Suzuki Youth Orchestra of the Americas, 2008

October 8, 2008, ASJ 36.4
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American Suzuki Journal 36.4

Previously printed in American Suzuki Journal 36.4. Reprinted with permission. Copyright © 2008 Suzuki Association of the Americas, Inc.

Ann Montzka Smelser

Ann Montzka-Smelser is a Suzuki Student, Teacher, Parent and Suzuki Teacher Trainer. In between receiving her Bachelors of Music Education and Masters in Performance and Pedagogy at Northern Illinois University, Ann studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan.
Ann has performed in many orchestras and ensembles and is currently principal violist with Camerata Chicago and concertmaster of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Ann is on the music faculty at Northern Illinois University and Northwestern University teaching Suzuki Pedagogy, Director of the NIU CSA Suzuki Strings Program and teacher at the Music Institute of Chicago. Ann maintains a studio of 40 violin and viola students and enjoys working with Suzuki families at Festivals in Lima, Peru, Singapore, Mexico, Costa Rica and though out the US. Ann lives in DeKalb, IL with her husband Linc. Their Suzuki-raised children, Benjamin and Genevieve are currently studying music in college.

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Vanessa Vari

Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, Vanessa Vari studied the violin with Mary Cay Neal and the Buffalo Suzuki Strings for 16 years. She was a proud member/chaperone of their advanced touring ensemble for 6 international tours, and enjoyed some training with Dr. Suzuki in Australia. After a music education degree from BGSU in Ohio, Ms. Vari received her Master’s Degree in Suzuki Pedagogy from Sandy Reuning and Ithaca College. She enjoyed teaching for 3 years with Sally Gross and the Suzuki String School of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, followed by being a partner of Boulder Suzuki Strings, led by Amy Gesmer-Packman, for 6 years. Ms. Vari now runs her own studio in Colorado, Suzuki Strings of Denver, where she offers private and group violin lessons as well as Suzuki Early Childhood Education classes. She was co-coordinator of the SYOA orchestras at the ‘08 & ‘10 SAA Conferences.

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