Faculty

Directors  Violin  Viola  Cello  Piano  Voice  Harp  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.

Nicholas Zahao Bai

Piano

Born into a family full of musicians and music lovers, Nick Bai began his journey with piano as early as three years old. After years of study, Nick made his debut concert at the age of 14. At the year of 2012, Nick came to United States of America as a junior in high school and continued his piano study with Dr. Washington Garcia at Texas State University. After graduating from high school, Nick continued studying piano at the University of South Carolina where he received his Bachelor and Master of Music degree under the tutelage of Dr. Marina Lomazov. He is now pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts at the Eastman School of Music. 

As an active soloist, Nick was invited to play at various cities in China and won multiple prizes including prizes in Thousand Island International Piano Competition; Long Island International Piano Competition; MTNA Young Artist Division; Golden Age Artist Piano Competition; Columbia Music Club Scholarship Competition; Texas State Concerto & Aria Competition; Haiman Young Artist Piano Competition. During his career, he was also invited to perform with symphony orchestras, such as the Virtuosi Brunenses Symphony Orchestra; Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra; Texas State Symphony Orchestra.

In the summer of 2016, Nick and Ke’er Wang together created the Miaomiao Piano Festival in Wuhai, China to be the best piano festival for pre-college young
pianists of the area.

As a self-proclaimed technology and car enthusiast, Zehao enjoys tinkering with his car and electronics when he is not working at his piano.

Grace Browning

Harp, Suzuki Harp

Praised for her “superb technical acumen and sensitive musicality” (South Florida Classical Review), Grace Browning has established herself as a versatile ensemble harpist, dynamic soloist, and passionate teaching artist. Equally at home with both symphonic and operatic repertoire, Grace was appointed Principal Harpist of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2017 and the Santa Fe Opera in 2015; she can be heard on both ensembles’ GRAMMY award-winning albums: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and American Rapture.  As co-founder of the Browning-Krug Duo, Grace appears regularly with her fiancé Benjamin Krug (RPO cellist) with whom she arranges, improvises, and performs popular works for diverse audiences.  

Her love for opera began in 2014 when Grace won her first position as Principal Harpist of The Dallas Opera. In 2018, she made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera, performing Puccini’s Tosca, Bizet’s Carmen, and Wagner’s Siegfried. During her time in Texas, she regularly performed with the Dallas Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra and was invited to perform as Guest Principal during the Houston Symphony’s 2018 European Tour. She has participated in music festivals around the globe, including the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival USA, Aspen Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, and the National Repertory Orchestra.

A natural and charismatic presence on stage, Grace has performed as a soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, and the National Repertory Orchestra. In 2015, she won the Young Texas Artist’s First Prize for Winds, Brass, Percussion & Harp, as well as the Aspen Music Festival Harp Concerto Competition. After completing her three-year fellowship at the New World Symphony in 2014, Grace was invited to return as both soloist and coach and had the honor to perform as a featured alumna for the Michael Tilson Thomas 70th Birthday Gala.

Born into a family of educators, Grace is a passionate teaching artist, Suzuki pedagogue, and performance psychology coach.  Thrilled to be joining the faculty at the Kanack School of Music, she taught previously for two years at the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas, growing the studio from six to fourteen students and working with students of all ages, backgrounds and disabilities.  As a collegiate teacher, Grace served as harp professor at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music from 2020 to 2021 and taught masterclasses at the University of Arizona, UNC School of the Arts, Roosevelt University, and the Curtis Institute of Music.  A longtime manager of obsessive compulsive disorder, She has also led multiple workshops on positive performance practice for the American Harp Society and contributes regularly to the Harp Column magazine and online academy.   

Originally from Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, Grace received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School in 2011, following two years at the University of Michigan (B.M. 2009) and two years at the Eastman School of Music. In her spare time, Grace enjoys practicing Ashtanga yoga, cooking new meals, and spoiling her nieces, nephews, and rescue animals. 

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.

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.

Susan Innamorato

Piano, Suzuki Piano, Jazz, CAD

A native New Yorker, Susan Innamorato has recently made Rochester, NY her home after having lived, taught and performed in the New York City area for more than 30 years. She is trained both as a classical and jazz pianist and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of Music at the State University of New York at Fredonia and Shenandoah University in Virginia.

While at Fredonia, Susan first became interested in the Suzuki approach to teaching and immediately embarked on a career as a Suzuki teacher upon graduating from college. She also continued to refine her art by studying with world-renowned pianist German Diez and acclaimed jazz pedagogue Kenny Werner. She has since focused her career as a jazz singer/pianist, which has included performing in the New York City area while maintaining a successful teaching studio. As a jazz educator, her introductory materials have been influential in leading many students to becoming natural and creative jazz players and are available at www.susanijazz.com.

Heewon Lee

Korean-American cellist Heewon Lee is a passionate musician who is dedicated to sharing stories through her music. She holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Eastman School of Music, where she has given world-premieres and numerous solo and chamber performances. Ms. Lee appeared in summer music festivals such as the Next Festival of Emerging Artists, Meadowmount School of Music, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. She also attended the Orford Musique in Canada and the Lunigiana International Music Festival in Italy. 

As an avid chamber musician and collaborator, Ms. Lee has worked with members of the Takác String Quartet, Tokyo String Quartet, Cleveland String Quartet, and genre-bending musicians Daniel Ho, Jake Shimabukuro, and the Punch Brothers. From hospitals, libraries, retirement homes, to museums, Ms. Lee has performed in various performance venues, with the purpose of sharing the joy of music to all communities. 

Ms. Lee teaches privately in the upstate New York area and serves as faculty at the Kanak School of Music in Rochester, New York. She first started cello at age nine in her hometown Honolulu, Hawaii.

 

Daphne 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 recently completed a masters degree in music education at the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Juliana Athayde. 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 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). In addition to her roles as performer and teacher, 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 friends and family, playing board games, knitting, attending contra and blues dances, and creating art out of broken, unusable musical instruments.

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.

 

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