September 7, 2023

CIM welcomes brilliant slate of new, visiting, and guest faculty and guest artists in fall 2023

A triptych showing Si-Yan Darren Li, Maya Stone, and JJ Hudson.
Si-Yan Darren Li, left, Associate Dean of Ensembles and Conservatory Cello Faculty; Guest faculty member, bassoonist Maya Stone, center; and JJ Hudson, Interim Artistic Director of CIM Opera Theater.

Only one action could have made CIM a more exciting place this month, and that’s exactly the one CIM took. 

Along with new and returning students, CIM welcomed a host of new faculty and a large roster of visiting and guest pedagogues and performers.  

These artists bring to campus an array of new perspectives and backgrounds and complement the school’s already illustrious slate of world-class virtuosos, composers, and academics.  

“Our faculty and distinguished guests complete ‘The CIM Advantage,’” said Scott Harrison, CIM’s Executive Vice President & Provost.  

“They are the people who truly set us apart from our peers and empower our students to become the future of classical music. We look forward to experiencing the difference these returning and new artistic and educational leaders make in our community and our world.”  

CIM welcomed new faculty in resident roles; as visiting faculty, who maintain an ongoing relationship with CIM over multiple years; and as guest faculty, who complement the learning environment via temporary residencies. In addition, the school welcomed several experts as speakers, masterclass instructors, and returning guests.  

Faculty appointments include celebrated stage director and opera pedagogue JJ Hudson, as interim artistic director of CIM Opera Theater; lauded baritone Tyler Duncan, as baroque voice teacher in the Historic Performance Program and Conservatory; Cleveland Orchestra violist William Bender (MM ’17, Vernon), as viola faculty in the Academy at CIM; and pianist YounJung Cha (MM ’07, Schenly/Brown), as piano faculty in the Academy and Joint Music Program. 

CIM alumnus Mike Block (BM ’04, Aaron), a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Ensemble, joined the faculty to lead a new Global Music Ensemble, and Si-Yan Darren Li, Director of Strings and Piano Chamber Music, added the role of Associate Dean of Ensembles. 

Guest faculty include celebrated violinist Jennifer Koh (HDMA ’22), who is starting a two-year residency including masterclasses, special projects, and a performance with the CIM New Music Ensemble; bassoonist and health coach Maya Stone, a member of the Jacksonville Symphony; and horn player Joshua Pantoja, of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music. 

All of these individuals joined the large slate of world-class talent that is CIM’s faculty, whose ranks include more than one-third of The Cleveland Orchestra and many of the nation’s leading soloists, orchestra members, opera performers, and chamber musicians. Collectively, they represent a host of unique career paths proven to inspire and engage students as they plot their futures. 

A complete list of new CIM faculty members and guest artists is below. Photos and biographical information for each are available upon request. 





  • Violist William Bender (MM ’17, Vernon), Academy  

  • Jacob Bernhardt (MM ’19, DMA ’23, Pontremoli), music theory  

  • Mike Block (BM ’04, Aaron), Global Music 

  • Pianist YounJung Cha (MM ’07, Schenly/Brown), Academy and Joint Music Program 

  • Soprano Claire Connelly (MM ’10, Schiller), Academy and Joint Music Program 

  • Baritone Tyler Duncan, Historic Performance Program 

  • Alan Elkins, music theory  

  • Scott Hanenberg, music theory  

  • JJ Hudson, Interim Artistic Director, CIM Opera Theater 

  • Jacob Johnson, Preparatory Jazz Piano/Improvisation 

  • Cellist Si-Yan Darren Li, promoted to Associate Dean of Ensembles  

  • Violinist Malcolm Lowe, formerly Visiting Faculty 

  • Caitlin Martinkus, music theory 

  • Conductor George Nicholson, Conservatory  

  • Daniel Pereira, promoted to Director of Academy Performance Studies and coordinator of CIM 360, CIM’s new physical and mental wellness program for musicians 

  • Jonathon Turner, promoted to conductor of Academy Choirs 

  • Lutist Charles Weaver, Historic Performance Program 



  • Saxophonist Steven Banks 

  • Conductor JoAnn Falletta 

  • Violinist Todd Phillips 

  • Bassist Hal Robinson 

  • Cellist Keith Robinson 

  • Percussionist She-e Wu 

  • Cellist Wei Yu 



  • Megumi Kanda (BM ’97, DeSano), principal trombone, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra  

  • Marcus Aurelius Thompson, Institute Professor of Music, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 



  • Guitarist René Izquierdo 

  • Violinist Jennifer Koh (HDMA ’22)  

  • Pianist Gabriela Montero 

  • Horn player Joshua Pantoja 

  • Bassoonist Maya Stone 



  • Composer Christopher Cerrone  

  • Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke 

  • Dalí Quartet 

  • Emerson Quartet, featuring CIM violin faculty Philip Setzer 

  • Pianist Stewart Goodyear  

  • Balafon virtuoso Balla Kouyaté 

  • Pianist Artina McCain (MM ’06, Brown) 

  • Composer Joan Tower 

  • Oboist Titus Underwood (BM ’08, Mack)  

  • Contemporary ensemble Wild Up 



  • Cellist Steven Isserlis 

  • Pianist Jean-Marc Luisada 

  • Tenor Matthew Polenzani 

  • Pianist Beatrice Rana  

  • Soprano Renée Richardson (PS ’18, Schiller)