Clavier-Werke offers lessons with classically trained and degreed teachers. We are a family business and consider our teachers a part of the family as well. We welcome you to join our musical family too! Read more about our amazing teachers below.
Susan Allen, Director
Susan Allen is the Director and Founder of Clavier-Werke School of Music. Susan has been teaching piano in the Westlake area since 1980. Susan graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelors Degree in Piano Pedagogy. In 1993 she received her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. Soon after this she began networking with many of the fine young musicians at UT and eventually created a staff of ten excellent teachers The School moved into the Sunday House Square on Westbank Drive in November of 1999.
Susan is an Austin Chamber Music Center staff member, a member of the Austin District Music Teachers Association and the Wednesday Morning Music Club, and also maintains affiliations with the Texas Music Teachers Association, the National Music Teachers Association, the American College of Music, and the National Federation of Music Clubs. She received the Top Teacher Award for outstanding instruction and leadership in piano education from Steinway & Sons for 2016.
Maggie Allen, Administration
West Lake Location
Maggie Allen, the Assistant to the Director of the Clavier-Werke in West Lake Hills, works in her studio office Monday – Friday, 10:00 – 6:00. Maggie is available to take messages for teachers and answer questions either by phone or in person. You can also turn your tuition payments of cash or check in to Maggie’s office. Maggie can answer most of your general questions and requests such as directions and dates for festivals and signing up students for some events. Maggie holds a bachelors degree in Anthropology with honors from the University of Texas at Austin.
Nathan Allen, Administration
Nathan Allen, the Office Manager of Clavier-Werke South, works in his studio office Monday – Friday, 12:00 – 6:00. Nathan is available to take messages for teachers and answer general questions about lessons and scheduling either by phone or in person. Nathan lives in the Austin area with his wife Shauna and their daughters Riley and Colbie Rose.
Sarah Bellows, Pianist
A native of Wichita, Kansas, Sarah Bellows graduated Summa Cum Laude from Baylor University with her Bachelor’s of Music in Piano Pedagogy. While studying at Baylor with Dr. James Williams and Dr. Lesley Sisterhen-McAllister, Sarah learned about technique, musicianship, performance, and the art of teaching. She earned a Master’s of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy degree from the University of Oklahoma. Sarah’s instructors, Dr. Barbara Fast, Dr. Jane Magrath, and Dr. Ed Gates, exposed her to many different teaching methods, including group piano teaching, private instruction, and collegiate level instruction.
Sarah married her college sweetheart, Brandon, in 2012, and the family recently grew with the addition of their sweet puppy, Pepper, who loves to visit students! Sarah’s teaching career blossomed at Park Cities School of Music where she taught over 45 students for three years with excellent retention rates. Her teaching philosophy is summed up as follows: piano lessons are about learning an instrument, developing a strong work ethic, sparking a passion for music, and, most importantly, providing a nurturing environment for students.
Jon Chaney, Guitarist
While Jon Chaney has been teaching for over 10 years, he has been playing guitar & loving music for most of his life. Chaney was born and raised in Texas and after finishing high school he attended McLennan Community College’s commercial music program with a performance scholarship. After graduating, Chaney auditioned for scholarship and entrance to attend Berklee Music College in Boston and received both. While there he earned a bachelors degree and gained more advanced training in harmony, ear training, improvisation, performance studies and courses in private studio instruction. He has shared the stage with players like Pine-top Perkins, Brad Andrews (Marcia Ball) and performed with many local bands.
As a teacher Jon tries his best to help his students realize their potential as musicians. He is very understanding of students goals and needs while maintaining an appropriate course of study. Jon is great with all ages and experience levels. Areas of specialty for more advanced students include slide guitar, improvisation, blues, solo jazz playing and contemporary music theory.
Jeffrey Fratus, Guitarist
West Lake Location
Hailing from the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Jeffrey Fratus (pr. Fraytis) was raised in the small city of Knoxville. He began taking guitar lessons at the age of six. Throughout his formative years, Jeffrey studied predominantly in the classical vein, but also enjoyed playing and singing on the steel string some of his favorite folk songs. In high school he was a member of a Knoxville band that played in and around the East Tennessee valley.
At the age of seventeen, Jeffrey received a guitar performance scholarship to attend music school at Middle Tennessee State University, right outside of Nashville. After graduating in four years, he immediately went on to accept a graduate assistantship and full scholarship to CCM, the music conservatory at the University of Cincinnati. It was during his time at CCM that Jeffrey was able to realize a love for the art of pedagogy, due mainly to the inspiration given him by Clare Callahan, who is one of the guitar world’s most renowned teachers.
Benjamin Franklin once said that, “Genius without education is like silver in the mine.” It is Jeffrey’s goal as music instructor to help his students realize the silver that lies within them in order that they might uncover it and refine it into something beautiful. There is an unlimited wellspring of potential in everyone. Jeffrey aims to help his students dig deep enough to find it.
Sami Froncek, Pianist
Sami Froncek has established herself as a performing solo and collaborative pianist and a teacher in the state of Texas. Ms. Froncek holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Baylor University in piano performance. She loves mixing concerts of the standard repertory that non-musicians recognize with new and relevant works, from Bach to Rautavaara.
Ms. Froncek has spent the past two years researching and studying in Belgium. As part of her research, she completed a post-graduate diploma at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. She received a Fellowship from the Belgian American Educational Foundation and was also a finalist for the Fulbright study/research grant.
Even though she considers multiple places home, Ms. Froncek is from small-town Derby, Kansas where she graduated first in her class from Derby High School. It was here that she began teaching, beginning with swimming for her club team, academic mentoring, French horn lessons, and piano lessons. She later maintained a small private piano studio throughout her undergraduate and master degrees, and afterwards served as a faculty member of Dallas/Music, in the Park Cities area of Dallas, and the Sugarland School of Music, in Houston, Texas.
She is on piano faculty at the Mt. Blanca Summer Music Conservatory in Alameda, Colorado. This summer, she will be returning to Europe, and she will be stopping in Belgium to restock her chocolate supply.
Rachel Garner, Cellist
Rachel A. Garner, a San Antonio native, has been playing cello since she was 10 years old. She recently received her Bachelor’s of Music in Cello Performance from Texas State University. At Texas State she maintained the position of principal cellist of the Texas State University Symphony Orchestra for 4 years. Additionally, she participated in Texas State String Project as a private lessons teacher. Rachel is actively involved in the music community through her string quartet, as a sub for Laredo Philharmonic, and as a guest artist with several local music groups. Rachel is a guest artist on local Austin band The Antiques premier album “If you have to ask.” Currently Rachel teaches in San Antonio and Austin.
As a teacher, Rachel believes in cultivating all aspects of the young musician. While technique is the focal point of each lesson Rachel also incorporates music theory, aural skills, and music history. She believes these are all vital aspects of a well rounded musician. Her teaching style is best described as nurturing and adaptive to each student’s unique needs. Rachel enjoys teaching all ages and levels.
Jim James, Pianist and Performance Event Coordinator
West Lake Location
Dr. Jim James grew up in rural Iowa , where he began his piano studies at the age of 7. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, a Master of Music degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a doctorate in Piano Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. He also spent a semester studying at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, France. In 2002 Jim took first prize in the Badger Piano Competition of the Wisconisin Music Teachers Association, and received the Margaret Daniels and Jane Shephard Keyboard Awards at Lawrence University .
As a teacher, Jim focuses on giving students the musical and technical tools they need to confidently practice during the week. He also encourages students to think creatively and positively during their lessons so that they can see their daily practice can be more of a challenge and less of a chore.
Felicia Kim, Pianist
Felicia Kim holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance from the University of Maryland at College Park and M.M. and B.M. in Piano Performance from Baylor University in Texas (Pi Kappa Lambda). She has studied with Larissa Dedova, Krassimira Jordan, Andre Watts and Young Hi Moon. She worked with Guaneri String Quartet, YoYo Ma, Josheph Gingold and Rita Sloan for chamber music.
As a soloist and collaborative pianist Ms. Kim played throughout the United States including Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Louisiana and Texas. She performed at the Bösendorfer International music Festival in Vienna, Austria and Bathurst, Canada. Ms. Kim received recognition from national as well as international competitions including: Russell Wonderick Piano Competition, New Orleans International competition, Alabama International competition, Baylor University Piano Competition, etc.
Ms. Kim served as collaborative pianist at Sam Houston State University. She has taught piano for 20 years in a variety of teaching setting. She believes the best teachers tailor their teaching to the needs of the individual student, rather than being welded in all respects to a single approach.
Daniel Kopp, Cellist
West Lake Location
Cellist Daniel Kopp is an active performer and educator in the Austin area. As co-founder and artistic director of Austin Camerata, he performs collaborations of chamber music, dance, storytelling across the city. As an educator, Daniel is on faculty at Clavier-Werke School of Music, Austin Chamber Music Center, and the University of Texas String Project. Outside of Texas, Daniel has had the pleasure of performing at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Aspen, Kneisel Hall, and Orchestra Hall of Minneapolis. Highlights include performances as principal cellist of the New York String Orchestra Seminar and the Colorado College Summer Festival. Daniel graduated with a bachelor’s degree in cello performance from Rice University, and master’s degree in cello performance from the University of Texas in Austin. His principal teachers were Norman Fischer, Bion Tsang, and Cathie Lehr.
Alexander Kostadinov, Pianist
Alexander was born in Varna, Bulgaria, and began his formative musical training at the age of four. His notable teachers include Boyan Batchvarov,Tamara Poddubnaya, Natalia Trull. He recently finished his graduate studies at Baylor University under the instruction of Professor Krassimira Jordan.
During his years of study, Alexander has won eighty prestigious international competitions, including First Prize at the Second International “Joseph Dichler Piano Competition” in Vienna, First Prize at the “Today’s Young Talents Competition” in Philadelphia, Grand Prix at the fifth international “Amici del Pianoforte Competition” in Venice, Grand Prix at the fifth international “Competition for Slavic Music” in Moscow, First Prize at the eighteenth international “Music and the Earth” music competition in Sofia, First Prize at the “Citta di Moncalieri” competition in Torino, First Prize at the Italian International Concerto Competition in Rome and others.
Alexander has performed with much acclaim around the world, including performances at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, the University of Music in Vienna, Rachmaniniov Hall in Moscow, the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest, The Oslo Opera House in Norway.
Alexander has performed with many different orchestras around the world, such as the Varna State Orchestra, Sophia Soloists, The National Radio Symphonic Orchestra of Venice, The Cyprus National Orchestra, Ankara’s National Orchestra, The France Radio Orchestra. The Prague Chamber Orchestra.
West Lake Location
Jacque Lawrence grew up in Texas and graduated from Houston Baptist University Summa Cum Laude with two Bachelor’s degrees in Piano Performance and History. Jacque continued to study at Baylor University under Jane Abbott-Kirk and Dr. Lesley Sisterhen-McAllister and received her Masters degree in Piano Pedagogy and Music History. She fell in love with music at an early age and has been teaching private lessons for nearly 10 years to students of all ages and levels in private studios and at home during her time in school.
Jacque focuses on not only having the students be able to play the music, but also how to love the piano as well as a wide variety of music. She incorporates theory, technique, sight-reading, and ear training into lessons to involve the students in learning and enjoying the music as much as possible. She encourages students to set aspirations for themselves or for pieces which they want to play, and helps them work towards their goals each lesson. Throughout the lesson, she hopes to inspire the students to be involved in the learning process and to think through the music for themselves allowing them to express their own ideas and develop their skills as much as possible.
Karli Leal, Violist and Violinist
Originally from California, Karli Leal began her musical education in high school under a wide variety of Russian and Eastern European violin and viola teachers, participating in statewide CMEA competitions and the National High School Honors Orchestra inColumbus, OH while also serving as a section violist in the Tulare County Symphony. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received her BM in Viola Performance with Professor Roger Myers. Karli continued her studies at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, completing her Masters in Music Performance with professors Masao Kawasaki and Dr. Catharine Carroll.
Since 2004 Karli has played in both the United States and across Europe in numerous international music festivals, and played in a variety of ensembles over the years. Her diverse background allows her to connect on multiple levels with her students and determine what pace is best for each individual.
She loves to share her enthusiasm for playing string instruments with a wide variety of ages, and advocates the fusion of classical music with rock, heavy metal and other popular genres. With her students she ensures that all aspects of music education are brought together, so that the function of music theory, music history and technique can be applied to the performance side of playing. Through this she hopes that all her students gain knowledge of and appreciation for classical music that stays with them, no matter what direction their life may take.
Noé Mina, Theory Lab
Noé Mina is a trumpeter and music teacher originally from Austin, Texas. He grew up studying classical piano under the tutelage of Patryce King for eight years until discovering his true passion for trumpet in the sixth grade. He derived inspiration for jazz music from his high school jazz mentor Ponder East and participation in a variety of State and National competitions such as Jazz Band of America. Noé recently graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a Bachelors in Jazz Trumpet Performance on a Presidential Scholarship award. Since then, he has been teaching and learning how to use his music theory knowledge to introduce young musicians to different styles of music in a fun and engaging way. He continues to perform in various bands and venues in Austin, and especially enjoys checking out new Taco trucks on the weekends
Russell Reed, Pianist and Resident Composer
Dr. Russell Reed received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in piano performance at Baylor University where he studied with artist-in-residence Krassimira Jordan. Russell received his D.M.A in composition in 2005 from The University of Texas at Austin where he served as the assistant director of The New Music Ensemble. Since graduating, Dr. Reed has received many notable honors and performances including a state sponsored performance and exhibition at the historic home of Alexander Scriabin in Moscow. Recently, light the lovely candles, a piece for Soprano, Viola and Piano was nominated for a Austin Critics Table award for best original composition/score of the 2008-2009 concert season.
Russell describes his approach to teaching piano as directed toward the specific needs of each individual student rather than adherence to a strict general method or pedagogical program. He believes that patience and steadiness can help students develop a love of music-making that lasts a lifetime. He feels that learning to play the piano should also be about learning to be a whole musician — technique, repertoire, history, theory, artistry, and certainly, if not namely, fun.
For more, visit: www.russellmreed.com
Stephanie Reyes, Vocalist
Stephanie Reyes graduated with a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting in December of 2016 from Texas State University, where she also received her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance under the direction of Brigitte Bellini-Mungo. Ms. Reyes has also recently studied Historical Performance within the prestigious Jacobs School of Music where she was showcased in their production of Bach: St. John Passion, and was frequently a soloist for the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project. Stephanie is revered as a choral scholar, was a member of the Texas State Chorale for six consecutive years, has conducted at the 2015 TCDA convention in San Antonio, and has served as the Associate Director of the Texas State University Singers, Men’s Chorus, and Chorale. Aside from conducting, Ms. Reyes has been active in opera, playing the roles of Mrs. Olsen in Street Scene, the Sandman in Hansel and Gretel, Madame Laminoche in Angelique, Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, and the Old Prioress in Dialogues of The Carmelites. Along with her superb operatic work, Stephanie has given invigorating performances as the alto soloist for several large choral works; such as Mozart’s Requiem, Rachmoninoff’s All-Night Vigil, and Bach’s St. John Passion. Currently, Stephanie serves as the artistic director for an early music chamber choir she founded in 2015 titled: Les Ancients.
Sean Riley, Violinist
West Lake Location
Violinist Sean Riley maintains a career throughout the United States, Europe and Asia as a performer, entrepreneur and educator. As a solo artist he was given the honor to perform for Charles, the Prince of Wales at his 65th birthday celebration and the Sultan of Oman in a special evening performance in London.
Sean’s interest in innovative methods of communication has led him to creating performance programs with social media at the Royal College of Music, using Critical Response Process to teach communication and leadership at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and winning an innovation grant to 3D print a six-string electric violin to perform John Adam’s The Dharma at Big Sur. These entrepreneurial practices have led him to a professorship at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London.
Sean holds both bachelors and masters degrees in violin performance from The Juilliard School as well as an artist diploma and Master in Philosophy on the subject of performance training and peer communication in higher music education from the Royal College of Music, London. His teachers have included Radu Blidar, Kyung-Wha Chung, Hyo Kang, Roland and Almita Vamos and Brian Lewis. Sean the recipient of the Williamson Foundation of Music annual grant, Rayne Foundation grant, Donald Paterson Award and the Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal and the Rainwater Innovation Grant.
Kimberly Sandoval, Vocalist
West Lake Location
Kimberly Sandoval, from McAllen Texas, is a graduate from Texas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Studies and a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance. She has performed such roles as Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Mother Marie from Dialogues of the Carmelites, Dido in Dido and Aneas, and premiered the title role of the newly commissioned opera Lady Bird, First Lady of the Land, which premiered in the Spring of 2016. Ms. Sandoval also performed 2nd Lady from The Magic Flute with Landesbühnen Sachsen Opera Company during their 2016 season in Germany. Branching outside opera, she worked with the Texas State Chorale where she sang as a member and as a soloist – performing and premiering works such as Peterson’s Shadows and Lights, Bach’s Magnificat and Bernstein’s Songfest – working in conjunction with Texas State University’s biannual Art Song Symposium. Ms. Sandoval has worked with students from K-12 at schools such as Boone Elementary, Dahlstrom Middle School, and Weiss High School. She worked as a clinician and adjudicator at local and regional choir festivals, and she was an active mentor working with young choirs and vocalists at Texas State Choir Camp and in other festivals such as the Tejada All-Star festival.
Ms. Sandoval’s teaching goals are to build a healthy vocal approach to singing and a solid foundation in breath support. Learning to sing is a journey of enjoyment, and she wants to help her students discover themselves through music. “Relax, breathe, love and enjoy the process,” is what she lives by.
Justin Scheibel, Violinist and Violist
Justin Scheibel was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and has a passion for both teaching and performing. He earned his Bachelor of Music with distinguished honors from University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of internationally renowned violinist Piotr Milewski. Justin was regularly appointed concertmaster and principal second of Philharmonia and Concert Orchestra. He also was resident violinist for four years as the youngest member of CCM Chamber Players, a nationally recognized graduate ensemble, where he collaborated with Eight Blackbird and Steve Reich. In his second year at CCM, Justin earned honors for his performance of Paganini’s “Violin Concerto No.1” and would later go on to win second prize in the Kurt Weill Violin Competition and perform in televised broadcasts on CET. In Cincinnati, Justin taught an independent violin studio of all ages and studied pedagogy under Kurt Sassmannshaus.
“My philosophy focuses on individuality, positive reinforcement and discipline. Each of us has a unique way of perceiving the world, and it is my belief that the teacher should adapt to the abilities, learning style and personality of each and every student. I emphasize shaping education around the natural learning style of the student while providing a structured curriculum. Ultimately, I want to help every student develop their creativity, discipline and foster a lasting appreciation for music and the arts.”
Julissa Shinsky, Trumpeter and Theory Lab Teacher
West Lake Location
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Julissa earned her bachelors of music in trumpet performance and music theory from Baldwin Wallace University before earning her M.M. from the Florida State University in music theory. She has studied pedagogy with prominent music theorists and builds her teaching around providing a fun and nurturing environment for her students, which she developed while teaching young students through collegiate musicians. She is currently working on her PhD in music theory at the University of Texas at Austin and continues to play trumpet, French horn, and the piano in her spare time.
Julissa strives to teach music theory and ear training in an engaging way to encourage her students to build an invaluable foundation which in turn immensely helps students with their primary instruments, and with all musical endeavors.
Scott Simon, Guitarist
Scott is an award winning professional guitarist and music teacher in Austin, Texas. He developed his music skills at a young age touring with bands throughout the Midwest. While earning his PhD in Music & Technology at the University of North Texas, he was fortunate to have studied with guitarists for Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, and more.
As an experienced performer and teacher, Scott has a versatile range of capabilities and is fluent in pop, rock, blues, country, jazz and classical styles. He teaches all ages and levels from beginner to advanced, and has a flexible teaching style based on the goals of the student. Scott’s method focuses on building strong fundamentals while learning the songs and styles that inspire the student the most.
Andres Vargas, Pianist and Early Childhood Music Director
Andres Vargas was born in Chile, where he began his piano studies at the age of 3. He holds a Bachelors degree in Piano Performance from the Universidad Austral de Chile where he studied with Ximena Cabello. In 2004, he became a private student of Krassimira Jordan, artist-in-residence at Baylor University. In the fall of 2008, Andres relocated to the United States in order to pursue a Master’s degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance at Baylor University. He has performed in several cities in Chile, as well as Europe, and the USA.
Prior to coming to the US, Andres taught in two Chilean music Conservatories. He has been teaching piano as a private teacher for more than twenty years. Andres is currently a piano teacher and also the director of the Early Childhood Program at Clavier-Werke school of Music in Austin. As a teacher he enjoys having fun with his students and likes to communicate to them his love for music. Andres is fluent in English, Spanish and German.
Sophie Verhaeghe, Violinist
West Lake Location
A native of Colorado, Sophie Verhaeghe began playing the violin at age 3 and made her solo debut at the age of 12. She has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.
A passionate educator as well as performer, Sophie taught in UT’s String Project for two years and is an in-school chamber music coach through Austin Chamber Music Center. She maintains a small private studio in Austin. Sophie is also a co-founder of and Director of Marketing for Austin Camerata, a chamber music festival that seeks to stretch the boundaries of artistic collaborations.
Sophie graduated with a Bachelor of Music with Highest Honors from the University of Michigan and holds a Master of Music from Boston University. She received an Artist Diploma from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2017. Her previous teachers include Aaron Berofsky, Bayla Keyes, and William Fedkenheuer. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys hiking in her native state, cooking, yoga, and watching college football.
Dominik Wachtel, Pianist
Dominik Wachtel grew up in Vienna Austria where he received his Bachelor’s in Classical Piano and Jazz Piano. His teachers were Krassimira Jordan and Thomas Kreuzberger. The snare drum was Dominik’s first instrument. He continued to study drums throughout his piano studies. Dominik taught piano privately in Vienna for 4 years, both classical and jazz. His passions for improvising lead him to earn a M.M. in Jazz piano from UNT. Aside from studying, Dominik spent his time in Texas teaching in music schools and performing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Dominik has given concerts in Vienna, Hungary, Japan, Libya, Pakistan and the US. He led Jamsessions at a well-known Jazz workshop in Slovenia called Jazzinty. In the US Dominik gained more experience playing jazz in different projects with other musicians at UNT and musicians from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Dominik’s goal as a teacher is to create a discipline for the art in the student, something that can be helpful in any job or life situation not only for future musicians. Aside from harmony and theory, it is important for Dominik to teach his students a good feeling for time and rhythm. Creating a balance between having fun and disciplined learning in a student is of high importance to him.
Grace Wallace, Theory Lab Teacher and Early Childhood Music Instructor
West Lake Location
Grace Wallace is a music educator originally from Wichita Falls, TX. She graduated from Midwestern State University in 2013 with a degree in Music Education and taught elementary general music in both Wichita Falls Independent School District and Lubbock Independent School District. Grace moved to the Austin area in May 2018 with her husband Zach in order for them both to pursue careers in music. She is passionate about developing and inspiring young musicians, and she teaches Music Pups at Clavier-Werke School of Music. In her free time, Grace enjoys practicing yoga, leading worship at her local church, and eating good food and watching movies with friends and family.