Atitlan Music School Instructors
Happily the music school has achieved a goal of being under Guatemalan management.
Carlos Cush (Drums, Percussion, Solfeggio), A nationally-recognized percussionist in Guatemala, was a founding teacher at the inception of Atitlan Music School, and has been a pillar of our educational community. He toured in the Los Angeles area in the late 70s, and came back to Guatemala in the 80s, where he has been involved in many projects over the years. In 2015, Cush was invited to premiere a song titled VAMOS PATRIA CAMINANDO with the Guatemalan Symphony Orchestra, Guatemalan National choir, Concert marimba and Marimba de Bellas Artes.
Cliff Nagle (Saxophone) Cliff brings another touch of Jazz to la Escuela de Música. After decades working as a carpenter and itinerant photographer, Cliff returns to his musical roots going back to elementary school bands. The pleasure and joy he has found in his music is passed on to his saxophone students. ¡Viva la música!
Elizabeth Dequine Is a volunteer from the United States, who teaches Ukulele for kids and kids at heart at both our school in Panajachel and also in San Juan La Laguna. She is a leader and musician for the "Dances of Universal Peace" and one time school counselor and director.
Oscar Borja (Piano, Voice, Flute) Is another versatile young Guatemalan musician who currently fronts the band Pana Play. He has won several awards locally for his voice. With two little ones of his own, Oscar’s specialty is teaching beginners, with whom he has an excellent rapport. Mr. Borja joined our staff in 2014.
Omar Juarez (Piano) Bachelor of Music graduated from the "Global University of Theology of Texas" extension Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. He is a versatile keyboardist in different musical groups of Panajachel and Guatemala City. Arranger of the first ep records of 13 Reme and the Nobody's Family, local Panajachel groups.
Ronald Barillas Mendez (Creative Director, Guitar, Bass, Theory) For two plus years as the lead teacher, Ronald was promoted in February 2020 to the leadership of the school. Ronald was born on the 10th of February, 1991 in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. He began learning music at the age of 9, with various instruments including the marimba, trumpet and guitar. In 2010 he began his musical training at the Jesús Castillo Conservatory of Music in Quetzaltenango, studying for 5 years the career of music technician, while receiving personal classes with Maestro Germán Giordano, a graduate of Berklee. He has participated in 2 International Jazz Camps organized by the Embassy of the United States and Guatemala, where he has had the opportunity to learn from world class teachers such as Michael King, Lackethia Benjamín, Nicky Dinner, Ady Meyerson and Lafrei Sci. He has also participated in the Guatemalan Big Jazz Band. He currently plays in jazz trios in clubs. He is also a teacher at the Da Vinci University, instructing in guitar and bass, in Huehuetenango and at the Atitlan School of Music in Panajachel.
Selvin Buch (Piano) Selvin is a young teacher, originally from Panajachel. He began his musical career at the Atitlan Music School at the age of 16. Taking percussion clases for half a year, then changing to Piano. He received half a scholarship, and was very dedicated in his classes; his dedication brought him a job as a student-teacher at the Music School. After one year, he received the status of beginner Piano teacher, a spot in which he excels at. Selvin continues to unfold musically with the Music School now taking lessons in guitar and piano. He is a perfect example in that if you dedicate your life to something you can reach your goals, and grow beyond them.
Zenon Schafer (Administrative Director, Ukulele) With three years of the tittle Administrative Assistant, Zenon was promoted to Administrative Director. He works under the leadership of Mr. Barillas. He is a local of Panajachel and comes from a family of artists. He was raised and attended high school in Panajachel. He speaks 3 languages fluently (German, Spanish and English) and taught English and German at a school in Panajachel in 2013. Zenon is also the founder of an intentional community project called "El Castillo", near Panajachel.