Ann Applegate, Collaborative Pianist

Ann Applegate serves on the piano faculty at the Wausau Conservatory of Music in Wausau, Wisconsin, where she is a soloist and collaborative pianist as well as a teacher.  She participates in outreach performances in the public school system and performs on the public radio series "Live from the Chazen."  She received Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from Central Michigan University and the University of Oregon.  She is working on her Doctorate of Music Arts in Piano Performance/Pedagogy from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

 Joanna Binford, Viola

Joanna Binford is the Suzuki Strings Coordinator for the Academy of Music in Norfolk VA and a national workshop and institute teacher. She performs and records with the Endless Road Strings, a string quartet specializing in eclectic musical styles. Ms. Binford performs frequently with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Symphonicity. Her awards include the Kentucky Chapter of the American String Teachers Association 2013 “Outstanding Service” and District 7 KMEA “Outstanding College/University Music Teacher of the Year”. Ms. Binford is a member of the Suzuki Teachers Association of Hampton Roads (STAHR), and directed the violas during the group’s student tour of Peru in June 2014. 

 Steven Bjella, Violin

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.  

Steve joined the music faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1991 and holds the positions of Artist/Teacher of Violin and Professor of Music. An active performer and teacher, he has written two books on violin technique  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. 

 Beatrice Blanc, Violin

Beatrice Blanc joined the Suzuki faculty at MacPhail Center for Music in 1996. Raised a Suzuki kid in Iowa City, she studied with Sonja Zeithamel and Doris Preucil. She received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Iowa and a Master of Music Degree in Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Minnesota. Beatrice’s Suzuki pedagogy training is from the American Suzuki Institute, the Preucil School of Music, and the University of Minnesota. Activities at MacPhail have included group class and supplemental program coordination, note-reading class, council and committee work, faculty performances, chamber music coaching, and adjudication. Service in the broader community has included board membership with the Suzuki Association of Minnesota, conferences and leadership retreats, weekend workshops and institutes. 

 Jennifer Burton, Voilin

Jennifer Burton retired in 2020 from the Aber Suzuki Center and as Coordinator of the American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  Her 43-years of teaching also included 13 years in Dallas. 

Jenny has been a violin clinician at over 250 workshops and institutes across the U.S.  She served 3-year term on the board of the Suzuki Association of the Americas was President of the North Texas Suzuki Association and Suzuki Association of Wisconsin.  She was awarded the Outstanding Violin Teacher Award at the Colorado Suzuki Institute, the Distinguished Service Awards by the NTSA and the SAW.  She is the author of Sharpen Your Tools. 

Ms. Burton enjoys walking, bird watching, cats, collecting postage stamps and paper-making. 

 Tanya Carey, Cello, Teacher Training

Tanya Lesinsky Carey has presented masterclasses and concerts in over thirty states and fifteen foreign countries. Her experience includes assistant principal of the Milwaukee Symphony, prize–winning recordings with the Rochester Philharmonic, concerts in Tully and Carnegie Halls, concerto performances, and recordings with the Lydian Trio and the Carey Consort. Education includes BM and MM from Eastman and DMA from the University of Iowa. Illinois ASTA awarded her the 1993 "Outstanding Studio Teacher of the Year Award" and the Suzuki Chair Award from ASI. She is professor emeritus from Western Illinois University, past-President of SAA, and listed in Who's Who in America, and currently artist-teacher at Roosevelt CCPA and Music Institute of Chicago. Her students are represented on the artist faculty of Illinois and Indiana Universities. Her series of books on cello are on

 Chris Clemente, Kitchen Percussion

Chris Clemente is a performing artist/composer and music educator. He received formal music training at Roosevelt University and University of Miami. He received a Masters degree in Music from DePaul University.  Chris has been a featured guest speaker at Northeastern’s Contemporary Music symposium and a featured artist at Northeastern’s New Music Concert performing an original composition on solo electric bass. Chris was a contributing composer for Harpo Studio and Chicago Public Radio's project. Chris is an adjunct professor at Kennedy King College, instructor/combo director at Lake Forest College. He is a teaching artist for Ravinia’s Music Discovery *Reach*Teach*Play program and Sistema program which bring music education to the underserved Chicago schools K-8. 

 Scott Conklin, Violin

Commended by The Strad for “brilliance of tone and charismatic delivery,” Dr. Scott Conklin regularly appears as a recitalist, soloist, recording artist, chamber musician, orchestral player, adjudicator, and teaching clinician throughout the world. He is a violin professor and string area head at the University of Iowa School of Music and a teacher at the Preucil School of Music. Dr. Conklin has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Louisville, Nashville, and Berlin Symphony Orchestras. Recent concert tours include Europe and Hong Kong, and he has recorded for Albany, Chandos, MSR Classics, and Alfred Music.  

 Susan Crawford, Violin

Susan Crawford teaches violin and viola at Carleton College and is on the Suzuki faculty for both MacPhail Center For Music and Northern Lights School for Strings in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. After many rewarding music festival experiences as a participant, Susan is delighted to be a frequent clinician at institutes and workshops fulfilling her dream of furthering talent education. Her students have won many awards and are continuing their studies at programs including Juilliard, Northwestern and Oberlin.  

She is a member of Minnesota Sinfonia, has been the concertmaster for the Ordway Music Theater’s Broadway series for many years, and enjoys an active freelance career.  

 Pat D'Ercole, Violin, Teacher Trainer


Patricia D'Ercole is Director Emerita of the Aber Suzuki Center at the UW-Stevens Point where she taught violin to children and Suzuki pedagogy courses.  She completed a master's degree with an emphasis in Suzuki with Margery Aber and, in 1988, studied in Japan with Dr. Suzuki. She has been a clinician in 22 states in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Finland, Estonia, Peru, Chile and Taiwan.  Pat has written numerous articles for the American Suzuki Journal, was chair of the Suzuki Association (SAA) Board of Directors and served as a member of the SAA committees to develop the Every Child Can! course and the Suzuki Principles in Action course. She was the founder and first president of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin and has been on the planning committee for the International Research Symposium on Talent Education since its inception in 1991 and has served as its coordinator since 1995.  Through her leadership, "The American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point: The Suzuki Method in Action," a collection of videos which chronicles the two weeks of Dr. Suzuki's teaching at the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point in 1976, is now preserved and posted on the web for free viewing by all.  In 2002, she was the recipient of the American Suzuki Institute's Suzuki Chair Award and in 2008 became a Distinguished Instructional Specialist at UWSP.  In 2020 she was honored by WI-ASTA as the Studio Teacher of the Year. In September 2010, Pat began the Suzuki Strings Mentoring Program, an online long-term practicum to assist and support Suzuki string teachers in their quest to become a better teacher within the environment of their usual employment. Pat currently teaches part-time at the Aber Suzuki Center.  She is active as a teacher trainer at workshops, institutes and the mentoring program.   

 Carol Dallinger, Violin, Teacher Trainer

Carol Dallinger is Professor of Music at the University of Evansville where she has been a member of the faculty since 1972. She is instructor of violin and viola, Suzuki pedagogy, chamber music, music theory and is founder of the University of Evansville Suzuki Violin Program. In 1995, Ms. Dallinger received the Outstanding Teacher Award at the University of Evansville. In August 2006, she received the Suzuki Chair Award from American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and in August, 2008 she was awarded the Oramay Cluthe Eades Distinguished Professorship in Music by the University of Evansville. 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 has also taught in New Zealand and Australia. She is a former member of the National Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and is a past-President of the Indiana String Teachers’ Association. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Performance Degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Master of Music in Performance Degree from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana.

 Ludmila de Carvalho, Songs and Rhythms of Brazil

Ludmila de Carvalho iniciated her musical studies in children's choirs of Bahia state. Is graduated in Music/Singing in São Paulo State University UNESP and has Art Education Licensure and post-graduation in Music Education in Claretiano University. Was student of Christoph Pregardien in Kirchheimer Liedersommer, Silvana Bartoli´s in Menuhin Festival, Switzerland, and of Luciana Serra´s Art of Bel Canto in Villa Medici Giulini among others courses. She is also professional actress graduated by SENAC/SP. Ludmila won the 'IV Younger Soloists National Contest of Bahia Symphonic Orchestra, Second Prize at 12°Maracanto National Singing Contest in Maranhão state and won Honors Prize at I Bauru-Atlanta Competition. Her debut was as "Yum-Yum" Gilbert&Sullivan's The Mikado (2004), also sang "Pamina" in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, and "Euridice" in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. In concerts sang as soloist with São Paulo Young orchestra OSJESP and Rio Claro Orchestra, Haydn's Missa Nelson,Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Vivaldi's Gloria and Bach's Coffee Cantata. Ludmila is private voice teacher since 2002 and was teacher in Taubaté/SP vocacional/professionalizing school of Music and Drama from 2007 to 2011. Currently is Voice teacher of São Paulo's Suzuki Center and singer of São Paulo's Municipal Opera Choir.

 Derek Deakins, Fiddling in C, Creative U

Derek Deakins is a violinist, fiddler, guitarist, and National Board Certified teacher originally from Kingsport, Tennessee. 

Derek's musical journey began with Suzuki violin lessons as a young child and has taken him around the world as a professional musician. He has performed with major recording artists including Blake Shelton, The Osborne Brothers, and Miranda Lambert. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from East Carolina University.  Derek performs regularly with Gravel Road Bluegrass Band and Pinecastle recording artists Merle Monroe.  Additionally, Derek is a musician and teaching artist on staff at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  

 Lisa Deakins, Violin and Fiddling

Lisa Deakins is a violinist and fiddler in Charleston, SC. She has worked professionally for country music artists Pam Tillis and Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, and her music has taken her to stages including the Grand Ole Opry and Song of the Mountains. She is very fortunate to have grown up in the Suzuki method as Nashville is largely a “play-by-ear” town! Lisa founded the Gravel Road Bluegrass Band, recorded five professional albums, and has received an International Bluegrass Music Association Award. She has also compiled a series of music books for Suzuki violinists called “Fiddlin’ Favorites,” licensed by the ISA. Lisa lives with her husband and son as all three points of the Suzuki triangle:  studentteacher, and now Suzuki parent!  

 Steve Decker, Taekwondo

Master Stephen Decker 

  • Veteran - US Navy 1997-2001 & US Navy Reserves 2001-2004 
  • 5th Degree Kukkiwon Black Belt (2017) 
  • 6th Degree Ji Do Kwan Black Belt (2020) 
  • 20+ Years of TKD Experience, 10+ years active service as a Coach and Referee. 
  • Level 2 Certified USA-Taekwondo Coach 
  • Pan American Taekwondo Union Certified Intercontinental Coach 
  • USA-Taekwondo World Championship Team Coach 
  • AAU Certified Coach 
  • Level A-2 Certified National Level Referee 
  • IR-3 Certified World Taekwondo International Referee 

 Virginia Dixon, Bass, Teacher Trainer

Virginia Dixon is one of three Bass Teacher Trainers for the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the only Bass Trainer for the European Suzuki Association.  Her trainees include bass professors, orchestra bassists, active performers, and conservatory students from twenty-one countries. Her mission thus far has taken her to Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, Lima, Davos, Mexico City, and Saõ Paulo, as well as across the North American continent.  She is presently training teachers in Australia via Skype. 

Virginia Dixon has performed widely throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, and Japan. Some of her favorite performances have been as a member of the Louisville Orchestra, with Sam Baron and the Bach Aria Group, and performances of the St. John Passion in Munich, Brussels, and Paris.  During her tenure with the Louisville Orchestra she was asked to play with a flute, viola, bass trio, and was so pleased with the results that she has created this combination of chamber ensemble ever since wherever she has gone.  Her ensembles have commissioned and performed 10 world premiers. 

She is presently on the faculties of Elmhurst College and Benedictine University.  She also maintains a home studio. 

Her students include the Principal Bassist of the Houston Symphony as well as members of such orchestras as the National Symphony and the New Orleans Philharmonic. 

She earned two performance degrees from Indiana University and has done doctoral work in performance at Stony Brook University.  Her major teachers were Julius Levine, Murray Grodner, and Georg Hortnagel.

 Graham Emberton, Violin

Graham Emberton is a violinist and teacher dedicated to compassionate talent development. Graham is a Suzuki violin instructor for the Aber Suzuki Center at UW-Stevens Point, and previously taught at Interlochen Arts Camp, Detroit Youth Volume,
and DePaul Community Music Division.

In addition to his love for teaching, Graham is an active performing musician. He serves as Assistant Concertmaster of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Utah Festival Opera, Lansing Symphony, and the
Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Graham holds degrees in violin performance from Butler
University, DePaul University, and the University of Memphis.

 Rachel Fabulich, Viola

Violist, Rachel Fabulich, is a Suzuki student, parent, and teacher of viola, violin, and Suzuki Early Childhood Education. She is a clinician at institutes and workshops around the country and has served as a viola coordinator for the 2014 and 2016 SAA conferences. She currently directs Suzuki MetroWest in Framingham, MA, and serves on the Faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music Preparatory School.

 Colleen Fitzgerald, Violin

Colleen Fitzgerald is director of the Barcel Suzuki String Academy in Wauwatosa, WI. She is a violin and Suzuki Early Childhood Education instructor. Ms. Fitzgerald earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance with Suzuki Pedagogy Emphasis at the University of Evansville and a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from Cardinal Stritch University. Colleen was awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Studio Teaching from the Civic Music Association (2006) and earned the Certificate of Achievement 1 from the SAA (2017). She has been featured on TV and radio programs and Beyond the Music Lesson podcast discussing the Suzuki Method. Colleen is a clinician at workshops and institutes.

 Alyssa Hardie Beckman, Viola, Yoga

 Alyssa Hardie Beckmann is the Director of the Kansas City Suzuki Academy, where she teaches violin, viola, and chamber music. Ms. Beckmann holds degrees from Vanderbilt (BM), and Boston University (MM), in Viola and Violin Performance, in addition to post-graduate studies in viola with Bruno Giuranna in Lugano, Switzerland. She was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center for three summers, and has worked closely with members of the Juilliard, Takacs and Guarneri String Quartets. She performed at the International Viola Congress, and has toured internationally with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. She has been a guest clinician and faculty member at many institutes and workshops across the country. Ms. Beckmann was raised a Suzuki student and has been an active teacher for the last two decades, studying with many teacher trainers including her mother Julia Hardie, William Preucil, Teri Einfeldt and Carol Smith. Ms. Beckmann is a frequent substitute with the Kansas City and St. Louis Symphonies. She enjoys teaching yoga and spending time with her cellist husband Matt Beckmann and their two children. 

 Gail Gebhart, Piano, Teacher Trainer

Gail Gebhart is a private Suzuki piano teacher in Farmington Hills, Michigan.  In addition to maintaining an active studio, she is on the faculty of Wayne State University where she teaches private and class piano.  She received a B.M. With Distinction from the University of Michigan and a M.M. in Piano Performance from Wayne State University. She received Suzuki training from Mary Craig Powell, Yasuko Joichi and Renee Robbins. A coordinator the piano area for the Suzuki Association of the Americas’ Biennial Conference in 2014 and she has taught at the Peaks to Plains Suzuki Institute, Colorado Suzuki Institute, Oregon Suzuki Institute, Calgary Suzuki Institute, and the Chicago Suzuki Institute.  In August 2016, Gail became a piano Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas.  

 Randal Harrison Hoercherl, Violin, Improvisation

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.

 Mary Hofer, Voice, Teacher Trainer

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.

 Ching-Chu Hu, Creative U

Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Ching-chu Hu received his degrees at Yale University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Michigan. He is an award-winning composer whose music has been recorded and performed internationally. Honors include the Aaron Copland Fellow at the MacDowell Colony for the Arts and winner of the American Prize for Chamber Music. He is Professor of Music at Denison University, where he has been a faculty member since 2000 and founded the TUTTI New Arts Festival. His four children, Xander, Elisabeth, Nicholas, and Madeline are Suzuki students on violin, piano, and flute. 

 Sharon Jones, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Teacher Trainer

Sharon Jones is a violinist and singer. At the age of 11, she had the unique opportunity to work with Dr. Suzuki at an International Society of Music Educators Conference as part of a small group of North American children. Sharon is an SAA registered Teacher Trainer in Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE). With Dorothy Jones, she developed the curriculum used worldwide in SECE classes. She is also the singer on the SECE curriculum recording. Sharon has been a presenter, clinician, teacher, and trainer at conferences, institutes, and workshops in Canada, US, Ireland, Japan, and Australia. 

 Kirby Kay, Violin

Kirby Kay is a Suzuki kid, mother and teacher who co-founded West County Strings in St. Louis, MO in 2013.  In 2017, she began and continues to develop a Suzuki in the Schools program at the Fulton School at St. Albans.  Upon graduation from the University of Illinois, she pursued long-term and short-term Suzuki training at the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, the American Suzuki Institute and the Chicago Suzuki Institute.  Kirby completed the Child Development Program at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute in 2014.  

Kirby’s students have held leadership positions in the St. Louis Youth Orchestra, Missouri All-State Orchestra, soloed with the St. Charles Symphony, and regularly hold community outreach concerts.  Kirby has been a recurring featured soloist with the Town and Country Symphony, Kankakee Valley Symphony and the St. Charles Symphony.  In addition, she has also been an avid chamber and orchestral musician.  Some of her favorite moments as a child and an adult are at the American Suzuki Institute! 

 Brian Lewis, Violin

Brian Lewis teaches violin at the University of Texas at Austin and serves as Artistic Director of the Starling-DeLay Symposium at Julliard.  He grew up as a Suzuki student in Ottawa, Kansas, where he studied with his mother, Alice Joy Lewis and Eleanor Allen, and studied with Dr. Suzuki in Japan.  He received his Degree in Violin Performance with Dorothy DeLay at Julliard.  Mr. Lewis has been a featured violin soloist around the world. Acclaimed performances include concerto debuts in both New York's Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.  Internationally, Mr. Lewis has been a featured recitalist in Australia, Canada, Asia, Latin America, South America and Europe.

 Nancy Lokken, Violin, Teacher Trainer

Nancy Lokken directs Augsburg University Suzuki Talent Education (AUSTE) in Minneapolis. She is a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, studied with Dr. Suzuki in Japan and is a Clinician and Teacher Trainer throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America.    She is a founder of SAM, and served on the SAA Teacher Development Committees which developed the courses ECC!, “Every Child Can!” and SPA, “Suzuki Principles in Action.”  

Ms. Lokken was honored by the American String Teachers Association with the award of Master Teacher for the state of Minnesota in 1998, and received the American Suzuki Institute Chair Award in 2012.  In 2019 the Suzuki Association of Minnesota presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation titled “Nancy Lokken Summer Institute Scholarship,” to be awarded annually to a deserving student or teacher.   

 Lynn McCall, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Teacher Trainer

Lynn McCall was named the first, SAA, Teacher Trainer for SECE in the U.S. in 2015. She received her Suzuki mentoring and training from Dorothy Jones and Leena Crothers. Director and co-Founder of Alyla Suzuki Early Childhood Music School in New Haven Ct., Founded as the pilot program in Ct. for Suzuki ECE in 2006. She has maintained an active piano studio, working with young children, since 1995. Clinician for National and International teacher workshops and Institutes. 2013 SECE Faculty for the Suzuki World Conference in Matsumoto, Japan. Founding member of SAA, ECE committee, AMMS Latin American ECE committee. SAA Conference team, Minneapolis in 2010. SECE Conference Coordinator, 2012. She is the proud mother of 2 grown sons and lives in Ct. with her husband. 

 Roy Meyer, Violin, Chamber Music

Highly regarded as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player and teacher, Roy’s chamber debut in Carnegie Hall was hailed as “marvelous” by the Epoch Times In addition to his role as concertmaster of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, he is a founding
member of the Apollo Music Festival in Houston, Minnesota. Chamber music collaborations include performances with Mike Block and Wu Tong of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, and violinists Tobias Steymans, concertmaster of the Bavarian Radio Symphony, and Robert Hanford, concertmaster of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Festival appearances include the Round Top Festival and performances with Opera Italiana with musicians of the Metropolitan Opera as part of the Central Park Summer Concerts, among others.

Meyer has appeared as soloist with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Wartburg Community
Symphony Orchestra, and Indiana State University Orchestra. He has served as the
concertmaster of Illinois Symphony Orchestra since 2015 and continues to perform with the
Sarasota Orchestra and Chicago Philharmonic.

A dedicated educator, Meyer has led master classes at the Apollo Music Festival, the
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Virginia Tech, SUNY New Paltz, Indiana State University, and
the Aber Suzuki Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and served as a member
of the faculty at the Illinois Chamber Music Festival in Bloomington, Illinois. In 2018, he served
as the visiting professor of violin at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Roy Meyer began violin studies at 4 years old with Kyoko Fuller and earned his Bachelor of
Music from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Masters of Music from the University of
South Florida in Tampa, and pursued a certificate at New York University. His primary teachers
include David Perry, Carolyn Stuart, Gregory Fulkerson, Naoko Tanaka, and Laurie Hamilton.

When not on stage, Roy enjoys following sports, traveling, and hiking.

 Ann Montzka Smelser, Violin, Teacher Trainer

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.

 Mary Moran, Viola

Mary Moran is principal viola of the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. As the CWSO's Education and Community Engagement Coordinator, she performs in area schools as part of the Meet the Music program introducing elementary-age students to orchestral instruments. Previously, she was a member of the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra, Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, and Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra in addition to other ensembles in Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas. She has also performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, and at the Aspen Music Festival, the Round Top Festival Institute, and the Castleton Festival in Virginia. Additionally, she enjoys an active career as a chamber musician.

Mary maintains a private studio of violin and viola students in the Central Wisconsin area, working with young beginners, advanced students, and adults. Mary has been teaching privately for over fifteen years, and received long-term Suzuki training with Pat D'Ercole at the Aber Suzuki Center. She has also worked as a sectional and chamber music coach with the Central Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra and El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestra programs.

Mary earned a Master of Music degree in Viola Performance from Southern Methodist University, where she studied with Ellen Rose. She also completed a Master of Music degree in Music History and Literature from SMU. Prior to that, Mary earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from the University of Oklahoma, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts. While at Oklahoma, she studied with Wayne Crouse, Matthew Dane, and Ellen Rose.

 Tim Mutschlecner, Cello

mutschlecnerTim Mutschlecner became the first full time Suzuki Cello Specialist at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point when he joined the faculty in the Aber Suzuki Center in the fall of 2007. Most recently Tim was at the University of Florida in Gainesville where he taught cello for four years and graduated with a PhD. in Music Education in August 2007. While pursuing his studies at the University of Florida Tim was principal of the Gainesville Chamber Orchestra and an active performer in the community. 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 Violoncello and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music and his B.M. in Violoncello from Indiana University in 1983. Tim moved to Stevens Point with his wife Sarah, a Nurse Practitioner and their children.​

 Elinor Niemisto, Harp

Elinor Niemisto has recently retired after 34 years as harp instructor at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.  She will continue as the Senior Lecturer in Harp at Carleton College, principal harpist of the Rochester (MN) Orchestra, and LaCrosse (WI) Symphony. 

Elinor has Bachelor and Master of Harp Performance from the University of Michigan and Suzuki Harp teacher training through Book 5.  She is serving a second term on the Board of Directors of the American Harp Society. 

She is the mom of three Suzuki kids and grandmother of four Suzuki grandchildren.  

 Ann Marie Novak, Piano, Director of Suzuki Programs

novakAnn Marie Novak has taught piano and served as collaborative pianist at the Aber Suzuki Center for over 25 years, where she maintains a studio of 35 students. She was the founding Director of the Northampton Community Music Center (MA) and has served as President of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin (SAW). She is a regular clinician at the SAW Retreat and the American Suzuki Institute and has taught masterclasses at workshops in the Midwest and on the East Coast. She has performed as a soloist and as a chamber musician, and she presents lectures at both the American Suzuki Institute and SAA Conferences. Miss Novak manages and writes extensively for the ASC parent education blog, develops other parent education materials, and has been published in the SAA Journal. She serves as WMTA District Chair and was honored as the 2015 Stevens Point Area Music Teachers' Association Member of the Year. Her students have been featured in Master Classes both locally and nationally, and they regularly receive honors at WMTA District and State Auditions.

 Kathy Rollings, Violin

Kathy Rollings lives in Columbia, MO where she maintains a full studio of violinists and violists, specializing in the Suzuki Approach since 1978.  She holds Bachelor and Master of Music Performance degrees, and has done extensive graduate work in theology. 

Kathy is a Lifetime Member of the SAA, and has registered violin and viola training under such pedagogues as Margery Aber, Alice Joy Lewis, Bill and Doris Preucil, William Starr, Craig Timmerman, and Almita Vamos. 

She has taught at music camps and Institutes throughout the lower 48, and was honored to receive the Suzuki Chair Award at Stevens Point in 2014.

 Janelle Severson, Violin and Strings Coordinator

Janelle Severson grew up in Stevens Point, WI as a Suzuki kid in the 1980s. She holds a BME from the University of Minnesota where she studied with Mark Bjork and a MME from UW-Stevens Point with an emphasis on Suzuki Pedagogy, also receiving long-term training from Patricia D’Ercole. Janelle has been the director of Severson Suzuki Strings in Eau Claire, WI (2002-2014) and now Waunakee, WI (2014 - ) where she has been a free-lance violinist and serving as an orchestra board member. Janelle served as the Vice President/President-Elect for the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin and was honored as a 2018 Sensei Leadership Award recipient for "Leadership and Caring." Janelle has been invited as a guest clinician and to teach at workshops and institutes throughout the United States and has been on the faculty at the American Suzuki Institute since 2002.  Janelle is pleased to be the ASI Strings Coordinator since 2019. 

 Laura Shaw, Cello

Laura Shaw is on the cello faculty of the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, IA, and is a registered Cello Suzuki Teacher Trainer. She completed her long-term Suzuki training with Pamela Devenport at the Hartt School of Music. Dr. Shaw earned her DMA from the University of Iowa, studying with Anthony Arnone and Hannah Holman. She has a Master of Music from the University of Hartford, and a BA from Luther College.

Laura Shaw is Associate Principal of the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with Orchestra Iowa, Cedar Falls Symphony and as a member of the Corridor Piano Trio. She has won numerous awards, including the Pelzer Award at the University of Iowa, and the Fort Dodge Concerto Competition.

Dr. Shaw has been teaching for over 20 years and is an alum of the Preucil School of Music.  She is on the faculty of the American Suzuki Institute in Steven's Point, Wisconsin.  

 Linc Smelser, Cello, Chamber Music Coordinator

Linc Smelser received his bachelor’s degree in cello performance from University of Arizona, and his master’s degree and performer’s certificate in cello performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University. He is a long-term member of the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and an active substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is on the faculty of Wheaton College Conservatory of Music and Northern Illinois University.  Appointed conductor and music director of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2003, Linc is a frequent guest conductor for various Illinois orchestras and was named the 2009 Conductor of the Year (Small Orchestra) by the Illinois Council of Orchestras.

 Dave Story, Bass

David Story

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, Cello

Peter J Thomas has been a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra since 2008 and has performed around the world as a multi-genre soloist, clinician, educator, and chamber musician. Mr. Thomas holds the position of Adjunct Cello Professor at Carthage College and he also maintains a private cello studio of gifted musicians. During the summer, Peter teaches on faculty at CLAZZ, a multi-genre music festival in Arcidosso, Italy.  He has also served on the faculty of the American Suzuki Institute each summer since 2013. Peter is the recipient of Civic Music Milwaukee’s 2018 Educator Award for Certificate of Excellence in Studio Music 

 Beth Titterington, Violin, Teacher Trainer

Beth Titterington is a Violin Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She has been actively involved in the Suzuki Method since 1972, when she first heard the Japanese Talent Education Tour

Group.  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 has served on the faculty at the Conservatory of Music / University of Missouri (KC) teaching Suzuki Method pedagogy classes and also directs her own studio, Kansas City Talent Education. She  founded the Heart of America Suzuki Association in 1979, which is a regional affiliate of the SAA.  An active clinician from 1975 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 over the years, and was elected to the SAA Board of Directors, serving from 2006-2009.

 Phala Tracy, Harp

Phala Tracy teaches Suzuki harp at Studio Fidicina in Minneapolis, MN and she is adjunct faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.  She teaches harp and music theory at Suzuki institutes across the country and she is a Suzuki Harp Teacher Trainer.  Phala holds degrees in Harp Performance and Music History from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM) and degrees in Harp Performance and Composition from the California Institute for the Arts (MFA).  She has recorded a children’s CD of Critter Songs and is working toward publishing her curriculum of Music Theory in Song and Rhyme and her collection of Songs for Sight Reading.  She is an active arranger, composer, improviser and freelance musician. 

 James Van Reeth, Violin

Jim Van Reeth is director of the Denison Suzuki Program in Granville, OH and teaches violin. He is a member of the faculty at Suzuki Music Columbus in Bexley, OH and enjoys teaching music appreciation at Denison University. Jim 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 with Suzuki Talent Education emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he completed long-term Suzuki training with Patricia D’Ercole. He is a member of the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra and is a Suzuki parent/practice partner. His favorite food is ice cream. 

 Carol Waldvogel, Violin

Carol Waldvogel is the director of North Shore Suzuki Strings in Milwaukee, WI. She holds a MME with an emphasis on the Suzuki method from the University of Colorado and a BME from Illinois State University. Carol was a founding member of the board of directors of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin and is a former member of the board of directors of the SAA. She received the Byron Hester Outstanding Faculty Award in 2004 in Colorado and was the recipient of the Suzuki Chair award in 2009 in Wisconsin.  In 2016, the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin honored Carol with the Sensei Award for “Leadership and Caring” and in 2020, the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee named Carol Studio Teacher of the Year.  Carol has been a guest clinician and on the faculty at many Suzuki workshops and Suzuki summer institutes throughout the United States and Mexico. 

 Rebecca White, Violin

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.  She now lives in Pickerington, OH with her family where she is the director of Pickerington Suzuki Strings.  In addition to directing PSS, she teaches at Denison University in their Suzuki program where she helps run the group classes and winter workshops. She also enjoys playing in the Newark-Granville Symphony and teaching Mini Maestros, a Mommy/Daddy and Me Music and Movement class.  She is very grateful for her new Zoom and FT skills and being able to stay connected to her students during this unusual year! She brings the unique perspective of being on all three sides of the Suzuki triangle to all her home students and the many she teaches at workshops and institutes around the country. 

 Tom Yang, Piano

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.

​​ ​

FREE Tee Shirt
for every ASI participant. 

Additional shirts can
be purchased for $22.