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|Lessons & Instructors
The Violin Shop has accomplished instructors for violin, viola, cello & bass for all ages and abilities. Please contact the instructors directly for availability & rates.
|Paula Simmons - Violin, Viola, & Quartets
Paula Simmons received her bachelor's degree in Music Education from Viterbo College, a fine arts college in La Crosse, Wisconsin. And her Master of Music in Viola Performance from Florida State University in Tallahassee. Before moving to San Diego, she performed with the El Paso Symphony, the Pro Musica Chamber Ensemble in El Paso Texas, and the Jacksonville Symphony in Jacksonville Florida. Since moving to California, Ms. Simmons has freelanced extensively in the San Diego area and the Baja with a variety of orchestras, chamber ensembles and guest performers including Starlight Theatre, San Diego Comic Opera, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra de Baja, Camarata de Ensenada, the Bolshoi and San Francisco Ballet, The Moody Blues, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, Burt Bacharach, Dion Warwick, Natalie Cole, and Michael Crawford. Paula currently has a private teaching studio of 20 violin & viola students of all ages at The Violin Shop. In addition in November 2008, she became the founding conductor for the North Coast Strings, an adult beginners orchestra, sponsored by The Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad. It is the goal of this nationwide adult program to welcome complete beginners to string performance as well as adults that have returned to their instruments after a number of years. She also is the director and host for The Violin Shop’s Summer String Quartet Program which offers students the opportunity to be coached by many of the best professional players and teachers in San Diego County. For several years Paula was also the primary orchestra conductor of the Civic Youth Orchestra Organization.
|Ondrej Lewit- Violin & Viola
Born in Prague (Czech Republic), Ondrej Lewit graduated at State Conservatory of Music (BA) and at Academy of Performing Arts - HAMU (MA). As a member of Camerata Pragensis, Camerata Nova, concertmaster of J. Suk’s Chamber Orchestra and especially as a first violin of Cuartetto Cassoviae played in many cities of European continent and made recordings for the Czechoslovak Radio and Television, Italian RAI and recording companies such as Supraphon, Opus and Edigsa. In 1983 immigrated to Spain, where he became the concertmaster of Tenerife Symphony Orchestra (OST) and later also leader of OST Chamber Orchestra, playing in numerous occasions as a soloist. He was a violin teacher and chamber music coach at Santa Cruz Conservatory as well as at OST’s Academy of Orchestral Studies (Director and Chair of the String Department). As a guest concertmaster he played with orchestras in Barcelona, Sabadell, La Coruna, Bilbao and Valladolid. From 1988 to 1992 he was an Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra member, chamber music player and a faculty at Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC. In 2005 was appointed concertmaster of Baja California Orchestra and violin teacher at Conservatory of Music in Tijuana, positions he held until 2010. As a performer in Southern California area he played with California Consort and California Chamber Orchestra (concertmaster and assistant concertmaster), Hutchins Consort, Encore Trio, violin and piano duo recitals with I. Bendetsky and most recently with Quartetto Sorrento. He has his private violin and viola studio in San Diego.
|Steve Garrett - Cello
Steve Garrett began his studies at the age of 6 in Chicago. He studied with Karl Fruh and Frank Miller, principal cellist of the Chicago Symphony. He received his Bachelor of Music in Performance (cello) at Chicago Musical College. His advanced studies were with Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he was the cellist in the Honors’ String Quartet. Mr. Garrett has performed with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, San Diego Symphony, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra and the Hutchins Consort. He has toured extensively in the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe, including frequent performances at the Spoleto Festival in Italy. He is also an avid teacher with over 30 students currently studying with him. His wife, Elena, is a professional harpist.
|Victoria Bietz - Violin
Victoria Bietz studied with Mark Kaplan at University of California, Los Angeles where she received her B.A in Violin Performance. In order to explore life outside of sunny Southern California, she went to The Boston Conservatory for her Masters in Music. After two years enduring the cold, Victoria moved back to San Diego as a freelance violinist. She has played with San Diego Symphony Orchestra, Luscious Noise, Classics for Kids, Orchestra Nova, California Chamber Orchestra, Starlight Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Opera Pacific, among others. Victoria grew up in the Eastern San Diego mountains of Jamul. Her musical family fostered her interest in the violin and she became heavily involved in San Diego Youth Symphony for ten years, and was Concertmaster for three. Victoria has been teaching in San Diego for the past six years and uses Suzuki and Mark O'Connor books combined with traditional teaching. She is currently accepting students of all ages and all levels. Contact Victoria to schedule a trial lesson, rates & other information.
|Jinsun Yang - Violin
Jisun Yang has been the Assistant Concertmaster of the San Diego Symphony since 2005. Before coming to San Diego she was a violinist in the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. She also held the position of Concertmaster of the Spoleto Festival and Opera Orchestra in 2003. Jisun is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Oberlin College Conservatory where she studied with David Cerone, David Updegraff, William Preucil, and Almita and Roland Vamos.
Ramón Negrón born and raised in Puerto Rico. Mr. Negrón began his musical career at the age of nine with Guillermo Figueroa Sanabia. After graduating Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Arts in Viola from the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, Ramón quickly moved into a position as a full-time musician.
Victoria Eicher - Violin
Victoria Eicher grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and began playing violin at the age of four in the Suzuki program at MacPhail Center for the Arts. Victoria is a graduate of the University of Minnesota's School of Music where she studied with Mary West, Young-Nam Kim and Lea Foli. A scholarship recipient to the National Orchestral Institute (Baltimore), she has played under the batons of Kenneth Jean, Yoel Levi and Catehrine Comet. Before moving to San Diego in 1993, Victoria was Assistant Concertmaster in the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Victoria serves as Assistant Principal 2nd Violin in the LaJolla Symphony and plays sonatas and chamber works with Pianist Nadja O'Hagan. She has performed with the Orquestra de Baja, Mariachi Champaña Nevin, Caprice Strings, and in chamber ensemble programs throughout San Diego. Victoria teaches violin students in an after-school session at Marshall Middle School and has recently joined the North Coast Strings staff as a violin coach for beginning adult students. As the Outreach Director for the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, Ms. Eicher performs in community and school music programs and coaches Mariachi violin students. Her husband Noel studies classical guitar and her three children enjoy playing drums, tennis, lacrosse and downhill biking.
Wendy Loeb - Violin
Wendy Loeb has just finished her inaugural year of violin teaching in San Diego. It was a strange but invigorating feeling to be starting over again after 25 years in Richmond, VA. She spent the last 13 years teaching violin at the Collegiate School grades K-12. Wendy holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in violin performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where she studied with Berl Senofsky and Charles Libove. She has also completed the course work for her doctorate in violin pedagogy. Having completed Suzuki Violin courses, she is a registered Suzuki Violin Teacher, though she takes more of an eclectic approach. Wendy was an active performer in the Richmond music scene and played with the Richmond Symphony for 14 years. Many of her students played in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Programs and have held many principal positions, as well as in their county and regional orchestras. Several of her students have placed in the Richmond Symphony Concerto Competition. Though she loves to teach advanced techniques, she has a particular love for getting beginners off to a great start with a solid foundation.
|Stephanie Romeo - Cello
Stephanie Romeo received her Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2010. She began studying cello at the age of 12 and has played with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra. She has studied with Sharon Robinson, Eric Kim, and Dr. Helga Winold and performed in master classes with Distinguished Professor Janos Starker. Stephanie is now accepting students of all ages.
|Gregory Lawrence - Violin & Viola
Gregory Lawrence earned his Bachelor of Music in Performance (violin) at San Diego State University where he studied with Dr. Theodore Brunson (with a strong emphasis in the Suzuki Violin School) and Mr. Howard Hill. He then continued his post graduate studies with Eudice Shapiro at the University Southern California and later with Mr. Noumi Fischer at his studio in Glendale. Greg’s professional performing career has afforded him a wonderfully varied background in many different musical genres. He has worked with the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Opera, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Starlight Opera and the San Diego Lyric Opera. Greg also worked three tours with the Montovani Orchestra, including a three week tour of Japan. More recently Greg has been working with Orquesta de Baja in Tijuana, Mexico, as a violinist and subcontractor. He also works with Mariachi Compana Nevin, a virtuoso mariachi ensemble directed by its founder and virtuoso trumpeter, Dr. Jeff Nevin. In January 2001, Greg founded the Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra (CCO), a professional 12-15 piece ensemble which specializes in the literature of the baroque, rococo and early classical periods. To date CCO has given 15 concerts at various venues throughout San Diego County, including two engagements at the California Center for the Arts Escondido, and two at the First Presbyterian Church (4th& Date, San Diego) concert series. In addition to performing, Greg also maintains a private teaching studio of 20 students.
|Travis Merril - Violin & Viola
With performances hailed as both “vivacious” and “highly polished and finely tuned,”violist Travis Maril is quickly gaining nationwide recognition as a chamber musician. With the Hyperion String Quartet he won top prize at the Fishoff National Chamber Music competition, had performances broadcast on NPR’s Performance Today and collaborated with chamber music luminaries including the Miró String Quartets and members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Additional chamber music collaborators have included pianists Melvin Chen and Gustavo Romero, violinists Tai Murray and Timothy Fain and principal players of the Baltimore, Cincinnati and San Diego Symphonies. Mr. Maril plays frequently with the San Diego Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, and is currently on faculty at San Diego State University. Mr. Maril earned his B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Southern California’s Thorton School of Music, where he was a Trustee Scholar and selected as an Outstanding Graduate, and his masters’ degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
|Joe McNalley - Bass
Mr. McNalley began his bass violin studies at the age of eleven, and started writing orchestral music in his early teens. Formal training with Edwin Barke Ran Blake, Miroslav Vitous and Hankus Netsky at the New England Conservatory of Music was followed by advanced studies with Bertram Turezky at UC San Diego. Widely acclaimed for his stylistic versatility, Mr. McNalley maintained a stimulating and varied performance schedule as principal bass of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, the Roger Wagner Chorale and the Irvine Camerata. He also played with the Hawaii Symphony and Honolulu Symphony and Opera Orchestras. Jazz has figured prominently in Mr. McNalley’s career. He has been honored several times for his solo and ensemble playing at the Monterey Jazz Festival and has performed with George Russell, Vinnie Golia, Jimmy and Jeanie Cheatham’s Sweet Baby Blues Band, Jay McShann, Eddie “Mr. Cklearhead” Vinson, Thad Jones, Charlie McPherson and other notables of Jazz and Blues. A performance in which he collaborated with Tom McNalley Trio heralded as the “#2 culture Concert of the Year” by LA Weekly. Mr. McNalley has held positions of Associate Professor of Music at UC San Diego, and Professor of Music at the Conseratorio in Esatal de Baja California. He has lectured on music and the arts for the Metropolitan Museum, the Lied center and the Phi Beta Kappa society, and participated as a panelist for PBK’s National Symposium on Liberal Arts Education. Mr. McNalley not only founded the Hutchins Consort, but also produced an entire repertoire for the Hutchins violin octet, having arranged or composed over 75 pieces since 1999.