2019 Faculty

Yoko Acheson

Violin

          Born and raised in Japan.  Received B.A. degree from Kobe and M. M. degree from University of Nevada.

1976 Suzuki pedagogy course with John Kendall at Pomona College, CA, 1978 Interpreted Dr. Suzuki’s lecture, “The Law of Ability” at Suzuki Conference at San Francisco State University. Since then, Dr. Suzuki gave lessons to her whenever she visited him.  Teacher training workshops from William Starr, Alice Joy Lewis, Yuko Mori, Yoshiko Nakajima.   She had private instructions from Mr. Kendall for a week.

          Instructor at Kobe College, Napa College, Solano College, San Francisco Community Music Center teaching violin, piano and string orchestra.  Faculty at Dominican University Suzuki School of Music for 23 years.  Developed the String Program at Marin Waldorf School, San Rafael, CA. First violin section with Napa and Vallejo Symphony Orchestra. Performed at solo recitals and chamber music recitals through out Bay Area. Institute and Workshop faculty at SFSU, Stanford University, UCLA, Occidental College, Holy Names College, SSU, Pacific University, George Fox University, Seattle Pacific University, Colorado, Santa Rosa, San Diego, Honolulu, and Maui.

          Interpreter at International Suzuki Conferences and board meeting, workshops, & Vallejo Symphony tour to Japan. Adjudicator at MTAC, and many competitions in Bay Area. Performed in a Middle Eastern Music band at Palace of Fine Arts, Egyptian Consulate, World Trade Center, Fairmont Hotel, Bimbo’s, Universities and many entertainment places. Recorded an album “Encore Baladi”.  Transcribed 100s of Middle Eastern Music. First chamber group to perform as street musicians in San Francisco and weddings in wine country.  Performing sometimes solo in the hot air balloon and cable car. Board member of Suzuki Music Association on California for 6 years. Assistant director of Advanced Suzuki Institute at Stanford University for 16 years.

          Students have gone on to study at major conservatories, including Juilliard, Indiana, SF Conservatory.

Currently teaches at Petaluma Studio. Published music educational books and arrangements for strings.

Gail Acosta

Vioin/Viola

          Gail Acosta lives in Valley Village, CA, where she is Suzuki String Coordinator at Evergreen Music Conservatory, maintains a private studio of violin and viola students, coordinates and teaches the Kindergarten/1st Grade Suzuki String Program at Colfax Charter Elementary (200 little violinists!) and is an Adjunct Violin/Viola Professor at Glendale Community College. She received her B.M. in violin performance and music education at UNC-Greensboro and earned her M.M. in violin performance and chamber music at the University of Southern California where she performed with the USC Graduate String Quartet. Violin and viola studies were with Adon Foster, Marla Mutschler, Paul Rolland, Milton Thomas and Eudice Shapiro. An avid teacher and supporter of music education for young students, Gail has taught across the United States at many major string workshops and universities. She also performs with her husband, Jerry, a classical guitarist, in the La Folia Chamber Ensemble, freelances in the greater Los Angeles area and enjoys playing the mandolin and Baroque violin. They have a son, Michael, who just received an M.M. in violin performance from University of Michigan.

Liz Arbus

Violin

          Liz Arbus is an SAA Sanctioned Teacher Trainer and Co-founder of Suzuki Talent Education in Pasadena (STEP).

          Liz received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education at Illinois State University and her Masters Degree in Violin Performance at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville where she studied with the renowned Suzuki Teacher Trainer, John Kendall. Other influential teachers were , Jacques Israelievitch, Sally Thomas, Zoya Leybin and Helen Callus along with all the old and new friends and colleagues from the music world! Liz continues studying and learning new music, playing chamber music and growing in the musical community. Gathering new ideas from teacher workshops is a great resource for her continuing education. Baroque Violin is a passion which she is studying independently.

          Liz established S.T.E.P.: Suzuki Talent Education of Pasadena in 2004. Ms. Arbus taught with the Pasadena Suzuki Music Program 1985 - 2004. 1980-85 Liz taught Suzuki violin in Berkeley, Calif. for five years before moving to Pasadena. In 1977 Ms. Arbus taught orchestra K-12 in the Joliet, Ilinois public schools. She teaches at Suzuki Institutes and workshops all over the United States, Sweden and Costa Rica.

Nigel Armstrong

Guest Masterclass, Violin

          Nigel, originally from Sonoma, Calif., started playing the violin when he was five and a half, after asking for lessons for about a year, he said. "My first teacher lived across the street, and I would hear her students playing, and also my mother played a bit in the house," he said. He started with Suzuki lessons, then went on to study with Zaven Melikian in San Francisco, Robert Lipsett at Colburn, and Arnold Steinhardt and Shmuel Ashkenasi at Curtis.

          Competitions have given him international exposure and the means to travel the world. He received the 2nd Prize, the Ole Bull Prize, and the Nordheim Award at the 2010 Menuhin Competition Senior Division in Oslo, Norway, and got the 4th Prize plus the Prize for the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work (STOMP, by John Corigliano) at the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition. 

          Another way he has explored the world has been through language: in addition to English, he speaks French, German, and some Chinese and Spanish -- and just a bit of rudimentary Italian and Korean. "What I find fascinating about language is the light it sheds on how we think and how we communicate," he said. "I see speech as a type of improvisation. It rides upon these thoughts we have, which are translated into these words that come out. It also works the other way, in that we learn to have certain thoughts or see things in a certain way because of the words that we use."

Clarisse Atcherson

Violin

          Clarisse Atcherson joined the Oregon Symphony in 1985, and served on the faculty at the Community Music Center in Portland from 1986 to 2015. She combines an active performing career with a full teaching roster of students of all ages; over the years, a number of her students have won national competitions, attended major conservatories, and have become professional violinists themselves.

          Clarisse received a B.M. summa cum laude from the Eastman School of Music, where she was also valedictorian. At Eastman, Clarisse studied with Charles Castleman, members of the Cleveland Quartet, and Abram Loft. She later earned an M.M. from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. While there, she studied pedagogy with John Kendall and was certified through the Suzuki Association of the Americas to teach all ten Suzuki books.

          As a teacher, Clarisse combines the pedagogical techniques of Galamian/DeLay with the Suzuki approach. She has taught and presented lectures at many Suzuki Institutes, including Oregon Suzuki, the Advanced Suzuki Institute at Stanford, and at Suzuki programs in Korea. Clarisse has also taught at the Montecito International Music Festival in California, and serves on the board of the Oregon Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Her main project with OR-ASTA involves organizing master classes with prominent teachers, such as William Preucil, David Russell, Yizhak Schotten, and others.

Sherry Cadow

Violin

        Sherry Mendoza Cadow received her bachelor’s degree in music at Manhattan School of Music. Her principal studies at Manhattan School were with Louise Behrend. She also received two years of Suzuki training with Ms. Behrend at the School for Strings in New York and became a Suzuki teacher trainer in 2001. In addition, she has completed extensive solo and chamber music studies with Joseph Fuchs at ASCMI in upstate New York. Her string quartet performances include a tour of Italy and a performance in Cali, Columbia. She has played in professional orchestras along the East Coast, including the Virginia Symphony, Florida West Coast Symphony, and the Long Island Philharmonic under Marin Alsop. A former faculty member of Brooklyn College Preparatory Division and Queensborough College Suzuki Program, Mrs. Cadow has taught at institutes in Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and California. Currently, she is on the violin faculty and serves as the instructor for the Suzuki violin teacher training program at The Colburn School in Los Angeles, California.

Dr. Carey Cheney

Cello

          Carey Cheney, a native of Canada has been teaching and performing for over30 years. She is a Registered Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas, having taught all units of cello training as well as many enrichment courses throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. She holds the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in cello performance from the University of Utah, and a Master of Music in cello performance from the University of Texas at Austin. While there she studied cello and pedagogy with Phyllis Young and taught in the Texas String Project. She teaches at many institutes in the US and Canada, and at workshops and conferences in Italy, Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. . Also, Carey has been a presenter at the Suzuki Association of the Americas National Conferences and Retreats, and at the American String Teacher’s Association National Conferences. Carey has recorded eight audio CDs and prepared six of the eight volumes of her series, Solos For Young Cellists published by Summy-Birchard, a subsidiary of Alfred Music Co. Inc.

Jonathan Dormand

Chamber, Cello

          Cellist Jonathan “JD” Dormand has performed internationally on stages including London’s Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, as well as New York’s Weill Recital Hall and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Jonathan’s performances have been praised by the Boston Globe for being “elastic in phrasing and transparent in detail.” Ariane Todes, the former editor of the Strad magazine, noted “Dormand is a fine and thoughtful player, for whom everything works securely and easily.”

          Jonathan is a Laureate of the Isang Yun International Cello Competition 2012 in South Korea, and the Pierre Fournier Award 2015 in London, where he was awarded a Major Incentive Grant. Further awards have been from the Hattori Foundation, Countess of Munster Musical Trust and a Williamson Foundation grant in California.

          His principal teachers were Gillian Thoday at Chetham’s School of Music, Hannah Roberts at the Royal Northern College of Music, Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory and Ralph Kirshbaum at USC Thornton School of Music. Jonathan pursued further guidance from David Geringas in Los Angeles and Steven Isserlis at IMS Prussia cove.

          Jonathan’s work as a Chamber musician has been extensive. He has appeared at major international festivals including IMS Prussia Cove “Open Chamber Music”, t Symphony’s Ravinia Festival, Yellow Barn, Sunset ChamberFest (Los Angeles) and the Verbier Festival. He has collaborated with acclaimed musicians such as pianists John O’Conor and Peter Frankl, violinists Midori, Phillipe Graffin and Donald Weilerstien, ‘cellist Ralph Kirshbaum and singers Lucy Shelton and Rod Gilfrey. Jonathan was a founding member of the cello quintet SAKURA, declared by the L.A. Times as “superb” and “brilliant” with whom he performed at the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival 2016.

          Dormand’s passion for contemporary music has led to performances at Carlsbad Contemporary Music Festival and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Soluna’ Festival. Additionally, Jonathan has been the featured soloist of contemporary cello concertos with Ensemble TIMF in South Korea, Thornton Edge  and USC Symphony in California and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Britain.  Many of Jonathan’s performances have been recorded and broadcast on the radio in both in Europe and USA.

          As an orchestral musician, Jonathan has served as guest principal cellist with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Royal Northern Sinfonia and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. A committed and dedicated teacher, Jonathan has taught at Yellow Barn’s Young Artist Program. In addition to being on the faculty at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Dr. Timothy Terry Durbin

Violin

         Dr. Timothy (Terry) Durbin’s unique brand of teaching excellence makes him one of the most sought-after clinicians/conductors throughout the world. With infectious enthusiasm and inspired musicianship, he brings smiles and laughter to students throughout the United States and around the world. His dynamic teaching career includes over 1000 workshops and institutes! His performance and teaching career stretches across the United States and Canada into Bermuda, Germany, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia,Thailand and Singapore, and he has recorded two CDs, including the complete chamber music of Marcel Dupre for the Naxos label. He has been appointed principal conductor of the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra beginning with the 2016 season. He has directed the South Dakota and Montana All State Orchestras. He is the holder of the American Suzuki Institute Suzuki Chair Award for 2013. 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.

          Terry lives with his wife, Sandy, on 140 acres north of Lexington, Kentucky. They have three children and two grandchildren.

          He believes in the magic of music’s power to enrich our lives.

Dr. Kara Eubanks

Violin

          Kara Eubanks is a violinist and pedagogue based in Eugene, Oregon. At the Willamette Violin Academy, she is the director and teaches group and individual violin lessons, as well as music theory and counterpoint classes.

          Kara has performed solo and chamber music across the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, and the Czech Republic. She has performed as a solo artist and chamber musician at New York City’s Lincoln Center, in New York’s Music in Midtown chamber music series, at the Pablo Casals Festival in Prades, France, and at Zeist Music Days in the Netherlands. As a recitalist, Kara has been featured at Chicago’s Fine Arts Building and New York City’s Elebash Hall. Her orchestral career includes membership in the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Fontainebleau Chamber Orchestra in Paris, France, and the DiCapo Opera Orchestra of New York City. In 2014, she was inducted into the Sycamore Music Hall of Fame in her hometown of Sycamore, Illinois.

As a popular music performer. Kara has been featured on mtv.com, National Public Radio, and daytrotter.com, and on record labels such as Eenie Meenie and Lookout! Records. Her discography includes arrangements and performances with Troubled Hubble, The Gunshy, Future Monarchs, and Andrew Jackson Jihad.

Dr. Eubanks has been a member of the faculty at Northern Illinois University, CUNY’s Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the University of Oregon. Kara is currently full-time director and faculty at the Willamette Violin Academy.

          Kara holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in violin performance from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research examines the Suzuki Method’s relationship to Western Progressive education and Western traditional string pedagogy. She also holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Northern Illinois University, where she studied under Mathias Tacke, Shmuel Ashkenasi, and the Vermeer Quartet.

Avi Freidlander

Cello

          Avi is the founder and director of Suzuki Talent Education Program of Birmingham and currently teaches at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. He received his Master’s and Bachelor’s of Music performance degrees from The University of Michigan, and pursued his professional studies degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music. Mr. Friedlander is the former Assistant Principal cellist of the Atlanta Opera, former member of The New World Symphony and former Adjunct Professor of Cello at Emory University in Atlanta. He has been trained in Suzuki Methods with Dr. Tanya Carey, Pam Devenport, Rick Mooney and Gilda Barston. Mr. Friedlander has also been trained in cello pedagogy with Irene Sharp and teaching group classes with Carey Beth Hockett and Terry Durbin. His primary teachers have included Anthony Elliott, Stephen Geber, Tanya Carey and David Premo and has also studied with Richard Aaron and Hans Jensen. Mr. Friedlander has studied improvisation methods with Eugene Friesen from the Berkley College and performs and records music from classical to rock.  Mr. Friedlander currently performs with the String Theory Birmingham and Sunday Jazz Night and writes his own arrangements for solo cello of rock tunes from Jimi Hendrix to Pearl Jam.

Patrick Galvin

Liberated Performer Coach

          Patrick Galvin is the Liberated Performer® coach for the Bay Area. He is also the San Jose Youth Symphony section coach and former teaching assistant to Wei He (former faculty at The San Francisco Conservatory and now artistic director of The Tianjin Juilliard School). Before he became a performance anxiety coach, Patrick participated in Liberated Performer to overcome his lifelong battle with stage fright. Through an intense year of facing his fears, gaining new experiences, and developing new perspectives of the stage, Patrick was able to begin enjoying performing again and play to his full potential in pressure situations. Inspired by his rediscovered confidence and amazing experiences on stage, he decided to dedicate his life to helping others with this obstacle. Since then, he has trained with the founder of Liberated Performer, Cory Lee, and has coached musicians ranging from high school through college students.

Jennifer Lee

Pianist, Collaborator

          A San Francisco native, Jennifer M. Lee is highly sought after as a chamber musician and teacher.  She studied with pedagogues, Robert Roux, Shigeo Neriki, and William Wellborn. Neriki, a Grammy-nominated pianist for the renowned Israeli violinist Irvy Gitlis and cellist János Starker, had a profound influence on her career in collaborative piano.  Her passion for chamber music led to versatile pursuits spanning from duos to full orchestra and choir, ranging from performing on period instruments to modern music with today’s composers. As fortepianist at the Valley of the Moon Music Festival, she performed chamber music works on period instruments from the Classical and Romantic eras. She has collaborated in concerts with members of The Cleveland Orchestra, Bloomington Camerata Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival Orchestra, Indiana University's New Music Ensemble, and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. She is also co-founder, pianist, and concert presenter of the Verismo Duo for viola and piano. These ensembles brought her to perform throughout Europe and the United States, enlarging her scope of keyboard playing on piano, celesta, fortepiano, and synthesizer.  Notable collaborative and solo concerts include European venues the Musikverein and Concertgebouw, as well as in the United States at the Blossom Music Center, Noontime Concert Series, The Forte House, Flower Piano at the SF Botanical Gardens, Skyline College Theater, Old St. Hilary's Concert Series, Young Professional Leadership Concert Series, and the Thursday Musical Club.

          She holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from Rice University and Master of Music in piano performance with an emphasis in chamber music from Indiana University.  She won the Dean's Scholarship from Indiana University and was a prize winner in the Fremont Symphony Young Artists Concerto Competition, Ross McKee Competition, Burlingame Music Competition, and CAPMT Bartok State Finals Competition.  A member of the Music Teachers Association of California and a board member of the Music Teachers National Association, she manages a thriving private teaching studio in San Francisco and serves as organist and pianist of Hope Lutheran Church.

Mark Mutter

Violin

          Mark Mutter is a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He received his Bachelor and Master of Violin Performance studying with Walter Schwede, Angel Reyes and Camilla Wicks. His orchestral career began in Hong Kong as the Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He also taught at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. Mark studied Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall, Ronda Cole, Teri Einfeldt, Jacquie Maurer and Geri Arnold. He is the Executive Director of Suzuki Royal Oak Institute of Music and oversees 10 teachers that teach over 150 students. He has been a clinician at Workshops and Institutes throughout the U.S. and Asia. Mark has led the SRO Tour Group on concert tours throughout Europe and Canada as well as two performances in Carnegie Hall. He is presently on the conducting staff of the Wu Family Academy, the Detroit Symphonies youth orchestra program. He conducts the Concert Orchestra and Pizzicato String Ensemble. He is also a lecturer in Suzuki Pedagogy at the University of Michigan.

Justin Ong

Chamber, Violin

          Singaporean violinist Jonathan Ong is a founding member of the acclaimed Verona Quartet. He has performed across the world in international venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center, Beijing and Shanghai Concert Halls, Melbourne Recital Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

          Jonathan has been recognized with top prizes at international competitions across four continents, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, London's Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition; the M-Prize, Osaka, Melbourne and Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competitions; the Fischoff and Coleman National Chamber Music Competitions; the Singapore National Violin Competition and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artists Competition. As a member of the Verona Quartet, he was featured as Musical America's "New Artist of the Month" in May 2016, and has appeared on National Public Radio, WQXR New York Classical Radio, WFMT Chicago Classical Radio and The Weekly Special on PBS.

Jonathan has served as concertmaster of orchestras at the Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival and Indiana University, and was previously concertmaster of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra for two seasons. He has collaborated with eminent artists such as Renee Fleming, Cho-Liang Lin, Orion Weiss, David Shifrin, Burt Hara, Jorja Fleezanis, Atar Arad, the Pacifica Quartet, as well as musicians of the MET Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and LA Philharmonic. A strong proponent of new music, he has premiered works by composers such as Richard Danielpour, Michael Gilbertson, Robert Aitken and most recently a new work by Sebastian Currier, co-commissioned by Boosey & Hawkes and the Chelsea Music Festival. 

          Jonathan is a graduate of The Juilliard School, Indiana University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Eastman School of Music. His principal mentors include Donald Weilerstein, Alexander Kerr, Paul Kantor, Fredell Lack, Lynn Blakeslee and Lynette Lim.  He has served as a teaching assistant at The Juilliard School and Indiana University, and is on faculty at the Indiana University Summer String Academy. He has also taught and given masterclasses at Oberlin Conservatory, San Jose State University and NYU-Abu Dhabi, and has held educational residencies at the Lunenberg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), and the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. 

          Jonathan is a recipient of scholarships and grants from numerous organizations such as the Dorothy R. Starling Foundation, Lee Foundation, Shaw Foundation, and the National Arts Council of Singapore. He grateful for the loan of a c. 1686 Joseph Guarnerius filius Andreae violin from the Rin Collection, and an American bow from an anonymous donor.

Dorothy Ro

Chamber, Violin

          Canadian violinist Dorothy Ro is a member of the Verona Quartet, currently the Graduate Quartet in Residence at the New England Conservatory of Music. Ms. Ro is also a graduate of the Juilliard School, the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her professors include Paul Kantor, David and Linda Cerone, Donald Weilerstein, and Alexander Kerr.

          Her violin training began at age of five in Halifax, Nova Scotia, studying with her early mentors, Myung-Hae Yoon and Philippe Djokic. Ms. Ro participated in many competitions growing up that include the OSM Standard Life Competition in Montreal, the 2012 Eckhardt-Gramatte Competition where she received the second prize, as well as winning top prizes at the Canadian National Music Competition and awards from the Nova Scotia Talent Trust and the Debut Atlantic RBC Award for Musical Excellence.

          Ms. Ro has been a fellowship student at the Aspen Music Festival and School and has spent summers at the Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, the Robert Mann Quartet Institute, the Banff Centre Music Program, and the Montreal International String Quartet Academy.

          As a member of the Verona Quartet, she is a winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition along winning top prizes at several international competitions. She is on faculty at the Indiana University Summer String Academy and has also coached chamber music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and given masterclasses at the La Jolla Summefest.

Abigail Rojansky

Viola

          Abigail Rojansky is the violist of the Verona Quartet, the current Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School in New York City. As a part of the Verona Quartet, Ms. Rojansky was also Graduate Quartet in Residence at the IU Jacobs School of Music.

          Originally a violinist, Ms. Rojansky began her studies at the age of eight in the San Francisco Bay Area, California under Patricia Drury and Erika Miranda. Just two years later upon being accepted to the Crowden School of Music, a unique secondary school for promising young musicians, she took up the viola alongside the violin and maintained both until pursuing a Bachelor of Music in viola performance from Oberlin Conservatory studying with Karen Ritscher between 2007-2011.  While at Oberlin, she also received a minor in Musicology and a Focus in Conducting. Ms. Rojansky has pursued viola studies with Helen Callus, and Madeline Praeger as well. In 2013, Ms. Rojansky completed her Master of Music from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Atar Arad and is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma from the Juilliard School.

          Ms. Rojansky has performed as soloist with the Youth Music International Festival Orchestra and the Diablo Valley Chamber Orchestra. She has also participated in several festivals including the Mannes Beethoven Institute and the Domaine Forget International Music Festival in Quebec, Canada. She has performed chamber music recitals with Eric Kim, Don Ehrlich, Miles Graber, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Chih-Yi Chen,  Atar Arad and James Campbell.

          Ms. Rojansky’s work with the Verona Quartet has included numerous television and radio appearances and  more than ten top prize wins at national and international chamber music competitions including the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. As a part of the Verona Quartet, Ms. Rojansky is currently represented by Concert Artists Guild Management having won the Victor Elmaleh Concert Artists Guild Competition in 2015. She has performed across the United States and in the U.K., Australia, the United Arab Emirates, China, Singapore, Japan, Germany, and Quebec in venues such as Wigmore Hall, the Melbourne Recital Centre, Walt Disney, Davies Symphony, Beijing, Izumi and Esplanade concert halls.

Megan Shung-Smith

Violin

          Megan Shung Smith is currently the Suzuki violin/viola program director at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and the Communications Chair of the Suzuki Music Association of California – Los Angeles Branch. She has taught and performed at several summer institutes including the LA Suzuki Institute and Advanced Suzuki Institute at Stanford with a specialty in teaching improvisation to young string players.

          An active performer and studio musician in the Los Angeles area, Megan is currently the electric 5-string violinist for Iridas, an electro-chamber ensemble, whose goal is to create and encourage more meaningful hybridization of modern classical music and populist music. She also performs regularly as the concertmaster of the Lake Avenue Chamber Orchestra in Pasadena. In addition, She is adept at non-traditional performance practices and styles including jazz, rock, pop, and experimental music. She has performed with many artists including Kimbra, John Debney, Mark Isham, Watsky, Clipping, Sudan Archives, Avi Friedlander and collaborates regularly with many other composers in the LA area.

Megan graduated with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music with academic honors, studying under David Updegraff, and also received her long-term Suzuki training with Kimberly Meier-Sims. Upon graduation, she continued her studies with Paul Kantor in Houston, TX. Past mentors include Richard Schwabe and Henry Gronnier at the Colburn School of Performing Arts. Megan’s honors include the Dr. Jerome D. Gross Prize in Violin from the Cleveland Institute of Music and the International House of Blues Foundation Ambassador Scholarship.

          As an educator, Megan’s primary mission is to create for her students a strong technical foundation with roots in various styles and ideologies. Her hope is to cultivate not only solid performers but also empowered and informed listeners to encourage creativity and experimentation beyond the boundaries of ordinary musicianship.

Matt Smith

Enrichment

          Matt Smith is a composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles, California. His music has been performed by a variety of ensembles in a myriad of venues, from a conference on artificial intelligence at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator to the home of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Severance Hall. Smith has also produced a wide variety of electronic works, including music for a planetarium show at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and several short film scores. He is currently an outspoken advocate of integrating classical performance and composition techniques with a more populist electronic idiom, a style dubbed “electro-chamber.”

          Smith attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he completed a Master’s degree in 2012 and Bachelor’s degree in 2010. He studied composition with Margaret Brouwer and Keith Fitch, and electronic music with Steven Mark Kohn. He has also been a student at the Aspen Music Festival and Atlantic Music Festival, studying with George Tsontakis, Sheridan Seyfried, Stephen Cabbell, Andrew Thomas, and Robert Cuckson.

For the 2010-11 concert season, Smith served as a fellow for both the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and the Canton Symphony Orchestra. For the 2011-12 season, he continued his Canton Symphony fellowship with a new commission for chamber orchestra, premiered in 2013. Other honors include the 2010 and 2012 Donald Erb Prize in composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music, as well as an honorable mention in the 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould competition. Smith is also a regular collaborator with a number of artists, including IAMEVE, A.J. Crew, Phantom Brass, Aditya Prakesh, and Reila. He currently serves as the head of the music theory department at the Little Chopin Piano School.

          In 2014, Smith founded the electro-chamber ensemble Iridas. Blurring the line between a classical chamber ensemble and a progressive rock band with electronics, Iridas is rapidly becoming one of Los Angeles’ most adventurous new music projects.

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Yoko Acheson

Violin

          Born and raised in Japan.  Received B.A. degree from Kobe and M. M. degree from University of Nevada.

1976 Suzuki pedagogy course with John Kendall at Pomona College, CA, 1978 Interpreted Dr. Suzuki’s lecture, “The Law of Ability” at Suzuki Conference at San Francisco State University. Since then, Dr. Suzuki gave lessons to her whenever she visited him.  Teacher training workshops from William Starr, Alice Joy Lewis, Yuko Mori, Yoshiko Nakajima.   She had private instructions from Mr. Kendall for a week.

          Instructor at Kobe College, Napa College, Solano College, San Francisco Community Music Center teaching violin, piano and string orchestra.  Faculty at Dominican University Suzuki School of Music for 23 years.  Developed the String Program at Marin Waldorf School, San Rafael, CA. First violin section with Napa and Vallejo Symphony Orchestra. Performed at solo recitals and chamber music recitals through out Bay Area. Institute and Workshop faculty at SFSU, Stanford University, UCLA, Occidental College, Holy Names College, SSU, Pacific University, George Fox University, Seattle Pacific University, Colorado, Santa Rosa, San Diego, Honolulu, and Maui.

          Interpreter at International Suzuki Conferences and board meeting, workshops, & Vallejo Symphony tour to Japan. Adjudicator at MTAC, and many competitions in Bay Area. Performed in a Middle Eastern Music band at Palace of Fine Arts, Egyptian Consulate, World Trade Center, Fairmont Hotel, Bimbo’s, Universities and many entertainment places. Recorded an album “Encore Baladi”.  Transcribed 100s of Middle Eastern Music. First chamber group to perform as street musicians in San Francisco and weddings in wine country.  Performing sometimes solo in the hot air balloon and cable car. Board member of Suzuki Music Association on California for 6 years. Assistant director of Advanced Suzuki Institute at Stanford University for 16 years.

          Students have gone on to study at major conservatories, including Juilliard, Indiana, SF Conservatory.

Currently teaches at Petaluma Studio. Published music educational books and arrangements for strings.

Gail Acosta