DR. ALEXANDER KOSTRITSA, Piano, was born into a musical family in Moscow and started his piano lessons at the age of six; three years later, he became a student of Tatiana Zelikman in the Gnessins School of Music. Alexander continued his education at the Moscow Conservatory, studying with Mikhail Petukhov, a laureate of major international competitions including Bach in Leipzig and Queen Elizabeth in Brussels. After graduating from the Conservatory with a Master of Music degree, Mr. Kostritsa came to the United States to pursue his doctorate with Antonio Pompa-Baldi at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Mr. Kostritsa is a prizewinner of international piano competitions such as Premio Rovere d’Oro (Italy, 2007) and Paul Badura-Skoda (Spain, 2010). He made his international debut when he was eight years old with a concert tour to Japan and has since performed as a soloist in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, South Korea, and the United States. Mr. Kostritsa received his teaching certificate from the Moscow Conservatory; he has maintained a private studio since 2006 and is currently employed as a piano instructor at Cuyahoga Community College.
GIANMARCO MANFREDI, Piano, began his piano studies at the age of four with Egisto F. Castiglione. In 2001, he was accepted by the Cosenza Conservatory of Music “S. Giacomantonio,” and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor in Piano Performance in 2013 under the guidance of pianist and teacher Angelo P. Guido. During his time at the Cosenza Conservatory he attended the master classes given by worldwide-recognized pianists Aldo Ciccolini, Edith Murano, and Cristiano Burato. In 2012 he won the MUSE (Musical Understanding of European Society) scholarship for two weeks of study at the Yasar University of Izmir (Turkey). In 2016 he earned his Master in Piano Performance form the Cleveland Institute of Music (USA) under the guidance of Antonio Pompa-Baldi. He has performed at the Aula Magna of the Cosenza Conservatory, Archeological Museum of Naples, Sala Eutherpe de Leon, Mixon and Kulas Hall at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He also studied conducting with the Italian conductor and teacher Bruno Aprea. In 2013 he attended the International Piano Concertos Workshop in Leon, which also featured the Spanish pianist and teacher Joaquin Soriano. He debuted as a conductor at the Auditorio Ciudad de Leon conducting the Young Orchestra of the Province of Malaga.
NATALIYA SHEHLUK, Violin, Viola, was born in Lviv, Ukraine where she began her violin studies at the age of five. After graduating from musical school, Nataliya continued to develop her skills at Lviv State Musical College, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Violin Performance with multiple honors. She then pursued graduate study at Lviv State Musical Academy and later at the University of Akron with a concentration in music education. Nataliya recently completed the Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from Cleveland State University. Among her violin teachers are Yulia Onyschenko, Irina Svyatlovskaya, Alan Bodman, Cory Smith, and Peter Otto. Nataliya has performed with the Leopolis Orchestra, Lviv Opera Theatre Orchestra, Sandusky Symphony Orchestra, and many others.
TOM POORE, Guitar, with over 30 years teaching experience, has taught at the North Carolina School of the Arts Community Music Center and the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Department. His background in teaching children includes Suzuki training, outreach programs through the Broadway School of Music and Passport Program, and the Cleveland Public Schools Arts in Summer Education Program.
Tom and his students have performed for WCPN radio and WVIZ television. Former students of his have gone on to earn scholarships and degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, The Juilliard School of Music, the Aspen Music Festival, and others. Tom earned his bachelor’s degree at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he studied with Aaron Shearer, and master’s degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with John Holmquist. He was also the editor for Aaron Shearer’s three volume “Learning the Classic Guitar,” published by Mel Bay. Currently he teaches in the greater Cleveland area at the Solon Center for the Arts, Western Reserve School of Music, Avon School of Music, and from his home in South Euclid.
MARY KRASON WIKER, Voice, holds a B.A. in Music from Franciscan University of Steubenville and an M.M. in Vocal Performance from Cleveland State University. Mary is active throughout the greater Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Tri-State areas in choral, chamber, and solo vocal music. Mary is currently a part-time member of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and has participated in and contributed as a soloist in the university choirs of Franciscan University, Cleveland State University, Saint Vincent College, and various community courses. As a church musician, she has held positions as a cantor for Saint John Fischer Catholic Church (Richmond, OH) and as a visiting choir member and soloist in the Cleveland Diocese. Mary is a member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) and has prepared students for the annual OMEA vocal competitions and evaluations, where her students have received superior ratings.
Mary has performed operatic roles as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, the First Spirit in Die Zauberflöte, Carolina in Il matrimonio segreto, and as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare. She has also been a soprano soloist in various chamber and choral works, including Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, and Schubert’s Mass in G. Mary has been teaching voice since 2008 and enjoys sharing the challenges and endless joys of studying music with her students. She teaches Classical and Broadway vocal literature as well as healthy vocal technique in her lessons. Her approach to teaching is to help students discover their natural voice in a healthy and supportive way through the practice of solid vocal technique.