BRAVO strives to reflect the diversity of our students in our teaching staff. Our instructors average 20 years of experience teaching and performing music in Mexico, Brazil, inner-city Los Angeles, North Portland and around the world. They are accomplished performers and educators committed to inspiring children and improving our community through music. Our leadership team brings professional experience with some of the most respected arts organizations in Portland.
Executive and Artistic Leadership
In-school Program Manager, BRAVO Sitton
Administrative Assistant since 2014
A violin teacher for over ten years, Karen is passionate about both children and music. She holds degrees in both music and children’s literature, and recently completed a Certificate in Non-profit Management and Development at Portland State University. Karen worked previously with Laurita Jauregui as a volunteer teacher for the Portland Suzuki Project at Beach School.
Winds Program Director, BRAVO Cesar Chavez since 2015
Originally from New York City, Adam moved to Germany with his family at the age of nine. There he studied flute with Eric Lamb and Thaddeus Watson in Frankfurt. While in Europe, he worked with Sir James Galway in Switzerland and William Bennett in England. He returned to the US to earn a Masters in Music from the New England Conservatory, in the studio of Paula Robison. Adam has also studied with Dr. Tara Helen O‘Connor and worked with Marco Granados, Amy Porter, Leone Buyse and Jim Walker. As a soloist, he has appeared with several orchestras around the United States and Europe. He has also been awarded top prizes in various competitions, one of which is the New York Flute Club Competition. Before joining BRAVO, Adam taught at the Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston for six years. Visit Adam’s website
Site Director, BRAVO Rosa Parks
Teaching Artist, Violin since 2015
Cecille has worn many hats as a musician. Growing up in the Midwest, she began her studies on the violin, later taking up the viola, and at the collegiate level she earned her BA from Western Michigan University studying voice. She has performed and freelanced in various groups enjoying a wide range of styles including classical, jazz, folk, rock, pop, and more. Since arriving in the spring of 2014, she has been performing and teaching in and around the Portland area.
Site Coordinator, BRAVO Rosa Parks
Teaching Artist, Violin since 2014
Chris Fotinakis left his native Nevada to study violin and voice at the University of Portland, and has been performing and teaching in the region ever since. He has played with the Vancouver, Newport, and Oregon East Symphonies and currently serves as concertmaster of the Portland Ensign Orchestra. As a singer, he has performed with the Portland Vocal Consort, Portland Symphonic Choir, and the Portland Baroque Orchestra and Chorus. Chris directs the music program at Trinity Academy in North Portland, and teaches strings at Holy Redeemer School. In his spare time he plays soccer, studies foreign languages, and spends time with his amazing daughter, Sabrina.
In-school Program Manager, BRAVO Rosa Parks since 2013
Laura Elena Jáuregui Wynter (aka Laurita), is a native of Portland, OR with a Mexican-American heritage. She began her Suzuki violin studies at age 5 and joined the Portland Youth Philharmonic performing orchestra at 13. She began teaching Suzuki violin at 16 with the support of her mother, a Suzuki piano teacher. As an adult, Laurita continued her musical studies at Portland State University under Carol Sindel, and completed her Bachelor of Music in Performance in 1998. She has played professionally with several orchestras in Mexico and the US. A former faculty member at both the Community Music Center and Ethos, Inc, she maintains a private studio out of her home in NE Portland. Laurita is currently the Co-Director of the Oregon Suzuki Association and the Assistant Director of the Oregon Suzuki Institute. Visit Laurita’s website
Executive Director and co-founder
Seth grew up in a large family in Durham, North Carolina, playing sandlot football on the “wrong side of the tracks” and playing violin and piano on the other side of the tracks. After winning a scholarship to study violin at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Seth toured the capitals of Europe with an elite orchestra before attending Oberlin College and Conservatory as a National Merit Scholar. He was employed as a social worker and carpenter before embarking on a ten year career as a professional violinmaker. Seth was a founder and fundraising chair of the Portland Village School, now the city’s largest public charter school, and he was Director of Development and Community Engagement at Chamber Music Northwest. He and his wife Angela, a midwife, have two daughters, and they all enjoy camping, home repair projects, and making music as a family. BRAVO joyfully brings together many threads in Seth’s life and demonstrates his belief that the beauty of music should be accessible to all.
Artistic Director and conductor since 2013
An energetic conductor, pedagogue, and composer, Mark oversees BRAVO’s team of Teaching Artists, interns, and volunteers. He conducts the Brahms orchestra and choir and assists in each string section. In addition to shaping the curriculum, Mark also arranges much of the BRAVO repertoire. A former staff member at Portland Youth Choir and the Community Music Center, Mark conducts the Multnomah Chorus at Multnomah Arts Center and maintains a private piano and composition studio. Mark earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Missouri. He is a recipient of the Sinquefield Prize in Composition. In 2015 Mark served on the International Teaching Faculty for El Sistema USA’s National Take a Stand Festival, a multi-year project culminating in ESUSA’s first national youth orchestra which performed at Aspen under Maestro Robert Spano and will perform at Disney Hall in 2017 under Maestro Gustavo Dudamel.
Teaching Artist, Violin/Viola since 2013
Stefana Berceanu was born in Bucharest, Romania, where she started playing the violin at the age of 9. In 1981 she moved to the United States and continued her music studies with Lajos Balogh at Marylhurst University. She currently performs with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Marylhurst Symphony and freelances with several chamber music groups. Stefana is the founder and director of the Pacific Crest Youth Sinfonietta and a private violin/viola teacher with a large studio in NE Portland.
Teaching Artist, Cello since 2016
Timothée grew up in the French Riviera and began the cello under Charles Reneau at age six. Seven years later he graduated from the Nice National Conservatory. While pursuing further studies with Daniel Grosgurin at the Geneva Conservatory he won the Lalive Competition and a Fulbright Scholarship. In 2012 Timothée was invited to study with famed cellists János Starker and Emilio Colón at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In 2013 he accepted the principal cello position with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Since then he has made several appearances on public television and radio, including with the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico.
Rosa Parks School Music Teacher
BRAVO Teaching Artist, Viola since 2014
Aurelian maintains an active career as a violist, chamber musician and teacher. A native of Beaumont, Texas, he began his professional career being featured as a soloist with Baroque Orchestra of South East Texas in Germany and Belgium. As a chamber musician, he is the founder and violist of the Belden Piano Quartet, resident chamber musicians of the PMMF festival in 2009. His orchestral career highlights include performances with the Chicago Civic Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, Pacific Symphony, Silk Road Project Ensemble, Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera and, as Principal Viola, with the Arizona Chamber Orchestra. Aurelian is proud to have played chamber music with members of the Houston, Atlanta, and Dallas Symphonies, as well as members of the Berlin Philharmonic. He has also recorded with Sting, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Karen Briggs, and James Tormè. As a teacher, Aurelian is passionate about outreach, having taught with the Harmony Project, 92nd Street Violin Project and the Watts Willowbrook Boys and Girls Club in Los Angeles.
Teaching Artist, Cello since 2014
David began his studies at age 6, and made his public debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony at age 16. He attended the Eastman School of Music where he received the Performer’s Certificate and BM under Paul Katz of the Cleveland Quartet. He received his MM at Indiana University with Janos Starker, and became the Principal Cellist of the Evansville Philharmonic and Owensboro Symphony Orchestras. In 1996 he moved to Portland and joined the internationally known band, Pink Martini, which took him to stages throughout the US and France. He has been on the faculty of summer music festivals such as Meadowmount, Point Counterpoint, and the Ithaca Chamber Music Institute, and was Music Director at the Ananda Village in Northern California for 12 years. David was recently featured in the Hollywood film, Finding Happiness, for which he also produced the soundtrack. David currently lives in SW Portland where he performs regularly with the Oregon Symphony and the Portland Cello Project. Visit David’s website
Teaching Artist, Cello since 2016
Amelia is a native Oregonian whose musical studies began at the age of 8 when she began taking piano lessons. At 10 she was introduced to the cello through an afterschool orchestra program. She later played in local youth symphonies in and around Eugene until she moved to Portland to attend the University of Portland. For 4 years she was the Principal Cellist of the University of Portland Orchestra and enjoyed being a member of a string quartet. In 2014 she earned her BS in Biological Studies and a minor music with an emphasis in cello performance. Amelia loves to dabble in all genres of music but particularly enjoys folk, fiddle, and hymnal tunes. Currently, she plays with the Oregon East Symphony and fills her schedule working as a freelance musician around Portland and volunteering with her therapy dog, Bailey.
Teaching Artist, Flute since 2016
Natalie Neshyba is an active flutist and clinician in the Portland/SW Washington area. She received her BM in Flute Performance from Central Washington University and her MM in Flute Performance with a Teaching Assistantship from University of Northern Iowa. She performed in Metropolitan Youth Symphony and Portland Youth Philharmonic when she was younger, and now teaches Music Theory for PYP. Natalie currently enjoys performing with the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra on both flute and piccolo. When not fluting, Natalie loves to volunteer in her community, cook, and play tennis.
In-school Program Assistant, BRAVO Sitton
Teaching Artist, Violin since 2014
A lifelong violinist, Iantha comes from a family with Indonesian and French heritage. Growing up in the Bay Area, she attended the San Francisco School of the Arts and UC Santa Cruz, where she was awarded a BA in violin performance. She has taught music in both France and the United States. Iantha enjoys playing several instruments in a wide range of musical styles including old-time, Cajun, and classical. She plans to build a yurt in her back yard for use as a violin studio.
Teaching Artist, Double Bass since 2013
Bassist André St. James is a cornerstone of the rich, thriving Pacific Northwest jazz scene and works regularly with his own quintet, Mel Brown, Dan Balmer, and others. André grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, graduating from Berkeley High School in 1968. He first came through Portland in 1979, liked what he saw and soon after relocated to Oregon. Over the last three decades, André has worked with an astonishing who’s who of modern jazz including giants like Sonny Rollins, the Harold Land-Blue Mitchell Quintet, Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Charlie Rouse, Pharoah Sanders, James Moody, Alan Shorter, Nancy King, and George Cables. Visit André’s website
Teaching Artist, Trombone since 2016
Retired from the U.S. Army after 24 years, Al Torres was principal and senior soloist with The United States Army Field Band, with performances in 49 states, Korea, Japan, India, Norway, Bermuda, Mexico, and Canada. Prior to heading to the nation’s capitol, Al also performed with The U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point, New York. Al has shared stages with renowned musicians including Renée Fleming, Rosemary Clooney, Doc Severinsen, Aerosmith, and The Boston Pops. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Al hails from Brownsville, Texas and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. He is a performing member of Portland Center Stage, Broadway Rose Theater Company, principal trombonist with the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra and Kenton Brass. Al holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Warner Pacific College and is currently working on an M.B.A. from Marylhurst University.
Cesar Chavez School Music Teacher
BRAVO Teaching Artist, Trumpet since 2015
Chris grew up in a musical family, his father a high school band director and his mother an elementary general music teacher. His musical studies began on piano at an early age, and in 5th grade he began playing the trumpet, following in his father’s footsteps. He earned music degrees in education and trumpet performance at Hastings College in Nebraska and Washington State University. At WSU he was a Graduate Assistant and eventually Assistant Director of the WSU Athletic Bands. He maintains an active teaching and performance schedule, teaching as the Brass Caption Head of the Thunder Drum and Bugle Corps and performing with notable groups such as the Fountain City Brass Band and the Oregon Brass Society. Chris and his wife Leah are enjoying the wonders of living in Oregon with their dog Albi.