Ottawa Suzuki Strings Faculty
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Violin, Co-founder of Ottawa Suzuki Strings
Rosemarie started playing the violin at the age of five. She became the concertmaster of the Hamilton Youth Orchestra and the Royal Conservatory Youth Orchestra and spent six years with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. While studying towards her violin performance degree at the University of Toronto, her distinguished teachers included Albert Pratz and Lorand Fenyves.
For many years, she was a professional freelance violinist in Toronto. She played for eleven years with the Pro Arte String Orchestra, and was a member of the Palm Court violin/flute/piano trio for several years.In 1986, she moved to Ottawa, and co-founded Suzuki Music. Her active schedule includes teaching a large class of private students, teaching group classes, and conducting a youth orchestra for the National Capital Music Academy. Her career has seen many of her students achieve distinguished music awards at local, provincial and national levels, several moving on to prestigious music schools, both in Canada and the United States.
She has been a clinician at several Suzuki and CAMMAC camps and has adjudicated at Kiwanis Music Festivals in Ontario.
Rosemarie is based in the Nepean/Barrhaven area of Ottawa and is very fond of her feline companions, Stella Luna and Chocolate Chip.
Violin, Co-founder of Ottawa Suzuki Strings
Desiree Abbey is a freelance cellist who performs regularly with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as principal cellist and as an extra musician with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. At age 4, she began her cello studies at the Beaches Suzuki School of Music in Toronto with Jonathan Ingham and was subsequently immersed in the spirit and heart of the Suzuki Method and its philosophy. Childhood summers were spent attending various Suzuki Institutes including Southern Ontario, Montreal, Orford, Edmonton, Ithaca and Chicago Suzuki Institutes. Later, she attended Gilda Barston's Advanced Cello Program at Ithaca and Chicago Suzuki Institutes where she was inspired by teachers and peers to pursue music as a career. She continued her studies with Mary Fisher at the Toronto School for Music, and graduated from the Glen Gould School's Young Artists Program under Roberta Jansen.
Desiree received a Bachelor of Music with Honours at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Desmond Hoebig, performed as a soloist with the CIM Orchestra as a winner of the CIM Concerto Competition and received teacher training for Suzuki Books 1-4 with Dr. Melissa Kraut. Following her undergraduate work, Desiree moved to New York City to study with Timothy Eddy, earning both Master of Music and Professional Studies Diploma from Mannes The New School for Music. While in NYC, she taught at Brooklyn College Preparatory Music School, subbed at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music and received Music Mind Games Unit 1 training (Theory) with Michiko Yurko and Suzuki Book 5 training with Carol Tarr at the Chicago Suzuki Institute.
Desiree has appeared as soloist with the Guelph Symphony and the National Repertory Orchestra, has played in Carnegie Hall and toured Europe as part of prestigious festival orchestras and attended various summer festivals such as The Music Academy of the West, Bowdoin and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival.
She served as Assistant Principal Cello with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in their 2011- 2012 season and has taught as a sessional instructor at Brandon University and University of Manitoba.
Teaching is a passion of hers and her students have been recognized as Gold Medalists in RCM examinations and class winners at the Winnipeg Music Festival. She has served as adjudicator for the Manitoba Registered Music Teachers’ Association, Provincial Music Festival and Winnipeg Music Festival. Having recently relocated to Ottawa, Desiree is looking forward to reopening her studio doors as a teacher with Ottawa Suzuki Strings. Desiree teaches in English and French.
Michael Blais began his Suzuki cello studies at the age of four and spent many summers attending prestigious Suzuki institutes. He has been the recipient of many awards and scholarships at the Kiwanis festivals. In recent years he was chosen to attend international programmes such as Morningside Music Bridge and the Pinchas Zukerman Young Artists Programme. He has also performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Orchestra. Michael is a seasoned chamber musician and has performed for many important events including the opening of the National Arts Centre Orchestra Season in 2009. His renowned teachers include David Hutchenreuther, Carole Sirois and John Katz. Michael attended the Glenn Gould School of Music for two years. In 2012, Michael received his teacher training in Montreal from one of Canada’s finest Suzuki cello pedagogues, David Evenchick, and proceeded to get his book 2 training in the summer of 2014. Michael comes from a family of distinguished musicians and his enthusiasm for teaching is paramount. He brings to Ottawa Suzuki Strings many years of teaching experience and is very excited to be going into his 4th year at Ottawa Suzuki Strings.
His others interests include snowboarding, golfing, physical training and cooking. Michael is based in Manotick, and teaches in the Manotick and Kanata areas.
Featured as one of CBC’s “30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30 in 2018”, Nathan Bredeson is gaining international acclaim as an award-winning guitarist and a composer.
He earned his bachelor of music at the University of Ottawa where he studied with Denis Donegani (Canadian Guitar Quartet), and composition with John Armstrong and Frederic Lacroix. Nathan was awarded the Ed Honeywell Memorial Scholarship for classical guitar in 2013. He went on to complete his masters degree under the tutelage of the Cuban guitar virtuoso Rene Izquierdo at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
Nathan’s compositions have been featured in international competitions, including the Miami International GuitArt Festival and the Great Lakes Guitar Festival. In 2016, his composition Astral Projection won first prize in the Ottawa Guitar Society Composition Competition. Most recently, he was awarded second place at the 2019 Great Lakes Guitar Competition, adjudicated by Leo Brouwer. He released his solo album, Nocturne, in September 2019.
Nathan also performs regularly with his ensemble, the Ottawa Guitar Trio, which is dedicated to bringing the best music from film, videotapes and classical repertoire to life on the guitar. He is also a performer for Concerts in Care, an organization that brings live music to senior homes across Ontario.
Nathan completed his Suzuki ECC and Guitar Book 1 training in 2017 with Andrea Cannon in Houston, Texas. He has also adjudicated for music festivals such as the 2019 Kiwanis Music Festival in Sudbury and the 2019 Nationals of MusicFest Canada.
Nathan teaches from his residence in Centretown.
Adam Cicchillitti is an exciting young talent emerging on the classical guitar scene in Canada. Originally from Montréal, Adam’s recent competition successes have placed him on concert stages across Canada and the United States.
Adam is an active performer, teacher, arranger and composer. Most recently in 2016, Adam and baritone Philippe Courchesne-Leboeuf toured the Canadian east coast with les Jeunesses Musicales Canada. Their duo entitled Lieder Canciones performed his arrangements for guitar of German and Spanish masterpieces originally written for piano and voice, most notably the world premiere of Adam’s arrangement of Beethoven’s An die Ferne Geliebte, published by Les Productions d’Oz. Lieder Canciones has been featured regularly on Radio-Canada/CBC television and radio throughout Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Adam has also been featured as one of Canada’s new generation of guitarist-arrangers when he was contracted, again by Radio-Canada and the CBC, to complete twenty arrangements of Schubert lieder for voice and guitar as part of the series Révélations, accompanying international superstar Philippe Sly. The live concert was nationally broadcast on Espace-Musique accompanied by a series of video-recordings in 2013. Adam has performed as a featured soloist at Ottawa’s premier guitar event Guitare Alla Grande and the Ottawa Guitar Society’s Young Artist Series, Angèle Dubeau’s Fête de la musique and at several of Eastern Canada’s prominent concert halls including Place-des-Arts and Salle Thomson. Adam’s debut album of Spanish nationalist music will be recorded by Drew Henderson and released with Analekta in the spring of 2018. His second album, dedicated to the music of his mentor Patrick Roux and produced by European record label MusicOrpheus, is scheduled to be released in 2019.
Adam Cicchillitti is currently a doctoral candidate at McGill University where his research explores idiomatic guitar arrangement of 19th-century liederkreis. Adam has studied with all four members of the original Canadian Guitar Quartet including Philip Candelaria and Patrick Roux while completing a Master’s degree at the University of Ottawa, as well as Dr. Garry Antonio at McGill University and 2005 GFA winner Jérome Ducharme. He has performed in masterclasses for Pepe Romero, Ricardo Gallen, Benjamin Verdery, Fabio Zanon, Sergio Assad, Ana Vidovic, Lorenzo Micheli, Rennie Regehr, David Currie, Boris Brott, Alexis Hauser and Nigel North. His notable prizes include a McGill fellowship, Maurice Pollack Scholarship, Grace Evelyn Tuttle Award, Domaine Forget Academy scholarship, multiple-time finalist at the Kiwanis National Competition and multiple semi-final performances at the Montreal International Guitar Competition and Canadian Music Competition.
Adam has released dozens of solo and collaborative music videos, reaching over a hundred thousand views while building a strong online presence. He sits on the board of the Ottawa Guitar Society and volunteers as the organization’s marketing director. Adam also specializes in child pedagogy and is the founder of the guitar program at Ottawa Suzuki Strings. His students have performed multiple times at the National Arts Center and have received gold medals at the Kiwanis provincial festival performances.
Born in Houston, Texas, Jerry Csaba started the violin in the public school system around the age of ten. She was very fortunate to begin her orchestral experience almost immediately in the Houston Youth Symphony. She studied at the University of Texas and worked her way through school by teaching in the Junior String Project, under the supervision of her U. of T. music professors, until she graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education. Playing in the Austin Symphony for four years further supported her studies.
In her early twenties, she joined the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Zubin Mehta, the year of the opening of the Place des Arts. These years were full of excitement with internationally known soloists and conductors. She also performed as member and soloist with the McGill Chamber Orchestra. After that she played in the Rochester Philharmonic for one year, then she and her husband came back to Canada to become founding members of the NAC Orchestra, until she retired in 2003. Being concertmaster of Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra for almost twenty years, was an important part of her career as it offered many opportunities for personal expression as leader and soloist. Throughout her years in Ottawa, she played very often with the Music for a Sunday Afternoon series and worked and played with chamber musicians from around the world.
During all of these years, she taught privately, coached chamber groups and amateur musicians to share some of her experience. Her guiding lights, since her arrival in Canada, were Yaela Hertz and Lorand Fenyves. From them she learned to express the inner soul of music and to pass it on to others.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Donnie Deacon studied at the Royal Scottish Academy
of Music. He continued his studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School in London under
the tutelage of Natasha Boyarskaya and Lord Menuhin. He finished his schooling
at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia with Jaime Laredo and
Mr. Deacon has performed as soloist all over the world with such distinguished
orchestras as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra,
Ulster Orchestra, BT Scottish Ensemble, London Soloists, Concerto Soloists of
Philadelphia, Pablo de Sarasate Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of
Music and the National Arts Centre Orchestra.
He became principal second violin of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in 2001,
the youngest player to do so in the history of the Orchestra. He has also been
guest Concertmaster of both the Vancouver Symphony and The National Arts
Mr Deacon was a founding member of the Zukerman Chamber Players, performing
in the worlds finest music festivals such as Ravinia, Aspen and Verbier.
As an advocate for Canadian music, he has given the world premiere of Gary
Kulesha's 2nd violin concerto and William Rowson's violin concerto.
Mr Deacon was named Resident Artist in the Community for the National Arts
Centre in 2016 until his appointment of Music Director of the Ottawa Youth
Orchestra Academy in 2018.
Hailing from Illinois, Lance Elbeck began his violin studies in Chicago with the renowned George Perlman. After graduating from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia where he studied with Ivan Galamian and Paul Makanowitsky, he soon drew the attention of well-known musicians and conductors, including Leonard Bernstein. Under Bernstein, Elbeck was a soloist with the New York Philharmonic.
Elbeck was also a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the Philadelphia Chamber Players with whom he performed in various parts of Europe and North America. Elbeck was also concertmaster with the ballet companies of the Kirov and Bolshoï theatres during their North American tours, as well as the Hamilton Philharmonic from 1978 to 2012. He is currently concertmaster with the Toronto Concert Orchestra and the Grand Salon Orchestra.
Lance Elbeck has been a guest lecturer at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris and teacher at the Meadowmount School of Music, Philadelphia’s New School of Music, McMaster University (1990 to 2012), as well as the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts.
Lance is very happy to have his new OSS studio in Kanata where he welcomes students of all ages and levels.
He is also delighted to be a co-coach of Stellae Boreales.
“Pianist Judith Ginsburg, possibly the best of Ottawa’s regular accompanists, had a fine rapport with the soloist and was deft and musical, as always.” (Ottawa Citizen) Judith was the longtime Principal Repetiteur, Opera Studio Manager and Music Director of the Opera for Young Audiences program with Opera Lyra Ottawa. She is a frequent performer in the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Music and Beyond Festival, and has been heard in the National Arts Centre’s Music for a Sunday Afternoon, Almonte in Concert Series and on CBC Radio. Judith has collaborated with many of Canada’s leading artists and has performed extensively in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Her teachers have included Jean Paul Sevilla, Paul Hamburger, Martin Isepp and Seymour Bernstein. Judith is in great demand as a collaborative pianist. For several years, she was a faculty member of the National Arts Centre’s Young Artists Program as Collaborative Pianist. She is Pianist and Administrator with the Ottawa Suzuki Strings music school, Founder and Artistic Director of Chamber Opera Company Ottawa (COCO) and a MASC Artist.
Violin & Viola
Megan Graham began Suzuki violin lessons as a young child with Marie Kusters after encountering the violin at a City of Ottawa summer camp for the arts. During her years as a Suzuki student, Megan loved attending Studea Musica, a Summer Suzuki Institute at the Orford Arts Centre, and was inspired by great Suzuki teachers from around the world. Megan graduated from Canterbury High School’s strings program, studying viola with Nancy Sturdevant and David Goldblatt. Megan continued to play viola in the Ottawa Youth Orchestra and participated annually in Kiwanis Music Festivals. She went on to play in the University of Ottawa opera ensemble, University of Western Ontario Orchestra, and Carleton University ensembles.
Continuing to draw inspiration from great teachers, she has taken Suzuki teacher training with Teri Einfeldt, Margot Jewel, Karen Kimmett, Ed Kreitman, Elayne Ras, and Kathleen Spring. She also completed Suzuki Principles in Action training at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Megan regularly attends Suzuki institutes in order to enhance her connections with Suzuki colleagues, enrich her teaching, and bring home the warmth of the Suzuki approach to her studio families.
Megan holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Carleton University. Her arts-based research on music and dementia care explores the expressive power of music across the lifespan. Megan has published in several top-ranked international academic journals. She also publishes in the American Suzuki Journal, inspiring colleagues with articles such as, “Betwixt and between children’s work and play in the Suzuki lesson,” “Changing practice channels: Exploring how children tune into practice time,” and “Cultivating slow practice with the media multitaskers of ‘generation M’”.
Violin & Viola
Essie Liu is an SAA certified Violin and ECE Instructor as well as an Ontario Registered Music Teacher with ORMTA. Her professional orchestra experience includes the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau, and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. As a strong advocate for contemporary music, she world premiered the Canadian War Poetry Sextet in 2019, and you can hear the newly released album here.
Essie teaches bilingually in English and Chinese at her Kanata home studio. Her combined passion for teaching and travel has driven her to the Rockies, New York, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, California and Indonesia for numerous Suzuki trainings, conferences, and studio observations. A recent recipient of the Joe Cleveland Memorial Scholarship, Essie is excited to continue her Book7 training with Judy Bossuat-Gallic.
Essie holds an M.Mus in Literature and Performance (Violin) from Western University as well as a Montessori Infant Toddler Teacher Diploma (TMI). In addition to believing in the fundamental Suzuki philosophy that "Every child can!", Essie is also a firm believer that "Every parent can!".
Renée London is an Ottawa-raised violinist who made her first public appearance at the age of seven. A natural performer, Miss London has impressed music lovers with her unique style and interpretation. Her musical inspiration was her grandfather, cellist James Hunter, one of Canada’s great pedagogues (Victoria Conservatory).
Renée began her studies with Elaine Klimasko, first violinist of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. She earned her Bachelor of Music in 1999 in violin performance at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of William Preucil, concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra. Renée continued her violin studies with Steven Rose, Principal Second Violin of the Cleveland Orchestra and received her Master of Music, also from the Cleveland Institute of Music, in 2001.
Renée has performed on the CBC-Ottawa’s noon-hour concert series and has given recitals throughout Canada and the United States. Renée London is a chamber music enthusiast, and has worked and studied with North America’s great chamber music geniuses, Peter Salaff, Donald Weilerstein, and William Preucil (Cleveland Quartet); the Cavani Quartet, Samuel Rhodes and Ronald Copes (Juilliard Quartet), and Canada’s own St. Lawrence Quartet. She was a regular chamber music coach at the Summertrios Chamber Music Festival in Pennsylvania, and a member of the Wintergreen Music Festival Orchestra in Virginia. Renée is the proud founder of the Classics in the Tropics music festival in Tobago, West Indies.
In 2001,Miss London was a member of the 1st violin section in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. She subsequently served as Associate Concertmaster in the Midland-Odessa Symphony (Texas), and was a member of the ‘Strings of the West’ string quartet, also in Midland Texas, in 2003-2004.
Living in Toronto for 18 years, she worked with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra. Teaching has always been a passion of Renée’s and she held a very active teaching studio in Toronto. Renée has done Suzuki teacher training with Margot Jewell.
As a new mother of 10 month old Aria, Renée is very excited to return to Ottawa, her hometown. She enjoys training for marathons with her brother and is an avid animal lover.
Clarinettist Felicia Persaud received her Bachelor of Music degree with a profile in Music Education from the University of Ottawa in 2016. During her time at UOttawa, she studied with many members of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. She completed her MA in Music Theory at UOttawa in 2018 examining the relationship between computers and music theory.
Felicia began studying music with Catherine Wilcox at Featherston Drive Public School and has been involved in music ever since. She has volunteered with OrKidstra and at Featherston Drive P.S., where she ran small group lessons for students, assisted individual students, and directed the Jazz Ensemble for 2 years, all while a busy student in the Canterbury High School Music Program. She started working with the Ottawa New Horizons Band in 2008 where she has worked in various capacities as volunteer, clinician and band leader. Felicia is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree: Intermediate/Senior Division in Music and Mathematics at UOttawa.
Frank Williams is a graduate of the University of Ottawa (Hon. music, Hon geog., Conc. English), University of Western Ontario (M.Mus, MLIS). He comes from a musical family in which both parents sang in choirs. His daughter Sarah Williams is a professional violinist and is on the OSS faculty as a violin and group class teacher. He was encouraged to take piano lessons from an early age. He also played clarinet in grade school, switching to electric guitar in high school and then to classical guitar and cello in the later grades and 1st year university. Guitar teachers include Eli Kassner, Toronto Conservatory of Music. Cello teachers include Donald Whitton. He also studied theory privately with Dr. Frederick Karam in the 1970s while in high school before being admitted to the bachelor's program in theory and composition, University of Ottawa. He went on to study music at McGill Unoversity and then University of Western Ontario where he obtained his master's degree in theory and composition and master’s degree in library and information science. Teachers include Bruce Mather (analysis), Claude Baliff (analysis and composition) John Rea (composition) Arsenio Giron (composition). He's been teaching theory, analysis, and ear training in classroom settings (including at the university level) and privately for 35 years. He was map/geographic information systems librarian at the University of Ottawa for 25 years and is now retired. He teaches theory privately from his home studio.
Sarah Williams is a graduate of the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Music in performance. She started studying violin at the age of four with violinist Elaine Klimasko, founding first violinist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Furthermore, she has studied with Jonathan Crow, David Stewart, Yehonatan Berick, and Yosuke Kawasaki.
Her accomplishments include being a member of the National Youth Orchestra for 3 years (concertmaster at age 16), member of the Gatineau Symphony Orchestra, member of Thirteen Strings in Ottawa, substitute member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra, and currently a member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra for 10 years, leading the second violin section.
Sarah has been a teacher with OSS for the past 8 years and has previously taught at the Nepean School of Music, Kanata School of Music, La Petite Fanfare summer music camp, and the Campbell Douglas Music Education Centre. She has completed her Suzuki Teacher Training books 1-6 and Every Child Can with Elayne Ras and Karen Kimmett.