The Massachusetts Suzuki Festival is excited to welcome these clinicians in 2017:
Carlough Faulkner-Carroll, violin
Carlough Faulkner-Carroll discovered her love of teaching when she began tutoring younger violin students as a high school student. After 20 years teaching full-time, she still gets just as excited every time a student gets the shining look that says "I've got it!"
A sought after clinician who is known for her ability to connect with children, Carlough strives to help students reach their full potential and to enjoy the process with them. She is on on the faculty of the New England Suzuki Institute and the New Jersey Suzuki Workshop, and has taught at numerous other workshops.
In addition to performance degrees from New England Conservatory and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a winner of the School of Music Concerto Competition, Carlough has pursued long-term Suzuki teacher training with Teri Einfeldt as well as short courses with Ronda Cole, Edmund Sprunger, and Ed Kreitman among others. She also has received training from Dorothy Jones in Suzuki Early Childhood Education, a curriculum for newborns through three year olds.
As a soloist, Carlough has performed the concertos of Barber and Sibelius among others, and has performed many recitals and chamber concerts. She also enjoys studying and performing Hungarian and Transylvanian village music. She resides and teaches in Bedford, MA, with her husband and their two children where she gets inspiration daily from her 35 students.
Cynthia Knotts, Violin
Cynthia began her violin studies at age three with Ronda Cole. As a child in a family of musicians, she had the opportunity to explore many instruments, but always kept up her violin lessons, eventually also studying with Linda Fiore and James Hutchins. She earned her Bachelor of Music in violin performance at Wheaton College in Illinois where she was active in the Suzuki department of the Community School of the Arts. After graduation, she went on to earn her Masters in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy at the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut where she studied with Katie Lansdale and trained with Linda Fiore.
Cynthia is currently the concertmaster of the Manchester Symphony and performs throughout the greater Hartford area. She has taught with the Suzuki programs at UCONN’s Community School of the Arts and the Harrt Community Division, and now has a private Suzuki violin studio in her home inWindsor, CT.
Miriam Bolkosky, cello, appears nationally as an orchestral and chamber musician. She has performed with Opera Boston, Boston Lyric Opera, A Far Cry, Boston Pops, BMOP, Berkshire Opera, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, National Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and orchestras in New York, Washington, and Chicago. As a chamber musician, she has performed with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Cassini Ensemble, and the University of Michigan Faculty Chamber Players, and is a member of the Ann Arbor based Phoenix Ensemble. She has appeared as soloist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Paul Hill Chorale, and on classical and popular commercial recordings. Miriam has held faculty positions at Northwestern, the Music Institute of Chicago, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.Write here...
Laurel Ann Maurer, Flute
Flutist Laurel Ann Maurer has been lauded by The New York Times as “a secure technician and an assured, communicative interpreter.” According to Fanfare Magazine, “she is technically superb in every way. Her tone is consistently attractive even in the most treacherous passages, and she plays with great rhythmic drive and impeccable phrasing.” And the American Record Guide said that “Maurer has a strong, colorful, full sound and a sure technique ...”
Beginning her musical studies in Seattle, Wash., under the direction of Dorothy Bjarnason, Ms. Maurer was later a member of the Seattle Youth Symphony and a recipient of awards from the Seattle Young Artists Festival. She continued her musical education in New York City, studying with Julius Baker, Jeanne Baxtresser, and Samuel Baron. Her principal teacher, Mr. Baker, called her “one of our outstanding and gifted flutists.”
Ms. Maurer has won awards from the National Association of Composers – USA, the National Flute Association, the National Orchestra of New York, the Chautauqua Institute, and the Utah Arts Council. She has soloed throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe—including performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center—and has appeared as concerto soloist with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Flute Association’s American Flutist Concerto Orchestra, the Salt Lake Symphony, and the Long Island Chamber Orchestra. As a recitalist, Ms. Maurer has concertized in Armenia, Japan, and throughout North America.
While residing in Utah, Ms. Maurer served as Principal Flutist of the Salt Lake Symphony for 12 years, was a frequent guest of the Park City International Music Festival, and was an active member of the Utah Flute Association. As a Vermont resident, she has performed with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Bella Voce. She is also the founder and artistic director of the Vermont Virtuosi chamber music series.
Ms Maurer has recorded more than 12 CDs for Albany Records, CRI, Soundspells 4-Tay Records, and others; two of her CDs were nominated for a Grammy Award.
In addition to performing, Ms Maurer is a dedicated and much sought after teacher, having been appointed a Suzuki Teacher Trainer in 2007. She is also in demand at workshops and institutes to train new Suzuki flute teachers. She has taught and given master classes across the U.S. and in South America, Japan, and Armenia.
Melissa Tucker, Eurhythmics
Melissa Tucker is a Dalcroze music educator who specializes in eurhythmics and improvisation. She finds the unique combination of movement, improvisation, dynamic social interaction, and deep study of music to be ingenious and exhilarating. Melissa believes in the integral relationship of music and movement and in Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a powerful means to achieving embodied musicianship. She is passionate about improvisation as a powerful vehicle for self-expression as well as an effective tool for understanding music from the inside out.
Melissa is on the faculty of Longy School of Music of Bard College, where she served as Co-Chair of Longy’s Dalcroze Department, as well as Concord Conservatory. Ms Tucker has also developed a song-based, music and movement program for senior citizens with dementia based on Dalcroze techniques. She has taught Dalcroze workshops and classes throughout New England, including: The Boston Symphony Outreach Program, New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Brown University, Wellesley College, and the University of Connecticut.
An Oberlin graduate, Melissa earned her Dalcroze Certificate and License from Longy with Lisa Parker and Anne Farber. She studied classical piano with Lydia Frumkin at Oberlin Conservatory and Natasha Chances at Bates College. She was also honored to be a jazz piano student of the late, great, Charlie Banacos. Currently, she is delighted to be continuing her jazz work with Brian Friedland. She also continues to deepen her connection to movement and dance at Ipswich Moving Company with choreographer and artistic director, Janet Craft.
Adriana Ausch, Eurhythmics
In love with movement arts, Ms. Ausch found in Dalcroze Eurhythmics the space in which she could express her Renaissance approach to all Arts. She received her Master's Degree in Dalcroze Eurhythmics and the Dalcroze License at Longy School of Music as well as a Master in Vocal Performance.
In her native country, Romania, Ms. Ausch studied classical piano at the Tg.- Mures Conservatory, earned her Master's Degree in Architecture and City Planning in Bucharest and parallel with her architectural and stage design career, she became a cross-style singer and songwriter. She appeared on television and radio shows, toured Romania, and released a CD in Germany, where she lived before moving to Boston. She holds several performance awards as a singer-songwriter and belonged to the Romanian protest song and folk movement in communist times, when music seemed to be one way to protest against the status quo.
Ms. Ausch is the Chair of the Dalcroze Department at the Winchester Community Muisc School, is the President of the New England Dalcroze Chapter and taught extensively Dalcroze Eurhythmics for all ages for the last 15 years at Longy School of Music in Cambridge, at the Advent School in Boston, the Winchester Community Music School at the Brookline Music School as well as workshops in Canada, Romania, Germany and US.
For the last 10 years, Ms. Ausch has performed in the Boston area primarily as a solo singer, focusing on twentieth-century art song, and appeared with the cabaret group Follen Angels and the vocal group, Pandora's Vox.
For the last couple of years, Ms. Ausch has been invited back to Romania and Germany to participate in different festivals and appeared in self-produced and directed recitals under the title "Outsider" and "Imagine," collage-like shows around a theme bringing together different musical styles, languages, and moods. She plans to expand her performing activities in Boston and overseas, pursuing the idea of intimately designed, eclectic musical shows.
David Madsen, Guitar
David Madsen founded what is now The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) Suzuki Guitar Program in 1991. The program presently includes 60 students and 2 faculty members. He is Chair of HCD's Guitar and Harp Department. Madsen graduated with a Bachelor of Music in performance from the University of Connecticut, studying with David McLellan and Ed Flower.
He has since studied with David Leisner and Pepe Romero. His Suzuki studies have been with Bill Kossler and Frank Longay. In 2000 David became the 3rd registered Teacher Trainer in guitar with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and has conducted training courses throughout North America and in Peru, Puerto Rico, and Argentina. Madsen currently serves on the Teacher Development Advisory Committee for the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), and is also a member of the SAA Guitar Committee.
Sarah Smale, Viola and Violin
BA Hons, Birmingham Conservatoire, Perf Dip. Guildhall School of Music, MM Hartt School
Sarah began her musical studies on violin, viola and piano in Oxfordshire, England. She attended the Birmingham Conservatoire where she received a BA with honors. She continued her studies at the Guildhall School of Music in London. Her musical studies eventually took her to Hartford, Connecticut, where she studied with the Emerson String Quartet and acquired her Suzuki training with Linda Fiore and Teri Einfeldt. Ms. Smale has won several awards, including the Birmingham Conservatoire string quartet scholarship and the Herbert Lumby Viola prize. She has worked with many world-renowned artists such as Pierre Boulez, Yuri Bashmet, Nicholas Kramer, Steve Reich, Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, and Roger Norrington. Her experience includes numerous concerts and seminars with talented quartets and orchestras including: Takacs Quartet, European Chamber Orchestra, Russian National Ballet, and the Emerson Quartet, to which she was the assistant while in Hartford. Ms. Smale has also played with numerous choral societies as principal viola, recorded television work for the BBC, and recorded extensively for Radio Suisse. She also performs with the European Festival Orchestra in Neuchatel, Switzerland, where she is principal viola.
Marcus Santos, Brazilian Drumming
Bahia, Brazil native, Marcus Santos is a contemporary percussionist and educator. He commits his life to the study, teaching and performance of his hometown's Afro-Brazilian music and heritage.
Marcus has performed for the President of Brazil, and on TEDx, Telemundo with the “One World Band” produced by MTV. He also played on Sony Pictures, Oscar-nominated movie, ‘Rachel's Getting Married’ with Anne Hathaway. He has received several industry honors including the KoSA Recognition Award (2013), Outstanding Arts Performer Award by the Brazilian Immigrant Center (2008) and Outstanding Percussionist Award by Berklee College of Music (2004).
Marcus is the author of the DVD ‘Modern Approach to Pandeiro’. He also performed on the DVD ‘Musically Speaking II’ by BOSE. In the education field, Marcus has lead workshops on Afro-Brazilian percussion and music for social change at notable universities and conventions including Carnegie Hall, PASIC and Harvard.
Marcus the director of the network project, Grooversity, and artistically directs fifteen drumming groups throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Vera McCoy-Sulentic, Violin
Vera McCoy-Sulentic (violin) is Director of the Suzuki Program at SIUE. She has been a registered teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas since 1991 and conducts long term Suzuki teacher training at SIUE. A frequent clinician at Suzuki workshops, she has traveled throughout the United States and Canada, and has taught in Bermuda, Sweden, Taiwan, and Brazil. She was the recipient of SIUE’s Excellence in Teaching award in 1996 and has been a faculty member and director of the SIUE Suzuki Program since 1997. Additionally, she has 10 years of string teaching experience in the public schools of Edwardsville, Ill., and Eugene, Ore.
In 1988, Vera earned a Masters in Music Education from SIUE which included long term teacher training with John Kendall. Other Suzuki training has been with Mihoko Hirata, Yuko Mori, Evelyn Hermann, and Doris Preucil. Academic degrees include a B.M. in Music Education from the University of Oregon and a B.A. in French from the University of Iowa.
Ben Schwendener, All Musicians Creative Improvisation Ensemble
Composer / pianist Ben Schwendener sustains a unique voice in contemporary creative music and is a leading authority on George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, which he assisted Russell in teaching at NEC from 1986 to 2004. After Russell’s retirement, he has continued to teach the LCC at NEC to this day. Schwendener has helped to establish a new direction in natural pedagogy and dialogue-based arts education, using Organic Music Theory and Universal Musical Elements as primary creative sources.
He has created music for small and large ensembles, dance companies, film, video and art installations, written volumes of piano music for children of all ages, and performs frequently with ensembles and on solo piano throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan. His groundbreaking recordings with composer / pianist Marc Rossi Living Geometry uses principles of the LC Concept and has received wide critical acclaim. The Mobile Trio, his most recent group he established, includes Kenwood Dennard (drums) and Marc Friedman (bass), and tours and records frequently.
He is founder and director of Gravity Arts, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing customized educational services and products for individuals, groups and corporations. Schwendener has been in collaboration with Swiss choreographer Angelo Dello Iacono since 2012. The Mobile Trio and Iacono’s dance company ADN Dialect have created the international cultural exchange project No Plan B, an experimental jazz scenic event and most recently Zeitzone.
Schwendener has released nine recordings as leader / co-leader on Gravity Records (an independent label he co-founded in 1992), and is also heard on Label Bleu and Alabaster. Recent releases include ‘Upward Mobility’ (The Mobile Trio, 2015), ‘Apfelschaun-New Episode‘ (2011) with Uwe Steinmetz and the two CD ‘Industrial Folk Music’ (2011), featuring long time collaborators Bridget Kearney and Michael Calabrese, Bhob Rainey, Eric Lane, and Gregg Ramsey.
Ben was (from 1986 on) an editorial assistant to the late George Russell, and is a certified teacher (and while Russell was alive, of teachers) of the Lydian Chromatic Concept. He has given lectures, workshops and seminars at Universities around the USA and at institutions around the world. Former teachers also include Ran Blake, Jimmy Guiffre, Miroslav Vitous, Joe Maneri and Andrew Hill.
Presently living in Boston, Schwendener is on the faculty at the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music of Bard College. He has also designed a class for non-musicians based on the inter-discipline correspondences of Organic Music Theory which he has taught since 2001 for the Creative and Critical Thinking Department in the Graduate College of Education at UMass Boston.
Tess Epperson Maxwell, Harp
Tess Epperson Maxwell is a Boston-based harpist playing and teaching throughout New England. Tess has an impressive range of professional experience including the Waltham Symphony, Arlington Philharmonic, Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Boys Choir, West Valley Symphony, Arizona Opera, and Arizona Masterworks Chorale. She has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and the Orpheum Theater.
Known for her charismatic teaching style, Tess maintains a private studio teaching beginning to advanced lever and pedal harp students and teaches at the Suzuki School of Newton. Prior to her career in Massachusetts, she served as a Faculty Associate of Harp at Arizona State University and the Adjunct Harp Faculty at Brigham Young University where she was lauded for being a "demanding and innovative teacher [whose students] responded quickly and grew artistically." (Kory Katseanes, former Director of the School of Music at BYU) A popular guest clinician, she has also been invited to teach at various summer festivals including the Young Artist’s Harp Seminar, BYU SummerFest, and HarpArts. She has also been a strong competitor in national harp competitions such as the Lyon and Healy Awards and the American Harp Society competitions.
Tess served as the Vice President of the Phoenix Chapter of the American Harp Society for three years and has been published in the American Harp Journal, the professional journal for harpists worldwide. She studied with Suzanne Balderston, Dr. Nicole Brady, and Dr. Lynne Aspnes and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a Master of Music degree in Harp Performance.
Rodney Farrar, Cello
Rodney Farrar is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He also studied at the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University. His principal teachers were Peter Howard, Ronald Leonard, and Janos Starker. He was a member of the Rochester, New York Philharmonic Orchestra before taking a position as cello instructor at the University of Kentucky.
While at Kentucky he performed frequently as recitalist, string quartet cellist and principal cellist of the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. Rodney has also taught at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York, summer sessions at the University of Illinois, and at the Brevard Music Festival in Brevard, North Carolina.
Mr. Farrar has long had a special love for teaching children and has been privileged to be involved in the development of the Suzuki Method for cello from its beginnings in this country.With a teaching style which attempts to minimize judgment and bring the pure joy of musical expression, he has brought excitement to young cellists at hundreds of workshops and institutes throughout the U.S. and Canada. In March of 2008, he was honored to be a guest of the Talent Education Research Institute in Tokyo, Japan, where he held master classes and group lessons and conducted the cello portion of their 52nd annual Grand Concert.
Mr. Farrar resides in Littleton with his wife, two children and two grandchildren. He is principal cellist of the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra, enjoys working with a class of wonderful private students, and pursues an active schedule of teaching workshops.
Tatu Mianzi is an eclectic string trio with tastes that circle the globe. The ensemble mixes styles and mediums with ease, answering the question of musical relevance in today’s modern world with a resounding YES!
Tatu Mianzi is a multi-generational Suzuki family from right here in Massachusetts. Every festival participant will have the chance to experience their exciting performance style.
David France, Violin
David France is an active performer, innovative educator, and visionary leader. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music’s prestigious Sistema Fellows Program. The fellowship trains passionate socially minded musicians to become leaders in the movement to bring “Music for Social Change” programs to the United States. Mr. France is currently the executive director of Revolution of Hope, a world-class youth orchestra in the underserved Boston neighborhood of Roxbury.
In 2012 he was invited to Venezuela to teach in their world-renowned program affectionately known as El Sistema. In Caracas he worked with a youth orchestra in Montalban and violin students in barrios outside of the city. He taught master classes and gave violin lessons in Barquisimeto, Guarico, and Coro. While in Valle de la Pascua he conducted a daylong seminar for the violinists in the city. He also performed with Espirtu Barroco Venezolano, which is the new Baroque ensemble in Caracas.
Before moving to Boston he taught in Bermuda, where he enthusiastically encouraged over 300 kids to study the violin at the Bermuda School of Music and through partner outreach programs at low income schools on the island. In the fall of 2011 he was invited by the government of Costa Rica to conduct master classes for their newly founded music for social change initiative, SiNEM.
In the United States he has taught at The Saint Joseph School of Music, The Saint Paul Conservatory of Music, and at Wichita State University.
Mr. France has performed with a number of orchestras including the Wichita Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, The Ubuntu-Shruti Orchestra, and the Sphinx Symphony. In the fall of 2009 he performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Bermuda Festival Orchestra. Also in 2009 he was selected via an online audition to be one of the Concertmasters of the first ever Youtube Symphony which performed to a sold out audience at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas. His avantgarde videos are also widely popular on the website and have gained him recognition on many national and international programs including The CBS Early Show, CNN, BBC News, and Al Jazeera English. He has also been featured in Time Magazine, Strings Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal.
His versatility as a performer is seen in his collaborations with some of today’s most popular artists including Kenny Rogers, John Legend, Smokey Robinson, Josh Groban and Grammy award winning producer Quincy Jones.
His work in the film and television industry include an internship with Smooth Feather Productions, The Gayle King Show, and he appears as himself in the documentary “Harmony: The Road to Carnegie Hall” by director Stephen Higgins.
His Bermuda based classical guitar-violin duo, Southwood-France, opened the 2009 Kodai Kanal International Music Festival in Kodai Kanal, India. While in India he conducted master classes, coached chamber groups, and gave pedagogy workshops to the string faculty.
He has studied with Sally O’Reilly at the University of Minnesota and currently studies with Roland and Almita Vamos.
Joy Grimes, Early Childhood Education
Joy Grimes is an active violinist, violist and educator in the Boston area. She performs regularly on both modern and baroque instruments, in orchestras, solo and chamber recitals. Her current endeavors include performing with Cambridge Concentus, L'Academie, Handel & Haydn Society, Grand Harmony, Marsh Chapel Collegium, La Donna Musicale, Weckmann Project, Canzonare, New Bedford Symphony, Symphony New Hampshire and Folk Baroque. Joy spent four seasons with the Utah Shakespearian Festival as a baroque violinist, and has spent time at summer festivals including the Boston Early Music Festival fringe series, Conclave, Amherst Early Music Festival, and International Baroque institute at Longy. Joy holds degrees from; Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and Boston University where she completed a Masters degree and Doctorate in Viola performance under the tutelage of Michelle LaCourse, and Ed Gazouleas. Joy is currently on the faculty at the Suzuki School of Newton, where she teaches violin, viola, and Suzuki Early Childhood Education. She is also a member of the board for Suzuki:MA.
Lisa Hollis, Early Childhood Education
Lisa Hollis, a native of Longmont, Colorado, began her violin studies at the age of five with Suzuki violin teacher Ellie Albers LeRoux. She holds B.A. in English and Music from Milligan College, and a Master of Music degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy from Northern Arizona University, where she studied with Dr. Louise Scott.
In 2003 she was appointed a teaching position with the Bermuda School of Music, on the beautiful island of Bermuda, where she taught violin, viola, theory, orchestra and Kindermusik. Her students in Bermuda were regular performers and prize winners at the Bermuda School of Music’s annual “Students of Distinction” competition. She was also instrumental in implementing theory and orchestra into the school's Suzuki program and in leading the school’s Suzuki strings group on three tours within Bermuda and on two international tours.
Lisa performed regularly as a soloist in the Bermuda School of Music’s Some Enchanted Evening concert. She has also performed as part the Bermuda Music Festival, the Bermuda Philharmonic Orchestra, the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, the Johnson City Symphony and the Kingsport Symphony. She has performed in concert with Josh Groban, Smokey Robinson, Quincy Jones, Kenny Rogers, John Ingram, Patti Austin, John Legend, and Michael McDonald.
Lisa returned to Colorado in August of 2011 to teach as part of Longmont Suzuki Strings. While in Colorado she served as Principal Second Violin for the Boulder Symphony Orchestra and also performed with the Longmont Symphony Orchestra.
In the fall of 2013 moved to the Boston area to teach at the Suzuki School of Newton, where she currently teaches violin, viola and Suzuki Early Childhood Education classes.
Sarah Titterington Ibbett, Violin
Sarah Titterington Ibbett, violin, earned her Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and then moved to the UK to earn her Master of Music degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. While in the UK, she taught with the Cambridge Suzuki Group, and at the Suzuki Hub in London. She has been a guest teacher at the Conservatorio Franz Liszt in Quito, Ecuador, and a guest clinician at the Suzuki Association of the Americas Biennial Conference in Minneapolis. She also enjoys a versatile performing career in Europe and North America. While living in London, she performed with a variety of top ensembles, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Florilegium, the London Handel Orchestra and the Hanover Band, in many of the most respected British concert venues, including the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hall. She has also played with many ensembles in North America, including Apollo’s Fire (the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra) and the Classical Music Consort in Toronto. With these ensembles, she has performed many times on BBC Radio 3 in the UK and on National Public Radio in the US.
You may follow Sarah's Suzuki practice blog.
Sachiko Isihara, Piano
Executive Director of the Suzuki School of Newton since 1998, Sachiko Isihara is a pianist, Suzuki Piano teacher and a registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer. As SSN director she helped grow the school from 65 to close to 300 students, with particular focus on creating more even distribution among the instruments. In Fall 2009 the Suzuki Preschool opened and now is a flourishing example of the Suzuki learning environment with an integrated Suzuki music component. She has served as director of the Suzuki By the Green Summer Institute in 2009 and 2010. While continuing to be an active teacher and clinician, Ms. Isihara is also the parent of two Suzuki violin students and still enjoys performing as an accompanist or chamber musician.
Bekka Schellenberg, Festival Director
Bekka Schellenberg began playing violin at the age of three, going to Pre-Twinkle classes with her younger sister. At the end of the first year the teacher moved away, and Bekka's mother, a trained pianist but self-taught violinist, took over the class. Bekka and her sister rose to the occasion, giving their mother a taste of what it's like to be a Suzuki parent and teacher at the same time! Not daunted, she soon opened her own Suzuki piano studio. Bekka was the first student, and piano became her second instrument. She continued to play violin with several different teachers, adding cello to the mix when she was old enough for the public school string program. In high school, she switched to string bass in the orchestra, to give herself a new challenge. Ever since, she has remained foremost a violinist, with her second love being bass. Her violin career is settled firmly in Suzuki teaching (and a decade or so of Suzuki parenting as well). She has been teaching at the Suzuki School of Newton since 2000, and also runs a small private Suzuki studio in Jamaica Plain. While Bekka has freelanced around Boston as both a violinist and bassist, these days her main performance focus is a folk string band with friends, where she plays fiddle and bass. Her husband is the banjo player. They are sometimes joined by their son on guitar. Their daughter is a classical pianist. They live in Jamaica Plain.
Chuck Speicher, Musical History Tour
Chuck Speicher currently teaches music at the Musselman Learning Center in the Norristown Area School District of Pennsylvania. Between 2012 and 2014 he was curriculum director to a national non-profit called Little Kids Rock where he had the opportunity to work alongside popular music icons such as Bruce Springsteen, Lady GaGa, Elvis Costello, and Carlos Santana among others in fundraising efforts for music programs across the country. His teaching and performing engagements have included the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, the New England Suzuki Institute in Maine, the Wellington Suzuki Workshop in New Zealand, the Suzuki Institute of Alaska, the International Music Festival in Ohio, the South Carolina Suzuki Institute at Furman University, the Peaks to Plains Institute in Colorado, the Indianapolis Academy of Music Summer Festival, the Summer Jazz Workshop at Montclair State University, and the Stokes State Forest Music Festival in New Jersey. In 2006 he was a judge in the Alaska State MTNA Piano Competition and adjudicator for piano students in the cities of Anchorage and Homer. Chuck freelances regularly on piano, keyboard, and guitar, and in 2002 traveled with the "Crazy Energy Orchestra" to Morocco to perform at the wedding of King Mohammed VI. Between 1996 and 2005 he was the Suzuki Coordinator to Montclair State University where he also taught an undergraduate keyboard harmony class. In 1989 he received the New Jersey State Governors Award in Arts Education.
In honor of Carol Sykes, Founder Emerita
Carol Sykes’s life is an example of the fruits of a life touched by Dr. Suzuki’s philosophy. As a toddler, she was immersed in music constantly: being under the piano during lessons, and listening to singing after dinner. Her environment was filled with music and love as she pursued studies in piano, violin, voice, and later on, in chamber music, and choral and orchestral conducting.
Because of health concerns, Carol majored in music education, rather than performance, which she had preferred. That decision changed her life. While teaching in Weston, CT public schools after graduating from NEC, Mrs. Leta Whitney, chairman of the music education department at NEC, shared an article about Dr. Suzuki with her. This resonated with Carol’s own ideas about ability in young children.
Over the next several years Carol took advantage of opportunities to deepen her understanding of the Suzuki approach. She studied with John Kendall, Clifford Cook, and Dr. Suzuki himself. In 1967, she went to Japan and stayed for an entire year at Dr. Suzuki’s invitation. She continued her studies with him and coached string quartets and conducted the Chorus and String Orchestra at the Talent Education School.
Upon returning to the US, Carol started multiple Suzuki programs around Massachusetts. She has touched the lives of countless students, many of whom have become teachers themselves. Her fine work has received many accolades, and her students have achieved honors in competitions as well as being invited to play at national conferences.
Carol is a registered SAA Violin Teacher Trainer and has served as a consultant, guest clinician and teacher trainer at Workshops and Institutes in the USA and Canada. She has also served as clinician and orchestra conductor for major conferences and festivals.
Carol brought Massachusetts its first Suzuki Institute, and was a founding member and long time president of Suzuki:MA. She maintains a full studio in her home in Falmouth, and teaches a violin program at the Sandwich Montessori School.
All of the information on this page is subject to change or can be amended at any time.