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Nora Friedman is the Suzuki Program Director at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and the founder of the Bed Stuy Suzuki Violin Studio.Nora Friedman attended Wesleyan University, where she received her B.A. in Latin American Studies, and holds a Masters in Performance from Montclair State University and Brooklyn College. She has studied with Perry Elliot, Masao Kawasaki and Weigang Li. She began studying the violin at age five at Central Park East School in East Harlem with Roberta Guaspari, renowned pedagogue and Artistic Director of Opus 118 Harlem School of Music. The movie, Music of the Heart, starring Meryl Streep, and the accompanying documentary Small Wonders, were made about Nora’s teacher, and you can see a teenaged Nora on the stage of Carnegie Hall near Itzhak Perlman at the end of Small Wonders if you squint.In her 20+ years as a violin teacher, Nora has founded in-school violin programs in the South Bronx and Bed Stuy and has also sat on the violin faculties at the Thurnauer School of Music in Tenafly, the Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, the Preparatory Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College, and Opus 118 Harlem School of Music.Nora has completed Suzuki Violin Core Units 1-7 & 9-10 and many supplementary and enrichment courses, Suzuki Principles in Action, Practicum, including Supplemental Repertoire: Violin Books 6 – 8, Developing the Bow Arm from Pre-Twinkle through Book 10, Teaching with an Open Heart, Left Hand Pitfalls, and Establishing the Bow Arm. She has trained with Edward Kreitman, Edmund Sprunger, Allen Lieb, Tom Wermuth, Linda Fiore, Nancy Jackson, Catheryn Lee, Charles Krigbaum, Teri Einfeldt, Julie Lyons-Lieberman and Jennifer Johnson, to name a few.Her passions include old-time fiddle, improvisation, and keeping the musician’s body and mind healthy. When Nora was a new teacher working in the South Bronx, she won a grant to travel around the U.S. and Canada learning about roots music. She went to West Virginia, California, and Saskatchewan. At BKCM, she has participated in anti-racism training and has been an integral member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion project team, most recently working on creating a more equitable hiring process at BKCM.When she is not working, you can find Nora singing with friends, biking around town, inventing games, composting, planning messy art projects, cultivating too many plants, rescuing strays, hiking, and cooking cauldrons of things in her tiny kitchen.
Suzuki Program Director
From: Born in Houston, TX, but raised in AlabamaI started teaching music in…1997I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2013Who’s your inspiration, musical or otherwise? My brother, Will.Few people know that I… have the “packing gene”Education: Indiana University – BM Violin PerformanceI play and teach: Violin/violaMy other artistic/musical endeavors: Before relocating to NYC in 2014, I performed for 10 years in the pit with OperaTampa, under the direction of Anton Coppola and freelanced in the area, playing for touring productions of Broadway musicals, local plays, weddings, and charity events. I opened my private Suzuki studio in 2000 and taught students ages 4-80 (!) from my home, while also serving as Adjunct Faculty at Eckerd College (2009-14) and the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School (2013-14). From 2004-2007, I taught Suzuki Violin at Gulfwinds Montessori School and Perkins Elementary School for Arts and International Studies, both in St. Petersburg, FL. One of my proudest achievements was the founding and direction of the Summer Strings Violin Camp, where students spent 2 weeks working hard, making music, and having fun!!
From: North Carolina
I started teaching music in… 2012
I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2015
My inspiration: Hilary Hahn
Few people know that I… had a college mascot of a Fighting Pickle!
Education: UNC School of the Arts – Bachelor of Music
Hartt School – Masters of Music in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy
I play and teach: Violin
Tell us about any ensembles you perform with or other artistic/musical endeavors that you’re a part of: Handel Festival Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony
From: Pittsburgh, PA
I started teaching music in…1965
I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2005
My inspiration: My dad, James “Jimmy” Miller, singer/pianist who performed as a soloist and accompanist for televangelists and their celebrity guests; and my mom, Isabelle Miller, pianist and the first U.S. female band leader
Few people know that I… was a child model, did nail commercials, performed weekly as a singer with a long list of various celebrities, such as Mahalia Jackson, The “Queen of Gospel,” and Ethel Waters, the second African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Education: Oral Roberts University – B.M. Performance
Dana Graduate School of Music, Youngstown State University – M.M. Performance
Teachers College, Columbia University – Doctorate of College Teaching
I play and teach: Voice, violin, viola, and piano
My other artistic/musical endeavors: As a violist, I most notably performed in a quartet with Scott Joplin renditions arranged and conducted by Gunther Schuller. I hold the most Suzuki certifications in the world (21 and counting!).
From: New York, NYI started teaching music in… 2010I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2014My inspiration: J.S. Bach, my daughter MJ, Suzuki teacher Allen LiebFew people know that I… study the Feldenkrais Method and love to sing.Education: University of Michigan – B.M., Violin Performance,The Juilliard School – one year towards graduate studiesI play and teach: ViolinMy other artistic/musical endeavors: Jackson Heights Orchestra
Violin, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
From: Issaquah, WashingtonI started teaching music in…1997I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2013My inspiration: Dr. Suzuki. He lived through turbulent times and still managed to work tirelessly to create a more beautiful world through education, compassion, and music.Few people know that I… enjoy high-tech cooking, and I dream of turning my brown thumb into a green one.Education: New York University – Bachelor of Music, Violin PerformanceUniversity of Akron – Master of Music, Violin PerformanceI play and teach: Violin
Aaron Van Heyningen
Violin Department Head, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
From: East Islip, NY
I started teaching music in… 2004
I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2010
My inspiration: My students inspire me to be a better teacher every day! 🙂
Few people know that I… love swing dancing, I enjoy learning languages, and I have a cat named Daisy.
Education: The Hartt School at University of Hartford – Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance Mannes College of Music at The New School – Master of Music in Cello Performance Suzuki Training in Books 1-8 at School for Strings with Pamela Devenport, Books 9-10 with Tanya Carey
I play and teach: Cello
Personal Teaching Statement: Having experience with the Feldenkrais Method, Dalcroze, and Music Mind Games, my versatile training allows me to approach my teaching from a visual, aural, or kinesthetic standpoint, depending on the student’s needs. One teaching method or explanation does not work for all students. This is why I approach lessons with each unique individual or group of students in a way that connects to them and the way that they learn best. My approach to teaching music is full of vivid analogies, hands-on activities to reinforce ideas, and questions to get my students to think for themselves not only to analyze what they are looking at on the page, but also how to approach getting an optimal sound out of their instruments. I am always looking for creative and out of the box ways to get a student to understand something, whether it is getting them up out of their seat, or doing an experiment to see what happens when we push boundaries. With these things in mind, my goal is for every lesson to be fun, educational, and productive.
Biography: Jenna Girone-Virgilio is the Head of the Suzuki Cello/Bass Department and the Suzuki Program Coordinator at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and is on faculty at the New England Conservatory Prep Division and the New England Suzuki Institute. As a performer, Jenna has performed in venues across the world, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as the Principal Cellist with the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Asian Artists Opera; in Italy, as a part of the Opera, Theater, and Music Festival of Lucca; and acting on stage at New York’s Metropolitan Opera as the role of “cellist” in Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut.” Ms. Girone-Virgilio recorded the soundtrack to The China Question, a documentary directed by Brook Silva-Braga, which has been featured on CNBC. Additionally, she can be heard on Warner Brothers’ singer/songwriter Matt White’s album, Shirley. Jennifer was a member of the Red Door Chamber Players, Rhymes with Opera, and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn. She has performed with the OMNI Ensemble in Brooklyn and Staten Island, most notably performing Arnold Schönberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire”, and George Crumb’s “Vox Balanae”.
Suzuki Program Coordinator, Cello Department Head
From: Mahopac, NY
I started teaching music in… 2005
I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2016
My inspiration: Francois Rabbath, George Vance, Virginia Dixon, Gary Karr, Tommy Potter, Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, John Patitucci and many more.
Few people know that I… lived on a glacier for 2 months when I was 18
Education: Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University – BM in jazz studies; Suzuki Training Books 1-5 with Virginia Dixon; SECE Training with Lynn McCall
I play and teach: Bass
My other artistic/musical endeavors: Nifty Knuckles (early jazz band), Dara & Shayna (cello & bass duets)
Personal Teaching Statement: Music is amazing! Learning bass is fun!
Biography: Shayna Dulberger has been teaching private music and group lessons in New York City since 2006. As a faculty member of Brooklyn Conservatory, Shayna teaches Double Bass, Electric Bass, Group Theory Classes, Piano Classes and Early Childhood Classes ages 0+. She completed her training in 2021 with Suzuki Teacher Trainer Virginia Dixon and is a registered Suzuki Teacher for all of the published Bass Books, 1 through 5. Shayna also completed her level 1 Suzuki Early Childhood training with Lynn McCall, the first teacher trainer for SECE in the U.S. Shayna has put together her own pre-Twinkle book for very young beginners. Her book “Bass Buddies” provides a method that includes movement and keeping a beat with very short, achievable pieces. Shayna’s students have been accepted to New York City’s Frank Sinatra and LaGuardia Performing Arts High Schools.
Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass, Jazz Explorers, Music Adventures
From: St. Louis, MO
I started teaching music in…1997
I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2015
My inspiration: Ancient nameless music-makers; artists with names, from Meredith Monk to Duke Ellington; Olivier Messiaen to Julia Wolfe; Deerhoof to the Art Ensemble of Chicago; Charlie Christian to Sister Rosetta Tharpe; Hildegard Von Bingen to Fred Frith; Avrom Reyzen to Leslie Marmon Silko; J.S. Bach to John Zorn and Arnold Schoenberg; radical political organizers and thinkers like Angela Davis and Anne Braden; my teachers Chris Rosenberg and Paul Caputo; the night sky, a canoe, my daughters and so so much more…how to stop?
Few people know that I… make my own sauerkraut
Education: Columbia University – BA in psychologyBrooklyn College (CUNY) – MM in music composition
I play and teach: Guitar, Ukulele, Music Theory
My other artistic/musical endeavors: I co-lead the 19 year-old irreverent chamber jazz group Gutbucket, which has released 6 CDs/LPs on Cuneiform Records, Cantaloupe Music, Enja, NRW, Knitting Factory Works and our own imprint Gut Records. The group has toured in more than 20 countries and 30+ of the US states.
I lead the avant-Jewish Tzadik Records recording quartet Bop Kabbalah, with a debut CD out in 2014. I also play guitar in Dana Lyn’s Mother Octopus, versions of James Ilgenfritz’s Anagram Ensemble, Jon Madof’s improvising quintet and am a frequent guitarist and composer with Anti-Social Music (ASM). I am an accompanist and song leader in several NYC-area synagogues, including Kolot Chayeinu and CBST, where I work with wonderful cantors and sometimes play with jazz luminaries like Marty Ehrlich and Shoko Nagai, who moonlight in that world.
Personal Teaching Statement: I work with students to develop a lifelong love of music making. In addition to exploring a diverse established repertoire, hands-on music theory and proper technique, I teach improvisation and songwriting, encouraging students to find their own voice in music.
Biography: Ty Citerman is a Brooklyn, NY-based guitarist and composer who writes, performs and teaches music across the spectrum of jazz, rock and contemporary classical. He holds a Master in Music (M.M.) degree in music composition from Brooklyn College (CUNY) and received Suzuki guitar training from Bill Kossler and David Madsen. He is also the proud recipient of a 2018 Brooklyn Arts Council grant to support the creation and performance of new work.
Ty’s nine year-old project Bop Kabbalah explores the juxtaposition of original composition, improvisation and Jewish musical traditions. Its trio incarnation, Bop Kabbalah+Voices (with Sara Serpa and Judith Berkson) released a recording of original settings of Yiddish labor texts on Infrequent Seams, which Eyal Hareuveni (in Salt Peanuts) called “inspiring and moving, and beautifully arranged and delivered.” Bop Kabbalah’s quartet premiered on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records “Radical Jewish Culture” series in 2014, and JazzTimes called the album “…one of the year’s most arresting recordings…”
Ty is a founding member of the irreverent jazz quartet Gutbucket, which has released six recordings of original music and toured across the US and Europe. Guitar Player called Ty’s music for Gutbucket “kinetic punk jazz opuses” that “reveal an explosive concoction containing lethal doses of Ornette Coleman, King Crimson, John Zorn, Black Sabbath, Stravinsky, and Fugazi.”
Ty composed original theme music for the podcast “Tradeoffs” and scored the 2019 St. Anne’s Warehouse Labapalooza! puppetry festival show “To Love What Death Has Touched” by Kevin White. Over the past two decades, he has performed on some of the world’s finest stages, including Carnegie Hall, the London Jazz Festival, Paris Jazz Festival, Belgrade Jazz Festival, Jazz a Vienne, the Bang on a Can Marathon, Earshot Jazz Festival, Jazz Saalfelden and more.
He continues to compose music for various instruments and is an active freelancer in the New York contemporary music scene. When he’s not making music, he’s busy raising two daughters, riding a bicycle, looking for a nice place to swim outdoors or aspiring to cook something delicious.
Guitar, Suzuki Guitar
Michele is an internationally recognized guitar teacher who began teaching the Suzuki method in the year 2000. She has worked with hundreds of children and families throughout her career, now entering its 25th year. Michele completed her Suzuki guitar training with the creators of the Suzuki guitar pedagogy: Frank Longay and Bill Kossler; as well as David Madsen (University of Hartford) and Andrea Cannon (TX). Prior to her Suzuki training, she studied for four years with Kevin Gallagher (1993 GFA winner) and for two years with Frederic Hand (award winning composer and long time guitarist of the Metropolitan Opera).
Michele is the Head of the Suzuki Guitar Department at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (2008 – present) where her students have won auditions to perform in Master Classes for Scott Tennant (LAGQ) William Kanengiser (LAGQ), Nicholas Goluses (Eastman School of Music), João Luiz (Brazilian Guitar Duo, SUNY Purchase), Colin Davin (Cleveland Institute of Music), Berta Rojas (Berklee College of Music) Ana Vidovíc and Sharon Isbin (Juilliard). Her advanced ensemble was featured at the Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference in 2016 and her students have performed at SAA Conferences in 2014, 2016 and 2018. She has successfully guided many students through all nine volumes of Suzuki repertoire. She currently has students enrolled in LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts (NYC). In 2019, one of her students became the youngest participant in the prestigious Aspen Music Festival, the premier classical music festival in the United States.
Director of Guitar Department
From: New JerseyI started teaching music in… 2011I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2018My inspiration: My own teachers.Few people know that I… love rats!Education: Rowan University – BM in Classical Guitar PerformanceMannes School of Music – MM in Classical Guitar PerformanceI play and teach: Classical GuitarMy other artistic/musical endeavors: I perform solo guitar and in a guitar duo with my husband, Phil Goldenberg.
From: TaiwanI started teaching music in… 2010I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2017My inspiration: Kaori FujiiFew people know that I… I like mathEducation: Texas Tech University, D.M.A. Flute Performance;Purchase College, M.M. Flute Performance;Stony Brook University, B.A. Music PerformanceI play and teach: flute, Suzuki Early Childhood EducationMy other artistic/musical endeavors: Queensborough Symphony Orchestra, Hilltop Music Collective.
Flute, Suzuki Early Childhood Education
Native of Japan. Suzuki Piano Dept Head. Bachelor and Master from Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Byron Janis and Ruth Laredo. Graduated with numerous awards including the Best Chamber Music Award. Winner of Yamaha Piano Competition. Televised and radio broadcasted Concerto performances with the Abilene Symphony and Manhattan School of Music Symphony as a winner of the Concerto Competition. Master classes with Paul Badura Skoda, Rafael Trio, and faculties from the Leningrad Conservatory. Performed at the Metropolitan Museum, Steinway Hall, and Donnel Library Hall. Participated in Nice International Music Festival and Flaine International Music Festival in France. Recipient of Steinway Teacher’s award 2023.
Piano Department Head
Name: Emile BlondelFrom: Charlottesville, VAI started teaching music in… 2007I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2011Who’s your inspiration, musical or otherwise? BachFew people know that I… also play the drumsEducation: North Carolina School of the Arts – BMNorth Carolina School of the Arts – MMEcole Alfred Cortot in Paris, 2001-2004I play and teach: PianoMy other artistic/musical endeavors: Teaching Artist with National Dance Institute, frequent collaborator with puppetry, theatre and dance projects.
Piano, Accompanist, Suzuki Collaborative Piano
From: Minsk, BelarusI started teaching music in…2002I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2006My inspiration: My familyFew people know that I… like cross country skiingEducation: Aaron Copland School of Music at CUNY Queens College – BMTeachers College at Columbia University – MA, Music EducationI play and teach: PianoMy other artistic/musical endeavors: I’m a freelance accompanist.
Early Childhood, Piano
I started teaching music in… 2006
I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2007
My inspiration: My inspiration is my piano teacher Shirley Cohen. She said, “Great teachers are humble and respectful. Great teachers teach with beautiful heart.”
Few people know that I… love to bake. My dream is to open a bakery
Education: Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University
I play and teach: Piano and oboe
From: South KoreaI started teaching music in…1996I started teaching at the Conservatory in… 2012My inspiration: Beethoven, Sheila Keats (my Suzuki piano trainer), Dr. Donald Pirone, Dr. Susan SobolewskiFew people know that I… have attended several seminars on AutismEducation: Sungshin Women’s University, South Korea – Bachelor of MusicArizona State University – Master of MusicArizona State University – Doctor of Musical ArtsI play and teach: PianoMy other artistic/musical endeavors: Wind Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra at Arizona State University. Presentation/performance at the CMS (College Music Society) International Conference. Concerts on the Slope in Brooklyn, NY. Old First Concert Series in San Francisco. Piano solo recital st Carnegie Hall (2003). Piano solo recital at Daejon Arts and Cultural Center. A pianist for Nassau Concert Choir for The Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York.
From: Kyoto, JapanEducation: BM and MM, Manhattan School of MusicI play and teach: PianoBiography: Nina Yenik is a pianist and educator based in Manhattan. She has performed in solo recitals and chamber music concerts in venues across the world including Spain, France, Italy and China. She received her Bachelor and Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music. Her primary teachers included André-Michel Shub and Daniel Shapiro.Nina has been on faculty at institutions including The Piano School of New York City, Music in Chappaqua, Music School of New York City and Hunterdon Academy of the Arts, in addition to maintaining her own private studio since 2006. She received Suzuki Training at the School for Strings with Marina Obukovsky.
Pianist Arthur Villar holds a bachelor degree in Piano Performance from the Hartt School, University of Hartford and a masters degree in Piano Performance from SUNY Purchase, NY. Besides working as a private piano teacher in Jersey City, he is also a piano faculty at The Suzuki Schools of Westport in CT. In 2007 he won the first prize in the Souza Lima National Piano Competition in SP, Brazil, and performed in 2009 Bach’s 24 preludes and fugues at the Forum Internacional del Piano de Barcelona. In 2013 Arthur Villar released a recording of J.S. Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1. Arthur Villar participated in the following festivals and workshops: SIPO (Portugal), Forum Internacional del Piano in Barcelona (Spain), Performing Bach in Baroque Style in New York (US), Prague Music Performance Institute and Festival in Prague (Czech Republic) and Gijon International Piano Festival (Spain), and has studied with renowned pianists, such as Andrei Gavrilov (Russia), Paul Badura-Skoda (Austria), Julian Martin (US), Boris Berman (Russia), among others. Arthur Villar worked as a piano faculty at the Hartt School Community Division (University of Hartford) in CT from 2012 to 2021 and as a faculty of the Hartt Suzuki Institute, Dallas Suzuki Workshop, and New England Suzuki Institute (NESI). He is also a Certified Suzuki Teacher and a member of the following organizations: Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), PianoTeachers Congress of NY (PTCNY), Hartford Music Teachers Alliance (HMTA).
Name: Sara Ptak
From: Peru, Illinois
My inspiration: Benita Valente, Karina Gauvin, Joni Mitchell, Patty Griffin, Indigo Girls, H.E.R., Amos Lee, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Phoebe Bridgers, Raffi, Laurie Berkner
Education: DePaul University, BM, Voice Performance; McGill University, MM, Opera Performance
I play and teach: Voice
Personal Teaching Statement: My teaching style is strength based and led by curiosity and play. With both children and adults, I take time to notice what they’re already doing well and build awareness and confidence around that. From that place of confidence, we can build on those skills and create a solid foundation that really honors the whole student exactly where they are.
Biography: Sara Ptak, soprano and Brooklynite (by way of rural Illinois), has her Masters of Music from McGill University with a Bachelors degree from DePaul University. On the operatic stage she has performed roles such as Cleopatra in “Giulio Cesare” and Giulietta in “I Capuleti e i Montecchi,” Gretel in “Hansel and Gretel,” Susanna in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” Lauretta in “Gianni Schicchi,” Juno in Monteverdi’s “L’Orfeo,” Pamina in “The Magic Flute,” Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni” and Almirena in Handel’s “Rinaldo.”
Sara has been a fellow at The Toronto Summer Music Festival studying under Elly Ameling and Julius Drake, The Schubert Institut (Baden bei Wien, Austria) with the likes of Helmut Deutsche, Robert Holl, and Bernarda Fink, Music nelle Marche (Urbania, Italy), Domaine Forget (Saint Irenee, Quebec) with Renata Scotto, The Aspen Music Festival and School and Brevard Music Center.
A passionate teaching artist, Sara performed the roles of Papagena, Third Lady in “The Magic Flute” and Gretel in “Hansel and Gretel” with Martina Arroyo’s opera outreach program. She has since founded Mozart Had A Sister, a recital series centering underrepresented composers and performers in Brooklyn, NY. Her children’s show “Miss Sara’s Music Room,” focusing on social and emotional learning through song, is coming to YouTube in Winter 2021.
Early Childhood, Voice
From: USSRI started teaching music in…I started teaching at the Conservatory in…My inspiration:Few people know that I…Education: Julliard School, Peabody Conservatory and Manhattan School of MusicI play and teach: PianoMy other artistic/musical endeavors:Biography: Pavel Bogomyakov was born in USSR and is a graduate of Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory and Manhattan School of Music. Currently based in New York, he is on the chamber faculty at the School for Strings in the City, and on the piano faculty at Music Institute of Long Island and at Darlington Arts Center outside of Philadelphia. In the past he has taught at various venues in southern China and Macao, where he resided for several years. His collaborative appearances include Bowdoin International Music Festival and an inaugural opera production in Shenzhen, China.Pavel has enjoyed varied careers and aside from music had a stint in science at his alma mater, John Hopkins University, where he published original research on human physiology at the School of Medicine.
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