Violin & Viola

Cristian Conteras

Cristian Contreras is a young and accomplished violist. At the age of 21, he has already won a 3 year tenure with the American Youth Symphony, and sits as principal violist with his university orchestra at California State University Long Beach. He currently studies Viola Performance with Jason Bonham and will receive his Bachelor’s of Music with emphasis on viola in the spring of 2022. 
Cristian has been teaching violin and viola at the Irvine Art and Music Center for over two years and has taught students of all ages and skill levels. His teaching style is very accommodating but also very direct and honest. Cristian greatly enjoys giving private lessons because he’s able assist his students with discovering their own talents and passions. 
  • Bachelors of Music with emphasis in Viola Performance – Bob Cole Conservatory of Music California State University Long Beach 
  • Assistant Principal/ Principal Violist – Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Symphony
  • American Youth Symphony – 3 year tenure
  • National Orchestral Institute + Festival 2021 – fellow
  • Five years of teaching experience 
  • “Outstanding Student of the Year” Award – Bob Cole Conservatory of Music California State University Long Beach 
  • John Walker Concerto Competition – 3rd place
  • Outdoors/ hiking with friends/ playing Dance Dance Revolution/ discovering new places to eat/ playing chamber music with friends. 
  • Favorite Music: Classical & Pop
Saxophones, Flute, Clarinet, Theory

Stephen Wood

Stephen Wood is a saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, and performer. He graduated from Cal State University Long Beach with a degree in music performance and focus in jazz studies.

During college he performed with bands of all different styles from jazz, latin, rock, pop, blues, and reggae. Improvising was the driving force for his love for music and later developed a passion for teaching, arranging, and composing music.

As a teacher, his number one goal is to find the balance between becoming technically proficient on the student’s instrument while showing how much enjoyment there is when playing and listening to music.

Stephen has a BM in music performance from CSULB 

His favorite music genres include Jazz, Soul, RnB, Latin, and Neo Soul

Trumpet & Piano

Anthony Mora

Anthony Mora was born in Los Angeles, California from a non-musical family. His interest in music began at the age of 6 starting with piano. Eventually, he began to fall for the trumpet, and began studying at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, where he studied with Darren Mulder. He continued his musical education studying and performing at Pasadena City College, where he studied with Kevin Brown. Other teachers he has studied with are Robert Frear, Ryan Darke, and with Grammy Award-winning trumpeter, Arturo Sandoval. He is currently under the tutelage of Thomas Hooten, principal trumpet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Instruments I teach: Trumpet and Piano (beginner and early intermediate)

  • Performed with Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles
  • Performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 2013
  • California State University, Long Beach
    • Bachelor of Music in Performance: Magna Cum Laude 2020
  • I am passionate about self-improvement. In addition to music, I am passionate about fitness and health. During my spare time, I train in both bodybuilding and powerlifting.
  • Favorite Songs/Genre: My taste in song genres keeps on changing as I listen to new music that I come across to on all forms of media that is available today. My two favorite genres that never have seemed to leave my palate is Opera and Jazz. When I’m on my way to teach, I am either listening to an opera aria on Classical KUSC or a jazz chart on KJazz 88.1
Piano & Violin

Debra Innis

Debra Innis has taught out of two music studios for several years (pre-COVID, and resumed at the Irvine Art and Music studio in September, 2021.) I have also prepared several students for their recitals.

  • Trinity College music major
  • University of Illinois music minor
  • 35 years teaching experience
  • Beginners through upper intermediate levels
  • Music Theory
  • Prior orchestra and small group performance (violin)
  • Private dinner party performances.
  • Piano (my grand) and violin playing
  • Mazas violin duets
  • Evaluate and customize music for most students.
  • Mostly classical, but have wide interest in many genres (except jazz)
  • Due to COVID, I’ve been teaching on-line to overseas students

Richard Kay (online)

Richard Kay, a long time resident of Orange County, has been a Woodwinds instructor at Irvine Art & Music since the store’s opening.  Having completed his Baccalaureate of Arts Degree at the University of Irvine, he proceeded to earn a Master’s of Music at Boston University and a Doctorate of Music at the University of Miami in Miami, Florida.  He has also continued to increase his knowledge of music and teaching Woodwinds by getting another Masters Degree from the University of Las Vegas in Woodwind Doubling.  Along the way he has been a professional clarinetist in such Orchestras as Pacific Symphony, Redlands Philharmonic, South Florida Philharmonic, Naples Symphony, Palm Beach Symphony and Treasure Cove Opera Orchestra, also in Palm Beach Florida. With over thirty years of private teaching he has helped a lot of his students win first chair positions in school bands and orchestras along with obtaining entrance into many of the local honor groups. Now semi-retired, he’s happy to help students learn and play the best they can so they will gain access to these better groups that provide wonderiful musical opportunities along with invaluable learning experiences.  

Saxophone, Flute, & Clarinet

Will Jackson

Will Jackson is a southern California based saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, and educator. Along with his extensive performance experience, Will has taught private lessons to students of all ages and skill levels for over 10 years. Will brings an enthusiastic and encouraging teaching style, and feels passionate about sharing music with others. He is currently pursuing a degree in music education from CSU Dominguez Hills, and has plans of becoming a school band director following completion. Will welcomes all students who have a curiosity and dedication for learning music and becoming a better musician.

  • BM in Music Education CSUDH ’23
    • currently in progress

When not playing saxophone or teaching, Will spends his time writing and recording his own songs/beats. He is a fan of all types of music, but especially loves Jazz, R&B/Soul, and Rap/Hip-Hop. Some of Will’s favorite musical inspirations/artists are: Charlie Parker, Roy Hargrove, Stevie Wonder, Braxton Cook, Kiefer, Cannonball Adderley, and Anderson Paak to name just a few.


Christopher Brown

Christopher Brown (born March 22nd, 1992) is a cellist, composer, and music educator with a diverse musical background. He graduated from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in 2010, studying Cello Performance. He received a Bachelor’s degree from Baldwin-Wallace University in 2015, with a double major in Cello Performance and Music Composition, and completed a Master’s degree in Cello Performance from California State University, Long Beach in 2018. He played principal cello for the West Coast Symphony from 2016 to 2020, and also served as principal cellist for the Santa Monica College production of Carmen in May 2017. He has also recorded as a session cellist on many rock and pop records, appearing on releases by such artists as Katya Grasso, Nightdrive, and Osi and the Jupiter, among others.

Mr. Brown has been teaching cello privately since 2014, beginning while still in his undergraduate program. He is also qualified to teach music theory, composition, and songwriting, drawing heavily on his background as a trained composer, and has additional experience as an english and history tutor. He believes strongly in providing his students with a firm foundation in the fundamentals of the instrument and craft, while ultimately granting them the tools to express themselves. As such, he has no aversion to teaching students how to make music in any genre of their choosing to the best of their ability, while at the same time building a foundation on classical training and repertoire.

Drumset, Marching Percussion, Concert Percussion, & Bass Guitar

Alex Bailey

Alex Bailey is a native of Kansas City where he started playing drums at age 5. By middle school, Alex was performing professional concerts with local musicians, as well as playing with the Youth Performing Arts high school jazz band. While in high school, he was invited to perform with the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy High School jazz band, where he received a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.


After graduating from Berklee, Alex began performing and teaching all over the world with musicians like Marcus Miller, Judith Hill, Chick Corea, and hundreds of others. His resume also includes 2 movie scores, a Grammy nominated record, and live recorded concerts in the biggest music festivals on the globe. In addition, Alex’s teaching and mentoring has led many of his students to obtain college scholarships as well as graduation from the top music schools in the nation.

  • BA in Music Performance and Professional Music from Berklee College of Music

  • Professional Performer for over 20 years

  • Professional Instructor for over 15 years

  • Performed on 2 movie scores

  • Recorded on Grammy Nominated Album

I enjoy watching TV with my wife & cooking with my children.

My favorite song is ‘Diana’ by Michael ‘Patches’ Stewart.

Violin, Viola, and Music Theory

Darya Voronina

Having started her studies on the violin at age 5 in Russia, Darya Voronina pursued and earned a B.M. in violin performance from the California State University of Sacramento in Spring 2020. Currently, under the tutelage of Moni Simeonov, with a full scholarship she is finishing her Master’s degree in violin performance at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University of Long Beach. She is serving as the concertmaster and assistant concertmaster of the BCCM symphony orchestra, as well as in her local church. In her undergraduate studies, Darya served as music theory tutor, and currently, she is serving as a student assistant of the BCCM symphony orchestra conductors and the chair of string studies. 

For over five years Darya has been teaching violin and music theory to children of ages 5 and up in music schools and high schools. Every year she teaches, inspires, and gives talks at strings’ summer festivals. Darya also enjoys playing violin and viola in orchestras, chamber groups, and wedding ensembles throughout northern and southern California. Darya’s goal as a teacher of violin, viola and music theory is to motivate her students to explore, enjoy, and share music with others, as well as develop their own learning skills and critical thinking.

  • Master’s Degree in Violin Performance – Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, California State University, Long Beach
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance – Sacramento State School of Music, California State University, Sacramento
  • Assistant Concertmaster – Sacramento State School of Music Symphony Orchestra
  • Assistant Concertmaster/Concertmaster – Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra
  • Music in the Mountains 2019 Festival – member of a string quartet
  • Five years of teaching violin and music theory
  • Saturday Club Scholarship –  Sacramento State School of Music, California State University, Sacramento
  • McWilliam Endowment Scholarships, Berman Student Endowed Award and Music Department Scholarship – Bob Cole Conservatory of Music, California State University, Long Beach
  • Hiking/Spending time with family/Playing in orchestra or chamber groups/Reading
  • Favorite genres: Classical and Jazz

Lucio Vieira

Born and raised in Manaus, Brazil. Lucio started to play drums at the age of 12. He started his professional life as a musician at 16 years old. In 2004 he moved to Rio de Janeiro where he won national and international recognition.

Lucio recorded and performed in the Best Regional Latin Grammy 2012 album called  “Iluminado” from a Brazilian accordion player, singer and composer  “Dominguinhos” . He has shared the stage and studio recordings with great artists including; Larry Coryell, Allen Hinds, Frank Gambale, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethania, Leny Andrade, Eric Lee, Amy Keys, Robert Kyle, Carol Weisman,  João Donato, etc.

Lucio has a great experience in live performance and studio recordings as well and Presently is based in Los Angeles, CA.

piano, harpsichord, & organ

Jessica Hua

Jessica Hua earned her Bachelor degree in Music at King’s College London, during the same period, received professional piano performance training and master classes at the Royal Academy of Music. After moving here, she soon became a member of the Music Teacher Association of California, working at the Irvine branch and started teaching music. Being a musicology PhD student at Claremont graduate university, she was required to have a comprehensive knowledge of music, apart from English, Mandarin and Cantonese, I can also read in German and Italian to better understand the historical and cultural context of music, along with essential performance practice issues.


After I have accomplished my advanced level piano performance degree with ABRSM and Trinity college of music at age of 16, she tends to spend more time participating in different musical festivals and competitions. However, Growing up in a traditional catholic girls’s school in England has made me more than a piano performer but also a church keyboardist and alto singer.  When she was 14, she was appointed to lead our weekly school church services by playing organ and harpsichord. As an alto singer, In both 2011 and 2012, she represented her school and sang the famous choral work St.Matthew passion by J.S. Bach as part of the London Bach Choir at the Royal festival hall.

  • BA in Music received from King’s College London and Royal Academy of Music.
  • Current PhD student at Claremont graduate university in musicology.
  • MTAC member at Irvine branch
  • Advanced piano diploma certified with distinction by Trinity college of Music.
  • 3 years of teaching experience

Reading about my favourite composers, entertain myself by playing cello and guitar. Regular attendance to underground rock band concerts.

Piano & Theory

Charlotte Jing

Charlotte has over 10 years of piano teacher experience. Being a lifelong music educator, she structures her teaching style around qualities of patience, an enthusiastic atmosphere, and an engaging environment to foster encouragement and growth in students. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion of the piano through her background in different genres of music.

Charlotte enjoys motivating students, incorporating new technology, determining goals and objects for a student’s educational plan, as well as explaining and demonstrating artistic techniques pertinent to the pianist’s level.

  • University of California, Irvine
    • Master’s Degree, ongoing
  • California State University, Fullerton
    • Bachelor of Music Education, 2016​
  • Irvine Valley College
    • Undergraduate Associate Degree coursework, 2014
  • Fluent in English & Chinese


Ekber Turdi mixes music from his culture in Xinjiang, China with a stripped down hard rock/metal style. His lightning, dynamic guitar playing, powerful vocals and unique songwriting put him in a class by himself. His new album, “Back For You” includes 11 new songs recorded in Los Angeles with his new multi-cultural band that includes Austin Carothers on drums and Kwanjil Lee on bass. An established star in China, Ekber Turdi is ready to take on the world with his music.

Bass Guitar

Mike Talanca

Mike Talanca has been playing music for over 20 years. He attended Musicians Institute where he obtained an AA in Music Performance and graduating with the “Most Outstanding Student” award. Since then he has been recording and performing with numerous groups and artists in the Southern California area, including Caskey, Jessica Sanchez, Geneva Cruz, Brent Jones, Adrian Galysh, and One Globe Radio, among others. In addition to performance, he composes pieces and arranges music for clients; he composed pieces for the media department of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, providing music for some of the projects their team has been working on. Most recently, he worked with the Legacy Scoring Orchestra on his own original music for an upcoming release.


Mike is also an experienced audio engineer, with over 20 years of experience working in recording studios. He has engineered for recording sessions as well as mixed and mastered pieces for clients. He also has experience working in sound design for cartoons.

Mike’s primary instrument is the bass, but he is also well versed in the guitar and the ukulele. He welcomes students of all levels, from the brand new players to the advanced players looking to sharpen their chops or learn advanced harmony.


Mauro Tarakdian

Mauro Tarakdian is a Brazilian drummer and educator currently residing in Los Angeles, CA. He began playing drums throughout his childhood in Brazil, eventually performing and recording with various bands and artists. Mauro is also an influential educator and advocate, creating a Drummer’s community resource called NGBP that provided drumming education for hundreds of drummers and percussionists for over 3 years. In 2007, Mauro was the former Editor-in-Chief of Modern Drummer Brazil magazine. After moving to the US, he has continued his career as a drum instructor in addition to performing with various bands and artists.

  • Cycling
  • Drum manufacturing
  • Soccer

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