Musicians – Violin
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violin, viola, conductor, composer
Dr. Jonathan Aceto holds performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Arizona State University and has studied with Eric Rosenblith, Catherine Tait, Ronald Copes and Dr. Marla Mutschler. He has received training the chamber music from members of the Juilliard and Fine Arts String Quartets and at summer festivals, including Kneisel Hall, Yellowbarn and Meadowmount.
Jonathan has extensive experience in higher education, teaching at Augusta State University, the University of South Carolina at Aiken, Mercer University and Georgia Southern University. He has taught at several summer institutes, including the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Augusta State University Conservatory Orchestra Camp and the Maine A.S.T.A. Summer Conference. Currently, he teaches at East Georgia State College and is the Director of the Statesboro String Program.
Jonathan’s experience extends to orchestral playing, having performed in numerous professional orchestras including the Phoenix and Hilton Head Symphonies and the Heidelberg Festival Orchestra. He has been concertmaster of the North Arkansas and Macon Symphonies and the Augusta Opera Company and is equally at home leading the second violin section, having been principal second of the Augusta Symphony for eight years. Jonathan enjoys playing opera and had the rare experience of performing Wagner’s Ring Cycle twice as a long-time member of the Arizona Opera Orchestra. He has also performed in the orchestra for the Festival dei due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, and its American counterpart, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston.
Another source of pride for Jonathan is playing chamber music. He has been a member of the Magellan String Quartet, which has performed over much of Eastern America, from Valdosta, GA. to Saranac, N.Y., and abroad, including Vienna, Prague, Bavaria and Xalapa, Mexico. Jonathan is also a founding member of the chamber orchestra Lyra Vivace and the piano trio Trio d’Esprit.
An active violinist, Neil often serves as Concertmaster with the Augusta Opera and Augusta Choral Society. He is a member of the Excelsior Trio, which placed third in the nation at the MTNA Collegiate Chamber Music Competition. Neil was Concertmaster and soloist for the premiere performance of the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra in 2010. He served as Associate Concertmaster of the Augusta Symphony for many years and performed as guest concertmaster for the South Carolina Philharmonic and Savannah Sinfonietta.
Neil is Assistant Director of orchestras at the University of South Carolina, as well as the conductor of the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra in Savannah, Georgia. At USC, he teaches conducting, violin, chamber music, conducts Opera at USC and the USC Campus Orchestra. His numerous conducting opportunities range from a post as Assistant Conductor of the Augusta Symphony, across the USA as guest conductor for orchestras such as the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Richmond Symphony (in his native state of Virginia), and to international acclaim as guest conductor Karelian Philharmonic Orchestra (Petrazovodsk, Russia). He was the founding conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras and Resident Conductor of the Shenandoah Performing Arts Camp.
Neil earned both his B.A. in music education and violin performance, and his M.M. in orchestral conducting from the University of South Carolina.
violin, mandolin, mandola, composer
Jason is a violinist with the Magellan String Quartet, and is the Concertmaster of the Macon Symphony. He teaches Violin at Wesleyan College in Macon, and performs in many orchestras throughout Georgia and South Carolina. Jason has enjoyed many years as music director of the Baroque on Beaver Music Festival on Beaver Island, MI.
Prior to moving to Georgia, he served as a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony, as Artist-in Residence at Alma College, and taught violin at Aquinas and Calvin College in Grand Rapids. Jason was a member of the Chicago Opera Theater, New World Symphony, Greater Lansing Symphony, Flint Symphony, Ann Arbor Chamber Orchestra and served as concertmaster of the Elgin Symphony.
Jason has also developed his talents in other music styles; he is a Scottish Fiddling Champion, and performs regularly on mandolin and mandola with the Atlanta Mandolin Society. Jason earned a BM in violin performance from Arizona State University and a MM in violin performance from the University of Michigan. His principal teachers were Camilla Wicks, Frank Spinosa, and William Magers. He has performed in master classes for Josef Gingold, Daniel Majeski, Mischa Mischakoff and Samuel Thaviu and he has been coached in chamber music by Martin Katz, Eckhart Sellheim, and members of the Emerson Quartet.
He has made a home in Macon, GA with his wife, violinist/violist/public school music educator Patty Baser, and their two daughters.
violin, french horn
Katie has been an active professional musician for over 12 years. After studying horn performance at the University of Southern Mississippi, she spent over four years performing as an enlisted member of the Army Ground Forces Band, Ft. McPherson, GA, where she completed two tours performing for troops in Kuwait.
After completing her enlistment term, Katie was drawn to pursue a career in music librarianship. She completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Music at Excelsior College and enrolled in the Masters of Library and Information Science program at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Today, Katie a full-time graduate student and an active member of the Music Library Association, American Library Association and Society of American Archivists.
Katie has a Master’s in Library Science and is an active member of the Music Library Association, American Library Association and Society of American Archivists. She recently served as Senior Library Assistant at Georgia Regents University, and is currently Assistant Professor – Access Services Librarian at Sweet Briar College.
In addition to performing horn and violin extensively as a freelance musician, she plays an active role promoting local music and music education in the CSRA through volunteer activities with several area music organizations.
Born in Augusta, GA, Eliza began taking violin lessons at the age of three. As a member of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra, she has toured Europe and Canada, and has performed in major concert halls, including the Berliner Philharmonie, Musikgebouw in Amsterdam, and El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia.
She graduated from University of South Carolina magna cum laude, receiving both a Presser Foundation Scholarship and the Arthur M. Frasier Music Excellence Award. At the University of South Carolina, she was a concerto competition winner and served as concertmaster in the university’s orchestra during her senior year. She was named the Aiken County Young Artist in 2001, which resulted in her performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Augusta Symphony. While obtaining her Masters at Arizona State University, she held a position in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She also played in several ensembles at Arizona State, including a string quartet, which was coached by both the Juilliard and Brentano String Quartets, as part of the university’s string quartet residency program.
In the summer of 2007, she was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra, and performed throughout Colorado. In the spring of 2008, she was the concertmaster for the Spoleto Festival’s premiere show, Monkey: Journey to the West, in which she collaborated with Damon Albarn from Gorillaz/Blur and famed director Shi Zheng Chen. She has participated in music festivals, including the Rome Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Castleton Music Festival, and Brevard Music Festival.
Ryan teaches Mathematics at Augusta Preparatory Day School and Violin at the Augusta State University Conservatory Program, where he also serves as Conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras. He has recently performed as Guest Conductor for orchestras including the SC Allstate Orchestra, the SC Region Orchestra, the Suzuki Festival, the MENC Georgia District 10 Honors Orchestra, and the Augusta State Orchestra String Jamboree. He served as Concertmaster of the Augusta Symphony for 19 years and first violinist with the Magellan String Quartet during its residency at Georgia Southern University.
Following his retirement from those positions, Ryan received his Master of Arts in Teaching from Augusta State University, with teaching certifications in both Music and Mathematics. In addition to his Concertmaster work in Augusta, GA for the Augusta Symphony, Augusta Opera and Augusta Choral Society, Ryan served as Guest Concertmaster of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and held the position of Principal Second Violin with Symphony Nova Scotia for many years. He has worked under many world-class conductors, including Charles Dutoit, Pierre Boulez, Simon Streatfield, Leon Fleisher and Klaus Tennestedt.
For many summers, he performed as Principal Violinist with the New Hampshire Music Festival, taught on the violin faculty of the University of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, and USC Columbia School of Music. Ryan’s chamber performances have also taken him worldwide across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, including performances in Carnegie Hall with Boston Musica Viva, and with Walter Trampler, Malcolm Lowe, Gary Hoffman, Charles Wadsworth and Colin Carr.
His performances have been broadcasts on the CBC Radio Canada, WQXR, and NPR. Ryan received a BM from the New England Conservatory of Music on full scholarship, and studied violin with notables such as Dorothy Delay, Paul Kantor, Tibor Vaghy and Thomas Wang. He lives in Augusta with his wife, cellist Christine Crookall, and their young son.
Pawel Kozak is an adjunct violin and viola instructor at the Presbyterian College and Lander University. He received his D.M.A. from The University of Georgia, where he studied violin with Professor Levon Ambartsumian and viola with Dr. Mark Neumann. His dissertation, “Pedagogical Examination of Henryk Wieniawski’s L’École Moderne Opus 10,” presents specific challenges found in these caprices and demonstrates how each difficulty can be resolved through proper practice techniques.
Dr. Kozak began his violin training at the Bydgoszcz (Poland) Music School. After moving to the US with his family he won the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Competition and the Southwest Young Artist Competition, resulting in solo performances with orchestras in New Mexico and San Francisco. His principal teachers were: Leonard Felberg, Krzysztof Zimowski, and Pawel Radzinski.
In addition to being a member of the Continuo Collective of the South, Pawel frequently performs as a member of Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Greenville Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and South Carolina Philharmonic. He can be heard as a section violinist in ARCO (UGA) Chamber Orchestra’s numerous recordings and as a soloist in Vivaldi’s concerto for four violins.
Jennifer Reuning Myers
Jennifer, an Ithaca, New York native, is an active violinist in New York State, performing with the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra concert and chamber music series. She also performs with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic. As a member of the Catskill Chamber Players, she worked with composers Lou Harrison, Henry Brant, Virgil Thomson and George Crumb, and performed the New York premiere of Henry Cowell’s Trio for flute, violin and harp at Weill Recital Hall.
Ms. Myers studied with Raphael Bronstein and Charles Treger at the Hartt School of Music and received her Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College, where she studied with Linda Case. As a youngster, she was fortunate to have participated in classes led by Shinichi Suzuki. She now maintains a private Suzuki studio in Corning, NY and teaches at Ithaca Talent Education school.
Ying-Li is currently pursuing her M.M degree in violin performance at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, studying violin with Dr. Donald Portnoy. She holds the positions of Concertmaster with the USC Chamber Orchestra and Associate Concertmaster with the USC Symphony Orchestra, in addition to membership with the USC Graduate String Quartet. Ying-Li is a graduate from National Taiwan Normal University, where she studied with Nanette Chen.
She has participated in chamber and violin master classes with Qian Zhou, Nai-Yuan Hu, James Buswell, Yehonatan Berick, Lynn Chan, Vadim Mazo, Vadim Gluzman and Michael Ludwig. She has toured with NTNU Symphony Orchestra and Asia Youth Orchestra throughout Asia, Australia and USA. Ying-Li was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Her first instrument, at the age of five, was piano, which was quickly followed by her first lessons on the violin at the age of six.
violin, vocalist, viola, mandolin, guitar
Jennifer Parker, an Augusta native, started her musical journey at the age of 10 when starting violin through the Richmond County Orchestra program. At the age of 12, Jennifer picked up the guitar and began writing songs, and has been a singer-songwriter ever since. Throughout her teens, Jennifer also picked up the bass, piano, ukuleles, viola, and more. An avid bluegrass and folk music lover, Jennifer has played with bands such as the Tom Miller Project and Mamie Foreman and The Rosebuds, and has also recorded with local Augusta bands, the Radar Cinema, Jokers & Thieves, and Mann Ray.
Jennifer is often a featured performer with Event Horizons. She is also a part of the Sand Hills String Band, the Augusta State University (ASU) Orchestra, and is a student assistant for the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras. Jennifer is also a strings teacher at East Aiken School for the Arts, a secretary and violin teacher at the Carolina Academy of Music, and teaches private lessons in the Augusta area for violin, guitar, and mandolin.
Jennifer received a degree from ASU as a Music Education major, and studied with Laura Tomlin and Carl Purdy. She is currently Assistant Orchestra Director at Durham Middle School in Acworth, GA.
Jason Pooler has been recently featured in the Morris Museum Concert Series and will appear as soloist with the Columbia County Orchestra in Augusta, GA in May of 2013. He regularly performs with the Augusta Choral Society, Columbia County Orchestra, and several other venues and churches around the CSRA in addition to traveling to perform with the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra.
During his undergraduate studies with Dr. Angela Morgan at Augusta State University, Jason was an ASU Concerto Competition Winner in 2009 and 2011, a Warren Baptist Performing Scholar, an ASU Maxwell Scholarship recipient, and held the positions of co-concertmaster of ASU Orchestra, 1st violin of the ASU Student String Quartet, and participant with the Symphony Orchestra Augusta Mentoring Program.
Jason works as Box Office Coordinator at the Georgia Regents University Maxwell Theatre, and is a member of the Empyrean String Quartet. Jason loves to listen and play all sorts of music, and is hoping one day to learn how to play Latin and Eastern Indian music.
viola, violin, mandolin, guitar, pennywhistle, banjo, harmonica, bagpipes, recorder, composer
Carl’s versatility as an instrumentalist and vocalist has enabled him to perform many styles of music, including Classical, Jazz, Traditional British Isles, Classic American Folk, New Age Country Western, and Bluegrass. Carl is violist and founding member of the Magellan String Quartet and Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra. He also performs as principal viola with the Augusta Opera and Augusta Choral Society.
At Augusta State University, Carl teaches viola, humanities, and directs the Sand Hills String Band. Carl also performs as soloist and chamber musician on the faculty of the International Music Festival at Vale Veneto, Brazil. He has recorded and toured internationally on the viola, jazz violin and viola, recorder, classical guitar, and folk guitar, in addition to composing and arranging for symphonies and chamber ensembles.
Carl performed with the members of the Franciscan Chamber Players in residence at the Summer Music Monterey music camp for many years, during which they recorded a compact disc with legendary jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. He developed his talents as a folk musician with the Boston-based Celtic band, St. James Gate, while attending New England Conservatory of Music in the 1980s. He was the principal violist of the La Crosse Symphony in Wisconsin before moving to Georgia for the position of Principal Viola with the Augusta Symphony.
Carl studied viola with Heidi Castleman and Walter Trampler at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
viola, violin, conductor, vocalist
Since 1994, Stan Pylant has performed as a violist with the Augusta Symphony (Symphony Orchestra Augusta), and with the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra since 2000. He frequently supports the CSRA professional music culture by performing with local accompanying orchestras for professional and community productions, including the Augusta Opera and the Augusta Choral Society.
Stan is a minister at First Baptist Church of Augusta, GA, where he was called to serve in 1993. Before moving to Augusta, Stan served as church minister in Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma; everywhere Stan has served, the regional professional orchestras have been grateful for his availability to perform on both viola and violin.
Stan is also a gifted vocalist (tenor), and travels throughout the USA and internationally to perform with and lead several distinguished choruses, including the CenturyMen and Sons of Jubal.
Stan received a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a Master of Music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Doctorate in Worship Studies from the Institute of Worship Studies in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also a licensed multi-instrument private pilot!
Debra currently performs violin and viola with the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Pops, Augusta Opera, and Augusta Choral Society, and the Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra. She is on the Athens Academy music faculty and teaches orchestra for grades ranging from 2 through 12. In addition to her position at the Academy, she has an active private studio of over 50 violinists and violists.
Prior to her work at the Academy, Debra was fifth grade orchestra teacher in Clarke County. She has taught Suzuki violin for over 22 years (receiving extensive Suzuki training from Alice Joy Lewis, Kay Sloan and Almita Vamo), including work as the director of Suzuki programs at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, and Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, and is currently on faculty of the Morningside College Suzuki Institute and Advanced String Camp in Sioux City, Iowa.
She is often a clinician for Suzuki workshops in a region that expands from Georgia to Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Illinois and Iowa. Debra was a violinist in the Savannah Symphony Orchestra for over 10 years and while living in Savannah, served on the educational staff of the Savannah Symphony and directed the Savannah Symphony’s Junior String Ensemble.
She also taught violin, string methods/pedagogy and directed the Suzuki Program at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia, and at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. Prior to her faculty positions in Athens GA, Debra had time to perform with the Hilton Head Chamber Orchestra, Augusta, Charleston and Greenville Symphonies. Debra received her Master’s degree in violin performance from Western Illinois University and Bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Angela regularly performs with the Augusta Opera, Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, and Augusta Choral Society. She is often guest violinist and violist with the Magellan String Quartet and the Kiokee Quintet. Angela teaches private violin/viola lessons at the Carolina String Academy in Aiken and the Augusta State University Conservatory Program.
She attended Augusta State University, where she received a Bachelor in Music Education. She was violin pupil of Dr. Angela Morgan, and studied viola with Carl Purdy. Angela is an Augusta, Georgia, native. Angela lives in Augusta with her husband, double bassist Travis Shaw, and their daughter Caeden.
violin, viola, conductor
Laurin Smith’s distinguished music background includes two higher education degrees in both violin and viola, studies with Itzhak Perlman, Masao Kawasaki, Dorothy Delay, and Andrew Galos, and experiences performing as a violinist, violist and conductor in Europe, Asia, and across the U.S.A. (including orchestra director and chamber music coach along with the Colorado String Quartet at Soundfest in Falmouth, MA)
Laurin makes his home in northern Georgia, is the music director and conductor of the North Georgia Chamber Symphony, and works as adjunct professor of violin, viola, and string division director at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville, GA.
Additionally, Laurin regularly travels to perform with several southeastern professional music ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestra Augusta, Augusta Choral Society, Lyra Vivace Chamber Orchestra, and the Augusta Opera. He also serves the southeastern professional music culture by performing with and leading various regional chamber music and educational organizations, including work as both performer and teacher at the Laurel Ridge Music Camp.
violin, composer, conductor
Laura is the director of the Orchestra and string program at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School in Augusta. She is the founder and director of the Carolina String Academy in Aiken and the conductor of the Aiken Youth Orchestras. She is an adjunct professor at Augusta State University and the University of South Carolina, Aiken, and teaches violin and viola privately at the Carolina Academy of Music and for the ASU Conservatory Program. She also served for several years as conductor of the Greater Augusta Youth Orchestras.
She has extensive experience as a chamber musician, including eleven years with the Augusta Symphony String Quartet, three years with the Magellan String Quartet as artist-in-residence at Georgia Southern University, and four years with the Southern Arts Piano Trio. Laura’s students, colleagues and audiences benefit from her expertise and versatility as a music arranger.
She has participated in music festivals in New York, California, Michigan, North Carolina, and Maine, and has performed throughout the United States and Europe, most recently in Weill Recital Hall in New York as a member of the ARCO Chamber Orchestra. She was awarded a 2001 research grant to attend the International Colourstrings Symposium in Helsinki, Finland.
Laura has been a member of Symphony Orchestra Augusta since 1987, serving one year as concertmaster, ten years as principal second violin, and currently as assistant concertmaster. Laura’s students have won numerous awards and competitions. She also directs the ASU Summer String Camp, as well as the ASU Honors String Jamboree, and coaches chamber music for the ASU Chamber Music Camp. She received a Bachelor of Music from North Carolina School of the Arts, a Master of Music from the University of Southern California, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Georgia.