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Department of Music


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


Tanner Antonetti grew up in central Arkansas and began his musical studies at age 7 with piano, continuing with trombone and double bass at age 10. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Middle Tennessee State University, studying music performance with a minor in recording industry management. While in Tennessee, Tanner cultivated a diverse freelance career performing with classical, jazz and commercial ensembles in and around the Nashville area. Performing with artists including Jesus Santandreu, Duffy Jackson, Rodd McGaha, Bob Mintzer, Steve Davis and Scott Wendholt, Tanner developed a passion for jazz that he continually pursues through education and performance.

Tanner attended Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, earning a master of music degree. While a student, he was featured on a program of the music of Luciano Berio given by the school’s contemporary ensemble, Hear & Now, performing the composer’s "Sequenza V" for solo trombone.

Before joining the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Tanner performed with the Arkansas, Chattanooga, Huntsville, Alabama, Albany, San Antonio and Houston Symphony Orchestras on both tenor trombone and bass trumpet. He also spent summers studying at Eastern Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival and the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria. Past mentors include Michael Underwood, Joshua Bynum, David Loucky, Per Brevig and Allen Barnhill.

John Boyles has 30 years of experience in education, from elementary through university teaching, and is currently program administrator for the Center for Arts and Communication at Woodside High School in Newport News. At Christopher Newport University he has taught Applied Guitar, Guitar Ensemble and Music Technology From 1980-present, as well as directing the Guitar Orchestra. With Newport News Public Schools, he has taught guitar, orchestra, elementary music and music theory. He has performed as a soloist and in various chamber ensembles in many settings. He performs regularly with the Tidewater Guitar Orchestra, having contributed arrangements and compositions to both of their CDs and performances around the state of Virginia and internationally, including their return tour of Costa Rica.

Boyles has a bachelor's degree in music education from Virginia Commonwealth University, a master’s degree in guitar performance from Norfolk State University and an educational specialist degree from George Washington University. He has participated in many master classes, including those conducted by Jesus Silva, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, David Russell and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

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.

Madeline Dietrich earned her bachelor of music from the University of North Texas in 1990. She moved to Houston where she worked for 12 years as a public school orchestra director and freelance musician. She moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and completed her master’s degree in bass performance at Texas Christian University in 2004 before returning to Houston to continue her freelance career and work as an adjunct professor teaching applied music, string methods, class guitar, music fundamentals and music appreciation.

In 2007 she took a five-month contract as shipboard bassist for Holland America Lines aboard the MS Maasdam. In 2010 Dietrich moved to the Upper Midwest to pursue a second master’s degree in musicology concurrently with a third master’s in library science, graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2013. She moved to Norfolk in 2015 to begin work as a music librarian and archivist at Old Dominion University.

Madeline’s scholarly interests include the influence of jazz and swing on rural music during the 1920s and 30s. Her master’s thesis, "Western Swing in Transcription: Who’s Sorry Now?" by Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies (Decca 5158-B) examines the temporary confluence of multiple contributing entities in creating a new and unique information object. The work features a full-score transcription of the 78 rpm recording and extensive analysis focusing on individual performer's improvisation style and instrumental technique. She presented her work at the Association of Recorded Sound Collections annual conference in 2015.

As a bass player Dietrich is equally at home playing jazz and classical music. She has performed as a section bassist in numerous regional symphony orchestras but prefers playing in chamber music and small ensemble settings, particularly in jazz combos and pit orchestras. Since her arrival in Hampton Roads she has performed with the Norfolk Chamber Consort and with Bill Watrous at his 2015 concert at the Roper Theater.

Madeline also plays fiddle and mandolin and greatly enjoys western swing and honky-tonk music.

David Fatek has toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe and is an in-demand, freelance saxophonist in the Hampton Roads region. Having studied saxophone with Ron Kerber, Frank Mazzeo and Eric Kloss, he earned the bachelor of music degree in performance and jazz studies and the master of arts degree in teaching at the University of the Arts.

Fatek has performed with many notable recording artists, including Grover Washington Jr., Maynard Ferguson, Bobby Watson, Roger Humphries and the Temptations, the Four Tops, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Jimmy Buffet, Frankie Avalon, and Bobby Rydell. He has performed for Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and with the Virginia Symphony, the Virginia Symphony Jazz Orchestra, and many other ensembles in the area.

Fatek has been a full-time musician in the United States Air Force band program for 16 years and is currently the saxophone section leader for the USAF Heritage of America Band, stationed at Langley Air Force Base. He has extensive, worldwide experience as a saxophone instructor and jazz clinician at all levels and served as an adjunct professor at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. He teaches applied saxophone and coaches the Saxophone Quartet at Christopher Newport University.

Adam Gandolfo currently holds the position of second trumpet with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and has been with the orchestra since August of 2013. Gandolfo, a native of Brighton, MI, earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University, under the tutelage of Dr. Dennis Horton. He also holds a master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with James Thompson, former principal trumpet of both the Montréal Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Prior to winning the second trumpet position with the Virginia Symphony, Gandolfo was a freelance musician in Western New York and also parts of the Midwest, performing with the Buffalo Philharmonic and the Rochester Philharmonic in New York, as well as the Canton Symphony Orchestra in Ohio.

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.

Jim Jacobson is the principal timpanist of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. During summers he is the percussion coordinator and principal timpanist of the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria, and also teaches at the Fundacion Cultural in Patagonia, Argentina.

As an orchestral musician, he has been percussionist and assistant principal timpanist of the Honolulu Symphony, principal timpanist of the Delaware Symphony, principal percussionist of the Tallahassee Symphony, and has performed with the Minnesota, Jacksonville, Toledo, Columbus, Virginia, Key West, and Stamford symphonies as well as the Bolshoi and Joffrey Ballet orchestras.

He has appeared as a soloist with the Richmond Symphony on two occasions, performing the Druchetzky “Partita in C” and the David Schiff timpani concerto “Speaking in Drums.” Jacobson has performed opera in Evian, France under Mstislav Rostropovich, has been a guest recitalist at the International Percussion Conference in Espinho, Portugal and, since 2007, has performed and led master classes each year at the International Percussion Festival held in Patagonia, Argentina.

In addition, Jim has spent several years living in Tokyo and Berlin while studying the marimba and timpani. During the 1980s he produced pop music in Los Angeles, performed with the punk-rock band Big Fun, rode motorcycles on three continents and ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Jacobson holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota and a doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.

Bokyung Bonnie Kim earned a master of music degree and professional studies degree from Manhattan School of Music. She received first diploma from the Conservatoire de St. Maur and first diploma from the Conservatoire du 10em de Paris. Kim is a winner of the Young Artist Competition in France and Concours l’UFAM, Bellin and Nerini. She has performed numerous concerts in France, Korea and the United States and has taught master classes in Korea and the United States. Her students have won numerous competitions at regional and national levels. She served as a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music and Sam Yook University in Korea and is currently on the faculty of Christopher Newport University and the New York Summer Music Festival.

Eric Musselwhite is a professional freelance musician, adjudicator, clinician and educator. He is currently one of the band directors at Grafton Middle School in Yorktown, Virginia, and presently serves as adjunct faculty at Christopher Newport and at Chowan University.

He has also served on the faculty at Elizabeth City State University. Musselwhite has been an active performer for over 25 years, and was a featured performer and clinician at the Jazz en Vercors Festival in Villard de Lans, France. He remains active as an adjudicator and clinician.

Musselwhite holds a BM in music business from James Madison University, and an MM in jazz program administration from Georgia State 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.

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 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.

Toby Whitaker earned a bachelor of music degree in jazz studies and performance from Virginia Commonwealth University and his master of music degree in jazz studies from Rutgers University, where he had the privilege of studying with trombone virtuoso Conrad Herwig, and taught jazz chamber ensembles. In 2014, he joined the CNU jazz faculty.

For over 20 years Toby has freelanced as a trombonist, composer and educator. He toured throughout the United States with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow and has performed internationally with the salsa ensemble Bio Ritmo, for which he also composes. He has performed at music festivals and venues in New York, Spain, France, Switzerland, Poland and the Republic of Georgia. He was also a member of the Devil's Workshop Big Band based in Richmond, Virginia, which featured guest artists such as trombonist Ray Anderson and trumpeter Brian Lynch. In 2004 he was a featured soloist with the University of Virginia Jazz Orchestra performing the music of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Whitaker has also led his own big band and is in the process of completing his first album as a leader featuring his original big band compositions as well as his own arrangements. As a sideman, he has appeared on numerous recordings encompassing a broad range of styles, and has frequently acted as musical arranger for a multitude of recording projects.

Jacob Wilder is principle horn of the Virginia Symphony. He completed both a bachelor’s degree and an artist diploma in French horn performance at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles.

During his time in Los Angeles, Wilder played substitute french horn with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and the Santa Barbara Symphony. He has also served as a full-time section member in the Colburn Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, the Industry Opera Company, Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo and Colorado College Music Festival.

Beyond making music, Wilder enjoys being outdoors biking, hiking or playing basketball.

Yun Zhang began his violin studies under the tutelage of his father at the age of three and gave his first public performance when he was five years old. While studying in China at the renowned Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Yun Zhang was selected to hold the position of concertmaster of the Shanghai Conservatory Symphony Orchestra. He was a recipient of the Fu Cheng Xian Memorial Scholarship in 1998, which is awarded for excellence in performance and artistic potential. Yun Zhang was also selected to serve as the concertmaster of internationally recognized Asian Youth Orchestra and toured all of South Asia under the baton of Maestro Sergiu Comissiona.

In 1998, he arrived in Bloomington to audition for Stephen Boe, the former teaching assistant of Josef Gingold, Franco Gulli and Henryk Kowalski at Indiana University. At the same time, Yun Zhang was performing with various orchestras as well as giving recitals. Later, he became the teaching assistant of Stephen Boe. Yun Zhang continued to earn top honors and international acclaim for his beautiful playing. In the 2001-02 season, Yun Zhang was awarded the prestigious Helen F. Whitaker Fellowship and selected to play as the concertmaster for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago under the direction of conductors Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, David Robertson, Anne Manson, William Eddins, Cliff Colnot, Giancarlo Guerrero and Duain Wolfe. His performances have been broadcasted by Classical 88.7 FM of Indianapolis, WFMT Radio Network of Chicago and WSVH of Savannah, Georgia.

Yun Zhang is the associate concertmaster of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. He has performed regularly in recital and chamber music series throughout the US and Asia. Recent engagements have included solo performances of Beethoven’s "Violin Concerto" with JoAnn Falletta conducting the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. Yun Zhang also holds posts as the guest professor of violin at Yunnan Arts Institute in China, and is adjunct professor of violin at Christopher Newport University.

Emeritus Faculty

James Hines

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