Alice Kay Kanack – Executive Director
Violin, Viola, Suzuki violin, Suzuki viola, CAD
Nicknamed “Mozart’s Mother” by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki in 1984, Alice Kay Kanack has spent 40 years researching, teaching, and writing about how the creative process works in the brain. With the Alfred Publishing Company, Alice published five books in the Creative Ability Development series while her newest works, Improvising String Quartets, Basslines & Fantasies, and Playing From the Heart have been published through Creative Ability Development Press. She is currently the Executive Director of The Kanack School of Musical Artistry and the Vice Chair of the nonprofit organization, Creative Ability Development, Inc. As the founder of the Creative Ability Development(CAD) movement, she tours internationally, speaking and demonstrating her methods through live performances and workshops. Before the pandemic, she led the development of a new CAD program at the Sibelius Academy in Finland, was the keynote speaker for the SAO Conference in Canada, and led pedagogy workshops for the Teachers College at Columbia University and the Lucy Moses School at the Kaufman Center. Steven Doane, Professor of Cello, Eastman School of Music and The Royal Academy of London wrote, “Alice Kanack is an educator of true originality and inspiration, who has been at the forefront of the movement to encourage creativity through musical improvisation in young musicians. At her music school and through her training programs she encourages students of all ages to include improvisation skills in daily practice, as an organic part of one’s musical development. I’m inspired by her continuing exploration of the pedagogical potential of this movement.” She currently lives in Rochester, NY with her two children, Daphne and Alexander.
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.
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.
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.
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 become natural and creative jazz players and are available at www.susanijazz.com.
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 a 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.
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.
Voice, Piano, Chorus, Musical Theater
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.
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 Women’s Commission, the Music Commission, and the Liturgy Commission of the Diocese of Rochester.
Chinese-Canadian harpist Sunshine Quan currently resides in Rochester NY, where she is pursuing a DMA degree in Harp Performance at the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of Professor Kathleen Bride.
Since she arrived in the United States in 2021, Sunshine has been extensively involved in the various ensembles across Upstate New York, appearances include the Rochester Philharmonic, Binghamton Philharmonic, New York State Ballet, Cordancia Chamber Orchestra, and the orchestras and wind ensembles at Eastman, SUNY Fredonia, Nazareth College, and Roberts Wesleyan College. She has attained fellowships at the National Orchestral Institute and Mostly Modern Festival in the past summers. Her musical journey has brought her across the world, where she gave solo and chamber recitals in North America and China, and toured Spain with the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra. Her ARCT performance recital at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto, ON) received a National Gold Medal.
A passionate advocate for new music, Sunshine has played with Eastman Musica Nova and OSSIA New Music since 2021, and she composes and arranges for solo harp and harp ensemble. She serves as a Board Member of OSSIA New Music for the 2023-2024 season. Besides the harp and classical music, Sunshine also plays the Chinese zither (Guzheng), and she is an active performer of traditional Chinese music and Irish/Celtic music. Sunshine is currently on faculty at the Eastman Community Music School and Kanack School of Musical Artistry. She also teaches secondary harp lessons at Eastman and maintains a private studio online where she teaches students from Asia and Europe.
Esther (Rogers) Baker