Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
 

Faculty Bios

​​​​FULL-TIME FACULTY

Brian Gould


Brian GouldBrian Gould, chair of OCC's Keyboard Program since 1995, made his orchestral debut at age nine, performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto No. 1; while still in his teens, he performed before a sold-out audience at the Hollywood Bowl. He has appeared as guest soloist with orchestras throughout the United States and given critically-acclaimed solo recitals in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.

His live and recorded performances have been broadcast on radio and television, and he has appeared by request for numerous dignitaries, including President Gerald Ford. Dr. Gould is an alumnus of USC, where he taught while completing his doctorate; he received multiple awards for teaching and performance excellence, and at Commencement, the music faculty conferred upon him their highest honor as Doctoral Graduate
of the Year.

He is an advocate for the application of technology to bring educational access for all, and his lectures and articles on the effective applications of technology in the field of music education have been published in American Music Teacher, Electronic Musician, and other national magazines. Dr. Gould is an Orange County native who enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, cycling, running, rowing, and bodysurfing. His hobbies include reading, writing, cooking, and travel, and he has two children, Victoria and Thomas.

Contact: bgould@occ.cccd.edu

Paul Navidad


Paul NavidadPaul Navidad joined the faculty of Orange Coast College in 2000 as the director of Jazz and Commercial Music Studies. Paul, a California native, has performed with a diverse list of musicians from Al Jarreau to Tennessee Ernie Ford, has opened for comedians such as Jay Leno, Rich Little, and Jamie Foxx, and has been heard on numerous soundtracks of films and television shows, most notably NBC's Emmy-nominated sitcom Friends.

In 2004, Paul recorded with Lou Rawls, Deborah Harry, Lisa Loeb, and Isaac Hayes, as well as with actors George Wendt and Gary Oldman on the critically-acclaimed Buena Vista Records children's album A World of Happiness. He is also heavily featured on Lou Rawls' final album, Lou Rawls' Christmas, on the Time-Life label. Currently in heavy demand as a performer and writer, Paul works world-wide. He can be seen performing at a number of Southern California jazz clubs with the likes of such artists as Wilton Felder, Jeff Kashiwa, Eric Marienthal, and Rob Mullins.

His skills as an improviser have earned him the praises of such jazz greats as Alan Broadbent, Buddy Collette, Dewey Erney, Kim Richmond, Bud Shank, and Bill Watrous, and have earned him the recognition of the International Association of Jazz Educators as an Outstanding Soloist. He is working on his first solo saxophone project and is preparing to release his first single as a vocalist in the summer of 2010.

Contact: anavidad@occ.cccd.edu

Eliza Rubenstein


Eliza RubensteinEliza Rubenstein joined the Music Department faculty as a part-time choral director in 2008, and became OCC's full-time Director of Choral and Vocal Activities in 2009. Besides her position at OCC, she is also the Artistic Director of the Orange County Women's Chorus and the Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra, and a music director at Mesa Verde United Methodist Church.

Born in Missouri to a musical family, Eliza first requested violin lessons at age 4 so that she could "play on street corners for money" when she grew up; she continues to play violin and viola as a hobby, and she's recently taken up the mandolin. She studied English literature and choral conducting at Oberlin College in Ohio before earning her Master's Degree in choral conducting at UC-Irvine.

Ensembles under Eliza's direction have performed at Disney Hall's REDCAT Theater, the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and the Western Division convention of the American Choral Directors' Association. The Orange County Register recently praised her "expert direction," and the Long Beach Gazette has said that "Musically and technically, she has it all." For eight years Eliza was the assistant supervisor of the Irvine Animal Care Center; she is the co-author of a book about dog adoption, and she shares her Costa Mesa home with a beagle mix, Frances, and a grey cat named Wilbur.

Contact: erubenstein@occ.cccd.edu

Ricardo Soto


Ricardo SotoRicardo Soto received his doctorate in Choral Conducting from the University of Southern California in 1993, graduating magna cum laude. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from California State University-Fullerton. Dr. Soto is the chair of the music department, where he conducts the OCC Symphony and teaches music history, theory and musicianship. Previously, he served on the faculties of Cal State-Fullerton, where he conducted the Men's Chorus and Opera Orchestra, and the University of California-Irvine, where he conducted the Men's and Women's Choruses.

In Fall 2001 he made his Orange County Performing Arts Center debut conducting Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors. He also taught for four years at Saddleback High School in Santa Ana where he had a successful choral program that involved 260 students—over 10% of the student body. Dr. Soto is much sought after as a choral clinician and a guest conductor of honor choirs and orchestras.

Contact: rsoto@occ.cccd.edu

Dana Wheaton


Dana WheatonDana Wheaton, trombonist and conductor, has played behind such luminaries as George Burns, The Coasters, Sammy Davis, Jr., The Fifth Dimension, The Four Tops, Jan & Dean, Henry Mancini, Toni Tennille, and John Williams. He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 47.

Dana has taught at Orange Coast College since 1991, currently serving as Director of Bands and overseeing the Computers in Music program. His father, Dr. Jack Wheaton, is President of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 325 in San Diego.

Contact: dwheaton@occ.cccd.edu



​Part-Time Facu​​lty

Guitar

Dave Murdy


Dave Murdy, a native Californian, received his Bachelor's of Music in Jazz and Commercial Guitar from USC. He has performed both solo and with a wide range of artists that includes Jazz, Classical, Pop, Rock and Country genres. Dave was an original member of pop jazz band Kilauea, with whom he toured the U.S. and performed on four CDs, two of which went top-ten on the Billboard Charts. During that same period, Dave released his own jazz CD, "That Goes to Show Ya," on Time Is Records. Dave has also released two cds with his trio Toxic Jazz.

Dave has performed with artists as varied as Art Davis, Brandon Fields, Eric Marienthal, Tony Guerrero, Bobby Shue, Warren Hill, and 60's pop stars Mel Carter and Jackie Deshannon. Dave performs locally and internationally with a variety of bands and artists. He has written, arranged and recorded original music for Universal Studios theme parks, composed original music for "Muzak," and written his own
guitar book.

Contact: dmurdy@occ.cccd.edu

Adam Pettit


Adam Pettit began his formal training on the classical guitar at age fifteen, at the Texas Christian University Music Preparatory program. Shortly thereafter, he received the gold medal at the University Interscholastic League Competition's state competition on classical guitar, and was awarded Outstanding Performer.

Currently, Adam is completing his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at USC, where he was selected as the First Prize winner of the USC Donald Miller Guitar Concerto Competition. Following the success of this concerto performance, he was invited to perform as a featured soloist with the South Coast Symphony Orchestra of Orange County.

In addition to classical repertoire, Adam also enjoys exploring the flamenco style and collaborating with various chamber groups. He is also a founding member of the Helios Guitar Quartet, where he plays 7-string guitar in addition to the standard 6-string classical. Besides OCC, Adam currently serves as part-time faculty at Cypress College and Riverside Community College.

Contact: apettit@occ.cccd.edu

Randy Pile


Randy Pile, recitalist, concerto soloist, and chamber musician, is known for his "rich tone", "powerful technique", "graceful interpretations," and "sensitive musicianship." He has gained an international following through acclaimed performances in the USA, Europe, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and appearances in major music festivals around the world.

Randy's repertoire spans the spectrum of guitar literature from early music to post-modern works, and includes the most demanding concertos. He holds degrees from UC-Berkeley and UC-San Diego, and his doctoral dissertation was based on a revision of Joaquín Rodrigo's guitar works, which he undertook while working closely with the Maestro at his home in Madrid, becoming friends with Rodrigo and his family.

An acknowledged expert on this music, he is the author of A Performer's Guide to the Complete Guitar Works of Joaquín Rodrigo. He has recorded for labels including Philips, American Matador, and Metro Records, and his performances have been praised by the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, and Pepe Romero, among others.

Contact: rpile@occ.cccd.edu

Scott Wolf


Scott Wolf earned a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory under the tutelage of Eliot Fisk, and received his Bachelor of Music at UC-San Diego, studying with Randy Pile. Scott won first prize in the Donald Miller Concerto Competition in 2009 and was awarded the Latin American Prize at Boston GuitarFest 2007. Shortly after, he released a solo album of Latin-American music entitled Un Viaje al Sur (A Journey South).

He studied flamenco guitar extensively in Spain and in the U.S. with Grisha Goryachev and Adam Del Monte. Scott is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at USC, where he studies classical guitar with Los Angeles Guitar Quartet member Scott Tennant.

He serves on the faculties of Palomar and Whittier Colleges in addition to OCC. Scott performs many of his own arrangements with the USC World Guitar Ensemble, Duo Solaris, and De Gracia y Pasión, and currently has publications with Clear Note and
Doberman-Yppan publishers.

Contact: swolf@occ.cccd.edu

Piano

Teresa de Jong Pombo


Pianist Teresa de Jong Pombo has performed throughout Austria, Colombia and the United States. She performs solo and ensemble recitals frequently and is a regular soloist with the OCC Symphony Orchestra. She maintains a private studio, and she has been on the faculty at OCC since 1999 and at the Colburn School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles since 1989.

She is active as an adjudicator for piano competitions, and her students have been prizewinners in local, state and national competitions. She graduated summa cum laude from USC, where she earned her Bachelor's and Master's of Music degrees in Piano Performance, earning several scholarships and serving as an Assistant Lecturer in the Keyboard Department.

Ms. de Jong Pombo was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Grant to study in Vienna as a student of the renowned late Professor Hans Graf at the Hochschule für Musik, where she graduated with the Konzertfach Diplom in Piano Performance.

Contact: tdejongpombo@occ.cccd.edu

Emily Hung


Dr. Emily Hung holds degrees and awards from the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and USC. She made her Carnegie Weill Hall solo debut as a winner of the Artist International Competition, and has been frequently featured in Juilliard's "World of Piano" series. She has performed concerti with the Orange Coast Symphony and Olympia Symphony, among others, and has given solo and chamber recitals throughout the states.

Dr. Hung has served as a branch president in the Music Teachers' Association of California. She is active as an adjudicator, and her students have won top awards in local, state and national music competitions. Dr. Hung has taught as an assistant lecturer at USC.

She has been on the faculty at the Orange Coast College since 2000, and Irvine Valley College since 2005. She coaches the Junior Chamber Music program, and maintains an active private studio in Orange County.

Contact: ehung@occ.cccd.edu

Judy E. Lee


Judy E. Lee has a wealth of experience in teaching and performance. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of California–Irvine under the tutelage of Nina Scolnik, and she holds a Master of Music Degree from USC; her principal teachers have been Bernadene Blaha and Ann Perry.

While a doctoral student at USC, she worked extensively in Yamaha Music Education System as a Music Education Specialist in training teachers and developing their curriculum. Judy's students have been prizewinners in many festivals and competitions. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Irvine branch of the Music Teachers' Association of California.

Contact: jlee@occ.cccd.edu

Voice

Beth Hansen


Beth Hansen has been an OCC faculty member since 2000, specializing in Advanced Performance Techniques, Advanced Auditioning Techniques, and Advanced Voice. A seasoned professional, she has taught and coached thousands of students as well as professionals from coast to coast.

Beth is also a renowned theatrical director and actor, having been involved professionally with the stage for over 30 years, with over 300 productions to her credit. In addition to OCC, Beth has served on the faculties of UC-Irvine, Cal State-Long Beach, Chapman University, Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College, Golden West College, and Santa Ana College.

Contact: bhansen@occ.cccd.edu

Mary Scheibe


Mary Scheibe holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Vocal Performance from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She currently teaches Applied Voice Lessons and Voice Classes at Orange Coast College and Cypress College. Mary was a member of the voice faculty at the University of Miami Frost School of Music in Coral Gables, Florida for fifteen years, teaching a variety of courses in voice and musical theater, and leading several workshops for choral conductors in conjunction with the UM Summer Music Camp. She was also a member of the voice faculty at NAU, where she taught Applied Voice Lessons.

In addition to teaching, Mary has also performed as soprano soloist on major works by Britten, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Handel, Rutter, Bach, and others. She has also worked extensively in musical theatre and improvisational theatre. A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Mary has adjudicated vocal festivals in California, Arizona, Florida.

Contact: mscheibe@occ.cccd.edu

Nadia Smelser


Nadia Smelser holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music (Vocal Performance) and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Besides her work at OCC, she teaches a pilot program in voice at Mater Dei High School. She has also taught at the University of California–Irvine, Cypress College, and Fullerton College, and she maintains a busy private vocal studio.

Nadia has performed as a soloist with prestigious groups such as I Cantori, Pacific Chorale, and the Carmel Bach Festival, and she has appeared on PBS, CNN, National Public Radio, Classic Arts Showcase, and Hour of Power, among other appearances in the commercial and classical world. Nadia was invited to perform at the California State Bach Festival and to tour nationally with Anonymous Four in the "Voices of Light" Tour for Columbia Artists; her more unusual recordings include the theme song and musical sequences for L.A.'s "Mark and Brian" morning show, and the "America's Funniest Home Videos" CD-Rom home game.

Contact: nsmelser@occ.cccd.edu

Recording Arts and Music Technology

Dennis Anderson


After receiving two consecutive Fulbright scholarships to study music composition at the Krakow Music Academy with Buguslaw Shaffer and Krzsztof Penderecki, Dennis Anderson returned to the U.S. and worked in the music industry as a recording engineer, song demo producer, session guitarist and bassist, theater sound designer, and film music recording producer.

In 2003, after teaching courses in History of Rock Music, Music Theory, and Music Technology at Cal State-Fullerton, Mt. San Antonio College, and Golden West College, he joined the faculty of OCC, where he now teaches the Recording Techniques Workshop course in the OCC Pro Tools studio that he designed and built. Dennis was music recording engineer and music supervisor on the film Bienvenido-Welcome, which won Mexico's Ariel award for best soundtrack, and he appears as a featured commentator in Paul McCartney's DVD The Space Within Us.

Contact: danderson@occ.cccd.edu

Accompanying and vocal-coaching staff

Margaret Houck


Margaret Houck received a Bachelor's Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Tennessee, and a Master's Degree in Piano Performance from California State University-Fullerton. She has been involved in accompanying, chamber music, and choral conducting for more than 35 years, and maintains a studio of private piano students.

Contact: mhouck@occ.cccd.edu

Beth Syverson


Beth Syverson, an OCC staff accompanist since 2000, grew up in Iowa and received a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from Drake University. In 2000, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Music History and Literature from Cal State-Fullerton. Her chamber ensemble, Crown Trio, released a CD, Colorwave, in 2003. She has taught classes in piano, music history, and theory at Riverside Community College, Concordia College, CSU-Fullerton, Orange County High School of the Arts (OCHSA) and Orange County Children's Therapeutic Arts Center.

She has taught private piano lessons for over 20 years, and she currently focuses on teaching piano to students with special needs. Beth is the Director of Music Ministries at Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, and the director of UNISON Interfaith Choir and Orange County Homeschool Choir. She lives in Norwalk with her son Joey, her partner Jan, four horses, three dogs, and a cat.

Contact: bsyverson@occ.cccd.edu

Janelle Tag


Janelle Tag was born in Seoul, South Korea, but has spent most of her musical life in California. She began her piano studies at age 7 and won her first competition at 15. Janelle holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in piano performance from Cal State-Fullerton, and she is the accompanist for the Orange County Women's Chorus and Our Lady of Peace Korean Catholic Center.

Janelle is a gifted and experienced vocal coach and concert soloist as well as an accomplished accompanist; in the spring of 2009 she performed Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Corona Symphony Orchestra, and she will be the featured soloist in the CSO's fall 2010 performance of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto as well.

Contact: jtag@occ.cccd.edu