"I improved my musical talent through the dedication and consideration of the staff."
-- Camper reflection
Our teaching staff includes both established professionals and graduate students from some of the most highly regarded music schools in the nation. All are experienced, caring teachers, passionate about making FMC a month of musical growth for all our campers.
Our counselors are often musicians as well. Many are former campers who return to help share the FMC experience with the next generation.
Nicholas Hutchinson has taught piano for over twenty-five years to students of all ages both in his private studio in Chicago and at various institutions in Michigan including the Chelsea Center for the Arts and the Steppingstone School for the Potentially Gifted.
In addition to his work with piano students, Dr. Hutchinson works extensively with classically trained singers. He is executive director of Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, an organization dedicated to the study and performance of art song and vocal chamber music. He is a lecturer in the voice department at DePaul University.
Dr. Hutchinson has performed throughout the United States as both collaborator and soloist. He is a prizewinner of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Kosciuzko Foundation National Chopin Competition, and was a finalist in the Oberlin International Piano Competition. He holds degrees in piano performance and collaborative piano from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.
Michael Mikulka is a composer and horn player currently based in Austin, Texas, where he completed his Doctorate in Composition at the University of Texas. Michael has been named a winner or finalist of 32 composition contests and calls for scores, and his music has been performed by members of the Dallas, Seattle, Vancouver, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras, as well as by performance faculty at colleges around the country.
Michael is the creator and operator of newbandmusic.org and newchambermusic.org, which promote the self-published music of emerging composers for free. He was also the creator and conductor of the Vine Orchestra, which premiered over 50 six-second compositions.
Rory Papania is overjoyed to be spending his fourth summer at FMC after two years as a camper. In addition to his duties as a dorm counselor, Rory also leads the guitar/sing class as well as a beginning acting class. He holds a Bachelor of Specialized Studies with a concentration in Global Politics and Human Rights from Ohio University, where he spent much of his time as a member of the Singing Men of Ohio. He released three albums from 2011-2013 as a member of the bands Wheels and self-recorded and released his own solo album, Golden, in 2016 under the moniker Gaptooth Grin. You might find him playing guitar, bass, drums, or singing at your local dive by himself or as a member of various musical projects. Or you might not find him at all due to his propensity for traveling and his tendency to get lost in the woods.
From an early age, Russian-born violinist Dr. Maria Bessmeltseva has performed in the concert halls of Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Italy, and the United States of America. Dr. Bessmeltseva's solo career has taken her from the celebrated stages of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Carnegie Hall in New York City to the Glinka Philharmonic Chamber Hall and St. Petersburg State Capella in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has appeared as a soloist with the Symphony of the Mountains in Tennessee, the Southern Great Lakes Symphony in Michigan, the Firelands Symphony in Ohio, and the Hot Springs Music Festival Orchestra in Arkansas. In addition to her live performances, Dr. Bessmeltseva has also appeared on local TV and radio stations in Bloomfield Hills, MI, Rutland, VT, and South Hadley, MA. Dr. Bessmeltseva earned her degrees from Oberlin College, Bowling Green State University and University of Michigan.
While not performing, Dr. Bessmeltseva teaches at various summer music festivals, including PhoenixPhest Chamber Music Festival in Ann Arbor, MI, Summer String Camp at BGSU in Bowling Green, OH, and Friends Music Camp in Barnesville, OH. She has also served as a judge at the Ohio Music Teachers Association State Buckeye Audition and the Ohio Music Teachers National Association Competition. Dr. Bessmeltseva has been teaching at Heidelberg University since 2016.
Xavier Suarez is a pianist, vocal coach, piano teacher, and YouTuber in Bowling Green, OH. As the founder of Teclado Music Institute, he is committed to bringing the joys of classical music to people of all ages and abilities through his work as a private piano teacher and as a recitalist who performs in numerous venues throughout the United States, including private homes through the newly launched Teclado House Concert series.
Educated at The University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University, Mr. Suarez holds a MM in Collaborative Piano under Martin Katz and a MM in Piano Performance under Dr. Garik Pedersen. He won first prize at the First Chamber Music Competition at Eastern Michigan University as a member of SIX Trio.
A sought after collaborator, Mr. Suarez works with numerous instrumentalists and singers all across the United States. He is currently a member of Sirynx Trio with Nermis Mieses, oboe and Susan Nelson, bassoon with performances and recordings planned for the near future. He was the Music Director and Young Artist for Pensacola Opera (Pensacola, FL) in their 2016 season and collaborated at the 2013 Manhattan Summer Voice Festival as vocal coach and keyboardist.
As an educator, Mr. Suarez has been a faculty member at Adrian College and is a current member of the faculty at Friends Music Camp.
Martha Hyde has taught at Friends Music Camp for over twenty of the forty years that the camp has existed. She has wide experience teaching all ages, having run band programs in New York City public schools as well as teaching one to one and in small classes in both public and private school settings. She is a co-founder of the New River Ensemble with Brendan Cooney and Lisa Liske-Doorandish. The group performs chamber concerts, live scores with silent film, and does interactive workshops.
As a performer Martha has played in venues ranging from Alice Tully Hall to CBGB's to the cathedral of St. John the Devine as well as tours on four continents. She can regularly be seen in the orchestra pits on Broadway and has performed with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg and Antonio Banderas. She is a member of the Gotham Wind Symphony which has released three CD's and she is also on numerous cast recordings.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Minnita Daniel-Cox attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance. Upon completion of her baccalaureate studies, she attended The University of Michigan where she received her both her Master of Music and her Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees.
Most recently, Dr. Daniel-Cox performed an American Music Recital tour in Bulgaria and has been a featured soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Bach Society of Dayton. Two of her notable roles have been Sister Rose in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking and Anna Gomez in Menotti’s The Consul, both performed with Dayton Opera. She has appeared with the University of Dayton, Yellow Springs, Flint, Ann Arbor, and South Bend Symphony Orchestras as well as the Defiance and Packard Symphonic Bands. Her research regarding the musical settings of texts by poet and Dayton native, Paul Laurence Dunbar led to her establishment of the Dunbar Music Archive.
Dr. Daniel-Cox has a passion for teaching and has taught music courses or applied voice for programs at Western Michigan University, University of Michigan, Bowling Green State University, and within the award-winning music program at Grosse Pointe South High School. After serving four years as Artist-in-Residence, Dr. Daniel-Cox is now Assistant Professor of Voice and Coordinator of the Voice Area at the University of Dayton where she teaches applied lessons, music courses, serves as Artistic Director of the yearly musical/opera productions, and coordinates the Vocal Performance Institute, a summer program for high school aged singers.