Director, Violin Faculty
After training from Juilliard, Yale and other top music conservatories and programs in the world, violinist Celia Zhang moved to Boston and came back to her first true love - sharing the process of making and loving music. She has gained a reputation not only for teaching with strong results, but also creating a process that makes students want to pursue more - accompanied with humor, a firm attitude and the occasional eccentricities. For further details, testimonies, and more, please check out her personal website here.
Jason Ji is a multi-genre fingerstyle guitarist and singer-songwriter from Australia - a one-man-band playing a travel-sized guitar to its most resonating and ear-catching potential. The legendary funk and soul guitarist Nile Rodgers couldn’t help but laugh in joy when he heard Jason’s playing.
Classically trained from eleven years old, and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, he also studied fingerstyle on the internet from the likes of Tommy Emmanuel and Emil Ernebro. He was featured in the 2019 Guitar Night: Pop and Rock as the only soloist, the 2019 International Folk Festival in Berklee, as well as China's Got Talent in 2019, receiving all four "yes" marks from the judges. He currently has a weekly residency at Tuscan Kitchen, Seaport on Thursdays, Fridays nights and Salem on Saturday nights, come listen for yourself!
Lisa Yasui is a Boston-based cellist, performing and teaching classical music regularly in the area. She graduated from Boston University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance, with a minor in Arts Administration. During her undergraduate studies, Lisa taught at public and private institutions, teaching both group and individual lessons. That experience made her realize that she deeply enjoys sharing the joy of music and wants to continue teaching, no matter what career path she chose.
As a teacher, she hopes to help students discover a passion for music through a well-rounded curriculum that balances a strong emphasis on technical proficiency through the Suzuki method, while simultaneously developing a student’s own individual sense of creativity through explorations of composition and non-classical types of music. She strives to build a creative and safe environment for each student to learn and grow, and to eventually create their own unique sound.
Lisa is currently an active teacher and performer throughout the Boston area. In her spare time, she loves crocheting and snuggling with her puppy.
Voice, Early Childhood & Beginner Piano Faculty
Maria Gabriela Cotter Taylor, better known as Gaby Cotter, grew up in a richly musical family.
In 2007, Cotter began her formal music education at Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí, standing out quickly for her charisma and interpretative strength. She then continued her music degree at the Universidad de Panamá, followed by a degree in Fine Arts with a specialty in Music, Summa Cum Laude, in 2013. During these years, Cotter has continued her musical now with her other passion: teaching. Among her most important works during this time was FELARO Foundation, teaching music to children of limited resources on the risk of exclusion at the community of El Valle de Antón, Panamá for three years as vocal teacher and choir director.
In 2015, she released her first live album: Gaby Cotter and In-Groove Project. Combining Jazz, Bolero, Son, and Bossa Nova in a fresh proposal, this album satisfies the tastes of the most demanding listeners of each genre. The same year, Gaby won a scholarship at Berklee College of Music to become a full-time student, and began her studies in September 2016. Currently, Gaby is recording her first studio EP which she is preparing to release at the end of 2021. Additionally, she has her Singing and Art studio in Cambridge, MA, where she currently resides with her husband.
Music Theory & Composition, Bass Faculty
A class of the 2013 Berklee College of Music graduate, Eric Falter, has been active in the Boston music scene since 2010. Through studies and performances with Grammy nominated artists, his experience in a wide variety of musical settings is always growing. His career as a bass guitarist has led him to performances with touring members of “Billy Joel,” “The Roots,” “Babyface,” Broadway’s smash hits “Jersey Boys” and “Motown: The Musical,” among many others. Eric specializes in music theory, electronic production, composition, arranging, and bass guitar.
“I began teaching privately in high school at the age of 16, what started as one weekly lesson quickly became several. Over that time. I developed a strong passion for teaching. Watching a student's talent grow is extremely rewarding to me. I have taken my knowledge - gained through my own studies and career experiences - and adapted them to my lessons. The best part for me as a teacher is having a student take the tools given to them, and creating their own voice as a musician and artist. I am eager to share with my students what joy playing music can bring, and how a good practice regimen can translate into success in any career field.”
Chi Wei Lo
“Nervy, cerebral, passionate, mysterious and sensual…Flowing, aloft, and at the same time, grounded” (BMInt)
Pianist and improviser Chi-Wei Lo can well and truly smash the fourth wall. Having earned his Bachelor and Masters Degrees from the Juilliard School, Lo enjoys interdisciplinary collaboration and is expanding his creativity through different forms of art. Lo is currently a doctoral candidate at the New England Conservatory, majoring in contemporary piano improvisation, where he was featured as a representation of virtuosity in 2019.
In 2018, Mr. Lo was commissioned by the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation (KRTC) to celebrate its 10 years anniversary, which led to his new album and the printing of Lo’s limited edition metrocard.
Past major collaborations include: a concert tour in China with improvisation band Pink Noise; Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto with North American Medical Orchestra; a recital at TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York) with New Asia Chamber Society; a show at Tufts University with the band Psychopomp, and improvising on the silent film, Metropolis (1927). Last year, along with pianist Xiaopei Xu, Lo was featured at the Harvard Musical Association and the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.
Lo has given several solo tours, including The Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins, Declaration of Aesthetics, Twelve Over Twelve, which includes several benefit concerts in accord with his belief that “musicians should give back to their communities.” Lo currently is on the teaching faculty of the New England Conservatory, the South Shore Piano School and the Village Youth Conservatory, and writes for the BMInt.
Dr. Xiaopei Xu
Piano, Music Theory Faculty
“A sensitive pianist and talented artist.” — Martha Argerich
Hailed by The Boston Globe as “a world-class pianist” and the BMInt as “spellbinding and expressive”, Xiaopei Xu has been featured as a soloist on three continents, striving for creativity in her artistic expression. She made her Boston Symphony Hall debut in 2018, performing Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 with Maestro Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops.
Xu has received international acclaim with top prizes at the New York International Piano Competition, Oberlin International Piano Competition, Tureck International Bach Competition, Richmond Piano Competition and the Washington D.C. International Young Artist Competition. She has been invited to major festivals including Pianofest in the Hamptons, PianoTexas, Banff Music Centre, Sarasota Music Festival, Russia Young Artist Festival, and the Walnut Hill Music Festival. Xu has also been invited regularly to give masterclasses and lectures in Nanjing, Beijing, Qingdao, amongst other cities in China. Xu has been exclusively interviewed by Shanghai Morning Post, Qilu Evening news, Music Weekly, Yanzhao Metropolis Daily, and Shanxi Evening News. Her concerts have been reported by The Boston Globe, Sing Tao Daily, Boston Musical Intelligencer, Lancaster New Era, and more.
Xu’s recent performances have been presented by the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Harvard Musical Association, Foundation for the Chinese Performing Arts, The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, German Society of Pennsylvania, Lancaster International Piano Festival, Chinese American Museum(LA), Ukraine Forward, College Music Society, to name a few.
In addition to her musical endeavors, Xu enjoys integrating her love for visual arts with music, creating multidisciplinary collaborations as a way to enhance the artistic experience. A painter herself, she has been commissioned for several installations and collaborative projects. Xu created a combined art and concert experience at the Germany Society of Pennsylvania, as well as an exhibition of her artwork in “The Seven Deadly Sins,” an interdisciplinary concert at the New England Conservatory. Collections of her drawings have been published by the Clara Haskil Competition’s Jeune Critique.
Xu holds her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University, Master’s degree from Yale University and Bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Her principal teachers include Hung-Kuan Chen, Xun Pan, Meng-Chieh Liu, and Boaz Sharon. She has also worked with influential musicians such as Claude Frank, Richard Goode, and Paul Badura-Skoda.
A versatile teacher, Jessica strives to build on the joy of playing violin through clear expectations and lively engagement, in order to create a solid musical technique and self-pride in each student. She has a performance degree from Boston University and has collected invaluable pedagogical training over the past twenty years.
She has taught in public and private schools, both in group settings and individual lessons. She is enthusiastic in educating herself through seminars, literature and colleague observations on topics such as child development, growth mindset, musical pedagogy and solfeggio. Jessica also performs regularly in orchestras throughout New England.