Joan Isaacs Litman, Founding Artistic Director of Cantigas, is a native of Los Angeles and has directed choirs in the New York metropolitan area for thirty-two years. Her choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Juilliard School. She is a member of the music faculty of the United Nations International School in Manhattan, directing the UNIS Mothers' Choir and a children's choir. She was the winner of the first "Excellence in Teaching" award from Westminster Choir College, and in 2009 was awarded "Educator of the Year" by the Organization of American Kodály Educators.
With a longing to stimulate trust and enjoyment of often misunderstood cultures, Ms. Litman has focused her musical research on traditional songs of the Middle East. She has studied and taught both students and teachers throughout the United States, and in 2010-2011, was privileged to guest conduct (and learn from) choirs in Damascus, Syria, Tripoli, Lebanon; and Tokyo, Japan. Ms. Litman is a Founder and Music Director Emerita at Mustard Seed School, and has also served on the faculties of The Hudson School, The Brearley School, and the Kodály Institute at Capital University (Ohio and Hungary).
Erasmia Voukelatos, Assistant Director and Accompanist, is a Canadian pianist of Greek descent and has been active as a solo chamber musician, teacher, music director, and concert series presenter. Her coaches and mentors have included Seymour Bernstein, Rita Bouboulidi, and Robert McDonald. Concerto appearances have included the Mozart Concerto in A major (K. 488) and the Haydn Concerto in D major with the Canadian ensemble "Mercredi Musique", as well as the Bach Keyboard Concerto in d minor, which was released on the CD, The Best of Brooklyn. Ms. Voukelatos has achieved some noteworthy success as a piano teacher of almost 20 years -- a number of her students have gone on to pursue music professionally with careers in music education and as composers for the Hollywood film industry.
She currently teaches elementary music at the Far Brook School in Short Hills, New Jersey, and has previously taught at Stevens Cooperative and Mustard Seed School in New Jersey and the United Nations International School in New York. She enjoys collaborating with her husband, violinist Ashley Horne, and together they have founded My Music Garden, a music enrichment program serving schools in the Jersey City area. Ms. Voukelatos has been accompanying Cantigas since its formation.