Faculty - Department of Performing Arts - Music - Christopher Newport University

Department of Performing Arts - Music


Mark Reimer

Mark Reimer

Distinguished Professor - Wind Studies
George and Mary Torggler Professor in Music; Director of Music

Ferguson Ctr 130
(757) 594-7074

Artists in Residence

Scott Amman is a performing percussionist who earned his Master of Music in Percussion Performance at Baylor University and his Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance from Truman State. He has studied with Larry VanLandingham, Will Rapp, Dan Peterson and Jim Chapin. Scott has performed throughout the United States as well as on three continents.

As an active member of the marching arts community, Mr. Amman has performed with both the Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps and the Colts drum and Bugle Corps as well as been an instructor with the Railmen Drum and Bugle Corps. He has arranged and instructed many high schools and universities through the Midwest and East coast. Currently Scott is the arranger and instructor for the percussion section of the Christopher Newport University Marching Captains. He has also written for Drum! Pro Magazine on the topic of using Finale music software for writing percussion music.

Scott has performed at the Missouri Music Educators conference performing “An American Suite” by Guy Gathreaux. He has also participated in the concert snare competition at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention and placed in the top 5. He has also performed and arranged music for SeaWorld since 2003. Scott also maintains a private lesson studio whose students have went on to perform and teach nationwide.

Mr. Amman directs the Percussion Ensemble, teaches Percussion Methods class, percussion lessons as well as coordinates all things percussion at Christopher Newport University.

Michael Byerly joined the Virginia Symphony at the start of its 2014-15 season as principal clarinetist. Originally from Oregon, he studied clarinet with William McColl and Yehuda Gilad, completing degrees at the University of Washington and the University of Southern California and earning an artist diploma at the Colburn School. While in Los Angeles, he gained formative orchestral experience as a substitute player with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. As a soloist, he won first prize at the International Clarinet Association Young Artist Competition and the Pasadena Showcase House Competition. He spent three years in Nishinomiya, Japan, as a member of the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra, and he served for two seasons as principal clarinetist with the Tucson Symphony.

Jim Cipriano teaches tuba and euphonium. He previously held the same position at Hampton University, and was the tuba instructor at the Armed Forces School of music during his 20-year active-duty Army music career. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education from Rutgers University and a master of music in tuba performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Cipriano's teachers include Toby Hanks, Scott Mendoker, Michael Sanders, Pete DeBeau, David Finlayson, Steven Norrell and Lee Hipp.

Cipriano in an active performer presenting recitals and masterclasses around the United States. He has performed as a substitute tubist with the Virginia Symphony, San Antonio Symphony and Columbus (Georgia) Symphony. While living in Hampton Roads, he performed extensively with the Eastern Virginia Brass Quintet in recitals and educational programs. He previously held the principal tuba position with the Ludwig Symphony, Symphony in C and New Jersey Pops, as well as the principal EEb tuba with the Georgia Brass Band. Jim also performed solo recitals at the United States Army Band Tuba Euphonium Workshop, Southwest Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference, Great Plains Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference, Southeast Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference and, most recently, at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference.

He is married to Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Ambrosia String Quartet violinist Mayu Kuroda Cipriano. They live in Norfolk with their two cats, Velvet and Eddie. Cipriano is an Eastman Winds endorsing artist and performs on the EBB 562 BBb tuba and EBC 836 CC tuba.

Grammy-nominated guitarist Dr. Tom Clippinger has been described as “one of the finest young players I’ve heard,” and “someone to watch” by Oren Fader, guitarist and faculty at Manhattan School of Music. As an advocate for new music, Clippinger frequently works with composers to expand the classical guitar repertoire, and in this process has been the dedicatee of several new works by composers such as Donald Grantham, Celil Refik Kaya, José Maria Sanchez-Verdú, Nailah Nombeko and Kile Smith. He holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory (BM), Florida State University (MM) and the University of Texas at Austin (DMA). Clippinger maintains an active performing schedule as a soloist, chamber musician and member of the New York City Guitar Quartet. He is an Ex-Aequo Artist, and endorses Augustine Strings, Chase Bliss Audio, Wampler pedals and MONO Creators.

Christopher Espy is a professional trombonist and educator with a wide range of experience in the field of music. Espy earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where he was a recipient of a Teaching Assistantship. He previously taught at Chowan University and is currently the trombone instructor at Christopher Newport University.

In addition to his teaching career, Espy is active as a soloist and orchestral musician. He has twice performed as a soloist at the International Trombone Festival and is a frequent guest artist with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra. He has also played with the Richmond Symphony, Boulder Philharmonic, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, Pennsylvania Philharmonic, Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, and South Florida Symphony Orchestra. He has served as principal trombone of the Tidewater Winds since 2018 and was an Army bandsman from 2005-2011.

Espy has also published creative works, including his arrangement of Giacomo Puccini's Three Arias from the Opera Girl of the Golden West for trombone and piano, which was published by Cherry Classics Editions. He has also published an article titled "Colors for Trombone: A listener and performer's guide" in the International Trombone Association Journal.

Rebecca Gilmore, a native of North Carolina, is assistant principal cello with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra (VSO). In 2010, she was broadcast live on NPR for a performance of Schubert’s Guitar Quartet with JoAnn Falletta. In 2016, she was given the spotlight in performances of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with her VSO colleagues and in 2019 will share the spotlight with cellist Michael Daniels and the Virginia Symphony in Vivaldi's Double Cello Concerto.

Prior to being in Virginia, Gilmore performed as principal cellist of the Greensboro Symphony, where she made her solo debut of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations. Much earlier in her career, she soloed with the Charlotte Symphony and the Charlotte Repertory Orchestra and the latter with which she performed Haydn's Cello Concerto in D Major.

Around the Hampton Roads area, Gilmore has been a featured solo and chamber artist with the Virginia Arts Festival, the Virginia Symphony and the Norfolk Chamber Consort. Her cello career has taken her up the East Coast in performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as well as concerts all over the world. Within the United States she has both taught and performed with numerous music festivals, including the New England Music Camp (cello artist faculty), the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, the Brevard Music Center, Garth Newel Chamber Music Center and the North Carolina School of the Arts' International Music Program, where she performed Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto with their orchestra in 10 major cities throughout Europe.

During a residency in Canada with pianist/composer, Gabriela Frank, a world premiere performance of Ríos Profundos led to a recording titled, "It Won't Be The Same River." Gilmore’s passion for chamber music has been the impetus for a quartet journey, comprising professionals from the VSO, notably, Ambrosia Quartet, which began in 2002. The group has been featured multiple times on the Feldman Chamber Music Society Series and the Williamsburg Regional Library series. In collaboration with Dr. Adolphus Hailstork, Ambrosia Quartet has recently recorded his trios and strings quartets which will be released on Albany Records.

Gilmore holds degrees in cello performance from Indiana and Rice Universities. Her teachers include Janos Starker, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Norman Fischer and Desmond Hoebig. As a teacher herself, Gilmore “carries the torch” by working with kids throughout the Hampton Roads area through the VSO’s Community Engagement Program as well as maintaining a private cello studio.

Jason Hammers joined the U.S. Air Force band program in 2019 and currently serves as a saxophonist with the Heritage of America Band based at Langley. He is a graduate of Christopher Newport University, having earned his bachelor of music degree with concentrations in saxophone performance and jazz studies. While a student at CNU, he was a member of the top jazz combo and the Wind Ensemble and was named an outstanding soloist at the North Texas Jazz Festival. He then attended the University of the Arts, where he studied under Ron Kerber, Ben Schachter and Don Glanden and earned a master of music degree in jazz studies. Before joining the Air Force band, he was a showband musician for Norwegian Cruise Line entertaining audiences around the world as well as a freelance performer and educator in the Washington, D.C. metro area. He was a regular member of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and appears on two of their albums, Bohemiana: The Music of Dan Roberts, Volumes 1 and 2. In addition to serving in the Air Force band, he is now a freelance musician in the Hampton Roads area and appears on the most recent album by the Ian Charleton Big Band, A Fresh Perspective.

Allegra Havens is a graduate of Boston University (BFA) and Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts (MM). She has been a member of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Virginia Opera for over 30 years and is a founding member of the Harbor String Quartet, a professionally active chamber ensemble. She performs regularly with Virginia Musical Theater well as Broadway on Tour productions. Currently she serves as the electric violinist with Windborne's Music of Led Zeppelin throughout the U.S. and Canada. Allegra is on the faculty at Virginia Wesleyan University as well as the Governor's School for the Arts. In fall 2021, she served as a visiting professor at Christopher Newport University. When not performing or teaching, Havens enjoys volunteering with the Golden Retriever Rescue and cheering for the Boston Red Sox. She lives in Virginia Beach with her husband and various rescued golden retrievers.

Kevin Kwan is the Organist and Director of Music at Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk, Virginia, only the fifth organist in the last 140 years to hold the post. In addition to directing the large adult choir and developing the youth chorister program, he oversees the comprehensive concert series Sacred Music in a Sacred Space.

Mr. Kwan received his degrees from the University of California, San Diego and the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Edgar Billups and Todd Wilson, respectively. Upon completion of his studies, Mr. Kwan served as Organ Scholar at Gloucester Cathedral. For four years, Mr. Kwan served as Assistant Organist at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in New York City.

As a recitalist, Mr. Kwan has performed solo recitals in many prestigious venues, including Lichfield, Truro, Bristol, Westminster Cathedrals, as well as Bath Abbey and Westminster Abbey. In 2010, he played before a capacity audience at Passau Cathedral, Germany. He is past Dean of the Tidewater Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Jane Lenz is a classical and baroque violist who earned her Master of Music degree in Viola Performance from The Juilliard School and her Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Jane has performed around the country, including with the Adirondacks Performing Arts Fellowship's orchestra and string quartet during multiple summers, as well as at Chicagoland's 6:26 Concert Series. She is also a member of the Kenaniah Project, a Rochester, New York-based cross-genre collaborative ensemble. Additionally, Jane appears regularly with the Virginia Symphony and enjoys collaborating on new viola pieces as well as mastering baroque classics. Jane teaches applied viola at Christopher Newport University.

Kelly Longmire joined the United States Air Force Band program in 2010 and currently serves as an oboist in the Heritage of America Band. She holds a bachelor of music degree as well as an advanced performance certificate from East Carolina University where she studied with Bo Newsome. She earned a master of music degree from the Hartt School of Music under the instruction of Humbert Lucarelli. Longmire was a featured soloist with the Hartt Independent Chamber Orchestra with whom she performed Tomaso Albinoni's Concerto in D Minor for oboe and strings in November 2009.

She also was featured on the premier of Jeff Scott's Baile Si Quiere for woodwind quintet and concert band, which was commissioned for the Band of the Air Force Reserve in 2012. In 2015 she performed Richard Strauss’ Oboe Concerto with the USAF Heritage of America Concert Band on a seven-day tour of New York state. In addition to her military career, Longmire freelances around the Hampton Roads area and maintains a private oboe studio.

Originally from New Jersey, McPeters began playing bass in the sixth grade, studying with Nate Lienhard and Dennis Masuzzo. In 2008, he was accepted into the Juilliard Pre-College to study with Albert Laszlo. He continued to study with Laszlo at the Juilliard School from 2010-16, earning both his bachelor and master of music. During this time he was principal bass of the Juilliard Orchestra. He has also held this position at at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and the Atlantic Music Festival. Following his time at Juilliard, McPeters attended the Orchestra Now at Bard College for two years. He is now a full time member of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the Governors School for the Arts and Virginia Weslyan University.

Dr. Anastasia Pike serves on the faculties at Teachers College, Columbia University; the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University; and Christopher Newport University. She is also the founder and director of the Christopher Newport University Harp Festival, and associate director and coach of the Crested Butte Music Festival Chamber Music Intensive.

Pike has delighted audiences including European royalty, the first lady of the United States, Supreme Court justices, senators, congressmen, legislators and celebrities, and has performed on national and international television, in venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center and Smithsonian Institution. She has also performed with members of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the English Philharmonic, Europa Galante, the London Mozart Players, L’Orchestra des Champs Elysees, the Melbourne Symphony, the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as with artists including Renée Fleming, Kristin Chenoweth, Arturo Sandoval, the Irish Tenors, LeVar Burton, Morgan James and Katja Herbers. Locally, she has appeared with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, and as principal harpist with the Fairfax, Harrisburg, Richmond and Virginia Symphonies.

Pike is also a member of the Sprezzatura Duo, formed with fellow harpist Kate Loughrey. "Sprezzatura" means "the art of making something difficult look effortless." The duo demonstrates the art of "sprezzatura" in their fun, creative and entertaining concert programs that appeal to audiences of all ages. In 2012, Pike and Loughrey co-founded the Harps for Kids Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity that provides lessons and community outreach programs to local youth. The Sprezzatura Duo performed at the American Harp Society's 2016 National Conference in Atlanta, giving the world premiere of their second commission. In 2018, they received the prestigious faculty development grant from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University to record their debut album.

In addition to her career as a concert harpist, Pike is also an award-winning pianist, and has been featured on more than 10 different CDs as both harpist and/or pianist. As an arts educator, Anna has conducted national and international research, and has interviewed artists including Pierre Boulez, Alice Chalifoux, Evgeny Kissin and Leonard Slatkin. She has written articles for the American Harp Journal as well as entries for several encyclopedias by Salem Press. Anna has presented at the Mid-Atlantic Harp Festival, and is a regular presenter at American Harp Society and the College Music Society's (CMS) National Conferences. She was the event director and lead panelist of the day-long 2016 CMS Pre-Conference Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In 2017, she presented at the Global Awareness Society International conference in Heredia, Costa Rica, and at the 2017 American Harp Society's (AHS) Summer Institute in Northfield, Minnesota. Pike also performed as part of the Elán Ensemble at the AHS conference, and conducted a harp ensemble at Les Harpes Camac Festival USA, where her students gave the world premiere of Dr. Evan Meier's "Variations on an Antique Theme," which she commissioned specifically for the festival. In 2018, PIke joined the Crested Butte Music Festival as associate director and chamber music coach of the Chamber Music Intensive. In 2019, she was an invited speaker at the Juilliard School.

Pike earned her doctorate from Columbia University, and has master's degrees from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (major: harp; minor: piano) and the University of Maryland (musicology). She completed additional studies at the Juilliard School, the MasterWorks Festival - London and, upon personal invitation, to the Salzedo School. Her primary instructors were Alice Chalifoux and Jeanne Chalifoux. Pike was awarded the United States Navy's CMC Award for her volunteer work providing therapeutic music to the wounded warriors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and remains committed to the juxtaposition of music and medicine.

Pike serves on the board of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the College Music Society, and is president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Harp Society. She divides her time between Washington, DC and New York.

David Savige, currently the second bassoonist of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, is a native of Atlanta. For two years he was the second bassoonist of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., and performed with them on an Asian tour in 2009. He was the assistant principal/second bassoonist of the Nashville Symphony in their 2001-02 season. Before moving to the Tidewater area, he was the principal bassoonist of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera and the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, and second bassoon with Atlanta Ballet and Macon Symphony orchestras. He has also performed many times and recorded with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, served as the second bassoonist with the Florida Orchestra, and has performed with the Alabama Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Savannah Symphony and numerous chamber ensembles. He holds degrees in performance from Temple University and the Eastman School of Music, where he also earned the performer's certificate. He is also on the music faculty of Old Dominion University.

Currently on a four-year appointment as second and fourth horn of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and horn instructor of the summer festival New England Music Camp, Slater is recognized worldwide, having performed on five continents in some of the most treasured concert halls such as Carnegie Hall; Macau Cultural Centre; Frederic R. Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, Israel; Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex in Caracas; and Teatro Bibiena in Italy, among others.

Slater recently performed as assistant principal/utility horn of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and second horn with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra (2017-18), and has played Benjamin Britten’s Serenade with the Blue Bell Symphony in Pennsylvania. During the 2013-14 season, Slater performed Mozart’s Horn Concerto in D, K. 412 again in Blue Bell. He was assistant/utility horn of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra from 2007-09. While in Israel he performed on tour as guest principal horn with the Israel Chamber Orchestra of Tel Aviv and substitute horn of the iconic Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Before his work in the Middle East, Slater was awarded principal horn of the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra in Daejeon, South Korea. In February 2007, he was invited to play and performed with the Macau Symphony Orchestra in the S.A.R. of Macau (Asia). From 2004 to 2006, Slater was solo horn of the ensemble Tales & Scales, spinning music, story, theater and dance into over 200 ‘musictelling’ performances.

A recent graduate performance diploma graduate at the Peabody Institute with Denise Tryon, Slater also completed his master’s degree at the University of Colorado, studying with Michael Thornton, and undergraduate degree with David Jolley at the Manhattan School of Music. Other instructors include Richard Deane, Jerome Ashby, John Cerminaro and John Zirbel. Slater lived in Denver from 2001 to 2004 playing second horn with the Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, founding the award-winning ensemble Tonic Brass, and was soloist with the Aurora Symphony Orchestra. He kept solo engagements in New York City with Manhattan Virtuosi and the Montauk Music Festival, as well as frequently performing with the critically acclaimed Atlanta Boys Choir. Slater has also performed at length with the Atlanta, Colorado, Charleston, Savannah, Hilton Head, Evansville and Wyoming Symphony Orchestras.

During the summer months, Slater performed with the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder (2015 and 2007), the Aspen Music Festival & School (2014, 1999 and 1998), was guest artist with the Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet at the Madison Music Festival (2007), substitute horn of the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado (2002 and 2003), was a fellow at the Cape May Music Festival in New Jersey (2000 and 2001), and guest of the 2000 Venezuelan Music Festival in Caracas. He was guest artist at the 31st annual International Horn Symposium and grand prizewinner of the sixth annual Sister Mary Faustina Memorial Concert Competition in Marylhurst, Oregon.

Eldon Sully is a native of Leonia, New Jersey, and is currently a resident of Hampton, Virginia. He has over 30 years of international professional musical experience performing on electric and acoustic guitar and on mandolin and banjo, and is well versed in jazz, rock, pop, country, and traditional and contemporary gospel styles. Sully earned a bachelor of music education and bachelor of music in jazz studies degrees from Howard University in Washington, DC, graduating magna cum laude. He has studied with classical guitarists John Marlowe and Frank Bahus and jazz guitarists Joe Pass, John Baboian, Charles Chapman and Ted Dunbar. He has performed as a multi-instrumentalist in numerous musical theater productions such as "Legally Blonde," "The Civil War," "Grease," "Smokey Joe's Café," "West Side Story," "Fiddler On The Roof," "Raisin," "Annie," "Bye, Bye, Birdie," and "Mame." He performed, arranged selections, and assisted in the production of a live recording project entitled "The Power of His Presence." He has performed Antonio Vivaldi's "Concerto for Guitar and Strings" on classical guitar. He has also performed for presidents, secretaries of defense and air force, and numerous other high-ranking government dignitaries. He released two self-produced CDs entitled "First Things First" and "Back 2 Basics" available at www.cdfreedom.com. These musical offerings feature his talents as producer, composer, arranger and guitarist. Sully currently performs as a member of the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, as well as a freelance musician with variety bands and a solo artist in the Hampton Roads area.

Beth Tomassetti earned her bachelor of music degrees in both piano performance and piano pedagogy summa cum laude from Shenandoah University and a master of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy summa cum laude from Northwestern University. She has been on the faculty of the University of Oregon, Western Oregon University, O'Hara Catholic School, Treasure Valley Community College, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Frederick Community College and Hampton University, and has taught piano privately for the past 25 years.

Since 1989, Tomassetti has studied at the Dorothy Taubman Institute of Piano in Amherst and Williams, MA, where she was a teaching assistant for four years, and with the Golandsky Institute of Piano at Princeton University, both of which are leading centers in the prevention and treatment of performance injuries. She has taught on the faculty at Taubman seminars at California State University and Portland State University, and has published an article titled "A Pianist's Experiences with Performance Injuries and the Dorothy Taubman Approach" in the Oregon Musician. She has performed at numerous music festivals, concert series and recitals throughout the United States, and appears on the compact disc "Beth Tomassetti and Matt Cooper-Piano Four-Hands." She has recently performed in master classes for Robert Durso, a leading exponent in the Taubman approach.

Tomassetti has served as president (2006-08), and as treasurer (2008-10) of the Peninsula Music Teacher's Association. She maintains a large private teaching studio in Newport News, is a church organist/pianist at both Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church and St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church, and is active as a collaborative pianist at Christopher Newport University and throughout the Hampton Roads area. She was recently staff pianist for the New York Summer Music Festival and International Flute Institute, in Oneonta, NY. She is an adjunct instructor in piano at Christopher Newport University.

Kathleen Winters has an active career as a performer and teacher. She has taught privately for over 15 years and held teaching positions at the University of Illinois and Drake University schools of music. She was the Second Flutist of the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra (DSSO) for ten seasons and performed regularly with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Des Moines and Peoria Symphonies and the Heartland Festival Orchestra.

Kathleen is a prize winner in several competitions, including the Flute Society of Washington and Mid-South young artist competitions as well as the National Flute Association’s Orchestral Audition competition. She was a two-time semifinalist for the prestigious NFA Young Artist competition.

Kathleen earned her bachelor’s in flute performance at Virginia Commonwealth University, completed a Master of Music at the University of Illinois and is nearing completion of a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Illinois. She recently moved back to her home town of Newport News, Virginia with her husband, two children, and three mischievous beagles.

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