Conservatory of Music

From Bach to Broadway

Staff Accompanists

Jason Aquila

Debra Comodeca is a frequent performer at Baldwin Wallace University, where she is currently on staff. She has previously served as accompanist for the BW University, Motet, and Women’s Choirs, and her BW performances include diverse choral concerts, Summer Music Institute concerts, and student and faculty recitals.  An active collaborative pianist, organist and chamber musician in the Cleveland area, Deb was an accompanist for the late Sophie Ginn-Paster, and has also played for many other solo recitals and chamber concerts, including performances with the Bach-Handel Society and Tromba Due, and graduate recitals for C.I.M./Case, The University of Akron, and Ohio State University students. In 2010, she and long-time collaborator Jack Brndiar (trumpet) founded “the unconventional trio”, with flutist Sean Gabriel, and the group’s “third annual concert of diverse solo and chamber music" was recently presented at both Baldwin Wallace and Cleveland State Universities. Sean and Deb were also featured performers on the January 2013 Dr. John A. Flower Faculty Concert Series at CSU, broadcast live on Cleveland’s WCLV. In addition to her work at BW, Deb has been a liturgical musician for many years, and currently serves as organist and director of Music Ministries at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Avon, Ohio. A native of Northwest Ohio, she is a graduate of Toledo Whitmer High School, Baldwin Wallace College (now University) (B.M.) and The Cleveland Institute of Music (M.M). Her teachers include Mary Cheyney Gould, George Cherry, Warren Berryman, and James Tannenbaum.  

Melissa Deguire

Megan Denman is a freelance musician in the Cleveland/Akron area. She earned her M.M. in Piano Performance from the University of Akron, and B.M. in Piano Performance from Baldwin-Wallace College. Former instructors include Robert Mayerovitch and Laura Silverman, and organ instructors Margaret Scharf and Barbara McGregor. Megan collaborates with music students at the University of Akron and Baldwin-Wallace University. She has over ten years’ experience as a piano instructor, and enjoys maintaining a busy teaching studio. Megan is currently studying jazz piano with Rock Wehrmann. She enjoys performing piano and organ in many different solo and collaborative settings.


Nancy Maier is well known in the area as a music director, vocal coach and accompanist. She spent years in New York City honing her skills in these areas while also performing as a singer/pianist. For many years, Nancy was music director of the Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre Program under the direction of Victoria Bussert. Her music direction has been seen at Cain Park (including Into the Woods, Big River, The Music Man, Side Show, Tick, Tick…BOOM, Songs for a New World and Nine), Great Lakes Theatre Festival (She Loves Me, A Little Night Music, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol and Rough Crossing), Porthouse Theatre (Quilters, Once on This Island, and The Fantasticks), the Cleveland Play House (associate conductor, Gifts of the Magi and A Wonderful Life), and Beck Center for the Arts (Lies and Legends, Cotton Patch Gospel, Passion and Next to Normal). Nancy has also played keyboard for many of the touring musicals at Playhouse Square, and is a frequent collaborator with Bill Rudman and The Musical Theatre Project on The Song is You! series of concerts and cabarets.

Stuart Raleigh

Rei Sakurai, a native of Japan, Rei Sakurai began studying violin at the age of five and piano at the age of eleven. Upon graduation from high school, Ms.Sakurai moved to Chicago and studied piano performance with Ludmila Lazar and received her Bachelor’s Degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. While in Chicago, she performed with vocal students of Dimpna Clarin, Eileen Deneen, and Michael Best. At DePaul University, she played with a violin student of Joseph Genualdi. She also studied the violin with Cyrus Forough and Yuko Mori and the harpsichord with David Schrader. In addition, she was a church organist.

While continuing to study piano performance in graduate school at Roosevelt University, she decided to transfer to Cleveland Institute of Music to study collaborative piano under Anita Pontremoli. As a graduate student, she has performed with students of Michael Sachs, Steven Witzer, Richard King, Jeffrey Rathbun, Franklin Cohen, John Clouser, Paul Kantor, Stepehn Rose, William Preucil, David Updegraff, Kirsten Docter, Jeffrey Irvine, Stephen Geber, Paul Yancich, Mary Schiller, and Beverley Rinaldi.

After she received her Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music, she has worked at the Music Settlement as a staff accompanist and Suzuki piano instructor as well as Cleveland Institute of Music as a staff accompanist.

Since she came to the United States, she has participated or accompanied many students in the masterclasses by musicians including Misha Amory, Janet Bookspan, Timothy Eddy, Warren Jones, Gil Shaham, and Joshua Smith.  She has been working as a staff accompanist at Conservatory of Music at Baldwin Wallace University since September of 2006.

Susan Schoeffler maintains a diverse career as a chamber musician, accompanist and pedagogue. She holds both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Vitya Vronsky-Babin and Sergei Babayan and received the Sadie Zellen Prize in Piano. Ms. Schoeffler has had a violin-piano duo with Kim Nolen-Gomez for over 10 years. With the duo, Ms. Schoeffler has performed in numerous venues including Severance Hall, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the Cleveland Chamber Collective and has been featured on radio broadcasts such as WCLV, Cleveland: Mozart Festival and Severance Hall: Day of Music. In addition to her work as a chamber musician, Ms. Schoeffler has served as an accompanist for both vocalists and instrumentalists. She is on the accompanying staff at Baldwin Wallace University and served on the staff at Indiana University String Academy, accompanying for the studios of Susan Moses Bloom and Csaba Onczay, prior to her appointment at BW. She was also invited to serve as accompanist for Indiana University Summer String Academy for the past two summers. Ms. Schoeffler is on the teaching faculty at Baldwin Wallace University Outreach Division, Beck Center for the Arts, and maintains a private studio at her home in Cleveland Heights.

William Shaffer

Denella Sing

Sara Smith



We also are lucky to have some of the BW faculty as accompanists.  See their links below for information.

Christine Fuoco 

Zarina Melik-Stepanova  




Share |