Teaching Artists: A Patchwork of Cultures

As our annual education program A Patchwork of Cultures: Exploring the Sephardic-Latino Connection rapidly approaches, now is a good time to shine a spotlight on the people who make the experiences of our students so rewarding: our wonderful teaching artists. Through a series of workshops, our specially trained educators bring students on a lively musical journey through the deep Spanish cultural ties that Sephardic Jews share with the people of Latin America. Our program would not be possible without the stellar lessons provided by the ace crew of teaching artists below.

Leslie Lashinsky plays lots of low notes. Her orchestral credits include the L.A. Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, L.A. Opera, Bolshoi, ABT and Joffrey Ballets, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, New West, Pacific and Los Angeles Jewish Symphonies, L.A. Chamber and Hollywood Bowl Orchestras, and many theatrical productions. She has played bassoon and contrabassoon on many soundtracks, including Jurassic Park, The Lion King, The Matrix Trilogy, Star Trek X, countless cartoons and commercials as well as chamber music recordings.

Leslie has toured the world with Zubin Mehta, Leonard Bernstein and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Her original music and multi-media works have been included in Lincoln Center’s “Serious Fun Festival”, The Los Angeles Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and New Music Across America. Leslie holds an MFA degree from The California Institute of the Arts and a BA degree from Middlebury College. She has taught at Art Center College of Design and is currently on the faculties of Pepperdine University and Santa Monica College. She directs “Go For Baroque” Productions.

Photo by Daniel Seidman

As a freelance violist and contractor in Los Angeles, Beth Elliott performs as principal violist with several orchestras and chamber groups including the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony and the Valley Symphony Orchestra where she has been a featured soloist.

Beth is founder and violist of the award-winning Kadima String Quartet. Beth has been seen and heard in a variety of music recordings, videos, and movies including The Hebrew Hammer and For a Good Time Call. She has been featured in the Los Angeles Times for her work connecting music with Alzheimer’s patients and the elderly.Beth is devoted to music as a performer and educator. Since founding the Kadima Conservatory of Music in 1983, she has been active as its music director and maintains a full private studio. The Conservatory has over 300 students of all ages enrolled in private lessons, three symphonic orchestras, chamber music, student recitals, a mentoring program and a yearly Summer Music Seminar. Beth is Chairperson for the San Fernando Valley Junior Festival and is a training artist for the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony.

Beth has been a fanatic alto musician all of her life. She has a performance degree from Cal State University Northridge. She lives in Sherman Oaks with her husband John, a psychotherapist and writer, and their cats.

Find out more about Kadima Conservatory!

Wendy Prober, piano has performed throughout the United States and Israel as a critically acclaimed chamber musician and soloist.  She is the founding pianist of the award-winning Viklarbo Chamber Ensemble, and has served as Artist-in-Residence at Loyola Marymount University, the USC Composition Department, “Sundays Live” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Montgomery Arts House for Music and Architecture (MAHMA), as well as the popular Los Angeles based, SPaCE Salon.  She has taught on the faculties of Loyola Marymount University, the University of Judaism, and the Omaha Conservatory of Music Institute.  For two seasons she was Executive Director of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, where she remains on the Board of Directors. 

Highly sought after as an expert in the field of new music, Prober recorded Morton Lauridsen’s “Cuatro Canciones” on the RCM label.  She is a close collaborator with composer Maria Newman, for whom she has premiered and recorded dozens of the composer’s works for solo and duo piano, instrumental sonatas, concertos, and chamber music, including the 2015 premiere of her piano concerto, “Emma McChesney.” This past September she performed on a week-long residency at the Eastman School of Music with composer Maria Newman and has just returned from a fall Midwestern tour with the pop-rock/classical crossover trio TAKE 3 with violinist Lindsay Deutsch and cellist Leah Metzler.

You can read Wendy's full bio here!

Find out more about Viklarbo Chamber Ensemble here!

Jonathan Rubin, violinist, has been a member of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony since its inception, and has been teaching the violin and playing professionally since 1984.  In addition to his work as a freelance violinist, Jonathan works as a violin dealer at Robert Cauer Violins and maintains a private teaching studio.  Jonathan lives with his wife, 3 children, and 2 dogs, Zip and Snoopy.

Cynthia Koepke started playing the flute at age 10 at her California public elementary school. Why the flute? A neighbor had a flute to sell for $50 and Cynthia had just enough money saved to buy it.  It turned out to be a great choice! She loved the sound of the flute and has played ever since in school bands, synagogue bands, wind ensembles, and for local orchestras and choir groups. That means almost 50 years of having wonderful musical friends and experiences! Currently playing and singing with the Village Klezmer Band (based in Westlake Village), Cynthia loves performing in the klezmer style. Now retired from full-time public school teaching, Cynthia has been thrilled to teach for the LAJS Patchwork program because the students and teachers are so enthusiastic, talented and welcoming. Looking forward to next year!

Hagai Izraeli is a trumpet artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer and an educator. Hagai was born and raised in Israel. He dedicates his time to bettering the life of the planet and all its inhabitants through music, health, compassion and love. Hagai teaches students of all ages, inspiring them to cultivate their talents while deepening their love and appreciation for music and the arts.

Hagai has been playing with the LAJS for more than 10 years and is an integral part of its educational program. Hagai is a founding member of the band Maetar (#maetarmusic). Hagai is an avid practitioner and teacher of Qigong and Tai Chi, helping people improve their health, wellbeing, and happiness.

Read more about Maetar here!

Our talented teaching artists make our annual education program, A Patchwork of Cultures: Exploring the Sephardic-Latino Connection, possible.

Learn more about the education program here!