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Benjamin Opie

Artist Lecturer in Music Technology

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Ben Opie teaches music technology at both Carnegie Mellon and CAPA High School. He is also the founder and coach of CAPA Antithesis, the school's groundbreaking avant-garde ensemble.

Outside of academic life, Ben is highly active as a composer and arranger, and performer on reeds and electronics. He currently performs with Thoth Trio (intense acoustic jazz), OPEK (reduced size big band), Dust and Feathers (improvisation with text), and the Syrinx Ensemble (improvisation with live birds). Ben has recordings available by Thoth Trio, Water Shed 5tet, Coal Train, among numerous others.

In 1996, he received the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Creative Achievement Award for his work as a composer and saxophonist. Ben has received composition commissions from the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, First Night Pittsburgh, and the Woodland Hills School District.

Ben did undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in music education.


Dr. Natalie Ozeas

Professor of Music Education, Director of Graduate Studies

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Natalie Ozeas holds a B.F.A. in Music Education, a B.F.A. in Applied Music (clarinet), an elementary certificate in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, an M.F.A in Music Education, all from Carnegie Mellon, and an Ed.D. in Humanities from the University of Pittsburgh. 

Dr. Ozeas taught preschool through high school for over 20 years. Before coming to Carnegie Mellon, she was Professor of Music and conductor of the choir at California University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ozeas is currently a Professor in the School of Music and Director of Graduate Studies. She appears frequently as an adjudicator and guest conductor for junior and senior high school choral festivals, and has directed workshops in Dalcroze Eurhythmics throughout the United States in Europe and in Asia. 

She is a past President of the Dalcroze Society of America, past President of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, past President of the Music Educators Association, Eastern Division and immediate past National Chair of the Urban Music Leadership Conference. She chaired the development of a Pennsylvania Arts Curriculum. As a member of the National Executive Board of MENC, she acted as liaison to the National Research Society and served on its editorial board. For the past fourteen years, Dr. Ozeas has directed the Urban Music Education Project with the Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg School Districts. Dr. Ozeas was inducted into the PMEA Hall of Fame in 2011.


Dimitri Papadimitriou

Artist Lecturer in Chamber Music

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Greek pianist Dimitri Papadimitriou has distinguished himself as an artist of refined musicianship and personal verve. Praised for his commitment and passion for music, Dimitri is a sought after chamber musician, recitalist and orchestral soloist.

A native of Greece, Dimitri began his piano studies at age five and made his orchestral debut four years later with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major. During his youth, his commending performances brought him quick recognition, multiple scholarships and national awards. At age sixteen, he won first prize in the ‘Classical Heritage’ chamber music competition of Moscow and subsequently performed at the winner’s gala concert at the esteemed Tchaikovsky Conservatory. After completing his studies at the Athenaeum Conservatory with 'Excellence by unanimous consent, First Prize and Gold Medal', Dimitri made his debut with the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra with Rachmaninov’s ‘Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini’.  Following a phenomenal success, he was invited to perform Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto for a national broadcast and since then, has been a regular soloist with Greek orchestras, with the latest engagement being with the Athens State Orchestra at the Athens Megaron.

Outside Greece, Dimitri has enjoyed a flourishing career in Ireland with performances in some of the country’s most prestigious venues and festivals. His engagements took him to the National Concert Hall for an all Liszt Recital, the New Ross Piano Festival’, ‘Clifden Arts Festival’, ‘RDS Rising Stars’ and many more. In addition to his solo endeavors, Dimitri has maintained a strong focus on chamber music with past commitments including collaborations with faculty members from the ‘Aspen Music Festival’ and principal musicians from major European and U.S. orchestras.  This season will find him on stage with Noah Bendix-Balgley, concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, Andrés Cárdenes, former concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, as well as Anne Martindale Williams, William Caballero, Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida and Lorna McGhee, all principals of the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Striving also for academic excellence, Dimitri was recently awarded the title ‘Doctor of Music Performance’ and is currently an Artist Diploma candidate. Keen on making scholarly contributions, for his doctoral thesis he chose to depict Beethoven's tonal ethos by identifying archetypal behaviors upon which he was composing in relation to the concept of key characteristics, a study that was well received by experts in the field. A musician of versatile skills, he has lately developed an interest in conducting that led to a successful debut of playing and directing from the piano.

Dimitri was recently appointed as a faculty member at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music in Pittsburgh and serves as the Artistic Director of the ‘Carnegie Mellon Chamber Series’, a newly found series that brings together members of the CMU faculty and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  

A graduate of Indiana University and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, he has participated in a plethora of festivals throughout Europe and the U.S. including the ‘Aspen Music Festival’, the ‘International Keyboard Festival’, the ‘Mozarteum Summer Academy’ and the ‘Holland Music Sessions’, and has been under the influence of highly acclaimed teachers, such as Dmitri Bashkirov, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Sergei Babayan, Arie Vardi and Jerome Rose, all of whom have commended Dimitri for his artistry and musicianship. His former teachers include John O’Conor, Menahem Pressler, Sergey Schepkin, Emile Naoumoff and Alla Halapsis.



David Premo

Artist Lecturer in Cello

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Cellist David Premo joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1992, was promoted to Fourth Chair, a non-rotating position in 1994, and subsequent to a national audition in 1999, was offered the position of Assistant Principal. Following another round of national auditions, Mr. Premo was awarded the position of Associate Principal in 2001. Additionally, Mr. Premo has been Artist-Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University since 1994, providing private cello instruction, coaching chamber music groups and teaching an orchestra repertoire class.

Mr. Premo came to Pittsburgh from Washington D.C., where he served as Associate Principal of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra from 1980 until 1991. During his tenure in Washington, Mr. Premo performed chamber music at the Phillips Collection, the Corcorcan Gallery and the Library of Congress, and served on numerous occasions as principal cellist with the American Chamber Orchestra, the National Gallery Orchestra and the Wolf Trap Festival Orchestra, among others. Mr. Premo performed as a member of the National Symphony Orchestra, both at the Kennedy Center and on several United States and European tours.

Since coming to Pittsburgh, Mr. Premo has become a frequently requested
chamber musician and soloist, appearing on Shadyside and Rodef Shalom chamber music series and, in 1993, performing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Edgewood Symphony. In 1995 Mr. Premo and Christopher Wu (violinist with the PSO and winner of the 1994 Passamaneck Award) won the Pittsburgh Concert
Society Competition. In 1996 Mr. Premo won the prestigious Passamaneck Award entitling him to a solo recital which he gave in Pittsburgh's Carnegie Hall in April 1997.

David Premo studied 'cello in his native Chicago with Margaret Evans of the Chicago Symphony, later with Robert Newkirk at Catholic University, and most recently with Janos Starker at Indiana University. His 'cello was made in approximately 1860 by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume.


Dr. Richard Randall

Cooper-Siegel Associate Professor of Music Theory

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Richard Randall is the Cooper-Siegel Associate Professor of Music Theory at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music. Randall holds a faculty appointment at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and is a researcher at CMU's Scientific Imaging and Brain Research Center. He received his PhD in Music Theory in 2006 from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester.

Randall's research lies at the intersection of music theory, cognitive psychology, and media and cultural studies. His work employs a wide range of investigative methods in an attempt to better understand what music is and why it is important.  He directs the Music Cognition Lab and co-directs the Listening Spaces Project.

His lab investigates the neuroscientific basis of music perception and cognition.  Focusing on how musicality is perceptual property that auditory objects, his lab uses fMRI to identify neural correlates of how musicality is modulated by changes in low-level acoustic organizational features.

Listening Spaces frames music as an essential human activity and seeks to understand the overwhelming impact technology has had on our collective and personal musical interactions. Their forthcoming book, 21st Century Perspectives on Music, Technology, and Culture, critiques current digital-music practices, how musical activities are commodified, and their social meaning. Listening Spaces also partners with local musicians, community organizers, and Pittsburgh schools to create the Pittonkatonk May-Day Music Festival and Workshop, which seeks to transcend traditional political economies of musician and audience and create socially engaged and sustainable musical events supported by vested community collaborators.

Zach Reeder

Assistant Director of Music Admissions and Student Services

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Zach Reeder holds a Master of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University in classical guitar performance. He currently serves as the Assistant Director of Music Admission and Student Services for the School of Music and teaches guitar through the extension division and preparatory school programs. Zach is also an active performing and composing artist in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area.


Karen Roethlisberger Verm

Vocal Coach, Chamber Music Coordinator

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Originally from Beaver, Pennsylvania, pianist Karen Roethlisberger Verm has been working as a vocal coach and accompanist in the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University since 2005. 

In Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger has performed with the Mendelssohn Choir, Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, and Pittsburgh Opera, in the Opera Orchestra as well as with their Education Trunk Program. She has also worked as a collaborative artist at Duquesne University, Point Park University, Aspen Music Festival, Cincinnati Opera's Education Outreach Ensemble, Rocky Ridge Music Center, Rising Star Audition Works, Opera Theater of Lucca (Italy), and participated in the Grandin Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, and Eastern Music Festival. 

Roethlisberger is a recipient of numerous awards including first prize in the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Chamber Music Competition, Vocal Arts Resource Network Artsong Competition, Tuesday Musical Club of Pittsburgh Scholarship, NY State MTNA competition, and the Pittsburgh Concert Society Auditions with her husband, baritone Craig Verm. 

Roethlisberger is a graduate of Syracuse University (BM, Piano Performance) and University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music (MM, Piano Performance; MM, Vocal Accompanying; and Artist Diploma, Opera Coaching). Her major teachers include Kenneth Griffiths, Donna Loewy, Sylvia Plyler, Frank Weinstock, and Fred Karpoff.


Michael Rusinek

Artist Lecturer in Clarinet

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Michael Rusinek joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1998 and holds the Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Silberman Principal Clarinet chair. Born in Toronto, his early studies were with Avrahm Galper at the Royal Conservatory of Music. He attended the Curtis Institute, and was appointed by Mstislav Rostropovich to the post of Assistant Principal Clarinet with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C.. Rusinek has performed as a soloist with many orchestras, and as a recitalist he has been heard across Canada on CBC Radio and in live concerts. He has performed throughout the United States and Israel. In 1985 he was awarded the grand prize in the International Clarinet Society competition and was a prize-winner in the Belgrade International Clarinet competition. In 1989 Rusinek represented Canada at the International Clarinet Festival in France. He has participated in many music festivals in the United States and Canada, including Musicians from Marlboro, and was featured on Sony records celebrating Marlboro's 50th anniversary. In the summer of 2000 Rusinek performed as Principal Clarinet in the Super World Orchestra, alongside musicians from around the world. He is working on Clarinetscape, an educational Web site for clarinetists.


Dr. Christopher Ruth

Artist Lecturer in Music History

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Christopher Ruth holds a BFA in Music composition from Carnegie Mellon University (2004), a Master of Arts in Musicology from the University of Pittsburgh (2007), and a PhD in Musicology from the University of Pittsburgh (2012). His areas of specialization include the sixteenth-century sacred motet and nineteenth-century German Romantic music. His dissertation deals with the role of the psychological writings of Carl Gustav Carus and their impact on the late dramatic works of Robert Schumann. Still active as a composer, he was a founding member of Alia Musica Pittsburgh, a group of musicians dedicated to the performance of contemporary local and international composers, and served as editor of their newsletter Quarternotes until 2009. He has received numerous study fellowships to pursue his research, most recently a Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship in 2010-2011. He has presented his work at both national and international conferences, including the national meeting of the American Musicological Society, the North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music, and most recently, the international conference Music in Goethes Faust: Goethes Faust in Music. He is also currently on the faculty at Shenandoah University, where he serves in an adjunct capacity as Auxiliary Assistant Professor of Music History. 


Vahan Sargsyan

Staff Pianist, Chamber Music Coach

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Armenian pianist Vahan Sargsyan graduated from Yerevan Komitas State Conservatoire, under tutelage of Elza Tandilyan and his father, renowned pianist Villi Sargsyan.

Vahan was named Laureate of the International Piano Competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Few times he was selected by Pittsburgh Concert Society as winner in solo and chamber music categories. 

Mr. Sargsyan has concertized in Armenia, Georgia, Italy, Russia, Austria, Argentina Brazil, USA and Canada. His recordings are released by Alanna and Aerophon labels.

He has performed as a soloist with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and last few years appeared with regularity at the Orchestra‘s keyboards, along with his work as a pianist and chamber music coach at the Carnegie Mellon University.