Dr. Amity Bryson
Music Department Chair
Professor of Music
Dr. Amity Bryson, Music Department Chair, teaches various music courses including applied voice, and directs Avila Singers, Cyrene, and University Singers. Dr. Bryson completed her doctoral work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Conservatory of Music and holds both a BS Ed in music education and a MM in voice performance from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is also an alumnae of Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. In addition to previous faculty appointments at William Woods University and Westminster College, Dr. Bryson has taught in the public school systems at both the elementary and secondary levels.
Dr. Bryson is active in local, state, and national professional music organizations. She has served as Secretary, Vice President and President of the Kansas City Metro chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing as well as on the state board of Missouri Choral Directors Association as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Women’s Choirs.
As a lyric soprano, Dr. Bryson continues to perform on both the recital and opera stage. She has a recurring role in the Gaslight Cabaret as both singer and music director. Recent recitals include a program of art songs by women composers, featuring In a Persian Garden by Liza Lehmann. Opera roles have included Zerlina, Juliette, and Ännchen, but most memorable was her portrayal of Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel. Musical Theatre roles include Mama Morton in Chicago and the Witch in Into the Woods among others.
Dr. Michalis Koutsoupides
Artist in Residence
Dr. Michalis Koutsoupides is currently Artist in Residence at Avila University, where he teaches violin, viola, piano, music theory courses and ensembles. Dr. Koutsoupides has taught in the public system and privately since 2007. He holds a Doctoral degree in Viola Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master’s degree in Violin Performance, as well as a Bachelor’s in Violin and Composition from the University of Kansas, and piano Diplomas from the National Conservatory of Cyprus and the Royal Schools of Music.
Dr. Koutsoupides appeared in music festivals across the United States, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and the United Kingdom. Dr. Koutsoupides was featured as a soloist with the Cyprus Chamber Orchestra, the St. Joseph Symphony, the University of Kansas Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Chamber Players. He recorded with groups in Texas, Kansas, Missouri and New York, and regularly performs with the St. Joseph Symphony, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and the Kansas City Symphony.
He enjoys playing in the orchestra pit and conducting for shows at the New Theater, KC Repertory theater, The Barn, Jewish Community Center, Johnson County Community College, Unicorn, American Heartland Theatre, Musical Theatre Heritage and other venues around town. Michalis has orchestrated for new productions, such as Have You Met Miss Jones?, Rhythm City and arranged for several other productions. He has had the honor of sharing the stage with names such as Sir. Peter Gabriel, Idina Menzel, Shirley Jones, Ron Bohmer, Stevie Wonder and many others. Originally a native of Cyprus, Dr. Koutsoupides has become a citizen of the United States as of 2017, and is proud to be calling Kansas City home.
Dr. Kelly Birch
Originally from Los Angeles, mezzo soprano Kelly Birch now resides in Kansas City, having recently completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She also holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of a Music in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory. Dr. Birch currently teaches Collaborative Piano and is Staff Accompanist at Avila University.
Dr. Birch is a versatile performer and educator in both voice and collaborative piano. She has been teaching private voice, piano, and music theory lessons for over 16 years; first with OrchePia School of Music based in Orange County, California, then with the Kansas City School of Music in Lenexa and Overland Park, followed by graduate teaching at UMKC, and now at Avila University. She is a member of good standing with the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She regularly accompanies singers, instrumentalists, and churches across the Kansas City Metro Area in lessons, recitals, competitions, auditions, and religious/holiday services.
An active operatic and concert performer, Dr. Birch has sung regularly with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City since 2015 and with Musica Sacra since 2016. She performed Gustav Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony under the baton of Kyle Pickett and the Topeka Symphony Orchestra in April of 2016 and made her European debut in the role of Suzuki in Puccini's Madama Butterfly with the Varna International Opera Academy, based in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. She will be going back to Bulgaria this summer to perform the title role in Maurice Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. Last year she traveled to San Diego to perform the role of Delfa in Cavalli's Giasone with Opera NEO and will be returning in July to perform the role of Rosmira in Handel's Partenope. During her time at UMKC, she performed the lead roles of Bertarido in Handel's Rodelinda, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, and La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, and as a soloist with the UMKC Wind Ensemble, UMKC Choirs, and as a winner of the 2017 Concert & Aria Competition.
Adjunct Cello Faculty
Eman Chalshotori leads a dynamic career as a performing artist. He enjoys a merited reputation as a musician of exceptional versatility and integrity. His musical horizons are seemingly boundless and he is in great demand both as a chamber musician and as a solo performer. Eman received his Bachelors of Music from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Masters of Music in Cello Performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. His teachers include Dr. Tess Remy-Schumacher, Dr. Evgeni Raychev, Carter Enyeart, Mark Gibbs, and Michael Mermagen.
Eman has performed internationally in Asia and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician. He made his solo debut in 2002 with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic performing the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto. Eman was most recently featured with the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Orchestra performing Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote. Currently, he is the Principal Cellist of the Topeka Symphony and Assistant Principal Cellist for the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.
Outside of the classical music realm, Eman has collaborated with artists such as Imogen Heap, Elspeth Summers, Simple Tree, Quixotic, and Calvin Arsenia.
Adjunct Percussion Faculty
Candice Hill was born in St. Louis, MO. She graduated from Missouri State University, where she received her Bachelors degree in Music Performance on Percussion. While at MSU, she became interested in playing Steel Pan, after joining in a group called MR8. Later on, she attended Northern Illinois University to study with Liam Teague, earning her Masters degree in Music Performance on Steel Pan. After graduate school, she moved back to Missouri to help promote the legitimacy of the steel pan as a concert instrument, and to perform and teach percussion.
Candice performed in Trinidad with Skiffle Bunch Steel Band in the 2006 Panorama, and has performed as a guest artist in Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska and Arkansas. In 2015 she was featured as the guest artist with the Quincy Symphony Chorus. She was highlighted in an article featuring women drummers in Kansas City, in summer 2016. She has performed with several bands in the Kansas City area since 2008, including the Chiefs Rumble Drumline, Candice Hill Trio, Project Mayhem, Tropical Dreamers, NKC First Baptist praise band, Northwinds Symphonic Band and others. She also presents performing/lecture recitals for area community centers, libraries, schools, and other venues.
Candice is the percussion specialist in North Kansas City School District, where she teaches high school drumline, concert percussion and middle school concert percussion. She is also the director of the Avila University Athletic Band/Drumline. Her original compositions for percussion ensemble and marching percussion are performed by middle and high schools, and by the Avila Drumline. She also teaches privately in NKC, on all areas of percussion.
Dr. Stephanie Meyer
Adjunct Voice Faculty
Dr. Stephanie Meyer (soprano) teaches voice at Avila University and UMKC Conservatory’s Community Music and Dance Academy. She holds her Bachelor of Music Education degree from South Dakota State University, Master of Music from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her dissertation entitled, Moving Songs, celebrates diversity in the arts with seven songs by André Previn and Toni Morrison, presented in collaboration with two dancers, piano, cello, narrator, and photography from the Nelson-Atkins’ exhibit, Through The Lens: Visions of African American Experience, 1950-1970.
Meyer’s previous roles include Queen of the Night (Die Zauberflöte), Le feu and Le rossignol (L’enfant et les Sortilèges), Mrs. Fiorentino (Street Scene), La Fée (Cendrillon), Bastienne (Bastien unt Bastienne), Madam Herz (Der Schauspieldirektor), Barbarina (Le Nozze Di Figaro), Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), the title role of Donizetti’s Rita, and Maria (West Side Story).
Dr. Daniel Morel
Daniel Morel is a Kansas City-based composer who energizes his music with spectral lyricism. Garnering commissions and performances across the United States, his music reflects myriad literary and natural interests. His works are permeated with the Western sensibilities of his Colorado upbringing, drawing on influences ranging from prairie thunderstorms to classic American poetry.
Mr. Morel has received awards and honors from the Mizzou New Music Initiative, Byrdcliffe Guild, the City of Hartford, the Hartt School, the Longfellow Chorus, and the Colorado State Music Teachers Association, among others. Recent premieres include the UMKC Conservatory Orchestra, Columbia Civic Orchestra, and Seasons Festival Orchestra.
Mr. Morel holds degrees from Bucknell University (BA) and The Hartt School, University of Hartford (MM, AD). He is currently working on a doctorate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Performance details and further information are available at www.danmorel.com.Daniel
Dr. Matthew Scrivner
Adjunct Voice Faculty
Dr. Matthew Scrivner, bass baritone, from Auburn, Kansas, is a multi-faceted musician who has been teaching at Avila University since January of 2012. Matthew earned his Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in German from Washburn University, his Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and his Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
He has been performing regularly in Kansas City since his first appearance with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City in the 2008 World Premiere production of Kirke Mechem’s John Brown. Throughout the spring of 2017 he will be appearing in the Lyric Opera Express troupe, bringing opera education and performance opportunities to children in schools throughout the Kansas City region. Matthew has maintained a private studio at the Kansas City School of Music located in Lenexa and Overland Park, since 2003.
Scrivner's operatic credits include: creating the role of the Ox in the world premiere of Leah Sproul Pulatie’s opera for young audiences: How the Camel Got His Hump; Dr. Bartolo in Le Nozze di Figaro, Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, Settler #2 in the world premiere of John Brown, and Colline in La bohème. Matthew was a participant in the first ever L’arte del canto lirico program presented in conjunction with the Orvieto Musica festival in Orvieto, Italy in the summer of 2008. His soloist credits include: Bass Soloist in Haydn’s Creation at Avila University, Petrus in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion conducted by Andrew Megill of Westminster College at UMKC, and Bass Soloist in the Requiem settings of Dvořák and Verdi.50