2016 – 2017 String Project Faculty:
Alexander Smith, viola
Anthony Mariano, guitar
Growing up in New Mexico, Anthony Mariano has been recognized as a premiere guitarist in the Albuquerque area, receiving the position of Concertmaster for the second annual New Mexico All-State Guitar Ensemble in 2011. Anthony finished his Bachelor’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in 2105 under the instruction of David Tanenbaum, where he had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s finest guitarists. He was chosen by the faculty in 2013 to perform in the school’s annual Guitarrada, an event featuring music played on some of the world’s finest historical guitars. Currently, Anthony is a member of graduate program at the University of Texas Butler School of Music under the instruction of Adam Holzman.
Anthony strongly believes that music is an invaluable part of life, and he takes great pleasure in teaching that art to people of all ages. His primary goal as a classical guitar teacher is to provide his students with the ability to connect and interact with what they feel, and to provide them with the opportunity to share that experience with others. As both a private instructor and an ensemble conductor, Anthony tries to instill in his students an appreciation for both music, and the process of working hard, focusing, and interacting well with others in a group.
Camille Schiess, violin
As a classical violinist from Santa Barbara, Camille Schiess has given a wide variety of performances in solo, chamber, and orchestral concerts. Her experience as a violinist is not limited to just a performance career, but also centers itself on teaching children and inspiring their creativity in music.
Camille is a three time winner of the Granada Music and Arts Soloist Competition, soloing with members of the Santa Barbara Symphony. Other solo performances include playing with the Santa Barbara City College Orchestra where she was awarded Musician of the year in 2011. Aside from soloing, Camille is an active performer in the Santa Ynez Choral Society Orchestra conducted by Chris Bowman. Aside from performing, Camille tries to be involved in the music community. Currently, she is a volunteer with the UT String Project where she teaches beginning Musicianship. She is also a teacher for an after school program at St. Andrews Episcopal School. During her residence in California, she was heavily involved in the local Music and Arts Program in Santa Barbara where she coached students from the chamber orchestra and worked closely with their teacher Nina Bodnar, former concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony. Recently, she was fortunate to have received a grant from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to provide an educational chamber tour in Santa Barbara during the spring of 2015. This educational outreach provided students an introduction to the world of music as listeners and advocates.
As a teacher, Camille Schiess focuses on technical and musical foundations to provide students with the best techniques in order to grow into well rounded musicians. Although Camille is trained with a traditional background, she does incorporate aspects of the Suzuki method into her teaching. The method gives beginning students a solid technical foundation that enables them to play with great ease and focus as they advance. Every student has a different way of learning therefore it is important to try and give them the discipline and honesty of mind required for the practice room and in performance. It is key that a student learns the ability to observe and grow a physical awareness in their technique to facilitate their movements and articulate the expression in their own musical playing. What is most important to her, however, is that she provides a supportive environment for the students to have fun and take pride in any and all the things that they accomplish.
Camille finished her undergraduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the instruction of Axel Strauss and Wei He. She is currently a first year master’s student at the UT Butler School of Music and studies with Brian Lewis.
Clara Li, violin
Clara Li is pursuing her Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in viola performance at the University of Texas at Austin under the tutelage of Professor Roger Myers. She received her Master of Music Viola Performance degree from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati and her Bachelor of Arts in Music degree from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, as a Viola major and Piano minor. Her major teachers include Masao Kawasaki, Catharine Carroll Lees, Joseph Ho Pang Kam and Ricardo Zwietisch. She has received coachings from Timothy Lees, Denisse Rodriguez, Rebecca Barnes and has also played in masterclasses with Robert Vernon, Yu Sun, Keitaro Harada and Danielle Farina.
Clara began teaching piano and being an accompanist when she was in middle school. After entering college, she has also started teaching violin classes an
d private lessons. She has attended Aspen Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival and Summa Cum Laude Music Festival and toured with the Hong Kong Youth Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Youth Strings to perform at Shanghai Expo, Vienna and Prague.
Corina Santos, violin
Cory Blais, cello
Courtney Castañeda is the Orchestra Director at the University of Texas Elementary School (Little Longhorn Orchestra), and also works for the UT Austin String Project and the Center for Music Learning. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both cello performance and psychology from the University of California, Davis and a Master of Music degree in cello performance from Sacramento State University where she was a teacher in the Sacramento State String Project. Most recently, she completed her Master of Music degree in Music and Human Learning from the University of Texas, Austin, and also earned her k-12 teaching certification. A native Texan, Courtney began playing violin and cello thanks to her public elementary school in Houston, and is a strong supporter of public school music education. She taught privately for seven years in northern California, coached chamber music for the Sacramento Youth Symphony’s Summer Chamber Music Workshop, and played in music festivals in Paris and Eisenstadt. Before moving to Austin, Courtney was the Operations Manager for the Sacramento School of Music, and served as the Business Administrator for the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas for two years. She has received Suzuki Cello Teacher Training from Carey Cheney (Book 1) and Tanya Carey (Books 2-6), and Suzuki in the Schools training from Dr. Laurie Scott. Courtney is also a cellist in the Austin based orchestral folk band, American Dreamer.
Daniel Kopp, cello
Deborah Seale, cello
During her pre-teen and teenage years, Deborah and her three sisters formed a vocal group and traveled Texas. They received multiple awards and joined several associations. Although the group flourish
ed, the sisters decided that they did not want to continue a career in it. No longer singing with her sisters but still having a passion for music, Deborah decided to pursue a career as a music teacher. After reaching this decision, she began studying cello with Shawn Sanders and taking music classes at Austin Community College. Starting her own studio, she taught piano, voice, cello and choir. She also worked for Manor ISD as an orchestra assistant and cello teacher before starting her studies at UT. Deborah received her Suzuki Cello Book 1 and 2 training from Alice Ann O’Neill and her Suzuki Cello Book 3 from Richard Mooney. Deborah is now a Music Studies student at the University of Texas at Austin and studies cello with Professor Bion Tsang. Having a deep love for young children, she is currently the Early Childhood Coordinator for the UT String Project.
Elizabeth Kilpatrick, violin
Violinist Elizabeth Kilpatrick is a freshman at Butler School of Music at the University of Texas Austin where she studies Violin Performance with Daniel Ching of the Miro Quartet and chamber music with the Miro Quartet. She has performed recitals throughout the United States and appeared as a soloist with the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra and the Skidmore Chamber Orchestra in Upstate NY. Elizabeth is former member of the first violin sections of the Glens Falls and Schenectady Sy
mphony Orchestras, former violin faculty for the Michael Rudiakov Music Academy in Manchester, VT where she co-founded the Suzuki violin program, and was a active performer in the Capital Region of Upstate NY before moving to Austin, TX. Elizabeth is an alumnus of the Luzerne, Bowdoin, and Manchester music festivals where she studied wit
h Cheryl Kim, Ayano Ninomiya and Frank Huang. She has received chamber coachings from the following: faculty of the Manchester Music Festival, faculty of the Luzerne Music Festival, faculty of the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the American String Quartet, the Ying Quartet, the Talich Quartet, and Ensemble ACJW. Her former teachers include Michael Emery and Joana Genova Rudiakov.
Ian Tuski, guitar
Classical guitarist Ian Tuski has concertized as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe and Puerto Rico. Most recently he has performed with the New Haven Chamber Orchestra and at the University of Puerto Rico, New England Guitar Society as well as the El CaminoArte Guitar Festival in Carrion de los Condes, Spain where he was an artist in residence.
A committed educator, Ian has previously founded classical guitar programs in the New Haven Public Schools as well as the guitar program at the Morse Summer Music Academy, a free summer music program for New Haven Public School students at Yale University. For his efforts, he recently received the Yale-Jefferson Service Award from the Thomas Jefferson Institute of Public Service. He has also been a prizewinner in numerous international guitar competitions including 1st Place at the Classical Minds Competition and top prizes at the Appalachian GuitarFest and Competition and Texas International Guitar Competition. He is currently pursuing his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin under the guidance of renowned guitarist Adam Holzman and also holds a Master of Music Degree from Yale University where he studied with Benjamin Verdery.
Issac Yi, cello
Jacob Schnitzer, conductor
Jacob Schnitzer is a conductor, composer, educator, and horn player from North Texas. An avid creator of unique collaborations, Jacob co-founded the Lab Orchestra and Con Moto Brass
Ensemble. He can be seen conducting with the Lab Orchestra, the Engineering Chamber Orchestra, the UT String Project, Con Moto Brass Ensemble, and student organized ensembles around Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin.
Jacob teaches orchestra and music theory at the University of Texas String Project, the university’s Suzuki teacher training program. He also maintains a private horn studio. Jacob completed the University of Texas Teacher Certification program and expects to receive his Texas K-12 teaching certificate in the Summer of 2016.
He currently studies with Patrick Hughes (horn), Peter Bay (conducting), and Dan Welcher (composition). Former teachers include Gerhardt Zimmermann (conducting), Donald Grantham (composition), and Yevginey Sharlat (composition).
Aside from his interest in music, Jacob enjoys hiking, camping, wandering around Austin, umpiring baseball games, and eating tacos. Jacob resides in Austin with no wife, kids, or cats.
Jennifer Martinez, viola
String Project Instrument Steward
Jennifer Martinez is a student at the University of Texas at Austin where she is pursuing a degree in music education and studies viola with Professor Roger Myers. Jennifer began her viola studies at the age of eleven in El Paso, TX. She has studied privately with Monica Arredondo and Guillermo Quezada from the El Paso Symphony and Juarez Symphony, respectively. In 2011, Jennifer was accepted into the Conducting Apprentice Program where she studied conducting under the direction of Andy Moran for two years.
Kate Corcoran, bass
Kathryn Drake has committed herself to mastering and teaching the art of violin playing. A student since the age of four, Kathryn currently studies at the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin with Professor Satoko Sandy Yamamoto and the Miro Quartet. A member of the UT Symphony and UT Lab Orchestra, she also regularly performs solo recitals and chamber music.In addition to performing, Kathryn teaches at Monarch Suzuki Academy and The University of Texas String Project. She also leads students at the University of Texas in bringing chamber music to the community through outreach events.
When not practicing and teaching, you can find Kathryn exploring Austin on her bike, publishing her written reflections on teaching, and gigging around town with a local bluegrass band, Light Horse Harry.
Kimberly Zielnicki, violin
Laura Hicken, theory
Laura Hicken is a Ph.D. student in Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to beginning her degree, she taught band and music for eight years in South Carolina, Florida, and Texas public schools where she worked with diverse populations. Hicken holds a Master in Music degree in Music Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Her research interests include teacher education and inclusion in music education. Laura currently lives in Wichita Falls, TX with her husband and their two cats.
Luna Chu, violin
Chu Chu has started playing the violin at the age of 4. In 2009, she went to the central conservatory of music, which is the top music school in China. During her college year, she played in many major symphony orchestras in China. In 2011, she was accepted by Asian Youth Orchestra and gave performances through the Asian countries including Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, etc. She also played in EOS Orchestra, China NCPA Orchestra. With China NCPA Orchestra, she has performed in many Countries including Korea, Australia etc.
Dr. Laurie Scott
String Project Director
Laurie Scott is Associate Professor of Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, she serves as the director of The University of Texas String Project and the Musical Lives string program at UT Elementary School. As a university professor she has received both the Teaching Excellence Award from the School of Music and from the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. A former middle and high school orchestra director, she now mentors young professionals toward successful lives as string educators. She is co-author with William Dick of the textbooks, Mastery for Strings, Level One and Two, and Learning Together: Sequential Repertoire for Solo Strings or String Ensembles, co-authored with William Dick and Winfred Crock. Her publication, From the Stage to the Studio: How Fine Performers become Great Teachers, is co-authored with Cornelia Watkins. In every facet of her teaching Dr. Scott serves as an advocate for inclusive and diverse music classrooms, adult music learners, and access to quality music instruction for children in underserved communities. She is a registered teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas and continues to maintain a private violin studio. Her former students have become exemplary string educators, professional studio and symphony musicians, and passionate arts advocates.
Mikaila received her Master of Music Performance degree in 2012 from Roosevelt University in Chicago, after earning her Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Boston Conservatory in 2009. She has studied with Lawrence Neuman, Sally Chisholm, and Rictor Noren. She has played in master classes with Carol Rodland, Samuel Rhodes, Misha Amory, Jutta Puchhammer-Sedillot, Lila Brown, and Craig Mumm.
In 2012, Mikaila performed at the Lake George Music Festival in Lake George, NY, as a resident artist. Other summer music festivals Mikaila has participated in include the Heifetz International Institute, Killington Music Festival, the International Festival Institute at Round Top, Mendocino Music Festival, and the Orford Arts Center.
Mikaila is an avid teacher in the Austin area. She is on viola faculty at Southwestern University, is the Assistant Director of the UT String Project, and owns and runs her private studio, Seo String Studio, of over 50 students alongside her husband, Jun Seo, cellist. During the summer, Mikaila enjoys working with students at Texas Strings Camp, where she is the Director of the Young Artist Program. In addition to teaching and performing, Mikaila enjoys cooking, reading, and spending time with family and her dog, Lulu.
Guitarist Paulina Puljek was born in Croatia, where she started her musical education and gained her first performing experiences on the classical guitar and the Croatian folk instrument, the tamburitza. She received her high school diploma from the Varazdin Academy of Music in Croatia and graduated Cum Laude in guitar performance from the William Carey University. Ms. Puljek continued her education at the East Carolina University in North Carolina, where she earned an M.M. studying with Dr. Elliot Frank. Currently, she is pursuing a D.M.A. in guitar performance with prof. Adam Holzman at the University of Texas at Austin.
Ray Kim, cello
A native of South Korea, Kim was the 1st prize winner in the Korean Music Concours and 3rd prize winner in the Pho-Ne Classic Competition. He was also the winner of the Eastman School of Music Cello Competition, the Cleveland Institute of Music Competition, and the Cobb Symphony Young Artist Competition. At the age of fifteen, he was invited to play with the Seoul Royal Symphony Orchestra at the Young-San Art Hall. He holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Eastman School of Music. Festival appearances include Banff, Colorado College, Caroga, Pacific, and Festival Mozaic.
Rick Palese, music technology
Rick Palese is a PhD in Music and Human Learning candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, serving as an Teaching Assistant in the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music. He is also involved with the University of Texas String Project, one the most significant teacher training and string instrument instruction programs of it’s kind in American colleges and universities. Prior to his arrival in Texas, Rick earned both his B.M.Ed and M.M.Ed degrees in Music Education at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, Illinois, where he was honored with the Esprit de Corps award on three separate occasions, and graduated as Senior Salutatorian.
Rick began his teaching career at Prairie Hill School in Cary, Illinois, directing 5th and 6th grade bands, and sponsoring jazz and podcasting clubs from 2003-2010. He worked with the Cary Education Foundation to secure a grant, commissioning the work Colliding Visions by composer Brian Balmages.
In 2010, Rick returned to VanderCook as administrative faculty. He served as the Director of the Music Education Center of America (MECA) Continuing Education program. Rick was also as the Director of Student Teaching, and co-taught technology in music education courses.
Mr. Palese has presented at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and Illinois Music Education Association conferences, and taught at the Wisconsin Center for Music Education, and presented a number of continuing education courses in the MECA program. Rick’s professional memberships include Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, The National Association for Music Education, the Percussive Arts Society, and the Vic Firth Education Team. As an active performer and educator, Rick is passionate about teacher education, learning strategies, curriculum design, applications of music technology, and models of popular music education in the schools.
Russell Cannon, cello
Russell Cannon was born in South Carolina and grew up in Arlington, Texas, where he began playing cello at the age of ten. Principal cellist of his high school’s orchestra, he led sectionals and tutored young cellists at the area’s middle and elementary schools. Studying privately with Elizabeth Morrow, Russell participated regularly in TMEA All-Region String and Full Orchestras and performed at TMEA as part of the Honor String Orchestra in 2015. In the summer of 2014 he attended the Texas Chamber Music Institute for its inaugural year. Russell began teaching group classes at the UT String Project in 2015, and performs regularly with the UT University Orchestra and the UT Lab Orchestra. He is currently an undergraduate Music Studies major at the Butler School of Music, and studies cello under Bion Tsang.
Russell is a lover of hip-hop and classical music as well as a lover of Tex-Mex food, and is an avid Longhorns football fan.
Rylie Harrod, cello
Rylie Harrod began her musical studies in New England (South Berwick, Maine) studying violin at the age of 3, and starting cello at the age of 5, learning both instruments through the Suzuki method. At age 7, she ultimately decided to choose the cello because she truly loved it and she would always get to sit down! Rylie participated in youth programs at the New England Conservatory Preparatory Program, the Boston Youth Symphony, and the Walnut Hill School. She later continued onwards to earn her Bachelor of Music degree from the Royal Academy of Music, London, UK, and her Master of Music degree from Arizona State University where she was Thomas Landschoot’s teaching assistant. Rylie is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas, Austin, studying with Joshua Gindele of the Miro Quartet. She is currently the Principal Cellist of the Waco Symphony Orchestra, she is an active freelancer in the Austin area, and she is also a substitute player for the San Antonio Symphony. Rylie loves good food, practicing yoga, and going on adventures with her violinist fiance and their very silly dog, Moe-Bear.
Shruthi Kattumenu, violin
Sophie Verhaeghe, violin
A native of Colorado, Sophie Verhaeghe began playing the violin at age 3 as a Suzuki student. Since then, she has performed across the United Sates and internationally,
performing at some of the world’s most famous concert halls including Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. Sophie has spent her summers at an array of music festivals; most recently, she was Co-Assistant Concertmaster at the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO. She regularly subs with the San Antonio Symphony and with groups around Austin, as well as the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. In addition to teaching with String Project, Sophie maintains a private studio and is an in-school/Academy chamber music coach through Austin Chamber Music Center.
Sophie graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan and completed her Master of Music at Boston University. She is currently a candidate for the prestigious Artist Diploma at UT. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys hiking in her native state, cooking, and watching college football.
Tamara Dworetz, conductor
Tamara Dworetz is pursuing an MM in Orchestral Conducting at the University of Texas at Austin. As an orchestra teaching assistant, she serves as a co-conductor for the UT University Orchestra and as an assistant conductor to Gerhardt Zimmermann and the UT Symphony Orchestra. She is an assistant conductor for the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
Prior to UT, Tamara served as the Director of Orchestras at Lakeside High School and the Philharmonia Conductor for the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra. Former positions include Assistant Conductor & Outreach Director for the Musical Arts Youth Orchestra in Bloomington, Indiana and Assistant Director of Bands at Alpharetta High School in Alpharetta, Georgia.
In June 2016, Tamara was selected as an apprentice conductor to Arthur Arnold, Moscow Symphony Conductor, at the PRISMA Music Festival in British Columbia. There, she had the opportunity to conduct the PRISMA Brass, including musicians from the Vancouver Symphony, Victoria Symphony and Netherlands Philharmonic. She has guest conducted the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra, Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Indiana University Brass Choir.
Tamara holds an MM in Music Education from the University of Georgia and a Bachelor of Music Education from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
Yvonne Davila is originally from Chicago, Illinois and began Suzuki violin at the age of five. She attended DePaul University and received her B.M. in Music Business and Violin Performance under Joseph Genualdi. During that time, she had the opportunity to substitute for the Chicago Civic Orchestra. She received her M.M. in Violin Performance at UW-Madison under Vartan Manoogian. Yvonne has appeared as a soloist at the AIMS Music Festival in Solsona, Spain and at the Rural Musicians Forum in Spring Green, WI. While in WI, she was a member of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and a substitute with The Madison Symphony Orchestra. Yvonne has served as an Adjunct Instructor at Ripon College, conducted an elementary string orchestra in McFarland, Wisconsin and established Suzuki violin studios in both Madison and Spring Green. Yvonne is currently a doctoral candidate in Music and Human Learning at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a middle school Orchestra Director in Round Rock, TX and an experienced Suzuki method violin teacher. She teaches at The University of Texas at Austin String Project, which she has also served as Preschool Coordinator and Assistant Director. She is an active clinician and has presented her work at the Suzuki of the Americas Association, American String Teacher of America conferences, and Texas Music Educators Association. Her research focuses on children’s musical development, parental education, and children’s musical achievement.
Jillian Johnson, violin
Jillian Johnson, 18, is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin as a Violin Performance Major studying with Professor Brian Lewis. She began studies in violin with Shakeh Ghoukasian at Nevada School of the Arts at age 13. She started high school at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts, and later attended the Interlochen Arts Academy with scholarship to study with Ara Sarkissian. She was awarded second place in the American Protege International Concerto Competition and performed in the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in December 2015. Jillian has had the privilege of performing in master-classes for James Buswell, Stephen Shipps, Giora Schmidt, Oleh Krysa, Alexander Treger, the Fine Arts Quartet and many more. An avid chamber music player, Jillian studied chamber music with the NSA Honors Quartet and was awarded third place in the AADGT International “Passion of Music 2014” festival. They performed in the DiMenna Center of Music in New York as part of the winners recital. She has worked under the baton of JoAnn Falletta, Jung Ho Pak, Christopher Rountree, John Axelrod, Gerhardt Zimmermann, and others. As a scholarship recipient, Jillian has attended the Green Valley Chamber Music Festival, Tuacahn Summer Institute, the Interlochen Arts Camp, Center Stage Strings, and performed this past summer as part of the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial. In her spare time, Jillian enjoys playing with her pugs Mitzu and Kikko, cooking, and reading.
Madalyn Marabella, violin
Madalyn has lived in Austin, Texas all her life and has played violin since she was seven years old. She is currently a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin where she studies Spanish and Business. During middle school and high school, she played in her school orchestras and participated in Solo and Ensemble, TSSEC, and All-Region Orchestra. She also composed three original pieces for her high school orchestra, which she conducted at their spring concert. In 9th grade, she helped found a music group that played weekly at assisted living homes. Madalyn attended string project in elementary school and is very excited to be back
Sabrina Uriegas, violin
Sabrina Mari Uriegas is pursuing her Bachelor of Choral Studies degree at the University of Texas at Austin. She was born and raised in the neighboring city of Round Rock, TX. She began playing the violin at the age of four, studying under Dr. Laurie Scott, and started singing in eighth grade at her church parish. She now studies voice under the direction of Dr. Cynthia Morrow. Although she may not be concentrating in the violin, Sabrina still enjoys playing and hopes to continue to perform in an orchestra. Sabrina is happy to be a part of this amazing faculty and share her love for music with her students.