We are very fortunate to have such experienced teachers at the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute. Many of our teachers are teacher-trainers and have served as master teachers at international conferences throughout the world.
Holly Blackwelder-Carpenter received her Bachelor of Music from Walla Walla University in 2000. She grew up as a Suzuki violin student in Walla Walla, Washington, under the tutelage of Kathleen Spring. Holly began her teaching career at Walla Walla University in the String Preparatory Program, taking a year out of college to start a string program at Universidad Peruana Union in Lima, Peru. She currently maintains a private violin studio in Seattle.
Praised as “passionate and elegant” by The New York Times, cellist Amy Sue Barston has performed as a soloist and chamber musician on stages all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Ravinia, Bargemusic, Caramoor, Haan Hall (Jerusalem), The Banff Centre (Canada), The International Musicians Seminar (England), The Power House (Australia), and Chicago’s Symphony Center. Amy is also a devoted teacher: in her home, at the New York School for Strings, as a guest teacher at Juilliard, and at numerous summer music festivals. Several of her students commute for lessons from hundreds of miles away, some from as far away as Alaska and Japan. Amy’s upcoming schedule includes solo and chamber music performances in England, Sydney, New Zealand, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake, Wisconsin, Rochester, Denver, Chicago, and Germany. Amy also has a brand new CD out and available, which she had the honor to record with Grammy Award winning contemporary classical music producer, Judith Sherman.
Reagan Brasch grew up in the Suzuki method studying with Paula Woyton in Texas. She graduated with a bachelors of music in violin performance and received her masters in music with an emphasis in Suzuki Pedagogy from the University of Denver. After teaching with Denver Talent Education for five years with James Maurer, she moved to Chicago to teach at the Music Institute of Chicago (MIC) under the direction of Gilda Barston. She has had additional Suzuki training from Linda Fiore, Joanne Bath, Ann Smelser, Michele George, Doris Preucil, and Pat D’Ercole. Mrs. Brasch gives both private and group instruction in Suzuki. She also is program director of the early childhood Musikgarten classes to toddlers and preschoolers, as well as Events Coordinator for MIC’s Suzuki Program. She was awarded Outstanding Teacher by the Alliance for Early Childhood and the Certificate of Achievement Award from the SAA. Mrs. Brasch has taught extensively at Suzuki institutes and workshops around the country.
Gaye Detzer has been a Suzuki teacher for more than 30 years and currently maintains a private studio. She has taught violin classes and chamber music at Suzuki institutes in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, as well as at Vivace! Chamber Players. Gaye plays violin and viola with the Arioso Ensemble and the Vashon-Maury Chamber Orchestra, and is also the music director of the Vashon Youth String Orchestra and the Teen String Ensemble. Her family has four Suzuki children, one of whom graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music and is now making a career as a cellist. Another is part of a rock band that has toured the United States and Europe.
Yasuko Eastman began teaching the Suzuki Method in 1963, in Japan. In 1966, she arrived in Edmonton, Canada, to help establish the Suzuki program there at the recommendation of Dr. Suzuki. Yasuko moved to Victoria with her family in 1985, and she continues to enjoy teaching at home and and at numerous Suzuki institutes. Yasuko’s former students are active as professional and amateur musicians and are contributing to the world in diverse ways. She has served as concertmaster of the Victoria Chamber Orchestra since 1996, and is also a founding member of the Galiano Ensemble of Victoria and first violinist of the Heron Quartet. Yasuko’s teachers include Koichi Hasegawa, Shinichi Suzuki, Thomas Rolston, and members of the Hungarian String Quartet. She holds a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Education from the Osaka College of Music, and a Master of Music from the University of Alberta. Yasuko enjoys traveling, hiking, gardening, designing, and drawing.
Helen comes from a family of music teachers and was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki for two and a half years in Matsumoto, Japan, receiving her Teacher Certification from him in 1973. Other teachers include William Starr, Louise Behrend, and Gerald Beal. In 1983, Helen became a Certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York City, and she taught in the Center’s Teacher Training Program until returning to Hawaii in 1987. In 1990 she began teaching with the late Hiroko Primrose, who founded the Suzuki program at the Punahou Music School. Helen is presently the head of this Suzuki program and has a private violin studio of over 40 students. Her other teaching positions have included the University of Tennessee’s Suzuki Program, New York’s School for Strings, and the Diller-Quaille School of Music. In recent years, Helen has enjoyed exploring how the Alexander Technique can offer insights and complement her students’ understanding of Dr. Suzuki’s violin pedagogy and philosophy. Helen serves as the president of Suzuki Talent Education of Hawaii, and is a part-time member of the Honolulu Symphony.
A native of Matsumoto, Japan, Mihoko Hirata received her teacher training under the personal guidance of Dr. Suzuki. In 1967, she was selected by Dr. Suzuki to be one of the first teachers to introduce his method in the United States. In addition to William Starr, Mihoko received a Creating a Learning Community Award from the SAA, recognizing her as the “Spirit of Suzuki in the Northwest.” Mihoko is a member of the National Registry of Suzuki Violin Teacher Trainers. She has established Suzuki programs in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington, and has presented workshops and master classes throughout the United States and Canada.
Joseph Kaminsky has taught violin for over 35 years. His teacher have been Almita Vamos, Roland Vamos, Shinichi Suzuki, John Kendall, Fryderyk Sadowski, and Donna Wiehe. He has been a registered SAA teacher-trainer since 1985. Since 2000 Mr. Kaminsky has authored over 20 pedagogical articles appearing in the American Suzuki Journal, developed the “Vibrato From the Ground Up” DVD for teaching vibrato, and has authored a set of violin technique books as an adjunct to the Suzuki volumes. Mr. Kaminsky has taught over 250 workshops/institutes in 33 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, at the 2006 International String Conference in Singapore, and at the 1999 World Suzuki Conference in Matsumoto Japan. His former students have played or currently are playing professionally in the Arkansas, Ann Arbor, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, New World, and Syracuse Symphonies. Other students have gone on to become professional music teachers themselves. But the vast majority have just gone on to their chosen fields, enhanced by the discipline, cognitive skills, and love of music that a Suzuki education can bring.
Allen Lieb received his Master of Music in Performance from SIU/Edwardsville, studying Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall, and holds a Teacher Training Certificate from the Talent Education Research Institute in Japan after several years’ study with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. A registered teacher-trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Allen has taught at institutes, workshops, and conferences across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. He is chair of the SAA Violin Committee, the SAA liaison to the International Suzuki Association Violin Committee, and a member of the SAA Heritage Committee. He is also head of the violin department and instructor of the Teacher-Training Seminar at The School for Strings, and a violin instructor at The Diller-Quaile School of Music. As curriculum coordinator for the Newark Early Strings Program, a Suzuki-based violin program that is jointly sponsored by the Newark Public Schools and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and serves over 500 students in 13 elementary schools, he was recognized with the 2008 Samuel Antek Award for Music Education. Allen is also the Suzuki consultant for Musicians4Harmony, a New York-based organization that sponsors activities to revitalize the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra and the Baghdad Conservatory of Music and Dance.
San Francisco based violin teacher Cathryn S. Lee has taught families and teachers around the world since 1976. She is respected for teaching all ages and levels using her detailed and practical “best of both worlds” approach inspired by her studies with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and her “traditional” studies with concert artist Dame Camilla Wicks. As a teacher trainer, Cathryn has taught and lectured at SAA National conferences, Leadership Summits, Suzuki Method World Conferences, the first International Suzuki Teacher Trainer Conference in 2009 and most recently at the 16th World Conference. She has given master classes and pedagogy classes in Australia, Canada, England, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and throughout the United States. Cathryn is also a guest lecturer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Cathryn is the author of Bow Exercises, Bow Strokes and the Bow Stroke Excerpt books. In 1977, Cathryn founded the Suzuki Music Studio of San Francisco where she continues to teach students and train teachers. Her students have held titled chairs in numerous youth and school orchestras and placed in competitions including the Junior Bach Festival. Cathryn has a B.A. in Performance and Composition, M. A. in Performance from San Francisco College for Women and a teaching certificate from the Talent Education Institute in Japan. She and her husband raised their sons, Whitney an actor/singer/violinist in New York City and Corin, a violinist and graduate of Juilliard and Yale University.
Matthew Olson is the Director of the Olson String Studio and teaches in Seattle and Bellingham. He received his pedagogical training from top Suzuki Method educators including William Starr and Edward Kreitman. He was fortunate to study with some of the world’s finest teachers including Almita & Roland Vamos, Ruggiero Ricci, Benny Kim, Zakhar Brohn, and Dorothy DeLay. He has been playing since the age of three and has performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. He was Concertmaster of the Kansas City Ballet Orchestra and has been Associate Concertmaster and Assistant Concertmaster of several orchestras and chamber orchestras. For the last two years Matthew has been the Musician-in-Residence for the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival.
Barbara Riley grew up in Minnesota and studied violin at the New England Conservatory. She received her Master of Music in Viola Performance from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. On a visit to Japan in 1980, she met Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and returned to Bellingham to begin teaching the Suzuki Method. In 1988, she spent two months in Matsumoto studying with Dr. Suzuki. For over 20 years, she has led a busy life in Seattle, teaching violin and viola and playing in musical theater. Since moving to Ellensburg, Washington, in 2005, Barbara teaches in her home studio and at Central Washington University through the Preparatory Strings Department. She plays chamber music and Celtic fiddle, is a violinist with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, and enjoys life on a small farm with her husband, a dog, and two horses. Barbara has taught at Suzuki institutes in Seattle, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington.
Satoko Robert (Mill Creek, WA)
Satoko Robert earned a Master of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Massachusetts and an Artist Diploma from Kyoto University of Art and Music. She received most of her Suzuki teacher training from Dr. William Starr. Satoko has taught violin and viola for over 40 years, and also performs and coaches chamber ensembles. Before moving to Washington, she was an assistant professor of music education at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. Satoko volunteers as a bilingual liaison to the SAA and ISA, and has taught at many Suzuki institutes and workshops across the United States. The two things Satoko loves most, besides her family and her work as a Suzuki teacher, are chamber music and dogs.
Lucy Shaw is an active performer, Suzuki teacher and clinician currently based in the Seattle, WA area. A native of Nova Scotia, Canada, she received her Bachelor degree at the S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatte Conservatory of Music at Brandon University in Manitoba, Canada, and her Master of Music in Violin Performance at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. Important musical influences include Sergiu Luca, Francis Chaplin, Sydney Harth and Jean-Jacques Kantorow. For eighteen years Lucy was owner/director of the Village Violin School in Houston where she was an active member of the Houston Area Suzuki Strings Association coordinating annual teacher development seminars, Suzuki graduations and workshops. As a guest teacher and clinician Lucy has taught at Workshops and Institutes in Canada, Mexico and throughout the continental United States. An ardent supporter of the SAA, Lucy served as violin coordinator for the Suzuki Association of the America’s 2008 National Conference and will serve on the SAA Board of Directors starting in the fall of 2011.
Glenn Spring, professor of strings and advanced theory at Walla Walla College, now Walla Walla University, for 36 years, the longest tenure for any music teacher at WWC since its founding, retired in 2001. Spring came to WWC after teaching for a year at Otterbein College in Ohio. A 1962 graduate of La Sierra University and a composition student of Perry Beach, he completed a Ph.D. in composition at the University of Washington in 1972. A conductor, string performer, and teacher, Spring conducted the college orchestra and was active as concertmaster and performer in the Walla Walla Symphony during his tenure at WWC. He and his wife, Kathleen, maintain teaching studios in the Denver, Colorado, Metro area. Glenn continues to compose, mostly on a commission basis.
Kathleen Spring received her Bachelor of Music degree from Walla Walla University, studied in Vienna with Eduard Melkus at the Universität für Musik and completed her Master of Music degree in violin performance with James Maurer at the University of Denver. A native of Washington state, Kathleen founded and directed a large Suzuki program there before moving to Denver in 2001. A long time member of the American String Teacher’s Association, she was honored by the Washington ASTA chapter as the private studio outstanding music educator of the year in 1996.As an SAA Teacher Trainer, Kathleen teaches at numerous summer institutes and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. In this capacity, she teaches the pedagogy courses for Lamont’s Suzuki Certificate and Suzuki Pedagogy Masters programs. Kathleen Spring maintains a large active Suzuki studio in the Denver Metro area. The studio’s advanced performance group Spring Strings spent 12 days in Switzerland last summer. During this time they rehearsed and performed with Suzuki students from Switzerland and Belgium.
Gilda Barston is Dean Emeritus of the Music Institute of Chicago and the artistic director of the Chicago Suzuki Institute. In addition to teaching, she serves as secretary on the Board of the International Suzuki Association. A student of Leonard Rose, Gilda received a B.S. and M.S. degree from the Juilliard School of Music. She received a Distinguished Service Award from the Suzuki Association of the Americas in 1998, and the ASI Suzuki Chair Award in 2005. A registered teacher-trainer of Suzuki pedagogy, she has been on the faculty of the American Suzuki Institute since 1976, and has taught at many Suzuki institutes, workshops, and conferences. In April 2006, she was an honored guest and faculty member at the 14th Suzuki Method World Convention in Turin, Italy. Gilda is the mother of Elisa and Amy Barston and the grandmother of Melia Hsu. Ask her for stories about both girls, especially about practicing with them. Gilda lives with her husband, Gene, and two kitties, Zoltan and Cleo.
Blake Brasch is a cello teacher at the Music Institute of Chicago. He is also the administrator and director of the Chicago Suzuki Institute. He studied with Alan Harris the Cleveland Institute of Music and Mark Schroeder at Ohio University. His pre-college teachers were Carol Tarr and Gilda Barston.
Priscilla Jones lives on Bainbridge Island where she maintains a private Suzuki Cello Studio for students ages 4-adult. Since moving to the island in 1993, she has helped found the Bainbridge Island Youth Orchestra, and has organized a multi-age group of cellists who call themselves, “Cello Mania.” Priscilla has also enjoyed playing in local concert series including Music Millennium, Soundscapes, Kitsap Opera, and Chamber Music at Bainbridge Performing Arts. She is a registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer. When not with her cello, Priscilla likes to hike, bike and travel.
Carol Tarr teaches at her home studio in Lakewood, CO, and long-term training at the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music. She has twice been president of Suzuki Association of Colorado. Her activities for the SAA include member of the cello committee, board of directors, Suzuki Principles in Action committee, and cello-coordinator for conference 2010. Carol loves to work with students, parents and teachers.
Barbara Wampner maintains an active private studio and has taught at international conferences in Europe, Japan, Australia and Korea and Canada. She has also taught at festivals in Peru and Chile, and numerous summer institutes in the United States. Barbara received a Master of Arts with cello studies with Margaret Rowell from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor of Music Education from Northwestern University. She is a registered SAA teacher-trainer, has served on the SAA board of directors, and has edited the American Suzuki Journal cello column. Barbara was an active member of the International Suzuki Association Cello Committee during the revisions of the cello repertoire, Books 4-8. Currently, she is chair of the SAA Suzuki Heritage Committee.
Virginia Dixon teaches at the Suzuki School of Elgin and Music Institute of Chicago as well as in her home studio and at Wheaton and Elmhurst Colleges. This coming summer she will teach and train teachers at Suzuki institutes in Beaver Creek, CO, Edmonton, AB, and Stevens Point, WI. A long time Board Member of the International Society of Bassists, she still edits their journal’s Child’s Play Column. In 2005 she received the ISB Special Achievement Award as their Young Bassist Ambassador. A member of the Suzuki Bass Committee, she is creating materials for the Suzuki Bass Method and is one of two Teacher Trainers actively training teachers from the United States and abroad. Most recently she taught teachers from Argentina, Mexico, and Peru at the XXIII Festival Internacional Suzuki De Musica in Lima, Peru. She holds two performance degrees from Indiana University and has studied with Julius Levine, Murray Grodner, and Georg Hortnagel. Her performances have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Europe and Japan as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestra player.
Anna Doak is presently a member of the Northwest Sinfonietta and has performed with the Seattle Symphony, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival and on numerous recording projects. Anna formerly served as principal bassist for the National Academy Orchestra of Canada, and taught at Western Washington University. A Suzuki certified double bass instructor, Anna has taught privately in the Seattle area for 25 years.
History, Theory, Orchestra, & Composition
Tam Osborne is a graduate of the University of Washington, where he received a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Music Education. He received his Master of Education from Seattle Pacific University, along with Administrative (Principal) credentials. He has been the administrator of visual and performing arts in the Edmonds School District and a member of the board of the Washington Music Educators’ Association. Tam has been actively affiliated with youth symphony organizations in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho for over 20 years, and conducts regularly with the Everett and Cascade youth symphonies. He is currently the director of staffing and human resources in the Edmonds School District.
Kaori Sakai graduated from the Aichi University of Education, where she specialized in music. Since then, she has taught music in high schools and piano at a junior college, and offered many rhythmic classes to students in Bellevue, Seattle, Tokyo, Matsumoto, and Nagoya. Kaori participated in the Dalcroze Congress International in Geneva in 2003 and 2007, and has been a faculty member of the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute since 1988, the first year it was held. She currently maintains a private music studio in Nagoya, where she teaches piano and music theory.
Marcus Tsutakawa has been a music teacher in the Seattle Public Schools since 1979, and the director of the award-winning Garfield Orchestras since 1985. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Seattle Symphony and is in his ninth season as director of the Seattle Junior Symphony. Awards include the Prix de Martell, recognizing “Champions of Classical Music” (1992); the A&E Network Biography “Community Hero” Award (2002); the Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence (2005); recognition as a community leader in the Follow the Leader Program sponsored by Macy’s, The Seattle Times, and KING5 TV (2006); and the University of Washington College of Arts and Sciences “Distinguished Alumni” Award (2007). Guest conducting honors include the 2008 Indiana All-State Orchestra and the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of America at the 2008 Suzuki National Convention, among others. He is the son of well-known Northwest artist George Tsutakawa.
Allyson Kramer has served as an accompanist for the Japan Seattle Suzuki Institute since 2000, and loves working with young musicians at every level. She is the founder and director of Vivace! Chamber Players, a summer chamber music camp for young musicians. Allyson completed her undergraduate work at Western Washington University while studying with Ford Hill, and received her Master of Music in Performance from the University of Minnesota. While she stays busy homeschooling her two teenage daughters, Rachel and Carlin (also Suzuki kids), Allyson enjoys teaching piano in her private studio.