Our Faculty

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YULIA  RIFE
Principal and Piano Instructor

Yulia Rife has worked as a pianist, teacher and accompanist for more than 30 years.  She received her Master's degrees in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy from Azerbaijan State Academy of Music, and a Bachelor in Art and Science from Azerbaijan National Conservatory Music College.  She is a certified teacher of the Kindermusic Institute and certified instructor of the nationally recognized music course "Harmony Road".  Yulia was recognized by Steinway & Sons, Steinway Piano Gallery-St. Louis as The Top Piano Teacher of 2016.  Additionally, she is a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, a division of the American College of Musicians, and The Music Teachers National Association for twenty years. Yulia Rife is a coordinator of the Royal Conservatory for the St. Louis area.  Her students are participants of the District and State auditions and the International Piano Competitions including yearly evaluations by the Royal Conservatory.  

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ALLA  LIVAK

Assistant Principal

Violin, Piano Instructor 

Alla Livak is a violin and piano teacher with 30+ years of experience.
She received a Master's Degree in Violin Performance and Pedagogy and a Bachelor's degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Kharkiv Conservatory, Ukraine.
Alla was teaching 12 years in music schools in Ukraine before she moved to United States 30 years ago.

Alla loves teaching. Her students received high recognitions in school/college orchestras.

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SIQI LUO
Piano Instructor

Siqi Luo has eight years of teaching experience.

She started to learn music at six years old, and has received excellent music accomplishments. She has a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Missouri St. Louis and a Master of Arts in Music from the Chinese University in Hongkong.

She is patient and responsible to her students, and incorporates different teaching methods for different students as she continues to improve the quality of her skills. 

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Dariusz ( Darek ) Kosinski 

Piano Instructor (private and group)

Dariusz ( Darek ) Kosinski  is a piano teacher and accomplished pianist.

He studied under renowned professor Daniel Schene in Webster University.

Darek has European background in piano performance and pedagogy.

He completed his music study in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Darek is a winner and laureate of over 15 domestic and international piano competitions held in Ukraine.

Darek is passionate about teaching music to all ages, and believes in potential musicality of all students

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ELISE WARE

Piano, Guitar, Voice, Brass Instruments, 

Harmony Road Course Instructor

Elise Ware graduated from North Dakota State University, where she completed her Master's Degree in Pedagogy and Music Theory. Elise holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from Miami University.

Elise has experience in teaching piano, guitar, brass instruments, theory and ear training , both privately and in classes.

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JOSEPH (JOE) SPARKS
Guitar, Bass, Piano Instructor

Joseph Sparks has a Bachelor degree in guitar performance and pedagogy. He graduated with Honors from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Joe has led and performed in numerous bands in St. Louis. Joe has taught guitar and music theory to students of all ages. He tutored in college and has taught private guitar lessons for many years. He has also held teaching positions in the St. Louis area with various studios, including A+ Music and Dave’s  Guitar Center.

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JULIA  HORNBERGER

Cello and Piano Instructor

Julia Hornberger holds a Bachelor's degree in cello and piano from University of Missouri and a Master's degree in cello performance from the University of DePaul.  Julia performed as a principal cellist in various symphonies in the United States and Europe, including the Illinois Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and at the AIMS festival in Austria.

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MISHA KRUTZ
Doble Bass

Misha Crus is an accomplished musician with a masters degree in  Double Bass Performance and Pedagogy from Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory.

Misha’s experience includes 30 years playing Double Bass with the Kansas City Symphony and several years teaching and performing in China.

Misha is also a business owner of St. Louis Strings store.

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MICHAEL LAZAROV
Guitar, Ukelele

Michael Lazarov is a native of St. Louis and former piano student of WCSM (formerly Milder Musical Arts). Michael currently studies at Maryville University. As a guitar and bass teacher with four years of studio experience, Michael also has eight years of experience performing at venues around

St. Louis. 

Michael creates a fun-filled environment with his lessons, while educating students with their understanding in guitar and all concepts of music. 

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KATHY SCARBOROUGH

Violin, Viola and Piano

Kathy Scarborough has been teaching and performing for over 30 years. She has a B.A. in English from St. Louis University and a M.A. in Violin and Viola Performance from The St. Louis Conservatory of Music (now part of Webster University). She has done graduate work in Early Childhood-Elementary Education at Hunter College in New York, is a certified Teaching Artist with the Actors Fund (NYC), and is finishing a M.A. in Secondary Education at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Kathy is a versitile performer and has played with many orchestras and groups in St. Louis and Seattle, Washington, D.C., and New York City. She is a member of PEN America, The American String Teachers Association (ASTA), and Musicians’ Locals 802 (New York City) and 2-197 (St. Louis).

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MICHAEL  MARCIANO

Guitar, Piano, Voice and Djembe Instructor

Michael Marciano, guitarist, composer, producer. 

Educated at the Crane School of Music in his native New York State. After graduating from Crane with a Bachelor degree in Musical Studies (Theory, Composition and Classical Guitar) he went to the island nation of St. Lucia to begin teaching at the St. Lucia School of Music, affiliated with the Royal Acadamie in London. 

Upon returning to NY, Michael continued to teach privately and in local music schools. He has collaborated with artists in NYC and was often hired to play on recordings and live performances, assist in productions as an instrumentalist and is a writer/producer, and performs regularly on his own and with a band. 

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DAVID  LIU

Suzuki Violin Instructor (private and group)

David received his Master of Music in Violin Performance and String Teacher Training from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.  He studied with Dr. John Kendall and Ms. Carol Smith and completed all levels of Suzuki Teacher Training.  

Mr. Liu has taught students in Taipei, Houston, St. Louis, and Chicago during his 37 years of experience.  His students have been accepted into various orchestras with excellent seats, including Concert Master.  

Mr. Liu enjoys helping students and parents become successful in their life through music education. 

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JINHAO  LI

Guitar Piano and Voice Instructor

Jinhao Li graduated from Saint Louis University in Music Education.

He is always looking forward to apply all that he learned and  pass it on to his students. He is very patient and creates a warm, inviting environment to help his students have a better understanding of music.

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ALEX  RIFE
Owner

Alex Rife holds a Bachelor's degree in journalism and engineering and a Bachelor's degree in economics.  He is an accomplished photographer/ videographer with over 30 years of experience in the industry.  He has worked in broadcasting and television as a cameraman and editor all over the world including Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, throughout Europe and the United States.