Our Instructors

Michael Keplinger

Guitar Instructor

Michael holds a bachelor’s in music education as well as a master’s degree in guitar performance. During his studies, he has participated in numerous masterclasses with world renown artists such as the Grammy-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Latin Grammy nominee Berta Rojas, Guitar Foundation of America winner Johannes Möller, and Russian guitarist Dimitri Illarionov among others. In 2012, Michael placed 1st in the University of Texas Pan Am Solo Guitar Competition and has been a finalist/semi-finalist in other competitions. Since then, he has continued to compete and perform on the professional level. Michael also composes music for classical guitar and for his own rock band where he performs regularly.

FRED MASINTER

Violin Instructor
Fred Masinter has been playing the violin for 64 years and has taught violin for 30 years. His wedding website with music clips is http://sanantonioweddingviolinist.com

Odelia Torres

Voice / Piano Instructor

Odelia Torres , Soprano, teaches both Voice and Piano and is currently a Vocal Music Education and Music Performance major at The University of the Incarnate Word. Odelia has performed as Maria in West Side Story, Lulu in Cabaret as well as many recitals throughout her career. In Cabaret, Odelia was Assistant Musical Director under Musical Director Edlyn De Olivera giving continuous lessons to the cast to sing as healthy as possible giving tips to find their own voice style instead of mimicking others. She was a soprano for Palo Alto College Mixed Choir, Texas State University Women’s Choir and is currently in the Cardinal Chorale at UIW. Odelia pursues a Doctoral Degree in Music Education.

Stefanie Cruz

Piano Instructor

Stefanie Cruz is a private piano instructor who has been playing piano for over 10 years. She obtained her Associates in Music from San Antonio College and is currently a senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she is pursuing a Bachelors degree in Music Education. She has studied piano under Dr. Mark Alexander and Dr. Ivan Hurd. Miss Cruz was also in the UTSA Women’s Choir and a is a current member of the Yellow Rose Singers, both under the direction of Dr. Gary Mabry.
In the summer of 2017, Miss Cruz was able to attend the Aegean Music Festival in Syros, Greece with the Yellow Rose Singers. While in Greece, the Yellow Rose Singers performed Mozart’s Mass in C Major and The Humming Chorus in Madam Butterfly at the Apollo Theater with other choirs from the United States and Athens.
Miss Cruz is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) and was the Vice-President of the UTSA collegiate chapter of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). She is looking forward to student teaching in Fall 2018 and pursuing a career as an Elementary Music Educator and private piano instructor.

DENISE WATHEN

Voice / Piano Instructor

Denise Wathen, mezzo-soprano, has performed extensively in operas for children, with her most recent credits being the role of Rita the Rat in Fantastic Mr. Fox for Emerald City Opera, as well as Chorus for Florencia en el Amazonas, and Dido and Aeneas. Ms. Wathen has also performed as the devious thief Flou-Flou, in Joseph Clokey’s The Emperor’s Clothes, and 3 seasons for Opera on the Run as the less-than-dainty Wood Nymph in The Pied Piper, and the Mother/Grandmother in Little Red Riding Hood. She also is an active chorus member for Opera San Antonio, and has performed in Madama Butterfly, as well as Carmen. In 2014, she was a soloist for the San Antonio Mastersingers for their performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria. Ms. Wathen has been teaching private voice for students young and old for 7 years, and focuses on a steady grounding in fundamental technique—healthy singing is beautiful singing—and having each student find their own voice instead of trying to emulate others. While specializing in Bel Canto and Broadway styles, she has also coached pop and folk singing, and strives to have students sing the best they can within their style. Ms. Wathen received her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Howard Payne University and is  a recent graduate of UTSA, with a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance. She is a dedicated church musician, currently serving as Alto Section Leader for St. Paul’s Episcopal in San Antonio, TX.

ADRIAN SOLIZ

Voice / Piano Instructor

Adrian Soliz recently received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Texas San Antonio. He has become a steady performer locally: performing with both the Community Theater, UTSA Lyric Theater, and local churches. With regards to opera, he has premiered a work with Opera San Antonio and has performed numerous times with UTSA Opera and UTSA Opera On the Run. As a performer he also traveled to Beijing, China to perform lead roles in a summer opera program. Piano being his secondary instrument, Adrian has taken lessons with some very prolific local piano teachers, one being Dr. Scott Donald who was on piano faculty at UTSA and is a nationally regarded performer. With piano, Adrian has had some background in accompanying students during solos.

Sami Serrano Bassig

Voice / Piano Instructor

Soprano, Samantha Serrano, has performed with UTSA Lyric Theatre as Laurie Moss in The Tender Land, Laetitia in The Old Maid and The Thief, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Giunone in La Calisto as well as in the San Antonio community in roles such as Catherine in Pippin at The Playhouse San Antonio and a Laker Girl in Spamalot at The Woodlawn Theater. Miss Serrano also attended the Crittenden Summer Opera Program in summer 2014 in Washington D.C and will be performing in Manhattan Opera Studio's Summer Festival in June 2017 at Carnegie Hall and The National Opera Center in New York City.


Sami has graduated with her Masters in Vocal Performance from University of Texas at Austin and is now pursuing her Doctorate in Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austin.  

CORY SALES

Percussion Instructor

Cory Sales, a San Antonio native, is an active performer, educator, and student. Cory is a percussion section leader with the award-winning 36th Infantry Division Band and a percussionist in the San Antonio Wind Symphony. Cory has been affiliated with the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra, was an artist at the Round Top Festival in 2015, and he continues to strive towards excellence by performing in the San Antonio and Houston areas. As an educator, Cory has held the position of Front Ensemble Tech for the John Stevens High School Band in San Antonio, TX; Alamo Heights Band in San Antonio, TX; Smithson Valley High School Ranger Band in Spring Branch, TX; and the Brazoswood High School Marching Band in Lake Jackson, TX.

While serving in Iraq, Cory was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. Currently, Cory is a full time music student at University of Texas at San Antonio working on obtaining his Bachelor of Music in Education and a Minor in Jazz. Cory’s influences throughout his education include Mr. Michael Mixtacki, Dr. Graeme Francis, Mrs. Sherry Rubins, Mr. Charles Fricker, and Mr. Jeff Yates.

Alexia Barrera

Voice / Piano instructor

Alexia I. Barrera is a senior Vocal Music Education student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She studies voice under the direction of Dr. Susan Olson, was an officer of Sigma Alpha Iota-Theta Gamma Chapter, sang in the UTSA Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, and was an intern with the Children's Chorus of San Antonio since August 2017, having worked with both the Junior Choruses and Youth Academy. She is currently the Webmaster for both the UTSA chapter of the National Association for Teachers of Singing and the Opera Guild of San Antonio, teaches private lessons at Anthem School of Music, and is a Choral Intern at Northern Hills United Methodist Church. Alexia has been a finalist at South Texas NATS once (Spring 2015) and a finalist at Texoma NATS twice (Fall 2016, Fall 2017). Other awards she has received include the David Bowen Memorial Endowment (Spring 2016), the UTSA International Education Fund (Spring 2016), earned Honor Roll and Dean's List recognitions for the past four years, and the UTSA Who's Who Award (2017 2018). In her free time, Alexia enjoys volunteering with her chapter of SAI, reading, watching films, painting, and practicing her photography and editing skills. Alexia is looking forward to student teaching in Fall 2018, pursuing a career as a choral director, and achieving a Master's Degree in Vocal Performance & Pedagogy in the future.

Kiana Burciaga

cello / violin / double bass Instructor

Kiana Burciaga is a violin, cello, and double bass instructor, with her primary instrument being the cello. She is involved with the Suzuki Method and is an active member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas organization. She has completed Stage 1 of the Early Childhood Education curriculum, in addition to Units 1, 2, and 3 of the Suzuki cello curriculum. She offers both traditional and Suzuki lessons.

Ms. Burciaga received her Bachelor of Arts in Music from Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX. While there, she held positions as the principal cellist of the TLU Orchestra for two years, as the Secretary for Service Through Music (Music & Memory), and as the President for Mariachi Oro y Negro de TLU. She is currently a member of Symphony Vivá (San Antonio) and the Mid-Texas Symphony (Seguin), in addition to an up-and-coming San Antonio-based chamber group. She also plays the cello for four local bands in the San Antonio and Seguin areas, with genres ranging from experimental, math rock, pop, and alternative indie.