PIANO INSTRUCTORS

SUE BROWNSON

Piano| Voice

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Sue McPherson Brownson received a BM in Vocal Performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. While at the university, she was a vocal student of William Beck and piano student of William Zimmerman. Following graduation she performed with the Charlotte Opera,, and Jacksonville Opera, The Lost Colony, and an off-Broadway production of the music of Gilbert and Sullivan featuring puppets. She has performed in regional theater productions of Camelot, Jesus Christ Superstar, and West Side Story.

 

Mrs. Brownson has served as minister of music and soloist in churches in North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado. She has also taught school and private lessons in these states. Mrs. Brownson serves as the soprano soloist for the Lakewood Chorale and Orchestra.

Mrs. Brownson enjoys teaching students of all ages and brings her gentle touch to each student as she imparts her love of music. 

DR. DMITRI POGORELOV

Violin | Viola | Piano

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Dmitri joined the Colorado Symphony in 2018 as the Fixed Fourth Chair/First Violin. Previously he performed with the Phoenix Symphony, and Chicago Symphony's Civic Orchestra. 

A passionate educator, Dmitri has been sharing his love for music with students across the United States for nearly 20 years, teaching violin, viola, piano, and coaching orchestras and chamber groups. He has taught college level musicians at Northwestern University (Illinois), Western Michigan University (Michigan), and Lenoir-Rhyne University (North Carolina). He has worked with music lovers of every age and skill level at Kontras Quartet Workshop/Suzuki Institute (Virginia), Pine Crest School (Florida), New Art Center (North Carolina), and Bowdoin International Music Festival (Maine), among other places.

An avid chamber musician, Dmitri was a founding member and first violinist with the Kontras Quartet. He also performed with members of GRAMMY-winning and nominated ensembles such as Vermeer, Avalon, and Spektral string quartets, Eighth Blackbird, the Lincoln Trio, Ibis Camerata, as well as principal players of the leading American and European orchestras. 

As a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra concertmaster Dmitri has performed on four continents including prestigious venues such as the Chicago Symphony Center, the Ravinia Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and has also been featured on CBS, NBC, PBS, NPR, and WFMT Chicago. 

Dmitri has collaborated with renowned jazz and bluegrass artists including Branford Marsalis, the Kruger Brothers, and Steve Martin, performing on main stages of the Telluride, Rocky Grass, MerleFest, and IBMA festivals. Dmitri can be heard on recordings of chamber music by Gunthur Schuller, Yehudi Wyner, Eric Ewazen, Kevin Volans, Dan Visconti, and Jens Krüger.

Dmitri was born in Russia to a family of professional musicians. Dr. Pogorelov holds degrees in Music performance from Northwestern University (DMA), Depaul University (MM), and Lynn University (BM), having studied with Gerardo Ribeiro, Ilya Kaler, Elmar Oliveira, and Sergiu Schwartz.

Dmitri lives in Littleton with his fiancée Emily. When not teaching or playing the violin, he enjoys exploring national parks, hiking, cooking, and watching soccer. 

DANIEL NEBEL

French Horn | Piano  l  Organ  l  Trumpet

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Dan Nebel is an accomplished French hornist, church organist, music director, and educator whose diverse career has taken him across the United States.  Currently the principal horn of the Monterey Symphony and organist at Burns Memorial United Methodist Church, he served as a bandsman with the United States Air Force.  Mr. Nebel regularly performs with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, New Mexico Philharmonic, and Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra and recently returned to his hometown to perform Mozart's Second Concerto for Horn with the Los Alamos Community Winds.  Dan has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and held positions with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, North State Symphony, and Fort Collins Symphony.

A lifelong advocate for music education, Dan has performed as a guest artist and presented masterclasses at several universities, including soloist performances of Eric Ewazen's Shadowcatcher and Jeff Tyzik's New York Cityscape with the Whitworth University Wind Symphony, San Francisco State University Wind Ensemble, and Chico State University Symphonic Winds.

 

Dan holds a bachelor’s degree with distinction and a performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s from Wichita State University.  Additionally, he is a NASM-certified personal trainer, a graduate of the National Personal Training Institute of Colorado, a 200-hour Yoga Alliance instructor, and is working on a Doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado specializing in postural studies of horn players.  He enjoys hiking, backpacking, trail running, cycling, and rock climbing with his wife Erin in the beautiful public lands of the Western United States.

 

NATALIE GALEY*

Voice | Piano | Guitar | Littletunes | Group Piano | Group Voice

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Natalie Galey is a vocalist, guitarist, pianist and educator based in Denver, Colorado. She has performed and collaborated with numerous top-name performers and ensembles, including New York Voices founding members Peter Eldridge and Darmon Meader, and studied with jazz heavy-weights Theo Bleckmann, Dave Liebman, and Jim McNeely. She has performed in both the Chicago and New York jazz and pop scene, in venues such as Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field. She uses her background in jazz, blues, and rock to bring creativity and spontaneity into her classes and believes that music should be fun first and foremost. She carries her love of music into the classroom, and encourages play, growth, and creative exploration with every song, and strives to build community and friendships through song.

 

Natalie has an equal passion for educating and performing. She received her Master of Music in Jazz Performance degree in 2011 and her Master of Music Education at Columbia University in 2013. She has had the opportunity to study under Kurt Elling, Jane Monheit, Gretchen Parlato, Rodney Whitaker, and Sunny Wilkinson. Natalie was raised in a rich musical environment, playing guitar, piano, singing, and songwriting from an early age. Her compositions are an eclectic fusion of jazz, blues, rock, and soul. As a singer of wide-ranging styles, she has established a reputation as a flexible and talented soloist, as well as a creative and reflective educator. She relocated to the Denver area and joined the Pirisen Family in July 2019.

COLE STOVER

Drums | Voice | Piano

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Cole M Stover completed his bachelor’s degree in percussion performance at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 2019. He studied with Michael Spiro, Steve Houghton, Kevin Bobo, and John Tafoya at university, and countless other incredible instructors since he began playing drums in 3rd grade. He grew up in many places as a Air Force brat, but calls Colorado and Georgia home. He has benefited from diverse instruction in orchestral percussion, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussion, popular and jazz drumset, popular and jazz vocals, and Afro-Cuban folkloric and popular vocal genres. His passion for music has grown exponentially since he began playing the drumset, and today he is an active free-lance musician, songwriter, and teacher based in Castle Rock, CO. 

As a performer, Cole is an experienced percussionist, drummer, and vocalist. Some career highlights include performing with Bootsy Collins at the Cincinnati Music Festival, touring with the IU Soul Revue, IU Wind Ensemble, and the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony, running and performing with his own cover band Top Shelf, and performances with Michael Spiro, Wayne Wallace, Jeremy Allen and many others. As a recording artist, Cole can be heard with the Liberation Music Collective, Matixando, Los Niños de la Noche, Soneros de la Caliza, and countless Indiana University faculty and student musicians. 

As a teacher, Cole has taught percussion students at Feagin Mill Middle School, given clinics on traditional Afro-Cuban percussion at University of Central Florida and Indiana University. He has taught drumset, percussion, and vocal students privately since 2010. He is currently the coach for the Pikes Peak Winds percussion section at the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association, a percussion coach at Pine Creek High School, and a private lesson instructor in Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Denver, and the surrounding areas. 

Cole’s approach to instruction is rooted in a solid technical foundation and a thorough understanding of basic musical concepts that are crucial to developing musicianship and understanding music theory. While he has his preferred methods and books to assist instruction and practice, he understands that each student is unique and is committed to tailor each lesson to an individual’s needs while maintaining a fun and productive atmosphere. He encourages his students to listen to music often and attend live performances whenever possible to help cultivate a passion for music and practice.

JEANNE TURNER

Piano | Violin | Cello

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Jeanne has been a music instructor, private, small group, as well as general music, band, and orchestra, for the past 25+ years.  She holds her BA from the Fort Lewis College of Music, Piano Performance. Additional training and certification in the “Let’s Start Music” program, Ventura, Ca.

Her piano performance history includes solo and collaborative, classical, jazz, pop, Celtic styles. Church organist and pianist, wedding and special occasion pianist. Accompanist for musical theatre productions, choirs, and individual vocalists and instrumentalists. National Guild international winner for piano. She is a member and past adjudicator for National Guild and Certificate of Merit programs.

Styles taught: classical, pop, jazz, music theatre, liturgical music, Celtic music, basic musicianship and theory. She has taught in several prestigious music academies, including Colorado Music Festival and Center for Musical Arts, Lafayette, Co., Bietry Broadmoor Academy of Music, Colorado Springs, Co., and currently Forte Academy, Centennial and Littleton, Co.

Jeanne provides individualized plans for each student, adhering to Forte’s proven and comprehensive curriculum. She has taught all ages- 4 to 80+.  She believes music, as an art form, should be presented in a manner that fosters creativity, while maintaining core structure and appreciation for a composer’s intent.   Jeanne has a very supportive, nurturing and relaxed approach. She believes learning is a two- way street, and open communication is a key component of learning.

ERIC DILL

Drums | Piano 

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Eric Dill is a musician originally from the Boston area. He grew up listening to rock n’ roll from his fathers influences such as Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin. He began his musical journey freshman year of high school where he played the bass drum in marching band. He learned his love for playing music and led towards the drums and piano as his favorite instruments.  Eventually he went to school for music and got his Bachelors in Music Performance from Keene State College in New Hampshire. Through the school he played with the community Jazz Orchestra and the schools Jazz Band, Concert Band, Orchestra, Choir, Percussion Ensemble and Jazz Combos. He learned his love for genres such as Funk, Fusion, and Jazz.  He then graduated in May 2018 and began his teaching career at Lunenburg Middle-High school in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.  After teaching there and at Guitar Center, he then left those positions to pursue his career in music in Denver, Colorado. 

ERIC DILL

Drums | Piano 

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Eric Weidman is a drummer and pianist who has over 15 years of experience performing rock, pop, blues, jazz and funk. He has graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a Bachelor’s in Music and Audio Engineering, and a minor in Music Business. Over the years, Eric’s passion for teaching drums, piano and occasional production courses has continued to grow, and this passion is reflected in the success of his students. As a teacher, Eric’s mission is not only to help students develop musical excellence and diverse skills, but also to help them emotionally connect to music and become lifelong music lovers. He aims to inspire positive learning and help students think critically and creatively as they develop the skills and appreciation they need to achieve their goals. 

 

In addition to playing and teaching drums and piano, Eric also has a strong passion for songwriting and electronic production. He has been producing music on the side for over 5 years and has had a number of successful songs signed to illustrious labels including Artist Intelligence Agency, better known as EDM.com and has been featured on OneEDM, the #1 EDM news source.

DIANE WIELAND*

Piano

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Diane Wieland is a passionate and dedicated teacher who teaches piano to students of all ages. Diane has been involved with music her entire life, starting when she was just six years old. She is a classically trained pianist, but also loves to play and teach pop and rock music. She worked at Imagine a Better World Recording Studio as a songwriter and producer for six years. After her time there, she began working as a Learning Specialist at Bear Creek K-8 School.

 

Diane is very excited to be a piano teacher at Forté Academy of Music! She believes that learning to play a musical instrument encourages students to excel in life skills such as having fun, problem solving, maintaining focus, developing discipline, and enjoying the results of hard work.

AIDAN PAGNANI

Piano | Guitar | Bass | Ukulele | Group Guitar

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Raised by a family of Deadheads and music-lovers, Aidan Pagnani was born and raised in Connecticut. By the time he graduated high school in 2009, Aidan had performed weddings, plays, churches, parties, and venues throughout New England as a solo act and with numerous bands. While completing his degree at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, Aidan performed with artists like Robert Randolph and revamped a high school fusion/jamband project, Freddy & the Yetis, into an original music project arranged for a rock quintet accompanied by five strings and horns.

 

Aidan then spent the next four years in Boston studying with a professor at Berklee College of Music, teaching music, and performing with various groups in the jam, funk, rock scenes. In February 2018, Aidan moved to Denver, Colorado where he can be seen performing regularly with members of The Motet, John Brown's Body, Dopapod, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and many other Colorado legends. His instrumental cover band, the Aidan Pagnani Band, can be seen playing weekly in the Denver/Boulder area.

ALEX NEWTON

Guitar | Bass | Piano

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Alex Newton teaches guitar, bass, and piano. He began studying and playing the guitar at 10 years old. Alex received his Bachelor's of Science with an emphasis in Jazz from the University of Colorado at Denver. Alex has performed all around Colorado with multiple bands, including headlining Denver's Jazz at the park with his band Emma Mayes and the Hip. His teaching goal is to show each student that music is fun and should hold an important part in their lives above all else. When not teaching, Alex enjoys recording music at home, reading, and getting out for a good hike in the beautiful Colorado wilderness!

ALEX TRUJILLO

Guitar | Piano | Ukulele

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Alex Trujillo teaches acoustic/electric guitar, electric bass, ukulele and beginning piano. He began playing in his teens and has been playing the guitar for 20+ years. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Music from the University of Colorado. With over 12 years of experience as a professional musician, Alex has toured and performed throughout the US. He can teach a variety of musical styles including rock, pop, jazz, country and blues. Whether you're a beginner or advanced, Alex strives to help each student discover the joy in music! When not teaching, Alex keeps a busy performance schedule with a myriad of musicians and bands throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Alex also likes road trips, reading westerns and jogging in the park.

BRAD FURLOW

Piano  l  Violin  l  Viola | Voice | Saxophone | Flute | Clarinet | French Horn | Trumpet | Oboe | Bassoon

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Brad Furlow teaches piano, voice and all band and orchestral instruments. He began studying music at the age of 5 on the piano. He began his study of instrumental music at 8 years of old on the saxophone in 3rd grade, eventually expanding to include all instruments of the woodwind and brass families in his hometown of Mulkeytown, Illinois. Brad continued his study of music at the university level at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2002. He also pursued advanced study at the university level in instrumental conducting, brass pedagogy and music theory/composition. Brad continues to perform professionally as the Principal Tubist with the Aurora Symphony Orchestra and Denver Concert Band, as well as being involved with the Denver University Pioneer Pep Band and other regional bands and orchestra on a freelance basis. Brad’s philosophy of music is that every person can be musical, it’s just finding the right instrument to bring it out. He enjoys working with students of all ages. When not teaching, performing or composing, Brad enjoys traveling with his partner, and spending time with their three Siberian Husky “kids”.

BRANT WILLIAMS

Guitar | Piano | Ukulele

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Guitarist, pianist and composer Brant Williams (b. 1988, Webster City, IA) graduated from Iowa State University in spring 2011, earning a B.A. in psychology. Williams has studied jazz and composition with John Albaugh (Guitar Institute in Hollywood), Dan Schwindt (Denver University) and Fareed Haque (University of Chicago) as well as taken private lessons with Dweezil Zappa (Zappa Plays Zappa), Mark Lettieri (Snarky Puppy) and Chris McQueen (Snarky Puppy). Since 2009, Brant has been teaching Jazz and Rock to students of all ages throughout multiple states, and has played many styles -- including Rock, Reggae, Jazz, Punk, Classical -- professionally for almost 10 years, touring nationally and also taking the stage at local Colorado venues such as The Ogden Theatre, The Gothic Theatre, The Fox Theatre as well as performing in several festivals like Wakarusa (AK), 80/35 (IA) and the Bella concert series (MN). Brant is currently crafting new music in several groups: notably all star funk group Judo Chop and the nationally touring rock/fusion group The Workshy.

JESSE MACLAINE

Piano | Voice | Ukulele

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Jesse Maclaine Holt is a renowned mezzo soprano, pianist, composer, songwriter, producer, and instructor. In her youth, she studied classical voice, piano, musical theatre, pop, jazz, blues and world music with professionals from the Julliard School, NYU, FSU, UNO, Tulane University, Oxford University, CU Boulder and many others. She began writing songs at age 17, fell in love with jazz while studying at FSU, moved to New Orleans at age 20 to study jazz immersively and begin working full time in the music business. By age 24, she had assembled a stellar quintet, written two dozen original songs and begun recording and producing her first full length CD in collaboration with friends at RCA studios in Nashville. Jesse has dedicated her life to performing, creating music, and sharing the gift of music with students of all ages.

Decades of experience as a working musician combined with her extensive background in music, dance and theatre allow Jesse to craft every lesson to suit the unique interests, strengths and weaknesses of each student. Her personal experience with TMJ, anxiety, and disability issues provide unique insight for assisting students facing similar challenges. Her teaching method focuses on music fundamentals, proper form and technique as well as expanding creativity to support a healthy practice and encourage a lifelong relationship with music. She believes constructive criticism and positive reinforcement are crucial to making learning fun and ensuring music education is enjoyable for everyone!

TREVOR JARGON

Guitar | Bass | Piano | Ukulele

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Shaped and sculpted by the arts, Trevor, AKA Beom graduated from CU Boulder’s Thompson Jazz Studies program in May of 2018. Since then, he has been playing freelance jazz gigs on the upright bass, and is currently active in 8 Denver bands playing a multitude of instruments.

These projects include: BEOM, Eleanor Nash and the Ramblers, Escotet, VCO, Gio Bard Zero, Paradiso, Love Beom, and The Dead and the Daylily.

Beom is a lucky soul who has had the unbelievable opportunity to perform pop, synth-pop, classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, funk, rock, hip-hop, reggae, latin styles, African styles, Korean folk music, world music, R&B, singer-songwriter, and folk among other styles.

When Trevor isn’t teaching or performing bass (upright, 6string, fretless), guitar, piano, synth, music theory and composition, he is often found in his recording studio producing local projects with his team of artists and engineers, training martial arts, or painting pretty pictures.

Although Beom speaks and reads Korean about the level of 5th grader (or worse), performing internationally and having music professors and teachers from all over the world has led him to believe that music itself is a beautiful language that transcends nationality and dialect. He is more than happy to share and do what he can to help your musical journey blossom.

JUSTIN HIGHLAND

Piano | Guitar

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Justin is a Denver native and has been playing piano since age 7. He received a BA in Classical and Jazz Piano Studies from MSU Denver and loves nothing more than sharing his passion for music with others. He has over 20 years playing and 9 years of seasoned teaching experience, much of which has been with kids. He strongly believes in helping his students have fun and realize their fullest musical potential, with lessons being tailored to the individual student. Having perfect pitch he specializes in ear training and improvisation, as well as modern piano styles and advanced music theory.


Justin has mentored with Classical pianists Tamara Goldstein and Peter Friesen, as well as critically acclaimed jazz piano greats Art Lande, Eric Gunnison, Dennis Hamm, Peter Stoltzman and Peter Martin. His originally composed jazz EP received world-wide radio airplay on Denver’s own 89.3 FM KUVO jazz radio station. He teaches all levels and all styles including Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Blues, Gospel, Latin and Contemporary piano styles. Justin also teaches Beginner acoustic and electric guitar. Having spent time in the Denver and Los Angeles music scenes over the years and being involved in multiple bands and recording projects, Justin is a versatile and adaptable keyboardist, composer and educator who loves teaching students of all ages and levels.

*Denotes teachers that donate lessons for our Scholarship Program.