The Music Program at Rutgers Prep aims to develop and nurture the musical soul that resides in every student. The Music Department offers musical training and instruction in music literacy, listening, performance and appreciation of varied eras, styles and cultures. Our music programs promote confidence, self-esteem, sensitivity and inner discipline within each student as it encourages cooperation and teamwork within the school and the community.


Each year the Music Department presents two annual concerts for Band, Choir and Orchestra. These take place at RPS Pegeen O'Connell Dining Commons (Band), Voorhees Chapel in New Brunswick (Choir), and the Christ Episcopal Church in New Brunswick (Orchestra).

Region and All-State Opportunities

Each year talented RPS musicians are selected to audition for and perform in New Jersey Regional and All State Choir and Orchestra. Choir students annually are chosen to be members of the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division and National High School Honor Choirs. Madrigal Singers and Women’s Vocal Chamber Ensemble annually participate in the New Jersey ACDA High School Choral Festival and regularly receive ratings of excellent and superior.

Orchestra Programs

UPPER SCHOOL ORCHESTRA (full year) The Orchestra is open to string players who have developed necessary technical and sight-reading skills. The students perform repertoire that is selected from a variety of periods and styles. The orchestra meets four times a week, and performs in two orchestra concerts during the school year.

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (full year) Chamber Orchestra is open to students who play a string instrument at an advanced level. A variety of Chamber and Orchestral music will be studied and performed, ranging from the Renaissance and Baroque period to the Twenty-First century. The orchestra meets three times per week.

Band Programs

CONCERT BAND (full year) Concert Band is open to any student who plays a woodwind, brass, or percussion instrument. Guitar and bass are not suitable for this ensemble. The ensemble meets four times per week. The repertoire will consist of traditional concert band literature.

BRASS ENSEMBLE (full year) Brass Ensemble consists of French horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, and tuba. This ensemble will explore the unique sounds of the brass family. There will be a variety of music studied and performed, ranging from classical to modern. Students will learn how to work within a smaller ensemble. This ensemble meets three times a week. Prerequisite: Approval of the instructor; student must demonstrate a high interest and basic proficiency on their instrument.

SAXOPHONE ENSEMBLE (full year) Saxophone Ensemble is open to students who presently play soprano, alto, tenor, or baritone saxophone. This course is performance based. Repertoire includes classical, jazz, and contemporary styles. Basic music theory and the history of wind instruments is included in this curriculum. This ensemble meets three times a week.

Choral Programs

MENS AND WOMENS MIXED CHOIR (full year) This ensemble is for students who enjoy singing and can match pitch. The students learn and perform vocal music of many styles and periods. They learn and apply vocal technique to performance in order to develop tone quality and tonal memory. This ensemble meets four days a week during 9th period and performs in two concerts throughout the school year.

MADRIGALS ENSEMBLE (full year) Madrigals is open through audition ONLY to students who sing at an advanced level. This group performs in two concerts during the school year as well as multiple events outside the school. The students perform repertoire that is selected from a variety of periods and styles. This ensemble meets three days a week during the 8-period rotation. Prerequisite: Approval of the instructor through audition ONLY and enrollment in an additional musical ensemble.

MUSIC THEORY (full year) Expanding upon elements of music-reading and writing first encountered in performance ensembles (Band, Choir and Orchestra), Music Theory will focus on strengthening the student’s grasp of music notation. During the course, students will systematically work through writing basic intervals, scales, chords and harmony will also working to develop an understanding of ear-training, melodic dictation and composition.

Jazz Band

Jazz Band is comprised of upper school students who have been playing for a minimum of three years. The ensemble meets once a week before school. Students are expected to learn their music via home practice.

Music Lessons

The Rutgers Preparatory School Music Department is dedicated to giving each student a complete musical experience. To achieve this goal, students are encouraged to take part in the Independent Music Instructor Program, a private music instruction program that matches students with dedicated professionals from the Tri-State area.

Private individual music instruction is currently available on the following instruments: piano, violin, viola, cello, beginning bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, and trombone.

Tuition for private lessons is $40.00 for 30 minutes, $55.00 for 45 minutes and $70.00 for 60 minutes. If interested, please contact:

Lyssandra Stephenson, IMI Coordinator

- IMI Instructors-

Robyn Koenigsberg (Cello and Bass) started her musical career when she was 8, making her first Carnegie Hall debut when she was 10 years old. She attended the Manhattan School of Music Summer Program at the age of 13 and then continued her musical studies with Madeline Casparie, Julie Albers and Susannah Chapman. She worked as a volunteer for the American String Teaching Association throughout her college career, as well as taught private lessons, and group lessons. She graduated in 2013 with a Bachelors Degree in Music Education from Kean University and started working in a public school the following year. She has worked with students through the El Sistema Program in Newark, as well as the Academy of Music in Elizabeth. Robyn is currently in the process of receiving her graduate degree at Montclair University.

Lisa Lorraine Johnson ’77 (flute and piccolo) is a graduate of Rutgers Preparatory School having attended K-12. She graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance and holds a Masters of Music in Flute Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Johnson has been a private flute teacher for thirty years. She is a recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from Rutgers Preparatory School. In addition, she was Master Class Assistant to Sir James Galway in Switzerland. She performed a "sold out" debut at Carnegie Recital Hall as the prize winner of Artist International Competition. Ms. Johnson has also been a featured entertainer on the Cunard ships: Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2 and others. She has performed on european orchestra tours and Broadway Show tours.

Grace Lim (Violin and Viola) received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Performance from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Isaac Malkin and Daniel Avshalomov. Ms. Lim has been on the faculty of Monmouth Conservatory of Music. She incorporates both the traditional and Suzuki methods to ensure that the students develop good rhythm, intonation, and beautiful tone by ear. Ms. Lim is also an active performing artist. She has given many concerts as a member of orchestra and chamber music ensembles and performed around the world with professional ensembles and orchestras. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts in performance at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Lisa Peterson (Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone) graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education and a Master of Arts in Music Performance on French Horn. Mrs. Peterson holds a New Jersey Teachers Certification and is a member of NJMEA. She is presently the Band Director at Rutgers Preparatory School and has been teaching Beginner Band, Middle / Upper School Band, and Chamber Ensembles since 1990. Mrs. Peterson is a member of the Pennsbury Community Concert Band and is a pit orchestra musician for all Kelsey Theater productions. Mrs. Peterson’s private studio improves playing technique to prepare students for their school ensembles, Region / All State Ensembles, and outside ensembles.

Michael Szeles ‘00 (violin) graduated magna cum from the Boston Conservatory of Music. He has performed at Harvard University, MIT, Babson College, and Fannuiel Hall in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a member of the Quincy and Marlboro Symphonies. Mr. Szeles has studied with Bonnie Bewick and Ronan Lefkowitz of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Oscar Ravina of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Brennan Sweet of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, David Halen, concertmaster of the St Louis Symphony and chamber music with James Dunham from the Cleveland String Quartet. He has performed in master classes for David Kim, Illya Kaler and Charles Castleman, and Joseph McGauley. Mr. Szeles has studied and performed at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado as well as the MasterWorks Festival. He is a member of the Montclair Chamber Orchestra, the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Christ Church Chamber Ensemble, Plainfield Symphony, Livingston Symphony and Central Jersey Symphony. He is also a member of the American String Teachers Association and is a registered Suzuki Violin instructor.

Claire Saunders Wilson (violin) graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Music Performance from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Performing Arts. She is holds a Master of Music in Violin Performance from SUNY Purchase. Her teachers have included Calvin Weirsma, Todd Phillips, Peter Winograd, Matthew Reichert, and Chris Nam. Ms. Wilson performs throughout the area with the Bravura Philharmonic, New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, and Montclair Chamber Ensemble. She has served as concertmaster of the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra and conducted the NJIO's Nouveau Ensemble. She began teaching at RPS in 2004, and has also taught at Westminster Conservatory in Princeton. Claire received a scholarship to the Fontainbleau Chamber Music Festival in France.

Natassia Xsavier Ling (piano) has taught privately since 1981 and at Rutgers Preparatory School since 1990. As a chamber musician, she has performed with the New Jersey Symphony, the Princeton Chamber Symphony and the Spring Lake Theatre Company. Ms. Xsavier Ling distinguished herself as a finalist and recipient of two honorable mention awards at the 1992 and the 1995 International Harpsichord Competition in Bruges, Belgium as well as the top prize at the 1991 Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society International Competition. She was a finalist for the 1993 Fulbright Scholarship, also. Ms. Xsavier Ling’s musical studies include the Louisville Academy of Music, the Preparatory Division of the Manhattan School, the Monserrat School and Rutgers University. She studied with Charlotte Mattex and Samuel Dilworth-Leslie at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, where she was awarded a B.M. and M.M. in Music Performance.