School of the Arts
Ars Nova, Incorporated is a 501(c)3 status non-profit organization dedicated to the performing arts, with an emphasis on music. Operated under its auspices are a school for training in voice, piano, violin, cello, harp, children’s music, and theatre in addition to a production company which performs plays, musicals, and opera.
Introducing New Instructors
Piano and Aural Skills Instructor
A Russian-American pianist, Alina Sarkisian Bennett has performed widely throughout the United States, Japan, Germany, Poland, Azerbaijan and Russia. She made her solo debut at the age of 9 with the Baku Philharmonic, performing Haydn D major piano concerto. Ms. Bennett went on to become a prize-winner of many international competitions, including the International Europa-Asia competition in Orsk, Russia; San-Jose International Competition in California, Maria Yudina Piano competition in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She holds a terminal degree (equivalent to DMA) from the prestigious Gnesins Academy of Music on Moscow and completed two graduate programs at Schwob school of Music at Columbus State University. Her teachers include Natalia Vidulina, Oleg Rudakov, Igor Nikonovich, Vladimir Tropp and Alexander Kobrin.
As a soloist Alina Bennett has performed with many orchestras, including the International Bach Society Orchestra in Moscow, the Scriabin College of Music Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus State University Philharmonic.
A passionate chamber ensemble musician, she initiated and completed several major chamber music concert series, including the Complete Ten Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin in a series of three consecutive concerts at the River Center for Performing Arts in Columbus, GA.
A dedicated educator, she has been teaching for almost 25 years in various settings and levels, from private instruction to collegiate level teaching.
Beginning Voice and Beginning Piano Instructor
Mezzo-Soprano Kathleen Buckner has performed in the South East for many years, and recently began teaching in Huntsville, AL with The Maitland Conservatory as a voice and piano instructor. She recently completed her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance at the University of Southern Mississippi, under the direction of Dr. Maryann Kyle. Before attending university, Ms. Buckner studied for four years with Dr. Ginger Beazley at Ars Nova School of the Arts and attended the Academy for Academics and Arts in Huntsville from kindergarten through 8th grade. Currently she is continuing her study of the voice and its pedagogy with Dr. Beazley.
Ms. Buckner is also an active member in the arts community. She sings at First Presbyterian Church in their Chancel Choir and performs in various ensembles and concerts with Ars Nova.
Pianist Aimee Fincher, an Alabama native, is in her third season with Huntsville Ballet. She is
currently a doctoral candidate in collaborative piano at Arizona State University, where she held
a teaching assistantship for three years. Ms. Fincher earned performance and pedagogy
degrees from the University of Alabama and the University of South Carolina, where she
frequently performed with distinguished guest artists including Timothy Smith, Kenneth Tse, and
Mariano Garcia. She is active in national conferences and international chamber music festivals,
most recently the College Music Society National Conference, the Society of American Music
Conference, and the Vianden (Luxembourg) Chamber Music Festival. Together with her duo
partner, violinist Hannah Leland, Ms. Fincher recently released Duo Odéon’s debut album,
Specter. The album, released on the Sono Luminus label, features premiere recordings of
unpublished manuscripts by the composer George Antheil and the violinist Werner Gebauer.
Ms. Fincher can also be heard on Summit records’ album, “Table for Three,” in collaboration
with ASU brass professor John Ericson and professor emeritus Douglas Yeo.
Voice and Piano Instructor
Michigan-born soprano, Iris Fordjour-Hankins is a graduate of Oakwood University, Boston University and is in the final stages of doctoral work in voice at the University of Kentucky. Formerly, Iris taught music for the Detroit Public Schools and is now in her third year as a voice instructor at Oakwood University. As a soprano soloist, it has been Iris’ privilege to sing in various operatic venues, concerts, oratorios, cantatas, churches and chorales. Her repertoire includes the works of Verdi, Puccini, Handel, Gounod, Mozart, Wagner, Beethoven and Bellini. Her early voice studies were with Dr. Ricky Little, Dorothy Duensing and Dina Winter. And, after winning second place in the 2013 Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition at the University of Kentucky, the full-ride award allowed her to study in the studios of Dr. Everett McCorvey and Dr. Angelique Clay-Everett.
Ars Nova admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship programs, and other school-administered programs.