Alayne Wegner is a freelance violinist, teacher, and arts administrator based in Columbus, Ohio. Her creative yet detail-oriented teaching style provides her students with the tools necessary to tackle the various nuances of violin playing; by focusing on building a solid foundation of technique, her students are able to engage with their musicality in efficient and creative ways. Wegner specializes in teaching Classical and Irish/Celtic music and uses supplemental materials that are catered to each student’s needs. A recent graduate from Kenyon College (’17) with a dual degree in Music and Sociology, Wegner holds such achievements as the Thomas B. and Mary M. Greenslade Award for Music Performance, the first place prize in the Collegiate Division of the Young Musicians Competition with the Knox County Symphony, and Distinction in Music for her senior comprehensive exercise. For more information about Alayne Wegner, please visit www.alaynewegner.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Jennifer is an experienced violin and viola teacher with a Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Catharine Carroll. Jennifer is also experienced as a Suzuki violin parent and her students appreciate her varied perspectives on violin and practicing. An expert at fitting violin into today's busy lifestyles, she has developed unique tools to allow music to complement your schedule. Jennifer is also a music historian and strongly believes that greater knowledge about music broadens student perspectives.
Yamaha Young Performing Artist, Kanako Shimasaki of Springfield, Ohio, began studying violin at the age of four. As a soloist, she has been featured on Discover Classical 88.1, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC and has appeared as guest soloist with the National Symphony Summer Music Institute Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra, CCM Philharmonia and Artaria Ensemble, and Great Wall Soloists.
Kanako is a founding member of “Three,” a collaborative trio with Luke Gillespie, Professor of Piano/Jazz at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and her sister, Mariko. Together, they perform in concert series’ around Japan and the United States, most recently appearing at the Millennium Stage in DC, John Legend Theater, and the Kyoto City International Foundation.
Kanako received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree, all with full scholarships, from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM.) She currently serves as a teaching assistant and is on the faculty in CCM’s Preparatory Department.