ESYO CHIME Teaching Staff



John Connolly, ESYO CHIME Program Director

Before arriving in the United States, John Connolly was an active performer. In 2011, he successfully auditioned for the position of second trombone with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (BBCSSO) and appeared on numerous occasions across their season including serving as principle trombone in January 2012. He also frequently worked with the Royal Northern Sinfonia playing second trombone to some of the United Kingdom’s best trombone players including Helen Vollam, principle trombone of the BBC Symphony Orchestra (London) and Simon Cowen, principle trombone of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

As an orchestra trombonist, John has worked with world-class conductors including Donald Runnicles (BBCSSO, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra), Andrew Manze (NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, BBCSSO), Paul Watkins (Emerson String Quartet) and Mario Venzago (Bern Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta).

John Studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) under Simon Johnson, principle trombone of the BBCSSO. During his time at the RSAMD, John studied with some of the world’s leading brass performers and technicians including Kristian Steenstrup, Alison Balsom, Chris Holding, Ian Bousfield, Mark Nightingale, Hakan Björkman and Jonas Bylund.

As a music educator, John is a passionate advocate of the Sistema movement, he served for three years as lead teacher for England’s Sistema-inspired In Harmony program. During that time, he was selected to tour Venezuela with the directors of the six English-based Sistema programs, and in 2014, was chosen as the lower brass teacher for Sistema Europe at its annual summer music camp in Istanbul. In addition to his work with the Sistema movement he has also served as music director for Music Partnership North and as low brass tutor for the Centre for Advanced Training at Sage Gateshead.

John is thrilled to start a new chapter of his life in the US taking on the challenge of launching the ESYO CHIME program, and he is excited to bring his experiences of Sistema and music education to the underserved youth of the Capital Region.

Elizabeth Swift, ESYO CHIME Program Manager/ESYO CHIME Teaching Artist

Elizabeth is a teaching Artist with the ESYO CHIME program and serves as the ESYO CHIME Program Manager. She has her Masters in Viola Performance as part of the Fellowship of the Bloomfield Quartet Program at Wichita State University and completed her Performance Diploma in Viola Performance from Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute of Music. She was a Semi-Finalist of the Naftzger International Competition and has been the recipient of the Peabody Career Grant and National Association of Professional Asian American Leadership Award. (NAPAW)

Elizabeth studied with Stephen Wyrczynski of Indiana University and Marc Jacobs of the Cleveland Orchestra. She has also collaborated with members of the Lincoln Chamber Players and the Cavani String Quartet. Elizabeth has exclusively trained as an orchestral Violist and has performed with Wichita, Annapolis, Alexandra, Albany, Binghamton, and Baltimore Symphonies. She has performed in Graz, Austria with the AIMS Opera Festival Orchestra as a Fellow.

Elizabeth has served as the Viola/Violin Assistant Professor at Bethel and Bethany College and maintains a private studio in Troy.

Elizabeth recently graduated from the University at Albany Executive MBA program and is interested in utilizing Data Science to find creative ways to sustain music in underserved communities.


ESYO CHIME at Proctors

Matthew Johnson, ESYO CHIME Lead Strings Teaching Artist

Matt is an active performer and teacher within the Capitol Region. He holds a Master’s Degree in Music from Boston University and is currently a faculty member of the College of Saint Rose. As a performer, he has performed across the United States in many different ensembles from opera and symphony orchestras to quartets and chamber ensembles. Matt has served as viola coach and adjudicator for ESYO for many years.

Ashley Armer, ESYO CHIME Woodwind Teaching Artist

Ashley Armer recently graduated, magna cum laude, from the College of Saint Rose, with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Music Education. Ashley also holds an Associates of Arts in Music Performance from Schenectady County Community College with a concentration in Oboe. She has been teaching private lessons for a year and has been a participant in many instrumental ensembles throughout the Capital Region. Ashley was the principal oboist for the College of Saint Rose Wind Ensemble, the Saint Rose Woodwind Quintet, the Saint Rose Double Reed Ensemble, the Guilderland town band, and the Saint Rose Orchestra. Ashley performed as principal Oboist with the NYSSMA directors band in August 2017. Ashley believes in a holistic approach to music education and is excited to be a part of ESYO CHIME.

Milad Daniari, ESYO CHIME Lower Strings Teaching Artist

Milad Daniari resides in New York and maintains a versatile career as a chamber musician, orchestral bassist, and educator. He is an inaugural member of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra at Bard College, performing concerts throughout the Hudson Valley and New York City. In addition to his TON duties, Milad also performs with orchestras along the east coast including the Allentown Symphony and the Chesapeake Orchestra. He has appeared as principal bass with the National Repertory Orchestra, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, Round Top Festival Institute, and the Alba Music Festival. As a passionate educator, Milad served for one year as an Adjunct Professor of Double Bass on the string faculty of St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Additionally, he is a low strings coach for the Maryland Youth Symphony and a double bass mentor in the Classics on Hudson Music Mentor Program. A recipient of the Ambrose Monell Foundation Scholarship, Milad received his Bachelors of Music at the Manhattan School of Music as a student of New York Philharmonic Principal Bassist, Timothy Cobb.

Andrew Borkowski, ESYO CHIME Lower Strings Teaching Artist

Cellist Andrew Borkowski performs regularly as a soloist/chamber musician and with orchestras throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley area. He has participated in master classes with such respected cellists as Eric Bartlett, Fred Sherry, and Chris Finckel, and his principal teachers include Jonathan Golove, Benjamin Karp, Stephen Harrison, and Marcy Rosen. An ardent supporter of contemporary music, he has appeared with such groups as the Argento Chamber Players and New York Composer’s Circle, and was the co-founder and director of Innovox Contemporary Ensemble. He was a teaching artist for Associated Solo Artists from 2013-15, giving concerts and lectures in schools throughout the Adirondack Region of New York, and has taught at the annual summer festival Chamber Music Institute at the University of Maine since 2012. He is currently a member of The Orchestra Now, a new orchestra in residence at Bard College under the direction of Leon Botstein.

ESYO CHIME at Yates Magnet Elementary

Bridie Schnore, ESYO CHIME Lead Teaching Artist

Bridie is currently studying at SUNY Fredonia working towards her degree in music education. She has taught in a variety of settings ranging from pre K to working with students with disabilities. She also works with John Keal Music as a string technician. Bridie is an alumnus of ESYO and will be the general music teacher and violin teaching artist at ESYO CHIME program at Yates Elementary School in Schenectady


CHIME at Van Corlaer Elementary

Anneliese Kellogg, ESYO CHIME Lead Teaching Artist/Co-Site Manager

Anneliese graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA with a Bachelor of Music Education. While at PLU she studied percussion with Miho Takekawa, voice with Holly Boaz, and conducting with Dr. Edwin Powell. Annelise also had the opportunity to study education abroad in Chennai, India, as well as travel with the Wind Ensemble and University Orchestra to China, Germany, and France while participating in musical exchanges and performances. She was an elementary general music, choir, and folk dance teacher in Indianapolis, IN, as well as middle school concert band, jazz band, pep band, and parade band teacher in Tacoma, WA. She played percussion in the Washington Wind Symphony. Here in upstate New York she continues to play percussion in several community groups, as well as lead the contemporary praise band at her church and sing in her church choir.

Liz Fryer, CHIME Teaching Artist/Co-Site Manager

A native New Yorker, Liz Fryer is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of Music in French horn Performance and Music Education. Liz has performed actively in symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles all across the United States, including venues such as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Meyerhoff Symphony hall. She has been a brass teaching artist and conductor with the Peabody Preparatory, Baltimore’s Orchkids, Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra, and TUBA; The Uganda Baltimore Alliance, which is an extra-curricular music school in Kyngera, Uganda where she continues to travel to implement a brass music education curriculum. As a teacher, Liz focuses on creating a positive environment for all students to explore music. She also holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado in French Horn Performance and Pedagogy.

Pei-Ju Chang, CHIME Teaching Artist

Pei-Ju Chang has an Advanced MBA degree from National Cheng-Chi University.  She graduated in 2005 from Peabody Conservatory with the Peabody Grant.  

Pei-Ju is an accomplished clarinetist, pianist, director, and educator.  During her performances in the Taipei Symphony Orchestra and Taipei Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, she worked with various musicians all over the world.  Pei-ju served as the director and principal clarinet in Shin-Sharn Wind Symphony Orchestra for five years from 2006, where she managed four bands with various levels from beginner to professional. Multiple schools she taught in had won national completions. 

Pei-ju will continue to dedicate herself to the endless possibilities in the music performing business. As a musician, she believes that everyone has an inner melody, she’s just there to bring it to life.  

Mary Dohner, CHIME Teaching Artist

Mary Dohner, a Syracuse native, graduated from Syracuse University. She received a Bachelor of Music Summa cum laude in Music Education and a Master of Music as a graduate fellow in Clarinet Performance. Her teaching experience includes elementary and middle school general music, high school private lessons and master classes, and teaching western music history and jazz history as a SUNY adjunct. She is excited to be part of the CHIME program at Van Corlaer.

Cheryl K. Symister-Masterson, CHIME Site Manager

Cheryl holds a B.M. in Education and a M.S in Arts Administration. She’s spent her life pursuing her loves and passions in the performing arts, music and education, health and wellness and print journalism. For over twenty years, she’s been involved in college, commercial, NPR-affiliated, and community radio and loves it.

CHIME In-School 

Monica Wilson-Roach, ESYO CHIME In-School Strings Teaching Artist

Monica has taught in the Music Advancement Program at the Juilliard School, an outreach division of the Pre-College Program. She was a member of the ESYO cello section when in high school, serves as one of our cello coaches, and has a private cello studio. A member of the jazz trio Ten27, she is active as a performer and recording artist of contemporary music and jazz. Monica founded the summer cello choir, Tutti Celli.