Faculty Biographies

Cheryl Finn, ARCT, BA, RMT

Cheryl Finn, Semiahmoo Academy of Music in White Rock/South SurreyDirector
Piano, Rudiments, History
Member of the College of Examiners
Examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music

Cheryl began teaching piano & music theory over 35 years ago in Vancouver. In 1999 she moved to White Rock and has maintained a busy private studio ever since specializing in piano, theory and music history. Over the years, many of her students have won scholarships and awards including Silver Medals (now called Gold Medals) from the Royal Conservatory of Music for the highest marks of the year in BC in 1998, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2012 & 2013. Cheryl is an RCM Certified Specialist in both Piano and Theory for Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

She is also the creator & co-author of The Perfection Ear CD series published by the Frederick Harris Music Company, and the Beanstalk’s Basics for Piano Lesson books, Technique books and Performance books and the author of the Beanstalk’s Basic for Piano Theory books, published by Hal Leonard. She has also written several single pieces published as sheet music by The Willis Music Company. As an active clinician, she has given workshops throughout the USA & Canada. She is a member of the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association and a frequent festival adjudicator.


Tatiana Khvatova, B. Mus., M. Mus.

Tatiana, music instructor for piano in White Rock / South SurreyPiano, Rudiments

Tatiana began teaching piano in Moscow over 20 years ago after having obtained her Master’s Degree in both piano performance and pedagogy from the Russian Academy of Music.

Before immigrating to Canada, Tatiana taught piano at The Gnessins Music School, one of the most prestigious music schools in Russia. In addition to teaching piano she also performed as a soloist with several philharmonic orchestras and was an accompanist at concerts and competitions in several of the great music halls in Moscow.

Since her arrival in Canada she has continued her active musical life teaching piano and playing at concerts in the greater Vancouver area. In 2010 she participated in a recording project for a new piano examination series for British Columbia Conservatory of Music. She continues to collaborate with Baritone Cliff Ridley. Together, they have recorded numerous art songs by Vancouver composer Christopher Ludwig.

Tatiana speaks fluent Russian and English.


Saya Ejima, ARCT, LBCM, B. Mus., M. Mus., RMT

Piano, Rudiments

Saya grew up in North Delta, BC. She began taking piano lessons at the age of 6 and completed both her ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music and her Licentiate Diploma in Performance from the British Columbia Conservatory of Music.

Saya attended the University of Victoria where she completed both her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Piano Performance as well as her Teacher’s Training at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. She has also performed as an accompanist and has served as a musicianship assistant administering keyboard proficiency tests to students.

Saya began teaching piano over 15 years ago and is a Registered Music Teacher with the South Fraser Branch. Saya prepares students for all levels of the RCM curriculum and is always upbeat and patient with her students. In addition to her native English, Saya also speaks fluent Japanese.


Karen Mofakham, ARCT, RMT

Piano, Rudiments, Pedagogy

Karen began teaching piano over 30 years ago. A native of Port Coquitlam, she began her studies with Florence Graham followed by Edward Parker.

She was a member of the Coquitlam/Maple Ridge Registered Music Teachers’ Association before moving to Richmond in 1990. From 1992-2002 she taught at the Richmond Community Music School specializing in beginners and younger students, preparing them for recitals, special events and Royal Conservatory of Music examinations and often obtaining the highest marks in Richmond. Karen also enjoys preparing future piano teachers for their Pedagogy Certificate exams.

Since 1990 she has been an active member of the Richmond Registered Music Teachers’ Association holding various volunteer positions, most recently that of Treasurer. Karen is enthusiastic and passionate about teaching and enjoys working with students of all ages.


Sophia Tan, ARCT, BA, RMT

piano and music history class teacher in South SurreyPiano, Rudiments, Harmony, History, Preschool Music Classes – Mozart & Me

Sophia Tan was born and raised in Vancouver, BC and began learning to play the piano at the age of 4. She received her ARCT in Piano Performance from The Royal Conservatory of Music and also her Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University. Sophia began teaching over 30 years ago and since that time has had many students achieve high marks in RCM examinations including a Silver Medalist who achieved the highest mark in BC in 1998. Sophia has been a member of the BCRMTA since 2005. In addition to teaching private piano, she also teaches rudiments, harmony and history and is often asked to accompany violinists at their examinations. Sophia also teaches the very popular preschool music program Mozart & Me.


Beverley Johnson, GTCL. LTCL, RMT

piano rudiments and counterpoint instructor in white rock areaPiano, Electronic Keyboard, Rudiments & Counterpoint, Analysis

Beverley began teaching piano over 30 years ago after having received her music degree in Piano Performance from Trinity College of Music in London. She taught for several years in Plymouth, UK preparing students for Associated Board, Trinity College and London College exams. During that time she also ran the Trinity College exam centre for 6 years, taught electronic keyboard at several public schools and was a member of the Plymouth Philharmonic Choir.

Since moving to BC in 1997 she has become an active member of the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association and has spent the last several years successfully preparing students for festivals, recitals and Royal Conservatory of Music exams. Beverley very much enjoys working with students of all ages and levels and is very creative & enthusiastic.


Elizabeth McKee, ARCT, B.Mus., M.Mus., RMT

Piano, Rudiments, History

Elizabeth began piano lessons at the age of 6 with her grandmother and went on to complete her ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory achieving first class honours. During this time, Elizabeth received top awards in competitions throughout the Fraser Valley such as the Kiwanis Fraser Valley International Music Festival and the BC Registered Music Teachers’ Association Music Festival.

Following graduation from secondary school, Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Victoria and her Master of Music degree from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Throughout her musical education, Elizabeth has learned from and performed for top musicians and teachers from around the world.

Elizabeth teaches students of all ages, levels and abilities and successfully prepares those working towards RCM examinations. She excels at providing enjoyable and motivating lessons which encourages students to reach their full musical potential.


Lillian Liu, ARCT, B.Mus., M.Mus.

Lillian_piano_instructorPiano, Violin, Rudiments

Lillian Liu obtained her Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from the Royal College of Music in London under Prof. Nigel Clayton, and has obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from The University of British Columbia under Dr. Corey Hamm, and her ARCT in Piano Performance with Distinction under Lorraine Ambrose from the Vancouver Academy of Music and Connie Shih. Lillian also received her ARCT in Violin Performance having studied with Patricia Shih, Anne Shih, Taras Goabora and Nikita Progrbnoy and performed in the orchestra at UBC and The Royal College of Music – performing both live and in studio.

Lillian is also an enthusiastic collaborative pianist and violinist in a wide array of genres – from performing in traditional orchestral and chamber music settings to performing in solo and ensemble concerts in many places including Vancouver, Iceland, and in Western Europe. Lillian’s musical philosophy stems from her belief that teaching music is more than just providing strong technical roots. It is also breathing life and musicality into playing – along with an understanding of musical context – that makes it a wholesome, fun, and a rewarding experience for young, developing musicians. Lillian is fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese, and is a recipient of the Mildred Johnson Scholarship in Music from UBC.


Carmen Roberts, M.Mus., B.Mus., ARCT, L.Mus., A.Mus, RMT

Carmen Roberts, piano and flute teacherPiano, Flute, Harmony and Rudiments

Carmen received her Masters of Music degree at the University of British Columbia. Prior to that she studied in Washington, Massachusetts, New York and France.

Carmen has over 30 years of experience in teaching both piano and flute. Her passionate and enthusiastic teaching has motivated and inspired students of all ages and levels to excel. Her students regularly receive both silver and gold medals, as well as high marks for their performances in examination and competitions. Many students have received awards and scholarships and have continued their music at universities.

Carmen is an active performer and has performed as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician and on radio and television throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. She often collaborates in concert with her sister Carla, a concert violinist. Together they have performed throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Asia.

Carmen believes that the study of music is a gift she gives her students that enhances and positively impacts them for a lifetime.

Matthew Ma, B.Mus., M.Mus.

Piano, Rudiments, Harmony

Matthew Ma started taking music lessons at the age of six. Upon graduation from his Bachelor’s degree in piano performance, he obtained a full music scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England. Matthew received his Master’s of Music in piano performance from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He won the Clara Lichtenstein Piano Competition in 1996, and went on to numerous engagements, including broadcasts on both the English and French networks of CBC radio. Matthew has been active in contemporary music, collaborating with Ensemble de Musique Contemporaine and Société de Musique Contemporaine de Quebec. Composers and conductors he has worked with include Denys Bouliane, Walter Boudreau and Veronique Lacroix. He has also made a recording with ACREQ performing works of Frank Zappa.

Described as “a versatile and gifted pianist who displays amazing power at the piano … a force of nature”, Matthew performed frequently in concert halls and has been the official pianist in numerous music festivals and concert series such as the Vancouver Vocal Arts Recital, Kiwanis Music Festival, Mount Baker Theatre Organ Society Recital Series and the Interfaith Coalition Concerts. His music repertoire spans virtually the entire spectrum of music including compositions by Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Brahms, etc. Matthew’s sensitivity and expressive playing has kept him in great demand as a piano instructor and accompanist since his arrival in the Pacific Northwest in 2000.

Matthew began teaching over 20 years ago and is fluent in both English and Cantonese.

Maggie Lu, ARCT

Piano, Rudiments, Harmony

Maggie began taking piano lessons when she was five years old. Since then, she has placed first in numerous piano competitions, and was awarded her ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance. Maggie’s passion for music has led to various concerts in venues such as the Bell Performing Arts Centre, the Roy Barnett Recital Hall, and the Chan Performing Arts Centre. Her performing experience extends to collaboration with the folk pop band The Wilds, and studio recordings at the esteemed Warehouse Studios.

Maggie teaches students with a diverse range of levels, and prepares them for recitals, festivals and RCM examinations. In addition to teaching piano, she also gives lessons in music theory and history. Maggie is currently working on her Master’s degree in Piano and Composition at UBC and is fluent in English and Mandarin.

Yani Lopez, B.Mus

Piano, Flute, Theory

Yani began teaching piano, flute and theory over 15 years ago after having received her Bachelor of Music degree in Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Higher Institute of Art in Cuba.

Since moving to BC she has become a member of the Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra and White Rock Community Orchestra and continues to teach in the White Rock area. She has prepared many students successfully for their RCM examinations and competitions. Her goal is to expand each students musical skills and love for music.

Yani is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Susan Cosco, B.Mus


Susan Cosco, a native of Vancouver, completed her studies at the University of Toronto in violin performance with David Zafer. Her mentors have included Rivka Golani, Joseph Pepper and Nancy DiNovo. Susan’s career was launched with The Kitchener Waterloo Orchestra, The Hamilton Philharmonic and The Canadian Opera Company. She remained in the East until 2005 as an active freelancer and teacher, with performance repertoire that includes symphonic, opera, choral music, musicals, small ensembles and new music. As a teacher she has taught for the Toronto Board of Education, Douglas Community College Suzuki Program and privately. She has performed with The Charlottetown Festival Orchestra for six seasons, along with a North American Tour as the violinist for Fiddler on The Roof and four tours of China with The Mantovani Orchestra. Susan has been teaching for over 20 years

Luis Medina, B.Mus., M.Mus

Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass, Ukulele

Luis Angel Medina is an avid teacher and performing musician who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He began his early musical training at the University of Guadalajara before moving to Vancouver as a teenager to study first at Capilano University and then at the University of British Columbia where he obtained a Bachelors of Music degree in Guitar Performance. While at UBC he won numerous awards and scholarships and was on the Dean’s list every year. After graduating he attended the University of Georgia and received his Master’s degree in Guitar Performance under the mentorship and guidance of acclaimed Canadian guitarist Dr. Daniel Bolshoy, and where he also functioned as a guitar teacher assistant. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Director’s Excellence Award which recognizes students for excellence in musicianship, scholarship, leadership and service while passing his final exams with distinction.

Luis is active with the Classic Guitar Society and his performing career has taken him to cities throughout Italy and all over North America. As a soloist he has performed with A Little Night Music Orchestra. With his duet partner Alec Pearson, who is head of the Guitar Department at UBC, he has been invited to play with the Tri-Cities Guitar Society in Washington. Luis is also very active across the region directing guitar ensembles, teaching and performing at the Kaslo Guitar Festival and with the Vancouver Classic Guitar Society. Luis endeavors to inspire others by sharing his love for music and to bring the classical guitar to the larger community as a means of artistic expression.

Luis is fluent in English and Spanish.