Mrs. Dennise Cherkauer

Viola, Violin Teacher

Dennise Cherkauer

SAA Member


Austin, TX
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Dennise began playing viola when she was 9 years old in her native Lewiston, NY.  When she was 12, she moved to Kenmore, NY, where she had an amazing orchestra teacher who instilled in her a love for music. Dennise studied privately with Louis Baroudi and Benjamin Simon while in high school.  She was co-principal violist of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, and she was an orchestra student at The Interlochen Arts Center Summer Program. ​​

After high school, Dennise attended LSU and SUNY at Buffalo, where she studied with Dr. Jerzy Kosmala and Pamela Adelstein, respectively.  Following a job as teaching assistant at Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, Dennise was invited to be a student of Joseph DePasquale at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, from where she earned her Diploma.  After graduation, Dennise moved back to NY and went to The University of Rochester.  She freelanced and studied violin with Charles Castleman, professor at The Eastman School of Music.  Dennise also began teaching violin and viola at The Hochstein School, where she found her calling.  She started learning more about the Suzuki Method while thoroughly enjoying her two years on the faculty.  A highlight of her experience there was performing as kazoo soloist in Robert Hirsch’s Concerto Grosso for 3 Kazoos and Orchestra.  By the time she completed her B.A. in Geological Sciences, she knew she was going to make teaching Suzuki Method violin and viola her career.

Dennise then moved to San Jose, CA.  There, she maintained a private studio of over 50 violin and viola students, ages 2 to 84.  She completed extensive Suzuki Method Teacher Training in both violin and viola.  She continued performing and was principal violist in The Mission Chamber Orchestra, where she was a soloist in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.  Dennise became a mother of two children, and a few years later moved with her family to Fort Collins, CO.  After a hiatus to homeschool her children, she began teaching in her home studio.  She continued her education by taking viola lessons with Margaret Miller, special assistant professor at CSU, and she enjoys performing as a freelance musician around NoCo.  In addition to being a wife and mother, Dennise is an avid reader, a fiber artist, a dog lover, a ringer with Bells of the Rockies, and a beginning bagpipe student.