A Community of Passionate Educators and Learners
WELCOME TO SOLO CLASSIC'S MUSIC SCHOOL
At Solo Classic, we encourage spirited learning, growth, development and fun. Our highly skilled and trained educators aim to empower students through music encouraging insightful questions, broadening skill sets and exploring disciplinary boundaries along the way. Our curriculum encourages the engagement with healthy challenges and confronts conventional ways of thinking that go beyond music. We invite you to learn more about Solo Classic and discover an education designed for you.
About Our School
GAINING SKILLS THAT LAST A LIFETIME
Opening its doors in 2001, Solo Classic has been a neighborhood staple dedicated to providing students with a rich musical education as well as encouraging the foundation of music programs in surrounding schools. Our school provides unparalleled teaching methods centered on a diverse learning environment.
We firmly believe in a customized curriculum based on the needs of the student. Solo Classic is located in Buffalo Grove and has over 400 students and a renowned, diverse staff ready to create a personalized musical curriculum for every student so that they may achieve their musical aspirations quickly and more efficiently.
Our distinguished faculty includes graduates from Northwestern University’s School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, DePaul University, members of the Civic Orchestra, Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, and Highland Park Strings. At Solo Classic, we pride ourselves on building a diverse team of people that not only study their craft, but also work as professional musicians across the country.
If you or your child is enrolled in a school orchestra, our educators work directly with Chicago school programs and follow their curriculum in order to prepare students for improved performance, competitions, and auditions. Many of our teachers have working and personal relationships with educators in local school districts and often collaborate on teaching in order to maximize learning and set up a customized music schedule for enhanced performance.
Competitions are a great way to boost any kind of resume and win scholarships, but with so many applicants, it can be difficult to stand out and achieve your goals. With years of experience preparing students for the IGSMA Contest, IMEA, Walgreens National Concerto Competition and many others, our educators are ready to share necessary tools to get ahead and win.
In-Person & Virtual
SOLO CLASSIC IS OPEN AND MOVING FORWARD WITH IN-PERSON, SOCIALLY DISTANT LESSONS
VIRTUAL LESSONS STILL AVAILABLE
While virtual lessons have been a great way to continue training and an excellent distraction from current events, they have also come with plenty of unique challenges and cannot replace in person education. After all, this is an art form that has to be meticulously taught...not online chess!
Virtual lessons, while still available for limited cases for those who wish to stay home, are a temporary solution during quarantine, but finally, students may resume their musical education in person--with added safety measures in place to ensure the health of our community. Please read more about our new rules and regulations for in-person store visits below.
Your commitment to ongoing musical education during this time ensures that you continue making progress with your instrument and that your teacher is able to make a living during this difficult time.
Thank you for all of your support!
(10 LESSON PACKAGE)
VIRTUAL LESSON FACT SHEET
Our Philosophy, The Solo Way
PRIORITIZING DIVERSITY AND ORIGINALITY
Solo Classic Music School honors the individual needs of our students. We believe that with the correct guidance, ALL students can achieve their musical potential.
Solo Classic instructors encourage original thinking and test the boundaries of conventional approaches, because music is art after all! We also strive to provide students with a diverse array of educators from all backgrounds so as to broaden the scope of understanding concerning music performance and beyond.
FROM HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER TO STRING INSTRUMENT MAKER
Roumen Raykovski (owner) was a teacher at Simon Bolivar High School in Bulgaria when he first heard about the Chicago School of Violin Making--one of the few schools in the world that offers courses in the traditional methods of string instrument making. The Bulgarian native made a decision that would change the course of his and his family's destiny: to pursue his dream of string instrument making and immigrate to America. Alongside his studies, Roumen honed his skills and began working for Karnes Music Co. in Chicago where he repaired, set up, and made adjustments to string instruments. A few years later, Roumen moved to William Hariss Lee where he restored priceless instruments as well as instruments for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Roumen's hard work and dedication, not only towards making string instruments from scratch, but also assimilating to his new country of residence, paid off when he opened Solo Classic, a small family business located in Buffalo Grove. With the help of his wife, Dani, daughter Iliana, and son Peter, Roumen's dream came to fruition and expanded into a music school.
From Bulgarian educator to American luthier, Roumen is living proof of the American dream and continues to share his passion for music with his community.
Meet Some of Our Solo Staff
TALENT IS JUST THE BEGINNING
Sonia is a master violinist and instructor who received her training from the renowned Tel Aviv University and was a student of the proclaimed Shlomo Bohr and Oedoe Partos.
Sonia is a first prize winner of the Gina Bachauer competition; principal, co-principal and 1st violinist in Haifa Symphony Orchestra (Israel), Israeli Opera and Radio of Israel Light Music Orchestra, Tel Aviv, soloist and ensemble player in chamber groups, Ramat Gan (Israel) and Musicanti of the Cape Town Symphony. Currently Sonia teaches at the Music Institute in Highland Park as well as Solo Classic Music School.
Sonia's students, of all ages, have earned countless awards and garnered insurmountable success in the music world. Her experience speaks for itself and Solo Classic is most lucky to have her.
VIOLIN & VIOLA
Assistant concert master of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, Highland Park Strings, former member of Galveston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Civic Symphony, La Orquesta Sinfonica de la U.AN.L., Filharmonica “George Dima”, and “Virtuoziidin Transilvania.” During his eight year tenure at Solo Classic, Fabian has enjoyed teaching a range of ages and experience levels using traditional methods and the Suzuki method. He often encourages his students to participate in local activities, school orchestras or local competitions in the hope of preserving music in communities and celebrating art. In the last IGSMA, several of Fabian's students have taken gold medals. A highly driven teacher, Fabian's dedication to his students is showcased through their focus and talent.
VIOLIN & VIOLA
Loved by students and faculty alike, Desi holds both the BM and MM from the State Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria. Prior to moving to the U.S. In 1996, Desi has been performing with leading orchestras in Europe. She served as principal violist for the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra for 8 years, performed regularly with the Illinois Philharmonic, Illinois Symphony Orchestras and is currently a member of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and Highland Park Strings. Teaching both Traditional and Suzuki methods, Desi has been on the faculty of the MCMC in Crystal Lake since 2002, NSMI in Northfield, Starland and Wilmette Park District. She has taught at Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South H.S. for several years.
A native of Brazil, Francisco began his musical career at CEFAR in Belo Horizonte, a music school with an internationally recognized curriculum for its “El Sistema” program. His training has instilled a lifelong dedication towards enriching his understanding of cello performance and the highest standard of musicianship.
Francisco was the first recipient of the prestigious Rita Simo Scholarship, covering all costs to successfully graduate from North Park University with a Certificate in Music for Social Change.
He subsequently graduated from DePaul University School of Music with a Masters of Music degree and Performance Certificate.
Since moving to Chicago in 2011, Francisco has had the privilege of studying with the city’s foremost cellists and pedagogues including Paula Kosower at North Park, Steve Balderston at DePaul, and John Sharp from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Francisco has also performed extensively in countless orchestras and chamber music settings including the Quad Cities Symphony, Illinois Symphony, as well as chamber music performances at various venues throughout the Midwest.
As a teacher, Francisco has structured his method incorporating fundamentals of the “El Sistema” philosophy and traditional cello pedagogy. He has most recently taught at the CPS outreach programs of The People’s Music School and DePaul Community Music Division.
Passionate about teaching, Francisco is dedicated to teaching all levels of cello experience and hopes that his students can use their study of fundamentals and technique as a stepping stone towards their own unique musical expression.
He is eager to discover each students’ individual understanding of music and tailor his teaching to his or her specific needs in order to inspire growth and musical success.
VIOLIN & VIOLA
Grace is an enthusiastic teacher and an active violinist who frequently performs as an orchestral and chamber musician in the Chicago-land area.
Receiving her Master
of Music (MM) and Bachelor of Music (BM) degrees in Violin Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the tutelage of Megan Freivogel and Stefan Milenkovich, Grace hopes to share her extensive knowledge of music to her students and incorporate smarter techniques that provide greater results in musical ability.
While at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, she had invaluable
chamber music experience working with the wonderful members of Jupiter String Quartet which has shaped her musicality and musicianship immensely as a chamber musician and as
a violinist. Her major teachers included Megan Freivogel, Jupiter String Quartet, Stefan Milenkovich and Cornelius Chiu.
Grace enjoys sharing her lifelong love of music with others, especially with her students. She feels grateful to have gained so much from learning music
from her master teachers and making music with aspiring musicians.
She believes the process of learning an instrument helps one to grow in many positive ways in life and hopes
to pass on as much wisdom and love of music to her own students in the years to come. Grace's favorite part about being a musician is the freedom of expression. Being musically endowed can open the door to opportunity, but more importantly, yourself. She hopes that through proper technique, her students can open the door to their soul and let it speak through their instruments.
Grace's method of teaching not only centers on proper form and preparation, but through a customized work plan that yields greater retainability of musical knowledge so that her students can be proficient and successful with their music with or without guidance.
Patrycja earned her Master of Music in cello performance from the Academy of Music, Poland under the tutelage of Andrzej Orkisz. She received an Artist Diploma in cello performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the studio of Brandon Vamos. Between 2012-2014, Patrycja was a member of Civic Orchestra in Chicago.
Patrycja has performed as a soloist in many cello master classes led by such outstanding cellists as G. Gnocchi, A. Bauer, M. Flaksman, J. Pegis, J. Reuling and P. Uyterlinde. As a chamber musician, she took part in chamber music master classes in the United States and Italy with I. Golan, I. Gitlis, Pacifica Quartet, Parker Quartet, Arianna Quartet and Jupiter Quartet.
Patrycja has participated in cello competitions in the United States and abroad. In 2011, she won the first prize in the Krannert Center Debut Artist Competition at Urbana-Champaign. Patrycja earned the third prize at the International Cello Competition in Kosice, Slovak Republic, and the first prize at the Chamber Music Competition in Stalowa Wola, Poland. Currently Patrycja Likos is a co-founder and teacher of the Likos String Academy located in downtown Chicago. She is also a cello instructor at the Lycée Français de Chicago. In addition to teaching, she is an assistant principal cellist of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra and a member of Heartland Symphony Orchestra. Patrycja has consistently brings passion and dedication to her private lessons which explains her students' enthusiasm for music.
PIANO / KEYBOARD
Sungha has been teaching piano to all ages and levels for 25 years.
Originally from South Korea, Sungha began her piano education at the age of five and by the age of 9 pursued it as a career.
Prior to attending graduate school in the United States, Sungha was active as a
collaborator, chamber musician, accompanist and performed with various orchestras, solo and duo concerts, participated in master classes, and won competitions.
She also trained at the International Festival of Russian Music School in Moscow where she completed a variety of master classes with Professor Tatiana Zelikman as well as attending the International Festival of National Austrian Music School with Dr. Shemer.
Since moving to Chicago, Sungha acquired a Masters degree in Piano Performance and a degree of Professional Performance Diploma in Piano at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt
Following her studies, she has distinguished herself in the local music scene through performances with Symphony Orchestras, first place at the American Musicians Young Artist Piano Competition, winner of Music Societies, and a scholarship recipient.
Sungha expanded on her teaching abilities at a local Chicago church as a worship accompanist, youth orchestra director, and director of a
children’s choir. She has also taught as a piano instructor and collaborative pianist at Aurora University since 2007 and teaches piano at Logos Music School.
Her teaching philosophy centers on encouraging each student to explore and develop their own love for music in their own way. She has a passion for teaching and is eager to share her expertise and talents with a variety of levels. Her goal is to prepare her students with proper technique, but also instill an appreciation for music so they may enjoy and cherish it for the rest of their lives.
Gabriel began his music education in piano and violin at the age of five. He then progressed to vocal and instrumental studies. At the age of sixteen, young Hwang made his official debut conducting the entire score of Handel’s Messiah from memory. Gabriel received his Bachelor of Music degree from Notre Dame de Namur University for violin performance, composition and instrumental conducting. He also received a Master and Artistic Diploma from San Francisco Conservatory of Music for instrumental conducting, as well as completing the Professional Instrumental Conducting and Violin Performance Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He studied conducting with distinguished teachers such as Daniel Lewis, David Ramadanoff, Jonathan Sternberg, Collin Matters, Carl Topilow, and Vahktang Jordania, and studies violin with world distinguished teachers, such as Joria Flazaness, Stuart Canin, Daniel Kobialka, and Donald Weilerstein.
As a violinist, Hwang served as the principal violinist with San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Master Sinfonia Orchestra in California. His work as an outstanding choral and symphony conductor has been recognized by critics and audiences as a “splendid conductor possessing a poet, sensitivity, and craftsman efficiency.”
As a result of receiving a prestigious conducting fellowship, Gabriel made his debut with the Aspen Festival Orchestra. As violinist, he won fellowship from Josef Silverstein to perform with Aspen Chamber Musical Festival. He is known for his charismatic presence on and off the podium, innovative offering, and has established close relationships with both orchestras, encompassing a wide scope of repertoire and concert formats throughout the United States.
Some of the orchestras that he has conducted include: The Master Sinfonia Orchestra, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, West Bay Orchestra, Guyton Symphony, Riverside Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Marin Symphony, Palo Alto Orchestra, Tasajara Symphony, Kahrkov Philharmonic Orchestra, and Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, to name a few.
Presently, Maestro Hwang is the music director and conductor of the Cleveland Central Philharmonic Orchestra. He is an acting member in the Prestige Management LLC in New York, a company that markets classical artists around the world. Additionally, he also serves as music director, chamber ensemble teacher, and individual instructor at Cuyahoga College as well.
"Learn to Play the Violin with Music Instruction" is contracted through the Prestige Management LLC Corporation in New York City as a guest conductor of nineteen (19) cities across the United States. Through the Prestige Management LLC Corp., Maestro Gabriel is featured in “A Universal Affair” at Carnegie Hall in Weil Recital Hall.
Gabriel also has a myriad of professional recordings and also made recordings conducting symphonies across the country.
He looks forward to using his years of expertise with his students and honing their musical knowledge.
GUITAR & UKULELE
Picking up the guitar at the age of thirteen, Ron hasn't put it down since! Over the years, Ron embarked on an intensive musical education and performance journey receiving his professional training and a degree of arts from William Rainey Harper College under the tutelage of Steve Vazquez and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music with Dr. Brian Torosian from Northeastern Illinois University, majoring in classical guitar performance. Not only did Ron study classical guitar through these schools, but also took lessons in jazz guitar and piano and studying and preforming classical piano.
Along with his degree studies, Ron has participated in several highly accredited master classes at university as well as widely renowned international classical guitar conventions: Denis Azabagic, Lily Afshar, Anne Waller, Mark Maxwell, Eduardo Fernandez, Raphaella Smits, Quaternaglia Quartet (Brazil), Rene Izquierdo, Xuefei Yang, and Oscar Ghiglia.
Since graduating, Ron has been expanding his range of music with studies of baroque and renaissance music on the mandolin and lessons in flamenco guitar with Nico Angel, a former student of Juan Serrano, and Denis Azabagic.
From the inquisitive thirteen year old to today's guitar maestro, Ron has far surpassed a simple interest in guitar and turned it into a lifelong passion which he hopes to impart onto his students!
Ron's extensive skill set allows him to explore any and all genres of music which, alongside his student's interests, can create a customized performance plan for their individual interest and skill set.
VIOLIN & VIOLA
Irina's passion for music began at six years of age when she first picked up her violin in her native Minsk, Belarus.
After receiving her Bachelors degree in music, Irina decided to further her musical education at one of the leading conservatories in the former Soviet Union: Minsk State Conservatory. After five years of rigorous study and dedication to her craft, she was able to procure her Masters degree in music.
Since then, Irina has dedicated her life to musical education and has been a violin instructor with over forty years of teaching experience.
On top of her already extensive education, Irina extended her musical studies in order to be able to teach the Suzuki method, completing her training at the Chicago Suzuki Institute from 2003-2006 and receiving 7 certificates that officially certified her as a formal Suzuki method educator.
Irina has also been teaching violin at the prestigious DePaul University School of Music, SMD since 2004 as well as Park Ridge School of Music.
Irina's teaching style uses a traditional approach in which she incorporates her vast experience with the Suzuki method as well as other technical books. She is comfortable working with all levels of repertoire and different genres of music, always ready to customize musical education to the student's specific needs.
While teaching violin is Irina's profession, it is also her utmost passion. She
looks forward to sharing her world of knowledge and experience with her students. Irina understands the diversity of approaches in music education and is excited to make necessary adjustments based on the individual needs of her students.
PIANO / KEYBOARD
Playing since the age of five, Anthony is currently a fourth year piano major at DePaul University studying under George Vatchnadze and pursuing a Bachelor of Music Degree.
Other teaching experiences include taking several piano pedagogy courses at DePaul under Dr. Susanne Baker, shadowing other piano teachers, as well as attending the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy 2021.
Anthony spent the years joining solo/ensemble events, summer festivals, and playing at competitions. His interest in music didn’t stop at the piano, but was a gateway towards becoming an active member in his high school music program, playing the clarinet in band, orchestra, musicals, and serving as a teacher’s assistant for a group piano class.
Towards the end of high school, Anthony’s passion for teaching started to grow and he followed his passion towards becoming the pianist/music director for the Fil-Am Choir of St. Peter’s. This opportunity led him to teaching piano students at Solo Classic Music School in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Des Plaines School of Music, and interning at Sato Music Studios in La Grange, Illinois.
Some of Anthony’s favorite pieces to play include works by Chopin and Beethoven, and also contemporary music from movies, video games, musicals, etc. Anthony hopes to explore his students' individual interests through the medium of piano in order to celebrate music in all of its various genres.
Outside of music, Anthony likes to spend his time playing table tennis competitively, as well as coaching students and a high school team. Though far from the piano keys, his musical rhythm often comes in handy in playing the game!
PIANO / KEYBOARD
Jamie studied piano from a young age with renowned pianist, Dr. Wael Farouk. She received her Bachelor’s in Music from Carthage College, graduating with honors in 2021, where she studied with Professor Fumi Nakayama and Dr. Deborah Masloski.
During Jamie's time at Carthage, she had privilege of accompanying the school orchestra, participating in numerous recitals, and serving as the music director of the academic music fraternity. Additionally, Jamie was the recipient of multiple music scholarships, including the Alice Mack and Neill O. Rowe scholarship. She was also selected from her peers to perform in Carthage’s Honors Recital in 2018.
Throughout her musical education, Jamie was dedicated to helping others grow. She was able to do this by serving as a peer coach and the tutor for all keyboard skills classes within the music department, as well as teaching students from the community under the supervision of Dr. Wael Farouk and Professor Fumi Nakayama.
With years of teaching experience under her belt, Jamie is an energetic and warm teacher who strives to share her love of music with her students by finding ways to teach technical abilities and masterful artistry through a variety of methods and techniques that help showcase her students’ potential and unique gifts.
Jamie is excited to find creative ways that spark her students’ interest in music, including utilizing musical selections that inspire her students as they discover a joy and a love for music that will last a lifetime.
PIANO / KEYBOARD
Christian is a performing musician, arranger, composer, pianist and keyboardist, educator, producer, and music director.
Taking classical piano lessons at the age of 5, he eventually ventured into the musical realms of jazz, pop, church, rock, and soul music working extensively with a variety of phenomenal educators throughout his musical career.
Christian has had the wonderful opportunity to play at the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall (Northern Illinois University), Pick-Staiger Concert Hall (Northwestern University), The Jazz Showcase (Chicago, IL), the Chicago Symphony Center (Chicago, IL), the House Cafe (DeKalb, IL), Heritage Church (Lake Zurich, IL), the various campuses of Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL), and the United Center (Chicago, IL).
Currently, Christian is pursuing a Bachelor's in Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University. He has the amazing opportunity to study jazz piano with Professor and Northern Illinois Director of Jazz Studies, Reggie Thomas. He also studies with Tom Garling, professor of jazz trombone, in jazz arranging and composition.
Christian desires to bring his comprehensive experience and education to foster a unique and meaningful teaching environment for his students. He seeks to provide a fluent understanding of music, technical and artistic, and a skill that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Christian provides a customized curriculum for all of his students and adjusts his teaching according to his student’s needs in order to optimize learning in a shorter amount of time.
Denys started teaching flute in 2003 while studying at the conservatory of music in Lviv, Ukraine. His first teaching job was at a Children's Music School and later, in 2006, at Lviv College of Music. While studying and teaching, he was also working at the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra as a principal flutist and later at the Lviv Opera and Ballet Theater as a second flute/piccolo.
Denys also did musical tours to Western Europe and South Korea with the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2008, Denys moved to the United States and immediately began teaching private students and performing in recitals serving the community including retirement homes, hospitals, and the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.
Students can expect Denys to use his 10 year plus experience as a professional musician towards forming a comprehensive and efficient musical plan
that will produce great musical results in a shorter period of time. Within just a few lessons, the student will be able to create a good quality sound (and technique later) without straining or putting in an excessive amount of effort.
DenysI structures his lessons so students can learn what they want to learn, while also maintaining correct posture and proper technique--and most importantly, having fun while doing it!
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476 W Half Day Rd, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089, USA