Lucy Little is a classically-trained violinist, composer/improviser, teaching artist and Fulbright scholar, with an eclectic background in both music and public service. Described by WGN public radio as an “amazingly talented musician,” Lucy’s musical practice lives on the edge of many styles, inspired by a lifelong exploration of classical, minimalist, modal, and electronic music. In addition to various solo and scoring work, Lucy is a collaborative musician at heart, playing in multiple contemporary and indie rock ensembles and with numerous singer/songwriters. Recent performance highlights include performances in The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, and Greece, multiple premieres at Jordan Hall in Boston, opening for Le Butcherettes and The Flaming Lips at the Taste of Chicago music festival, at the 2018 NPR Tiny Desk Contest: Chicago Showcase, and at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. An arts educator since 2010 both privately and in community settings, Lucy is deeply passionate about using the arts to support health, wellbeing, and as a tool for positive personal and social change. Lucy spent the 2018-19 year working with Musicians Without Borders as a Fulbright scholar, where she supported their community music training program, led multiple workshops and storytelling projects in refugee centers, and studied how musicians are working to support people seeking asylum and social inclusion practices in the European Union.
From New York City and Chicago originally, Lucy is a new resident of Boston, and is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Contemporary Improvisation at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), under the tutelage of Eden MacAdam-Somer and Carla Kilshedt, among others. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Chicago where she studied musicology and composition with Fusun Koksal and Kotoka Suzuki. Lucy is a longtime student of classical violinist and pedagogue Addison Teng and contemporary violinist/composer Todd Reynolds.
Lucy’s musical experience and training is rooted in community, having started violin at the age of six with Roberta Guaspari and the Opus 118 Harlem School of Music in NYC, a program similar to El Sistema. Currently a Teaching Fellow at NEC, Lucy believes strongly in her community musical upbringing and the importance of music education, and through her work and teaching aims to holistically support her students. Lucy’s teaching specialities include classical music (with a special love for beginning violin studies), general improvisation and composition, folk styles, and more.
Cellist Yi-Mei Templeman aims to creatively fuse genres, and to rethink the typical presentation of classical music in order to welcome people of all ages, backgrounds and musical worlds into her emotive storytelling. Yi-Mei has performed throughout Asia, South America, Canada, and the U.S., bringing her music to venues such as Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, Walt Disney Hall, MIT, Jordan Hall and the Nokia Theater. She has spent past summers at Carnegie Hall’s Audience Engagement Institute, Yellow Barn’s Young Artists Program and the BU Tanglewood Institute, where she served as principal cellist. She also toured Taiwan with the National Taiwan Youth Symphony, performed in the 2016 International Piatigorsky Festival, and was principal cellist of New England Conservatory’s Symphony Orchestra. A native of Los Angeles, Yi-Mei studied with LA Phil's associate principal cellist, Ben Hong, for four years. Her previous quartet received first place at the Classics Alive Artist Management Competition, and currently, she is the cellist of the exciting professional piano trio, Trio Gaia. Trio Gaia was named an Honors Ensemble at the New England Conservatory, received the audience prize at the Plowman Competition, and are community performance fellows at NEC. For Yi-Mei, generosity is at the heart of music-making. She brought her cello-playing to outreach events for the TED-Ed and Classics Alive organizations with the goal of providing context for classical music outside of the concert hall. Yi-Mei is pursuing a B.M. with Lluis Claret at New England Conservatory of Music. When not practicing or rehearsing, you can find her songwriting, solving Rubik’s Cubes, or practicing yoga.
Erez Dessel is a pianist, composer, and educator currently based in Boston, MA. Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, Dessel has been playing piano since the age of six, letting his musical passion guide him through life and leading him to explore a multitude of styles, and creative worlds. While he remains grounded by the music of his heroes, people like Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, his music has expanded to include the influence of genres ranging from Mandé music of West Africa to 21st century classical music.
After winning two Downbeat student music awards with his high school combo, Dessel went on to study at the New England Conservatory, which he graduated from in 2020 with a degree in jazz performance. In his four years at NEC, Dessel made arts outreach one of his primary goals, which manifested in him leading his quartet, 8 Legs, in over 50 workshops and masterclasses throughout schools, museums, and other Boston community music venues. In 2019 this group was selected to travel to Virginia Beach as parts of the Virginia Arts Festival’s outreach program, where they performed and taught in Virginia Public Schools for a week. Dessel also took study and performance seriously at NEC, where he worked with Ethan Iverson, Ran Blake, Cecil McBee, and Jason Moran. He was chosen to perform in two residencies with Moran and was selected as the pianist in NEC’s 2019-2020 Jazz Honors Ensemble, coached by pianist Frank Carlberg. He was also selected to participate in the 2019 School for Improvised Music workshop in Brooklyn, NY, where he studied with master improvisers such as Tim Berne, Gerald Cleaver, Kris Davis, and Ralph Alessi.
Dessel’s work extends beyond the piano, as the production director for the Nova Fellowship he planned and produced two multidisciplinary events during the 2019-2020 concert season, one of which was held at the Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre and included collaborations with dancers, poets, and visual artists from across Boston. He is also an avid film fan and has scored projects for film students at the University of Michigan, Brandeis University, and Emerson college. In 2019 he and co-composer Evan Wright received a grant from NEC to score filmmaker Chassidy David’s directorial debut, “missing first period,” which will be released in 2020.
Dessel can be found playing solo, with his own groups, or as a sideperson, at venues that include Cliff Bell’s (Detroit, MI), Wally’s Jazz Club, The Lilypad, Outpost 186, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, MA), and many more. This past year, Dessel was privileged to join co-collaborator Seajun Kwon on tour in Korea, playing for packed audiences at Club Evans, Veloso, and Una & Q.
Piano Instructor, Saxophonist
Rayna DeYoung is a performer and teacher currently based in Boston, MA. She is pursuing her Master's degree in Saxophone Performance at the New England Conservatory, studying under Kenneth Radnofsky. She graduated from Harding University with a BA in Music and a BA in Humanities where she studied under Dr. Andrew Cook. An avid performer, Ms. DeYoung has experiences performing as principal with the HU Wind Ensemble, HU Orchestra, HU Jazz Band, and HU Pit Orchestra. She also has a flourishing soloist career, with her most recent recital that explored music composed and commissioned by women entitled "Women and the Saxophone." She currently is the alto player for the New England Conservatory Saxophone Quartet. Ms. DeYoung also performs in the Jazz Composers Workshop Orchestra on bari saxophone, bass clarinet, and Bb clarinet. Ms. DeYoung has taught private music lessons for saxophone and piano for four years through programs like the Searcy Community School of Music and the Youth and Family Enrichment Center (YOFES) in Boston.
Kevin Covney is a classical guitarist and music educator currently based in Greenwich, CT. Kevin received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Ithaca College, where he studied guitar with Award Winning guitarist Pablo Cohen. He earned his Master of Music degree in Guitar Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Colin Davin and Grammy-Award winning guitarist, Jason Vieaux.
As a performer, Kevin focuses on preserving the music of Baroque masters such as J.S. Bach, as well as advancing the music of Pan-American 20th Century composers. His concert programs in Ithaca NY, Cleveland, OH, and the Fairfield Country area have also had a strong emphasis on chamber music. He has collaborated in Upstate New York with groups such as the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Opera Ithaca, and the Ithaca College Madrigal Singers. His master class appearances include performances for Ricardo Gallen, Ana Vidovic and for Juilliard guitar department chair Sharon Isbin during the 2019 Aspen Music Festival.
As a music educator, Kevin Covney has taught guitar lessons to students aged 5 to 70. He has also taught general music, directed choir, and employed music therapy to students grades Pre-K – 8 at various schools such as Fox Lane Middle School in Bedford, NY and Immaculate Conception School in Ithaca, NY. While in Cleveland, Kevin was a Teaching Fellow with the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society, where he taught group and on-on-one guitar lessons with a focus on compassionate, equitable, and student-centered learning. Aside from his virtual work with YoFES, Kevin currently teaches with various educational organizations in Fairfield county, CT, and in the greater Cleveland area.