Musicopia Staff Bios
Catherine served as Musicopia’s and Dancing Classrooms Philly’s Grants & Corporate Development Director from 2017-2020. Prior to that, she served as Assistant Vice President in Market Research and technology management for a global credit card company. Catherine has a B.S. in Engineering with Distinction and a minor in Music from Cornell University and holds an Executive Certificate in Financial Success for NonProfits from Cornell University.
The recipient of numerous grants, residencies, and honors, Catherine is also an executive record producer and a recording artist on the prestigious roster of Steinway Artists as pianist and composer. Her 12 albums in her twenty-five-plus year recording career have been broadcast extensively and have won numerous awards, including a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor, the Independent Music Awards Winner for “Instrumental EP” and a ZMR Award for “Best Instrumental Album—Piano.”
Catherine has a deep passion for the arts, music education, and their impact on creativity, joy, and quality of life, and has helped to create community concert series and speakers’ forums. She is also an avid enthusiast of ballroom and Argentine tango dancing, taught ballroom dance to youth in West Philadelphia, and has taught hundreds of students over the course of more than twenty years as a piano teacher. Catherine has been a board member for various arts nonprofits, and currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia chapter of The Recording Academy (“The Grammys®”).
Director of Grants & Research
Alecia first experienced the power of Musicopia, and the welcoming dedicated faculty and staff, as a Musicopia String Orchestra parent. Meeting her children’s School District of Philadelphia general music teacher, who happens to be one of the incomparable MSO Teaching Artists, has forever shaped her family’s extracurricular focus and her professional passion. Alecia received her B.A. from Randolph-Macon College and covered the action of the U.S. Congress for eight years as a Washington, D.C. based journalist. In Philadelphia, she managed distribution for scholarly journal publisher Taylor & Francis. Alecia sees the Gift of Music Instrument Donation program as a contemporary version of the ancient river crossing puzzle. She is overjoyed to use her logistics skills, along with a dedicated team of volunteer drivers, to ensure speedy delivery of generously donated and lovingly refurbished instruments to eager young musicians.
Christina first joined our partner organization, Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP), in the spring of 2021 as a K-Pop Teaching Artist, later becoming a Ballroom Teaching Artist and DCP and Musicopia’s Program Coordinator in 2022. At the University of Pittsburgh, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a certificate in Asian Studies. Prior to joining DCP and Musicopia, she worked with various Philadelphia dance and arts organizations such as Asian Arts Initiative, The Rock School for Dance Education, and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers. Outside of teaching and arts administration, she performs around the Philadelphia area with K-Pop dance group, L8NITE.
Director of Community Engagement & PR
Caitlyn started working with Musicopia in August 2016 after earning a M.A in Professional and Business Communication from La Salle University. Caitlyn also completed her undergraduate studies at La Salle, focusing her education on both communication and the study of music. During this time, she successfully completed an internship with 93.3 WMMR and later accepted a part-time position with their Promotions Department. Caitlyn is thrilled to be part of the Musicopia team, as the organization encompasses many of the La Sallian values that she holds true to her heart; such as concern for the poor and social justice, respect for the dignity of all persons, and belief in quality education for all students. Music has an uncanny way of bringing together people from all different walks of life, and Caitlyn is grateful for the opportunity to bring musical experiences to young people in Philadelphia.
Alexa is an arts administration professional experienced in fundraising and communications. She holds a B.A. in Theatre Studies and a Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Montclair State University in New Jersey. She firmly believes that her experiences in the performing arts growing up helped her find her voice as a storyteller. She is dedicated to serving the Philadelphia community and making arts education accessible to all youth. Alexa is proud of her role in connecting the community to the essential opportunities Musicopia provides for its students.
Artistic Director & Conductor
Taia Harlos received her Bachelor’s of Music in Performance, Bachelor’s of Music in Education, and Master’s in Teaching from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Greg Fulkerson. Taia has taught at Germantown Friends School for 17 years and served as Chair of the Music Department for ten years. She currently directs all three orchestras in the school and has guided the growth of the World Percussion program, Jazz program, the Orchestra program, and the Middle School general music program. Outside of GFS, Taia is an avid chamber musician, freelance artist, and solo artist and clinician. She has performed with the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, the Philly POPS, Lancaster Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Philadelphia Opera Company, Haddonfield Symphony, Newtown Chamber Orchestra, and the Fairmount String Quartet. Taia performs regularly with popular music artists as well, including Natalie Cole, The Who, Josh Groban, Evanescence, and Ben Folds Five. She has performed at numerous summer festivals including the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Mt. Gretna Music Festival, and the Orvieto String Festival in Italy. Taia and her husband, fellow GFS faculty member Jeff Fetterman, have guided expedition canoe trips in the remote Canadian wilderness for 20+ years. When Taia is not canoeing, teaching, performing, or playing with her new puppy (Jäger), she can be found on the wintery slopes as an ardent snowboarder.
With extensive experience as a writer, educator, school leader, and DEI practitioner, Nic brings expertise in cultural identity literacy, data assessment, strategic planning, written content and curriculum development, and project management services.
Director of Communications, Strategy, & People
Director of Student Development & Family Engagement
Rasaq Lawal is a NASM certified group fitness instructor, director, producer, and choreographer, who has performed on leading platforms such as So You Think You Can Dance Season Six ( Celebrity Judge Round). He has also shared the stage with Academy Award Winning group “Three 6 Mafia” and Grammy Award Winner Wizkid. He was Semi- Finalist in the American College Dance Associate, an inductee of Nu Delta Alpha Dance Honor Society and Houston RAW Artist Nominee. Rasaq went to Washington and Lee University (B.A. in Economics and Dance Composition). He has always been an agent for Diversity and Inclusion as exemplified by his Princeton Prize on Race Relations. His passion for dance, youth and personal development led him to being a Dance and Mindfulness Educator at Mastery Charter School and Philadelphia School District. He has facilitated community programming for over 10 years with the intention of getting communities to engage in joyous movement and wellness practices.
Senior Director of Philanthropy & Community
Kate Lombardi received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of the Arts and Certificates from Bryn Mawr College’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute and Boston University’s Professional Fundraising program. She began working with Musicopia affiliate, Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP), in 2008 as a Teaching Artist, when she had the honor of being trained in the Dulaine Method by Dancing Classrooms (DC) founder, Pierre Dulaine. She then took on the position of Education Liaison and later Artistic and Education Director. In 2014, Kate received certification as DC Global Network Senior Teaching Artist and in 2018, found true joy in her role as Managing Director of DCP, which through social dance is helping to mold the lives and spark an artistic flare in children throughout the Philadelphia region. In 2018, Kate began working more closely with Musicopia as the Musicopia Drumline Manager. Kate now serves as Director of Philanthropy and Community for both Musicopa and DCP. Continuing to explore her own dance artistry, Kate performs with SHARP, Dancefusion, and Anne Marie Mulgrew & Dancers in Philadelphia, where she enjoys both reconstructing historical modern dance works and exploring new choreography by local artists.
Senior Director of Programming
Leslie Malmed Macedo is a seasoned arts administrator with a focus on traditional and classical music and dance. She has served on the staffs of the World Music Institute (1999-2008), Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana (2008-2011), Dance Theatre Etcetera (2011-2014) and the Philadelphia Folklore Project (2014-2016). In 2001, Leslie co-founded Mamadêlê Productions, a company that arranges performances and educational programs that present the music, dance and martial arts of Bahia, Brazil. She has served on the board of Dance USA (2009-2011) and joined the board of International Ballet Exchange in 2014. Throughout her career Leslie has worked with internationally acclaimed artists from around the world, arranging performances and educational programs at major performing arts centers and educational institutions throughout the United States and Canada. She was part of the curatorial team that co-produced the Cultural Olympiad in Greece, curated artists for the Nat Geo children’s tv series Ma Mirabelle as well as educational performance series at the Juilliard School and Baruch College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Leslie received a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School where she studied Ethnomusicology and International Politics.
Social Media Content Curator
Nicole has a bachelor's degree in Music Industry Studies and Arts Administration from Albright College. Her experiences include working for an independent record label in marketing and promotions and for a non-profit arts organization assisting in membership efforts and social media management. Joining Musicopia in 2022, Nicole is excited to be part of an organization that values the importance of sharing and experiencing music with others.
Nathan Rifenburg has a robust record in music education both as a classroom teacher in Florida and Washington DC and also as a teaching artist with LA Opera (2011-2015). As a performer, he has sung in many regional choirs and has been a part of regional repertory theater and community theater, serving both as a performer and musical director. Nathan later moved into arts administration with LA Opera taking over the role of Education Manager (2015-2018) for their diverse set of programs and teaching artists throughout Los Angeles County. Nathan has a Bachelor of Music degree from Longwood University, a small liberal arts school known for its education program, in Farmville, Virginia. He is married to his husband Lucas and they have two beautiful daughters.
Dionne Long is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Over the past ten years, Dionne has worked as an accounting professional in both Pennsylvania and California. She has provided services to small businesses, tax-exempt organizations including Charter Schools and Universities in service as auditor, Virtual CFO, and business strategist. Highlights of sectors Dionne has served are the real estate, retail, construction, and professional services industries. Dionne has a strong affinity and commitment to education and not-for-profit organizations. She is an engaged part of her community having served on a number of volunteer boards of directors.
Dionne graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration from Drexel University. She specializes in accounting, federal tax-exempt compliance, and organizational financial strategy for not-for-profit organizations. Prior to joining Musicopia and Dancing Classrooms Philly, Dionne was the Managing Director of an accounting firm that served solely not-for-profit organizations. Dionne enjoys spending time with her son, Truth, spending time in nature, and traveling in her free time.