Meet Our Instructors

Donato McDermott

(Guitar, Piano, Bass, Drums, Voice, Violin, Ukulele, Production) 


Donato McDermott has a background in playing music as well as teaching.  Music is Donato’s life, which led him to be the founder of Evolution Music Conservatory. He has been involved in several successful bands (Legs on Sale, Royal Heist, Dondo and the Mothership) and has most recently created his own current curriculum for teaching.  He has over 15 years experience instructing at professional music schools and loves teaching anyone with a desire to learn. He teaches guitar, drums, piano and bass to beginners up to professional levels as well as songwriting, recording, theory, harmony, sight-reading and ear training.

Nick Bergere

(Guitar, Bass, Piano, Drums, Violin, Cello, Ukulele, Production)


 Nick Bergere is a seasoned performer and musician, thanks to his wide skill set on multiple instruments. Starting on cello, he soon learned guitar, violin, piano, drums, and bass, where he played all these instruments almost daily during the completion of his Music degree at the Florida State University. Marching in the Rose Bowl, playing bass in sold out stadiums across the country, studying guitar, and playing keys for worship bands since 2008, Nick has gained an appreciation and skillset over many genres, fromm jazz, to metal, to contemporary, to funk. Nick is also an experienced audio engineer, and has engineering credits on dozens of tracks, writing, recording, comping, tuning, mixing, and mastering music of all styles.

Sheri Pearlman

(Clarinet, Saxophone, Piano)


Sheri Pearlman is an American clarinetist based out of Los Angeles, California. Sheri received her musical education from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in her native city of Baltimore, Maryland, where she studied under New York Philharmonic's Principal clarinetist, Anthony McGill. She received a talent scholarship from this renowned institution, as well as numerous awards. One distinction of note includes the Peabody Institute's Award for Excellence in Chamber Music as well as an additional scholarship to concertize and perform chamber music throughout Europe.

Kit Nolan

(Piano, Voice, Guitar, Bass, Drums)


While most 5 year olds were singing along to silly songs, Chris was entranced by the tribal drumming in the Michael Jackson's "Will you be there". When most Junior High student were listening to, well, whatever made them "cool", Chris was thinking of what John Lennon meant in his lyrics for "Strawberry Fields Forever." Chris has always had a deep passion for music that goes beyond the surface. He connects with... the very soul of music.

While attending (and eventually graduating from) San Diego State University with a B.A in Music, he played hundreds of live shows, most of them coming from a residency in the heart of the historic Gaslamp District of San Diego, honing his skills as a vocalist, pianist, and guitarist. On the other side of the sound board, as an engineer, he's had the opportunity to work with such greats as Jefferson Starship, Hiromi Uehara, Dave Mason among others at one of San Diego's premier live venue "Anthology."

Gabriela Castro

(Clarinet, Piano)


Originally from Santa Clarita, CA, Gabriela Castro completed a Masters of Music degree at the School of Music at Cal State University, Fullerton, where she studied with Burt Hara of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She also completed a Bachelor of Music degree at CSUF in the spring of 2013, her primary teachers being Hakan Rosengren and Margaret Worsley. In addition to these teachers, she has played in several master classes at CSUF for Yehuda Gilad, Anthony McGill, Alexander Fiterstein, Mark Nuccio, and Nathan Williams. Gabriela also performs frequently with her quartet, who has built a following on YouTube with their cover videos of well-known pop and electronic songs by artists such as Major Lazer, Calvin Harris, and Eurythmics. She also runs her own YouTube channel, Musicians Prime, whose objective is to spawn and cultivate the next generation of classical music content creators.

Harley Cortez

(Songwriting, Guitar, Piano, Drums, Voice, Bass, Production)


Harley Cortez has been creating mixed media and multimedia art actively for 12 years, with numerous group shows in the last 3 years. Influenced by music, literature and cinema, the work is a juxtaposition of fine art and street art. As well as being a musician and filmmaker, he uses all mediums as an art platform to express an ever-changing philosophical meandering on what it means to be alive. Previous work has included large scale paintings, smaller drawings, and film (digital and celluloid).  His works has been used in short films, feature films, movie posters, as well as album covers.  Other works include directing both narrative and experimental films as well as scoring feature and short films. Having shown work in both New York City and Los Angeles (he resides in both cities).  He will have his first solo exhibit in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan in April 2016.

Alex Darouie

(Trumpet, Horns, Piano)


Alex Darouie is a trumpet player, marching band instructor, and music educator based in Los Angeles. Originally from San Diego, Alex began playing the alto saxophone at the age of 12. After three years, Alex began learning the trumpet where he quickly excelled and fell in love with the instrument’s sound and versatility. He was accepted into the Music Performance program at UCLA where he currently studies with acclaimed international trumpet soloist Jens Lindemann. As an active student at UCLA , Alex has played with all three of the performance ensembles, including the UCLA Philharmonia and UCLA Wind Ensemble.

Sally Rose Bates

Sally Bates

(Voice, Piano)


Sally Rose Bates, mezzo-soprano, earned a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from Georgia State University with a full scholarship and stipend to attend. She earned her Undergraduate Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater also with a scholarship to study.  Sally also completed one year of Doctoral studies at the University of California Santa Barbara in Vocal Performance.  In addition, she has studied piano for twenty years including collegiate level studies as well as accompanying choirs and soloists. In addition to performing, Sally has been teaching for roughly 15 years. Sally is considered a voice specialist in the field. She teaches private voice, piano and theory lessons for for all ages, styles and levels of students. Her specialty is primarily in working with students who want to learn Classical, Broadway, Popular or Jazz styles. Sally or "Ms. Sally" specializes with tailoring each lesson to the individual needs/goals of that specific student to help them achieve great success. Many of her students have gone on to study music in college or launched performance careers.

Dylan Ryan

(Drums, Piano, Guitar, Bass)


Born in Chicago, Dylan Ryan took full advantage of the city's musical offerings, studying with several of the Windy City's jazz legends as well as playing in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.  While earning his BA from DePaul University, Dylan was already touring and recording with rock outfits and jazz combos.  Since then he has played on over 60 recordings and performed all over the world with multiple bands.  

He has performed on the stages of such festivals as LA's FYF Fest, Austin's Fun Fun Fun Fest, New York Jazz Fest, and Chicago's Pitchfork Fest as well as Los Angeles' Redcat Theater and Chicago's Symphony Center. Dylan has been teaching drums for 18 years and has been on staff at several music schools including The Bloom School Of Jazz, Sound Roads Music, and The Old Town School Of Folk Music. Most recently, Dylan's music has been featured in the LA Film Festival's Audience Award recipient I Am Thalente (2016) and Critics Choice nominee The Florida Project (2017)

GC Castillo

(Guitar, Bass, Ableton, Logic, Pro-tools)


GC Castillo is a music producer/guitarist from Lima, Peru. He graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree on Contemporary Writing and music production, after being awarded an international scholarship. Since moving to the US, he has shared the stage as a supporting musician for Grammy winning/nominated artists such as American Idol's winner Fantasia, Wizkid, Mr. Eazi, Luke James, Chrisette Michelle, J. Ivy among others. Some of his music productions have been featured in media content for clients such as Viacom (MTV, VH1) Ebay, and. GC currently resides in Los Angeles, CA were he splits his time between a music educator and producer for different international/national acts. 

Jesse Hanson

(Violin, Guitar, Cello, Songwriting, Ableton, Pro-tools, Ukulele, Voice)


Jesse Hanson is a LA by-way-of Boston strings player, producer and award-winning songwriter. Having played violin for 20 years (classically trained for 15), she has played in many orchestras, bands, ensembles and as a solo artist all over the USA, Europe and Brazil with a hand in almost every style of music. In addition to her love of teaching, she works as a studio strings player and arranger on top of working on her solo electronic project bad snacks, an act that combines synth-hop beat making with violin and songwriting. 

Her expertise lies primarily in contemporary violin, viola and cello playing but also extends to her years of playing acoustic guitar and engineering chops. She currently plays with the Hollywood Light Orchestra (EDM), Lolita Dark (J-Pop Anime Metal), KING (neo-soul), and works as the resident string arranger at Blakeslee Studios under producer Scott Welch.