Napa Valley College Faculty Association
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Part-Time Faculty Spotlight

Adriana Ratsch-Rivera


Adriana Ratsch-Rivera was born and raised in Berlin, Germany where her late father was stationed with the US Army. Her earliest fascination with classical music came when her 2nd grade class went on a fieldtrip to the Berlin Philharmonic learning and listening to Beethoven symphonies.

Being an "Army Brat" did not allow for formal piano lessons and so Adriana taught herself how to play the guitar. After playing a few years she decided to study classical guitar as a way to finally enter the world of classical music.

When her family relocated to the United States, she was accepted at the University of Hawaii to study Classical Guitar Performance. She studied with Charles Michael Brotman and Byron Yasui, but also applied piano with Paul Lyddon and composition with Armand Russell, Allan Trubitt and Neal McKay.

 Adriana's passion for Beethoven continued in her graduate studies at the California State University, Hayward, (now East Bay) under the tutelage of David Stein and Giancarlo Aquilanti. She won First Price for a presentation on Beethoven's Bagatelles Op. 33 and how these piano pieces relate to his Fifth Symphony. She subsequently based her master's thesis  The Genesis of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony on this topic and received an Outstanding Thesis Award from the Music Department in 2004.

At Napa Valley College, Adriana is now teaching guitar in the Music Department in applied studies, in the classroom and in ensemble settings. She enjoys her students and loves to include knowledge about music history and literature into her curriculum.

In her free time she enjoys hiking and nature photography.


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