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Brian Biederman, Executive Director
Brian Biederman is the co-founder of Littlestone Summer Music Festival and has directed LiSMF since its humble beginnings in 2013. As a young musician Brian attended the Hartwick College Summer Music Festival, a 6-week residential program, which inspired him to create a place where young artists could thrive both artistically and socio-emotionally. Through his incredible experiences at summer camp, Brian mined his passion for music and was accepted to Manhattan School of Music's Pre-Collegiate Program during high school. It was at MSM that Brian got to work with some of the world's greatest jazz musicians, including future colleague Roland Barber (currently on staff at LiSMF).
Brian headed to Nashville after high school where he pursued and eventually received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Education Degrees from Vanderbilt University in 2011. Since then, Brian has taught for middle school and high schools, and worked with a variety of nonprofits through Littlestone Group, the organization which governs LiSMF's day camp in Nashville, and its new residential precollege program at the University of Tennessee, Martin.
Allison Biederman, Educational Coordinator
Allison Biederman is Littlestone's Educational Coordinator, correlating camper schedules, music library disbursement, overseeing group dynamics, and auditing educational outcomes throughout our programs.
Allison is a Chicago native, and has had a deep passion for music, marching band, and musical theater for as long as she can remember. Allison is a multi-instrumentalist, and has a deep breadth of performing and educational experiences in music. As a young musician Allison participated in many summer and extracurricular music programs. Her passion led her to Vanderbilt University where she received both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Music & Education. Allison is currently the Director of Instrumental Music at Hillsboro High School, and the former director of the historic band program at Isaac Litton Middle School. She is also the founder of the Littlestone Explorers program, a STEM enrichment summer program for students in Middle Tennessee.
Alex Troge, Recreational Coordinator
Alex Troge serves Littlestone as the recreational coordinator where he curates and implements unique recreational activities and programs adapted to the personalities and abilities of each individual student. Alex is also one of the founders of Littlestone's music programming, having met Brian Biederman when they were teenagers at music camp in upstate New York.
Alex is a native New Yorker, hailing from Long Island where he began his studies in music on the saxophone. Following high school, Alex received his Associate's Degree in Business from Suffolk County Community College, and his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from SUNY Potsdam. During his time at Potsdam, Alex continued his musical studies while pursuing a music minor.
Alex is currently the recreation manager for the Maury County Parks & Recreation Department in Columbia, TN.
Ryan Connors, Jazz / Piano / Improvisation
Ryan is the band leader/producer for the nationally touring musical group Dynamo. Since the group’s formation in 2013, Dynamo has released two albums and earned two Nashville Industry Music Awards (NIMA’s). He is an active producer not only with Dynamo, but also with a wide variety of artists in the Nashville area. As a freelance pianist/arranger, Ryan serves as music director for several artists in Nashville including Melinda Doolittle. He earned his MM from Belmont University in Commercial Piano and his BM from West Chester University in classical percussion.
Dr. Amy Yeung, Opera / Voice
Amy Yeung is professor of music at the University of Tennessee at Martin, where she teaches applied voice, diction, aural skills, and directs lyric opera theatre. A native of Hong Kong, Yeung has performed extensively in recitals and concerts throughout the world, including Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, Hong Kong, United States, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Austria.
Yeung holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in voice performance and a Master of Music in music theory from Michigan State University, a Master of Music in voice performance from Texas State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in voice performance from Hong Kong Baptist University. Her mentors have included Meredith Zara, Richard Fracker, Melanie Helton, Leonore Sergi, John Belisle, and Siu-Kwan Chan.
Roland Barber, Jazz / Trombone
Roland Barber is a Nashville-native, and provides his wisdom and artistry as an invaluable resource to Littlestone students. His signature artistry includes an elegant tone, masterful improvisational storytelling, a blues-rich vocal influence, and deft technical command. One-half of longtime Nashville-based jazz duo The Barber Brothers, Barber has also performed with an impressive and diverse list of artists, including Chaka Khan, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kirk Whalum, the Wooten Brothers, Robin Thicke, The Temptations, and the Saturday Night Live Band.Barber has performed in venues the world over, from Manhattan to Estonia, including Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Blue Note, Lincoln Center, and Madison Square Garden. Television appearances include MTV’s Making the Band, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, CBS’ Today Show and the ESPN Awards. Barber has performed with titans of jazz music as well as young lions, including Stefon Harris, Clark Terry, Steve Turre, Houston Person, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Wynton Marsalis, Sean Jones, and the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Ensemble.
Barber holds an M.M. in Jazz Studies from Manhattan School of Music (2005), as well as an Artist Diploma (2003) and B.M. in Jazz Studies (2001), both from Indiana University.
Kevin Rilling, Music Theory / Composition
Kevin Rilling is a Littlestone veteran faculty member, having spent 5 summers with us, teaching beginner and intermediate music theory, and composition. Kevin is also the founder of Littlestone's beloved Steel Pan program at our summer music programs.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Blair, Vanderbilt, and a Masters of Music, Music Theory from University of Cincinnati. He is also currently a luthier at Nashville Violins after having studied violin-making and repair in the Southeast Technical Violin Repair Program in Red Wing, MN.
Brittany Chase, Musicologist
Brittany Chase is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Vanderbilt University. She completed her Master of Music in Ethnomusicology at the University of Florida, where she focused on American Popular Music and Contemporary Christian Music. She has presented her work at the 2011 and 2013 Southeast and Caribbean Chapter of the Society of Ethnomusicology conference.
Previously, she studied at Vanderbilt University, where she received her B.A. in American Studies with a minor in Corporate Strategy. She was also a four-year member of the Spirit of Gold Marching Band and its service organization, Tau Beta Sigma. Before coming to Vanderbilt, Brittany taught at Middle Tennessee State University and is also Adjunct Instructor of Music at Belmont University.
JJ Murphy, Jazz / Improvisation / Guitar
As a composer and a guitarist, J.J. Murphy brings a soulful vitality to contemporary music. His sound is a contemplative blend of folk, blues, and jazz-often channeling modern luminaries such as Bill Frisell and Ry Cooder while evoking music from the traditional American vernacular. Frequent collaborator Ryan Connors (Dynamo) defines Murphy's style as “the blues-inspired rawness of Eric Clapton with the jazz vocabulary and sensitivity of Bill Frisell.”
In May 2014, Murphy earned an M.M. in performance from Belmont University in Nashville, where he studied with guitarist/composer Mike Valeras. Murphy has traveled the country, playing venues large and small—from NYC’s historic Rockwood Music Hall to Nashville’s legendary 3rd & Lindsley—captivating audiences with his versatile style.
Sharon Cho, A Cappella / Jazz Voice
Zach Witcher, Jazz / Bass / Improvisation
Curtis Serafin, Accompanist
Chris Patterson, Steel Pan / Percussion
Mara Dale, Musical Theater
Allison Crandall, Student Services Coordinator
Kevin Gatzke, Jazz / Saxophone
Nate Felty, Jazz / Drumset
Zan Berry, Chamber Orchestra / Cello
Zan Berry, a native of Nashville, TN, received his Masters degree in Cello Performance from the University of Michigan where he studied with Anthony Elliott. An up and coming teacher in the Detroit area, Zan currently serves as the Teaching Artist Cello Mentor with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Civic Youth Ensembles. Additionally, Zan has recently been a teaching fellow at the Cultural Arts Strings summer program in Manchester, MI. As a performer, Zan has an eclectic musical taste. An avid supporter of new and experimental Classical music, Zan has recently been selected as a participant in the prestigious Bang on a Can Summer festival as well as the New Music on the Point Festival. Recent performances have led him to work closely with composers Bright Sheng, Yehudi Wyner, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe. In his free time, Zan also enjoys writing his own songs for cello and voice and playing Irish fiddle music.
Rebekah Mansfield, Counselor / Teaching Assistant
Samantha Selden, Co-Director of Residential Education