Gail Acosta

Gail Acosta

Gail A. Acosta, violin, viola, a native of Indiana, began her musical studies at the age of 8. Coming from a family of violinists, she was awarded scholarships to Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, University of Illinois String Festival, Miami University in Ohio, Bay View Chamber Music Festival, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and the University of Southern California. A B.M. was awarded from UNC-Greensboro where she studied with Marla Mutschler and performed with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Acosta was also awarded the Tom J. Stone Award for performance excellence and was winner of the University Concerto Competition. The University of Southern California granted her a teaching assistantship to study with Eudice Shapiro and perform with the USC Graduate String Quartet coached by Gabor Rejto. Her M.M. summa cum laude was completed in 1981 and she was honored the String Chamber Music Ensemble Award for 1981. As an active performer, Ms. Acosta has performed with the Santa Barbara Symphony, The Orchestra of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mozart Camerata, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, the Ernest Bloch Music Festival, Oregon, the Ojai Music Festival, California, Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra, Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival, California and La Folia Chamber Ensemble.

An avid teacher and supporter of music education for young students, Ms. Acosta has taught across the United States at many major string workshops and universities.

She is a member of the American String Teachers Association, Suzuki Music Association of California-
Los Angeles Branch, Suzuki Association of the Americas and Musician’s Union Local 47. Gail lives in Valley Village, CA, where she is Suzuki String Coordinator at Evergreen Music Conservatory, maintains a private studio of violin and viola students, coordinates and teaches the Kindergarten/1st Grade Suzuki String Program at Colfax Charter Elementary (180 little violinists!) and is an Adjunct Violin/Viola Professor at Glendale Community College. Her home in Valley Village, CA with her husband, Jerry and son, Michael is filled with music!

Liz Arbus

Liz Arbus is an SAA Sanctioned Teacher Trainer. Liz received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education at Illinois State University and her Masters Degree in Violin Performance at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville where she studied with the renowned Suzuki Teacher Trainer, John Kendall. She became director of Suzuki Talent Education in Pasadena (STEP) in 2002. She enjoys teaching at Suzuki Institutes all over the United States. Liz studies Baroque performance practice along with continuing musical education at independent and Suzuki workshops . Ms. Arbus has also taught in the Joliet, Il. Public Schools (1978), Suzuki violin in Berkeley, Calif. 1980-1985 and with the Pasadena Suzuki Music Program 1985—2004. In teaching children I see the hope and joy that learning brings. In learning the violin, children do a step-by-step process of discovery which carries over into every aspect of life. The Suzuki Method aids in this growth process with consistent nurturing from both parent and teacher. Suzuki Institutes provide an enjoyable environment to motivate students, parents and teachers. Being able to produce music can create self-assurance and an inner joy. Listening to music can soothe our hearts and minds. I hope through my teaching I can create a lifelong connection to a marvelous musical tradition.

Clarisse Atcherson

Clarisse Atcherson
Violin, Teacher Training

Clarisse Atcherson joined the Oregon Symphony in 1985, and served on the faculty at the Community Music Center in Portland from 1986 to 2015. She combines an active performing career with a full teaching roster of students of all ages; over the years, a number of her students have won national competitions, attended major conservatories, and have become professional violinists themselves.

Clarisse received a B.M. summa cum laude from the Eastman School of Music, where she was also valedictorian. At Eastman, Clarisse studied with Charles Castleman, members of the Cleveland Quartet, and Abram Loft. She later earned an M.M. from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. While there, she studied pedagogy with John Kendall and was certified through the Suzuki Association of the Americas to teach all ten Suzuki books.

As a teacher, Clarisse combines the pedagogical techniques of Galamian/DeLay with the Suzuki approach. She has taught and presented lectures at many Suzuki Institutes, including Oregon Suzuki, the Advanced Suzuki Institute at Stanford, and at Suzuki programs in Korea. Clarisse has also taught at the Montecito International Music Festival in California, and serves on the board of the Oregon Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Her main project with OR-ASTA involves organizing master classes with prominent teachers, such as William Preucil, David Russell, Yizhak Schotten, and others.

Dr. Adam Cordle

Adam Paul Cordle has been featured as a soloist and chamber musician in venues and concert series throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, including Carnegie Hall, Bath Spa University, Bloomsburg University, the Cornell University Contemporary Chamber Players, Gettysburg College, the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra, Mans!eld University, Marshall University, the Ossia New Music Collective, the Rochester Public Library, and the Rockwell Museum. He performs with Trio Alexander, a “ute-viola-harp ensemble; collaborates in duo partnerships with violinist Anyango Yarbo-Davenport, pianist Edith Widayani, and soprano Susan Hochmiller; and serves as principal
violist of the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra.

Dr. Cordle currently serves on the faculty at Gettysburg College, where he teaches viola, violin, chamber music, string methods, string pedagogy, aural skills, music theory, and music appreciation.

Dr. Cordle directs a studio and chamber music program in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; he also teaches at the Los Angeles and Oregon Suzuki Institutes and runs the chamber music program at the Messiah College Summer Orchestra Camp.

Dr. Cordle actively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in music through research, commissioning, and programming. With Duo590, he has developed the project Perspectives Françaises, programs of music by French women composers including Marcelle Soulage, Fernande Decruck, and his own arrangements of works by Lili and Nadia Boulanger; he continues to develop this project with performances in Indonesia and the United States this upcoming season. With his
colleagues in Trio Alexander, he has strived toward gender and racial parity in programming, commissioning, arranging, and research.

Dr. Cordle’s research examines the role of musical gesture in conceiving, interpreting, and perceiving performed music, focusing on the connection between the analysis and performance of musical gesture. He has applied analytical techniques and performance practices developed from this research to works by Claude Debussy and Kaija Saariaho. He has presented this research at Claude
Debussy in 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland and at the 2016 Performance Studies International Conference.

Dr. Cordle currently serves as a board member for the American Viola Society.

He directs If Music Be the Food… Gettysburg, a benefit concert series designed to support the hunger relief efforts by the Gettysburg Community Soup Kitchen, and Music for All, a community engagement program placing student musicians in local schools and community centers to discuss and perform chamber music.

He has previously served as treasurer of the OSSIA New Music Collective.

Adam Paul Cordle holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Performance and Literature with minors in Music Theory and Pedagogy and a Master of Music in Performance & Literature from the Eastman School of Music. He earned the Bachelor of Music degree from the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music.

Pat Grimm, Collaborative Artist, Piano Accompanist

Pat Grimm
Collaborative Artist, Piano Accompanist

Patricia Grimm is a faculty member at University of the Pacific where she teaches sight singing and collaborative piano, and serves as a collaborative pianist with students, faculty, and guest artists. She is also the organist at Fremont Presbyterian Church in Sacramento.

As a collaborative pianist, Ms. Grimm has performed at the Edinburgh International Music Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, the Trinity Wall Street Music Series in New York City, and chamber music concerts at the Musica no Museu Festival of Winds, Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, and Universidade Federal Do Estado Do Rio De Janeiro – Unirio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

She regularly performs throughout the United States as a collaborative pianist and chamber musician. Prior to moving to Sacramento in 2013, she was a freelance collaborative pianist in the New York City metropolitan area and staff accompanist at Central Connecticut State University, in addition to maintaining an active private teaching studio.

Ms. Grimm holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Sacred Music with organ concentration from Duquesne University, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Kent State University, and a Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano from the Hartt School of Music. She also studied piano with Jonathan Feldman at the Juilliard School.

Shane Kalbach, Orchestra, Enrichment

Shane Kalbach
Orchestra, Enrichment

Shane Kalbach is a freelance performer (violin/viola) and music educator. He teaches orchestra at Lincoln High School, Sierra Middle School and Don Riggio School in Stockton CA. He has directed the Central Valley Youth Symphony’s Preparatory Orchestra since 2006. He is also involved with the San Joaquin County Honor Orchestra program. Shane often works for music camps during the summer months and gives private lessons throughout the year. Shane enjoys working with students of all ages and is interested in a diverse array of musical genres, including but not limited to; classical, bluegrass and jazz. Shane believes that making music should always be joyful and that music is one of the great gifts we can all access.

Brian Lewis, Violin, Guest Performer

Brian Lewis
Violin, Guest Performer

One of the most versatile and charismatic violinists on the current scene, Brian Lewis is an exceptionally dedicated and gifted performer whose passionate artistry has been heard and embraced around the world. “There are a lot of fine violinists on the concert stage today, but few can match Lewis for an honest virtuosity that supremely serves the music,” reports the Topeka Capital-Journal. Acclaimed performances include concerto debuts in both New York’s Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, as well as performances with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Berlin (Germany), Louisiana, Kansas City, Syracuse, Odense (Denmark), Wichita, Hartford, Eugene, Spokane, and American Symphony orchestras, among others. He has recorded six CDs, most recently for Delos as soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra of music by Leonard Bernstein and Hollywood composer Michael McLean.

Mr. Lewis has won numerous young artists’ competitions, including the grand prize in the Mid-America Violin Competition. In addition to the Waldo Mayo Talent Award, he holds both the Peter Mennin Prize and William Schuman Prize awarded by Juilliard for outstanding achievement and leadership in the field of music. Mr. Lewis was one of the first recipients of the Sony ES Award for Musical Excellence, and he has received two Elizabeth B. Koch Fellowships from the Kansas Cultural Trust. In 2005-06, Mr. Lewis received both the Texas Exes Teaching Award and The University of Texas School of Music Teaching Excellence Award.

Known for his variety in programming and ability to communicate with audiences of all ages, Mr. Lewis has performed frequently as a member of the Kansas Arts Commission Touring Program and the Mid-America Arts Alliance Regional Touring Program.

Radio and television appearances include performances on WNYC, WFMT (Chicago), National Public Radio, and CBS “Sunday Morning.” An advocate for music education in the schools, Mr. Lewis frequently presents concerts, workshops, and master classes for Young Audiences of Houston. Named National Artist of the Year in 1998 by Young Audiences, Inc., he was also presented the 2003 Fredell Lack Award by YAH for having performed for more than 165,000 young people in the Houston area.

As a student of Eleanor Allen, Mr. Lewis began his violin studies at the age of four and participated in the Ottawa Suzuki Strings program under the direction of his mother, Alice Joy Lewis. He later studied with Tiberius Klausner, and twice traveled to Japan where he studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto. He holds both the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School where he was a student of Dorothy DeLay, Masao Kawasaki, and Hyo Kang. Mr. Lewis holds the David and Mary Winton Green Chair in String Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also Artistic Director of the Starling-DeLay Symposium on Violin Studies at The Juilliard School in New York City, concertmaster of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, founding member of the Texas Piano Quartet, and Artistic Director of the Starling Distinguished Violinist Series at UT.

Joseph Pecoraro, Guitar, Teacher Training

Joseph Pecoraro
Guitar, Teacher Training

Guitarist Joseph Pecoraro is recognized as a highly-accomplished concert and recording artist, teacher and author. As a recitalist he appears as soloist, chamber musician, and with orchestra across the United States and abroad. Recent seasons’ schedules feature performances in France, Italy, Switzerland, Mexico, and across the U.S., including solo recitals at the Kennedy Center, the Washington Library, and the Chicago Cultural Center. These include appearances in Houston, Denver, Raleigh, Minneapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Charleston, Washington D.C., Paris, Geneva, and Bologna. He has performed as featured soloist with the Roanoke Symphony, Wintergreen Music Festival, and Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestras, numerous vocal ensembles, and collaborated with dozens of prominent singers and instrumentalists.

Pecoraro’s commercial recordings present stylistically diverse repertoire from around the globe. His most-recent releases include ‘Perennials’, which features world-premiere solo guitar works by noted American Composers, as well as the holiday recording ‘This Little Light’ with multi-Grammy-winning tenor Anthony Dean Griffey. He is also author of the widely-acclaimed music-reading text “Read this First”. In addition to his recital career, Pecoraro performs traditional Celtic-inspired music with violinist Katherine Wiley as well as jazz and fingerstyle guitar.

Mr. Pecoraro joined the artist-faculty of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 1998 as a full-time professor of guitar-teaching graduate, college and high school guitar majors. Previous higher-education teaching positions include Salem College, Indiana University, and the University of Colorado. He is in frequent demand as a guest clinician, and has served on the regular faculties of renowned summer music festivals in Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, where he directs the ‘Nothing but Nylon’ Summer Guitar Workshop.

Following his long-standing interest in excellent music-making at the community level, Mr. Pecoraro has been involved with teaching guitar students using the Suzuki approach for the past 25 years. He is a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, offering courses in guitar pedagogy to teachers across the Americas. He is also long-time student and trained teacher of the Alexander Technique – helping students use their thoughts to balance, move, and perform with greater coordination and ease. His UNCSA students have won top prizes in competitions sponsored by the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts, American String Teachers Association, Guitar Foundation of America and numerous regional solo and concerto competitions, and alumni have distinguished themselves as active performers, teachers and recording artists. View performances, recordings, programs and more at

Megan Shung, Violin, Enrichment

Megan Shung
Violin, Enrichment

Megan Shung often described as ‘the 21st Century violinist’, is an international violinist, recording artist, composer, contractor, and educator based in Los Angeles, California. She is adept at multiple genres and styles. She has performed with artists including Anthony Kiedis, Michael Bublé, Jhene Aiko, Kimbra, George Watsky, Billy Childs, and Louis Cole. She is currently the newest member of Acoustic Asylum, an LA-based supergroup.

In addition to being an active performer, Megan is also a passionate educator. She is an active SAA member and a Suzuki/jazz faculty at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. Her primary mission as an educator is to create a strong technical foundation for her students to be able to foster creativity and experimentation beyond the boundaries of ordinary musicianship. She has appeared as a guest clinician at institutes across the USA and internationally with a specialty in teaching improvisation to string players.

Megan was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. She attended the LA County High School for the Arts, continued her education at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she earned a Bachelor of Music in violin performance with academic honors studying under David Updegraff, and received her long-term Suzuki training with Kimberly Meier-Sims. Upon graduation, she continued her studies with Paul Kantor in Houston, Texas.

Joseph Spoelstra

A passionate and dedicated teacher and performer, Joseph teaches students ages 3 and up and their families the joy of music making and the excitement of playing the guitar. In a positive and nurturing environment, students and parents learn to break difficult tasks into small steps and develop increased concentration, self-confidence, and a creative form of self expression.

Joseph holds his Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California and his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota. His primary teachers have been William Kanengiser, founding member of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Jeffrey Van, and Brian Head. He has also studied privately and in masterclasses with Pepe Romero, David Russell, Sharon Isbin, and Scott Tennant.

Joseph maintains studios offering Suzuki guitar lessons in Chicago and is on the faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago and DePaul University Community Music Division. In the past he has served as President of the board of the Suzuki Music Association of California, Los Angeles branch, as well as Vice President and guitar coordinator for the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin. In addition to teaching, Joseph performs frequently in concerts as a soloist and as part of the voice and guitar duo, the dream songs project.

Zachary Sweet, Cello

Zachary Sweet

Zachary Sweet is a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He is currently an instructor of cello at Nazareth College, Binghamton University, and on the faculties of Ithaca Talent Education and Music Together of Ithaca. Nationally, he is in demand as a clinician having lead workshops, masterclasses and institutes across the United States and Canada.

He performs extensively throughout the Tri-State area as soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. Zachary performs regularly with Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Society for New Music, and with the Nazareth Piano Trio. Highlights this year include a performance at the Society of Composers International Region II Conference, a solo recital at The Arts at Grace in Cortland, NY and a solo appearance with Nazareth College Symphony Orchestra.

He completed a masters degree in performance and literature at the Eastman School of Music in 2006; in that time he was also a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival. During his studies at Eastman, he became a member of the Eastman Chamber Society, acted as principal of Eastman Philharmonia, Eastman Chamber Orchestra, and Eastman Opera Orchestra, and studied chamber music with the Ying Quartet, Elinore Freer, Dr. Jean Barr, Richard Kilmer, and Dr. Kenneth Grant. His principal instructors have been Alan Harris, Kathy Kemp and Carol Vizzini.

As an educator, Zachary has spent the past 13 years exploring music development in young children. In 2009, he completed a long-term training program in Talent Education at the School for Strings with Pamela Devenport. Since then he has continued training with Tanya Carey, Carey Cheney, Sally Gross, Carey Beth Hockett, and Rick Mooney.

In addition, Zachary is in demand as a Music Together Instructor, leading classes for Mixed Ages, Babies, Big Kids and Pre-Schools. In January, 2015, Zachary was awarded Music Together Certification Level II status, having demonstrated outstanding achievement in teaching, musicianship, program philosophy, and parent education. The award was granted by the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, NJ, Kenneth K. Guilmartin, Found/Director.

Zachary plays the 2001 “Willow Cello” by Jim McKean and a 1999 Bow by Ron Forrester.