Music Active Piano and Organ Adjunct Faculty
Piano and Organ Adjunct Faculty
Erin Bonski-Evans, D.M.A. (ABD) is a prolific pianist and pedagogue. She is recognized nationally and internationally for her work as a collaborative artist and teacher, and has held collaborative artist positions at Interlochen, Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute, Toledo Opera Association and Bowling Green State University. Locally, she has accompanied for Music Academy of the West, Opera Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Master Chorale, and coached and accompanied for Ensemble Theatre Company. In addition to Westmont, Erin has been teaching at Santa Barbara City College for ten years, and currently serves as the Minister of Music at First Presbyterian Church. She has recorded the piano works of Dr. Earl Louis Stuart, and has published pedagogical articles in American Music Teacher Magazine.
James Connolly is a Registered Piano Technician with training from Steinway and Sons, Yamaha, and more than 25 years of experience. Clients include The Lobero Theater, The Music Academy of The West, The Granada Theater, Westmont College, The Santa Barbara Bowl, and Steinway’s Concert and Artist division.
As well as providing high quality tuning and repair for the home, concert stage, and recording studio he maintains a full piano rebuilding facility in downtown Santa Barbara known as The Piano Kitchen.
Jim is an active performing musician and is a member of the Piano Technicians Guild. The PTG certifies Registered Piano Technicians through a series of rigorous examination designed to test their skill in tuning, regulation and repair. Those capable of performing these tasks up to a recognized worldwide standard receive RPT certification.
Neil Di Maggio, pianist and teacher, enjoys a full and diverse dual career as an active performer and teacher and as Director of Research in College Advancement at Westmont College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance (summa cum laude) from San Jose State University, where he studied with Beethoven scholar, Dr. Alfred Kanwischer. His Master of Music degree in piano performance is from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied under master teacher Mack McCray. Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara with renowned collaborative artist and professor, Anne Epperson resulted in a second Master of Music degree, this time in collaborative piano. His other major influential instructors are Yael Weiss and Betty Oberacker, and Laurette Goldberg (harpsichord).
Neil’s professional work has taken him from California to Phoenix to New York City, and he enjoys a busy musical career of chamber and solo performances, collaborating with faculty from Westmont College, Santa Barbara City College, and UC Santa Barbara. He serves as pianist for Westmont’s College Choir, and makes guest appearances with a variety of local groups including Santa Barbara Strings, Sonos 5 Winds and the West Coast Symphony Orchestra. Neil’s students are scholarship recipients from the Music Teachers’ Association of California, the Santa Barbara Music Club, and the Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation, and he serves on the piano faculty with the Westmont Academy for Young Artists (WAYA).
Eben Drost is a pastoral musician serving in both the Music Department and Campus Pastor’s Office at Westmont. His primary instrument is piano, and he has a background in jazz, classical, and popular music. He studied music at Westmont (’11) and earned a Masters in Theology at Fuller Seminary (’18).
Growing up in Redlands, California, Eben studied piano and counted Beethoven as his hero. In high school, he formed a jazz combo which came to be known as “Eben Flow.” Throughout his younger years, he played keyboard and guitar in various bands, of various genres and levels of notoriety in their local contexts.
Since graduating from college, Eben’s primary musical context has been the worshipping church. He served as an organist and choir accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church (Santa Barbara), the Worship Director at Shoreline Community Church (Santa Barbara) and Missio Community Church (Pasadena), and was part of the team that planned and led worship at Fuller Seminary’s chapel services for two years. He played keyboard for the Urbana 18 Worship Team, which led over eleven thousand college students in worship, and served as the band’s music director. Their live album, “Faithful Witness,” can be found on all major platforms for streaming and purchasing music. He currently serves as the Worship Team Director at Westmont, teaches a course called “Music in the Worshipping Church,” and will begin leading the Jazz Ensemble in the Fall of 2020.
Eben met his wife Megann while they were students at Westmont, through their mutual friend (and now Music Department faculty member) Daniel Gee. They married in 2013, and live in Carpinteria with their golden retriever, Ollie.
Egle Januleviciute was born in Lithuania, into family of professional musicians. She holds the Diploma with Highest Honors from Academy of Music of Lithuania, Vilnius, Master of Music in Piano Performance degree from Bowling Green State University, OH, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance from University of California Santa Barbara.
Egle Januleviciute has toured Lithuania, Germany, Finland, Japan, Italy, Belgium and the former Soviet Union, both as soloist and collaborative artist. Egle was awarded the Premiere Prix Concert Recital Diploma from Guildhall School, London, was a finalist and prize-winner in Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition, Cleveland, Ohio, and the first prize winner in the Young Keyboard Artists Association International Piano Competition, Oberlin, Ohio. Her discography includes M.K.Ciurlionis (1875-1911) Pieces for Piano (Tembras Studios, Lithuania, 1992), works by Faure, Franck, Debussy and Ravel for “Young Maestros Label” by Hurstwood Farm Music Studios, U.K., 1998, J.S.Bach Keyboard Works by Eroica Classical recordings, 2006, and works by W.A.Mozart and Chopin, (Opus One recordings, 2013). Egle currently teaches piano at Westmont College and Cate School, as well as privately. More about Egle at http://www.eglej.com
Thomas Joyce, DMA, is Minister of Keyboard Music (organ, piano, harpsichord) at Trinity Episcopal Church, a vibrant parish in downtown Santa Barbara. He also teaches organ as an adjunct instructor at Westmont College and faculty accompanist/associate choral director at Santa Barbara City College. Thomas offers private lessons in piano, organ, voice, and musicianship, and is active in the Santa Barbara community as a keyboard accompanist and collaborative artist.
Born in Cambridge, England, Thomas has spent most of his life and career in the United States. Beginning organ lessons while a chorister at Washington National Cathedral in Washington D.C., he went on to earn degrees in music from Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Yale University Institute of Sacred Music, and the University of Washington. Before settling in Santa Barbara in 2014, Thomas served a number of churches and cathedrals in the United States as an organist and choral director.
Thomas currently makes his home in a remote area of the Los Padres National Forest, and is an avid outdoorsman, naturalist, and photographer.
Heather Levin was born and raised in Redlands, California and attended the University of California Santa Barbara where she received her M.A. While a student there she also worked as an accompanist for voice lessons, singing classes, studied voice with Marjorie McKay and played in the jazz band. During her junior year of undergraduate study, she participated in the Education Abroad Program furthering her studies in French and Music at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France. Upon completing her Masters at U.C.S.B. she became a member of the Music Teacher’s Association of California and has since become extremely active in Santa Barbara and its vicinity as both a solo pianist and teacher and in the areas of vocal accompaniment, choral accompaniment, chamber ensemble performance, church and religious organizations’ music programs, school and community music theatre productions and opera. Very recent and/or current appointments include but are not limited too: Westmont College, Santa Barbara City College, Cate School, Carpinteria High School, Laguna Blanca School, Dos Pueblos High School, Montecito Union School, The Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus, the Goleta Valley Children’s Choir, the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara and Congregation B’nai B’rith. As an educator, Heather creates a warm and comfortable teaching environment that is at the same time challenging, rewarding and successful. Curriculum is determined individually, based on a careful assessment of current ability, personal tastes and the specific goals of a degree program and departmental requirements. Heather greatly enjoys teaching and collaborating with people of all ages and backgrounds.
Lonnie Ostrander, MMus in Piano Performance from Northern Illinois University, has enjoyed a versatile career as a musician over many years. Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Lonnie has traveled extensively, collaborating with vocal and instrumental students at universities such as Calvin University, DePaul University, Grand Valley State University, University of Arkansas, University of Michigan, and University of Notre Dame. Her work has included recitals, competitions, juries and auditions, as well as the occasional guest artist needing her expertise. She has accompanied various advanced college choirs, and has also been pianist for professional ballet companies, schools, and a variety of summer intensive dance programs. She has performed for musicals and operas, both in college and local community settings. Lonnie has maintained her own private studio over the years, teaching both children and adults. Additionally, she has taught university courses in class piano, applied piano, accompanying, vocal literature and world music.