Experts on "Music"

Robert Feller

  • Professor
  • Area Coordinator, Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion
  • Director, Symphonic Winds and Brass Ensemble

While serving as a graduate assistant at the Eastman School of Music, Robert G. Feller graduated in 1986 with a master’s degree in Performance and Literature in Trumpet, and was awarded the coveted Performer’s Certificate for outstanding performance. His trumpet teachers have included Barbara Butler (Chicago), Boyde Hood (Los Angeles Philharmonic), Anthony Plog (International Recitalist/ Freiburg School in Germany), John Clyman (Los Angeles), Joan La Rue (Long Beach) and Gary Wiedeman (Huntington Beach).

He is currently or has been a member of the California Philharmonic, California Wind Orchestra, the Long Beach Municipal Band, the Rochester Philharmonic, Pasadena Symphony, Pasadena Chamber Orchestra, the Ontario Brass, the Nazareth Brass Quintet and played lead trumpet in dozens of Civic Light Opera productions. Since 1972 he has been a trumpet performer in many of Disneyland’s atmosphere groups, including playing lead trumpet for the nationally acclaimed Symphonic Fantasy Tour. In the course of 10 years, he traveled extensively with the Continental Brass and Singers, conducting and playing trumpet in more than 2000 concerts in over 29 countries Worldwide. Feller was a founding member of Gabriel Brass, a trumpet trio with a four-piece rhythm section, whose crowning achievement was to represent the United States in North and South Korea as well as China.

Feller studied conducting with David Effron (Orchestral, Eastman School of Music), Hans Beer (Orchestral, USC), David Wilson (Choral, USC) and Larry Curtis (Instrumental, CSULB). He was the founder and director of the Professional Christian Wind Ensemble conducting numerous concerts in Southern California and served as the executive producer for Rejouissance, the ensemble’s first CD. For two years he also served as the conductor of the Pacific Brass Ensemble, Southern California’s premier Brass Ensemble.

Currently Feller is the Area Coordinator of Winds and Percussion at the Biola University Conservatory of Music. He also conducts the Symphonic Winds, directs the Brass Ensemble and coaches the Honors Brass Quintet. In addition to teaching Basic and Advanced Instrumental Conducting, Brass Methods, Instrumental Literature for Schools, Guided Research for Instrumental Literature and Pedagogy, he also teaches private trumpet lessons and coordinates other activities related to instrumental music. For 28 years Mr. Feller was the Head Clinician for Disneyland’s Performing Arts Excellence in Entertainment Workshops where he led approximately 4000 film scoring session workshops. He is also a freelance musician and recitalist performing numerous concerts throughout Southern California and overseas each year. He has been a guest soloist for orchestral solo and recital tours to China, Japan and Indonesia with George Boespflug, Marlin Owen and Manami Kawamura as Quartet Biola, and they have a standing invitation to return every year.

Feller is a member of the Musicians Union Local 7, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA), Music Educators National Conference (MENC), College Band Directors National Conference (CBDNA), California Band Directors Association (CBDA) and a charter member of the International Trumpet Guild (ITG). He is a much sought after honor band conductor, guest clinician, guest adjudicator and seminar speaker.

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Elizabeth Larson

  • Associate Professor, Violin and Chamber Music
  • Area Coordinator, Strings
  • Director, Chamber Music

The Boston Globe has praised Elizabeth Larson’s playing as having “great charm and refinement…and breathtaking virtuosity.” Larson began violin at the age of three, and since first soloing with the Milwaukee Symphony at age seven and the Boston Pops at age 11, she has gone on to perform internationally as a renowned soloist and chamber musician. Her tours have brought her to four continents throughout the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia, and to the concert venues of Boston’s Symphony Hall as soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall, Victoria Hall, Geneva, as the featured soloist honoring Lord Yehudi Menuhin and the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. Larson has been heard on radio on National Public Radio (NPR), in a feature program aired throughout the United States and live from the Chicago Public Library. In Korea, her performances have been broadcast both on radio and Korean National Television.

An avid chamber musician, Larson has been a resident artist internationally at the festivals of Ojai, Banff, Caramoor in New York, Kronberg in Germany, and the Verbier Festival, Switzerland. She has collaborated with acclaimed pianists Menahem Pressler, Eugene Istomin and Joseph Kalichstein, as well as with other renowned artists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Boris Pergamenschikow and Gidon Kremer.

For three years, Larson was invited to join Yehudi Menuhin’s prestigious ensemble, Camerata Lysy, Switzerland, performing as soloist and in chamber ensembles throughout Europe and South Africa. While living in Europe, she also performed under the auspices of Live Music Now in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe and the United States. After settling back in the United States, she was a member of the Credo Trio, giving concerts and workshops on integrating music, work and faith for college students throughout the United States.

As a prominent leader in educating future musicians, Larson was Founder and Director of the Geneva Conservatory of Music, a music school she founded in 2002 in New York City and is invited regularly as a Guest Artist to lead masterclasses at music schools, conservatories, and on university campuses throughout the United States and Europe. In the summer, she returns regularly to be a performing and teaching artist at the festivals of Apple Hill, Masterworks and Credo Festival at Oberlin College.

Larson recently released her Chung-Larson-Bae trio CD, Three Strands: The Complete Piano Trios of Brahms under Concert Artists Guild Records, New York, and continues to perform as a recitalist and chamber musician in concert series throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

Larson makes her home with her husband and divides her time between performing and teaching in New York and Los Angeles.

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Barry Liesch

  • Associate Professor, Worship Arts
  • Area Coordinator, Worship Arts

Barry Liesch is the founder of the Worship Arts program at Biola. He also writes curriculum for courses in Improvisation and Pop Theory, and teaches several courses in the Worship Arts department.

Education & Influences

  • Additional studies in Piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada
  • Teachers include Pulitzer-prize winners Bernard Rands and Roger Reynolds

As a nine-year old boy, he was greatly affected by a performance at his church that featured a professional pianist and vocalist; his desire to imitate what he had heard in church reawakened his desire to study the piano, which he had stopped studying a year earlier. At age 12, he began playing in church, and from this point his life of ministry began.

Musical Career

During his youth, Liesch played for many Christian evangelistic events including Youth for Christ rallies and City Wide Evangelistic Crusades. He also toured with Mel Bowker, and played for Billy Graham crusades throughout Canada.

Liesch is also an influential writer and speaker on the topic of music in the church. He has also written articles for prominent ministry journals and developed the website worshipinfo.com with resources for those involved in church music.

In addition, Liesch has been a guest lecturer and teacher at institutions all over North America, including Azusa Pacific University, Trinity Western University, Regents College, Simpson College, Ashland Seminary, Baylor University, Hope International University, and Canadian Bible College. He also speaks at major worship conferences such as Break Forth and the American Baptist Conference on Worship & Evangelism.

During his undergraduate years, Liesch performed and arranged for World Records of Canada. While at UCSD, Liesch was actively composing music, especially electronic music. He also contributed original arrangements for the CD entitled "Moments with You."

Why Biola?

Teaching at Biola since 1974, Liesch has played a key role in shaping the Conservatory into the program that it is today. He started the Music in Worship program in 2004. He has also written much of the curriculum for core classes within the program. He says, "I saw the need for good pedagogical materials in improvisation and pop theory not only for our own students, but for those already involved in music ministry." Liesch is enthusiastic about teaching his students to the best of his ability, remarking, "We have so many fine students in the Music in Worship program; they are just quality people. These kids are going to go on and do great things. It's a privilege to be able to be a part of their lives."

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Victor Velazquez

  • Chair, Department of Modern Languages
  • Associate Professor of Modern Languages

Victor Velazquez is currently a modern language professor at Biola University. He is a member of the Modern Language Association, American Association of Teachers of French and American Association of Teachers of Spanish, Portuguese and Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA). Velazquez invests in his community and serves as a volunteer speaker for Child S.H.A.R.E., an organization that supports and encourages faith communities through the foster care and adoption process. He received his bachelor’s degree in comparative literature and master’s degree/doctorate in French Language and Literature from the University of California, Irvine. While working towards his doctorate, he was honored through several awards such as the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Award. Velazquez previously taught at Mount San Antonio College, Coastline Community College and University of California, Irvine.

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