Matthew Ivon Tifford is founder and owner of the Tifford Cello Studio in North Bethesda, Maryland. Over the years, his students have won acclaim in local and state-wide competitions, and have been a constant presence in both the Maryland All-State Orchestras and the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras for over a decade. An accomplished performer, Mr. Tifford has been featured as a soloist for Pope John Paul II in Vatican City, and has recorded and performed live on stage with rock musician Dave Matthews. Mr. Tifford’s most recent work can be heard on the soundtracks for National Geographic films “24 Hours after Hiroshima” and “Canyonlands,” a collaboration with Emmy award-winning composer Christopher Biondo. Matthew has also performed at The Birchmere, The Barns at Wolf Trap, New York City’s Irving Plaza, and on National Public Radio’s “Mountain Stage” radio program. Matthew Tifford has taught cello at the Salisbury University, the Selma M. Levine School of Music, and the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program. Mr. Tifford received his Master of Music in Cello from the Peabody Conservatory and his Bachelor of Music at the Catholic University of America. In the course of his training Mr. Tifford has been fortunate to have studied with many great teachers including Stephen Kates, Robert Newkirk, Christopher Von Baeyer, and Jeffrey Solow. Matthew lives in the wonderful community of Randolph Hills with his wife and four children.
Julianna Chitwood earned her Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Maryland at College Park, where she participated in the Guarneri String Quartet Coaching Program, and her Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance from Florida State University. She has performed in master classes for Dorothy Delay, Samuel Applebaum and Seigsfeld Kuijkan, as well as studied with members of the Meliora, Lark and Guarneri String Quartets. Ms Chitwood is the Associate Principal Second Violinist for the Maryland Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, The Concert Artists of Baltimore, The Orchestra of the 17th Century, Stylus Luxurians, The Cathedral Choral Society, The Washington Concert Opera, The Washington Bach Consort, and The Bach Sinfonia, of which she is a founding member and former concertmaster. In addition to orchestra instruction at the Washington Waldorf School and the D.C. Youth Orchestra, Ms Chitwood has been a violin and/or Music Mind Games clinician at many workshops and Suzuki institutes, including the Greater Washington Suzuki Institute, and on the faculty of the Levine School of Music as a music theory and Music Mind Games instructor. She founded the Frederick (Maryland) Community College’s Suzuki Violin program. Ms Chitwood has also served on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Greater Washington Area. Currently she teaches over forty Suzuki violin students at her private studio in Rockville, Maryland. In her spare time, Ms Chitwood is an avid reader, volunteers with groups addressing community food and clothing needs and enjoys hanging out with her dogs, Brubeck and BellaLuna.
Daniel Levitov, cellist, performs locally and nationally as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. Recognized by the Baltimore Sun for his “warmth of tone and phrasing” and “expressive force,” he serves as a regular substitute with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and appears frequently with members of the symphony on the Chamber Music by Candlelight series. He has performed as a soloist in Carnegie Weill Hall, on Strathmore Hall’s Music in the Mansion series, and at the Peabody Institute. Levitov has performed as a concerto soloist with the Manhattan Virtuosi, the Mendocino Festival Orchestra, and the Peabody Camerata. He is a cellist with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, under the direction of Marin Alsop. He recorded the jazz album, “Moment to Moment: Roy Hargrove with Strings,” which was released on the Verve label, and is a member of the Monterey Jazz Festival Chamber Orchestra. He has also recorded with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Levitov is adjunct Assistant Professor of Cello at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music at Gettysburg College. In addition to teaching at the Sunderman Conservatory and performing as part of the Sunderman Trio, he is Coordinator of Cello and Chamber Music at the Peabody Institute Preparatory. He also directs the Peabody Young Artists Orchestra. Levitov gives master classes and workshops across the country, including recent master classes/clinics for the National Orchestra Festival, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and the Music Institute of Chicago. During the summer, He teaches and performs as an artist/faculty of the Killington Music Festival. His students have won several competitions, including ASTA and Washington Performing Arts Society, and have gone on to study at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, Manhattan School of Music, and the Peabody Institute. Dr. Levitov is active as a speaker and writer as well. He presents regularly at the American String Teacher’s Association (ASTA) National Conferences, and has published in Stringendo and Strings magazines. He is the contributing editor for “Two Octave Scales and Bowings for Cello” by Susan C. Brown, published by Tempo Press. A native of Nebraska, Levitov holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the City University of New York. He holds a bachelor’s from the Oberlin Conservatory (with a minor in music history) and a master’s from the Manhattan School of Music, where he received the Janet Schenk award for distinguished service. He has studied with cellists David Geber, Julia Lichten, Peter Rejto, Carol Work, and Tracy Sands.
Dr. Sachi Murasugi, violin, has performed extensively as a professional orchestral and chamber musician. She has been concertmaster of the Sorg Opera Orchestra in Ohio and Filarmonica del Bajio in Mexico, and a member of the West Virginia Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, and Springfield Symphony. As a chamber musician, she has performed throughout the United States, Mexico and Spain, performing in such venues as the Museo del Prado in Madrid. She received the National Endowment for the Arts Rural Residency Grant and was selected for the Nebraska Arts Council’s Touring Artist Program as a member of the Sandhill Trio. A dedicated teacher, she has taught violin, viola, and chamber music at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, and University of Dayton in Ohio. Sachi holds music performance degrees from Manhattan School of Music and CUNY Queens College, and earned her D.M.A. at Ohio State University. Her teachers include Raphael Bronstein, Daniel Phillips, and Cathy Carroll. In addition, Sachiho holds an MBA from Tulane University, where she received the Business School’s highest award, the Freeman Fellowship. She is currently a full-time faculty member in the Salisbury University music department and is concertmaster of the Salisbury Symphony.
Print/Digital Media Editor
Lorraine Combs received her Bachelor of Arts in Violin Performance from the University of Montana. For many years thereafter, she led a somewhat nomadic life, first as the wife of a military chaplain, and then as the wife of her late husband Gary, who served in the U.S. Army as a linguist. Lorraine’s musical training afforded her the opportunity to take advantage of the various musical situations that presented themselves in the different parts of the country and the world where she and her family lived. She has performed as a violinist with Thor Johnson’s Little Symphony in Evanston, Illinois; with the Sands Hotel Orchstra in Las Vegas, Nevada; and with the Composers Orchestra in Kent, Connecticut. She was a member of the music faculty at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. While living in Germany with her family, she was on the music faculty of the Schöneberg Musikschule in Berlin, and was a member of the Berliner Ärtzte Orchester and the Telemann Collegium, also in Berlin. In Augsburg, she was one of the founders of the Medieval and Renaissance Players. Lorraine and her family returned to the United States in 1983, and she has lived in Maryland since then. Currently, she plays violin in the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, violin in the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and is principal viola in the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra. She maintains a private studio at home for violin and viola students. She has been a member of ASTA since 1973. For the MD/DC Chapter she has served as Treasurer, Membership Chair, and Stringendo Editor, and received the Outstanding Service to Strings award in 1998 and 2009.
Dorée Huneven is originally from Pasadena, California, where she studied violin with Elizabeth Mills. From there she went on to study with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in Matsumoto, Japan, for two years, becoming the third westerner to graduate from the Talent Education Institute. After studying violin performance and music education at the University of Southern California, Ms. Huneven taught in Los Angeles at USC, Pasadena City College, and in a private studio. In 1979, she left for London, England, where she was the Assistant Director of the London Suzuki Group for eight and a half years; she followed that with a year and a half in Cairo, Egypt, teaching violin and English. Ms. Huneven has lived in the Washington, D.C. area since 1987, and has maintained private studios in the Palisades area and in her home. She has taught at the Washington Waldorf School, the Levine School, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Gaithersburg. In the fall of 2010, she opened up a new violin and viola studio at Temple Beth Ami in North Potomac, where she works with the eminent cellist Ken Ding. She has performed with the Waldorf Trio and the Monarch String Quartet, and does free-lance work as well. As ASTA MD/DC Chapter President-elect, she also was the editor of Stringendo. As Chapter President 2008–2010, Ms. Huneven contributed greatly to the growth of the chapter, helping it to garner a record two awards at the 2010 ASTA National Conference in Santa Clara, California: Most Improved Chapter and Best Newsletter. As Past-President, she was in charge of Chapter elections for the 2012 officers and awards, and continued in helping to run the annual Fiddle Day and Winter ASTACAP exams, as well as other events, which are regular Chapter activities. In her capacity as Membership Chair, as of May 2014, her goals are to keep the membership numbers robust and steady, to encourage new members to join and lapsed members to re-join, to aid the President in mailing out Stringendo and other documents, and to help the Chapter in any way possible to grow and continue promoting string teaching and playing in the state of Maryland.
Lenelle Morse discovered her love of the violin in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated with a degree in violin performance and mathematics from Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music, Bloomington. For thirteen years she served as the Assistant Concertmaster of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic as well as a founding member of the Freimann String Quartet. She became the orchestra director at Canterbury School and grew the program from twelve students in 1997 to 147 in 2011. Additionally, she served as the chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Canterbury School. Currently she is teaching with the Peabody Conservatory Preparatory in Baltimore, Maryland, and is free-lancing in the Washington, D.C. area. During the summers, she plays in the 1st violin section of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra in New York State.
Solo Strings Festival Representative and Scholarship Committee Chair
Jean Provine studied violin at Southern Illinois University and then with Roman Totenberg at Boston University. She has played with the Boston Philharmonic, the Seoul Philharmonic, and the Durham Sinfonia in England. During her twenty-three years in England her main occupation was violin teaching, managing a large Suzuki group and running a chamber music program for young players; playing chamber music and freelancing provided a happy contrast. She has lived in the Washington area since 2001, where she teaches, plays part-time with several orchestras, and enjoys being part of the large musical community.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lya Stern, M.M. cum laude in violin performance from the University of Southern California. One year post-graduate work in the master class of Jascha Heifetz at USC. B.M. from Manhattan School of Music. Twenty-five year career in the recording industry performing with Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli and many others. Played on the sound track of over 150 motion pictures and TV films. Performed with the American Ballet Theatre, the National Symphony Pops, the National Gallery Orchestra, and others. Lya was awarded the ASTA National Citation for Exceptional Leadership and Merit in 2000 and again in 2008 for initiating and developing the Certificate Program for Strings (later renamed the ASTA Certificate Advancement Program, or ASTACAP). She led its establishment in the MD/DC Chapter in 1998 and subsequently helped introduce the program in several other states. She continued as an advocate for the program and continued to organize efforts to establish it as a national program; her mission was successfully accomplished in 2004. She is a recipient of the Outstanding String Teacher Award and the Outstanding Service to Strings Award. She is a Past President of ASTA MD/DC Chapter. She frequently acts as chair or judge for student competitions. For the past 16 years Lya has been teaching accelerated and award-winning violin students in her Bethesda studio.
Mark Pfannschmidt began studying violin at age seven, piano at ten and viola at thirteen. Along the way he also studied voice, harp and harpsichord. In the end, he settled on the viola, because of its rich tone and unusual, interesting repertoire (and the employment prospects were better). He received his high school diploma from the Interlochen Arts Academy with a major in viola and minors in harp and voice. His viola performance degrees include a BM from Peabody and an MM from Catholic University. His principal teachers are David Holland, Karen Tuttle and Jody Gatwood. Mr. Pfannschmidt has been teaching since 1986 and has taught ages four to adult. Courses in pedagogy have been completed with Ronda Cole and Rebecca Henry. His viola and violin students have played in MCYO, PVYO, RRYO, ASCYO, Montgomery County Honors Orchestra and Maryland All-State Orchestra. Currently a violist in the National Philharmonic, his varied career has included seven years in the US Marine Chamber Orchestra, where he was a frequent performer for White House functions. Mr. Pfannschmidt is a regular accompanist at SAGWA events, studio recitals, local competitions and festivals. His thirst for interesting and unusual repertoire has led him to edit and publish an ever-expanding catalog of pieces in the public domain. He and his wife, Laura, make their home in Gaithersburg, with their two children, Jason and Emily.
Cello Event Chair
Vasily Popov is a cellist, conductor, teacher, composer and arranger. Mr. Popov’s active concert schedule includes appearances as a soloist, recitalist and member of chamber ensembles in the great concert halls of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Russia and U.S.A. His CD’s are produced by Arte Nova Records, BMR, Excelsior, Intercount Music, Madacy Records, and Melodia labels. Mr. Popov is a faculty member at the Levine School of Music where he serves as an associate chair of the Chamber Music Program and conductor of the Levine Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Popov is also member of the music faculty at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. In 2006 Vasily Popov started a small student chamber orchestra at the Maryland (Strathmore) campus of the Levine School of Music. The successful growth of this program inspired him to create more chamber music programs, and in 2009 he and pianist Ralitza Patcheva launched the Young Artist String Quartet Program and the Sonata Project at the Levine School of Music. These programs have been very successful in offering an inspiring musical environment to young musicians of all levels. Vasily Popov can be heard performing every first Thursday of the month at the free noontime Brown Bag Concert Series at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Washington D.C., which he founded in 2002. A versatile soloist and chamber musician, Vasily Popov participates in a number of projects playing jazz and rock music collaborating with some of the D.C. area’s great musicians—guitarists Eric Ulreich and Josh Walker, bassist Pepe Gonzalez, pianist Bob Sykes, percussionists Leon Koja-Eynatyan and Andrew Hare. Vasily Popov has studied with Natalia Gutman, Walter Nothas, Anatoly Nikitin and Daniil Shafran. His musical style has been shaped through chamber music collaborations and studies with flutist Andras Adorjan and pianists Elisso Virsaladze and Tamara Fidler. Mr. Popov has been a member of the leading orchestras and ensembles including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and Soloists of St. Petersburg in Russia, Ensemble Del Arte and Concerto-Munchen Chamber Ensemble in Germany. Mr. Popov resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife, pianist Ralitza Patcheva, and two children, Yuri and Vladislav.
Salisbury U. Student Chapter Representative
Jeffrey Schoyen graduated with distinction from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he was a student of Lawrence Lesser. He completed an MFA at Carnegie Mellon University as a student of Anne Williams, and a DMA at Stony Brook as a student of Timothy Eddy. Awards he has received include a National Endowment for the Arts Chamber Music Rural Residency Grant, Tanglewood Festival’s Gustav Golden Award, and a Frank Huntington Beebe Grant to study with William Pleeth in London. He has studied Baroque Cello with Myron Lutske, Phoebe Carrai, and Anthony Pleeth. Dr. Schoyen has extensive orchestral experience and has been a member of the Opera Orchestra of New York, Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra, and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and Principal Cellist of the Filarmonica del Bajio in Mexico. An active chamber musician and recitalist, he has given concerts throughout the United States, Germany, Mexico and Spain. His most recent recital tour included the Mexican cities of Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Morelia. Dr. Schoyen has taught at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and at the University of Dayton. He has presented conference lectures on topics ranging from Performance Practice to Kinesiology in String Playing and has been conductor of the Kearney Area Symphony Orchestra and the Slidell Community Orchestra. He is an Assistant Professor at Salisbury University, where he teaches cello and bass and conducts the Salisbury Symphony Orchestra. During the summer he serves on the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan. His cello is a beautiful Eugenio Degani made in Venice in 1887.
Towson U. Student Chapter Representative
Born in New York, Dr. Jeffrey Howard has appeared as soloist with many orchestras including the Boston Virtuosi, and the Yonkers, Indiana University, Concord, UT Arlington, and WPI Symphony Orchestras. A frequent soloist and guest artist, he has performed at Jordan Hall in Boston, Federal Hall in New York, the Bastille Opera House in Paris, Khachaturian Hall in Montreal; and at Syracuse University, the University of Texas at Arlington, the Longy School of Music, and Oberlin College. Dr. Howard has appeared internationally in Canada and in Central and Western Europe, including the countries of Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary and Italy. A devoted performer of chamber music, he has performed at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Winter Institute for String Quartets, and the Lydian String Quartet Seminar. He has studied with members of the Tokyo, Mendelssohn, Juilliard, and Cleveland String Quartets. He has performed as a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Metamorphosen Chamber Ensemble. He received degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Indiana University where he completed the Doctorate of Music Degree in Violin. His teachers included Stephen Clapp, Franco Gulli, Paul Biss, and Distinguished Professor Josef Gingold. He has served on the faculties of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, the University of Texas at Arlington, Bridgewater State College, and Westfield State College. He performs regularly with his wife, pianist Anna Soukiassian, in the Kassian-Howard Duo. He currently teaches at Towson University where he also coaches chamber music and performs regularly in the Baltimore Trio. He has also given master classes at numerous high schools and preparatory programs, including the Peabody Conservatory Preparatory School and the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division. He lives in the Baltimore area with his wife and their two daughters Michelle and Ani.
Classroom In-Service Co-Chair
Anne Marie Patterson has been teaching and performing professionally since 1989. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from Washington and Lee University, and Masters Degrees in Performance and Music Education from Florida State University. She has been a member of the York Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Arlington Symphony, and Alexandria Symphony, and performed with many others. She was a finalist in the Carmel Competition with the Camellia String Quartet, and performed as soloist with the Pan American Orchestra. She has been a freelance violinist in the D.C. area for 17 years, and has had private studios in Greenbelt, Springfield and Waldorf. She served as President of ASTA MD/DC Chapter, and was a presenter at the National ASTA Convention. Locally, she has been a guest conductor for All County Orchestra and adjudicated for All State auditions. She taught elementary strings from 2002–2005, took time off to have kids of her own, and now teaches at five elementary schools, and is the Musical Director of Charles County Youth Orchestra and Encore Strings.
Classroom In-Service Co-Chair
Kristofer Sanz has quickly matured as a vibrant and talented conductor whose energy and fervor for music have allowed him to achieve a passionate, mature and musical sound with any ensemble he has conducted. He has recently been praised for his “modern and adventurous interpretations,” as well as his contemporary and interactive concert presentations. Sanz is currently the Music Director and Philharmonic conductor for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra program that rehearses and performs at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland. Under Sanz’s baton the Philharmonic is quickly becoming known for their highly musical, moving, and nuanced interpretations of a wide range of works from all genres including orchestral works, dance, and opera. In 2008, Sanz had the honor of collaborating with Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), violinist/Julliard Composer, conducting the world premier of “Three Songs Without Words,” for string orchestra and soloist (DBR). In May 2014, Kristofer performed the U.S. Premier of Ilan Eshkeri’s “Stardust Suite.” In this performance conceived by Kristofer Sanz and Greg Jukes, both the orchestra and the audience were fully immersed in Neil Gaiman’s sci-fi fairytale by the use of orchestral movement, narration, and varied orchestrations ranging from simple woodwind duets to full and vibrant explosions of orchestral colors. Sanz is a founding member and Music Director/Conductor for Young Artists of America at Strathmore, a non-profit organization founded to provide aspiring and talented young artists with exceptional opportunities to perform with and be mentored by professional artists and educators in fully orchestrated performances. YAA has quickly become known for producing “fresh and new concert adaptations,” that combine solo’s, duets, and arias from multiple oratorios, musical theater works, and opera into cohesive concert presentations. In March 2014, Kristofer worked side by side with three-time Tony Award winning composer Jason Robert Brown to present his fully orchestrated song cycle “Songs for a New World.” In November 2014, YAA officially became the first Affiliate of Strathmore and now resides at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2014, Kristofer was selected as one of six conductors to participate in the Atlantic Music Festival Conducting Institute under the guidance of David Amado, Benjamin Schwartz, and Jonathan Schiffman. In 2011, Sanz was selected as one of twelve nationwide conductors to participate in the Syracuse Opera Conducting Master class where he worked closely with world-renowned conducting pedagogue Kenneth Kiesler as well as with the Young Artist soloists from the Syracuse Opera. In 2010, Sanz was one of nine international conductors chosen to participate at the International Academy of Advanced Conducting After Ilia Musin where he worked closely with Leonid Korchmar, professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory of music and conductor of Mariinski Theatre.
Strings Plus Festival Representative
Kelly Hsu began her violin study at age six in Taiwan with Ms. Sylvia Shu-Tee Lee, a 1964 graduate of New England Conservatory and the teacher of Cho-Liang Lin. At age twelve, Ms. Hsu’s family moved to Rockville, Maryland, where she continued her violin studies with Judy Silverman and Jody Gatwood. Kelly Hsu was concertmaster of MCYO from 1985–1987, a finalist for WGMS Mozart Competition, and concertmaster of Asian American Orchestra from 1986–1987. Currently Ms. Hsu has a violin studio in Rockville, where her students are active participants of MCYO, PVYO, Maryland All-State Orchestra, and Montgomery All-County Orchestra. Besides teaching, Ms. Hsu also performs with numerous ensembles in D.C, Virginia, and Maryland.
SAGWA Collaboration Chair
Marissa Murphy is the Founder and Director of Washington Suzuki Strings, and also serves as the Principal Second Violin of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Murphy’s WSS Advanced Ensemble has performed at the White House on two occasions, for the Vice President of the United States at his residence, soloed with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and also at the Zambian Embassy and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She holds a M.M in Violin Performance and Pedagogy from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, and a B.M. in Violin Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her major teachers include Martin Beaver, David and Linda Cerone, Ronda Cole, Erich Eichhorn, and Mary Cay Neal. She has performed at the Encore, Spoleto, Bowdoin, and National Repertory Orchestra festivals, and has soloed with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, and the Clarence Symphony. She has also performed on NPR’s “All Things Considered” as part of a tribute to Mozart in January 2006. She has performed with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, New World Symphony, and the Annapolis, Clarence, and Alexandria Symphonies. Ms. Murphy is the former Second Violin of the New Music Associates Quartet in residence at Cleveland State University, and has given recitals for President Jimmy Carter at the Norwegian Embassy to honor his Nobel Prize, at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the St. Paul’s Cathedral Recital Series. She is on the faculty of the Greater Washington Suzuki Institute and the Buffalo Suzuki Strings Summer Workshop, and is the former Assistant Chair Suzuki Strings and Violin faculty at the Levine School of Music. Ms. Murphy also served on the Board of Directors for the Suzuki Association of the Greater Washington Area, and was former violin faculty at the Peabody Preparatory Institute and the Mount Royal Symphonic Orchestra.
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