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Joan Epstein
Professor of Music

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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Music

Music

The Faculty

Academic Faculty & Ensemble Directors

Joan EpsteinJoan O. Epstein
Professor of Music
M.M., Yale University
Adv. Grad. Cert., University of South Florida

Professor Epstein is a composer and scholar with a special interest in the connections between music and Nature. She has presented on a wide range of topics related to American music at national and international conferences and is currently completing an e-textbook and web portal entitled In Tune with Nature. She recently spent a summer in Argentina and Brazil exploring music and dance and researching options for student study trips to these nations. At Eckerd, she teaches courses in classical music history, World Music, American music, composition, sound design and interdisciplinary humanities. Epstein is also a trumpeter and a founding member of the Tampa Bay Composers’ Forum. Her compositions range from choral, orchestral and chamber music to solo song cycles, electronic compositions and improvisational scores.

Brent DouglasBrent Douglas
Choral Director
Instructor in Piano
Staff Accompanist
Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance, University of South Florida, 2000
Currently pursuing Masters of Music in Conducting, University of South Florida

Mr. Douglas plays in the the Florida Orchestra and serves as pianist for St. Petersburg Opera Orchestra. He is the Director of Music Ministry & Organist at Our Savior Lutheran Church. Brent serves as rehearsal pianist for St. Petersburg Opera, Opera Tampa, and VOICExperience. He has given recitals throughout the country as a pianist, chamber musician, and organist. He has held positions with choruses, theaters, colleges, and opera companies as rehearsal pianist, coach and musical director. Brent is also an active studio musician and records regularly for singers and composers.

David IrwinDavid Irwin
Director of Instrumental Music and Adjunct Professor of Music
M.M., Yale University

Professor Irwin conducts the Eckerd Community Band and the Eckerd Community Orchestra. He also teaches clarinet and saxophone lessons and Music Fundamentals and oversees Eckerd’s applied music program. In addition, he directs the New Horizons adult beginning band program based at the college. One of the region’s finest clarinetists, he frequently performs chamber music and jazz with other area musicians. He also teaches clarinet at St. Petersburg College and has taught previously at Florida Southern College.

Applied Music Instructors

To learn more about private music instruction generally, please contact Professor David Irwin. Direct contact information is given below for teachers who are on campus several days a week.

Joe BraccioJoe Braccio
Instructor in Classical Guitar
B.A., Eckerd College

Initially trained at the Scuola Cresciani di Roma Conservatory, Joe Braccio is a respected teacher and performer in several styles of acoustic guitar playing. He also a noted coach of steel drum ensembles. In addition to teaching at Eckerd, Braccio is on the faculties St. Petersburg College, Clearwater Christian College and of several magnet arts programs in the Pinellas County Public Schools.

Max Bygrave
Instructor in French Horn
M.E. and B.S, University of South Florida

Instructor Bygrave is a respected performer and teacher on horn on Florida's West Coast as well as the band director at Azalea Middle School in St. Petersburg. He also assists with the New Horizons adult band program based at Eckerd College.

Amy Collins
Instructor in Oboe
B.A., University of South Florida

Instructor Collins is an accomplished teacher and performer who has played oboe and English horn for all the area’s major orchestras. She teaches at the U. of South Florida and several other area institutions in addition to Eckerd.

Joan EpsteinJoan O. Epstein
Professor of Music and Instructor in Trumpet
M.M., Yale University
Adv. Grad. Cert., University of South Florida

Professor Epstein is a composer and scholar who teaches a wide range of academic courses at Eckerd College. She also gives private instruction on trumpet, her primary instrument, and coaches brass sectionals and small ensembles associated with the band and orchestra.

Dawne EubanksDawne Eubanks
Instructor in Voice
B.A., Florida State University

Instructor Eubanks is a well-known teacher and performer in the Tampa Bay Area. In addition to her duties at Eckerd, she has taught voice at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School since 1987 and Hillsborough Community College since 2000. She is also an active church musician and a frequent soprano soloist in Florida and beyond.

Alfred GrattaAlfred Gratta
Instructor in Cello
B.M., Cleveland Institute of Music
M.M., University of Southern California

Alfred Gratta completed his bachelor's degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1987, where he was a student of Stephen Geber.  In 1988, Fred Gratta received an invitation from Lynn Harrell to join his studio at the University of Southern California (USC), where he completed the Advanced Studies Program and his master's degree in 1991.  Upon graduation from USC, he accepted a one-year contract (1991-1992) to perform with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife in the Canary Islands as violonchelo solista (principal cello).  He became a member of The Florida Orchestra in 1994 and was appointed by Music Director Jahja Ling to serve as assistant principal cello from 1995 through 1997.

Fred Gratta is currently the president of the Greater Pinellas Music Teachers Association, a member of the artistic staff of the Pinellas Youth Symphony, and principal cellist of the Saint Petersburg Opera Orchestra. Recent appointments include principal cello of the Tampa Bay Symphony (2012/2013), assistant principal cello at the Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria (2008 and 2011), section cello at the Bellingham Festival of Music (2009-present), and adjunct faculty at Eckerd College (January 2014) and  State College of Florida (September 2011).

Kurt GrissomKurt Grissom
Instructor in Percussion
B.M., University of Tampa

Instructor Grissom is a long-time percussionist with The Florida Orchestra who teaches not only at Eckerd but also for many other local institutions including the Pinellas County Center for the Arts and the Pinellas Youth Symphony. He also taught for many years at Hillsborough Community College.

Thomas HallThomas Hall
Instructor in Organ
B.A., Eckerd College
M.M., Florida State University

In addition to teaching at Eckerd and concertizing, Instructor Hall is Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg.

Janet HarrisJanet Harris
Instructor in Bassoon
B.M., The Harid Conservatory (Lynn University)

Instructor Harris has played with the Sarasota Orchestra, the Naples Philharmonic and the Florida Orchestra as well as many chamber ensembles in the region. She has taught at St. Petersburg College in addition to Eckerd.

Alison HeydtAlison Heydt
Instructor in Violin and Viola
B.M., Oberlin Conservatory
M.M., Cleveland Institute of Music

Alison Heydt has been with The Florida Orchestra since 1991. Originally from Pennsylvania, she received both of her degrees in Ohio. She holds a bachelor's degree in music from Oberlin Conservatory and a master's degree in music from the Cleveland Institute of Music. After completing school, she spent two years with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach before winning her current position with The Florida Orchestra.

Heydt has performed at many summer music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, the Colorado Music Festival, the Crested Butte Music Festival and the Britt Festival.

She loves to teach, especially teenagers and adults, and she plays chamber music as much as possible. Heydt is a member of the Executive Board of Tampa Bay Local 427-721 of the American Federation of Musicians.

David IrwinDavid Irwin
Director of Instrumental Music and Adjunct Professor of Music
M.M., Yale University

Professor Irwin conducts the Eckerd Community Band and the Eckerd Community Orchestra. He also teaches clarinet and saxophone lessons and Music Fundamentals and oversees Eckerd’s applied music program. One of the region’s finest clarinetists, he frequently performs chamber music and jazz with other area musicians, including with a clarinet quartet called Licorice Shtick. He also teaches clarinet at St. Petersburg College and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts. He has taught previously at Florida Southern College, Arkansas State University, Maryville College and the Phillips Academy Andover.

David Manson
Instructor in Low Brass
D.M.A., College Conservatory, University of Cincinnati

Instructor Manson teaches and coaches at St. Petersburg College in addition to working with students at Eckerd. He is also a composer and well-known performer of avant garde and jazz trombone music.

Mark Neuenschwander
Instructor in Bass
B.S., Purdue University

Instructor Neunschwander is one of Florida’s most respected and sought after jazz and classical bassists. His work can be found on many jazz recordings. Neuenschwander teaches at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg College and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts in addition to Eckerd.

Barbara PrescottBarbara Prescott
Instructor in Flute
B.M., University of Wisconsin

Instructor Prescott is previous principal flute of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, is an acclaimed area soloist, ensemblist, chamber music coach and teacher. She teaches at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts, St. Petersburg College and the University of Tampa in addition to Eckerd.

Dolly Roberts
Instructor in Harp
M.M., University of South Florida
B.A., Rollins College

Instructor Roberts teaches at the University of Tampa, Florida Southern College and Clearwater Christian College in addition to Eckerd and performs with a number of local symphony orchestras and as a featured soloist throughout the state.

Music Travels

Concert Choir in Italy

The Eckerd College Concert Choir and Eckerd Ringers travel around the world to perform.