Mr. Bermudez has been passionate about classical music since he can remember. Although his undergraduate degree was in business, during his time at Southern Adventist University he remained highly active in music. He studied cello with the late Dr. James Stroud, played in the university and local orchestras, established the school’s official string quartet, and produced a daily classical music radio show. After graduation, he formed a chamber ensemble, Con Brio which performed yearly concerts in the Chattanooga, TN area. Mr. Bermudez completed a Master’s degree in Musicology at the University of Maryland with a thesis on the late works of Shostakovich. Most recently, he has completed a second Master’s degree in cello performance, studying with Benjamin Karp at the University of Kentucky. There he performed with the Niles String Quartet, was co-principal of the UK Symphony Orchestra, and is a substitute cellist in the Lexington Philharmonic. This fall he will begin work on his doctoral degree with Ilya Finkelshteyn at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.
A native of Cincinnati, Natalie began her violin studies at the age of seven with Mrs. Jacquie Fennell. In middle school and high school, she was a member of Cincinnati Junior Strings and the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra Philharmonic Orchestra where she developed her passion for making music. Natalie is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Violin Performance at the College Conservatory of Music where she studies with Timothy Lees. During her freshman year, Natalie placed runner up in the College Conservatory of Music’s Undergraduate Scholarship Competition. Her sophomore year, she served as Principal Second Violin for the CCM Concert Orchestra. During May, 2018, she won third place in the Matinee Musicale Nancy F. Walker Memorial Scholarship Award.
Teaching is one of Natalie’s favorite aspects of playing the violin, so during August 2018, she traveled to Pittsburgh and completed Unit One of the Suzuki Violin Teacher Training program. Natalie plans on pursuing a master’s degree in Violin Performance and a career as a violin teacher and orchestral musician.
Molly Kathleen Hickey is a professional violinist born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. She received her MM in Violin Performance in May 2019 at Texas Tech University under the tutelage of Professor Annie Chalex-Boyle (USC, Julliard). She is an active member of the first violin section in the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, and frequently performed with the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale. As a teaching assistant, Molly instructed undergraduate violinists and managed the String Area division at TTU School of Music.
Before traveling to West Texas for her Masters, Molly received her Bachelors in Performance at Miami University (Oxford) under the instruction of Dr. Harvey P. Thurmer (NEC, Mozarteum University of Salzburg). While attending MU, Molly spent her junior and senior years as Concertmaster of the Miami University Symphony Orchestra. She was also a finalist in the 2014 Concerto Competition, performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor.
Molly has been a member of several professional and regional orchestras, including Lubbock Symphony, Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale, Lakeridge Chamber Orchestra, Lebanon Symphony and Chorale, and the Clermont Philharmonic. During highschool, Molly spent four years in the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, finishing each season in a side-by-side concert with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at Music Hall. She is also an experienced chamber musician, performing professionally for weddings and events throughout the midwest and southwest regions.
Molly has extensive experience in Arts Administration, having interned with arts organizations throughout Cincinnati including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (Marketing), Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra (Arts Admin and Production), and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (Education). She received a minor in Arts Management from Miami U and continued to use her skills and passions for arts admin through her Teaching Assistantship at Texas Tech University.
Molly is an active Suzuki Violin Instructor and has been certified by the Suzuki Association of the Americas through Suzuki Book 4. She is an instructor for the STELR (Suzuki Talent Education of the Lubbock Region) Program and teaches private and group classes to children ranging in ages 2-16. Molly is continuing her teacher training, planning to receive her certification through all 10 books.
Elizabeth Lee began her cello studies with Metta Watts and Thomas Kraines when she was ten in Philadelphia. She has played in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Youth Chamber Orchestra of Temple University, and the Settlement Music School as an Advanced Study Scholarship recipient. In 2014, Elizabeth performed concertos with the Lansdowne Symphony and the Ambler Symphony as a recipient of the Elmer and Louise Menges Scholarship. From winning competitions to performing with orchestras, she has appeared in well-known venues including the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and the Seoul Arts Performing Center.
Elizabeth has collaborated onstage with distinguished artists such as Stephen Hough,Joshua Bell, Zuill Bailey, Luis Biava, David Noon, Eric Ewazen, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Additionally, she has performed in masterclasses for Lynn Harrell, the Johannes Quartet, the Penderecki Quartet, and the Dali Quartet. A chamber music enthusiast, Elizabeth devotes her time to her quartet, the Mipmik Quartet, which won a top prize at the Lyric Music Society Chamber Competition and performed in the Mainly Mozart Festival in Miami. On behalf of Lynn Conservatory, she travelled to Jamaica with the Robertson Quartet to coach workshops, perform concerts, and teach masterclasses. She was accepted as a fellow at the Dali Quartet International Music Festival, won a top prize in the concerto competition at Music in the Mountains in Colorado, attended Chautauqua Music Festival as a scholarship recipient, and spent this past summer at Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival. She also performs regularly as a member of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. Elizabeth graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in cello performance studying with David Cole at Lynn University. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree with Alan Rafferty at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Shelby Thompson is in demand as a chamber and orchestral violist and as a teacher. She has performed with members of the Leipzig Radio Symphony in the Leipzig Gewandhaus and members of the Houston Symphony domestically. During her undergraduate degree at the University of Houston, Shelby was principal violist of the symphony, opera, and ballet orchestras at the Moores School of Music. She has been a frequent guest with the Tallahassee and Albany Symphonies and served as principal of the Florida State University Symphony Orchestra. During her master’s Shelby served as violist of the Eppes String Quartet at Florida State University. An avid proponent of new music, Shelby has appeared as soloist with the AURA New Music Ensemble and collaborates frequently with the Society of Composers, Inc. at FSU.
Shelby’s experience beginning viola in her elementary school orchestra in her native Alexandria, VA has driven her enthusiasm for teaching. She is a Suzuki-certified teacher and maintains a private studio of young viola and violin students. Shelby is currently pursuing a doctorate at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with Dr. Catharine Lees Previously, Shelby studied with Wayne Brooks at the University of Houston and Dr. Pamela Ryan at Florida State University.
Risa Kaneko is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music as a full-scholarship student under the guidance of James Tocco. She began her musical education with the Yamaha program at the age of 4 and started to play the piano at age 7. Before moving to Cincinnati, she spent several years in Bloomington, Indiana, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance under the guidance of Evelyne Brancart and her Master’s under legendary pianist André Watts.
As a teacher, Risa enjoys sharing her passion and knowledge about piano playing with all kinds of students. She has been on the faculty of the Pre-College Piano Program at Indiana University Bloomington, Jacobs School of Music where she taught students of various ages and levels. In the past few summers, she has worked for their Piano Academy program for serious young pianists. Risa has also taught group piano class to non-music majors as an Associate Instructor of Piano at Indiana University.
Born in Japan, Risa moved to the States when she was seven and grew up in the Washington, D.C. area where she studied with Marjorie Lee. Outside of music, she enjoys running and loves dogs and all kinds of food.
Sarah Huesman is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and began studying cello at the age of 6. While attending high school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Sarah was a member of the Jia String Quartet, a semi-finalist at the 2013 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in South Bend, Indiana. She studied privately with Brooks Whitehouse during her time at UNC School of the Arts.
Sarah recently graduated with a Bachelors of Music from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. She was an active member of the Stamps String Quartet, Frost Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Ibis (Contemporary Music), and occasionally played with the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra. Sarah has performed in masterclasses for Zuill Bailey, Paul Watkins, and Sir James Galway.
Huesman’s summer studies and festival experiences have included participation in the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, the Meadowmount School of Music, and the International Music Festival of the Adriatic (IMFA) in Duino, Italy. More recently, she attended the Castleman Quartet Program in 2015 and 2016 and the National Music Festival in 2017. Sarah is currently a Masters student at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and a student of Alan Rafferty.
Sarah Thomas is a Master's student at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she studies with Alexandra Kazovsky of the Ariel String Quartet. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, she began her violin studies at the age of three and a half. Despite falling asleep in lessons during the "Twinkle years," she has pursued her passion for music all of her life. She earned a B.M. in Violin Performance, summa cum laude, from The University of Tulsa, where she was an active chamber musician and concertmaster of the TU Symphony. Sarah is an alum of the IES Vienna Music Program, where she spent Fall 2015 studying music, performing, and attending concerts. She is also an alumna of the Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and The National Orchestral Institute. She has enjoyed playing with the Tulsa Symphony, Signature Symphony, and Kentucky Symphony. From 2016-2017, Sarah taught elementary school orchestra in Tulsa Public Schools and was the Beginner Strings Teacher at Sistema Tulsa.
ALISTAIR WATSON, Violin & Viola
Alistair began his collegiate education in the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music studying under the internationally acclaimed polish violinist Piotr Milewski and Alexandra Kazovsky of the Ariel String quartet. Later on progressing under Evgeny Zvonnikov and the grammy nominated St. Petersburg String Quartet. Whilst there, he served as a section leader under the baton of Mark Gibson during the Beethoven and Mahler Festivals. Additionally, he served as a section leader in the Suprima Chamber Orchestra which toured throughout the US and Russia. Afterwards, Alistair pursued a MM in violin performance, serving as a graduate assistant under stipend and full scholarship at Texas Christian University. During this time he also had the honor of studying under Misha Galaganov, and playing as a section leader in the Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra, which won third place in the orchestral division of the national "American Prize" competition.
Alistair’s goal is for his students to cultivate their inner confidence, and articulate themselves through music. In lessons Alistair emphasizes, in an encouraging environment, the importance of body and mind in relation to playing the violin while simultaneously demonstrating the technical and musical skills needed as a musician. As a result of Alistair’s tutelage, students will learn important practice skills in a fun and nurturing environment! In his spare time Alistair likes to spend time with his wife, go surfing, and play with his German Shepherd.
Donald Lee III recently received his Master’s Degree in Piano from CCM, where he was
a Yates Scholar and student of Awadagin Pratt. He has won numerous awards and prizes
including MTNA, James Madison University Concerto Competition, Harold Protsman Classical
Period Competition, and the Eastern Music Festival Concerto Competition. He has made
appearances as soloist with the James Madison University Symphony Orchestra in VA, as well
as the Guilford Symphony Orchestra in NC.
Donald received his bachelor’s degree from James Madison University where he was a
Presser Scholar and student of Dr. Eric Ruple. He has also studied with Brazilian pianist, Luiz
de Moura Castro. He has performed in masterclasses for renowned pianists such as John
Milbauer, William Wolfram, Paul Schenly, and Yong Hi Moon, to name a few.
Donald is from Hampton, Virginia, where he was raised by his grandparents. With their
encouragement and engagement, his musical ability was well nurtured as has allowed him to
establish himself as a professional musician.
A native of South Korea, Violinist and Instructor Dr. Yein Jin earned both the Master of Music and Doctoral of Music Arts degrees in violin performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with University Graduate Scholarship Award under Piotr Milewski. She also studied Chamber music with Sandra Rivers, Lee Fiser, James Tocco and William Grubb.
Dr. Jin is an active chamber and orchestra musician. She has performed at Music 08 festival with Steve Reich, Grandin Festival, "Daniel Drake Medal Ceremony" by College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, and "The sights, sounds and tastes of Korea" Festival in Cincinnati Women's Club. As an orchestra player she was in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s training program, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Currently Dr. Jin is a member of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharonic Orchestra, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.
Growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio Jack Bogard picked up the Irish Fiddle when he was seven years old. Finding his way to classical violin, he continued his studies at CCM where he studied classical violin with Gabe Pegis and Gershon Gerchikov as well taking Jazz and Improvisation lessons from Paul Patterson. He graduated as a Cincinnatus Scholar with a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies.
As a teacher, Jack draws upon his folk, jazz and classical influences to make violin interesting, accessible, and fun for his students. Jack taught Irish Mandolin, Tenor Banjo, and violin at the Riley School of Irish Music, where he was also the director and arranger if the "Kid's Band". He taught violin and directed the Orchestra at MyCincinnati Youth Orchestra Program in Price Hill, Cincinnati.
Jack has performed with the Lima Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, the Queen City Opera and the Ohio Valley Symphony Orchestra. As a contemporary violinist, he has performed newly composed works by Eddy Kwon and Ofir Klemperer at the Contemporary Arts Center in downtown Cincinnati, and with Grammy Nominated Guitarist and Studio Engineer
Ric Hordinski. Besides violin, Jack enjoys dogs, hiking, and Brazilian Samba.
Phillip began studying violin at the age of 4, but switched to cello at age 9 because his mother didn’t want him and his twin brother competing on the violin. After growing up in Cincinnati, Phillip decided to stay local for the opportunity to study with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra cellist, Alan Rafferty at the UC College-Conservatory of Music. There, he received his Bachelor’s of Music and is currently working on his Masters. Phillip’s career goal is to be an orchestral musician, and has already had success with auditions with Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, and the New World Symphony Orchestra. In his spare time, Phillip intently follows and watches the Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals games.
Korean pianist Bin Yu began studying music at age five. Bin graduated Seoul Arts High School and Seoul National University in South Korea. She acquired her master degree at West Chester University of Pennsylvania on full scholarship and stipend. While she was attending West Chester University, she received the Jacob’s Music Steinway award. She has worked extensively with Carl Cranmer, Aviram Reichert and Sun-Kyung Lee. Bin is currently in a doctorate program at the College- Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati on full scholarship under the legendary American pianist James Tocco.
Bin won the first prize in the MTNA Pennsylvania State Competition, Honorable Mention at the MTNA Eastern Division Competition and was the winner of the Concerto Competition at West Chester University. She has performed the Jeon-Ju Symphony Orchestra, the Festival Symphony Orchestra in South Korea and the West Chester University Symphony Orchestra in the states. She attended several music festivals, including Yeon Eum Music Festival in South Korea, Music in the Mountains in Durango, Colorado and the Tel-Hai International Piano Master Classes in Israel, where she won the Marina Bondarenko Memorial Prize. She has played in Masterclasses with pianists John Perry, Menahem Pressler, Boaz Sharon, Richard Braun, Jon Nakamatsu and Ann Schein.
As a collaborative pianist, Bin has worked with numerous singers and instrumentalists and served as an accompanying graduate assistant at West Chester University. She also was an accompanist for the Temple University preparatory students in Philadelphia. Bin has been teaching all ages and skill levels since 2010 working through both her personal private studios in South Korea and Philadelphia as well as being a guest instructor, lecturer and accompanist at Music Education Center in Virginia. Her teaching philosophy is based on a primary focus that all of her students love and enjoy music at whatever capacity they choose.
Ashlyn Ronkes began her violin studies at the age of four and a half in her home city of
Corona, California. For the first eight years, she was taught using the Suzuki method and
books. Ashlyn has a passion for teaching, playing in orchestra, and exposing classical music to the community and public schools. Currently, she is a Masters of Music violin performance major at the College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, studying under Dr. Won Bin Yim. In 2017, she graduated with her Bachelors of Music degree with a minor in eurhythmics from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with David Updegraff and Joan Kwuon. During her last couple of years in Cleveland, she also was a substitute violinist for the Firelands Symphony Orchestra. In past summers, she has attended music festivals such as the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Brevard Music Center studying under William Preucil, Round Top Summer Institute, and the Aspen Music Festival and School studying under Masao Kawasaki. In 2010, she was awarded a scholarship and internship to the Sierra Academy of Music and attended the Mammoth Lakes Music Festival in California.
Ashlyn won her first concerto competition in 2005 and soloed with the Claremont Youth
Symphony Orchestra. She also placed first in the Junior Chamber Music concerto competition
of 2011, performing as soloist with the Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra. She competed in
the Satori String Competition of 2010, winning first in its Prodigy Bach, Prodigy Solo, and Open
Solo categories. For many years, Ashlyn had participated in the Suzuki Violin Graduation,
completing Level XII, and the Music Teachers Association Certificate of Merit Program,
receiving Branch and Showcase Honors. She has also enjoyed performing with the Riverside
City College Symphony and Corona Symphony orchestras, as well as serving as principal second
violin of the La Sierra University Symphony.
As a chamber music enthusiast, Ashlyn was involved in Junior Chamber Music (JCM)
where her piano trio was selected to be in the honors program and toured Austria in 2012. In
Ashlyn's home state of Southern California, she has performed community service as part of the
New World Piano Quintet, playing in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, homes for
the mentally disabled, and for charity functions. Besides playing classical music, Ashlyn enjoys
improvising and playing with the Calvary Chapel Corona worship team, eating Asian cuisine,
trying different coffee shops with friends, and doing outdoor activities such as biking by the
Jordan Neiman moved to Cincinnati from Boston where he completed his master’s degree and was the first prize winner of the Churchill Competition at the Boston Conservatory. He is currently working on his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Principal teachers and coaches include Awadagin Pratt, Jung-Ja Kim, Clifton Matthews, Paul Schenly, and Markus Placci. Jordan has played recitals around the United States, Canada, and Switzerland. An experienced teacher, Jordan believes in reaching each student according to their individual goals and learning styles. He has studied piano pedagogy with Dr. Karen Beres, Max Levinson, and Dr. Michelle Conda.
Gustavo Carpinteyro-Lara is an active musician and member of the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra, Middletown Symphony Orchestra, Lima Symphony Orchestra and Clermont Philharmonic. He received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Southern Mississippi, Master of Music from Bowling Green State University and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
He believes that all students have a high level of learning potential and the teacher should guide them in the pursuit to achieve their goals using the most comfortable, intelligent and balanced way to master important skills. The teacher and student should work together in gaining understanding of how cello playing works through a combination of technique, physical abilities, the laws of physics and gravity, and music itself.
Li-Han Eliza Tseng is a Doctoral Musical Arts candidate in Cello Performance at the University of Cincinnati–College-Conservatory of Music on the Graduate Incentive Scholarship. Her mentors include Yehuda Hanani (well-known for his critically acclaimed recording of J.S. Bach: Six Suites, TownHall Records) and Lee Fiser (cellist of the LaSalle Quartet, 1975—87). Ms. Tseng is also a cello instructor at Northern Kentucky University-Music Preparatory.
Ms. Tseng began learning cello at the age of twelve. After two years of training, she took second place in the high-school cello division of the Eisenbach Music Competition in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She was visiting scholar at the Internationales Musikkonservatorium Graz while she studied at National Taichung University of Education (NTCU)
Ms. Tseng graduated from the University of North Texas (UNT) with Master of Music Degree under the instruction of Nikola Ruzevic (the director of the Upbeat International Music Festival, Japan). During her times at UNT, she was awarded the music scholarship from the UNT College of Music and she taught in the UNT- String Project. As an active musician, she has participated in music festivals and ensembles, including the full-scholarship Asian Youth Orchestra and Manchester Music Festival, and performances with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, and the National Taiwan Youth Symphony Orchestra. She also worked at the National Youth Orchestra of China as an administrator and resident advisor and the Orchestra had its debut in Carnegie Hall in 2017.
Music of all styles and genres appeals to Li-Han, especially chamber music. She premiered David Leisner’s Three Moons in collaboration with choreographer Ka-Ron Lehman (Dec. 2015). She will premiere Bright Sheng's Seven Tunes Heard in China with Chinese Dance in October 2018.
Ms. Tseng is currently writing a DMA document on Prokofiev’s Solo Cello Repertory— a project to include the history, music, and performance practice for perofrmers and readers—under the guidance of Yehuda Hanani, Ilya Finkelshteyn, Jeongwon Joe, and James Bunte. She plans to continue teaching, researching, and performing while exploring musical art possibilities.
For more information: http://www.lihanelizatseng.com/
Chia-Jui He is a flutist and pianist from Tainan, Taiwan. Chia-Jui studied at College-Conservatory of Music University of Cincinnati and National Chiayi University. Her teachers included Dr. Bradely Garner, Dr. Tzu-Ying Lin, Anders Norell, Yu Hui Lin and Li-Xiang Lee.
As a music instructor Ms. He has more than 10 years teaching experience both in Flute and Piano. She creates her particular teaching methods to adapt to various students of all ages and she believes that truly enjoying the music is the best way to keep the student interested in learning. Under her instruction, students have been members of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic Youth orchestra,
All-State Ensemble of Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) and achieved top places in national competitions and high levels for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM).
As a musician, Chia-Jui is also very active in all kinds of music performances. Recent performance activities are around the world which includes in Taiwan, Japan, China, Cincinnati, Dayton, New York City and Malibu, California. Chia-Jui has served as a church pianist in Sharon Baptist Church since 2010 and was an Adjunct faculty in flute performance of University of Dayton, flute sectional teacher in Kings High School and Cincinnati Hills Christian academy. Currently, Chia-Jui is a doctorate candidate of College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.
Sarah Wittekind is a violist living, studying, and performing in Cincinnati, Ohio. She began her career in Chicago, Illinois, where she was a member of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. She then spent four years in Indianapolis, Indiana, working on her BM at Butler University. Under the tutelage of Richard Auldon Clark, Sarah participated in many chamber ensembles, was principal viola of the Butler Symphony Orchestra and the Butler Ballet Orchestra, participated in the annual concerto competition and won the Helen Speicher scholarship award, performed three recitals, and was a teaching fellow at the Butler Community Arts School where she had many students. After her time in Indianapolis, Sarah moved to Cincinnati to continue her studies and receive her MM at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under Dr. Catharine Lees. At CCM she has studied chamber music under the Ariel Quartet, been a member of the CCM Philharmonia, performed in several recitals and given two recitals of her own, and has tried to learn as much as humanly possible from the amazing students and faculty at the school. She will be continuing her education at CCM as a doctoral student (DMA) in viola performance.