Cathy DeVos — Flute Instructor
Cathy DeVos is a native of St. Louis, MO and received a bachelor’s in music edu­ca­tion from the Uni­ver­sity of Mis­souri at St. Louis. She moved to San Fran­cisco in 1981 to study for her master’s in flute per­for­mance at the San Fran­cisco Con­ser­va­tory of Music. She has been an instru­men­tal music teacher in the Pied­mont Uni­fied School Dis­trict for 28 years and is cur­rently the orches­tra direc­tor for stu­dents in 4th-​12th grade. She is a mem­ber of the Holy Names Orches­tra and teaches flute in the Prepara­tory Music Depart­ment at Holy Names University.

Elena Jun - Piano Instructor                                                                                                   
Elena Jun is a classically trained pianist and piano teacher located in Oakland, CA.  She was born and raised in Seoul, Korea.  She studied at San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she received her Bachelors and Masters degree in Classical Piano Performance.  She was also selected to attend SFCM's Pre-College Division For Young Musicians during high school.  She additionally studied harpsichord, pianoforte, and organ as secondary instruments while at SFCM.  She has competed in numerous regional competitions and has been teaching private piano lessons for over 20 years.  She is a member of MTAC (Music Teachers' Association of California) and has served as a chorus accompanist at various churches in the SF Bay Area.  Elena started teaching at TRIS in 2019.

Emanuela Nikiforova - Violin Instructor
Emanuela was born in Varna, Bulgaria. She graduated from music middle and high schools in Varna and Sofia, Bulgaria. She has a Pedagogy diploma from the International Menuhin  Music Academy in Switzerland, a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Music Performance from LSU, Baton Rouge, and The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Emanuela is a member of the Oakland, Berkeley, Marin, Santa Rosa and Silicon Valley Symphony orchestras, and a music director of the formation Antika Slavic Strings. In her spare time, she likes to be outdoors, do yoga, and, teach violin! Emanuela started teaching at TRIS in January of 2014.

George Vass - Guitar Instructor
George Teaching at TRIS since 1998, classical guitar teacher George (György) Vass received his Pedagogy diploma from the Zoltan Kodály Conservatory of Music and his masters in Music Performance at the acclaimed Franz Lizst Music Academy in Hungary. In addition to learning the classical repertoire, he also performed in rock and folk bands and has a deep appreciation for all kinds of music. György feels that classical training frees the students to explore their own musical path. He loves to find the spark that brings out the special talent of his student. His guitar students have followed their dreams to Berkeley College of Music, Yale, and beyond, and have the tools to enjoys playing music their entire lives.

Kenji Higashihama - Piano Instructor

Kenji is a native of Detroit, MI where he grew up singing and playing gospel music. Throughout his career he has had the privilege of music directing a number of shows and groups in Michigan, Illinois, Hawai’i, and California, Hope Galas for the American Cancer Society, assistant music directing for a national tour of The Music Man, and working with wonderful talent from Broadway’s Wicked, Newsies, and Phantom of the Opera. He did his undergraduate studies in music at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and holds certification in Chinese-Mandarin from the Defense Language Institute. He has been at TRIS since 2014.

Tim Vaughan – Drum Instructor

Tim was born in Buckinghamshire, England. Tim Vaughan studied drum set with George Marsh at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and went on to perform with both local and national acts, in jazz and blues festivals, at venues including the LA Greek The­ater, the Santa Bar­bara Bowl, and The Warfield Theatre. In the 1990s, he began teaching drums and has found it to be the truly joy-filled part of his life. He had the honor of serving as drum coach for “We’re the Superhumans,” an inspirational trailer for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In addition to giving private drum set lessons, he has taught group classes for the National Guitar Summer Workshop, and, as the snare drummer for the famed Green Street Marching Band, has reached out to and mentored several local high school drum sections. He has played in numerous theatrical productions throughout the Bay Area, including the long-running Avenue Q at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. He has been teaching at TRIS since February 2010.

Thomas Griesser — Sax­o­phone & Clar­inet Instructor

Tom Griesser grad­u­ated from Stan­ford with a Bach­e­lor of Arts degree in Polit­i­cal Sci­ence in 1989. Since then, he has been a pro­fes­sional musi­cian for 20 years, per­form­ing with groups such as the Mar­cus Shelby Jazz Orches­tra, Brass Mon­key Brass Band, and the New Morty Show. His pri­vate teach­ers were Richard Joiner on clar­inet and Art Bou­ton and Hal Stein on sax­o­phone. Cur­rently, Tom per­forms in a vari­ety of groups around the Bay Area. Tom started at TRIS in 2014.