String Instructors

Tamsen Beseke Tamsen Beseke is an active soloist, chamber, studio and orchestral musician, performing over 125 concerts a year. She has given several premieres of concertos, chamber music, operatic and orchestral works. Her career includes performances with such notable artists as: Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Zubin Mehta, Henryk Szeryng, Joshua Bell, and Gil Shaham. In addition, she has performed and recorded with popular artists like: Andrea Bocelli, Lalo Schifrin, Frank Capp, Ray Charles, Diane Schuur, George Benson, Barry White, Doc Severenson, James Galway, Roger Williams, and Bobby Vinton.
Along with her position in the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, Tamsen has been concertmaster of the Crystal Cathedral Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, and West Coast Symphony. She is proud to have been a member of the New West Symphony for twelve years and has been principal second violin with the Glendale Symphony since 1991. She is the first violinist for the Avanti String Quartet who were Artists in Residence at Clemson University and were selected to perform student concerts for the Coleman Chamber Music series.
In addition to Tamsen’s concertizing, she has taught award and competition- winning students. She has been on the faculty of Citrus College, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal State Fullerton and, this year, Westmont College. Many of her students have gone on to graduate from universities and have pursued careers in music. Not only have they achieved high academic status in music but also the practices of medicine, engineering, science and education. Tamsen encourages all her pupils to become better at everything they do by employing introspective, physiological and analytical ways of thinking.

Dan BosDan Bos currently teaches guitar lessons at Westmont College. Dan is an award-winning composer, record producer, and performer living in Santa Barbara. He has written music for clients, such as Target Stores, Office Depot, ABC Television, HGTV, Coldwell Banker, March of Dimes, David Jay Photography, and Dane Sanders Photography. His composition "Pendulum" won a 2009 ADDY Award. He has produced all the Westmont Chapel recordings as well as recordings for Westmont Phoenix, Santa Barbara Community Church, Philip Ficsor & Emma Lou Diemer, Cal State Channel Islands, Montecito Covenant Church, Elise Witek, and Leif Tinsley. He has been teaching guitar to students of all ages and skill levels for over 12 years specializing in contemporary rock and popular music. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music and Religious Studies from Hope College (Holland, MI).

Photo of Jim ConnollyJim Connolly, string bass instructor, is a composer and performer living in Santa Barbara, California. He writes music for The Gove County Philharmonic, The Gove County String Quartet and Lit Moon Theatre. He has composed for choir, musical saw, five string violin, string quartet and various chamber ensembles. He plays the double bass, saw, banjo, piano and sings. He attended New England Conservatory. Jim has received five Independent Theater Awards, numerous commissions, grants, ASCAP Plus Awards and in 2001 was listed as one of the twenty-five most intriguing people in Santa Barbara. He has collaborated or performed with Nate Birkey, Gilles Apap, Jeff Kaiser, Brad Dutz, Headless Household, Jeff Bridges, Vinny Golia, Eugene Chadbourne, Cougar Estrada, Anna Abbey and his brother Kevin Connolly. The Gove County String Quartet is Laura Hackstein and Sally Barr on violin, Kirsten Monke on viola and Jim Connolly playing bass. The Gove County Philharmonic has included Ron McCarley on clarinet, Jeff Kaiser playing trumpet, Bruce Bigenho on piano, Jim Bement and Brett Larson on accordion, Gilles Apap and the members of The Gove County String Quartet are the strings. For listening and more information please visit

Marcia DicksteinMarcia Dickstein (B.M., M/M.) currently teaches harp lessons at Westmont College. She is attracting new audiences to the harp in chamber music and solo with orchestra. To date she has inspired composers from classical, film and jazz/fusion genres worldwide to write over 100 new works. As Founder/Artistic Director of The Debussy Trio she has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, over NPR radio and on commercial and public TV. Important concerts include appearances in Copenhagen, Prague, Geneva (Switzerland), San Francisco, Kennedy Center (Washington, DC) and solo with orchestras in Louisville, Glendale and Seattle. Recordings are available at and on the Klavier, First Edition, Harmonia Mundi, Koch and RCM labels.

Ms. Dickstein’s has played on over 350 film scores such as Toy Story I-III, Matrix I-III, Alice in Wonderland, Royal Tennenbaums, Minority Report, Memoirs of a Geisha, Horton Hears a Who, Indiana Jones 4; CD solos with Roger Wagner & William Hall Chorales; CDs Chamber Music of Arnold Bax and The Debussy Trio’s 3 Friends, a “best pick” by Gramophone Magazine of London. Adjunct Professor of Harp at Cal State University/Long Beach, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Westmont College (Santa Barbara), Ms. Dickstein is also Teacher/Artistic Director of the Central Coast (CA) Harp Workshop. She holds Master Classes throughout the USA and maintains a private studio in Los Angeles. Her transcriptions and scholarly editions of solo and chamber music for professional and student level harpists are published by Fatrock Ink of Los Angeles.

Trevor Handy

Trevor Handy enjoys an active career as a freelance musician in Los Angeles. A member of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 2002, he also is Principal Cellist of the Santa Barbara Symphony, performs frequently with LA Opera, in various chamber music series, at festivals and as a studio musician in Hollywood.

He has been a member of orchestras across the country, from Honolulu to Jacksonville. Trevor has also presented recitals and chamber music concerts and taught in every community in which he has lived.

While freelancing in New York, Trevor was a member of the Griffon String Quartet, which won the grand prize at the 1991 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and performed throughout the northeast and midwest for several years.

A native of Boston, Trevor made his solo debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and went on to study with Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins at The Juilliard School. While there, he also studied and played Baroque cello professionally under the tutelage of Albert Fuller and Jaap Schroeder. He spent summers at Aspen and Tanglewood, as well as in Switzerland at Yehudi Menuhin’s Summer Academy and at Lausanne’s Academy of Music in master classes given by Maurice Gendron.




Marisa McLeodMarisa McLeod, violinist, a native of Newark, New Jersey, began her studies of the violin at the age of three. She received her Bachelor of Music degree at Montclair State University, and her Master of Music degree from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music. She studied the Suzuki method and received her Suzuki certification from the Eastman School under Anastasia Jempelis.
She was a member of the Anderson String Quartet for ten years. She has studied string quartets with the Cleveland Quartet with Peter Salaff as her private teacher, Juilliard String Quartet, American String Quartet, and Le Quatuor de Deux Monde, in Fontaineblau, France. They were artists in residence and members of the music faculty at California State University, Los Angeles. Their travels took them all over the country and parts of France where they performed numerous recitals and children’s concerts. She has also performed and recorded for artists like Snoop Dog, Smokey Robinson, En Vogue, Moesha, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Michael Buble and many others.
She presently performs with California Philharmonic, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks Philharmonic and various orchestras in Southern California. She conducts the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony’s Junior Strings and Chamber Ensemble. She also has a private violin and viola studio in South Pasadena, Thousand Oaks and Santa Barbara.
For Marisa performance is sustenance. She relishes the interdependence between art , the artist and the audience, and as a teacher and coach, she finds herself in the enviable position of being able to pass on to others the how-to of creating this loving relationship.

MillerAngela Miller, viola B.M. in Viola Performance BYU, M.M. and D.M.A. in Viola Performance UCSB, residency with the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, free lance musician and educator.

John Sant'AmbrogioJohn Sant’Ambrogio studied music at Lebanon Valley College (B.A., 1954) and at Ohio University (M.M., 1959). He studied cello with Diran Alexanian (1948 to 1950), with Paul Olevsky (1950 to 1952), and with Leonard Rose(1953 to 1955). Sant’Ambrogio was principal cellist with the U.S. Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra from 1956 to 1958, and then played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1959 to 1968. He was cellist with the Boston Piano Trio from 1965 to 1968. He was principal cellist with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 1968 to 2005 under music directors Walter Susskind, Jerzy Semkow, and Leonard Slatkin. He has been a private cello instructor since 1959, and former pupils have obtained positions in major orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. He has taught at Boston University (1963 to 1965), Washington University in St. Louis (1970 to 1974), the Grand Teton Music Seminar (1980 to 1985), the St. Louis Conservatory of Music (1985 to 1989), and at the Mountain Team Concepts Music Camp (founder and director, 1992 to 1996). He joined the Westmont Music Department in fall 2011 to teach private cello lessons.

YbarraAnthony Ybarra is an active, sought out soloist and recording artist in many styles. He has recorded 5 albums under his own name with his last album entitled "Flamenco Latino" (2009) which contains 12 original Flamenco Latino pieces. His music has been featured on documentaries, film, and television such as Turner Classic Movies, Showtime's original series "Dexter", and the film "Species". In 2008, Anthony was asked to perform for then, Presidential candidate, Barack Obama at Oprah Winfrey's estate in Santa Barbara. Anthony is a graduate of the University of Southern California's studio guitar department where he holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in guitar performance.