Highlights & Featured Guests

These clinicians, conductors, performers, and keynote speakers are confirmed for the 2018 SAA Conference. Check this page for additions.

Sponsored Guests
The Montrose Trio

Guest Speakers

Masterclass Clinicians

2016 Conference Violin Masterclass

Suzuki Early Childhood Education

Conductors & Performers

Attendees said:

- “ALL the speakers were motivational, well informed and knowledgeable in their area of expertise.”

- “Practical and inspirational both: the best combination.”

Chamber Music Masterclasses
Advanced Violin Performing Ensemble
Cello Choir
Flute Performing Ensemble
Guitar Ensemble
Piano Ensemble
Viola Choir


The Montrose Trio

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker, violinist Martin Beaver, and cellist Clive Greensmith from the Montrose Trio will conduct masterclasses for chamber music ensembles selected to play at the conference. We are thrilled that they will available to participate in these special masterclass events which will feature a wide variety of chamber ensembles.

Montrose Trio

Formed in 2014, Montrose Trio is a collaboration stemming from a long and fruitful relationship between pianist Jon Kimura Parker and the Tokyo String Quartet. Mr. Parker was the quartet’s final guest pianist, and a backstage conversation with violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith led to Montrose Trio’s creation.

Named after Chateau Montrose, a storied Bordeaux wine long favored after concerts, with a nod to the Montrose Arts District of Houston and the street in Winnipeg where Mr. Beaver was raised, Montrose Trio has quickly established a reputation for performances of the highest distinction. In 2015 the Washington Post raved about their “absolutely top-notch music-making, as fine as one could ever expect to hear…they are poised to become one of the top piano trios in the world.”

Montrose Trio gave their debut performance for the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, with subsequent performances at Wolftrap, in Montreal, and at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Their 2015-16 season included concerts in Philadelphia, New York, Vancouver, Portland, Eugene, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Durham, Detroit, Buffalo, La Jolla, and at the Hong Kong Chamber Music Festival.

Pianist Jon Kimura Parker performs with major North American orchestras on a regular basis, including recent concerto performances with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. He appeared with the orchestras of Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Colorado, and Washington, DC. He also appears in Off the Score, an experimental group with legendary Police drummer Stewart Copeland. He is Artistic Advisor of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival and Professor of Piano at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston.

Violinist Martin Beaver has appeared as soloist with the orchestras of San Francisco, Indianapolis, Montreal, Toronto, and in Belgium and Portugal. A top prizewinner at the international violin competitions of Indianapolis and Montreal, he studied with Danchenko, Gingold, and Szeryng. Mr. Beaver was a founding member of the Toronto String Quartet and Triskelion, and was the first violinist of the Tokyo String Quartet for eleven years. He is currently on faculty at the Colburn School in LA.

Cellist Clive Greensmith has performed as soloist with the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic, and the RAI orchestra in Rome. He has worked with distinguished musicians including András Schiff, Claude Frank, and Steven Isserlis, and won prizes in the Premio Stradavari held in Cremona, Italy. Mr. Greensmith was the cellist in the Tokyo String Quartet for fourteen years and is currently on faculty at the Colburn School in LA.

In 2016-17 Montrose Trio performs in cities including Cleveland, Indianapolis, Portland, Houston, Phoenix, and Toronto. For more information please see montrosetrio.com.

Sponsored by Robertson & Sons Violin Shop, Inc., Emerald Sponsor

Guest Speakers

Kay Collier McLaughlin

Kay Collier McLaughlin

Image by Kay Collier McLaughlin

Kay Collier McLaughlin (formerly Kay Collier-Slone) describes herself as a Suzuki teacher specializing in social change. She holds a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from The Union Institute with sub-specialities in single adult development, leadership development, group dynamics and bereavement. The author of the Talent Education classic, They’re Rarely Too Young and Never Too Old to ‘Twinkle,’ her most recent book is entitled Talking Together: how to get beyond polarization and see and hear each other through civil dialogue, and is deeply rooted in the philosophy and methodology of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. One of the early Suzuki teachers in the United States, Collier McLaughlin founded the Lexington Talent Education Association, and with her daughter Diane Slone and Joanna Binford, cofounded Suzuki Talent Education of the Bluegrass. A former member of the Board of Suzuki Talent Education, teacher trainer, workshop leader both nationally and internationally, it was her work with the psychology of the Suzuki triangle and method which led her to doctoral studies in psychology, and subsequently, to her work in leadership development with special interest in family systems, emotional intelligence and other important theories and practices.

Beatriz Ilari

Beatriz Ilari PhD

Beatriz Ilari, Ph.D.is Assistant Professor of Music Education at the USC Thornton School of Music. She holds an Arts Licentiate Degree in Music from the University of São Paulo, a master’s degree in violin performance from Montclair State University, and a PhD in music education from McGill University. Before joining USC, she was Associate Professor of Music Education at the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil (2003-2010), where she created and directed a large early childhood university outreach music program. Using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, she has conducted extensive research with infants, preschoolers and school-aged children and their families, to examine the intersections between music, child development, cognition and culture. Sheis a member of the Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing (AIRS) research team and a research fellow at USC’s Brain & Creativity Institute. Her research has been published in important journals includingResearch Studies in Music Education,Early Child Development and Care,Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology,Journal of Research in Music Education, andFrontiers in Psychology. She has also published several books, including “Children’s home musical experiences across the world” (Indiana University Press, 2016), andis currently the editor forPerspectives: Journal of the Early Childhood Music & Movement Association.

Dipesh Navsaria

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD

Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD is an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and is director of the MD–MPH program there. He practices primary care pediatrics at a federally-qualified health center in South Madison and he is the founding medical director of Reach Out and Read Wisconsin. Dr Navsaria is heavily involved in both training and the practice of child health advocacy — writing and speaking publicly locally, regionally and nationally on early brain and child development, early literacy, and advocacy to a broad variety of audiences.  

Committed to understanding how basic science can translate into busy primary-care settings via population health concepts and policy initiatives, Dr Navsaria aims to educate the next generation of health care providers in realizing how their professional roles include being involved in larger concepts of social policy and how they may affect the cognitive development of children.

Rachel Barton Pine

Rachel Barton Pine

Heralded as a leading interpreter of the great classical masterworks, international concert violinist Rachel Barton Pine thrills audiences with her dazzling technique, lustrous tone, and emotional honesty. With an infectious joy in music-making and a passion for connecting historical research to performance, Pine transforms audiences’ experiences of classical music.

She has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore, Montreal, Vienna, New Zealand, and Iceland Symphonies, and the Philadelphia Orchestra, working with conductors including Charles Dutoit, Zubin Mehta, Erich Leinsdorf, Marin Alsop, Neeme Järvi, and Placido Domingo. Acclaimed collaborations include Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, William Warfield, and Christopher O’Riley. Her festival appearances include Ravinia, Marlboro, and Salzburg. She has been featured on St. Paul Sunday, Performance Today, From the Top, CBS Sunday Morning, and NBC’s Today.

Pine’s 36 critically acclaimed albums for the Cedille, Avie, Dorian, Naxos and Warner Classics labels include Mozart Complete Violin Concertos with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Brahms and Joachim Violin Concertos with Carlos Kalmar and the Chicago Symphony, and Beethoven and Clement Violin Concertos with José Serebrier and the Royal Philharmonic. Her Testament: Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by Johann Sebastian Bach and Violin Lullabies both hit number one on the Billboard Classical chart.

Pine holds top prizes from the J.S. Bach (gold medal), Queen Elisabeth, Paganini, Kreisler, Szigeti, and Montreal international competitions, and has twice been honored as a Chicagoan of the Year. Her charitable activities include serving as a life trustee of the Music Institute of Chicago and president of the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation. Rachel plays the Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu (Cremona 1742), known as the “ex-Bazzini ex-Soldat,” on generous lifetime loan from her patron.

Masterclass Clinicians


If you’ve ever been to a Suzuki conference, you remember the feeling of stepping into a room full of people who are all after that same thing you are. The inspiration that comes from a community sharing ideas reinvigorates your spirit and you take home ideas that improve your teaching.

This May, over Memorial Day weekend, bass students from your studio can participate in the Youth Orchestras, in the bass choir, or even in masterclasses with our guest clinician, double bass pedagogue Paul Ellison. Parents in your studio will be welcome to attend events geared towards their growth as home teachers and often return with new practice tips and other ideas. Suzuki teachers not only network during sessions but also find extra time to spend together at meals and concerts.

Teachers will enjoy our conference theme, which places emphasis on collaboration and mentoring.  For all instruments, but especially bass, the contributions of the current generation of Suzuki teachers (experienced and new teachers alike) will make our pedagogy stronger. I am hoping that many teachers will submit proposals for session presentations. If you are interested in presenting at the conference, you may submit a session proposal through the SAA website.

Kate Jones, Bass Coordinator

Paul Ellison

Paul Ellison

Performing solo and ensemble concerts as well as giving master classes on the double bass and period instruments on four continents, Paul Ellison is the Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Double Bass and chair of strings at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Visiting Artist-Faculty University of Southern California and guest tutor at the Yehudi Menuhin School, the Royal College of Music, and Bass Club, England.  Current summer positions include principal bass at the Grand Teton Music Festival, faculty/performer at the Sarasota Music Festival and faculty/performer at Festival Domaine Forget, Quebec.  Former students hold titled positions in major ensembles and institutions of higher learning on five continents.  Previous positions include principal bass of Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Aspen Festival Orchestras (also faculty), professor of double bass and chair of strings at the University of Southern California, and president of the International Society of Bassists.   Ellison was the first to receive both the diploma and teaching certificate from Institut International Rabbath, Paris.  “…The treat of the afternoon turned out to be hearing the double bass as a solo instrument…Paul Ellison…demonstrated virtuosity.  [The] bass shines as [the] music festival gets underway.”


We are excited to have Clive Greensmith from the Colburn School in Los Angeles as our guest clinician for the first time at our 2018 conference! Clive, who formerly performed with the internationally acclaimed Tokyo String Quartet, is also a seasoned solo performer with extensive experience teaching young cellists. Clive expressed to me that he has a passion for mentoring young musicians! If you have Suzuki cellists, age 10 to 18, who are in Book Eight or beyond repertoire, please consider submitting a video audition of one piece to work with Clive Greensmith in the conference cello masterclasses.

We are also pleased to offer a cello choir experience for Suzuki cellists at our conference. The ensemble will rehearse for several days and present a performance together. Application for this ensemble is listed under student ensemble auditions and has an application fee similar to our cellomasterclasses.

Our 2018 SAA conference theme is “A Collaborating Community,” so our cello sessions will offer opportunities to deepen your knowledge of our repertoire and techniques, but I hope will also deepen your cello friendships and help you to be part of a collaborating, intergenerational community. Attending the biennial SAA conference is a rejuvenating, inspiring experience, and I hope you can join us in May 2018!

- Alice Ann O’Neill, Cello Coordinator, and Susan Gagnon, Assistant Cello Coordinator

Clive Greensmith

Clive Greensmith

Clive Greensmith is one of the most successful British cellists of his generation. From 1999 until 2013 he was a member of the world-renowned Tokyo String Quartet, giving over one hundred performances each year in the most prestigious international venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, London’s South Bank, Paris Chatelet, Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Musikverein and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

He has collaborated with international artists such as Midori, Andras Schiff, Pinchas Zukerman, Leon Fleisher, Lynn Harrell, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Alicia de Larrocha and Emmanuel Ax.

Mr. Greensmith has given guest performances at prominent festivals worldwide. In North America, he has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and the Ravinia Festival. Internationally he has appeared at the Salzburg Festival in Austria, Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, Pacific Music Festival in Japan and the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

As a soloist, Clive Greensmith has performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, and the RAI Orchestra of Rome among others.

During a career spanning over twenty-five years, Mr. Greensmith has built up a catalogue of landmark recordings, most notably The Complete Beethoven String Quartet Cycle for Harmonia Mundi with the Tokyo String Quartet, Mozart’s ‘Prussian’ Quartets with the Tokyo String Quartet and Brahms Cello Sonatas with Boris Berman for Biddulph Recordings, and Clarinet Trios by Beethoven and Brahms with Jon Nakamatsu and Jon Manasse for Harmonia Mundi. His recording of Schubert’s String Quintet in C Major with the Tokyo String Quartet was named an “Outstanding” recording by the International Record Review.

At the age of twenty, Clive Greensmith came to the music world’s attention during an internationally broadcast BBC television masterclass series hosted by Paul Tortelier, a pre-eminent cellist of the 20th century. Mr. Greensmith studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in England with American cellist, Donald McCall, where he was the recipient of the prestigious Julius Isserlis Scholarship. A Royal Society of Arts scholarship enabled him to continue his studies at the Cologne Musikhochschule in Germany with Russian cellist Boris Pergamenschikow.

In 1987 he made his concerto debut with the London Symphony Orchestra and went on to be First Prize Winner in the Sergio Lorenzi chamber music competition in Trieste, Italy, and First Prize Winner in the Caltanisetta Duo competition. Most notably, as a major prize winner in the first-ever “Premio Stradivari” held in Cremona, Italy in 1991, Mr. Greensmith was launched into a series of major recital and concerto appearances throughout Europe.

Deeply committed to the mentoring and development of young musicians, Clive has enjoyed a long and distinguished teaching career. In addition to his fifteen-year residency with the Tokyo String Quartet at Yale University, Mr. Greensmith has served as a member of faculty at the Yehudi Menuhin School and Royal Northern College of Music in England, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music and New York University. In 2014 he was appointed Co-Director of Chamber Music and Professor of Cello at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Students of Mr. Greensmith have gone on to secure major positions in orchestras throughout the world and have won a number of prestigious awards. In 2015 he was a jury member at the 2015 Carl Nielsen Chamber Music Competition in Copenhagen.

Mr. Greensmith is a founding member of the Montrose Trio with pianist Jon Kimura Parker and violinist Martin Beaver.


The French connection! Our Suzuki flute school is based upon the flute teaching of the legendary French flutist Marcel Moyse, and we are proud to announce our flute master clinician and performer for the 2018 SAA Conference will be Robert Langevin, a French Canadian. Mr. Langevin is the principal flutist of the New York Philharmonic and is known for his beautiful, resonant sound, virtuosic ability, and collegial personality. Our flutists are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with this consummate musician. Mr. Langevin will provide a masterclass for our advanced students and will also perform a solo recital.

In addition to the Langevin masterclass, student flutists of all levels (Fireflies and above) are also invited to participate in the Flute Performing Ensembles, led this year by David Royce-Gerry and Zara Lawler. David and Zara are going to engage them with creative repertoire choices and maybe even get them moving! We encourage you to have your students apply!

Additional sessions on flute playing, pedagogy (flute-specific as well as general), group classes, and more will be provided by you—our flutist friends and colleagues—so start considering your session proposals. We want to hear from Suzuki flute teachers from all over the Western Hemisphere about the unique and wonderful things you are doing in your studios! The application is online, very easy to fill out, and we are not looking for things to be “academic!”

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or ideas you may have, and we hope to see you all there!

– Meret Bitticks, Flute Coordinator

Robert Langevin

Robert Langevin

With the start of the 2000–01 season, Robert Langevin joined the New York Philharmonic as Principal Flute, in The Lila Acheson Wallace Chair. In May 2001, he made his solo debut with the Orchestra in the North American premiere of Siegfried Matthus’s Concerto for Flute and Harp with Philharmonic Principal Harp Nancy Allen and Music Director Kurt Masur. His October 2012 solo performance in Nielsen’s Flute Concerto, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, was recorded for inclusion in The Nielsen Project, the Orchestra’s multi-season traversal of all of the Danish composer’s symphonies and concertos, to be released by Dacapo Records.

Prior to the Philharmonic, Mr. Langevin held the Jackman Pfouts Principal Flute Chair of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and was an adjunct professor at Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh. Mr. Langevin served as associate principal of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra for 13 years, playing on more than 30 recordings. As a member of Musica Camerata Montreal and l’Ensemble de la Société de Musique Contemporaine du Québec, he premiered many works, including the Canadian premiere of Pierre Boulez’s Le Marteau sans maître. In addition, Mr. Langevin has performed as soloist with Quebec’s most distinguished ensembles and has recorded many recitals and chamber music programs for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He also served on the faculty of the University of Montreal for nine years.

Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Robert Langevin began studying flute at age 12 and joined the local orchestra three years later. While studying with Jean-Paul Major at the Montreal Conservatory of Music, he started working in recording studios, where he accompanied a variety of artists of different styles. He graduated in 1976 with two first prizes, one in flute, the other, in chamber music. Not long after, he won the prestigious Prix d’Europe, a national competition open to all instruments with a first prize of a two-year scholarship to study in Europe. This enabled him to work with Aurèle Nicolet at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany, where he graduated in 1979. He then went on to study with Maxence Larrieu, in Geneva, winning second prize at the Budapest International Competition in 1980.

Mr. Langevin is a member of the Philharmonic Quintet of New York with which he has performed concerts on many continents. In addition, he has given recitals and master classes throughout the United States and in countries such as Canada, Spain, Costa Rica, Japan, North Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam. He is currently on the faculties of The Juilliard School, The Manhattan School of Music, and the Orford International Summer Festival.


The 2018 SAA Conference is shaping up to be great experience for guitar instructors and their students—mark the dates and be sure to be there!

Suzuki guitar teachers embrace collaborating in their teaching in much the same way Suzuki teachers of all instruments embrace collaborating in their teaching. In our session presentations, we plan to highlight some of the unique ways Suzuki guitar teachers have collaborated with other guitar teachers, with teachers of other instruments, with others in the Suzuki community, and in in local communities. Of course, we will continue to enjoy sessions which focus on other aspects of guitar pedagogy that are of interest to the Suzuki community.

Our Guitar Clinician, Berta Rojas, is an internationally recognized artist. Berta will be presenting a masterclass for Suzuki guitar students who have been accepted by audition, as well as giving a lecture recital for the entire guitar community. Both events are open to all interested listeners.

Our Guitar Ensemble will include Suzuki students and perhaps teachers, too. We will perform as part of the weekend conference activities, and our rehearsal schedule will include music composed, arranged, and conducted by our own members.

The Suzuki guitar community is enthusiastically looking forward to the 2018 SAA Conference in Minneapolis. We hope and expect to exceed our teacher attendance at the 2016 event. The schedule will include interesting and insightful presentations, formal and informal performance opportunities, and a world-class guest artist.

Berta Rojas Photo

Berta Rojas

Renowned for her flawless technique and innate musicality, Berta Rojas ranks among today’s foremost classical guitarists. She has been praised as “guitarist extraordinaire” by the Washington Post and by Classical Guitar Magazine as “Ambassador of the classical guitar.” She has been nominated three times for a Latin Grammy Award; in the category of Best Instrumental Album for Día y Medio—A Day and a Half, a duet with Paquito D’Rivera (2012), in the category of Best Classical Album, for her album Salsa Roja (2014), and more recently in the category of Best Tango Album, for her album History of Tango (2015), recorded with the Camerata Bariloche.

Berta’s acknowledged warmth and musicality have accorded her a place of preference among audiences that have applauded her at such major stages as the Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall and the Frederick P. Rose Hall of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, London’s South Bank Centre, Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the National Concert Hall in Dublin where she performed as a soloist with the Irish Radio and Television Orchestra, as well as the Flagley Studio 4 in Brussels where she performed with the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra for the Belgian National Television.

In 2011, Berta, along with Paquito D’Rivera as guest star, initiated the four-year tour “In the Footsteps of Mangoré” which followed the travels of Agustín Barrios, pioneer of the classical guitar in the Americas. The duo performed in 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries, concluding the journey at the national theater of the capital of El Salvador; the final resting place of this celebrated composer.

Her performances as a soloist showcase her mastery in terms of interpretation and technique. Berta takes the audience of each concert on a colorful journey of sounds embracing new works by composers of diverse genres. This is echoed in her discography which includes recordings such as Cielo Abierto (2006) and Terruño (2009), as well as the duo with Carlos Barbosa-Lima in Alma y Corazón (2007) and the celebrated album, Intimate Barrios (2008), that offers works by the great Paraguayan composer and guitarist, Agustín Barrios.

In addition to continually enriching her own artistic career through frequent international tours giving concerts and master classes, Berta Rojas is firmly committed to furthering and disseminating the classical guitar. A particular focus is on promoting the music of her country, Paraguay, as well as Latin American music, and ongoing support for the careers of young, upcoming artists.

Along those lines, she created the first online classical guitar competition, the Barrios World Wide Web Competition in 2009. With two editions already held, it continues to generate tremendous interest throughout the guitar world. Additionally, Berta was the Artistic Director of the three editions of the Ibero-American Guitar Festival at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., and co-founded the Beatty Music Scholarship Competition for Classical Guitar for youth, garnering the winners an opportunity to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Berta Rojas first studied with Felipe Sosa, Violeta de Mestral in her native Paraguay. She then moved to Uruguay to study under Abel Carlevaro, and went on to get a Bachelor of Music degree from the Escuela Universitaria de Música there as a student of Eduardo Fernández, while also taking lessons with Mario Payseé. She went on and add a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Institute under the guidance of Manuel Barrueco. At Peabody, she also took lessons with Ray Chester and Julian Gray.

Rojas has been honored as a Fellow of the Americas by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her artistic excellence. In a 2014 publication, the news agency EFE deems her one of the most influential women in the Hispanic world.


Calling all harp students and teachers to the 2018 SAA Conference! Have you ever felt all alone as you sit behind your harp for hours on end, holed up in a practice room—just you, 47 strings, and 7 pedals? Did you feel added pressure the first time you played in orchestra, having had limited experience in a chamber setting? As you work tirelessly to teach the next generation of harpists, do you run into challenges you just don’t know how to solve? Join your Suzuki colleagues from around the nation as we explore various ways to collaborate and reach beyond ourselves to build enriching communities wherever we are.

We are excited to announce that our guest harp clinician will be Emily Levin, principal harpist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Emily will be teaching masterclasses and presenting about her experiences as a competitive, solo, and orchestral harpist. We also look forward to sessions from other knowledgeable teachers on building collaborative relationships with composers, preparing students to enter the chamber and orchestra communities, creating opportunities for students and teachers to serve their community through music, navigating the professional community of musicians, and forging bonds and fostering positive communities across studios. We would love to hear about how you have collaborated within your own music communities. When we look outside ourselves and collaborate with others we expand our influence and create rewarding experiences.

As educator Steven W. Anderson so aptly stated, “Alone we are smart. Together we are brilliant. We can use the collective wisdom to do great things when we are connected.” This will be a great conference for new attendees and veterans alike as we come together to expand our community of harp teachers, students, and professionals. Come make new connections. Come be brilliant!

– Anamae Anderson, Harp Coordinator

Emily Levin

Emily Levin

Image by Dario Acosta

The Principal Harpist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Bronze Medal Winner of the 9th USA International Harp Competition, Emily Levin has been praised for her “communicative, emotionally intense expression” (Jerusalem Post) and her “technical wizardry and artistic intuition” (Herald Times). She brings the harp to the forefront of a diverse musical spectrum, believing strongly in music’s ability to both communicate and connect with all audiences.

The youngest principal harpist of a major American orchestra, Emily has performed at Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the World Harp Congress, the Aspen and Lakes Area Music Festivals, and with the Dallas, Jerusalem and Colorado Symphony Orchestras, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Colorado Chamber Players, and the Indiana University Festival Orchestra, among others. She is the2017Classical Recording Foundation’s Young Artist of the Year, a winner of the 2016 Astral Auditions, and has performed with the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall and at the BRAVO! Vail Music Festival. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed throughout the United States and Europe, including at the Kimmel Center, Alice Tully Hall, and the Meyerson Symphony Center.A top prizewinner at the International Harp Contest in Israel, she was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival.

Emily works extensively with established and emerging composers alike, which led to commendation from the New York Times for both “singing well and playing beautifully.” She is a core member of the New York-based new music group Ensemble Échappé and has recorded music for composers such as Charles Wuorinen, David Dzubay, and Louis Karchin.In 2012, The Indiana University Composition Department recognized her for her collaboration and performance of new music.Most recently, Emilycommissioneda four-composer set of character pieces inspired by Shel Silverstein.

Emily received her Master of Music degree in 2015 at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Nancy Allen, where she was a teaching fellow for both the Ear Training and Educational Outreach departments.A self-described bookworm, she completed undergraduate degrees in Music and History at Indiana University with Susann McDonald.Her honors history thesis discussed the impact of war songs on the French Revolution.


There is much for pianists to get excited about at the 2018 SAA Conference!  First and foremost is our main clinician, Jon Kimura Parker, professor of piano at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston.  A popular teacher and versatile performer, Mr. Parker will be teaching masterclasses and will perform with the Montrose Trio at the SAA Benefit Concert on Friday night. 

In keeping with our desire to include events involving more piano students in the conference, there will be a special presentation of Saint Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals.  Long beloved by audiences of all ages, Carnival of the Animals was “such fun” for Saint Saëns to compose in 1886 that (by his own admission) he neglected working on his Third Symphony!  To enhance this event, we will learn about the logistics and preparations needed to produce Carnival in your community.

Would you like to be brought up to date on the latest in brain development as related to musical study through inspiring, informative presentations?  Or find new piano ensemble repertoire through a reading session with your colleagues?  Or share thoughts on teaching technique, honing listening skills, working with parents or new reading methods?  Or know when a child is ready for lessons or is ready to read? Or learn new ideas for students with learning disabilities or behavior challenges, or adult learners? Or gain insight through watching master Suzuki teachers teach excellent students?  Or discover new ways to promote your business, conduct group lessons, communicate or use technology in your studio?  Or find out how to prepare your student for a concerto or develop improvisation skills? There will be sessions galore on topics of interest to all piano teachers as well as inspirational concerts given by students of all instruments, including a piano concerto! 

And perhaps most important, there will be old friendships to be rekindled and new ones to be made. 

I can’t wait and I look forward to seeing you there!

– Carol Cross, Piano Coordinator

Jon Kimura Parker

Jon Kimura Parker

Known for his passionate artistry and engaging stage presence, pianist Jon Kimura Parker has performed as guest soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Wolfgang Sawallisch in Carnegie Hall, toured Europe with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Andre Previn, and shared the stage with Jessye Norman at Berlin’s Philharmonie. Conductors he has recently worked with include Teddy Abrams, Pablo Heras-Cassado, Claus Peter Flor, Hans Graf, Matthew Halls, Jeffrey Kahane, Peter Oundjian, Larry Rachleff, Bramwell Tovey, Xu Zhong and Pinchas Zukerman. A true Canadian ambassador of music, Mr. Parker has given command performances for Queen Elizabeth II, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan. He is an Officer of The Order of Canada, his country’s highest civilian honor.

He performs as duo partner regularly with James Ehnes, Aloysia Friedmann, Lynn Harrell, Jamie Parker, Orli Shaham, and Cho-Liang Lin, with whom he has given world premieres of sonatas by Paul Schoenfield, John Harbison and Steven Stucky. He performs regularly with the Miró Quartet, and is a founding member of the Montrose Trio with violinist Martin Beaver and cellist Clive Greensmith. The Washington Post’s review of the Montrose Trio’s first tour in 2015 proclaimed them “poised to become one of the top piano trios in the world.”

As a member of the outreach project Piano Plus, Mr. Parker toured remote areas including the Canadian Arctic, performing classical music and rock’n’roll on everything from upright pianos to electronic keyboards. In commemoration of his special performances in war-torn Sarajevo in 1995, he was a featured speaker alongside humanitarians Elie Wiesel and Paul Rusesabagina at the 50th Anniversary of the relief organization AmeriCares.

An unusually versatile artist, Mr. Parker has also jammed with Audra McDonald, Bobby McFerrin, and Doc Severinsen, and this season performed tangos on two pianos with Pablo Ziegler. Mr. Parker also debuted his new project Off The Score in a quintet with legendary Police drummer Stewart Copeland, featuring both original compositions and fresh takes on music of Ravel, Prokofiev and Stravinsky.

An active media personality, Mr. Parker hosted the television series Whole Notes on Bravo! and CBC Radio’s Up and Coming. His YouTube channel showcases the Concerto Chat video series, with illuminating discussions of the piano concerto repertoire.

This season, Mr. Parker performs as concerto soloist with the New York Philharmonic and Bramwell Tovey, the Chicago Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra with Marin Alsop, The Milwaukee Symphony with Lawrence Renes, the IRIS Orchestra with Michael Stern, the Naples Philharmonic with Andre Boreyko, and the Minnesota Orchestra with Gilbert Varga. He gives recitals with Cho-Liang Lin, tours Off the Score with Stewart Copeland in the spring of 2016, and throughout the season gives twenty concerts with the Montrose Trio.

A committed educator, Jon Kimura Parker is Professor of Piano at The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. His students have won international piano competitions, performed with major orchestras across the U.S., and given recitals in Amsterdam, Beijing, New York and Moscow. He has lectured at The Juilliard School, The Colburn School, The Steans Institute, New York University, and Yale University. Mr. Parker is also Artistic Advisor of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, where he has given world premieres of new works by Peter Schickele and Jake Heggie.

Jon Kimura Parker has recorded music of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Chopin and PDQ Bach for Telarc, Mozart for CBC, and Stravinsky, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Di Liberto and Hirtz under his own label. His new CD Fantasy features Fantasies of Schubert and Schumann, as well as the sensational Wizard of Oz Fantasy by William Hirtz, receiving this praise from Classical Candor: “The reading is riveting. Parker scores with another favorite recording of the year.”

“Jackie” Parker studied with Edward Parker and Keiko Parker privately, Lee Kum-Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music and the University of British Columbia, Robin Wood at the Victoria Conservatory, Marek Jablonski at the Banff Centre, and Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School. He won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Leeds International Piano Competition. He lives in Houston with his wife, violinist Aloysia Friedmann and their daughter Sophie.

Additional Piano Teacher Clinicians

Bret Serrin

Bret Serrin

Dr. Bret Serrin is widely recognized as one of the United States’ most brilliant young teachers and pianists. Born in Virginia, he began studying the piano at the age of five and gave his first public concert at the age of six. His talent soon attracted attention and while still a student, he won the prestigious Presser Music Scholarship, as well as numerous other awards. During this time, he attended the Adamant International Summer Music Festival in Vermont, where he was invited to perform a live concert broadcast on NPR (National Public Radio).

In 1997, Dr. Serrin pursued his graduate studies at the University of North Texas, completing his MM and DMA degrees in piano performance under the guidance of the eminent pedagogue, Joseph Banowetz. He has also had extensive summer coaching with the legendary American pianist, Earl Wild. Wild described him as a musician possessing a “rare pianistic ability”, one who is “totally dedicated to his art and…worthy of attention”.

Dr. Serrin is the recipient of gold medals in several international piano competitions, including the Los Angeles Liszt Competition, the Hubbard Solo and Chamber Music Competition (Dallas, Texas) and the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque Concerto Competition (New Mexico). Other highlights of his career include a silver medal at the National Society of Arts and Letters Competition in San Antonio, and a prize in the Steinway Society’s Career Grant Competition. Most recently, during the Hubedni Festival in the Czech Republic, he was awarded the silver medal in the prestigious Vysocina International Piano Competition.

In September 2003, Dr. Serrin embarked on a three-week concert tour of the People’s Republic of China, giving recitals and master classes in such cities as Guangzhou, Hejuan, Zhongshan, and Shenzhen. At the conclusion of the tour, he was invited back for further recitals, including concerts with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra. His most recent concert schedule has included performances with the Bohúslàv Martinú Philharmonic Orchestra in the Czech Republic, guest artist/chamber music recitals/master classes at the Music Academy International (Italy), the Music Institute of Chicago, Kansas Wesleyan University, Texas A&M International University, the Preucil School of Music (Iowa), the Hartt School of Music (Connecticut), Oklahoma City University, the University of Texas at Austin, Del Mar College (Corpus Christi), the SAA Convention (Minneapolis), the TMTA convention in San Antonio, as well as appearances at the National Guild of Piano Technicians Annual Convention (Phoenix), the Basically Beethoven Festival (Dallas), the International Double Reed Conference (Greensboro, North Carolina), performances with the Symphony Orchestra of Albuquerque, and radio broadcasts in California. He has also performed chamber music recitals with members of the Dallas and Chicago Symphony Orchestras.

Dr. Serrin is currently the chair of the piano department at the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas, and has also been on the adjunct faculty at the University of North Texas. He is also the Artistic Director of the DFW WOW Piano Institute and has done his Suzuki training with Mary Craig Powell.

Christina Tio

Christina Tio

Originally from Malaysia, Christina Tio attended the Birmingham Conservatoire in the United Kingdom to study piano where she earned her Performing Diploma, a Teaching Diploma, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Central England. She continued on to complete her Masters degree in Piano Performance at the University of Reading, where she studied with Frank Wibaut from the Royal Academy of Music, London. Her mentors over the years also include Malcolm Wilson and Alison Pottinger and she has participated in master classes by Peter Donohoe, Anne Queffelec, Renna Kallaway, Christine Faron, Anthony Saunders, Joseph Weingarten and Venessa Latarche. Meanwhile, she was a regular artist for Birmingham Conservatoire Concert Series as soloist and accompanist, and was the winner of the prestigious BMI Piano competition. Soon after, Christina took a turn in her music studies. She began her musicological research on a scholarship with Nicholas Cook; under whose guidance, she completed her PhD in Musicology at the University of Southampton.

While completing her doctoral dissertation, Christina assumed the position of lecturer at Universiti Putra Malaysia, and taught there for two years. Her students performed successful recitals, and completed musicological papers that advanced them to graduate programs at universities in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. A period of busy freelancing teaching schedule followed, as she taught and conducted seminars as a guest lecturer at music colleges and major universities in Kuala Lumpur, including the University of Malaya, the National Arts Academy, Sedaya International University College and the Malaysian Institute of Arts. She taught applied piano, courses in music history, music theory and supervised graduate and undergraduate degree projects. From March 2004, Christina resumed a full-time faculty position, this time as a senior lecturer at the Music Department of Universiti Teknologi Mara. She left Malaysia in April 2005 to the United States to join her husband who is working in Chicago. As a dedicated music educator, Christina maintains a studio wherever she resides, as a fulfillment of her great passion for music teaching.

Christina obtained certifications as a Suzuki piano teacher with Doris Koppelman, Rita Hauck, Mary Craig Powell and Caroline Fraser. She has since devoted to teaching the piano by the Suzuki method only. Her teaching style has also been influenced by Leah Brammer who was mentored by Haruko Kataoka, co-founder for the Suzuki Piano School. Presently, Christina holds a Suzuki Piano faculty position at the Music Institute of Chicago.


Recorder Teachers, start planning for conference now! We look forward to seeing you there.

Since a record number of recorder teachers attended the last conference, we hope to see even more of you taking advantage of this opportunity next May.

Paul Leenhouts, our internationally acclaimed recorder clinician, will offer deeply engaging experiences in concepts of sound, technique, and musical interpretation. His interactive sessions for recorder teachers are immensely popular as he shares his fascinating insights into the culture of our unique instrument.

Recorder masterclasses, and the international Recorder Consort, will be inspiring and life-changing experiences for students.

Sessions for Suzuki “wind” instruments—those that use the breath, such as flute, voice, trumpet, and recorder—will generate rich conversations of mutual interest.

Besides instrument-specific events, there will be general music education sessions and activities for teachers, students, and parents, in all areas of interest.

For more information on the upcoming SAA Conference, student audition guidelines (October 25 deadline), and your session proposals, see the link here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

As the SAA Conference Recorder Coordinators, we are here for you!

– Mary Halverson Waldo, Luciana Castillo, Janine Bacon

Paul Leenhouts

Paul Leenhouts

Image by Paul Leenhouts

Paul Leenhouts is director of Early Music Studies and the Baroque Orchestra at the University of North Texas. He holds a Soloist Diploma from the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, where he was on the faculty as professor for recorder and historical development from 1993 to 2010. A founding member of the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet from 1978 and from 2002 director of the contemporary music collective Blue Iguana, he is also composer, arranger and editor of numerous works for various chamber music ensembles. Mr. Leenhouts has recorded for Decca L’Oiseau-Lyre, Channel Classics, Vanguard, Lindoro and Berlin Classics. Two L’Oiseau-Lyre recordings received the prestigious Edison Award. In 1986, he initiated the Open Holland Recorder Festival Utrecht and from 1993 he has been director of the International Baroque Institute at Longy in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His special interest in renaissance consort repertoire led to the founding of The Royal Wind Music in 1997. In 2004 Mr. Leenhouts was elected president of the European Recorder Performers Society. As well as performing numerous concerts and coaching masterclasses within the early music field, he also regularly performs with contemporary and music theatre groups such as Musikfabrik, Nederlands Vocaal Laboratorium, ZT Hollandia and NT Gent. Mr. Leenhouts has given master classes, clinics and lectures at more than 200 conservatories and universities around the world. For his international activities as a musician, conductor and organizer, he received a UN Life-time Achievement Award in Hsin-Chu City, Taiwan in October 2017.


The SAA Conference 2018 will be a treat for Suzuki viola teachers and students! For the first time, we will have a Viola Choir that students can participate in by audition. Repertoire will include pieces from the upper Suzuki viola books and also viola ensemble music. Be sure to have your students audition! Teachers are also encouraged to participate in rehearsals and the lobby performance, so bring your violas!

Our viola clinician will be James Dunham, formerly of the Cleveland and Sequoia String Quartets and currently viola professor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. You can read more about him in the clinician bios. We look forward to his insights and expertise!

What can you do to help?

  1. Submit session proposals!

Several wonderful ideas for viola sessions were suggested at the Leadership Retreat last May. Be sure to follow through on those, but that need not be limiting. All viola session ideas are welcome. If we have more session proposals than time will permit, your coordinators will get creative and suggest collaborating!

  1. Volunteer to help!

There are always lots of uses for helping hands at the Conference, whether introducing sessions, helping coordinate the Viola Choir, etc.

  1. Make suggestions!

We welcome viola related ideas, such as fun repertoire ideas for the Viola Choir. Contact Julia Hardie or April Losey with your thoughts.

– Julia Hardie, Viola Coordinator

James Dunham

James Dunham

James Dunham’s rich background includes having been violist of the Grammy-winning Cleveland Quartet and founding violist of the Naumburg Award-winning Sequoia Quartet. He frequently collaborates with the American, Jupiter and Takács Quartets, and is violist of the Axelrod Quartet, in residence at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. where the group performs on their collection of Nicolò Amati and Stradivari instruments. Mr. Dunham is a frequent presence in master classes and competition juries throughout the U.S. and abroad, including the Fischoff and Osaka Chamber Music Competitions. Recent seasons included a tour with the New Zealand String Quartet of their home country, a U.S. tour with the Jupiter String Quartet and a recital and masterclasses at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig. Earlier this season, Mr. Dunham was guest with the Takács String Quartet, performed chamber music with star pianist Joyce Yang, and appeared as soloist with Houston’s Mercury: The Orchestra Redefined. An impassioned advocate of new music, he has premiered and recorded many works written for him, notably by American composer Libby Larsen, and his recent recording of Judith Shatin’s Glyph for solo viola and piano quintet received rave reviews. The Cleveland Quartet’s recording of John Corigliano’s String Quartet, written for their final tour, won the 1996 Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance. Mr. Dunham is Professor of Viola at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music where he co-directs the Master of Music in String Quartet program.


It is with great excitement that Robert Richardson and I share some highlights of the Violin Program for the 2018 SAA Conference.

We are honored and excited to have Martin Beaver as our masterclass teacher. He is a world-class violinist and chamber musician who is uniquely qualified to work with Suzuki-trained students. For many years he was a beloved colleague at the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point; currently, he teaches at the prestigious Conservatory of the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Professor Beaver has distinguished himself not only as a superb and insightful teacher, but as a kind and open-hearted person. David Gillham of the University of British Columbia calls Beaver “an exemplary ambassador to humanity and the arts.” His remarkable resume is included below.

Following the success of the 2016 Violin Performance Ensemble, students may once again audition to be part of this high level group! This year, the ensemble will be led by the extraordinary Belgian clinician, Koen Rens. Teachers will have the opportunity to observe Koen’s charismatic style as he connects with students and energizes the group. If you have not seen Koen teach, you will be delighted to watch him create magic as he motivates, challenges and enables students to strive for new levels of musicianship.

This year will also see the first-ever Group Demonstration sessions devoted to Books Seven and Eight, designed to explore the repertoire included in these books and their pedagogical and musical value. The process of engaging the content and purposes of these two advanced books will prove of special value to teachers who are ready to move their students through these vital books in our repertoire and into the wider world of great violin literature.

In the spirit of collaboration which has defined the Suzuki movement, some of our most experienced colleagues will share their insights and expertise on a variety of topics.There will be an abundance of information shared, as well as questions asked and answered. Attendees will head home with handouts, lists of resources, and excitement to apply all that has been absorbed over the weekend!

We will all leave the SAA Conference with a wealth of new ideas to help our students, organize our studios, and become more effective at what we do. For violin teachers at all levels of experience, the 2018 SAA Conference promises tremendous opportunities for growth and inspiration! Come connect with friends, both old and new!

– Janis Wittrig, Violin Coordinator

Martin Beaver

Martin Beaver

Canadian violinist Martin Beaver was first violin of the world-renowned Tokyo String Quartet from June 2002 until its final concert in July 2013.  As such, he appeared to critical and public acclaim on the major stages of the world including New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Berliner Philharmonie, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall and the Sydney Opera House.

As a member of the Tokyo String Quartet, Mr. Beaver was privileged to perform on the 1727 Stradivarius violin from the “Paganini Quartet” set of instruments, on generous loan to the quartet from the Nippon Music Foundation.  Recordings of the Tokyo String Quartet during his tenure notably include the complete Beethoven quartets on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Mr. Beaver’s concerto and recital appearances span four continents with orchestras such as the San Francisco Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège and the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and under the batons of Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Raymond Leppard, Charles Dutoit and Yannick Nézet-Séguin among others.  Chamber music performances include collaborations with such eminent artists as Leon Fleisher, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Sabine Meyer and Yefim Bronfman.

Mr. Beaver is a regular guest at prominent festivals in North America and abroad. Among these are: the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Edinburgh Festival (U.K.) and Pacific Music Festival (Japan).

Mr. Beaver’s discography includes concerti, sonatas and chamber music on the Harmonia Mundi, Biddulph, Naim Audio, René Gailly, Musica Viva, SM 5000 and Naxos labels.  His recorded repertoire ranges from Bach, Beethoven and Brahms to the music of living composers Alexina Louie and Joan Tower.

Following his early studies with Claude Letourneau and Carlisle Wilson, Mr. Beaver was a pupil of Victor Danchenko, Josef Gingold and Henryk Szeryng.  He is a laureate of the Queen Elisabeth, Montreal and Indianapolis competitions. Subsequently, he has served on the juries of major international competitions including the 2009 Queen Elisabeth and 2010 Montreal competitions, the 2014 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and the 2015 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Beaver has been the grateful recipient of generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts.  This includes Arts Grants for his studies at Indiana University, Career Development Grants and the 1993 Virginia-Parker Prize.  In 1998, through the kindness of an anonymous donor, the Canada Council awarded Mr. Beaver the use of the 1729 “ex-Heath” Guarnerius del Gesù violin for a four-year period.

A devoted educator, Mr. Beaver has conducted masterclasses throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.  He has held teaching positions at the Royal Conservatory of Music, the University of British Columbia and the Peabody Conservatory.  More recently, he served on the faculty of New York University and as Artist in Residence at the Yale School of Music, where he was awarded its highest honor—the Sanford Medal.  He joined the faculty of the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles in August 2013 as Professor of Violin and Co-Director of String Chamber Music Studies.

Martin Beaver is proud to be a founding member of the Montrose Trio with pianist Jon Kimura Parker and cellist Clive Greensmith.

Mr. Beaver plays a 1789 Nicolo Bergonzi violin.


Teaching Kids to Sing!

Suzuki Voice is thrilled to announce that Dr. Kenneth H. Philips, renowned music educator and author of the book Teaching Kids to Sing will be presenting at the 18th Biennial Suzuki of the Americas Conference on May 26-27, 2018.

Topics by Dr. Phillips will include “Teaching Instrumentalists to Breathe,” “The Effects of Music on Health,” and an overview of his newest edition of Teaching Kids to Sing, as well as a Masterclass with questions and answers about teaching voice to children.

Dr. Philips background, with both children and adults, is sure to delight and enhance teachers of all instruments.

Voice teachers and choral directors are certain to glean great insight into teaching singing and vocal concepts to all ages. We highly welcome all music educators to hear Dr. Philips’ presentations.  See his bio below:

Ken Phillips

Kenneth H. Phillips

Kenneth H. Phillips is Professor Emeritus at The University of Iowa where he held joint appointments in music and education (1985–2002), and served as Chair of the Executive Committee of the School of Music.He was also founder and former Director of Graduate Music Education at Gordon College (Wenham, Massachusetts).

A graduate of Westminster College (BM) in Pennsylvania, West Virginia University (MM), and Kent State University (Ph.D.), Dr. Phillips is an award-winning researcher and teacher in the area of child and adolescent vocal pedagogy. He is the author of four books:Teaching Kids to Sing(2nded., 2014, Schirmer, Cengage),Basic Techniques of Conducting(Oxford University Press),Directing the Choral Music Program(2nded., 2016, OUP),Exploring Research in Music Education and Music Therapy(OUP), chapters in major research handbooks published by Oxford University Press and the National Association for Music Education, and numerous peer-reviewed publications including articles in theJournal of Research in Music Education.

An accomplished choral musician, Dr. Phillips conducted the Chamber Singers of Iowa City from 1993 to 1999, which at the time was formally affiliated with the School of Music.He also was founding director of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Children’s Chorus, and has served as guest conductor for choral festivals in the US and abroad, and as choral adjudicator.His major choral study was with Vance George, Director Emeritus and four-time Grammy-Award winner of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus.

Recipient of five outstanding teaching awards from The University of Iowa, Dr. Phillips is recognized by the National Association for Music Education as one of the nation’s most accomplished music educators (Teaching Music, October 2000).His choral book is cited for “raising the bar for choral music textbooks” (Choral Journal,May 2004), and the second edition has garnered the following praise: “This text is excellent.By usingDirecting the Choral Music Program,I am confident that I am giving my students a chance to succeed immediately in their teaching careers.”

Phillips is the recipient of the Robert M. McCowen Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Choral Music, the highest honor given by the Iowa Choral Directors Association.He also holds the Distinguished Music Alumni Award from Kent State University, and serves as honorary board member of the Lowell Mason Foundation. More recently, Drs. Stanley and Lois Schleuter (Iowa music alumni) honored Dr. Phillips and the late Dr. Edwin E. Gordon by underwriting the cost, and dedicating in their names a music education office for TAs in the new Voxman School of Music (2016). State the Schleuters: “We believe that Drs. Phillips and Gordon made significant contributions to the music education profession stemming from their years as professors at Iowa, and are especially deserving of this honor.”

Suzuki Early Childhood Education

SECE Demonstration Classes are back! We will have demonstration classes at the conference for babies and toddlers ages 0-3 and their parents. As we get closer to the conference date, applications will be available online. Wonderful session proposals are in the works, and we look forward to learning from everyone. There will be time to catch up with long-time friends and make some new ones at our SECE Meet and Greet session. Looking forward to seeing all of you in Minneapolis!
- Danette Schuh, SECE Coordinator

Conductors & Performers

Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas

Emmett Drake

Emmett Drake

Originally from Long Island, New York, Emmett Drake is excited to be appearing with the SYOA once again. Mr. Drake is currently the Director of Suzuki Orchestras at the Hartt School in West Hartford, CT, where he conducts five youth orchestras and teaches composition. Emmett is also the Director of Orchestras at Hall and Conard High Schools in West Hartford, CT. Additionally, he is frequently engaged as a guest conductor/clinician. Recent appearances include the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (CT), the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas (MN), CMEA Eastern Regional Festival (CT), the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra (CT), CMEA Southern Regional Festival (CT), Fairfield County String Festival (CT), and Westchester All County Youth Orchestra (NY). Emmett is also active in musical theater, having served as music director/conductor for over 75 unique productions since 2006, working with high schools and various theaters across the northeast, including the Playhouse on Park, Hartford Stage, West Hartford Summer Arts Festival, and Hartt Summer Vocal Institute: Music Theatre Intensive. He currently resides in West Hartford, CT.

Kirsten Marshall

Kirsten Marshall

Kirsten Marshall has inspired students across the Americas with her boundless enthusiasm and passion for making great music for more than fifteen years. Ms. Marshall is director of Orchestral Programs and a violin instructor at Ithaca Talent Education in Ithaca, NY. During the summer months, she is widely sought after as a conductor and clinician for her commitment to artistic excellence and dynamic ability to engage students.

Ms. Marshall received bachelor and master of music degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) with majors in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy. Ms. Marshall also holds a bachelor of science degree in music education from Case Western Reserve University, with an emphasis in strings. Her conducting studies were with David Einfeldt (Hartt School of Music, Connecticut), Carl Topilow and Louis Lane (CIM). She is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society.

In 1998, 2012 and 2014, Ms. Marshall conducted the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas, and in 2008 and 2010, she conducted the faculty orchestra for piano soloist at the Suzuki Association of the Americas conference. An avid supporter of contemporary music, Ms. Marshall conducted and produced two premiere string orchestra pieces that appeared on the 2002 recording Bach to the Future. She is an active performer in the Ithaca area and holds the David and Lesli Sagan Chair in the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Ithaca’s professional ensemble. In 2003, she co-commissioned and premiered a sonata for violin and piano by Robert Paterson. Her love of contemporary music is further demonstrated though her own original compositions for string orchestras.

Suzuki Young Artist String Ensemble

Marilyn Kesler Action

Marilyn Kesler

Marilyn Kesler has recently retired after forty-two years as a teacher in the Okemos, Michigan Public Schools teaching 7th and 8th Grade strings and three high school orchestras. She is continues to be the director of the Community Education Suzuki program where she teaches Suzuki cello lessons.

Ms. Kesler began her teaching career as a general music teacher in Alton, Illinois; while there, she earned a Masters Degree in Music Education at Southern Illinois University where she specialized in the adaptation of the Suzuki Violin Method for the cello with then professor, John Kendall. Her undergraduate degree in Music Education was from Indiana University where she studied cello with Janos Starker and Leopold Terraspulsky.

Marilyn just completed a term as Chair of the Board of the Suzuki Association of the Americas Board of Directors. Past offices include President of Michigan Chapter of the American String Teachers Association, Secretary of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Chairman of the SAA Cello Committee, Public School Committee, and Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association Vice-President of Orchestra Activities. In 1990, she was the first recipient of the ASTA National School Educator Award which is presented to the outstanding public school music teacher in the US. In 1998, she received the “Distinguished Service Award” from SAA. Other honors include, MSBOA, MASTA, and Indiana University Alumni “Teacher of the Year”.

Flute Performing Ensemble

Zara Lawler

Zara Lawler

Zara Lawler has a Master’s from Juilliard and has had several years of Suzuki training and is committed to continuing (she will complete Book 4 in July 2017). She is on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, and teaches from her private studio near W155 Street.

Her natural rapport with children and young people, great sense of humor, and ability to condense music down to manageable chunks make her a wonderful teacher.

As a performer, she is known for her adventurous solo program combining music with dance and theater (“The Flute on its Feet”) and her critically acclaimed duo with marimba, Lawler + Fadoul. She is also known for massed events for up to 100 flutists, including a performance at the Guggenheim Museum in 2012 which brought together the entire flute community: world famous soloists, New York freelance performers, adult amateurs and students ages 7 and up.

Here is what one parent has said about Zara’s teaching:

I feel amazingly lucky to have found Zara as a flute teacher for my son. She has a real gift for combining rigor and fun, and is both “cool” and professional—a magic combination for students (and their parents). In the 5 years my son has been taking individual and group lessons (since age 6), his enthusiasm has never waned, and his progress has been a constant delight to witness.

Also notable is that Zara so deftly weaves music theory into lessons that the students don’t realize what is happening. The ability to sight-read seems to materialize from thin air – not a single moan or groan.

Rebecca Paluzzi

Rebecca Lile Paluzzi

Rebecca Lile Paluzzi is Professor of Flute and Suzuki Studies at East Tennessee State University and is the director of the East Tennessee Suzuki Flute Institute International. She holds BM and MM degrees in performance from the University of Tennessee and a Diploma from TERI where she studied with Toshio Takahashi. A Teacher Trainer for the SAA and the European Suzuki Association, she has taught and performed on five continents and has presented at flute conventions in Australia and the U.S. She is principal flutist in the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra and released a CD “Forty Little Pieces for Flute and Piano” recorded with her teacher, Louis Moyse.

Guitar Ensemble

David Madsen

David Madsen

David Madsen founded what is now the Hartt Suzuki Guitar Program in ‘90. He is the Chair of the Guitar and Harp Dept. of the Community Division at the Hartt School of Music. He became a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas in 2000, and has conducted training courses throughout North America and in Peru and Argentina. Mr. Madsen is a member of the SAA Guitar Committee and also is presently a member of the Teacher Development Advisory Committee.

Piano Ensemble

Magolsia Lis

Malgosia Lis

Malgosia Lis earned Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy in Poland. She is the coordinator for the Suzuki Pianos at the Hartt School Community Division, the Hartt Suzuki Institute as well as the “Suzuki in the Dolomites”, Italy. Her training has been with Yasuko Joichi, Francoise Pierren, Doris Koppelman, Doris Harrel, and Mary Craig Powell. Malgosia is frequently invited as a clinician to Piano Workshops and Institutes, among them: Dallas Suzuki Piano Workshop, Queens College Piano Workshop, New England Suzuki Institute, Music Institute of Chicago and more. She performed at the Polish Library in Paris, France, where she had and honor to play on one of Chopin’s pianos. She enjoys performing music for multiple pianos. Malgosia lives in West Hartford with her husband and has three children, ages 26, 22, and 16.

Viola Chior

Studio of Elizabeth Stuen-Walker

Elizabeth Stuen-Walker

Elizabeth Stuen-Walker is a Suzuki Viola Teacher Trainer. She maintains a studio in Bellingham, Washington, where she teaches viola, violin, serves as a church choir director, and is a member of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. She received a BM from the Eastman School of Music and a MM from Yale University School of Music. Following her graduate studies, she taught at the Preucil School of Music and Cornell College in Iowa and played in the Tri-Cities and Cedar Rapids Symphonies prior to returning to her native state of Washington in 1984. Ms. Stuen-Walker is an active Suzuki viola and violin clinician throughout the world. She has taught at many of the World Suzuki Conventions, and has taken the Premier Viola Ensemble to Ireland, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, Japan, and Germany. She has served twice as a member of the SAA Board of Directors. She is a former SAA Journal Viola Column Editor. Ms. Stuen-Walker has 3 volumes of viola ensembles entitled “Violas in Concert”, a volume “Treble Clef for Violists”, she edited the 2 viola volumes of Suzuki duets, and most recently had two volumes of Viola Christmas Ensembles published.

Advanced Violin Performing Ensemble

This will be the second conference featuring the Advanced Violin Performing Ensemble, and it will be under the direction of Koen Rens.  If its inaugural year was any indication, the small group of advanced violinists, selected by audition, will have an exciting time of music making in store for them. Mr. Rens is well known around the world for his masterful teaching of advanced young violin ensembles. 

Some of the Advanced Violin Performing Ensemble participants from the 2016 conference offered their perspective: Emma Richman, from Minneapolis and now studying at the Juilliard School, described it as an “awesome and unique experience.”  Isabella Benrubi, from Long Island, offered her take: “My days in Minneapolis were some of the best days of my life.” This promises to be a memorable and valuable experience for this year’s Advanced Violin Performing Ensemble. For teachers attending the conference, the rehearsals will provide useful observation opportunities for those looking to expand their knowledge of advanced level group class teaching with fresh ideas. This group will be featured during one of several exciting concerts scheduled for the conference. What a great way to recharge for the coming year! The coordinator for this year’s Advanced Violin Performing Ensemble is Tal Schifter and the assistant coordinator is Susan Crawford.

-Tal Schifter and Susan Crawford

Koen Rens

Koen Rens

Koen Rens has been a guest teacher around the world. He has taught in South Africa, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and in most of the countries in Europe. He has been invited to teach at several Suzuki World conferences. Koen is a violin Teacher Trainer, designated as such by the European Suzuki Association (ESA) in 2000.

Born in Beerse, Belgium, Koen is the son of composer and choirmaster Wouter Rens. He was one of the first Suzuki students in Belgium. His studies at the Conservatory of Bruges and the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with Katalyn Sebestyen and Guido De Neve culminated in first prizes in Violin and Chamber Music. After long term training with Jeanne Janssens, Koen obtained the European Suzuki Association’s final diploma in Suzuki Pedagogy with highest honors before an international jury. Later, he studied violin and psycho-pedagogy at the Conservatoire Royal de Liège, graduating with a thesis on the development of autonomy in children between 9 and 14. An article Koen authored on the development of autonomy based on group and group-oriented education was published by the University of Liège. He has served as visiting professor at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Madrid (Spain), the Grieg Academy in Bergen (Norway), and the Higher Institute for Music Pedagogy in Kaunas (Lithuania), as well as at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels and the Conservatoire Royal de Liège.

Together with Wilfried Van Gorp, Koen founded the Belgian Suzuki Chamber Orchestra. Koen has served on the Board of Directors of both the Suzuki Talent Education Institute of Belgium and the European Suzuki Association, and has had the honor of being Chairman of the latter. He was a member of the team that developed the ESA’s teacher training syllabus.

Currently, Koen has a thriving studio at the Academy of Music in Turnhout, Belgium. In addition, he runs long term teacher training programs in Lithuania, Latvia, Spain and Belgium, and he co-directs a postgraduate course on Suzuki Pedagogy at the Antwerp Conservatory’s School of the Arts.

Cello Choir

Mary Walters

Mary Walters

Mary Walters teaches a thriving cello studio and cello choir in Seattle, Washington, and directs the Alaska Cello Intensive cello choir in Fairbanks, Alaska. During her tenure as ACI choir director, the group has performed throughout Interior Alaska, including performances inside Denali National Park. The ACI choir has also worked with and performed alongside the Portland Cello Project.

Mary has been a clinician at institutes and workshops around the country, including the Chicago Suzuki Institute, Fairbanks Suzuki Institute, Hawaii Suzuki Workshop, Intermountain Suzuki String Institute, Alaska Cello Intensive, Vivace! Chamber Players, and as a teaching assistant at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. Prior to moving to Seattle, Mary was a member of the cello faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago.

Mary has performed with the Seattle Symphony and as a studio recording musician can be heard on dozens of Hollywood film, television, and video game soundtracks. She received her master’s degree in cello performance and pedagogy from Northern Illinois University and her bachelor’s degree in cello performance from the University of Oregon Clark Honors College. During graduate school Mary held a graduate fellowship position in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Since 2008 she has served on the board of the Suzuki Education and Research Association, which oversees the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute International.


Jeremy Dittus

Jeremy Dittus

Jeremy Dittus enjoys a career as a pianist, theorist, and Dalcroze™ eurhythmics instructor.  An avid recitalist, he has performed solo and chamber programs and presented Dalcroze™ masterclasses throughout the United States, Europe and South East Asia.  He currently directs the Dalcroze School of the Rockies™ Dalcroze™ Academy teacher-training center at Metropolitan State University of Denver. A former Lecturer in piano, theory, and solfège at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory in Cleveland, he also has taught undergraduate solfège, piano, and composition courses at the University of Colorado at Boulder as well as eurhythmics and solfège at L’Institut Jaques-Dalcroze™ in Geneva, Switzerland and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. 

Dr. Dittus is the founder and director of the Dalcroze School of the Rockies™ in Denver, Colorado, the only authorized Dalcroze™ training center west of Pittsburgh in the United States.  The DSR offers Eurhythmics™ classes for children (pre-kindergarten through high school), adult enrichment classes, and full time study toward the Dalcroze™ Certificate/License (eurhythmics, solfège, improvisation, pedagogy, and plastique animée).  Additionally, he has presented Dalcroze™ workshops at home and abroad including the World Piano Conference, International Early Childhood Music and Movement Convention, Singapore International String Conference, L’Institut Jaques-Dalcroze™ Cours d’Été, Dalcroze™ Society of America National Conference, Suzuki Association of the Americas National Conference, American Orff-Schulwerk Association National Convention, National Flute Convention, Colorado Music Educators Association State Convention, Piano Celebration at Metro-State University in Denver, University of Louisville Piano Institute, in addition to several summer music institutes, universities, and conservatories across the US.  He also serves on the state board for the Colorado Federation of Music Clubs and functions as the Vice President of the Dalcroze™ Society of America.  He recently has published books on Dalcroze™ Education:  Embodying Music:  A Textbook for Dalcroze™ Teacher Training, and five books that correspond to the Rhythmic-Solfège™ youth program in place at the Dalcroze™ School of the Rockies. 

In 2010, Dr. Dittus earned the Diplôme Supérieur, (a doctoral equivalent in Switzerland) from L’Institut Jaques-Dalcroze™ in conjunction with La Haute École de Musique de Genève and Le Conservatoire de Musique de Genève.  While in Geneva, he received top honors including the 2009 Prix pour les qualities musicales exceptionnelles and the 2010 Prix pour les qualités artistiques et pédagogiques exceptionnelles.  Before Switzerland, he had the honor of studying at the Longy School of Music for the Dalcroze™ Certificate and License.  He completed a doctorate of musical arts in piano performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder; for the master of music, he studied piano performance and music theory at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. During his undergraduate work, he obtained bachelor degrees in piano performance and chemistry.  Former teachers include Lisa Parker, Anne Farber, Ruth Gianadda, Marie-Laure Bachmann, Sylvia del Bianco, Sylvie Morgenegg, Laurent Sourisse, Andrew Cooperstock, Michael Chertock, Frank Weinstock, and George Cherry.