faculty

Director   Donna Lim     Violin    Lauren Baker    Connie Hadlock    Joseph Kaminsky    Cathryn Lee    Corin Lee    Whitney Lee    Allen Lieb    Helen Higa Suzanna Lambert   Albert Lambert  Diane Austin   Alexia Luscher    Nathan Sutter    Cello    Beth Goldstein-McKee    Dance     Fay Coad

Lauren Baker (Violin) Since 1988, Lauren Baker has been concertmaster of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra (ASO). She is an active performer and has belonged to several orchestras across the South including the New Orleans Symphony. She was a performance major at Oberlin Conservatory and her teachers have included David Cerone, Steven Staryk, and Harold Wolf. She also holds a BA degree in Communications from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Al. She has maintained a private Suzuki violin studio in Lafayette, Louisiana since 1986. Her students have performed as soloists for the Acadiana Symphony Educational Concert Series and Master Works and have enjoyed master classes with the Cavani String Quartet, Linden String Quartet, David Cerone, Midori, and others. They have attended summer programs including Tanglewood, Kennedy Center Summer Music Institute, and Encore, Too, and have attended major conservatories which include CIM and CCM.  One of her most challenging and rewarding jobs was to be both teacher and practice parent for her daughter, Maren. Ms. Baker has enjoyed being on the faculty of Suzuki institutes across the country. 

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Connie Hadlock (Violin) of Caldwell, Idaho is officially collecting her well-deserved social security and persi benefits! She began her studies at age 8 with June Itami and then continued with teachers, Walter Cerveny and Lamar Barrus. Her teaching began in 1977 under the founder of the Idaho Suzuki Institute, June Itami.  During this time she spent many years attending Suzuki workshops around the country.  In 2005, she was able to start the first Orchestra at her high school alma mater.  Three years were spent teaching in the  Caldwell school district, 5-8 Grade Orchestras. For the past 29 years, she has been advisor/coach for a high school Auxiliary/Dance team.  She has served with the faculty at Suzuki Institutes in Utah, California, Montana, and Idaho. For the past 30 + years and at present, she has served as co-director and director of the Idaho Suzuki Institute, now in its 42nd year. She continues teaching  violin/viola lessons in her private studio, performing in various ensembles as well as playing with the Symphonia at the College of Idaho. Connie loves spending time traveling with her husband, running, swimming and traveling so she can keep up with her 6 children and 22 grandchildren.

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Lori Hennessy lives and works as a Suzuki cello teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She serves as the Program Coordinator for the Crowden School’s Suzuki Strings Program, where she organizes the program as a whole, and teaches parent classes, private lessons, and group classes. Lori also runs a private, comprehensive Suzuki cello studio at the beautiful Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco, California. 

Lori prides herself on being dedicated to teacher training and regularly seeks out opportunities to train with experienced and innovative Suzuki teachers. Her most recent teacher trainers have been Rick Mooney, Pam Devenport, and Beth Goldstein-McKee.

Lori holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music. As a participant in this program she received long-term training in the Suzuki method under the tutelage of Dr. Melissa Kraut, and gained experience from the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Sato Center for Suzuki Studies.

Joseph Kaminsky (Violin) has taught violin for over 35 years. His teachers have been Almita Vamos, Roland Vamos, Shinichi Suzuki, John Kendall, Fryderyk Sadowski, and Donna Wiehe. He has been a registered SAA teacher-trainer since 1985.  Since 2000 Mr. Kaminsky has authored over 30 pedagogical articles appearing in the American Suzuki Journal, developed the "Vibrato From the Ground Up” DVD for teaching vibrato, and has authored a set of violin technique books as an adjunct to the Suzuki volumes. 

Mr. Kaminsky has taught over 250 workshops/institutes in 33 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, at the 2006 International String Conference in Singapore, and at the 1999 World Suzuki Conference in Matsumoto Japan.His former students have played or currently are playing professionally in the Arkansas Symphony, Ann Arbor, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Kansas City Philharmonic, Milwaukee Symphony, New World, New York Philharmonic and Syracuse Symphonies.  Other students have gone on to become professional music teachers themselves.  But the vast majority have just gone on to their chosen fields, enhanced by the discipline, cognitive skills, and love of music that a Suzuki education can bring.

Mr. Kaminsky was the MoASTA 2014 “Artist Teacher of the Year” and the 2000 “Studio Teacher of the Year”.

Cathryn Lee (Violin) San Francisco based violin teacher Cathryn S. Lee has taught families and teachers around the world since 1976. She is respected for teaching all ages and levels using her detailed and practical “best of both worlds” approach inspired by her studies with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and her “traditional” studies with concert artist Dame Camilla Wicks.

As a teacher trainer, Cathryn has taught and lectured at SAA National conferences, Leadership Summits, Suzuki Method World Conferences, the first International Suzuki Teacher Trainer Conference in 2009 and most recently at the 16th World Conference.  She has given master classes and pedagogy classes in Australia, Canada, England, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and throughout the United States.  Cathryn is a guest lecturer in String Pedagogy at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Cathryn is the author of Bow Exercises, Bow Strokes and the Bow Stroke Excerpts books.

In 1977, Cathryn founded the Suzuki Music Studio of San Francisco where she continues to teach students and train teachers.  Her students have held titled chairs in numerous youth and school orchestras and placed in numerous competitions.  Cathryn has a B.A. in Performance and Composition, M. A. in Performance from San Francisco College for Women and a teaching certificate from the Talent Education Institute in Japan.  She and her husband raised their sons, Whit, an actor/violinst in New York City and Corin, a violinist with the ETHEL Quartet.

Corin Lee (Violin & Guest Artist) Corin Lee is one of the most sought-after violinists of his generation. From classical to contemporary music, he has appeared as a soloist on the great American stages ranging from Carnegie Hall’s Stern and Zankel Auditoriums to Northern America’s largest dance festivals, EDC Las Vegas and Electric Zoo. Corin is currently a violinist in the string quartet ETHEL which is acclaimed as “unfailingly vital” (The New York Times), “brilliant,” “downtown’s reigning string quartet” (The New Yorker), and “one of the most exciting quartets around” (Strad Magazine). He is currently touring critically acclaimed programs ‘The River’, ‘Documerica’ (Baylin Artists Management), and ‘Circus: Wandering City’ (Columbia Artists). As a chamber musician, he tours internationally and has performed in a wide variety of venues including The Metropolitan Museum of Art (ETHEL and Friends residency since 2015), Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, EG Conference, and New York Fashion Week. Corin’s collaborations include performances with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Native American flute player Robert Mirabal, jazz pianist Laurence Hobgood, Latin jazz pianist Pablo Ziegler, DJ Mako, and Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Genius award-winning composer Julia Wolfe. Corin has performed on, FOX, NBC, From The Top, TedX, SiriusXM, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In addition to concert work, he is the founder of Liberated Performer®, a program that guides and trains musicians to defeat performance anxiety, prepare for auditions and concerts, and perform their best. He has taught at National YoungArts Foundation (New York and Miami), directs the audition preparation programs at the New York Youth Symphony, and has given lectures at conservatories like The Juilliard School and San Francisco Conservatory. Corin studied with Ani Kavafian, Hyo Kang, Naoko Tanaka, Wei He, Camilla Wicks, Robert Mealy, and Cathryn Lee. He received degrees from Juilliard (BM), Yale (MM), and an honorary doctorate from Denison University.

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Whitney Lee (Violin) was raised in the Suzuki Method and began his violin studies at the age of two with Cathryn S. Lee.  Pre-college, Mr. Lee studied privately with concert artist Dame Camilla Wicks.  After four years with Dame Wicks, Mr. Lee earned his Bachelors of Music from Northwestern University and his Master of Arts from New York University under the direction on esteemed violin pedagogue AlmitaVamos and Tokyo String Quartet’s first violinist, Martin Beaver.  Currently, Mr. Lee is on the faculty at Turtle Bay Music School in Manhattan and has served as the primary violin teacher and chamber orchestra director at Turtle Bay’s satellite public school strings program at P.S.#116 since 2009.  Mr. Lee has also taught extensively for Suzuki on the Island, the Suzuki Music Studio of San Francisco and privately in New York.  In addition to his violin degrees, Mr. Lee also holds a musical theatre certificate and a psychology minor from Northwestern University.  His education and career as an actor/singer continue to enrich his New York violin students.  

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Melissa Leece (Director/Violin) began teaching Suzuki Violin lessons in 2003 after receiving a year apprenticeship with her Suzuki teacher Kayda Magruder. Since then, she has become certified through the Suzuki Association of America for books 1-8 with teacher trainer Cathryn Lee. In 2010 she graduated from Thomas Edison State University with her BA in Music. 

She has experience with many aspects of music performance and teaching, such as being a member of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, a conductor for the SLO Youth Symphony, a Preschool music teacher, a Music Together® teacher and a member of various other musical groups. She loves working with students of all ages. Music is her passion - especially the training of young musicians in our community. Her goal is to teach and inspire young people to have a passion, training, and ability in music.

Allen Lieb (Violin) received his M.M. in Performance from SIU/Edwardsville, studying Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall. He holds a Teacher Training Certificate from the Talent Education Research Institute in Japan following several years' instruction with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. A registered Teacher-Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas since 1981, Allen has taught at institutes, workshops and conferences across the US, Canada, Central America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In July 2017, Allen became CEO of the International Suzuki Association. He is Chair of the ISA and SAA Violin Committees, a member of the SAA Heritage Committee and a frequent contributor to the SAA Journal. Residing in New York City, Allen is Head of the Violin Department and Instructor for the Teacher-Training Seminar at The School for Strings. He is also a violin instructor at The Diller-Quaile School of Music where he was a recipient of the 2012 Clifford/Levy Creativity Grant. For 13 years Allen served as Curriculum Coordinator for the Newark Early Strings Program, a Suzuki-based violin program jointly sponsored by the Newark Public Schools and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, for which he was recognized with the 2008 Samuel Antek Award for Music Education. Currently he is a consultant for the VH1/SavetheMusic Foundation.

Donna Lim (Director/Violin) received her Suzuki teaching certificate from Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.  She is presently teaching at the Suzuki Music Studio of San Francisco and is the conductor of the Cadet and Senior Orchestras for the Golden Gate Philharmonic.  Donna founded the Round Valley Strings and was its director for 17 years.  She has been honored to be in the Who's Who Among America's Teachers in 1991 and 1994.  She is also included in the Who's Who Among American Women for 2010-2011.  Other accomplishments include president of the Suzuki Music Association of California, editor of the International Suzuki Journal, teacher at the Dominican University Suzuki program, co-founder and director of a concert series - Music in Round Valley.  She has been a registered teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas since 1985.  She is currently playing viola with the Symphony Parnassus and has played violin for the Mendocino Music Festival, Cal Performances and has sung in the soprano section of the San Francisco Bach Choir.  

Helen Higa (Violin) comes from a family of music teachers and was born and raised in Honolulu. She studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki for two and a half years at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan, receiving her Teacher Certification from him in 1973.  She then continued her Suzuki teacher-training program at the University of Tennessee with William Starr.  In 1983, Helen became a Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City.  While in New York, she took additional teacher training with Louise Behrend at the School for Strings and worked on violin performance skills for 2 years with Gerald Beal.  In 1990, she began teaching with the late Hiroko Primrose, who founded the Suzuki Program at Punahou Music School. Helen is presently head of the Suzuki Program in Honolulu and has a private violin studio of over 50 students.  Currently, Helen is a part-time member of the Honolulu Symphony, serves as the part-time representative of the Orchestra Committee and helps coordinate the Honolulu Symphony’s Injury Prevention Program.  

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Suzanna Lambert (Violin) is Co-founder and Director of Mariachi Santa Cecilia in existence since 1995.  The group has toured and recorded extensively seeking to uphold the authentic folk tradition of the earliest Mariachi groups of Mexico.  She holds a BA and MS in Latin American Studies and in Education from the University of California at Santa Cruz.  She has been an instructor at San Jose State University’s Mariachi program as well as at the San Jose International Mariachi Conference.  Suzanna maintains a Suzuki violin studio in Gilroy where she lives with her husband Albert and their two children Sylvia and Rene. 

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Nathan Sutter (Violin) graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy with a major in violin performance and composition.  He continued his studies at Ithaca College and then earned his degree in composition at the Oberlin Conservatory.  He was the recipient of the Herbert Elwell Memorial Prize in Composition and a featyred composer at the 2003 Midwest Composers Symposium.  Mr. Sutter currently maintains a Suzuki studio in Sacramento where he also directs the string program and High School Orchestra at the Sacramento Waldorf School.  Mr. Sutter has been a guest conductor for the CMEA Capitol Section Middle School Honor Orchestra.  He performs with the Folsom Lake symphony and with his string quartet throughout the Sacramento area.  Mr. Sutter also enjoys gardening and tending to his backyard chickens.  

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Beth Goldstein-McKee (Cello) brings her extensive performing and teaching experience to her work with students and teachers at institutes and workshops across the United States and in her studio. A registered Suzuki Association of the Americas Cello Teacher Trainer, she has had the honor of teaching students from around the world at the 16th World Convention in Matsumoto, Japan and training teachers from South and Central America at the 24th International Suzuki Festival in Lima, Peru. She has served on the Board of Directors of the SAA, as Cello Coordinator for the 2016 SAA Conference, and she has been a presenter at the American String Teachers Association and the SAA conferences. Beth has recently moved to Western PA where she is starting a new generation of students. Beth maintained thriving studios on the west coast for over thirty years, first in Berkeley, CA and then in Ashland, OR. In addition, in Ashland, OR, she was the cello sectional and chamber music coach for the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, and played with the Rogue Valley Symphony, Rogue Opera, and in chamber orchestras. In California, she was also on the faculty of Holy Names College’s Suzuki Program and the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. She was the cellist in several new music ensembles in Boston, NYC, and London, England, and she received the National Endowment for the Humanities Youth Grant to bring contemporary classical music to new audiences. Beth, a native of NYC, graduated from Brandeis University and trained as a teacher of the Suzuki Method at the School for Strings, NYC.

Fay Coad (Dance) has taught at the Dance Academy in Stratford , CT as well as in Atlanta, GA.  She has also been the backstage assistant at the San Francisco Ballet Company.  Fay has taught dancing to children of all ages as well as adults. Her dance experiences include dancing as a soloist in Swan Lake and Cinderella in her native Iran as well as the Sugar Plum Fairy in London, England with the Royal Ballet.  Her dance styles include classical ballet, contemporary, folk dance and Latin/Rhythm.  

Alexia Luscher (Violin) began Suzuki violin lessons at age four, and holds both Master and Bachelor of Music degrees in performance from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  Her teachers include Robert Gerle, Jack Ashton, Hiroko Primrose, and Deborah Moench.  She studied Suzuki pedagogy with Cathryn S. Lee.  Alexia is a Teacher Trainer for Music Mind Games (MMG) – Unit 1, receiving her training from creator Michiko Yurko.  For over eight years Alexia taught Suzuki violin and MMG for Punahou School in Honolulu, HI.  She also coached the Hirano String Quartet, taught co-curricular chamber music classes, and K-1 MMG classes.  In conjunction with the Suzuki Talent Education of Hawai'i, Alexia co-directed annual Suzuki Rocks! Spring Workshops with Helen Higa.  Ms. Luscher relocated to So. Maryland where she is building her Suzuki violin and MMG studio.  She has taught at workshops and Suzuki Institutes in California, Idaho, Hawai'i, Massachusetts, and Shanghai, China.

 

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Michelle Mastin (Viola/Violin) holds her BM from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and her Masters from the Eastman School of Music in New York. She also holds the Professional Studies Diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. While at CCM, Michelle was a student of Masao Kawasaki and Dr. Catherine Carroll, a student of George Taylor at Eastman, and worked with Jodi Levitz at SFCM. She spent three summers at the Aspen Music festival in Colorado and one summer in Lucca, Italy at the Opera Theatre and Chamber Music festival. She has also played for the BASOTI Opera Fesitval and Workshop in San Francisco, and coached and performed as a fellow with the PACO chamber music camp.Michelle has been an active performer on both violin and viola working with orchestras such as the Rochester Philharmonic, the Erie Philharmonic, the Symphony of Santa Cruz, and the California Pops Orchestra. She also enjoys chamber music and spent two years working with the Eastman Chamber Society. For a little variety, she played with the Resonance Jazz ensemble and currently plays with the California Pops Orchestra.She started teaching with her school’s mentoring program in middle school, and has enjoyed passing on the joy of music ever since. Now in San Francisco with a studio in Mountain View, she teaches all ages from 3 to adult.  Michelle believes strongly in Suzuki’s philosophy that anyone can learn anything with patience, love, and the right tools. Her teacher trainers include Cathy Lee, Rodger Stieg, and Allen Lieb.

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Daniel Gee Cordova currently resides in Austin, Texas where he lives a multifaceted teaching and performing life. He directs the Austin Suzuki Music School, serves as Orchestra Director at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Round Rock ISD, and serves as one of the Directors of the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute. He enjoys the opportunity to perform as Assistant Principal Viola with the Austin Opera. He is an active clinician giving presentations at National Conferences as well as a guest teacher and conductor at workshops around the country. Mr. Gee Cordova received his degrees from the University of Texas at Austin with Dr. Laurie Scott, Brian Lewis and John Largess and The Crane School of Music - SUNY Potsdam with Dr. Sarah Hersh. Outside of teaching and performing, Daniel enjoys spending time with his husband Jerry and their terriers Bamboo and Tristan, and finding the best tacos in Austin.