TEACHING ARTISTS

Lauren Rudzinskas

Mansfield University, Part Time Professor of Trombone & Euphonium,
International Women's Brass Conference, General Manager

Lauren Rudzinskas is the part time professor of trombone and euphonium at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania and the general manager of the International Women’s Brass Conference. She completed coursework for a doctorate of musical arts in Trombone Performance and Literature with a minor in Pedagogy and an Advanced Certificate in College Teaching at the Eastman School of Music. Lauren was recently a finalist for the Assistant Professor of Trombone and Euphonium position at the University of Denver.

 

As a strong advocate for music education, Rudzinskas was the 2016 recipient for the Jack L. Frank Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 2016 Frank Faculty Development Research Grant. She has published articles, written two books, received grants, and released a CD. Rudzinskas was scheduled to present twice at the 2020 International Trombone Festival in Osaka, Japan as well as the 2020 NYSBDA Conference in Albany, New York. She has given masterclasses at Hamilton College, Youngstown State University, Ithaca College, and had a tour of Ohio postponed due to Covid-19. This summer, Rudzinskas was supposed to tour Osaka and Tokyo, Japan with Joanna Ross Hersey and Kana Madarame to perform recitals and give masterclasses but the trip has been postponed as well.

 

At Eastman, Lauren served as the departmental assistant for the trombone studio and a teaching assistant for Eastman and the University of Rochester. She also taught at the Eastman Community Music School. She has served as Assistant Director for the ECMS Trombone Choir and was a finalist for Eastman’s Teaching Assistant Prize and Lecture Recital Prize. Rudzinskas earned her Master’s degree in Trombone Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music studying with Larry Zalkind. While there, she earned a Performer’s Certificate and was nominated for an Artist Diploma.  Rudzinskas served as teaching assistant for the Eastman trombone choir, trombone studio, and as an Eastman Institute for Music Leadership Assistant. She earned her bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from Youngstown State University, where she was selected for the Dean’s Award in the College of Creative Arts and Communication as well as the university-wide Senior Academic Award for Outstanding Student Scholarship. Recent competition awards include third place in the 2017 International Women’s Brass Conference solo competition, 2015 Youngstown Music Teachers Association Solo Competition, the 2015 Wright State Festival Solo Competition, the 2014 Dana Young Artist Competition, first trombone placement in the JECO Intercollegiate Jazz Ensemble, and the Dorothy Schwers Honorary Scholarship Solo Competition.
 

Lauren’s performance credits include playing with Monarch Brass’ Holiday Brass and the Diva Jazz Orchestra in the Cleveland Playhouse production of Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life. She is the principal trombonist in the Rochester Women’s Philharmonic and a substitute musician for Symphoria. Lauren has held positions as principal trombonist with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and Youngstown Scoring Stage, and performed as lead trombonist in the First Class Big Band. Lauren has performed in master classes with Joseph Alessi, William VerMeulen, Eric Ewazen, David Murray, Rebecca Cherian, Shachar Israel, Nico and Martin Schippers, Bruce Saunders, Dan Wilson, and Jim Snidero. After receiving a research grant from Youngstown State University, Lauren produced and performed in Aspire, a recording of original music including several of her own compositions.  She has also premiered and commissioned numerous works and is sponsored by music software company, Blackbinder.

Dan Coffman

US Naval Academy Band

Dan Coffman joined the United States Naval Academy Band in 2017. Hailing from Oak Park, IL, Dan graduated from Indiana University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Music degree, where he studied with Peter Ellefson. He also studied with Larry Zalkind at the Eastman School of Music, where he holds a Master of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate.

As a member of the Naval Academy Band, Dan has performed at the Kennedy Center, The Catholic University of America, and the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts with the Brass Ensemble. Additionally, he completed a week-long residency at the University of Southern Mississippi with the USNAB Brass Quintet. During his time at Eastman, Dan performed throughout the 2016-17 season with Symphoria (Syracuse, NY) as well as the Rochester Oratorio Society. He was also a founding member of the Remington Trombone Quartet, which was named runner-up at the 2017 American Trombone Workshop and a finalist in the 2017 International Trombone Festival.

Jeff Dunn

Texas Trombone Institute

Trombonist Jeff Dunn is currently based in Rochester, NY, pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music.  Previously, he served as a Private Low Brass Instructor for the Tomball Independent School District, a suburb of Houston, TX.  In Tomball, Jeff taught a large studio of trombone, euphonium, and tuba students, and directed the Tomball High School Trombone Choir and Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble.


Jeff is a founding member of the trombone duo, Duplicity, and has performed with the Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Sinfonietta, the Texas Brass Ensemble, and toured with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra. 

 

Jeff is also the Founder and President of the Texas Trombone Institute, a nonprofit that hosts an intensive weeklong session for young developing trombonists, and features a Band Director's Workshop for educators seeking professional development. 

 

Jeff has presented clinics at the International Trombone Festival, the New York State School Music Association Conference and the Texas Music Educators Association Convention.  Jeff has also presented guest masterclasses for Tarleton State University, Ithaca College, and the Lewisville, Fort Bend, Katy, and Waller school districts in Texas.  He is published by the International Trombone Association Journal, the Online Trombone Journal, and Eighth Note Publications. 

Matthew Halbert

Bass Trombonist, Des Moines Symphony 

Originally from Lambertville Michigan, Matthew Halbert the Bass Trombonist of the Des Moines Symphony. His other affiliations include the Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Quad Cities Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, Toledo Symphony, Detroit Chamber Winds, the Durward Contemporary Music Ensemble, and the Tri-Cities Opera. In 2011, he won 1st Place at the American Trombone Workshop's Bass Trombone Solo Competition for his performance of David Gillingham's Sonata, composed by his former instructor at Central Michigan University.  As a member of the RAF Quartet, Matthew received two Honorable Mentions in the International Trombone Association's Trombone Quartet Competition. He was also a member of the Eastman Trombone Choir when it received 1st Place honors in the Emory Remington Trombone Choir Competition at the 2012 International Trombone Festival in Nashville, TN. Matthew holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the University of Michigan, and Central Michigan University. His teachers include Jonathan Allen, David Jackson, David Gier, Mark Kellogg, and Robert Lindahl.

Tim Taylor

Cornell College, Hamilton College, Adjunct Trombone Instructor

Tim Taylor is an active trombonist and educator in western and central New York. A native of Landing, New Jersey, he received his bachelor's degree in music education at Ithaca College and master's degree in trombone performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music.

Tim has served as Principal trombone of Symphoria in Syracuase and performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, South Florida Symphony Orchestra, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, The Who, Lindsey Stirling, Evanesence, Sarah McLachlan, Bernadette Peters and Cortland Repertory Theater.

As an educator, Tim has taught at the collegiate level at Hamilton College and Onondaga Community College and Cornell University. He also taught in the public schools as 6th grade band director within the Canandaigua City School District. Tim maintains a studio of private students and does instrumental repair work at Mobile Music in Canandaigua, NY. During the summer of 2017 Tim was a Fellow at the Alessi Seminar in Eugene Oregon. His primary trombone teachers include Mark Kellogg of the Eastman School of Music and Harold Reynolds of Ithaca College.

Noel Wallace

Private Instructor, Lewisville Independent School District; Bass Trombonist, San Angelo Symphony

Musical educator, performer, and scholar Noel Wallace, holds a bachelor degree in music from the Eastman School of Music, a masters degree in music from Penn State University, and a doctorate of musical arts degree from the University of North Texas. Additionally, Dr. Wallace holds a performance certificate from the Rotterdam Conservatory, in The Netherlands and a high school diploma in performance from the Interlochen Arts Academy. His teachers include Jan and Vern Kagarice, Jeannie Little, Tom Riccobono, John Marcellus, Don Harry, Ralph Sauer, Mark Lusk, and Ben van Dijk.

As an educator Dr. Wallace maintains a large private studio in the Hebron cluster of the Lewisville Independent School District.  Previous college teaching positions include; an adjunct positions at the University of North Texas, Brookhaven College, and Texas Woman's University. Additionally, he worked as a graduate teaching assistant at Penn State University and as a  graduate teaching fellowship at the University of North Texas.

Dr. Wallace has performed with a wide variety of ensembles from the Eastman Wind Ensemble to the University of North Texas Symphony Orchestra.  During his time in The Netherlands, Dr. Wallace performed projects with the Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, Continuo Rotterdam and the Rotterdam Conservatory Trombone Choir. As member of the Eastman Trombone Choir and Bionic Bones he has appeared at three International Trombone Festivals, once as a Remington Trombone Choir Competition winner and once as a Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble Competition winner. While in Pennsylvania he played two seasons as second trombonist in the Altoona Symphony Orchestra as well as one summer season in the Music in Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra as well as Hershey Park’s All-Star College Band.  Currently Dr. Wallace holds a position as bass trombonist with the San Angelo Symphony in west Texas and freelances in the DFW area.

Dr. Wallace’s current scholastic/research interests include; health and wellness for brass players with an emphasis on the prevention and eradication of FTSD (focal task specific dystonia) and improving the methodological approaches to beginner instruction of brass players.  Additionally, Dr. Wallace also serves as the Exhibits Director for the International Trombone Festival.

Living in Denton, Texas Dr. Wallace also has a passion for health living and athletics. He is a licensed Level 3 USA Cycling Coach and currently coaches at Cycling Center Dallas. Dr. Wallace shares his passions with his wife and favorite soprano, Alicia Wallace and their two crazy cats!

Dillon Downey

Educator

Dillon C. Downey focuses his diverse interests to expand the use of effective and healthy concepts in music pedagogy. He has presented his research in musician’s health, developmental theories, and musicality recently at the Eastman School of Music, the Oklahoma Trombone Workshop, and the 2019 International Trombone Festival.  Downey teaches aural musicianship and trombone methods at Eastman and teaches at the Eastman Community Music School. He is the pedagogy intern at the MSU Kodály Institute (TX) and a fully certified Kodály educator. Downey was the Music Specialist at Rivera Elementary School (Denton, TX), directed children’s and youth music at Trinity Presbyterian Church (Flower Mound, TX), and taught at the Billrothstraße Gymnasium (Vienna, Austria). 

 

Having performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Wiener Konzerthaus, and the Dallas Meyerson Center, Downey has had solo performances throughout Europe and the United States. Downey performs on alto, tenor, and bass trombones and sackbuts. He has performed with the Richardson (TX) Symphony Orchestra, the Texas Camarata, Empire Film and Media Ensemble, and other organizations. At Eastman, he performs in the Wind Ensemble, Philharmonia, Schola Cantorum, and Trombone Choir. He is a founding member of the Broken Bones Quartet. Downey performed at the 2019 and 2013 International Trombone Festivals and recorded the inaugural videos for the International Trombone Association’s initiative in 2013. 

 

Downey is pursuing Master of Music degrees in Trombone Performance and Music Education at the Eastman School of Music, as well as the Advanced Certificate in the Pedagogy of Music Theory. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Texas with degrees in Trombone Performance and Music Education. He studied at the IES Center in Vienna, Austria and studied with members of the Wiener Philharmoniker. Downey is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Sophie Volpe

Freelancer, Educator 

Performer and educator, Sophie Volpe is dedicated to excellent musicianship, connecting with audiences and teaching aspiring musicians. 

 

Sophie has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Symphoria Symphony, Clinton Symphony and was scheduled to play with the Greater Rochester Women’s Philharmonic (canceled due to COVID-19). She has performed with musicians from the Metropolitan Opera, Saint Louis Symphony, Empire Brass Quintet, and The United States Army Band and has performed in Severance Hall with the Eastman Wind Ensemble and David Geffen Hall with the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. Most recently, Sophie was a finalist in the International Women’s Brass Conference 2019 Mock Audition Competition in Tempe, Arizona. 

 

Sophie is a founding member of the Broken Bones Trombone Quartet, who have performed in masterclasses for the Canadian Brass Quintet and the Navy Brass Quintet. The Broken Bones are committed to enriching their community through live concerts; they have performed at the Strong Memorial Hospital, numerous nursing homes, and the George Eastman House Museum. In 2019, they commissioned a work titled Mystic Episodes from trombonist and composer Jack Courtright. The Broken Bones have partnered with Blackbinder Scores to develop their instant scrolling technology for chamber ensembles. 

 

In addition to her professional performance career, Sophie is also a dedicated teacher. Most recently, she held the position of Brass Teaching Assistant at Interlochen Arts Camp in the summer of 2018 and 2019, where she was regarded as a “fine teacher, excellent role model and a great [trombone] player” -- Tom Riccobono. 

 

Sophie is an alumna of the Eastman School of Music where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance and Music Education as a student of Larry Zalkind. In her time at Eastman Sophie was awarded a Performer’s Certificate and the Steve Witser Award for Excellence. Sophie received her high school diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy.

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