We are honored to have highly talented musicians and artists on the faculty of the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts.  To learn more about them, click on the individual photos for their bios and contact information, or scroll down for an overview of our instructional programs.

The Columbia Institute of Fine Arts Faculty

  • Linda Cook - Director, The Columbia Institute of Fine Arts
  • Larry Allen - piano
  • Brenda Arthur - Musikgarten
  • Tedd Baker - saxophone
  • Alexandra Baldwin - flute, harp, composition
  • Suzana Basaric-Ilic - flute, piano
  • Sharyn Byer - flute
  • Hannah Choi - Suzuki violin studio
  • Joshua Cullum - trombone, tuba, euphonicum
  • Mark Deffenbaugh - piano, percussion, jazz, rock & roll bands
  • John Gockel - cello
  • Jaime Guitz - piano
  • Slavica Ilic - violin, viola
  • Jeannine Lacquement - dance
  • Tamara Manukovskaya - dance
  • Matthew Misener - trumpet
  • Elizabeth Norfrey - voice, piano
  • Scott Schwertfeger - classical guitar
Linda Cook - Director, The Columbia Institute of Fine Arts

Linda Cook

Director, The Columbia Institute of Fine Arts

A native of the Northern Virginia area, Ms Cook earned her Bachelor of Music Education at Oklahoma Baptist University and did graduate work in Music Education at The American University. She is a former music instructor at Langley High School and for many years has taught private lessons in piano and voice. Ms Cook has been Interim Minister of Music and Youth at various Northern Virginia Churches. Ms. Cook was the interim director of CIFA from 1995 to 1997.
Larry Allen - piano

Larry Allen


Larry Allen has nearly 35 years of experience as a piano instructor. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance at the College of William and Mary and his Master of Arts degree in Music History from the American University. In addition to private studio instruction of students of all ages, from kindergarten through adult, Mr. Allen has extensive experience in teaching group classes and accompaniment and direction of student soloists and ensembles. In addition to his piano studio at the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts, Mr. Allen serves as the accompanist for the Suzuki violin program, the children's choir and Vacation Bible School, and he is an accompanist for Sunday worship services.

Mr. Allen served for a number of years on the instructional staff of the Falls Church City School band programs, assisting the directors of the Beginning Band in 4th grade at Thomas Jefferson Elementary, the Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School bands, grades 5-7, and the George Mason High School bands, grades 8-12. In 2009, Mr. Allen was honored by the Falls Church City Schools as Support Staff Employee of the Year. Mr. Allen retired from the Falls Church City Schools in the spring of 2013.
Brenda Arthur - Musikgarten

Brenda Arthur


Brenda Arthur (Musikgarten™) has been the Musikgarten™ Coordinator for CIFA since 1996. She received her Musikgarten™ training from one of the founders of Kindermusik™ and Musikgarten™, Lorna Heyge. Her many years as a kindergarten teacher in Fairfax County, along with her extensive experience in solo and chamber group singing, make her a natural for leading CIFA's early childhood music program.

Ms Arthur is a member of the Washington Kantorei and the Fairfax Choral Society.
Tedd Baker - saxophone

Tedd Baker


Born in Binghamton, NY, Tedd Baker was raised near Boston and started learning music by singing in a Baptist church where his mother played piano and organ. It was there he began playing piano at 6 and switched to the tenor saxophone at 10. He began his professional career during high school playing sax around Boston. He then attended New England Conservatory on a scholarship, earning his Bachelor’s degree in 1996. After a tour through the Middle East with a jazz trio, Tedd moved to Queens, NY in 1998 to attend the Aaron Copeland School of Music, Queens College where he earned his Master’s degree in 2001. While at Queens College, he placed first in the 2000 Hilton Head Jazz Society Competition. In 2001, he was chosen as a Jazz Ambassador for the US Department of State, touring South America, Central America and Jamaica as a member of the Doron Richard Johnson Trio.

Tedd is currently the lead tenor saxophonist with The Airmen of Note, which is the premiere jazz orchestra of the USAF Band, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, DC (www.usafband.com). As a member of the Airmen of Note, he has performed with numerous renown artists including Ron Carter, Pat Martino, Nnenna Freelon, Eddie Palmieri, Duffy Jackson, Nicholas Payton, Doc Severinsen, BeBe Winans, Paquito D'Rivera, Rufus Reed, Phil Woods, and Butch Miles.

His all-original debut CD "Mugshots" received rave reviews from JazzTimes, and All About Jazz. Tedd plans to release a follow up live CD soon. He is also featured on The Taylor/ Fidyk Big Band “Live At Blues Alley,” The Doug Hamilton Jazz Band’s self-titled debut CD, Ryan Haines Big Band "New Horizons,” and The Young Lions "Ibrahim's Dream Recorded Live At Cafe Nema, DC” and “Live At Bohemian Caverns.”

As a freelance saxophonist, Tedd has been privileged to work with many great artists including Barry Harris, David Sanborn, Slide Hampton, Eddie Daniels, Jon Faddis, Josh Groban, Darren Barrett, George Duke, Vanessa Rubin, Duane Eubanks, Donnie McCaslin, Jeremy Pelt, Victor Lewis, Essiet Essiet, Michael Mossman, Butch Warren, Pete Yellin, Arturo O'Farrill, and Gene Lake among others. His resume also includes performances with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, Washington Jazz Orchestra, Harry James Orchestra, Frank Carlberg/Andrew Rathbun Orchestra, and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra under the direction of David Baker.

You may learn more about Tedd Baker at www.teddbaker.com.
Alexandra Baldwin - flute, harp, composition

Alexandra Baldwin

flute, harp, composition

Alexandra Molnar-Suhajda Baldwin has over twenty years of professional teaching experience. She is a graduate of George Mason University with a Bachelor of Music in Composition. She has studied flute with Wendell Dobbs, Judith Beverley Rajnes and Judith Lapple and has studied harp with Jeanne Chalifeaux.

Ms Baldwin presently performs with the Columbia Flute Choir and the Columbia First Light ensemble, also serving as their composer and arranger. She performs with the Safari Wind Quintet and has performed with the St. Gregory Chamber Ensemble as principal flutist, the Serapis Wind Ensemble and the Capitol Wind Symphony.
Suzana Basaric-Ilic - flute, piano

Suzana Basaric-Ilic

flute, piano

Suzana Basaric-Ilic is an experienced performance artist and music educator. A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, she received her education in flute performance at the Conservatory of Music in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and at the Music Academy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her education continued in the United States, where she completed her Master’s degree in Education.
While a member of the Symphony Orchestra in Mostar, Herzegovina, Mrs. Basaric-Ilic has performed throughout the former Yugoslavia and Europe with world renowned soloists and conductors. As a soloist, she has performed in numerous recitals in the former Yugoslavia and the United States, at the National Theater and at various embassies and fundraisers sponsored by Balkan Express and Women for Women.
Mrs. Basaric-Ilic has over twenty years of teaching experience. In addition to the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts, she has served on the faculties of The American University and St. Marks Music Studio. During her career many of her students have received among the highest scores and awards at competitions, and many have become professional musicians. Currently, she is a freelance performer and is a full time music teacher with the Montgomery County Public Schools. She holds a Master of Science in Education in Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment from Walden Unversity.
Sharyn Byer - flute

Sharyn Byer


Sharyn Byer (flute) graduated from the School of Music of the University of Miami where she soloed with the Wind Ensemble under Frederick Fennell. She is currently Principal Flutist of the Capital City Symphony in Washington, DC.

Ms. Byer is the Administrator of the Young Soloists' Competition of the National Symphony Orchestra and is a performing member of The Friday Morning Music Club. She plays with the chamber music trio Trillium (http://trilliumtrio.com/), the flute and guitar duo Dominion Duo, and is an ensemble coach for the American Youth Philharmonic.

Ms. Byer founded and directs the Columbia Flute Choir, (www.columbiaflutechoir.org), delighting Washington audiences since 1994, and performing throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area including at the White House, Kennedy Center and the National Theatre. She has conducted the Columbia Flute Choir in recital at the National Flute Association Convention in Washington, DC in 2002, in Pittsburgh in 2006 and again in New York City in August, 2009.

Ms Byer has performed with the National Flute Association Professional Flute Choir and toured with the International Flute Orchestra to Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic countries, China, Greece, Chile and most recently Poland.

Ms. Byer was Principal Flutist of The McLean Symphony for more than twenty years, directed the instrumental music program at The Langley School in McLean, VA., and has served two terms as president of the Flute Society of Washington, Inc.
Hannah Choi - Suzuki violin studio

Hannah Choi

Suzuki violin studio

Hannah Choi (Suzuki violin studio) earned her Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance at the University of Maryland, having studied with James Stern, Ignace Jang, Dan Rizner, and Sergiu Schwartz. Her career goal of educating children solidified after her concert tour of Spain and France with the DePauw University Symphony Orchestra, where she studied with Dan Rizner under full scholarship.

Ms Choi has pursued the long term study of Suzuki pedagogy at the University of Maryland under Ronda Cole, and is certified to teach Suzuki Pre-twinkles through Book 8. She has also completed the Suzuki Every Child Can enrichment course, and has studied techniques for teaching Suzuki group classes under Edmund Sprunger. Her other studies have included Music Mind Games with Michiko Yurko at School for Strings in New York.

Ms Choi’s strongest performance interest is in chamber music, having studied with Eric Edberg, David Salness, Evelyn Elsing and the Ying Quartet. Her performance credits range from television broadcasting in Hawaii (KHNL News 8, KHON 2 Fox), recitals, churches, nursing homes, public schools and kindergartens. Her greatest joy is to share music with those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to hear it, and uncover in them an interest in it.
Joshua Cullum - trombone, tuba, euphonicum

Joshua Cullum

trombone, tuba, euphonicum

Josh Cullum is a trombonist with The United States Air Force Ceremonial Brass. Originally from Green City, Missouri, Josh earned Bachelor of Music degrees on trombone and euphonium in 2006 from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Under the instruction of Dr. John Marcellus, Mark Kellogg, and Mark Salatino, Josh was also awarded Performer’s Certificates on both instruments. He went on to receive a Master of Music degree at the Yale School of Music in New Haven, CT while studying with Scott Hartman.

Josh has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, Vermont Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Malaysian Philharmonic. He has also attended the Bar Harbor and Art of Sound Brass Festivals and was awarded the winner of the Potomac Festival Euphonium Competition in 2006.
Mark Deffenbaugh - piano, percussion, jazz, rock & roll bands

Mark Deffenbaugh

piano, percussion, jazz, rock & roll bands

Mark Deffenbaugh (piano, percussion, jazz and rock and roll bands) is an accomplished pianist, guitarist, percussionist, composer and arranger. He has been a member of the faculty of the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts for over eleven years, where he teaches classical piano, guitar, percussion and theory, as well as advanced jazz styling and improvisation.

Mr. Deffenbaugh’s formal training in the Jazz Performance Program at Berklee College of Music included studies with many of the great jazz teachers and professionals, including Garry Burton and Dave Samuels. His impressive list of credits include ensemble work with Ben E. King, Marion Meadows, The Manhattans, The Dells, Lloyd Price, Chuck Jackson, Gary US Bonds, and many more. He has also served as the Musical Director of the Ben E King Stand By Me Foundation, where he was a member of the Board of Directors and was Chairman of the Scholarship Committee. While living in Boston, Mr. Deffenbaugh performed with many of today’s great young jazz stars including Walter Beasley, Aaron Scott, Terry Lynn Carrington, Ira Coleman, and Makoto Ozone.

In 1985, Mr. Deffenbaugh began performing in the Washington, D.C. area as both sideman and leader, and has performed with such local talents as Larry Seals, Marshell Keys, Paul Bollenbach, Bruce Middle, and many others. Mr. Deffenbaugh is not only an accomplished pianist, keyboardist, percussionist, but is also a sequencing specialist experienced in studio engineering and the production of music recordings. In this area, he has worked with many national acts including Billy Cobham, Marion Meadows, and the Drifters.
John Gockel - cello

John Gockel


John Gockel is an accomplished and experienced cellist, teacher and vocalist. He is a charter instructor of cello at the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts and thoroughly enjoys the challenges and rewards of teaching.

Mr. Gockel began taking music and piano lessons from his aunt at the age of four. At the age of six, he continued taking these lessons with teachers at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, and when he was ten, he began his cello studies with Andrew Von Schill. Later, voice lessons were added. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College, where he studied with Nella Hunkins, Andor Toth Jr., Richard Kapuscinski and the New Hungarian String Quartet. He also received intensive ensemble training at the Taos School of Music.

Mr. Gockel is recently retired as a member of the distinguished United States Army Band’s Strolling Strings & Orchestra, where he performed in string quartets, ensembles, strolls, orchestras, and occasionally as soloist. These groups perform for the public, and also regularly perform at events for military leaders, heads of state, the President, members of Congress, and the Departments of State and Justice. In addition, he performs with the National Christian Choir’s guest orchestra, plays in his church orchestra, and performs as ensemble member or soloist for many other events.

Mr. Gockel. has been a member of the Florida Symphony Orchestra, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the Brockport Symphony, the Cleveland Philharmonic, the DC Youth Orchestra Program (as both faculty and performer), the American Chamber Orchestra, and numerous community orchestras. He has performed with the Asaph Ensemble as choral and solo vocalist, as well as cellist, including performances at the Bolshoi Theater. His work has brought him to a variety of stages including the Lincoln Center, Severance Hall, and the Kennedy Center.

Mr. Gockel is married and the proud parent of two adult children.

Jaime Guitz - piano

Jaime Guitz


Jaime Guitz is an accomplished concert pianist and experienced teacher. He holds a Diploma in Piano Performance from the National Conservatory of Music in Guatemala, having earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at the University of San Carlos and his Bachelor of Arts in Music at the George Mason University. He has also studied at the University “El Valle” in Guatemala and is currently in advanced music studies at George Mason
University. He has served as Professor of Piano, Theory, Didactic and History of Music at the Central American Theological Seminary, and has also served on the faculties of The Alfredo Colom Christian School of Music Teachers, the Jesus Maria Alvarado National School of Music Teachers, the University of San Carlos, the National Conservator y of Music, The Verbo Christian School, the Interamerican School, the Bilingual Guatemalan School and the Philadelphia Christian Educational Center.

In addition to serving on the faculty of the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts, Mr. Guitz served for seven years on the staff of Immanuel Bible Church as Music Director for the Hispanic Fellowship and as Instrumental Director for the Immanuel Christian School.

Slavica Ilic - violin, viola

Slavica Ilic

violin, viola

Slavica Ilic is an experienced performance artist and instructor of violin, viola and music theory. She is a graduate of the Academy of Music of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she studied with David Kamhi. In addition to several awards from string and chamber competitions, she was a recipient of the Fellowship Award for the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado, where she studied with Dorothy DeLay.
Ms. Ilic has performed with numerous orchestras throughout Israel, Italy, Yugoslavia, France, and the United States. As a member of the Aspen Symphony Orchestra and the Aspen Opera Orchestra she had the opportunity to play Puccini’s Opera La Boheme under Maestro Lawrence Foster. Ms. Ilic has made appearances with orchestras at the Lincoln Center, in New York, and at the Kennedy Center, the Lyceum, and Constitution Hall in the Washington area.
Ms. Ilic has served on the faculty of the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts since 1998. In addition, she has served on the faculties of the DC Youth Orchestra, School of Music for Young Talents, and the International School of Music in Bethesda. Earlier, she taught at elementary and high schools in Sarajevo and in Kotor, Montenegro. Her dedication and excellence in teaching violin and viola has brought to her students numerous awards at competitions, auditions, and juries.
Jeannine Lacquement - dance

Jeannine Lacquement


Jeannine Lacquement, founder and Director of Children of the Light Dancers, has been teaching children and youth how to live, move, and have their being in God for over 25 years. She has been the director of a Christian community for adults with cognitive and physical disabilities and led therapeutic programs for nursing home residents. During her seven year season as Director of Children’s Ministry at Church of the Apostles (Anglican) in Fairfax, VA, she initiated youth led summer programs for children and developed outreach opportunities for kids. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Special Education from Goucher College, and received additional dance training at the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Since then she has used the art form of dance and storytelling to disciple and train children and youth for ministry. Her dancers have performed throughout the Northern Virginia and D.C. area, as well as in Times Square in NYC and Atlanta, GA.
Tamara Manukovskaya - dance

Tamara Manukovskaya


Tamara Manukovskaya is an instructor of ballet and character dance, with over fourteen years of professional dance teaching experience and extensive experience with staging and choreography.

After graduating from the prestigious Sarartov Dance Academy she performed with the Grigorovich Ballet Premier Theatre in Krasnodar, Russia, in numerous parts, including many solos, in such works as Nutcracker, Giselle, Chopeniana or La Valises, Esmeralda, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Golden Century (choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich), Pas de Quatre by Puni, and Paquita (ballerina solo).

Following her years with the Grigorovich Ballet, Ms. Manukovskaya served with the Carolina Youth Ballet in Cary, North Carolina, for eight years as Assistant Company Director and Choreographer for several full ballet productions, including Giselle, La Bayadere, Paquita, Les Sylphides and Bolero. She also staged and choreographed many different character, folk and contemporary pieces, including Russian, Ukranian, Belorussian, Spanish, Georgian, Tatarian, Greek, Italian, Gypsy, Korean and others. She also had oversight over costuming, set design and music, and worked with and coached various professional guest dancers, including members of the Carolina Ballet.

During her eight years in North Carolina, Ms Manukovskaya also worked with the Triangle Academy of Dance, where she taught all levels of ballet, basic through advanced, children and adults, and coached students for the US international ballet competitions. She also taught advanced ballet technique classes to teens and adults at the Pierrette Sadler Dancer’s Power Company (now a part of the C C & Company Dance Complex), and staged and choreographed dances for annual recitals and the 100-member competition team.

In addition to her teaching position with the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts, Ms. Manukovskaya is a member of the faculty of the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, DC.

Matthew Misener - trumpet

Matthew Misener


Matthew Misener is an experienced trumpet performance artist and instructor. He has a broad repertoire, with a particular interest in the sacred polyphony of the 16th century. He is currently a member of the United States Air Force Band.

He earned his Bachelor of Music, Distinction in Performance, degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, and his Master of Music degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he served as Graduate Assistant. He has studied under Charles Schlueter, Principal Trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Frank Kaderabek, Principal Trumpet of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Eric Berlin, Principal Trumpet of the Albany Symphony Orchestra; and Ben Wright, Fourth Trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and with Steve Hendrickson and Adel Sanchez, principal and assistant principal of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington.

Mr. Misener was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, and has participated in such music festivals as the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan; the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Bangkok, Thailand; the Casals Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria; and the Tanglewood Institute Atlantic Brass Seminar.

Mr. Misener’s performance credits include the The National Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra . the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, the Washington Concert Opera (as Principal Trumpet Substitute,) the National Chamber Players of Washington (as soloist,) the Concert Artists of Baltimore, the New World Symphony, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Maryland Symphony Orchestra (as Principal Trumpet Substitute,) the Choral Arts Society of Washington Orchestra, the Cathedral Choral Society, the Washington Chorus, and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as solo or principal trumpet with a number of chamber groups, including Infinity Brass, Faculty Brass Quintet at the University of Massachusetts; the Vox Consort of Boston; Ye Olde Brass Quintet; Tuesday Night New Music at the New England Conservatory; the Hunting Brass Quintet; and the Majestic Brass Quintet.

Mr. Misener’s awards include Winner of the University of Massachusetts Concerto Competition in 2005; Finalist at the International Trumpet Guild Orchestral Excerpts Competition in 2005; and Finalist at the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition in 2002.
Elizabeth Norfrey - voice, piano

Elizabeth Norfrey

voice, piano

Elizabeth Norfrey has been a teacher of voice, chorus and piano for over 27 years. She graduated summa cum laude from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey where she also earned her Master of Music in Choral Conducting. She had previously earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Albany, State University of New York, where also studied choral music. While at the University of Albany, she spent her Junior year in Madrid, developing a life-long fluency in Spanish.

In addition to her private studio teaching, Ms. Norfrey has been on the faculty of the LaSalle Academy in Providence, RI, Fisher College in Attleboro Falls, MA, and the Community College of RI in Warwick, RI. She has served as Director of the Cumberland-Lincoln Community Chorus in Cumberland, RI, She has also served as Minister of Music at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Attleboro, MA, and as Co-Minister of Music at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in East Greenwich, RI, at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Riverside, RI and at the First United Methodist Church in Waycross, GA. Before relocating to Northern Virginia, Ms. Norfrey served as Interim Choir Director, First Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville, VA, Co-Minister of Music at Christ Episcopal Church, also in Charlottesville.

Beyond her voice and piano experience, Ms. Norfrey is a versatile musician, also experienced in organ, guitar, and handbells. She holds a Service Playing Certificate with the American Guild of Organists. As an innovative educator, she has developed materials and taught original courses and seminars on vocal instruction, Scripture and choral masterworks, folk/praise guitar, hymns/worship, and spirituals.
Scott Schwertfeger - classical guitar

Scott Schwertfeger

classical guitar

Scott Schwertfeger received his Bachelor of Science in Music Performance/History, having studied with Dr. Nels Leonard. He also received his Master of Music degree from the University of Akron, having studied with Stephen Aron. Mr. Schwertfeger is an active performing artist, heard on numerous recordings and on national radio and television broadcasts.
The faculty of the Columbia Institute of Fine Arts all have undergraduate and graduate training intheir artistic fields, and are experienced performance artists. They provide private instruction in virtually all musical instruments as well as ballet, tap and children's dance programs. Weekly lessons typically are 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or one hour. In addition, ensemble classes provide supplemental instruction in group performance for students who have advanced beyond the beginning level.