Joanna Binford is currently on the faculty of the Centenary School of Music, where she specializes in Suzuki instruction, and Transylvania University. A past recipient of the KY ASTA “Studio Teacher” award, she acts as the String Coordinator for the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts. She currently serves as the violist of the Endless Road Strings, which specializes in popular arrangements, and is a fiddle player in the bluegrass band, Howard’s Creek. Ms Binford is co-director of Lexington’s Original Viola Ensemble and serves as president of the Lexington Federated Music Club. She has served as a back-up musician for celebrities such as Arlo Guthrie, Mark O'Connor, Dave Brubeck, Anne Murray, Bob Hope, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Ray Price, David Gates, Dinah Shore, Ann Hampton Callaway, and the Moody Blues.
Randal Harrison Hoecherl is a critically acclaimed violinist, composer, and educator. Harrison’s accolades include an EMMY nomination for composition and four hometown MAMAs for Best Blues Artist, Classical Artist of the Year, Jazz Artist of the Year, and Jazz Album of the Year. His national performance credits include work with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra, bassist and Blue Note recording artist Ben Tucker, James Brown’s “the funky drummer” Clyde Stubblefield, and legendary drummer Sam Lay of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. You can find Randal performing with Piper Road Spring Band at bluegrass festivals stretching from the Midwest to the Florida Keys, and in your own living room while watching Randy Sabien’s Fiddlehead Big Band on Wisconsin Public Television. Harrison's performances, compositions, and arrangements have appeared on radio, television, film, stage, and over 100 artist recordings, including works for Naxos World, SRM, Boat Records, db Musique,Spiritwood, and his own label, StringFling Records. Randal Harrison is director and founder of the East Side Talent Education Association of Madison, better known by its acronym, ESTEAM. He’s also taught at the American Suzuki Institute (ASI), the Colorado Suzuki Institute, Savannah College of Art and Design, and is past-President of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin. Randal grew up studying with Margery V. Aber, founder of ASI. While attending the early years of ASI, Harrison had master classes with Shinichi Suzuki, and studied with America’s pioneer Suzuki educators. As an adult he’s worked with iconic bassist and NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis, jazz violinist Matt Glaser, and SAA teacher trainers Michele Higa George and Patricia D’Ercole. Randal Harrison makes his home in Madison, WI, where he practices, teaches, writes, cooks, goes fishing, walks his dog, and continues to be raised by his daughter.
David Becker, violist, received a Bachelor Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Master of Music from the Juilliard School. Mr. Becker has been principal violist with the Victoria and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras in Canada and has performed with many other orchestras including the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra and the New Jersey and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras. He has taught at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, the Brevard Music Center and numerous Suzuki Institutes. Mr. Becker is currently the co-principal violist of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. He was on the faculty of the Aber Suzuki Center at UW-Stevens Point from 1994-2014 and is an active accompanist in that program. Mr. Becker was also the founder and music director of the Central State Chamber Orchestra.
Delaine Fedson Leonard is a vibrant musician and innovative educator in Austin, TX. She is the harp instructor on the faculties of the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin and Serofim College of Fine Arts at Southwestern University. As a pioneer Suzuki Harp teacher and Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) registered Harp Teacher Trainer, Delaine promotes Dr. Shinichi Suzuki's approach as it relates to the world of harp education. Delaine has taught nationally and internationally at Suzuki workshops, festivals and conferences. Delaine is the newly elected President of the American Harp Society, the largest national organization of harpists in the world with over 3,000 members from all 50 states and 20 countries. She is one of the authors of the American String Teachers Association publication "A Harp in the Schools.” She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Northern Iowa, a Master of Music degree from University of Texas at Austin.
Steve Bjella has performed throughout the United States, appearing both as soloist and in a variety of chamber ensembles. He holds degrees in performance and music education from the University of Iowa, where he studied with Leopold LaFosse and the Stradivari Quartet. He has also studied with the Vermeer, Fine Arts and New Hungarian Quartets.
Before moving to Stevens Point he lived in Chicago and was on the faculty of Valparaiso University and Saint Xavier College, a member of the Governor’s State University String Quartet, and a member of the contemporary music ensembles, Chicago Camerata and Loop Group. Mr. Bjella had an active free-lance career as well, performing on numerous commercial recordings and was concertmaster of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and Chicago Light Opera Orchestra.
An active performer and teacher, he has written two books on violin technique, Beginning Repertoire for the Advanced Violinist and Scales and Arpeggios, Block Fingering Exercises for the Advanced Violinist, and given master-classes at colleges and high-schools across the country. He also enjoys making music with his colleagues in the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and is concertmaster of the orchestra.
Judy Boyum has been teaching piano students in her private studio for more than twenty years. She has taught her own three children piano through the Suzuki method, giving her additional insights to the Suzuki parent's perspective and needs. Ms. Boyum studied psychology and music at St. Cloud State University and has a master's degree in counseling psychology. She completed teacher training through Suzuki Piano Book 5 through a mentorship program with certified SAA teacher trainer, Dr. Mary Ann Swallum. With Suzuki string instructor Paula Stewart, Ms. Boyum teaches the Positive Practice! Workshop, a program designed to help parents have positive and effective practice sessions with their children. She leads parenting classes through the Southeastern Minnesota Suzuki Association, and belongs to the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the National Guild of Piano Teachers.
Jennifer Burton has been teaching Suzuki violin lessons since 1977. She taught in Dallas from 1993 to 2006 and taught for 17 years at the American Suzuki Talent Education Center at UW- Stevens Point where she received her Master Degree with Margery Aber. Jenny has been a violin clinician at 200 workshops and institutes across the United States. Ms. Burton was President of the North Texas Suzuki Association and currently is the President of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin. She was awarded the Outstanding Violin Teacher Award at the Colorado Suzuki Institute in 2001. Her book, ‘Sharpen Your Tools: A practice companion for Suzuki parents and teachers’, is distributed worldwide.
Dr. Scott Conklin regularly appears as a recitalist, soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player, and clinician throughout the United States and abroad, and he is Associate Professor of Violin at The University of Iowa School of Music and a violin teacher at the Preucil School of Music. Conklin has performed with numerous orchestras, including the Louisville, Nashville, and Berlin Symphony Orchestras. He is the 2008 Iowa String Teachers Association Leopold LaFosse Studio Teacher of the Year, and his new album with pianist Alan Huckleberry, Violinguistics: American Voices, is available on Albany Records.
Carol Dallinger is currently the Oramay Cluthe Eades Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Evansville where she has been a member of the faculty since 1972. She is also founder and coordinator of the University of Evansville Suzuki Violin Program. Ms. Dallinger has lectured at both state and national music conferences and, as a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, frequently serves as clinician for summer institutes throughout the United States. She is a former member of the National Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association. Professor Dallinger holds a Bachelor of Music in performance from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master of Music in performance from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She currently teaches courses in applied violin, applied viola, music theory, and Suzuki violin pedagogy.
Jean Dexter is a cello and violin Registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas (BM - Michigan State; MME - Southern Illinois-Edwardsville specializing in the Suzuki Approach with John Kendall). Jean has twice served on the SAA Board of Directors, most recently as Secretary, has served on SAA committees to develop systematic teacher training courses, and received the first Missouri ASTA Studio Teacher Award and the Suzuki Chair Award at the ASI in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Jean maintains a private Suzuki studio of cello and violin students in Olathe, Kansas.
Virginia Dixon teaches at the Suzuki School of Elgin, in her home studio and at Wheaton and Elmhurst Colleges. She is a Bass Teacher Trainer for the SAA, the European Suzuki Association, and most recently trained teachers from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Columbia and the USAfor the Asociación Suzuki de Buenos Aires. She is a member ofthe Suzuki Bass Committee creating new literature. A past Board Member of the International Society of Bassist, she edits their journal's Child's Play Column. She holds two performance degrees from Indiana University. Her performances have taken her throughout the world.
Dr. Timothy (Terry) Durbin: Dr. Durbin’s unique brand of teaching excellence makes him one of the most sought-after clinicians/conductors in the country. With infectious enthusiasm and inspired musicianship, he brings smiles and laughter to students throughout the United States and around the world. His performance career stretches across the United States and Canada into Bermuda, Germany, Italy, China, Malaysia and Singapore. Terry Durbin is also an accomplished composer and notable arranger. Dr. Durbin holds a DMA in orchestral conducting from Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles, California, a Masters in violin performance from the University of Illinois, an undergraduate degree in violin performance from the University of Alabama, and is currently the director of the Suzuki String Program at the University of Louisville. He is a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Ethel Fang holds degrees from Trinity College of Music-London, England (A.Mus), University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (B.Mus.), and Baylor University-Waco, Texas (M.Mus). She also studied with Dr. Suzuki’s associate, Dr. Haruko Kataoka, graduating from the Talent Education Research Institute-Matsumoto, Japan. A featured guest clinician at many institutes in the United States and Canada, Ethel has taught at UWSP’s American Suzuki Talent Education Center, where she founded the Suzuki piano program, the Summerstar Suzuki Institute-Bellingham, WA, the Dallas Suzuki Institute-Texas and the E-School of Music-Texas. She has taught developmentally-disabled children with grants from Washington’s Department of Social Health and Service.
Christie Felsing received her Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison, studying violin with Vartan Manoogian and pedagogy with Marvin Rabin.
After a year of graduate studies at Boston University, including long-term Suzuki teacher training,
she pursued a nine-month Suzuki internship with Doris Preucil at the Preucil School of Music. This
experience led her to complete a Master of Music degree in Suzuki pedagogy at Southern Illinois
University at Edwardsville with John Kendall. Christie is also a graduate of the National Guild of
Community Schools of the Arts’ administrative training program, AMICI. From 1996-2014, she
was on the violin faculty of the Preucil School of Music (Iowa), where she served as Assistant
Director. During that time, she was presented the 2013 Leopold LaFosse Studio Teacher of the
Year award by the Iowa String Teachers Association. Her service to the Suzuki Association of the
Americas has included being a member of its Board of Directors (2004-2009), SAA Conference
Coordinator (2010), Teacher Development Advisory Committee, and ongoing work for the Parents
as Partners Online offering. Christie is a registered SAA Violin Teacher Trainer and currently resides
in Boulder Colorado, where she is part of the Suzuki Association of the Americas staff and teaches
for Boulder Suzuki Strings.
Colleen Fitzgerald: Ms. Fitzgerald, executive director of the Barcel Suzuki String Academy, teaches violin as well as Suzuki Early Childhood Education classes. In 2006, she received the Certificate of Excellence in Studio Teaching from the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee. She is a clinician at Suzuki workshops, adjudicates for the National Federation of Music Clubs and teaches at summer Suzuki institutes in Ohio, Montana and Wisconsin. Ms. Fitzgerald graduated from the University of Evansville with a BM in Violin Performance with Suzuki Pedagogy studying under Professor Carol Dallinger and in 2010 earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Cardinal Stritch University.
Julia Hardie is the founder and director of the Central Texas String Academy, a large Suzuki program in Waco, TX. She is an SAA viola teacher-trainer. Her background includes a DMA in Viola from the U. of Iowa with Bill Preucil. Julia has served on the faculties of NM St. U. and Baylor U and is past president of the North Texas Suzuki Association. In addition to her full studio of Suzuki viola and violin students, Julia is assistant principal violist of the Waco Symphony. She often writes for the SAA Journal and presents at workshops where she is an advocate for starting viola study at an early age.
Mary Hofer has been developing a project incorporating voice instruction and the Suzuki philosophy at the University of Wisconsin –Stevens Point Aber Suzuki Center for seventeen years. The program is modeled after the Finnish Suzuki voice program directed by originator Dr. Paivi Kukkamaki. Mrs. Hofer is the first American voice teacher to fulfill the voice requirements for the European Suzuki Association Suzuki Singing Book 1 through Book 4. She is also a sanctioned SAA Teacher Trainer. Prior to teaching Suzuki voice, Mary taught pre-school through Grade 8 General Music, Junior High Chorus, and private voice lessons for ten years. A lyric soprano, Mary Hofer has attended seminars led by the eminent vocal pedagogue Oren Brown, and participated in opera workshops at Oglebay Park, West Virginia, and American University, Washington, DC. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Sharon Jones began her violin studies as one of the first Suzuki students in Ontario, Canada. After a successful audition at the age of 11, she had the unique opportunity to work with Dr. Suzuki at an International Society of Music Educators Conference in Canada as part of a small group of North American children. She later worked with Dr. Suzuki again in Berlin, Germany and in the United States. Other Suzuki mentors over the years include Dorothy Jones, Alice Joy Lewis, and Bill Starr.
Sharon Jones is an experienced Suzuki Violin and Early Childhood Teacher and an SAA registered Teacher Trainer in ECE. With Dorothy Jones, she developed the curriculum used worldwide in Suzuki Early Childhood Education Classes and has taught Suzuki ECE classes continuously since that time - over 20 years ago. Sharon is the singer on the Suzuki ECE recording. Sharon Jones is the founder and director of the Thames Valley Suzuki School in London, Ontario, Canada. In London, she also directs the performing group, Haggis Stew. Sharon has been a presenter, clinician, and teacher at conferences, institutes, and workshops in Canada, USA, Ireland, Japan, and Australia.
Joan Krzywicki earned a BME Degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, where she carried a second major in Piano Performance. She also has a Master’s Degree from Youngstown State University in Ohio. Joan became an official Teacher Trainer for the SAA in 1993. She maintains a private studio in her home and also does teacher training at Temple University in Philadelphia. Joan is nationally certified by the Music Teachers National Association. She has been a guest clinician and teacher trainer at workshops and Institutes in the U.S., Canada, England, Sweden, and Argentina. Her students have earned the highest honors at both local and statewide festivals. Joan has served as President of the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association and the Philadelphia Music Teachers Association. In 2010 she was the Piano Coordinator for the SAA International Conference. Joan is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Lawrence Leviton is Artist/Teacher of Cello at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He also served as Suzuki Specialist at the Aber Suzuki Center for 17 years. He received his Doctorate in cello performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota and his Master's degree in performance from Northwestern University. He also holds a degree in psychology from the University of Illinois. Originally from Chicago, Dr. Leviton has been active as a clinician and performer throughout the country. He has been a frequent performer on Wisconsin Public Radio. He has appeared with the orchestras of the Aspen Music Festival, the Joffrey Ballet, and served as co-principal cello in the Chicago Chamber Orchestra. He was nominated for membership in Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honorary society, at both the University of Minnesota and Northwestern University.
Alice Joy Lewis, violinist, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award - the highest recognition awarded by the Kansas Chapter of ASTA, the Kansas Governor's Arts Award, and an SAA Excellence in Teaching Award. She founded and directs the Ottawa Suzuki Strings who have recorded four CDs, were featured on a national broadcast of the Jim Lehrer News Hour, and have toured nationally and internationally. A registered SAA Teacher Trainer, she was the keynote speaker at SAA's Seventh and Twelfth National Conferences. She founded and directs Absolutely Ottawa! summer programs - SOUND ENCOUNTERS, the Ottawa Suzuki Institute Mid-SW, and the Brian Lewis Young Artist Program.
Nancy Lokken directs Augsburg College Suzuki Talent Education (ACSTE) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she also teaches Suzuki pedagogy as a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She studied with Dr. Suzuki in Japan and is an active Clinician and Teacher Trainer at institutes, festivals and workshops throughout the United States including Alaska and Hawaii. She serves on the SAA Teacher Development Committee, which has recently launching a new course for teachers called “Suzuki Principals in Action.” Ms. Lokken has taught in Bermuda, Canada, Spain, Mexico, and Peru. Her students have been recipients of numerous awards and recognitions. The ACSTE students were selected to perform in the International Ensembles Concert at the SAA Conference in 2004, and have toured throughout Mexico and Spain. Ms. Lokken was honored by the American String Teachers Association with the award of Master Teacher for the state of Minnesota in 1998.
Tom McComb is a self- taught guitarist, specializing in Jazz and Brazilian music. He performs solo, with his own quartet and with many other ensembles in the central Wisconsin area. Besides teaching UWSP's jazz guitar majors, he teaches fretted instruments for UWSP's Conservatory for Creative Expression, and the Wausau Conservatory of Music.
Sarah Montzka: teaches viola and musicianship at the Music Institute of Chicago. She is a graduate of Northwestern University (MM) and The Cleveland Institute of Music (BM), earning degrees in viola performance. Sarah serves on the Boards of Directors for the Society of American Musicians and the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She is the founder and director of MIC's annual "Violapalooza!" workshop and has taught at workshops and institutes from Duluth to Tanzania. Previously, Sarah taught in the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Music Program—designed to reach economically-challenged children. Sarah has performed as a section violist in orchestras including the Jacksonville, Charleston and Savannah Symphonies.
Ann Montzka-Smelser: In between receiving her Bachelors of Music Education and Masters in Performance and Pedagogue at Northern Illinois University, Ann studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. In 2003, Ann was the recipient of the Byron Hester Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award. Ann is currently principal 2nd violinist with Camerata Chicago and concertmaster of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. As a Registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer, Ann teaches Suzuki Pedagogy at Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University. She is director of the NIU, CSA Suzuki Strings Program. Ann enjoys working with Suzuki families at Suzuki Institutes and workshops throughout the United States and in 2010 taught at the International String Conference in Singapore and the Latin American Suzuki Festival in Lima, Peru.
Tim Mutschlecner became the first full time Suzuki Cello Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point when he joined the faculty of the Aber Suzuki Center in the fall of 2007. Along with developing the cello program, Tim leads the Aber Suzuki Center Orchestra and coaches student chamber ensembles. Prior to Stevens Point, Tim was at the University of Florida in Gainesville where he taught cello and graduated with a PhD. in Music Education in August 2007. Previously Dr. Mutschlecner established and directed a Suzuki cello program in Johnson City, Tennessee as well as performing as principal and associate principal cellist in two regional orchestras. Tim received a M.M. in Violincello and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his B.M. in Violincello Performance from Indiana University in 1983.
Ann Marie Novak earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Oberlin College-Conservatory of Music. She holds a Master of Music from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She began her Suzuki training with Martha Stacy at Oberlin. Ms. Novak taught Suzuki Piano for nearly 10 years on the east coast, where she was the founding director of the Northampton Community Music Center and the Suzuki Department Coordinator at the Community Music School of Springfield. Ms. Novak moved to Stevens Point, Wisconsin in 1992, where she is on the faculty of the Aber Suzuki Center at UWSP. She currently is a WMTA District Chair and has served as the President of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin.
Carol Ourada has been teaching in the Wheaton College Community School of the Arts Suzuki program for thirty years. She teaches primarily cello, but also violin, viola, music reading, cello choir, and early childhood music. In addition, Carol administrates and teaches in Wheaton College’s outreach program offering early childhood and Suzuki violin classes to refugee and at-risk children. Carol has served on the SAA Board of Directors. In 2007 she was awarded ASTA Outstanding Studio Teacher of Illinois. She traveled twice to Japan and studied violin with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Her experiences also include being a Suzuki parent.
ASC faculty member, Dr. Merietta Oviatt, began studying Suzuki Violin at the age of two under the tutelage of her mother. At the age of four she began studying with Jack Ashton and studied with him until the age of 14 when she officially switched to the viola. Dr. Oviatt’s viola teachers have included Clyn Barrus, David Dalton, Allen deVeritch, Matthew Johnson, and Karen Ritscher – amongst others. She attended Idyllwild Arts Academy in California where she made her debut with the Desert Symphony Orchestra at the age of 17. Merietta has played for the Baton Rouge symphony, Symphony of Southeast Texas, Acadianna Symphony, and has served as Principal Violist for the Rapides Symphony, Oregon Coast Chamber Orchestra, Cascadia Concert Opera, Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, and currently plays with the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed on numerous occasions on the Latin Grammy Awards, was violinist and violist on the Las Vegas run of “The Producers,” Performed at Weill Recital hall at Carnegie hall in 2007, and has performed as a guest soloist with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Chamber Orchestra, and USOMATA Chamber Orchestra. Oviatt received her Bachelor of Science degree from Utah State University, a Master’s degree in viola performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and completed her doctorate degree in Viola performance and violin/viola pedagogy from the University of Oregon. Merietta is devoted to the Suzuki philosophy of teaching as well as viola pedagogy and performance. She is excited to continue the legacy of viola prominence at UWSP, the Aber Suzuki Center, and ASI.
Linda Perry has accompanied hundreds of faculty, students, and guest artists on the stages of Sentry Theater, Michelsen Hall, and Quandt Gym since 1977 and has been accompanist for the bi-annual national SAA conferences since 1992.
At the request of the SAA International Violin Committee, Dr. Perry has recorded the revised Books 4-7 with William Preucil and has edited the revised piano accompaniment books. Prior to that she recorded Disklavier accompaniments to Violin Books 1-6, plus the beginning viola, cello, and bass books. In 1988 she recorded a three-CD set of accompaniments to many of the standard violin concerti for publication, still available in the Shar catalog.
In her non-Suzuki life, Dr. Perry recently retired as Professor of Piano at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where she taught for 40 years.
David Poffinbarger teaches Orchestra, Jazz Band, and Band, and is the District Music Program Leader for the Stevens Point Area Public School District. He is also an active performer in central Wisconsin whose groups include the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra, River Cities Jazz, Austin Healey Band, Dekorra, and Loose Strings. In his free time he enjoys gardening, spending time with his wife, daughters, and their families, and hanging out with his great danes and Siamese cats.
Kathy Rollings lives in Columbia, MO where she maintains a full Suzuki studio of violinists and violists. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in violin performance, and has registered extensive teacher training with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Kathy serves on the faculties of the American Suzuki Institute, Sound Encounters, and the Ottawa Suzuki Institute in the summers, and she teaches weekend workshops when she can. A United Methodist Deacon, Kathy is the Associate Pastor at Fairview United Methodist Church, where she serves as Minister of Music, Youth Pastor, and Minister of Christian Formation.
Janelle Severson, violinist, grew up in Stevens Point, WI as a Suzuki kid who began studying violin in 1980 at the Aber Suzuki Center. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from UW- Stevens Point with an emphasis on Suzuki Pedagogy and long-term training from Patricia D’Ercole. She has been the director of Severson Suzuki Strings in Eau Claire, WI since 2002. She performs and has been guest clinician throughout Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida. She has been on the faculty at the American Suzuki Institute since 2002.
Oscar Soler has enjoyed an exciting career, starting at the age of seven with a solo debut with Jovenes Arcos de Caracas. Some of his recent accomplishments include being appointed assistant concertmaster and concertmaster for the National Repertory Orchestra, being a member of the first violin section of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and also as a finalist for the New World Symphony in 2008-2009.
Since earning his Master’s of Music degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy in 2009 from the Cleveland Institute of Music, he has been working toward his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is devoted to education and his past students range from ages four through eighteen. Soler is a native of Caracas, Venezuela.
Paula Stewart holds a degree in education with extensive post-graduate training in the science of positive reinforcement based learning. She has enjoyed over 35 years of teaching, been a guest speaker in 5 countries, and taught violin and viola students for almost 20 years. Most recently, in addition to her Suzuki studio in Rochester, MN, Ms. Stewart established a string program at Rochester Montessori School. She is a board member and group lesson instructor for Southeastern Minnesota Suzuki Association and serves on the Rochester Music Guild. Ms. Stewart shares Dr. Suzuki's commitment to music as a means for developing noble persons with beautiful hearts. She created the Positive Practice! Workshop to help parents motivate their children, teach effectively, and build healthy relationships. In 2011 Ms. Stewart was awarded the Extraordinary Rochester Woman Award for her contributions to young musicians and their parents.
David Story is an assistant professor of string bass and jazz studies at UW-Stevens Point. In addition to applied bass, Story teaches jazz combos, improvisation, directs the lab jazz ensemble, and coaches chamber string groups. He received his M.M. in performance from Western Michigan University where he studied with Tom Knific as a graduate fellow. He earned his B.M. in performance from UWSP under virtuoso Catalin Rotaru. He has also received training in the Suzuki Bass Method from Virginia Dixon. Mr. Story has performed throughout the U.S. and is active as a classical soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, and freelance jazz artist. He is a two-time semifinalist in the International Society of Bassists classical soloist competition. While a graduate student at WMU, he received three Downbeat awards as a member of the Kruiziki Transatlantica Quintet.
Peter Thomas has been a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra since his appointment by music director, Edo de Waart in 2008. Mr. Thomas started cello at age five and graduated with performance degrees from the University of Minnesota and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Prior to joining the MSO, Mr. Thomas performed in the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Canton Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and the New World Symphony. He appeared as a soloist with the New World Symphony on two separate occasions performing Richard Strauss’s ‘Don Quixote’ and Elgar's Cello Concerto as the 2008 Concerto Competition winner. An active chamber musician and collaborative artist, Mr. Thomas is the cellist of the Arcas Quartet and indie-rock band I’m Not A Pilot. Peter resides on the East Side of Milwaukee and enjoys the life of being a multi-genre performer and music educator.
Beth Titterington is a registered Suzuki Association of the Americas Violin Teacher Trainer and has been actively involved in the Suzuki Method since 1972, when she first heard the Japanese Talent Education Tour Ensemble (Matsumoto, Japan). Margery Aber chose her as one of the ‘honorarium students’ for the American Suzuki Institute the next year, in 1973. Since that time, she has studied with many people in the field including, most importantly, Dr. Suzuki. Ms. Titterington is currently on the faculty at the Conservatory of Music / University of Missouri (KC) teaching Suzuki Method pedagogy classes and directing her own studio, Kansas City Talent Education. An active clinician from 1979 to the present, she has taught and lectured at hundreds of institutes and workshops across the United States, Canada and in England. Ms. Titterington has served on numerous SAA committees and was elected to the SAA Board of Directors, serving from 2006-2009. She founded the Heart of America Suzuki Association in 1979, which is now a regional affiliate of the SAA. She has enjoyed writing several articles for the American Suzuki Journal, as well as being the facilitator for the SAA course, Suzuki Principles in Action.
Phala Tracy teaches Suzuki harp at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, MN and she is adjunct harp faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. She has taught at the Colorado Suzuki Institute, Utah Suzuki Harp Institute, Peaks to Plains Suzuki Institute, the Duluth Suzuki Fall Festival, the SEMSA “Gasshuku” and the Lyon & Healy International Jazz and Pop Harpfest. A Suzuki trained musician herself, she grew up studying with Mary Kay Waddington in Denver, CO. She holds degrees in Harp Performance and Music History from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM 1999) where she studied with Alice Chalifoux and Yolanda Kondonassis. She also holds degrees in Harp Performance and Composition from the California Institute of the Arts (MFA 2003) where she studied with Susan Allen and James Tenney.
Jim Van Reeth, violinist, is director of the Denison University Suzuki Program in Granville, Ohio. He holds a Bachelors of Music in violin performance from the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College-CUNY and a Masters in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point having completed long-term Suzuki training with Patricia D’Ercole. Jim is a faculty member at Suzuki Music Columbus and performs with the Sterling String Quartet and the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra. He is co-coordinator of the Suzuki Youth Orchestras of the Americas for the SAA 2012 conference.
Mary Kay Waddington authored the Suzuki Harp School and has been teaching Suzuki harp in Denver for more than 35 years. She has worked extensively with harp builders to make small harps available to very young students and has invented right hand levers and pedal extensions to further the use of these instruments. Presently, Mary Kay is working on new ways to make music reading more accessible to all students, working with the ISA committee to publish new Suzuki harp volumes, and trying to start Suzuki harp programs in South America.
Carol Waldvogel teaches in the Milwaukee area. She went to Japan in 1983 and did her Master’s degree work with William Starr, who was instrumental in introducing the Suzuki method in the United States. A founding member of the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin, Carol has also served on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. A guest clinician/faculty member at many Suzuki workshops and Suzuki summer institutes throughout the United States and Mexico, Carol has received the Byron Hester Outstanding Faculty Award (2004) and the Suzuki Chair award (2009).
Elaine Wedeking completed degrees in piano from William Penn University and Truman University and has completed additional graduate study at Northwestern University, the Tanglewood Institute, and Drake University. She previously served on the faculties of Truman University and Westmar College, where she taught and performed as a soloist and accompanist. She currently serves as the collaborative pianist for several choral groups in the Des Moines, Iowa, area, and frequently accompanies string students in contests and competitions around the state. Elaine began attending ASI as a Suzuki parent in 1994, and she has been an ASI faculty member since 2001
Rebecca White: Born into a Suzuki family, Rebecca White began playing her violin at the age of four. She continued on to earn her undergraduate degree in violin performance from the University of Illinois and her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point where she studied long-term Suzuki training with Pat D’Ercole. Upon completion of her master’s degree she started her own studio in Lexington, KY where she maintained a full studio, played in the Lexington Philharmonic and was President of the Central Kentucky Suzuki String Teachers Association. She now lives in Pickerington, OH with her family where she is the director of the Pickerington Suzuki Strings. She also teaches at Denison University in their Suzuki program where she helps run the group classes and winter workshops.
Janis Wittrig has taught using the Suzuki Method for more than 25 years. She has been a clinician at workshops throughout the continental United States, as well as in Hawaii, Canada and Singapore.
Janis received a BA in Performance and an MS in Music Education from the University of Illinois. She did further advanced study at the University of Southern California, where she was first violinist of the Graduate String Quartet. Ms. Wittrig's students have been first-place contest winners, have performed as soloists with orchestras in the Chicago area, and have been selected for SAA conference master classes. Janis has taught with the Pasadena and the Wheaton College Suzuki Programs and is currently a faculty member at the Western Springs School of Talent Education. Since 2006, Ms. Wittrig has served as Concertmaster of the DuPage Symphony Orchestra.
Katherine Wood, former director of Suzuki Talent Education at MacPhail Center for Music, teaches Suzuki violin. Katherine has been teaching Suzuki violin for more than 40 years.
She has taught in the Denver Public Schools, at Salem College and the New England Suzuki Institute, was director of the Suzuki Talent Education Society of Calgary, AB, and taught music theory at Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. She completed her bachelor of music education at the University of Nebraska, and continued her studies at the University of West Virginia, receiving a master of arts in violin performance. Katherine is also an SAA registered teacher trainer and teaches Suzuki workshops and institutes in the United States and Canada. Her Suzuki training was with Dr. Suzuki, Alice Joy Lewis, Sanford Reuning, John Kendall, Ronda Cole and others.
Tom Yang joined the Aber Suzuki Center faculty in 1999. Born in New Jersey, he did his undergraduate work at Bucknell University where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music History. Following his studies at Bucknell, he went on to earn a Master of Music in piano performance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and later to do work towards a piano performance doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tom’s varied experience has included teaching in a private studio in Marshfield, at the Wausau Conservatory of Music and at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
Ray Gustafson has served as an organist and choral director in various churches and traditions, and he has additionally served as a collaborative pianist in music schools and Suzuki studios in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut. He and his wife, Mary, have four children who studied strings and piano in the Suzuki method, and they are looking forward to being part of their granddaughter’s musical training.
Marge Andersen teaches ASC’s Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) classes. Marge is an early childhood educator. She retired in 2012 from a career teaching the 4K program at UWSP’s Helen R. Godfrey-University Child Learning and Care Center. She did her Suzuki ECE training with Dorothy and Sharon Jones in 1995, 2011, and 2014. Born and raised in Stevens Point, Marge has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from UWSP. She also has an Administrator and Leadership credentials in ECE from UW-Milwaukee. Marge currently serves as a commissioner for The Registry, Wisconsin’s Early Childhood Education Recognition System for professional development. Marge’s two grown children are both violinists and graduates of the ASC.
Judy Meyer is thrilled to be co-teaching, with Marge Andersen, the first Early Childhood Education (ECE) class at the Aber Suzuki Center. In 2011, she trained for ECE with Dorothy and Sharon Jones in Ottawa, Kansas. Judy began her Suzuki education in 1984 when her first son, Andy began Suzuki lessons with Kyoko Fuller at the Aber Suzuki Center. Her second son, Roy also studied with Kyoko until his graduation in 2007. She maintains a private music studio since 1981, and also taught general music and choral music in the Marshfield Parochial schools. She has Bachelor of Music degree from UWSP.
Charys Schuler (right), violin, was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and started her studies at the American Suzuki Talent Education Center with Margery Aber at the age of 3. At the age of 13, she was invited to tour Japan and China where she received lessons with Dr. Suzuki and helped introduce the method to China. Further studies took her to Cincinnati, Boston and Hartford with renowned teachers including Dorothy Delay and the Emerson String Quartet. Since then, she has performed as soloist with orchestras in the US, Europe, South America and Australia. During her studies, she won prizes at several international competitions such as the Junior Division of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition with the ASTEC Quartet, and the Minnesota Young Artists' Auditions, and the Artists International Auditions in New York as soloist. Many concerts and radio and CD productions followed in the US, England and Germany. She moved to Germany in 1991, earning positions as concertmaster of orchestras in Darmstadt and Dresden. Since 1998 she has been a member of the first violins of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. In addition to her orchestral career, Ms. Schuler has continued to be an active chamber musician. After several years in the Lichtenberg Quartet, she played 13 years in the Frankfurt String Sextet and currently performs with the Cilia Trio
Maja Schwamm (center), started her cello studies at the age of six with her uncle, Professor Klaus Stock. Further studies took her to Munich with Professor Walter Nothas. During this time, she received a scholarship to study cello and chamber music in Prag with members of the Suk Trio for one year. While finishing her studies in Munich, she was a substitute and member of the Orchestra Academy of the Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra. Since 1995 she has been a member of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and an active chamber musician, including 15 years as a member of the Frankfurt String Sextet. She currently performs with the Cilia Trio.
Karen Tanaka (left), was born in Washington, DC and began piano lessons at the age of 4. She gave her orchestral debut at the age of 13 with the Honolulu Symphony. After studies at the Eastman School of Music she moved to Germany and received her artist diploma from the National College of Music in Freiburg. She has won prizes at several international competitions including the Young Keyboard Artists Association Competition and the International Stravinsky Competition. As the winner of the National Symphony Orchestra Competition she played several times as soloist with the National Symphony in the Kennedy Center. She has also recorded for the radio in Europe. As a chamber musician she has performed with Anne Sophie Mutter, soloists of the Vienna Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, and the Munich Philharmonic in Europe, the US, Japan and Lebanon. As pianist and pedagogue she is active in Germany, Switzerland and Luxemburg and has taught at the conservatories in Dresden, Karlsruhe and Stuttgart. Ms. Tanaka has held her current position as accompanist and chamber music coach at Dr. Hoch's Conservatory in Frankfurt since 2009 and performs as a member of the Cilia Trio.
L. Dalton Potter, owner and president of The Potter Violin Company in Bethesda, Maryland, has been building and repairing stringed instruments for more than 30 years. The Potter Violin Company is the largest purveyor of bows and bowed stringed instruments in the Mid-Atlantic region and among the largest shops of its kind in the country.
Dalton has written and spoken extensively on the importance of quality instruments in early string music education and maintains a close relationship with many institutions nationwide, including the American String Teachers Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He is the author of Kitchen Table Violin Repairs, an emergency manual for string players and teachers. In addition, he takes great pride in being an active and supportive member of the strings community by sponsoring local orchestras and speaking at workshops, camps, and universities around the country.