Jean Murachanian, Executive Director
Jean holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration/Finance from California State University, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
She is a business leader and university educator who is passionate about the arts, particularly enhancing community life through equal access to education and artistic expression. She has a proven track record helping organizations promote positive change and build community.
As a business professional she was an underwriter for a commercial finance company, analyzing the financial performance, projections, and asset value of companies under consideration for business loans ranging from $7 to $120 million. She also worked in the entertainment industry monitoring up to 65 budgets simultaneously for TV animation.
As an active board member of an ethnic museum in Los Angeles, she designed a range of activities to increase the visibility and effectiveness of the organization, which included redefining the museum’s mission statement, implementing a membership drive, initiating a lecture series, and mounting an exhibition with extensive related programming. Her efforts set the museum on a sound course and it is now thriving and playing a critical role in the community through its varied programming.
Titus Abbott, Jazz Studies Program Director
Titus Abbott holds a B.Mus. in classical composition techniques from the University of Montreal. He studied clarinet at the University of Ottawa followed by jazz studies on saxophone at Humber College, Toronto under the tutelage of saxophonist Pat Labarbera. He has also studied with jazz greats Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland, Steve Coleman, Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell.Titus has performed as leader and sideman in various ensembles in Canada, Europe and the US.
Since arriving in Maine in 2002 Titus has lead his own groups and collaborations include performances with the outstanding pianists Curtis Clark and Frank Carlberg and the late Oud Master Al Gardner.Titus has been teaching saxophone and clarinet for over 25 years where he specializes in tone development and articulation as well as jazz improvisation and phrasing.
Laura del sol Jiménez, Director, Karger College Prep Program
Flutist Laura del Sol Jiménez has won numerous awards throughout her career, highlighted by the expressiveness and poised technical accuracy of her performances. Currently based in New York City and Portland, Maine, Laura has performed in Argentina, Chile, Israel, Italy, Japan, the United States, and her native Colombia.
Laura was a prizewinner in the Gran Premio de Santiago Flute competition in Chile, Colombia’s Concurso Universitario de Flauta de Bogotá, Ciudad de Bogotá Woodwind Competition, and selected five times for the roster of the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango Concert Series.
Laura has appeared as a soloist with the Cali Philharmonic Orchestra, Marga-Marga Symphony, Caldas Symphonic Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Philharmonia Orchestra, and Universidad Javeriana Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Colombia National Symphony Orchestra, Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra, and the CUNY Dominican Studies Symphony Orchestra.
Equally at home as a chamber musician, Laura has performed at international music festivals such as the Bowdoin Music Festival and the Portland Bach Festival, and collaborated with groups such as Windscape and the Jupiter String Quartet. In 2015, Laura founded the Linos trio, which toured Colombia and produced a much-acclaimed album premiering music of contemporary Latin American composers.
Laura has dedicated much of her career to commissioning and performing works of Latin American composers. Originally from the coffee-belt Colombian town of Calarcá, she has uniquely experienced the power of music to heal communities in war-torn countries. To help provide musical resources to under-served Colombian communities, Laura founded the Orpheus Cultural Foundation in 2013, dedicated to achieving social inclusion and encouraging the development of arts in communities devastated by Colombia’s 50-year war.
Laura holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. She performs on a Sankyo silver flute and Emmanuel gold head joint.
Shelley Willcox, Director, Boys Singers of Maine & Girls Singers of Maine
Shelley Willcox, Director of the Boy Singers of Maine and Girl Singers of Maine, recently moved to Portland from Great Neck, New York, where she taught vocal music in the Great Neck Public Schools.
Her choirs have performed in schools, community events, and benefit concerts. In addition, she prepared her vocal students for their solo New York State School Music Association Festival adjudications and All-County choral performances.
Shelley spent summers directing and accompanying children’s musical theater productions and performing in regional choirs. She holds a B.S. in Music Education from New York University and a M.M.E. from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, City University of New York.
April Masse, Director, Early Childhood Education (First Steps in Music Program)
Originally from Castine, ME, April graduated from University of Southern Maine (USM) in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy. She is now completing a master’s degree in piano performance.
At USM April won the 2017 Annual Honors Recital Competition and the 2015 Chamber Music Awards Competition. She participated in the Portland Ovations/USM-sponsored master class with renowned pianist Inon Barnatan and was a featured performer in the 2018 USM Scholarship Gala.
April is strongly committed to the teaching profession. She is a member of both MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) and MMTA (Maine Music Teachers Association) and serves on the board of MMTA.
She has also been active as an accompanist in the community, playing for the Portland Youth Ensemble and Portland Children’s Chorus, as well as other choral groups in the surrounding area.
Caitlin Puchalski, Registrar and Office Manager
Caitlin is a Portland, Maine, native who attended Portland High school and graduated from the University of Southern Maine in 2016 with her BFA in Studio Art and Digital Arts Minor.
She was the Office and Marketing Manager for a Fine Art Auction House, Print Manager for Abacus Gallery and Box Office Manager for Port City Music Hall.
Caitlin also began teaching community Plein-air watercolor classes in 2019 and fell in love with sharing her knowledge and spending time while painting outdoors. Her work can be found at studiocait.com.
Having been fostered in Portland’s artistic community herself, Caitlin is passionate about giving back to the arts and ensuring that Portland’s artistic community continues to thrive.