Area Overviews and Featured Clinicians

To be updated with new September event information soon.

Suzuki Bass Provides Opportunities and Community

The Suzuki bass community gets an opportunity to reunite every two years at the conference. Old friendships are renewed, while new friendships are born. The inspiration that comes from a community sharing ideas reinvigorates your spirit, and you take home ideas that improve your teaching. We are extremely lucky to at able to welcome colleagues from all stages of their careers, whose diverse experiences enrich all of our teaching perspectives.

This September, over Memorial Day weekend, you can observe bass students participating 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 may wish to attend the conference and take advantage of sessions and events geared towards their growth as home teachers in the Suzuki triangle and gain new practice tips and other ideas. Suzuki teachers and students not only network during sessions but also find extra time to spend time together at meals and concerts.

Teachers will benefit from our conference theme which places emphasis on “Learning Suzuki-Style.” 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.

—Doug Murphy, Bass Coordinator

Paul Ellison, Bass Clinician

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.

Ellison’s former students hold titled positions in major ensembles and institutions of higher learning on five continents.His 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 Institute 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.”

Cello Continues to Expand Conference Offerings

We are extremely excited to have Astrid Schween as our Master class clinician at the 2020 conference. Astrid has been the cellist in the Julliard String Quartet since 2016 and teaches at Julliard. She has a thriving performing and teaching career. Her session with the teachers is titled, Interpretation and the Art of the Bow. I’m sure that we will all look forward to her gems of wisdom on this important topic.
As the cello choir was a resounding success in 2018, it needs to be a fixture at our SAA Conferences. This year Rick Mooney will be conducting this auditioned choir. Their performance should help demonstrate the depth of our Suzuki teaching.
Rick Mooney will also be conducting masterclasses with students studying in the upper level Suzuki books and early concerto repertoire. Yumi Kendall, Carey Beth Hockett, and Tanya Carey will be teaching classes with selected cello students from our Conference orchestras.
Rick has agreed to conduct a teachers’ reading session, focusing on interesting newer cello choir material. Be sure to bring or rent a cello in order to participate in this fun event. Also, if you have material/arrangements that you think we would all enjoy, please submit them in advance to [javascript protected email address].

The theme of our 2020 SAA Conference is Learning Suzuki Style, so many of the sessions will shine spotlights on best practices of teaching at all levels. Of course, the conference is also a great time to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. Attending the biennial SAA Conference will inspire your teaching for years to come. We hope to see you there.

Susan Gagnon, Cello Coordinator and Alex Revol, Assistant Cello Coordinator.

Cello Guest Clinician, Astrid Schween

Astrid Schween

Astrid Schween

Image by Lisa Marie Mazzucco

Cellist Astrid Schween has gained a rich following and enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber artist, and teacher. Since joining the Juilliard String Quartet in 2016, she has appeared at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Berlin Konzerthaus, London’s Wigmore Hall, Yamaha Hall in Tokyo, and in Hong Kong, Singapore, Greece, China, Spain, Scandinavia and throughout the US, with concerts at the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, New York’s 92nd Sreet Y, Ravinia, Tanglewood and the Kennedy Center. With degrees from the Juilliard School, Astrid Schween received her training under the guidance of Leonard Rose, Harvey Shapiro, Bernard Greenhouse, Ardyth Alton, and Dr. H.T. Ma, and was mentored as a young cellist by Jacqueline Du Pré and Zubin Mehta. She participated in the Marlboro Music Festival, the William Pleeth Cello Master Classes in Aldeburgh, and made her debut at the age of 16 with the NY Philharmonic.

Recent solo engagements have taken her around the US, with a performance of the Elgar Concerto in Boulder, CO. Other concerto appearances have included performances with the Memphis Symphony and at the Peninsula, Interlochen and Sewanee festivals. Astrid Schween was recently featured in Strings and Strad magazines, on various NPR programs, and was a guest speaker on Women in Music at the Library of Congress. She also appears on Classical music internet platforms such as “Living the Classical Life,” The Violin Channel and CelloBello. Her current collaborations include frequent appearances at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, recitals with pianists Victor Asuncion, Randall Hodgkinson and a soon-to-be-released CD of Romantic cello sonatas with pianist Michael Gurt. Recent collaborative releases appear on the Sony, Centaur and JRI labels. Next season, Astrid Schween will appear as special guest artist at the Cleveland Cello Society, as well as i at the SAA Conference in Minneapolis.

Astrid Schween is a member of the cello faculty at Juilliard and the Perlman Music Program on Shelter Island. For many years, she was senior cello faculty at Interlochen, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Mount Holyoke College. She was also cellist of the Boston Trio, a frequent guest with the Boston Chamber Music Society, and a longtime member of the Lark Quartet, with whom she earned the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lockenhaus, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and other prestigious venues. Additional recordings appear on the Arabesque, Decca/Argo, New World, CRI, and Point labels. She is represented by Thomas Gallant of General Arts Touring.

See Student Ensembles for Richard Mooney photo & bio.

Events for Violinists

There is exciting Violin news for the 2020 Conference! First of all, we are thrilled that Almita Vamos will be the clinician for the Violin Masterclasses and offer a session for teachers, as well. Mrs. Vamos is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music where she studied with Mischa Mischakoff and Louis Persinger. Presently she teaches at the College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and the Music Institute of Chicago where she is the co-recipient of the Rachel Barton Pine Violin Chair. In 2018 she and her husband Roland Vamos received the ASTA Award for Distinguished Teaching. This summer she will teach at the Chautauqua Institution and the Aspen Music Festival and School.. She has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching six times, ASTA Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, the Ars Viva Award for Excellence, and she has been featured on “Sunday Morning” CBS.

The 2020 Violin Performing Ensemble will be led by Thomas Wermuth. Mr. Wermuth has been teaching at the Western Springs School of Talent Education for 31 years. He is the Artistic Director of the Chicago Consort, an advanced violin performance group that has made twelve international tours. Mr. Wermuth’s arrangements of classical and popular pieces are performed around the world. He studied at the Juilliard School and was a student of Dorothy Delay; he is also a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.

Another feature will be a Performance Class facilitated by Tamara González, David France, and Anna Hughes. Participants will also want to take advantage of sessions devoted to violin group class ideas, including a reading session of contemporary pieces written specifically for the 2020 Conference. Teachers will have many opportunities to play, so plan to bring your instrument.
Overall, there will be a wide variety of topics covered during the 2020 Conference, so put the dates in your calendar.

—Nancy Jackson, Violin Coordinator and Mark Mutter, Assistant Violin Coordinator

Almita Vamos, Featured Violin Clinician

Almita Vamos

Almita Vamos

Almita Vamosis graduate of the Juilliard School of Music where she studied with Mischa Mischakoff and Louis Persinger. She was the winner of the Young Concert Artist Guild auditions and the Juilliard Orchestra and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competitions, and was chosen appear on the prestigious NYC Kaufman Auditorium Series. Her students have won top prizes in nearly all of the major national and international competitions including Tchaikovsky, Carl Flesch, Menuhin, Bach (Leipzig), Szigeti, Kreisler, Neilsen, Paganini, Montreal, among many others. Many of her former students are members of major orchestras including Israel, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Berlin, among many others. She won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching six times, ASTA Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award, Ars Viva Award for Excellence, and has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning. Previously, she taught at the Oberlin Conservatory and at Northwestern University. Presently, she teaches at the College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and the Music Institute of Chicago where she is the co-recipient of the Rachel Barton Pine Violin Chair. In 2018 she and her husband received the ASTA Award for Distinguished Teaching. This summer she will teach at the Chautauqua Institution and the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Exciting Viola Plans!

The SAA Conference 2020 will bring exciting activities for viola teachers and students alike! Back by popular demand, the Viola Ensemble will be led by Alyssa Hardie Beckmann. This is an exciting opportunity for students to meet new friends and perform in an all-viola group. Teachers are also encouraged to participate in rehearsals and the performance, so bring your violas!

We are thrilled to have Rebecca Albers, Principal Viola of the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra, as our clinician for advanced master classes. Ms. Albers grew up as a Suzuki student before continuing her studies at the Juilliard School. She is now a studio instructor at Macalester College in Saint Paul, a Distinguished Artist Faculty member at Mercer University’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in Macon, George, and recently served on faculty at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. You can read more about her in the clinician bios. We look forward to her insights and expertise!

This year we will also offer master classes for students in the middle-level books. Daniel Gee Cordova will be the clinician for these classes. Mr. Gee Cordova directs the Austin Suzuki Music School and the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute. He is a frequent guest clinician at workshops, conferences and institutes across the country.
What can you do to help?

  1. Volunteer to help—There are always lots of uses for helping hands at the Conference, whether introducing sessions, helping coordinate the Viola Ensemble, etc.
  2. Make suggestions—We welcome viola related ideas, such as fun repertoire ideas for the Viola Ensemble.
  3. Encourage your students to submit audition videos for the Student Events: masterclasses, Viola Ensemble, and orchestras. A bigger number of viola participants will make the experience more enjoyable for all students!

Contact us: April Losey [javascript protected email address] or Rafael Videira [javascript protected email address] with your thoughts.

—April Losey, Viola Coordinator and Rafael Videira, Viola Assistant Coordinator

Rebecca Albers, Guest Viola Clinician

Rebecca Albers

Rebecca Albers

Rebecca Albers joined the Minnesota Orchestra as assistant principal viola in 2010 and won the position of principal viola in 2017. She has performed throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe, making her New York debut at Lincoln Center, performing the New York premiere of Samuel Adler’s Viola Concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, she performs often at such festivals as the Marlboro Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer and Winter Festivals, and Rome Chamber Music Festival.

Albers is a member of Accordo, a Twin Cities-based chamber ensemble whose members are present and former principal players from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minnesota Orchestra. She has toured extensively with Musicians from Marlboro and with the Albers Trio, an ensemble formed with her sisters Laura and Julie Albers, and has been featured on many of the Orchestra’s chamber concerts, performing music by Schumann, Beethoven, Dvořák and Schubert.

She is currently a studio instructor at Macalester College in Saint Paul and a Distinguished Artist faculty member at Mercer University’s Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in Macon, Georgia. She has also recently served on the faculty of the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

Originally from Longmont, Colorado, Albers grew up playing violin and harp, picking up the viola at age nine for an ensemble which her mother, a Suzuki teacher, was putting together. Her sister Julie Albers and wife Maiya Papach are, respectively, the principal cellist and principal violist of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Albers received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Heidi Castleman and Hsin-Yun Huang. Her childhood teachers were James Maurer and Ellie Albers LeRoux.

Daniel Gee Cordova, Viola Clinician

Daniel Gee Cordova

Daniel Gee Cordova

Daniel Gee Cordova currently resides in Austin, Texas where he directs the Austin Suzuki Music School which offers Suzuki Violin and Viola study for all ages as well as Suzuki Early Childhood Music for children ages 0-3. Daniel is the director of the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute, which had its inaugural year in 2013.

Daniel Gee received his degrees in Music Education from the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York College at Potsdam and the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin where he studied with Dr. Sarah Hersh, Brian Lewis, Dr. Laurie Scott, Sandy Yamamoto, and with viola study with John Largess. Daniel’s Suzuki training has included study with Dr. Sarah Hersh, Linda Fiore, Nancy Lokken, Teri Einfeldt, Ed Sprunger, Doris Preucil, Mark Mutter, William Preucil, Bill Dick, Dr. Laurie Scott, Betsy Stuen-Walker, Ed Kreitman, Allen Lieb, and Cathy Lee. He has also taken three stages of Suzuki ECE training with Dorothy Jones and cello books 1 and 2 with Melissa Kraut.

Daniel is an active clinician giving presentations at National Conferences as well as being a guest teacher at workshops around the country. He has presented at the Suzuki Association of the Americas conferences, ASTA conference, Texas Music Educator’s Conference, and the Texas Orchestra Director’s Association Conference, and participated in the SAA Parents As Partners (2012, 2013, 2016). Daniel has been invited to guest conduct the Texas Region Middle School String Orchestras for Region 11 in San Antonio and Region 18 in Austin. Daniel served as the Orchestra Director at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Round Rock ISD from 2009-2019, which served about one hundred twenty sixth grade violin, viola, cello, bass and harp students. In the summers, Daniel has been on faculty of various Suzuki Institutes such as the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute, the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute, Chicago Suzuki Institute, Acadiana Suzuki Institute, and the Northern California Suzuki Institute.

Daniel Gee Cordova serves as the Assistant Principal Viola with the Austin Opera. Outside of teaching and performing, he enjoys spending time with husband Jerry and their two terriers, Bamboo and Tristan.

Pianos at the 2020 Conference

We are excited to announce the opportunities for Suzuki Piano teachers and students at the 2020 conference! Our featured piano clinician is Dr. Paul Wirth from Minnesota. Dr. Wirth is a legend in the Twin Cities teaching community. He will be coaching our upper level masterclasses and giving two pedagogical lectures. In addition, he will be coaching the students chosen for our student piano ensemble, which will perform the Bach 3-Piano Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1063.

There will also be sessions in Pre-Twinkles and Twinkles as well as master class opportunities for all levels from Book One to beyond the Suzuki books. We plan to give you demonstrations and discussions of the finest teaching at every level, to inspire us to return to our home studios refreshed and excited to polish our teaching skills. As part of this effort, well-known tgeacher clinicians Caroline Fraser, Peru; Miguel Aguirre Medrano, Mexico; and Marina Obukovsky, NY, will offer lesson sessions for students within the repertoire.

Participants will be inspired by multiple sessions on piano pedagogy presented by our experienced mentors as well and introducing some new faces.

Pianists, please plan to join us at the 2020 conference!

—Naomi Kusano and Sara Stephens Kotrba, 2020 Conference Piano Coordinators

Guest Piano Clinician, Paul Wirth

Paul Wirth

Paul Wirth

Dr. Paul Wirth is a prominent figure in our national piano teaching community. With his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Temple University, and his Master and Doctorate degrees in Piano Performance from Indiana University, he co-founded and is now the Artistic Director Emeritus of theWirth Center for the Performing Artsin St. Cloud, MN, a bustling performing arts center with 400 students taught by a faculty of twenty. Since 2015, he has also been on the faculty of the University of Northwestern, MN as Artist in Residence.
Chosen as the 2004-05 Teacher of the Year by Thursday Musical, and inducted into the Steinway Teacher Hall of Fame, Wirth has taught numerous first prize-winning students of regional, national and international competitions—with thirty-eight of his pre-college students having performed over eighty solo performances with orchestra, including appearances with the Minnesota and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestras. In addition to his presentations at conventions and conferences, Dr. Wirth’sGRAVI-DVD- a cutting edge DVD on teaching piano technique to children—is available on YouTube, with the Gravi-DVD II now in production. His masterclasses, most recently for the Northern Ohio Music Teachers Association and the Minnesota Music Teachers Association 2019 Convention are always well received, and his presentations, drawing upon 38 years as a pre-college specialist teaching advanced concepts to 4 -18 year olds, often elicit further engagements. He is also an avid supporter of young performers, having co-founded theSalon se Lèveconcert series in Minneapolis and the internationally recognizedYoung Artist World Piano Festival,summers in Minnesota.

Dr. Wirth maintains four studios: at the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts in St. Cloud, MN, at the Schmitt Music Center in Brooklyn Center, MN, at the University of Northwestern MN, and at his home in St. Joseph, MN where he lives with his wife and greatest support, Kathy Wirth.

Flutists Announce Exciting Conference Plans

We are proud to announce that our flute master clinician and performer for the 2020 SAA Conference will be Lorna McGhee, principal flute of the Pittsburgh Symphony and recording artist for the revised Suzuki Flute Book One CD. She is a consummate performer and inspiring teacher. In her own words, Ms. McGhee “tries to awaken the student’s own curiosity, enthusiasm, discernment, and artistry. I encourage a love, and reverence for the music.”

Elizabeth Shuhan, flute co-coordinator for the conference, experienced this first-hand. In the summer of 2013, Liz spent a week under Lorna McGhee’s incomparable tutelage at the Pender Island Flute Retreat. In Liz’s words, “She approached me with the most authentic kindness I had ever experienced from a professional, helping me to find a natural connection to my music … she believes in educating the whole person, the human, the musician. Isn’t that what we do as Suzuki teachers?” At the conference, Lorna McGhee will teach a masterclass for advanced students, give a lecture-recital, and hold a special session for teachers. She will inspire you and your students beyond measure. It will be a treat to experience her teaching, playing and her beautiful kindness.

In addition to the McGhee advanced masterclass, student flutists Book Three and above have an opportunity to participate in the Flute Performing Ensembles, and several will have the opportunity to play in a masterclass with Bart Feller, principal flute of the New Jersey Symphony, Santa Fe Opera, and New York City Opera.

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. We look forward to hearing your ideas and sharing unique perspectives over the course of the conference weekend.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or ideas you may have and we hope to see you all there!

—Wendy Stern and Elizabeth Shuhan, Flute Co-coordinators

Flute Guest Clinician, Lorna McGhee

Lorna McGhee

Lorna McGhee

Scottish-born Lorna McGhee was appointed principal flute of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 2012 and joined the flute faculty of Carnegie Mellon University in the Fall of 2015.She has performed as guest principal with Chicago Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. As a soloist, she has given concerto performances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the UK; Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Philharmonia, and Victoria Symphony in Canada; and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, San Luis Obispo Symphony, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the USA.

In a review of her recent performance of the Nielsen Concerto with the Pittsburgh Symphony, The Pittsburgh Tribune wrote, “Her range of colors was astonishing, not only golden and silvery, but ranging from cool to edgy to filled with human warmth.”

In addition to actively performing, she teaches at several summer flute classes including the Pender Island Flute Retreat and the William Bennett International Summer School. A dedicated teacher, Lorna’s goals are to awaken the student’s own curiosity, enthusiasm, discernment, and artistry, and she encourages a love and reverence for the music. Lorna is an Artist with Altus Flutes.

Flute Clinician, Bart Feller

Bart Feller

Bart Feller

Bart Feller is Principal Flute of the New Jersey Symphony, New York City Opera and Santa Fe Opera Orchestras. He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Bargemusic and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Mr. Feller has also appeared as concerto soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Jupiter Symphony. He is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where his teachers included Julius Baker and John Krell. Mr Feller has given recitals and classes through the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Korea. Among the summer festivals he has participated in are the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, OK Mozart International Festival, Colorado College Chamber Music Festival, Music in the Vineyards Chamber Music Festival, and the Grand Teton Music Festival. Mr. Feller is Professor of Flute at Rutgers University/Mason Gross School of the Arts, and teaches in the Pre-College Division of The Juilliard School. He has released three CDs: Elysian Fields, 20th-Century Duos, and Mozart Flute Quartets.

Conference Plans for Guitar

The two-year cycle is coming around again, and 2020 is the year for the 19th SAA conference in Minneapolis. For guitarists, we have lined up a return appearance of the inimitable Benjamin Verdery, the guitarist/composer/educator extraordinaire! Ben found out about the Suzuki method when his own children were growing up and studying music the Suzuki way. He has kept in contact with the Suzuki community ever since and serves as a member of the SAA Honorary Board. Ben will give master classes for Suzuki Guitar students, and he will share his music and valuable insights for teachers and students in a lecture recital.

Members of the SAA Guitar Development Committee will be in attendance and will host a panel discussion on the soon to be completed Suzuki Guitar School Volume 1 revision. The rationale behind the changes and ideas for how they can improve our teaching of Book One will be the focus of this session.

We are in the process of finding and organizing ensemble music for students to perform. Students will be selected for masterclasses and ensemble from auditions submitted to the SAA. The Guitar Ensemble will be directed by David Madsen.

All of us who attend these conferences count on our friends and colleagues to share their discoveries and their accumulated wisdom in the presentations that make up the core of this biennial celebration. We know our community will provide informative, insightful, and relevant sessions that will send each of us home from the conference full of ideas and inspiration!

—Seth Himmelhoch, Guitar Coordinator and Andrea Cannon, Assistant Coordinator

Guitar Guest Clinician, Benjamin Verdery

Benjamin Verdery

Benjamin Verdery

Described as “iconoclastic” and “inventive” by the New York Times, guitarist Benjamin Verdery enjoys an innovative and eclectic musical career. Verdery has given concerts at the International Guitar Festival (Singapore), the Festival International de Agosto (Caracas), the Schubert Festival (Germany), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, and elsewhere.

Among the composers who have written works for him are Ingram Marshall, Jack Vees, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman, Christopher Theofanidis, and Roberto Sierra. Verdery’s own works have been performed by such artists as John Williams, Sergio and Odair Assad, David Russell, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.

As a recording artist, Verdery has released more than fifteen albums, all available on Amazon. His recording Start Now (Mushkatweek) won the 2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award.

Highlights of 2018 include the world premieres of Searching for a Chorale by Benjamin’s mentor Seymour Bernstein (published by Doberman-Yppan) and Quintet for High Strings by Bryce Dessner for guitar and string quartet performed with the St. Lawrence String Quartet at Kaufmann Hall (92Y) in New York. In June 2018 the book Benjamin Verdery: A Montage of a Classical Guitarist was published by Hamilton Books (edited by Thomas Donahue).

Ben is in his 34th year as guitar professor at the Yale School of Music, his 12th year as Artistic Director of 92Y’s Art of the Guitar series, and 2019 will be the 20th year of his Maui Summer Master Class. Ben is also now the Artistic Director of the Connecticut Guitar Festival.

Benjamin Verdery uses D’Addario strings and guitars by Garrett Lee and Otto Vowinkel and Greg Smallman. He is is represented by GAMI/Simonds.

Harp at the 2020 Conference

2020 Harp sessions will include a presentation for teachers of all instruments on The Good, The Bad, The Ugly around using the cell phone in lessons and practice by Maren Laurence, and Take Off the Training Wheels as a panel on the parent’s role with students in four different age groups: 2-5, 5-8, 8-12, 12-18.

Harp group class topics will be taught by Anamae Anderson, including The Importance of Group Lessons, Quick and Easy Arranging, and Preparing a Gig Book. There will be a jam session including all registered harp teachers who have arrangements that have worked in their studios. Maren and Elizabeth will discuss how to use Suzuki literature to support the language of theory. In addition we will be able to watch private lessons with students from Books 1-3 and Books 4-6.

We look forward to the classes offered by Artist Elizabeth White Clark. She will be teaching. Having graduated from Curtis Institute of Music, she performed several years with the Philadelphia Orchestra with Elizabeth Hainen. Elizabeth Clark grew up in the Suzuki training and is well-versed with the Suzuki literature and supplementary literature. While at Curtis, she was an advocate for contemporary music for the harp and organized a composer competition, helped judge, and played the winning harp pieces. She is also well versed in the problems encountered with composers writing for the harp, and this will be one of her topics.

Gerald Elias

Gerald Elias

We are very enthusiastic about the our featured performance by Elizabeth White Clark. All Conference participants will enjoy this event! Gerald Elias, violin, will join Elizabeth in a reading of his children’s book: Maestro: The Pot-bellied Pig as Elizabeth plays excerpts from some of the harp’s most famous literature.
Exciting things are in the works that will help all of us refresh what we know and hear things new to us. Come and join in the fun!

—ShruDeLi Ownbey, Harp Coordinator and Maren Laurence, Assistant Harp Coordinator

Harp Guest Clinician, Elizabeth White Clark

Elizabeth White Clark

Elizabeth White Clark

A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Harpist Elizabeth White Clark is a graduate of Curtis Institute of Music where she studied under the direction of Elizabeth Hainen and Judy Loman.She enjoys performing a large variety of solo, chamber, and orchestral works. Recent venues of performance include: Carnegie Hall, The Kimmel Center, Field Concert Hall, The Concertgebouw, and Musikverein. Since returning to Salt Lake City, Elizabeth has performed with chamber groups such as Sinfonia Salt Lake and on the Intermezzo Concert Series. She also appears with the Utah Symphony as a substitute. Elizabeth performed as a regular substitute harpist for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 2014-2016 seasons during which time she played second harp on the orchestra’s three week European tour.

In 2011, after winning first place in their nationally acclaimed harp competition, Elizabeth was named the American Harp Society’s resident “Concert Artist,” and spent two years traveling the country giving solo recitals and masterclasses to aspiring young harpists. Over the course of those two years Elizabeth’s love for teaching grew, and along with her performing schedule. She now teaches as an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University, maintains her own private studio as a Suzuki certified teacher as well as gives regular lessons to harpists preparing for competitions and college auditions. Elizabeth promotes new music written for the harp as Director of the Lyra Society’s Costello Competition for Composition which is now in its fifth year.

We are Looking Forward to Recorder Teacher Participation!

Recorder Teachers have a new opportunity to meet together and share about the exciting work being done throughout the Americas—for the Recorder! We look forward to seeing you there.
We are offering many opportunities to show high level performances, to collaborate with other instruments, and to share pedagogy ideas. In doing do, we will strengthen the SAA Recorder community, and at the same time attract others to join us in this rich environment for learning.

Paul Leenhouts, our internationally acclaimed Recorder Clinician, will offer masterclasses and also chamber music sessions, both for the Recorder Consort and for a Baroque Ensemble session.

A special feature this year: Recorder students will rehearse and perform in concert with a unique selection of Suzuki areas such as Voice, Trumpet, Bass, and Organ.

The SAA 19th Biennial Conference promises to be an inspiring and life-changing experience for all who participate. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Recorder Coordinators. We are here for you!

—Gustavo de Francisco, David Dunn

Recorder Guest Clinician, Paul Leenhouts

Paul Leenhouts

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.

Encourage Your Voice Teacher Friends to Join Us!

In the spirit of our conference theme Learning Suzuki Style, we are aiming for an inclusive, inter-cultural, and multi-lingual conference experience for all Suzuki Voice attendees: students, families, teachers. We will also be reaching across instruments to fulfill the Suzuki dream of communicating to each other through the international medium of music—and we will be sharing our mutual Suzuki repertoire to do it! There is no audition or age requirement for our Vocal Ensemble activities; Suzuki Voice students from all levels and all ages are encouraged to participate.

Our 2020 Conference highlights are coming together to provide students a growth experience like no other. Highlights will include group workshops, student master classes, an open invitation to all attending Suzuki Voice teachers to join in team-teaching activities, some parent-inclusive activities as part of our group lessons, and a performance including all voice student participants regardless of age and level. As part of our special event, 2020 Vision: Suzuki Emerging Instruments Collaboration, Suzuki Voice will be rehearsing and performing with students from the Recorder, Bass, Organ and Trumpet Schools (and more!) to produce a truly wonderful and exciting program for all.

We will also include presenters on topics specifically related to singing, parental involvement related to Suzuki Voice study, the Voice, and Vocal Pedagogy. Conference presentations are normally allowed a 50-minute time frame. Any interested ‘Presenter’ should contact Amelia Seyssel or Mary Hofer for more details or suggestions. We will walk you through the SAA administrative process (if it is new to you) and will make sure the rest of the Suzuki Voice community is made aware of your event.

—Amelia Seyssel and Mary Hofer, Voice Co-Coordinators

Yumi Kendall to Coach Chamber Music Groups

Cellist Yumi Kendall will conduct masterclasses for our selected chamber music ensembles. Ms. Kendall is the Assistant Principal Cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and has performed as a chamber musician at Music from Angel Fire, Marlboro, Kingston Chamber Music Festival, the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, the Smithsonian’s 21st Century Consort, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. We are thrilled to have Ms. Kendall work with chamber ensembles in special master class events featuring a variety of chamber ensembles. Ms. Kendall, a proud Suzuki alumna, founded the Suzuki Alumni Project in 2016, as a way for those who grew up with the Suzuki approach to celebrate Suzuki education and express gratitude to the movement’s teachers all over the globe for believing in their students’ potential, and that of all children. We invite all chamber groups that meet the requirements to submit an audition for this exciting opportunity to work with Ms. Kendall.

Yumi Kendall

Yumi Kendall

Yumi Kendall

Yumi Kendall joined The Philadelphia Orchestra in September 2004 as Assistant Principal Cellist, immediately following graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with David Soyer and Peter Wiley. She began studying cello at the age of five following the Suzuki approach; at age 16, while studying with David Hardy, Ms. Kendall made her solo debut at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Kendall’s festival and chamber music activities include Music from Angel Fire, Marlboro, Kingston Chamber Music Festival, the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, the Smithsonian’s 21st Century Consort, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. She has appeared as guest principal cellist for the Toronto and Baltimore symphony orchestras, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra in Japan. In addition to maintaining a private teaching studio, Ms. Kendall has regularly served on the faculties of the National Orchestral Institute and New York State School for Orchestral Studies, as well as Brevard Music Center and Miami Summer Music Festival.

Beyond orchestral, chamber, and solo performing and teaching, Ms. Kendall serves on the board of Astral Artists and the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association. In 2017, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) to further her off-stage growth and organizational studies. Since then, Ms. Kendall has appeared as a guest presenter and facilitator for a Board retreat of the Suzuki Association of the Americas; the Radnor-based management consulting firm CRA, Inc.; as a keynote speaker at the 2019 inaugural Suzuki Convention of the Americas in Mexico attended by representatives from 27 countries; and for Jefferson Hospital medical students in their Music and Medicine seminar. Ms. Kendall’s interest in organizational psychology and development stems from her belief in classical music’s powerful role in human flourishing, and the importance of cultivating healthy organizations as pathways to serve the arts and public community.

Ms. Kendall was the 2013 recipient of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Kuhn Award, given annually to “the member of the Philadelphia Orchestra who has shown ability and enterprise of such character as to enhance the standards and reputation of The Philadelphia Orchestra”. A proud Suzuki alumnus, Ms. Kendall founded The Suzuki Alumni Project ( in 2016, as a way for those who grew up with the Suzuki approach to celebrate Suzuki education and express gratitude to the movement’s teachers all over the globe for believing in their students’ potential, and that of all children.

Plans for the Suzuki Early Childhood Area

SECE is so excited to see wonderful session proposals in the works that will be geared toward all Suzuki teachers. The focus of the sessions will be for teachers with no SECE training who would like to find out more about SECE, as well as toward those teachers who have earlier stages of SECE training, and those with later stages of SECE training. There will be time to catch up with old and new friends at our SECE Meet and Greet session, and we are looking forward to the SECE demonstration classes at the conference for babies and toddlers ages 0-3 and their parents!

We can’t wait to see everyone in Minneapolis! Don’t forget your SECE superpower t-shirts and we will have new ones available too if you need another one or don’t have one yet.

—Flori Muller, SECE Coordinator

Additional Clinicians: Student Ensembles

Cello Choir—Richard Mooney, Director

Richard Mooney

Richard Mooney

Richard (Rick) Mooney grew up in a musical family where he began studying piano at age 5 and cello at age 8. He studied Suzuki teaching methods with Phyllis Glass at USC and traveled to Japan in the spring of 1976. As a specialist in the Suzuki method of teaching, Mr. Mooney has been a guest teacher at many institutes and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, England, Australia and New Zealand. He has been active with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, serving on the Board of Directors, on the Cello Committee and writing for the American Suzuki Journal. He is also the founder and director of the National Cello Institute which sponsors a Summer Institute, a Winter Workshop and publishes music for cello ensembles.

Advanced Violin Performing Ensemble—Thomas Wermuth, Director

Thomas Wermuth

Thomas Wermuth

Thomas (Tom) Wermuth studied the violin at the Juilliard School in New York, where he was a student of Ivan Galamian and Dorothy DeLay. In 1974, he moved to Canada to join the Kitchener—Waterloo Symphony as assistant concertmaster. During the fifteen years there, Tom played both violin and viola in the orchestra, and was a member of the Canadian Chamber Ensemble.

In addition to his extensive performance career, Mr. Wermuth has dedicated his life to teaching young students at the Western Springs School of Talent Education. Tom’s teaching follows the philosophy of the great teaching pedagogue Shin’ichi Suzuki.

Mr. Wermuth enjoys an international reputation as a guest clinician and registered teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Mr. Wermuth’s students have consistently performed on the Young Steinway Recital Series in Skokie, IL and are regularly chosen to perform in the Master Classes for the national conference of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. His students have won first place in the West Suburban, Walgreens, Music Chorale and the Chinese Fine Arts Competitions.

As a result of his students placing in the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts, Mr. Wermuth was awarded the Presidential Scholars Teacher Recognition Award, and he was also named the 2010 ASTA Illinois Teacher of the Year. Mr. Wermuth is a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing.

Viola Ensemble—Alyssa Hardie Beckmann, Director

Alyssa Hardie Beckmann

Alyssa Hardie Beckmann

Image by Alyssa Hardie Beckmann

Alyssa Hardie Beckmann was raised a Suzuki student and has been an active teacher for the last two decades, studying with many teacher trainers including her mother Julia Hardie, William Preucil, Teri Einfeldt and Carol Smith. Ms. Beckmann was the Upper Strings Coordinator of the Greenwich Suzuki Academy, where she taught violin, viola and chamber music for many years. She has served on the faculty of the American Suzuki Institute, the Colorado Suzuki Institute, Point Counterpoint and Heartland Chamber Music Festivals. Ms. Beckmann holds degrees from Vanderbilt (BM), and Boston Universities (MM), in Viola and Violin Performance. She was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center for three summers, and has performed in masterclasses for the Juilliard, Takacs and Guarneri String Quartets. Ms. Beckmann is a frequent substitute with the Kansas City and St. Louis Symphonies. In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys practicing yoga and spending time with her cellist husband Matt Beckmann and their two children.

Flute Choir and Flute Performing Ensemble—Rebecca Paluzzi, Director

Rebecca Paluzzi

Rebecca Paluzzi

Rebecca 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, DIrector

David Madsen

David Madsen

David Madsen founded what is now The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) Suzuki Guitar Program in 1991 and is now the Suzuki Guitar Coordinator. Madsen graduated with a Bachelor of Music in performance from the University of Connecticut, studying with David McLellan and Ed Flower.

He has since studied with David Leisner and Pepe Romero. His Suzuki studies have been with Bill Kossler and Frank Longay. In 2000 David became the third registered Teacher Trainer in guitar with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has conducted training courses throughout North America and in Peru, Puerto Rico, and Argentina. In January 2016, David began training in Suzuki Early Childhood Education (birth to three) with Lynn McCall. Madsen currently serves on the Teacher Development Advisory Committee for the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), and is also a member of the SAA Guitar Committee.

Piano Ensemble—Dr. Paul Wirth

Paul Wirth

Dr. Paul Wirth

In recent years solo piano concerti performances have taken the spotlight. Last year numerous pianists were featured in a production of The Carnival of the Animals. For 2020 the special Piano performance event will feature six advanced students sharing in the performance of the Bach Concerto for 3 Pianos in D minor. Dr. Paul Wirth, our guest piano clinician, is guiding their preparation throughout the months before the Conference and will coach the students on site and direct the performance with string ensemble accompaniment. We look forward to this featured event on Saturday, September 5.

2020 Vision: Emerging Instruments Ensemble

Directed by Mary Hofer, Amelia Sessel, Jeremy Chesman, Mary Halverson Waldo, Gustavo Francisco, Doug Murphy, and Joel Schnackel

Our Suzuki Emerging Instruments have had an exciting journey of development and Suzuki creativity over the last many months since the SAA Leadership Retreat in Ohio. From a small germ of an idea that we called “2020 Vision” the combined small instruments group of Voice, Recorder, Bass, Trumpet, and Organ has composed five new Suzuki arrangements designed to include beginner students in one exciting ensemble sound. Composing the original scores has taken several months of input and hard work, but those scores are now out with the respective teachers and students who are readying themselves to perform at the 2020 Conference. In our Suzuki style, they are also being providing with sound tracks for listening. Student and teachers are all looking forward to putting everything together this September.


Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas I (SYOA 1)—Kirsten Marshall, Conductor

Kirsten Marshall

Kirsten Marshall

Kirsten Marshall, Director of the Orchestral Program and violin instructor, is on the faculty of Ithaca (NY) Talent Education (ITE), as well as part time lecturer in violin performance at Ithaca College. 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.

Ms. Marshall conducted the 2016,2014, 2012 and 1998 Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas at the biennial Suzuki Association conference in Chicago, Illinois, as well as conducting the faculty orchestras for the piano soloist in both the 2008 and 2010 national conferences. An avid supporter of contemporary music, Ms. Marshall conducted and produced two premiere string orchestra pieces on a CD released by ITE (Bach to the Future). She is an active performer in the Ithaca area and is a member (David and Lesli Sagan chair) of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Ithaca’s professional ensemble. In 2003, she co-commissioned and premiered a new sonata for violin and piano by Robert Paterson. Additionally, she composes for string orchestras. Ms. Marshall is frequently sought after as a clinician specializing in youth orchestras across the United States and Canada. Her high-energy style blends humor and passion, engaging players at the highest level for a riveting performance.

Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas II (SYOA 2)—Emmett Drake, Conductor

Emmett Drake

Emmett Drake

Originally from Long Island, New York, Emmett Drake is currently the Director of Orchestras at Hall and Conard High Schools in West Hartford, Conn., as well as the Director of Suzuki Orchestras and Large Ensembles Supervisor at The Hartt School Community Division at the University of Hartford.

At The Hartt School he directs the Opus 89 Youth Orchestra, which made its Carnegie Hall Debut in 2012. Additionally, he is the musical director for the Appoggiatura, Da Capo, Intermezzo, and Vivace Suzuki Youth Orchestras, and he also teaches composition and chamber music.

Drake has had many engagements as a guest conductor/clinician. His recent appearances include the Hartford Symphony Orchestra (Conn.), Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra (Conn.), the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas (Minn.), the Fairfield County String Festival (Conn.), CMEA Eastern and Southern Regional Festivals (Conn.), and the Westchester All County Youth Orchestra (N.Y.).

As a composer, Drake has written many compositions and arrangements for all levels, and his works are frequently performed by student groups from around the country.

Drake is also active in musical theater, having served as musical director/conductor for shows all across N.Y. and Conn. Recent productions include work at Playhouse on Park, West Hartford Summer Arts Festival, and St. Paul Catholic High School. He is also on the faculty of The Hartt School’s Summer Musical Theater Intensive program and serves as Music Director for the annual Connecticut High School Music Theater Awards.
Drake holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition from The Hartt School and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Bridgeport. He has studied conducting with Christopher Zimmerman, Kenneth Woods, David Hoose, Marilyn Kesler, and Kirsten Marshall.

Suzuki Young Artists String Ensemble (SAYSE)—Marilyn Kesler, Conductor

Marilyn Kesler

Marilyn Kesler

Marilyn Kesler 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.

She is presently on 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.”

International Research Symposium on Talent Education

2020 IRSTE Overview

The International Research Symposium on Talent Education (IRSTE) welcomes all Suzuki teachers, parents, researchers, and interested attendees to join us in September 2020. IRSTE will discuss the newest research findings that apply to Suzuki teaching and learning. In 2018 we had a record number of teachers and researchers join us for our themed sessions related to parent education and research.

This coming year will be the 30th year of the Research Symposium and we hope to continue the trend. Parent Education will again be the feature topic of the Symposium. We are very please to welcome back keynote speaker Dr. Beatriz Illari.

Also in the works are opportunities for teachers to “practice” being researchers! Watch for more information about how you can be involved. In the meantime, we ask you to think about questions you have related to your own studio, students, or programming. If you would like data upon which to base your answer, please join us in September 2020!

The Symposium will begin on Thursday, September 3 and continue the following day. Attendees will be able to attend sessions for the main SAA conference in addition to our dedicated Symposium presentations. Any questions can be directed to [javascript protected email address].

Looking forward to seeing you for the 30th anniversary of IRSTE!

—Pat D’Ercole, Conference IRSTE Liaison

IRSTE/SAA Conference Keynote:

Does Participation in Formal Music Education Programs Enhance Children’s Prosocial Skills? By Dr. Beatriz Ilari

Beatriz Ilari

Beatriz Ilari PhD

Beatriz Ilari, Ph.D., is Associate 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. She is 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 including Research Studies in Music Education, Early Child Development and Care, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Journal of Research in Music Education, and Frontiers in Psychology. She has also published several books, including Children’s home musical experiences across the world (Indiana University Press, 2016), and is currently the editor for Perspectives: Journal of the Early Childhood Music & Movement Association.