Songs of Persichetti for MSR Classics.Ms. Overholt’s received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Miami, and her Masters, Master of Musical Arts and Doctorate in Vocal Performance from Yale University studying under Metropolitan Opera Soprano Phyllis Curtin who taught at the Tanglewood MusicCenter for 51 years.

Jennifer Grimaldi, soprano, made her European debut as the soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Charlemagne Orchestra in Brussels, under the direction of Bartholomeus-Henri Van de Velde. Other major highlights for Ms. Grimaldi’s include the soprano soloist in: Mahler’s Symphony 8 and Symphony 2 under the baton of Carlo Miguel Prieto with the Mineria National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico City, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder and the Vier letzte Lieder of Richard Strauss with the New York Repertory Orchestra, both under the direction of David Leibowitz, Brahms’ Ein deutsches requiem with the Flint Symphony in Michigan under the direction of Enrique Diemecke, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Sheboygen Symphony in Wisconsin under the direction of Kevin McMahon. Recently, Ms. Grimaldi, sang the role of Senta in a concert version of excerpts from Wagner’s Der fliegende Höllander with the Chappaquaua Orchestra under the direction of Michael Shapiro.

Upcoming engagements for Ms. Grimaldi include Beethoven’s 9th Symphony under the direction of David Leibowitz with the New York Repertory Orchestra and the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus in December 2016, and the Vier letzte Lieder of Richard Strauss at Symphony Space in New York City, with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Theresa Cheung.

Ms. Grimaldi is a graduate of The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in New York. Jennifer maintains an active private teaching studio in the NYC metro area and on Long Island. To learn more about Ms. Grimaldi please visit www.JenniferGrimaldi.com

Deepak Marwah, Deepak Marwah is an active performer, conductor, and educator in the New York City area. Performance highlights include, Basel in Figaro 90210 with Morningside Opera (NYC), Damon in Acis and Galatea with the Staunton Music Festival in Virginia, Don Basilio and Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro with Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to a Performance program, Mr. Owen in Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, tenor roles in The Fairy Queen (Purcell), performances in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Mozart’s The Impresario, and the role of Pee-Wee Binnings in the New York City Premiere of Bruce Saylor’s Orpheus Descending. Deepak remains active in the concert scene and has performed as a soloist with the Cornerstone Chorale, Brooklyn Philharmonia Chorus, Reona Ito Chorus, New York Repertory Orchestra and the festival chorus and orchestra of the Midsummer Music Festival in Quebec, Canada.

Deepak has served on the Vocal Music Faculty of LaGuardia Arts in NYC, also known as the “Fame” school, where he taught voice and conducted choral ensembles. He has directed various ensembles in New York City, serving as a conductor for the Music Unites Youth Choir, Bayside High School’s Academy of Music, NYC’s Summer Arts Institute, and as a teacher for Chicago Opera Theater’s “Opera for All” program. Deepak is currently the Director of Fine Arts for the Byram Hills School District in Westchester, NY and is an adjunct professor at New York University where he conducts the NYU Chorale.

Deepak completed his M.M. in Voice Performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, has a Bachelors in Music from the Aaron Copland School of Music and has an advanced certificate in educational leadership and supervision.

Jana Ballard

Jana Ballard has been on the music faculty at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art & Performing Arts in New York since fall of 2007. At LaGuardia High School, Ms. Ballard conducts both the Senior Chorus and Women’s Choir and teaches group voice classes and music history. She conducted the 2010 Baltimore County High School Honors Chorus and the 2011 Kentucky Music Educators Association All-State Junior High Treble Chorus.

In addition, she has served as a clinician and guest pedagogue with the Metropolitan Opera Education Program. Ms. Ballard also conducts the New York City Labor Chorus.

Prior to teaching in New York City, Ms. Ballard taught in Kentucky for eight years where she was a high school choral director and private voice instructor. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Ms. Ballard was very involved in professional leadership and organization on the state level, such as the Kentucky Music Educators Association (MENC). Ms. Ballard received both undergraduate and master’s degree in music education from Western Kentucky University.

about-element61James A. John, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities in the Aaron Copland School of Music, conducts the Queens College Choir, Vocal Ensemble and Choral Society, runs the masters program in choral conducting, and serves as advisor to the graduate program in vocal performance. Dr. John also serves as Artistic Director of the Manhattan-based vocal ensemble, Cerddorion, a select chamber choir dedicated to adventurous programs that span the breadth of the choral repertoire, from medieval polyphony to newly commissioned works. Recent professional highlights include performances in Tokyo of Brahms’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Tokyo Oratorio Society and Oratorio Sinfonica Japan, and an invited performance by the QC Choir at the 2012 Eastern Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Providence, RI.

Under Dr. John’s leadership the choral program at the Aaron Copland School of Music has become recognized as one of the finest collegiate choral programs in the region. Past performances with the School of Music’s ensembles include Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Bach’s Mass in B Minor, award winning productions of Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Argento’s Postcard from Morocco and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, “A Night at the Opera” with Queens College alumna Erika Sunnegårdh of the Metropolitan Opera, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, and world premieres of works by Sidney Boquiren, Leo Kraft, Meg Collins Stoop and others. His choirs have performed in such prestigious New York venues as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Trinity Church Wall Street. Under his direction the QC Vocal Ensemble released its first CD, featuring premiere recordings of partsongs by Scottish composer Hamish MacCunn, and the QC Choir recorded Bright Sheng’s Two Folksongs from Qinghai for the Naxos label.

Prior to his current position at the Aaron Copland School of Music Dr. John served as Director of Choral Activities at Tufts University in Boston, Director of Choral Activities at Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY, and as Dartmouth College’s first Conducting Fellow.

profile_2Ah Ram Lee, Pianist and composer Ah Ram Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. She holds a B.M. degree in Piano from Sangmyung University and a M.M. degree in Music Technology –Scoring for Film and Multimedia from New York University. She also studied Piano and Composition in the graduate diploma program at Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music. During her studies, she received merit-based scholarships from several institutions, including Kyewon High School of the Arts, Sung Eum Foundation, Sangmyung University and Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music. Lee made her debut at the Seoul Arts Center in Korea with the Sangmyung Orchestra as a winner of the Sangmyung University Honors Competition. Since then, she has appeared at many performances including the Chamber Music Series at New York University, Queens College New Music Group, The CSI Orchestra, The Choral Society of the Hamptons, The National Chorale: Choral Festival, and many other vocal and chamber music recitals and choir concerts. She also has worked as a musical director and pianist of the Touring Concert Opera Company in New York City with which she finished a recording project of Stefano Donaudy’s 36 Arie di Stile Antico, and played at performances of Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, La fanciulla del West in a concert style, Classical Art Song Series and the Verdi and Mozart Marathons, both in New York and Florida. Currently, Lee serves on the faculty of The College of Staten Island – The City University of New York and of the Queens Summer Vocal Institute at Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, where she teaches piano classes and coaches voice students. When not at the piano, she writes down new melodies, plays the violin and sings for her own enjoyment.

Robert Rogers

Robert Rogers, (Collaborative Pianist/Vocal Coach) is a native of Florida, and holds degrees from the University of Tampa, the University of South Florida, and the University of Illinois. He has given recitals throughout the United States, Canada, and the West Indies with numerous operatic and concert stars, as well as with the male quartet Songfellows. Critics claim he “makes accompanying an art unto itself…playing even the most difficult passages with ease” and demonstrating sensitivity in the realms of both opera and art song. He is the former music director of the New York Opera Ensemble. He is also the former assistant conductor and chorus master for the Illinois Opera Theatre and the Lake George Opera Festival. He travels extensively conducting choral workshops and is the organist and choirmaster of the Church of St Luke and St Matthew in Brooklyn. Mr. Rogers has recorded on the RCA, Concord, and RUA record labels. Currently on the staff of the LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. Head of Vocal coaching/accompanist staff. Queens College Summer Vocal Institute (QSVI) August 2013-2016.

Youn Ju

Youn Ju Namkoong, a native of New York City, is an active collaborative pianist in the tri-state area. Recent engagements have included rehearsal pianist and coach for Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte and Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, both at the Aaron Copland School of Music, and Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes at the Aspen Opera Theater Center. Youn Ju has been on staff at the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, Opera New Jersey, New York Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, and the Opera and Voice Department at Rice University. Other collaborations have been with the Queens College Choral Society, the Queens Symphony Orchestra, the New York Virtuoso Singers, and the Long Island Composers Alliance. As a solo pianist and chamber musician, she has performed in Spain, France, the Canary Islands, and the United States, including at Carnegie Hall, Lefrak Hall, Merkin Hall, and Weill Hall. Most recently, she performed as one of the piano soloists in Saint-säens’ Carnival of the Animals with the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Some notable accolades include first prize at the second annual YWCA/Korea Central Daily’s New York Music Competition, and second prize in the Thaviu-Isaak Endowed Scholarship Competition at Northwestern University. An avid educator, Youn Ju maintains a private piano studio in the Queens and Long Island area and teaches a class in the art of vocal collaboration for pianists at the Aaron Copland School of Music. She holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music. She is currently on faculty at the Aaron Copland School of Music at CUNY Queens College and the Queens Summer Vocal Institute.

David Ronis

David Ronis, is the Director of Opera at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A four-timeNational Opera Association Production Competition winner, his guest directing engagementsinclude SUNY Potsdam, Rutgers University, Four Seasons Theatre, and Manhattan School ofMusic, in their annual “From Page to Stage” program. The co-founder of the Baroque OperaWorkshop at Queens College, he has taught at the Westchester Summer Vocal Institute, theMaryland Summer Center for the Arts, and La Lingua della Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy. As aperformer, Mr. Ronis has sung over 50 operatic roles with companies all over the world,concertized extensively, toured nationally in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and appeared inindependent films and nationally televised commercials. www.davidronis.com