Founder & Director
Marisela Smith, our studio's founder and director, began playing piano when she was 6 years old under the tutelage of Professor Sidonia Stern. Mrs. Stern was a renowned german instructor who focused heavily on theory and agility, nurturing Marisela's raw talent for music from an early age. She then attended the National Music Conservatory in Caracas, Venezuela where she was classically trained and learned performance, composition, theory, and music history.
Mrs. Smith first began teaching piano in 1982 after moving to the United States to study at the University of Pennsylvania. Her passion was to teach young students, which allowed her to develop the versatile and enjoyable teaching methods used at Brambleton Piano Studio. In her own words "It seems to me that music is a great gift, that it enriches lives, and that it should always be fun!"
In 2008, Marisela Smith founded Brambleton Piano Studio. It has since expanded to include 3 branches with more than 200 students and 8 classically trained, full-time piano instructors and supporting staff. Mrs. Smith is a loving, lively teacher who instills a love for music in each of her students. Her goal is to help each student be the best they can be, for she believes that the skills acquired while learning to play an instrument have a positive impact on the individual's academic and personal life.
A native of Spain, Daniel Pereira González holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts from The University of Maryland, a Master of Music from the University of Hartford and an Artist Diploma from the State University of New York at Purchase. Dr. Pereira has participated in piano festivals and master classes in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Brazil and the U.S., and was the artistic director of the International Piano Festivals “Conde de Gondomar” in Spain, where he also participated as a performer and lecturer, and co-director of the “Vianden International Music Festival” in Luxembourg.
His first book, “We can’t always play waltzes”, in co-authorship with oboist Bert Lucarelli, will be published in 2015.
Dr. Pereira combines activities as a pedagogue, recitalist and lecturer. His deep commitment to the piano has led him to an in intense study of the rich history of the numerous international schools of piano performance and technique, a field which he has been able to explore thoroughly at the International Piano Archives at Maryland. Find out more at www.daniel-pereira.com and www.pianouniverse.org.
Mrs. Anya Muravyova specializes in teaching piano, guitar, and voice lessons. She began her training at a very young age after revealing a rare talent for music which allowed her to join Ukraine's National School of Music for gifted and talented children. She now holds a Master's Degree in Music from the National Music Academy in Ukraine, has performed extensively in both Ukraine and Russia, and has more than 12 years of experience teaching piano.
Anya finds it important for her students to explore the emotional elements of their repertoire while working on performance skills. She believes a good musician should breathe life into the piece they're playing and use it as a form of expression. Her piano lessons focus on technique and dexterity while including elements of jazz improvisation, composition, and accompaniment skills.
Mrs. Anya's musical skills don't stop at solo performances. She has experience managing orchestras, vocal ensembles, and choirs, and performed as a member of a rock band! In addition to teaching piano, Anya is also available to teach classical and electric guitar, rock, flamenco, and jazz. Her lessons can be in English, Russian, and Ukranian. She teaches students of all levels and ages.
Luis Vasquez, Professor
Luis Vasquez in an inspirational pianist, instructor, composer, and arranger with more than 30 years of teaching experience. His passion for music developed at a very young age when he began studying piano, theory, harmony and counterpoint in Venezuela, first at the “Escuela de Música Padre Sojo” (a Music Conservatory under the direction of the renowned Venezuelan musicologist and composer José Antonio Calcaño), and afterwards at the IUDEM (University Institute of Music Studies).
Luis’ unique talent for music coupled with his extensive conservatory training allowed him to attend the Berklee College of Music. He currently holds degrees in Performance as well as Composition and Arranging.
Luis was as a Tenor at the “Capella de Caracas” Choir and has participated in several tours in Venezuela, the Caribbean Islands and Europe.
Luis’ lessons are geared towards training, challenging, and motivating pianists to excel in the Music Development Program. His students are accepted through teacher recommendations and auditions only.
Marisa began studying with Karen Christiansen under the Suzuki Method at the age of six and continued for the next eight years. In middle school, she began teaching herself to play guitar and developed songwriting and recording techniques. At the nationally-recognized Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Marisa sang Mozart’s Requiem in choir, performed Sondheim and Bernstein in musical theatre, and in her senior year became musical director and principle arranger for the school’s female a cappella group. Marisa excelled in AP Music Theory and would go on to complete all of her major’s music theory requirements in her first year of college.
Marisa’s passion for the piano was rekindled at the College of William & Mary where her studies with Dr. Maria Yefimova culminated in a senior piano lecture recital on Chopin and Romanticism. She graduated in May 2012 with a B.A. in Music and Psychology having acquired substantial experience working with children ages three to fourteen. Her last two summers have been dedicated to teaching piano, guitar, SAT and TJ exam prep. Marisa delights in helping students discover what they can achieve with her encouraging and fun-loving style. She is thrilled to join Brambleton Studio in guiding and inspiring the next generation of music-makers.
Olga Schwarz-Kovalchuk, Professor
Olga received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from the Syktyvkar college of Music in Russia. She started her music education at the Ryazan School of Music for talented children at six years old. Some of her professors included those from the renown Moscow State Conservatory, and she received chamber music coaching.
Mrs. Kovalchuk uses original exercises that integrate technical and artistic training for pianists. In addition, she puts a lot of emphasis on the expression of emotion through music.
She was a teacher and an accompanist at the Music School for children in Russia for 10 years. Many of her students have gone on to festivals, participated in competitions, and performed in solo recitals. She believes music should be something people share with each other and an important aspect if that is being comfortable performing for others.