Directors  Violin  Viola  Cello  Piano  Voice  Flute  Guitar Mandolin  Banjo  Ukulele  Fiddle  Bluegrass

Alice Kanack – Executive Director

Violin, Viola, Suzuki violin, Suzuki viola, CAD

Alice is a Rochester native with degrees in Performance and Composition from the Eastman School of Music. She is an accredited Suzuki Association of Americas teacher, with training both in the US and in Japan with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. Alice’s “Creative Ability Development” series of books and recordings are currently published by Warner Bros. and are sold internationally.


Andrew Barnhart – Artistic Director

Cello, Suzuki Cello, Chamber, Orchestra, CAD

Cellist Andrew Barnhart is a native of the Detroit, Michigan area where he began playing the cello in the public school system at the age of ten.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree, Performer’s Certificate, and Orchestral Studies Diploma from the Eastman School of Music where is is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts.  Andrew serves as Principal Cello for the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes in Corning and Elmira, NY and of the Colgate University Symphony Orchestra where he is also on faculty.  As a chamber musician he has performed with the Michigan Chamber Players, the Eastman Chamber Music Society, and the Eastman Virtuosi.  He is a member of the Half-Six Piano Trio with pianist Toni James and violinist Man Yui Kitty Cheung.  His major teachers have been Richard Piippo, Erling Blöndal Bengtsson, and Alan Harris.

Michelle Bitler

Suzuki piano, Piano, Violin, Suzuki violin, Viola, Suzuki viola, Chamber, Preschool classes, CAD

Michelle Bitler joined The Kanack School of Musical Artistry in 2012 after teaching in Pittsburgh for several years. In addition to having a studio of pianists, violinists, and violists, Michelle teaches improvisation and repertoire group classes. She is also a chamber music coach and piano accompanist.

With degrees from the Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester, Michelle also received Suzuki training in Chicago and Pittsburgh, early childhood music training in Buffalo, and CAD (Creative Ability Development) training here at KSMA. Her students include children of all ages and adults. She uses a variety of teaching methods and draws upon her extensive experience as a performer and collaborator.

Michelle can also be found playing violin with the local chamber group Cordancia, an orchestra that performs an eclectic array of repertoire. She is also a piano accompanist at SUNY Geneseo. In a past life (before having children!), Michelle led an active musical life performing as an orchestral, chamber, solo, freelance, and church musician.

While always engaged with music at some level, Michelle also enjoys knitting, cooking, and spending time with her family. Michelle, her husband, and two children are so pleased to be part of the KSMA community!

Lee Byrne

Violin, Suzuki violin

Lee is a Rochester native who trained with the renowned Suzuki pedagogue Anastasia Jempelis at the Eastman School of Music. Lee is an accredited teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has also had extensive training in Early Childhood education.

Dr. Caroline Sonett


Erik Gibelyou

Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Ukulele

Erik Gibelyou, a native of Bay City, Michigan, started playing guitar at age 12, shortly after his introduction to the tenor saxophone. He played many styles of music as a young guitarist, including fingerstyle, rock, and heavy metal. Erik enrolled at Delta College in 2006 and met his first classical guitar teacher, Dr. Brad DeRoche. After taking music classes and lessons with Professor DeRoche, Erik transferred to Saginaw Valley State University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance. He studied classical guitar with Javier Calderon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, completing his Master of Music in Guitar Performance in 2015, and his Master of Arts in Music Theory in 2016. Erik is continuing his study of classical guitar at the Eastman School of Music with Dr. Nicholas Goluses, beginning the Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature in the fall of 2016.

As an undergraduate at Saginaw Valley State University, Erik traveled to Rome, Italy to participate in the Rome Festival Chamber Music Seminar, where he studied with local musicians, performed in operas, and performed numerous solo works and chamber works. Erik was an active member in the Madison Classical Guitar Society while living in Wisconsin, and he kept a large studio of private students. In July 2016, Erik was a featured artist and faculty member at the Michigan Classical Guitar Workshop, where he performed a solo recital and presented a paper on the guitar music of Hans Werner Henze.

Erik is successful in engaging students of all ages and maintains a high retention rate. He cares about his students and brings a positive and encouraging attitude to lessons.

Sofya Gurevich

Piano, Preschool classes

Sofya got her degree in piano, music theory and music literature in Russia. After teaching in Russia for many years, she moved to Rochester in 1993. Sofya currently teaches piano and also has extensive training in early childhood education.

Elise Hughey


Minnesota native Elise Hughey first discovered the cello at age ten through her elementary school orchestra program. She then studied in Minneapolis with former Minnesota Orchestra member (and current Toronto Symphony Orchestra principal) Joseph Johnson. Elise received her Bachelor of Music degree and Master of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York under the tutelage of Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliott. During her graduate studies, she was awarded the position of Teaching Assistant for Steven Doane’s studio. Recently Elise studied the Creative Ability Development teaching method with Alice Kanack of the Kanack School of Music. Elise performs regularly with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Binghamton Philharmonic, and her string quartet, quartet442. In addition to her musical pursuits, Elise is also a certified yoga instructor and she enjoys incorporating body and breath awareness in her cello teaching.

Daphne Kanack-Pickens

Violin, Fiddle, Chamber Music

Daphne Pickens received her bachelor’s degree in violin performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Marilyn McDonald. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in music education at the Eastman School of Music, with K-12 teaching certification in New York State. Having begun her musical studies and career at the Kanack School of Musical Artistry, Daphne has over 10 years of teaching experience. With strong roots in folk and classical styles, she currently performs with bands such as The Crooked North and Birch Trio. She has released one folk album to date with her best friend and bandmate, Casey Murray, titled To Zamir (2013). Daphne is also an avid composer, arranger, and visual artist. In 2016, Daphne collaborated with the Great Bear Trio, composing and recording string parts for their album, Magic Fantasy Dream Dance. Her drawings are featured in Book 2 of the Creative Ability Development Series, Basslines and Fantasies (2014), by Alice Kanack. In her free time, Daphne enjoys spending quality time with her family, playing board games and going contra and blues dancing with friends, and creating art out of musical instruments that are broken beyond repair.

Rachael Lemna

Cello, Suzuki Cello, Pre School Classes, CAD

Rachael Lemna, American cellist, has captivated audiences worldwide with her mature
musicianship and elegant artistry.

Ms. Lemna was named the Gold Medal Winner of the Collegiate Division of the Cleveland Cello Society Competition in 2015 as well as a winner in the 2016 Cleveland Institute of Music Concerto Competition. In addition, she has received honorable marks in numerous competitions, including the Heida Hermanns International String Competition and the Founders Division of the Mondavi National Young Artists Competition. Ms. Lemna was a recipient of the Marine Corps’ “Semper Fidelis” Award for Musical Excellence in 2013 and was presented the award by an active marine. In addition to solo training, intensive quartet study at the Cleveland Institute of Music led Ms. Lemna to be invited as a member of the fellowship quartet at the Brevard Music Festival during the summer of 2015.

In 2018, Ms. Lemna received a Professional Development Committee Grant from the Eastman School of Music and presented her paper, “Strategizing the Female Body: Charlotte Moorman’s Sky Kiss,” at the AMS NYSSL Chapter Meeting at SUNY Fredonia School of Music. She was also invited to present her paper, “Incorporating Organic Hearing into a Young Musician’s Education,” at Cleveland Institute of Music’s Music Theory Colloquium in 2017. Ms. Lemna has attended multiple music festivals including the Heifetz International Music Institute, Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Sitka Cello Seminar, and the Meadowmount School of Music. She has had the honor to perform in master classes for notable musicians such as Zuill Bailey, Amy Barston, Andrew Jennings, Peter Salaff, Wendy Warner, Donald Weilerstein, as well as members of the Cleveland Quartet, Cavani Quartet, and prestigious symphony orchestras.

A native of Wheaton, Illinois, Ms. Lemna began her cello studies at the age of 4 through the Community School of the Arts Suzuki program at Wheaton College. Her past teachers have included Catherine Kuna, Carol Ourada and Dr. Melissa Kraut. Ms. Lemna plays a 1989 Lawrence Furse cello and attends the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where she studies cello performance under Steven Doane and Rosemary Elliott. Ms. Lemna received her Bachelor Degree in Cello Performance and Music Theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she also earned minors in Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Suzuki Pedagogy. Through her studies, she has become a fully-registered Suzuki cello teacher under Suzuki teacher trainers Ms. Pamela Devenport and Ms. Abbey Hansen. She currently serves as Suzuki cello faculty at the
Kanack School of Music in Rochester, NY.

Ben Proctor

Banjo, Bluegrass

Ben Proctor is a musical pilgrim living in Rochester, New York. He works as a performer, teacher of guitar and rock history for Fairport Central School District, instructor and ensemble director at the Kanack School of Music, and private teacher of guitar, voice, banjo, dobro, and mandolin. His current project is acclaimed bluegrass/Americana band The Crooked North. He has many annoying habits, like constantly playing instruments and singing children’s melodies in odd meters. Ben likes to write songs and believes that teaching music is a high art.

Mr. Proctor graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2009, receiving a Master’s degree in Music Education and New York State teacher certification in music. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Ethnomusicology at SUNY Geneseo in 2005 with highest honors. As an independent musician, Ben has performed in concert halls such as the Tribeca Performing Arts Center and Kilbourne Hall, international bluegrass and jazz festivals, and legendary rock venues such as CBGSs. As an educator, he has published teaching tools, given seminars, and been a guest teaching artist. He dreams of one day having a really cool nickname and a family band with everyone in corny matching outfits. The family band is underway, although the two youngest children are still not strong enough to support the weight of most bluegrass instruments. But that does not prevent them from trying.

Ben grew up in a Connecticut swamp where he dreamt of becoming a famous jazz musician. He played with jazz, blues, gospel, rock, and klezmer groups for a few years in Connecticut (including the Afro-Semitic Experience) before moving to New York City, where he postponed finishing college for the third time. With a lot of time on his hands and needing to support his annoying habits, he built websites, acted in off-Broadway theater, and performed with country, blues, and rock and roll bands. After years of musical soul-searching, he found his passion singing and playing American traditional music. He brought this passion to Western New York to finish college and begin his career as a musician, music teacher, and advocate for participation in social music traditions. His long-term goal is for everyone to learn a musical instrument that they can play in kitchens and on porches with their friends and families.

Learn more about Ben Proctor – Banjo, Dobro, Mandolin (Guitar, Voice) at:

Thomas Rodgers

Violin, Chamber Music

Thomas Rodgers, a native of Anderson, Indiana, joined the first violin section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in March of 2012.  In May, he completed a Master of Music degree in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with William Preucil, concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra.  He also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (graduated summa cum laude), where he studied with Alexander Kerr, former concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.  Thomas began studying the piano at age five with his father and started violin lessons at the age of six.  During his high school days as a member of the Indiana University Violin Virtuosi directed by Mimi Zweig, Thomas performed with the group in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.  He is the winner of the Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music Concerto Competition and Kuttner Chamber Music Competition, the Indianapolis Symphony Side-By-Side Concerto Competition, the MTNA Jr. High String Competition, the Chamber Music Fellowship sponsored by the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, and is the winner of various young artist competitions in Indiana.  He has attended a number of summer festivals including the Pacific Music Festival, the Sarasota Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, the National Arts Centre Young Artists Programme directed by Pinchas Zukerman, Encore School for Strings, and Meadowmount.  He has participated in masterclasses by Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, Gilbert Kalish, Mark Kaplan, Mauricio Fuks, Jerome Lowenthal, Peter Salaff, Joshua Bell, Barnabas Kelemen, the Orion String Quartet, Donald Weilerstein, and Ruggiero Ricci.

Alyssa Rodriguez

Fiddle, Suzuki fiddle, Suzuki violin, Suzuki viola

Alyssa Rodriguez is a classically trained violinist gone fiddle player who holds a degree in Music Composition from Ithaca College. She discovered her love of fiddle music in Ithaca’s vibrant Contra dance and Irish music scene, and discovered Ball Folk and other European fiddle music while studying abroad in Vienna, Austria. She has studied Irish fiddle with Tim Ball and Scandinavian fiddle with Laurie Hart of Ithaca, NY, and enjoys performing for live dance events. She plays a myriad of European fiddle styles, and is passionate about teaching fiddle and about all things radio. She also studied Suzuki pedagogy with Carrie Reuning-Hummel.

Austin Wahl

Guitar, Suzuki Guitar, Mandolin

Austin Wahl, a Minneapolis native, began his guitar studies in 1998 with Alan Johnston, a former member of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, at the MacPhail Center for Music. Annually from 2004 to 2011, Wahl attended the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point, WI where he worked with Alan Johnston and Joseph Pecoraro. In 2009, he also studied with David Madsen at the MacPhail Suzuki Institute in Minneapolis. Between 2011 and 2015, Wahl earned his B. M. and Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, studying with Dr. Nicholas Goluses. He will begin his M. M. studies in August of 2015, also at the Eastman School with Dr. Goluses. Wahl received his Suzuki guitar teaching certificate in August of 2012 from Mary Lou Roberts in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Wahl has won top prizes in various competitions. These include first in the Schubert Club (2010) and Thursday Musical (2011) scholarship competitions, second in the 2009 Schubert Club competition, being named a Showcase Artist in the inaugural Minnesota Varsity competition (2011), third in the Women of the Guitar Competition (2014), third in the Great Lakes Guitar Society Competition in 2013 and 2014, and first in 2015. In addition. Wahl also won the prestigious biennial Eastman Guitar Concerto Competition, and performed Rodrigo’s Fantasia para un Gentilhombre with the Eastman Philharmonia in April of 2014.
Wahl has performed in masterclasses for David Russell, Lorenzo Micheli, Matteo Mela, Benjamin Verdery, William and Adam Kossler, Judicael Perroy, Jeremy Jouve, Raphaella Smits, David Madsen, Sharon Isbin, Eliot Fisk, Roland Dyens, the Eden-Stell Guitar Duo, Anton Baranov, and Krzysztof Meisinger.

Teryle Watson

Voice, Piano, Chorus, Musical Theater

Teryle Thomas Watson was born in Brooklyn,New York .As the only child of Virgil and Lauramae Thomas,  music became central to her life at an early age.She began her formal training at the Juilliard School of Music at age five.The preparatory department of Juilliard provided her with training in piano,voice and music theory .She is also an alumna of the High School of Music and Art in New York City where she majored in violincello.In 1967,Teryle adopted Rochester,New York as her new home upon her acceptance at the Eastman School of Music.Immediately upon her graduation from Eastman she traveled to the United Kingdom where she concertized as a cellist,singer and pianist while doing coursework at the Royal College of Music.
In her return to Rochester in January of 1975 she began what was to be a thirty one year career as a music teacher with the Rochester City School District.She has been honored to serve the children and families of schools 36,33,58,39,West High School,Marshall High School,Benjamin Franklin High School,East High School and the School of the Arts.During this period she was also conductor of the Inter-High School Choir for the RCSD.Her passion for large choral works led her to teach and conduct many of the great masterpieces of the genre with her students.This legacy includes Elijah,the Magnificat of J.S.Bach,the Requiem Masses of Rutter,Faure and Mozart,the Gloria settings of Poulenc and Vivaldi,the Peaceable Kingdom of Randall Thompson,and Messiah in its entirety by G.F.Handel.Her love of Musical Theatre has been witnessed in over fifty productions she has directed in this area.Two musicals,Big River and Ragtime,both School of the Arts productions won the Best Musical Award given by the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.
Teryle has also been active in the Gateways Music Festival.She has played cello numerous times in the festival orchestra and has served as chorus master/conductor for performances of the Lord Nelson Mass and the Choral Finale of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony.
For twelve years she taught voice at the Rochester Association of the Performing Arts.Her students have been known for their outstanding work at many schools and conservatories including,the Eastman School of Music,Syracuse University,Ithaca College,Manhattanville College,Suny Purchase,Geneseo,Potsdam and Fredonia,Indiana University ,Boston Conservatory of Music,New England Conservatory of Music,Westminster Choir College,Lincoln University,Heidleberg College,Central State University,and Oklahoma State College.
Her love of music found its first foundation in the Church while she was a young child.This journey would lead her to become a Sister of Saint Joseph of Rochester.Liturgical music and Pastoral Ministry have remained a mainstay of her life as she has held music ministry positions at the former St. Augustines Church,Immaculate Conception Church,Our Lady of Victory Church, the former St. Phillip Neri Church and Memorial AME Zion Church.She has served on the Womens Commission ,the Music Commission and the Liturgy Commission of the Diocese of Rochester.
Teryle is also the former conductor of the Rochester Peace Child Chorus and a singer with the Opera Theatre of Rochester.

Tim Ball

Fiddle Camp

Tim Ball grew up playing both classical violin and fiddle music, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from Ithaca College, where he studied with Susan Waterbury. While there, Tim dove headfirst into the contra dance and Irish music scenes, and is fortunate to have been mentored by David Kaynor, Ed McGowan, and many others. He has also studied Suzuki teaching with Carrie Reuning-Hummel. Tim has performed at numerous contra dances and festivals throughout the Northeast with his band Tunescape, and plays around central New York with the contra dance band Tempest, the Irish band Traonach, and many others. Passionate about introducing authentic fiddle music to classical musicians, Tim has taught at camps including the Ithaca Suzuki Institute and the Kanack School’s fiddle camp. Tim’s schedule and recordings are available at his website, http://timballviolin.com.

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