String Academy

String Academy

Faculty & Instructors

Mimi Zweig

String Academy Program Director

Violin Faculty
Cello Faculty

 

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: zweig@indiana.edu
tel. 812.855.8334

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Brenda Brenner is Associate Professor of Music Education in the IU Jacobs School of Music, Co-Director of the IU String Academy, and President-Elect of ASTA (American String Teachers Association). 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. 

e-mail Brenda Brenner: bbrenner@indiana.edu
tel. 812.855.0989

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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: crunnacl@indiana.edu
tel. 812.345.9331

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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: gwenchan@juno.com
tel. 812.334.3642

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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: enehus@indiana.edu
tel. 812.322.7153

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Flora Nevarez is currently pursuing a PhD in Music Education and violin at IU, studying violin and pedagogy with Brenda Brenner and Mimi Zweig. She holds a Master of Music in Strings Performance, String Pedagogy concentration from the University of Louisville, where she was teaching assistant to Brittany MacWilliams and Sidney King in Applied Violin and Music Education and taught secondary viola; and a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Western Washington University. She taught at the University of Louisville’s Suzuki program and Suzuki in the public schools, was Program Coordinator for the Louisville String Academy, and taught in public and private schools in the greater Louisville area. She performs regularly with Paducah Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Kentucky Bowling Green, and the Louisville Orchestra.

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Sarah Cranor is an Associate Instructor at the Historical Performance Institute at the Jacobs School of Music, where she is pursuing her Doctor of Music degree with Stanley Ritchie, with emphases in music education with Mimi Zweig and Brenda Brenner, and modern violin with Grigory Kalinovsky. Sarah performs regularly with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, the Bloomington Bach Cantata Series, the Indiana University New Music Ensemble, and the IU Baroque and Classical Orchestra. Recent collaborations include commissioning a new work for solo baroque violin “Partita for Sarah” by Jake Gunnar Wash, performing at the Berwick Academy at the Oregon Bach Festival and the Junges Stuttgarter Bach Ensemble and the Weimarer Bachkantaten-Akademie under the batons of Helmuth Rilling and Hans-Christoph Rademann. She presented a guest Convocation lecture and Guest Artist Recital at Western State Colorado University, and performed at the new music and entrepreneurial festival “fresh inc”, the Amherst Early Music Festival and the Hot Springs Music Festival. She produced and performed “Strings for Kinshasa”, a benefit concert for the Kinshasa Symphony in the Congo, which raised funds to purchase a complete set of violin, viola and cello strings for every member of the adult and youth symphonies. She is passionate about teaching and performing early music and historical performance practice, incorporating stylistic specifics at all levels of violin pedagogy, as well as music of living composers, and the related freedom and sonic possibilities in music from these opposite time periods. She also teaches with the Fairview Violin Project and teaches courses in baroque improvisation to middle school instrumentalists.  

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Jacqueline Skara
A native of Long Beach, California, Jackie has been playing and teaching the violin/viola for many years. She attended the University of Southern California, where she received a BM in viola performance and a BA in French. However, it was during her masters at Northwestern University, studying with Dr. Roland Vamos, that she fell in love with teaching while taking the pedagogy sequence with Stacia Spencer. She then performed and worked in the greater Chicago area for a few years, where she served as principal of the Civic Orchestra and founder of the Allium String Quartet. Now in her fourth year of her PhD in music education at Jacobs, with the support and guidance of her mentor Dr. Brenda Brenner, she is excited to see where her teaching and performing careers will take her. Her doctoral minor is in viola performance studying with Steve Wyrczynski. She has taught as the continuing strings teacher at Summit Elementary, served as the Associate Instructor for the Fairview Violin Project, was the Community Engagement Specialist for Project Jumpstart, and currently is adjunct faculty at IUPUI.  

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Esteban Hernández Parra
Colombian violist born in 1992, his love for music was nurtured by his parents since his early childhood; Esteban learnt viola and piano from his father and inherited his mother’s passion for music education.

 In his country, he has performed solo and chamber music recitals, taught viola and violin masterclasses and led orchestral viola sections since 2010. Esteban also studied baroque viola with Prof. Stanley Ritchie, performing with baroque ensembles in Bloomington, IN and Bogotá D.C. He has been recently invited to perform, as viola principal in the merging of youth and professional ensembles of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra (August 2018), as a soloist with the Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra (October 2018), and as part of the Bogotá Baroque Ensemble (July 2019).

 As a pedagogue, he studied violin and viola pedagogy with Prof. Mimi Zweig and is currently co-instructor of violin in the Tunaweza Kimuziki project at the Kabarak University (Kenya); he was assistant viola teacher in the pre-college strings program of the Colombian National University Conservatoire, he was invited as a faculty member of the 2017 “Festival Interuniversitario de Violistas de Bogotá”, and has gained invaluable experience under the guidance of Dr. Brenda Brenner while leading group violin classes at the Fairview Violin Project (Bloomington, IN).

 Esteban also enjoys performing in concert series for children, as part of the ROK (Reimagining Opera for Kids) team, the Bogotá Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (where he co-designed the performances), and "La Viola no está Sola": concert series by the Colombian Youth Philharmonic sponsored by the Colombian Republic Bank that aimed to make the viola a familiar instrument to Colombian children.

 He obtained a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance degree at the Fundación Universitaria Juan N. Corpas (Bogotá, Colombia) in 2014 as part of the studio of Prof. Aníbal Dos Santos, a Master of Music degree and a Performer Diploma in Solo Viola Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the guidance of Prof. Stephen P. Wyrczynski in 2016 and 2017, and he is currently pursuing a doctorate in viola performance with a minor in music education at the same institution.

 Contact:
2223 S Sweetbriar Dr (Bloomington, IN) - CL 66C 61 01 IN 7 AP 1101 (Bogotá, Colombia)
estehern@iu.edu - estebangrafito@hotmail.com

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Cello

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.

e-mail Susan Moses: smoses@indiana.edu

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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: hsford@indiana.edu

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