Meet the Studio

Meet the Studio

Students in the UNCSA Horn Studio range from high school to graduate-level studies. The studio is led by Dr. Maria Serkin

Maria Serkin

Maria SerkinDr. Serkin is an active performer and pedagogue who began teaching at UNCSA in 2015. Previously, she was the Lecturer of Horn at the University of Virginia and the Principal Horn of the Charlottesville Symphony. An avid educator, Dr. Serkin has taught horn master classes extending from the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School, to the Crescendo Summer Institute in Hungary. Her doctoral research established a progressive method of transposition — a first in the advancement of horn methodology.

Brittany Thomas

Brittany ThomasBorn in North Carolina, Brittany received her bachelor's degree from UNCSA and will complete a Masters of Music at UNCSA in Spring 2018. Brittany is a seasoned horn player with experience in symphony orchestra, opera, theatre orchestra, wind ensemble, and chamber ensembles. Some favorite recent performances include The Nutcracker and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.4. Brittany has performed in master classes taught by Stefan Jezerski, Radovan Vlatkovic, Zohar Schondorf, JD Shaw, Abel Pereira, and Michelle Baker. Her primary teachers included Bob Campbell, David Jolley, and Dr. Maria Serkin.

She is currently serving within the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system as part of the ArtistCorps program. She is passionate about serving in the community through the arts as an educator and activist. Brittany is also the Personnel Manager for the Cross The Line Project at UNCSA whose goal is to bridge the gap between classical music and audience with activities and by performing in unconventional spaces.

Hanna Peters

hannaHanna Peters began playing the horn at 16 while at school in Edinburgh. She first learned from Jacqueline Johnstone and was a member of the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra until 2011, when she moved to Manchester to study at the Royal Northern College of Music. There she completed her bachelor’s degree in French horn performance. She also spent 5 months in Helsinki as part of the Erasmus exchange program.

She then moved to London and spent one year studying as a postgraduate student at the Royal College of Music. Since, she has played at the Mediterranean Opera Festival, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Aurora Chamber Music Festival, Rossini Young Artists Festival and other freelance opportunities around London. She is currently studying for a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina, School of the Arts. Hanna enjoys playing orchestral music, opera and is a member of the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute at UNCSA.

Nicholas Brewster

Nicholas BrewsterBruce Brewster is a third-year undergraduate music student at UNCSA. He enjoys playing in the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Nutcracker Orchestra, Opera Orchestra, Horn Ensemble, and the Cornichon Wind Quintet. He has been teaching horn at Separk Music since September 2016. His primary horn teacher is Dr. Maria Serkin, and his favorite performance so far was Beauty and The Beast with the Lexington Youth Theater.


Anastasia Harlan

Anastasia HarlanAnastasia is a second year at college and has been playing the French horn for five years. She enjoys performing in the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Anemos wind quintet. Her favorite performances to date have been The Nutcracker, the Saint-Saens Symphony No. 3, multiple quintet performances and film score recordings. Anastasia has performed in master classes taught by Radovan Vlatkovic, Misty Tolle, and Michelle Baker. Her primary teachers have included Dr. Larry Wells, David Jolley and Dr. Maria Serkin, who she is currently studying under. This past summer she enjoyed spending time at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival where she performed with orchestra, opera, wind quartet and brass ensemble. When Anastasia is not performing, she enjoys reading, volunteering in schools and going on adventures to Disneyland. Anastasia is planning to continue her musical schooling career and aspires to be a professional musician.

Jonathan McGarry

Jonathan McGarryJonathan is a second year undergraduate student at UNCSA studying under Dr. Maria Serkin. His favorite recent performances include Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Respighi’s Vetrate di Chiesa. He has attended Boston University: Tanglewood Institute where he studied with Eric Ruske and Music House International where he studied with Jeffrey Lang and Shelley Showers. He recently placed runner-up in the MHI Concerto Competition judged by Philadelphia Orchestra members. Jon has performed in masterclasses for Michelle Baker, J.D. Shaw and Dr. Joseph Falvey. In his free time, Jon enjoys long naps and eating different forms of potato.

Sarah Smith

Sarah SmtihSarah is in her second year of college at UNCSA. She began playing the French horn in 7th grade and has been attending UNCSA since freshman year of high school. Sarah has played with all variety of UNCSA ensembles for a number of years including Symphony Orchestra, opera and theatre pit orchestras and the orchestra for the Christmas production of “The Nutcracker”. Sarah has also played in multiple wind quintets and the UNCSA horn ensemble. Her most recent performances include Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, the musical Side Show 2014 revival, and Daniel Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Sarah has performed in master classes taught by Fergus McWilliam, Stephan Jezerski, Radavon Vlatovic, Dr. Joseph Falvey, Rebekah Daley, and Abigail Pack. Recently, Sarah was selected to perform with the collegiate horn choir at the 2017 Southeastern Horn Workshop. Her primary teachers include Dr. Maria Serkin and David Jolley.

Gray Smiley

gray Gray Smiley is a first year undergraduate in college and has played horn since 5th grade. He played in his school band and with a local youth orchestra throughout high school.

Gray enjoys playing in the UNCSA wind ensemble and symphony orchestra. Gray attended Governor’s School West for instrumental music in 2016 and has performed in master classes for Michelle Baker and James Boldin. He hope to make a career as a horn player or educator.

Jacob Schoolman

cobyCoby is a high school junior and has played horn for five years. He currently plays in the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, the UNCSA Wind Ensemble, and is a member of horn trio N’est Pas Francais. He has performed in master classes led by Misty Tolle, Jacob Medlin, Fred Bergstone, and Michelle Baker. He has studied with Rebekah Daley, Pamela Burleson, Rachel Niketopolous, and is currently studying with Dr. Maria Serkin. Coby’s career goals include performing with a professional symphony orchestra and teaching private lessons. Outside of music, Coby is the founder and head of the UNCSA High School Comedy Club, and also enjoys relaxing, hanging out with friends and playing video games.

Pruette Wells 

pruettePruette began playing the French horn in 6th grade, and is currently studying at UNCSA for her senior year of high school. Her family has a strong background in brass playing and she enjoys a variety of musical styles and repertoire. She has played in the Fayetteville Symphonic Band and the Fayetteville Symphony Youth Orchestra and is currently a member of horn trio N'est Pas Francais. She has also performed in the UNCSA Wind Ensemble and in the annual Collage event at UNCSA. During her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, listening to music and to people talk about music.

Marlena Destefano

marlenaMarlena DeStefano has been playing French horn for six years, and is currently spending her senior year of high school at UNCSA. Marlena is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and was a member of the Florida Yourh Orchestra for 3 seasons. She has been a member of the Florida All State Honors Band, the Broward All County Honors Band, the Broward All County Orchestra, and the New World Symphomy Side-By-Side Program. Marlena’s primary instructors include Dr. Maria Serkin, and Holly Ballard. Some of her most recent performances include Dvorak’s New World Symphony, and Resphigi’s “Church Windows”. Marlena has recently performed in masterclasses for Michelle Baker, and Frank Portone. She was a finalist in the UNCSA fall concerto competition, and is a member of the High School Brass Quintet. When Marlena is not playing French horn, she is either playing guitar, or spending time with friends and family.