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SharpMinds Music Academy

The Founder

Patricia Ooi Englehardt, Ph.D.

Patricia Ooi Englehardt, Ph.D., founder and director, has been actively involved in music education for several years, with teaching experiences in the Royal Academy (UK), Trinity College (UK), Yamaha Music Education (Japan), and the American public school systems.

 

A scholarship student at the Berklee College of Music, Patricia was the resident pianist for the Berklee Wind Ensemble with several performances at the renowned Berklee Performance Center and the Boston Hatch Shell. Patricia received her master and doctoral degrees in music education from the Frost School of Music, University of Miami, Florida. 

 

Born in Penang, Malaysia, Patricia’s role as the Music Director of Yamaha Music Malaysia included the monitoring and raising of music education standards and student population in the Yamaha schools throughout Malaysia.

 

Dr. Englehardt also directed and coordinated various music education programs, such as:

  • Teacher training seminars

  • Music workshops

  • Music camps, and

  • Teachers’ educational symposiums.

 

In her secondary portfolio as Director of Music Studies at the Yamaha Academy of Arts & Music in Malaysia, she was one of the main initiators and facilitator of joint degree programs between Yamaha Academy and foreign universities in the United Kingdom and Australia. Patricia also directed several musical productions, concerts, festivals, and served as a Yamaha examiner and adjudicator of both local and international music competitions during her tenure. 

Dr. Englehardt was appointed Yamaha Music Education Specialist and Yamaha Grade Examiner by Yamaha Corporation of America, and conducts teacher training seminars and examinations in the US. Currently, she manages and directs the Yamaha Music Education System courses (YMES) at SharpMinds Music Academy.

With the establishment of SharpMinds Music Academy, and as a passionate educator, Dr. Englehardt hopes to encourage students of all ages to experience the joys of music making. She believes that music nurtures both mind and soul, and music education is a gift of a lifetime. 

Our Piano Instructors

 
                      Dr. Leefei Chen-Jenkins

Dr. Leefei Chen-Jenkins earned her Bachelor’s degree for piano and harp at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She continued her harp graduate studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Leefei completed her Master’s degree in 2003, and in 2008, she graduated with her Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) in harp performance from the University of Miami in Florida.

Leefei was the winner of the Anne Adam National Harp Competition, and Pennsylvania State Harp Society Grandjany Award. She has also performed with the Florida Philharmonic, New World Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Grand Opera, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Miami Wind Symphony, and Miami Symphony. Dr. Chen-Jenkins has had performances on such Broadway shows as My Fair Lady, Peter Pan, and South Pacific. She also has performed with Sarah Brightman, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra Jr., Lucie Désirée Arnaz, Styx and more.

 

Leefei teaches individual piano classes at the Academy, where her students have achieved superior ratings in the Florida Federation music assessments.

                                                                                                                             Alexander Sancho

Alexander Sancho, born and raised in Miami, is a talented pianist and composer. Alex graduated from FIU with his B.M. (2011) and M.M. (2013) in Piano Performance, under Professor Kemal Gekic and Dr. Jose Lopez.  
 
Alexander Sancho has played with many different orchestras/ensembles across South Florida.  Some awards won are 1st Prize in Florida Federation of Music Clubs (Composition), 2nd Prize in the FIU Concerto Competition, 2009 and 2011, the Undergraduate Performance award from the FIU School of Music, 2011, as well as the Teaching Assistant position in Piano.  
In 2012, he was awarded the Philippine Consulate of South Florida Leadership Distinction Award for Outstanding Achievement and Performance in Music.  


Though coming from a classical background, Alex takes a musically-eclectic approach in his endeavors, with influences from Hip-Hop to Electronica that help shape his understanding of music.  Alex believes that diverse-music education can benefit society.  In 2018, he founded ALEX SCORES MUSIC, an original-music service for film, advertising and video production.  Alex has been an instructor at SharpMinds Music Academy for several years, having nurtured some outstanding young pianists during his tenure.

                                                                Natsumi Ikenaga

Japanese pianist, Natsumi Ikenaga started the piano lessons at the age of four. After graduating from the Toho Gakuen High School of Music in Tokyo, she gained her Bachelor of Music (Hons), Master of Music, and Artist Diploma in Performance degrees at the Royal College of Music, London, where she was supported by the Gordon Calway Stone Memorial Award.  She has studied piano with Dina Parakhina, Gordon Fergus-Thompson, and Kevin Kenner, and the harpsichord with Jane Chapman. 

As a soloist and an active chamber musician, Natsumi has performed in many international venues, including the Mirabel Palace in Salzburg, Steinway Hall in New York and London, the National Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Regent Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall Elgar Room, Handel House, Tokyo Opera City Recital Hall, Kioi Hall in Tokyo, and the Rachmaninoff Hall at Moscow Conservatory. In 2014, she was named as a Chanel Pygmalion Days Artist and participated in the prestigious Pygmalion Days Concert Series organized by Chanel K. K. at Nexus Hall, Tokyo. Natsumi is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts student and a Teaching Assistant at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami.

                                                                                                     Marina Radiushina

Marina Radiushina, D.M.A. is the artistic director of the Miami Chamber Music Society and Mainly Mozart Festival. She is a winner of numerous prestigious piano competitions including Horowitz and Rubinstein piano competitions. 


Hailed as a “virtuoso whose playing is distinguished by rare depth of interpretation and understanding of style”. Dr. Radiushina made her debut with the Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Valery Gergiev in February 2012, appearing at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory and Theatre Des Champs-Elysee in Paris. 


Recent highlights have included performances at the Salzburg and Rotterdam Festivals with Valery Gergiev, Carnegie Hall with Sir Simon Rattle, David Robertson and Pablo Heras-Casado, appearances with Munich and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras, a recording project with the Brno Philharmonic, and chamber music performances with the members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Israel and the Carnegie Hall Ensemble at the Suntory Hall in Japan.

 
Dr. Radiushina is a member of Carnegie Hall’s resident chamber group, Decoda. She was a recipient of a fellowship from The Juilliard School of Music and holds degrees from the Odessa Conservatory (Ukraine), University of Miami and the Cleveland Institute of Music. 

  Cristina Giordani

Cristina began her music studies at age 8 at the Yamaha Music School in Argentina. Having been a student of the Yamaha Music Education System, she grew to love her music studies, and eventually continued her piano studies at the National Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Mrs. Giordani graduated with a degree in Visual Arts from the Interamericana University, and also from the Buenos Aires Conservatory as a National Music Teacher (Piano). 

 

Her tenure at Yamaha began in 1988, where she served as an instructor and music coordinator, and was involved in teacher training seminars and promotional activities.  Mrs. Giordani received her Yamaha diplomas in performance and fundamentals for both the piano and electone organ. As a result of her advanced Yamaha qualifications, she was appointed an Examiner by Yamaha Argentina, and later by Yamaha Corporation of America. 

Mrs. Giordani has performed in numerous Yamaha concerts throughout Argentina and Chile. Her working experiences covered both the sales and music education divisions in Yamaha Music Latin America. She was appointed Key Teacher for the Yamaha schools in Latin America, supervising teachers throughout the Yamaha Music schools in Latin America. She has also participated in various music education seminars in Argentina, Japan, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Brazil.

Since March 2014, Mrs. Giordani has moved to Miami, and continuing her dedication to music education in the Yamaha Music Education System. She is currently a Yamaha Instructor at SharpMinds Music Academy, teaching both group and individual piano classes.

Alex Brandenburg

Alex Brandenburg is a jazz vocalist and pianist from Southern California. A versatile musician, she has performed solo, duo, with small groups and big bands alike. A graduate of the Frost School of Music at University of Miami, Alex has her music degree in vocal performance. She has performed with Downbeat award-winning vocal group, Extensions, and also shared the stage with the likes of Shelly Berg, Peter Eldridge, Darmon Meader, Becca Stevens, Jo Lawry, Dena DeRose, Karl Hunter, Ira Nepus, and vocalist Kenny Washington. Alex has performed in major concert series such as the Stanford Jazz Festival and Jazz Roots at the Adrienne Arsht Center. 

Growing up in a family of music educators, Alex became passionate about helping her own students unlock their potential. She has been teaching individual piano and voice lessons since 2014. She is also heavily involved in youth musical theatre, having music directed/assistant music directed six musicals with various age levels (elementary up to high school). Alex is thrilled to be spearheading the new Children's Chorus program at SharpMinds Music Academy.
 

                          James Woolwine

James Woolwine began playing the piano at the age of 7, and was winning competitions and scholarships by the end of high school. He has earned degrees in Guitar Performance and Music Business from the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Since graduating James has been an active professional musician, performing on guitar and keyboards in several bands and studios; and as a soloist. James is fluent in Classical, Metal, Rock, and Pop styles, while Folk would be his favorite. 

 

James is also a dedicated composer/songwriter, and has released two solo albums, with more releases planned. He won first prize in the 2014 Topanga Fingerstyle Guitar Competition; and performed at the Grand Ole Opry as a finalist in the 2017 Enlightened Piano Radio Awards. http://jameswoolwine.com/

 

James has taught guitar and piano to students of all ages and ability levels on both sides of the country. He is dedicated to helping every student achieve their musical potential in a positive and supportive atmosphere. He has received accolades from his guitar and piano students, all of whom commend him as a “patient, methodical, attentive, kind, encouraging, and fun” instructor.