MEET Our TEAM
VOICE | PIANO | CELLO | CHOIR
VOICE | PIANO | CELLO | CHOIR
Fairouz Foty has become a sought out full-lyric soprano in the DC metropolitan area for some years now. She has sung in leading musical performance centers such as The Kennedy Center, Strathmore Hall, the Verizon Center, The Croatian Embassy, The Slovenian Embassy, The Bulgarian Embassy, The Egyptian Embassy, The Anderson House, The Arts Club of Washington, among others. This season she performed the role of Leonora with the Washington Opera Society in Il Trovatore excerpts and other Verdi Operas. She performed at the Argentinian Embassy as part of the Arts for the Aging (AFTA) Gala performance and will be performing at The Kennedy Center Reach Center, The French Embassy, The National Pen Women’s Association among other prominent venues in the DC Metropolitan area this season.
Fairouz has performed the title of role of Cecilia in Maria & Cecilia with the In Series to stunning reviews. In addition she has performed the roles of Micaëla (Carmen, Carol Opera Company), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi, Westminster Choir College Opera), Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Westminster Choir College Opera), Voluptua (La pizza con funghi, Hubbard Hall Opera), Rosario (Goyescas, In Series), Mimi (La Boheme, Romez3arts), and covered the roles of Cio-Cio San (Madama Butterfly, Hubbard Hall Opera), and Tatiana (Eugene Onegin, Bel Cantanti). Last season Fairouz made her Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra debut in Ethereal Voices, A Toast to the New Year. She also debuted the role of Violetta in La Traviata and performed with the Washington Opera Society in Croatian Christmas and Christmas in Slovenia. Fairouz was a Semi-Finalist in the 2018 Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition. She was invited to perform for the 55th-anniversary concert of the Compania Ernesto Lecuona in Teatro Milanese in Pinar del Rio, Cuba and in San Jose, Costa Rica as part of an intercultural exchange with Grupo31.
Fairouz’s musical foundation began through Arabic music where her father, a virtuosic oud player and Arabic singer, taught her and her four siblings how to play and sing in Arabic. She is in the process of using her Western Opera skills to rewriting a unique genre of Arabic Opera that focuses on the works of early 20th century Arabic composers and musicians as well as fusing popular opera arias with Arabic music. Fairouz is the Artistic Director and Founder of Quartertonez Music, a music school that utilizes western classical pedagogy as well as improvisation, world music, and rote learning to create a unique holistic approach to teaching music. Each semester Quartertonez Music focuses on a different underrepresented genre or culture of music.
Fairouz received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music and Africana Studies from Lafayette College in 2011 and continued her studies at Westminster Choir College, where she earned a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy with an emphasis on Performance.
For more information, please visit her website: http://www.fairouzfoty.com
VOICE | OUD | QANUN | PERCUSSION
VOICE | OUD | qanun | percussion
Turkish mezzo-soprano Lori Şen is known for her versatility in many vocal genres, including opera, art song, musical theatre, and jazz, as well as for her teaching and research interests in vocal literature, voice pedagogy, and voice science.
Dr. Şen completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance at the University of Maryland, College Park, and received her Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, NJ, as a Fulbright grantee. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, in addition to a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice and a Master of Education degree in Physics Education from Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir, Turkey.
Dr. Şen is an expert of the Sephardic Art Song genre that comprises Western classical settings and arrangements of the traditional Sephardic folk literature. Over the past few years, she has introduced this repertoire to audiences through solo recitals, in addition to her lectures on the history, language, and culture of the Sephardim, and elements and stylistic features of Sephardic music. Since 2018, she has presented her research at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City, the 14th and 16th Barcelona Festival of Song in Barcelona, Spain, the 8th Annual Judeo-Spanish Symposium (UCLAdino) at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Yunus Emre Institute, Sephardic Heritage International (SHIN) DC, and Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, all in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Şen regularly collaborates with musicians and composers across a variety of genres, and has performed in Turkey, Europe, and the United States. She also teaches as a Lecturer of Voice Pedagogy at the University of Maryland School of Music and Adjunct Voice Faculty at the Peabody Preparatory of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, and serves as an ambassador for the
Barcelona Festival of Song.
“In my lessons, I strive to spark curiosity, keep students engaged, and to inspire learning and critical thinking. I often make use of interdisciplinary examples, fun facts, examples of real-life applications, as well as references to popular culture. It has been my observation that when students are able to build new knowledge on their prior knowledge and experiences, and draw connections between the two, they establish long-term memory. Furthermore, they better achieve creative and consistently successful applications of the new knowledge. I believe that this sort of positive learning experience naturally leads to a discovery that learning can be fun and rewarding. I firmly believe that the teacher’s constructive feedback accelerates the learning process. Through creating a positive, energetic atmosphere, and establishing a safe, friendly environment, I aspire to encourage students to ask questions, share their thoughts and feelings in their learning process, and to exercise their creativity. These explorations are as crucial for the discovery of one’s voice as they are for the development of self-confidence and artistic expression.”
For more information: http://www.lorisen.com
GUITAR | BASS | CELLO
GUITAR | BASS | CELLO
Ethan Foote is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger working in jazz, the Western classical tradition, folk, rock, and genres in between. He writes and performs in many contexts, including theatre and interdisciplinary art. Rooted in the DC music scene, he has taken the stage at many of the area’s notable venues, including the Kennedy Center and the Mansion at Strathmore, where he was an Artist-In-Residence in 2016-2017. He has toured in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Thailand. He received a Master of Fine Arts in music composition from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2020.
Ethan teaches double bass, bass guitar, cello, acoustic guitar, and piano and believes strongly in incorporating composition and improvisation into all instrumental instruction as a way of cultivating well-rounded and creatively activated musicians. Drawing on classical, traditional, and popular frameworks, he seeks to provide students with the tools that will allow them to enjoy playing their instruments and, at the same time, to develop a deeper understanding of music as a whole. He also works to help students build a foundation of technique that encourages long-term physical well-being by combining tried-and-true best practices with attention to the unique needs of each musician.
FLUTE | SAXOPHONE | RECORDER
flute | saxOphone | recorder
The George Oakley has been performing in the Washington D. C. area for thirty years. His repertoire is from the great American Song Book. He performs music from Brazil as well. He has a musical group doing small duos and large quintet.
Guitarist, Jeremy Lyons has been performing, teaching, and living in Baltimore for more than ten years. He regularly performs as a soloist and with ensembles of all sizes. In an effort to present both contemporary and period works of art, he collaborates with many different kinds of musicians and performs in a variety of venues. As a teacher, Jeremy leads classes that focus on rhythm, harmony, ear training, and guitar technique. He works with children and adults both privately and in groups settings. In addition to independent projects, Jeremy is a member of two Baltimore-based contemporary music ensembles: Mind on Fire and Pique Collective, and he also applies his extensive background in Renaissance and Baroque music by performing on period instruments such as the Renaissance lute, Baroque guitar, and viola da gamba. As a composer, Jeremy works on projects that combine music and other artistic mediums such as poetry, theater, and sculpture.
For more information, you can visit his website: http://www.jeremylyonsguitar.com
My goal as a guitar teacher is to help students make music while learning how to play the instrument. I am ultimately striving to motivate my students to get the best possible sound from their instrument while expending the least amount of energy. While there are numerous schools of thought concerning the proper way to position the hands in relation to the guitar and how to execute finger movement, I have found the teaching of Manuel Barrueco to be the most effective guidance. He has always advised me to be economical in motion and to never use unnecessary tension, but he is most insistent upon singing through the guitar. Often technical issues become clear when we sing a line of music and then attempt to play the guitar in the same way. In doing this, I find technical demands are usually dictated by musical decisions. Although developing technique from an early age is paramount to a student’s ability to learn repertoire with ease, an understanding of expression in music is not something that must wait until later in life. I believe that every student can find something very human and natural through making music, and the sooner they experience this part of music, the sooner they become excited by possible results.
With most students, I work through a graded series of method books or at least a collection of etudes to continuously improve technique and present appropriate challenges. Different methods work better for certain students varying in age, ability, and commitment. I also tend to supplement my methods with individually selected repertoire pieces that focus on a particular area of study that the student is engrossed in. I make sure to incorporate an understanding of music theory concepts and I heavily focus on rhythm exercises because these areas are imperative to the development of a complete musician. There are plenty of styles of music associated with the guitar, but the classical guitar has the highest level of repertoire available, thus demanding the highest level of technique. My approach to teaching is that every student should learn the guitar in the classical tradition in order to be prepared to tackle all levels of music. The student may wish to focus on another style of music, but I still request of my students to study classical technique as well. An introduction to music history as it applies to the guitar is a great way to spark interest in an aspiring student. Regular concert attendance also assures exposure to the vast repertoire available and the extent of abilities that a professional guitarist possesses. Finally, by providing and encouraging concert opportunities, the student learns the value of practicing towards a goal and gains experience presenting a body of work in front of an audience.
Hailing from Guatemala, Alfonso Hernández is a Doctorate in Musical Arts candidate at the University of Maryland working with Russian pianist Larissa Dedova. Alfonso holds degrees from the University of Houston, Eastman School of Music, and Lynn University; he has participated in many renowned music festivals including the Chautauqua, Aspen, and Zeister Muziekdage in the Netherlands. A passionate educator, Alfonso is Co-founder of the International Chamber Music Festival of Guatemala and has served as visiting faculty at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala.
PIANO | HARP
piano | harp
Marie Harrison holds her Bachelor of Music in Collaborative Piano and is presently working on her dual Master of Music in Harp Performance and Conducting. She actively works in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area as an orchestral and solo harpist, an accompanist and coach, and a private teacher for both instruments. Her pianistic accomplishments include subbing and accompanying for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, co-music directing and acting as the staff pianist for the Arena Stage Academy’s Musical Theater Training Company, attending the American Institute for Musical Studies (AIMS) as a collaborative pianist working with vocalists specializing in German lieder in Graz, Austria, and serving as Music Director at St. James’ Episcopal Church, Lothian, where she led and conducted the choir. As she maintains a career as a collaborative pianist, she equally works as a harpist, having acted as principal for both The Catholic University of America and the Annapolis Chorale, subbed for the Capital City Symphony Orchestra, and worked with the Maryland Lyric Opera. A large portion of her work is geared toward teaching, coaching, and accompanying for various studios between the pre-K and collegiate levels, performing on degree recitals both as a harpist and a pianist, and supporting young composers. She is kickstarting a career in writing, having made her stage debut in fiction with Bel Cantanti Opera Company and serving as a technical writer for an IT company.
VOICE | PIANO | CHOIR
PIANO | VOICE | CHOIR
OUD | NEY | VIOLIN | RIQ
OUD | ney | violin | riq
Multi-instrumentalist Chakib Hilali is noted for his exquisite feeling, playing Arabic music on a dizzying number of different instruments, which he switches between with consummate ease. Instruments he plays most often include oud (Arabic Lute), ney (end-blown flute), violin, riq (Arabic Tambourine), and oriental keyboards. He is also an expressive vocalist.
Chakib grew up in Casablanca, Morocco, born into a family of musicians who took him along to performances from a very young age. Chakib studied oud (Arabic lute) at the Conservatory of Music in Casablanca, and immigrated to the US at the age of 21.
Chakib has become a well-known performer of Arabic music in the DC area, performing both traditional and nightclub styles, and even playing the mizmar in zeffa wedding processions.
Chakib enjoys playing many styles of Arabic music, from classical Arabic music, Tarab, Moroccan music, folk music of the Arab countries, belly dance music, and Rai – a modern style that fuses western instruments with North African rhythms and melodies. In additional to being a skilled and emotive player, Chakib has the ability to take a group of musicians and help them to sound their best through arrangements and subtle touches that come from his deep appreciation for classical Arabic music. His ability to pick up new material quickly and his natural tendancy to play in a complimentary manner with others puts him in demand as a guest or support musician for visiting singers and soloists.
Chakib enjoys teaching others the music of his homeland. He teaching style favors the oral tradition of Arabic music, and he enjoys personalizing his teaching to match the individual music preferences and goals of his students.
Now based in Alexandria, Virginia (in the Washington DC area), Chakib is available for performances, lessons and workshops
STEEL DRUM | PERCUSSION
STEEL DRUM | PERCUSSION
Sheldon Thwaites is an award winning International Caribbean-American percussionist, specializing in Drum Set and Steel Pan. As the son of a Trinidadian music pioneer, Sheldon continues to promote his family legacy amassing an evocative resume with artist’s “Chris Daughtry”, “Lauryn Hill”, “Amel Larrieux”, “Marina Satti”, and Maryland’s premier steelband “PanLara”. He has studied drum-set with Terri Lynn Carrington, John Blackwell, & Mike Mangini. Drums were his first love, but after pursuing music at the high school level, he transitioned into composition, arranging & production. Sheldon has played drums internationally for world-renowned steelbands “Witco Desperadoes”, “Phase II Pan Groove”, and “Skiffle Bunch”. He is currently on tour and in the studio with 300 Entertainment’s new-artist “Cobi”. He is a graduate of Boston Arts Academy & Berklee College of Music. Sheldon currently resides in Hyattsville, MD.