Category Archives: Violin

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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Zoe Schlussel

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

Zoe began playing violin at age 9 in Grass Valley, CA where she studied both classical violin and Scottish Fiddle. In 2015 she received her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music where she studied under scholarship with professor Igor Veligan. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Violin Performance at Western Michigan University’s School of Music as the violin Graduate Assistant where she studies with Renata Artman Knific.

She is an Artist Scholar and substitute musician with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and held the position of concertmaster at WMU in 2017. In addition, she is a substitute musician with Southwest Michigan and Holland Symphonies and has attended the Hawaii Performing Arts and Opera Maya summer festivals.

Zoe has been teaching privately since 2008 with a Suzuki-based curriculum supplemented by folk and Scottish fiddle music to provide a diversified musical education. She has taught at Western Michigan University as Graduate Assistant to the violin studio from 2016 to present and was a teaching assistant for Sierra Strings from 2006-2009. Zoe has also worked with violinists such as the soloist Chee-Yun Kim, Clara Takarabe, Francois Henkins, Eugene Chukhlov, and Zino Bogachek. In addition to her classical education and career, Zoe attended Alasdair Fraser’s Sierra Fiddle Camp from 2008-2010, recorded on Della Saldoli’s Album “Seasons”, and was a member of Current Personae Chamber Orchestra.

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Michelle Bessemer

  • Master of Music, Violin Performance, Western Michigan University
  • Bachelor of Music, Violin Performance, Stetson University, DeLand, FL

In addition to teaching for Crescendo, Michelle performs with several area orchestras, including the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Southwest Michigan Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony, Toledo Symphony and more.

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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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Abigail Schubkegel Weener

  • B.A., Indiana Wesleyan University

A native of Kalamazoo, Abigail Schubkegel-Weener is a lively and energetic music teacher.  She currently offers violin instruction in multiple schools and programs across the Kalamazoo area, teaching both private lessons and chamber groups to over 50 students of varying ages and levels.  Abigail is a certified Suzuki teacher and currently holds her teaching license for Suzuki Books 1-3.  She has also completed training and received her teaching license as an instructor for Music Together, an early childhood music program.  Abigail sits as the Associate Concertmaster for the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra, acts as a substitute musician for the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, and performs seasonally with the BachFest orchestra.  She also holds the position of concertmaster for Kalamazoo’s annual performance of Rob Gardner’s oratorio, Lamb of God.

Over the past several years, Abigail has performed with the Holland Symphony Orchestra, winning the chair of Assistant Concertmaster (2013-2014), the Carmel Symphony Orchestra, the Marion Philharmonic, and acted as a guest principal player for Kalamazoo’s own Beethoven Fest.  She has performed with various world-renowned ensembles, such as Celtic Woman, Manheim Steamroller, the Gaither Vocal Band, and the Pacifica String Quartet.  Abigail sat as concertmistress for the IWU Orchestra from 2010-2013, performing on various occasions as a soloist, and winning both the Peru Concerto Competition and the IWU Concerto Competition.

In addition to her violin teaching, Abigail is the director of Homeschool Performing Arts’ Lower Elementary drama class, providing instruction in musical skills, presentation, coordination, movement, etc.  She also serves as the voice teacher for HPA’s middle to high school programs.

Abigail thoroughly enjoys sharing the gift of music with others.  She is happy to return to her native city, Kalamazoo, and invest in the musical community that has invested so much in her.

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