Executive Director Matthew Sheary is a Maryland native and accomplished musician. Mr. Sheary traveled to Miami in 2010 seeking higher education to fulfill his dream and desire of becoming a music educator. His primary instrument being the viola, he is also proficient in both the violin and saxophone.
Over the past six years Mr. Sheary has worked as a student, private instructor, string clinician, arranger, performer, classroom teacher and administrator, demonstrating his versatility within the South Florida arts community. As an educator, he has had the opportunity of teaching under the umbrella of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, in the Discover Magnet Program at E.W.F. Stirrup Elementary in the Fountainbleau area. He has also had the pleasure of teaching in the private school sector at Gulliver Academy in Coral Gables as conductor in the string, band, and instrumental ensembles.
In addition to classroom teaching, Mr. Sheary has been instrumental in developing and revising orchestral curricula across various Miami-Dade County Public Schools, as well as offering workshops at underprivileged schools in the county that lack the necessary resources. As part of his personal mission, Mr. Sheary has also worked with multiple grant and non-profit organizations throughout Miami-Dade, that offer music instruction to underserved communities.
In the South Florida area his experience continues to be diverse. Mr. Sheary has worked as a string instructor to the String Project at Florida International University as well as assisted instruction in both the Young Mozart’s and String Orchestra ensembles of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony! He has also worked with the Miami Summer Music Festival in both management and production, alongside musicians and performers from around the world.
Mr. Sheary currently holds both a Bachelor of Music Education as well as a Master of Science in Music Education from Florida International University. He continues to study the viola under the direction of Michael Klotz.
As a dynamic, diverse musician, Ms. Chen enjoys a dual career as a performer and an educator.
Ms. Chen received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and her Master of Music Degree from the University of Miami in violin performance. She was a member of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra from 1994 until its demise in 2003.
As an educator, Ms. Chen is currently a violin instructor at New World School of the Arts and was Interim Director of Orchestra at Florida International University. Ms. Chen has also taught violin and chamber music at the University of Miami Frost School of Music and at Lynn University. She has led youth orchestras in concert halls such as Arsht Center in Miami and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
As an international violin soloist, Ms. Chen has appeared with many orchestras around the globe. She was the recipient of the 1999 Young Concert Artist of the Year awarded by the National Concert Hall of Taipei, Taiwan and a Concerto Competition Winner at the University of Miami in 2003. She is currently the Concertmaster of the Ars Flores Symphony, a member of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra, and the founder and the principal violinist of the chamber ensemble Dynamic Strings.
As a recording artist, Maestra Chen appears on dozens of award winning recordings for Sony, EMI, and Warner Brothers.
Alexander Magalong is a Filipino-American conductor, violinist, and violist. He is currently the assistant conductor of the Palm Beach Symphony, the associate conductor of the Frost Symphony Orchestra, and the conductor of the Frost Flute Ensemble. Mr. Magalong was a finalist for music director of the Pikes Peak Philharmonic and has conducted the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Broadmoor Pops Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, and the Peakharmonic Youth Orchestra. He has premiered and recorded the full orchestra version of Dorothy Hindman’s Setting Century on Albany Records. According to the South Florida Classical Review, “Hindman could not have wished for a better performance, with Magalong keeping the ensemble tight and crisp.” He has also conducted the premier of Fanfares for the Apocalypse by Ken Ueno. Mr. Magalong has been accepted to several prestigious conducting workshops including the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music with Cristian Măcelaru and the Ithaca International Conducting Masterclass with Larry Rachleff.
Having taught high school, junior high, and elementary orchestra for an underprivileged school district for nine years, Mr. Magalong is a passionate advocate for music education in the public schools. Under his direction and active recruitment, his high school program tripled in size, resulting in four ability-based string orchestras, the most of any Colorado high school. In 2011, the Widefield High School Chamber Strings was selected to perform at the Colorado Music Educators Association conference alongside more affluent schools. As a respected educator in Colorado, Mr. Magalong has guest conducted many honor orchestras, festivals, music camps, youth orchestras, and educator conferences in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Westminster, Jefferson County, and the Boulder Valley. He served on the Colorado All-State Orchestra board as Southern Governor for six years and has adjudicated many festivals throughout the state.
Mr. Magalong holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Denver, a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Miami, and is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Miami.
A native of Boise Idaho, Shea Kole was a three time winner of the Idaho Music Educators Association competition for cello. In 1997 he was the recipient of the Emerson Scholarship and attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts. He went on to study cello at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, graduating in 2003. After earning a Masters in music from Ohio University in 2006, Shea became Associate Principal cello of the Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de Las Artes in Culiacan Sinaloa, Mexico, a post he held for seven years. Returning to the US in 2015, Shea actively performs with a number of orchestras in South Florida including the Naples Philharmonic, Palm Beach Symphony, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Florida Symphony, among others. He is currently earning his Doctorate of Musical Arts in cello performance with a cognate in conducting from the University of Miami.
Erich S. Rivero was born and raised in Miami, Florida and is a product of the Miami-Dade County Public School System where he graduated from Southwest Miami Senior High School in 1990. Mr. Rivero studied trumpet under Mr. Lee Wichmann, Mr. Jack Pinto and Mr. John Georgini. While at FIU, he studied Applied Trumpet with Mr. John Bailey, Mr. Jim Hacker & Mr. Arturo Sandoval and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education in 1996.
He has served as Director of Bands at American High, G. Holmes Braddock High, Miami High, Miami Killian High, and Coral Reef High School. Glades Middle and his first year at Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @Zelda Glazer and twenty fourth year directing bands in the State of Florida. He has conducted Honors Jazz Bands and Symphonic Band in several counties in Florida. In January of 2009, Erich Rivero was awarded the Tom Bishop Award by the Florida Bandmasters Associations State Awards Committee. During the 2010-11 School Year, he was nominated by the Miami Dade County Public Schools Music Supervisor for the Yale Distinguished Music Educators Award. In September 2014 Mr. Rivero was named as a Quarter Finalist for the 2015 Grammy Music Educator Award. Mr. Rivero was chosen as Florida’s Representative for SB&O Magazine’s “50 Directors That Make A Difference” in the United States.
Mr. Rivero is an active member of the Dade County Music Educators Association, Florida Bandmasters Association, Florida Music Educators Association, NAfME, National Association for Music Education, Miami Arts Studio @ Zelda Glazer PTO, National Association of Educators, National Band Association, and the Jazz Education Network. Erich Rivero is a Certified Adjudicator for the Florida Bandmasters Association in the areas of Jazz, Solos & Ensembles, and Marching Band. Mr. Rivero also directs the Greater Miami Youth Symphony Jazz Combo and Jazz Bands and directed their GMYS Summer Camps and Jazz Intensive Camps. Rivero has served as an officer in FBA District XVI in the capacity of Secretary and Chairman twice over. In addition, he has also served on the State Board for the Florida Bandmasters Association and was the FBA Jazz Committee Chairman for the State from May 2016-18. Mr. Rivero is the National Band Association Jazz Committee Chairman as of July of 2018.
Luis D. Aguilar is a conductor and violist from the Venezuelan music project called “El Sistema” with a Music Degree from the Arts National Experimental University in Caracas.
In 2001 he joined the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and was the principal violist from 2005 to 2011. During his membership in this orchestra he participated in international tours, concerts, and recordings with conductors and soloists like Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, Juan Diego Florez, Luciano Pavarotti, Bryn Terfel, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gustavo Dudamel.
He has performed chamber music recitals with important musicians like K. Thunemann and attended a course with Rainer Schmidt, Violinist of the Hagen Quartet.
His first mentor in Orchestral Conducting was José Antonio Abreu, the founder of El Sistema.
In recent years, he conducted prestigious groups like the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, the National Youth Orchestra of the RNOCJIP (Panama), the Teresa Carreño Symphony Orchestra, the Simón Bolívar Choir, the Children’s Choir of Venezuela, and the Teresa Carreño Ballet Company.
Besides his musical achievements, in the last two years he undertook the coordination of string sections of the Venezuelan Orchestral Program where he developed different strategies aimed to improve the growth of youth orchestras throughout the country.
Currently, Luis is studying for an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting at FIU under the guidance of Dr. Javier Mendoza and holds the position of Assistant Conductor of the FIU Symphony Orchestra, Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and teacher-conductor at the Greater Miami Youth Symphony.
Oliver Diez, MDCPS 2020 Teacher of the Year, born and raised in Hialeah, received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Florida International University in 1999 and promptly began his teaching career at Palmetto Elementary School where he still teaches today. Throughout the past years he has helped develop a strong music program by starting a chorus, string orchestra, salsa dancers club, a full concert band, and a jazz ensemble. He was named Rookie Teacher of the Year in 1999 and Teacher of the Year in 2003. His groups have performed throughout the communities of Pinecrest and Miami. In 2007 he was chosen to direct the Recorder Ensemble at the Superintendent Honors Music Festival. Mr. Diez’s Palmetto Singers and Concert Band have received countless Superior ratings at the annual Music U.S.A. Festival in Orlando, Florida where his concert band has been declared one of the three top elementary concert bands in the state. His jazz combo performed at the Superintendent’s Holiday Program in 2010. Recently Mr. Diez received a proclamation from the Mayor of the Village of Pinecrest naming June 7th, 2011 “Oliver Diez Day.”
Brent A. Mounger received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Stetson University. While at Stetson he began an active role in music education. During the Fall of 2004, he took on the assignment of conducting the school’s Brass Ensemble. Later in 2006, he petitioned the faculty, with the help of Dr. Bobby Adams, to create a new ensemble for woodwinds – Chamber Winds. In 2005, Mr. Mounger was President-Elect for the Florida Collegiate Music Educator’s National Conference and served as President in 2006. While President of FCMENC, he restructured the statewide organization and was able to increase the association’s membership. A partnership program was also established where larger universities in Florida were zoned with smaller universities and community colleges to help establish links and communication between future music educators. Mr. Mounger also served on the Florida Music Educator’s Association State Board from 2005-2007.
Currently Brent Mounger is the Wind Ensemble Director at New World School of the Arts, and from 2007 until 2011 he served as Director of Bands at Coral Reef Senior High School. While at Coral Reef the Wind Ensemble received national acclaim and was invited to perform at the 2011 National Concert Band Festival. Under Mr. Mounger’s direction, the Coral Reef Senior High band program received Superior ratings at District and State Jazz and Concert Assessments. Graduates from his programs attend the New England Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory, Stetson University, University of Miami Frost School of Music, The Florida State University College of Music, Berklee College of Music and the University of Florida School of Music.
Brent Mounger is the Bass Trombonist with the Miami Wind Symphony, a professional Wind Ensemble in South Florida. His professional memberships include: the College Band Directors National Association, the National Band Association, the Music Educators’ National Conference, the Florida Music Educators’ Association, the Florida Bandmasters Association, and Phi Mu Alpha