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The Music Institute is proud of its first-rate strings program.  You can take private lessons in violin, viola, cello, and bass, and you can join a small chamber ensemble.  We also have a Cello Ensemble and String Orchestra open to students of all ages who perform a successful audition.

We also offer the renowned ColourstringsTM program.  Colourstrings™ is a world-renowned method of musical instruction that begins from the earliest stages of a child’s instruction and develops the necessary skills of study for college level.  The Hungarian Szilvay brothers have based their method, the Kodaly method, which integrates instrumental studies with singing.  In using scientifically related colors to identify specific strings, children develop the ability to read music readily in a natural progression of learning.  Students receive 30 minute group lessons per week with a minimum of three and a maximum of five students per class.  Ages are 4-8 years old.  Parents are encouraged to attend lessons.  For more information about the Colourstrings™ method, visit the Colourstrings web site at

The Institute's string faculty is one of the best you will find in any preparatory program.  Nearly all of our teachers are also HCC college instructors, and also teach at other colleges, music conservatories, and music departments in the Del-Mar-Va area.  Our string faculty, which features the award-winning Gemini Piano Trio, has appeared in concert in venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Alice Tully Hall.  They teach from experience gained in the real world of performing on the concert circuit.

Yoon Young Bae, violin

Yoon Young Bae, violin

Yoon Young Bae received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree under Victor Danchenko at Peabody where she also received a Master of Music. She holds her Bachelor of Music from Seoul National University. She is seen frequently on concert stages including Aspen, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Chicago, Canada, Chile, Germany, Holland and Korea. Her concerto performances include those with Seoul Philharmonic, SNU orchestra and Aspen Youth Artist Orchestra.

She captured first prizes in the Donga competition, Korean Ensemble competition and silver medals in Chosun and Ewha competitions. Ms. Bae has given numerous appearances, including performances with Yuri Smirnov, broadcast  in Canada in 2003, and her recitals in Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vina-del-mar concert hall, Kumho art hall, Sunje art hall and debut recital by Jeunesse Musical de Core and Young Artist Foundation. She taught violin performance and pedagogy in the master class at Vina del-Mar Conservatory and was a violin, music theory and history instructor at Baltimore Music School.

Dr. Bae currently teaches violin and viola at Peabody Preparatory of Johns Hopkins University and a member of Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. She is also an Adjunct Instructor of Music at Howard Community College.

Joan Bob, violin and viola

Joan Bob enjoys performing on viola and violin  with a variety of large orchestras and small ensembles. A founding member of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, she has been a soloist with them in Bach’s  Brandenburg Concerto No. 6. She has also performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Harrisburg, Delaware and Annapolis Symphonies, Handel Choir, Opera Vivente and Bach Concert Series. Chamber music concerts include recitals at An Die Musik, Friends of Chamber Music Series, Arts in the Mansion, Music in the Great Hall, ResMusicAmerica, Carnival in Caroline, and faculty recitals at Howard Community College and  Goucher College.

Ms. Bob received a B.A. in music at S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo and a Master of Music in viola performance at the  Peabody Conservatory of Music/Johns Hopkins University, studying with the renowned Karen Tuttle. She teaches viola, violin and chamber music at Howard Community College and Goucher College. Educating people of all ages is a significant part of Ms. Bob’s professional life. Under the auspices of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, she has given lectures on music to adult communities. In 2003, Ms. Bob was chosen to become a Wolf Trap Teaching Artist,  giving her the opportunity to bring music to  young children  in the Baltimore area.

“Non-traditional”  concerts  hold great appeal for Ms. Bob.  In 1992, she performed in the Baltimore premiere of string quartet music composed in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp  at a Holocaust Memorial Service at Beth El Synagogue. She was then invited to perform this poignant music at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution annual Gilman Lecture as a prelude to the keynote address by famed author Eli Wiesel .  Additionally, she helped create a child-appropriate program to perform the Theresienstadt music for students at Har Sinai Congregation.

To reach new and younger audiences, Ms. Bob  founded  the Live Wire String Quartet, which, during a decade of association with Young Audiences of Maryland,   developed  and performed a variety of humorous and interactive programs for children. In 1997,  the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra chose the Live Wire String Quartet to become part of its ArtsExcel school outreach program; additionally, the Music Department at University of Maryland at College Park invited the quartet to give a master class on creating  musical programs for children. The Live Wire String Quartet is currently the educational outreach arm of the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.

Joan Bob, Violin and Viola
Yoon-Nah Cho, violoncello

Yoon-Nah Cho, violoncello, chamber music

Yoon Nah Cho was born in Korea, where she began her musical studies at the age of four.  She earned her Master of Music in cello performance under Robert Newkirk from the Catholic University of America and her Bachelor of Music in cello performance under Stephen Kates and Andres Diaz at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University.  She received scholarships from both schools.

In 2005 and 2006, Ms. Cho performed at Morgan State University as a string quartet member and in Young-San Art Hall and Chung-Ju Culture Center in Korea as a piano trio member.  As her passion for chamber music continues, she has been working with various chamber groups and giving chamber concerts as well as solo recitals in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas since 2007.  She has received chamber music coaching from Michael Tree, Marian Hahn, Alan Stephansky, Paul York, Thomas Kraine, David Finckel, Wesley Baldwin, Michael Mermagen, Thomas Mastroianni, Rita Sloan, and Christopher Von Baeyer.  Currently, she teaches as a faculty member at Howard Community College, Columbia, MD.

Minsun Choi, violin

Minsun Choi, a native of Seoul, Korea, began her violin studies at the age of six.  A year later, Ms. Choi was awarded the second prize at the Korean Newspaper Music Competition, which led to an invitation to study privately with world-distinguished violin professor, Nam Yun Kim, who has been a jury member in every major international violin competition. After winning the Gold Medal and top prizes at several important music competitions in her native country, such as the Hankook Newspaper, Ehwa Kyung-Hyang, and Pusan MBC Competitions, she established herself as one of the promising Korean violinists of her generation.  Ms. Choi’s concert engagements included her solo appearances at Seoul Arts Centre, Sejeong Cultural Centre, and Hoahm Arts Concert Hall.  In 1998, she was accepted to Seoul National University, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree in 2002.

In 2004, Ms. Choi came to the United States on a full scholarship to continue her violin studies at the Peabody Institute, where she received the Master of Music degree and Artist Diploma.  While studying in the U.S., Ms. Choi won first prize at the Corpus Christi International Competition in Texas. She was also awarded a fellowship to participate at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where she collaborated in chamber music concerts with principal players from the Metropolitan Opera and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras.  As an active chamber musician, Ms. Choi is a founder of the Hampton Trio. They perform frequently in the New York Metropolitan Area.  In the fall of 2006, she and her Trio made their debut at the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall.

Minsun Choi, violin

Rebekah Herbold, violoncello, HCC Music Theory and Fundamentals Courses

Cellist Rebekah Herbold started music early, on the violin. Having also studied viola, Ms. Herbold’s primary instrument is the cello. Rebekah Herbold has studied cello with Benjamin Myers and Mike Mermagen. She has also performed in master classes of distinguished artists such as David Finckel and Wu Han, the Miami String Quartet, and Michael Tree. Ms. Herbold graduated with a near-perfect grade point average as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa, from Washington College. Ms. Herbold has the distinction of serving, at various times, as concertmaster and principal cellist of the Washington College Orchestra. Also while at the college, Ms. Herbold won The Clarence Hodson Prize for her exceptional thesis work on composer Benjamin Britten. The award resulted in a fully-funded trip to England to further her research.

Ms. Herbold has taught cello and violin for the past five years. Her students have performed in recitals at HCC as well as in studio recitals. Her students have also auditioned successfully for many ensembles including HCC Cello Ensembles, Enrichment Orchestra, and GT Orchestras. Ms. Herbold has also made many arrangements of music, for various ensembles. Her arrangements include everything from Lotti to Taverner to Coldplay.

Ms. Herbold is an Adjunct Instructor of Music at Howard Community College where she gives private lessons through The Music Institute of HCC, directs the HCC Beginner Cello Ensemble and teaches music courses. She is currently a graduate student at The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, studying musicology.

Dr. Cathleen Jeffcoat, violin, ColourstringsTM

Dr. Cathleen Jeffcoat currently holds Adjunct Faculty positions in Violin, Piano, Music Appreciation, and Fundamentals of Music at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD where she is also Director of the Chamber Ensemble; in Violin, Viola, Piano, Colourstrings™ and Suzuki® at The Music Institute at HCC; and in Violin at Loyola University, MD.  She is a former Faculty member of the Peabody Institute Preparatory Division in Violin, Viola and Chamber Music; and former Adjunct Faculty for violin at Georgetown University.  Cathleen holds Bachelor of Music (Western Australian Conservatorium of Music), Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees (University of Maryland, College Park), as well as an Artists’ Certificate (Franz Liszt Music Academy).

In Australia, Cathleen has received various prizes, awards and honors in competitions, and has received Masonic Scholarships and a Returned Servicemen’s League Scholarship.  Her teachers have included Theresa Sopinski, Vaughan Hanly and Pál Eder. In 1993-96, Cathleen was awarded the prestigious Hungarian Government Scholarship – a scholarship given by the Hungarian Ministry of Culture to very few foreigners – and studied at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Budapest, Hungary.  While studying under the finest professors in Hungary, she gave many solo recitals throughout Hungary, including one at the Residency of the Australian Ambassador to Hungary.

In the United States, her teachers have included Dr. Gerald Fischbach, Arnold Steinhardt and Ronda Cole.  In 2000-2001, the University of Maryland recognized Cathleen’s contribution to the field of teaching with a “Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award.”  In 2002, she graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Violin Performance, with her dissertation project being “J.S.Bach Cello Suites on Violin.”  In the same year, she received a prize with Honors for her work at the Graduate Research Interactive Day held at the University of Maryland.  Her edition and recording of the Suites will be released in the future worldwide.

Dr. Jeffcoat has played with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Teton Music Festival, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, the Hungarian Radio and Television Orchestra, Vox Ama Deus Ensemble, Bach Consort, Bach Sinfonia and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. In 2003, she gave masterclasses in Melbourne, Australia; in 2004 at the University of Melbourne; Monash University, as a guest international clinician at the Autumn Suzuki Festival Conference in Melbourne; and at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore.

Dr. Jeffcoat has given lecture presentations at the national conferences for American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Australian String Teachers Association (AUSTA) and the Maryland State Music Educators Association conference (MMEA).  In 2004-05, Dr. Jeffcoat was named in Marquis’ “Who’s Who of America” for recognition of her work in the field of music; for 2007 she was named in Marquis’ “Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders of the US”.

Cathleen Jeffcoat, Violin, Colourstrings, and Suzuki Violin Classes
Dr. Yi-Hsin (Cindy) Lin, violin

Dr. Yi-Hsin (Cindy) Lin, violin

Beginning violin studies in her native Taiwan at the age of ten, violinist Yi-Hsin Lin quickly achieved success when she won Second Prize in the Northern Taipei Teen Violin Competition.  A seasoned performer, Dr. Lin recently presented her Carnegie Hall debut in New York at Weill Recital Hall.  Of the performance, the New York Concert Review admired how Dr. Lin "projected her sound with solidity, warmth and elegance."

She has concertized in Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Belgium, and Canada, as well as venues including the Kennedy Center, Taiwan National Concert and Recital Hall, and Strathmore Hall.  She has appeared with the National Philharmonic; Concert Artists of Baltimore; and the Alexandria Symphony, Library of Congress, Evergreen Symphony, and Taipei Symphony Orchestras.  She has also served as principal for the Soochow University Orchestra, University of Maryland Symphony, Maryland Sinfonietta, and as associate concertmaster for the National Christian Choir Orchestra.

Dr. Lin holds a B.M. from Taiwan’s Soochow University studying with Chung-Cheng Chen, an M.M. from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University studying with Violaine Melançon, and a D.M.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park, studying with James Stern.

She has performed in masterclasses with Sylvia Rosenberg, Nai-Yuan Hu, conductor Felix Chiu-Shen Chen, and the Peabody Trio.  She has also worked with members of the Guarneri String Quartet, as well as Keng-Yuen Tseng, Marian Hahn, Lynn Chang, and Peter Zazofsky.  Summers have been spent at the Aria Music Festival in Toronto studying with Ilya Kaler and James Buswell, and at the Heifetz International Music Institute in Maryland as a scholarship student of Marc Ramirez and Daniel Heifetz.

Dr. Lin holds faculty positions at the Music Institute of Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland and the Summerkeys Music Festival in Maine.  She is also active teaching group classes and serving as juror for the D.C. Youth Orchestra.

Ronald Mutchnik, violin, chamber music, Music Education

Violinist Ronald Mutchnik graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County summa cum laude, where he studied with Robert Gerle. While there, he won the Baltimore Music Club’s and Baltimore Musicians’ competitions. He earned his Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Joseph Gingold and Masuko Ushioda. He continued post-graduate studies at Tel Aviv University in Israel with Yair Kless.

Mr. Mutchnik, a resident of Howard County since 1983, is active as an orchestral violinist, chamber musician, recitalist, and soloist. He has served as Concertmaster and Assistant Concertmaster of the Maryland Symphony, National Chamber, Handel Choir’s and the Columbia Pro Cantare’s Festival Orchestras, and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra. He has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras in Maryland, as well as orchestras in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Minnesota. He appeared in the film Washington Square, performing his own composition. He was a featured soloist for the Maryland Ballet Theater and performed in Maryland and Alabama in a special recital, “Music of the Jewish Soul.”

Mr. Mutchnik has taught for several universities and colleges. He currently teaches privately as well as for Towson University and Howard Community College. He was President of the American String Teacher’s Association’s Maryland/DC Chapter and produced a video for violinists and violists entitled “Posture & Balance: The Dynamic Duo,” and is currently at work on a new video on Fifteen Principles of Violin Playing. He has toured Korea, coaching and performing chamber music. Mr. Mutchnik is a founding member of and performer with the chamber music series based in Columbia, “ Sundays At Three” and is Chair of its artistic committee. More recently, he performed in the United States State Department's concert series and on the An Die Musik series in Baltimore. In 2008, he formed Howard County's first all professional chamber orchestra, The Orchestra of St. John's, now finishing its second season and embarking on its third. Recent concerts included performances of Bloch's Three Pictures of Chasidic Life with the Columbia Orchestra, the Bruch “Scottish Fantasy” with the Frederick Symphony, and a special Valentine's Day recital at An Die Musik in Baltimore. Mr. Mutchnik is the 2009 recipient of the Howie Award given for Outstanding Artist of the Year.

Ronald Mutchnik, violin

Dr. Benjamin Myers, violoncello

Dr. Benjamin Myers, violoncello, Director of Chamber Music, Coordinator of String Studies

Howard Community College’s Benjamin Myers is a member of the renowned Gemini Piano Trio. Emotional power, sparkling technique, and a burnished tone are the qualities that have made him an audience favorite. The New Yorker magazine said of a concert with the Hartt Symphony in Alice Tully Hall, "The best soloist was the first cello, Benjamin Myers, who added a romantic line to the duet." Myers has appeared as soloist and chamber musician in major halls in America and Europe. The stage of Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall) is familiar to him, as he has given three solo and chamber concerts there under the auspices of the LaGesse Foundation.

As a member of the Gemini Piano Trio, one of the few professional family chamber groups on the concert circuit today, Ben has recorded two critically-acclaimed CDs. The American Record Guide praised the trio’s playing saying, "There is an admirable balance between confidence, polished technique, and impulsive, romantic ardor in this performance."

Benjamin Myers has the distinction of being the first person ever to earn a doctoral degree in cello performance from the highly selective program at the New England Conservatory where he also earned his master's degree. He has studied with the premiere artist/teachers of our time, including David Finckel of the Emerson Quartet, and soloists David Wells and Colin Carr. He has also played in master classes for cellists such as Steven Doane and Yo-Yo Ma.

Dr. Myers was selected as HCC’s 2003-2004 Arts and Humanities Division Outstanding Full-time Faculty. His has greatly enjoyed his duties here which have included directing the two ensembles which he created, cello ensemble, and string orchestra, giving private lessons, and teaching courses such as Music Theory 1-4 and Music Appreciation. Myers has had great success with his students, many of whom have gone on to some fo the finest conservatories in the nation, including Mannes, the Peabody Institute, and UMCP School of Music.

Jeff Reed, acoustic and electric bass, jazz improvisation

Jeff Reed is an acoustic bassist, composer, and educator, currently residing in Baltimore, MD. As a 2002 graduate of Towson University, studying under Victor Dvoskin and earning a Bachelor of Music degree, Jeff now primarily performs and records as a sideman for various groups in the Baltimore – Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

With the acoustic bass as his instrument, Jeff has played in almost every major Baltimore and D.C. jazz venue. Due to the versatility and respect he has gained as a musician, Jeff has performed extensively throughout the east coast and in thirty countries worldwide, including Italy, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, and Bahrain. He has had the distinct privilege to share the stage with musicians such as Billy Hart, Ben Monder, Steve Davis, Tim Hagans, Sheila Jordan, Eddie Henderson, Paquito D’Rivera, John Hicks, Bunky Green, Larry Willis, Ronnie Mathews, Gary Thomas, and George Colligan.

Reed is also an accomplished electric bassist. Having played the instrument more than half his life, he has had the opportunity to perform with such notable acts as Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave) and Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers.

Jeff is currently the acoustic and electric bass instructor at Towson University and Howard Community College.

Jeff Reed, jazz acoustic string and electric bass

Dr. Sheng-Tsung Wang, violin

Dr. Sheng-Tsung Wang, violin

By the age of thirteen, violinist Sheng-Tsung Wang had already given his highly acclaimed solo début performing with the Bremen Symphony Orchestra of Germany. Of the concert Die Nord Deutsche marveled that Dr. Wang "performed the difficult passages with astonishing understanding, as well as interpreting the lyric qualities with sweetness, bravura, and inspired tone." As the newest member of the prestigious "President's Own" Marine Chamber Orchestra, SSgt. Wang performs regularly at the White House, as well as at highly distinguished venues in the Washington, D.C. area.

Dr. Wang presented his Carnegie Hall début in 1999 with three evenings of solo and chamber performances under the auspices of the La Gesse Foundation, and returned in 2000 with the United States premiere of Peabody Director Robert Sirota's "Summermusic" for violin and piano. He has collaborated frequently with artists such as Earl Carlyss, Thomas Kraines, and the late Stephen Kates. He has been heard most recently in performances at the Austrian Embassy, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, as concertmaster of the North American Elite Orchestra, Smithsonian's Museum of American History, Shriver Hall, the Taiwanese Consulate, and Virginia's "Monticello". Of a concert at the French Embassy, the Washington Post admired "Wang's delicate phrasing and nuances." Dr. Wang was resident violinist of the 1999 & 2000 La Gesse Music Festival in France and Italy, and has also been featured with an interview and performance on Baltimore's CBS-affiliate TV station.

Sheng-Tsung Wang earned his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree from the University of Maryland College Park School of Music studying with the renowned string pedagogue Gerald Fischbach. Dr. Wang received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, where he was a student of Victor Danchenko. Previous teachers have included Elaine Mishkind, Eugene Drucker of the Emerson String Quartet, the late Mark Ulrich, and Ik-Hwan Bae. He has spent summers at the Quartet Program, Yellow Barn Music Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, and Taos School of Music, having worked with Robert McDonald, Charles Castleman, Heifetz-pupil Beverly Somach, and members of the Brentano, Chicago, and Lark String Quartets. He has also participated in masterclasses of the late Alexander Schneider, Baroque specialist Anner Bylsma and the concertmaster of the English Concert, Andrew Manze.

A recipient of many awards and honors, Dr. Wang captured first prize in Peabody's 1997 Marbury Violin Competition. While at the Conservatory on a top merit scholarship, Dr. Wang has also served as concertmaster for the Peabody Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Washington Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, the Columbia Camerata Musica, four consecutive years as concertmaster for the Maryland All State Orchestras, as well as the 1993 All Eastern Honors Orchestra. In 1992, he received the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Talent Award, and performed for Governor William Donald Schaefer. Sheng-Tsung Wang currently serves on the music faculty of Howard Community College in Columbia, MD, the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C., and at University of Maryland at College Park. He has also taught at the Peabody Conservatory, Preparatory Division and the Howard County Public School System. In addition, he actively performs with the Gemini Piano Trio and other chamber ensembles in the Baltimore/Washington area including the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, Fessenden Ensemble, and the Fairmount String Quartet.