Extended Learning
Co-Curricular Programs
Music School

Faculty

Contact

Music School Office
Montague Hall
musicschool@punahou.edu
808.944.5829
Hours: M – F, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

List of 2 items.

Faculty

List of 33 items.

  • Helen Chao-Casano

    Music School Director, Instructor (Private/Group Piano)
     MM (Northwestern University), BM (Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam)

    Major teachers include Frank Iogha, David Kaiserman, Frances Larimer, and Elena Shishko. Chao-Casano has been recognized as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music by the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). She also holds a Performer’s Certificate from the St. Petersburg Piano Institute (Russia). Chao-Casano has served on the executive boards of the Music Teachers National Association, Pacific School of the Performing Arts, Honolulu Piano Teachers Association, and the Hawaii Music Teachers Association. In 2015, Chao-Casano was selected as a Community Arts Education Leadership Institute fellow, a program sponsored by the National Guild for Community Arts Education. Chao-Casano is a licensed Kindermusik educator and has taught piano at DePaul University, Brigham Young University - Hawai‘i, and University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She serves on the MTNA National Certification Commission.

    Chao-Casano has taught at Punahou since 1998.
     
  • Pauline Bai

    Instructor (Cello)
    MM, BM (Shanghai Conservatory of Music)

    Major teachers include Yingrong Lin, Eleanore Schoenfeld, Rajan Krishnaswami, and Rod McGrath. Bai has performed with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Cascadia Symphony Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and the Hawai‘i Symphony. Also active as a chamber musician, Bai has been a member of the Tritium Trio, as well as the Blue Coral Trio. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association.
     
    Bai has taught at Punahou since 2011.
     
  • Sydney Branch

    Instructor (Private/Group Voice)
    BA (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

    Major teachers include Dr. Martina Bingham. Branch, an experienced voice studio teacher, also performs and teaches as a touring artist with the Hawai‘i Opera Theatre. Branch has performed in solo and choral settings and has experience in classical, popular and Musical Theatre genres. Additional training includes work at Diamond Head Theatre.

    Ms. Branch has taught at Punahou since 2022.
  • Dr. Jonas Carlson

    Instructor (Cello)
    MFA (Royal Academy of Music), MM (Brandon University), DMA (University of Minnesota)

    Major teachers include Ola Karlsson, Tanya Remenikova, and Otto Freudenthal. Dr. Carlson is the Director of Academy Orchestras at Punahou School. In addition to teaching, he has extensive chamber music and orchestral performance credits in the U.S. and abroad, having performed with Gothenburg Symphony, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Stockholm Royal Opera Orchestra. He also served as Adjunct Professor of Cello at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota. Dr. Carlson is a member of the Music Teachers National Association and the American String Teachers Association.

    Dr. Carlson has taught at Punahou since 2005.
     

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  • Steven Casano

    Instructor (Private/Group Piano)
    MA (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa), MLISc (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa), BM (Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam)

    Major teachers include Frank Iogha and Rose Tanner. Casano has been recognized as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music by the Music Teachers National Association and serveds as the Hawai‘i representative for the National Music Certificate Program. Casano has served on the executive boards of the Hawai‘i Music Teachers Association and the Honolulu Piano Teachers Association. He has also taught at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

    Casano has taught at Punahou since 2001.
     


    
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  • Steven Flanter

    Instructor (Viola, Violin)​​​​
    MM (Cleveland Institute of Music), BM (State University of New York, Purchase)

    Major teachers include Phillip Preddice, Emanuel Vardi, and Robert Vernon. Flanter was a member of the Canton Symphony in Ohio. In 1989 he joined the Honolulu Symphony, and is the Associate Principal violist of the Hawai’i Symphony. Mr. Flanter teaches chamber music at Punahou School and Iolani School, and maintains a private studio. He also teaches a string class at La Pietra School. 

    Flanter has taught at Punahou since 2013.
  • Catherine Goto

    Instructor (Private Voice)
    BM (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), AA (Bankstreet College)

    Major teachers include Clare Hamamoto and Wendell Gray. Goto has performed as a soloist with the Honolulu Symphony, as well as at Central Union Church. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

    Goto has taught at Punahou since 1993.
  • Dr. David Hamano

    Instructor (Viola/Violin)
    DMA, MM (Stony Brook University), BEd (University of Hawaii at Mānoa)

    Major teachers include Katherine Murdock and Anna Womack. Dr. Hamano has extensive performance experience as a chamber and orchestral musician as well as a viola soloist. He has performed with the National Orchestra Institute, Contemporary Chamber Players, and Baroque Chamber Players. He has also coached chamber music at Stony Brook University.

    Dr. Hamano has taught at Punahou since 2010.
  • Jeff Hamano

    Instructor (Cello)
    BA (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

    Major teachers include Karen Bechtel and Dr. I-Bei Lin. Hamano has performed with the National Orchestral Institute, the Brevard Repertory Orchestra, the Maui Symphony, and the Honolulu Symphony. He is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the American String Teachers Association, and the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

    Hamano has taught at Punahou since 2011.

  • Helen Higa

    Instructor (Violin)
    BM (University of Tennessee)

    Major teachers include Dale Bechtel, William Starr, and Gerald Beal. Higa studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, and also mentored with Louise Behrend at the New York School for Strings. She is also a Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique. President and co-founder of Suzuki Talent Education Hawaii, Higa is a frequent guest faculty at Suzuki Summer Institutes. She performs as a member of the Hawai‘i Symphony and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the American String Teachers Association.

    Higa has taught at Punahou since 1992.
     
     
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  • David Hirano

    Instructor (Saxophone)
    MM (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), BEd (University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa)

    Major teacher, Todd Yukumoto. Hirano is the Drum Major and a saxophonist in the Royal Hawaiian Band. He has also performed with the 111th Army Band (Hawaii Army National Guard), the Eric Miyashiro Big Band Hawai‘i, Honolulu Symphonic Winds, Honolulu Saxophone Quartet, and the University of Hawai‘i Saxophone Choir.

    Hirano has also taught Saxophone at the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa and conducts the Hawai‘i High School Saxophone Ensemble. Hirano serves as the Vice President of the Hawai‘i Saxophone Foundation.

    Hirano has taught at Punahou since 2019.
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  • Lauren Holt

    Instructor (Violin)
    MM (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville), BS, BA (Xavier University)

    Major teachers include Kimberly Meier-Sims, Christie Felsing, Manami White, and Lenora-Marya Anop. Lauren is a registered Suzuki Violin teacher and has also completed training in Orff-Schulwerk and Music Mind Games. Holt has performed with the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra, Preucil School String Orchestra, Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra, Xavier Chamber Orchestra, and the SIUE Symphony Orchestra. She is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, the American String Teachers Association, Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, and the National Association for Music Education.

    Holt has taught at Punahou since 2017.
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  • Dr. Sunyong Hwang

    Instructor (Private/Group Piano)
    DMA (Texas Tech University), MM (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), BM (Chung-Ang University)

    Major teachers include Dr. Thomas Yee, Dr. William Westney, and Dr. Wan-Kyu Chung. Dr. Hwang has a wide repertoire and performs as a solo and collaborative pianist. In addition, as a clinician and presenter, she has presented her piano pedagogy research in Korea, Europe, and the United States. She has served as the Director of the Keyboard area and Adjunct Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Texas Permian Basin. Dr. Hwang is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, National Association for Music Education, World Piano Teachers Association, and The College Music Society. 

    Dr. Hwang has taught at Punahou since 2022.  


  • Dr. Neela Kinariwala

    PhD (University of Texas at Austin), MM (University of Texas at Austin), BM (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

    Major teachers include Leonard Posner and LaVar Krantz. Dr. Kinariwala was a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra for 33 years and also performed as a member of the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra. Dr. Kinariwala has over 25 years of teaching experience. She is also certified as a Suzuki violin teacher, having received her training with Marilyn O’ Boyle.

    Dr. Kinariwala has taught at Punahou since 2012.
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  • Deven Kono

    Instructor (Private/Group Piano)
    BM (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

    Major teachers include Ernest Chang and Dr. Ron Morgan. In addition to over ten years of teaching experience, Kono has extensive performance credits as a collaborative pianist, having accompanied soloists for state competitions and workshops.

    Kono has taught at Punahou since 2011.

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  • Mia Lai-Carlson

    Instructor (Violin/Viola)
    MM (University of Minnesota), BM (University of North Texas)
     
    Major teachers include Sally O'Reilly and Roberto Davidovich. Lai-Carlson has also received Suzuki teacher training and has performed as a member of the Honolulu Symphony and the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra. She performs each summer in Europe as a member of Trio Franz Berwald. She is a member of the American String Teachers Association.

    Lai-Carlson has taught at Punahou since 2005.
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  • Shoji Ledward

    Instructor (Guitar)
    Undergraduate studies (Kapi‘olani Community College, Leeward Community College, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

    Major teachers include Oliver Stone, Howard Roberts, and Jerry Byrd. Ledward has performed with many artists including Don Ho, Melveen Leed, Marlene Sai, as well as the Smothers Brothers and Bobby Vinton.

    Ledward has taught at Punahou since 2007.
     
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  • Amanda Lippert

    Instructor (Children's Choir)
    MM (Ithaca College), BM (Ithaca College)

    Major teachers include Patrice Pastore and Carol McAmis. Lippert teaches K – 1 General Music at Punahou and is a licensed Kindermusik educator. She has served on the executive board of the Hawai‘i Music Educators Association and is a member of the American Choral Directors Association.

    Lippert has taught at Punahou since 2006.
     
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  • Dr. Helen Liu

    Instructor (Violin/Viola)
    DMA (Stony Brook University), MM (New England Conservatory), BM (University of Maryland)

    Major teachers include Daniel Heifetz, William Preucil, James Buswell, Pamela Frank, and Philip Setzer. Dr. Liu has performed with the New Bedford Symphony, The Orchestra of Indian Hill, the Neponset Valley Philharmonic Orchestra and the Castleton Festival Orchestra. Her chamber music performance credits include the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra, Project Copernicus and The Waitiki 7. Dr. Liu is also one of the founding members of the Luna Duo and performs as a member of the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra.

    Dr. Liu has taught at Punahou since 2011.
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  • Garrett Martin

    Instructor (Clarinet)
    BA (University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa)

    Martin originally hails from Fairbanks, Alaska, where he studied clarinet in the arctic with Kathleen and Dr. Theodore DeCorso.  Other major teachers include Henry Miyamura, James Moffitt, and Scott Anderson.  In addition to teaching clarinet, Martin performs on clarinet and bass clarinet with the Royal Hawaiian Band.

    Martin has taught at Punahou since 2021.
  • Nadine Mitake

    Instructor (Private/Group Piano, Recreational Music Making)
    MM (Manhattan School of Music), MA (New York University), BM (Eastman School of Music)

    Major teachers include Donn-Alexandre Feder, Thomas Schumacher, and Ernest Chang. Mitake is an experienced piano teacher and solo and collaborative pianist. In addition, Mitake is a trained music therapist. She holds a degree in Music Therapy from NYU and also completed Nordoff-Robbins Certification through in-depth training at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy.

    Mitake has taught at Punahou since 2021.
  • Thomas Morrison

    Instructor (Bassoon)
    MM (The Colburn Conservatory), BM (Rice University), Pre-College (Juilliard Pre-College

    Major teachers include Benjamin Kamins, Richard Beene, and Marc Goldberg. Morrison has served in the role of Principal Bassoon with the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra and Hawai‘i Opera Theatre since 2017. He has performed with the LA Opera, the Alabama Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, and the New World Symphony. Also an experienced chamber musician, Morrison has won top prizes at the Fischoff and Coleman competitions and has appeared with Chamber Music Hawai‘i on several occasions. Morrison serves on the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa as well as maintains a private bassoon studio.

    Morrison has taught at Punahou since 2020.
  • Dennis Nagamine

    Instructor (French Horn)
    BEd (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)

    Major teachers include Russel White, Richard Lum, Barbara Bingham and Michael Hatfield. Nagamine has performed as a member of the Honolulu Symphony. He has performed as a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band and served as their head librarian and property manager.

    Nagamine has taught at Punahou since 2006.
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  • Duane Padilla

    Instructor (Violin/Viola)
    MM (Yale University), BM (Northwestern University), BA (Northwestern University)

     
    Major teachers include Idell low, Gerardo Ribeiro, and Syoko Aki. Padilla has received Suzuki teacher training and received a fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has performed as a member of the Honolulu Symphony, the Hot Club of Hulaville, and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. Padilla is a member of the American String Teachers Association, Suzuki Association of Hawai‘i, and Suzuki Talent Education of Hawai‘i.

    Padilla has taught at Punahou since 2003.
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  • Darryl Pellegrini

    Instructor (Percussion)
    MM (Manhattan School of Music), BM (Youngstown State University)

    Pellegrini has toured and performed with Grammy nominee, Amy Hanaiali’i, as well as numerous jazz greats such as the Woody Herman Orchestra, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, John Faddis, Chuck Mangione, and the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble. He has also performed with many Broadway shows including The Lion King, Fosse, Swing, Kiss of the Spider Woman, 42nd Street, West Side Story, and City of Angels.

    Pellegrini has taught at Punahou since 2011.
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  • Maile Reeves

    Instructor (Violin)
    BM, Boston University

    Major teachers include Raphael Druian, Emanuel Borok, Joseph Silverstein, and Victor Yampolsky. Chamber music teachers include Leslie Parnas, Eugene Lehner, Peter Serkin, Raphael Hillyer, and Leon Fleischer. Reeves was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and concertmaster. She is a member of the Hawaii Symphony, Hawaii Pops, Manoa Strings Quartet, and the Bach Chamber Orchestra of Honolulu. She coaches at Brigham Young University - Hawaii and Iolani School, and is a member of Hawaii Music Teachers Association and American String Teachers Association.

    Reeves has taught at Punahou since 2014.
  • Sabrina Saiki-Mita

    Instructor (Flute)
    MM (University of North Texas), BM (University of Hawai’i at Mānoa)

    Major teachers include Mary Karen Clardy, Kathleen Chastain, Jean Harling, Keh-Ming Lin, and Doriot Dwyer. Saiki-Mita has performed as a member of the Royal Hawaiian Band, as well as a freelance performer. She has also taught at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.

    Saiki-Mita has taught at Punahou since 2000.
     
     
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  • Jahleel Smith

    Instructor (Low Brass)
    MM (Indiana University), BM (Curtis Institute of Music)

    Major teachers include Denson Paul Pollard (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) and Blair Bollinger (The Philadelphia Orchestra). Smith is the acting bass trombonist of the Hawai‘i Symphony. He has also performed with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Opera Academy. Smith instructs students in Euphonium, Trombone and Tuba.

    Smith has taught at Punahou since 2022.
  • Dean Taba

    Instructor (Bass)
    Undergraduate studies (Berklee College of Music), Additional training (Grove School of Music)

    Taba is a freelance bassist, composer, producer, and educator. Taba has worked in commercial studios in Los Angeles and maintains a regular performing, teaching, recording and producing schedule.  A respected clinician and educator (Los Angeles Music Academy, Musician’s Institute, Cal-Poly Pomona, Grove School of Music) Dean has recently performed/recorded with Jeff Lorber, David Benoit, Mark Murphy, Jake Shimabukuo, Andy Summers, Sadao Watanabe, The San Francisco Symphony, Hiroshima, Rick Braun, The American Jazz Institute Orchestra, Dave Koz, Jeff Richman, Pauline Wilson, The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Daniel Ho, Bill Watrous, and many others as well as playing on countless CDs, TV shows, and movie soundtracks. He serves as the Director of the University of Hawaii-Manoa Jazz Ensemble, Hawaii Youth Symphony Jazz and Jazz+ programs, and Pacific Music Institute Jazz Summer Intensive.

    Taba has taught at Punahou since 2020.
  • Sharene Taba

    Instructor (Harp)

    Major teachers include Constance Uejio of the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra and JoAnn Turovsky of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the LA Opera Orchestra. She has performed at the American Harp Society Summer Harp Institute in Los Angeles and has played the harp with both the Honolulu Symphony and Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestras. Taba has performed on many recordings in Hawai‘i and Los Angeles. 

    Taba has taught at Punahou since 2019.
     
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  • Sayuri Yamamoto

    Instructor (Bass)
    Performance Certificate (University of Southern California), BA (California State University, Fullerton)

    Major teachers include Joelle Morton, Doug Basy, eDennis Trembly and Nico Abondolo. Yamamoto performs as a member of the Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra. She has performed in the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the former Orchestra Nova, Long Beach Symphony, Riverside Symphony, Philharmonie der Nationen and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra. Yamamoto maintains an active bass studio.

    Yamamoto has taught at Punahou since 2020.
  • Eiko Yano

    Instructor (Private/Group Piano)
    MM (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), BM (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa), AA (Musashino Music College)

    Major teachers include Paul Lyddon, Ronald Morgan, Wendy Yamashita, and Edward Shipwright. Yano and is a member of the Honolulu Piano Teachers Association has served on the executive board of the Hawai‘i Music Teachers Association.

    Yano has taught at Punahou since 2008.
     
     
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  • Melanie Yukumoto

    Instructor (Clarinet/Bass Clarinet)
    MM (Rice University) BM (University of Michigan Ann Arbor)

    Major teachers include Michael Webster, Fred Ormand, and Deborah Chodacki. Yamada is second/bass clarinet with the Oregon Ballet Theatre and third/bass clarinet for the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with Hawai‘i Opera Theatre, Chamber Music Hawai‘i, Sarasota Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, and the Ann Arbor Symphony. Additionally, Yamada has also performed in Europe, Canada, and Japan. In 2004, she was awarded runner up in the International Clarinet Association Orchestral Excerpt Audition Competition in Washington D.C., and in 2008 she was selected to participate in New York's Carnegie Hall Orchestral Workshop for Winds and Brass.

    Yukumoto has taught at Punahou since 2015.
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