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). Donato is a graduate of Musician's Institute, where he studied a multitude of instruments extensively. He has over 15 years experience instructing at professional music schools and loves teaching anyone with a desire to learn. Donato developed his own teaching curriculum which is implemented here at EMC. 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 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, from 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)

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.

Matt Koelsch

(Voice, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Songwriting)

Matt believes that music education is a rewarding experience which will instill a love of music, one that students will carry with them for the rest of their life. He believe's that all young students should be taught the fundamental building blocks of music theory, an introduction to instruments and songwriting so they can continue to explore music on their own or in a group. Matt has had a passion for music from his early experiences in school playing the piano, clarinet, guitar, and composing/ recording music. Matt thrives on exuding the enthusiasm and dedication his early music teachers brought to his classroom in Massachusetts. He looks forward to helping his students grow musically. Matt Koelsch’s achievements to date include selling thousands of physical records/CD’s, performing over 150 shows per year, winning a summer scholarship to Berklee College of Music, signing a two-year performance agreement with the Walt Disney Company as well as sharing the stage with members of legendary bands such as REM, Pink Floyd, and Toto. 

Gabriela Castro

(Clarinet, Piano)

Originally from Santa Clarita, CA, Gabriela Castro completed a master's 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's 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.

Dylan Ryan

(Drums, Guitar, Piano, Bass, Rock Band)

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/ 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, Chicago's Pitchfork Fest, 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)

Christina Apostolopoulos

(Guitar, Bass, Ukulele, Rock Band, Songwriting)

Christina attended Berklee College of Music with a scholarship, where she majored in guitar performance. She began studying guitar at age eight and her range includes the genres blues, rock, folk, and classical. In addition to being a skilled guitar player, Christina is also a vocalist and prolific songwriter. She has played hundred of shows as a solo performer and released her debut album The Only Thing I’m Good At, in 2018. She has worked as a session guitarist for various artists including Georgia Nott of Broods, Kimi Recor of Lone Priestess, as well as for music in film and television.  Since graduating, she has been teaching music full time at various after-school programs and private lessons. She is excited to join the Evolution Music team!

Chelsea Obermeier

(Voice, Piano)

 Chelsea is a light lyric soprano originally from the Midwest. She has studied piano and voice since the age of 12. She received her bachelor's of music in vocal performance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2014 and her master’s of music in vocal performance from Temple University in Philadelphia in 2016. Chelsea has been teaching private voice, piano, and piano/voice fusion lessons for the past five years. In addition to teaching privately, she is the K-8 music teacher and choir director at the Woodcrest School in Tarzana. In addition to teaching, Chelsea has a long history of performance. She has performed in Los Angeles with Pacific Opera Project, with Opera Carolina in North Carolina, and Opera Omaha in Nebraska. 

Tim Conley

(Guitar, Piano, Ukulele, Bass, Drums, Rock Band)

Tim is a highly experienced musician with over 15 years of teaching experience. Born in Philadelphia, Tim majored in jazz guitar and music composition in college. As an instructor, Tim creates a fun and relaxed atmosphere while instilling confidence in his students with positive reinforcement.  He teaches guitar, bass, piano, drums, and ukulele.  An accomplished performer, Tim has toured all over the world in prestigious venues such as Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Lincoln Center in NYC; and festivals including the Halifax Jazz Festival in Nova Scotia and Gilles Peterson’s WWS in Tokyo, JP.  He has also performed with many rock, jazz, hiphop, and electronic artists like Bernie Worrell, Mike Watt, Digable Planets, Jose James, Mark Guiliana and Taylor McFerrin. Tim is continually excited to share his musical knowledge and experience with aspiring musicians.  His goal as a teacher is to provide a balance of music theory, sight reading, and instrument proficiency in the genre/s that each student is most interested in pursuing.

Zach Nazar

(Drums, Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, Rock Band, Violin, Cello, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Flute, Voice)

Raised in the suburbs of Chicago Zach Nazar picked up the drum-set at age 8 and took weekly lessons for twelve years before moving to Boston in 2004 to attend Berklee College of Music where he took up World percussion as his primary instrument. There he began finding a love for traditional music from around the globe. In 2013 Zach began teaching orchestral instruments with El Sistema through the Longy School of Music of Bard College’s Master of Arts and Teaching Program in Los Angeles. Since then, Zach has been teaching all instruments as the Music Director at the Muse school in Calabasas, Our Community Charter School, Guidance Charter High School, and Foothills Music Academy. Incorporating all of his previous experience into his teaching and curriculum, Zach has developed his own unique approach to education with an emphasis on fun! He is also teaching private lessons for all instruments, composing original music, performing, and is frequently called to “sit in” on recordings and performances of various styles. Through this experience, Zach has acquired a unique passion, perspective and ability to adapt his style, allowing him work with a vast range of individuals. 

Paige Stark

(Voice, Drums)

Paige Stark is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer from Los Angeles. She studied music and vocal performance on scholarship at Pepperdine University under famed vocal coach Elisabeth Howard. While at Pepperdine, she also completed a masterclass series taught by Tony Award winners and Broadway legends such as John Raitt, Rita Moreno, Douglas Sills, and Susan Egan. After graduation she began playing in bands and studying recording under the mentorship of Jon Brion. She has toured nationally and internationally with her band, Tashaki Miyaki, opening for various artists such as Florence and the Machine, the Walkmen, DIIV, Blonde Redhead, and the Allah-Las. She has produced records for her own band, Tashaki Miyaki, as well as for Cherry Glazerr, L.A. Witch, and the Aquadolls.  Her music and compositions have appeared in several national commercials, TV shows, and film.

Grant Jordan

(Drums, Ukulele, Guitar, Voice, Piano)

Being a musician in Los Angeles has provided Grant with many wonderful opportunities. He has traveled the world, shared the stage with some of the greatest players in L.A., played on records, and taught students all in the name of music. Throughout his youth Grant played in school jazz bands, local rock bands, and in college music became his primary focus. He studied jazz performance, earned a degree in music business, and juggled multiple original projects during his 4 years at The University of Redlands. In 2008 Grant moved to L.A. and began learning what it meant to be a professional musician. Not just what was expected of him as a player but also the importance of preparedness, being on time, and a good attitude. Grant has toured the country and abroad, was a two time finalist at the "Next Great Drummer Competition" sponsored by Sam Ash Music and is the drummer featured on the popular interactive music toy "Paper Jamz" Drum series.


Amanda Campos

(Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Piano)

Amanda has been playing woodwinds for over 15 years, and began her classical and jazz studies at Citrus College in 2010. She earned her certificate in Music for Early Childhood Education from Pasadena City College and is continuing her studies in jazz performance. She teaches students of all ages and abilities all over Los Angeles. She has several years of  professional performing/ recording experience ranging in jazz, latin and pop styles. She loves to bring energy into her lessons that cover the elements of music in an engaging and relatable format. She believes that music is a universal language meant to be shared, loved, heard and played by all.

Danny Cipressi

(Voice, Piano, Guitar, Songwriting)

  Danny has been teaching for 10 years. He is a very talented, diverse, and experienced singer/songwriter, musician, and of course teacher. He studied opera at The Ester Boyer School of Music at Temple University in which he excelled and went on to sing for The Delaware Valley Opera Company in Philadelphia. He has also performed in musicals and plays. Aside from classic study and performance, he has written and recorded his own original music and performed in rock and pop bands for numerous years. He’s also experienced in other genres such as r&b, jazz, and country. His focus as a teacher is building confidence, esteem, and bringing out the best talents and in his student. 

Travis Drum

 (Drums, Piano)

Travis Drum is a music maker based in Los Angeles. He is originally from Long Beach, California, where his dad would take him to CSULB basketball games where he stared at the pep band for far too long. At the age of eleven, he purchased his first kit and started taking lessons. Once he met Marky Ramone and he told him, “follow your dreams and watch Taxi Driver” So, he did. Travis played his first professional show at the age of fifteen. Currently, Travis is an performer, educator and engineer. His credits include airplay on 95.5 KLOS, sharing the stage with artists such as Dave Grohl, The Animals, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, The Soft Pack, Adam Greene & Bikini Shapiro. He maintains a home studio where he records and teaches privately. He also works at Musicians Institute. Drum is his birth name. He did not change it.