SSPA Founder & Instructor | Private Instruction in Advanced Piano & Voice
Alex along with his late wife Martha, co-founded the Spindrift School of Performing Arts back in 1994. Alex’s training and experience include a B.A. degree in Piano Performance and a M.A. in Musicology from the University of California. His education includes many years of study with European master teacher, Dusi Mura. Alex is committed to sharing his experience and knowledge with young people. He is also active as a pianist and music director throughout the Bay Area and is currently the Associate Music Director at First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame. He also leads a jazz quartet called Nucleus.
“The arts are a metaphor for life, and as such, play a vital role in a young person’s balanced and well-rounded development. They can do the same for adults, regardless of their age! Music, especially, touches the emotions in a way that few other mediums can. Studying and playing music can be an avenue for all manner of growth, healing, breakthrough, and success. My goal is for my students to express themselves in a way that draws forth who they really are.”
Amy comes to Spindrift from TheatreWorks Silicon Valley where she oversaw the education and outreach programs there. She has a diverse background in theatre and arts education from being a professional musical theatre performer to founding a family theatre company in San Francisco to running an arts education advocacy group for San Mateo County. She has developed theatre and arts education curriculum for kindergartners through 12th Grade and specializes in directing new theatre, both musical and dramatic. She studied Shakespeare at the Royal Academy of Dramatic and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the University of California, Davis. Amy is a proud Pacifica resident and an active member of the Pacifica School District community with two children attending Sunset Ridge Elementary where she serves as President of the Parent Teacher Organization.
Osvaldo de Leon
Director of Music & Instructor | Intermediate/Adv. Piano and all levels of voice
A native of Mexico, Osvaldo earned his BA in Piano Performance at Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey in México and was the recipient of the Mexican National Fund for Culture and Arts grant to complete his MA in Piano Performance and Chamber Music at San Francisco State University. Osvaldo has performed with the Russian Chamber Orchestra in Marin California, the SFSU Orchestra, and the Orquesta Juvenil de Nuevo Leon. He conducted the production of The Marriage of Figaro with Berkeley Chamber Opera. He has also studied composition under the guidance of Jorge Torres and Georgina Derbez.
Director of Dance & Instructor | All levels of Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap & beg. Hip Hop
Erica earned her BA in Dance from San Francisco State University. While there, Erica was a member of University Dance Theatre where she performed works by SFSU dance faculty as well as several works by guest choreographers and ODC/Dance’s Brenda Way. She served as Student Director of UDT during the company’s 2014-15 season. As a member of UDT, Erica also had the pleasure of performing at American College Dance Festival, in both 2014 and 2015. In addition to her involvement as a performer at SFSU, Erica has also showcased her own choreography in the New Moves Student Showcase and was awarded The Dance Service Award for her contributions to the School of Theatre and Dance.
Gary Craig Schoenfeld Jr.
Director of Theatre & Instructor | All levels of Acting, Improv and Musical Theatre
Gary joins the Spindrift Team with a long list of performance & directorial credits Gary has been a teacher with SSPA since early 2016 and teaches all levels of Musical Theatre, directs Play Production classes and teaches in-school drama at Cabrillo. He is also part of an outreach team dedicating to bringing quality theatre opportunities to schools all around the Bay Area. He has always hoped he would have a job like this. He is ready and eager to help inspire the next generation of great artists.
Production Manager & Theatre Instructor | All levels of Acting
Matthew Keuter is a playwright, director and teacher. He worked extensively with The Active Theater Company in NYC, directing their inaugural production in 2009 and premiering his play Bridgeboy in 2011. He recently worker with Virginia Repertory Theater on his new play River Ditty, which premiered in April of 2018. In 2013 he was an Artist in Residence at Arizona State University, where he taught master classes on acting and solo performance, and created the multi-media, noir musical, The Tenement, which was invited to the Kennedy Center American Theater College Festival. His plays have been produced in AZ, CA, CO, and NYC.
Production Assistant & Guest Instructor | All levels of Acting
Lennon started her theatre training at Southern Utah University, home of the renown Utah Shakespearian Theatre. She finished her BA in Theatre at Cal State Long Beach. During her college years she performed roles in many plays and musicals, directed students projects, and collaborated on new plays. She received a teaching credential for secondary education and was a middle and high school drama teacher for nearly a decade. She has directed many plays and musicals at Bay Area theatres, such as Palo Alto Players, Dragon Productions, Theatre Period!, Coastal Rep, and Pacifica Spindrift Players. Some of her favorite projects include Beehive, Sylvia, Aftermath, Moonlight & Magnolias, Private Eyes, Becky’s New Car, and Pippin, to name just a few. Lennon makes regular trips to Broadway, regional theatres, and the London West End whenever possible.
Piano Instructor | All levels
Walter is a performer, educator, and composer. He holds a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in music education and piano performance from San Francisco State University, where he also received his teaching credential. Walter teaches K-12 in the San Francisco Unified School District, as well as private piano and theory/
musicianship skills. He accompanies singers and ensembles regularly throughout the bay area. His compositions have been featured by ensembles in the bay area and beyond.
Dance Instructor | All levels Ballet, Pointe, Modern, and Jazz dance
Brianna began teaching at SSPA in the Fall of 2006. She has a BA in Dance from CSULB, is a member of RequisiteDance and has studied under dance greats Joe Goode, Bliss Kohlmeyer, Douglas Neilsen, Keith Johnson, Lauren Johnson, Alaine Haubert, Allison Deane and Barbara Crockett.
Theatre & Dance Instructor | Beginning Musical Theatre, Acting, and Jazz, Beginning Ballet, Tap and Hip-Hop
Lizzie Chapman found her passion for dance 15 years ago when she took a dance class at a summer camp. Since then, she has danced non-stop and dabbled in just about any dance style imaginable. Lizzie received her BA in Interdisciplinary Dance Studies with double-emphases in Dance Education and Choreography from Humboldt State University. Her senior Interdisciplinary Project, titled “A Story of a Girl”, was chosen to be performed at both the Transformational Justice Festival and at the American College Dance Festival. Before coming to SSPA , Lizzie taught Ballroom, Latin, and Swing as a certified instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Center in Millbrae.
Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Banjo, and Piano Instructor | All levels
Luke has played guitar for 20 years and has been teaching music for 6 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from UC Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Philosophy from San Francisco State University. He has studied music theory extensively, both within the university and independently. The primary styles of music that he focuses on are gypsy jazz, early blues, classical, rock, and Irish music. Luke has also spent years playing slide guitar and working with a variety of open tunings. He teaches both acoustic and electric guitar. In addition to guitar, Luke also plays and teaches Ukulele, Banjo, and Piano. Luke lives in San Francisco and presently plays in several groups around the Bay Area. He also composes music and has worked with local filmmakers to produce original scores for a variety of projects.
Dance instructor | All levels of ballet, jazz, modern, and beginning hip hop
Rachel Epling completed her BFA in Dance and BA in Biological Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara in 2017— discovering an enriching, complimentary interplay between the two. While attending UCSB, she had the opportunity to perform works by Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, José Limón, Andrea Miller, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Lilian Manansala, and Gianna Burright, as well as dance faculty choreographers Nancy Colahan and Valerie Huston. Rachel has performed in England, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and NYC as a part of the UCSB Dance Company. In addition, presented her own work as a part of Junior’s Concert 2016 “Dictionary of Obscured Realities” and Spring Concert 2017 “FREE|FALL”.
Dance Instructor | All levels of Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap, and beg. Hip-Hop
Sarah Escobedo is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She received her BA in Dance from San Francisco State University and is currently working towards an MFA in Dance at Mills College. During her time at SFSU, she was a member of the University Dance Theatre, from 2013-2015 and worked extensively with ODC/Dance’s Brenda Way performing in her repertory works. She currently dances with Mills College’s Repertory Company working with faculty Molissa Fenley and Kara Davis. Sarah has presented her own work at New Moves Dance Showcase since 2014. Sarah has taught for SFUSD and the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center, bringing dance to after school programs.
Dance Instructor | All levels of ballet, jazz, and hip hop, with a focus in contemporary jazz
Kelsey is a professional contemporary dance artist based in the bay area, and holds a BFA in Dance performance from UC Irvine. She has performed works by Twyla Tharp, Brenda Way, Autumn Eckman, Saleemah E. Knight, and many others. Kelsey specializes in contemporary jazz, and is currently a company member of ka·nei·see | collective and Multiplex Dance. She educates students in somatic and kinesiological awareness, while teaching proper technique and encouraging the students to be creative and inspired by movement.
Piano Instructor | All levels
Tatyana Loskutova was born into a family of professional musicians. At the age of 16, she was the winner of the region festival program “New Names”. In 1994, she graduated with honors from Rachmaninov College of Music and went to obtain her degree from St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music.Ms. Loskutova is an active chamber musician in music recitals in the USA, Russia and Holland. She is a member of the Music Teacher Association of California and teaches chamber ensembles in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Ms. Loskutova also studied Arts Management at the St. Petersburg State Theatre Academy. Over a period of many years, she served as an arts administrator at the Vaganova Ballet Academy, Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg State Conservatory, and State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg where she initiated and managed several cultural projects.
Cello Instructor | All levels
Ami is a prominent member of the Bay Area music scene, playing with numerous ensembles and bands including The Holloway String Quartet, Mission Baroque, All My Pretty Ones, as well as playing in numerous orchestras and pit orchestras. She studied chamber music under coaches including the Alexander String Quartet, Martina Trumpp, and Yuval Yaron; cello under Carol Rice, Geoffrey Rutkowski, Mario De Secondi, and Sandy Wilson; and played in master classes taught by such artists as the Juilliard String Quartet, Toby Appel, and David Requiro. She studied cello at the Ruth Asawa SOTA, UC Santa Barbara, San Francisco State University for a MA in Music, and at the Musikhochschule Trossingen in Germany.
Voice Instructor | All levels
Alexandra divides her time between opera, choral, and voice and piano instruction. In addition to extensive opera performance in the Bay Area, she has soloed with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, where she is an AGMA member, and is a member of San Francisco’s newest all-professional chamber choir, Cappella SF. Alexandra is an active recitalist and is dedicated to broadcasting the music of women composers and the Spanish speaking community. Alexandra completed her Bachelor of Music at the University of Miami, and her Masters of Music at San Francisco State University. She has the joy of studying privately with the world-renowned mezzo, Susanne Mentzer, and coaching with William Vendice. Alexandra teaches voice privately and is a lecturer at San Francisco State University. She has two opera loving, very supportive cats.
Voice Instructor | All levels
Elana is a professional singer, teacher, music director and choral conductor currently residing in San Francisco, Ca. Ms. Cowen has a Post-Graduate Certificate and Master’s of Music in Vocal Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as a Bachelor’s of Music from Chapman University with a minor in Germanic Studies. Ms. Cowen teaches voice and has musically directed all over the Bay Area, with companies including Starbound Theatre and Missouri Street Theatre to name a few. Currently, Ms. Cowen is conducting with the San Francisco Youth Chorus as well as being a soloist at the Episcopal Church of St. Matthew’s in San Mateo. Ms. Cowen is also an active performer, performing with companies all over the Bay Area including Pocket Opera, Lamplighters Music Theatre, West Bay Opera and recently debuting at Phénix Opera.
Ms. Cowen specializes in classical and musical theatre, as well as emphasizing the importance of healthy singing, no matter your age! In lessons, the focus is breathing, musicianship, technique and of course, acting and dramatic interpretation. As a performer, emphasizing character and drama while finding that through the technique and musicality is the way to create a singing actor. Ms. Cowen also incorporates learning through games, music theory, ear training and lots of warm-ups! “Where words leave off, music begins.” ― Heinrich Heine