MINI-INSTITUTE 2016 VIOLIN MASTERCLASS
As a teacher who is also a product of the Suzuki philosophy, Erika values and believes in many of the principles Dr. Shinichi Suzuki purported in his ideology, especially in the Mother Tongue approach (“Every Japanese child speaks Japanese!”). He likened learning to play a musical instrument to learning to speak one’s native tongue.
Erika is a Southerner by birthright and Midwesterner by recent transplant. She holds a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and a master’s degree in violin performance and Suzuki pedagogy from the University of Minnesota.
She studied under the late Stephen Panchaud, assistant concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, before transferring to Blair School of Music under Blair String Quartet first violinist Christian Teal. Most recently, she has studied at the University of Minnesota with Suzuki pioneer Mark Bjork. Erika has performed in masterclasses with violinists Alexander Kerr, Professor of Violin at Indiana University and Concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra; Soh-Hyun Park Altino, Professor of Violin at the University of Memphis; and Leanne League, Professor of Violin at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Loving collaboration, Erika attends different festivals throughout the year, including the Oskaloosa Chamber Music Festival, where she oversees the educational outreach portion of the week; at the 2013 OCMF, she soloed Vivaldi’s Summer concerto with the chamber orchestra. She’s played with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, and the Mankato Symphony, and is currently a core member of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.
She plays violin in the Minneapolis-based salsa band Charanga Tropical. Charanga Tropical is the first North American group to be invited to Cuba’s 2015 International Danzón Festival in Havana. Additionally, she is first violinist and a founding member of Lux String Quartet based in Minneapolis. In 2014, Lux cooperated with the University of Minnesota School of Music in presenting six original string quartet compositions by graduate composers for celebrated composer Brian Ferneyhough’s residency. Lux is currently one of MPR’s Class Notes Artists ensembles for the 2015-16 school year.
A Suzuki student herself, Erika has completed, in addition to her long-term training with Mark Bjork, numerous short-term Suzuki training units with Carol Smith, Ronda Cole, Brian Lewis, Kimberly Meier-Sims, Mary Cay Neal, Kathy Wood, Nancy Jackson, and Nancy Lokken. She staunchly believes that every child can achieve a high level of ability given a nurturing environment and sound teaching.
Though trained classically, Erika enjoys jammin’, stompin’, and shakin’ in any setting: homegrown folk, fiddlin’, rockin’-and-a-rollin’, salsa, and the new music scene. Pedagogically, her passion is to nurture an appreciation for beauty, collaboration, and the learning process, and personally, to be spurred on by great musicians and colleagues and to participate in the transcendental euphoria of chamber music. Erika delights in practicing and playing on her commissioned 2012 Kurt Widenhouse violin.