Music Program Faculty
Moreno Valley College's Music Program faculty have advanced degrees from the University of Redlands, University of Southern California, and Julliard School of Music.
For questions or information about Moreno Valley College's music program, contact one of the faculty members below.
Barry McNaughton is the director of guitar and instrumental performance at Moreno Valley College. He received his Master's degree in Classical Guitar Performance from USC in 2002 which he attended on full scholarship while working as a teaching assistant for the Thornton School of Music. In addition to being a merit scholarship recipient, he has won several other prestigious awards. These include: a silver medal in the ASTA competition held annually in Los Angeles, the 2002 USC Classical Guitar Departmental Award, and the 2008 adjunct faculty of the year at Crafton Hills College. Additionally, he has performed live to radio on all of Los Angeles's premiere classical radios stations including: KUSC, KMOZART and KPFK.
In 2006, Barry was awarded the unique opportunity to play with and audition for the group which initially inspired him to take up and study the classical guitar, the world renowned "Los Angeles Guitar Quartet."
In addition to his busy teaching and performing schedule, Barry divides his time between composing and arranging for both chamber and Jazz ensembles. His published works are available for purchase online at www.dobermaneditions.com.
Contact Barry McNaughton at Barry.McNaughton@mvc.edu
I-Ching Tsai, Ph.D.
I-Ching Tsai, Ph.D. maintains an active career as a concert pianist, scholar and music educator. She has appeared as both soloist and keyboard collaborative artist in the United States, Asia and South America. She received her Bachelor's degree in piano performance from the National Conservatory of Music "Carlos López Buchardo" in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studying with Graciela Beretervide, pupil of Claudio Arrau. She holds the degrees of Master of Music from University of Redlands and Doctor of Musical Arts from the Claremont Graduate University.
Tsai has held appointments at Scripps Women's College, Victor Valley College, Glendale College, and Pasadena City College, where she has taught classes in Piano, Music Theory and Music History.
In addition to her performing and teaching career, she is also a published scholar; her research interest includes the piano music of Latin America and the works of Astor Piazzolla.
Contact I-Ching Tsai at I-Ching.Tsai@mvc.edu
Matthew Brown, Ph.D.
MVC Chamber Choir Director and California native Matthew Brown, Ph.D. completed his master's and doctoral studies in music composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, where he studied with Morten Lauridsen, Frank Ticheli, Donald Crockett, Frederick Lesemann, Randy Newman, and Tamar Diesendruck.
His awards include the 2007 VocalEssence Welcome Christmas! Carol Contest, 2010 VocalEssence Essentially Choral Commission, and 2011 C4 Composition Competition. His works have been performed throughout the United States and internationally by groups such as The Crossing, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, VocalEssence, Antioch Chamber Ensemble, Young New Yorker's Chorus, Cincinnati Boychoir, Balsai (Lithuania), Kantorei, Chor Obandes (Japan), Coro de Cámara Ainur (Spain), L.A. Choral Lab, GMCLA, C4, USC Chamber Choir, Los Robles Master Chorale, De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, and the USC Thornton Symphony.
He remains active in Los Angeles as a composer, arranger, performer, and professor, session singer, and tenor with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. His choral works, described by the New York Times as "quietly mesmerizing," are featured on the Antioch Chamber Ensemble's 2013 album (though love be a day) and published by Schott, G. Schirmer, and Hal Leonard.
Connie Sheu, Ph.D.
Connie Sheu, Ph.D. is a dynamic guitarist, devoted teacher, and ardent advocate of classical guitar. In demand as both a soloist and chamber musician, her playing has been hailed by the New York Sun as "excellent, ruminative... scholarly." According to Classical Guitar Magazine, "Her debut recording displays, without a doubt, her talents as a concert artist."
Past performances have brought her to Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, 92nd StY, Merkin Hall, Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall; venues in Moldova, Italy, Hungary; and across the United States. She is a frequent performer on various concert series and music festivals, and has most recently appeared at the Women in Guitar Festival, New York Guitar Festival, and Guitar Foundation of America Convention.
Connie studied U.S. History and Music at Columbia University, and earned a Master of Music from the Juilliard School. She completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Southern California under William Kanengiser and Pepe Romero. She also studied under scholarship at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana with Oscar Ghiglia in Siena, Italy.
Connie serves as General Manager for the Guitar Foundation of America and teaches at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and Moreno Valley College. She specializes in playing original music for guitar by female composers and also performs as a member of the Sheu Pettit Duo.
Jon Lee Keenan, Ph.D.
Jon Lee Keenan, Ph.D., tenor, is a native of Las Vegas, Nevada. Influenced at a young age by his father, a classically trained woodwind player and jazz saxophonist, Jon became interested in a variety of music including classic rock concerts and bluegrass festivals. Jon began piano lessons at age eight and was playing guitar by age twelve. While in high school at the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts, Jon played guitar for the all-star high school jazz band, founded an all-original 8-piece Rock/Ska band, and formed his love for classical music and classic jazz. He began to study voice, and quickly found himself serving as section leader of the Nevada all-state choir and receiving top scores in the Nevada State Solo and Ensemble vocal competition. Jon was asked to join the top collegiate chamber vocal ensemble while still in High School, leading him to continue his musical studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At UNLV, studied with professional tenor Mark Thomsen (Chicago Lyric, Metropolitan Opera) and Jazz Legend Joe Lano (Sinatra, Marilyn Horne, etc). Jon triple majored in Vocal Performance, Vocal Music Education, and Jazz Studies.
After graduating from college in 2005, Jon moved to Los Angeles to pursue advanced study of Choral Conducting and Vocal Pedagogy in the Three Summer Masters Program at Cal State University, Los Angeles. Jon then went on to attend the University of Southern California, earning Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Vocal Arts. In 2007, Jon joined the Los Angeles Master Chorale where he has been a featured soloist at the Music Center in each season since joining the group, performing in a wide variety of vocal assignments including Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Maria Theresa Mass, and the west coast premiere of Magnus Lindberg's Graffiti with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, singing under the batons of Grant Gershon, Esa-Pekka Solonen and Gustavo Dudamel. In 2015, Jon sang the demanding role of Evangelist in Bach's monumental St. Matthew Passion to great critical acclaim.
Jon currently enjoys a variety of performing outlets in his home of Southern California and beyond. Jon's recent engagements include singing A Sunbeam's Architecture, an orchestral song cycle by Elliot Carter and E.E. Cummings with Southwest Chamber Music at RedCat, and playing the role of Tanzmeister in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos with the Pacific Opera Project. Jon currently resides in South Pasadena and remains active as a jazz bassist in addition to his busy vocal schedule.
Jon Minei began his performing career at age 19, premiering at the Mirabelle Palace in Salzberg, Austria and also at Mozart's Residence in Vienna. In addition to classical guitar, he has performed with a variety of musical theater companies; performing as a pit musician for Man of La Mancha at the renowned 2001 Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah. David Nichols of the Los Angeles Times calls his playing "Superb!" The late Poly Warfield of Backstage West describes his playing as "...plangent strains of enchantment..." As a soloist and ensemble player, Jon has performed extensively locally and abroad. His principle instrument is a 7-string classical guitar with extended lower and upper registers, made by Michael Thames of Taos, New Mexico.
He began his formal studies at El Camino College with John Dearman of the Grammy Award winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and completed his Bachelors in Music at the University of California, Irvine with early music specialist, John Schneiderman. He then went on to complete his Masters in Music at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California studying with classical guitarists William Kanengiser and artist-in-residence, maestro Pepe Romero.
Jon Minei is the Director of Guitar Studies program as an associate professor at El Camino College in Torrance, CA. Jon is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California pursuing a DMA in classical guitar, having studied with Scott Tennant, Adam Del Monte, and Brian Head, minoring in Studio/Jazz Guitar (instructor, Pat Kelly), Music Industry, and Music Education. He has also completed coursework in the Arts Leadership & Entrepreneurship program under former chair of the National Endowment of the Arts, Dana Gioia.
Natalie Mann, Ph.D.
An active teacher for over 15 years in voice and theatre, Natalie Mann, Ph.D. also maintains an active performing schedule. Ms. Mann holds a Doctor of Music from Indiana University and a Masters Degree from the University of Wollongong in Australia, funded through the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar program. Her Bachelor of Music degree was awarded by Butler University, where she attended on full scholarship.
She currently teaches Music Appreciation and Music History courses at MVC. As a freelance artist, she can be heard performing opera, oratorio and recital engagements throughout the United States. Mann made her debut as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in November 2006. A recipient of a Metropolitan Opera Encouragement Award and numerous other prizes, she performed in the Chicagoland area as the soprano soloist in J.S. Bach's Magnificat and Mendelssohn's Elijah, under the baton of Sherrill Milnes. After her Carnegie Hall debut, Mann was heard as the soloist in both the Beethoven Missa Solemnis and 9th Symphony with the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. Her current performance calendar can be seen at www.nataliemann.com.
Upon recently completing his Master's degree in 2014 from the University of Redlands, Kristopher Sveen has already begun an illustrious career as a classical and jazz guitar professor, solo guitarist, and accompanist. His diverse background in jazz, classical, blues, R&B, rock and pop music allows him to tailor an unique instructional program for each student so that they can feel they belong within the university school system no matter what their background.
Kristopher Sveen received his master's degree under the guidance of great jazz guitarists such as Jody Fisher and Dr. Paul Murphy and his undergraduate studies were completed at CSUSB under the supervision of Stuart Green and Dr. Robert Knop. While a student at CSUSB, Kristopher was asked to compose a piece for the CSUSB 24 piece jazz big band in honor of blues legend B.B. King. This piece was showcased when the ensemble opened for the one and only B.B. King in November of 2009. In 2009 and 2010 Kristopher won the "Outstanding Soloist" award at the Reno Jazz Festival. In between his studies for his Bachelor's and Master's degrees Kristopher was invited to participate in The Thailand International Jazz Conference (TIJC) along the likes of E.J. Strickland, Marcus Strickland, Benny Green and Ben Williams. During this conference, Kristopher also worked alongside Dr. Robert Knop to lead masterclasses on jazz improvisation to Thai students.
Kristopher Sveen is frequently asked to participate in local masterclasses and accompany guest jazz artists such as Kevin Eubanks and Joel Taylor. When he's not out performing you can find Kristopher in the classroom at either California State University San Bernardino, Moreno Valley College, or Crafton Hills College sharing his passion with his students.
Gregory Thomas is active as a teacher, composer and musician in the Inland Empire, a boisterous man, with a joyful spirit, who doesn't take himself too seriously. He is known to be a motivated and results-oriented professional with exceptional interpersonal skills. Professionally trained, he is able to play and teach a variety of music, to include choral arrangements, traditional hymns, anthems, gospel, contemporary and praise and worship.
Greg is an alumnus of Chapman University Music Conservatory, Orange CA, where he majored in Music Education and also has a Secondary Teaching Credential. He has been blessed to use his love of music to reach a diverse student population at Riverside Unified School District as a 7-8th Grade Teacher, in addition to teaching High School. His renowned choral program is one of the largest in the district with four choirs and over 150 students. Greg was selected as 2017 Teacher of the Year for Chemawa Middle School. The choir has been honored to perform for many community events and elected officials to include: Riverside City Council, County Board of Representatives and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, just to name a few. Greg recently joined the faculty of Riverside Community College District as the Professor for the Moreno Valley College Gospel Singers.
Taro Wayama is a Japanese born guitarist/composer. He is a winner of numerous competitions such as 1st place in the 2003 Aron Green/American String Teachers Association Guitar Competition and 2nd place in the Thailand International Guitar Competition. As a composer he received "Best Original Score" at the Los Angeles Movie Awards for an independent film, Anne Jennings.
Taro is an active soloist and a chamber musician. He has performed in Japan, Thailand, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, China and the US. He frequently collaborates with violin, clarinet, flute and voice performing music from Renaissance through 20th/21st Century and Folk/World music. He also collaborates with visual artists to create installations which embody both visual and audio experience. Recently he was commissioned to compose a piece for Yutaka Sone's new installation, Sky Next Door.
Taro holds Masters and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California, where he studied with Pepe Romero, William Kannengiser, James Smith, Brian Head and Scott Tennant.
He has performed in number masterclasses by great guitarists such as Pepe Romero, David Leisner, Scott Tennant, Benjamin Verdery, Dusan Bogdanvic, Fabio Zanon, and William Kanengiser.
Guitar: Barry McNaughton, Jon Minei, Connie Sheu, and Kris Sveen
Voice and Piano: Dr. Jon Keenan, Wayne Hinton, Natalie Mann
Ensembles: Choral: Matthew Brown (Chamber Choir), Gregory Thomas (Gospel Singers)
Ensembles: Guitar: Barry McNaughton
Fundamentals and Music Theory: Matthew Brown, Barry McNaughton, I-Ching Tsai