Stamford Music and Arts Academy has a wide variety of faculty and staff, including state of the art Piano Teachers!

Our Faculty and Staff At Stamford Music & Arts Academy

Our Teachers

<b>Svitlana Fiorito</b>
Svitlana FioritoFounder & Director
Svitlana began her piano studies at the age of five and has had a versatile background in performance, accompanying, teaching and music education. She received Bachelor Degrees from Liatoshinsky Music College and Masters from National Academy of Arts, Kharkov, Ukraine. Her teachers were Valentina Klukina, Nikolay Dubinenko, Viktor Siryatsky, Igor Ryabov and Therese Dussout.

Mrs. Fiorito’s students have won more then one hundred awards at state, national and international competitions including Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists Germany, Washington International Young Artist Competition in D.C., International Piano Competition in Spain, participated in Aspen and Interlochen Music Festivals, performed at Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

<b>Yuan Ma</b>
Yuan MaViolin, Music Theory
Yuan Ma is currently a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. She began her career by studying violin and music theory at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and toured Germany at the age of sixteen with solo and chamber music performances in Cologne and Stuttgart. Recognized for her talent at the age of seventeen, Ms. Ma was given full scholarship to study her BA and BM at the Bard Conservatory of Music. She has since go on to perform solo and chamber music at many well-known music festivals including the Music Academy of the West, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival and Alan Gilbert’s Music Masters Course Japan. As a chamber musician, Yuan has also performed at many renowned performance centers including Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the Sosnoff Hall of Fisher Center in New York, Kioi Hall in Tokyo and Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama. In addition to her BA and BM degrees she earned at the Bard Conservatory of Music where she studied with Ida Kavafian and Arnold Steinhardt, she was also awarded full scholarships to study her Masters degree at the Yale school of Music with Ani Kavafian. Most recently Ms. Ma earned her Artist Diploma with Weigang Li at the Cali School of Music, where she was the first violin of the Cali String Quartet and the concertmaster of the MSU symphony orchestra.
<b>Lyudmila German</b>
Lyudmila GermanMusic Theory, Composition
Lyudmila German was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, in 1974. Prior to her move to the US, she studied piano and music theory. She continued her education in New York, where she earned a BA in music from Brooklyn College, 1996 (composition studies with Noah Creshevsky and Tania Leon), and MM and DMA degrees in composition from the Manhattan School of Music, 2003 (studies with Ursula Mamlok and Nils Vigeland). Lyudmila is a recipient of Miriam Gideon Scholarship from Brooklyn College, Meet the Composer Grant, Ivar Mikhaschoff Grant for New Music (2000), Cantate Chamber Singers award (2004) and Robert Helps Prize (2009). She worked at York College, City University of NY, taught harmony and instrumentation at Long Island Conservatory of Music, ear training and theory at Music School of Westchester, was a rehearsal accompanist for Brooklyn Contemporary Chorus, and, accompanied at Regina Opera Company in Brooklyn, NY.

Past performances Include: In Memoriam Alfred Schnittke for 2 violins in Chernivtsy Philharmonic Hall, Ukraine; Four Seasons for chamber orchestra, commissioned and performed by Freisinger Chamber Orchestra in Boston, MA and Ulianovsk, Russia; Music for Timpani by Martin Rodriguez at Strasbourg Regional Conservatoire, France; Red Snail on the Snow for koto and cello at Spectrum, NYC; Silenced Swallow for Japanese sho at Tenri Cultural Institute.

<b>Raisa Kagramanova
Raisa KagramanovaPiano
Raisa Kagramanova is a classical pianist, a laureate of music competitions, has distinguished herself as a performing artist as well as a piano teacher. Ms. Raisa has been studying in Russia and graduated from Central Music School of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory and Moscow Classical Academy where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees both in a major of Piano Performance. In 2011 Ms. Raisa moved to New York to pursue her music education in Queens College where she earned her second Master’s degree in Piano Performance.

Ms. Raisa is actively performing on the concerts and recitals in many prestigious concert halls such as Merkin Hall at Lincoln Center, Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She has also extensive experience in playing recitals abroad in countries such as Germany, Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and in various venues throughout her native country of Russia.

<b>Ken Robins
Ken Robins
Ken began playing trumpet at age 9 on Long Island. While at the University of Pennsylvania, he was a member of the Penn Jazz Ensemble and played in the pit orchestra for the Penn Glee Club. He studied privately with renowned brass coach Carmine Caruso and New York studio artist Bob McCoy. Ken has been an active freelancer for over 35 years and enjoys playing a diverse repertoire. He has played principal trumpet with The Manhattan Opera Association, was lead trumpet in several jazz and swing big bands, has been in the pit for musical theater productions at Theater 3 in Port Jefferson, and has been a member of rock and roll “horn bands”. He has also been a soloist of Baroque concerti for trumpet and organ. He has been active in several community bands, as Solo Cornet for the Rockville Centre band, and currently as a member of the Westport Community Band where he is on the board and serves as Vice President. Ken teaches privately and has also taught group lessons as a guest instructor at The Ridgefield Academy.
<b>Allie Aleke
Allie AlekeChamber Music
Allie Aleke graduated from Tchaikovsky Conservatory as a teacher, concert performer and accompanist. Ms. Aleke has more than twenty years of teaching experience working with all levels students, organizing their recitals at Columbia Artists Management Incorporation Hall, Steinway Hall and Weill Recital Hall. She has performed in chamber music and solo recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall and Allen Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Ms Aleke has traveled on international cultural exchange tours to Italy, Philippines, Mali, Upper Volta, Latvia, Estonia and Singapore. Her performing schedule has included concerts with philharmonic orchestras and television and radio broadcasts. She has performed several benefit concerts, including those for St. Ignatius Loyola School, Tolstoy Foundation nursing home in Spring Valley, and participated in the events of nonprofit art organizations of New York City.
<b>Zhanna Cascello
Zhanna CascelloAssistant Director, Piano, Music Theory
Zhanna began her piano studies at the age of six in Ismail, Ukraine. Mrs. Cascello holds a BM in piano performance and pedagogy from Odessa College of Music, Ukraine. Mrs. Cascello began teaching piano in Music School #7 (Odessa, Ukraine). Upon immigrating to the U.S. she worked at the James Daniel Music studio, Stamford; Svitlana Fiorito’s Piano Studio and gave lessons to private students. Mrs. Cascello has more than 14 years of teaching experience and she is a member of professional music teacher’s organizations.

Her students have participated in Student activities, recitals and Festivals resulting in an Honors Rating. Several students been awarded Gold Rating at the Young Musicians Festival from Schubert Club of Fairfield County. Specialist in handpositioning and early age technique development.

<b>Teresa Hitchcock
Teresa HitchcockPiano, Voice
Laramie, Wyoming native Teresa Hitchcock received her masters of music
In opera performance under a graduate assistant-ship from the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland. She received her bachelors degree at Suny purchase college with a major in voice performance. Ms.
Hitchcock has performed roles ranging from the mother in Menotti’s_Amahl and the Night Visitors, _Sie mutter and Die Hexe in Humperdink’s _Hänsel und Gretel_, Dorothée in Massenet’s _Cendrillion,_ Rosalinda
In Strauss’s _die Fledermaus, _Fiordiligi in Mozart’s_ Così fan Tutte, _and Laetitia in Menotti’s_ Old Maid and the Thief. _Coming from a very musical family, she has studied piano as well since the age of four. While opera is MS. Hitchcock’s main focus, she also enjoys a variety of other musical styles.
<b>Charles Gawlak</b>
Charles GawlakGuitar, Rock Band
Charles Gawlak, teaches Guitar basics of chords and scales needed to play any song. He has been playing guitar over 40 years. He started at 9 years old taking a group leson at the local YMCA. As a teenager he took lessons in reading and soloing from local instructors. Growing up influenced by the guitar rock and pop from 60s and 70’s, Charles was a big fan of Jimi Hendrix, Steve Howe of Yes and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin to name a few. Charles graduated from the University of Connecticut in Business and has played in many local bands over the past 35 years including: cover, jazz, progressive rock and reggae. Charles currently goes by the stage name “Charlie Happylife,” playing mostly original love songs and instrumental music.
<b>Robert Fiorito</b>
Robert FioritoKeyboard, Bass Guitar, Jazz Improvisation
University of Bridgeport: Music Education, performance, composition, harmony, theory, orchestral and jazz studies. James Daniel Music: Director of Music school, piano teacher, bass teacher. City of Stamford Board of Recreation: Instructor and curriculum director, music kids, keyboarding and group piano classes. Private piano instructor teaching students from K-12. Playing professional engagements as pianist, keyboard and bass player for 30+ years. Fluent in all styles of jazz, rock, blues, R&B. Developed easy play improve method for students.
<b>Elena Rakovsky</b>
Elena RakovskyPiano, Voice, Music Theory
Elena received her musical education Bachelor and Masters of Music degrees from Novosibirsk Conservatory, Russia, where she studied piano and voice.

Her 38 year teaching career brought her students to win prizes in many piano competitions. She specializes in traditional Russian methods and techniques. Elena is a member of Music Teachers National Association and The Schubert Club of Fairfield County.

Maryly Culpepper
Maryly CulpepperFlute
Maryly Culpepper is currently the Director and Producer of the Fontenay Chamber Players. She received her Doctoral Degree from the USC School of Music, a Masters of Music from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Flute and Music at the New Canaan Country School in Connecticut and principal flute of the Connecticut River Valley Orchestra. Her teachers have included Julius Baker, Jim Walker and Tom Nyfenger. She is a former principal flute with the Portugal Philharmonic, and has played with the New World Symphony. Accepted to the Spoleto Festival, she won a scholarship to the Chigiana Music Academy in Italy. Ms. Culpepper was a finalist in the National General Motors Seventeen Magazine Concerto Competition and semi-finalist in the Pepsi Cola Competition. She is the principal flute of the Hat City Opera and an active freelancer. She maintains an extensive teaching schedule and performs with the Bridgeport Symphony and New Rochelle Opera.
Marina Kitaychik
Marina KitaychikViolin
Russian born violinist Marina Kitaychik is a dedicated teacher as well as an active soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. Marina began to study violin at the age of five with Viktor Basis. She continued her higher education at Moscow State Conservatory and Mannes College of Music where she earned her BM and MM degrees studying with Alexander Vinnitski, Nina Beilina and Todd Phillips.

Ms. Kitaychik has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in major concert halls such as Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Unated Nations’s Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, Merkin Hall, Symphony Space in NYC, Bolshoy and Malyi Halls of Moscow Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, and other centers of the performing arts throughout Russia. As a winner of the Concerto Competition, she performed Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Mannes Orchestra under the direction of Samuel Wong. Her other solo appearances includes Spectrum Symphony, One World Symphony and Doctor’s Orchestra of New York. She attended Schleswig-Holstein Festival and participated in master classes with such distinguished musicians as Midori and Pamela Frank.

As an orchestral musician Marina performed with world-renowned conductors including Kurt Masur, Mstislav Rostropovich, Valery Gergiev among others. She held a Concertmaster position at Dicapo Opera Theatre Orchestra in New York City from 2000-2013. She was a Concertmaster of Bard College Summer Conductor’s Institute Orchestra during summers 2001,2002 and 2003. Ms. Kitaychik plays regularly with New England Symphonic Ensemble at Carnegie Hall, Norwalk Symphony and Simpatico Chamber Ensemble in CT.

Marina won the first prize in the All-Russian Young Artist Violin Competition and the second prize in the All-Russian Chamber Music Competition. She has also received a scholarship from the International Musical Program for gifted young artists “New Names.” Many of her performances have been broadcasted by WQXR radio in New York City.

Ms. Kitaychik is a member of MTNA and has nearly 20 years of teaching experience.