Resident Artists

Adrian Anantawan, Program Co-Director/Dudamel Orchestra Conductor/Violin, holds degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music, Yale University and Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a violinist, his teachers include Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman, and Anne-Sophie Mutter; his academic work in education was supervised by Howard Gardner. Memorable moments include performances at the White House, the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Athens (2006) and Vancouver (2010) and for Pope John Paul II. His passions include cooking, jogging along the Charles River and writing.

Kathleen Jara, Program Co-Director/Bernstein Orchestra Conductor/Violin, studied at Bowling Green State University and the Boston Conservatory before arriving at Conservatory Lab. She has been active in education and performance since early in her career, when she set up an orchestra program in a small school in Tacna, Peru. At present she plays in various projects around Boston and the surrounding area, as well as teaching violin at Conservatory Lab and voice at Cristo Rey Boston.

Josue Gonzalez, Program Co-Director/Abreu Orchestra Conductor/Cello, completed his B.M. and M.M. in performance and Suzuki pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music. His main teachers include Richard Aaron and Melissa Kraut. An avid performer and advocate of new music and baroque performance practice, Josue enjoys performing many different genres music from classical to pop. He is excited to begin his third year as a part of the Conservatory Lab family.

Brad Barrett, Bass, is an active member of the Boston area jazz scene and is currently a doctoral candidate at New England Conservatory of Music in Contemporary Improvisation.

Alex Barstow, Viola, is a graduate of the Five-Year Dual Degree Program at Tufts University and the New England Conservatory of Music, where he received a B.A. in Sociology and B.M. in Viola Performance in 2012. His viola studies include work with Carol Rodland, Marcus Thompson, and Paul Biss. As a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, he has been an active participant in the Boston arts scene, having ties to various arts institutions in the area, including the Boston Youth Symphony and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra.

David Cordes, Early Childhood Music, is thrilled to begin his second year at Conservatory Lab as part of the El Sistema team. He brings a special focus on high-quality, developmentally appropriate musical experiences that help our youngest students lay the foundation for many years of music-infused learning. David recently finished one year as Assistant K-1 Teacher at Conservatory Lab with Becca Mason. He also taught Pre-K at the Charter School for Young Children in Hartford, CT. Additionally, David was awarded a Fellowship from New England Conservatory’s Community Performances and Partnerships Department to create and implement music and literacy programs for early childhood sites around Boston. David is an improvising double-bassist, and also plays ukulele, banjo, and guitar. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in music where he focused on ethnomusicology and improvisation. In 2011, he earned a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation Department. David recently completed Level 1 Certification at the Kodaly Music Institute of Boston. He enjoys singing while riding his bicycle.

Clayton DeWalt, Trombone, is a doctoral candidate at New England Conservatory, and holds a MM in jazz trombone from NEC, as well as a BM in music education from Slippery Rock University. He is a busy freelance trombonist in the greater Boston area, playing a range of styles, including Jazz and Blues, Funk, Salsa, Balkan Brass, and Classical. In addition to his work at Conservatory Lab, Clayton teaches in the Lincoln Public Schools, Wayland Schools, the All Newton Music School, and maintains a private studio. Outside of music, Clayton likes to spend his free time exploring Boston’s green spaces and cooking and enjoying food with friends.

Adam Eccleston, Ives Ensemble Leader/Flute, was raised in Bad Kreuznach, Germany and studied at Die Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt. Outside of Conservatory Lab, he enjoys teaching electronic private lessons to young musicians around the world through YouTube.

Joshua Garver, Abbado Orchestra Conductor, earned his B.M. in music education from Indiana University’s Jacob’s School of Music, studying violin and string pedagogy under Dr. Brenda Brenner. Joshua began studying violin in the 4th grade in the West Irondequoit School District, taking private lessons within his community and at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance. In high school, Joshua enrolled in The Eastman Community Music School, where he studied violin with Dr. Lee Wilkins for five years, earning merits and diploma’s in both string studies and music theory. Joshua spent three of his collegiate years working with the Fairview Violin project, a program that offers beginning violin lessons to an underprivileged elementary school. Joshua is currently a member of the violin section of the Brookline Symphony Orchestra.

Leah Hennessy, Musicianship, received her BM in Jazz Performance-Voice and an MM in Contemporary Improvisation both from New England Conservatory. Since first learning to sing at her grandmother’s side, her musical experiences have brought her in contact with a wide range of genres including jazz, folk, country, light opera, contemporary art song, gospel, musical theatre, and pop music. Around the Boston area, she writes songs and plays keyboard for her band, Talk Listen Door, and has active projects in both improvised music and traditional American Roots music.

Tess Plotkin, percussion, has been working at Conservatory Lab for three years as a co-leader of Early Childhood music. She has also been the percussion teacher for the Abbado and Dudamel Orchestras. Tess has an extensive musical background that began with early training in the Suzuki Method. Tess graduated with a BS from Boston University. When not playing music, she enjoys going to the beach, playing sports, and spending time with her family and friends.

A musician of diverse interests, Christopher Schroeder (Brass) is a Boston-based, freelance trumpet player and vocalist. He has performed in a variety of groups including symphonies, jazz trios and pit orchestras. An active music educator, Chris works with the North End Music and Performing Arts Center and teaches adult education courses at Brookline Adult and Community Education and New School of Music, Cambridge.

Amelia Hollander Ames, Viola, is the founder of Con Vivo, an organization that produces free chamber music concerts in her hometown of Jersey City, NJ. She recently moved to Arlington, MA. Before her move, Amelia was on faculty at the Third Street Music School Settlement in NYC and New Jersey City University. She also was conductor of the Youth Orchestra at Trinity Church Wall St., part of the Inter-School Orchestras of NY. Amelia has performed solo recitals in New York, Rochester, Tel Aviv and Oaxaca, Mexico. Festivals include Ecstatic (NYC), the Israel Festival, Prussia Cove, the Singapore Arts Festival, Kneisel Hall, Schleswig-Holstein, Verbier Festival Orchestra, and Cultures in Harmony (Mexico). From 2004—2007, Amelia was a member of the award-winning Israel Contemporary String Quartet (ICSQ), with whom she performed throughout internationally. The ICSQ collaborated with composers such as Josef Bardanashvili and Steve Reich, and with luminaries of the Israeli music, dance and theater worlds. While living in Tel Aviv, Amelia also performed with the Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble and Carmel Quartet, and was on faculty at Jerusalem’s Hasadna Conservatory. Amelia has recorded for the Naïve, New Amsterdam, Nonesuch and Tzadik labels. She is an alumna of the Eastman School of Music and New England Conservatory. Teachers include Martha Katz, Karen Ritscher and George Taylor.

Ariel Friedman, Cello, is a multi-genre cellist, composer and educator. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2008 where she studied cello performance with Hans Jorgen Jensen, and received a Masters of Music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory in 2011. A winner of ASTA’s 2009 Alternative Styles Award, Ariel is steeped in the music of American roots traditions and a broad range of classical repertoire. She tours the U.S. and abroad with her sister as Ari & Mia, highly acclaimed as Boston’s Americana sister act and has also toured with a variety of other folk-based groups. Her string ensemble, the Cardamom Quartet, was selected as the first Quartet-in-Residence with El Sistema Somerville in 2014 and this group continues to work passionately as chamber musicians and teaching artists within the greater Boston community. In addition to her work at Conservatory Lab, Ariel teaches cello at YOFES (Youth and Family Enrichment Services), as well as at Berkshire Kids 4 Harmony, and has taught at music camps and workshops from New England to New Zealand.

Katharine McShane, Cello is a cellist and improviser based in Roslindale, Massachusetts. She holds a B.M. from Ithaca College in Music Education and is currently pursuing a M.M. in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory. When she’s not teaching cello at Conservatory Lab, Katie spends her time touring, recording, and writing music for her many bands.

Maragaret Cerjan, Violin

Santiago Baena Florez, Clarinet, was born in Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia, and began his clarinet studies in the town’s school of music. He later received his Bachelors degree from Universidad de Antioquia in Medellin (Colombia). He completed his Masters Degree in Clarinet Performance at Longy School of Music and Bard College. Santiago has worked with many orchestras, which include the Medellin Philharmonic Orchestra, Wind Band Symphony of the Universidad de Antioquia, Latin-American Wind Band Symphony, La Ceja Wind Band Symphony, Longy Conservatory Orchestra, and International Young Wind Orchestra in Cincinnati 2009. Santiago works with the Abbado woodwinds ensemble, Ives woodwinds ensemble, and Bernstein clarinets.