Category Archives: Viola

Ann Cirvencic

  • Bachelor of Music, Violin Performance, Western Michigan University
  • Master of Music, Viola Performance, Cleveland Institute of Music

Ann returns to Kalamazoo after time spent performing and teaching in the Cleveland area. Her undergraduate studies were completed under Gerald Fischbach and David  Updegraff at WMU. After a semester of graduate pedagogy studies and assistant teaching with Mimi Zweig at Indiana University, Ann moved to the Cleveland area to study viola with Lucien Joel at CIM. Other teachers that have greatly influenced her playing include Bob Vernon, Lynne Ramsey, Tadeusz Wronski, Heidi Castleman, Alan Bodman, Laurence Shapiro, Linda Cerone and Cory Smith.

Ann has performed with and been a contract member of many orchestras and chamber ensembles in the Cleveland area, including Akron Symphony, Canton Symphony, Ashland Symphony, Blossom Festival Orchestra, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, and Akron Baroque.

Ann is a Suzuki-trained teacher, certified in Violin Book One. She enjoys teaching viola and violin students of all ages. She considers herself to be a “wholistic” teacher, one who cares about the personal development and creative progress of each student.

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Darren Chan

  • Bachelor of Arts, Viola Performance, University of the Pacific
  • Master of Music, Violin Performance, Western Michigan University

Darren began his musical studies on the piano at the age of four in Taiwan, Hong Kong and then continued at the Chicago Music Institute. He later began studying the viola at the age of twelve under Clara Takarabe and Li-Kuo Chang. He graduated from the Conservatory of Music at University of the Pacific with an undergraduate’s degree in Viola Performance studying under violinist/violist Igor Veligan.  He was the principal violist with the University of the Pacific Orchestra. He is currently pursuing a masters in violin performance at Western Michigan University on full ride scholarship under violinist Renata Knific with the anticipated graduation in December 2016.

Darren has been teaching viola and violin for over 6 years to student age ranges from 5 to 30 at Central Valley Youth Symphony, Zion Music Academy, Cazadero Music Camp, and privately. Darren was a participant of the Orfeo Music Festival in Vipiteno, Italy during the summers of 2011 and 2012 and while there he won the International Orfeo Music Festival Strings Prize of 2012. He was also the concert master for Opera Maya in Mexico during June of 2016.

Darren has also worked with other violinists such as Zino Bogachek, Routa Kroumovich, and violists such as Li-Kuo Chan and Roger Chase. He has played for groups such as the Townsend Opera and Vita Symphony in California as well as the Battle Creek Symphony in Michigan.  Music is Darren’s lifelong passion and he enjoys helping others learn and love music.

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Sophie Petroski

  • Bachelor of Music, Violin Performance, DePaul University
  • Master of Music, Violin Performance, Western Michigan University

A native of Boise, Idaho, Sophie received her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from DePaul University in Chicago, studying under Prof. Janet Sung. She received her Master of Music in Violin Performance from Western Michigan University, where she was also the violin graduate assistant for Prof. Renata Knific. Her duties as a graduate assistant involved teaching non-performance undergrads, as well as giving make-up lessons and teaching the string class for music education majors.

Sophie is a part of the Battle Creek Symphony, in addition to being the orchestra librarian. She also plays in the Billings and Southwest Michigan Symphonies, as well as in the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Orchestra. Sophie performs in the pit orchestra for theatre productions at the Kalamazoo Civic, as well as for productions in Battle Creek, Lansing, and Chicago. Other freelance activities involve playing weddings and other social functions throughout the Southwest Michigan area. She has volunteered at Kalamazoo Kids in Tune.

Sophie has participated in music festivals in Italy, Mexico, and throughout the United States. In Sun Valley, Idaho, she was selected to perform in a masterclass for Midori. The summer before moving to Chicago, she attended the Meadowmount School of Music in New York. During the summer she works for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, with the student workshop program. She is also an assistant librarian for the symphony.

Sophie has completed Suzuki Book 1 training at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels. It satisfies her to see her students progress, and her most important goal is their enjoyment of the music.

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Olga Ziabrikova

  • Master of Music from Western Michigan University
  • Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance and Education from Astrakhan State Conservatory in Astrakhan, Russia

Olga is originally from Moscow, Russia. She has played with numerous orchestras, including the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, the Pensacola Symphony Orchesta and the Southwest Michigan Symphony.  She is currently a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Renaissance Strings.

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Sarah Hedlund

Violin & Viola

Director, Crescendo Fiddlers

B.A., Western Michigan University

Originally from Grand Rapids, MI, Sarah Hedlund has been performing professionally and teaching in the Kalamazoo area since 1995. She is currently a full-time musician with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra (Muskegon). She also performs as principal second violin for the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra and fills in as a substitute musician for many other regional orchestras.  She has served as concertmaster for the Kalamazoo Philharmonia for most of the last ten years.

In addition to her violin and viola studio at Crescendo Academy of Music, Sarah was also the director of the Crescendo Fiddlers (the Academy’s performing folk music student group), and a member of the Crescendo Trio, along with Mark Portolese (piano) and Luke Cook (cello). She performs with the Bach to Bacharach String Quartet and Trio, providing music for weddings and receptions throughout the year as well as appearing in concert around the southwest Michigan area. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University, where she studied with Renata Knific as a violin major.

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