Little-known Teachers

April 12, 2005 at 05:47 AM · At the risk of jeopardizing my future chances of getting into an awesome studio, I thought it'd be nice to start a discussion on lesser-known teachers--hidden gems that the entire world has not quite yet discovered (to the relief of those auditioning for them). I've studied with my current teacher, Gerardo Ribeiro at Northwestern, for almost nine years, and he is absolutely an amazing technical teacher who gives his students very solid backgrounds and is extremely clear and precise about every small articulation, and has a knack for knowing how to explain physically exactly how to make a sound, or whatever the problem at hand might be. His teaching technique is somewhat similar to Hans Jensen's (also at Northwestern and more well-known), though less loud and manic.

Also, I recently played in a masterclass for Mauricio Fuks, who teaches at Indiana. This man is amazing. I played the exposition of the Beethoven Concerto, and in three pages he somehow looked into my soul and completely understood what's going on with my playing at this point in my life. He's amazingly emotionally in tune with students. At the same time, he also had a lot of concrete, practical suggests for how to approach a complicated issue. I can't say a lot about him as I've only experienced this one half-hour masterclass with him, but it was by far the best masterclass experience I've had.

Replies (52)

April 12, 2005 at 09:13 AM · I'd like to say that one of the most under used teachers in western australia is Ben Clapton. I've never studied under him, but I've heard that he's amazing ;)

I'd also chuck my teacher, Jacek Slawomirski in there, and probably Zac Rowntree as well.

April 12, 2005 at 09:37 AM · I would tell you about some of my teachers, but most of them are dead, so you might not want to study with them. They are very good teachers, though.


April 12, 2005 at 12:13 PM · Hi,

Jessica, you are right. There are hidden jems of teaching. Most of them are young, and hopefully in time will emerge.

As for Mauricio Fuks, you are talking about one of the last of the great master teachers alive, and a pedagogue who can pick out anything. He just knows his stuff. That's all I can say. And yes, he is amazing in that way.


April 12, 2005 at 01:04 PM · My best one is dead, but he was fairly well-known.

April 12, 2005 at 07:19 PM · Another rising teacher, though on viola: Helen Callus at UC Santa Barbara. She is a wonderful artist and pushes her students to really achieve and come in contact with their deepest senses. Also very intuitive and in touch with students' personal lives and how it relates to their music-making.

April 12, 2005 at 07:48 PM · Sorry to interupt this thread, but I just wanted to let you all know that I won't be around for a while, as I've got a lot "on my plate" and won't have time to visit. It's been a pleasure to get to know all of you. Good luck in the future.


April 12, 2005 at 11:06 PM · It's been nice to read your responses on the site. I sincerely wish you good luck in swallowing and digesting whatever is on your plate..who knows, with only a little wait, something very good could appear in its place. :)

April 13, 2005 at 12:16 AM · Hi,

Benjamin, too bad. You will be missed!


July 25, 2005 at 11:37 PM · Gerardo Ribeiro was my second (and so far, my last) teacher -- I studied with him for four years. Jessica, I wholeheartedly agree with every single thing you've said about him! I don't know how you even came up with the words to describe, because he is certainly an amazing teacher -- and person, as well. I won't try to say more because I know I'd mess it up somehow, but I just wanted to say that Ribeiro deserves to be recognized the world over. "Hidden gem" is indeed a fitting description.

(On a more depressing note, tech schools do not like the humanities! I miss playing -- terribly. So now I'm embarking on A Quest to *Make* More Time To Practice, and hopefully life will get better...)

July 26, 2005 at 01:04 AM · Keng Yuen Tseng (Peabody Conservatory).

July 26, 2005 at 02:08 AM · My teacher is the best... :) Has anyone heard of Jan Mark Sloman?

July 26, 2005 at 03:30 AM · Tseng is a wonderful teacher, very similar to Erick Friedman who was also a great teacher, probably one of the only people to know Heifetz's technical and musical foundation so well.

October 9, 2005 at 07:47 AM · David Yonan, a violinist, educater and teacher at the Fine Arts Building Chicago has certainly taught many students and produced some significant results.

His personal homepage is:

October 10, 2005 at 02:19 AM · Wow, Bethany, I didn't realize Yevgeny's mother was a violinist, too. That explains a lot! :)

October 10, 2005 at 02:21 AM · Also, Chris Teal at Vanderbilt is a wonderful teacher, as I've said before on this site!

Joey Corpus, in New York, seems to be at last getting some attention.

October 10, 2005 at 03:43 AM · I know you all may think you have the best teachers but the truth is the greatest violin teacher that has ever lived is Miss Maree. I was lucky enough to become aquainted with a parent who's son was(and still is) Maree's student. This mother said "maybe you would like her". I tried Miss Maree for a little while.... and now I hate to think that I will have to leave her in a few months when college life starts getting too overwhelming.. she has improved my technique in every area.. vibrato.. shifting.. phrasing.. bow hand.... she really is a gem.

October 10, 2005 at 05:36 AM · Robert Klose in Edmonton, Alberta. A formidable prodigy whose recording application for screening to Indiana (they used to require that in the golden years) was mistaken for a bootlegged Heifetz recording...he nearly was not invited for a personal audition; Gingold, who had heard him in person, had to vouch for his abilities.

He is a consumate musician and artist. He's so dedicated to his students and does wonderful things for their sense of musicality. One really should have their technique in order when they study with him, or you will become very frustrated at your inability to make the music he requires.

I remember when he gave me Sibelius to learn in August 1995 at the age of 14 and gave me 3 months to learn it. I thought I'd never be able to do it, but he saw something I couldn't see and by Christmas I had it memorized, along with Zigeunerweizen and the Faure Sonata. He knows just how much to push you and how much you can handle without going over board.

He did wonders for my sense of musicality and I owe my intense love for music, performing, and teaching to him.


October 10, 2005 at 02:02 PM · I have always been extremely impressed with the students of Cyrus Forough, who teaches at Carnegie Mellon.

October 10, 2005 at 07:27 PM · I heard the same story about Klose. Just goes to show that genius doesn't always get the full attention it deserves.

October 10, 2005 at 11:26 PM · He sounds amazing!

October 11, 2005 at 04:56 PM · Quote: "I'd like to say that one of the most under used teachers in western australia is Ben Clapton. I've never studied under him, but I've heard that he's amazing ;)" Ben, I read that, and was like, "Wait...isn't there a Ben Clapton here at" Ha ha ha...

Yeah, but Preston, you're a great violinist, so no wonder you could learn Sibelius, Zigeunerweizen, and Faure...I would DIE if I had to do that...but it's really inspiring, too. Thanks for sharing that.

October 12, 2005 at 12:10 AM · Opps...I forgot to put a plug in for my teacher...(is that all that we're doing here?) She really is perfect for me (though, not for everyone). I think the best part about her is she balances so carefully the friendship aspect and teaching aspect of our relationship. YAY for Petia Radneva-Manolova!!!!

October 17, 2005 at 05:47 AM · Pieter,

Klose would have been one of the major soloists of our time had he not been stricken with Focal Distonia just as his career was begining to take off. He had to give up the concert stage, sold his violin (Montagnana) and began teaching.


I was not a very good violinist when I began studying with Klose. I wasn't even planning on a career in music really. I owe so much to him.


October 17, 2005 at 02:27 PM · Yes it's very tragic. As a violin player I certainly do not have his abilities, and I still cannot imagine not being able to really play.

But what I can't figure out is why he doesn't get more credit as a teacher. You are not the first person I've heard extolling this gentleman, and it's always a marvel to me that even our small little world seems to accidentally exclude some truly brilliant people like Mr. Klose from the limelight. Of course, fame is not as important as impact, but the two are somewhat related.

This doesn't only go for Mr. Klose, but others. There seem to be quite a few little gems who are every bit as capable as the famous teachers. I always wonder what really makes a famous teacher.

October 18, 2005 at 03:55 AM · "Another rising teacher, though on viola: Helen Callus at UC Santa Barbara. She is a wonderful artist and pushes her students to really achieve and come in contact with their deepest senses. Also very intuitive and in touch with students' personal lives and how it relates to their music-making."

Wow, I had no idea Callus left U of Washington; I accompanied her quite a few times when I was an undergrad there. Never heard a single student of hers describe her as anything less than the best they'd ever had...

February 10, 2006 at 12:49 AM · I'm only an amateur, but in college years ago I studied for several years with Myron Kartman, who went on to become Chair of the String Department at Northwestern and who may be retired by now. He was absolutely fabulous as a teacher and as a human being. And he was fun to be around. If he's still teaching, he's great.

February 10, 2006 at 01:48 AM · at the beginning of this year I started studying with Anthea Kreston who teaches at hartt school of music in hopes of furthering my violin-college audition dreams. I went in barely being able to play the Bruch concerto, and now I am playind peices like bachs chaconne, several paganini caprices, the sibelius violin concerto, 2 mozart concertos and alot more. I dont think I would have gotten into a community college with how I was at the beginning of the year and now I am granted auditions at all the major schools like curtis, julliard, NEC, Manhattan ect. I pretty much owe what will become my violin career completely to her.

February 10, 2006 at 01:48 AM · oh by the way jessica hung! I have seen your music on some music downloads page where you play the sibelius concerto, and it helped me a ton! I had no idea you were on here.

March 1, 2006 at 03:19 PM · I am a little-known student! Giving her lesson number two tomorrow! Anybody got tips on teaching fourth finger to an eleven-year old that has played since she was four?

March 1, 2006 at 03:57 PM · To teach fourth finger:

Sharpen a knife in front of her while she's playing, and then say, "You know, if you're not going to use fourth finger, I guess you don't really need it anyway, do you?"

That'll learn 'er.

And to my students:

You better use your fourth finger.....

March 1, 2006 at 04:54 PM · Why has she studied for 7 years and not learned 4th finger?

Watch out for other bad habits in her playing. It sounds like her past training wasn't what it should have been.


March 1, 2006 at 07:45 PM · Preston...

Your posts always make me chuckle! :)


March 1, 2006 at 07:50 PM · Any other ideas...there's a parent in the room...threats might not work...

And no, this parent doesn't go out of the room and wander through my house...

March 3, 2006 at 03:56 AM · I'd like to recommend myself and add that we offer wonderful scholarship money as well! (and most often waive out of state tuition)

Grand Valley State University, Michigan..check it out online!

Dylana Jenson

March 3, 2006 at 06:55 AM · I've talked with many people and read many comments that would second your self-recommendation, Dylana!

March 3, 2006 at 10:34 AM · Is that really you Dylana! Great Sibelius recording, but I guess you already know that.

March 3, 2006 at 11:27 PM · Ms. Jenson, I heard you play the Goldmark concerto at Carnegie Hall last spring! It was fantastic! I met you backstage with my grandmother, Joanne. One of the best concerts I've ever been to :-)

March 4, 2006 at 12:15 AM · The chix just got more awesome!

January 30, 2008 at 05:36 AM · As a non-violinist (gasp!), I have heard of Mauricio Fuks, he taught at Banff and in Montreal...

January 30, 2008 at 08:03 PM · Ms. Jensen - it's wonderful to see you here. Having listened to your Sibelius recording and performed in an orchestra during one of your performances of the Goldmark (during the second movement we were all in tears, it was that beautiful), I have to agree! You would be wonderful!

There are some amazing people playing in America's orchestras, including Zoya Lebyin (retired, San Francisco Symphony), Elizabeth Adkins (associate concertmaster, National Symphony), Laura Park Chen (Chicago Lyric Opera), Sophia Silivos (Houston Symphony), Eric Halen (Houston Symphony)...and I could go on...

January 31, 2008 at 11:02 AM · Best teacher? Mrs Bryant, North Elementary, Alamogordo, NM. She took on us kids, she taught us to play, and she taught us to love it. I will never forget her and I think of her every time I pick up my violin. I'm 39 now.

January 31, 2008 at 01:39 PM · I have two great teachers. Martha Windscheif and Daniel Foster (Eastern Michigan University).

February 1, 2008 at 05:50 AM · I thought my teacher in Madrid, Luda Mesropian, was fantastic! In 9 lessons, she helped me improve my technique, how I thought of practicing technique, she was amazing with me as a young adult and with little kids...she was very blunt but never mean. I miss her dearly and would love to go back and take lessons from her!

February 1, 2008 at 06:11 AM · I need to add to the list my younger son's teacher and my older son's former teacher, Jose Bastardes. He teaches in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Under his care my son went from Praeludium and Allegro at 9 to Wieniawski F# minor and Paganini Caprices at 11. It was simply amazing to witness! He has seen my younger son from the end of Suzuki book IV at 8 years old through Bach partitas and sonatas, Lalo Symphonie Espanol, paganini Caprices and the Khachaturian violin concerto at the age of 13. This is not to mention all the scales, etudes, and technical exercises! He has done it all with humor and abundant love and dedication!

I would also add my oldest son's current teacher to the list: Joe Genualdi at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He is an inspiring player, an artist and human of the highest order. What he has given my son in the way of loving guidance and an appreciation for excellence and discipline is priceless.

I feel unbelievably blessed to have these two teachers as a part of our family!

February 1, 2008 at 11:26 AM · I would like to add my teacher, June Huang. She is the nicest, sweetest person you could ever meet, and also a great violinist, modern and baroque. She really knows all the different styles, and teaches really well.

Two people I know from Florida International are great. Robert Davidovitch, an older generation Jewish violinist, has a great teaching style and plays amazingly, although whenever he has a lessons with a girl, he references everything to sex. The other great teacher I know from FIU is Misha Vitenson, a great violinist. His tone is the most powerful tone I have ever heard, and his playing is as fiery as Seidel's.

February 1, 2008 at 12:51 PM · our teacher is little known but we are thankful he lives right next to the golf course.:)

April 3, 2008 at 11:00 PM · Eric Halen, associate concertmaster of the Houston Symphony. His musical insight astounded me the first time I met him. I'm glad that I now see him every Monday for violin lessons!

August 28, 2008 at 03:34 AM · I must agree with Mr. Mauricio. Mr. Eric Halen is an approachable teacher with a keen musical sense. He is really good at explaining different techniques in a comprehensible (and sometimes humorous) light.

I didn't know he was little-known, though. I always thought a ton of people knew who he was, since he's you know, awesome.

August 30, 2008 at 10:06 PM · Another to add to the list: my (now) ex teacher, Mrs J.E. Grahame. She's definately the best teacher i've ever had within any subject. She inspires real passion and drive in her students. I started learning when i was 7 with another teacher, and to be honest i never really enjoyed it. I was never actually made to understand music itself, i didn't want to practice, and my technique was poor, which is why i think it's taken me so long to progress. But since i've been taught by Mrs Grahame i've really started to love making music, and take a real interest in it. She's so wonderful and passionate, she inspires it in her students too. She's also a wonderful player; she plays practically all stringed instruments and inspires awe!

January 12, 2009 at 11:35 PM ·

I have just started studying side by side with Mr. Ribeiro and my regular teacher, and I agree that he is an amazing teacher.  Even after only 2 or 3 lessons, my level of playing has gone up so much.  He has amazing little exercises for both my right and left hands that completely change the way I am playing.  Although he isn't as well-known as many, he is so helpful and I am glad my teacher recommended him.

January 13, 2009 at 12:25 AM ·

Lena, can you give us examples of his exercises?

Is everyone forgetting our own Drew Lescher?

January 14, 2009 at 09:31 PM ·

Motoi Takeda, assistant concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony, is the diamond in the ruff of a violin teacher. What an incredible man, player, teacher, mentor, and friend. He's not only shaped me as a player and artist, but also as a person in society. He is so passionate at what he does, and so calming and soothing. The minute I walk into his house I feel calm, and patient despite all the rest of the week. He commands so much respect for him that he never even has to raise his voice or even provide any kind of discipline; all his students respect and admire him so much that the worst punishment is not living up to his expectations.

He is also one of the most beautiful, powerful players I've ever heard. A true student of Leonid Kogan, he shuns major publicity/touring/etc. so few people have had the opportunity to be affected by this brilliant player, except by invitation from word of mouth.

He's blessed and changed my life, outlook, technique, and attitude towards music. He's also really funny, and fun to be with. He also has the best stories from countless incidents throughout his experienced life. What a man. I love and adore him. How blessed I am to have been referred to Motoi Takeda!

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