Meet our 2021 Faculty. Click on a name for more information.
Special thanks to Dr. David Cutler of Supernova, Matt Bell of Electric Violin Shop, Matt Stamell of Stamell Stringed Instruments, and Liz Benoit Crew of D’Addario Orchestral for generously providing free sessions for all of you to enjoy and learn from.
JULIE LYONN LIEBERMAN has helped develop the multi-style string field over the last forty+ years through her work as an educator, author, radio producer, composer, recording artist, journalist, and performer.
Julie has been on the Eclectic Styles Committee for American String Teachers Association four times. She is the author of twelve music books and a memoir titled The Roaring Brook Fiddler as well as five DVDS. Her newest three music books, A Festival of Violin & Fiddle Styles for VIOLIN, VIOLA and CELLO (Hal Leonard) include 24 American and world styles, backing tracks, and video tutorials that cover styles from around the world. Her other titles include Twelve-Key Practice: The Path to Mastery and Individuality, The Creative Band and Orchestra, The Contemporary Violinist, How to Play Contemporary Strings: A Step-by-Step Approach for Violin, Viola, and Cello, Improvising Violin, Rockin’ Out With Blues Fiddle, You Are Your Instrument, Planet Musician, and Alternative Strings: The New Curriculum. She authored the “Creative Musicianship” section of the American String Teachers’ curriculum book, Standards, Goals, and Learning Sequences for Essential Skills and Knowledge in K-12 String Programs.
Julie has also written over fifty magazine articles for publications such as STRAD Magazine, STRINGS Magazine, Fiddler Magazine, and the American String Teachers Association’s Journal.
Her DVD titles include Alternative String Styles in the Classroom (written and produced for ASTA: American String Teachers Association and NAMM: National Association of Music Merchants); Rhythmizing the Bow; Techniques for the Contemporary String Player; The Violin in Motion; Violin and Viola Ergonomics; and Vocal Aerobics.
Julie Lyonn Lieberman was one of the first educators invited by Juilliard to teach improvisation to their students in the L&M Department as well as world music in the MAP Program. She has been on faculty at Juilliard, The New School for Contemporary Music, William Patterson College jazz department and Manhattan School of Music, to name a few.
A dynamic, participatory workshop leader, her ability to stimulate participants to think and grow in new ways has earned respect for her work throughout the world through organizations and institutions like American String Teachers Association, The Starling-Delay Symposium at Juilliard, European String Teachers Association, National Orchestra Festival, Music Educators Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, Suzuki Institute, National String Workshop, International String Workshop, Django in June, The Juilliard MAP Program, National Young Audiences, the Carnegie Hall LinkUp Program and The Academy (a Carnegie/Weill Hall/Juilliard-sponsored program).
Julie has also created seven hours of programming for National Public Radio on jazz violin (The Talking Violin hosted by Dr. Billy Taylor, and Jazz Profiles: Jazz Violin hosted by Nancy Wilson).
In addition, Ms. Lieberman produced four American Jazz String Summits in the eighties and nineties featuring many of the top improvising string players in America, and co-produced three alternative string festivals within American String Teachers 2003, 2004, and 2005 conferences, serving as the chair for the 2004 component.
Julie is a D’Addario Elite Clinician and an NS Design performance artist. Her books and DVDs are distributed worldwide by Hal Leonard Publications and currently has a portfolio of over two-dozen string orchestra scores in American and world styles published by Kendor Music, Carl Fischer and Alfred Publications. Her original music is licensed by Cinephonix.
Julie is the recipient of the 2014 ASTA Kudos Award, over two-dozen ASCAP Plus Awards, and three American String Teachers Association’s National Citation for Leadership & Merit awards and was honored to be invited by ASTA’s Board to compose String Dreams for the opening ceremony at the 2015 American String Teachers Association’s Salt Lake City Conference. The score has been published and is now available through Carl Fischer Music.
Jeremy Kittel is an American violinist, fiddler, and composer. He received a Grammy nomination for “Best Instrumental Composition” in 2019 alongside prevalent composers such as John Williams and Alan Silvestri. Fluent in multiple musical genres, he composes original music that draws from a wide variety of influences including folk, jazz, Celtic, Classical, electronic, and more.
Jeremy performs with his group Kittel & Co., as a soloist with orchestras, and in collaborative and supporting roles with many of today’s leading artists. In demand as a composer and arranger, he has worked with Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck, My Morning Jacket, Aoife O’Donovan, Theo Katzman, Jars of Clay, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Laura Veirs, Sara Watkins, and the Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet (of which he was a member for five years). He has also recorded with artists such as Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Fleet Foxes, and Esperanza Spalding.
Kittel & Co. (“Kid-dle and Koh”) inhabits the space between classical and acoustic roots, Celtic and bluegrass aesthetics, folk and jazz sensibilities, and has performed at venues such as Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Celtic Connections, and A Prairie Home Companion. The group released its debut album, Whorls, in 2018, which features Kittel along with mandolin phenom Josh Pinkham (named “the future of the mandolin” by Mandolin Magazine), transcendent cellist Nathaniel Smith (as heard with Sarah Jarosz and Kacey Musgraves), guitarist Quinn Bachand (called “Canada’s top Celtic guitarist” by Ashley MacIsaac), and hammer-dulcimer wizard Simon Chrisman (acclaimed for bringing a new tonal flexibility to the instrument). Bluegrass Situation calls Whorls “a feat of new acoustic, string band-rooted chamber music…. whimsical, alluring, and magnificent,” while Earmilk says Whorls is “…a devastatingly beautiful album… a stunning melting pot of classical and folk music, featuring some of the greatest musicians in the genre.”
Recently, Jeremy produced, composed, and performed for frequent collaborator Aoife O’Donovan’s latest strings-centered album, “Bull Frogs Croon.” Atwood Magazine calls Bull Frogs Croon “a stunning addition to O’Donovan’s repertoire, and a further example of her incredible collaborative powers.”
In February 2020, he premiered a new orchestral piece, “Stones River,” commissioned and performed by the Orlando Philharmonic with Jeremy as soloist. Called “haunting… beautiful… a moving and uniquely American composition” by the Orlando Sentinel, “Stones River” draws from the deep well of multicultural American Revolutionary and Civil War music.
Believing passionately that music and the arts are central to the human experience, Kittel enjoys teaching music through workshops and clinics at diverse programs such as Berklee College of Music, Belmont University, The New School, International Music Academy of Pilsen, Zurich University of the Arts, Mark O’Connor Strings Camps, the Swannanoa Gathering, Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, and the University of Michigan.
Kittel has a master’s degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music and received the 2010 Emerging Artist Award from U of M (his alma mater). He is the recipient of awards including the US National Scottish Fiddle Championship and six Detroit Music Awards and has contributed to many Grammy-nominated recordings. He was also the first recipient of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin.
Jeremy proudly endorses Pirastro strings and Coda bows.
Beth Bahia Cohen is a violinist of Syrian Jewish and Russian Jewish heritage. Inspired at a young age by the sounds she heard at family gatherings, she went on to study with master musicians from Hungary, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East. She plays the violin, viola, Greek lyras, Turkish bowed tanbur and kabak kemane, Norwegian hardingfele, and Egyptian rababa.
Beth has performed with Led Zeppelin, Itzhak Perlman, Eubie Blake, Phillip Glass, numerous orchestras, and Greek, Turkish, Hungarian, and Klezmer ensembles. Her recordings include Errol Morris soundtracks, PBS Nova and American Experience shows, the film music of John Kusiak, and work with Dunya, EurAsia Ensemble, Ziyia, and Weaving the Worlds (solo). Beth has received scholarships from the National Endowment for the Arts/Artists International, American Research Institute of Turkey, and Radcliffe Bunting Institute.
Beth is an Assistant Professor of Strings at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Rob Flax is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator from Evanston, IL with a playful heart and an open mind. He has performed nationally and internationally with groups of many different styles, including opening for B.B. King and Tower of Power, playing viola and violin with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and YouTube star Jacob Collier, upright bass in an Argentine tango ensemble, mandolin, guitar and fiddle in various bluegrass bands, electric violin and synthesizer in several rock bands, collaborations with modern dancers, and more. As a composer Rob has written music for choreographers, film (including work on the soundtrack of James Franco’s film As I Lay Dying), and several original projects. Rob is a graduate of the New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Improvisation program, and he currently lives in Boston, MA.
In his “One Man Band” shows, Rob uses a looper pedal and other effects to transform his violin into an entire symphony of sounds, as well as use other instruments like piano, guitar, and percussion. As a singer Rob draws influences from a long list of vocalists including Nat King Cole, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Harry Belafonte, Reggie Watts, and Bobby McFerrin. His songs are sometimes humorous, and like his hero Tom Lehrer Rob also has a degree in mathematics (which comes in handy when writing fractal fiddle tunes). Rob’s favorite composer is Fred Rogers, and like Mister Rogers, Rob strives to create a better world using his musical gifts to spread light and joy.
Aleya is a Licensed Acupuncturist in Colorado, a Doctor of Oriental Medicine in New Mexico, a sound healer, energy practitioner, spiritual guide, Reiki Master, and a Craniosacral practitioner.
She began her journey as a healer at a young age. In 1993, at the age of 21, she graduated from the Oregon School of Massage in Portland, Oregon and began her private practice. In 1994, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English from Lewis and Clark College.
In 1997, Aleya graduated with a Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine from The Southwest Acupuncture School in Santa Fe, New Mexico and moved to Telluride, Colorado where she started my Acupuncture practice.
In 2001, Aleya had an enlightenment experience that enabled her to work with people at a much deeper level which led her to establish the first holistic clinic in Telluride known as “The Healing Company.”
In 2003, she opened her energy healing practice in Santa Barbara and Clovis, California and currently has an international Private Practice. Her office is on her property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.
Aleya has the ability to see the unseen. Her mastery is in having the capacity to perceive why people have created specific situations in their lives and what they are attempting to learn from these circumstances. She facilitates healing shifts by working in the Higher Realms.
She also teaches all over the country, inspiring and guiding individuals and groups into greater degrees of empowerment, abundance, and health by using the “Seven Principles” that she has come to call the “Seven Cups of Consciousness,” based on her book of the same title, “Seven Cups Of Consciousness – Change Your Life By Connecting To The Higher Realms”.
Aleya has 9 Sound Healing Albums including “Awaken”, “Oming With Whales And Aleya”, “Sound Medicine”, “In Stillness”, “Light Body Sound Healing”, “Aleya’s Lullabies”, “Open Doors”, “Across The Meadow Sky”, and her most recent release “Sound Sleep”.
Chuck Bontrager is the very definition of the versatile 21st-century musician: classically trained yet experienced in multiple performance styles; fluent in several variations of his instrument (viola, violin, baritone viola (chin-cello), mandolin and mandola, and especially his 7-string Viper electric violin). He is capable as a performer, arranger, and conductor, and wholly dedicated to the advancement of his instrument and the education of new generations.
As a performer, Chuck most recently served as Concertmaster for the entire 3+ year run of the Hamilton: An American Musical in Chicago. He has performed in over twenty other productions on the Broadway In Chicago series as well as shows with Drury Lane Oak Brook, Marriott Lincolnshire, Chicago Shakespeare, Court, Northlight, Steppenwolf, and The Goodman theaters. He has been heard with every major symphony orchestra in the Chicago area, including the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Lake Forest Symphony, the Lyric Opera Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also performs regularly as String Captain with local tribute giants, Tributosaurus, and heavy-prog stalwarts, Nomadic Horizons
Chuck teaches at Columbia College Chicago and the Merit School of Music. He is an experienced private lesson and group class teacher, chamber coach, Rock Band instructor, and clinician; his Bowed Metal demonstrations are a frequent addition to local school curricula, most recently at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Illinois, and with the Audience Matters outreach program sponsored by the Chicago Sinfonietta.
In addition, Chuck is a ten-year faculty member at the annual Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp, where he joins a world-class group of performers and teachers, including Mark Wood, Rachel Barton Pine, David Wallace, and Tracy Silverman, in helping future generations find their creative voice.
Dr. David Wallace is a fiercely eclectic musician, award-winning composer, and master teaching artist who currently serves as Chair of the String Department of Berklee College of Music. David’s concert appearances include solo performances with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic, as well as international tours with the Teaching Artist Ensemble of the New York Philharmonic. David concertizes regularly with his flute-viola-harp trio Hat Trick and his Texas-style swing band The Doc Wallace Trio. David has been broadcast as a soloist and chamber musician on NPR, WQXR, KTV (Korea), CBS, ABC, PBS, Tokyo-MX, and NHK television. The New York Times compares his solo improvisations to “Jimmy Page fronting Led Zeppelin.”
Known for his mastery of eclectic styles ranging from all classical genres to fiddling, rock, and free jazz, David has also gained widespread acclaim for his ability to connect with audiences in diverse community settings, including schools, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, houses of worship, and prisons. Symphony magazine hails his book Reaching Out: A Musician’s Guide to Interactive Performance, as “an invaluable manual for all musicians, classical or otherwise.”
As a composer, David has received commissions from Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, the Juilliard School, and the Marian Anderson String Quartet. Through the New York Philharmonic’s radical Very Young Composers program, he has mentored over a hundred children whose original compositions were performed by members of the orchestra.
David received his D.M.A from the Juilliard School where he served as a Morse Teaching Artist Fellow and Teaching Assistant to legendary violist and pedagogue Karen Tuttle. In addition to his active studio at Berklee College of Music, David teaches at Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp and MyTalentForge.com. A short list of David’s clients and presenters includes Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Chamber Society of Lincoln Center, UNESCO, and Young Audiences.
VIOLINIST ALISSA JACKMAN is a multi-genre musician based out of New York City. You can catch her playing anything from classical to funk, jazz, fiddling, or rock. Alissa performs with her acoustic as well as her electric Viper violin. She has played in venues such as the Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Symphony Space, and the LDS Conference Center. Alissa frequently freelances with bands and other artists playing clubs and bars in NYC and is also an active studio musician.
Alissa is a music education activist. She has performed in multiple benefit concerts to help support music education, such as the Muzart World Foundation We Are Hope concert and the Electrify Your Music Foundation kick off concert. She was also featured as a student spokesperson for the Electrify Your Strings program in an interview on ABC with the program’s founder.
In his lifelong pursuit of music, Greg Byers has overcome countless obstacles in order to become an idiosyncratic performer, composer, educator, and producer. He will redefine what you thought a cellist was capable of!Greg started playing cello at The Family Suzuki School of Rochester, NY at age 2.5. By age sixteen, he was a talented cellist, but was frustrated with the lack of personal expression he found in youth orchestras. This led Greg to explore the possibilities of the cello in a jazz context.
After beginning the undergraduate program at University of Miami, Greg wanted to officially switch his major to Studio Music & Jazz, which was initially denied because he was a cellist. Shelly Berg, the current Dean of the Frost School of Music, took over in 2007 and saw Greg’s perseverance. In the end Greg became the first person to double major in Instrumental Performance/Studio Music & Jazz on cello and bass, Summa Cum Laude.
After working in the Miami music scene, Greg decided to explore opportunities in Los Angeles. LA taught the importance of viewing music from the perspective of not only the performer, but also the composer, music engineer, and businessperson, so he applied these skills to his debut EP Some Dark, Beautiful Morning.
Greg then decided to continue his higher learning at McNally Smith College of Music in Saint Paul, where he graduated with a Master of Music Performance. Now a resident of the historic A-Mill Artist Lofts of Minneapolis, Greg maintains a busy schedule; juggling original and freelance performances, a private cello/bass studio and recording & production services.
Since then he has performed on BBC Two (Later… with Jools Holland) and Univision (Latin GRAMMYs); been a featured artist/clinician at New Directions Cello Festival, Creative Strings Workshop, and Mark Wood’s Rock Orchestra Camp; arranged strings for the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and Birth of a Ghost by Omar Rodriguez Lopez. He was the recipient of the 2017 Artist Initiative Grant and the 2020 Next Step Fund, a finalist in the 2017 McKnight Fellowship for Musicians, and the winner of the International Journalists Award at the 2020 Seifert International Jazz Violin Competition.
JOE DENINZON has been hailed by critics as “The Jimi Hendrix of the
Violin”. He has worked with Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen,
Everclear, Ritchie Blackmore, Smokey Robinson, Aretha Franklin,
Les Paul, The Who, and as a soloist with the NY City Ballet and Jazz
at Lincoln Center.
Joe is the lead singer and violinist for the progressive rock band,
Stratospheerius (www.stratospheerius.com), and the Latin Jazz string
quartet, Sweet Plantain. In 2015, Joe premiered his “Concerto for
Seven String Electric Violin and Orchestra” with the Muncie
Symphony Orchestra.He regularly travels as a clinician and has
contributed articles to Strings, Downbeat, and Making Music
Magazine. He has taught at the Mark O’Connor String and
Mark Wood Rock Orchestra camps.
KATIE GLASSMAN is that rare musician who possesses a combination of instrumental virtuosity and powerful musical expression. She is one of the country’s most renowned and decorated Texas-style and swing fiddlers, as well as an accomplished songwriter, singer, and a highly sought after teacher.
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Katie currently tours and records with the Western Flyers, and leads her own band, Katie Glassman and Snapshot. She also maintains a thriving private teaching practice and travels to teach at music camps throughout the country.
Katie holds a Bachelor’s in Performance with a Jazz Certificate from University of Colorado, Boulder, and in 2007 spent a year studying jazz violin at the world renowned Centre Musique Didier Lockwood in Dammarie-Les-Lys, France.
In 2015, Katie won the National Swing Fiddle Championship in Weiser, Idaho, took first in both the Bob Wills and Open divisions at the Bob Wills Festival and Fiddle Contest in Greenville, Texas and is the three-time reigning Colorado state fiddle champion. Other notable victories were in 2013 at Rockygrass in Lyons, Colorado, and Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, to name but a few.
While success in the contest arena is a testament to Katie’s lifelong dedication to her instrument, her singing and songwriting are increasingly taking center stage. 2011 saw the release of Snapshot, her first album of all original material. Katie has since continued to hone her creative process with the same focus and commitment to excellence that she brings to her fiddling. In 2014 she was awarded a prestigious Ucross Residency, where she spent a week in rural Wyoming writing. Her songs explore modern emotional landscapes with sensitivity and wit while still drawing from the deep well of traditional American styles.
Born in Brooklyn New York in 1979, JACOB SZEKELY grew up in a musical family where his talent was recognized early on. By the age of 13, Jacob had written, arranged and improvised on his first commercial album and was sharing the stage with such musical luminaries as Mark O’connor, Richie Havens, Joan Baez and Don McClean. He was accepted to study classical cello performance at Interlochen Arts Academy before attending The Cleveland Institute of Music for his Bachelor’s Degree with Richard Aaron and The University of Southern California for graduate studies.
Jacob is widely considered a pioneer in the use of effects and their implementation into bowed string playing. He is the founder of ThePickuptest.Com and has coached and consulted for a virtual “Who’s Who” of the creative string world including Kevin Olusola (Pentatonix) and Lindsay Stirling. He has been a consultant on articles for amplified string playing in every major publication including Strings and The Strad, which recently featured Jacob and his partner Luis in an article detailing new breakthroughs in Impulse response and other related innovations in DSP that are redefining the possibilities of amplified string playing. To this end Jacob invented a new type of media Player for the Pickuptest which allows musicians all over the world to finally compare every microphone and pickup on the market virtually in real time. He has also recently created the first Wavemap Library for solid body electrics from Yamaha and NS, that map the body of an acoustic violin with an assortment of world class microphones.
After earning degrees from Northwestern University and Yale University, concert artist and educator, Duane Padilla began his performance career as an orchestral musician, performing with the National Repertoire Orchestra, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the New Haven Symphony, and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Also an active classical chamber music performer, his ensemble The Gemini Duo was a semi-finalist in the prestigious International Concert Artists Guild Competition in NYC, and earned outreach grants from Chamber Music America and the American Federation of Musicians and was a featured ensemble on the Connecticut Commission on the Arts Performing Artist Roster and the CMA Rural Residency Artist Roster. Duane’s more recent artistic endeavors have turned towards jazz. As a founding member of The Hot Club of Hulaville, he won the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts’s award for jazz album of the year for their gypsy jazz release “Django Would Go!”. His subsequent solo jazz violin album “Sentimental Swing” was named one of the top 40 jazz releases of 2011 by the South African Jazz Educators Association. Recent concert collaborations include performances with Pianist Tommy James (Music Director of the Duke Ellington Orchestra NYC), fingerstyle guitar legend Jeff Linsky, Guitarist Paul Mehling (Hot Club of San Francisco), Grammy winning Hawaiian Slack Key Guitarist Jeff Peterson, and Jazz Ukulele Grand Master Ben Chong And Ukulele superstar Jake Shimabukuro. He has opened concerts for jazz giants Martin Taylor, John Jorgensen, and John Pizzarelli. Duane is currently performing with the Sovereign Strings, which explores early 20th century Hawaiian string band music, and the Mana Music String Quartet which is releasing an album of arrangements of the music of the Hawaiian Queen Lili’uokalani.
An equally accomplished educator, Duane studied Suzuki violin pedagogy with Betty Haig, Lisa Hershumgel, Stevie Svenden, Teri Einfeld, Alan Lieb as well as Rolland/Zweig Pedagogy with Stacia Spencer. He has studied conducting with Marvin Rabin, William Jones & Shinick Hahm. He has studied jazz violin with Tim Kliphuis, Ben Powell, and Aaron Weinstein, Jason Anick and Christian Howes. He has served as President of the Hawaii Chapter of the American String Teachers Association and has also served on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of Hawaii and the Suzuki Talent Education of Hawaii. He has served on ASTA’s National board as chairman of the Eclectic Styles committee and Member at Large. This fall he begins his term on the board of directors of the Hawaii Music Teachers Association. He currently is on faculty at the Punahou Music School and Chaminade University.
Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw began playing the violin at age four and received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogue Certification from East Carolina University. She is an extremely versatile musician and has a tremendous talent for American Music as well as Classical Violin. Currently she holds two private studios in North Carolina and is frequently invited to teach workshops throughout the United States for both Classical, Improvisational and Bluegrass instruction. Pattie performs regularly in the Eastern United States and is currently a member of multiple ensembles including The Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Hank, Pattie & The Current an Americana Bluegrass Band based out of Raleigh, NC.
Chris Haigh has played on over 100 albums, working with artists as diverse as Bob Geldof, Morcheeba, Alison Moyet, Najma Akhtar, Michael Ball, and Oumou Sangari. He has played at private parties for Paul McCartney, Sting and Elton John, has filled the Albert Hall with goth rockers All about Eve, and appeared at the Hammersmith Apollo with Riverdance.
He covers a huge range of fiddle styles with ease and authority, and has written ten books on fiddling, mostly for Schott. Chris’s website gets a million hits a year and is the primary source of fiddle information on the web, and he runs a rapidly growing YouTube channel, “The Fiddle Channel”.
Vi Wickam is the Technical Director for Strings Without Boundaries.
From bluegrass and jazz to rock & roll and old-time fiddle, VI THE FIDDLER exudes energy, passion, humor, and musical mastery in every performance.
Vi Wickam is an accomplished solo performer and also fronts his own band, cleverly named Vi Wickam and The Band. In addition, he’s a member of The Whiskey Chickens, Fritto Misto, and Fiddle Whamdiddle. The latter’s albums Old School Old Time and Not My Monkey were honored by inclusion on the Grammy Ballot in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
In 2018, Vi had 2 albums chart in the top 5 of Folk DJ Radio. His album Armadillo on a Hot Tin Roof hit #4 in April and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas hit #5 in December.
He’s a 4-time Colorado State Fiddling Champion, a finalist at the Grand Masters’ Fiddler Championship, and Runner Up in the National Fiddle Contest.
In addition to performing, Vi is a highly regarded music instructor. He’s a founder of the online music school myTalentForge.com, and is much in demand as a teacher at music workshops and camps around the US.
Tom Morley’s career spans over thirty years and a host of genres. He’s played Celtic, Bluegrass, classical, swing, Americana, and Country Honky-Tonk, earning an RIAA Certified Gold Record award for his work with “new traditionalist” country artist John Anderson. Classically trained with a degree in music education, Tom has followed his passion for Irish Traditional Music for the past two decades as a soloist and with various groups, including Mithril (an Alabama-based Celtic/World music quartet that released seven albums and performed concerts, including as guest artists with symphonies, across the US) and the Irish Folk trio Stringer’s Ridge, his newest project since moving to Chattanooga, TN in 2017. He has made multiple trips to Ireland, learning from and playing alongside master musicians of the genre, including Manus McGuire, Liz Carroll, Frankie Gavin, Maurice Lennon, Charlie Piggott, John Whelan and Thomas Walsh. He’s also opened for We Banjo 3, Solas, and the Brock McGuire Band and performed with Cherish The Ladies.
Tom teaches privately and has been on the faculty of fiddle workshops and string camps around the US, including the original O’Connor Method Camps, American Music Camp Maine, Strings Without Boundaries, Fiddle Hell Gathering, SCOR Adult String Camp Atlanta, Allegheny Mountain Virginia String Project and for the world renown John C. Campbell Folk School. He is the first International affiliate for the Online Irish Fiddle Certification Program for the Leinster School of Music and Drama at Griffith College Dublin. He’s has an online presence through his regular contributions to iFiddle e-magazine, and the library of video lessons he created for the online publication between 2014-2019 are now being shared on his YouTube channel as well.
Tom is the author of several popular fiddle instructional books (distributed through Shar Music), including Learn to Play Irish Trad Fiddle and the Fiddle Club Favorites for Strings series, a collection of folk and fiddle tunes for beginning players, available for violin, viola, cello, and mandolin.
DAVID FINCH is an actor, singer and multi-instrumentalist specializing in strings and horns. He began his classical training in the Suzuki violin method at the age of four and became a contest fiddler at nine, winning contests across New England. After earning a degree in theater, he furthered his training in NYC with Julie Lyonn Lieberman and in L.A. with bluegrass legend Richard Greene – among others. Although folk music is his forte, he’s been fortunate enough to play with internationally known artists in various genres from Lincoln Center to San Francisco’s Castro Theatre: Alan Cumming, Serj Tankian, Amanda Palmer, Dee Snider, Tony Bennett and Kylie Minogue. As an actor/musician Finch has appeared in several national and international tours, and appeared on Broadway in Cabaret and in London’s West End with Woody Sez. He’s been fiddling, strumming, plucking, and blowing a multitude of instruments for Woody since 2009. The show has had extensive runs in the US and abroad and continues to tour the world.
In 2015, he was a soloist on chromatic harmonica, appearing as the ‘Mock Turtle’ in the opera Alice in Wonderland with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the L.A. Philharmonic. Most recently he can be seen/heard on the PBS special Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. He also strums the ukulele once in a while for his hula dancing wife.
Andy Reiner, an award-winning fiddler, composer and educator, began playing at age five with the Reiner Family Band. He has since developed his own style featuring creative, rhythmic melodies, and thoughtful fusing of world styles. Earning a BM in Violin Performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston launched Andy into a flurry of touring and teaching around the globe – including Heavy Metal with Devil in the Kitchen, Folk/Hip-Hop with FiddleFoxx, Swedish/Appalachian with Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers, Electronic/Celtic with Firecloud, and Bluegrass with The Earth Stringband, which toured Southeast Asia on the 2011 American Music Abroad tour for the US Department of State. Andy currently tours both as a solo artist and with groups Half Pelican (featured in the soundtrack to the Netflix series, “Godless”), Darol Anger and the Furies, and Whitewater Ramble. He produces and hosts River of Suck podcast, interviewing musicians, scientists and more. Andy is a Yamaha Performing Artist and a Codabow Ambassador.
Andy’s compositions for string orchestra have been performed by the Berklee World Strings at the Kennedy Center, the Berklee Performance Center, and national ASTA conventions. Three of his original pieces have been published by national music publishers – “Alpine Valley” and “Loonacy” on Wingert-Jones, and “Blue Sky Basin” on Grand Mesa Music. His tune “The Dissent” was the 2017 winner of the NeASTA Fiddle Tune Contest. Andy teaches students and leads teacher trainings in fiddle styles, improvisation, composition and rhythm fiddling at universities, public schools, privately, and at music camps across the US.
Many of Andy’s string orchestra works, fiddle tunes and songs are influenced by mountains and nature. Also known as the “Skiing Fiddler,” Andy skis every month of the year and has skied while playing the fiddle top to bottom on double black diamond runs at Silverton, CO and Mt. Baker, WA. He plays his fiddle on 14,000′ mountain summits with his wife and musical partner, cellist Dr. Joy Adams, of Half Pelican.
When I was 2 years old, a violinist played in our church and I was captivated. I begged and begged my parents for a violin. They finally relented and bought me a 1/10 size violin for my 3rd birthday and found a teacher willing to take a child half the age of her youngest student. Within a few years, I was taking private lessons at Michigan State University.
When I got into junior high, my school didn’t have an orchestra and I wanted to play music with kids my age, so I joined the school band and learned to play the trumpet.
I maintained both instruments all through high school but as I started to really discover rock and roll, I heard a lot more horns in my favorite bands (Chicago, Aerosmith, Blood Sweat and Tears, Black Crowes, etc.) than I did strings. So I began to focus more on the trumpet, thinking that there were more opportunities for me to play rock music on the trumpet than on the violin.
After school, I moved to Texas and quickly found a party band to tour with as a trumpet player. Shortly after joining the band, they mentioned that they might want to find a fiddle player. Fearing for my job, I decided to dust off my old violin case and try to remember how to play.
After a few failed experiments with cheap pawn shop fiddles and microphones, I discovered the Wood Violins Viper electric violin and my life was transformed. My guitar player taught me how to use amps and effects and it was off to the races.
Over the next 20 years, I toured all over the United States and internationally with a number of regional touring bands and developed a signature sound.
In 2019, I left the band I was with and spent the year writing and recording an all original rock album with no significant guitar work. “One Way to Do It” is proof that the electric violin can rock just as hard as the electric guitar.
In 2020, my goal is to release an original single each month and to start performing both as a solo violinist and with a power trio (violin, bass, and drums).
Dr. David Cutler, a self-proclaimed WEEKEND TRAVELER, is a pianist and composer equally comfortable with classical, jazz, popular, folk, and world music. Stretching what it means to be a performer, events regularly involve crazy antics: extreme eclecticism, choreography, humor, interdisciplinary collaboration, superhero costumes, character ushers, celebrity cameos, kazoo playing marching bands, you name it.
Cutler’s remarkable composition SuperNova dramatically reimagines the most popular string method of all times, SUZUKI VIOLIN SCHOOL, VOLUME 1. While melodies remain unchanged, rhythm section accompaniments are virtuosic and exploratory, inspired by musical genres from around the globe (tango to techno, Baroque to boogie). This project includes 4 full albums (featuring melody statements, improvisations, and play-alongs), a SuperCreativity eCourse, string ensemble arrangements, and more. More information.
One of the world’s leading voices on ARTS ENTREPRENEURSHIP, Cutler has led keynotes and workshops for Music Teachers National Association, College Music Society, Juilliard School, Dutch Classical Music Meeting, Chamber Music America, New World Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University, and Italy’s soundSCAPE music festival. His books The Savvy Musician and The Savvy Music Teacher, which provide tools for amplifying income, impact, and innovation, have shaped a generation of musicians. Dr. Cutler is a distinguished professor of music entrepreneurship at University of South Carolina, and a Yamaha Master Educator.
Cutler and his consulting firm The Puzzler Company work with arts, business, and education organizations to foster innovation. His upcoming VISUAL book (illustrations and design throughout) Problem-Solving Champion: Winning the GAME of Innovation helps teams turn problems into GAMEs and play to win.
Matt Stamell started making instruments in 1974 while a student at Hobart College. Upon graduation in 1978, he enrolled in Boston University’s Program in Artisanry where he studied with Don Warnock. Matt spent many years making guitars and repairing violins, until opening his own shop in 1989 in Amherst. Stamell Stringed Instruments has since become a leading provider in violins, violas, cellos, and bows to the string playing community in New England and beyond.
Matt then opened a second branch of the shop in Poughkeepsie, NY in 2008 to serve the Hudson Valley string community.
Matt Stamell now makes and restores violin family instruments, and continues to devote himself to instruments and the musicians who play them.
ELECTRIC VIOLIN SHOP: Tour with MATT BELL
Electric Violin Shop occupies a unique position as an independent retailer at the forefront of a unique, exciting and growing industry. They are a small, worker-owned company doing a big business! Since 2002, electricviolinshop.com has been a primary source for amplified bowed string instruments, gear as well as a knowledge base for the electric violin community.
Thanks to EVS for offering a 5% discount to the Strings Without Boundaries family: that means YOU!
The EVS Difference
Electric Violin Shop is your one-stop shop for electric instruments, amps, gear & accessories, and most of all, expertise. What sets us apart from everyone else are our…
Knowledge and Experience
With over four decades of combined experience, we have the most thorough knowledge of string amplification and continue to explore and test new equipment each day in order to bring you the newest technology available.
We have the widest selection of electric bowed string instruments and pickups on the planet! With hundreds of instruments in stock to choose from, we are sure you will find the tone, shape and color that is right for you.
We put the “violin shop” in Electric Violin Shop with our detailed attention to instrument setups. You should expect the same level of playability from an electric instrument that you do from your acoustic one. Each instrument we sell receives a full shop setup and play testing before we ship it to you.
When you purchase from EVS you can be assured that you will receive only the best products available on the electric violin market. We stock only instruments that meet our high standards for tone, playability and reliability.
When you call us with questions you will receive enthusiastic and insightful assistance from a friendly, knowledgeable staff member. Call EVS toll free at 866-900-8400.
Blaise Kielar began his electric violin journey in the mid 1980’s, when he sold Zeta violins through Hillmusic Fine Violins, in Chapel Hill, NC. He left that business to play and teach more in the mid 1990’s. Over the years, he has taught many styles – classical, Irish, Old Time, jazz, gospel, country, Middle Eastern, free improv, etc.
When he started his world music instrument store, Music Explorium, in 1999, he considered stocking electric violins to be his fun indulgence. He added acoustic violins due to demand from his former violin shop customers. Through the wonders of the Internet, people began calling him for advice about choosing an electric violin. His combination of violin shop skills and comfort with electronics and improvising appealed to players from around the world. Blaise soon decided to focus his specialization in this area and Electric Violin Shop was born. For years leading up to his retirement Blaise has fostered a flat management structure, empowering his staff with a large say in running the business and delegating responsibility for sales management, procurement and marketing. In May of 2016 Blaise sold his ownership interest in the business to three long-time employees–Chris Guin, Duncan Monserud and Susie Sneeringer–who restructured EVS into a worker-owned cooperative.