Young Artists Program

Amy Barston, Cello (Swarthmore, PA)

Praised as “passionate and elegant” by The New York Times, cellist Amy Sue Barston has performed as a soloist and chamber musician on stages all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Ravinia, Bargemusic, Caramoor, Haan Hall (Jerusalem), The Banff Centre (Canada), The International Musicians Seminar (England), The Power House (Australia), and Chicago’s Symphony Center. Amy is also a devoted teacher: in her home, at the New York School for Strings, as a guest teacher at Juilliard, and at numerous summer music festivals. Several of her students commute for lessons from hundreds of miles away, some from as far away as Alaska and Japan. Amy’s upcoming schedule includes solo and chamber music performances in England, Sydney, New Zealand, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake, Wisconsin, Rochester, Denver, Chicago, and Germany. Amy also has a brand new CD out and available, which she had the honor to record with Grammy Award-winning contemporary classical music producer, Judith Sherman.

 

Elisa Barston, Violin & Viola (Seattle, WA)

Praised for her “glowing sound” and “technical aplomb” (The Strad), violinist Elisa Barston is the Seattle Symphony’s Principal Second Violin. Prior to the appointment, she served as the Associate Concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for eight seasons and was a first violin section member of The Cleveland Orchestra. As a soloist and chamber musician, Barston has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, appearing with the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the St. Louis and Taipei symphony orchestras, among many others. In 1986, she made her European debut with the English Chamber Orchestra at the request of Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Barston studied at the University of Southern California and Indiana University.  photo © Larey McDaniel

 

 

Dr. Kara Eubanks, Violin (Eugene, OR)

Dr. Kara Eubanks is the director of the Willamette Violin Academy in Eugene, Oregon. Kara has performed solo and chamber music across the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, and the Czech Republic. Her orchestral career includes membership in the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Fontainebleau Chamber Orchestra in Paris, France, and the DiCapo Opera Orchestra of New York City. While earning her doctorate in New York City, she was also a member of the Music in Midtown Chamber Music series. In 2014, she was inducted into the Sycamore Music Hall of Fame in her hometown of Sycamore, Illinois. As a popular music performer, Kara has been featured by MTV, National Public Radio, Daytrotter, and on record labels such as Eenie Meenie and Lookout! Records. Dr. Eubanks has been a member of the faculty at Northern Illinois University, CUNY’s Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the University of Oregon. Kara holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from CUNY Graduate Center. Her research relates the Suzuki Method to Western Progressive K12 and early childhood education. She also holds BM and MM degrees from Northern Illinois University, where she studied under Mathias Tacke, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and the Vermeer Quartet.

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 Violin and Viola

Reagan Brasch (Farmington, CT)

Reagan Brasch grew up in the Suzuki method studying with Paula Woyton in Texas. She graduated with a bachelors of music in violin performance and received her masters in music with an emphasis in Suzuki Pedagogy from the University of Denver. After teaching with Denver Talent Education for five years with James Maurer, she moved to Chicago to teach violin and Early Childhood at the Music Institute of Chicago under the direction of Gilda Barston. She was the Suzuki Events Coordinator and directed the Early Childhood program. She was awarded Outstanding Teacher by the Winnetka Alliance for Early Childhood. She has additional Suzuki training from Linda Fiore, Joanne Bath, Ann Smelser, Pat D’Ercole, Michele George, Lynn McCall, and Doris Preucil.

Mrs. Brasch currently teaches at the University of Hartford Community Division in CT giving both private and group instruction in Suzuki. She also is program coordinator of the Youth to Community program (Y2C), a teen volunteer program at Hartt . Mrs. Brasch has taught extensively at Suzuki institutes and workshops around the country. 

 

Holly Blackwelder carpenter (College Place, WA)

Holly Blackwelder Carpenter grew up in Walla Walla, WA, a Suzuki violin student of Kathleen Spring. She earned a BA in Music and Theology from Walla Walla University, as well as a MA in Old Testament from Andrews Theological Seminary and a MA from the University of Texas at Austin in Hebrew Language and Literature. She is a registered Suzuki teacher and has taught at Walla Walla College, Universidad Peruana Union, and currently teaches full-time at Rogers Adventist School. Holly is a former board member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and was the director of Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute for 8 years. She and her husband, Schuan, are avid bikers, coffee aficionados, and love to entertain. They are raising two musical children, a violinist and a cellist.

Daniel Gee Cordova (Austin, TX)

Daniel Gee Cordova is founder and director of the Austin Suzuki Music School. He has extensively studied the Suzuki Method in Violin, Viola and Suzuki Early Childhood Education with a broad scope of teachers. He holds degrees from the Crane School of Music – SUNY Potsdam and the University of Texas at Austin. In May 2012, Daniel was awarded the Suzuki Association of the America’s Certificate of Achievement, a recognition given to teachers that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to excellence in their teaching.

Daniel is an active clinician giving presentations at National Conferences as well as guest teacher at workshops around the country. He has presented at many conferences including the SAA, ASTA, Texas Music Educator’s Conference, and Texas Orchestra Director’s Association Conference, as well as for the SAA Parents As Partners Online. Daniel has been invited to guest conduct the Texas Region Middle School String Orchestras for Region 11 in San Antonio and Region 18 in Austin.

In the summers, Daniel serves a Director for the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute and has been on faculty for different Suzuki Institutes around the country including the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute, the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute, the Ozark Suzuki Institute, Acadiana Suzuki Institute, Ithaca Suzuki Institute, Northern California Suzuki Institute, and the Chicago Suzuki Institute.

Daniel performs regularly serving as Assistant Principal Viola with the Austin Opera. Mr. Gee Cordova previously served as Orchestra Director at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Round Rock ISD from 2009-2019 infusing the Suzuki approach to students within the public school system.  Daniel enjoys spending time with his husband Jerry and their terriers Bamboo and Tristan, and finding the best tacos in Austin.

Tracy Helming Wiggin (Seattle, WA)

Tracy Helming Wiggin is a registered SAA Suzuki Teacher Trainer. She received a Master’s Degree in music performance from Yale University, and completed registered Suzuki training in all 10 of the violin books, including long term training with Teri Einfeldt at the Hartt School of Music. She has been teaching violin and chamber music since 1990, both in her studio, Momentum Music School, as well as at institutes and workshops around the Northwest and Alaska. She also teaches Suzuki Early Childhood Education classes. Tracy got to experience the Suzuki journey as a parent with her two children. 

 

Helen-Higa-Japan-Seattle-Suzuki-InstituteHelen Higa (Honolulu, HI)

Helen Higa comes from a family with 3 generations of Japanese and Western music teachers, and was born and raised in Honolulu. Her Suzuki Teacher training includes study with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki for two and a half years at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, where she received her Teacher Certification from him in 1973. She continued her Suzuki teacher training at the University of Tennessee with William Starr, and Louise Behrend at the School for Strings. In NYC, she also worked with Gerald Beal on violin performance skills. Since 2000, Helen has continued research and study with Felicity Lipman, violin professor and Coordinator of Chamber Music for London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama (Junior Department), on her visits to Hawaii.

In 1983, Helen became a Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique at the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City. She taught AT in the Center’s Teacher Training Program for 4 years, and violin for 5 years before returning to Hawaii in 1987. From 1990 -1998, she taught with the late Hiroko Primrose who founded the Suzuki Violin Program at Punahou Music School.

Helen is currently the head of Punahou Music School’s Suzuki Violin Program, and privately teaches over 50 violin students. Other teaching positions have included the University of Tennessee’s Suzuki Program, New York’s School for Strings, and the Diller-Quaille School of Music.

Helen enjoys exploring how Alexander Technique principles can complement Dr. Suzuki’s violin pedagogy and educational philosophy. In 2004, Helen was invited to give a presentation on this topic at the Suzuki Association of the Americas National Conference in Minneapolis. At the 2006, Conference, she and Hiroko Driver-Lippman, gave a Heritage Night Keynote Presentation, called Okagesamade (in your honorable shadow) Suzuki Sensei.

Helen has been invited to teach at summer Institutes on the mainland, including the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute (UT), the Oregon Suzuki Institute, the Northern California Suzuki Institute (Santa Rosa), the Peaks to Plains Suzuki Institute (CO), the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute (WA), the Stanford Advanced Suzuki Institute (CA), and the Idaho Suzuki Institute (ID),

Helen serves as the President of Suzuki Talent Education of Hawaii, is a member of the Honolulu Symphony, and serves as the part-time musicians’ representative on the Honolulu Symphony Musicians’ Orchestra Committee.

Lisa Humphrey (Bellingham, WA)

Lisa Humphrey has taught Suzuki violin and viola for over 15 years. She received her Suzuki violin training from Teri Einfeldt and Linda Fiore and her Suzuki viola training from Betsy Stuen-Walker. Formerly on the faculty of the Hartt School of Music, she currently runs the Humphrey Music School in Bellingham, Washington, where she maintains a studio of 50+ students. Lisa’s students have performed with the National Youth Symphony USA, at Carnegie Hall, and at the Sydney Opera House. Lisa has a masters degree in viola performance from Indiana University, where she completed additional teacher training with Mimi Zweig, and a Bachelors degree in viola performance from the Hartt School of Music. Also an avid performer, she has performed solo, chamber, and orchestral music around the country and throughout Russia and Armenia. She has performed as guest artist with both the Emerson String Quartet and the Leontovich String Quartet (NYC). Lisa has recently recorded and released a series of viola sonatas, along with pianist Adam Whiting, available through Google Play. In her free time, she practices with her 9 year old (viola and piano) and 6 year old (cello and piano). She is a yoga enthusiast and incorporates whole body balance and awareness into her lessons.

 

Cathryn Lee (San Francisco, CA)

San Francisco based violin teacher Cathryn S. Lee has taught families and teachers around the world since 1976. She is respected for teaching all ages and levels using her detailed and practical “best of both worlds” approach inspired by her studies with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and her “traditional” studies with concert artist Dame Camilla Wicks. As a teacher trainer, Cathryn has taught and lectured at SAA National conferences, Leadership Summits, Suzuki Method World Conferences, the first International Suzuki Teacher Trainer Conference in 2009 and most recently at the 16th World Conference.  She has given master classes and pedagogy classes in Australia, Canada, England, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and throughout the United States.  Cathryn is also a guest lecturer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Cathryn is the author of Bow Exercises, Bow Strokes and the Bow Stroke Excerpt books. In 1977, Cathryn founded the Suzuki Music Studio of San Francisco where she continues to teach students and train teachers.  Her students have held titled chairs in numerous youth and school orchestras and placed in competitions including the Junior Bach Festival.  Cathryn has a B.A. in Performance and Composition, M. A. in Performance from San Francisco College for Women and a teaching certificate from the Talent Education Institute in Japan.  She and her husband raised their sons, Whitney, an actor/singer/violinist in New York City and Corin, a violinist and graduate of Juilliard and Yale University.

 

Allen Lieb (New York, NY)

Allen Lieb is CEO of the International Suzuki Association, and Chair of the ISA Violin Committees. He holds an M.M. from Southern Illinois University training in Suzuki Pedagogy with John Kendall. Allen graduated from the Talent Education Institute in 1979 after two years’ study with Dr. Suzuki. He returned to Matsumoto four times between 1981 – 1991 to continue his lessons and observation at the Institute. Allen has been a recognized Teacher-Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas since 1981. He has taught at institutes, workshops and conferences across the United States, Canada, Central America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He is Chair of the SAA Violin Committee and a member of the SAA Heritage Committee. Residing in New York City, Allen is Head of the Violin Department and Instructor for Teacher-Training at The School for Strings, violin instructor at The Diller-Quaile School of Music, and a string consultant for the VH1SaveTheMusic Foundation.


Sandra-Payton-Japan-Seattle-Suzuki-Institute

Sandra Payton (Bellingham, WA)

Sandra Payton has been a life-long member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has taught several generations of Suzuki violin students. She is a longtime faculty member at the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute and has enjoyed seeing her grandchildren develop their musical talents as they participate at institute.

 

Satoko Robert (New York, NY)

Satoko Robert earned a Master of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Massachusetts and an Artist Diploma from Kyoto University of Art and Music. She received most of her Suzuki teacher training from Dr. William Starr. Satoko has taught violin and viola for over 50 years and also performs and coaches chamber ensembles. She was an assistant professor of music education at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Satoko volunteers as a bilingual liaison to the SAA and ISA, and she has taught at many Suzuki institutes and workshops across the United States and Japan. The two things Satoko loves most, besides her family and her work as a Suzuki teacher, are chamber music and dogs.

 

Caroline Salisbury (San Gabriel, CA)

Caroline Salisbury is a performing musician and private violin/viola teacher based in Los Angeles. She is the creator of StringsPop, a unique approach to pop music arranging that focuses on music literacy and chord theory. Her sought-after StringsPop workshops for teens and teacher training courses are offered online and at select Suzuki institutes. Her students regularly perform as Crescendo Strings, an all-ages multi-level violin/viola group with First Inversion, a premiere teen ensemble known for composing their own arrangements. You can follow her students’ projects on YouTube or Instagram at @stringspop. Carrie holds a B.M. in viola performance and currently studies performance, orchestral repertoire, and viola pedagogy with Dr. Mick Wetzel. A Suzuki trained teacher for more than 20 years, she now serves as President of the Suzuki Music Association of California – Los Angeles Branch. She is the parent to three young Suzuki string students with her husband, pianist-composer Benjamin Salisbury. Their family music videos are posted on youtube at Salisbury Family Music Videos.

 

Lucy-ShawLucy Shaw (Redmond, WA)

Lucy Shaw is an active performer, Suzuki teacher and clinician currently based in the Seattle, WA area. A native of Nova Scotia, Canada, she received her Bachelor degree at the S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatte Conservatory of Music at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada, and her Master of Music in Violin Performance at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Important musical influences include Sergiu Luca, Francis Chaplin, Sydney Harth and Jean-Jacques Kantorow. For eighteen years Lucy was owner/director of the Village Violin School in Houston where she was an active member of the Houston Area Suzuki Strings Association coordinating annual teacher development seminars, Suzuki graduations and workshops. She was violin coordinator for the Suzuki Association of the America’s 2008 National Conference and served on the SAA Board of Directors 2011-2014. As a guest teacher and clinician Lucy has taught at Workshops and Institutes in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and throughout the continental United States. Lucy currently maintains a private studio in Redmond, WA, and is an active member of the chapter affiliate, Suzuki Association of Washington State.

 

 

 

Edmund Sprunger (St. Louis, MO)

A former student of Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki, Suzuki Method™ originator, Edmund Sprunger has taught violin for more than 30 years, including over 300 workshops and master classes throughout North America, South America, and Europe; and is a Registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.  He has presented sessions at numerous state, national, and international conferences.  Mr. Sprunger holds a BA in music from Goshen College, where he studied violin with Lon Sherer, and piano and piano pedagogy with Marvin Blickenstaff.  Also trained as a psychotherapist, he holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan and has done post-degree training with the Michigan and St. Louis psychoanalytic institutes.  Additional violin studies have been with Chihiro Kudo, Reinaldo Couto (Alexander Technique/Violin), Kent Perry, and Anna Martin. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and as Chair of the American String Teachers Association’s [ASTA] Committee on Studio Instruction.  In 2004 he received an ASTA Citation for Leadership and Merit.  For several years he served as Director of the Child Development Program at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute.  In addition to his studio teaching, he is a psychotherapist in private practice. His books, Helping Parents Practice:  Ideas for Making It Easier (Vol. 1) and Building Violin Skills: A Set of Plans Designed to Help Parents and Children Construct Positive Practices, are available from yespublishing.com.

 

Kristina Turner (Lynnwood, WA)

Kristina Turner is a registered Suzuki violin and viola teacher at the Suzuki Institute of Seattle, as well as a Suzuki mom to a son on viola and piano.  She wishes she had been a Suzuki kid!  Kris has completed the Suzuki Early Childhood Education Stages 1-4, as well as Suzuki Violin Units 1-10, Viola 1-9, Violin Practicum, and other supplemental courses with Teacher Trainers Cathryn Lee, Elizabeth Stuen-Walker, Edmund Sprunger, Danette Schuh, Kate Jones, Richard Mooney, and Avi Friedlander. Kris has served on the board of the Suzuki Association of Washington State and as the Viola Vice President of the Suzuki Association of Utah. She has been at Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute since 2010, and the Oregon Suzuki Institute since 2013, swapping hats from Teacher Workshop Paricipant, Administrator, and Parent!   

 

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 Cello

  

Blake-Brasch-Japan-Seattle-Suzuki-InstituteBlake Brasch (Farmington, CT)

Blake Brasch is the Suzuki cello specialist and Suzuki cello program coordinator at the Hartt Community Division of the University of Hartford. Director of the Chicago Suzuki Institute. Prior to locating in CT, Blake Brasch was on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago in 1996 where was a Suzuki Cello teacher for over 20 years.

He is a frequent clinician at Suzuki institutes and workshop throughout the US and Canada and has presented at several SAA conferences. His students have been selected to participate in masterclasses and Orchestras at the SAA conference in MN, to be principal players in area high schools, the Midwest Young Artists Orchestra, CT Youth Symphony, and regional district and statewide orchestras in CT and IL. He has had many students place in many regional music competitions including the Society of American Musicians, Hartford Musical Club, CYS Concerto Competitions and others. A Suzuki kid and parent, Blake is firm believer in Dr. Suzuki’s message that in a loving and nurturing environment every child will develop ability.

Blake Studied with Alan Harris The Cleveland Institute of Music and Mark Schroeder at Ohio University. Pre-college teachers: Carol Tarr and Gilda Barston.

 

Dr. Alice Ann M. O’Neill (Cincinnati, OH)

Dr. Alice Ann M. O’Neill has extensive experience performing in professional orchestras and chamber ensembles, and as a solo cellist throughout Europe, Canada, and the U.S.  Dr. O’Neill is a teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas and shares her gifts at clinics, workshops, and institutes and presents at international education and research conferences. Her articles are published in The Journal of Research in Music Education, the American Suzuki Journal, and the Vincentian Heritage Journal.

Dr. O’Neill’s young cellists have appeared on the National Public Radio show “From the Top,” and won top prizes at the St. Paul’s String Quartet and Fischoff chamber music competitions. Her cellists have continued their studies at Rice University-Shepherd School of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, OSU, Catholic University of America, Aspen Music Festival, Meadowmount School of Music, Indiana University, Harvard and the Juilliard School. Dr. O’Neill currently teaches at Mount St. Joseph Talent Education in Cincinnati, Ohio, and also teaches cello, pedagogy, coaches chamber music and supervises pre-service music teachers at Mount St. Joseph University. She is a Catholic nun and member of the Sisters of Charity.

 

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Barbara Wampner (San Francisco, CA)

Barbara Wampner is active as a registered Suzuki cello teacher trainer and has a private studio of approximately twenty cello students, age four to adult, in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has taught at summer institutes and conferences in the Japan, North and South America, Korea, Australia, and Europe. Currently, she serves as Suzuki Association of the Americas representative to the ISA International Cello Committee. She has been invited to collaborate in cello pedagogy sessions at the SF Conservatory of Music and directs the Suzuki School of Music at Dominican University of California in San Rafael. Her students have graduated in cello performance from Northwestern University, Indiana University, and Juilliard. She holds a B.M.E. degree from Northwestern University and an M.A. degree from San Francisco State University with cello studies with Margaret Rowell. In 1976 she received a teacher certificate from Dr. Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. For thirteen years she taught instrumental music in the San Francisco Unified School District middle schools.

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 Double Bass

  

Anna Doak (Seattle, WA)

Anna Doak graduated magna cum laude from Cornish College of the Arts with a B.A. in double bass performance.   A lifelong resident of the Northwest, Anna founded the double bass program at the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute.  She is currently a member of the Northwest Sinfonietta and serves as principal bass/teaching artist with the Seattle Collaborative Orchestra.   

Anna has performed with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, the Seattle Symphony, the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and on numerous recording projects.   She is a founding member of the multi-genre chamber ensemble Different Drummer and was awarded an Artist Support grant by the Jack Straw Foundation in 2015 and again in 2020.  Anna taught bass at Western Washington University in Bellingham before starting a family and has since focused on building her Seattle teaching studio.  Her arrangements for double bass ensemble have been published and performed world wide.

 

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Orchestra

Gaye DetzerGaye Detzer (Vashon, WA)

Gaye Detzer has been a Suzuki teacher for more than 30 years and currently maintains a private studio. She has taught violin classes and chamber music at Suzuki institutes in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, as well as at Vivace! Chamber Players. Gaye plays violin and viola with the Arioso Ensemble and the Vashon-Maury Chamber Orchestra and is also the music director of the Vashon Youth String Orchestra and the Teen String Ensemble. Her family has four Suzuki children, one of whom graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music and is now making a career as a cellist. Another is part of a rock band that has toured the United States and Europe.

 

Dr. Christopher T. F. Hanson, he/him (Tukwila, WA)

Conductor, violinist, composer, pedagogue, and musicologist, Christopher T. F. Hanson enjoys working with a large and eclectic group of ensembles. Dr. Hanson holds three master’s degrees from Texas State University in music history, music theory, and music composition. He earned a PhD in School Improvement at Texas State University, with a focus on the significance of teacher and student agency as well as a certificate of professional ethics from the Texas State department of Philosophy. As a violinist and composer, Dr. Hanson has premiered several works in multiple genres and serves as the chief arranger and first violinist of the Sacred Ensemble with Dr. Shana Mashego. He enjoys performing recitals that celebrate repertoire by diverse and contemporary composers for solo violin, viola, and voice. Dr. Hanson is the director of the Rainbow City Orchestra, a community music ensemble that serves queer musicians in the greater Seattle area, and currently serves as an assistant professor of music and director of music education and orchestral activities at Seattle Pacific University. He lives with his partner Erin and two children in Tukwila, Washington.  

 

Bruce Walker, Jr. (Richland, WA)

Bruce Walker is an Associate Professor of Music at Columbia Basin College, Music Director for the Yakima Youth Symphony, President of the Washington state chapter of the American String Teachers Association, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He was named the 2021 Music Educator of the Year by the Washington State Music Educators Association and was recently elected to the Executive Board for the Washington Music Educators Association for the 2022-2024 biennium. Previously, he worked as a faculty member with the Youth Excellence on Stage Academy in collaboration with American Voices, a US non-government, non-profit, cultural exchange organization. Through this organization, he has conducted, traveled, and taught cello in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan.

As a conductor, Mr. Walker has participated in some of the finest conducting workshops and music festivals across the United States such as the Marrowstone Music Festival, Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians, various workshops sponsored by the Conductor’s Guild, Astoria Music Festival, Rose City International Conductor’s Workshop, and the University of Oregon Orchestral Conducting Institute. He has appeared as guest conductor with the Central Washington University Symphony, Oregon East Symphony, Yakima Symphony, Portland Columbia Symphony, and the Musicians of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. Memorable for his unique style of positive student engagement, analogies, and his knowledge of the orchestral repertoire, Mr. Walker is also in high demand as an adjudicator and guest conductor for many All-State and Honors Orchestras throughout the United States, most recently conducting the 2021 Nevada All-State Symphony Orchestra.

As a cellist, Mr. Walker remains active as a teacher and performer. He has appeared as soloist with the Marrowstone Music Festival Orchestra, the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra, and most recently with the Oregon East Symphony. He is an on-call cellist to the Oregon East Symphony, Walla Walla Symphony, Mid-Columbia Symphony, and Yakima Symphony.

Mr. Walker earned Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Cello Performance from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a Master of Music
degree from Central Washington University focusing on Orchestral Conducting and Cello Performance. He has completed coursework for his Doctorate of Music Arts degree in Music Education through Boston University. His primary teachers have been Kangho Lee and John Michel (cello), Dr. Jeffery Meyer, Michael Jinbo, Dr. Nikolas Caoile, Kenneth Woods, and Lawrence Golan (conducting), and Dr. Beth Cantrell, Priscilla Jones, Dr. Andrea Yun, and the late H. Glenda Piek (Suzuki cello).

When not in the classroom, on the podium working with ensembles, or teaching cello lessons, he enjoys hiking and traveling around the Pacific Northwest, enjoying time outside around a BBQ pit and smoker sampling new culinary creations, or shopping for and admiring argyle socks.

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 Enrichment courses

 

Xing Jin, Dalcroze eurythmics (Bellevue, WA)

Xing Jin is a piano and Dalcroze teacher in Bellevue, WA. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Master of Music in Music Education from Eastman School of Music. Xing has been enjoying teaching and learning Dalcroze since 2013 after she received her first Dalcroze certificate from Institute for Jaques-Dalcroze Education. In 2016, Xing earned her second Dalcroze certificate from the Dalcroze School of the Rockies. She attended Dalcroze training at The Lucy School, MD; Institute for Jaques-Dalcroze Education, PA; Longy School of Music, MA; University of Washington, WA; and the Dalcroze School of the Rockies, CO. Her teachers include Dalcroze Diplôme Supérieur holders Jack Stevenson, Lisa Parker, Anne Farer, Ruth Alperson, Jeremy Dittus and Laetitia Disseix-Berger. Xing is currently working towards a Dalcroze License with Jeremy Dittus at the Dalcroze School of the Rockies. 

 

 

Leo Kitajima Geefay, Music-making Lab and Jazz workshop (Mountain View, CA)

Leo Kitajima Geefay is an active musician and educator with an eclectic background in violin pedagogy, improvisation, composition, and arranging. He grew up in Los Angeles studying violin and music theory at the Colburn School of Performing Arts. Fascinated by many musical genres, Leo received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California as the only jazz violinist in the program. Realizing the value of improvisation, Leo began introducing the concept to students of all ages in creative and accessible ways. He continued developing his unique pedagogical approach at Northwestern University, where he earned his Master of Music Education. Leo encourages all students to deepen their joy for music by improvising and creating new music. Leo currently teaches orchestra, jazz, and electronic music at Menlo School in California. He has also taught at the Colburn School, Pasadena Conservatory of Music, and Westridge School. Photo by Pete Zivkov.

 

 

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 Collaborative pianists

Adam Whiting (Cleveland, OH)

Adam Whiting is a coach/accompanist at the Cleveland School of the Arts and The Music Settlement. Until recently, he was a staff accompanist at the Cleveland Institute of music; he was hired for this position upon graduation from CIM in the spring of 2005 with a double-masters degree in piano performance and accompanying. After 20 years and purchasing 5 properties in Cleveland, he considers himself a transplant, but still spends summertime in the Pacific Northwest to see family and friends and accompany the Oregon Suzuki Institute and the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute.

Allyson Kramer (Seattle, WA)

Allyson holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from Western Washington University and University of Minnesota. Allyson loves working with musicians at every level whether it be teaching in her private studio, or accompanying. Most typically, Allyson serves as accompanist for teachers’ studios in the Seattle area, WMEA Solo and Ensemble Contest, and Seattle Young Artists Adjudications. She has served as accompanist for the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute for over twenty years.

 

Hillary Nordwell (Bellevue, WA)

Hillary Nordwell is a recent transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was a featured soloist and chamber musician in many concert venues. She enjoys coaching chamber music and educating children and families through her Comfy Concert series. Hillary is well acquainted with the Suzuki triangle, having begun her Suzuki experience as a young piano student, beginning her teacher training in 2007 with Caroline Fraser, and embarking on Suzuki parenting in 2014. 

Hillary has a bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance, magna cum laude, from Lawrence Conservatory in Appleton, WI, where she studied with Catherine Kautsky and was honored for three consecutive years with the Marjory Irvin Prize for “excellence in solo piano and chamber music.” She earned her masters degree in Chamber Music Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Paul Hersh, Jodi Levitz, Axel Strauss, and Mark Sokol and participated in master classes with renowned artists Menahem Pressler and Paul Katz. Hillary has performed chamber music throughout the United States, as well as in Italy, Austria, Germany, and Sweden.  In 2006, she was invited as pianist of the Eusebius Duo to perform in Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall, New York), following the duo’s success as first prize winners of the CMFONE International Chamber Music Competition.

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 Staff

 

Erin Rushforth, Director of student affairs (San Antonio, TX)

Erin Rushforth is a registered Suzuki violin teacher with an eye for detail, a penchant for planning, and a lifelong love of institute, which she discovered as a Suzuki kid growing up in Rochester, MN.  She studied in high school with Mary West of the MacPhail Center for Music before attending Brigham Young University, where she earned her BA and MA in French studies. She has studied Suzuki pedagogy with Liz Arbus, Linda Fiore, Cathy Lee, Pat d’Ercole, Ann Montzka Smelser, and Teri Einfeldt. Erin works full-time as the Learning Manager for the Suzuki Association of the Americas and enjoys volunteering as a teacher of early-morning scripture classes to high school students. You may also find her running, cooking, planning trips to Spain, reading, hiking with her husband or otherwise avoiding the laundry.

 

Holly B. Carpenter, Director of Teacher Development (College Place, WA)

Holly Blackwelder Carpenter grew up in Walla Walla, WA, a Suzuki violin student of Kathleen Spring. She earned a BA in Music and Theology from Walla Walla University, as well as a MA in Old Testament from Andrews Theological Seminary and a MA from the University of Texas at Austin in Hebrew Language and Literature. She is a registered Suzuki teacher and has taught at Walla Walla College, Universidad Peruana Union, and currently teaches full-time at Rogers Adventist School. Holly is a former board member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and was the director of Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute for 8 years. She and her husband, Schuan, are avid bikers, coffee aficionados, and love to entertain. They are raising two musical children, a violinist and a cellist.

 

Chloe Ross, Assistant Director (Lafayette, CA)

Chloe Ross-Massey is the founder and director of The Studio Violin, a Suzuki violin school located in the East Bay of the SF Bay area. Chloe grew up in Seattle and attended Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute as a child, along with playing in the Seattle Youth Symphonies for many years. She attended The Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA under the tutelage of the late Janet Packer, and earned her Certificate of Violin Performance. Upon moving back to Seattle, Chloe became a section violinist with the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra for two seasons before moving to California.

Chloe believes wholeheartedly in the magic of the Suzuki Method. She studies Suzuki violin pedagogy with Charles Krigbaum and has taken extensive training with Diana Volodka Staggs, Edward Kreitman, Ann Montzka Smelser, Teri Eindfeld, and Kathleen Spring. She is a registered Suzuki teacher and an active member of her local SAA chapter, The Suzuki Association of Northern California.

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What keeps us coming back is the quality of teachers.
JSSI is always well-run, we feel very well supported, and we will definitely attend again, whether in person/virtual.

Mariska

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