Gracias Music



Petko Dimitrov

Petko Dimitrov is a distinguished educator, who works closely with established youth organizations, such as New Jersey Youth Symphony, Grater Newark Youth Orchestra, inter-school orchestras of New York, and Mannes College Preparatory Division. Previously, Petko has served as the artistic director and conductor of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra’s summer series at Lasdon Park in Katonah, New York. He has also been a conductor of the Princeton Symphony. In performances with WCYO, Mr. Dimitrov had his debut at Carnegie Hall in 2007 and Avery Fisher Hall in 2008. In the spring of 2007, Mr. Dimitrov led the orchestra on tour in Austria and performed in prestigious concert venues including Haydnsaal in Eisenstadt and Schlossberg in Graz. In July 2009, Petko was appointed the conductor of Excalibur – The

Celtic Rock Opera, which toured major cities in Germany in 60 2010-2011.

Petko Dimitrov is currently the music director of the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra and the New Symphony Orchestra in Sofia, Bulgaria. He also presently serves as music director of Cavallo Classico in Munich, Germany. In 2012, Mr. Dimitrov was invited by the Curtis Institute of Music to be a conductor in residence at the Young Artist Summer Program, which resulted in immediate reinvitation for the 2013 and 2014 Curtis Summerfest.

Petko completed his Master Degree in Orchestra Conducting at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, under the direction of Prof. Kenneth Kiesler. He completed his studies with Prof. Gustav Meier at the Peabody Conservatory, John Hopkins University, where he pursued a Graduate Performance Diploma in Orchestra Conducting.


Mark Bailey

Mark Bailey is an American conductor and baroque violist. He is the founder and artistic director of the American Baroque Orchestra. From 1992 to 2008, Bailey served on the faculty of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York, where he taught composition, analysis, choral leadership, and Church Slavonic. He also served on the conducting staff for the chapel choirs, and he founded the Composers Seminar at St. Vladimir’s in 2007 and 2008. Bailey continues to teach and conduct Orthodox sacred music at various conferences and seminars throughout North America. He teaches conducting and performance practice to a select number of students and is a Fellow at Davenport College, Yale University.


Seong Sook Choi

Seong Sook Choi received her Doctor of Musical Arts from State University of New York at Stony Brook and Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music. While she was studying, she has won several major opera competition including 1st place in the Dicapo Opera Theater Opera Competition and 1st place in the Five Towns Music and Art Foundation Competition and New York district winner at Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition. Ms. Choi has worked at YonSei University, Kyung Won University, and Korea National University of Art as a faculty member. Currently, she has been working as the president of N.Y. conservatory of Music and Art and the president of Kaliope Music Society.


Anastasia Dedik

Anastasia Dedik has performed on some of the most important stages in the world, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, The Great Philharmonic Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia and has appeared as a soloist with Fort Worth Symphony, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, NYCA Symphony Orchestra, San Jose Symphony, Oberlin Orchestra and others. She has been featured on RAI in Italy, NDR TV in Germany, ABC in NYC as well as in an episode of NBC’s Law and Order SVU, performing Beethoven’s “Appassionata”. After graduating from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, Anastasia continued her education at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School. She has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including The Governor of Saint Petersburg Award for Achievements in Arts, Harold and Helene Schonberg Piano Scholarship and Susan W. Rose Fellowship at The Juilliard School in NYC. Anastasia is a top prizewinner of many international piano competitions, including “Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU” International Piano Competition, San Jose International Piano Competition, Pietro Argento International Piano Competition and others.

Ms. Dedik’s début solo CD was released in February 2008 by GPM Records in Recco, Italy. Anastasia is also a founding member of the Prima Trio, an ensemble that burst onto the international stage when they won the Grand Prize at the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition in 2007. Since then Prima Trio has performed over 200 concerts throughout the United States and released their first album, “Prima” in April of 2012. Anastasia is the Founder and Artistic Director of the “Russian Heritage” Piano Competition for young pianists, which was held in 2012 in Russia and will be continued in New York City in 2016.

Kanako Yamazaki

Kanako Yamazaki is a highly sought-after pianist and teacher, who specializes in vocal and instrumental collaboration. She previously worked at UNLV, UNR, and the Nevada School of the Arts. Some of her recent accolades include: winner of the Felix Viscuglia Award for the best instrumental performer at UNLV and first-place winner of the UNLV Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. Showing much promise as a

young pianist, Ms. Yamazaki was a featured soloist with the NHK Dan Yu Orchestra in Tokyo. She continued her piano studies at the prestigious Toho Gakuen College of Music in Tokyo, as well as the International Keyboard Institute in New York, NY. She has participated in lessons and master classes with high profile pianists including: Gianluca Luisi, Jerome Rose, Nadia Spachenko, Janice Weber, Mykola Suk, Walter Ponce, and Jerome Lowenthal. Ms. Yamazaki holds a Master of Music degree in piano performance from UNLV.


Bela Horvath

Bela Horvath is a distinguished young artist of international stature, winner of numerous prizes and awards, TV and radio appearances, and major performances in various European countries and the U.S. to his credit. In 1996, Bela entered the Béla Bartók Conservatory In Budapest, Hungary, where he studied with Istvan Kertesz, the first violinist of the Festetics String Quartet. In 2002, the renowned violinist, violist, and conductor Pinchas Zukerman invited Mr. Horvath to study with him and his associate, Heifetz Institute faculty member Patinka Kopec, at the Manhattan School of Music. Bela Horvath has worked with leading violinists and pedagogues including Zakhar Bron, Jaime Laredo, Gyorgy Pauk, Ruggiero Ricci, Aaron Rosand, and Joseph Silverstein.


Colin Brookes

Passionate and approachable violist Colin Brookes delights in drawing audiences into his warm and colorful sound world. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his work as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher has taken him to cities across the United States, Europe, and Central America. An avid chamber musician, he and 4 colleagues founded the Ulysses Quartet in the summer of 2015. They are the winners of the Grand Prize and the Gold Medal in the Senior String Division of the 2016 Fischo  National Chamber Music Competition. Colin holds a Bachelor of Music from the Juilliard School, along with a Master of Music, and Artist Diploma from Yale University where he received the Georgina Lucy Grosvenor Memorial Prize. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at Stony Brook University under Larry Dutton and Nicholas Cords. He currently plays on an Italian 19th century viola and bow generously on loan from the Maestro Foundation.


Mihai Marica

Romanian-born cellist Mihai Marica is a First Prize winner of the “Dr. Luis Sigall” International Competition in Viña del Mar, Chile and the Irving M. Klein International Competition, and is a recipient of Charlotte White’s Salon de Virtuosi Fellowship Grant. A dedicated chamber musician, he has appeared at the Chamber Music Northwest, Norfolk, and Aspen music festivals where he has collaborated with such artists as Ani Kava an, Ida Kava an, David Shifrin, André Watts, and Edgar Meyer, and is a founding member of the award-winning Amphion String Quartet. Mr. Marica studied with Gabriela Todor in his native Romania and with Aldo Parisot at the Yale School of Music where he was awarded master’s and artist diploma degrees. He is a former member of Chamber Music Society Two.


Man Wai Che

Man Wai Che is a double bassist passionate in innovating a more new way of bass playing. He loves experimenting and challenging the solo boundary of the instrument, he is a pioneer and the only one performing many violin works from Bach Chaconne to Paganini Caprices on the bass as written. He received his B.M. from The Juilliard School of Music, M.M. from Stony Brook University, and Artist Certificate from University of North Texas. Man Wai has a specialty of performing cross-genre works where he combines his vocal percussion with bass playing, new music technologies and sometimes sleight of hands. Man Wai has taught and gave master classes in both China and United States. Last year he was invited to perform for the TedXBeacon Street, Google, Radio WUSB, and ESPN. He is currently the president and music director of Sonder School of Music.


Lisa Jaklitsch

Lisa Jaklitsch Westervelt hails from Long Island, New York and has performed as a soloist in major concert halls throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in New York City and the Tonhalle Concert Hall in Zurich, Switzerland. A dedicated flute instructor, Lisa served as Adjunct Professor of Flute at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida from 2007-2012, before returning to Long Island to pursue her DMA studies with Carol Wincenc at SUNY Stony Brook. In addition to working as teaching assistant to Ms. Wincenc at Stony Brook University, Lisa maintains her own private studio in Suffolk County. This past summer, Lisa presented classes at the Pocono Flute Camp, where she worked with an enthusiastic group consisting of both high school flutists and adult amateurs.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory as a student of Michel Debost, a Masters of Music from Rice University as a student of Leone Buyse, and a Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Conservatory as a student of Marina Piccinini.


Slava Znatchenii

Slava Znatchenii has been called “a beautifully crafted musician” by The Met Opera Guild and the New York Times has noted Mr. Znatchenii for his shapely sound and velocity. Slava Znatchenii has served as the Principal Oboe of Chamber Orchestra of New York since the fall of 2007. Most recently, Mr. Znatchenii became the principal oboist with the Classical Concert Chamber orchestra and toured extensively throughout Spain, France, and several other European countries. A native of Moldova, Slava Znatchenii started his musical studies at the age of 10. He completed his Bachelor degree at the Mannes College of Music and holds a Masters and a Post Graduate Degree in Orchestral Performance from Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Joseph Robinson, the principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic and Steven Taylor, the principal oboist of St. Lukes orchestra and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Currently, Slava Znatchenii resides in New York City where he also enjoys an active chamber music career and maintains a private teaching studio.


Sergiy Dvornichenko

Sergiy Dvornichenko began his music studies at the age of five, under the tutelage of his father, Viktor Dvornichenko at the Kharkov School of Music in Ukraine. He moved to the United States in order to pursue his clarinet education at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he began his studies with Richard Hawkins. He continued working with Mr. Hawkins at the Oberlin Conservatory, where he received a B.M. in 2006. In 2008, Mr. Dvornichenko received his M.M. degree from the Yale School of Music, studying with the world-renowned musician and professor of clarinet David Shifrin.

Mr. Dvornichenko has been the winner of numerous international clarinet competitions, including the International Competition in Lvov, Ukraine, the Second International Clarinet Competition in Moscow, Russia, the Selmer-Paris International Competition, the Concursal International de Muzica in Bucharest, Romania, as well as the Yale Chamber Music Competition in 2009.


Oleksiy Zakharov

A native of Ukraine, Oleksiy Zakharov is an active freelance musician in New York City. Mr. Zakharov has held positions of acting Associate Principal bassoon of Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as Second bassoon of Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 2009 to 2015.

Mr. Zakharov received a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory. Mr. Zakharov also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Orchestral Performance studies from Manhattan School of Music. His primary teachers include Patricia Rogers, Whitney Crockett, George Sakakeeny and Barrick States.


Denis Volodichev

Denis Volodichev is a world-class French horn player, born in a Russian town of Tambow, holds a Doctors of Music degree from Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He has also competed as a member of a chamber ensemble “Conoro Quintet” in such competitions as ARD, Tchaikovsky Competition and an All Russia music completion, where he won first and second prizes. Currently, Denis lives with his family in Northern New Jersey and performs regularly in the Greater New York/Tri-state area. He holds a principal horn position with the Gateway Symphony Orchestra and Manhattan Symphony and is a member of the Patriot Brass ensemble. He has also been performing with Garden State Philharmonic, Plain eld Symphony, Empire Chamber Orchestra, Bergen Sinphonia and others. Denis is sharing his passion for music by teaching French Horn and Chamber Ensemble at the Mahanaim Gracias Music Program and by giving private lessons.


Victor Caccese

Victor Caccese has a passion for percussion chamber music and is a founding member of the stunning Brooklyn-based percussion quartet, Sandbox Percussion. Sandbox gave a TEDx talk in Brooklyn with the composer collective Blind Ear Music. Victor is active in the discovery of new works for percussion through experimentation and collaboration with composers and other performers. Victor teaches percussion at the Dwight School in Manhattan. Victor endorses Vic Firth sticks and mallets. Victor graduated with a M.M. from the Yale School of Music.


Frank Crosio

Frank Crosio is the conductor for the vocal choirs and hand-bell choir at Garden City Community Church. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and holds Colleague (CAGO) Associate (AAGO) and Fellow (FAGO) academic certificates from the American Guild of Organists and the Fellow’s Diploma in organ performance from Trinity College, London.


Kyle Werner

A passionate music educator, Dr. Werner is a member of the faculty at the Geneva Conservatory of Music in Manhattan. He has taught in the Doctoral Teaching Fellow Program at the Manhattan School of Music.

Kyle received his D.M.A. and M.M. from Manhattan School of Music. He received his B.M. from University of Cincinnati- Conservatory of Music.