Meet Our Team
Stephen Falbel has been Treasurer of the Monteverdi board since 2008 and also led the board of the Center for Arts and Learning from its inception in 2012 until 2017. Steve is currently filling in as office manager for the Monteverdi office in Fall of 2020. He is a professional singer, performing with Counterpoint and his early music ensemble, the Green Mountain Monteverdi Ensemble of Vermont, as well as other groups. By day, he is a public transportation planning consultant.
Composer and saxophonist Matthew Evan Taylor (1980) has been hailed as “a promising new voice” (Lawrence Budmen, Miami Herald) and a “risk taker” (Neil De La Flor, Huffington Post) whose music is “insistent and defiant…envelopingly hypnotic” (Alan Young, Lucid Culture).
A southern kid who worshipped at the altar of Cannonball Adderly, Ornette Coleman, Carla Bley and Charles Mingus, Matthew’s music has been performed across the United States and Europe by such ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Metropolis Ensemble, the Imani Winds, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. As a performer, Matthew has worked with musicians Elliott Sharp, Marilyn Crispell, Tatsuya Nakatani, Taylor Ho Bynum, Mary Halvorson; visual artists Will Kasso Condry, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and Dannielle Tegeder; and dancers Katherine Kramer, Sara Shelton, Laurel Jenkins, and Lida Winfield.
Matthew has developed a dedicated following for his #project39 series on Instagram and Facebook. In December 2019, on his 39th birthday, Matthew pledged to improvise for at least 39 seconds for a year. This series has yielded the album Say Their Names, seven improvised reactions to the events of May 29 – June 5, the early days of the renewed Black Lives Matters protests. Self-released on Bandcamp on June 6th, the proceeds have gone directly to such racial justice organizations as Black Lives Matter Global Organization and the Equal Justice Initiative.
Matthew has also partnered with the Metropolis Ensemble and New Amsterdam Records to release his epic The Unheard Mixtapes. Another product of #project39, this 5-EP series represents a journey inward and Matthew’s struggle to cope with isolation in a time when it was never more important to join in solidarity with people. The first installment, The Unheard Mixtape 1: Follow to the End was released September 29, 2020, with each installment thereafter released monthly. All albums will be on Bandcamp, courtesy of New Amsterdam Records.
Matthew is currently based in Vermont. He is Assistant Professor of Music at Middlebury College.
Deb Smoller has been a Monteverdi board member since 2017 and President since 2019. Deb has taught piano lessons for 27 years (bio here) and flute for 18 years. Her early careers in Burlington included work in the nonprofit sector including Flynn Theatre for Performing Arts, Discover Jazz Festival, and Burlington City Arts as well as in the for-profit sector in cinema. More recently Deb spent 6 years with a local/sustainable food organization as operations manager and currently as a manager sub with Hunger Mountain Co-op.
A musician since childhood, Larry has made music recordings since his teens. He worked in studios and concert venues through the 1970s, when he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music engineering. A progressive hearing loss led to a research-oriented masters degree in audiology, and now he has come full circle: creating laboratory sound systems used in hearing aid and cochlear implant research. A member of the Monteverdi board since 2018, Larry has remained a performing musician, playing guitar and electric bass at venues throughout Vermont.
Possible Board Member.
Liz Benjamin has been a member of the Monteverdi Music School board of directors since 2018 and secretary since 2019. She has been studying composition with Erik Nielsen for six years. She has included music and singing in her work with children, youth, and adults all her life. She taught Music Together for ten years and was a kindergarten teacher and a minister of religious education.
Allison Rogers joined the board in 2018. Alli’s career has spanned the past two decades from Capitol Hill, the Harvard University Sustainability Office, state government, to the nonprofit sector. She currently serves as Fundraising Director for Climable.org and is enrolled in the Accelerated J.D./L.L.M. degree program at Vermont Law School.
Alli’s lifelong love for both Vermont and classical music was solidified while she spent summers as a young girl in Old Bennington at Sonatina Piano Camp, where she returned to work as a counselor in her teens. During college, Alli worked as an arts educator at the original House of Blues in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Alli studied classical piano with Shirley Medici of Rhode Island College, Dr. Donald Rankin of the University of Rhode Island, and Wayman Chin, Dean Emeritus of the Longy School of Music; classical guitar with Chris Brelsford; and voice with Dede Wyland, a pioneering artist who has served as a role model and artistic influence for a generation of female bluegrass musicians. A singer-songwriter, Alli has attended songwriting classes across the country, from NYU Steinhardt School’s songwriting program, the Hudson Valley’s Garrison Institute with Dar Williams, Martha’s Vineyard with New England to Nashville, virtual Melody Masterclass coursework with SongTown, to the deep wilderness outside of Anchorage with Acoustic Alaska.
Alli received her B.A. from Harvard College, her Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate
School of Education, and her M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S.
Naval War College. Most of all, Alli believes in the power of music and and the power of community, and she is grateful to our Monteverdi Music School students, faculty, parents, and supporters for their contributions to Monteverdi Music School and our community.