Our Teachers

String & Piano

Dhani Juan

Dhani Juan has been classically trained since the age of 6 at the Conservatory “Guillermo Tomas Bouffartigue” in Havana, Cuba. After moving to New Orleans in 2014 he received his Bachelors and master’s degree in music performance at Loyola University under the guidance of violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Since his arrival to the city, he has taught students of all ages and skill levels through several musical organizations such as the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra where he taught privately violin, viola, piano and cello for several years.

Dhani Juan utilizes his conservatory-level training to bring students to their desired potential with effective instruction in music theory. In 2016 he was invited to perform lead violin alongside American musician Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, where he was given the solo lead for three songs. Nowadays Dhani Juan actively plays alongside multiple ensembles ranging from jazz to classical around the city and enjoys spending his days teaching what he loves.

Violin & Piano

Ellen Johnston

Ellen Johnston is a Texas born classically trained violinist, pianist, teacher, and performer. She first started the piano at the age of six and picked up the violin at age nine, and has been teaching and performing for well over a decade. She went on to study at Loyola University, New Orleans, on a music scholarship where she studied violin with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenburg and Amy Thaiville. Ms. Johnston concentrated her studies in chamber music and solo performance, as well as college-level piano. In 2019, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Music Performance.

Ellen has performed with the Romero Quartet, the Loyola Strings orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Music In the Mountains. She has taught all age ranges of students and believes music is an essential part of education. During her time in New Orleans, Ellen worked with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra to spread her love of music to the community and taught privately. She now resides in Houston, Texas, where she continues to teach and perform.


Marie Borillo

Marie Borillo has been teaching piano for 20 years, with students, beginners to advanced, ranging in age from 4 to 70 years old. Among these include local competition winners and participants in the Royal Conservatory of Music examinations, while some students have chosen to continue their music education at the collegiate level. Marie received her DMA in Piano Performance from West Virginia University, studying with James Miltenberger.

Her former teachers include Penelope Cecchini, John Couch, James Douthat, Tim Shafer, and Christine Kefferstan. She also studied piano pedagogy under the tutelage of Connie Arrau Sturm. Marie is an active member of the Music Teachers’ National Association and has adjudicated area piano competitions and festivals.

Piano & Voice

Sevil Jabiyev

Born in Russia, Sevil Jabiyev discovered her passion for music at an early age. She began studying Piano in Yaroslavl music school once she turned 7 and ever since could not imagine her live without playing piano. While studying in music school, Sevil began teaching as a secondary vocal teacher while accompanying different solo musical instruments. Upon graduating as valedictorian, Sevil enrolled in Saint Petersburg Gertsen University and continued her study of piano and music under the guidance of famous Russian teacher and musician, Piano Department Dean Irina Avramkova.

Sevil graduated her Bachelor program with honors and began her teaching career at the same time studying Master's program which she completed with distinction in 2017. She participated in various Chamber music festivals and competitions and won the first place in International Music Competition in Italy and International Music Competition in Russia in 2017.


Sharmilia Jayatileke

Sharmila started playing piano at the age of 9 and was classically trained throughout the years with ABRSM and Trinity College Music with Practical and Theory. She has a General Certificate of Education with Western Music and is licensed by Musikgarten . She has 10 years experience teaching piano from Elementary to High school students . She is passionate about teaching piano and loves watching her students progress.


Alexandra Garza

Alexandra Garza has been a classically trained pianist from five years of age and has continued to improve her performance level. She has graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor’s in Music Education and a Master’s in Piano Pedagogy. During her studies within the piano pedagogy program, she has taught at the music prep division, taught class piano to undergraduate music students, performed studio, duet, and solo recitals, and has accompanied vocal and instrumental soloists. She had her students perform at local festivals and recitals and is also a member of TMTA and MTNA.

She studied piano performance at Stephen F. Austin State University during her undergraduate and graduate studies with Dr. Andrew Parr and Dr. Minhae Lee. In addition, she studied piano pedagogy with Dr. Mario Ajero, an active member and presenter of TMTA and MTNA.

Violin & Piano

Jae Yee Lee

Jae Yee Lee was born in South Korea in 1995. When she was 4 years old, she started to play piano and changed to violin at the age of nine. She attended the Sunhwa art middle school and Sunhwa art high school which are for the young gifted students in Korea with a scholarship. She performed for all the honors recitals (8 times) during the six years and graduated the middle school and high school the first in her class. In Korea, she won many competitions including the Cosmo National Music Competition, Korea Festival Music Competition, Music Education News Competition, Green Chamber Orchestra Music Competition and Haneum Philharmonic Orchestra Music Competition.

Lee played as a soloist with several orchestras in Korea. She performed Mozart violin concerto no.2 with the Gimpo Youth Orchestra, Vieuxtemps violin concerto no.5 with Lux Art Orchestra, Mozart violin concerto no.3 with Sunhwa Art Middle School Orchestra as a winner of 2010 concerto competition and Mendelssohn violin concerto with Sunhwa Art High School Orchestra as a winner of 2012 concerto competition.

Jae Yee Lee was in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with professor Milan Vitek, and got her Master’s degree with professor Kathleen Winkler in the Shepherd School of Music.

Vocals & Piano

Dr. Yen-Yu Shih

Mezzo Soprano,  Dr. Yen-Yu Shih is a multi- talented musician who in addition to being an accomplished vocalist and pianist, has served as stage manager and producers for a wide variety of musical productions including music festivals, musical theaters, operas and concerts. Her performance experience is extensive, having been worked with several philharmonic orchestras and chamber groups and as a guest soloist to even more.

After completing her degrees, she served as faculty at the Sierra Music Academy, Sacramento, and held her own voice and piano studio in Pasadena(CA). She has offered professional vocal clinics, private lessons and group classes to students, choirs, musical theaters, churches and schools throughout her teaching career. In 2010-2012 she established and served as the music director of National Taiwan University Alumni Chorus, South California, which  performed several choir concerts under her direction.  In 2012 with her husband, Dr. Ding-Shyue Yang  and the family, she relocated in Houston(TX). She currently accepted the position of Music Director for the CAMA Chorus in 2017.

Violin, Guitar, & Piano

Shadi Khansa

Shadi is a lifelong musician and experienced teacher. Beginning his formal studies in Classical Guitar at the National Conservatory of Lebanon, he was introduced to teaching at a young age by his professor, who believed that teaching is an integral part of being a musician. Continuing his musical studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Shadi graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree. He has an active career performing, recording and teaching. His biggest passion as a teacher is helping students break past their self-perceived limitations and empowering them to reach their potential both in art and in life.


Jungae Lee

Jungae Lee was raised by her father, a music professor and pastor at the Korean Baptist Theological University. She was exposed to music from an early age, starting on the violin when she was 7 years old, but she was fascinated by the sound of the piano and soon transitioned to piano. Music runs in her family. Her younger brother earned a Master’s in Music from Sofia University and plays contrabass. He is currently Vice-Chairman of the Seoul National Symphony Orchestra in South Korea. Jungae majored in Piano Pedagogy and received her Bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University. She has over 20 years teaching experience and has taught a wide range of students, from beginners to advanced piano students. She believes that music has the power to heal the mind and restore enjoyment. Her teaching style was strongly influenced by Professor Paul Reed and Dr. Sylvia Coats, who taught her that anyone can access and enjoy music.