Meet our Teachers!

Here at D Z Strad we believe in developing creativity through music education.  Each teacher has been carefully selected for their energetic, passionate, and careful approach to teaching.  Our teachers are highly skilled at their respective instruments and have received top training from the most prestigious institutions across the world. Not only are our teachers skilled and trained educators but they also maintain busy performing schedules, performing in some of the most respected venues in New York.  The teachers at D Z Strad have experience in teaching all ages from children to adults, and host the skills to adapt to your goals and needs as a music lover

Heather Munch - Violin

Born and raised in Vermont, Heather Munch began playing the violin at the age of five, studying with Rhoda Diehl in Castleton, Vermont. Heather has performed in a variety of settings, including orchestral music in Carnegie Hall, and on tour across North America, Europe and Asia. She has held concertmaster positions for the Purchase Symphony Orchestra, Champlain Philharmonic, and the University of Vermont Symphony Orchestra. Heather has performed in masterclasses by members of the Kronos Quartet, Emerson String Quartet, Trio Solisti, and Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. She has also been heard performing along side Trey Anastasio, Daniel Bernard Roumain and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Education holds an important place in Heather’s life as a freelance musician; she was on faculty with Face the Music, the country’s only youth ensemble dedicated to studying and performing compositions by living composers. Heather is currently on faculty at Sacred Heart of Greenwich and has a private studio in Westchester County, New York. Heather completed Suzuki teacher training at Ithaca College and is a certified Suzuki Instructor. She received a BM from Castleton University, with a concentration in Violin Performance and a MM from Purchase Conservatory, where she studied on scholarship with Deborah Buck of the Lark Quartet.

Benjamin Larsen - Cello

 

 

Cellist Benjamin Larsen made his solo debut in 1999 at the Merryall Center for the Arts, where critic Frank Merkling called him “remarkably gifted”, with “a charming, warm tone”.  He has performed solo and chamber performances around the U.S., in Europe and Asia and currently plays with chamber ensembles in the New York City area. As free-lance cellist, he has performed with many diverse ensembles, accompanying the musical, “Time Between Us” in the New York Musical Theater Festival and appearing with the band, The Left Banke.  He is on the faculty of the Florentine School, the Music School of Westchester, D Z Strad Violin Shop, and holds a private studio.  He is also the founder and Artistic Director of the chamber music series, Concerts on the Slope.

Mr. Larsen has performed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Quartet Program, Music@Menlo and Pacific Music Festival. His coaches include members of the Emerson, Tokyo, American and Orion string quartets, as well as Robert Mann, Nicholas Mann, Peter Frankl, Andre Michel Schub, Daniel Epstein, Sylvia Rosenberg and others.  His primary teachers were Eric Dahlin, David Finckel, Julia Lichten and Clive Greensm
ith. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Ensemble 212, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra and the Union City Philharmonic.  Mr. Larsen holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Manhattan School of Music, where he was the recipient of the Hans and Klara Bauer Scholarship and the 2011 Pablo Casals Award. 

 

Jarvis Benson- Violin and Viola

Violist, Jarvis Benson, is a native of South Carolina, currently living in New York City where he maintains a busy career in education, studio recording and chamber music.  He has performed in some of New York's most revered and beloved venues and has collaborated with a who's who of artists including Gladys Knight, Marin Alsop, Richard Smallwood, Charles S. Dutton, and Leon Fleisher. Jarvis studied at The Peabody Institute of Music, under Victoria Chiang and Stephen Wyrczynski as the Miles M. Young Memorial Scholarship Recipient, and pursued graduate studies at The Mannes College of Music in New York City with Daniel Panner.  He made his solo debut at the age of 12 while studying at The Converse Pre-college in South Carolina with the Spartanburg Philharmonic. 

Jarvis has accumulated over 10 years of teaching experience from beginner to advanced players both in violin and viola, across a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and ages 3 and up. He has mentored, taught, and influenced over 100 students in both private and group settings and has worked as a teaching artist with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and The Noel Pointer Foundation school and summer camp in Washington, DC and Brooklyn, respectively.

He is a passionate educator who is committed to molding and nurturing the next generation of artists through the powerful vehicle -musical education. Jarvis approaches every student with a great level of attention, care, and professionalism and tailors each lesson to the students' own personal goals and dreams; making sure each student has his or her own personalized road map to music-making.

Jarvis believes in the limitless potential of every student and his pedagogy is deeply rooted in the commitment to help uncover, discover and foster those gifts with a sound education.

 Lisa Pappas - Violin and Viola
I began my musical training at an early age on the violin, with my father, a music teacher, conductor and performer.  At the age of 12, I began my studies with Harold Coletta, a professional violist and professor at Yale University.  When I was 20, I began studying viola.  I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts at SUNY Purchase, with my principal teachers, in addition to Mr. Coletta; Yuval Waldman, Burton Kaplan and Sally Ricketts. My Master Classes were taken with Burton Kaplan, Glen Dicterow, Yuval Waldman and Sally Ricketts. 
I have taught violin/viola privately and in group settings for over 30 years to students of all levels from ages 5 through adult.  I especially enjoy teaching beginning adult students.  Presently, I hold teaching positions at music schools and music conservatories throughout New York and New Jersey.  I have also taught general music education classes as well as private lessons within the public-school system of North Rockland.
Recently, I have enjoyed performing with the Hudson Lyric Opera Company and the Yonkers Philharmonic.
Takeshi Asai- Piano

Takeshi Asai a native of Japan, where discipline is the core of education. Mr. Asai was an award-winning manager at IBM, a company where intelligence is the life blood. As an alumni, honor student from Berklee College of Music, Takeshi Asai has gone on to become one of the most prominent jazz pianists in New York City. Frequently he tours Europe and Asia, earning a strong reputation in the international jazz communities.

Takeshi as an educator, hasn't spared his knowledge and experience of being an active performing pianist with his students. As a result, he's yielded many students that are scholarship winners and career oriented, professional musicians. His method is progressively unique, but it's also been time tested throughout his career, that spans more than twelve years in New York. His piano pedagogy has been developed and sustained not only by jazz talents, but also by world-class concert pianists in Boston, New York and Paris. Takeshi is the "great grandson" in Franz Liszt's pupil linage!

In addition to his amazing career as a performer, he is an active composer and producer. His works are used by many singer/songwriters and Broadway theater companies in New York. Also an avid audio engineer, he owns DTC Music Productions, where he's been engaged in numerous music productions. Takeshi Asai is eager to share advanced production/engineering skills and techniques with his students.