Suzuki Virtual Workshops Bios - 2022

CELLO WORKSHOP


Pam Devenport  Internationally recognized lecturer and master teacher Pamela Devenport has shared her unique blend of expertise and experience with hundreds of people in string communities throughout the world.  Her book, Cellostarthas been very successful in more than twenty countries.  Well known and respected as a Suzuki cello workshop and institute teacher, Ms. Devenport has toured extensively throughout the world. She has been a guest speaker and cello faculty on many occasions, including the National Cello Institute, the American String Teachers Association, several Suzuki Association National Conferences, and the World Cello Congress. International Conferences include multiple visits to Australia, Italy, New Zealand, and Great Britain, and Korea.  There is variety in her topics:  from cello pedagogy to communication techniques, from physical anatomy to the far reaching effects of tone and sound. She is faculty, and the Chair of Cello at the School for Strings in New York City, and is also teaches the Long Term Pedagogy Seminar in Cello at the school.  In the academic year 2015-2016, Pam has accepted a position as the Cello Pedagogy Instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Music.  Ms. Devenport is a Suzuki Association of the Americas Registered Cello Teacher Trainer, and is formerly collegiate faculty at Georgia State University.  Ms. Devenport holds a Masters Degree in Cello Performance from the Hartt School, University of Hartford, where she has been Chair of Strings of the Hartt Community Division, cello faculty of the Hartt School Collegiate Division, and developed the curriculum of Suzuki Cello Pedagogy in the graduate school.  In addition, she holds Diploma from the Professional Studies Program and Advanced Studies at the Brennan School of Energy Healing in Miami, Florida.

 

Carey Beth Hockett  Carey Beth Hockett graduated from the Eastman School of Music, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree with high distinction. From 1988 to 2006 she lived in London, England where she taught for the London Suzuki Group and in the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music. Hockett was a member of the International Suzuki Association’s Cello Committee and served as repertoire consultant to the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music. She is recognized as a teacher trainer by the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the European Suzuki Association, and has given numerous workshops across the Americas and Europe. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

 

Nancy Hair  B.M. (Indiana University and The Hartt School), graduate studies in pedagogy (Ithaca Talent Education); studies with Janos Starker, Raya Garbousova, Yehuda Hanani, George Neikrug, Timothy Eddy; study of Alexander Technique; performances with Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, New Hampshire Symphony, Opera Company of Boston, Rhode Island Philharmonic; former faculty, Longy and Powers music schools; faculty, The Hartt School, All Newton Music School.

 

Melissa Solomon  Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Melissa Solomon came from a family of professional musicians and developed an early passion for music. She immigrated to the United States after receiving a full scholarship to study at Interlochen Arts Academy and graduated from the Juilliard School in New York City where she studied cello with Timothy Eddy and chamber music with Robert Mann, Earl Carlyss and Jonathan Feldman.

Melissa has performed in the United States, Europe and South Africa, including New York, London, Florence, Edinburgh, Johannesburg and Cape Town. She has appeared at music festivals, among them the Accademia Chigiana (Italy), the Edinburgh International Festival (Scotland), the Bucknell Quartet Program (Pennsylvania) and the Franschoek Chamber Music Festival (South Africa). Highlights included a solo recital at Lincoln Center’s Paul Hall (NY), performances at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi (Italy) and leading the Juilliard Symphony celli at Carnegie Hall (NY) under the baton of James de Priest.

Melissa has always had a passion for teaching and firmly believes that music has the power to inspire, heal and connect people. She developed a thriving private teaching studio in Pasadena, CA and started the cello program at Suzuki Talent Education of Pasadena. Later, she founded Project C.E.L.L.O where she directed her cello orchestra and ensembles. Ms. Solomon has worked as an instructor at the Alaska Cello Intensive, the National Cello Institute Winter workshop in Pomona, the Lone Star Young Artists Program in Dallas, Colorado Suzuki Institute, DFW WOW Suzuki Institute, Intermountain Suzuki String Institute, the Suzuki Strings by the Bay summer institute in Berkeley, and has given masterclasses at numerous other workshops in Texas.


ENRICHMENT FACULTY

 

Taylor Morris (Fiddling and alternative styles of playing" and Lunchtime Concert Performer)Hailed by a class of 2nd graders as “wreely nice and kind” and “the coolest man on erth,” Arizona native Taylor Morris enjoys blurring the line between violin and fiddle. Strongly believing we can learn more about the world through collaboration with others, he actively pursues musical projects in different genres. Currently, he is part of Tricia & Taylor, a genre-bending violin/fiddle duo with concert violinist Tricia Park, and a member of The Sound Accord, a string sextet that creates vibrant arrangements of folk music. After studying classical violin at Arizona State University with Dr. Katie McLin, he spent four years touring with Barrage, a world-music violin troupe based out of Canada. His travels, both with Barrage and personally, have led to performances in 48 states and 13 countries with musicians from a multitude of backgrounds, including Mike Block, Hanneke Cassel, Brittany Haas, Natalie Haas, Jeremy Kittel, Lauren Rioux, and the Tetra String Quartet.   Offstage, Taylor obtained a master's in education from Harvard University and is a passionate advocate for arts education. Since 2000, Taylor's teaching has taken him into classrooms around the country, from kindergartens to colleges, including as a continuing Guest Lecturer at Arizona State University. He frequently works with educators in professional development settings and has presented at the national conferences for the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and at The Midwest Clinic. Cherishing his own childhood experiences at summer music camps, Taylor frequently teaches at camps around the country and directs his own camp for young musicians in the Phoenix area called StringPlay. During the school year, he is a committed private teacher with a dynamic studio of violinists and fiddlers. Additionally, Taylor is a founding co-director of the Gilbert Town Fiddlers (GTF), an extracurricular high school fiddle group that collaborates to create its own arrangements for performances. GTF students even designed and presented their own session on student-led arranging at the 2019 ASTA National Conference! Through his teaching, Taylor is ultimately on a mission to help students and educators alike experience the thrill of taking musical ownership and finding their own meaningful ways to make music.

 


Chris Clemente (Creative Percussion)  Chris Clemente has been an electric and acoustic bassist since 1979. He began his study on bass as early as the Lane Tech High School orchestra and Jazz Band. Even as a teen Clemente started his career playing with established musicians around the Chicago area and local clubs.  He continued his formal training at The University of Miami, De Paul University, Chicago, and Roosevelt University, Chicago. He is currently back at DePaul finishing a masters degree in Music Performance and expects to finish in the spring of 2009.  Chris released a CD debuting his own band “Kick the Cat” featuring his contemporary jazz compositions and bass playing. Their first CD was lauded in Bass Frontiers Magazine as “…spirited and fresh”. “Bassist Clemente funks, swings, and solos with style and ease…”  As a result of KTC’s debut CD, Chris is an official famous user, clinician and product specialists for international bass company Warwick.In 2004, Chris was the featured Artist on Warwick’s website. ( www.warwickbass.com) Wil Ramirez of Ramirez Bass has finished building the Model CC bass guitar which Chris helped to design and develop.  Chris is a Host/Producer for vocalo,org 89.5 fm , Chesterton, a new cutting edge radio station. Contributing music composer to Harpo Studio for the Oprah Winfrey Show Noted projects: Crawl, Kick the Cat, Drop Q Chris Clemente has performed with numerous artists of varied styles including Umpherys McGee, Jon Secada, Randy Brecker, Hiram Bullock, Percy Sledge, and The Coasters. Christian Howes, Bobby Flynn. Jennifer Hudson.  He has toured in Scandinavia and the orient.  Other Chicago groups Chris has supported include: Funkhouse, Hello Dave, Temple, The Heat Merchants, the late Tommy Ponce, Jump Stars, Uptown Rhythm Club and Jonzie’s Brazilian Jazz Group. Drop Q, Renegades, Make Believe, Chris Long, Tributosaurus, Andrea Amos, Michelle Hallman, Ladies of the Canyon, Willow Creek.

 


FLUTE WORKSHOP


Flutist Wendy Stern is a registered teacher trainer and an adjunct professor of flute at Montclair State University. She received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School and started her training in Suzuki pedagogy in 1996 with Rebecca Paluzzi. Since then, she has worked with most of the other North American teacher trainers and studied with Suzuki Flute School founder Toshi Takahashi in Matsumoto, Japan. Wendy is an active clinician and has taught at numerous institutes and workshops throughout Canada, the United States and in England, Australia, and New Zealand. She has also performed and given workshops at National Flute Association Conventions in New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Georgia, California, Illinois , Washington, DC., and Minnesota. An avid proponent of newly composed chamber music, she has recently premiered and recorded works by Lei Liang and John Deak with The Cicada Chamber Ensemble (with members of the New York Philharmonic) and Cynthia Folio with Ensemble Triolet. As a long-time member of the dynamic and innovative chamber ensemble Flute Force, Wendy has premiered and recorded chamber music works for Joseph Schwantner, Robert Dick, Elizabeth Brown, Katherine Hoover, and Amanda Harberg. She is an in-demand freelance musician, playing regularly with the most prestigious ensembles in the New York/ New Jersey area and has recorded CDs for CRI, VAl, lnnova, MPR, and Windham Hill.

 


GUITAR WORKSHOP


Ben Lougheed  Guitarist, educator, and entrepreneur Dr. Ben Lougheed has been described as “an emerging force in the classical guitar world” due to his solo performances and lectures around the country, his selection as the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, and his founding of the Florida Guitar Festival. Ben has also been praised for his “beautiful” and “extremely precise” playing, which has been featured on several radio and television programs.  On top of that, Ben is, at his heart, a teacher. He maintains a studio of over 30 private students in Tallahassee, FL and is in demand as an instructor by students across the country. Ben served as a graduate teaching assistant under the legendary pedagogue Bruce Holzman, and helped start the Lessons Academy at Leon High School to work with high-achieving guitar students. His pupils have been selected for the All-State and All-National ensembles, and have won prizes in competitions. Ben also earned a certificate in Music Education and Leadership along with his Doctor of  from Florida State University.  Always the educator, Ben includes informative and interactive elements in his concerts, which include recent engagements at Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, MI and the Dale Mabry Guitar Series in Tampa, FL. . Additionally, he organized dozens of community engagement performances in diverse venues including churches, hospitals, public schools, and restaurants to share the music of the guitar with as many people as possible.  Ben is also passionate about entrepreneurship. During his time as a student at FSU he raised over $65,000 for guitar-related projects such as guest artist residencies, travel to conferences for students, and the Florida Guitar Festival. Ben was also one of the co-founders and artistic directors of the Tallahassee chapter of Classical Revolution. Under his leadership, the organization gave more than 30 concerts that showcased the talents of over 150 different performers and became a fixture in the Tallahassee music scene.  In 2018, Ben was recognized for his entrepreneurial efforts by being one of only two musicians selected for the Knight Foundation’s inaugural Tallahassee Arts Entrepreneurs Institute. In addition to this, Ben was also invited to the University of Florida to speak on music entrepreneurship in November of 2019. With his musical and entrepreneurial background, Ben decided to produce his own album, and successfully released his debut recording, Baroque Legacies, in August of 2019. The CD features arrangements of works by three great Baroque composers alongside more modern pieces written for the guitar that were influenced by these brilliant musicians. It has been hailed as “an inspiration,” “perfectly performed,” “technically superb” and “emotionally delicious from start to finish.”  Ben plays on a handmade double top guitar by German luthier Antonius Muller.

 


PARENT TALK

 

Christie Felsing (violin and Parent Talk: "Suzuki Vitamins: What keeps our musical diets healthy?")  Christie Felsing is Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of Hartford’s Hartt Community School, where she teaches violin in the Hartt Suzuki Program and leads the Suzuki graduate pedagogy courses. She has been active in the Suzuki Association of the Americas for many years, and is currently a member of the Teacher Development Advisory Committee and is an SAA-registered violin teacher trainer. She also served on the SAA Board of Directors from 2004 to 2009, coordinated the 2010 SAA conference, and worked as a staff member from 2014 to 2016. Christie was assistant director at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, Iowa, for 17 years, and taught on its violin faculty from 1996 to 2014. In 2013, the Iowa String Teachers Association named her the Leopold LaFosse Studio Teacher of the Year. Christie received her Master of Music degree in Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and her Bachelor of Music degree with Vartan Manoogian and Marvin Rabin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, she completed a nine-month Suzuki internship with Doris Preucil in Iowa, and her arts administration training (AMICI) with the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts. Her current role at Hartt brings her career full circle: She taught violin at The Hartt Community Division for several years after she graduated from SIUE.

 


PIANO WORKSHOP


Dr. Josh Wright  Billboard #1 artist Dr. Josh Wright has delighted audiences across the United States and in Europe. The Washington Post described him as a pianist possessing “rarer gifts – touch, intelligence and the ability to surprise.” He performed his debut recitals at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in 2014. His self-titled album “Josh Wright” topped the Billboard Classical Traditional chart just three weeks after its release in April 2011. He also performed at Dolby Theater in Los Angeles as part of America's Got Talent Season 9. He currently serves on the piano faculty at the University of Utah. He has performed with numerous symphony orchestras, been a prize winner in international competitions, and studied with some of the world's greatest piano teachers. He looks forward to being your personal mentor in each of his course offerings.

 

Dr. 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 Kansas Wesleyan University, Texas A&M International University, the Preucil School of Music (Iowa), Oklahoma City University, the University of Texas at Austin, Del Mar College (Corpus Christi), 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, in addition to being on the adjunct faculty of the keyboard division 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.

 


VIOLA/VIOLIN WORKSHOP


Christie Felsing (violin and Parent Talk: "Suzuki Vitamins: What keeps our musical diets healthy?")   Christie Felsing is Director of Teaching and Learning at the University of Hartford’s Hartt Community School, where she teaches violin in the Hartt Suzuki Program and leads the Suzuki graduate pedagogy courses. She has been active in the Suzuki Association of the Americas for many years, and is currently a member of the Teacher Development Advisory Committee and is an SAA-registered violin teacher trainer. She also served on the SAA Board of Directors from 2004 to 2009, coordinated the 2010 SAA conference, and worked as a staff member from 2014 to 2016. Christie was assistant director at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, Iowa, for 17 years, and taught on its violin faculty from 1996 to 2014. In 2013, the Iowa String Teachers Association named her the Leopold LaFosse Studio Teacher of the Year. Christie received her Master of Music degree in Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and her Bachelor of Music degree with Vartan Manoogian and Marvin Rabin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition, she completed a nine-month Suzuki internship with Doris Preucil in Iowa, and her arts administration training (AMICI) with the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts. Her current role at Hartt brings her career full circle: She taught violin at The Hartt Community Division for several years after she graduated from SIUE.

 

Danny Gee (violin/viola)  Daniel Gee moved from New York to work on his Masters of Music Degree in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Performance from the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, NY. Daniel received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Music Performance, graduating summa cum laude from the Crane School of Music at the SUNY College at Potsdam in 2006 and his Master of Music in Music and Human Learning from The Butler School of Music at the UT Austin in 2009.  As an advocate for the Suzuki in the Schools movement, Daniel bases his school curriculum on Suzuki principles as Orchestra Director at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Round Rock ISD where he teaches about 6th-8th grade violin, viola, cello, bass and harp students. Additionally, Mr. Gee has training in the Suzuki Early Childhood Education Baby class which is a music class for new born infants through 3 years old.  Mr. Gee is an active member in professional organizations such as the American String Teachers’ Association (ASTA), the Music Educators’ National Conference (MENC), New York State School Music Association, Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), and the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA). He has presented at both the ASTA and SAA national conferences and has been a clinician for Suzuki workshops in Texas. For more information about his teaching visit: AustinSuzukiMusicSchool.com

 

Dana Meyer  Dana Meyer is the founder and Artistic Director of Music City Strings, is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and has been passionate about teaching for more than 35 years.  In her early years she developed and implemented the Boone County Schools Strings Program in West Virginia, was a faculty member of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, instructor and chamber music coach at the New World School of the Arts (Miami), and became a performing faculty member of the Tucson Chamber Music in the Mountains in Tucson, Arizona.  While much of her early teaching career was focused on the high school and collegiate level, Mrs. Meyer performed extensively with chamber music groups and major orchestras in the United States.  She has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Denver Symphony, the Richmond Symphony, and with all the major orchestras in Florida.  During her decade long tenure with the American Sinfonietta, she toured Europe annually and was part of the performing faculty at the Bellingham Music Festival.  While in Florida, Mrs. Meyer taught at the Dillard High School of Performing Arts and was instrumental in securing college scholarships for her students Kevin Sylvester and Wilner Baptiste, who have since formed the famed hip hop duo Black Violin.  In 1999, Mrs. Meyer discovered a passion for the teaching of young students and established her first private Suzuki studio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  She immersed herself in the Suzuki pedagogy and became a protégé of Ronda Cole.  As her studio thrived she became President of the Suzuki Association of South Florida.  In 2005, Dana Meyer established a violin studio in Franklin, Tennessee. Her dream was to create a program that would provide children the means to become confident, sensitive and beautiful artists.  Music City Strings was the result of this dream.  As Mrs. Meyer’s time is now mainly devoted to Music City Strings, other former faculty positions and posts include the Wintergreen Performance Academy, the Middle Tennessee State University Governor’s School of Music, the South Carolina Suzuki Institute at Furman, The Fine Arts Student Academy in Nashville, and President of the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association.  In addition to her role as Artistic Director of Music City Strings, Mrs. Meyer is currently a faculty member with the Greater Washington DC Suzuki Institute, the Suzuki Institute at PhoenixPhest! in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Suzuki String Institute at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky and Auditions Coordinator for the Strings Division of Nashville Area Music Teachers Association.

 

Nicolette Solomon (violin)  Nicolette Solomon, Director Emeritus of the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas, was born in Laingsburg, South Africa. She began her violin training with Neil McKay in Port Elizabeth, continuing her studies with Pierre de Groote at the College of Music in Cape Town, and completing her University studies under the tutelage of Alan Solomon. She obtained a Bachelor of Music (Honors) and Higher Education Diploma (Post Graduate) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.  In 1975 she played at the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Scotland and later toured Europe and Israel. She has played in the International Festival Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, London and performed in Israel, Taiwan and Hong Kong with Harmonia Juventia. She studied Chamber Music from 1974–1981 with Betty Pack and Alan Solomon. She has also been both an Adjudicator and Examiner for music competitions and examinations in South Africa and the USA. After her introduction to the Suzuki method, she became a fervent proponent and pioneer of the method in South Africa, founding and directing the Solomon Suzuki School in Johannesburg in 1980. She expanded her training with Christophe Bossuat in Lyon, France, and in 1992 she studied with Dr. Suzuki himself at the Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. While in Japan, she taught at a private studio in Nagano City, Japan and at Shinshu University. In 1994, she attended the International Strings workshop in France, playing in the Eduard Melckus Baroque Ensemble. She has led violin and viola workshops and master classes internationally, and trained and conducted String Orchestras in South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand and throughout the USA and Central America. In 2000 she emigrated to the United States, where she served as string specialist and then Director of the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas. She is married to Carl van Wyk, has 2 adult children and two grandchildren, and divides her time between their home in Dallas, their retreat in Dripping Springs and her teaching commitments internationally.