Our Fantastic Faculty for 2021!

Director

Danette Warren Schuh

Suzuki Early Childhood Education Teacher Trainer, Suzuki violin and viola teacher, and professional performer from Sugar Land, Texas.

Danette Schuh is the Executive Director of Dolce Music Academy, home of Dolce Strings and Dolce Babies, where she teaches violin, viola and Suzuki Early Childhood classes and also co-directs the Dolce Strings Touring Ensemble. She is an SAA Registered SECE Teacher Trainer. As one of the teachers who taught SECE classes at the 16th World Convention in Japan, she also had the privilege of speaking and presenting the SECE curriculum in depth. A sought-after clinician at institutes, workshops, festivals and schools, she has been teaching for over 35 years, and has held positions such as President of the Houston Area Suzuki Strings Association (now Southeast Texas Suzuki Association), and state board member of Texas Music Teachers Association. She has received the Houston Music Teachers Association President’s “Bravo” award and was also awarded “Teacher of the Year”. She has been published in the American Suzuki Journal, contributed a video to Parents and Partners Online, and has presented at numerous SAA Conferences and Leadership Retreats. She is currently the SECE Coordinator for the 2018 SAA Conference. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree with honors from Indiana University, where she studied violin with Tadeusz Wronski and Josef Gingold. She has had the great privilege of studying SECE with the creators of the curriculum, Dorothy Jones and Sharon Jones. Mrs. Schuh also performs as a freelance violinist and violist in the greater Houston area. She and her husband, Todd, reside in Sugar Land, Texas.
Assistant Director

Meredith Harris

Suzuki violin and viola teacher, Suzuki Early Childhood Education teacher, and professional performer from Houston, Texas.

Meredith Harris, a native of North Carolina, currently lives in Houston, TX where she enjoys an active performing and teaching career. Ms. Harris received her Bachelors of Music degree from East Carolina University with Ara Gregorian and her Masters of Music in viola performance with James Dunham at Rice University. She received her long term Suzuki violin teacher training under Joanne Bath at East Carolina University. Ms. Harris enjoys performing with the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Harris has been invited to various festivals across the United States including Tanglewood, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Kennedy Center Conservatory Project, Spoleto, Las Vegas Music Festival, and the North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Program. During the summer she enjoys teaching at various Suzuki Institutes and performing. Meredith is currently serving as the Southeast Texas Suzuki Association (STXSA) Chapter President.
Violin, Viola

Gail Acosta

Suzuki violin and viola teacher and professional performer from Valley Village, California.

Gail A. Acosta, violin, viola, a native of Indiana, began her musical studies at the age of 8. Coming from a family of violinists, she was awarded scholarships to Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, University of Illinois String Festival, Miami University in Ohio, Bay View Chamber Music Festival, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and the University of Southern California. A B.M. was awarded from UNC-Greensboro where she studied with Marla Mutschler and performed with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Acosta was also awarded the Tom J. Stone Award for performance excellence and was winner of the University Concerto Competition. The University of Southern California granted her a teaching assistantship to study with Eudice Shapiro and perform with the USC Graduate String Quartet coached by Gabor Rejto. Her M.M. summa cum laude was completed in 1981 and she was honored the String Chamber Music Ensemble Award for 1981. As an active performer, Ms. Acosta has performed with the Santa Barbara Symphony, The Orchestra of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mozart Camerata, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, the Ernest Bloch Music Festival, Oregon, the Ojai Music Festival, California, Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra, Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival, California and La Folia Chamber Ensemble.

An avid teacher and supporter of music education for young students, Ms. Acosta has taught across the United States at many major string workshops and universities.

She is a member of the American String Teachers Association, Suzuki Music Association of California-
Los Angeles Branch, Suzuki Association of the Americas and Musician’s Union Local 47. Gail lives in Valley Village, CA, where she is Suzuki String Coordinator at Evergreen Music Conservatory, maintains a private studio of violin and viola students, coordinates and teaches the Kindergarten/1st Grade Suzuki String Program at Colfax Charter Elementary (180 little violinists!) and is an Adjunct Violin/Viola Professor at Glendale Community College. Her home in Valley Village, CA with her husband, Jerry and son, Michael is filled with music!

Violin

Timothy Angel

Suzuki Violin and viola teacher, Professor at University of Texas at Arlington, and professional performer from Arlington, TX

Dr. Timothy Angel is a dedicated performing artist and teacher. Originally from Washington State, he now resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where he will be an adjunct violin professor at the University of Texas at Arlington beginning Fall 2018.

Most recently, Dr. Angel was invited to act as a guest concertmaster for the Amarillo Symphony and won the Principal Second violin chair in the Lubbock Symphony. In the past, Angel has also won section violin positions with the Las Colinas Symphony and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. He has also won numerous competitions including the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra National Young Artist competition in January 2015, where he performed the Glazunov Violin Concerto in a minor with the symphony the following May. Angel’s other solo engagements include works by Sarasate, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Jean Sibelius.

In the spring of 2018, Angel completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts in violin performance at Texas Tech University. There he held a prestigious position in the Graduate String Quartet, was awarded concertmaster in the University Symphony Orchestra, and was a Graduate Teaching Assistant for his instructor, Dr. John Gilbert. Additionally, during his time in Lubbock, Dr. Angel also directed the Ramirez Suzuki Violin Program at Ramirez Elementary School and worked with the Suzuki Talent Education of the Lubbock Region program.

Each summer, he continues his studies by attending training institutes and music festivals including the Brevard Music Center, Meadowmount School of Music, Suzuki Teacher Development Training, Bravo Strings institute, and the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific.

Dr. Angel has won additional awards including the American Suzuki Institute’s John and Catherine Kendall Memorial Scholarship for 2016, the CodaBow International Scholarship for 2017, and the Most Outstanding Graduate Student at University of Texas at Arlington for the 2014-2015 school year.

Teacher Enrichment Class

Elizabeth Cunha

Music Mind Games Teacher Trainer, Suzuki violin teacher, General Music Teacher, Orchestra Director and professional performer from Silver Springs, Maryland

Elizabeth began her Suzuki journey at the age of 3 under Nicole DiCecco in the Suzuki Program in conjunction with Queensborough Community College of The City University of New York. She holds a Bachelor of Music from The Catholic University of America where she studied violin performance, musical theater and music education with Jody Gatwood, Piotr Gajewski, Jane Pesci-Townsend and Dr. Robert Garofalo respectively. Elizabeth went on to receive her Master’s in Music Education at The University of Maryland, with en emphasis in Suzuki String Pedagogy under the tutelage of Ronda Cole. As an violinist and singer, Elizabeth has had a wide range of performance opportunities in and out of the Washington DC metro area, including theater credits with: The 2001 National tour of Cabaret, Shakespeare Theater, Signature Theater, and Toby’s. Above all else, Elizabeth’s passion is for teaching. As a recognized Suzuki teacher in the Washington D.C. metro area, Elizabeth has maintained a private studio for over a decade, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Suzuki Association for Greater Washington Area.
Violin

Heidi Curatolo

Suzuki violin teacher, Suzuki piano teacher, and professional performer from Aspen, Colorado

Heidi Curatolo is the founder and director of the Suzuki Violin and Piano Institute of Aspen (2002-present). She currently has 45+ violin and piano students ages 5 years-adult. Heidi has been very fortunate to grow up immersed in the Suzuki Method since the age of three, thanks to her dedicated mother who is also a Suzuki teacher. Heidi grew up in New York where she performed as violinist and pianist with various local orchestras, chamber groups, and as a soloist. She has always enjoyed teaching as much as performing. Heidi moved to Aspen, Colorado in 2001 after completing her graduate school degree and attending the Aspen Music Festival and School. In 2002, she officially started a Suzuki program in the Roaring Fork Valley. A passionate life learner, Heidi enjoys working with students and their parents, performing, and traveling around the world to study, participate and teach at various Suzuki programs. Heidi has attended the 16th World Suzuki Convention in Matsumoto, Japan and the 5th Asia Conference in Taiwan. She has been a presenter and performer at the International Suzuki Teacher’s EX-Change conferences in Germany for the past 6 years. Heidi has also taught violin master classes and groups classes in Thailand, Costa Rica, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Poland and Croatia. She has also taught at the Intermountain Suzuki institute in Utah and at the Advanced Suzuki Institute at Stanford University. In 2016, Heidi performed as a violinist at The Royal Albert Hall British Suzuki Gala and as a pianist for the play togethers at The Imperial College and The Royal College of Music. Heidi also enjoys working as a collaborative pianist and has most recently performed with Brian Lewis in Costa Rica and in Germany. Heidi looks forward to learning each day and is excited to share her passion for education and music with colleagues and students in her hometown as well as those around the world.
Cello

Beth Goldstein-McKee

Suzuki cello teacher and professional performer from Pittsburgh, PA

Beth Goldstein-McKee brings her extensive performing and teaching experience to her work with students and teachers at institutes and workshops across the United States and in her studio. A registered Suzuki Association of the Americas Cello Teacher Trainer, she has had the honor of teaching students from around the world at the 16th World Convention in Matsumoto, Japan and training teachers from South and Central America at the 24th International Suzuki Festival in Lima, Peru. She served on the Board of Directors of the SAA, and as Cello Coordinator and Assistant Cello Coordinator for SAA Conferences. She has given presentations at both the American String Teachers’ Association and the SAA conferences. Beth has recently moved to Western PA where she is starting a new generation of students.

Beth maintained thriving studios on the west coast for over thirty years, first in Berkeley, CA and then in Ashland, OR. In Ashland, she coached sectionals and chamber music for the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon (YSSO). In California, she was also on the faculty of Holy Names College Suzuki Program and East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and was the Director of EBCPA’s Outreach Program for the Berkeley/Albany Schools.

Beth performed with the Rogue Valley Symphony, the Rogue Opera and other chamber orchestras in Ashland, OR. As the cellist in contemporary music ensembles in Boston, NYC and London, Beth premiered cello and chamber music works, and received the National Endowment for the Humanities Youth Grant for bringing new music to wider audiences. In addition, she was awarded the Sachar International Fellowship for study in England. A native of NYC, she graduated from Brandeis University. Her training as a teacher of the Suzuki method began with Yvonne Tait and continued at School for Strings, NYC.

Violin

Shana Guidi

Suzuki violin and viola teacher from Austin, Texas

Shana Guidi is the founder and director of Monarch Suzuki Academy in Austin, Texas. In addition to maintaining the daily operations of the school, she is a co-director of the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute, founder of the Greater Austin Suzuki Association, and teaches violin and Suzuki early childhood music classes. Shana and her husband, David, are Suzuki parents to their seven year old and three year old daughters, who study violin.

Shana taught Suzuki strings in the Parkway School district in St. Louis, Missouri from 2005-2008. In 2004, she completed her Masters degree in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied violin with Brian Lewis and music education and research with Dr. Robert Duke and Dr. Laurie Scott. Shana received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and completed her long-term Suzuki teacher training with Carol Dallinger at the University of Evansville. Before beginning her undergraduate studies, Shana studied with Winifred Crock in St. Louis, where she began playing Suzuki violin at the age of three.

Violin, SECE

Elisabeth Hope

Suzuki violin and viola teacher, Suzuki Early Childhood Education teacher, and professional performer from Dickinson, Texas.

Elisabeth Hope grew up in a musical family and began her violin study as a “Suzuki kid” at the age of three under the excellent instruction of Susan Kempter in Albuquerque, NM. Her early experiences with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony and a touring Suzuki violin group inspired her to pursue music as a career. She attended George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, studying violin with Peter Haase. She graduated with a double Bachelor of Arts degree in music and communication (public relations concentration) from Mason in 2008. She then moved to Texas to pursue her Master of Music degree at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, studying the violin with Andrzej Grabiec and graduating in 2010.

Mrs. Hope has performed across several of the United States as well as in Mexico and Spain. She has been featured as a soloist with orchestras in New Mexico and Virginia, most notably in Washington, D.C., at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Mrs. Hope has received her Suzuki teacher training from Susan Kempter, Allen Lieb, Gail Johansen and Alice Joy Lewis, and her Suzuki Early Childhood Education training from Sharon Jones and Danette Schuh.

Mrs. Hope currently lives in Dickinson, Texas, where she has the privilege of sharing her love of music with a studio of eager Suzuki violin and viola students during the week and performing in Houston and the surrounding areas on weekends as a freelancing violinist. After seeing firsthand the amazing effects that Suzuki Early Childhood Education classes had on her two small children, Mrs. Hope knew she must offer the same wonderful opportunity to babies and toddlers in her area! She now teaches SECE classes in addition to running her own private studio and learning how to navigate the third side of the Suzuki triangle, as the mother of a preschool Suzuki violin student!

Western Swing Fiddling

Sherry McKenzie

National Fiddle Champion and fiddle teacher who splits her home between Burleson, Texas and McMinnville, Oregon.

Sherry McKenzie, originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho and now calling Burleson, Texas and McMinnville, Oregon home, is a multiple state, regional and national fiddle champion. When eleven years old, Sherry experienced fiddle music for the first time. “I saw a fiddle player on TV,” she recalls, “and it looked really, really fun. I just fell in love with the music, the sound of the violin made me feel good.” She has had Suzuki training with Marilyn O’Boyle and Daina Volodka Staggs and has incorporated the pedagogical ideas of the method into her teaching. “I believe there are more similarities than differences with the Suzuki method and a systematic approach to learning traditional fiddling and roots music. ” Sherry enjoys working with Suzuki students in an Enrichment role to supplement their existing studies and she is a sought after instructor at fiddle workshops, Suzuki institutes and music camps across the country and founder of McKenzie’s Fiddle & Suzuki Workshop along with co-director Danette Schuh. Additionally, she helps promote the art of fiddling, thru Fiddles On Wheels 501c3 and is active in transcribing authentic Texas fiddle style and twin & triple fiddle Western swing arrangements.
Guitar, Accompanist

Joey McKenzie

National Champion Fiddler and Accompanist who splits his home between Burleson, Texas and McMinnville, Oregon

Joey McKenzie is a natural musical wonder. He is such a gifted musician, arranger and musical visionary. I truly admire him. One of the things we both share in common is rhythm. I always keep an eye out for rhythm specialists. When I first heard Joey play I proclaimed him the best, rock solid. He takes care of business at the microphone in a mighty way.

Marty Stuart ~ Grand Ole Opry star and host of "The Marty Stuart Show" on RFD-TV.

Joey McKenzie: Master of the guitar! As you watch him play, you know he has been blessed with power and perfect control over the instrument. In my opinion, he is the greatest guitar player this side of Heaven. He is an Icon, and my hero.

Leon Rhodes ~ Legendary Nashville session guitarist and member of Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours.

The first time I heard Joey McKenzie, his playing impressed me. His sound, chord progressions and ability to keep such good time - even when playing alone, was amazing. That guitarist is Joey McKenzie. His L-12 is the best sounding I've ever heard. You've got to hear him to believe it!

Bob Bain ~ Guitarist for 22 years on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" and L.A. session icon.

Joey’s first musical experience began at age of 11, tuning the instruments his father had around their house - a guitar, mandolin, tenor guitar, and a tenor banjo. Around the age of 12, he started learning a few chords and licks on each of the instruments and has been playing them ever since. When he was 17, he became interested in playing the fiddle after becoming friends with Texas fiddle legend Benny Thomasson. “I went to fiddle contests just playing rhythm guitar, but I wasn’t really inspired to play the fiddle. When I got the opportunity to back Benny up in a few contests and hear the way he played, all I could think about was trying to learn to play the fiddle!” It wasn’t long before Joey began competing and has since won well over 100 fiddle contests and awards on other stringed instruments. Some of these include three-time World Champion Fiddler, World Series of Fiddling Champion and five-time Texas State Guitar Champion. As a touring musician, Joey has performed in 45 U.S. states as well as Canada, Europe, Russia and South America. Joey's performance highlights include The Grand Ole Opry, The Kennedy Center, NYC's Lincoln Center, Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion" and RFD TV's "The Marty Stuart Show". In addition, Joey has shared the stage with musical greats Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, Ray Price, Asleep at the Wheel, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Connie Smith, and even a ukulele-slinging billionaire by the name of Warren Buffett! He has always been fascinated with the great behind the scenes rhythm guitar work of players such as Eldon Shamblin, Homer Haynes, Eddie Lang, Karl Farr, Freddie Green and Oscar Moore. In addition to touring with The Western Flyers, Joey enjoys restoring, repairing and collecting vintage stringed instruments and says he is still trying to get them in tune!

Bass

Andy Moritz

Suzuki Bass teacher and professional performer from Richmond, Texas.

Andy Moritz is an active professional bassist and music educator in the Greater Houston area, as well as the director of The Bass Studio, an intensive double bass instruction program.

Mr. Moritz holds a Masters Degree in Double Bass Performance & Pedagogy and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, both from the University of Houston, and also holds a Texas teaching certificate. He has studied with such bassists as Dennis Whittaker, Owen Lee, Ken Harper, David Murray, and William Black. Andy has played in masterclasses under such bass luminaries as Edgar Meyer, has been an instructor at Sam Houston State University, and has appeared as a guest clinician alongside IBMA’s five-time Bass Player of the Year Missy Raines.

Before leaving the classroom to pursue Graduate studies and establish The Bass Studio, Mr. Moritz taught orchestra in public schools for three years. In addition to his current work at the The Bass Studio, he is a regular clinician throughout the Houston area, and has regularly served as a faculty member in the SHSU summer orchestra camp program and the AFA Summer Music Festival.

His students in The Bass Studio have a tradition of excellence. Many are chosen for membership in the Texas All-State Orchestra , and nearly all win seats in every level of Region Orchestra competitions. His students are also high achievers in solo competitions, and are regularly selected as medalists at Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest. His students have attended such camps as AFA, The Texas Music Festival, The Jeff Bradetich master classes Interlochen, and Tanglewood, and have received admission and scholarships to such schools as The University of North Texas , Texas Tech University, Mannes College of Music, and The Juilliard School in New York.

Creatively, Mr. Moritz is involved with numerous projects. He is a founding member and lead bass for the innovative bluegrass fusion band, Classical Grass, and currently plays with various groups such as the Encore Strings, The Houston Mountain Boys, and Sugar Bayou. Andy also played with groups such as the Charlie Prause Trio, the Ed Gerlach Big Band, the Ronnie Renfrow Big Band, and Bo Levi and the Untamed Ponies, as well as playing bass guitar for the Woodway campus of Second Baptist Church, and was also a member of The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra for ten years.

Andy is an active freelance bassist in Houston, regularly performing with big bands, jazz combos, chamber ensembles, orchestras, string quintets, and rock, country, folk, and bluegrass bands. Andrew lives in west Houston with his wife Donna and two adorable dogs.

Violin, SECE

Flori Muller

Suzuki violin teacher, Suzuki Early Childhood Education teacher, and professional performer from Broomfield, Colorado.

Flori Muller holds a BM in Violin Performance from the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, a double MM in violin performance and Suzuki Violin pedagogy from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and earned candidacy for the DMA from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has been teaching violin for more than twenty years and currently teaches violin with Boulder Suzuki Strings and Suzuki Early Childhood Education (SECE) classes as a founding Partner Teacher of Prelude Music, LLC. She has led clinics and sectionals for schools, officiated at competitions, and has been a guest clinician at Suzuki Workshops and the Peaks to Plains Institute. She has registered SAA training in Suzuki Violin Books One through Ten as well as SECE Stages One and Two. She has served as president of the Houston Area Suzuki Strings Association (now STXSA) and has also served on HASSA’s board as vice president and past president. Flori currently lives in Broomfield, CO, and loves spending time with her husband and their two children.
Orchestra Conductor, Violin

Aimee Petersen

Suzuki violin and viola teacher, orchestra conductor, and professional performer from Fulshear, Texas.

Aimee Petersen began the study of the violin at the age of six but her musical education started as a baby when her father would play a recording of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik whenever he gave her a bottle. Her first experiences with the violin were through the Suzuki method. One of the highlights of her Suzuki studies was getting to perform on stage with Dr. Suzuki, the founder of the method, at a Suzuki conference when she was in the second grade. Ms. Petersen went on to major in music in college and graduated from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Some of her former teachers include: Borivoj Martinic-Jercic, Andor Toth and Albert Muenzer.
While still attending the University of Houston, Ms. Petersen began teaching private lessons for the Katy Independent School District. She has over 20 years of experience teaching privately and 15 years of experience teaching junior high orchestra in the Houston area. As a junior high orchestra director, her students consistently earned superior ratings in competition and a few have even gone on to study music with the goal of becoming music teachers themselves. She has also worked with both the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra and the Houston Youth Symphony as a violin section coach and has spent her summers teaching at various string camps in Texas. She is also Suzuki certified and is a member of the Houston Area Suzuki Strings Association and the Suzuki Association of America. Other professional memberships include Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Orchestra Directors Association.
Ms. Petersen currently spends her time raising her young daughter, teaching violin and viola privately and as a freelance violinist. She is the concertmaster of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, a member of Third Floor Strings and also performs with Encore Strings. She has performed with recording artists like Michael Bolton, Ray Price and Christopher Cross to name a few. On Sunday mornings, she can be found using her talents to praise God through music with the orchestra at Houston’s First Baptist and has made several recordings with the group.
Dance, Fiddle

Elyza Whaley

Fiddler, Dance Instructor, Suzuki Early Childhood Education teacher, and performer from Cleburne, Texas.

At the age of six, Elyza Whaley began Suzuki violin lessons. Through this classical violin journey, Elyza played and taught in group classes, participated in recitals, and joined the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra. However, at the age of eleven, she tasted the twang of fiddlin’ that later turned into a hunger to learn more and supplement her classical studies. Elyza’s passion is Western swing, gypsy fiddlin’, and jazz. Currently, she travels to fiddle contests with her sister, takes private lessons, joins in on jam sessions, and is in a jazz band with her brother. Elyza loves to share music with others and envisions teaching private violin lessons in addition to her Suzuki Early Childhood Music classes. She has trained with Danette Schuh in Suzuki Early Childhood Education in Oregon and is currently teaching with Natural Foundations in Music. Elyza resides in Cleburne, TX, and lives each day with Jesus Christ while playing, teaching, and learning music.