Howard Breitbart
Howard BreitbartPiano & Voice Faculty

Howard Breitbart (musical director, arranger, pianist)…A native of Miami,FL, Howard received his music degree in piano performance from The University of Maryland in College Park. He has become a much in demand musician for many theaters and productions throughout the DC area. He toured with the political satire troupe “The Capitol Steps” for 27 years Now he is performing with a new group, The Reflecting Fools. Howard accompanied vocalist/actor Norm Lewis at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre and vocalist Susan Derry at Feinstein’s 54 Below in NYC. Howard’s favorite shows that he has musically directed include “Closer Than Ever” at Metro Stage, Alexandria, VA. “Carolyn Or Change” at Studio Theatre, Washington, DC; “Broadway Christmas Carol” at Metro Stage, “Christmas Carol” at Ford’s Theatre, “Broadway Holiday” at Classic Theatre Of Maryland, “Most Happy Fellow” at Palm Beach Dramaworks, Palm Beach, FL. and numerous cabarets at Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA. Recently, Howard accompanied productions of “Beauty & The Beast” at Stone Ridge School, Bethesda, MD and “Into The Woods” at Fairfax High School.

Marissa Dyer
Marissa DyerPiano & Voice Faculty

Soprano Marissa Dyer is an enthusiastic teacher dedicated to building community and
connection through music education and performance. Marissa’s studio is an imaginative space
for students to explore their unique artistry and musical craft. She loves working with people of
all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds, supporting every student in achieving their goals. Marissa
is a firm believer in student led learning and that every student deserves lessons crafted to their
needs, interests, and personalities.
A diverse singer, Marissa performs a variety of styles including opera, oratorio, musical theater,
jazz, and choral works. Favorite past roles include Barbarina in Boston Opera Collaborative’s
Marriage of Figaro, Monica from The Medium with Old Town Actors Studio, and Sarah Brown
in Guys and Dolls with Idaho State Opera Theater. Marissa holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice
Performance from Idaho State University and a Master of Opera from the Longy School of
Music of Bard College.
When she isn’t busy teaching and singing, Marissa enjoys cooking, crafting, walking her pup
Quincy and snuggling her cat Oliver.

Heather Gifford
Heather GiffordAcademy Music Department Chair Voice Faculty

Heather Gifford currently serves as the Music Chair at The Academy, and has been a part of the MSA music faculty since 2013. Originally from Alexandria, VA, she graduated from James Madison University: Bachelor Degree in Music Industry, with a Vocal Performance concentration.  After graduating, she performed professionally for 10+ years: Harrah’s, Las Vegas: Legends in Concert; Tropicana, Atlantic City: Havana After Dark; Holland America Cruise Line; Main Street Theater, Myrtle Beach: Tribute in Concert. She has prior experience in entertainment and event management: Venetian/Palazzo and Planet Hollywood Resorts in Las Vegas; Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor MD. She has Music Directed for ACCT: Seussical the Musical & Guys and Dolls. Heather enjoys performing locally when time allows: Keegan Theater: Chicago (Annie/Velma us); LTA: Legally Blonde (Brooke Wyndam). Heather is honored to be able to share her love for the performing arts and encourage the next generation of performers.

Taylor Itkin
Taylor ItkinDrums, Guitar, Piano, & Voice Faculty

Taylor has been making music for longer than he can remember. Singing from a young age, he picked up guitar in his teenage years and never looked back. Taylor dedicated his early and teenage years to musical theater based performance, transitioning his main focus to music composition, music production, and teaching between 2016 and 2022.

Taylor is a classically trained vocalist with a specialization in music theater repertoire, a guitarist specializing in rhythm playing for various genres of alternative, punk, metal, rock, and pop music. He released an EP in late 2018 and a single in late 2019, both as solo projects, and continues to work on solo and collaborative projects.

In addition to his teaching and composition, Taylor is studying to work as an audio engineer, aiming to enter the mixing and mastering field for various genres of music and audio.

Lucia Lanave
Lucia LanaveMusical Theatre, Piano, & Voice Faculty

Lucia LaNave has music directed and played piano for many of the top theaters in DC, including the Kennedy Center, Constellation Theatre Company, Nextstop Theatre Company, Creative Cauldron, and GALA Hispanic Theater. Recent credits: “‘The Hello Girls,’ ‘Urinetown’” (Music Director, The Theatre Lab); “Lucky Stiff” (Music Director, Nextstop Theatre Company); “The Christmas Angel” (Music Director, Creative Cauldron); “Little Shop of Horrors” (Assistant Music Director, Constellation Theatre Company); “Inside My Head” (Music Director, The REACH at the Kennedy Center). She has had the pleasure of working with Broadway talents, including accompanying Lisa Howard (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) in concert. She also teaches voice and piano for both Metropolitan Studio of the Arts and Blue Feather Music, and accompanies for the musical theatre program at American University. She is a judge for the Virginia High School League (VHSL) One-Act Theatre Competition.

Keenan McCarter
Keenan McCarterVoice & Piano Faculty

REGIONAL: Signature Theater: The Color Purple (Pa/Mister), Southern Illinois Summer Music Festival: Roméo et Juliette (The Duke), La bohème (Schaunard); Lyric Opera of Chicago OIN: La Cenerentola (Dandini), Die Zauberflöte (Papageno); American Chamber Opera: Madama Butterfly (Sharpless); U.S. Army: The Falling and the Rising (Homecoming Soldier). OTHER: The U.S. Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus; The U.S. Army Chorus in Washington, DC. EDUCATION: Alabama State University: Bachelor of Arts, vocal performance; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale: Master of Music, vocal performance.

Crystal Mosser
Crystal MosserVoice Faculty
Matthew Nall
Matthew NallAfter-School Private Music Lesson Director Facilities Manager Music Theatre & Voice Faculty

Matt Nall is originally from Dallas Texas. He received his Bachelor of Music from Texas Tech University and his Masters of Arts from New York University. In New York, he was a professional actor and appeared regionally as Gaston in Beauty in the Beast, Curly in Oklahoma, and Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol as well as others. In 2006 Matt accepted the position as Baritone Vocalist in the United States Army Chorus. For six years he has performed all over the country and for various dignitaries and ambassadors, as well as every living President. Matt has been the Music Director for Metropolitan Fine Arts Center for 5 years.

Julie Navarrette
Julie NavarretteJulie Navarrette Musical Theatre, Piano, & Voice Faculty

Julie Payne-Navarrette hails from Hartselle, Alabama, where she studied classical piano for ten years and also took voice lessons. She received a Bachelor of Arts in music from the University of North Alabama in 1996. While attending college, she sang in the University Collegiate Singers, served as an accompanist in the music department and for local community events, and also taught private voice and piano lessons at The Linda Young Music Studio. After moving to Washington, D.C., she was interim music minister at National Church of the Nazarene for a year. In 2002, she became a licensed Kindermusik educator and taught for the private music lesson program at The Potomac School in McLean, Virginia until 2006. She was musical director for Metropolitan
Performing Arts Theatre’s first performance, Honk, and taught Music Together at MSA for 3 years.

Jarrett Nicolay
Jarrett NicolayDrums & Guitar Faculty

Jarrett is a Founding / Current Member of Washington DC Bands Virginia Coalition / Astra Via / My New Mixtape. He is also the owner of Mixtape Studios in Alexandria VA. Jarrett has had music featured in recent films such as “Blue Ruin” and the Sundance award winning “I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore”.

Jarrett Nicolay

Mixtape Studios

New song “Paid Too Much” out now!

Mixtape Studios LLC

Rosemary Perticari
Rosemary PerticariGuitar, Violin, Cello, & Ukulele Faculty