Faculty Biographies


  • Glenna Curren

    Glenna Curren

    Cello Instructor

    Cellist Glenna Curren has maintained a private teaching studio since 2002. Currently based in Rochester, she has taught as a teaching assistant at Oberlin Conservatory and is a graduate of the nationally recognized Penfield Suzuki Program.

    Glenna strives to understand how each student learns best; as a teacher her approach centers around creating a personalized method for each student. Having earned degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Eastman School of Music, Glenna has been fortunate to study with some of the music world’s most sought-after teachers— including Alan Harris, Stephen Doane, Richard Aaron, Amir Eldan, and Catharina Meints—whom she credits with teaching her how to teach as well as how to play the cello. She thus draws upon a rich array of teaching approaches, which she supplements with concepts from yoga and Alexander Technique, insisting that a relaxed cellist is a happy cellist!

    As a performer, Glenna has appeared across the United States and five European countries. A Rochester native, she has been a returning guest soloist on Rochester Public Radio’s performance series Live from Hochstein and with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and is an alumna of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

    Currently, Glenna is a founding member of Upstate New York’s only Classical period orchestra, Ensemble Perihipsous, which is currently in its first season. With her small instrumental chamber ensemble, Ogni Sorti, she explores lesser-known works of the Renaissance. Also a soprano, she performs with Rochester’s critically acclaimed vocal ensemble, the Christ Church Schola Cantorum.

    For more details on Glenna’s teaching approach and performing activities, and to listen to recordings of performances, please visit Glenna’s website at glennacurren.com.

  • Ben Ellis

    Ben Ellis

    Guitar Instructor

    Ben Elllis is an adjunct professor of guitar and director of the Classical Guitar Ensemble at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS). In addition to a Bachelor’s degree from the SUNY Fredonia School of Music, Ellis holds a Master’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance from Syracuse University, studying under Dr. Kenneth Meyer, a renowned classical guitarist from Geneva. Ellis performs as both a soloist and chamber musician with such groups as the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble, Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel Choir, HWS Chorale, Syracuse Opera, and as part of the Great Lakes Guitar Quartet and the LaLena-Ellis Duo.  Ellis has been a featured instructor at Syracuse University, Mansfield University and the Eastern US Music Camp at Colgate University.

  • Julianna Gray

    Julianna Gray

    Suzuki Violin Instructor

    Julianna Gray began Suzuki violin lessons at the age of two in her hometown of Corning, New York.  She holds a Bachelors Degree in Violin Performance from the University of Oregon, where she was a cum laude student of Fritz Gearhart. While pursuing her Masters Degree in Violin Performance at Ithaca College, she was a teaching assistant to Susan Waterbury and completed her long term training in Suzuki Pedagogy with Sandy Reuning. Julianna has held Suzuki violin teaching positions at the University of Oregon, on the faculty of Ithaca Talent Education and the Hochstein School of Music.  Before moving to Rochester, she played eight seasons with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and taught violin at Lemoyne College.  She is currently the coordinator of the string department and the instructor of violin at St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy and performs regularly with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • MaryAnn Hamilton

    MaryAnn Hamilton

    Adult Mixed Choir Instructor and Dean of Faculty

    MaryAnn Hamilton was named to the position of Parish Musician at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church upon completion of her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY in May 2000. MaryAnn plays the organ for Sunday services and directs the Adult Mixed Choir. MaryAnn also holds a Master of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary, NYC, where she studied choral conducting with Abraham Kaplan. In addition to her work at St. Peter’s and St. peter’s Community Arts Academy, Ms. Hamilton serves as Colleges Organist at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

  • Suzanne Murphy

    Suzanne Murphy

    Voice Instructor

    Suzanne Murphy – Mezzo-Soprano – earned a B.M. in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Ithaca College and an M.M. degree in Vocal Performance from Yale University. At the Yale School of Music she studied with Phyllis Curtin and Richard Lalli. Ms. Murphy has taught in the Massachusetts Public School System and at the Suzuki Music School in New Haven, Connecticut, as well as teaching private studio lesson. She has performed with the Providence Opera, the Cabot Street Playhouse (Ocean State Light Opera) and the Cornell Savoyards. In addition, Ms. Murphy has been alto soloist for such major works as Bach’s Mass in B minor, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and Handel’s Messiah. Most recently, she has performed as the Second Lady in Geneva light Opera’s performance of The Magic Flute. Suzanne is a member of the Boston Byzantine Choir, a group devoted to preserving Byzantine Chant in English. The BBC has achieved wide critical acclaim and has published two albums of Byzantine Chant. She is experienced teaching at all levels of ability.

  • Alaina Olivieri

    Alaina Olivieri

    Dance Instructor

    Alaina Olivieri is a movement artist and collaborator with Rochester, New York based professional contemporary dance companies BIODANCE (Missy Pfohl Smith) and Hanlon Dance & Company (Eran David P. Hanlon). She is also a guest performer with KDiehl Danceworks, Melanie Aceto Contemporary Dance, KT Insights, Heather Roffe Dance and Daystar Dance. She performs locally and nationally in festivals, theaters, galleries, and Universities and appears in dance on camera and photography. Olivieri graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance from The College at Brockport. It was there that she was awarded the Friars Foundation Award for Talent and Academic Achievement in the Performing Arts. Prior to her move to Brockport, Olivieri studied at The School of the Hartford Ballet, NYSSSA at Skidmore College, and SUNY Geneseo, where she received the Hubert and Gertrude Chanler Scholarship for Excellence in Dance. Ms. Olivieri serves as Head of the Ballet Studio at St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy.

  • Margaret Sawyer

    Margaret Sawyer

    Piano and Musical Beginnings Instructor

    Meg Sawyer has spent the last 27 years maintaining a private studio and working as an elementary and preschool teacher in the town of Shortsville. She teaches all ages and enjoys playing piano and viola performances.

    Meg started piano lessons at the age of 5 with her mother, Janet B. Smith, and studied the viola with Nancy Hunt of the RPO. At age 12, she continued piano lessons through the Eastman School of Music’s community education program with Harriet Zimmerman, and also continued viola lessons, playing in the Youth Orchestra (RPYO). Meg attended Houghton College, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education.

    Meg began offering private lessons as well as working as a school music/elementary teacher. She later returned to the Eastman School of Music, focusing on piano and early childhood music. She created “Munchkin Music,” a movement and music program for pre-school children, which involves the use of rhythm instruments.

  • Troy Slocum

    Troy Slocum

    Piano Instructor

    Troy Slocum is a cum laude graduate of Nazareth College of Rochester with a B.M. in Piano Performance. Troy has also pursued graduate studies in Piano Performance at Syracuse University. Troy is an active recitalist and accompanist in the Rochester/Geneva area. He has performed solo and chamber works in various venues throughout the region and is a versatile pianist, comfortable in several styles of music from cocktail piano to classical. Troy taught previously in the Rochester area and has had several award winning students in various piano competitions. He has been active in local and national music organizations and is a past President of the New York State Federation of Music Clubs, a member of the national Federation of Music Clubs, National Guild of Piano teachers, and the Music Teachers National Association. Mr. Slocum also is a part time adjunct piano faculty member at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Head of the Piano Studio at St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy.


  • Ellen Sonnenberg

    Ellen Sonnenberg

    Violin Instructor

    Ellen Sonnenberg is a violinist from Wisconsin currently in the Violin section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She graduated with her Masters Degree in Violin Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music in 2018, studying with Professor Juliana Athayde.  She also completed her Bachelors Degree at Eastman School of Music in 2016, studying with Professor Federico Agostini.  Beginning in the Suzuki method herself at age 5, Ellen has completed courses in Suzuki Violin Teacher Training at Itha College under Christie Felsing.  Before joining the Rochster Philharmonic Orchestra, Ellen was a full time member of Symphoria for two seasons, receiving tenure.  Ellen participated in the Collegium Musicum Summer Academy at Weissenstein Castle in Prommersfleden, Germany, serving as principle second violin and soloing with the chamber orchestra.  In addition, she has attended summer festivals at the National Repertory Orchestra, Orford Academy of Music, and Interlochen Center for the Arts.

  • Wendra Trowbridge

    Wendra Trowbridge

    Community Choir and Voice Instructor

    Wendra Trowbridge received her BM and MM in Vocal Performance from Ithaca College School of Music. She has extensive experience with private training of voices at all levels, is currently adjunct voice faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and has previously taught at Ithaca College. She has taught vocal music in the New York public school system and has conducted honor choirs for Central and Western New York schools. Her own performances include numerous tours with the Celebrant Singers throughout the United States and fourteen countries. She has also performed in various recitals and operas throughout New York State including Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, NY and Ithaca Opera Association. Wendra is Musical Director for three St. Peter’s Community Arts Academy Children’s Choirs.

  • Meng Zhou

    Meng Zhou

    Piano Instructor

    Pianist Meng Zhou began her professional music education at age five. From 2008-2014, she attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York under scholarships for Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance and literature. In 2019 she earned a Doctor of Music Arts degree studying with Professor Douglas Humpherys, the chair of the piano department. Dr. Zhou served as teaching assistant for Eastman School of Music for many years, winning the Eastman School of Music Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Additional awards and honors include The Banff Centre Summer Music Program, The Lima Symphony Orchestra- Young Artists Competition (first prize), Piano Texas International Academy & Festival, Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City, Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition for Young Pianists, “Xinghai Cup” Piano Competition (first prize), and TOYAMA Asia Music Competition in Hong Kong (first prize). Dr. Zhou maintains an active performing career. She appears frequently as a soloist and chamber musician both locally and internationally. Her concerts have taken place in Beijing, Hong Kong, Moscow, Alberta and cities throughout the United States. She has also performed in solo and chamber master classes for major artists including Leon Fleisher, Robert McDonald, the Brentano String Quartet and the Jerusalem String Quartet. In 2013, Dr. Zhou was invited to be the soloist in concert featuring Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 for celebrating the 60th anniversary of Lima symphony orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Crafton Beck. She is currently based in Rochester, NY.