Online solo strings intensive (osSI)

Summer Intensive with World-Renowned Teachers


Four private lessons with your assigned faculty member


Daily seminars


Panel discussions with conservatory teachers


Daily masterclasses


Weekly open studio classes


Encouraging community

Don’t let summer go to waste.

Get ahead of the game by studying with some of the greatest teachers around.

This year has been rough for a lot of students.

Rejections seem to come more often than usual and more teachers and festivals are in flux.

How much can change in a year… and yet nothing at all!

Maybe this summer is starting to look just the same as last summer.

No summer plans, no summer festivals, and no inspiration.

Maybe you’re Zoomed out…exhausted…looking for real connection.

Maybe an online festival sounds like yet another boring and fatiguing experience.

I get it. Zoom is tiring and we’re all experiencing screen tiredness.

But what if this festival is just the thing to get you inspired again?

What if you’re able to connect with your dream teacher?

What if you meet colleagues you eventually play with in-person?

Dream with me for a minute.

You log onto Zoom for the first day of OSSI. It’s a little intimidating to see everyone.

Then your first lesson is like a lightbulb. You’ve never thought of that passage like that before! And you never thought you’d get to play for your dream teacher.

You go to the first morning session and hear from a successful soloist. You walk away with some practical steps to land your first orchestra gig.

You head to lunch and meet some awesome people that you end up Zooming even after the festival ends (yes, this happened with June OSSI students!).

We could keep going with this vision. And it could all come true.

OSSI isn’t “just another online festival”. Our community is special; you’ll meet some of the greatest musicians here – both teachers and students.

This festival might just change the trajectory of your schooling and career.

What are you waiting for?

Join us for two inspiring weeks full of learning and growth.

Guest artists will be giving masterclasses, and sitting on a discussion panel. See schedule for more details.


Applications open March 10, 2022, and close April 15, 2022.

Application deadline has been EXTENDED to April 22, 2022.


Daily Masterclasses

Hear from some of the more incredible artists around – you might even get the chance to play for one of them! Masterclasses happen daily and faculty members will recommend students for each class based on application materials.

More Info

Our past masterclass artists have included: Brannon Cho, Tessa Lark, Carol Rodland, Jeffrey Irvine, Ani Kavafian, and more. Stay up to date on our Instagram with masterclass faculty announcements.

Incredible Faculty

Our faculty comes from almost every major conservatory in the US. If you are wanting to see how any faculty member teaches, all studio classes are open and staggered so you can attend multiple classes, if you wish!

More Info

Your assigned faculty member will teach you four total lessons over the two weeks, but if you are in a split studio, you will receive two lessons with one teacher, and two with the other.

Extra Seminars

Ever wondered what teachers look for? How admissions looks through your file? What to do to alleviate nerves? We’ll have at least one session per day on important topics with knowledgable people. Feel confident to tackle those unknowns.

More Info

Learning about how to approach auditions (for the future) and what teachers & schools look for is almost as important as the lessons themselves! We’ll be having a daily session on topics from performance anxiety to essay writing to faculty perspectives and practice techniques.

The details

Each day will have a similar schedule: morning seminars, lessons, open studio classes, evening masterclasses, and faculty discussions. Each day will begin with a morning session to get you thinking before your practice time. The end of the day will close with a special masterclass with one of our guest artists. Participants will be selected by faculty to play and anyone can watch.

These sessions will include Scheduling Your Practice, Performance Anxiety, Recording Tips & Tricks, and more to ensure you are ready to go for the upcoming semester.

We’ll also have daily masterclasses with our guest artists – you are welcome to attend any of them, and students will be selected to play based on faculty recommendation and audition materials.

We’re bringing in so many teachers from schools across the country, and you’ll definitely walk away with a ton of feedback and inspiration for the upcoming semester.

Practice time will not be mandated, but as the summer begins, you probably won’t need the forced time. However, we will be hosting practice Zooms for anyone that does want to stay on track with their practicing.

Additionally, we do NOT want this program to be competitive, catty, judgmental, or unsupportive. We’ll be doing peer mock auditions as a way for you to get over your fear of performing for others and receive constructive criticism. Faculty will be supervising and proctoring the audition.

Finally, we want you to get to know each other. When the pandemic is finally over, I can almost guarantee you will meet some OSSI students at other festivals. Meet people and develop those connections now! It really is possible over Zoom. We’ll be hosting a few evening events for fun as well as a lunchtime meal where we can all play games, take a break from practicing, and enjoy a festival experience.

Why attend ossi?


Get intensive and personal attention from faculty


Hear directly from recording engineers & admissions counselors


Be inspired for the upcoming semester


Get in-depth work with your assigned faculty member


Use your summer break wisely


Receive written feedback from teachers at major conservatories & universities


Develop a plan for the next few weeks


Meet and get to know your peers during mealtimes


Learn about recording techniques, performance anxiety, and more

Get direct feedback from top teachers and
walk into the semester excited like never before!





Stefan Jackiw (split studio with Zhou)
Full Biography

Stefan Jackiw is one of America’s foremost violinists, captivating audiences with playing that combines poetry and purity with an impeccable technique. Hailed for playing of “uncommon musical substance” that is “striking for its intelligence and sensitivity” (Boston Globe), Jackiw has appeared as soloist with the Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco symphony orchestras, among others.

Jackiw has performed in numerous important festivals and concert series, including the Aspen Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Caramoor International Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Philharmonie de Paris, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Celebrity Series of Boston, and the Washington Performing Arts Society. As a chamber musician, he has collaborated with such artists as Jeremy Denk, Steven Isserlis, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gil Shaham, and forms a trio with Jay Campbell and Conrad Tao.

Born to physicist parents of Korean and German descent, Stefan Jackiw began playing the violin at the age of four. His teachers have included Zinaida Gilels, Michèle Auclair, and Donald Weilerstein. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, as well as an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory, and is the recipient of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Jackiw plays a violin made in 1750 in Milan by G.B. Guadagnini, on generous loan from a private collection. He lives in New York City.

Soovin Kim, New England Conservatory, Yale University (split studio with Beilman)
Full Biography
Korean-American violinist Soovin Kim is an exciting player who has built on the early successes of his prize-winning years to emerge as a mature and communicative artist. After winning first prize at the Niccolò Paganini International Competition, Mr. Kim was recipient of the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and the Henryk Szeryng Foundation Career Award. Today he enjoys a broad musical career, regularly performing repertoire such as Bach sonatas and Paganini caprices for solo violin, sonatas for violin and piano by Beethoven, Brahms, and Ives, string quartets, Mozart and Haydn concertos and symphonies as a conductor, and new world-premiere works almost every season. 
In recent seasons he has been acclaimed for his “superb…impassioned” (Berkshire Review) performance of Alban Berg’s Chamber Concerto at the Bard Festival with the American Symphony Orchestra and a “sassy, throaty” (Philadelphia Inquirer) rendition of Kurt Weill’s concerto with the Curtis Chamber Orchestra. Other unusual concerto collaborations included Mendelssohn’s Double Concerto with conductor Maestro Myung-Whun Chung, the same Mendelssohn concerto with the Dallas Symphony and music director Jaap van Zweden, and Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in Carnegie Hall. He has performed in past seasons with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, and the Seoul Philharmonic and Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra with Maestro Chung. 
For 20 years Soovin Kim was the 1st violinist of the Johannes String Quartet. Among their special projects was a two-season tour with the famed and now-retired Guarneri String Quartet in a program including world-premieres of works by Esa-Pekka Salonen, Derek Bermel, and William Bolcom. Mr. Kim maintains a close relationship with the famed Marlboro Festival where he regularly spends his summers. He is well-known in Korea as a member of MIK, his ground-breaking piano quartet ensemble. He recently launched the exciting Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio with his wife, pianist Gloria Chien, and cellist Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet. 
Soovin Kim’s latest solo CD, Gypsy, was his third solo collaboration between American label Azica Records and Korea-based Stomp/EMI. They previously released a French album of Fauré and Chausson with pianist Jeremy Denk and the Jupiter Quartet, and Paganini’s demanding 24 Caprices for solo violin which was named Classic FM magazine’s Instrumental Disc of the Month (“he emerges thrillingly triumphant…a thrilling debut disc.”). He made his first solo recording with Jeremy Denk for Koch-Discover in duo works by Schubert, Bartók, and Strauss. Mr. Kim also has six commercial chamber music recordings including an acclaimed live performance from the Marlboro Festival of Beethoven’s Archduke trio with pianist Mitsuko Uchida and the late cellist David Soyer. In 2020 his recording of Bach’s monumental solo sonatas and partitas will be released. 
Soovin Kim and his wife are the newly appointed co-artistic directors of Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon, one of the pre-eminent chamber music organizations in the U.S.  
Soovin Kim also founded the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, Vermont in 2009. With its focused programming and exceptional artists the festival is “increasing its stature as one of this country’s summer chamber music meccas (Rutland Herald).” Mr. Kim and the Lake Champlain festival helped to create the ONE Strings program in Burlington which makes violin lessons part of the regular curriculum for every 3rd, 4th, and 5th grader. In May 2015 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Vermont in recognition of his contributions to the community.
Soovin Kim dedicates much of his time to his passion for teaching. He previously taught at Stony Brook University and the Peabody Institute, and now he teaches exclusively at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Mr. Kim studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music with David Cerone and Donald Weilerstein, and at the Curtis Institute of Music with Victor Danchenko and Jaime Laredo. 
Connie Heard, Vanderbilt University
Full Biography

Cornelia Heard currently holds the Valere Blair Potter Chair at Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, where she is professor of violin and chair of the string department. She has served on the artist faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2005 and is co-director of the chamber music program. As a member of the Blair String Quartet, she has toured extensively throughout the United States, presented complete Beethoven and Bartok cycles and recorded for the Naxos, Innova, Warner Reprise, New World, Blue Griffin and Pantheon labels. She has recently participated in festivals in Portillo and Santiago, Chile, Guangzhou, China and Loja, Ecuador. Ms. Heard has performed on concert series at the Library of Congress and at New York’s 92nd Street Y, as well as at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Merkin Hall and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. She served on the faculty of the Sewanee Music Festival from 1985 to 1999 and the Killington Festival from 2002-2004. Other summer festival appearances have included Chamber Music Northwest, Colorado, Highlands-Cashiers, Kapalua, Maverick, Music Mountain, Roycroft, Sedona and Skaneateles Festivals, as well as performances in Italy, Ecuador and Iceland. 

Ms. Heard has given master classes throughout the United States and her students have won and been prizewinners in regional, national and international competitions.
Ms. Heard earned a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School as well as Bachelor’s degrees from Juilliard and Sarah Lawrence College. She studied violin with Dorothy DeLay and chamber music with Robert Mann, Felix Galimir, Earl Carlyss and Samuel Rhodes, as well as Ruth Laredo and Jan DeGaetani.


Nancy Zhou (split studio with Jackiw)
Full Biography

Lauded as one of today’s probing musical voices infused with searing virtuosity, Nancy Zhou is rapidly building an international profile after winning the 2018 Shanghai Isaac Stern Violin Competition. With a robust online presence that seeks to invigorate appreciation for the art and science of the violin, her thoughtful musicianship resonates with a global audience in such a way that brings her on stage with leading orchestras around the world.

Born in Texas to Chinese immigrant parents, Nancy began the violin under the guidance of her father. She went on to study with Miriam Fried at the New England Conservatory while pursuing her interest in literature at Harvard University. An Associated Artist of the Queen Elisabeth Chapel, where she studied with Augustin Dumay, she also has been generously supported by the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation.

Nancy plays on a Joseph Guarneri violin from 1730-33 known as the “Le Sphynx”, on generous loan to her from a private sponsor.

Paul Kantor, Rice University
Full Biography

Paul Kantor is currently the Sally Shepherd Perkins Professor of Violin at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University having previously served as the Eleanor H. Biggs Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the Juilliard studying violin with Dorothy DeLay and chamber music with Robert Mann. For thirteen years he served as Chair of the String Department at the University of Michigan and has taught at the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, and Yale University. He continues as Artist in Residence at the Glenn Gould School of Music/ Royal Conservatory of Music since his appointment in 2008. Along with his son, violinist Timothy Kantor, he founded and directs the Gabriel Del Orbe Violin Program in the Dominican Republic.

Additionally, he has presented master classes at the Starling-Delay Symposium, Indiana University, the Eastman School, the University of Southern California and the New World Symphony, among others. His students consistently win major awards at important violin competitions including the Indianapolis, Montreal, Stulberg, Buenos Aires, Klein, and Fischoff.
For the past 37 years, he has been on the Artist/Faculty of the Aspen Music Festival & School where he has been concertmaster of both the Festival Orchestra and the Chamber Symphony. He has performed as soloist with numerous symphony orchestras as well as serving as concertmaster of the New Haven Symphony, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra and the Great Lakes Festival Orchestra. Kantor was a member of The New York and Lenox string quartets, the Berkshire Chamber Players and the National Musical Arts Chamber Ensemble in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Kantor has performed the world premieres of Dan Welcher’s Violin Concerto, (subsequently recorded with Larry Rachleff and Symphony II) as well as John Corigliano’s “Red Violin Caprices”. His recordings can be found on the labels of Equilibrium, CRI, Delos and Mark Records. In 2014 he was honored with the Artist Teacher Award from the American String Teachers Association.
Mark Kaplan, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Full Biography

One of the leading violinists of his generation, Mark Kaplan’s consummate artistry has resulted in solo engagements with nearly every major North American orchestra, and with  many of the world’s foremost conductors, among them Ormandy, Tennstedt, Maazel, Dutoit, Rattle, Zinman, Masur, etc. 


Kaplan has also maintained a flourishing international career for over four decades, with highly acclaimed concerto and recital appearances in all the musical centers of Europe – London, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Prague, Zurich, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Milan – as well as in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. 

Also devoted to chamber music. Mr. Kaplan appears with pianist Yael Weiss and cellist Peter Stumpf as the Weiss-Kaplan-Stumpf Trio, with recordings and concerts world-wide.

Mr. Kaplan has a wide range of repertoire available on CD.  His second recording of Bach’s solo violin works was issued in 2016 by Bridge Records, and due for release this season is a Weiss-Kaplan-Stumpf Trio set of Beethoven’s complete Trios.  Other recordings include concerti of Berg Stravinsky,  Lalo, Bartók, Paganini, Wieniawski and Viotti, Sonatas of Schumann and Schubert, Spanish Dances of Sarasate, trios of Brahms, Debussy, Dvorak, Fauré, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov, Saint-Saens, Schubert, Smetana and Tchaikowsky.

Since 2005, Mark Kaplan has been Professor of Violin at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and prior to that he served as Professor with Distinction at UCLA.  He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he was a student of Dorothy DeLay.  Kaplan plays a violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1685, known as the Marquis.                             

Benjamin Beilman, Curtis Institute of Music (split studio with Kim)
Full Biography

Born in 1989, American violinist Benjamin Beilman is winning plaudits across the globe for his compelling and impassioned performances, his deep rich tone and searing lyricism. The Scotsman has described him as “a remarkable talent, delivering playing of rare insight and generosity, as captivating as it is gloriously entertaining” and the New York Times has praised his “handsome technique, burnished sound, and quiet confidence [which] showed why he has come so far so fast”.

In past seasons, Beilman has performed with many major orchestras worldwide including the Rotterdam Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Zurich Tonhalle, Sydney Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra both at home and at Carnegie Hall.  In recital and chamber music, Beilman performs regularly at the major halls across the world, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, Louvre (Paris), Philharmonie (Berlin), Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Bunka Kaikan (Tokyo) and at festivals he has performed at eg Verbier, Aix-en-Provence Easter, Prague Dvorak, Robeco Summer Concerts (Amsterdam), [email protected], Marlboro and Seattle Chamber Music amongst others. In early 2018 he premiered a new work dedicated to the political activist Angela Davis written by Frederic Rzewski and commissioned by Music Accord which he has performed extensively across the US.

Beilman studied with Almita and Roland Vamos at the Music Institute of Chicago, Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank at the Curtis Institute of Music, and Christian Tetzlaff at the Kronberg Academy, and has received many prestigious accolades including a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a London Music Masters Award.  He has an exclusive recording contract with Warner Classics and released his first disc ‘Spectrum’ for the label in 2016, featuring works by Stravinsky, Janáček and Schubert. Beilman plays the “Engleman” Stradivarius from 1709 generously on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.

Judith Ingolfsson, Peabody Institute
Full Biography

Violinist Judith Ingolfsson is recognized for her intense, commanding performances, uncompromising musical maturity, and charismatic performance style. Based in Berlin and Baltimore and enjoying a global career, she performs regularly as soloist, chamber musician and in recital as the Duo Ingolfsson-Stoupel, founded in 2006. The New York Times has characterized her playing as producing “both fireworks and a singing tone” and Strings Magazine described her tone as “gorgeous, intense, and variable, flawlessly pure and beautiful in every register.”

She has collaborated with conductors such as Wolfgang Sawallisch, Raymond Leppard, Gilbert Varga, Jesús López-Cobos, Rico Saccani, Gerard Schwarz, and Leonard Slatkin, and appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Tokyo, the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt (Oder). Concerts have taken her through almost the entire USA and to many other countries, including Germany, France, Spain,the Czech Republic, Russia, China, Japan, Hungary, Iceland, Puerto Rico, Panama, Hong Kong and Macau. She has played in many of the world’s most famous venues, including the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Tokyo Opera City, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Judith Ingolfsson studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Jascha Brodsky, David Cerone, and Donald Weilerstein. In addition to winning the Gold Medal at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis in 1998, Judith Ingolfsson was also a prizewinner at the Premio Paganini Competition in Genoa and at the Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York. In 1999, she was honored by National Public Radio as Debut Artist of the Year.

She is currently Professor of Violin at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, co-artistic director and founder of the Festival “Aigues-Vives en Musiques” in France and the Festival “The last Rose of Summer” in Berlin, Germany. She performs on a Lorenzo Guadagnini violin, crafted in 1750, and a viola by Yair Hod Fainas.




James Dunham, Rice University (split studio with Helen Callus)
Full Biography
Violist James Dunhams’s rich background includes having been founding member of the Naumburg Award winning Sequoia String Quartet and subsequently violist of the Grammy Award winning Cleveland Quartet. An impassioned advocate of new music, he has premiered and recorded many works written for him: his recording of Judith Shatin’s “Glyph” for solo viola and piano quintet was praised by Fanfare Magazine as “reverent…beautifully, skillfully written” and “the playing here by soloist James Dunham is stunning: resonant and vital.” American composer Libby Larsen has written two works for Mr. Dunham and his colleagues: the Viola Sonata (2001) and the song cycle “Sifting Through the Ruins” (2005) for mezzo-soprano, viola and piano. Both appear on the CD “Circle of Friends” by Libby Larsen. In addition, he was a co-commissioner of Larsen’s “Ferlinghetti” (2014) for clarinet, viola and piano.
A frequent guest with ensembles such as the American, Jupiter, and Takács Quartets, Mr. Dunham is violist of the Axelrod String Quartet, in residence at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. where the group performs on their collection of Niccolò Amati and Stradivari instruments.
Highlights of recent seasons include performing the Shostakovich Viola Sonata with pianist Vladimir Feltsman, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with Queen Elisabeth Competition lauriate Will Hagen, and a three-week tour of their home country with the New Zealand String Quartet. In May 2017 he was Guest Artist and recitalist at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” in Leipzig, Germany, followed by multiple performances at the Aspen Music Festival, including quintets with the Takács and American String Quartets. Mr. Dunham is featured regularly in concerts, master classes and competition juries throughout the U.S. and abroad, adjudicating twice for the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and as a Senior Division juror for the Fischoff Chamber Music Competiton.
Mr. Dunham is Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music where he also co-directs its Master of Music in String Quartet program. Formerly on the faculty of California Institute of the Arts and the Eastman School of Music, he chaired the String Department at the New England Conservatory of Music for six years where he received the Louis & Adrienne Krasner Teaching Excellence Award.
Summer activities include yearly participation in the Aspen, Sarasota and Amelia Island
(FL) Music Festivals as well as frequent appearances at the Texas Music Festival, le Domaine Forget (Quebec), Garth Newel Center, Heifetz International Music Institute and La Jolla Music Society’s SummerFest. In Houston he is heard regularly in concert with the St. Cecilia Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Houston, Da Camera of Houston, Ars Lyrica Houston, Mercury Chamber Orchestra and the Houston Bach Society.
His recordings can be found on labels including Telarc, Innova, Nonesuch, Delos, Naxos and Crystal.


Matthew Lipman, Stonybrook University
Full Biography
American violist Matthew Lipman has been praised by the New York Times for his “rich tone and elegant phrasing,” and by the Chicago Tribune for a “splendid technique and musical sensitivity.” Lipman has come to be relied on as one of the leading players of his generation, frequently appearing as both a soloist and chamber music performer.
Highlights of recent seasons include appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Juilliard Orchestra. Lipman has worked with conductors including Edward Gardner, the late Sir Neville Marriner, Osmo Vänskä, and Nicholas McGegan. His recent solo debuts include appearances at the Aspen Music Festival, Seoul’s Kumho Art Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This season, Lipman makes his debut at Carnegie Hall with the Soloists of the Kronberg Academy, and with Michael Tilson Thomas’s Viola Visions Festival of the New World Symphony in Miami.
Ascent, his 2019 release by Cedille Records, was celebrated by The Strad as a “most impressive” debut album where Lipman is praised for his “authoritative phrasing and attractive sound.” The album marks the first ever recording of the recently discovered work by Shostakovich, Impromptu for viola and piano and of Clarice Assad’s Metamorfose for viola and piano, which was commissioned for the recording. Lipman has also been featured on the recording of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with violinist Rachel Barton Pine and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields conducted by the late Sir Neville Marriner. The album topped the Billboard Classical Charts and has received praise by both the press and public.
Named the 2019 Artist-in-Residence for the American Viola Society, Lipman has additionally been featured on WFMT Chicago’s list “30 Under 30” of the world’s top classical musicians, and is a published contributor to The Strad, Strings and BBC Music magazines. He performs regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at music festivals including St. Petersburg’s White Nights, [email protected], Marlboro, Ravinia, Bridgehampton, Seattle, Saratoga, and Kissinger Sommer festivals. His frequent chamber music partners include Martin Helmchen, Tabea Zimmerman, Mitsuko Uchida, Itzhak Perlman, Sir András Schiff, Henry Kramer, and Pinchas Zukerman. Dedicated to expanding the repertoire for the viola, Lipman has also performed the premieres of works by composers such as Helen Grime and David Ludwig.
Lipman is the recipient of a 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Kovner Fellowship, and the Jack Kent Cooke Award, and is also a major prize winner in the Primrose, Tertis, Washington, Johansen, and Stulberg International Viola Competitions. He studied at The Juilliard School with Heidi Castleman, and was further mentored by Tabea Zimmermann at the Kronberg Academy. A native of Chicago and an alum of The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two), Lipman is on the faculty of Stony Brook University. He performs on a fine 1700 Matteo Goffriller viola loaned through the generous efforts of the RBP Foundation.
Ettore Causa, Yale University
Full Biography
Awarded both the “P. Schidlof Prize” and the “J. Barbirolli Prize” for “the most beautiful sound” at the prestigious Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition in 2000, Italian-born violist Ettore Causa has been praised for his exceptional artistry, passionate intelligence and complete musicianship. He has made solo and recital appearances in major venues around the world, and has performed at prestigious festivals. A devoted chamber musician, Causa has collaborated extensively with internationally renowned musicians.
At the Yale School of Music, Causa teaches graduate-level viola students and coaches chamber ensembles. He has performed on the School’s Faculty Artist Series and Oneppo Chamber Music Series and at the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Before Causa joined the faculty of the School of Music in 2009, he taught both viola and chamber music at the International Menuhin Music Academy. He attended the International Menuhin Music Academy, where he studied with Alberto Lysy and Johannes Eskar, and the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Michael Tree.
Causa has published many highly regarded CDs on the Claves label. One notable recording is Romantic Transcriptions for Viola and Piano, on which he performshis own transcriptions, which was awarded a prestigious “5 Diapasons” by the French magazine Diapason.
In 2015, he was one of the honored guests at the 43rd International Viola Congress, where he performed his own arrangement of the Schumann Cello Concerto. Causa is an honorary member of British Viola Society and he performs on a viola made for him by Frederic Chaudièrein 2003.
Heidi Castleman, The Juilliard School (split studio with Victoria Chiang)
Full Biography

Heidi Castleman was born in Suffern, N.Y., and has been a member of the faculty at Juilliard since 1995 and of the Pre-College Division since 2005. She has also taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, State University of New York—Purchase, Rice University, and Philadelphia Musical Academy. She has performed as a member of the former New York String Sextet and as a guest artist with ensembles including the Cleveland, Audubon, Lydian, and Cavani quartets. Master classes and lecture-demonstrations include those given in Vienna, Salzburg, Lubeck, Shanghai, and South Korea, as well as in Montreal, Chicago, Dallas, Interlochen, and Boulder. Castleman has also taught and performed at the Aspen, Sarasota, Banff, Eastern and Blossom music festivals, the Perlman Music Program, the Heifetz Institute, and at the Sejong International Music Festival.

A founding trustee of Chamber Music America (and its president from 1983 to 1987), she also served on the boards of the American String Teachers Association, Aspen Music Festival, and the Perlman Music Program. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Fischoff Competition. Castleman has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including two teacher of the year awards from the American String Teacher Association, Chamber Music America’s Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, the American Viola Society’s Maurice W. Riley Viola Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Viola, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Montreal. She holds a BA from Wellesley College and a MA from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and studied with Dorothy DeLay and Paul Doktor.

Victoria Chiang, Peabody Conservatory (split studio with Heidi Castleman)
Full Biography

Victoria Chiang has performed as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician across North America, Europe, and Asia. Her most recent recording of the viola concertos of Stamitz and Hoffmeister was released by Naxos to critical acclaim. Other recordings include Pleyel Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola also on Naxos as well as a recording of Shostakovich and Roslavets Viola sonatas. She has performed as soloist with the National Philharmonic Orchestra, The National Gallery of Art Orchestra, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Romanian State Philharmonics of Constantsa and Tirgu Muresh, the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Acadiana Symphony (Lafayette, LA) and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. Chiang has collaborated as guest artist with Guarneri, Takacs, Tokyo, American, Arianna and Pro Arte String Quartets, and with members of the Emerson, Cleveland, and Juilliard String Quartets. She has been a regular guest artist at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, a frequent guest on the Bargemusic series, and has given solo performances in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and at the XXV, XXXVIII and XL International Viola Congresses.

Chiang is a founding member of The Aspen String Trio. The group concertizes internationally, and was Ensemble in Residence at the University of Baltimore. Currently a member of the artist/faculty of the Peabody Conservatory and the Aspen Music Festival, Chiang has given master classes throughout the world. Formerly on the faculty of The Juilliard School and the Hartt School of Music, and a former member of the board of the American Viola Society, her students hold significant positions in orchestras, in string quartets, and on conservatory faculties across the US and in Europe. Additionally, Chiang has taught at the Perlman Music Program: Winter Residency in Sarasota, Madeline Island Chamber Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, Domaine Forget, Great Wall Festival (Beijing) among others.

Chiang earned the Master of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, and the Bachelor of Music degree from the Cincinnati College‐Conservatory of Music. Her principal teachers include Heidi Castleman and Masao Kawasaki, viola; and Dorothy DeLay and Kurt Sassmannshaus, violin.

Helen Callus, Northwestern University Bienen School of Music (split studio with James Dunham)
Full Biography

Hailed as “one of the world’s greatest violists” (American Record Guide), and “one of the foremost violists of her generation” (Fanfare magazine), Helen Callus continues to captivate audiences with her lyrical tone, technical command, and profound artistry. Sought after as a recitalist, chamber musician, and concerto soloist, Ms. Callus has performed with such world-class ensembles as the Tokyo and Juilliard String Quartets and the BBC Concert Orchestra, and delighted audiences around the world, in Russia, Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and throughout the US.


Ms. Callus’s career includes distinguished work as an award-winning recording artist. Her seven releases include the works of Walton, Prokofiev, Vaughn Williams, J.S. Bach, Gordon Jacob, and more, and have been met with high critical acclaim. The American Record Guide observed, “Only really great artistry can hold a listener in thrall like that, and that is the artistry of Helen Callus.”


Ms. Callus currently holds the appointment of Professor of Viola at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. Sought after as a visiting professor, she has given over 100 master classes at many of the world’s leading schools of music. She also served as the first female President of the American Viola Society.


Born in England, Ms. Callus graduated from London’s Royal Academy of Music, and was bestowed an Honorary ARAM and FRAM for her achievements in the field. She continued her graduate studies at the Peabody Conservatory.


Ms. Callus plays on a viola made for her by Gabrielle Kundert which is a copy of the ex-Primrose Amati.


For more information please visit



Peter Stumpf, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Full Biography

Peter Stumpf is professor of cello at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Prior to his appointment, he was principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Stumpf’s tenure in Los Angeles followed 12 years as associate principal cellist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. His professional orchestral career began at the age of 16 when he joined the cello section of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He received a bachelor’s degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and an Artist’s Diploma from the New England Conservatory.

As a former member of the Boston Musica Viva, he has explored extended techniques, including microtonal compositions and numerous premieres. As a teacher, he has served on the cello faculty of the University of Southern California, Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, the New England Conservatory, and guest artist faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music as well as at the Yellow Barn Music Festival and the Musicorda Summer String Program. He has conducted master classes at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Manhattan and Mannes Schools of Music, Iowa and Pennsylvania State Universities, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Seoul National University, Temple University, and at the Universities of Delaware and Michigan.

Melissa Kraut, Cleveland Institute of Music
Full Biography

Co-head of the cello department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Dr. Melissa Kraut is recognized as one of the leading pedagogues of her generation. Having developed and trained some of the outstanding young musicians of today, Dr. Kraut has demonstrated a unique ability to teach all ages and stages of dedicated students, helping them reach their highest potential both at and away from the cello.

With degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Iowa and Northwestern University, Dr. Kraut has had the opportunity to study with the great pedagogues Alan Harris and Hans-Jorgen Jensen as well as summer study/master classes with cellists such as Aldo Parisot, Frank Miller, Yo-Yo Ma, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and David Soyer. As a student, she participated in the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Center for the Arts and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Europe.

An active performer, Dr. Kraut has led a diverse career on stage, with solo and chamber performances throughout the United States and Europe. She has held leadership positions in several orchestras, and has played under the baton of conductors such as Sir Georg Solti, Valery Gergiev and Semyon Bychkov. Dr. Kraut currently enjoys performing chamber music with her friends and colleagues throughout the world.

Mark Kosower, Principal Cellist of The Cleveland Orchestra
Full Biography

A modern player with a “signature sound” and distinctive style of playing, cellist Mark Kosower embodies the concept of the complete musician performing as concerto soloist with symphony orchestras, in solo recitals, and as a much admired and sought-after chamber musician. He is Principal Cello of The Cleveland Orchestra and a scholar and teacher of cello. He has performed as soloist with some of the greatest conductors of our time including Herbert Blomstedt, Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, and Franz Welser-Möst and has made appearances with the Orchestre de Paris, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Bamberg Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the China National Symphony Orchestra as well as the Detroit, Florida, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oregon, North Carolina, Phoenix, and Seattle symphony orchestras among many others. Festival appearances include the Aspen, Casals, North Shore Chamber, Pacific, Ravinia, and Santa Fe Chamber music festivals. Mr. Kosower has recorded for the Ambitus, Delos, Naxos, and VAI labels and was the first cellist to record the complete works for solo cello by Alberto Ginastera (Naxos). During the 2021-22 season he performs the Gulda Concerto with The Cleveland Orchestra; recitals with Max Levinson, chamber music with James Ehnes at the Seattle Chamber Music Society, and performs all six Bach Suites at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

An active educator Mr. Kosower teaches a series of master classes at Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley, CA each summer. He also works with students in lessons and master classes around the world including the New World Symphony fellows, Carnegie Hall’s NYO-USA program, the Shanghai Orchestra Academy, and the Baccareli Institute in São Paulo among other institutions. Mr. Kosower has been on the faculties of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Guest Artists  (more to be announced)

Zlatomir Fung, First Prize Tchaikovsky Competition (cello)
Full Biography

The first American in four decades and youngest musician ever to win First Prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition Cello Division, Zlatomir Fung is poised to become one of the preeminent cellists of our time. Astounding audiences with his boundless virtuosity and exquisite sensitivity, the 22-year-old has already proven himself to be a star among the next generation of world-class musicians. A recipient of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship 2022 and a 2020 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Fung’s impeccable technique demonstrates a mastery of the canon and an exceptional insight into the depths of contemporary repertoire.

A winner of the 2017 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and the 2017 Astral National Auditions, Fung has taken the top prizes at the 2018 Alice & Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition, 2016 George Enescu International Cello Competition, 2015 Johansen International Competition for Young String Players, 2014 Stulberg International String Competition, and 2014 Irving Klein International Competition. He was selected as a 2016 U.S. Presidential Scholar for the Arts and was awarded the 2016 Landgrave von Hesse Prize at the Kronberg Academy Cello Masterclasses. 

Of Bulgarian-Chinese heritage, Zlatomir Fung began playing cello at age three and earned fellowships at Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, Heifetz International Music Institute, MusicAlp, and the Aspen Music Festival and School. Fung studied at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Richard Aaron and Timothy Eddy. He has been featured on NPR’s Performance Today and appeared on From the Top six times. In addition to music, he enjoys cinema, reading, and blitz chess.


Ani Kavafian, Yale School of Music (violin)
Full Biography

Violinist Ani Kavafian enjoys a prolific career as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. She has performed with virtually all of America’s leading orchestras in major venues across the country, has premiered and recorded a number of works written for her, and has been featured on many network and PBS television music specials. Kavafian is a member of the Trio da Salo and the Kavafian-Schub-Shifrin Trio and tours internationally as an artist-member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. She also appears frequently in performance with her sister, violinist and violist Ida Kavafian.

At Yale, Kavafian teaches a studio of graduate-level violin students, coaches chamber ensembles, and frequently performs on Yale’s Faculty Artist Series and Yale in New York series. She regularly teaches and performs at several music festivals, including the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival/Yale Summer School of Music, the Heifetz International Institute, Sarasota Music Festival, and the Meadowmount School of Music.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, of Armenian heritage, Kavafian began piano lessons at age 3. At age 9, in the United States, she began studying violin with Ara Zerounian and eventually with Mischa Mischakoff. She went on to study violin at the Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian, eventually earning a master of music degree with highest honors. She plays the 1736 Muir McKenzie Stradivarius violin.
Simon James, San Francisco Conservatory of Music (violin)
Full Biography

As an internationally recognized pedagogue, Simon James has attracted worldwide attention as one of the foremost teachers of violin in the United States. In his long performing career, James has been a member of several prestigious orchestras, including the Seattle Symphony, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Orchestra. As concertmaster of the Northwest Sinfonia, he can be heard on hundreds of motion picture, TV, and video game soundtracks and has performed live with Pearl Jam, Elton John, Billy Joel, A R Rahman and many others. He has recorded concerti with the Seattle Symphony and the Slovak Radio Symphony with whom he premiered Richard Englefield’s Violin Concerto.

James students have won many of the world’s top prizes, including the International Menuhin Junior Competition, Stradivarius International Competition, Stulberg International String Competition, Vancouver International Music Competition, MTNA National Competition, and were laureates at the Spohr, Johansen, Il Piccolo Violino Magico, and Postacchini Competitions. They have been featured numerous times on NPR’s From the Top. In addition to appearing with all the Pacific Northwest’s leading orchestras, his students have performed with the Detroit, Richmond, Utah, and Seattle symphonies, the London Philharmonia, and on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series. They have participated at the Aspen Music Festival, Morningside Music Bridge, Meadowmount, Starling/Delay Violin Symposium, New York String Orchestra Seminar, and Kronberg Academy Festivals. Students from his studio have recently won positions in the New York Philharmonic, St Louis Symphony, and Minnesota Orchestra.

Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, Dover Quartet (viola)
Full Biography

Praised by Strad magazine as having “lyricism that stood out…a silky tone and beautiful, supple lines,” violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt has established herself as one of the most sought-after violists of her generation.  In addition to appearances as soloist with the Tokyo Philharmonic, the Jacksonville Symphony, and the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, she has performed in recitals and chamber-music concerts throughout the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia, including an acclaimed 2011 debut recital at London’s Wigmore Hall, which was described in Strad as being “fleet and energetic…powerful and focused”.   

Ms. Pajaro-van de Stadt is the founding violist of the Dover Quartet, First Prize-winner and recipient of every special award at the Banff International String Quartet Competition 2013, and winner of the Gold Medal and Grand Prize in the 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. Her numerous awards also include First Prize of the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition and top prizes at the the Sphinx Competition and the Tokyo International Viola Competition

A violin student of Sergiu Schwartz and Melissa Pierson-Barrett for several years, she began studying viola with Michael Klotz at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in 2005. Ms. Pajaro-van de Stadt graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with Roberto Diaz, Michael Tree, Misha Amory, and Joseph de Pasquale.  She then received her Master’s Degree in String Quartet with the Dover Quartet at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, as a student of James Dunham. 


The Dover Quartet, based in Philadelphia, PA, is currently on faculty at The Curtis Institute of Music and Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, and is the Quartet in Residence of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Catherine Cho, The Juilliard School (violin)
Full Biography

Catherine Cho is recognized for her remarkable virtuosity, combining technical mastery of her instrument with an extraordinary and distinctive musicality. Praised by The New York Times for her “sublime tone”, she has appeared worldwide as soloist with many orchestras and chamber ensembles as well as in recital.

Among her various awards, scholarships, and achievements, Ms. Cho was a recipient of both the 1995 Avery Fisher Career Grant and Korea’s 1995 World Leaders of Tomorrow Award as presented by the Korea Central Daily News in recognition of outstanding achievement and commendable leadership in the Arts. She was named a Presidential Scholar in 1988, and was the recipient of the 1994 Sony ES Award for Musical Excellence; a top prize winner at the 1991 Hannover International Violin Competition, the 1989 Queen Elizabeth Music Competition of Belgium, the 1987 Montreal International Music Competition.

Ms. Cho is a faculty member of The Juilliard School where she teaches violin, chamber music, and the Chamber Music Community Engagement Seminar. She has taught at the Heifetz Institute, Killington Music Festival, Seoul Music Festival, Starling-DeLay Symposium, Perlman Music Program, Great Mountains Music School and Festival, and coached chamber music at the New York String Seminar.

Jodi Levitz, Frost School of Music (viola)
Full Biography

Jodi Levitz, Professor of Viola at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, and Artistic Director of Stamps Ensembles, boasts an international reputation as a consummate artist and a passionate advocate of exploring new musical possibilities for the viola. While still a student at The Juilliard School she won first-place at the D’Angelo and Hudson Valley competitions and the position of principal viola soloist with the critically acclaimed Italian chamber group I Solisti Veneti.

She performs as soloist throughout Europe, South America, North America and Asia, and records for the Concerto, Dynamic, Naxos and Erato labels. Her vast chamber music experience runs the gamut from violist of the Chicago String Trio and the Ives Quartet to historically informed recordings of the works of Hummel and Schumann with fortepiano.

A highly acclaimed educator and pedagogue, she was on the faculties of the Ars Musica Academy at Imola, Progetto Orchestra in Vicenza, and co-artistic director of the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Courmayeur, Italy. She is a faculty member at the Blackburn Academy at Festival Napa and Valley of the Moon Festival (historical performance). As Professor of Viola and Chamber Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for 17 years, she served as both Chair of Strings and Chair of Chamber Music.

A recipient of the Sarlo Family Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching, her students have claimed first prize awards from the Walter W. Naumburg and Fischoff chamber music competitions, while many others have been recruited for positions in major orchestras and teaching institutions both in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Dimitri Murrath, San Francisco Conservatory of Music (viola)
Full Biography

Born in Brussels, Belgian American viola player Dimitri Murrath has made his mark on the international scene, performing regularly as a recitalist and soloist in venues including Kennedy Center (Washington), Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall (London), and Théâtre de la Ville (Paris).

A first prize winner at the Primrose International Viola Competition, Dimitri Murrath has won numerous awards, including second prize at the First Tokyo International Viola Competition and the special prize for the contemporary work at the ARD Munich Competition. In 2012, he was named laureate of the Juventus Festival, an award recognizing young European soloists. He is a recipient of a 2014 Avery Fisher Career Grant through which he recorded and released his first solo album recording music by Vieuxtemps, Clarke and Hindemith in 2017.

An avid chamber musician, Mr. Murrath is a member of the Boston Chamber Music Society.  He has collaborated with Richard Goode, Gidon Kremer, Menahem Pressler, Mitsuko Uchida, and members of the Cleveland, Mendelssohn and Guarneri Quartets. He has performed in festivals that include Verbier, Caramoor, Juventus, and Marlboro.  

Dimitri Murrath began his musical education at the Yehudi Menuhin School studying with Natalia Boyarsky, his Bachelor of Music in London with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and graduated with an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory as a student of Kim Kashkashian.

After 9 years teaching viola at New England Conservatory, he is currently Professor of Viola and Chair of Chamber Music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Dimitri Murrath participates in the Music for Food project, which raises awareness of the hunger problem faced by a large percent of the population, and gives the opportunity to experience the powerful role music can play as a catalyst for change.

Seminar Speakers  (more announcements coming)

Paul Katz from CelloBello on Starting an Organization
Full Biography

Paul Katz is known to concertgoers the world over as cellist of the Cleveland Quartet, which, during an international career of 26 years, made more than 2,500 appearances on four continents. As a member of this celebrated ensemble from 1969 to 1995, Katz performed at the White House and on many television shows, including “CBS Sunday Morning,” NBC’s “Today Show,” “The Grammy Awards” (the first classical musicians to appear on that show), and in “In The Mainstream The Cleveland Quartet,” a one-hour documentary televised across the U.S. and Canada.

Katz has received many honors, the most recent including the “Chevalier du Violoncelle,” awarded by the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at Indiana University for distinguished achievements and contributions to the world of cello playing and teaching; The Richard M. Bogomolny National Service Award, Chamber Music America’s highest honor, awarded for a lifetime of distinguished service in the field of chamber music; an Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts from Albright College; and the American String Teacher’s Association “Artist-Teacher of the Year 2003.” Katz is a passionate spokesperson for chamber music the world over, and served for six years as President of Chamber Music America. As an author, he has appeared in numerous publications and wrote the liner notes for the Cleveland Quartet’s three-volume set of the complete Beethoven Quartets on RCA Red Seal.

In 2011, declaring that “our art is passed from one generation to the next, not by books but by mentoring,” Katz launched CelloBello, a website designed to connect cellists of all ages and performance levels. Among the site’s resources are “Cello Lessons,” consisting of footage filmed in Katz’s studio with NEC students; “Legacy” videos from Katz’s own mentors; and a blog coauthored by more than a dozen prominent cellists. Through this medium, Katz is digitizing his own life experience as a student, teacher, and artist of his instrument.

Danielle Belen on Earning a Job in Academia as a Professor
Full Biography

Associate Professor of Violin at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance in Ann Arbor, Danielle Belen is already making a name for herself as a seasoned pedagogue with a strong studio of young artists. Her students have won major prizes in national and international competitions including the Menuhin, Stulberg and Klein competitions, as well as being accepted into top conservatories and universities across the country.

Winner of the 2008 Sphinx Competition, Ms. Belen has appeared as a soloist with the Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco Symphonies, the Boston Pops, and the Florida and Cleveland Orchestras. Zachary Lewis from the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote “Violinist Danielle Belen… captivated every ear with an assured, impassioned performance of Ravel’s “Tzigane,” knocking off the daunting showpiece as if it were a trifle.”

Ms. Belen released her debut Naxos recording of works by living composer Lawrence Dillon in 2009 to much acclaim. Soon after, she commissioned “Multiplicity”, a piece by Dillon for six virtuoso violins which she premiered along with her students.

A graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music and the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles, Ms. Belen joined the faculty of the Colburn School of Performing Arts in 2008. In addition to maintaining her own violin studio, she was the teaching assistant to renowned pedagogue Robert Lipsett for five years. During that time, Ms. Belen also served as the Director of the Ed and Mari Chamber Music Institute at Colburn.

In 2010, Ms. Belen founded Center Stage Strings, a summer camp and performance festival for gifted young musicians in central California. After gaining national attention, CSS moved to the campus of The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as part of MPulse, a summer program at the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. As the Artistic Director and head of the violin faculty for Center Stage Strings, she has attracted students and seasoned artists from around the world. Lynn Harrell, James Ehnes, Arnold Steinhardt, Sarah Chang, William Hagen, Rohan de Silva and Stefan Jackiw have joined to perform in support of the program.

As the winner of the 2014 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, Ms. Belen performed for Justice Sonia Sotomayor and her guests at the Supreme Court in Washington DC, where she was awarded a $50,000 career grant. In turn, she used that money towards a matching campaign for Center Stage Strings, doubling the amount into $100,000 for student scholarships.

Ms. Belen plays on a violin made in Mantua, Italy by Stefano Scarampella.

Derek Tam on Filing and Saving on Taxes for Musicians
Full Biography
Derek’s financial career began at the age of six, when he began helping out at his parents’ tax preparation firm. As a registered California Tax Education Council tax preparer, he has worked with clients of all ages and stages.
As a professional classical musician, Derek is particularly committed to helping his colleagues develop essential, though often neglected, financial habits that undergird the modern musician’s career.
When not talking about taxes, you may find Derek at a harpsichord or fortepiano, or on the podium. He is also looking forward to his first season at the helm of the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition of early music—one of North America’s largest in the genre—in June 2022.
Ali King on Digital Media & How to Use It For Your Career
Full Biography

Ali King is the Cleveland Institute of Music’s director and faculty of digital media, where she teaches digital media skills to students and oversees the school’s digital storytelling production and strategy. Most recently, Ali was director of marketing and business development at the Curtis Institute of Music, where she grew online community engagement and served as product owner for the school’s first online mentorship program. Ali holds a BA in anthropology from Haverford College and an MBA in business management from Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

Originally from St. Louis and a classically trained pianist, Ali previously worked in user experience research at Comcast and arts advocacy at the Pew Charitable Trusts. In 2017, she founded and ran a stationery company, Groundswell Greetings, which was acquired by Philadelphia-based retailer Pomelo in 2020. She offers brand strategy and digital marketing consulting to a growing roster of independent artists and creative small business owners.

Robert Britton on Alexander Technique
Full Biography

Robert Britton trained as an Alexander Technique teacher with Frank Ottiwell and Giora Pinkas, and graduated in 1978 .  In addition to his private practice he has taught the Alexander Technique to musicians at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1984.  He has helped train Alexander Technique Teachers since 1988 in San Francisco, Berkeley, Berlin and Hamburg. He served as the chairman of the American Society for the Alexander Technique from 1997 to 1999, and he was a faculty member of the Bay Area Summer Opera Training Institute (BASOTI) for many years.  He has contributing to the well being of the international Alexander Technique Affiliated Societies, and the Annual Members Meeting of the Affiliated Societies.  He was a co-director of the International Congress of the Alexander Technique in Lugano Switzerland in 2011, serves on the ATCA Board, and is currently helping the 2022 Congress which will be held in Berlin Germany this August.  In April of 2012 Bob was awarded a George S. Sarlo Award which is given for excellence in teaching in Northern California universities and colleges.

Dorian Bandy on Applying Performance Practice to Modern Performance
Full Biography

With a repertoire spanning 400 years and six instruments, Dorian Bandy is one of the most versatile talents to emerge on the early music scene. His performances as a conductor, soloist, and recitalist have taken him to venues across Europe and North America, including London’s Wigmore and Cadogan Halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and New York’s Symphony Space, and he has worked with leading period-instrument ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic. Dorian is an assistant professor at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, where he teaches baroque violin, directs the baroque orchestra, and serves as chair of the historical performance program.

Elizabeth Faidley on All Things Private Studios
Full Biography

A highly sought-after pedagogue, violinist Elizabeth Faidley has been hailed as an “amazing and inspiring teacher” by the New York Times.  She is the recipient of the American String Teachers’ Association 2011 “Studio Teacher of the Year” award for the state of New Jersey. She has also been honored with multiple teaching awards, including ones from the Union City Symphony and the Korean Radio Broadcast Network. In addition to being on the faculty of the Pre-College Division of the Manhattan School of Music, she has a large private studio in the New York City metropolitan area where she teaches violin performance to aspiring players from ages 3 to 23. Her students have won national and international competitions and have performed in such great halls as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and the White House. They are routinely accepted, with scholarships, to the world’s premier music conservatories including The Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, the Royal College of Music, and The Cleveland Institute.  Her students routinely perform with orchestras around the NYC area.  The NY Times described Ms. Faidley as “…fiercely yet compassionately committed to her students, to her colleagues, and to the art of music.”

Sample Week Schedule


Sunday, May 29

Technology/microphone checks
Faculty panel on “Career Launching”


Monday, May 30

Morning session on Performance Anxiety
First day of lessons
Practice Zooms
Open studio class
Evening viola masterclass


Tuesday, May 31

Morning session on Reading historical scores
Second day of lessons
Practice Zooms
Open studio class
Evening violin masterclass


Wednesday, June 1

Morning session on Getting a Job in Academia
Third day of lessons
Practice Zooms
Open studio class
Evening cello masterclass


Thursday, June 2

Morning session on Recording Tips & Tricks
Repeat first day of lessons
Practice Zooms
Open studio class
Evening violin masterclass


Friday, June 3

Morning session on Creating Projects Online with Alyssa Tong
Repeat second day of lessons
Practice Zooms
Open studio class
Evening cello masterclass


Saturday, June 6

Morning session on Soloing with Orchestra
Repeat third day of lessons
Practice Zooms
Open studio class
Evening violin masterclass


Repeat for the second week!

Wrap-Up Debrief/Goodbye Party on Sunday, June 12

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?

OSSI will be 14 days long; the program begins on Sunday, May 29, and will conclude with a debrief/goodbye party on Sunday, June 12. You will receive 4 full hour-long lessons with your assigned faculty member, 10 daily sessions, 10 masterclasses to either watch or participate in, and 2 open studio classes with your faculty member, plus any other studio classes you wish to attend.

You should expect to be practicing intensively during the program, although there are no formal practice sessions. Expect to commit at least 3.5-5 hours per day to the program, in addition to your practice time.

What is the tuition cost?

Total tuition is $997 and includes any masterclass(es) you may be selected to play in.

You will be required to make a $500 non-refundable deposit to secure your place upon acceptance.

Is there scholarship available?

At the moment, there is limited scholarship available. We are working on grants and donors and if scholarship becomes available, you will be notified with or after your acceptance.

You may indicate on your application your need; a written letter is the most important part of a scholarship appeal.

What are the age/level requirements?

You should be between 15-28 years of age, playing at an advanced high school or college level. If you are above or below the age suggestion, you are welcome to apply, if you feel you fit the program.

Do I have to be in the US to participate?

Absolutely not! We would love for international students to participate. You will have to be available for lessons, auditions, and sessions, but we will do our best to schedule around your time zone. All sessions will take place in the morning for anyone in Asia, and will also be recorded for future viewing.

What time zone are the events in?

All events will be stated in EST (New York time) and will occur from 10am-around 7 or 8pm. Sessions will happen in the morning, masterclasses happen in the evening, and auditions/lessons will happen all day.

How are faculty assigned?

You will indicate your top 3 choices on your application and will find out which studio you have been accepted into with your acceptance email.

What are the application requirements?

You will need to submit two videos of up to 15 minutes total.

Recordings should not be more than one year old and should contain standard repertoire, such as a movement of Bach and a movement of a concerto. No formal repertoire is required.

Is there an application fee?

Yes. The nonrefundable application fee is $40 until March 20.

The nonrefundable application fee raises to $60 from March 20-April 15.

Will you have a wait list?

Yes, we will hold a small wait list, in the chance someone withdraws or chooses not to accept their spot. Accepted applicants will have one week to accept or decline their spot and wait listed applicants will likely have a final decision at the end of that week period.

When are decisions released?

Applications for OSSI close April 15, and you will hear back by May 10.

Can I take lessons with other faculty members?

You may not take any lessons with other faculty members through official OSSI programming. However, you may contact faculty members and request a lesson time. Decisions on fees and available hours are up to their discretion.

How many spots are there in the program?

Each teacher will have a maximum of 15 students in their studio. There will be a total of 90 violin spots, 60 viola spots, and 60 cello spots.

What technology do I need to participate?

You will need a laptop/computer with a webcam, high speed internet, ethernet cable, quality speakers/headphones (either built-in to your computer or external), and a quality microphone. Everything is required, unless your internet speed reaches over 75 mbps download and 10mbps upload, in which case, your WiFi speed will suffice (not ethernet cable required).
If you are in need of a microphone and would like to rent one through OSSI, please contact Alyssa after your acceptance.

What does split studio mean?

Split studio means you will receive two lessons per faculty member. With some split studios, you will receive two lessons with the first faculty member, then two with the other; however, you may also receive one per week with each faculty member.

Start your application Today. space is limited.

Applications open March 10 and close April 15.

Application deadline has been EXTENDED to April 22.

The application fee is $40, but increases to $60 on March 20.

ask a questionApply Now

Contact alyssa

Still have questions?

Please feel free to reach out with any pertinent questions. Otherwise, looking forward to seeing your application!

Thanks for subscribing! Check your email for a fun freebie and I'll see you soon.


Don't miss faculty announcements, application deadlines, etc.


You'll be notified about important application updates! We're looking forward to seeing your application.