Michelle Bitler

Suzuki piano, Piano, Violin, Suzuki violin, Viola, Suzuki viola, Chamber, Preschool classes, CAD

Michelle Bitler joined The Kanack School of Musical Artistry in 2012 after teaching in Pittsburgh for several years. In addition to having a studio of pianists, violinists, and violists, Michelle teaches improvisation and repertoire group classes. She is also a chamber music coach and piano accompanist.

With degrees from the Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester, Michelle also received Suzuki training in Chicago and Pittsburgh, early childhood music training in Buffalo, and CAD (Creative Ability Development) training here at KSMA. Her students include children of all ages and adults. She uses a variety of teaching methods and draws upon her extensive experience as a performer and collaborator.

Michelle can also be found playing violin with the local chamber group Cordancia, an orchestra that performs an eclectic array of repertoire. She is also a piano accompanist at SUNY Geneseo. In a past life (before having children!), Michelle led an active musical life performing as an orchestral, chamber, solo, freelance, and church musician.

While always engaged with music at some level, Michelle also enjoys knitting, cooking, and spending time with her family. Michelle, her husband, and two children are so pleased to be part of the KSMA community!

Sofya Gurevich

Piano, Preschool classes

Sofya got her degree in piano, music theory and music literature in Russia. After teaching in Russia for many years, she moved to Rochester in 1993. Sofya currently teaches piano and also has extensive training in early childhood education.

David Labman


David Labman lives in the Rochester, NY area.  He teaches chorus and general music at the Victor Central Schools (since 2000), he is the director of music at the First Baptist Church of Rochester (since 2002), and he frequently performs both classical and jazz piano locally.  He is currently performing and recording with Grammy-nominated jazz artist, Jimmie Highsmith, Jr.  Labman also works in area theaters as musical director, pianist, conductor, and orchestrator (his orchestrations for the musical Five Course Love were performed first at GEVA Theatre, and then published and performed in an off-Broadway production in 2006).

Labman earned a Master of Music degree in music education (cum laude) at Ithaca College in 2000 and a Bachelor of Music degree in music education at Nazareth College of Rochester (magna cum laude) in 1997.  His primary instrumental training is in classical piano from grade school through college.  Additionally, Labman studied jazz piano while playing professionally in Philadelphia and New York.  

Prior to his college education, David Labman worked professionally in the Philadelphia area (1975—1990) as a pianist, keyboardist, vocalist and musical director, spanning multiple styles of music including, rock, R&B, jazz, and classical.  During this time, he also recorded his first compositions.  He continued his work as a composer during his undergraduate degree at Nazareth where he studied composition with Tim Sullivan and wrote his Expressions for the Pianoforte.  Labman also studied composition with Gregory Woodward at Ithaca College.

In recent years, Labman has returned his attention towards composing.  Piano Concerto No. 1 in D major is his first major orchestral work.  It was started in 2006 and completed in 2010.  February 12, 2011 was the premiere of the concerto in its entirety (three movements), performed by the Finger Lakes Symphony Orchestra—Diego Garcia, conductor—along with the Hochstein Percussion Ensemble—Jim Tiller, director—and Labman on piano.  New orchestral works are in progress as well as pieces for solo piano and jazz fusion ensemble.

Labman has been teaching piano privately throughout his career.  His students have varied interests.  They generally begin with a traditional classical approach and as they grow in age and skill, they have the option to branch out in various areas.  Most continue in classical and add other styles to their lessons.  Labman is excited to begin teaching at the Kanack School and will offer private lessons in classical piano and jazz piano.

Teryle Watson

Voice, Piano, Chorus, Musical Theater

Teryle Thomas Watson was born in Brooklyn,New York .As the only child of Virgil and Lauramae Thomas,  music became central to her life at an early age.She began her formal training at the Juilliard School of Music at age five.The preparatory department of Juilliard provided her with training in piano,voice and music theory .She is also an alumna of the High School of Music and Art in New York City where she majored in violincello.In 1967,Teryle adopted Rochester,New York as her new home upon her acceptance at the Eastman School of Music.Immediately upon her graduation from Eastman she traveled to the United Kingdom where she concertized as a cellist,singer and pianist while doing coursework at the Royal College of Music.
In her return to Rochester in January of 1975 she began what was to be a thirty one year career as a music teacher with the Rochester City School District.She has been honored to serve the children and families of schools 36,33,58,39,West High School,Marshall High School,Benjamin Franklin High School,East High School and the School of the Arts.During this period she was also conductor of the Inter-High School Choir for the RCSD.Her passion for large choral works led her to teach and conduct many of the great masterpieces of the genre with her students.This legacy includes Elijah,the Magnificat of J.S.Bach,the Requiem Masses of Rutter,Faure and Mozart,the Gloria settings of Poulenc and Vivaldi,the Peaceable Kingdom of Randall Thompson,and Messiah in its entirety by G.F.Handel.Her love of Musical Theatre has been witnessed in over fifty productions she has directed in this area.Two musicals,Big River and Ragtime,both School of the Arts productions won the Best Musical Award given by the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.
Teryle has also been active in the Gateways Music Festival.She has played cello numerous times in the festival orchestra and has served as chorus master/conductor for performances of the Lord Nelson Mass and the Choral Finale of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony.
For twelve years she taught voice at the Rochester Association of the Performing Arts.Her students have been known for their outstanding work at many schools and conservatories including,the Eastman School of Music,Syracuse University,Ithaca College,Manhattanville College,Suny Purchase,Geneseo,Potsdam and Fredonia,Indiana University ,Boston Conservatory of Music,New England Conservatory of Music,Westminster Choir College,Lincoln University,Heidleberg College,Central State University,and Oklahoma State College.
Her love of music found its first foundation in the Church while she was a young child.This journey would lead her to become a Sister of Saint Joseph of Rochester.Liturgical music and Pastoral Ministry have remained a mainstay of her life as she has held music ministry positions at the former St. Augustines Church,Immaculate Conception Church,Our Lady of Victory Church, the former St. Phillip Neri Church and Memorial AME Zion Church.She has served on the Womens Commission ,the Music Commission and the Liturgy Commission of the Diocese of Rochester.
Teryle is also the former conductor of the Rochester Peace Child Chorus and a singer with the Opera Theatre of Rochester.

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