Finding Inspiration in Every Turn
The Teachers of Baltimore Rock Fest are handpicked by Tobias Hurwitz from a stable of amazing musicians he has discovered over the years. There may be slight line-up changes from time to time, but the team is always top notch, highly credentialed and effective as teachers and mentors.
Chris Ranier hails from Hollywood CA as an avid composer/producer/guitarist with over twelve years of professional experience and over twenty years of playing experience. He has studied all forms of music from traditional to contemporary and has a degree in Composition from The University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and a recording/production certificate from The Musician’s Institute in Hollywood. Chris is not only an effective teacher, but an inspiring performer, who has paid his dues in full and tends to be describes by other musicians as “scary good”, “amazing”, or, well you get the idea! Chris has a strong singing voice for both lead and harmony vocals and is also a gifted pianist. He is currently working in Los Angeles as a professional composer, producer, and engineer.
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Brent Hardesty holds a Master of Music from Towson University. He is an experienced and effective piano teacher, well able to handle all styles and levels of instruction. He has taught piano and run the choir at Baltimore Rock Fest for many years. Brent is currently teaching elementary music in Baltimore County and is a recording studio owner - composer/lyricist who has produced commercial jingles for countless clients in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Chris Sharkey is a smokin’ hot bass player who can read and write music and also plays a wide variety of styles from funk to jazz to classical, country and blues. He has studied bass extensively with Tobias Hurwitz and achieved the rare status of being asked to join a band with him: The Tobias Hurwitz Combo. Chris also plays with several other bands and his influences include Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Victor Wooten and Parliament-Funkadelic.
Ryan Riverman Raines
Ryan Raines has been teaching Bass, Guitar, and Drum set since 2006. He has taught individuals, classrooms, at camps, and student bands for Bill’s Music House, Rock Star Jam, Baltimore Home School Association, and The Children's Home. His student base is diverse, including young children, seniors, people who speak English as a second language, and those with disabilities.
Ryan has played bass in a band with H.R. of the Bad Brains and Angelo Moore of Fishbone. He leads his own band the Upstarters who have worked with world-famous bands and festivals. They are currently featured on FM radio stations around the world.
Multi-instrumentalist, Carl Hengen wields a sizeable Tenor voice, which means he can sing rock music such as Queen, Boston, Dio, Elton John, Rush and Judas Priest without skipping any high notes! Carl’s voice is amazing, with quite an impressive dynamic range and a wide pallet of tonal nuances to choose from. A classically-trained opera singer, Mr. Hengen has sung leading opera roles such as Ruggero in Puccini’s La Rondine, Ferrando in Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, Nemorino in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore, Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and many more.
In addition to operatic credits, Hengen enjoys a career performing locally both as a soloist and in ensembles throughout Maryland. He teaches Italian Diction at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Lutherville Music School, and is an adjunct member of the Music Faculty at The Community College of Baltimore County. Carl is an highly effective voice teacher and is often able to improve his students voices significantly, even in the first lesson.
Carl grew up on rock-n-roll and has performed as an electric guitarist in original rock bands as well as in cover bands. He studied guitar with one of Baltimore’s most notable professional guitarists- Ravens’ Band alum and Maryland Entertainment Hall of Famer Tobias Hurwitz. Hengen currently serves as guitarist and vocalist for several local bands including original prog rock group Bardic Compass and new classic rock cover outfit, Supertuner.
Mr. Hengen holds an Associate’s Degree in Music from The Community College of Baltimore County, Essex Campus, a Bachelor’s Degree in Music in Voice Performance from the University of Maryland College Park, a Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance from Michigan State University, and the Graduate Performance Diploma in Voice from The Conservatory of the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University.
Drew attempted to play the piano as soon as he could walk and began taking lessons in elementary school. Soon thereafter, he began playing the trumpet. During a rough patch in middle school, he began playing the guitar, discovered the therapeutic nature of music, and felt called to pursue it as a career. He started a band, Asbestos, with longtime friend Erik Davis to achieve this goal. Asbestos released 3 CDs and toured throughout the country over the course of their 10 years as a band. A few years after earning a dual emphasis Music Composition and Recording Technology degree from UMBC, Asbestos split up, and Drew began working at Lutherville Rock School. He discovered a passion for helping students follow their own dreams in music, while providing them something to help negotiate the type of adolescent turbulence he had experienced. He continues this work today as the Director of Lutherville Rock School. In addition to teaching, Drew leads the Motley Choir and Bell Choir at Calvary Baptist Church in Towson and plays with The Nuffs as well as various side projects and collaborations.
Since graduating from The Guitar Institute of Technology in 1987 Tobias Hurwitz has been flourishing as a self-employed guitarist in Maryland and beyond. He introduced rock music camps to Maryland in 1999 as the director of DayJams, the first national chain of rock day camps in the nation. Over the years his reputation as the “go to guy” for anything guitar related has resulted in a unique and exciting resume including activities like cold sight reading at Center Stage, scoring a video game for John’s Hopkins, rocking M&T Bank Stadium countless times for The Baltimore Ravens and teaching guitar at The Gilman School for 13 years.
Hurwitz toured for many years as a “rock guitar expert” employed by The National Guitar Workshop, The Crown of the Continent Guitar Foundation, Dayjams, The Ruby Mountain Guitar Summit, Guitar Center, etc. He has written fifteen internationally published books on guitar and been published by or seen in all the major guitar magazines. Hurwitz has music on all streaming platforms.
Tobias is a multi-instrumentalist who sings, plays guitar, bass, drums, synthesizer, ukulele, percussion, mandolin, and produces his own music.
New projects include his Steampunk Metronome app (Available from Apple and Google,) 100 Rock Guitar Licks for the Match My Sound App and Baltimore Rock Fest Camp (In collaboration with Lutherville Rock School)
Endorsements: PRS Guitars, Ernie Ball Strings, Fractal Audio
Maryland Entertainment Hall of Fame Inductee
Baltimore's Best Guitar Teacher - City Paper
Best Guitarist in the Mid-Atlantic - Music Monthly
Music Educator Grammy Award Nominee
Most Valuable Performer (MVP) Award Baltimore Marching Ravens
Zach Jackson is currently perusing a Music Performance and Production degree at York College of Pennsylvania. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist who plays guitar, electric bass, upright bass, drums and piano, as well as singing and producing his own music. Zach is an effective guitar teacher who specializes in theory, improv, sight reading and seven string guitar, though in his level I guitar classes at Baltimore Rock fest, his main goals are to teach power chords, note names, open chord changing and pentatonic scale improvisation. Jackson knows rock music camp inside and out from being an avid camper, then counselor, and now guitar teacher.