Jonathan Hirsh
Artistic Director

Director of Choral and Orchestral Activities at Smith College, Jonathan Hirsh conducts the Orchestra, Glee Club and Chamber Singers. He has a national reputation as both conductor, adjudicator, and pedagogue. His ensembles are invited regularly to perform at regional, national and international festivals. 



Karen Smith Emerson
Vocal Instructor

Soprano Karen Smith Emerson has enjoyed a balanced career as singer and educator. Currently professor of music at Smith College, she has sung a wide variety of opera and concert repertoire with professional organizations around the United States. She has recorded two solo CDs on the Albany and Centaur labels, and was first place winner of the NATS Artist Award, the Oratorio Society of NY solo competition and the Musica Sacra Bach competition.


Ryan Brandau
Musical Theater Director, A Cappella Instructor

Ryan Brandau has broad experience with a variety of choral and orchestral ensembles. Currently he is Artistic Director of Amor Artis, Princeton Pro Musica, and Monmouth Civic Chorus. He serves on the faculty of Westminster Choir College, where he prepares the Symphonic Choir for performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, and the New Jersey Symphony. His arrangements and compositions have been heard across the globe.

Mallorie Chernin
Vocal Instructor

Mallorie Chernin has been Director of Choral Music at Amherst College since 1986.  She conducts and coaches four choirs, and also teaches conducting.  In demand as a conductor, adjudicator and clinician, recent festivals include the Vermont All State Chorus, and the Massachusetts South Eastern District Festival Chorus.

Reka Peterson
Choir Conductor

Reka Peterson is the Assistant Director of the Hampshire Young People's Chorus. She has worked with young singers in the Boston area and the Pioneer Valley for eighteen years. A native of Hungary, she has worked with university choirs as a Hungarian diction coach. She studies voice with Dr. Karen Smith Emerson.

Anita Anderson Cooper
Musicianship Instructor

Anita Anderson Cooper currently teaches three choral ensembles and AP Music Theory at Minnechaug High School. She previously taught Music Theory at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City for twelve years and also worked as a professional musician and conductor. She is a frequent soloist and guest conductor for district festivals.


Jennifer Allen
Cello Instructor, Chamber Music Coach

Jennifer Allen teaches and coaches chamber music at her home studio in Amherst, Ma. She has served on the faculties of the Amherst Regional Schools and the Hartsbroook School in Hadley. Jennifer is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and has had extensive Suzuki Teacher Training. She is a co-founder of the Amethyst Chamber Music Program. Jennifer has performed with the Tri-Cities Opera Company, the Binghamton Symphony and many other professional ensembles.

Sarah Briggs
Violin Instructor, Chamber Music Coach

Sarah Briggs has taught at Amherst and Smith Colleges since 2008. She is first violinist of the Wistaria String Quartet, and plays with the Berkshire Symphony. Sarah was previously a tenured member of the Colorado (Denver) and Charlotte Symphonies, and played concerts with the Chicago, Milwaukee. She won first place in the Mid-Texas Young Artists  Competition in 1985, after completing a Master of Music Degree at the University of TX at Austin. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance       from the Eastman School of Music.

Susan Conger
Fiddling Instructor

Susan Conger has been teaching fiddle since 1991, and has taught frequently at Ashokan Fiddle & Dance Camp and John C. Campbell Folk School. She edited the Along the River collection of dance tunes, and some of her own compositions are widely played and much recorded. She teaches private students in her Montague studio.

Marty Knieriem
Viola Instructor, Chamber Music Coach

Marty Knieriem was born in Atlanta, GA and grew up in Greensboro, NC. She received her BM in Viola Performance from the University of North Carolina, continued her studies at the Eastman School of Music, and completed her Master's Degree at Ithaca College. Marty teaches at the Community Music School of Springfield, Smith College Campus School, and is co- director, along with Sandy Dennis, of the Kinhaven Music School Junior Session in Weston, VT. She has been a member of the Hartford   Symphony since 1981.

Jules Hirsh
Double Bass Instructor, Chamber Music Coach

Jules Hirsh is a well regarded freelance bass player and music educator in the New York area.  He directed the instrumental music program at Midwood High School for 33 years.  He is an Adjunct Professor of Music, teaching bass, at Brooklyn College. Jules performs with the Queens Symphony Orchestra, where he is principal, and with the Westfield Symphony and the St.  Cecilia Chamber Ensemble.


Alyssa Kayser-Hirsh
Program Administrator, Counselor

Alyssa is an arts administrator and teacher in New York City. She currently works in Digital Content & Engagement at Carnegie Hall,  teaches vocal music at the Dwight School, and writes for I Care if You Listen. Alyssa studied Music and American Studies at Wellesley College, where she was also the president of the Wellesley College Choir. She currently performs with Amor Artis and has previously sung in the New School Chorus and the Smith College Glee Club. She is also a pianist and cellist. 

Katherine Kayser-Hirsh
Counselor, A Cappella Coach

Katherine is an Elementary School teacher in the Pioneer Valley. During her undergraduate career at Mount Holyoke College she was a member of The Diversions a cappella group, Chamber Singers, Glee Club, and was on the Lacrosse team for 4 years. She studied voice for six years with Cheryl Cobb and continues to recreationally play piano, viola, and guitar in her spare time. 

Tori Boretsky
Counselor, Musicianship and Violin Instructor

Tori is a general music and chorus teacher in Greenwich, CT.  She received her Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Hofstra University.  While in college, Tori participated in the University Choir, Symphony Orchestra, founded the Hofstra University chapter of the American String Teachers Association, and toured with a Long Island youth orchestra in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. She has been playing the violin since the age of nine.

Kelly Bernatzky
Counselor, Movement Teacher

Kelly Bernatzky is a seniorat Vassar College with a major in history and a correlate in education. She has been studying dance for 6 years between Vassar College, Amherst Ballet, Massachusetts Academy of Ballet and Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Ballet. She helped choreograph for the high school musical and enjoys singing in her free time.

Noah Kayser-Hirsh
Counselor, A Cappella Coach

Noah Kayser-Hirsh is a seniorat Vassar College where he studies Music, Philosophy, and Italian. He plays the French Horn in the Vassar College Orchestra and plays on the Ultimate Frisbee team. Noah is a ten-year camp veteran, having attended Strings@Amherst in its origins as ASTA at UMass. In his free time Noah enjoys playing the piano and singing.