​What's New - Aber Suzuki Center

Margery Aber's Continuing Legacy - American Suzuki Journal article
​Violist is ‘master’at drawing out best in Suzuki students
Forty years ago, Dave Becker wanted to be a professional violist. Several hundred music students are glad he expanded his repertoire.
“If I had just done that, I would have had a much more one-dimensional career.” Instead, Becker combined his love of playing with his keen interest in teaching and “helping others love this as much as I do.”
Becker has been a successful performer in chamber groups and symphony orchestras from New York City to Victoria, British Columbia. He’s performed with violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell, with singers Luciano Pavarotti, Marilyn Horne and John Denver and with the pit orchestra for Joel Grey’s Cabaret. A highlight of his career was performing Dvorak’s cello concerto with Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.
Throughout that time, Becker taught viola and violin. For the last 20 years, he’s focused on teaching at the Aber Suzuki Center at UW-Stevens Point. He will retire in June.
“Mr. Becker is a master teacher,” said Pat D’Ercole, director of the Aber Suzuki Center, during a tribute concert April 27. “He is the consummate artist. Everything he does – his teaching, conducting, accompanying—is done with perfection and is always first class.”
The Julliard-trained musician returned to his hometown of Stevens Point after he and his wife, Patti, independently decided to be closer to nature and family. Jobs opened in their respective areas of expertise at UW-Stevens Point just as they explored the move.
The music education methods developed by Shinichi Suzuki emphasize musical and personal growth through individual and group instruction. The Aber Suzuki Center uses these principles to nurture and inspire students from an early age. As they develop technique in violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, harp, guitar, voice or dance, students incorporate this philosophy into their lives.
Parents play an important role in reinforcing and motivating their children to embrace Suzuki philosophy. As a result, Becker has gotten to know parents, siblings and extended family of his students. Some trained with him from age 4 to 18, and strong bonds developed over those years.
Becker knows how to draw out the best in his students and to improve their performance, D’Ercole said. “His calm demeanor, artistry and attention to detail have developed the musical skills of a generation of students.”
Becker founded the Central State Chamber Orchestra in 1999. The goal was to further develop skills of advanced string students in junior and senior high school from throughout central Wisconsin. “I wanted something as inclusive and high level as possible,”he said.
Becker also coaches the Aurora String Quartet, which has had many different members over the years. He has been an accompanying pianist for students on monthly recitals, senior recitals, solo and ensemble festivals as well as with faculty on viola and piano. He will continue accompanying students.
“Music is meant to be shared,” he said. “That’s always been one of my favorite parts of the job.”
Many of his students have won the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra concerto competition, performed in master classes at Suzuki Association of the Americas conferences and gone on to prestigious music schools such as Oberlin, Yale, UW-Madison and Rice.
Some of his students have pursued performance careers, like Jane Mitchell, who will return as a guest artist with CWSO next fall. Others are studying to be doctors, attorneys or other professionals. “They take the skills, the perseverance and hard work they developed in Suzuki and it helps them achieve in their chosen fields. I couldn’t be prouder,” Becker said. “In all cases, music is something they’ll hold dear for the rest of their lives.”
Aber Suzuki Center Flash Mob

UWSP Aber Suzuki Center students and staff treated downtown Stevens Point to a flash mob and WSAW news and the Stevens Point Journal were there to cover the event! WSAW story link Stevens Point Journal video link

Suzuki Voice Then and Now 2013 Video

Mary Hofer (with the assistance of Kay and Dave Holz),  produced a video of clips of her current voice students.  Each student has 2 or more clips illustrating their  development from one of their first recitals until now.  Click on this link to view.

Aber Suzuki Center Student Debuts in Opera

Aber Suzuki Center student Mikaela Schneider recently made her professional debut with the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee. Mikaela performed the role of "Emmie" in Benjamin Britten’s opera "Albert Herring."
Mikeala is a high school senior and began her Suzuki education at age 9 with Aber Suzuki Center teacher Mary Hofer.
ASC Student Featured in Stevens Point Journal

Rachel Ley, a sophomore at Stevens Point Area Senior High, has distributed 3,300 book packets to new parents through her nonprofit Literacy for Little Ones since 2009 in an effort to encourage parents to read to their newborns.

When Rachel Ley was in fifth and sixth grades at Washington Service-Learning Center, she remembers being troubled as she watched some of her classmates struggle to read. More
January Aber Suzuki Center Open House

​Saturday, January 26, 2013 from 9am-12pm the Aber Suzuki Center will hold its second open house in UWSP's Noel Fine Arts Center (1800 Portage Street) courtyard. The morning's program will start with an Instrument Petting Zoo from 9-10:15 as well as musical games for kids at 9:30. A Mini Concert starts at 10:15, followed by a cookie break. Families are then invited to observe group classes and end their morning with pizza served at noon. The event is free of charge and parking is available in Lots E or R, north and south of the Noel Fine Arts Center. Call the Aber Suzuki Center office at 715-346-3033 with any questions.

Aber Suzuki Center Orchestra Auditions - January 16

Auditions for the spring semester of the Aber Suzuki Center Orchestra will be on Wednesday, January 16th from 7:00-8:30 in the Noel Fine Arts Center room 143, where a sign-up sheet for audition times will be posted.  You can also reserve a time by contacting Tim Mutschlecner at tmutschl@uwsp.edu

First Central Wisconsin Honors Orchestra Festival

Honors Orchestra Festival

The first Central Wisconsin Middle School Honors Orchestra Festival was sponsored by the Aber Suzuki Center and the Stevens Point Area Schools on Dec. 7 and 8.  Forty-seven 6
th graders came to UWSP on Friday night and worked with members of the Aber Suzuki Center staff.  Students gathered again on Saturday morning for an additional sectional and orchestra rehearsal. The experience culminated with a joint performance with the Central State Chamber Orchestra, directed by David Becker.  View the performance here: 

ASC Students Perform at Oakridge

Oakridge Xmas Strings.jpg

Students and faculty from the Aber Suzuki Center performed a selection of holiday favorites at the Oakridge Senior Living Center in Stevens Point on December 18, 2012. Jenny Burton said "The residents sure enjoy hearing the children play!"

Aber Suzuki Center Faculty Member to Direct Upcoming Concert

David Becker, a faculty member at the Aber Suzuki Center at UW-Stevens Point will direct the Central State Chamber Orchestra’s upcoming holiday concert. Scheduled for Saturday, December 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Senior Center, located at 1519 Water Street in Stevens Ponit.

The concert will open with the “Concerto Grosso  (Christmas Concerto) Opus 6, No. 8” by Arcangelo Corelli, featuring violinists Wade Dittburner and Annie Yao as well as cellist Sarah Bauer as soloists.  The orchestra will also play works by Bach, Dello Joio, Strauss, and Grieg.  The program will conclude with a traditional holiday sing-along.
The Central State Chamber Orchestra (CSCO), founded 14 years ago by Becker, is made up of advanced junior and high school aged string players from central Wisconsin. The CSCO Holiday Concert is open to the public with a $3 free-will offering to benefit the Lincoln Center. A reception will be held immediately following the concert.
Cable Stations Broadcast ASC Video

​Music: A Gift for a Lifetime was the title of the 30 min. video shown on Charter cable access TV, Marshfield cable access and Wisconsin Rapids cable access TV.  The video used footage from the ASC String & Voice Festival Concert and the Piano Festival Concerts and highlighted philosophical points of the Suzuki method and about the ASC.

ASC's Enrollment Grows to 300!

​ASC has 43 new students this fall,  including one new harp students and 6 new guitar students.   Our Suzuki  Early Childhood Class is full to its capacity of 12.   A minimum of 6 is need to begin a second class.  Call now, 715-346-3033. 

American Suzuki Foundation Continues New Student Rebate

​Through the generous support of the American Suzuki Foundation the tuition rebate will continue throughout the 2012-13 academic year.  Refer a new family to enroll at ASC and the referring family and the new family each receive a $50 tuition rebate.  To date $1,650 has been given in rebates. 

Alumna Jane Mitchell Performs on PBS’s Great Performances

Jane Mitchell

Alumna Jane Mitchell, former viola student of David Becker, was a fellow with the Boston Symphony Orchestra this summer.   One of the BSO concerts with Jane performing was broadcast on PBS’s Great Performances series on August 10th. 

Doctoral Dissertation Honors Aber’s Accomplishments

​The ASC has received a copy of Dr. Ana Maria Wilson’s completed doctoral dissertation entitled, Margery Aber and her Contributions to the Suzuki Method in the United States, a nice tribute to our founder!

ASC Celebrates 45th Anniversary!

Image of ASC Students

The Aber Suzuki Center is celebrating its 45th anniversary with a gala on Saturday, June 2, 2012.  All alumni and their parents, as well as current ASC families and special guests are invited to attend.  The afternoon will begin with tours of the Noel Fine Arts Center, followed by a play-in and an alumni reading orchestra. The evening will commence with appetizers and a cash bar, a concert given by alumni from each of the decades, followed by a dessert reception.  Watch for more information and see old pictures on our UWSP Aber Suzuki Center Facebook page.   Click here to view 45th Anniversary Schedule of Events.

Aber Suzuki Center Faculty Recital - Saturday, March 31st

The Aber Suzuki Center faculty will perform together in a recital Saturday, March 31 at 7:30 in Michelson Hall of the Noel Fine Arts Center.  They will be joined by Rosalie Gilbert on harp and Jo Anne Peck on violin.   The Faculty and students are celebrating the 45the anniversary of the Aber Suzuki Center which was founded by Margery Aber and was home to the first summer Institute for Suzuki training in the country.

Tim Mutschlecner, who teaches cello at ASC comments; “For students and families, hearing their teachers in ensemble together, is very inspiring.  Much of the joy in music-making lies in this kind of collaboration.” The program will include works by Bach, Brahms, McLean, and others.

The concert is free and open to the public

New Suzuki Harp Guitar and Bass Program

The Aber Suzuki Center will begin a Suzuki Harp, Guitar and Bass program in August of 2012.   Rosalie Gilbert will teach harp, Tom McComb will teach guitar and David Story will teach string bass. Children as young as 5 years old may take lessons on these instruments.  Call the Suzuki Office for more details.  ​

Sam Ginnett Honored by CWSO

Sam GinnettSam Ginnett, boy soprano, played the role of Amahl in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti as performed by the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 3 & 4, 2011. Sam is a student of Mary Hofer and is in 7th grade at Ben Franklin Jr High.

Edward Schenkman Wins CWSO Concerto Competition

Edward SchenkmanThe Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra is pleased to announce the winners of the biennial 2011-12 Young Artist Concerto Competition held on Saturday, September 10, 2011 in Michelsen Hall of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Fine Arts and Communication. Eight talented high school musicians from central Wisconsin performed a memorized movement from a concerto of their choice. This year’s winner is Edward Schenkman of Marshfield, who performed Ernest Bloch’s “Suite Hebraique for Viola and Orchestra.” First runner-up is Annie Yao, violinist from Marshfield and violinist Wade Dittburner of Bancroft. The purpose of the competition is to provide a high-quality performance experience for the finest young performers from Central Wisconsin, and to assist them in pursuing advanced study.

“Teddy” Schenkman, age 16, began violin lessons at age 4 in Durham, North Carolina. Since moving to Marshfield, he has continued his studies with Mr. David Becker at the Aber Suzuki Center in Stevens Point. As principal viola, Teddy plays in the Marshfield High School Orchestra under Ms. Katherine Fitzgerald and in the Central State Chamber Orchestra under Mr. Becker. In addition he is a member of the Marshfield High School Quartet and the Earth Quartet of the Aber Suzuki Center. Teddy has played viola in the Middle and High School Wisconsin State Honors Orchestras for five seasons, including one season as principal. He has received exemplary certificates for his viola playing in the Wisconsin School Music Association competitions at the state level for the past two seasons. During the summers he attends the Greenwood Music Camp in western Massachusetts. Teddy is a senior at Marshfield High School in Marshfield, Wisconsin. He hopes to pursue a career in viola performance.

Schenkman will perform the winning piece with the CWSO at 7:30 p.m. on December 3rd and at 4:00 p.m. on December 4th, 2011 at the Theater @1800 in the Sentry Complex, 1800 Northpoint Drive, Stevens Point. The CWSO will also be performing “Polonaise” from “Christmas Eve Suite” by Rimsky-Korsakov, Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto,” an arrangement of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Stephenson and “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti. The fully staged performance of “Amahl” will feature soprano Susan Bender in the role of the mother and will be performed in conjunction with the UW-Stevens Point Opera Workshop. These concerts are made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ministry Medical Group and Delta Dental. An additional performance of the work will be performed at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 4th for a Family Matinee sponsored by Security Health Plan. Tickets for all performances are available by calling the UW-Stevens Point box office: 715-346-4100 or toll-free: 800-838-3378, or visiting the box office web site:http://tickets.uwsp.edu/index.php. For more information, please visit the www.cwso.org.


Mikaela Schneider Performs at the Kennedy Center with Marvin Hamlisch.

Mikaela Schneider

Mikaela Schneider, a sixteen-year-old Aber Suzuki Center student from the Milwaukee area, performed in four concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with Marvin Hamlisch, December 9-12. She also performed with Hamlisch and the Dallas Symphony December 4th and 5th. Hamlisch is a composer and conductor and wrote the music for such films as The Way We Were and Ordinary People and the adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for The Sting.

Mikaela has studied voice with Mary Hofer since the age of 9. In the past three years she has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Pops Orchestra, Present Music, the Milwaukee Children’s Choir, Music by the Lake, and was a National Anthem soloist for the Milwaukee Brewers. She also has been coached as UWSP by Professor Emeritus Marjorie Phelps Kampenga and studies flute with Jeani Foster of the Milwaukee Symphony.

After the Dallas Concert one reviewer said this:
“As a child prodigy himself (mimicking radio music on the piano at age five and accepted into what is now the Juilliard School Pre-College Division at age seven), Hamlisch knows aptitude when he sees it. For this weekend’s concert, he brought along a slew of young talent. Vocalist Mikaela Schneider, whom Marvin met a year ago in Wisconsin, sang a breathtaking “Ave Maria”, and had you not known otherwise, you would never guess by the sound of her beautifully graceful voice that she was only sixteen.”
The Aber Suzuki Center is very proud of Mikaela’s accomplishments and of her teacher, Mary Hofer. With well over 175 years of combined teaching experienced among the faculty, it is no wonder that the ASC has two other alumni who regularly perform at the Kennedy Center-- Eric Lee is associate concertmaster of the National Opera Orchestra and studied with Margery Aber. Joel Fuller, son of Kyoko & David Fuller, is a violinist in the National Symphony Orchestra and studied with Pat D’Ercole.


ASC Performs at Boys & Girls Club Art Show

Mark Motors outreach concert.jpg

Cello students from the Aber Suzuki Center performed recently at the Boys & Girls Club Art Show held at Mark Motors in Plover.