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Molly Orlando
Studio Director and Piano

DC Pianist Molly Orlando is nationally recognized as a soloist, collaborator, teacher, and adjudicator. Praised by the Washington Post for her ‘great style’ and performances that are ‘searching’ and ‘edgy’, Molly is equally at home in traditional and brand-new repertoire.


An advocate for new music, Molly has premiered numerous works, including a performance as the soloist in the world premiere of Daniel Felsenfeld’s piano concerto The Curse of Sophistication. She has also premiered works by Douglas Boyce, Timothy Dusenbury, John Elmquist, Matt Curlee, and Nathan Lincoln-DeCusatis.... read more

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Hannah Williams
Studio Coordinator

Hannah is Opal's studio coordinator. She loves being a part of our students' musical journeys, and believes music education lays a foundation for of lifetime of passion and creativity. When students learn to play an instrument, they are mastering a skill they will take with them as they navigate their life paths.


A drama major at Vassar College, Hannah has taught Kindermusik and Young Musicians, drama and public speaking, worked on scores for films, and led countless groups of children in scouting, caroling, and general adventures in Old Town. In addition to her work at Opal, Hannah produces... read more

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Julia Aguayo

Spanish-born pianist Julia Aguayo began her career at age 16 at the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid in 2005, as one of five candidates selected from a field of over 100 candidates.Following her success in Spain, Julia moved on to The Netherlands to pursue her Master's degree. In 2010 she placed in multiple competitions, one of them resulting in a seven-performance tour around The Netherlands that culminated with a performance in the De Doulen hall in Rotterdam – one of the country’s most prestigious performances venues. That same year, she won the chance to participate in a professional recording with Peter Arts... read more

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Benjamin Altman
Guitar, Mandolin, and Ukulele

Benjamin Altman is an active concertizer, chamber musician, and concert soloist, having played with the Macon Symphony Orchestra, the Ocmulgee Symphony, the Colorado Guitar Quartet, and the Arvada Center Chorale.


In addition to his activities as a performer, Mr. Altman has been a dedicated teacher for nearly 10 years. Having served on faculty at Nazareth College, the Eastman Community Music School, and the Rocky Ridge Music Center, he now teaches guitar for Arlington Public Schools and teaches privately across the Washington, D.C. area. As a graduate assistant at... read more

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Sarah Berger

Originally from Denver, Colorado, Sarah Berger is a violinist passionate about orchestral performance and contemporary music. She frequently plays with the Fairfax Symphony, Alexandria Symphony, New World Symphony, and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestras. As a Spoleto Festival USA Fellow, Sarah performed in the premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-Winning opera, “Omar,” and most recently, she served as the concertmaster of Spoleto’s featured opera, Vanessa.


Throughout her undergraduate degree, Sarah played with Eastman School of Music’s new music ensemble, Ossia. As a member of Ossia,.... read more

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Natalie Chami
Piano, Voice, and Music Tech 

With an unwavering commitment to music and the arts, Natalie Chami has dedicated her career to nurturing aspiring musicians. Holding a degree in Music Education from Northwestern University with a specialization in classical voice and choral music, Chami embarked on her professional journey as a founding faculty member at the Chicago High School for the Arts in 2009.


As Vocal Chair, Chami developed a comprehensive curriculum encompassing music theory, keyboard skills, vocal technique, choir, integrated arts, and music technology. Notably, she collaborated on spearheading the development and implementation of anti-racist and trauma-informed teaching methodologies at ChiArts, fostering an inclusive and empowering learning... read more

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Iris Cheng

Noted for her “dynamic and graceful” performances imbued with “virtuosity” and “truly lyrical expression,” American pianist Iris Shepherd Cheng has given performances across the United States and Canada and has garnered numerous awards. An avid soloist and chamber musician, Iris is a founding member of the Cheng-MacLean Duo and she regularly collaborates with a wide variety of outstanding instrumentalists and singers including violist Marina Thibeault, cellist Julie Trudeau, pianist Heidi Louise Williams, the Florida State University Singers, and the National Children’s Chorus. In 2022, the Cheng-MacLean Duo gave their New York debut in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, performing works from the 20th and 21st century, including a commissioned piece by Kyle W. Brown... read more

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Marianne Cheng
Piano and Voice 

Marianne has over twelve years of experience teaching music to students with wide range of styles, abilities, and ages. Her passion for student-centered, holistic teaching overarches everything she does, from teaching private lessons, directing community choirs, and coaching professional artists. As a vocalist, pianist, studio tech, arranger, and director, Marianne brings a passion for lifelong learning to the Opal Music family. With a keen sense of technique and an emphasis on progress over perfection, Marianne believes anyone... read more

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Elizabeth Hill 

A recognized leader in contemporary music advocacy, pianist Elizabeth G. Hill has led and performed in the D.C. area’s most prominent chamber ensembles, and is known for her work as a solo performer, educator, and lecturer. A highly-regarded artist, she has performed lecture-recitals and concerts across the United States and in Europe, including for the Embassy Concert Series in Washington DC, the Center for Jewish History in New York, and the Robert-Schumann-Haus in Zwickau, Germany. She currently performs in numerous ensembles within the Washington, D.C. area, and is the Collaborative Pianist for the National Philharmonic Chorale and Chamber Series... read more

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Aleks Izotov
Piano and Jazz Piano

Aleks Izotov is a pianist, composer, and educator based in the DC metro area. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Aleks graduated with a bachelor's degree in Jazz Performance from Arizona State University, where he studied with pianist Michael Kocour. Since moving to DC in 2016, Aleks has been steadily growing his reputation as both a sideman and leader, appearing with Tarus Mateen, Michael Bowie, Marshall Keys, and headlining shows at The Nash and Ravenscroft. His first solo release, Solo Piano, was released in February 2021, and he is currently pursuing a Master of Music more

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Sara Johnson

Sara Johnson is from Phoenix, Arizona, and has enjoyed a career as a performer and educator. She graduated from Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and The Arts, receiving piano instruction from Dr. Baruch Meir. During her education, she was a first-place winner in the Arizona Musicfest Young Musicians Competition and was chosen to give an honors recital for the Arizona State Music Teachers Association. Moreover, Sara has had opportunities to attend international music festivals, where she has studied with professional musicians and been able to showcase her artistry in performance.... read more

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Zoe Kushubar

Zoe Kushubar has been hailed by the Mittelbadische Presse as a violinist who “plays with a fiery spirit and top nuance.” She has been studying the violin for almost 20 years, and she has performed throughout the Eastern United States and in Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. As a soloist, she has performed with the Piedmont Chamber Orchestra, the Converse Symphony Orchestra, and the Carolina Youth Symphony, with whom she made her orchestral debut at 15. She won first prize at the Young Artist Competitions hosted by the Carolina Youth Symphony (2014) and Converse University (2017), and she was one of three string finalists at the Florida State University Young Artist Competition in 2021... read more 

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Madalyn Navis
Violin, Viola, and Suzuki Violin/Viola

Madalyn Navis is a violinist, music educator, and chamber musician currently residing in Alexandria, Virginia. She began studying violin at the age of 4 years old and quickly discovered the power music has to bring people together and to express and heal our emotions. She earned a double Bachelor’s Degree in Instrumental Music Education and Violin Performance while studying with Mihai Craioveanu at Hope College. She went on to complete her Master of Music Degree in Violin Performance at Bowling Green State University, where she was a member of the Graduate String Quartet and studied under Dr. Penny Thompson-Kruse. During her Master’s degree, .... read more

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Allysa Packard
Voice and Piano

Allysa Packard, soprano, has sung all over the world including China and Italy, with various choirs and study programs. This last summer, her travels took her to Prague where she sang Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaroin the Estates Theater with Prague Summer Nights. Allysa has performed various roles and scenes from both opera and musical theater repertoire. Musical Theater roles include Belle from Beauty and the Beastto Marian the Librarian in The Music Man.She has participated in other shows such as Show Boat, Pirates of Penzance, and Trial By Jury. Opera roles include, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, and Madame Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmelites. ... read more

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Ariana Lee Parks

Ariana Lee Parks was born in Paradise, California but spent most of her growing up years in Salem, Oregon. She has loved music since she was born and started picking out tunes on the piano and singing harmonies with her brother when she was three years old. She began taking piano lessons that same year. Throughout her middle school and high school years she studied with the late Pamela Miller, who had a huge impact on her life. Over the years she has won multiple awards and competitions including being selected for the state recital 11 times in the Oregon State Junior Bach Festival and getting the chance to perform with the Salem orchestra. After high school she began her piano performance degree at Walla Walla University in Walla Walla, WA... read more

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Mark Sylvester
Guitar, Ukulele, Mandolin, Banjo, and Bass Guitar

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Mark Sylvester regularly performs around the Washington, DC, area as a solo guitarist, as a singer/songwriter, and with numerous folk, world, classical, rock, and jazz groups. His recordings of original compositions include music for solo acoustic guitar, chamber music for classical banjo, and scores for live theater productions. Mark's primary musical influences and interests include folk and world music, cool jazz, prog rock, minimalism, American primitive and contemporary guitar music, and J.S. Bach.


Mark teaches individual and group lessons on guitar, ukulele, mandolin, banjo, and bass guitar. Drawing on his broad performance and compositional more

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Olivia Thompson
Piano and Voice 

Coming from North Carolina, Olivia has achieved her Bachelor of Arts in Music Studies, and she is about to graduate with her Master of Arts in Music Education this December. She has had 14 years of classical vocal training, and had pursued that in her undergraduate degree. She has performed in many musicals, choir ensembles, solo vocal performances, as well as the opera Pirates of Penzance. Her vocal training allows her to perform languages such as French, German, Italian, English, and Russian. Olivia has also had 12 years of classical piano training while pursuing her musical career. She has had the opportunity to perform in numerous years of piano competitions and recitals. Going into her third year of more

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Joan Wolfe

Joan Wolfe is a cellist living, teaching, and performing in Northern Virginia. She earned her Masters in Music Performance from Ball State University and her Bachelors in Music Performance from the Conservatory of Shenandoah University. Joan has attended various summer music festivals including the Idyllwild Summer Music Festival and the Chautauqua Summer Music Festival where she furthered her love of performing and attended professional masterclasses and performances on a near daily basis. She performs around the region as much as possible and serves as Principal Cellist with the Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra. During the summers she enjoys putting together local chamber music concerts with family and more

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Alicia Woodberry
Voice and Piano

Soprano Alicia Woodberry has been praised as an insightful musician and captivating performer. Her most recent successes in opera include performing with the Genesius Guild Theatre Foundation as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, for which the River Cities’ Reader praised her for “shining vocally.”


Ms. Woodberry is an active performer, and some of her recent roles include La sorella cercatrice in Suor Angelica (Peabody Opera Theatre), Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos (Miami Music Festival), Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi (Genesius Guild), and Papagena in Die Zauberflöte (Genesius Guild)... read more

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