ABOUT OUR FACULTY
MaryLou Roberts, Coordinator & Guitar Teacher
MaryLou Roberts graduated with a Master's Degree in Guitar Performance and the valedictory prize from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Gilbert Biberian and John Holmquist. While on the faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, she taught guitar, music theory for Suzuki students and directed two guitar ensembles. She received her Bachelor Degree in Guitar Performance from the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, studying with John Holmquist. MaryLou is a member of the National Suzuki Guitar Committee and a registered Guitar Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She has conducted teacher training courses in Ann Arbor, and festivals worldwide, including the Hartt Suzuki Institute, the International Suzuki Guitar Festival in Califonia, and festivals in Lima, Peru, Asuncion, Paraguay, Bogota, Columbia and the Suzuki Music Festival in Melbourne, Australia. MaryLou is coordinator of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute of Music, and has an active Suzuki Guitar program. MaryLou also is director of the week long Ann Arbor Suzuki Guitar Institute, which draws teachers and students from throughout North America. www.marylouroberts.arborguitar.org
Contact MaryLou at:
for contact information for individual teachers or any other questions about the institute.
Derek Weller, Bass Viol Teacher
Instructor of Double Bass. M.M., B.M., University of Michigan and a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy. Mr. Weller taught for Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and was a Lecturer of bass at the University of Michigan and the University of Toledo. He is currently on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University and the Interlochen Arts Academy. Mr. Weller is Principal bass of the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra and a member of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Carmel California Bach Festival. He is also a member of a select international committee organized to rewrite the Suzuki Bass Method.
Alice Greminger, Cello
For over thirty years Alice Greminger has been teaching Suzuki cello. Upon learning about Suzuki Talent Education in her University of Michigan String Pedagogy class, she immediately signed up and studied with many of the leading Suzuki teachers. Additionally, after studying cello with Rafaele Altweg of Die Akademie der Musik in Zurich, Switzerland and receiving her Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Strings from the University of Michigan, Alice developed the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute Cello Program. While during this period she directed strings and orchestra in the Manchester Public Schools. 'Teaching of Action in String Playing' workshops with violinist Paul Rolland and cellists Margaret Rowell and Irene Sharp directed Alice to England and her first Alexander Technique lessons. To expand her professional activity, Alice completed a four year teacher training program in Philadelphia, resulting in her familiarizing her students with 'Alexander's Freedom of Movement', an approach that enhances students' technique, expression, and poise. This amazing technique aids students from ages three through seniors. Ms Greminger has taught Alexander Technique at the Superior String Alliance Music Camps and at Meadowmount School of Music. She also conducts workshops such as 'Alexander Technique as Movement Medicine' for the Michigan Music Teachers Association.
Alice Greminger has performed with many ensembles including the Oriana Baroque Ensemble and the Superior String Alliance Orchestra and Chamber Ensembles. She delights in presenting solo recitals and currently performs with the Westside Trio and plays in the Ann Arbor Kirtan. In addition to her private studio, Alice has taught in Emerson School's after-school music program since 2009. Visit her website at agreminger.musicteachershelper.com
Joseph Jansma, Cello
Joseph graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and he has taken Suzuki training with Andrea Yun and Wendy Azrak. In addition to studying cello performance at the University of Minnesota, he studied music theory and composition, which he integrates into his Suzuki lessons. Joseph maintains a private studio in Ann Arbor, and is an instructor at the Toledo Symphony School of Music and Emerson after-school program.
Visit his website at JosephJansma.weebly.com
Thor S Sigurdson, Cello & Double Bass
Described recently as "red-hot" by Chicago Classical Review, cellist Thor Sigurdson has been thrilling audiences worldwide for over three decades with his unmistakably committed performances. The New York Times singled him out for his "evocative, poised playing", and Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel exclaimed, "Sigurdson is a dynamic player. He carves out phrases passionately. His technique is more than respectable; his tone is juicy."
Sigurdson received his bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School as one of the final students of the great Leonard Rose. Upon graduation, he was among the first cellists selected by Michael Tilson Thomas to perform in Miami's celebrated New World Symphony, an ensemble with which he performed and toured internationally for three seasons. He was subsequently hired as Associate Principal Cellist of the Florida Philharmonic, a post he held for 13 years, finishing his tenure as Principal Cellist. As a soloist and chamber musician he was a finalist in both the National Society of Arts and Letters Cello Competition and the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition, among others. Throughout his life, Sigurdson has always been a passionate advocate for young musicians, with over 30 years of teaching both cello and double bass students. Many of his past pupils have gone on to successful careers in both music performance and music education. He's also an experienced orchestral conductor, and he dedicates himself to working closely with youth orchestras wherever his career leads him. Sought after as a superb studio musician, Sigurdson's cello solos have been featured on albums by Gloria Estefan, Extreme, Collective Soul, Zakk Wylde, Plácido Domingo, and many others. For over 20 years he's had the honor of being a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which presents the annual Grammy Awards. His own debut recording of favorite cello solos with harpist Nichole Luchs, entitled After a Dream, is now available.
Having recently relocated to Ann Arbor from Chicago with his 5-yr/old son and his wife, Laura Sutherland (who’s pursuing a PhD in SocWk & Athrop), Thor is excited to be pursuing a new career as a trained Suzuki cello teacher. His full-time studio of both private and group pupils is located at the music room in the Northside Community Church. Suzuki education has become his primary passion, and he looks forward to meeting with many more Ann Arbor families interested in trying this groundbreaking method of helping young children to develop a lifelong love of music.
Andrea Yun, Cello
Andrea teaches privately in Ann Arbor and is an active performer. She is currently the principal cellist of the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra, and has served as principal of the Flint Symphony and Laredo Philharmonic in Texas. Andrea served as Assistant Professor of Cello at the University of Texas at San Antonio and was adjunct faculty at Bowling Green State University. She also was the orchestra director at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School and at two Okemos Middle Schools. She has been on faculty at many clinics and camps, including the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and Suzuki Family Camp, Interlochen All-State Orchestra Camp, and several Suzuki workshops in the state. At Indiana University, Andrea earned a dual bachelor's degree in music education and mathematics, and also a master's degree in cello performance; she completed her doctorate in cello performance from the University of Michigan.
Terry Farmer, Guitar
Terry studied classical guitar with Ricardo Iznaola at the University of Denver, John Holmquist at the Cleveland Institute of Music and with Gerald Klickstein at Michigan State University. He has toured nationally as guitarist and band leader. Starting from a young age in his family band, Terry’s music career has taken him to all four corners of the country and beyond as a player and band leader, including a 2 year stint as lead guitarist with surf legends Jan & Dean, and 3 years of national touring with his original rock & roll band, The Bead Band. Terry has been artistic director and musical director for many initiatives. Terry has also performed at festivals such as Blissfest (MI), Kerrville Folk Festival (TX) and Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (NY), in addition to many folk/theater venues around the country. As part of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute Terry is a certified Suzuki teacher and runs a thriving guitar studio. He is adjunct faculty at Concordia University Ann Arbor, and direct the contemporary service at the First Congregational Church of Ann Arbor. http://www.terryfarmermusic.com/
Vera Flaig, Guitar
APPROACH, I believe that all people should have the opportunity to participate fully in the creation of music. For me, the classical guitar is one of the most personal and meditative instruments anyone can play. I have over 30 years of experience teaching guitar, early childhood music, and music for classroom teachers. Age should never be a barrier to learning how to play the guitar. I design a very personal approach for each student based upon both their interests and abilities. I have many pedagogical tools at my disposal (Orff; Kodaly; and Suzuki) designed to meet the needs of young students
BIOGRAPHY, Dr. Flaig holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Guitar from the University of Manitoba, a Bachelor of Education (elementary) from York University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology from the University of Michigan. In 1992 Vera decided to expand her career to include early childhood music pedagogies, Kodaly and Orff Schulwerk. After years of study and training, she reached level II in Kodaly and certified as an Orff Schulwerk specialist. She received additional training in Baby Music when she took a full time position with Young Children’s Music and Movement Classes. In time she began teaching Orff children’s music classes and teacher training workshops at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada. In 1999 she went back to school to certify as an elementary teacher. Her desire was that all children have access to quality music education. She worked at an inner-city school for two years before being accepted into the doctorate program at the University of Michigan. She now teaches all upper-level courses in music history at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
MaryLou Roberts, Guitar
See above under Institute Coordinator
Katherine Almquist, Violin & Viola
Kathy Almquist (viola/violin) received a Bachelors Degree from the Hartt School and a Masters degree at the Yale School of Music. Her viola teachers include Patricia McCarty, Harold Coletta, Lawrence Dutton, Rosemary Glyde, Jesse Levine, and Scott Nickrenz. After completing studies at Yale, she went on to Long Term Suzuki Teacher Training in viola as well as violin with Teri and David Einfeldt at the Hartt School of Music. Suzuki training continued with Carol Smith, Carrie Reuning-Hummel and Elizabeth Stuen-Walker. She has been a faculty member of The Hartt School Suzuki Program, The Suzuki School of Newton (MA) and was Upper Strings Coordinator and viola faculty for Intensive Community Program of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. In addition to a growing private studio in Ann Arbor, MI, Kathy is a frequent guest clinician at Suzuki Workshops and Summer Institutes.A former member of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, she has often performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and has been a substitute player at the National Opera of Finland. Her students have included two featured violists on Public Radio’s From the Top, a 2011 Virtu Foundation Scholarship recipient, the winner of the 2010 Rosemary Glyde Scholarship from the New York Viola Society, the 2009 winner of the A-muse the World Competition, as well as a semi-finalist in the 2008 New England String Ensemble Concerto Competition in addition to principal violists in every orchestra of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. Current and former students have continued their studies at such places as Harvard University, Amherst College, Oberlin College, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Bates College, University of Michigan, the Walnut Hill School, the Meadowmount School of music, and the Tuscia Opera Festival in Rome, Italy.
Elizabeth Bakalyar Friedman, Violin Teacher
Elizabeth Bakalyar Friedman relocated to Ann Arbor, MI from Oxford, UK in 2016. She holds her undergraduate degree in violin performance from the University of Michigan and her Master of Music in violin performance from Rice University. She has nearly 20 years of teaching experience, having taught violin at the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory School at Rice University, and violin and beginning viola at the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute and at the Woodlawn String Instrument Program, a part of the Metropolitan Area Group for Igniting Civilization (MAGIC). In Oxford, she taught a large and active studio for five years while completing her Suzuki teacher training with the European Suzuki Association. Elizabeth began her Suzuki training in the USA and trained through Book 10 with the British Suzuki Institute while living in Oxford. She thoroughly enjoys
Judy Blank, Violin
Judy Blank has her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Northern Illinois University, and has studied privately with one of the great violin masters, Ruggiero Ricci. She has extensive Suzuki training, and travels to teach at Suzuki Institutes throughout the US, Canada, Australia, New Zeeland and Puerto Rico. Currently a member of the Ann Arbor Symphony for the past 20 years, and she maintains a large studio of students age 3 to adult. "I particularly enjoy developing children from a young age and teaching them through advanced levels."
Courtney Bonifant, Violin
Courtney Bonifant is a violist and educator currently residing in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Originally from a small town in New Hampshire, she graduated from the Eastman School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in viola performance, and with a Master of Music degree in viola performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2011. Her most influential teachers include John Graham and Carol Rodland at Eastman, and Lynne Ramsey at CIM. Ms. Bonifant enjoys an active career as both a performer and an educator. She is a section violist with the Jackson (MI), Lansing, and Midland (MI) Symphony Orchestras, and has performed in a substitute capacity with the Ann Arbor and Flint Symphony Orchestras in Michigan; the Akron Symphony Orchestra in Ohio; and the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra in Pennsylvania. An avid chamber musician, Ms. Bonifant appears often around Southeast Michigan and Northeast Ohio in string duos, trios, and quartets, playing for a variety of events. Ms. Bonifant began her training as a Suzuki violin instructor with Kimberly Meier-Sims at CIM, an education she continues to build on at Suzuki Institutes around the country. Most recently, Ms. Bonifant attended the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point, WI, where she completed the Suzuki Viola Book 4 course with Sarah Bylander-Montzka. www.courtneybonifant.com
Kevin Horne, Violin
Kevin Horne studied with Jascha Brodsky at the New School of Music in Philadelphia and with Linda Cerone at the Cleveland Institute of Music. After performing in several orchestral ensembles in Philadelphia, he attended the American Suzuki Institute at Stevens Point with Ed Kreitman. He then continued his teacher training up to book 7 with Linda Fiore, Martha Shackford, and Cathy Lee. He became a sought after Suzuki teacher in Philadelphia teaching at the Darlington Fine Arts School, the Sibelius Academy and his home studio. From 1999-2002, Mr. Horne was the Suzuki Department Head at the Wilmington Music School, in Delaware. Currently he maintains a full studio as a member of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute, and teaches at the Great Lakes Suzuki Institute in Canada.
Rebecca Hunter, Violin
Rebecca Hunter is an active educator and performer in the Ann Arbor MI area. She served as Assistant Professor of Applied Violin and Violin Pedagogy at the University of South Carolina (2010-2015), and was the founding director of the Suzuki Strings at USC program. She has taught at various music camps, festivals, Suzuki workshops and institutes, adjudicated festivals and competitions, and led master classes across the U.S. and abroad. She has given presentations at regional and national conferences, and in Saint Lucia and Thailand. As a performer, Rebecca has been a soloist with orchestras including the Chiang Mai Symphony and the Kitchener Waterloo Chamber Orchestra, and a section player with various orchestras including the Hallé Symphony and the Eugene Symphony. She presently plays with the Flint Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in French from the University of Western Ontario, a Masters of Music in Violin Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, a Masters of Music in Suzuki Pedagogy at Ithaca College with Sandy Reuning, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Oregon with a secondary area of Musicology. Rebecca is also a licensed Andover Educator, a somatic education which aims to train musicians to move according to their structure promoting facility and preventing injury and limitations.
Shannon Jansma, Violin
Shannon has taught violin for over a decade, and has her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from Eastern Michigan University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She has taken 11 units of Suzuki Training (through Book 10) with Professor Mark Bjork as part of the long term training program at the University of Minnesota. While in Minneapolis, she interned and lead group classes at the MacPhail Center for Music. She was also the 2005 recipient of the Midland Symphony Fellowship Scholarship to attend Central Michigan University on a full scholarship, and has played with the Traverse City Symphony, the Midland Symphony Orchestra, and others. Shannon grew up as a Suzuki student in violin, and by the age of 8 had decided to become a violin teacher. She believes that with proper instruction and a nurturing environment, every child can learn to love and excel in music!
Visit her website at shannonviolin.com
Rebecca Kaltz, Violin
Mrs. Kaltz is known as a dedicated performer and teacher. She has played with many local orchestras in the area including the Saginaw Bay, Battle Creek, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Adrian, Lansing, Ann Arbor and the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestras. Rebecca has been actively teaching violin lessons for the past fifteen years, and received her Bachelors degree in Violin performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She also did two years of graduate work with Piotr Milewski there as well. For her Suzuki pedagogy training, Ms. Appert studied with both Pat D’Ercole, Martha Shackford, Linda Fiore and Mark Mutter. She also has extensive experience playing for opera and musical theatre genres, as well as recording studio experience with various types of music such as rock, jazz, Celtic and folk. Currently she maintains a private studio in Ann Arbor. Other projects include managing and performing with the Horizon Strings Group. She also occasionally plays fiddle with her Celtic folk band, Foxtree. Originally from Vancouver, Washington, Ms. Appert enjoys hiking in the great outdoors, yoga, and spending time with friends and family. Visit her website at: rebeccaappert.com
Lauren Pucipher, Violin
Lauren Pulcipher is an Ann Arbor-based performer and teacher. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Music from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and two Masters Degrees from the University of Michigan in Violin Performance and Chamber Music. Lauren was raised a Suzuki student and has since been trained as a teacher of the Suzuki method. She loves the community building aspect that the Suzuki method brings to students and families alike and believes strongly in the ability to nurture each and every individual student. During the summer, Lauren is a teacher at the Upper Peninsula based string camp Superior String Alliance where she teaches students from elementary to high school age the joys of playing as an individual and with others in chamber music groups and orchestra. She believes strongly in the power of collaboration between players in all forms in order to teach problem solving skills, encourage cooperation and build new relationships, things that can be carried through all of life. As a teacher she has also been a part of the Lawrence University String Project, which taught groups of children violin after school, and the Ann Arbor based El Sistema inspired program at Mitchell Elementary. As a performer, Lauren has been a part of the Khemia ensemble, a contemporary music ensemble dedicated to diversifying and sharing the music of living composers as well as a faculty performer for Superior String Alliance, performing music all through Marquette and for students during the camp sessions.
Anna Bittar Weller, Violin
Anna Weller received her Bachelor of Music degree in music performance from the University of Wisconsin. She did further study at the Bern Conservatory of Music in Switzerland and received a diploma in chamber music from the Santa Cecilia Academy of Music in Rome, Italy.She lived in Rome,Italy for six years performing with the Soloisti L'Aquilani and the Sinfonia Abruzzesi. Anna has performed frequently with the Toledo Symphony and is currently a member of the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.She has taught violin for over twenty years, teaching both traditional and Suzuki method. During the summer she teaches at the Intermountain Suzuki Institute in Salt Lake City and the American Suzuki Institute in Steven's Point. She is the head of Studio Teaching of the state chapter (MI) of the American String Teachers Association. She maintains a full studio of students, ranging from age three to eighteen in Ann Arbor, where she resides in Ann Arbor with her husband and 14 year old daughter. Anna hobbies are yoga, running, cooking and travel.
Wendy Caron Zohar, Violin and Viola
Wendy teaches violin and viola, and is trained and registered in Suzuki violin books 1 through 10. She incorporates musical games, singing and movement, ear training, improvisation, music theory and solfège, fiddling and klezmer, chamber music, and composition. She is dedicated to what Dr. Suzuki called cultivating kind hearts and noble souls, and loves helping her students develop into fine musicians and dedicated, caring human beings, who listen, support their colleagues, and have fun playing and sharing their music. Wendy’s foundation is rooted in the concepts of Gingold, Galamian, Kodály, Rolland and Dalcroze. She has lived in Israel, London UK, and across the US, and was a member of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Primavera Chamber Orchestra of London, Cleveland Chamber Symphony and has appeared with the Ohio Ballet and Opera Orchestras, Michigan Sinfonietta and Ann Arbor and Saginaw Symphony Orchestras. She has a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from U. of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; Master of Music in Violin Performance from the U. of Wisconsin Madison Schl of Music; Advanced Diploma in Kodály Approach from British Kodály Academy/ Liszt Academy of Music, and J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall Coll. of Law, CSU. Her interest in period performance led her to summers immersed in Baroque violin at Baroque Performance Institute in Oberlin, Ohio, and Tafelmusik Summer Institute in Toronto, Ont. She is a devotee of the Alexander Technique and applies its principles in her teaching. Wendy is an avid artist, enjoying painting, writing, and culinary arts. She also loves being a singer/songwriter/folk guitarist and gardener. Once a practicing attorney, she focused on family, consumer, immigration, arts, and employment law. She has three sons and three grandchildren whom she adores. Her youngest son is a prominent producer of EDM.
Debbie Stanton, Violin
Debbie earned her official Suzuki teacher training from the American Suzuki Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, but also studied privately and received training with/from Carolyn Tarzia (Suzuki specialist and longtime APS teacher) for several years. She also did much observing of Suzuki teachers Geri Arnold, Wendy Azrak, Cathy Keresztesi, Vicki Vorreiter and others at various Suzuki workshops in Ann Arbor, Okemos and Troy, MI and Blue Lake Suzuki Family Camp. In addition, Debbie has a degree in Education from the University of Michigan and has also studied Instrumental Music Education at Eastern Michigan University. At EMU she had training in viola, cello and bass, played violin in the Symphony Orchestra and was a student of Prof. Daniel Foster,having taught for just over thirty years, Debbie has worked with children of all ages up to adulthood. She is a single mom of three children who are now young adults. Over the years, Debbie has been invited to be a guest teacher for Suzuki workshops in Adrian and Tecumseh, MI as well as Blue Lake Suzuki Camp. She is a returning teacher to the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute, having taught here from 1983 - 1991, serving as Violin Coordinator, before starting her own Suzuki studio.
Shannon Jansma, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
See above under Violin Teacher