Monica Behler began her violin studies at the Port Jefferson Music Academy in 1998 (the founding year of the Academy) as a student of Sophie Arbuckle and Arik Braude. During that time, she was a member of the Academy's String Quartet which performed regularly at various local outreach events.
She later concurrently attended the Mannes College Prep where she was a member of the Mannes Philharmonic - Monica has also attended the Killington and the Green Mountain Summer Chamber Music Festivals. She began her collegiate studies of music at the Aaron Copland Conservatory of Music at Queen's College (CUNY) and is a violin student of Arik Braude.
Monica joined the Port Jefferson Music Academy faculty in 2008 and has since developed a vibrant violin & viola studio. In addition she teaches music theory and kindermusik classes. Monica is our new Education Coordinator. She will be happy to assist you with any questions about our music lessons program!
Marissa Faltings has been working at the LIVS since 2018 and is our Smithtown Branch Manager as well as one of our violin teachers. She attended The Crane School of Music and Nassau Community College and has been teaching violin for over 13 years. Marissa’s enthusiastic approach to teaching has gained her multiple stellar online reviews from her students.
At age 17 Marissa participated in Charles Rufino’s Instrument Repair Course and currently runs our free Instrument Maintenance Workshops for Schools program.
Marissa also enjoys playing gigs and has a passion not only for classical music but for rock and jazz as well.
Anthony Klenke - Cello Teacher
Anthony was raised in North Babylon, where he started his music career at the age of 9. Starting on the cello and quickly moving to the double bass, Anthony initially was taught by his mother until he learned bass professionally with Canadian classical and jazz bassist, John Geggie at the Crane School of Music. With Prof. Geggie, Anthony has increased his skill not only as a bassist, but as a musician too.
Drew Vella - Viola Teacher
Violist and Long Island native Drew Vella delights in performing a wide ranging repertoire throughout New York and the tri-state area: from Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Broadway - to the UN, cafes, salsa studios, and house concerts.
Former violist of the Lehman String Quartet, Mr. Vella has also performed with the Turtle Bay Piano Quartet, the NY Chamber Collective, and has made frequent appearances at Concerts on the Slope. He has performed with the Manhattan Symphonie, the Symphony of Westchester, and Amore Opera.
Mr. Vella has frequently been invited to be a fellowship artist at the Pierrot Chamber Music Festival and the Bennington Chamber Music Conference. He has played in masterclasses led by Victoria Chiang, Yizhak Schotten, Lawrence Dutton, Donald Weilerstein, as well as members of the Ying Quartet, Borodin Quartet, and Kronos Quartet.
An advocate of expanding the repertoire for viola, Drew is dedicated to finding fresh and dynamic ways of expanding the canon of music available for the viola. He enjoys pioneering contemporary pieces as well as personally transcribing and arranging classic works of literature and arranging them for the viola.
Mr. Vella has studied at the Eastman School of Music, Queens College, and Long Island University where he was a two time Concerto Competition winner, studying with George Taylor, Brett Deubner, Peter Slowik, and Veronica Salas.