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Our Instructors

Teachers, Musicians, Performers.

We are working musicians who teach our students the skills we use when we ourselves perform, catering to a variety of musical styles. Our teachers create a custom course of study to suit the needs of each individual student. We strive not only to teach you how to play your instrument, but also what it takes to make music, whatever your preferred genre or instrument. 

Jeff Issokson

Violin, Viola, Cello

Mr. Issokson holds a B.A. in music from Rice University. His teachers include: Jan Mark Sloman, Sergiu Luca, and Jody Gatwood. He has served as Associate Concertmaster for the JCC Symphony and Concertmaster for both the Mesquite Symphony in Mesquite, Tx, and the Mid-Atlantic Symphony based in Easton, MD. He has performed with the Dallas Symphony, Amarillo Symphony, and the Maryland Symphony. Mr. Issokson taught at Suitland High School as part of the Visual and Performing Arts program. He is a faculty member for the North Potomac School of Music in Rockville and the Maryland Music Academy in Columbia. He currently performs with Rock Creek Strings with our cello instuctor Fred Leider.

Esther Whitlock


Esther Whitlock began playing piano at the age of three. She studied from her mother, local piano teacher Linda Whitlock and Esther L. Howe. She also studied violin with Amy Beth Horman as a teenager, and continues her violin studies with our resident violin instructor, Jeff Issokson. Esther adapts her approach to teaching according to the learning style of each student. She encourages every child

and adult to believe that they are talented, but emphasizes that practice is actually the deciding factor in success. For example, some students need extensive visual aids in order to learn to read music. Others may benefit by playing their pieces by ear. Since she teaches to their natural strengths and creatively introduces new skills, her students excel easily. Esther considers her great passion to be teaching music.  Her student's success is her greatest gratification. As her teacher Esther Howe told her years ago, "Never abandon your music, and practice, practice, practice!"

Victor Crisen

Guitar, Ukulele, Bass

Victor has taught music teacher in the Olney area for over 20 years, he is very excited for the opportunity to provide even more music lessons for the region. Teaching at Academy Music since we opened our doors in 2015, he's offered the community remarkable musical growth. Victor is an experienced musician, performer and instructor with over 25 years of combined experience performing, recording and instructing music. Through his tenure with Chopteeth Big Band, the group has won fourteen WAMMIE awards, and two grants from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. In addition, this instructor continues to be involved in musical projects that span national and international boundaries. In addition to teaching guitar, bass, and ukelele, Victor also invites seasoned music students to participate in rock band classes where singers, drummers, and keyboardists are also welcome!

Jonathan Lieder


Bio coming soon!

Dr. Deborah Brown



Dr. Deborah Brown specializes in working with gifted young musicians and is widely esteemed for her diagnostic skills and dynamic interactive style of teaching. She is active as a judge and clinician throughout the United States. Deborah is founder and director of the North Potomac School of Music in Rockville, MD and is an adjunct professor of piano at Montgomery College. From 2001-2005, she was a Jack L. Frank professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music.

Deborah has taught music history and music theory at the Eastman School of Music (2001-2005), music theory at Montgomery College (2005-2007) and music history at Marymount University (2008).

Her first CD included the complete solo piano works of American composer Ned Rorem. Her latest CD includes the complete Nine Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 39 by Rachmaninoff, Haydn Sonata in C Major, Hob. 50, and selections from Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage. She is author of a book: Keyboard Skills: Exercises in Harmonization and Transposition. Deborah also wrote the music theory curriculum guide of over 200 pages for Maryland State Music Teachers Association.

Deborah received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music studying with Barry Snyder. She also studied with Santiago Rodriguez and Thomas Schumacher at the University of Maryland for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree. Deborah has also studied privately in New York City with Ilana Vered. Postdoctoral studies include courses on early childhood curricula design, test design and evaluation methods, and theory pedagogy.

Julia Bryant

Piano, Voice


Julia Bryant is a classically trained, Certified Music Teacher with experience teaching music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has over 25 years of experience of community theater performance and private music instruction. 

Julia specializes in voice, communication, and musical theater, catering to students of any age. She bases her vocal instruction on proper vocal technique, with emphasis on diaphragmatic breathing and tone production. Her piano students excel at proper technique and music theory. She is also available as an accompanist for auditions and competition.

Whether you just love to sing and need some pointers, or are a seriously ambitions student with college or stage interests, Julia can help you meet your goals.

Fred Lieder

Cello, Bass


Fred Lieder has been teaching cello successfully in Montgomery County for 25 years. He has had students who have gone on to have successful careers in music as well as many students who have played the cello for the pure enjoyment of playing. Fred teaches a traditional [non-Suzuki] method stressing reading and fundamentals as well as appreciation for cello. Fred has been playing since the age of 10, studied under many different teachers and majored in cello at the University of Maryland studying with Evelyn Elsing as well as David Soyer of the world famous Guarneri String Quartet. Fred has a very successful performing career as well. Besides playing classical music in solo recitals, Fred also plays jazz, rock, blues and Celtic music on cello. Fred has performed in such diverse places locally as The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Blues Alley, Rams Head, Birchmere, and The State Theater. He has also appeared on numerous CDs as a guest artist and written a book entitled “My Cello Has The Blues” which teaches cellists how to improvise the blues. Fred is qualified to teach traditional classical music up to the highest levels, jazz improvisation, rock and blues. He currently performs with The Clazzical Project and Rock Creek Strings with our violin instructor Jeff Issokson. Fred is nurturing and supportive for beginning cellists and will help aspiring intermediate and advanced cellists to reach their goals.

Radhames Santos

Violin, Viola


Radhames Santos  is Freelance Violinist/Violist in the metropolitan Baltimore-Washington.

His performance experience includes: The String Poets Quartet, Baltimore Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Annapolis Symphony, Virginia Chamber Orchestra, Washington Summer Opera Theatre, Washington Ballet, Arlington Symphony, Chamber ensembles for corporate events, weddings, holiday concerts, recording sessions. In the Southeastern United States: Columbus Symphony; Columbus, GA; section second violin Macon Symphony; Macon, GA; section first violin

National Symphony, Dominican Republic; section first violin National Police Choir; vocalist and personnel manager

Mr. Santos has been a teacher in the Maryland area for the last 16 years.

Dylan Tobias



Dylan Tobias holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Music from Lebanon Valley College, with concentrations in Voice, Theory, Composition, and Jazz Studies. He is classically trained as both a singer and a Shakespearian actor, also with advanced training in Opera and Musical Theatre. He has performed in Verona, Italy, and studied with many teachers such as George Shirley, David Walsh, Joyce Fieldsend, Leanne Freeman-Miller, Rebecca Lister, and more.

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