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Dr. Junko Takahashi, Program Director

junkoDr. Junko Takahashi attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where she received her B.M. in piano performance under the tutelage of Anton Nel and Fernando Laires.  She received her M. M. in piano and D.M.A. in Piano Pedagogy from the Catholic University of America under Thomas Mastroianni and James Litzelman, where she won numerous concerto competitions. 

Since moving to Maryland, Dr. Takahashi has maintained an active studio of over 50 students and performed around the DC metropolitan area. Her students have won both state and local competitions. She is the Founder and Director of Musical Expressions, Inc., a music school that now boasts over three hundred students in the southern Montgomery County area. 

Dr. Takahashi has been on the board of the Montgomery County Music Teachers Association, Maryland Music Teachers Association and Washington Music teachers association, where she has organized and judged numerous student competitions and recitals.  From 2007 to 2009, she served as President of the MCMTA, and she currently serves as a president of Maryland Music Teachers Association. 


Regina Bethencourt

Regina Bethencourt was born in Des Moines, IA and grew up in Lansing, MI and Raleigh, NC. She began taking piano lessons at age 6 and has been an avid player and performer ever since. In Michigan, she participated in several music festivals and events including the annual Michigan Music Teachers Association piano achievement testing where she received a top score every year. In 2006, she opened her own piano studio in Raleigh, NC where she taught more than 17 students ranging from beginner to advanced. During that time, she studied classical piano under Tom Lohr of Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, and in 2009 she placed second in the Senior Piano Competition in the State of North Carolina. She also studied contemporary jazz piano under jazz pianist Scott Strong and classical voice under his wife, Tricia Strong.
After moving to D.C. in 2009, Regina studied piano under the instruction of Jose Ramos Santana at the Catholic University of America. At Catholic University she was a top student in music theory and music history and participated in the University Singers Chorus under the direction of Dr. Leo Nestor. Today, she enjoys performing for social events and sharing her love for music with her students, helping them achieve new goals every day.

Yuri Chyuriayama


Yuri Chayama, who has been described in the German press as “a virtuoso” and “master pianist,” has performed in the United States, Germany, Italy, and Japan.  After graduating from college in Japan, she received Master’s Degrees from the Musikhochschule in Aachen, Germany and the University of New Mexico; her DMA is from the University of Arizona.  Dr. Chayama won the Competition Internationalé in Santa Fe and a major prize from the Ibla Music Competition in Italy.  The renowned composer Dr. Kurt Schwaen also awarded her the prize for Best Interpretation of his composition Nocturne Lugubre in Berlin in 2004.  Dr. Chayama’s recordings of Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, and Takemitsu have been heard on classical radio stations in the United States and Japan.  She enjoys accompanying and teaching piano and has worked with students of varying abilities from beginners to advanced levels.  She currently resides in Washington, DC. 




Sara Cronan

Sara Cronan received her B.A. in Music majoring in Voice and Viola Performance from Bennington College in Bennington, VT in 2000. She has been teaching piano and voice through Musical Expressions since its inception. Sara has been involved with music in many capacities ranging from orchestral instrumentalist and onstage vocalist, to Musical Director's assistant, stage hand, and composer. In 2002, The Levine School of Music commissioned her to write a musical, which became “The Barnyard Blues”. Her range of experience allows her to prepare budding performers in a sensitive and understanding manner.
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Andrew Malone

andrewAndrew Malone began his musical studies in Egypt, and studied in various countries while traveling with is family.  He subsequently went on to enroll at the Catholic University of America, studying piano performance with Dr. James Litzelman.  He performs regularly as a solo and chamber musician around the greater Washington, DC area and has maintained his own private studio since 2004.  Andrew is the first alumnus of Musical Expressions, where he studied with Junko Takahashi, to return as a teacher.  In addition to playing the piano, he is also an accomplished oboist, and has studied the fields of music education and voice.  He has a passion for performing and teaching the classical repertoire, and a love of passing his knowledge on to younger generations.
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Elizabeth Overmann

Please see bio under voice instructors.



Ashlyn Mazone-Lucas

AshlynSoprano Ashlyn Mazone-Lucas completed her Bachelor's and Master's of Misic in Vocal Performance at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  Her international performance career has taken her from American venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts toEuropean stages in Prague and Budapest. Her repertoire includes notable leading roles such as the Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, among others.  In addition to comprehensive study in vocal performance, Ashlyn has also had extensive training in vocal pedagogy and physiology, and these help form the foundation of her approach to private vocal training and technique. Ashlyn is the primary creator and director of "On Stage!" Vocal Performance Summer Day Camp, and serves as music director on the board of the Contemporary School of the Arts & Gallery, Inc. founded in Hagerstown, MD.
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Elizabeth Overmann

elizabethLyric soprano Elizabeth Overmann completed her Masters of Music in voice performance and pedagogy with honors from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ in the spring of 2011. She also holds a Bachelors of Music from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY and currently studies with renowned dramatic soprano Sharon Sweet.  Recent appearances include Lucia di Lammermoor (Lucia), L'elisir D'amore (Adina), Roméo et Juliette (Juliette), Der Schauspieldirektor (Mme. Silberklang). Other appearances include Guilliume Tell Caramoor Bel Canto Institute (2011), Madama Butterfly Opera New Jersey (2011), Proserpina Spoleto Festival USA (2010), The Merry Widow (Dodo), The Medium (Mrs. Nolan), Carmen (Mèrcédes), Così fan tutte (Dorabella), Street Scene (Rose), La Rondine, L’Étoile with Eastman Opera Theater and Tosca with Opera Festival of New Jersey. She has participated in the Caramoor Bel Canto Institute, the Westminster Choir College French Song Festival (2011) and Heine Lieder Festival (2010).  During her time at Westminster, she participated in the Westminster Choir which has been setting the standard for choral excellence for 90 years. Ms. Overmann began her private piano studio in 2003 and began teaching voice in 2006. She is also certified to teach Music Together, an internationally recognized early childhood music education program, and developed and taught the preschool music curriculum for the Stuart Country Day School in Princeton, NJ. She currently maintains an active piano and voice studio with students of all ages and abilities.
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Kela Veshi, Violin and Viola

kelaKela’s musical explorations began at age seven with formal instruction on violin. By age 15, she had begun playing the viola and has continued to play both instruments ever since. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Fine Arts Institute in Tirana, Albania majoring in Viola. She performs regularly in the Washington DC metro area. Her most recent appearances include performances with the National Conservatory Orchestra of Washington DC, Kenosha Symphony Orchestra of Wisconsin, Evanston Symphony Orchestra and Rockford Symphony Orchestra of Illinois. Kela toured with the National Symphony Orchestra of Albania in Salzburg, Austria and Pescara, Ancona, Rome and Lecce, Italy. She also performed at the Ancient Stadium of Delphi in Athens and Preveza, Greece.

In addition to Musical Expressions, Kela currently teaches at the Hebrew Academy in Rockville, MD, and at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, MD. Kela lives in Bethesda with her husband and two children.
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Erik Sharar

Erik Sharar graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.M. in guitar performance, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Peabody Conservatory.  He has taught privately for over seven years, including at Musical Expressions since 2003, and has performed extensively in the United States and Europe for ten years.  He is currently Choir Director at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church in Rockville, MD.
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Virginia Nanzetta, Flute

VirginiaFreelance flutist and teacher Virginia Nanzetta received her Master of Music in flute from the University of Illinois and her Bachelor of Music in flute from Converse College.  She has taught as an adjunct professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland, University of Illinois, and Stockton State College (NJ), and enjoys working with students of all ages.  She also currently teaches at the Washington Conservatory of Music.

Ms. Nanzetta has played with the award-winning Kapelle Woodwind Trioand presently plays with the Granby Ensemble and Designer SoundsTrio.  She has enjoyed participating in performances of new works,
especially those by Alec Wilder, Haskell Small, and John Stevens, performing at Strathmore Hall, Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, and most recently Merkin Hall.  Two CDs made with American Camerata for New Music and featuring Virginia were nominated
in the first round of Grammy Award nominations.
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Kate Suuberg

KateKate Suuberg recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.M. in Music Education from the Catholic University of America, where she studied with Vanita Jones. Over the past four years, she has performed with the CUA Wind Ensemble, CUA Symphony Orchestra, and in the pit orchestras for several musicals, both at school and professionally. Kate has also performed several times at the Julius Baker Flute Masterclass in the summer. She has taught at two elementary schools in Montgomery County under Charlie Bowling, as well at Elizabeth Seton High School in Maryland under Debora Hood. Kate loves teaching the flute at any level, and also enjoys teaching piano and saxophone.




Erich Heckscher, Bassoon

Erich_Heckscher_bassoonErich Heckscher is Principal Bassoon of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and served as Acting Second Bassoon with the National Symphony Orchestra for the 2011-2012 season. He was formerly Principal Bassoon with the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Second Bassoon with the Alabama Symphony and Houston Ballet Orchestras, and appeared as Guest Principal Bassoon with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra in January, 2000. Other appearances include the Dallas, Virginia, Charleston and Richmond Symphony Orchestras, the Atlanta Opera, Tulsa Opera and Des Moines Metropolitan Opera. Erich is also Principal Bassoon of the Britt Festival Orchestra in Jacksonville, OR, and has participated in festivals in Durango, Sarasota, Breckenridge, Chautauqua and College Park. He has a Bachelor of Music in bassoon from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with K. David Van Hoesen and John Hunt, and a Master of Music in bassoon from Southern Methodist University, where he studied with Wilfred Roberts.  Erich has been Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at the Unversity of Maryland and woodwind coach for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras at Strathmore Hall since 2012. He has maintained private studios in Dallas, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and was Adjunct Professor of Bassoon at Texas A&M University Commerce in 1998.
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Mike Reeves

Bio coming soon.

Piano Craft link


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