MA Suzuki Festival 2023
Kimberly Meier-Sims joined the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2004, where she is a Violin Faculty member and Head of Suzuki Studies. A registered Violin Teacher Trainer through the Suzuki Association of the Americas, she conducts a two-year graduate Suzuki teacher-training program at CIM, which is part of a unique Master of Music dual degree in Violin or Viola Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy. Over the past thirty-five years Ms. Meier-Sims has worked with young students and teachers, promoting the Suzuki Method of teaching at Suzuki summer institutes and workshops throughout the U.S. and internationally in England and Ireland. In 2015 she received the CIM Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2001 she received the Tennessee Governor's School Outstanding Teacher Award. In 2002 she was the violin coordinator for the Suzuki Association of the Americas National Conference in Minneapolis. She has published articles in the American Suzuki Journal, Strings Magazine and the Tennessee Musician.
Ms. Meier-Sims studied violin and Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall, Almita Vamos, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and Doris Preucil. In 1988, she became one of the youngest Suzuki Teacher Trainers in the U.S.
Ms. Meier-Sims’ CIM Conservatory Suzuki Pedagogy graduates have received full-time positions at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, the University of Arkansas, and the Dallas Suzuki Institute. Another of her graduates served on the SAA board of directors. Her private violin students have been members of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, the Cleveland Contemporary Youth Orchestra, performed and held the role of concert master in the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas and SAA Conference master classes with Paul Kantor & Scott Conklin, as well as the SAA Conference Advanced violin group performance with Nicholas Kendall.
Zachary Sweet is a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He is currently an instructor of cello at Nazareth College, Binghamton University, and on the faculties of Ithaca Talent Education and Music Together of Ithaca. Nationally, he is in demand as a clinician having lead workshops, masterclasses and institutes across the United States and Canada.
He performs extensively throughout the Tri-State area as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Zachary performs regularly with Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Society for New Music, and with the Nazareth Piano Trio. Highlights this year include a performance at the Society of Composers International Region II Conference, a solo recital at The Arts at Grace in Cortland, NY and a solo appearance with Nazareth College Symphony Orchestra.
Annette Lee has taught Suzuki Piano at the MacPhail Center for Music since 1995. Her teaching approach embraces the Suzuki Philosophy that every child can learn. She observes each child as individuals as they begin their journey of learning music through the piano.
Ms. Lee is a frequent performer in the Twin Cities as an active collaborator with colleagues and students. She is a frequent clinician having taught at Suzuki Institutes in Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C. and Canada.
Ms. Lee began her teaching career in the Chicago area at DePaul University Community Music Program and the Music Institute of Chicago. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Wheaton Conservatory of Music and was a fellowship student at the University of Michigan for her Master’s Degree. Additional training includes the Aspen Music Festival, Blossom Music Festival and the Chicago Suzuki Institute. Ms. Lee has been a Teacher Trainer since 2015.
David Madsen founded what is now the Hartt Suzuki Guitar Program in '90. He is the Suzuki Guitar Coordinator for the Community Division at the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut, USA. David graduated with a BM in guitar performance from the University of Connecticut and has since studied with David Leisner and Pepe Romero. His Suzuki guitar training has been with Bill Kossler and Frank Longay, and he has also trained with Lynn McCall in Suzuki Early Childhood Education. He became the 3rd registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas in 2000 and has conducted courses throughout North America and in Italy, Singapore, Peru, Puerto Rico and Argentina. Mr. Madsen is a member of the SAA Guitar Committee, and he is a
former member of the Board of Directors for the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
In 2008 he was invited to direct the Advanced Ensemble at the 1st International Suzuki Guitar Festival in Santa Cruz, CA, and he was also invited to direct the Guitar Ensembles at the SAA conferences in 2014, 2016 and 2018. David received a “Creating Learning Community” award in 2014 for his work in producing “The Sound of Success” video for the SAA, an informative video about the Suzuki guitar method.
Piano Trio Performance Ensemble
Trio Gaia, New England Conservatory's graduate piano trio in residence, was formed in 2018 and is dedicated to offering audiences dynamic, personally relevant experiences inside and outside the concert hall. Recently, the trio won 1st prize at the 2022 WDAV Young Chamber Musicians Competition, as well as prizes in the 2021 Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition and the 2019 Plowman National Chamber Music Competition, and served as an Honors Ensemble at the New England Conservatory (NEC).
The trio’s 2022-23 season includes events across the East Coast, including North Carolina’s Davidson College Concert Series, a major collaboration with Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota and The Sarasota Ballet, a return to Core Memory Music in Rhode Island, and studio recording sessions for their first album release. Past seasons have included recitals across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia, with summer appearances at the Chamber Music Workshop of the Perlman Music Program and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival at the Yale School of Music. During the onset of the pandemic, Trio Gaia remained active with virtual performances for Music for Food, Massachusetts Peace Action, NEC's Black Student Union, and Opus Illuminate, a concert series dedicated to showcasing music by composers underrepresented in classical music. In all of their programming, the trio is equally passionate about reviving standard works and championing new works, while also experimenting with original arrangements and compositions.
Dedicated to sharing classical music in the community, Trio Gaia previously served as Community Performances & Partnership fellows at NEC and was invited to Carnegie Hall’s Audience Engagement Intensive, presented in collaboration with Ensemble Connect. They have performed concerts at venues ranging from the historic Boston Public Library to MIT's Whitehead Institute and have crafted educational content for the Panama Jazz Festival, local schools, and senior homes. More recently, Trio Gaia was invited to present a weeklong residency with the Virginia Arts Festival. Over the years, the trio has worked with Vivian Weilerstein, Don Weilerstein, Merry Peckham, Max Levinson, Laurence Lesser, Itzhak Perlman, and members of the Brentano Quartet and Horszowski Trio.
Creative Ability Development
Ellery Klein is a fiddler and teacher based out of Medford, Massachusetts, and has a studio in Medford and at Powers Music School in Belmont, MA. She is also director of Powers' creativity-based fiddle camp "Strings Traditions." On stage, she primarily performs Irish music and is a member of Irish trio Fódhla, and the triple-fiddle band The Bow Tides. In 2019, she trained in Alice Kanack's Creative Ability Development and since then, has loved spurring fearless creativity in her students, and exploring this space where fiddlers and classically trained musicians can meet and create together without a single piece of common repertoire.
A contemporary percussionist and educator, Marcus, is a native of Bahia, Brazil. He commits his life to the study, teaching and performance of his hometown's Afro-Brazilian music and heritage.
Marcus performed with several world renown artists such as the Gypsy Kings (Spain), Daniela Mercury (Brazil) and the Brand New Heavies (England). He has also performed for the president of Brazil, TEDx and with the “One World Band” produced by MTV. Marcus also played at the Sony Pictures Oscar nominated movie ‘Rachel's getting Married’ with Anne Hathaway. He has been honored with the 2013 KOSA Recognition award, Outstanding Arts Performer Award by the Brazilian Immigrant Center (2008) as well as Outstanding Percussionist Award by Berklee College of Music in 2004.
Marcus currently teaches in the Boston area at New England Conservatory, Middlesex Community College and Somerville High School. He is the author of the DVD ‘Modern Approach to Pandeiro’ and performed in the music education DVD ‘Musically Speaking II’ by BOSE. Marcus has lead workshops on Afro-Brazilian percussion and music for Social Change in festivals, universities and conventions around the world such as Fiesta Del Tambor (Cuba), Carnegie Hall (NYC), PASIC (USA) and Harvard University. He is currently the artist director of the Grooversity global drumming network project that includes twenty four drumming groups from the US, Canada, Germany, Mexico and France.
Andy Taylor-Blenis started dancing with her parents in International Folk Dance at age 0. Her early Creative Movement experiences were with Ruth Wheeler, co-founder of Dance Collective, and with Ann Brown-Allen. After receiving her BFA in Dance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she came to Boston and danced with Danny Sloane Dance, Paradigm Dance, Concert Dance Company, Dance Collective, Micki Taylor-Pinney, Dawn Kramer, Miguel Lopez, Milton Myers, Julie Ince-Thompson, ACE Entertainment, and has been with Prometheus Dance Company for 19 years. She has taught International Dance through the Folk Arts Center of New England, Modern and Jazz Dance at Northwestern and Northeastern Universities, Harvard, Emerson, Boston University, Boston Conservatory and the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio. Andy is the artistic director of Mladost Dance Ensamble and the RSCDS Demonstration Team and loves teaching school residencies thru Mass Movement and Revels Inc. Andy is an adoring admirer of Lynn Simonson. Here are a selection of Andy's performances and choreographies and teaching.
Elizabeth & Ben Anderson
Elizabeth and Ben Anderson, a Boston-based Scottish fiddle and cello duo, has an enthusiastic following in the U.S. and internationally. Blending Scottish tunes with lively rhythms and innovative harmonies, the pair create a sound rooted in tradition, inspired by the contemporary, and completely original. On stage, they captivate audiences with their ability to effortlessly communicate musical nuances as only siblings can.
Elizabeth is the 2016 Perth All-Scotland Fiddle Champion and 2018 New England Scottish Fiddle Champion. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, she teaches string instruments as a middle school and private instructor. Ben studies computer science and music at WPI. After years of learning Scottish fiddle at camps in the US, they both spent the fall of 2016 in Glasgow, immersing themselves in traditional music and refining their style under renowned Scottish fiddler Douglas Lawrence.
The duo has played at the New Hampshire Highland Games, the Boston Celtic Music Festival, Old Sturbridge Village, and for Scottish country dancing. They have played to full houses at iconic Boston venues The Burren and Club Passim, and have given popular performances and workshops as far away as France and Scotland. They released their CD “Over the Isles” in 2018.
Musical History Tour of the Lion King & Music Mind Games
Dr. Chuck Speicher currently teaches general music at Cole Manor Elementary School in the Norristown Area School District of Pennsylvania. Between 2012 and 2014 he was curriculum director to a national nonprofit called Little Kids Rock where he had the opportunity to work alongside popular music icons such as Bruce Springsteen, Lady Ga-Ga, Bryan Wilson, Elvis Costello, and Carlos Santana among others in fundraising efforts for public school music programs across the country. His teaching and performing engagements have included the Newburyport Chamber Music Festival, 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 More Than Music Festival in Kingston, Ontario, 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.
Leah Bartell is a passionate performer and educator with over 20 years of teaching experience. Her teaching philosophy is that musical expression is fundamental to the human experience. In her work as a teacher, she has combined young, aspiring musicians and seasoned professionals to create performances that are moving, inspirational, complex, strong.
Leah is the founder and music director of the Great Meadows Chamber Orchestra, and is the music director at the Waldorf School of Lexington. She has conducted young orchestras at New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, and Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras.
Ms. Bartell has performed as a soloist with the Calcutta Foundation Orchestra in India , and with Lexington Symphony in MA where she is a member. She has performed with the Vermont Symphony, Opera North, PORT Opera, National Lyric Opera, Emmanuel Music, and the Portland Ballet. She has played under conductors János Sándor, Jaime Laredo, and Jonathan McPhee. Ms. Bartell has collaborated with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Handel and Haydn Society, and with world-renowned harpsichordist Shalev Ad-El, and has performed in recitals across the U.S. and Canada.