Joseph Hoffman began playing the piano at age six. In high school, he studied with Alfred Mouledous, principal pianist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. While continuing his musical studies in piano and conducting at Brigham Young University, Mr. Hoffman was appointed chorusmaster and conductor for numerous BYU opera productions, including Carmen and Pirates of Penzance. He conducted the 300-voice University Chorale and taught courses for music majors in music theory, conducting and sightsinging.
In order to help pay his way through grad school, Mr. Hoffman began teaching piano lessons to kids in the neighborhood. He wanted his students to love music and piano playing as much as he did, but he struggled to find a piano method that provided a rigorous, well-rounded musical training, while still being fun and engaging. Over the next several years, he made it his personal quest to study all he could about learning theory, and he actively researched the best methods available for teaching music. It was from these years of study, exploration, and experimentation that the “Hoffman Method” of teaching piano was born.

After graduating with a Master of Music in 2005, Mr. Hoffman was appointed as part-time faculty in BYU’s School of Music, where he taught music theory and conducting for 2 years. In 2007, Joseph decided to pursue a lifelong dream and moved to Portland, Oregon with his wife and two sons to start a music academy.  Hoffman Academy of Music has experienced rapid growth, and now serves over 250 students with a faculty of 11 teachers.

Joseph Hoffman is also active as a composer and conductor, and his original works have been heard in many performance halls. From 2011-2013, Mr. Hoffman served as orchestra conductor of the Portland Ensign Choir and Orchestra.

Mr. Hoffman regularly serves as an adjudicator of piano festivals and events, and provides training to other piano teachers in the Portland area on the “Hoffman Method”. His most recent project is to share the Hoffman Method with the world for free by creating a series of video piano lessons on his website Mr. Hoffman is thrilled to now be sharing his passion for music and piano with thousands of kids and adults around the world!

(click on name to see bio)

Prior to moving to Portland, Anne was employed as an Instructor of Music at Villa Maria College in Buffalo NY, where she taught on both the college and pre-college division faculties. She also received the honor of accompanying guest artist recitals punctuated by a performance with Jacek Muzyk, principal French horn with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Anne has had additional training in the Taubman Method of piano technique, attributing this training to a more natural approach to playing the piano, and is a certified Suzuki instructor. She has completed further piano studies at the Brevard Music Center, the Heifetz International Music Institute and Paul Robert’s piano summer school in Albignac France.

Anne was a four-year recipient of the Bromeley Piano Scholarship at SUNY Fredonia, a First Place winner in the 2004 Erie Music Teachers Association Scholarship Competition, and is a two time prize winner in the Memphis Beethoven Club's Young Artist Competition. Anne is an active OMTA member.

Elizabeth received her Bachelor’s degree from University of Washington, where she studied piano with Dr. Regina Yeh and was the founder and president of the MTNA collegiate chapter. While in Seattle, Elizabeth honed her skills as a pianist and began more serious and extensive work as a collaborative musician: accompanying full studios, instrumental soloists, chamber music, concerti, vocalists and even dance technique classes in improvised accompaniment.

After receiving a full graduate assistantship at Baylor University in Texas, Elizabeth graduated with her Master’s of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance studying with Artist-in-Residence, Krassimira Jordan. At Baylor, Elizabeth taught undergraduate students private lessons and beginning class piano. Elizabeth went beyond her teaching assignments at Baylor to offer free yoga classes to her applied students and music majors for research in tension assessment.

As a certified yoga instructor, Elizabeth paired her understanding of the body and the unnecessary tension she has observed in students in her thesis research project: “Cultivating Awareness in the Piano Student: An Integration of Yoga and Relaxation Methodologies.” She hopes to continue her study and discovery of piano in conjunction with yoga as a holistic way of teaching and understanding music.

Since returning to Portland, Elizabeth loves being a music leader at her church (Hope PCA), performing with instrumental musicians and in solo concerts. She is also excited to be the new director of the Portland Piano Club, a non-profit organization whose goal is to bring piano music to non-traditional venues and benefit the community.

Anne Denis is a pianist and teacher based in Portland OR and Vancouver WA. Originally from Buffalo NY, Anne completed degrees in Piano Performance from State University of New York College at Fredonia, the Ohio State University and most recently has achieved ABD status in the University of Memphis’ doctoral program where she was a teaching assistant. Anne has previously studied with Robert Jordan, Caroline Hong, and Samuel Viviano. Locally she has coached with Harold Gray, Lisa Marsh, Paul Roberts and Mark Westcott.

Elizabeth Kohl is a native of the Northwest and has been a piano instructor since 2003. She owes much of her early training as a pianist and private instructor to her time spent in the rigorous studio of concert pianist, Joanna Hodges.  Here, she was given countless opportunities to perform solo piano works and concerti in the studio’s curriculum while also receiving her first experiences teaching private piano and group theory classes. 
When he is not at Hoffman Academy, Joseph can be found leading the Portland Youth Rock Orchestra, where he became the principal conductor in 2011. As a performer, Joseph divides his time between Portland’s small-but-thriving contemporary jazz scene, and it’s not-so-small and beyond thriving indie rock scene. His music can be heard at numerous venues throughout the Portland area, where he performs regularly both under his own name and as a sideman.
Our Teachers

Our teachers have been carefully selected and we are confident they will provide the quality level of education that you expect at Hoffman Academy of Music. In addition to being highly qualified, our teachers go through regular training to ensure each teacher is educated in the Hoffman Academy method of teaching music. We invite you to read our teacher bios below and see for yourself why we are so proud of our instructors.

Your child’s safety is very important to us. We perform background checks on each of our teachers in order to ensure their suitability to work with children and youth.
Patrik Csak (b. 1989) is a composer, drummer, pianist, designer, and web developer from Portland, Oregon.

Patrik began studying piano at age six, participating in Oregon Music Teachers Association’s Syllabus program. His collegiate studies were divided equally between Portland State University’s jazz department—playing drum set in the school’s big band—and classical music department—where he directed and performed piano with various chamber ensembles. He graduated summa cum laude from PSU with a Bachelor of Music with Emphasis in Composition.

Patrik has over seven years of experience in music theory, music composition, drum set, classical piano, conducting, engraving, arranging, and performing. Recent performances include the 2013 premier of Patrik's evening-length composition warm as grey, for strings, keyboard, computer, and drum set, at the Oak Street Building in industrial SE Portland; the November 2012 world premier of Hungry Ghosts, for solo prepared piano, by Bonnie Miksch; and the North-American premier of Walter Marchetti's seventy-minute solo piano piece Natura Morta at Yale Union in December 2012.

Nicholas Fontana, a native of Covington, Louisiana, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University in Piano Performance. While pursuing his undergraduate degree he studied under Michael Gurt, Paula G. Manship Distinguished Professor of Piano, Professor of Piano, Gregory Sioles, and with Jan Grimes, head of the collaborative piano program at LSU. He is a two-time recipient of the King Sollberger Piano Scholarship, the Jack Guerry Piano Scholarship, and the Louisiana Music Award. 

A recent transplant from the south, he relocated to the Portland area to pursue his master’s degree in music. Nicholas is currently studying under Portland State University’s Director of Coordinated Movement Lisa Marsh.

In 2010 Nicholas served on the faculty at the New York State Summer School for the Arts as a choral accompanist and coach. He was also a scholarship participant in the Hot Springs Music Festival as well as in the New Orleans Loyola Institute for Young Artist. He is a three-time state finalist in the LMTA Torgrimson-Swanzy Piano Rally Competition and three-time recipient of the Louisiana Music Teachers Association Music Scholarship.

Nicholas has been teaching privately, and through performing arts academies since the age of 17. While in Baton Rouge he was a piano instructor at the Louisiana State University Academy for the Performing Arts and at Baton Rouge’s Dance Center and School for the Performing Arts.

Most recently Nicholas toured the south eastern United States performing a series of recitals featuring the German lieder of Johannes Brahms and Hugo Wolf in collaboration with baritone Brian Bonin.

He is currently the pianist and rehearsal accompanist at Metropolitan Community Church in downtown Portland.

Hoffman Academy of Music | 12660 NW Cornell Road, Portland Oregon 97229 | 503.336.3121

Theresa Silveyra is a pianist and music educator based in Portland, OR. She holds a Master of Arts in Music from Portland State University, as well as a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, magna cum laude, from Chapman University’s Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music. She is a member of the Oregon Music Teachers Association, Music Teachers National Association, Portland Orff-Schulwerk Association, and American Orff-Schulwerk Association.
Theresa is a passionate advocate of contemporary art music. She has performed in numerous world premieres as a fellow of the Cortona Sessions for New Music (2012 and 2013) and as a member of the new music ensembles at Hall-Musco and Portland State. In addition, she is a featured artist for Piano! Push Play!, a local project/organization whose mission is to make pianos available to the public by placing them in schools, community centers, and (during the summer months) on the sidewalks of downtown Portland.

Theresa has been teaching piano since 2007. She especially enjoys working with children and young beginners. While completing her studies at Portland State, she became particularly interested in the Coordinate Movement curriculum (headed by Lisa Marsh), which integrates somatic principles and anatomical knowledge into music education in order to promote free, healthy, and injury-preventive technique. Theresa incorporates these teachings into all of her lessons and is currently training to become a certified Andover Educator in order to further her studies in this area.

Theresa continues to study privately with Lisa Marsh. Former teachers include Dr. Julia Hwakyu Lee, Dr. Janice Park, Dr. Grace Fong, Dr. Louise Thomas, and Mrs. Judy Meyers.

Joseph Berman is a Portland native who grew up just a few miles from Hoffman Academy. Joseph returned to the area after completing his master's degree in composition from the University of Miami. Joseph's approach is to make every lesson fun and exciting, but also rigorous and thorough. His curriculum draws from rock and pop, as well as classical music, jazz, blues, and folk songs, ensuring that every student's education is well-rounded. Joseph's students learn to perform at a high level, and they are also exposed to the advanced skills of improvisation, songwriting, and playing by ear and by sight.

“It's clear the teachers love teaching music to children and are very invested in their musical education.”
  - Academy Parent
"I am completely confident that when I go to the Hoffman Academy, I'm going to get a talented, dedicated teacher. No buyer's anxiety... I have been able to grow in the way I wanted to, and at a pace I could support and enjoy."
-Tom F., student
Bjorn Rowberg is from Washington State, and recently moved to Portland after living in Tucson, Arizona for the past 4 years. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Central Washington University, and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Arizona.
In 2007, Bjorn was accepted to the prestigious Chautauqua Summer Music Festival in Chautauqua, New York. While living in Washington, Bjorn accompanied several state Solo/Ensemble vocalist winners, performed annually at the Leavenworth Piano Festival, was the piano professor at Wenatchee Valley College, was the Music Director for a Concert for a Hate-Free World, and took 2nd place at the Washington State MTNA collegiate piano competition. Bjorn continues to have a rewarding career teaching private students, accompanying choirs and soloists, and serving as the Music Director for his church. During his free time, Bjorn enjoys exercising, trying new ethnic cuisine, and watching his favorite sports teams, the Mariners and Seahawks.
Alyssa Libonati, a Portland native, has been involved in music and the performing arts from a very young age. She began piano lessons at age six, studying with Helen Libonati, her grandmother. She also began performing in musical theater and ballet around the same age. Introduced to jazz through her father, Dana Libonati, who teaches jazz choir and jazz piano in McMinnville,  Alyssa’s music education became very well rounded.
After spending 4 years in her father’s jazz choirs in high school and completing the Oregon Syllabus piano curriculum she went on to study Vocal Performance at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. She received her Bachelors in Music and immediately moved to New York City to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in their Musical Theater program. She has since been performing opera, musical theater, and dance in the New York City area.

Alyssa recently moved back to Portland in the summer of 2013 and is incredibly excited to be teaching and performing in her native state!

Alyssa's teaching experience includes 5 years of teaching in her own private studio, teaching piano, songwriting and musical theater (currently) at the Young Musicians and Artists summer camp at Willamette University and a variety of other community theater, dance and music programs. She is thrilled to be teaching at Hoffman Academy as a voice and piano teacher.

When not at Hoffman Alyssa likes to split her time between caring for her beautiful baby girl, Elena, and performing, teaching, and choreographing throughout the Portland and Willamette Valley areas.

Ben Milstein is a Portland-based pianist, composer, and teacher with a very wide range of musical interests and experience. He frequently performs in the Portland area as an accompanist with Satori Men’s Chorus, Shine Community Children’s Chorus, and the West Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Choir as well as other local groups such as the Portland Chamber Orchestra and Cascadia Composers.  In addition Ben plays electric bass with a local western swing band called Shorty and the Mustangs.

Ben holds an M.F.A. degree in New Media Composition from the California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA), a B.A. degree in Composition from Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY) and he attended the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music (Oberlin, OH) as a Performance major. He has studied the Taubman approach to piano with Robert Durso (Co-Founder and Senior Director of the Golandsky Institute) since 1986.

Ben has performed his original electronic music all over the United States and the United Kingdom and his original compositions have been released on a number of international record labels in both vinyl and digital format.

For more information visit

Shlomo Farber started playing the piano at the age of 9, exploring various styles of music including Classical, Jazz and Popular music. In 2013 Shlomo completed his Bachlor degree majoring in Piano Performance and Composition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. During that time Shlomo gained experience teaching piano, ear training and theory to students of all age groups and various musical interests.

Shlomo's compositions and orchestrations have been performed by the The Jerusalem Capellatte Choir, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Israel Beer-Sheva Symphony Orchestra, Jerusalem Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra and the Jerusalem Youth Street Orchestra, which Shlomo helped with founding. Shlomo has recently joined the Portland Symphonic Choir as a Bass singer. Some of his music is available at:

Jessica Susanto is very passionate about teaching music and sharing the beauty of the piano to everyone. She enjoys playing, learning and teaching. Her teaching is based on the idea that everyone can play music, and people deserve a chance to explore their musical life. Playing music is not about only about playing the right notes – there is more. Music is about self confidence, about peace, about living to the fullest.

Jessica holds a Masters in Music Performance in Classical Piano. She completed her Bachelors of Music Performance in Australia in the Queensland Conservatory. She is currently a trainee in the Andover Program. She has been performing classical piano since she was 10 and has performed in Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and the United Stated. Jessica has also studied Taiko and Gamelan as part of her ethnomusicology interest.
David received a B.S. in Music from Hofstra University where he studied guitar under Rick Stone and jazz composition with David Lalama. He performed in many ensembles including the University Choir, Big Band, Small Combo, and the student run Nonet, for which he composed many arrangements. In 2008, after leading the Nonet for the year David was awarded the Peter B. Clark Memorial Scholarship for Jazz Performance.

After college, David moved to Portland, Oregon where he ingrained himself into the local music community by forming The Sleeper Smiles and accepting a teaching position at Musicwerks Studio. David loves teaching students of all ages and helping them realize the wonders of music. His curriculum exposes students to an array of genres, establishes strong technical foundations and emphasizes ear-training, sight-¬reading and improvisation.

David is currently recording a new album with one of his many projects and can be seen performing around Portland.

David Powell is a guitarist and songwriter from Simsbury, Connecticut who began studying guitar at the age of fourteen and quickly became interested in rock, jazz and folk music. David began forming rock bands with his friends and entered many “battle of the bands”, honing his skills and building his passion for performance.
Vakarė’s most recent engagements include appearing as Miss Jessel in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw as part of the Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival.  Vakarė has distinguished herself on concert stages throughout the United States, appearing as concert soloist with The Cascadia Composers, The Oregon Repertory Singers, The Bach Cantata Choir, Portland Symphonic Choir, Resonance ensemble, The Ensemble, The Portland Vocal Consort, Westminster's Art Song Festival, Princeton Sinfonia and Jazz Ensemble, and The Princeton Musical Amateur Society, among others.

Besides her solo work, Vakarė is a member of The Julians, a hot a cappella female quartet who are selling out shows all over Portland.  She is especially proud to be a founding member of the brother-sister folk duo, Amber Coast. Vakarė performs regularly with Portland-based ensemble, Cappella Romana, and looks forward to traveling to San Francisco and New York with them in their upcoming season.

Other roles include Soeur Alice (Dialogues des Carmelites), Fiametta (The Gondoliers), Papagena (Die Zauberflote), and appearances with Opera Theater Oregon.

A native of Chicago, IL, Vakarė holds her Master's degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. She studies in the vocal studio of acclaimed soprano and pedagogue Nancy Olson-Chatalas.

Vakarė Petroliūnaitė is an extraordinary talent living and performing in the Pacific Northwest, praised by her critics for her, “wonderful sensitivity”, and “sparkling tone”. Her clear, engaging voice and intelligent artistry bring vibrant interpretations to any stage.
Jena Viemeister has always been surrounded by art and music. As a daughter of a band director, she enjoyed her childhood tinkering with instruments and singing along to her father’s Frank Sinatra CDs. By high school, Jena was hooked, and was involved in Band, Choir, Jazz Band and Choir, Theatre, and Gymnastics. When entering college at Portland State University, her extensive experience of music, movement, and theatre guided her to pursue a career in opera. She believes opera is the ultimate art-form, because of the way it infuses almost every other art-form to create one masterpiece.

During her time at Portland State, Jena performed with the theatre department as well as the voice and opera department. She also kept up her jazz chops by performing in jazz combos for local wineries. After graduating with her Bachelor of Music in Voice, Jena took a year to perform locally with Opera Theater Oregon and to audition for graduate schools.

She is now a graduate from the Boston Conservatory with her Masters of Music in Opera Performance, where she performed a variety of operatic roles and styles. She is versed in all classical forms of singing as well as musical theater.

When Jena is not singing, she works as a caregiver for adults and children with disabilities.