Oak Park native Mark Anderson is an ardent educator, performer, recording artist, and composer. Mark believes strongly in the power of music to build connection and community. This belief is what lead Mark to become involved with strong arts community at the Academy of Movement in Music. Teaching not only as a private guitar instructor but also with the Academy A.R.T.S. preschool program has enabled Mark to engage with students and build relationships from the ground. With guitarist Necati Emirzade, Mark is a member of Duo Tandem, an instrumental guitar duo with an emphasis on storytelling through music. Hailed as “trad[ing] musical ideas back and forth so effortlessly” by Classical Guitar Magazine and described as “pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on classical guitars,” by Minor7th, Duo Tandem has captivated audiences with performances throughout the United States and Europe including at the historic Bellapais Abbey in Cyprus. Duo Tandem’s latest album “Guitar Duos of Kemal Belevi” was released in May 2020 by Naxos Records, the world’s leading classical music label. As an in-demand educator Mark is also on faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University and in addition works as a Site Coordinator and guitar mentor with Guitars Over Guns.
Amy Anderson de Jong
Amy Anderson de Jong holds bachelor and master's degrees in Voice performance from Northwestern University. She teaches classical vocal technique with an emphasis on healthy vocal production and nurturing a lifelong joy in singing. Amy has taught private voice lessons at Horace Mann High School in New York City, Oak Park and River Forest High School and through her own private studio, she is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Guild of Musical Artists. She is delighted to be on the faculty at the Academy. A native of Oak Park Amy lived and worked in New York City for 11 years. During that time, she performed as a soloist at Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Symphony center in NYC. She is a founding member of the vocal trio Times Three. She is the proud recipient of the Tradition of Excellence Award from Oak Park River Forest High School.
Mara Leonard is a long time instructor in the Oak Park River Forest area, with a Master's degree in Music, cello performance. Her piano experience is also extensive, having been an accompanist for many vocalists, holding positions in several area churches as organist and choir director. She has been a member of the Civic Orchestra, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, and most recently, principal cellist of the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Mara has had an association with the Academy for many years, starting back in the 1970s. Most recently her daughter Karina studied ballet at the Academy and participates in Every Body Can Dance. Mara lives in Oak Park with her husband Larry. Mara teaches piano and cello at the Academy.
Patricia Wilken has a B.A. in Music from UIC, M.M. in piano performance and B.M. in voice performance from the American Conservatory of Music, and an M.B.A. in Management Information Systems from DePaul University. Pat taught piano and voice at the Austin Academy of Fine Arts, and piano at the American Conservatory of Music and Triton College. She has taught piano and voice at the Academy of Movement and Music since 1982. Pat’s son David studied trumpet at the Academy and had also taught trombone at the Academy until his move out of state for his doctorate. Her daughter, Gina Sigismondi, was a student of the Academy and now teaches dance at the Academy and has also worked in the A.R.T.S. program. Pat's younger daughter, Carolyn participated in the A.R.T.S. program and studied dance, piano, voice, and flute at the Academy. Patricia’s grandchildren Dominick and Talia Sigismondi were also in the A.R.T.S. program; they both studied in the music program and Talia continues her dance training. Pat has also participated in the Grant Park Summer Music Festival Chorus as well as has been a soloist in local area groups. Since 1970, she has been a member of the MTNA (Music Teachers National Association). Patricia worked as an information technology specialist for 28 years.