Education: Bachelor of Music in performance from St. Olaf College; Master of Music from the University of Minnesota
Greg Nelson is Adjunct Instructor of Cello at St. Cloud State University. Greg received his Bachelor of Music in performance from St. Olaf College under the instruction of Dr. David Carter, and his Master of Music in the same field from the University of Minnesota with Prof. Tanya Remenikova. Mr. Nelson has taught at St. Cloud State University for two years and in addition to his duties at the college he maintains a studio of cellists in the Minneapolis area. He has also been instructor at the Strings and Piano Academy Summer festival at St. Olaf College, and the Chamber Music Midwest festival in New Richmond, WI.
Mr. Nelson has been principal cellist with the St. Olaf Orchestra (with whom he performed Shostokovich’s cello concerto in 2005), the Muncie Civic Symphony, the St. Cloud Symphony, Linden Hills Chamber Orchestra, and the University of MN symphony orchestra. His teachers have included, Dr. David Carter, Mr. Mihai Tetel, Prof. Tanya Remenikova, Mr. Sachiya Isomura, and Arek Tesarczyk among others. In addition to his educational endeavors Greg maintains an active performance career appearing at various venues in the Twin Cites Metro and St. Cloud areas. He frequently performs in chamber music settings often with other faculty of St. Cloud State University as well as musicians in the Twin Cities. He will be featured as soloist this fall with the St. Cloud State symphony and the Linden Hills Chamber orchestra in performance of the cello concerto by Edward Elgar.Mr. Nelson is also a proponent of new music and has premiered numerous compositions most notably as soloist in the Mixed Blood Theater company production Bahala Na in 2007. His latest project is a work for Solo cello and electronics, done in collaboration with St. Cloud State Composition instructor Brett Wartchow.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Music, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Minneapolis native, Lauren Anastos, began her Suzuki violin studies at the age of six. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from the University of Wisconsin - Madison where she studied with Tyrone Greive. In the Spring of 2010, she went to London to study with Royal Academy of Music professor, Remus Azoitei. Lauren taught Suzuki violin for seven years before leaving to perform on various cruise ships with her string quartet. During her time on the sea, Lauren played with a variety of musical groups such as the blues band, Blue Man Group band, and the Legends in Concert band. Lauren’s previous teachers include Tyrone Greive, Remus Azoitei, Mary West, Mary Sorlie, Yuri Merschevsky, Karen Moon, and members of the Artaria and Pro Arte Quartets.
Education: B.M., Vanderbilt University; M.M., University of Minnesota
Twin Cities native Meredith Vaughan began her violin studies at the age of five. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Violin Performance from Vanderbilt University and a Master’s of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Minnesota. While at Vanderbilt, she studied privately with Carolyn Huebl and did long-term Suzuki teacher training with Carol Smith. At the U of M, she studied privately and completed long-term Suzuki training, as well as a Suzuki Practicum course, with Mark Bjork. Other past teachers and chamber coaches include Mary Sorlie, Bruce Coppock, Kathryn Plummer, and Tanya Remenikova, as well as members of the Arianna, Shanghai, Pacifica, Artaria, and Ying Quartets. In addition to teaching, Meredith loves playing chamber music, and performs actively with several chamber ensembles around the Twin Cities.
Education: BA, University of Minnesota; MM, University of Minnesota
Jeannie Trelles began her studies of the cello with Anna Vazquez at the age of eight. When in high school, she began studying with Tanya Remenikova at the University of Minnesota. She graduated from the U of M with a BM degree in Cello Performance and a BA in Spanish. Jeannie continued her studies with Professor Remenikova and earned her MM in Cello Performance.Jeannie began teaching cello lessons in 1998. While attending the U of M, she studied traditional cello pedagogy with Professor Remenikova. Jeannie had always been interested in the Suzuki Method, and in 2008 and 2009 she attend the International Suzuki Festival in Lima, Peru. There she studied Suzuki pedagogy with Nancy Hair and Beth Goldstein-McKee.In addition to teaching at the SPCM, Jeannie maintains a large private studio in Minneapolis and Golden Valley and teaches a beginning cello group at Hale Elementary.
Jeannie enjoys teaching and performing as a freelance musician. When she is not teaching, she manages the Bean Factory coffee shop in St. Paul and designs and makes jewelry for her jewelry line, Vikse.
Education: BM, University of Michigan; MFA, University of Iowa BS (music), University of Idaho; MM, University of Wisconsin – River Falls
Wendy Tangen-Foster is the Director of Suzuki Strings at the St. Paul Conservatory of Music and is a member of the McNally Smith College of Music faculty in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is past-president of the Suzuki Association of Minnesota and serves on their board of directors. Wendy began her violin studies at age five with LeRoy Bauer, a Suzuki Violin teacher and University of Idaho professor emeritus of strings. By high school, she had become an avid performer, studying with the Philadelphia String Quartet and winning numerous violin competitions in the inland Northwest. She has studied with the Lafayette String Quartet and the Apple Hill Chamber Players and performed as a soloist and first violinist with the Washington-Idaho Symphony and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra in Minneapolis. While earning her B.S. in music, Wendy studied at the Lionel Hampton School of Music where her interest and expertise expanded beyond classical music and led her to study with jazz violinist Randy Sabien. She joined his band Rhythm and Bowsachieving acclaim in the Midwest and performing as invited guest artists at the International Jazz Educators Conference in 2012. Wendy has toured nationally with rock/blues bands and performs and records as a freelance musician in the Twin Cities. Currently, you can find Wendy onstage in the Twin Cities performing with Charanga Tropical, a nine-piece salsa ensemble that performs classic and modern salsa music, Rogue Tango, a six-piece band that plays a blend of tango, jazz, rumba, and flamenco music, and The Changeups, an alternative/country band that loves to rock out. Her first passion is teaching, stemming from her love of children and her dedication to Dr. Suzuki’s Talent Education method. Her joyful, exuberant teaching style and love of music inspire her students of all ages.
Education: Cleveland Institute of Music, the New England Conservatory(B.Music), and graduate studies at the University of Arizona.
Andrea Stern has performed as a soloist and with chamber ensembles and orchestras from Minnesota to Maracaibo, Venezuela. She was principal harpist for three years with the Maracaibo Symphony, and has performed with the Phoenix, Hong Kong, Hartford, Duluth, and Fargo Symphonies. She has given concerts around the world as a featured performer on cruise ships. Most recently, she was principal harpist for the Minnesota Opera.Andrea performs concerts and educational programs that orient the audience to the wonders of the concert and Celtic harp. An avid collaborator, she performs solo or with flute, cello, whistles, concertina, voice, and even bagpipes! Her eclectic tastes range from Beatles to Bach, Irish to Japanese.She currently serves as adjunct faculty at Augsburg College, and harp instructor at MacPhail Center for Music and Saint Paul Conservatory of Music. She has been invited twice to give masterclasses and lessons for the harp community in Serbia, and performed at the Fifth International Harp Festival in Belgrade in 2006.
Violinist and teacher Leif Petersen has been involved with the Suzuki method since the age of 4 when he began taking lessons with Janet Fuller at the Suzuki Institute of Seattle. Now a dedicated teacher of the Suzuki method, Leif teaches private and group lessons at the St. Paul Conservatory of Music. Leif studied Suzuki Pedagogy, covering books 1-10, at the University of Minnesota with renowned teacher Mark Bjork in addition to studying violin performance with Sally O’Reilly. At the University of South Carolina Leif studied with Dr. William Terwilliger and was the winner of the University of South Carolina Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. Earning his Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Montana, Leif studied with Dr. Margaret Baldridge and was the winner of the University of Montana Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. As a member of the Blue Mountain Piano Trio, Leif traveled to Toronto as a finalist in the MTNA National Chamber Music Competition. Leif has also performed in master classes for internationally renowned artists such as Midori, Monica Huggett, and William Preucil.
Education: BM and MM degrees in Violin Performance from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia
Russia’s native violinist Natalia Moiseeva holds BM and MM degrees in Violin Performance from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia, and a DMA degree in Violin Performance from the University of Minnesota, where she studied with professor Sally O’Reilly. A winner of number of National Youth Competitions in Russia, Natalia in 2009 has won the University of Minnesota School of Music Concerto Competition and performed Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with the University Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mark Russell Smith. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra (Ukraine), Minnesota Sinfonia and the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra. Currently Natalia is an adjunct instructor of Applied Strings at Inver Hills Community College and Violin instructor at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and Saint Paul Conservatory of Music. An avid chamber music player, Natalia performs regularly in the Twin Cities Area as well as abroad collaborating with the University of Minnesota, UW–River Falls and Hamline University faculty members. She also regularly performs with the Minnesota Orchestra and Minnesota Opera.
Juan Carlos Mendez
Education: BA in guitar performance from Universidad Nacional in Heridia Costa Rica
Guitarist Juan Carlos Mendez holds a BA in guitar performance from Universidad Nacional in Heridia Costa RIca. He is currently working on a Masters in Music Performance from McNally Smith College of Music. He is Seeking to implement a wide array of educational techniques based on the varied musical background that every student has and is proficient in the use of technology, including musical software used for the study of the guitar. Juan is multilingual, speaking both English and Spanish.
Mag McDermott has an extensive background in Irish fiddle, including both performance and teaching. Her repertoire spans old and new, from incendiary reels to soulful airs. She is devoted to educating youth in playing proficiency, confidence in performance, and musical group camaraderie on the violin and viola. She uses a wide range of musical material and has developed a unique instructional approach for groups and individuals. Her playing can be heard on a number of recordings, and she delights in performance, from concert settings to ceili dance, illuminating the range of Irish fiddle.
Education: BA, University of Miami; MM, McNally Smith College of Music
Throughout his lifelong pursuit of music, Greg Byers has overcome countless obstacles in order to become an idiosyncratic performer, composer, educator, and producer. Greg started playing cello at The Family Suzuki School of Rochester, NY at the uncharacteristically young age of 2 1/2. By age sixteen, he was a talented cellist, but was frustrated with the lack of personal expression found in youth orchestras. Thanks to several mentors, Greg began to explore the possibilities of the cello in a jazz context. After beginning the undergraduate program at University of Miami, Greg wanted to officially declare his major to be jazz cello. Despite the conservative bureaucracy that, at the time, denied him that title, Shelly Berg, the current Dean of the Frost School of Music, saw Greg’s perseverance and in the end awarded Greg the designation of being the first person to graduate as a jazz cellist.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 business person, so he applied these skills to his debut EP Some Dark, Beautiful Morning. In order to fulfill his aspirations of teaching at the collegiate level, Greg decided to continue his higher learning at McNally Smith College of Music, where he is pursuing a Master of Performance.As a performer, Greg enjoys working in the studio as much as playing shows. Hefty recording experience coupled with perfect pitch allows Greg to work directly with the producer, eschewing the need for written parts or larger ensembles. As a composer, he strives for melodies that reach the layman, and harmonies that challenge the stereotypes of Western popular music. As an educator, Greg is passionate about helping students avoid the pitfalls of traditional music instruction, with the student truncated from any sort of creativity or expression. Rather, Greg works to bring out the creative potential residing in every student by integrating improvisation, theory, and ear training into his pedagogy. As a producer, Greg endeavors to tell the stories embedded in every piece of music with clarity and precision.
Education: MA, Academy of Music (Warsaw, Poland); MM, University of Minnesota
Born in Krakow, Poland, Ewa began playing the violin at age seven, continuing a long family tradition and surrounded by centuries-old European culture. She received her Master’s Degree, magna cum laude, from Wyzsza Szkola Muzyczna in Warsaw. Following a 2-year engagement with the Orchestra of the Lyric Opera of Warsaw, she joined the Veracruz Symphony and later Mexico City Philharmonic. In Mexico City, Ewa was also engaged as a soloist with Sinfonia Varsovia. Ewa later joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra where she enjoyed working with such conductors as Michael Tilson–Thomas, Kurt Masur, Klaus Tennstedt, and Leonard Bernstein.
Her musical journeys also took her to Ann Arbor, where she studied with the legendary violinist Camilla Wicks, and finally to the Twin Cities, where she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Master’s of Music Degree under the guidance of Roland Vamos, and where she has received extensive Suzuki Pedagogy Training.
In the Twin Cities she has performed with Minnesota Opera, Vocal Essence and is an active freelance musician. Ewa is on the faculties of St. Joseph’s School of Music, the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music, Concordia University and the College of St. Catherine, where she is also the director of the String Chamber Orchestra. Ewa maintains a full teaching studio at St. Joseph’s School of Music, where she has taught for nineteen years. Her students have won school–wide competitions and have been members of MYS and GTCYS youth orchestras. Ewa’s hobby and other passion is playing and dancing the Argentinean Tango.
Education: Doctor of Musical Arts, Stony Brook University; Master and Bachelor of Music Indiana University
Marc Levine’s (violin) versatile performances have been described as “eloquent as well as technically superb combining technical mastery with emotional perceptiveness and beautiful sound” (Southampton Press). He is artistic director of the Southampton Cultural Center Chamber Music Series, has performed at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space, and has been a member of several notable groups including the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, and The New Tango Project, with whom he recorded in collaboration with the Center for Contemporary Opera. As a baroque violinist, Marc was a prizewinner in the 2008 American Bach Soloists International Competition for Baroque Violin and has performed with top baroque ensembles, including Concert Royal, the Lyra Baroque Orchestra, the Aulos Ensemble, and Early Music New York, a group with which he has served as principal 2nd violin and recorded on the Ex Cathedra label. Marc is a founding member of the baroque ensemble Flying Forms, known for innovative, interdisciplinary performances and considered “names to watch” (Berkshire Review for the Arts) and “the bright future of early music” (Arthur Haas, harpsichord).Marc teaches privately and is on the faculty of the Saint Paul Conservatory of Music. His teachers include Pamela Frank, Ani Kavafian, and Franco Gulli. On baroque violin, Marc has played in master class or studied privately with: Cynthia Roberts, Monica Huggett, Robert Mealy, Dana Maiben, Marc Destrubé, Michael Sand, and Elizabeth Blumenstock.
Education: BA, Concordia College; Performing Artist’s Certificate, The Royal Conservatory of Music – The Hague, Netherlands
Julie Elhard, viola da gamba, appears regularly as a soloist and chamber musician and has made several appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, including the St. Matthew Passion by Bach under the direction of Nicholas McGegan. She has been a guest artist with Apollo’s Fire in Cleveland and is a founding member of Violes Egales and Glorious Revolution Baroque. Ms. Elhard was awarded a 2011 Artist’s Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. She also received a Jerome Foundation grant to study vielle and early string playing with Margriet Tindemans and received a Performing Artist Certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, Netherlands. She has taught at workshops in North America and at the Viola da Gamba Society of America’s national Conclaves. Ms. Elhard currently teaches viola da gamba at Macalester College, and also at the St. Paul Conservatory of Music where she has developed a Suzuki-style approach for children to learn the viola da gamba.