Presenter & Performer Bios

Amy Abbott

The Application of Gender Neutrality in Music Classrooms

Amy Abbott is in her 26th year of teaching elementary music with the past 18 years having been in the St. Vrain Valley School district. She received her undergraduate degree in music education from the University of Colorado at Boulder and obtained her Masters in Music Education with a Kodály Emphasis from Colorado State University. She has Kodály certifications from Portland State University, where she studied with Jill Trinka, Susan Brumfield, Vicki Loebell and Sean Dëibler, and from Colorado State University, where she studied with Sue Litehold-Bowcock and Ann Eisen. Amy has presented sessions at Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) conferences, the Colorado Music Educators State Conference, Oregon Arts Alliance State Conference, various OAKE chapters including KET, SWOKE, KMEK, MTAKE, OKE, KEGA, PKSOR, CAKE NPKC, and has provided professional development in the  Amarillo ISD, Bakersfield MEA, and St. Vrain Valley School Districts. Amy is the Level 2 Kodály pedagogy, folksong and analysis teacher at Colorado State University. Additionally, she has served on the ROCKE board for over 7 years in the roles of  president, secretary, and member-at-large. In addition to teaching general music at Red Hawk Elementary in Erie, Amy also teaches 4th/5th grade choir, tone-chime choirs, and a drum ensemble. When not teaching, she loves spending time with her husband, son and daughter, gardening, blogging (, and creating for her TpT(Teachers Pay Teachers) store: Amy Abbott at Music a la Abbott.

Gemma Arguelles

The Legacy of Mark Williams: Bicinia Americana and Children’s Songs

Gemma Arguelles has taught music learners of all ages as music educator and choir director in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Philippines. She is a frequent presenter at local and national professional conferences, and is in demand for workshops for music organizations including the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). Currently, Gemma is based in California where she teaches PreK-4 music and directs three choirs at The Nueva School in Hillsborough. She serves as adjunct music lecturer at the world-renowned Kodály Center at Holy Names University in Oakland, and conducts the Vivo Chorus of Young Women’s Choral Projects of San Francisco.

Gemma earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education and Choral Conducting from the University of the Philippines, and her Master’s in Music Education with Kodály Emphasis from Holy Names University. She has completed all coursework for herPhD in Music Education at the University of Oklahoma. Recognized for excellence in teaching and service to music education, Gemma  was honored with the 2017 OAKE Outstanding Educator Award. In 2020, she conducted the OAKE National Conference Children’s Choir in Portland, Oregon.

Karen Arlen

Making Connections: History Through Song

Karen Woodward Arlen has been a frequent clinician of music workshops over the years at the local, state and national level. In 2020 she co-presented "Exploring Oregon’s History Through Song" with Douglas Card, Oregon historian/sociologist, and Nancie Kester at the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE)  National Conference in Portland, Oregon. Karen, now retired, taught preschool through 8th grade classroom music at both public and private schools in Oakland and Alameda for many years, including 21 years at Redwood Day School, Oakland, California. She is also an experienced piano and guitar teacher. 

A graduate of University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts in Art, she later received the Master of Music Education with Kodály Music Emphasis from Holy Names University. She was a fellow at the University of California Berkeley History and Social Studies Institute, where she developed her project entitled, Oh California, That’s the Place for Me: Songs of California Immigrants. 

Karen  is past president of the Northern California Association of Kodály Educators and she served on the national board of OAKEs for eight years as Regional Representative and Western Division President. She was co-chair of the national OAKE Conference in San Francisco in 1991. 

Karen  is co-author of Calicanto Associate’s They Came Singing: Songs from California History and Days of Gold! Songs of the California Gold Rush. As a classroom music teacher, she presented and added to Calicanto’s musical historical plays and wrote and illustrated Tutokanula: A Yosemite Legend. She has also written choral arrangements, some of which are featured in the Calicanto Choral Series. Almost three decades have elapsed since Karen suggested California History Through Song as a series of workshops to be presented by the Northern California Association of Kodály Educators. This resulted in many presentations for California music and classroom educators and eventually books, CDs, musical historical plays, and choral arrangements, and included memorable performances at historical venues with the Calicanto Singers.

Karen is honored to be a presenter at this IKS Symposium, in Los Angeles, along with her friend and business partner through the years, Nancie Kester. Our workshop, Making Connections: History Through Song is heartfelt.

Dr. Andrea Asztalos

Warm-ups in the Children’s Choir Rehearsals in the Hungarian Elementary Schools

Dr. Andrea Asztalos received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education and choral conducting at the University of Szeged in Hungary. She is an associate professor and head of the department of music education at the University of Szeged. For 15 years, she taught voice training to children aged 10-18 at the Zoltán Kodály Hungarian Choir School in Budapest. From 2012 to 2015 she conducted the Canterini Children’s Chamber Choir and Cantabile Girl’s Chamber Choir in Budapest. In 2020, she completed her doctoral studies and obtained her Ph.D. in music education, summa cum laude, at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. Dr. Asztalos  has been  a guest professor several times at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj (Romania) and at the University College of Teacher Education Tyrol in Innsbruck (Austria). Her research interests include the problems of children's singing voice production, the development of children's singing voice quality, vocal and choral warm-ups, the development of children's musical abilities, music perception, music cognition, choral pedagogy, sight-singing pedagogy, music teacher’s beliefs, and innovation in music education. Her research has been published in the International Music Educators Journal,  Research Studies in Music Education, Bulletin of the International Kodály Society, Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Series Musica, Parlando, and Educatio. Dr. Asztalos has published four books, one of which is in English, titled The Theory and Practice of Singing Voice Production of Children. She was the presenter at several national and international conferences: The Voice Foundation’s Annual Symposium: Care of the Professional Voice (Philadelphia; 2022; online, 2021; online, 2020), International Symposium on Research in Choral Singing (online, 2022; Northwestern University, Evanston, 2018), International Congress of Voice Teachers (Royal Academy of Music, Stockholm, Sweden, 2017); International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (University of Graz, Graz, Austria, 2018), International Kodály Symposium (Camrose, Canada, 2017),; European Association for Music in Schools Conference (Jelgava, Latvia, 2017; Malmö, Sweden, 2019), International Conference on New Music Concepts Treviso, Italy, 2016), Workshop for Arts Education (Budapest, Hungary, 2018), Music Pedagogy Conference (Debrecen, Hungary, 2018), International Conference of Education Science (Budapest, Hungary, 2018), and the International Music Conference (Szeged, Hungary, 2017-2023).

Dr. Elaine Bernstorf

The Power of Perspectives

Dr. Elaine Bernstorf is Professor of Music Education at Wichita State University. She holds a BME and MME in Special Music Education, and a Ph.D. in Communicative Disorders and Sciences. She taught elementary general music and special music education for 14 years in the Wichita Public Schools and over 30 years at WSU. She served as associate dean and interim dean for the WSU College of Fine Arts. Her research covers elementary vocal music, special music education, early childhood arts education, speech pathology (especially voice, fluency and child language), literacy development, and curriculum development. Bernstorf co-authored NAfME’s book The Music and Literacy Connection (2004, 2014). She served as prior OAKE Higher Education Advisor and was founding administrator for the Wichita State University Kodály Choirs and Certification Program serving from 2004-2019. Dr. Bernstorf has directed applied learning music programs in early childhood and special music education for ENVISION, Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation, and WSU’s university speech-language-hearing preschool. She also is an honors faculty fellow teaching creativity for the Dorothy and Bill Cohen Honors College. She served four times as a national/divisional chair for special learners for MENC/NAfME. Dr. Bernstorf was inducted into the Kansas Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Brenda Beyal

IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum

Brenda Beyal, Diné, is born into the Salt clan and born to the Towering House people. As a 35-year educator, she taught in a multi-age elementary classroom for 32 years. The last few years of her educator career was in the school district working with Native American students and parents as an advocate and supporter. She now is the program coordinator for the Brigham Young University (BYU) ARTS Partnership Native American Curriculum Initiative.

Maurizio Bovero

Active Mind: From Active Listening to the Musical Mind

Maurizio Bovero graduated from Turin State Conservatory of Music. He studied at the political sciences faculty where he graduated with a dissertation about Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno’s philosophy and sociology of music, under the guidance of Enrico Fubini, professor of musical aesthetics. He has also dedicated himself to a path in music pedagogy, attending several courses on historical methodologies of the 20th century (Kodály, Dalcroze, Orff, Willems...). He obtained, in 1997, after a two-year course in Italy, with teachers of the Pedagogical Institute, the special certificate during the XIX International Kodály Seminar at the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music in Kecskemét (Hungary). He studied choral conducting and vocal technique in a biennial course under the guidance of Claudio Chiavazza at the School of Conducting and Vocal Technique of Corale di Sommariva del Bosco (CN).

Maurizio regularly holds  courses and seminars on music pedagogy, collaborating with state conservatories, the Ministry of Public Education and other organizations. He takes part in a working group at M.I.U.R. (Ministry of Public Education) on music education in Italy, as a member of National Music Education Forum,which gathers all the main pedagogical associations such as SIEM, AIKEM (Kodály), OSI (Orff), AIGAM (Gordon), AIJD (Dalcroze), Music in crib.... He is also a tutor designated by the Ministry for Music in Primary School (DM8/11 project). He took part in several conferences organized by universities - as Musik des20 Jahrhunderts als Ressource für die Schule at Bolzano University, and by M.I.U.R., as Music...otto in Turin and Proposte per l’attuazione del DM8 in Rome. In 2019 he took part in the International Kodály Symposium in Kuching (Malaysia) where he held a presentation together with Teresa Sappa, “Choir is listening!”, and in 2021 the Poland Symposium titled Songs from Italy, also with Teresa Sappa .

He is active in teaching from primary school up to secondary school specializing in music, where he teaches instrumental, orchestra and solfège (vocal based music education).

He is President of AIKEM – the Italian Kodály Society and Professor of methodology in Italian Kodály training. He is professor of methodology at the biennial pedagogical master program  with Kodály Emphasis at Benedetto Marcello State Conservatory of Venezia and in the biennial project ‘La mente attiva’ at G.P. da Palestrina State Conservatory of Cagliari.

Dr. James Bowyer

Developing Musicianship in The Choral Rehearsal

Dr. James Bowyer is associate professor of music and director of music education at Bemidji State University. His textbook, Creative Sight Singing (Santa Barbara Music Publishing), has been adopted by high schools and colleges around the world. An active choral composer, Dr. Bowyer’s works are published through Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Heritage Music Press, Lorenz, and Colla Voce. A Kodály and Orff specialist, Dr. Bowyer’s research agenda focuses on music literacy, movement, and music education pedagogy. He has written articles for Choral Journal, Orff Echo, and Music Educators Journal in addition to contributing to Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir II and III (GIA Publications) and The Strength of Story in Early Childhood (Springer International). He presently serves on the editorial advisory board of Music Educators Journal. Prior to his position at Bemidji State University, he taught on the faculties of McPherson College, Loyola University Maryland, Indiana University South Bend, Brooklyn College, the University of Wyoming, the University of Puget Sound, and Gonzaga University. He earned the Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Washington and the Master of Music from Westminster Choir College. Dr. Bowyer has taught music for nine years in public, private, and charter school settings in Indiana, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Washington, USA.

Dr. Susan Brumfield

Whose Music is It, Anyway? Children’s Songs and Games in the Classroom

Dr. Susan Brumfield is professor of music education at Texas Tech University, and founder and artistic director of The West Texas Children’s Chorus. She holds a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Brumfield is known for her work as a teacher, author, composer and conductor. In frequent demand as a commissioned composer, clinician and guest conductor, she has conducted numerous national, regional and all-state choirs, including the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) National Children's Chorus and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Eastern Division Children’s Honor Choir. She has served on the artistic staff of the Pacific International Choral Festival as conductor of the 2019 and 2023 Treble Choral Festival Choirs. 

An internationally recognized expert in the Kodály approach, Dr. Brumfield is the author of First, We Sing! Kodály-Inspired Teaching in the Music Classroom, a series of textbooks and song anthologies published by Hal Leonard Music. The latest publication in that series is 101 Songs and Games for Intermediate Grades, a scholarly folk song anthology. Dr. Brumfield’s other publications include Hot Peas and Barley-O: Children’s Songs and Games from Scotland, Over the Garden Wall: Children’s Songs and Games from England, and Kentucky Mother Goose, co-authored with American folk legend Jean Ritchie. She is currently working on Giro Giro Tondo: Children’s Songs and Games from Italy. Dr. Brumfield is a contributing author for Music Express Magazine and lead program author for McGraw Hill’s new Music Studio basal series.

Dr. Brumfield was honored twice as the Texas Tech University College of Visual and Performing Arts Award for Outstanding Research, and as a two-time finalist for the President’s Book Award. She was the 2019 recipient of the university-wide Barnie E. Rushing Jr. Award for Research at Texas Tech University.

Jenny Brunner

IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum

Jenny Brunner has a Bachelor of Science in Music from Brigham Young University, and completed her Kodály Certification there in 2008. She is a charter member of the László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum and continues as secretary for the group. She and her husband Kyle live in Louisiana, US with their four children. Jenny was most recently the music director for the Lake Charles ACTS Theater production of Hello, Dolly! Jenny’s Spanish language music research and communication skills are invaluable to the Forum.

Dr. Sarah Burns

Steps Towards Musical Creativity

Dr. Sarah Burns, Assistant Professor of music education at Jacksonville State University (Alabama, USA), teaches secondary choral and elementary music methods courses as well as supervises practicum and intern students. Prior to teaching in higher education, Burns taught K-12 elementary and vocal music for 17 years in Girard, Illinois, where for the final 4 years she was able to teach a dedicated Kodály-inspired curriculum for daily music classes – a total of 125 minutes/week to every K-4 student.

Dr. Burns received her D.M.A. in Music Education from Shenandoah University (Virginia), completing the requirements of the program with her dissertation titled An Examination of Elementary Music Textbooks Series to Identify Kodály-Inspired Sequence and Concept, Folk Music, and Pedagogical Tools. She received her M.M.E. with Kodály Emphasis from Capital University (Ohio), and the B.S./A.A. in K-12 School Music from Freed Hardeman University (Tennessee).

She completed her Kodály levels at Webster University and The Kodály Institute at Capital University, where she received her Kodály certification. She has completed all three levels of Orff-Schulwerk at the University of Tennessee, Memphis, as well as training in World Music Drumming, Dalcroze Eurythmics, and Montessori Method.

An active clinician, Dr. Burns has led workshops for local chapters of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (SECKE, MTAKE, NOCKA, etc.) and regional (MKMEA) & national conferences of OAKE. She has presented her research on various aspects of the pedagogy of Kodály at-state (IL-MEA, TN-MEA), national (NAfME, OAKE, CMS), and international conferences (ISME, IKS). This year she began a three-year term serving on the research & publications committee for OAKE.

Current research interests include singing schools in the United States from the mid-20th century to present, action research on the edTPA process, and the use of musical metaphors in the music classroom. Folk song research is ongoing; currently Dr. Burns is in phase one of a new project which is modeled after an existing project in England. This new project will connect local historic events with Alabama folk songs performed by children in the local school system.As an advocate of using 7-shape-notes for music literacy, each summer Burns serves as vocal coach and assistant director of the Singers’ Workshop ensemble at the Texas Normal Singing School in Abilene, Texas.

Amiel Kim Capitan

Kodály Music Education in the Age of Cultural Fluidity: Musings on Personal Observations and Teaching Practice

Amiel is an ethnomusicologist-musician and educator. He holds a Bachelor of Secondary Education in Music Education from the Philippine Normal University - National Center for Teacher Education as well as a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology from the Philippine Women’s University. He received his certificate in Teaching Music with Kodály Emphasis in 2014. Amiel has presented various research papers at international and national conferences both on ethnomusicology and music education. Also, he has been invited by the Department of Education to give workshops on teaching Philippine and world music cultures as well as validate instructional materials for music in basic education. Currently, he is an assistant professor at the PWU School of Music and a part-time lecturer at St. Scholastica’s College and Philippine Normal University. Amiel is also the curator of the music heritage center of PWU which contains the world music instruments collection and composition manuscripts of the National Artist for Music Dr. Lucrecia R. Kasilag and field recordings made by other music scholars.

Carolyn Cheng

The Evolution of the Adaptation of the Kodály Approach in Philippine Music Education

Carolyn Kleiner Cheng holds a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from the University of the Philippines, summa cum laude, and a Master of Arts  in Piano Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, with distinction. She is also currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Performance at the Philippine Women’s University.

Highly involved in music education, she has been trained in the Dalcroze, Kodály, Orff, and Suzuki methods. She received her Dalcroze license at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1982, the first Filipino to do so, and completed a certificate course in the Kodály Method at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, in 2012. In 2018, she completed the San Francisco International Orff Course Level 1 in Carmel Valley, California. The current president of the Philippine Suzuki Association, she received Suzuki training in the 1980s and has been teaching it since then, with a hiatus when she had her family. She is a sought-after clinician in the Dalcroze and Kodaly Methods, having given seminars and lectures all over the Philippines, including Hong Kong and Taipei. She has also given piano master classes to Suzuki students in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, and Jakarta, Indonesia.

A founding member of the Kodály Society of the Philippines, she has served on its board since its inception as treasurer, correspondence secretary, vice president and president, serving as the latter for five terms.

Ms. Cheng incorporated Dalcroze Eurhythmics and the Kodály approach,taught  preschoolers (ages 2-6) from 1985 to 2019 and set up the Kodály program for the grade school and high school levels at Immaculate Conception Academy in San Juan, an exclusive girls’ school from 1994 to 2014. At the University of the Philippines College of Music, she was the former chair of the keyboard department, handling piano majors and minors, and combining Dalcroze activities and Kodály musicianship for dance majors.

Catherine Anne Cheng

Halika! Maglaro tayo! (Come! Let's Play Together!) Filipino Children's Spoken Games

Catherine has taught various grade levels in elementary school but currently teaches kindergarten and first grade students at Immaculate Conception Academy in San Juan City, Metro Manila. She has taught musicianship in the certificate courses run by the Kodály Society of the Philippines and has served as a member of the board since 2019. She has also received a Diploma in Kodály Music Education in 2017 from the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary. She is a graduate of The San Francisco International Orff Courses where she has trained under the internationally acclaimed Orff teachers Doug Goodkin, Sofia Lopez-Ibor, James Harding, Rick Layton, Paul Cribari, Christa Coogan, and Estevao Marques. Catherine holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from UP College of Music in Quezon City, Philippines as well as a Master of Music in Music Education with Kodály Emphasis from Holy Names University, California.

Dr. Hongky Cho

Round Table: Pioneers of the Kodály Movement

Hongky Cho Ph.D. is a music educator, conductor, and theorist who deals with both Western and Korean music. In 1993 he was the first Korean to graduate from the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music in Hungary. In 1995 Dr. Cho established the Korean Kodály Society.

Hongky Cho has presented at international seminars and conferences on topics of Korean music, choral education, and music therapy using Kodály music education. He is interested in art education activities in culturally marginalized areas through school education, social culture, and arts education in Korea. Recently music education has been conducted with interest in various regions of the world that are musically vulnerable. In addition, as a conductor, he is the artistic director of Seoul Kodály Singers, a professional choir. Dr. Cho is chairman of the Korea International Choir Association, and Vice-President of the Korean Federation of Choral Music.

Dr. Pek Lin Chong

Dr. Chong Pek Lin (

D. Mus. (University of Pretoria), LTCL (Trinity College of Music), BSc. (Chemistry, University of Malaya)

Dr. Chong Pek Lin lectured for over 20 years in music education at the Institute of Teacher Education, Batu Lintang, Kuching, Sarawak, where she still serves as a part-time lecturer and consultant after retirement. Since 1995, she has traveled to remote villages in search of Bornean folk songs, especially those suitable for a Kodály program and has actively advocated for their inclusion into the Malaysian school curriculum. 

In July 2006 she was a recipient of the inaugural International Society for Music Education (ISME) Gibson Award for Outstanding Music Educators and presented at the ISME 27th World Conference. Dr. Chong has written numerous articles and several books on the ethnic music of Borneo, including Songs from The Kenyah Community (2nd edition, 2020 [1998]). Since 2020, she has served as a member of the International Kodály Society (IKS) László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum.

Réka Csernyik

New Hungarian Choral Repertoire - Kodály’s Heritage Today

Réka Csernyik is one of Australia's foremost experts in choral conducting, choral conducting pedagogy, and aural musicianship. Born in Hungary, Réka earned master’s degrees in music education, choral conducting, and church music from the world-renowned Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. She has taught music at every level of education – with wide experience in primary and secondary schools as well as at university level. Réka held the position of coordinator of choral conducting and lecturer of aural musicianship at The University of Queensland from 2004 to 2010. In recognition of the program, she received the Award for Teaching Excellence. Réka was founder and director of Sola Voce Chamber Choir. Under Réka's directorship the choir has toured extensively winning numerous national and international awards. In recognition of her musical leadership skills, Réka was also awarded The Best Conductor prize at an international choral competition. In 2015, Réka commenced her role of coordinator of Kodály pedagogy at the Conservatorium High School, Sydney, where she designed the classroom music program as well as re-organised the choral program of the school, gaining recognition of her choirs Australia-wide. Réka's expertise is highly sought after within Australia and overseas. She has regular engagements as a guest lecturer, adjudicator, and workshop facilitator all over the world. Réka has presented papers at various national and international conferences on Australian choral repertoire and Kodály-inspired music education.

Dr. Klára Csordás

The Art Songs of Kodály and Bartók

Hungarian born dramatic mezzo-soprano Klára Csordás performs regularly in operas, concerts and recitals throughout Europe and the Americas. In 2018 she earned her Doctoral degree at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. Having a dramatic voice of remarkable amplitude, in combination with her strong, charismatic stage presence, she is following her natural vocal and artistic leaning in taking on a full dramatic repertoire.

She worked with Ensemble Intercontemporaine in Cité de la Musique, Théatre Champs Elysées, and Théatre Chatelet in Paris, with Bayerische Rundfunk in Herkulessaal in Munich. She was highly acclaimed in the role of “Armida” by Gluck in Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and she performed in a leading role at the Opera Bastille in Paris in the world premiere of Matthias Pintscher’s “L’Espace dernier.” 

Residing in Paris, Dr. Csordás studied voice at the Béla Bartók Conservatory and at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest where she had the rare distinction of receiving a diploma both as an opera singer and as a musicologist. She also studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna. She has subsequently worked with internationally known masters such as Hilde Rössel-Maidan, Nicolai Gedda, Vera Rózsa, Hans Hotter, Peggy Bouveret, and Janine Reiss.

Her main opera roles are Eboli, Preziosilla, Amneris, Brangäne, Kundry, Venus, Waltraute,

Carmen, Judit, Jocasta, Arsace etc. Among other cities, she has performed in Budapest, Vienna, Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Mannheim, Tbilisi, and Paris. She has a vast concert and oratorio repertoire and is fluent in six languages enabling her to have a large Lieder repertoire as well. Among other cities, she has given concerts in New York, London, Paris, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Tbilisi, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Budapest, Stockholm, London, Phoenix Am Hagen, Sofia, Munich, Geneve, Lisbonne, and Montréal. She regularly returns to Hungary where she performs and records with the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Jian Cui

Better Understanding of Music Through Chinese Folk Dance Movements

Jian Cui is a Kodály scholar from China, currently working as an executive board member and director of international affairs at the Beijing Kodály Society. Her responsibilities include teacher training, international cooperation, and curriculum development. Since 2016 ,she  has been studying and researching the Kodály music teaching system in Hungary. She completed the diploma program at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy. During her studies, she organized and published the Chinese versions of Kodály's 333 Reading Exercises and Let us Sing Correctly, while also serving as a translator.

Jian Cuihas conducted in-depth research on the implementation and promotion of the Kodály music teaching system in China. Based on the unique characteristics of music education in China, she has developed music teaching materials that incorporate Chinese folk music and children's songs, specifically designed for music teachers and students in China. Currently, she is providing guidance for the practical application of these materials in the music classroom.

Jian Cui is currently a first-year Ph.D. student at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary where her research focuses on the history of the introduction and promotion of the Kodály music teaching system in China. In 2019, she hosted a workshop titled Teaching Traditional Chinese Melodies at the 24th International Kodály Symposium.

Anna Dalos

Keynote Speaker

Anna Dalos studied musicology at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, and attended the Doctoral Program in Musicology of the same institution, earning her Ph.D. in 2005. She spent a year with the DAAD scholarship at Humboldt University, Berlin. She is head of the Archives for 20th-21st Century Hungarian Music at the Institute for Musicology RCH. Her research focuses on 20th century music, history of composition, and musicology in Hungary. She has published two monographs on Zoltán Kodály (2007, 2015), as well as other Hungarian composers (György Kósa, Rudolf Maros, Pál Kadosa). Her recent monograph on the history of composition in Hungary between 1956 and 1989 was published in Budapest in 2020, and her new monograph on Zoltán Kodály was published by the prestigious University of California Press in the same year. She became Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2021.

Dr. Miriam B. Factora

IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum

Ph.D. (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia), M. Music Ed. (Holy Names University, Oakland, CA, U.S.A.), BM Music Ed. (University of Santo Tomas, Philippines.

Dr. Factora has been a music educator for over 40 years and has been engaged in research on cultural relevance in the curriculum. She has conducted revolutionary research towards the indigenization and localization of the music education program in the Philippines resulting in her publication of several folk song collections. 

She is a charter member and co-chair of the International Kodály Society (IKS) László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum, a member of the organizing committee for the IKS Symposium 2023 and is currently serving on the IKS Board of Directors. Miriam was a keynote speaker during the IKS Symposia held in Ohio, U.S.A. in 2007 and in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2015. She has conducted lectures, workshops and in-service training to students and teachers in different parts of the world. 

Ilona Wanda Finta

Hungarian Folk Songs: A Brief Introduction to a Vast World

Ilona Wanda Finta is a Hungarian born, long time Los Angeles resident artist. Ilona received her BA in Linguistics and in Studio Art at CSDH, later she earned her BSN and public health nurse degrees at CSULA, cum laude. She is proud of her artist Finta ancestry of Turkeve, Hungary.  During her performing arts career she played in Thalia Studio’s and the Hollywood Hungarian Chamber Theater's Hungarian theatrical events in Los Angeles, danced with Kárpátok Folk Ensemble, sang in the Hungarian Kodály Choir of Los Angeles, and became one of the founding members of the Szoboszlai Sandor Hungarian Theatre of Southern California. 

She has performed as an independent artist at Hungarian and avant-garde events in Southern California, appeared at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and even had performances in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto in Japan. Her bronze sculptures have been showcased in Mezotur, Hungary, and her original oil paintings at the Design Center in Antwerp, in galleries in Hungary and Los Angeles; currently on permanent display at the Hungarian Cultural Alliance in Los Angeles. Her ICU VAN FIN Youtube channel helps her to express her love of poetry, her feelings on current events, and it even has a "Napi Ady" section. While art is an integral part of her being, she humbly dedicates herself as a practicing nurse off stage.

Kelly Foster-Griffin

The Legacy of Mark Williams: Bicinia Americana and Children’s Songs.

Kelly Foster-Griffin (she/her) holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington, and a Master’s in Music Education from Holy Names University in Oakland, California. Kelly achieved her National Board Certification in 2007. Since 1988, she has taught K - 5 general music and choir at Moorlands Elementary in the Northshore School District, serves on the Northshore Education Association’s Bargaining Team, and has taught for regional children's choirs for over 25 years. Kelly's leadership roles include serving as president of the Northwest Kodály Educators from 2001 to 2003, OAKE Western Division president from 2008 until 2010, and national president of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) from 2012 to 2014.She is currently serving as the elementary curriculum officer for the Washington State Music Educators Association, 2020 – present. In the Seattle area, Kelly plays violin in the Oak Lake Orchestra and sings and co-directs the Seattle Eesti Segakoor (Seattle Estonian Mixed Choir) which recently participated in the 150th Anniversary of the Laulupidu (Songfest) in Helsinki, Finland, Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia, July 2019.

Prof. Gilbert De Greeve

Round Table: Adaptations of the Kodály Approach in Different Countries

Gilbert De Greeve received his first music lessons from his father. He then studied at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp, notably with Eugene Traey, Jan Decadt and Jacqueline Fontyn. He majored in Performance and Composition. He went on to study in the USA, meeting with Rudolf Serkin and Eugene Ormandy among others. His artistic activities - performing, giving master classes, and lecturing - are taking him all over the globe. 

At the age of 25 he became a professor at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp and director of the State Music Academy of the same city, a school which he developed from its foundation in 1970 into a major institution with more than 4,200 students. He is Honorary Director of the State Music Academy and Honorary Professor of the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. He is also Past President of the International Kodály Society and is in high demand as a lecturer on the international scene.

Virva Garam

The Importance of Kodály's Instrumental Music

Virva Garam (b.1980) studied at the Sibelius Academy with Professors Eero Heinonen and Erik T. Tawaststjerna. She graduated in 2006 receiving the Woman Artist of the Year Award from the International Zonta Society. She studied at the Liszt Academy in 2002 with Professors István Lantos and Csaba Király. Virva has been touring in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Spain playing piano and chamber music, for example with violinist Barnabás Kelemen.Garam’s ensemble, Trio La Rue has recorded the unpublished trios by Sibelius. The trio’s other CD, Astolfo Sulla Luna, was rewarded with the Pro Musica  award. With violinist Mervi Myllyoja, Garam has a CD titled Celebrating Finland 100 years with a program of Finnish music and their own arrangements. Virva published her solo album Sarastus in 2018.

Virva Garam and Olli Varonen founded their chamber music duo in March 2019 when they were chosen as the president and vice president of the Kodály Society in Finland. Soon after they also started playing concerts together.The repertoire this duo plays in their concerts is mostly Finnish-Hungarian, but they have also performed Gamba sonatas by Bach, not to mention other programs as well. Garam and Varonen are  booked through to the autumn of 2023 when they will perform large romantic sonatas for cello and piano. The duo has performed extensively in Helsinki (for example at the Hungarian Cultural Center: Liszt-Institute) and around Finland. Their first concerts in Budapest were in April of 2022.

Matthew Hanne

The Music is the Game: Reconceptualizing “Kodály” in the Secondary Choral Rehearsal

Matthew is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at California State University, Bakersfield, where he teaches courses related to elementary music and voice, and serves as the university supervisor for intern schools in the local school districts. He previously served as the Director of Fine Arts at The Independent School and was on the faculty of Newman University, both in Wichita, Kansas.

Matthew has studied in person at the International Kodály Seminar in Kecskemét three times, including once as a participant in Péter Erdei’s conducting course. Matthew earned his Kodály certification through OAKE at Wichita State University, and has taught solfège, conducting, pedagogy, and materials in several Kodály training courses in the United States.

Matthew has presented workshops related to choral music and the Kodály philosophy at the local, state, regional, and national levels, including presentations at OAKE and NAfME national conferences. He was recently the English language proofreader for Classical Harmony, a translation from a Hungarian textbook. Matthew currently serves on the OAKE national board as the Secondary Education Advisor.

Maree Hennessy

Connecting Kodály Educators Across the Globe:  The Kodály Center at Holy Names University and Its Role in the Founding of the International Kodály Society

Maree Hennessy is a recognized educational leader, professional development facilitator and mentor.

Maree has extensive experience in teaching and learning in multi-level contexts across sectors. She has worked in Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and community contexts and has particular expertise in developing teacher capacity, and mentoring emerging leaders.

As Director of the internationally renowned Kodály Center at Holy Names University,  2015 - 2023, Maree built key community partnerships, developed early career leadership capacity and oversaw the Masters of Music and Graduate Summer Certificate programs based in the Kodály philosophy. She is lead facilitator of music education teacher training courses in Australia and New Zealand, with the Cuskelly College of Music, and is part of the lead team in the South Australia Arts Initiative. 

Maree has presented at conferences in Australia and abroad and her work explores the impact of effective pedagogical practice in contemporary music education settings. Maree has been instrumental in the development of curriculum materials and resources designed to assist teachers in the implementation of effective music programs in school, and has a particular interest in mixed ability settings.  She believes collaboration and reflection are key to building professional learning communities and in achieving excellence in teaching and learning.

Dr. Katherine Hickey

The Original Music Lessons of Jenő Ádám and Zoltán Kodály

Experienced music educator Katherine Hickey earned degrees in piano performance from California State Universities, including a year at the Liszt Academy of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from University of Southern California. She has presented at local, state, national, and international conferences, and courses and symposia on the topics of the Kodály approach, music literacy, choral music, and elementary music education over the last four decades. She presented at IKS Symposia in Poland, Hungary, Canada and Scotland. Her research activity is centered on Jenő Ádám and his role in the Kodály approach. A transcription of twenty hours of Ádám’s oral history of 20th century musical life in Hungary and Europe, and the development of the Kodály approach is being prepared in Hungarian and English for publication. The audio recordings were recorded in Santa Barbara, CA at the home of Dr. Ernő and Katinka Dániel, in the 1960-70s.

Dr. Hickey is currently Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music, University of Redlands in California. She has served as past president (2000-06) and treasurer (2011-2018) of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE), as well as division and local leadership positions. Dr. Hickey co-directs the biennial Los Angeles International Liszt Competition for pianists and singers with Dr. Éva Polgár. A third generation American-Hungarian, she grew up in the rich cultural life of the Hungarian Reformed Church in Los Angeles, California.

János Horváth

The Connection to Post Tonal Music from an Early Age to University Level Training

János Horváth is an international performer and clinician who has taught and performed in Australia, Taiwan, Holland, England, Hungary, Austria, the United States, and Canada. Born and raised in Hungary, he received his training in cello teaching and conducting at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. In addition, he studied cello performance at Boston University and conducting at the Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Players in Maine and participated in masterclasses with Robert Shaw and with John Poole of the BBC singers. 

In 1973, Mr. Horváth was invited to teach at the Kodály Musical Training Institute in Wellesley, Massachusetts. During his tenure there, in addition to teaching graduate-level trainees and children in grades K-3 in the pilot schools of the institute, he also taught part-time at the New England Conservatory. In 1978-79, he was instructor at the Kodály Institute and School in Kecskemét, Hungary, as well as the assistant conductor of the city orchestra and choir. He was granted political asylum in the United States in 1980. 

In that year, after a spring term as visiting professor at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, he accepted a full-time position at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, where he designed and directed the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Kodály Musical Training Institute and founded the Kodály Institute Singers. During his six years in Hartford, he was also principal cellist of the Hartford University Community Orchestra and continued to lecture and conduct internationally. 

In 1987, Mr. Horváth was appointed associate professor of music at the University of Calgary, where he taught courses in music education, musicianship, and conducting. He conducted the University of Calgary Chamber Choir, a mixed choir that participated in festivals and toured extensively in the USA, Canada, and Europe. A finalist in the CBC radio competition, the group has three CD recordings to its credit. He was also assistant conductor of the University of Calgary Orchestra.

While in Calgary, Mr. Horváth also founded and conducted the Musica Viva Chamber Choir. He was musical director of the Calgary Civic Symphony orchestra and served on the jury of Calgary’s Rotary Calgary Concerto Competition (RC3) for several years. In 2009, he conducted the musical Sweeney Todd at the Pumphouse Theatre in Calgary.

In 1999 he was appointed music director of the Putney School in Vermont for one school year.

Mr. Horváth’s work as an international clinician and conductor brought him recognition as the 2009 conductor of the OAKE National Youth Choir performance in Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C. That same year, he was awarded the Pro Coro Achievement Award by the Alberta Choral Federation and the Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Calgary. In 2010, he  was the guest conductor for  the Kodály School and Conservatory’s (his Alma Mater) 60th anniversary in Kecskemét, Hungary Mr. Horváth retired from the University of Calgary in 2011 with the title of Professor Emeritus of Music. 

Since 2011, he has been visiting associate professor at Holy Names University (HNU), where he conducts the Chamber Singers and teaches musicianship and conducting for the Kodály graduate teacher-training program. He is the founder of the HNU Kodály Center Advisory Board, which became in 2021, the Kodály Foundation for Music Education (KFME),  and has been appointed to be an Honorary Trustee.

Since his move to California, he has taught master classes and conducted at the OAKE National Conferences in Atlanta and Oklahoma City, for the Northern California Kodály Association, in Provo, Utah, and at Baylor University in Texas, as well as for the Holy Names University Preparatory Music school and CSU in Chico, California, and the HNU Kodály Center’s 50th celebration at Holy Names University in Oakland. 

Dr. Shinji Inagi

Let’s Have Fun With the Japanese Warabeuta!!

Born in Shizuoka, Japan, Shinji Inagi earned his undergraduate degree in physics and music at Brigham Young University and continued his musical education there, earning a masters degree. He then earned his doctoral degree from the University of Arizona. During his doctoral program, he also studied Kodály music education with Dr. Jerry Jaccard at Brigham Young University. He is known not only as an organist, but also as an educator and composer whose works have been performed world-wide. He is currently on the faculty at Nagoya Women’s University in Japan, where he teaches music education courses. He is also serving as a board member for the Japan Kodály Society and International Kodály Society.

Masahiro Inukai 

Common Points Between Japanese and Western Musical Scale Transitions.

-Movement of the core tone (tonic) in the scale- (from ”Re, Mi, Fa, So” to ”La, Do”)

In 2020, Masahiro completed the master's program at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét with a scholarship from Mrs. Kodály. Currently he is holding a Stipendium Hungaricum scholarship and is enrolled in the master's course in choral conducting at the Liszt Academy in Hungary.

In 2022, he won the Grand Prix at the Pásztó Choir Festival and the first Rajeczky Prize in Hungary for conducting the female ensemble Flores.

Dr. Jerry L. Jaccard

IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum

EdD University of Massachusetts-Amherst,  MME Kodály Emphasis Holy Names College, BMusEd University of Arizona

Professor Emeritus Dr. Jerry L. Jaccard is the President of the International Kodály Society (IKS), and a charter member and co-chair of the IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum. At the beginning of his career, he was profoundly influenced by the trust, wisdom, and culture-sharing of indigenous Diné (Navajo) among whom he lived, learned, and taught. He taught music in the Kodály way throughout his entire 45-year career before retiring, and is now writing about those experiences. 

Dr. Jaccard continues to teach pedagogy and music literature research in the InterMuse Academy for Kodály Certification at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He received the 2022 Organization of American Kodály Educators Lifetime Achievement Award.

Judith Johnson

Round Table: Pioneers of the Kodály Movement

Judith Johnson holds a Master of Music in Music Education from Holy Names University, a TMusA (Teacher of Music Australia) qualification from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and a Certificate of Teaching from Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education, Brisbane. She has held teaching positions at Clayfield College, Brisbane, Holy Names College in Oakland, California, and the University of Queensland, and has worked throughout Australia and internationally in teacher training.

After Judith Johnson completed her Kodály training at Holy Names College, she returned to her school, Clayfield College in Brisbane, where over 26 years she implemented a renowned Kodály based program from Pre-School to Matriculation (Year 12). Judith facilitated the first Kodály summer programs in Australia, and later, taught summer and academic year music education courses in aural musicianship and classroom methodology at the School of Music, The University of Queensland. 

During her retirement Judith continued to provide in-service training for teachers both locally and overseas.  She is a Past President of the Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia (now, Kodály Australia) and during her time as President she helped prepare the curriculum of Do-re-mi Music for Children, a Kodály based pre-instrumental program, for early childhood. 

Judith served for eight years as Vice President of the International Kodály Society, and is recognized as an Honorary Member of IKS.  She is the author of a number of texts for music education which are used extensively by music educators and in teacher training.

Dr. Zoltán Juhász

IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum

Dr. Zoltán Juhász was born in Budapest in 1955. He graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Technical University in Budapest in 1978 and obtained his university doctorate and Ph.D. degrees in 1982 and 1997. He is a senior research fellow at the Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science in Budapest, where he works in the field of computer-aided study of folk music, including inter-ethnic connections. 

He is a charter member of the International Kodály Society (IKS) IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum. He also collects, studies, and plays traditional flute and bagpipe music. He teaches traditional flute playing at the Franz Liszt University of Music (Budapest) and has published numerous studies in both of his research fields. As a performer of Hungarian folk music, Dr. Juhász has recorded numerous CDs and has played in many countries.

Dr. Mary Ellen Junda

Work Songs

Dr. Mary Ellen Junda, Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Connecticut, is recognized as an innovative educator, conductor, scholar, and recording artist. Her teaching, research and creative activity centers on social justice, social consciousness, culture, and song.

Dr. Junda is founding director of UConntabile, the university’s treble chorus, and Earthtones, the world music vocal ensemble. Earthtones’ unique multi-media performances have included the music, history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War Era, Gullah Geechee people, Irish-American experience, Work Songs and the Woodstock Music Festival. Dr. Junda was awarded the Howard Foundation Fellowship in Music Performance from Brown University in recognition of her exemplary choral musicianship and was honored to conduct the OAKE National Youth Choir in 2002 and 2022. Her Singing with Treblemakers recordings earned four Parents’ Choice Awards, including a coveted Parents’ Choice Classic Award, and continue to be recognized globally on several music streaming services as models of children’s vocal artistry.

Dr. Junda developed Sing and Shout! A History of America in Song as a unique university general education academic course that integrates history and culture with communal singing and song-writing. As a Summer Scholar for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Institute on Global Music and Culture she further refined her pedagogy, with subsequent articles featured in The Choral Journal, General Music Today, and College Music Symposium; and as co-author in the International Journal of Education and the Arts. Dr. Junda was co-director for four NEH Landmarks in American History and Culture Programs, Gullah Voices: Traditions and Transformations (awarded $730,000); co-author of the lead chapter in Songs of Social Protest: International Perspectives; and co-author of an article in International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies. Recent conference presentations include the 2021 IKS Conference, 2020 ACDA Eastern Division Conference, 2019 OAKE Eastern Division Conference, 2019 Choral Symposium: Relevance, College Music Society National Conference, International Symposium for Singing (Canada);,Songs of Social Protest (Ireland), and Protest Songs and Social Justice (Portugal).

Dr. Junda earned a B.M. magna cum laude from the University of Hartford, M.M.Ed from Holy Names University and an Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. She currently serves as past president of UConn-AAUP, working to ensure that 1800+ faculty retain their rights to academic freedom.

Kárpátok Hungarian Folk Ensemble

Kárpátok Hungarian Folk Ensemble of Los Angeles was founded in 1965 by a group of young Hungarian immigrants wishing to preserve their heritage. The name Kárpátok after the Carpathian Mountains, was chosen as a symbol of greater Hungary.  The ensemble’s repertoire includes examples from all three dance dialects: Transdanubia, the Great Hungarian Plains, and Transylvania. Through the years, more than 500 members have participated in Kárpátok. This figure becomes even more significant when one realizes that no member receives any monetary benefits.

Kárpátok Hungarian Folk Ensemble celebrated its 58thAnniversary in 2023 with the dance movie Karpatok Revived – The Post Pandemic Project.  The group is a lasting legacy of the 1956 generation in Los Angeles.

Nancie Kester

Making Connections: History Through Song

Nancie Kester is a recently retired faculty member of the music department at Diablo Valley College, California, and has taught piano, theory, and composition in her independent Berkeley, California studio. She received a BA in piano and music composition from California State University, East Bay. After completing her Masters of Music Education with Kodaly Emphasis from Holy Names College in 1975, and teaching Kodály for several years, Nancie received an Oakland Public Schools / Gerbode Foundation grant to train two groups of local musicians in the Kodály approach. After a year of training in Ms. Kester’s program, these Kodály teachers brought music education to all the elementary schools in Alameda, California for several years until Prop 13 ended the program.

Nancie Kester served as both Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) regional representative and member-at-large. She was co-founder and first president of NCAKE. She was also instrumental in helping to plan the OAKE meetings that took place in Oakland and San Francisco.

Ms. Kester has been involved in the collection, publication, and performance of traditional songs from California and the West. She is a co-author and partner in Calicanto Associates, publisher of books, CDs, choral arrangements, and musical plays featuring songs with historical relevance. In this endeavor, Nancie has given workshops throughout California and the United States.

Nancie Kester has composed and arranged numerous works for chorus, piano and instrumental ensembles. Many of her compositions have been influenced by folk music. Ms. Kester won prizes in the 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2022 Music Teachers Association of California Composer’s Today competitions. She is a published composer in the Colla Voce International Choral Series.

The following of Ms. Kester’s compositions were performed within the last few years: Desert Moonlight for two guitars and flute was performed in San Francisco through the National Association of Composers. Her chamber orchestra work Turkish Impressions was premiered with the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra. California Collage, Nancie’s triptych for chorus, two pianos, and percussion, was performed at California State University East Bay.

More information about Nancie Kester can be found on her website:

Jana Kitamura Martin

Music of My Hawaii: Song and Cultural Context

Jana Kitamura Martin has taught music for over 20 years, with experiences in PK-12 vocal and general music. She holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Northern Colorado and Masters in Education in Curriculum and Instruction. She completed her Kodály Certification at New York University, and her Orff certification at DePaul University. She also had the opportunity to continue her musical learning by participating in the 2017 Kodály Seminar at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary, to learn more about the methodology in the birthplace of Kodály. 

Jana currently teaches general music at Highcrest Middle School in Wilmette Public Schools, and directs the Wilmette High Five Junior Choir for students of all abilities. She has been a member of the faculty at the DePaul University Summer Kodály Institute, teaching musicianship classes since 2016, and has recently joined the faculty at California State University Bakersfield, teaching pedagogy and materials. Martin is a member of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) Board of Directors serving in the position of member at large. She also serves as chair of the OAKE Equity Committee, member of the OAKE Teacher Education Committee, and serves on the board of the Chicago Area Kodály Educators. She has presented professional development sessions for OAKE (2022, 2023) and ILMEA (2018, 2020, 2022) conferences, as well as local workshops for teachers and university students in several states.

Dr. Thomas Kite

Demystifying the Augmented Sixth Chords - Solfa Can Simplify

Always fascinated by harmony, Kite has spent his life studying sounds that touch him emotionally. At age six, his first conscious harmony was a half-diminished 7th chord (t, r f l), although he knew neither the label nor the solfa at the time. Through his work with a variety of talented Hungarian theorists who understood Kodály's message, Kite continues his work in ear-training as a foundation to the world of good music.

Kata Körtvési

In Anticipation: Teaching Music with Conscious and Instinctive Movement

Kata Körtvési graduated from the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Hungary in music education and choral conducting. She was assistant lecturer in solfege, music theory, score-reading and choral conducting at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music Teacher Training Institute. She worked as the solfege instructor of the Hungarian Radio Children's Choir. Kata was also the music director in drama and musical performances as well as the conductor at Sure Chamber Theatre, Szkéné Theatre, Jókai Mór Theatre and Jászai Mari Theatre. Since 2010 she has been working as artist teacher at the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music. As a music teacher, choir conductor, and Kokas educator, she is regularly invited to teach and hold workshops and courses all over the world.

Kathy Kuddes

Bartók's "For Children" - Miniature Masterworks

Kathy Kuddes holds bachelor's and master’s degrees in music education from Millikin University and the University of North Texas respectively, and a Kodály training certificate from the FAME/University of Texas program at Festival Hill in Round Top, Texas. She retired in July of 2022 after serving 38 years in public music education in various Texas, U.S.A. school districts. Prior to her final position as the Director of Fine Arts in the Plano Independent School District for 20 years, she taught elementary music in Plano, College Station and Killeen, Texas; and secondary music in Stafford, Texas. She is the founder, coordinator and folk music research & materials instructor of the Plano Kodály Teacher Training Program at Southern Methodist University. In her retirement Kathy is currently doing folk song research for McGraw Hill Education. She remains an active presenter doing presentations at state MEA conferences, AOSA and OAKE national conferences and the International Kodály Society Symposia in Australia, Hungary, and Scotland. Kathy is a former member of the boards of the Kodály Educators of Texas (KET), the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE), and the Texas Music Administrators Conference (TMAC). She was the recipient of the 2010 OAKE Outstanding Administrator Award, the 2016 TMAC Outstanding Administrator Award, the 2020 KET Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2020 Arts Leadership Award from the ArtCentre of Plano.

Anne Laskey

Keynote Speaker

Anne Laskey, Professor Emerita of Music at Holy Names University in Oakland, CA, retired in 2015 as director of the Kodály Center where she taught pedagogy, practicum and folk music and supervised student teaching for over 20 years. Anne holds an MA in Music from Claremont Graduate University, and a Kodály Specialist Certificate from Holy Names University. Her previous positions include 12 years as music specialist at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in San Francisco and five years as assistant conductor of the San Francisco Boys Chorus.  She served three terms on the OAKE board and was the national program chair for the 2004 OAKE Conference in San Francisco.  In 2008, she received OAKE’s Outstanding Educator Award. Anne is co-editor of Bright Morning Stars Are Rising, the 50th Anniversary Anthology of the Kodály Center, published in 2022. She is continuing research for the online American Folk Song Collection, which she co-created with Gail Needleman. (

Dr. Dominika Lenska

Connecting Roots and Heritage to Our Present Communities through Music

Dr. Dominika Lenska graduated from the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice at the Faculty of Music Education (1999), She spent one year studying at the Zoltán Kodály Institute of Pedagogy in Kecskemét, Hungary (1997/1998). Dr. Lenska completed her postgraduate studies in music psychology at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw (2001-2002).  Zoltán Kodály's concept became the basis of her pedagogical and scientific work, which resulted in her doctoral dissertation The work of Zoltán Kodály and its topicality in Poland at the turn of the XIX/XX century defended in the discipline of music theory (2010).  She participated many times in the Polish-Hungarian Kodály Seminars and the International Kodály Seminars. From 2013 to 2017 Dr. Lenska  was the director of the International Kodaly Society (IKS). From 2009 to 2017 she was the vice president of the Zoltán Kodály Association in Poland, becoming president in  2017 From 2007 until 2012 she was the regional coordinator of the National Program for the Development of School Choirs Singing Poland at the International Festival Wratislavia Cantans, Katowice region.

She gained her pedagogical experience working at Primary School No.1 in Katowice (1999-2015), where she led the so-called "singing classes" with an original program based on the assumptions of Kodály's pedagogy.

Author and producer of the project Preschooler Academy, music classes for children aged 1.5 to 6 based on the assumptions of Kodály pedagogy (2010 to date).

Dr. Lenska is currently assistant professor in the department of music pedagogy at the Academy of Music. She is the author of numerous articles and publications, such as Folk music in the education of a small child (Katowice 2014), which was created from the experience of working with young children as part of the Preschooler Academy run by the author; Folk children's musical games. Theory and Practice (Katowice 2019).


Joan Litman

Shadows in the Moonlight: Navigating Cultural Complexity in Global Song, Conversation, and Reflection

Joan Isaacs Litman, a native of Los Angeles, has been a music educator and choral director in both California and the New York City metropolitan area for nearly fifty years. With a longing to stimulate curiosity, interest, and appreciation of less understood cultures, she has focused her research on traditional songs and singing games of Latin America and the Middle East, in cultural context. She is the author, featuring Syrian composer Wassim Ibrahim, of Shadows in the Moonlight: Middle Eastern Songs to Sing, Dramatize and Perform.

Joan has taught and guest conducted widely in the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and throughout the United States. For many years Joan was a member of the music faculty of the United Nations International School in New York City. Currently, she is artist-in-residence at the Mustard Seed School, Hoboken, NJ, USA, where she is also a founder and Music Director Emerita. Joan received Westminster Choir College’s first Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2009, she was named Educator of the Year for the Organization of American Kodaly Educators.

Joan is the founding artistic director of Cantigas Women’s Choir, also in Hoboken. She is particularly passionate about learning well loved songs of immigrant communities, and uplifting spirits by singing together. World Songs and Conversations

Riccardo Lorusso

"Il Canto della Gente" - A Musical Journey into the Best Italian Songwriting of All Times

Musician, composer, and teacher, Riccardo Lorusso has been active on the national and international scene for over 20 years. Multiple graduate with the highest votes, multi-instrumentalist, his main instrument is the guitar which he juggles in a formidable and eclectic way, as well as a singer with the persuasive Latin notes typical of his homeland, Puglia; already a composer and arranger both in the cultured field (soundtracks, orchestra), and the extra cultured (jazz, latin, rock, pop).

He has several recordings with various national and international artists as an arranger and musician, and a solo album Riflessi with Alma Production in 2022.

Repeatedly featured in the national press, his curriculum includes prominent collaborations and concerts in concert festivals of national and international importance (Umbria Jazz 2016, Apulia Suona Festival, Puglia Sounds (Barcelona, Porto, Budapest, Paris, Wien, Havana). He is an endorser artist for the Italian guitar brand Eko.

Fernando Malvar-Ruiz

Effective Warm-up Exercises for the Body, Mind, Spirit, and Voice

Fernando Malvar‐Ruiz, is serving his fifth season as Artistic Director of Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, having commenced his tenure on August 1, 2018. Mr. Malvar‐Ruiz is an internationally regarded choral conductor, clinician, and educator, who has worked with children’s and youth choirs his entire career. 

From 2004 to 2017, he was the Artistic Director of The American Boychoir, leading the ensemble in over 150 performances and up to five national and international tours annually. He has prepared choirs for appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, LA Opera, San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has worked with such conductors as Gustavo Dudamel, Marin Alsop, Pierre Boulez, Yannik Nézet-Seguin, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Valery Gergiev, as well as artists ranging from cellist Yo‐Yo Ma, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, pop legends Billie Eilish, Beyoncé Knowles, Sir Paul McCartney, Josh Groban, and opera singers Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman. He conducted The American Boychoir on six recordings, led its performances on the Academy Awards and a 9/11 Memorial Service broadcast globally on CNN. Mr. Malvar-Ruiz was the music director for the film Hear My Song (Boychoir), starring Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Debra Winger, and Josh Lucas.  


Mr. Malvar‐Ruiz previously served as The American Boychoir’s Associate Music Director from 2000‐2004 under James Litton. An expert in the adolescent voice, he has guest conducted children’s and youth choirs around the globe. He has a master’s degree in choral conducting from Ohio State University and completed the coursework toward a doctoral degree in choral music from the University of Illinois.  

Juanda Marshall

Make "My" Culture Matter During the Winter Holiday Performances

Juanda’s mission is to help others know the joy of making music and to know how music can be a powerful and exciting part of their lives. She has lived out this mission, teaching music to students aged 2 through adults for over 30 years.

Juanda fell in love with singing early and began performing music in the church. She later received a BM degree from the University of Portland in Oregon and taught music on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Music integration was the focus to receive her master’s in elementary education from the University of San Francisco.

A move from the Monterey Peninsula to Los Angeles provided her the chance to perform as a professional in show business. Her vocal talent gave her the opportunity to perform with the world-renowned LA Jubilee Singers and the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Jazz Choir. She has enjoyed her performing in classical concerts, musical theater, and opera productions. Juanda brings her show business experience into her teaching practice in her lesson design and through coaching her students toward performance.

Juanda is an active presenter on the local and national levels. Most recently her sessions have focused on her activities and approach about how to make culture matter for students. This approach focuses not only on adding inclusive curriculum and historical context, it also pertains to creating an environment of trust, risk-taking, and collaboration. She believes it is important for students that instruction has authentic real-world connections that are meaningful for them.

Currently, Juanda teaches music to PK-5th grade students. She received the 2023 Earnest R. Yee Illuminating Culture Award from the California Music Educators Association. This award seeks to recognize professionals and programs that integrate the personal and historical cultural perspectives of their students and community through music; it further seeks to recognize programs that use methods that connect student talent while honoring culture and ethnic heritage.

Juanda has also received recognition from the Los Angeles City Elementary Schools Music Association with an honorary life membership. She credits her national board certification and Kodály certification with providing her with powerful professional growth experiences. Her work toward these accomplishments has guided her to gain a greater understanding of how to make a positive difference for her students and the teachers that she mentors. Juanda's passion for music education has led her to many wonderful adventures and she is looking forward to many more.

Dr. Sandra Mathias

Building a Courageous Choral Classroom

Dr. Sandra Mathias is a graduate of SUNY - Fredonia (BS in Mus. Ed.); Ball State University (MA with Orff Concentration), The Ohio State University (Ph.D. in Mus. Ed.), and The Kodály Center of America (Kodály Certificate).  She holds the title -  Professor Emerita of Capital University, where she served as Professor of Vocal Music Education for 29 years.  While at Capital she taught vocal music education courses, supervised student teachers, directed the Women’s Chorus, developed and coordinated the Capital in Hungary Honors Program, the Master of Music in Music Education, and served as the Director of The Kodály Institute at Capital.  She is also Artistic Director Emerita of the Columbus Children’s Choir, where she served as Founder/Artistic Director for 25 years. Under her direction, the New World Singers of the Columbus Children’s Choir performed at the national conferences of ACDA, OAKE, AOSA, and MENC; with the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO; the Chautauqua Symphony at the Chautauqua Institution; and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra (CSO).  The choir shared their music with audiences in Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, and Canada. The choir received first place in the Youth Division of The American Prize and  have performed at the White House.  


Dr. Mathias is the recipient of the Kodály Institute Intezetért Award, the CSO Community Music Educator of the Year, the Southside Settlement Arts Freedom Award, and Outstanding Educator Award from OAKE.  She has presented papers at conferences in the United States, Hungary, Australia, England, Hungary, and China.  During her career, she presented sessions at AOSA, OMEA, and OAKE.  She is a Past President of the Organization of American Kodály Educators(OAKE). She has served as the R & S Chair for Children’s Choirs for OCDA and Central Division of ACDA. Dr. Mathias has served as guest conductor for the Georgia All-State Middle School Treble Chorus, the OAKE National Children’s Choir, 5th Grade Honor Chorus for the Lake Charles, LA Honor Chorus Festival, and NY American Choral Directors’ Association Children’s Honor Choir.  She has also served as consultant for the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir.  She has presented conference sessions for OMEA, AOSA, MENC, OAKE, and IKS.  She is a Past President of OAKE and past Vice President of the International Kodály Society.

Roselle Elinore Matias

The Evolution of the Adaptation of the Kodály Approach in Philippine Music Education

Roselle Elinore Matias graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of the Philippines College of Music after finishing her Diploma in Creative Performing Music and Arts in Voice.  She is the former subject area coordinator for music at the Ateneo de Manila Grade School, and is now teaching Kindergarten and Grade 6.  She has also taught grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. 

She received the Certificate in Teaching Music with Kodály Emphasis in 2004, training under Judit Hartyányi and has, since then, been the course director of the Kodály Society of the Philippines’ summer course and short seminars. She also handles the Level I Practicum in the Summer Certificate Course.  In 2007, she was part of the team of Dr. Miriam Factora that worked with Dr. Mary Goetze in teaching the World Youth Choir how to perform Tinikling during the 18th International Kodály Symposium in Columbus, Ohio, USA.  She attended the Asia Kodály Symposium in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 2016 and the International Kodály Symposium in Malaysia in 2019.  She finished the Master of Arts in Music Education with Emphasis in Kodály Teaching at the Philippine Women’s University in 2012. She is the current president of the Kodály Society of the Philippines. 

Prof. Donna Menhart

Folk Songs to Masterworks: a Pedagogical Analysis Using Kodály Techniques

Donna Menhart, Associate Dean for Academic Innovation and Associate Professor of Ear Training (Kodály) at The Hartt School, University of Hartford. From 1990-2011 Professor Menhart served as coordinator and Kodály ear-training/music theory instructor for the Performer’s Certificate Program, a college preparatory program for advanced high school musicians she developed for The Hartt School Community Division. As a Kodály master teacher, Professor Menhart has taught musicianship Levels I, II, and III for the Summer Kodály Certification Program at the Kodály Institute at Capital University in Ohio.

Professor Menhart is immediate past president for the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE), Past President for the Eastern Division of OAKE, and Past President of the Kodály Educators of Southern New England (KESNE), has served on the KESNE Board since 2008, and was the National Program Chair for the 2013 OAKE Conference in Hartford, Connecticut. Donna presents regularly on Kodály pedagogy for local, regional, and national professional music organizations, including the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 25th International Kodály Symposia in Kecskemét, Hungary; and in Edinburgh, Scotland, Alberta, Canada, and Katowice, Poland. Donna is published in the Kodály Envoy of OAKE, the Choral Journal of the American Choral Directors Association, and the Bulletin of the International Kodály Society.

Lydia Mills

Conectando Corazones, Connecting the Hearts of Our Spanish Speaking Communities Through Music

Lydia Mills has specialized in teaching music with the Kodály method for the last 20 years. She received the Master's in Music Education with an emphasis in Kodály from Holy Names University in 2002. Lydia has taught PreK-6th grade music in bilingual schools in the Bay Area as well as in Santiago, Chile. Besides teaching children, Lydia has led teacher training programs in the Kodály approach throughout Latin America, and started the Kodály institute training programs in both Puerto Rico and Chile. She has researched children's traditional singing games in Spanish in collaboration with other music teachers and folk musicians from Latin America. Lydia has self-published a number of music books and recordings of children’s music in Spanish for teachers and families, and is currently working on a book on the Kodály approach in Spanish. Her website is Lydia recently returned with her three children from living ten years in Chile, and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Dr.  Sylvia Munsen

Developing Expressive Singing and Independent Musicianship in the Choral Rehearsal

Sylvia Munsen has degrees from St. Olaf College (B.A.) where she sang in the St Olaf Choir and from the University of Illinois (M.S. and Ed.D.) In addition to studies in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, she is a master level Orff-Schulwerk specialist and a certified Kodály specialist. Her career spans nearly 50 years in music education – teaching early childhood, elementary general music, undergraduate and graduate courses in higher education, and founding & conducting children’s choirs. She has been active throughout her career as a clinician and conductor of more than 45 youth festival-and honor choirs including all-state choirs and festivals at Carnegie Hall and in Brazil. Also, Sylvia has conducted choral workshops at state, national, and international conferences including master classes with choirs in Brazil and China.

Sylvia has founded and/or conducted children’s choirs in eight states. Most notably, she was the founder/conductor of the Ames Children’s Choirs program in Iowa (1995-2011). The Concert Choir was selected to perform at two North Central ACDA Conferences and national Orff-Schulwerk and Kodály conferences. The Concert Choir toured throughout the U.S. and in Canada, the Czech Republic, and Norway,  and performed the world premiere of John Rutter’s 'Mass of the Children' at Carnegie Hall with the composer conducting. Sylvia created and served as director/conductor of children’s choir festivals in Iowa and Utah featuring bass-baritone Simon Estes and commissioned works by Bob Chilcott, René Clausen, Rollo Dilworth, and Z. Randall Stroope, who conducted the premieres.

Sylvia coordinated and taught in early childhood programs in Iowa and Arizona. Most recently, she established a program for the Early Learning Center at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Sylvia and her colleague, Gloria Day, co-authored a K-2 music education curriculum, a special project at the University of Arizona, which was utilized in Tucson elementary schools with a need for arts education. She continues to serve as a program supervisor for elementary and music education students at the University of Arizona. She created, coordinated, and supervised international student teaching programs in Norway and China. By invitation, Sylvia taught music education courses at Høgskulen på Vestlandet (The Teacher’s College) in Bergen for the Fall 2022 term. She has published choral arrangements with Kjos and Santa Barbara. Fun fact: Sylvia sang in and arranged music for the trio, The Chenilles, who performed for four years on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Judith Neszlényi

Round Table: Pioneers of the Kodály Movement

Judith Neszlényi grew up with the teachings of Zoltán Kodály, and became a pupil in his folklore class at the Liszt Academy, Budapest. She is an accomplished pianist and composer of large scale choral works such as Magyar Requiem, ODA 1956, and Musicale among others. 

After the Hungarian Freedom Fight of 1956, Neszlényi received refugee status in the United States. Her career in music continued in California as artist in residence and pedagogue at California State University, Los Angeles. Mrs.Neszlényi introduced the Kodály principle to her students during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1969, she, along with her colleague and fellow Kodály-pupil Emma Serényi, held the very first introductory presentations about the Kodály philosophy, as well as musicianship classes at Holy Names College. Mrs. Neszlényi was also one of the performers at the 1st International Kodály Symposium held in 1973 at Holy Names College. Oakland, California. 

As an avid interpreter of Kodaly's piano works, she has performed his piano compositions on four continents. In 1990 she established and co-directed the LAILC, Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, with Geraldine Keeling, now successfully continued by Éva Polgár and Katherine Hickey, both performers and Doctors of Musical Arts. Through her lectures, articles, and musical renditions, she is known as a representative of Hungarian composers. Her interviews with Maestro Kodály in 1966, when he visited California the last time, are greatly valued by the Kodály Institute of Hungary as well as the Cleveland Academy of Arts. Her music and literary works are available on Summitt Enterprises. 

It is Mrs. Neszlényi's joy to see the fruition of the Kodály method not only in the United States, but all over the world. Welcome to the Los Angeles Celebration of 2023!

Dr. Georgia Newlin

With Silver Buttons All Down Her Back! 

Georgia A Newlin, DMA, is an independent music education consultant. She has taught in early childhood/public school music positions for sixteen years and at the collegiate level for sixteen.

Currently, Georgia is called upon as a conductor for choral festivals and as a clinician for choral workshops, reading sessions, and intermediate grade methodology, as well as a consultant for curriculum planning. She teaches musicianship, conducting, and ensemble in Kodály programs at Indiana University, University of Hawai’i, and Plano at Southern Methodist University.

Georgia is Past President of the Organization of American Kodály Educators and is a member of The VoiceCare Network. She has had articles published in the Choral Journal, Orff Echo, Kodály Envoy, and Southwestern Musician, among others. She served for three years on the Music Educators Journal Advisory Committee of NAfME.

Dr. Newlin has presented at conferences of the Organization of American Kodály Educators, International Kodály Society, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Kodály Music Educators in Australia, Kodály Society of Ontario, and Association for Music in International Schools, as well as Choral/Music Education associations in eighteen states.

Georgia is founder/Artistic Director of the Valley Treble Voices, an adult treble choir in Harrisonburg, VA. She has been the Artistic Director of the Waldorf Choral Society in Garden City, NY, founder/Artistic Director of the Adelphi University Vocal Ensemble, and Artistic Director of The Susquehanna Valley Chorale Children’s Choir in Lewisburg, PA. In addition, she has been a faculty member of the James Madison University Vocal Arts camp as well as the Children’s Chorus of Maryland.

Music Is Elementary has published her book, One Accord: Developing Part-Singing Skills in School-Age Musicians [Revised Edition] (2023), and she is currently editor of their Crooked River Choral Project with three newly released titles (2022). Georgia is also published with the Ruth Dwyer Choral Series from Colla Voce.

Prof. Michalis Patseas

Relative Solmization vs Greek Music Modes.  Using Kodály Relative Solmization to Sing and Analyze Greek Folk Music and Byzantine Church Music Modes.  

Professor Patseas is a Greek conductor, music-pedagogue, and musicologist. He is the Director of the Kodály Conservatoire as well as the Athenaeum Conservatoire, president of the Union of Greek Private Conservatoriesormer president of the International Kodály Society. He is also the former executive secretary of the Hellenic Choir’s Association.

He has taken part in 35 music congresses in 18 countries, mainly as an invited lecturer, and  has published articles and papers in peer reviewed journals. He teaches conducting and music pedagogy at international seminars and universities.

Professor Patseas conducts choirs and orchestra ensembles, and has appeared at the Megaron - the Athens Concert Hall, the Pallas Concert Hall, the Greek National Opera House, the Herodes Atticus Odeon, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, many Greek cities, and venues in Budapest, Kecskemét, and Nyíregyháza. He has collaborated with the Greek National Opera and other Greek theaters, many symphony orchestras (including Deutsches S.O. Berlin, Capella Istropolitana, Bratislava, London S.O., Danish Radio S.O., and all the S.O. of Athens), many choirs (including the Wiener Jeunesses Chor, London Symphony Chorus, National Choir of Opera of Sofia, Cantus Nobilis), and with many famous stage directors, conductors & soloists.

He is the artistic director of the Bridge of Music International Choral Festival of Budapest, and an invited member of the jury at international choral festivals and competitions such as the Béla Bartók International Choir Competition., Debrecen, Hungary, the Cantemus International Choral Festival, Nyíregyháza, Hungary, and the "Sanya International Choral Competition, Hainan, China.

He is often invited as guest conductor of the Greek Radio Mixed Choir (ERT). Professor Patseaswas the founder and first conductor of the Greek Radio Children’s Choir has participated in numerous CDs, TV and radio recordings conducting his ensembles.

He is the recipient of several awards including Pro Cultura Hungarica, and "A Kodály Intézétre." The Hungarian President has decorated him with the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic.

Professor Patseas studied choral and orchestra conducting, composition, singing and Byzantine church music at the National Conservatory of Athens, at the Vienna University of Music, and at the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music. He graduated from the latter with a Diploma of Post Graduate Studies in Music Pedagogy and Choral Conducting, with Péter Erdei as his professor. He is also a graduate of the Department of Law, and a Ph.D. candidate at the music department of the Athens University.

Margaret Oliver

Connecting Roots and Heritage to our Present Communities Through Music: Exploring Links between Music Education in England and Hungary, and Some Key Figures Involved - Vaughan Williams, Kodály, Menuhin and Cecilia Vajda, Founder of the British Kodály Academy - a Circle of Connections which Remains Influential within Our Present Communities.

After reading music at Durham University, Margaret taught music in secondary schools, then retrained and qualified as a Montessori teacher. She worked for 23 years across the curriculum in a Montessori school (nursery & infants) with special responsibility for music there, as well as giving private music lessons.

Now retired from teaching, she has continued to pursue her love of singing: church music has been a particular passion from a very young age – and, as a long-standing member of a choral society in Coventry, she has also enjoyed memorable performances of the large-scale choral repertoire, including Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, written for Coventry Cathedral.

A member of the British Kodály Academy since 1994, Margaret chaired the Communications Committee and, since 2011, has served as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Linked with another of her hobbies, reading, she also oversees the sale of books in the BKA Bookshop – a treasure trove of Kodály resources!

In these roles, she has been deeply involved in the promotion of Kodály-inspired music education and has been privileged to meet many wonderful exponents of his philosophy. She believes the IKS Golden Year, with its theme of Connections, to be an excellent opportunity to highlight for Symposium delegates some English/Hungarian links which she regards as of special significance. 

Dr. Éva Polgár

The Art Songs of Kodály and Bartók

Éva Polgár’s artistry is characterized by clarity, conviction, and virtuosity. Critiques praise her

“intelligent interpretations” (Funzine Magazine), “emotional power” (New York Concert Review), and “vibrant technique” (American Hungarian Journal). Her dedication to her native Hungarian culture resulted in researching Béla Bartók’s piano arrangements of his original orchestral compositions and specializing in Franz Liszt’s music. Her Liszt interpretation was praised by Liszt scholar Alan Walker as “A stunning performance! A real artist!” Her solo album titled Liszt: Harmonies patriotiques et religieuses was released recently under Hunnia Records. Polgár has toured North and South America, Europe, and China extensively. She was featured at Carnegie Hall in New York City, at the Kennedy Center in and the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Hungarian Culture Centre in London, and the Liszt Ferenc Museum in Budapest. 

Dr. Polgár’s concerto performances include concerts with conductors Tamás Vásáry at the Budapest Danube Palace and Horst Förster at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Her passion for contemporary music and entrepreneurship led her to co-found the InterSpheres Trio, an ensemble dedicated to commissioning and premiering new works. In the realm of cross-disciplinary endeavors, she collaborates extensively with visual artist Sándor Vály. Their experimental music albums released under Ektro Records have been broadcasted by the Finnish Radio. Polgár has won top prizes in competitions including the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition (LAILC.) She has been elected co-director of LAILC in 2017, which empowers her to foster young musicians at their early stage of professional career. A committed educator and adjudicator, she has appeared at masterclasses, festivals, and competitions such as LAILC, the Bogotá International Piano Festival in Columbia, Tulsa University Summer Piano Academy in Oklahoma, University of Oregon, Montclair State University in New Jersey, and many more.

A graduate of the Franz Liszt Academy of Music and Sibelius Academy, Polgár earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance at the University of North Texas. Before joining the piano faculty at Azusa Pacific University, she taught at Texas Woman’s University and at the University of North Texas.

Dr. Zsuzsanna Polyák

Zoltán Kodály’s Notes in "Handbook of Suggestions for Teachers" (1937)

Zsuzsanna Polyák joined the Kodály Institute in 2004 as a librarian and archivist for the Music Pedagogical Archives. Currently, she is working on the bequest of the late Mihály Ittzés. Along with working at the Archives, she teaches non-degree and MA students at the Kodály Institute and the Liszt Academy. Her subjects include Zoltán Kodály’s music educational philosophy and research.

Zsuzsanna graduated from Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest with a degree in Library and Information Science, Hungarian Linguistics & Literature, and Pedagogy. She also holds an MA in Community Development, and took part in the planning and evaluation of various non-formal educational and community building projects.

Zsuzsanna finished her Ph.D. in Education at ELTE Doctoral School of Education. The title of her thesis is The History of the International Kodály Society from 1975 until Today. She is also a junior research fellow at the ELTEFaculty of Pedagogy and Psychology, Institute of Education. She is active in two current research projects of the Theoretical and Historical Pedagogy Research Group: “Life-reform Movements and the Arts”; and “The Past and Present of the Hungarian Educational Science: Development of a Discipline, Scientific Communication (1970–2017)” – member of the “Communist Political Religion” special interest group.

Zsuzsanna’s main research area is music education history, with a special focus on Kodály’s concept and its international dissemination, and also past and current philosophies and ideologies in music education.

Constance J. Price

Roots of the American Folk Song: Rhythmic Cries for Humanity

Constance J. Price, founding director of the Essex Children’s Choir, vocal music educator, folksong researcher, and conference presenter, has dedicated her life to teaching young people the highest levels of music. From grades 7- 12, under the tutelage of Mildred M. Williams, she found herself a piano accompanist and music teacher apprentice. Following graduation, she attended Howard University School of Music. All this prepared her for student teaching at junior high and the choral position at Hartford Public High School, Hartford, CT, 1965-1970. The HPHS Class of 1970 dedicated their yearbook in her honor.

From 1970 -1977, Connie taught music in Framingham, MA., where a colleague suggested she teach Jazz, “America’s music.” Inspired, she expanded her studies at the Kodály Musical Training Institute of New England Conservatory (1975-1977); Denise Bacon, Director-Peter Erdéi, Advisor. This changed her life. The graduate program, 3 summers of 3 weeks each, contained an extensive folk song curriculum: her Hungarian instructors integrated Kodály’s views on folk song into solfege and methodology; Floice Lund’s curricula on folk song collecting, and Mary Jo Barron’s lectures on Miss Bessie Jones, whose grandfather, an enslaved man, passed down folk songs to her. In May 1977, she curated a residency with Miss Bessie and the Georgia Sea Island Singers in Framingham Public Schools. She presented a lecture on Roots of Jazz: Childhood Experiences at 1979 ISME in London, Ontario, Canada.

Through the 80s and 90s, Connie continued researching, lecturing, and teaching music, K-8 in Essex, Vermont. In 1985, her middle school students surprised her by announcing they had organized the Essex Children’s Choir. Her pedagogy continued to evolve with study at KPI in Kecskemét, Hungary, Harvard’s Project Zero: “Views on Understanding”, and UVM’S Institute on Standards and Assessment. She incorporated “Roots of Jazz” into her choir curriculum. In 2004, Connie, with student collaboration, opened the Burlington Jazz Festival.

Among Connie’s honors are: The Vermont Arts Council Citation; OAKE Outstanding Educator Award; Fellow in the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences, and naming of The Constance J. Price Cafetorium, Hemingway School, Framingham, for “her outstanding dedication, her unusual ability to awaken the minds of our children through music, her unique method of teaching integrating music into a total learning experience, and her power to develop an appreciation of various cultures among ethnic groups. A natural outgrowth of this has been our children’s understanding of our country’s common cultural heritage.”

Sarah Reyes

Music of India: Embracing the Universal Human Experience

Sarah Reyes has been teaching for 18 years and currently teaches with Dublin City Schools in Columbus, Ohio. She obtained her Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education complete with Kodály certification from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and spent a year studying at the Kodály Institute of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary. She loves being inspired by her students to learn new things, travel to destinations unknown and nurture her innate curiosity for learning to see the world through many different lenses.

Dr. Teresa Sappa

Active Mind: From Active Listening to the Musical Mind

Teresa Sappa began her musical studies as a singer in the Piccoli Cantori di Torino Children’s Choir conducted by Roberto Goitre, who was among the first in the 70s to introduce Kodály’s pedagogical concept in Italy. Musician, teacher, choir conductor, and AIKEM (Italian Kodály Society) trainer, Teresa graduated in classical guitar and in Gregorian music at the Conservatory of Music of Turin in Italy. She obtained a degree in music pedagogy, teaching, and instrumental teaching at the Institute for Music Advanced Studies “F. Vittadini” of Pavia,  presenting a dissertation on the Kodály concept. Teresa studied choral conducting with Claudio Chiavazza, following masterclasses with Gary Graden, Kurt Suttner and Péter Erdei, and vocal technique with Laura Bracco, Renata Colombatto and Grazia Abbà. She has also attended courses on functional vocal technique (Lichtenberger Method by Gisela Rohmert) with Maria Silvia Roveri, singing in prestigious choirs, such as the Torino Vocal Ensemble and the Philharmonic Choir Ruggero Maghini, which collaborates with the National RAI Orchestra. 

Teresa founded the choral ensemble Claricantus in Turin, of which she was conductor for ten years, having an intense live activity of concerts, studying and performing vocal repertoire from ancient to contemporary music, receiving many acknowledgments.

Teresa has undertaken extensive study and research across the major musical European methodologies such as Orff and Dalcroze, and especially focusing on the Kodály concept. A student of Klára Nemes, in 1997 she was awarded, after a two-year course in Italy, the Special Certificate during the XIX International Kodály Seminar at the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary, with study in music education, instrumental education and choral education,  as well as early childhood and primary school pedagogy.

Teresa is a Professor of Music in primary school and instrumental music in secondary school she collaborates with the department of education of many music conservatories and gives courses on the Kodály Concept organized by the Ministry of Education. She is a professor in the Biennial Pedagogical Master Degree Program with Kodály Emphasis at B. Marcello State Conservatory of Venezia. She published articles on the Kodály methodology in musical pedagogy and choral journals.

In 2019 she took part in the XXIV International Kodály Symposium in Kuching, Malaysia,  where she held a presentation titled “Choir is Listening!” together with Maurizio Bovero, and another presentation at theXXV Poland Symposium in 2021, called“Songs from Italy”, together with Maurizio Bovero as well.

Teresa collaborates with AIKEM as Pedagogical Coordinator, as a Professor of Musicianship and Choral Conducting in the Triennial Italian Kodály Training and as AIKEM Choir Conductor.

Susanna Saw

Susanna Saw is an active music educator promoting music and choral education in Malaysia. She is currently a lecturer and choir director at the Faculty of Music at the University of Malaya and the Malaysian Institute of Art. In 2007, she established the Young Choral Academy in Kuala Lumpur, a venue for choral lovers and teachers to learn more about vocal and choral education.

  Susanna has been regularly invited to be a member of the jury for various international choir festivals. She is also an active working committee member of the Asia-Pacific Choral Council, under the auspices of the International Federation of Choral Music (IFCM). Susanna is a member of the advisory board of Choralspace Academy, Germany, as well as the International Choral Conductors Federation. She is currently the vice president of the International Kodály Society, the World Youth and Children Choral Artists’ Association, and the Malaysian Association for Music Education.

Dr. János Sipos

IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum

Dr. János Sipos is a senior research fellow at the Institute for Musicology (Budapest), part time teacher at the Franz Liszt University of Music (Budapest), and academician of the Hungarian Academy

of Arts. He is a charter member of the International Kodály Society (IKS) László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum. 

Dr. Sipos' main research area is the comparative study of the folk songs of the Turkic-speaking and the Hungarian people. His collecting work began in 1987 in the same region that Béla Bartók left off in 1936, and since then he has collected, recorded, and analyzed more than ten thousand Turkish, Azeri, Turkmen, Karachay, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Mongolian, Navajo, and Dakota melodies. His books, e-books, several articles, and hundreds of hours of video and audio recordings can be viewed at 

Dr. Scott Sexton

Mary Cay Brass and her Choir and Peacebuilding Work with the Music of the Former Yugoslav Countries

Dr. Scott Sexton was recently appointed Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Education at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama. He previously held positions at Troy University (AL), St. Andrew’s Episcopal School (MS), and Jackson Public Schools (MS). Sexton has earned degrees in music education from Troy University (BME), the University of Mississippi (MM), and Auburn University (PhD). He has also completed Kodály certification at the University of Oklahoma, and has studied in summer seminars at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary.


Sexton is passionate about bringing people together through song. He is known for his work in bringing global singing cultures to his choristers. His experiences include immersive, teaching, and performance opportunities in over 30 countries throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia—most notably in Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Ghana, South Africa, and the American South.

Sajt Ensemble 

Travel with Sajt around the world and through the eras. An international a cappella vocal ensemble that will take you on a journey from Renaissance madrigals to pop classics!

Sajt is a vocal ensemble that was formed in 2020 at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary. Its members hail from all over the globe, united by their love of singing and their passion for sharing music with everyone.

Bianca Varela - Portugal - Soprano

Sarah Keane - Ireland- Mezzo Soprano

Teresa Appleton - Portugal - Alto

Haodong Ma - China -Tenor

Márk Fédronic - France, USA, Hungary - Tenor

Samuel Rausch - USA - Bass

Dr. Alec Schumacker

Modal Singing: An Old/New Approach

Alec Schumacker is Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor at Hawai‘i Pacific University where he conducts the International Vocal Ensemble and the International Chorale. He presently serves as the Vice President of the Hawai‘i Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. He completed his DMA in Choral Conducting at the University of Miami, where he studied with Joshua Habermann and Karen Kennedy. His master’s degree in choral conducting is also from the University of Miami. He graduated cum laude with honors in music from Williams College.

An award-winning composer and arranger, Alec’s choral music is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Alliance Music Publications, Earthsongs, and World Projects. His works have been performed around the country by all-state choruses and prestigious ensembles such as the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the New World Symphony, the University of Delaware Chorale, the Frost Chorale, the Voices of Aloha, and even at the NFL’s Pro Bowl in 2016.

An active educator and sought-after presenter, Alec delivered lectures at the 2020 Western Division ACDA conference in Salt Lake City, the 2019 International Kodály Symposium in Malaysia, 2018 and 2016 Asia Kodály Symposia in Taiwan, the 2017 National ACDA conference in Minneapolis, and various others. His written work on incorporating popular music in the choral curriculum was recently published by GIA in the textbook Becoming Musical.

Stephanie Schuurman-Olson

From the Voices of Children: An Exploration of Children’s Attitudes Towards Singing in a Pandemic-Weary World

Steph (she/her) is a researcher and musician-educator based in Alberta, Canada. She currently teaches early childhood music at University of Alberta Augustana Community Conservatory of Music, K-6 music in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, and undergraduate music at (University of Alberta Augustana (BMus Performance-based Pedagogy). She holds certifications in Kodály Levels I & II , an MEd (UBC), BEd (UBC), and BMus (UBC), and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Elementary Education at the University of Alberta.

Steph’s doctoral research involves improvisational singing with children, ecoliterate music pedagogies, and collaborative research-creation. Together with Dr. Ardelle Ries, she is involved in a number of "From the Voices of Children" research projects, investigating children's changing perceptions of singing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Steph currently serves as the vice resident and registrar of the Alberta Kodály Association, and as the administrative officer of the Kodály Society of Canada.

Emily Soderborg

IKS László Vikár International Folk Music Research Forum

Emily Soderborg is the project manager for the Brigham Young University (BYU) ARTS Partnership Native American Curriculum Initiative. She strengthens relationships with the 8 Sovereign Nations in Utah, develops authentic and approved content, and disseminates materials for teachers and students. Before working for BYU, she was a K-6 music specialist and elementary teacher. She values the Kodály methodology and has earned all three Kodály levels of certification.

Marni Strome

Connecting Singers, Song, and Audience - The Power of Narrative, History, Culture, and Roots in a Concert Setting.

From 1988-2021, Marni Strome was conductor and Artistic Director of the Calgary Children’s Choir. This program consists of five choirs, ages 4-adult, and continues to flourish under new directorship (an alumna of the program). Under Marni’s leadership, the Calgary Children’s and Calgary Youth Choirs completed fourteen tours to various parts of Europe, North America, Japan, and Canada. Marni also directed the St. Giles Presbyterian Church choir (SATB) for over twenty years. For 32 years, Marni worked as a public school music educator in Calgary, Canada, in a variety of settings from K- grade 12.

Currently she is teaching K-8 music at St. Brigid School, San Francisco, and works as a sessional instructor at Holy Names University, and at the University of Alberta summer sessional program teaching musicianship, conducting, and choir. Marni has also worked as a summer sessional instructor at the University of Calgary, the Silverwinds Hutterite colony in Manitoba, and as a volunteer teacher in Kimberley, South Africa, for numerous summers.

Marni completed her master’s of music degree at Holy Names University in Oakland, CA, with an emphasis in Kodály inspired music education. In 2022, Marni was the recipient of the Patricia Cook Memorial Award from Choir Alberta in Canada. The award is presented to a person, choir, institution, program or corporation who/which demonstrates an exemplary commitment to music education in schools or the wider community.

Marni is grateful for so many colleagues and mentors – too many to mention all – but they include her mother, Marian Smith, Rosemarie Sherban (founder of the Calgary Children’s Choir), David Ferguson, Maree Hennessy, and János Horváth.

Matt Thornton

Connecting with Pre-Adolescent and Adolescent Students Through Joyful Interactions and Music Making

Matt Thornton holds a master’s degree in music education from Brigham Young University and a bachelor's degree in music education from Utah State University. He is the fine arts department head and choral director at American Fork Jr. High where he has taught 7th-9th grade choirs since 2005. He has worked with the Opera by Children program of the Utah Festival Opera, the Cache Children’s Choir and is currently the Assistant Director for the Heritage Youth Chorus. Matt has received certifications in Orff and Kodály and has spent time observing master teachers in Hungary. He earned his Kodály certification through the InterMuse Academy at BYU and is now an instructor at the Academy for the secondary choral track. Mr. Thornton has been a clinician at events in Utah and Wyoming and has presented at the national convention for the Organization of American Kodály Educators. Matt is passionate about the power of music and the potential for musical literacy and musicianship in every individual. He is an advocate for the use of the Kodály approach with students of all ages and believes that it is a powerful way to teach musicianship to adolescent students. Matt and his wife Becca met in choir and they love singing with their five children, Cali, Daniel, Logan, Elijah, and Joy.

Réka Tóth

Workshop 1: Kodály in the Digital World - Move Mi Music, A New Music Teacher Application

Workshop 2: Amazing Kodály Resources Online

Réka Tóth graduated from the Liszt Academy of Music as music theory and solfége teacher and choir master in 2007. The same year she moved to London, UK, where she joined the North London Colourstrings Music School as a musicianship and piano teacher, and also was a member of the BBC Symphony Chorus until she moved back to Budapest in 2014. She then worked at the Budapest British International School where she taught music for KS2 students (from 3rd to 6th grades). She joined the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music in 2019 and she has been working there ever since. She organizes teacher training and also is highly involved in testing, developing, and presenting the Move Mi Music app since her arrival. In 2020 she joined Ádám Jenő Music School’s faculty as well as a part time solfege teacher. Réka was highly involved in two research studies about the effects of musical training on the reading skills of children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. Singing being one of her passions, she is a member of the New Liszt Ferenc Chamber Choir and Arte Semplice Chamber Choir. 

Dr. Jill Trinka

Favorite American Singing Games, Play Party Games, and Dances

Dr. Jill Trinka lives in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, US. She retired in 2018 from Coastal Carolina University (Conway, SC) where she taught undergraduate and graduate ear training and sight-singing, elementary music repertoire and methods, American music, world music, and classroom instrument courses. Previous academic posts include The University of North Texas, the University of St. Thomas, and the University of Central Arkansas. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education (University of Illinois), Master of Arts (Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary, as a Ford Foundation Ringer Fellow), and PhD in Music Education with an Ethnomusicology and Folklore cognate (University of Texas at Austin).

An internationally acknowledged master teacher in the Kodály philosophy of music education, Dr. Trinka  has directed and taught in Kodály teacher training institutes throughout the United States since 1980. She currently directs the West Chester University (Pennsylvania) Kodály Certificate Program and teaches in the West Texas Kodály Initiative in Lubbock, Texas.

A past president of the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE), and 2003 recipient of their Outstanding Educator Award, Dr. Trinka is well known by children, parents, and music educators as “a dynamic, winsome, and energetic teacher and performer.” Her performances bring new life to the musical and cultural treasures of American folk music as she accompanies herself on the dulcimer, autoharp, guitar, and banjo.  Dr. Trinka’s  publications – My Little Rooster, Bought Me a Cat, John, the Rabbit, and The Little Black Bull; Jill Trinka: The Bass Hall Children’s Concerts DVD (Ft. Worth, TX); and recordings Had a Little Rooster, There’s a Hole in the Bucket, and Old Joe Clark, with John Feierabend – are published by GIA Music.

Dr. Trinka currently teaches workshops for elementary music educators throughout the United States and Canada, serves as an Artist-in-Residence for elementary schools, and performs folk music concerts for children and adults. In addition to teaching infants through  children aged five years old at the Waccamaw Neck Library in Pawleys Island, she teaches private guitar, dulcimer, and autoharp lessons, and loves Zumba, swimming, walking, biking, cooking, reading, and solving Sudoku and crossword puzzles.

Helen Van Spronsen

That's What My Dad Does!

Growing up in Canada and New Zealand, Helen Van Spronsen played and sung in various ensembles, including chamber ensembles, choirs, concert bands, orchestras, brass bands, led the New Zealand Youth Concert Band, and toured internationally with the New Zealand National Youth Choir.

Helen’s research for 'a better way' of music education led her through a degree in music (Clarinet Performance, Ethnomusicology, and Conducting) at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, a Diploma in Teaching (Secondary Music) at the Auckland College of Education, New Zealand, studies with the British Kodály Academy, Kodály Centre of London, U.K., and a Diploma in Kodály Music Education from the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary.

Helen has taught woodwind instruments, community, high school, elementary and pre-school music, has sung in and directed choirs, and has led workshops in New Zealand, the UK and Canada. She currently teaches music at Ripple Rock Elementary School in Campbell River, B.C., Canada, and manages her musical mental health by singing with local chamber choir “Island Voices.”

A teacher of Kodály Level 1 Pedagogy and Music Literature, Helen was on the Board of the Kodály Society of Canada from 2017 – 2023 and is currently the Vice President of the Kodály Society of British Columbia, Canada. Helen is the author of Listen…Think…Write!, (a dry erase workbook for young musicians), a resource developed to encourage and structure the exploration of music writing in the music classroom.

Amanda Vanausdall

The Power of Perspectives

Amanda Vanausdall received her Bachelor of Music Education (BME), Master of Music Education (MME) in Special Music Education, and  her Kodály certification endorsed by the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE), all from Wichita State University. She taught K-5 elementary music in Wichita Public schools from 2013-2022 and now serves as an Assistant Music Educator and Placement Coordinator in the College of Fine Arts at Wichita State University. Amanda serves in leadership roles with the Kansas State Music Educators Association as Special Needs Co-Chair, and as a member of the Organization of American Kodály Educators Equity Committee. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Wichita State University.

Olli Varonen 

The Importance of Kodály's Instrumental Music

Olli Varonen (1965) studied at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland, and at Helsinki Junior Strings, conducted by Géza and Csaba Szilvay. He studied at the Liszt-Academy with professor Ede Banda receiving the highest grade when graduating in 1988. His folk music teacher was László Vikár, former student of Zoltán Kodály.

During 1988-89 Olli taught at East-Helsinki Music Institute (Szilvay,principal) and played at the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1990 to 2002 he was a cello professor in Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences.

Since 2003 Olli has concentrated on concerts. He has performed in 1500 concerts, in 14 countries, and 4 continents. Most of the concerts have been cello-duo performances with Anna-Maaria Varonen. His performances as a cellist and conductor have been recorded to 12 CDs.

Olli Varonen and Virva Garam founded their chamber music duo in March 2019 when they were chosen as the President and Vice President of the Kodály Society in Finland,and began playing concerts together. Their first concerts in Budapest were in April 2022.The repertoire the duo plays in their concerts is mostly Finnish-Hungarian, but they have also performed Gamba sonatas by Bach, and other programs as well. Garam and Varonen are booked in the autumn of 2023 to  perform large scale romantic sonatas for cello and piano. The duo has performed extensively in Helsinki (for example at the Hungarian Cultural Centre: Liszt Institute) and throughout Finland. 

Dr. Ángel M. Vázquez-Ramos

Latin American Choral Music: Historical Background and Performance Practices

Ángel M. Vázquez-Ramos, a native of Carolina, Puerto Rico is Director of Choral & Vocal Studies and Associate Professor of Music at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB). He teaches undergraduate courses in music education, choral conducting, and conducts the University Singers and Chamber Singers. Dr. Vázquez-Ramos is the founder and co-director of the CSUB Kodály Institute, and founding artistic music director of Meridian Voices, a chamber choral ensemble based in Bakersfield. He maintains an active schedule as a guest conductor, adjudicator, and clinician throughout the state and western region. In addition, he established La Voz Music Publishing, a music publishing company dedicated to Latin American choral music.

Before completing his doctoral studies at Florida State University, Dr. Vázquez-Ramos taught secondary choral music at Pinellas County Schools in the Tampa Bay Area. Previous music director positions have included congregations in both Florida and California. Currently he is serving as a board member on the California Choral Directors Association Board, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, and Organization of American Kodály Educators Western Region. Dr. Vázquez-Ramos also keeps current memberships in the following professional organizations: American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the International Kodály Society.

He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at the University of Puerto Rico. Studying with Judy Bowers, Rodney Eichenberger, Kevin Fenton, Clifford Madsen, and André Thomas, he holds Master of Music Education and Ph.D. in Music Education degrees from Florida State University. Research interests include: teacher preparation, rehearsal techniques, adolescent choirs, and Latin American choral music. Dr. Vázquez-Ramos has presented nationally and published articles on assessment in music education and teacher preparation in the Journal of Research in Music Education, the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing and the Florida Music Director.

Prof. David Vinden

The Value of Canons in the World of Kodály

David’s musical life began as a chorister at Truro Cathedral and later he entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1967 where he studied the organ and singing. He also studied orchestral conducting with Maurice Miles. David sang at St Mark’s Church, North Audley St. London, where his great uncle (Maurice Vinden) was organist. In 1970 he won a choral scholarship to sing at St George’s chapel, Windsor Castle, whilst studying for a Bachelor of Music at Royal Holloway College. After graduating in 1974 he taught for six years as Director of Music at the Tiffin Girls’ School  and then went to Hungary to study for two years at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary on a British Council scholarship gaining the Advanced Certificate. 

Returning to England in 1983, David took up  a post at the Purcell School of Music becoming its director until 1996. He conducted many performances in the Queen Elizabeth Hall as well as in Russia, Germany, and all over the UK. In the early 1990’s David and his wife Yuko set up the Kodály Centre of London. Together, they set up training courses for adults in Kodály musicianship in London. David then began a life-long passion for creating musicianship material based on Kodály’s principles. He researched English folk songs and canons in particular.

In 1992, Vinden began teaching at Trinity College of Music in London and developed this work teaching undergraduate students, and in 1998 he took up a position at Birmingham Conservatoire. In 2002 he became a professor of Kodály musicianship at the Guildhall School of Music in London until his retirement in 2019.

David  collaborated with Cyrilla Rowsell to create “Jolly Music,” a school music curriculum based on the Kodály approach.  He has also collaborated with Dr. Mónika Benedek in the creation of a book Harmony through Relative Solfa.

David became a member of the International Kodály Society (IKS) board early in 1998, has since served on the board on several occasions, and returns to the board this summer. He created the IKS Canon Book in 2018 to raise funds for IKS. His overriding passion is that the Kodály approach should be made available to as many people as possible. 


2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, from the Incorporated Society of Musicians for his services to music education

2005 Award for Services to Kodály, from the Kodály Institute (Kecskemét)

1992 Winston Churchill Fellowship scholarship - 3 month visit to the USA.

1988 Honorary ARAM

Brandi Waller-Pace

Old Time and Roots Music: Connecting Culture and Community to the Classroom

Brandi Waller-Pace is a Fort Worth-based artist, educator, and scholar. A former general music educator, she is the Founder and Executive Director of Decolonizing the Music Room, a nonprofit with a mission of centering Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian voices and experiences in music education and related fields through training, educational content, and community programming. Brandi is a graduate of Howard University where she earned a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Jazz Studies. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Education at the University of North Texas.

Brandi has completed Orff Schulwerk certification, Kodály level I, and Music Learning Theory levels I & II. During her 11.5 year tenure teaching elementary music, she served as a mentor teacher, wrote elementary music curriculum, and was awarded the 2018 Bayard Friedman Chair for Teaching Excellence in Performance Arts from the Fort Worth Independent School District. In 2019 and 2020 Brandi  served on the Texas African American Studies Course Curriculum Advisory Team, which helped to formulate curriculum standards for Texas’ first state-approved African American course.

After years of performing primarily jazz, neo-soul, and genre-crossing originals, Brandi found the banjo and American roots music, opening a deep connection to traditions of her ancestors. Some of Brandi’s notable performances have been at ArtsGoggle, the City of Fort Worth’s Juneteenth Celebration, the Affrolachian On-Time Gathering, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Fort Worth Django Reinhardt Festival.

Brandi is the creator and organizer of the Fort Worth African American Roots Music Festival, created to highlight blackness in American roots music. She has co-produced, curated artist lineups for, and performed in events with Bluegrass Pride, The Bluegrass Situation, and PineCone. She also sits on the board of directors of Folk Alliance International.

Brandi also works as consultant, presenter, and speaker nationally and internationally on topics including decolonizing and antiracist philosophies, jazz and the centrality of Blackness in American roots music, culturally relevant practices, organizational equity practices, and curriculum development. Her research and scholarship focuses on antiracism, decolonization, Black feminist thought, Afrofuturism, and Sankofa. Her published work can be found in the The Orff Echo, The Illinois Music Educator Journal, Music Education Journal, the upcoming The Oxford Handbook of Care in Music Education, and on Decolonizing the Music Room’s website.

Kristina Waugh

Building a Courageous Choral Classroom

Kristina Waugh has been teaching music for the past 18 years. Her teaching experiences include middle and high school choir as well as elementary and middle school general music. Kristina is the choir director at Rossview High School in Clarksville, Tennessee, US and serves as the lead teacher for choral music in the Clarksville Montgomery County School System.

Kristina received her Bachelor of Music Education, Master of Music in Music Education, and Kodály Certification from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. Her master’s degree studies focused on secondary choral methods with a Kodály emphasis. Kristina has given workshops about incorporating the Kodály concept in the choral classroom, and she has previously taught choral methodology and folk song research in the Master’s program of the Kodály Institute at Capital University.

Choirs under her direction have consistently received Superior and Excellent ratings at district, regional, and state festivals. In June of 2023, Kristina will lead students from the Rossview Choir to sing Robert Ray’s Gospel Mass under the direction of Maria Ellis at Carnegie Hall.

Kristina is a member of the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association, Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA). As a member of OAKE, Kristina has served on the OAKE National Honor Choir Committee and was awarded the Jenõ Àdám Scholarship. Kristina was the 2022 CMCEA Distinguished Teacher of the Year at Rossview High School, 2019 Teacher of the Year for Rossview Middle School, Country Music Association Teacher of Excellence in 2018, and WTHI TV Golden Apple Teacher in 2013.

Sr. Lorna Zemke

Round Table: Pioneers of the Kodály Movement

Sister Lorna Zemke, national and international clinician in the field of music education, was formerly the Director of Kodály Programs at Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Dr. Zemke earned her Master and Doctoral Degrees in Music Education from the University of Southern California after spending several years collaborating with Katinka Daniel on a Kodály pilot program in Santa Barbara, CA.  She spent six months in Hungary researching and collecting primary source materials on the Kodály Concept as well as visiting multiple classes at the elementary and secondary levels in various Hungarian schools. 

Sr. Lorna is an experienced teacher at all levels prenatal through college and university.  She has developed programs such as Lovenotes: Music for the Unborn and Music for TOTs which includes children from birth through age six. Sister Lorna has published several books, numerous articles and an early childhood DVD of musical motivators. Dr. Zemke has received many honors and awards for her professional service, leadership, and performance in the field of music education.