Amy Feriante, piano and voice faculty

A versatile musician and instructor of many talents and interests, Amy Feriante began her piano study at age 7 under Annamarie Lindstrom, and began playing the flute in school at age 8. By middle school, she was studying flute privately as well as participating actively in her  local community theater.

In high school, Ms. Feriante devoted most of her spare time to various musical ensembles, and began taking private voice lessons in addition to piano lessons. She sang in both Concert Choir and Madrigal Ensemble, and co-founded North Harford High School’s first ever all-women’s barbershop quartet. In the summer of 2001, she spent 10 days touring Italy with her various choirs, where she was given the amazing opportunity to sing a solo in the Vatican!

Amy attended Lebanon Valley College and graduated in 2005 with a B.S. in Music Education. There she immersed herself in Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Symphony Orchestra, recording technology, and pedagogical approaches.

Ms. Feriante began her teaching career in Delaware, teaching middle school, general music, and choir. Five years later, she moved to Portland, Oregon.  While there, she began teaching private piano and voice at Ethos Music, and joined Beati Chorum, a professional choir based in Portland.

Driven by her passion for music and for helping others, Ms. Feriante now teaches part time at Mother Seton Academy in Baltimore, in addition to Bel Air Music Studios. Her training in music education has given her tools for working with children of all ages and backgrounds, including those with learning disabilities or on the autism spectrum, but she is at ease with students of all ages, including adults and the very young.

Carol Biskup, piano faculty

Carol Biskup has been teaching piano in Harford County since 1985. Her concentration is on the basics of playing and the classical approach to playing. She likes to get to know each student as an individual and find music for each one to inspire their love for music. She enjoys teaching all ages of people from the very young to senior citizens.
Carol received an AA in music from Harford Community College, and also received the Student Leadership Award upon graduation for her participation in many community musical groups. She also sings and plays several other instruments.

She received a BA in Music magna cum laude with concentration in piano from Towson University. She has also studied piano pedagogy at Westminster Choir College. In addition, she taught class piano for all ages at Harford Community College. She is a member of the Harford County Piano Teacher’s Association, and served as the Association’s President for two years.

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Brian Streckfus, guitar faculty

Brian Streckfus received his Bachelor’s degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. There, he studied with Ray Chester, who chairs the guitar department at Peabody Conservatory and is one of the world’s leading guitarists. In addition, he has also studied with other notable pedagogues including classical guitarists Serap Bastepe-Gray, Julian Gray and James Hontz, as well as jazz guitarists Brian Kooken and Vincent Corson.

In addition to guitar, Mr. Streckfus has long-standing interests in numerous music topics, including the pedagogy of guitar and the pedagogy of music theory. He also has a love for music technology, and his knowledge of music equipment in general is invaluable for an aspiring guitarist. He often incorporates and explains effects, chord detection programs and interactive games that help students develop the necessary fundamentals to become successful musicians.

Brian Streckfus started music at age 9, playing percussion on a snare drum. Soon after, he started playing on a full drum set and taking private lessons. After playing various orchestral percussion instruments in middle school band, he discovered guitar at the age of fifteen, playing tabs of his favorite songs and jamming with friends.

The new-found interest in guitar and in music became a turning point in his life. He quickly developed a love for music, and was inspired to enroll in three years of guitar and music theory, extra-curricular jazz band and private lessons in high school.

One major reason Mr. Streckfus continued with music is because his grades improved dramatically the year he really got into music. He thinks that music gave him a purpose that he wouldn’t otherwise have had. “That’s one of many reasons,” Streckfus says, “that music lessons should be available to everyone.”

Shortly after that, Mr. Streckfus studied classical and jazz guitar in college, played in jazz big bands for a total of three years, and continued to collaborate with musicians in diverse genres and styles, acquiring extensive ensemble experience both in and out of school. In addition, he has performed jazz, popular and classical genres at numerous Maryland music venues. These include Baltimore’s Lyric Opera House, Miriam A Friedberg Concert hall, Towson’s Recher Theatre, Fret Fest at Goodwin Hall, the Cohen Davison Family Theatre, Fallston Hall and Fletcher’s.

More than anything, Brian Streckfus is motivated by a desire to give back to the music community, to keep the art of music alive and available, and to improve music pedagogy by incorporating technology.  It isn’t unusual for him to work on and teach rock music, electronic music, improvisation, Indian ragas, and classical music on the same day. The versatility of his chosen instrument, and the sense that there is always something new and exciting around the next corner, is what he believes keeps his students coming back for more.

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Viktor Khodyko, violin and viola faculty

A classically-trained orchestral musician, chamber music performer, violin and viola soloist and an experienced pedagogue,Viktor Khodyko has recently joined Bel Air Music Studios. When teaching students of all ages, Viktor’s goal is to guide them carefully, step by step, from very easy pieces to a more varied and complex repertoire. Viktor believes that learning must be fun; he loves to play along with his students or engage students in playing with each other.

Mr. Khodyko has studied violin since he was 5 years old. He graduated from the Belorussian State Conservatory, one of the most prestigious musical institutions in the former Soviet Union. His teacher was famous violinist Victor Golfeld, who himself was one of the pupils of the legendary Leopold Auer, together with Yascha Heifetz, Mischa Elman and other internationally celebrated violinists.

Viktor Khodyko was the Principal and Associated Violinist and Violist in several orchestras in the former Soviet Union and Germany, including: Minsk Chamber Orchestra and Minsk Radio Orchestra in Belarus; Braunschweig City Opera in Germany; and finally, for the last 20 years he was the Principal Violist of the Radio Orchestra of South-West Germany (German Radio Philharmonie Saarbruecken, Kaiserslautern, Germany). As a Principal Violinist and Violist, Viktor had a chance to work with many internationally renowned musicians, including Mstislav Rostropovich, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Cecilia Bartoli, and Montserrat Caballé, to name just a few. He appeared frequently on radio and television, both in the former Soviet Union and Germany, as a soloist and chamber music performer. Viktor‘s performances were featured in numerous recordings produced in Germany and Belarus.

In addition to his extensive performing career, Viktor Khodyko has always enjoyed teaching. He taught violin and chamber music at the Belorussian State Conservatory and later continued as a violin teacher at the Immanuel Kant Gymnazium in Pirmasens, Germany. After concluding his official performing career, Viktor Khodyko has recently moved to the USA to join his family. He continues to enjoy performing chamber music and appearing as a soloist. He is a member of the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra where he shares his experience and love of music with the next generation of classical musicians.

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Dr. Christopher Dillon, piano faculty

An active recitalist, collaborator and chamber musician, Christopher Dillon recognizes that today’s music student needs a well-rounded musical education. His goal has always been to train the next generation to be musically self-sufficient, knowledgeable, and confident, having the skills to play whatever music they desire.
Christopher Dillon was featured piano soloist with the San Luis Obispo County Symphony at the age of 17. That same year, he attended the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal.

Dr. Dillon pursued his education at the Eastman School of Music, the Oberlin Conservatory, and the Peabody Institute. While at Peabody, he studied with Julian Martin, Ellen Mack, and Robert MacDonald. After receiving his Doctorate from Peabody, he served as adjunct faculty there for three years; He has taught theory at Towson University since 2003. Dr. Dillon is presently Lecturer in Theory and Piano at Towson University.

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Katie Ostrosky, piano faculty

Pianist, organist, and singer Katie Ostrosky is a dedicated music teacher, having maintained an active private teaching studio since 2002. Her goal is to stimulate the mind, while inspiring the heart. Ms. Ostrosky uses a multi-sensory approach with her students, engaging music with movement and “off the bench” activities in addition to traditional pedagogical methods. Her students are often selected to participate in honors masterclasses and regularly score very highly on the Trinity Guildhall College of London Practical Exams.

Ms. Ostrosky has her Masters of Music in piano performance from Towson University, where she studied piano with Eva Mengelkoch and pipe organ with Tim Murphy. She also studied classical voice with Marion Pratnicki at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and with Jennifer Casey Cabot at Towson University.  Ms. Ostrosky has won several piano competitions including the Reynaldo Reyes Piano Scholarship and the James L. Dunbar Memorial Music Scholarship.  Her research into the works of Ignaz Moscheles, a nineteenth century pianist and teacher, earned her the Graduate Student Association Research Award and the Harold J. Kaplan Grant.

An experienced performer, Katie Ostrosky has given performances in 35 states and continues to perform publicly in many capacities. As a collaborative pianist, she plays for choirs and soloists in many of the surrounding counties, including serving as the accompanist for the Anne Arundel County Performing Arts Magnet Program.  She can also be heard providing music for churches all around the Baltimore region.

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Patrick Merrill, piano faculty

Harford County native Patrick Merrill began his formal musical training at the Maryland Conservatory of Music in Bel Air, Maryland. His private studies with Maryland Conservatory founder and director, Dr. Duke Thompson, continued into his high school years at the Baltimore School for the Arts. In 2013, Mr. Merrill completed his undergraduate degree in piano performance at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in the studio of Ms. Yong Hi Moon. In 2008, he was given first prize at the Marian Garcia Piano Competition, and in 2012 he won the Maryland state division of the Music Teachers National Association. Mr. Merrill has adjudicated the Maryland State Music Teachers Association Solo Piano Competition, the Miriam Gottlieb Memorial Piano Competition, and the Greater Laurel Piano Teacher’s Association Kirchoff and Concerto Competitions.

A Baroque enthusiast, Mr. Merrill completed his Master’s degree at Peabody in harpsichord performance in 2015 under Dr. Adam Pearl. In 2016, he won second prize at the eighth Mae and Irving Jurow International Harpsichord Competition. As a harpsichordist, he has participated in masterclasses with Davitt Moroney and Trevor Pinnock on antique instruments, served as accompanist at the Amherst Early Music Winter Workshop and the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, and coached ensembles for Capitol Early Music. His continuo work includes appearances with Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Washington Chamber Orchestra, the Bach in Baltimore series, the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra, and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. He also co-founded and performs with the Baltimore-based early music ensemble S’amusant.

In addition to private teaching, Mr. Merrill serves on the faculty of the department of music at the George Washington University and Baltimore School for the Arts. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in harpsichord performance at Peabody, for which he is a recipient of the Peabody Dean’s DMA Fellowship. Mr. Merrill also serves as the organist at Bel Air United Methodist Church.

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Patrick Sise, guitar faculty

A dedicated private teacher since 2006, Patrick Sise has over 10 years of teaching experience. Since 2012, he has guided the Guitar Program at Frostburg State University, where he is lecturer in Guitar.

A native of Richmond Virginia, Mr. Sise started playing the guitar when he moved to Elkton, Maryland at the age of eleven, and received his Associate of Arts degree in music/guitar from Cecil College in 2006.  While attending Cecil College, he received the 2005/06 Cecil County Arts Council Fellowship, which awarded annually to one student for artistic excellence.

Mr. Sise holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Guitar Performance and Guitar Pedagogy from the Peabody Institute, where he studied with Julian Gray.  During his graduate studies at Peabody, Mr. Sise was awarded a graduate assistantship with the music education department.

An active performer, Mr. Sise has performed at a wide variety of venues throughout the northeast region, including the Guitar Foundation of America’s regional symposium, Cecil College’s Milburn Stone Theatre, the Port Deposit Heritage Corporation concert series, and the Lehigh Valley Classical Guitar Festival.  Other notable performances include the 2010 Port Deposit Heritage Corporation Holiday Concert where he performed with Peabody faculty member Donald Sutherland, organist, and the 2009-2010 John E. Marlow Guitar Series. In addition to solo and chamber concerts, he is currently concertizing with his duo partner, guitarist Mark Edwards. He has performed in master classes for Manuel Barrueco, Adam Holzman, Laura Oltman, David Leisner, David Starobin, William Kanengiser, Bruce Holzman, Ricardo Cobo, Lorenzo Micheli, Ana Vidovic, and Nathan Fischer.

A versatile musician with eclectic tastes, Mr. Sise is the founder of Arizona Bay, a band that is dedicated to performing the music of  Tool as well as original compositions.  Mr. Sise is also an active member of We Love the Underground.  Both bands have performed all around the Baltimore area at popular venues such as the Ottobar and Angel’s Rock Bar in Power Plant Live.

Mr. Sise is active in community outreach programs.  During his student days, he was a member of Creative Access, a student-run volunteer performance program. In addition, he was a site coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Baltimore City Veterans Hospital, where he performed monthly.  He is currently active in the Face-to-Face Guitar program, an organization that provides free lessons to Baltimore’s inner-city elementary school students.

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