Zen Hsu - piano

Zen Hsu is currently the pianist for the Chicago Goodnews Church. He graduated from Wilbur Wright College with an associate degree in fine arts in music performance and graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a master's degree in piano performance, studying under Dr. Susan Tang. At NEIU Zen participated in the NEIU Concerto Competition, performed in master classes for renowned pianists such as Nelita True and Sergio Monteiro, and was a part of the NEIU jazz band and combo.

Teaching Approach
"Music is wonderful to listen to but to play that music requires a musical foundation cultivated through different aspects such as technique and music theory. I not only want students to play musically but to understand what they are playing, to fully enrich the students' musicianship and growth. I believe that music is a powerful way to express oneself and I am passionate to help my students play from the heart."

Patrycja Likos - cello

Patrycja Likos began her cello studies at the age of eight at the Ignacy Jan Paderewski School of Music in Krosno, Poland, under the direction of Wojciech Pelczar. She earned a bachelor’s and master’s of music degrees from the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź under the tutelage of Andrzej Orkisz. Patrycja then went on receive an Artist Diploma in cello performance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the studio of Brandon Vamos. From 2012 to 2014, Patrycja was a regular member of Civic Orchestra in Chicago. Currently, she is a principal cellist of the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, as well as a member of Heartland Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Bach Ensemble.

Patrycja has performed solo in master classes led by such outstanding cellists as Andrzej Bauer, Michael Flaksman, Jonathan Pegis, Jeroen Reuling and Paul Uyterlinde. As a chamber musician, she took part in chamber music master classes of Pacifica Quartet, Parker Quartet, Arianna Quartet and Jupiter Quartet. She received invitations to DoCha Chamber Music Festival and Allerton Music Festival, where she performed chamber music with faculty members of the University of Illinois.

Patrycja has participated in cello competitions in the United States and abroad. In 2011, Patrycja won the first prize in the Krannert Center Debut Artist Competition at Urbana-Champaign. She earned the third prize at the International Cello Competition in Kosice, Slovak Republic, and the first prize at the Chamber Music Competition in Stalowa Wola, Poland. She participated at International Cello Competition in Liezen, Austria, and at the K. Wilkomirski’s Youth Cello Competition in Poznan, Poland. As an awarded graduate, Patrycja has performed with the Rzeszów Philharmonic in Poland. 

Octavio Montiel - piano

Octavio Montiel has a B.A. in Music from North Park University and has a Master's Degree in Applied Pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University. He earned the Leadership and Talent Scholarship from Morton College, and the Honors Music Scholarship from North Park University. Octavio performed in a master class given by Amy Briggs, a leading interpreter of contemporary music. In 2006 he received the Youth of the Year Award from the Boys Club of Cicero for his service to the community and excellence in character. Octavio encourages the growth of our youth by staying involved with the Boys and Girls Club Organization. As a Coordinator of the Boys Club of Cicero, he facilitates many of the youth programs. Octavio continues to inspire people through his piano playing and service to the community.

Teaching Approach

Making music is an art I believe everyone should be able to enjoy and experience. This can be achieved through correct practice that will be provided by instructions that fit each students needs. Through daily practice students will develop productive practice habits that will allow them to produce a beautiful sound and express what the music is trying to communicate to an audience.

Hilary Ortiz - violin and viola

Hilary Ortiz graduated from the University of Windsor with a double major in music and psychology and graduated with a master's degree in violin/viola pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University. She has played in the Sault Symphony Orchestra, the Windsor Community Orchestra and the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra, and has worked as a violin teacher for Breath of Music in Windsor, and Access Contemporary Music in Chicago.