List of potential schools/teachers

October 26, 2005 at 03:34 AM · Of the following teachers, what are there teaching styles like? Have you studied with them personally? Are they calm and patient, or do they yell during lessons? (I am a very sensitive person, and HATE being yelled at!) Are they more focused on technical training or artistry? Also, what is the school like? I would be looking to get my master's degree; is the graduate program there good? How hard of a school is it to get into? What would the audition requirements look like? And do you know if they offer assistanships?

Thanks in advance for you answers to my questions. And here are some of the places I'm considering:

--Bowling Green State University in Ohio: Dr. Penny Thompson Cruse and Vasile Beluska?

--U of North Texas: Igor Borodin, Julia Buskova, and Phil Lewis

--Baylor U: Eka Gogicheshvili and Bruce Berg

--U of Illinois at Champagne: Sherban Lupu

--Houghton U: Lin He

--Hartt School: Anthea Kreston, Katie Lansdale, Anton Miller, Mickey Reisman, Emlyn Ngai

--U of Louisianna: Michael Blaney

--U of Wisconsin at Madison: Tryone Greive, Suzanne Beia, Vartan Manoogian, and David Perry

--Duquesne U: Charles and Rachel Stegeman, and Christopher Wu

--U of Denver at Lamont: James Maurer (but I think he's retiring), Yumi-Hwang Williams, and Jeri Jorgensen

--West Virginia U: Laura Kobayashi

--Oklahoma U: Patricia Moye and Peter Rovit

--U of Texas at San Antonio: Mary Ellen Goree, Stepahie Sant' Ambrogio, Karen Stiles

Sorry this Is so long, but I am really hoping some of you fabulous violinists and knowledgable people on this message board give me your opinions on this matter. Thanks!

Replies (32)

October 26, 2005 at 04:01 AM · Felicia Moye at OU is a wonderful teacher, and scholarship money is amply available. She's a very kind, intelligent presence; I felt very comfortable around her in a masterclass.

I've heard good things about Vasile Beluska, and the assistantships at BG are pretty lucrative. Be warned, though, that Bowling Green is an astonishingly uninterestingly town.

At UT-SA, Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio (who I knew as Stephanie Schweigart) is a terrific player and a nice woman, but, to be honest, a dull, pedantic, and ineffective teacher.

October 26, 2005 at 04:30 AM · I know what you mean; Centenary College also has a GREAT string program, but you die from boredom ANYWHERE in NJ

October 26, 2005 at 06:43 AM · Thanks for the feedback, Jude. I know about the BGSU assistantships; that Is one of the reasons I am considering them. (I NEED some sort of financial help to be able to attend grad school at all!) Also, I don't think a boring town would be so bad because 1) I should be in the practice room all day!! and 2) I would still be moving away from home and living on my own.

Please keep the responses coming! Thanks!

October 26, 2005 at 08:36 AM · Boring town? Norman, Oklahoma, a boring town? I had the best times in that silly town.

...But actually, I was severely depressed just at the thought of being stuck there for good.

I think you could have a good musical experience at OU. Everything you need is there. I haven't met the professor that teaches violin currently, but I'd take Jude's word on it. She seems like a nice and knowledeable person.

October 26, 2005 at 07:31 PM · I worked with bushkova at a music festival several years ago. It's funny, she was said to be tough, but she was actually very nice in the lessons--she probably also adjusts the approach for each student. In my time with her, she was very technique oriented. I remember her working a lot on the bow arm (she doesn't like the word bow 'grip' or bow 'hold,' since she likes the bow arm to be without tension), and I do remember enjoying the lessons. Hopefully you'll be able to take a lesson from at least some of the teachers before you have to decide. Best of luck!

Oh also I've heard good things about kobayashi, though I have not directly worked with her.

October 26, 2005 at 07:33 PM · I live about 40 minutes away from BGSU, I live in Toledo, which is not a boring town at all. Penny Kruse is pretty well known around Toledo, she teaches the top High School kids, such as my teachers daughter. I don't know exactly what her teaching style is like, but in Toledo, if anyone has a hard violin question, we call penny. I can get more info for you if you'd like.

October 26, 2005 at 11:13 PM · I would really appreciate more information on BGSU. Thanks!

October 27, 2005 at 02:14 AM · My old violin teacher is cuurently at WVU and absolutely loves it! She has only good things to say about the teacher and will be graduating next year.

October 27, 2005 at 06:41 AM · I highly recommend Lin He at Houghton. He has always been a very good violinist-- even the doctoral recitals of his that I attended ages ago were full of expressiveness, color, and spot-on intonation. Plus he has plenty of experience developing talented students-- he has 4+ years of experience as assistant violin faculty at Eastman. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better teacher.

October 27, 2005 at 12:10 PM · I took a few lessons with Anthea Kreston, and really liked her. Her primary goal is to get you playing so you are comfortable. Her ideas are very ingenious. She doesn't shout. She's a very gentle teacher who only makes "suggestions", instead of demands. On an artistic level, I couldn't recommend her highly enough. Her playing is extraordinarily clean and articulate.

Audition requirements are one or 2 movements of Bach, one movement of a concerto, and an etude. They say they test sightreading, but I was never tested for sightreading anywhere. (I love sightreading:) )

November 27, 2005 at 07:21 PM · Hey...Bowling Green isn't THAT uninteresting (I live there!). There actually end up being some pretty interesting events in the area, and it's only about an hour from Ann Arbor. Dr. Kruse and Dr. Beluska are both EXCELLENT teachers. I'm still in high school, but I'm taking lessons from Dr. Kruse - she's a wonderful player and really knows how to teach. Also, I had one lesson with Dr. Beluska about a year and a half ago, and was amazed with his emphasis on the details of music that really make the difference between a good violinist and a superb player. And if you're ever interested in viola, BGSU's viola professor is definitely the best violist I've ever heard of! His name is Csaba Erdelyi, and I'm pretty sure that he personally knew Shostakovich when he was young. BGSU's music program is surprisingly good for a state school, and indeed for any school. I'm thinking about going there myself - an added bonus is that, if your academic record is good, it is easier to get bigger scholarships because the majority of BGSU students are untalented business or sports majors. But the music students make up a really fun, helpful, and interesting group of people, and there are several other departments, such as philosophy and film, that are some of the best in the country. I hope you'll look into it!

November 28, 2005 at 05:56 AM · I grew up in Champaign (note: not Champagne) so I remember hearing of Sherban Lupu, and I think my teacher respected him and sent some of her advanced students to him. (As a violist, I went on to take lessons from the viola professor instead.) But I don't really remember what she might have specifically said about him or his teaching style. But if you have questions about Champaign or the University, I might be able to answer some of them.

December 24, 2005 at 07:41 AM · Late response but since you haven't had to choose yet... I had a lesson with Miller and really liked him. I went to visit Lawrence (where he was) and loved it. Then he told me he was going to Hartt so I looked into it... the musical school impressed me... the University didn't so I took that one off the list before I stepped off the campus. If you're doing performance, go with teacher. Miller was great for me. I don't know about Kreston, she's the interim teacher at Lawrence now and the friends I have that study with her really enjoy her. There's a rumor she may come here permanently but it's only a rumor for now.

December 30, 2005 at 10:51 AM · Anthea Kreston is helping me with my college auditions this year, and she is crazy good.

January 17, 2006 at 07:16 PM · Do you know about any of these people from the Massachusett areas including Boston and New England Conservatory:

James Buswell

Lynn Chang

Marylou Speaker Churchill

William Fedkenheuer

Julie Fischer

Nicholas Kitchen

Yuri Mazurkevich

Irina Muresanu

Magdalena Richter

Eric Rosenblith

Masuko Ushioda

Donald Weilerstein

Peter Zazofsky

January 18, 2006 at 03:03 AM · Teddy

You left out Miriam Fried, a great teacher who will be full time at NEC in the fall. My daughter studies with her at IU and will follow her to Boston. Can't imagine a more superlative teacher.

January 18, 2006 at 05:13 AM · It need hardly be said that Weilerstein is probably the most sought-after teacher in the country, maybe the world.

About the teachers you've mentioned from BU: Yuri Mazurkevich is a fine player, a real devotee of the Oistrakh legacy. He's also extremely nice. As a teacher, I don't know much, but I have noticed that his graduate students tend to be on a considerably higher level than his undergrads.

Peter Zazofsky is really brilliant musically-- it's fun to see his chamber music masterclasses. He's amazingly knowledgeable, and is really good as a chamber coach. I've heard he doesn't provide a really thorough technical background, but that's just hearsay, and his students are good.

January 18, 2006 at 10:08 PM · Thanks Jude. If anyone else knows anything I'd appreciate it, not to take away from Lisa's discussion though. Thanks

January 19, 2006 at 03:29 AM · Miriam Fried is a terrific player, but to study with her you have to have a very thick skin, at least from what I've heard. My husband studied with her for his Bachelor's and Master's degrees and some of the things he told me that she said to him would have made me cry if she'd been my teacher. Fortunately it takes a lot to hurt his feelings and I'm sure she helped him a lot. Anyone who is a sensitive person would do better to study with someone else though.

January 19, 2006 at 03:36 AM · Lisa,

I went to Champaign. I don't think that it's for everyone. There's been a lot of changes in the music school though, so it may be different now. I'm sure Lupu is probably a very nice person, but I was always a little afraid of him, don't ask me why. I have no good reason. I wasn't the only one though. Every time he sat in on my juries, I'd freak out and play worse because he always made me nervous. I was friends with some of his students and I heard good things, but if you're looking for a gentler approach, I don't think he's the best choice.

On the other hand, I've heard terrific things about the other two violin teachers that were recently hired. They came the year after I graduated so they are still pretty new at the university. They are members of the quartet in residence (can't remember which quartet at the moment) so they travel, but they are young energetic teachers.

January 19, 2006 at 04:09 AM · The quartet in Champaign now is the Pacifica. I've heard many great things about Sibbi Bernhardsson, their second fiddle.

January 19, 2006 at 06:45 AM · My daughter happens to be a sensitive freshman who studies now with Miriam Fried and finds her incredibly nice and supportive. Miriam Fried never raises her voice or has been harsh in her criticism of anyone in her studio classes. She is perceptive,honest,and constructive. She encourages students to try to analyze and figure out how to correct problems on their own by asking probing questions and discussing alternative ways of doing things. I think one of her goals is to help students be independent and to find their own voice. She is a great player and teacher.

January 24, 2006 at 10:09 PM · Interesting responses.

January 24, 2006 at 10:35 PM · Once Irina Muresanu sat in as a substitute coach for a chamber group I was playing in. She's a terrific player, and very nice. I don't really remember much about her teaching, though.

I've also had Lynn Chang for chamber music coaching sometimes, and I've known many good violinists at MIT who took lessons from him. He likes to tell jokes, though I didn't always quite get why they are funny. :) I get the impression that he can be kind of intense as a private teacher.

January 25, 2006 at 04:34 PM · I've worked with Irina Muresanu before at a music festival. I also agree she is nice, and a terrific player. In terms of teaching, I guess I'd say she rips everything apart (being thorough, not mean), in a way that is constructive and helpful (and she won't rip it apart if you;re feeling discouraged). She has helpful practice suggestions which immediately improved my playing, and I really enjoyed my lessons.

I've also had friends study with and give rave reviews for Sibbi Bernhardssohn (Pacifica Quartet). He seems to be one of those nice personalities, that is also a good teacher.

Weilerstein and Buswell are huge names. I've not studied with either directly. But I did observe Weilerstein masterclasses, and noticed a big similarity between his teaching style and that of other teachers I've worked with who can be considered top-notch; so that can only be a good sign! Best of luck in your search.

January 27, 2006 at 05:04 AM · Pacifica is great. I worked with them a few summers ago. I took lessons from Simin (the first violinist) and she was good, however, I have a friend at Illinois now who went there for Simin and she said that she hardly ever sees her, they're always travelling and Simin doesn't always tell her when she's going to be away. On a side note, when I was going around taking lessons with different people whenever I mentioned that I worked with Pacifica almost all the teachers were like "Oh, with Sibbi?" Everybody seems to love Sibbi who knows him and I'm kind of sad I never got a chance to work with him. But moral of the story... while Pacifica is great, don't choose Illinois because of them (if that was a dilemma). They're most likely always away and may leave within a few years anyways for another school.


January 27, 2006 at 06:34 AM · Thank you Matt. That is very helpful information to know. I'll keep that in mind.

And a big thank you to everyone else who has taken time to respond.

Now for an update on my college search. The colleges I've applied to and either sent a DVD to or plan to audition in person to include: (and remember I'm not a top notch player which is why I didn't chose any conservatories; besides, I would NOT like that atmosphere!)

*NEW* on the list: U of Iowa. (I would LOVE any information anyone has!)

Teachers: Scott Conklin and Katharine Wolfe.

Tricia Park and Zoran Jakovcic are the violinists in the quartet-in-residence; they teach chamber music.

--Duquesne U: Charles and Rachel Stegeman, Sidney Harth (conductor)

--Arizona State: Katie McLin, Jonathan Swartz, Danwen Jiang

--Hartt: Anthea Kreston, Emlyn Ngai, Anton Miller, Katie Lansdale

--Illinois, Champagne-Urbana: Sherban Lupu, Sibbi Bernardsson, and Simin Ganatra

--Houghton: Lin He

PLEASE, keep the comments/advice coming! Thanks a lot! :)

February 5, 2006 at 06:05 AM · Good luck with your auditions--I'm glad you got to ASU--I have a good friend who got her master's there with Katie McLin, and LOVED studying with her, and learned so much. She was a very supportive teacher, and very inspiring, but also tough.

February 5, 2006 at 05:47 PM · I study with Scott Conklin. He's amazing.

February 7, 2006 at 01:03 AM · hi lisa: this is tricia park at uiowa. i saw your posting regarding your upcoming studies and saw mine and my collegues names listed as possible teachers you are considering. i hope you do audition for uiowa - if you do, i would be happy to answer any questions you might have and maybe even hear you play. uiowa is a great school - everyone is really nice and iowa city is surprisingly cosmopolitan and sophisticated; i myself just joined the maia quartet and recently moved from NYC - i can honestly say life here is very pleasant. i hope to see you! you can email me at if you have any other questions! good luck!

February 7, 2006 at 02:40 AM · Tryone Greive from U of Wisconsin is really amazing...he teaches at a summer music camp that I go to, and not only is he a great teacher, but a great performer too!! And Scott from U of Iowa....hes the best teacher I've ever had...he's absolutely amazing...very compassionate about music, and really makes you the same....

February 7, 2006 at 03:13 AM · I've heard nothing but good things about Katie Wolf (at Iowa). She was at Oklahoma State a few years ago and associate concertmaster of the OK City Philharmonic. She's a top-notch player, and from what I've heard an excellent teacher (though I've never studied with her).

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