Faculty & Instructors
String Academy Program Director
- Mimi Zweig, Director
- Brenda Brenner, Co Director
- Christina Hightower, Administrator and Coordinator for new students
- Miji Chae
- Gwen Chan
- Erica Shirts
- Emily Nehus
- Jenna Barghouti
Mimi Zweig is currently a professor of violin and director of the Indiana University String Academy. Since 1972 she has developed pre-college string programs across the United States. She has given master classes and pedagogy workshops in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Israel, Japan and Europe. She has recently produced StringPedagogy.com, an innovative web-based teaching tool. In the spring of 2006, American Public Television released the documentary, "Circling Around-The Violin Virtuosi" which features String Academy students. The String Academy and Mimi Zweig are recent recipients of a Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation grant which supports the teaching of gifted violinists. Her students have won numerous competitions, and teach and perform worldwide.
e-mail Mimi Zweig: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brenda Brenner is Associate Professor of Music Education in the IU Jacobs School of Music and Co-Director of the IU String Academy. She specializes in the area of string music education, teaching applied violin and courses in violin and string pedagogy. Her String Academy students have been featured in concerts in major venues throughout the United States and Europe. Prior to her arrival at IU, Dr. Brenner was Assistant Professor of Music at Carleton College. Active as a performer, she received her Doctorate in Musical Arts in Violin Performance from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg, Donald Weilerstein, and the Cleveland Quartet. A member of the award-winning Augustine Quartet, she was a finalist or prize winner in several competitions, including the Banff International Quartet Competition, Concert Artists Guild, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and Cleveland Competition, and has worked with the Cleveland, Toyko, Juilliard, American and Emerson Quartets.
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Christina Hightower has earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Utah, where she studied with Leonard Braus, served as concertmaster of the University Philharmonic and was a member of the Honors Quartet. She received the Master of Music degree from Indiana University while a student of Mimi Zweig. She has served as the violin coordinator of the Indianapolis String Academy. Currently, in addition to teaching violin, Christina is the Administrative Assistant for the IU String Academy.
e-mail Christina Hightower: firstname.lastname@example.org
Miji Chae is currently pursuing a Master of Music in violin at Indiana University and is an Assistant Instructor. After she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Korea, she moved to the US to continue her violin and pedagogy studies with Mimi Zweig. She has performed often as a soloist and chamber musician. In addition to the violin, Miji plays the piano and electric guitar.
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Gwen Chan holds a Master of Music from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with Mimi Zweig, and a Bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music. Her performing experience includes work both as soloist and orchestral musician, and she is active as a chamber musician. She has extensive experience as a teacher both at the college and pre-college levels, and also serves as violin and viola faculty at Anderson University. Her students have included prizewinners in both local and state competitions.
e-mail Gwen Chan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Erica Shirts received her Bachelors of Music at the University of Michigan and is currently studying Violin Performance as well as Violin/Viola pedagogy with Mimi Zweig at IU for her Masters. She has studied violin with Aaron Berofsky and Gerald Elias, as well as worked individually with Kathryn Votapek, Charles Castleman, Almita Vamos, and Rodney Friend. Erica is a former member of the Lansing Symphony and has performed with orchestras all over the country. She enjoys playing chamber music, teaching, running, eating Thai food and watching The West Wing with her husband.
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Emily Nehus is completing graduate studies in violin and music education at IU, where she has studied violin with Brenda Brenner, Mimi Zweig, Ik-Hwan Bae and Stephen Boe, and Baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie. Since earning her BA in English from Grinnell College in 1991, Emily has taught violin for pre-college programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory and Columbus Pro Musica in Columbus, IN. Recent performances include solo and chamber recitals in Indiana and Missouri, and orchestral performances with Fort Wayne, Columbus and Evansville Philharmonics, and the IU Philharmonic, Concert and Baroque Orchestras.
e-mail Emily Nehus: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenna Barghouti is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in violin at the Jacobs School of Music (Indiana University), where she studies with Mimi Zweig. Her first major performance was as an honorary guest soloist at the New Year's concert at the Paris Municipality, with the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris in January 2007. She is a 3-times winner of the Palestine National Competition and is currently concertmaster of the Palestine Youth Orchestra. Studying under Professor Zweig and observing Dr. Brenda Brenner have both made her discover her passion for teaching as well.
Susan Moses is Co-Director of the String Academy and leads the cello branch. Susan was deeply impressed by the work of Mimi Zweig when she was a Visiting Professor at the School of Music in 1994-95; so much so that she decided to join with Mimi Zweig in 1996 and develop a cello school combining Zweig's methods and philosophy with those of the great cello masters Popper, Matz, Dotzauer and Lee.
Susan earned her degrees with the highest honors at Indiana and Yale Universities before completing her studies at the renowned Jascha-Heifetz-Gregor Piatigorsky Master Classes at the University of Southern California. She was awarded a Ford Foundation Prize and has performed throughout the world in recital, with orchestra and as the solo violoncellist of the celebrated I SOLISTI VENETI. While living in Europe she taught for Boston University, in the Conservatoires Regionales de France and founded the Chicago String Trio that was awarded a special Prize by the University of Milan for outstanding contributions in chamber music. She records for ERATO and CONCERTO and was nominated for a Grand Prix du Disque. Susan also was recognized by the University of Padua for her outstanding research on the school of Giuseppe Tartini in the 1700's and created for Trinity College a special music program for their Italian Elderhostel where she is principal lecturer and performer.
She presently heads the cello department of the String Academy at Indiana University, has been on the faculty of Oberlin College and represents the United States in International cello competitions.
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Helen Shively Ford, cello and chamber music. Previously, Helen was on the faculty of the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, where she also served as string department chair and chamber music coordinator. She earned her BM and MM degrees at the University of Minnesota, studying with Tanya Remenikova and Robert Jamieson. Helen was a member of the Minneapolis-based Sartory String Quartet and performed with the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble, and other regional ensembles. She was active in the contemporary music scene in Austin, Texas, as a member of the group Audio Inversions and as a frequent guest with the University of Texas New Music Ensemble. Currently, Helen performs as a member of the Bloomington chamber music collective, Studio in Bloom.
e mail Helen Ford: firstname.lastname@example.org