About Opus11

Mission Statement

We’re passionate about teaching music in a way that’s accessible and individualized.

We believe that neither age nor ability is a barrier to learning music. We want everyone to have access to the joy of music, so you can have fun with it for a lifetime and pass your love down to your own children.

At Opus11, you’re not bound by a certain style of music or class structure, either. Practice classical or contemporary music. Learn to play your favorite songs by ear. Study theory and composition. Sky’s the limit! We’ll pair you with a teacher who’ll get you there, whatever “there” looks like for you.

Behind the Name

The name Opus11 was inspired by:

  • The number 11. It symbolizes new beginnings: perfect for the start of a new musical endeavor, someone who’s never played an instrument before, or those coming to music later in life.
  • Music. Opus 11 is a set of preludes by composer Alexander Scriabin. Julie, our founder, considers the piece one of her favorites.
  • Our founder. Julie’s birthday is November 11!

Our Teachers

All teachers at Opus11 School of Music share in the vision of making music fun and accessible for the entire family. Below, meet our wonderful faculty who will embark on your musical journey with you!

Julie Poklewski

Founder, Principal Instructor

Julie Poklewski began teaching piano classes when she was seventeen. Her mom, a concert pianist, had gone on tour to Spain, and while she was away, Julie took on her mom’s piano students so they wouldn’t miss out on their lessons. She later went on to earn her B.M. degree in Piano Performance and her M.A. in Piano Pedagogy.

Her love for teaching only grew from there. From holding lessons out of her own house, Julie expanded into program development: facilitating group classes, organizing recitals, and hosting guest speakers to talk about history and composition to her students. Julie has been teaching and developing music programs ever since. In August of 2020, Julie founded Opus11 School of Music, together with her husband, Alex Poklewski.

Julie has worked as a collaborative pianist with various choirs, musicals, and soloists, including the Vivace Youth Chorus since its inception in 2003. For six years, she has served as president of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Santa Clara Chapter. Within MTNA, she started several successful adult recitals and an emerging artists recital series. Julie is also executive director of the San Jose International Piano Competition.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Alex Delgado

Voice Teacher

Mezzo soprano Alex Delgado, was introduced to their love of music at age 7 when they first began piano lessons and found a passion for singing when they joined choir in middle school. Since then, Alex has had the opportunity to perform for and with artists such as Greta Van Fleet, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Josh Groban, and Andrea Bocelli.

Since 2019 Alex has performed the roles of Lucy Brown in Brecht’s Threepenny Opera (2020), and scenes as Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Monetecchi (2021), Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (2019), and a street singer in Bernstein’s Mass. Their most recent engagements include performing a double bill performing the role of Dionisia in Rodriguez’s La Curandera and “Vickie Van Winkle” in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Trial by Jury, chorus member for Andrea Bocelli, and backup vocalist for Josh Groban’s “Harmony” tour.

Before discovering their love for performing, Alex knew they had a desire to teach music since they first joined choir in middle school. Alex began teaching private voice lessons in 2019 and has since striven to uplift and motivate students to find their own voice and discover what inspires them. They are inspired by the wonderful teachers they have worked with in the past and wish to inspire their own students in the same way.

When Alex is not teaching or performing, they love to collect plants, play bass, and take care of their four rats: Oliver, Toast, Augustus, and Soup. They enjoy being creative with their hobbies such as painting, cinematography, and songwriting.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • San Jose

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Stanley Do

Piano Teacher

Stanley has been playing the piano for over 15 years. Born into a family of musicians, he was constantly surrounded by music and began studying the piano at 7 years old. After 10 years of classical training, he continued to self-study afterward and pursued his passion for Romantic Era classical music.

Stanley graduated from Otis College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. He worked in New York City for 10 years as a designer, where he learned how to manage deadlines in an incredibly fast-paced and stressful environment. During that time, the piano was his only refuge and he experienced firsthand how profoundly healing music could be. It became an outlet for stress, creativity, expression, emotion, and communication. Because of his impactful experience with music, Stanley decided to refocus his time and energy towards teaching and sharing the gift of music with others.

Stanley has trained with Selena Pistoresi on a strengths-based approach to teaching music that caters to each individual student. The priority is having fun and making music first and foremost.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • San Jose

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Karina Grigorian

Piano Teacher

Karina Grigorian is originally from Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia and was raised in a family of musicians. She has a tremendous passion for music, has been playing since the young age of six, and holds a degree in piano pedagogy from Tbilisi State Conservatory. Karina moved to California in 1997 and has been working as a piano teacher and as an accompanist for over 25 years. Karina has significant experience in teaching children and adults of all ages. She’s very passionate about teaching piano and works closely with each student to create a customized learning plan, establish a strong musical foundation, while making sure the process is fun end engaging. Over the years her students have competed and won top awards in multiple competitions including the Youth Focus competition and the US Open competition. Karina is a certified Suzuki teacher and is a member of American College of Musicians. During the academic year, her students participate in Guild Auditions.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Tatiana Kuzmina

Piano, Guitar, & Violin Teacher

Tatiana Kuzmina has been teaching music since 2010. She began her music studies age the age of 5, and has studied violin, piano, vocals, guitar, music theory, musical literature, and world art history. She holds 3 degrees in piano, violin, and has earned a Master’s degree in Economics from the International Institute of Economics and Law and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Kazan State University of Architecture and Construction.
Raised in Russia, Tatiana was a member of symphony and jazz orchestras that toured all over the country. She has always been fascinated by improvisation and selection of melodies by ear. She has abundant experience in teaching private music classes to neurodiverse students of all ages.
As a mother of 3 boys, Tatiana focuses on creating friendly and trusting relationships built upon motivation and inspiration. She always looks forward to guiding her students and celebrating their accomplishments!

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

  • San Jose

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Tristen Laufenberg

Piano, Guitar, Violin & Voice Teacher

Tristen began studying and playing music at a young age. She has studied music since 2006 in many areas including piano, concert band, marching band, choir, and trombone. She continued her trombone studies all throughout high school and college. Tristen is a graduate of the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor’s of Music degree with an emphasis in music education. She enjoys working with younger students and learning more about music daily. Tristen believes that music is a crucial part of life and that music-making should be available to all students regardless of age and ability level. She is eager to teach her passion to students!

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

  • WunderMusic – Toddlers

  • WunderMusic – Preschool

  • Mini Musicians

  • Kidzrock

LOCATIONS

  • San Jose

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Matthew Leung

Violin Teacher

Matthew Chun Hoi Leung has been teaching violin in the San Jose Area (Santa Clara County) since 2014. Leung earned the Grade 8 Distinction of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and received the Grade 8 Merit of the Hong Kong Schools Music and speech Association Music festival in 2009. Leung was a violinist in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Hong Kong from 2005 until 2009, led by conductor Ray Tsoi and studied with Tony Yeung. He also performed in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Hong Kong City hall. Leung graduated from San Jose State University with a Music BA degree in 2017, where he studied with violinist Diane Nicholeris and Dr. Sarah Jones.

Leung is also served as a hymn pianist in several churches including New Life Church of Cupertino, Crosspoint Chinese Church of Silicon Valley, Bridges Community Church of Fremont and Loving Grace Church of Cupertino since 2014.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Natalie Mesh

Piano Teacher

Natalie discovered her passion for music at the age of 6. After completing her studies with Professor Dmitry Svetozarov at St-Petersburg conservatory of music, where she received her Artistic Diploma, she was invited to play the majestic Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto with the conservatory orchestra. In 1985 Natalie moved to Klaipeda, Lithuania, where she served as a collaborative pianist at the Opera House and taught piano at Klaipeda’s Conservatory of Music. Natalie has lived in California for over 20 years and been teaching piano to students of all ages.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Anthony Mora

Percussion Instructor

Anthony Mora Is a professional drummer from San Jose, California. He has studied technique under Symphony Silicon Valley’s Principal percussionist Galen Lemmon, as well as theory and musicianship under Dr. Paul Setziol, earning him his music degree. Anthony has experienced playing live music in genres ranging from jazz, to orchestral, to metal and continues to study drums and percussion today.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

  • San Jose

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Elizabeth Neff

Piano and Voice Instructor

Elizabeth Neff is a native of Santa Cruz County where her piano studies began at age 5 with her mother. She then studied with Connie Fortunato and Elena Sharkova until she was 17 years old when she joined the studio of Irina Prilipko-Morgan, who was the influence inspiring Elizabeth to major in music.
Elizabeth attended Cabrillo College, working under Cheryl Anderson as a teaching assistant. She continued her studies at San Jose State University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in solo piano performance under Dr. Gwendolyn Mok. Her Master’s degrees, in Collaborative Piano and solo Vocal Performance, were obtained at Notre Dame de Namur University where she studied with Daniel Lockert, Dr. Lee Strawn, and Hatem Nadim.
Prior to and since graduating from NDNU in 2015, Elizabeth has performed with numerous solo vocalists, choirs, and schools in the Bay Area, and is currently employed at Santa Clara University as a vocal coach for music students.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Erik Neumann

Guitar, Ukulele and Piano Instructor

Erik Neumann is a Bay Area native with a passion for playing guitar, piano, and ukulele. He has a music minor degree from Colby College in Waterville, ME, where he studied many styles of music on guitar including jazz, bossa nova, folk, slack-key, and classical. At Colby he also accompanied the Broadway Musical Review on piano. Erik has performed in various ensembles, including Latin jazz, world fusion, rock, reggae, funk, and blues, as well as leading ukulele ensembles in middle schools. He’s been teaching music to individuals and small groups for many years and is driven to nurture a love of music and creativity in younger generations.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

  • San Jose

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Charlotte Parque

Piano Teacher

Erik Neumann is a Bay Area native with a passion for playing guitar, piano, and ukulele. He has a music minor degree from Colby College in Waterville, ME, where he studied many styles of music on guitar including jazz, bossa nova, folk, slack-key, and classical. At Colby he also accompanied the Broadway Musical Review on piano. Erik has performed in various ensembles, including Latin jazz, world fusion, rock, reggae, funk, and blues, as well as leading ukulele ensembles in middle schools. He’s been teaching music to individuals and small groups for many years and is driven to nurture a love of music and creativity in younger generations.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • San Jose

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Selena Pistoresi

Piano Teacher

Selena has been teaching piano since 2008. She is the founder and director of Cultivate Music Studio, which she passed along to Opus 11 in 2022. She is an expert in teaching piano to students with disabilities. She also trains teachers all over the world to do so via online courses and workshops. She is an author of piano method books for students with disabilities as well as a speaker at conferences and on podcasts for music teachers. She is a licensed Musikgarten instructor and has taught early childhood music classes to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers since 2015. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor’s degree in Music and Psychology. She studied classical piano with Hans Boepple and jazz piano with Bill Stevens.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • San Jose

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Marina Nikiforov

Piano, Recorder, and Voice Instructor

Marina Nikiforov has been teaching music for eighteen years. She has worked with students of a wide range of ages: from 6 to 66. She is a certified Waldorf teacher and has taught music to grades 1-8. The experience gave her a unique perspective on the different stages of child development, and the intellectual and creative needs associated with each stage. This influences her choice of musical material and assignments.

Marina has been studying music since she was 6 years old. She continues to broaden her knowledge of musical styles and performing arts genres, which include ensemble playing, historical dancing, classical opera, and musical theatre. She is passionate about bringing this whole spectrum of musical experiences to her students.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Will Schneider

Piano Instructor

Will Schneider is a lifelong and award-winning pianist. He began studing privately with Veronica Vitale before going on to study piano performance and pedagogy under Dr. Gwendolyn Mok at San Jose State University. He has been teaching piano privately in San Jose since 2010, and has been tutoring college level music theory and music history at De Anza College and San Jose State University. Mr. Schneider also composes for a number of local ensembles including the Choraliers, and sings professionally in a variety of choirs.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Jonathan Selmer

Saxophone Instructor

Johnny Selmer is a classical saxophonist and music educator living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Featured on NPR Live Sessions and Classical KING FM 98.1 in Seattle, Mr. Selmer holds the alto chair of the award-winning Zelos Saxophone Quartet. Mr. Selmer has performed throughout the United States as both a soloist and chamber musician, including regular recitals at the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference and the International Saxophone Symposium. Mr. Selmer has earned his MM in Music Performance from San Jose State University in 2021.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Karinda Shieh

Piano Instructor

Karinda’s love for music began at 5 years old, when she first joined a children’s choir. After that, music became a daily part of life. Piano, choir, theory, and composition were all included in her high school and college education. She was classically trained under Susan Nguyen in the Certificate of Merit Program, and she graduated from Bethany University with a degree in teaching music.

Karinda has been teaching piano lessons since high school, supplementing her other professions as a Math and Science teacher and Communications. Her passion is helping children and adults discover a love for music and developing both artistry and excellence in their musicianship.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

  • Piano

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Ricardo Silvestri

Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Voice, Production Teacher

Rick has been teaching all ages and levels of guitar, upright and electric bass, and ukulele, specializing in jazz, blues, rock, and classical since the early 2000s. He has performed with several jazz, rock, and blues bands as well as in local orchestras.

Rick also has extensive experience with Propellerhead’s Reason, Record, and Recycle programs. He has performed live DJ sets with Ableton Live, and is eager to share his knowledge of recording programs with his students.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

  • Guitar

  • Ukulele

  • Voice

  • Music Production

LOCATIONS

  • Online Only

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Nadia Sokolov

Piano & Voice Instructor

Nadia Sokolov is a performer and a voice/choir/piano teacher with more than 10 years of teaching experience. Nadia studied at State Music Gnessin College as classical singer, took private vocal coaching over 5 years with soprano Jane Randolph at San Francisco Conservatoire, and has finished her Music Education Bachelor at SJSU School of Music and Dance. In addition to her teaching experience in both Moscow and California she is an active performer, currently singing at the Sunnyvale Russian Theater since 2018, and with SJSU Opera Theater since 2019.

Nadia’s teaching philosophy to help students realize their talents through performing and singing with a holistic and natural approach. She focuses on full body breathing, vowel and breath alignment, releasing muscle tension, and the mastery of clear and crisp diction.

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Lilith Spivack

Voice Instructor

A graduate of Manhattan School of Music, Lilith Spivack is a dynamic soprano based in New York and the San Francisco, Bay Area. She adores exploring all kinds of music and has a wide range of repertoire including Donizetti, Strauss, and John Harbison. Lilith is an enthusiastic teaching artist, and has taught everything from STEM subjects to music, to students of all ages. Apart from her passion for opera, Lilith is a keen baker and cat lover.

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Felip Walker

Piano and Guitar Instructor

A graduate from the CSU Long Beach music conservatory, Felip has studied music production, jazz performance, arrangement, composition and jazz theory. He also performed as a pianist and drummer in jazz combos. As a professional music educator and artist, his knowledge of different musical styles and multi-instrument prowess helps students discover their true musicianship.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Zachary White

Guitar Instructor

Zachary White is a composer and classical guitarist from San Jose.  He has studied at both De Anza College and graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Composition in 2020.  He has studied under Steven Lin (Guitar) and Pablo Furman (Composition). Zachary’s musical journey began producing electronic music and playing in metal bands throughout middle and high school before taking his musical studies more seriously in college.  He currently writes music for animation and short films, and experiments with modular synthesis and sound design in his free time.

INSTRUMENTS & CLASSES TAUGHT

LOCATIONS

  • Campbell

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Testimonials

Hear from members of our musical family:

My daughter Emma loves the piano lessons with Ms Julie. She looks forward to come back to the next lesson even before she leaves the studio. Ms Julie creates a supportive rather than a competitive learning environment. She works with each individual student based on his/her own interest and pace, and she knows how to connect to a student. This connection motivates Emma to practice, and furthermore the pieces that Ms Julie picks for her are so beautiful that she won’t get bored when playing it over and over. The duet part is an enjoyment for both Emma and myself. But it doesn’t mean that the lessons are any less of a challenge. As a “piano parent” who also happens to be an adult student of the studio myself, I can see Ms Julie’s lessons covers a broad range of techniques such as articulations, breath, pedal, and more. All the techniques are introduced even from the very first lesson! This is Emma’s first piano experience. I’m happy to see that after the initial “honeymoon”, her interest on piano is still growing. For me, her smiles after playing a piece says everything.

Bin Fan
My son really enjoys taking lessons at Mrs. Julie’s Music Studio from teachers who make him feel comfortable and acknowledge his effort along the way. He progressed quite quickly in the beginning and then hit more challenging parts that he wasn’t keen on practicing at home. However, the teachers are skilled at creating a special bond with each student and capable of encouraging them to continue mastering the songs. I am always excited to see that light bulb moment during a lesson when he finally gets it. The big smile and being proud of his effort is just the best feeling for a parent to witness. It’s so great to have the opportunity to observe my child’s lessons in Ms. Julie’s cozy studio. I can’t wait to see more progress made that will ignite the fire in my child to want to practice on his own. So grateful we have found the best music studio with a variety of great class options for children and adults!
Sonia & Igor Markovsky

It is a pleasure for me to write about Julie Poklewski and Opus11 School of Music!  My kids and I have been taking piano lessons with Julie for a little more than two years.  Besides the fact that she is a wonderful human being, Julie has a unique teaching style than keeps kids and adults excited and motivated with the learning process. I am truly happy that my kids have a teacher who is instilling a lifelong love for music and the qualities of perseverance and dedication in my children.  More than anything, I am glad I do not have to nag my kids to practice anymore and we have the piano being played constantly in our home.

Shailaja Venkatsubramanyan

Avani enjoys learning piano from Ms Julie as the way of her teaching is wonderful. She tries to connect with the student and is cheerful and super nice. Also, she gives her students options as to what pieces they want to learn. It is wonderful to see how Ms Julie taught Avani to play difficult pieces like Fur Elise.
My experience so far has been amazing. I really like the way Ms Julie sends an email after each class. It mentions in a very clear and concise way the homework for the week. As a piano parent, I feel Julie is very organized in designing the yearly round classes, activities and recitals. To sum up, Ms Julie is a wonderful piano teacher who is always cheerful and enthusiastic to teach music to her students.

Nidhi Thakur

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