ERICA MAAS SHIPPEE
Founder + Studio Coordinator
Teaching Artist, Voice & Piano
Erica Shippee is a classically-trained soprano, professional choral singer, voice & piano teacher and founder of Market Square Music Academy. While teaching for several years at Bay Path University and The Loomis Chaffee School, she started building a successful home studio of private students. After pivoting to virtual lessons due to the pandemic and continuing to grow the business, she fulfilled a longtime dream by opening Market Square Music Academy in July, 2021 with the mission to make high quality music lessons and performance opportunities more accessible for the community. She deeply believes in the transformative power of music and the enormous benefits music education can provide for both children and adults.
Erica currently sings regularly with several professional choral ensembles including CONCORA, Voices of Concinnity, and The Schola Cantorum of The Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Hartford. She has previously performed with the Boston Camerata, Hartford Symphony, Cape Cod Symphony, The New Haven Symphony, The Hartford Chorale, The Longy Early Opera Project, Hartt Opera Theater, Hartt Concentus and The Oriana Consort in Cambridge, Mass. She has been a featured soloist with Manchester Symphony in Vivaldi's Gloria, Handel's Messiah with CONCORA, and Durufle's Requiem with Music at the Red Door and has performed abroad on choral tours to Lincoln Cathedral, Coventry Cathedral, Vienna, Austria, Budapest, Hungary and The National Cathedral Washington D.C. Alongside voice and opera, she also pursued years of piano, organ, harpsichord and advanced courses in music theory, choral conducting and pedagogy. Erica holds a Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance from The Hartt School of Music, a Masters Degree in Early Music and a Teaching Artist Certificate from The Longy School of Music of Bard College. She has studied voice with Laurie Monahan, Mauren O'Flynn, Cherie Caluda, Eric Trudel, Susan Madinly, and Donna Schaffer and piano & organ with Judy Chung, Dana Maiben, and Ezequiel Menendez.
Guitar, Piano and Ukulele
Austin Tewksbury is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, and music teacher based in Hartford, CT. He completed his Bachelors Degrees in Music from Trinity College, where he also earned a dual degree in Biology, performed in the Jazz and Samba ensembles, and sang with both the Chapel Singers and the Accidentals. Austin has always cast the net wide in his pursuit of music, with experience ranging from euphonium to vocal studies to work on and off stage in musical theater, and studying Caribbean music in Trinidad. Austin currently serves as guitarist for the Trinity College Samba Ensemble, is the tenor section leader and soloist at Old St. Andrew’s Church in Avon, and plays in pit orchestras for many musical theater productions. He also hosts open mics at ELEVATE Healing Arts in Cromwell, and is an organizer for the West End Porchfest, an annual free music festival in Hartford’s West End. He additionally writes and records his own music. Austin collaborates with many local musicians and currently works with R&B/pop artist Brandon Serafino. As a teacher, Austin aims to make connections between our prior experience and the knowledge we gain. Any experiences that we have outside of lessons, including the music we already know and love, can make their way back to lessons for us to better understand and appreciate. This process of discovering and rediscovering our love for music is an ideal way to grow as a musician.
Austin's teaching schedule includes openings on Mondays and Tuesdays. He specializes in guitar + ukulele studies for students of all ages including adults, as well as piano lessons for students K-5.
Voice & Piano
Aizel Livioco completed her Master's Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she was a recipient of the Bezanson Graduate Voice Award, performed many leading roles in the opera department and was a teaching assistant for the voice department. She also received, with a full scholarship, her Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the University of the Philippines, where she graduated magna cum laude. She recently Aizel served on the voice faculty at the University of the Philippines, College of Music Extension Program and was the voice coordinator and vocal coach at the Assumption College in the Philippines for their after school music program, directing and accompanying from the piano in a large range of musical styles. She was also the teaching assistant for voice at the Department of Music and Dance at UMass Amherst.
Her main teachers include Marjorie Melnick, Cecilia Valeña, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, Jane Olian, and Rachel Copland. Aizel has performed in Italy, Spain, Germany, and Indonesia when she was a member of the Philippine Madrigal Singers, a renowned chorale group in the Philippines which had won numerous international competitions including the European Grand Prix for Chorale Singing. She has also performed in China, Canada, and Hong Kong as part of the soprano crossover duo, The Nightingales. She was also part of the artist pool of the Philippine Opera Company in several of their productions. Aizel’s opera performance credits include: (Adele) Die Fledermaus, (Queen of the Night) Die Zauberflöte, (Michaëla) Carmen, (Lisa) La Sonnambula, (Violetta) La Traviata, (Gianetta) L’Elisir d’Amore, and (Amy March) Little Women. Scene work include: (Rosalinde) Die Fledermaus, (Adina) L’Elisir d’Amore, (Norina) Don Pasquale, (Donna Elvira) Don Giovanni, (Marie) La Fille du Régiment, (Despina and Fiordiligi) Cosi Fan Tutte, (Lucia) Rape of Lucretia, (Miss Pinkerton) Old Maid and the Thief, and (Olympia) Les contes d’Hoffmann.
Aizel accepts voice students ages 7-adult and piano students K-5 on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Piano & Group Pre-K Music Classes
Barbara Robbins has been making music with musicians of many genres and ages all her life. Ms. Robbins has been a staff pianist for The Hartt School Vocal Department at the University of Hartford since 2003 and has worked as an adjunct teacher and pianist at Manchester Community College since 2017. She is the accompanist for two choirs in the Hartford area, The West Hartford's Women's Chorale and Cetto Chamber Singers, and is often requested to play auditions, recordings, and performances for a wide range of organizations, from professional to community groups. Ms. Robbins has recently played piano and organ at Central Baptist Church in downtown Hartford, earning a Jolidan Organ Scholarship. She will be playing piano and organ at the Church of St. Patrick in Farmington, starting in the Fall of 2023. She is certified to teach Music PreK-12 in Connecticut public schools, and earned an Educator License from Kindermusik® International. For six years, she has engaged parents and their children in Music & Movement classes, and looks forward to sharing the joy of music with participants at Market Square Music Academy.
Ms. Robbins earned a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music degree on a full scholarship from the University of Connecticut.
Barbara is currently accepting piano students K-12 as well as adult learners on Wednesday afternoons and evenings.
Piano & Composition
Nathan Scalise is an accomplished composer and multi-instrumentalist currently completing a doctoral program in music at The Hartt School. Nathan holds an MM in Composition from Binghamton University, where he studied composition with Daniel Thomas Davis and trombone with Don Robertson, as well as Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Economics from Swarthmore College, where he studied composition with Gerald Levinson, piano with Hans Lüdemann, and trombone with Paul Arbogast. While a DMA student in Composition at the Hartt School, Nathan was teaching fellow, working with undergraduates in music theory studies. He has also previously served as an adjunct professor at Binghamton University. Always interested in breaking down barriers between genres, he regularly performs as a pianist, trombonist, and drummer in a range of styles including jazz, rock, classical, and musical theater.
As a composer, his music has been awarded by NYC SongSLAM (2019 First Prize), Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Eventide Arts New England Songwriting Competition (2018) and Dolce Suono Ensemble (2017 Steven Stucky Young Composers Competition), and performed nationally and internationally by professional artists including Contemporaneous, the Momenta Quartet, Hub New Music, Delamo Duo, Cisum Percussion, 3G Percussion, Jordan Bowman (soprano), Baron Fenwick (piano), Andrew
Fuchs (tenor), Paul Neebe (trumpet), Opera Elect, and Orchestra 2001. He has had two 15-minute-musicals performed as part of New Musicals Inc.’s Core Curriculum and his chamber opera, A Great Resignation, will be performed at the Hartford Fringe Festival in October 2022.
As a teacher, Nathan emphasizes building strong fundamental skills that enable students to move successfully between musical contexts and play the music that makes them love music, whatever that may be. He is passionate about helping students to discover their own musical voice.
Nathan is currently accepting piano students of all ages and has teaching availability on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
Voice & Piano
Wanxue "Wendy" Zhang is a classically trained Soprano and Pianist currently completing her Doctorate in Music Arts at the Hartt School, University of Hartford. She holds two Master's Degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Xi' an Conservatory of Music and The Hartt School. She also completed her Undergraduate Degree in Music Education at Xi' an Conservatory of Music in China.
In November 2016, at the 9th Wuhan-Xi’an-Sichuan Professional Music Pentathlon Competition,
she won 1st prize in the vocal music and conducting divisions conductor as well as 1st place in self-singing and self-accompaniment and the integrated 1st prize in all parts. Showing her versatility as an accomplished singer and pianist, she won the 2nd place prize in the 9th Shanghai International Youth Piano Competition in July 2016 and the Gold medal in Zhuque Cup--Gulang International Junior Voice Open Contest, postgraduate group in northwestern division of China in June 2018. In addition to her performance experience, Wanxue also has immense teaching experience, as the children's chorus rehearsal teacher in Xi’an Gaoxin No.1 Primary School and as a music teacher at the Xi'an Concert Hall. In 2018, she participated in a rural music supporting education activity in Eyi district, a poor and distant area in Shaanxi, organized by Zhao Jiping Music Foundation, as a chorus conductor and piano accompanist. She has also given private piano and vocal lessons to different age
groups over the past 8 years.
Wanxue is currently accepting voice and piano students K-12. She offers lessons in English or Mandarin on Thursdays.
Connecticut-based soprano Caroline Christopher enjoys a wide variety of solo, chamber, and choral singing. She has performed as a soloist in Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Charpentier’s Missa assumpta est Maria, and soprano cantatas by Vivaldi, Handel, and Bach. She collaborates regularly with the Hartt Collegium Musicum, and has also been featured in performances with the Connecticut Virtuosi Orchestra, Tafelmusik Baroque in Canada, the American Mural Project concert series, and Greve Opera Academy in Italy. An avid performer of early music, she has participated in writing and recording projects, workshops in historical performance practices, and was the recent recipient of a research grant through the Dorothy Goodwin Scholars program exploring the performance of vocal works by women composers of the Baroque period. As an active choral singer, she currently holds professional positions with the choirs of St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford and Chorus Angelicus & Gaudeamus in Torrington. She has previously sung with the choir of Center Church in Hartford and the Hartford Chorale. Past opera roles have included Sesto (Giulio Cesare), the Dew Fairy (Hansel and Gretel), Beth (The Tender Land), Alcina (La liberazione di Ruggiero / scenes) and Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro / upcoming). Caroline is pursuing a dual degree in Vocal Performance and Music History with a minor in Art History from The Hartt School where she is a voice student of Deborah Lifton and Dr. William Braun.
Caroline accepts voice students in grades 3-12 on Monday afternoons.