Meet the IMS Directors

Theresa Kim, Founding Director

International Music Sessions was founded by Theresa Kim in 2012.  Her vision was to create a program that would create meaningful engagement between artists and students from different walks of life.  She developed the IMS curriculum, which is specifically designed to address multi-cultural integration by using music as a vehicle for socialization.  As an entrepreneur and researcher, her areas of interest include preparing musicians for careers in the 21st century and music for social impact.  Her scholarly work highlights the emergence of transferable skills developed through musical training.  

Jia Kim, Artistic Director

In addition to her passion for performing and teaching, Jia Kim has always had the will in her heart to use music as a means to reach and touch the lives of people in disadvantaged parts of the world.  A dedicated advocate and educator of chamber music, she believes strongly in its power to bring people together for peace, healing, and compassion in the world today.  She has participated in various projects throughout the country and internationally to bring music to places that lack access to quality education.  In her time off, you can find her taking a stroll in the park, skywatching, and reading chamber music for hours with friends.

Jason Sugata, Director of Education

Jason Sugata grew up in Los Angeles with two brothers who are also musicians. He is a huge sports fan and is always eager to talk about the Lakers or boxing. When he is not performing or teaching, he enjoys hiking, watching documentaries, and exploring different neighborhoods in NYC.

IMS Advisory Board

Dr. Paul Grewal is a internal medicine physician, music lover, and amateur pianist.  When he's not diagnosing and treating disease, he's listening to Brahms, Schubert, or Chopin (occasionally both at the same time).  He treats patients full-time at his office near Central Park ( and serves on the Advisory Board of IMS and the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance.  As music was transformative for him in adolescence, he is honored to be part of this perspective-changing program. 

Maria Jose Lopez was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. She graduated with a bachelors in Foreign Affairs from ITESM.  In 2002 she founded and directed Charro Negro, a Contemporary Art Gallery that featured an exciting young program with local and international artists, participating in Art Fairs around the world.  In 2009, after moving to Los Angeles, she worked as an artist Liaison for LAND, a nonprofit whose mission is to curate temporary art exhibitions in public spaces.  In 2013, after moving to New York City to attend GIA, she received a Diamond Grading Degree. She then founded Maria Jose Jewelry, a Fine Jewelry Line that is designed and produced between New York City and Los Angeles.  She is currently Vice Chair of the Homes Subcommittee at The New York Junior League and serves on SOMA’s US Advisory Board.

Thomas Rosenthal is a native of Long Island, New York and currently works at AB Bernstein. Prior to working in finance, Mr. Rosenthal worked and performed with many of the biggest names in the classical music world such as Itzhak Perlman, Yefim Bronfman, Cho-liang Lin, and Joshua Bell. He has also performed and recorded with pop stars such as Barbra Streisand, Elton John, James Taylor, Sting and Joss Stone. As an orchestral musician Mr. Rosenthal has been the principal violist of the Absolute Ensemble, Prometheus Chamber Orchestra, Brevard Music Center Orchestra, Princeton Symphony, Charlotte Symphony and as a section player with the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. He is a strong believer in the importance of musical education and was on faculty of the Brevard Music Center, The Lawrenceville School, and as Dean of Students at the Park City International Music Festival. In 2003, he was invited to be a guest artist and lecturer at Indiana University. Chamber music plays a vital part in Thomas's musical life, having worked and performed with members of the Juilliard, Emerson, Tokyo, Cleveland, Miro and St. Lawrence quartets. Mr. Rosenthal has appeared in several TV broadcasts for the NBC, Bravo, and Showtime networks and has appeared in two movies including "The Pink Panther" (2006). He has been featured in dozens of recordings including the 2005 Grammy winner, Spamalot. Thomas received a Bachelors degree from The Juilliard School in 2000. 

Alison Shipley is a Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Health Industries Advisory practice. Alison has a diverse background that includes over twelve years of experience improving efficiencies in healthcare delivery through operations improvement, HealthCare Information Technology (HIT) Implementation and revenue cycle enhancements. Alison has extensive experience with large physician practices and specializes in physician billing.  Prior to joining PwC, she was a Senior Manager within Implementation Team at a Boston-based revenue cycle and EMR management company. Alison received her B.A from Tulane University and her Master's in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.