A passionate believer in the ability of all people, regardless of age or background, to find fulfillment through music, Michael comes to PCM from The Fine Arts Association (FAA) of Willoughby, Ohio, where he served as Director of Education overseeing educational programming in music, dance, visual art, and theater. In his three years at FAA, Michael worked to create a streamlined and cohesive curricular experience for students and teachers, leading to notable improvements in student retention and a 30% increase in enrollment over pre-pandemic levels.
Prior to his time in Northeast Ohio, Michael founded Music for the Sake of Music, an education-focussed classical music festival in Green Bay, Wisconsin. As Executive and Artistic Director, Michael oversaw the development of the educational experiences and week-long festival of performances. Under his direction, all Music for the Sake of Music programming remained free and open to the public while experiencing consistent growth, often as much as 25% annually.
An educator and conductor by training, Michael has held positions with youth, collegiate, community, and professional orchestras and bands and both public and private schools. At each level, he has been noted for his clarity on the podium and an ability to create an empowering sense of ensemble and accomplishment amongst the players.
Michael holds an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from Ball State University and a B.A. in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with additional study at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music and Doctoral work at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Outside of his work in music and the arts, Michael enjoys sports, traveling, and spending time with family.
David Cosgrove, Associate Director of Development and Marketing
David grew up in Casco, Maine and started lessons on violin with the Portland Conservatory of Music in the early 2000’s as well as studying viola with the Portland String Quartet for 6 years as a teenager.
He earned his B.Mus. in Music Business from Grove City College and sat as principal violist for 4 years in the symphonic and chamber orchestras and directed the GCC String Quartet from the violist chair for 3 years.
Prior to moving back to Maine, David was the Executive Director of the Butler County Symphony Orchestra in Butler, Pennsylvania for 4 years. As Executive Director he created 4 new educational outreach initiatives reaching more than 3000 students every year, secured large gifts and grants to fund those initiatives, produced over 6 full concerts a season involving more than 140 musicians and sold nearly 10,000 tickets annually.
David is thrilled to have come full circle back to the Portland Conservatory of Music so that he can work to support and promote the various programs that the conservatory offers to the Portland community and beyond.
Greg Baker, Office Manager & Registrar
Greg is an upbeat, enthusiastic and passionate professional with a commitment to the arts.
After growing up in the DC area, Greg earned his Bachelor’s in English and Film Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder and drove straight to Los Angeles to pursue comedy, scriptwriting and filmmaking, which he still does to this day.
He worked on a variety of productions while in Hollywood including ultra-low budget feature films, several unreleased television pilots, recognizable music videos and more. During the pandemic he transitioned to work on political campaigns, and blends his organizing experience with his love of the arts to help PCM grow and thrive.
Titus Abbott, Jazz Studies Program Director
Titus Abbott holds a B.Mus. in classical composition techniques from the University of Montreal and a M.M. in Composition from the University of Southern Maine. 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.
Paul Lichter, Dimensions in Jazz Artistic Director
Paul has been presenting cutting edge jazz and improvising artists to Maine audiences for over 30 years.
Through his 20 plus years as lecturer and administrator at the Maine Jazz Camp, he has been instrumental in exposing student musicians from all over Maine and beyond to the richness of America’s most singular art form.
Founder and club owner of Portland’s famed jazz club Cafe No from 1988 to 1995, Paul is Portland’s own jazz impresario. When the club closed, Paul started DIJ and eventually teamed up with the Conservatory to offer area jazz fans a chance to hear some of the best local, national and international jazz performers.
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, Youth Choral Director, Portland Youth Chorus
Shelley Willcox, Director of the Portland Youth Chorus, 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.
Miriam Schwanauer, Director, Early Childhood Music
Born and raised in Maine, Miriam Schwanauer was a pupil of Ocy L. Downs and, at age 19, was honored to be selected to play for a master class given by Garrick Ohlsson. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music (B.M. in Applied Piano, and M.M. in Piano Performance and Literature), her teachers include Frank Glazer and Rebecca Penneys.
Miriam served on the piano faculty of PCM from 1996 to 2001, taught at the Hill School and at the Waynflete School, and performed as a soloist, collaborative pianist, and choir director. She served on the faculty of Saint Joseph’s College, teaching courses in Music History and Appreciation. In 2002, after relocating to Illinois, Miriam joined the piano faculty of the Conservatory of Central Illinois, where she taught until 2020.
Miriam has held the positions of liturgical pianist/organist and director of music at St. Raphael Church (Kittery, Maine), Brackett Memorial United Methodist Church, and St. Christopher Parish (Peaks Island, Maine), and St. Thomas Church (Philo, Illinois.) She continues to perform as a soloist, a chamber musician, and a collaborative pianist.
Dedicated to teaching students of any age, beginning through advanced levels, Miriam counts among her students many who have won awards and chosen to pursue music professionally. Devoted to teaching for over 30 years, her broad background in piano pedagogy and literature allows her to tailor her teaching approach to the needs of her individual students.