The Strings Department
The Music Institute is proud of its first-rate strings program. You can take private lessons in guitar (classical, jazz, or pop/rock), violin, viola, cello, and bass, plus you can join a small chamber ensemble. The Cello Ensemble and String Orchestra are open to students of all ages who perform a successful audition.
We also offer the renowned Colourstrings™ 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 http://www.colourstrings.co.uk
TMI's orchestral 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 many also teach at other colleges, music conservatories, and music departments in the Delmarva region. Our string faculty 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.
The guitar faculty approach teaching as an individualized activity. Lessons are designed with each student’s interests and needs in mind. Believing that a student will learn best with music that he or she knows and loves, the guitar faculty tailor lessons to each student’s tastes while addressing the important technical, theoretical, and musical requirements for each style of music. Age ranges are from 8 to senior citizens. The guitar faculty are well-versed in many different styles including Classical, Folk, Blues, Rock, and Jazz. Both electric and acoustic instruments are taught.
For younger students (8 years and younger), we are able to accommodate their physical limitations with such starter instruments as baritone ukuleles and half-size guitars, often lending the instrument for a time until the student is ready to move ahead to his or her larger instrument. Our faculty structure lessons based on the cognitive and physical talents of each student as well as musical tastes, making lessons educational and interesting as well as enjoyable.
Meet the TMI Strings Faculty:
Dr. Benjamin Myers, Coordinator of String Studies
Read Dr. Myers' bio here
Rather jump right in?
Click here to contact Dr. Myers
- Dr. Myers coordinates all stringed instruments EXCEPT jazz guitar.
- Dr. Kyle Coughlin coordinates the placement of students interested in jazz guitar.
Interested in classical guitar? Contact Dr. Myers here.
Interested in jazz (R&B, blues, bebop)? Contact Dr. Coughlin here.
Julie Ahn, Violin
Violinist Julie Ahn began her musical studies in Los Angeles at the age of five. Within two years, she was awarded the top prizes in the Korea Times Competition and Southwestern Young Musicians Festival. Her solo and chamber performances were selected to be broadcasted live on Los Angeles television and radio stations. Ms. Ahn’s achievements also include winning the young artist and senior division of the Baltimore Music Club Competition, and the Liszt-Garrison Competition for Collaborative Artists.
As the recipient of various scholarships and grants, Ms. Ahn participated in many music festivals, including the Encore School for Strings, Heifetz International Music Institute, Keshet Eilon (Israel), Euro Arts (Germany), studying with Felix Andrievsky and Yuri Mazurkevich. She was also invited to perform abroad in Asia and in venues in the United States such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Alice Tully Hall, and the Library of Congress.
Ms. Ahn received her Bachelors and Masters Degrees, and her Graduate Performance Diploma at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, under the tutelage of Victor Danchenko. Her principle teachers have included Alexander Treger and Michelle Kim,. Ms. Ahn has participated in master classes with world-renowned artists such as Ruggiero Ricci, Boris Garlitsky, Christian Tetzlaff, and Pamela Frank. Ms. Ahn resides in Maryland where she is an active performer in the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan areas, all the while maintaining a thriving private studio.
Dr. 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.
Interested in lessons with Joan? Click here to contact Ben Myers, Coordinator of String Studies.
Bruce Casteel, Classical Guitar and Ethnic Instruments
Performing and teaching guitar since 1965 and at Howard Community College (HCC) since 1987, Bruce Casteel is a leader in producing professional guitarists and students who obtain academic degrees. Dr. John Meyers, founder of the Guitar Department at HCC, was Bruce’s student and colleague at Chambers School of Music. As a private teacher, Bruce explores innovative approaches to guitar instruction at all levels to match the goals and abilities of each student. He teaches all students with equal attention and enthusiasm, whatever their aspirations.
Bruce began lessons at age fourteen and formed his own band at fifteen. He continued to perform professionally in various bands for twenty years. Most notably, he played with Saturday (led by Paul Johns, former arranger and bandleader for Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett), The Buddy Voelker Eighteen Piece Jazz Orchestra, and Instant Simca. In addition, Bruce also regularly played sitar at the Bombay Peacock Grill in Columbia.
For twenty years, he was the top rated classic guitarist for the Washington, DC agency, Sidney's Orchestras, which gave him the opportunity to play for Bill Gates and Hillary Clinton at the United States Capitol. In 2004 Bruce was invited to play on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. Currently, he performs solo classical guitar styles on Sunday evenings at Ranazul, a tapas restaurant in Maple Lawn, Maryland.
As a student at the Peabody Conservatory in 1969 and 1970, Bruce was first introduced to the idea of expanding the guitar's range beyond six strings by his teacher, Aaron Shearer. He carries on that legacy, performing regularly on an eight-string guitar.
Interested in lessons with Bruce? Click here to contact Ben Myers, Coordinator of String Studies.
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”.
Interested in lessons with Cathleen? Click here to contact Ben Myers, Coordinator of String Studies.
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.
Scott Goriup, Classical and Rock Guitar, The Gumbo Ensemble
Scott Goriup received his Bachelor of Arts from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University in Guitar Performance (1991) with a minor in Lute Literature and performance. Mr. Goriup has been an adjunct professor at Howard Community College in
Columbia, Maryland (2000-present) in guitar performance, and director of classical guitar ensembles. He is a private instructor, soloist, and has been a performer in various guitar and flute duos in the Baltimore and D.C. metropolitan area.
Mr. Goriup has studied extensively with Julian Gray, Ron McFarlane, and Richard Strobe. He has participated in master classes and private lessons performing for Manuel Barrueco, Aaron Shearer, and Emily Remler. He is also involved in developing and assisting in HCC's music therapy program under the guidance of Mrs. Rita Mayhew.
Mr. Goriup is an alumni of Howard Community College and grew up in Columbia. While attending HCC, he studied guitar under John Myers and performed with Art Monroe's Howard Community College Jazz Band. His interest in classical music is matched with a love for blues, jazz, country, and rock idioms which he directs and explores in his Gumbo Ensembles at The Music Institute" at HCC. He is a multi-instrumentalist with a working knowledge of Afro-Cuban percussion,electric bass, harmonica, ukulele and other "disrespected and orphaned" folk instruments.
Interested in lessons with Scott? Click here to contact Ben Myers, Coordinator of String Studies.
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.
Interested in lessons with Yi-Hsin? Click here to contact Ben Myers, Coordinator of String Studies.
Katy I-Hsuan, Strings
A native Taiwanese, cellist Katy I-Hsuan Chiang began her music journey first on the piano at the age of six, and cello when she was eight. She showed a talent in cello early on in her studies and was a prize-winner of several competitions in Taiwan.
Katy came to the states for further education after high school. She completed an Associate of Arts degree as a music student at Howard Community College and transferred to the University of Maryland College Park with a full merit-based scholarship. Katy received her Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from UMCP where she was awarded academic honors, and she is currently pursuing the Master of Music degree at UMCP. Her private cello teachers include Eric Kutz, David Teie, Peter Wiley, Evelyn Elsing, and Benjamin Myers.
She performs regularly with the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra and her chamber groups have been selected many times for the biannual Honor Recital.
Michael Raitzyk, Jazz Guitar
For the past 20 years Michael Raitzyk has been one of Baltimore’s premier jazz guitarists. His recent CD release (May 2006), Live at Café Hon, has been well received by the local community. Raitzyk’s musical interest and influences include Jazz, Blues, and Klezmer. In 1996, Raitzyk started the band Charm City Klezmer, which has included performances at the Kennedy Center, New York City’s Klezmer Brunch at Tonic, and the Columbia Festival of the Arts. The CD release, Charm City Klezmer, was voted best of 1999 by Baltimore's City Paper.
The Michael Raitzyk Trio is his current project which released two CDs (2000 & 2006) and a Live DVD performance at the Hon Festival (June 2006). The trio has performed every week at Café Hon since June 2003. In 1992 his interest in big band music led to the formation of the MRJO (Michael Raitzyk Jazz Orchestra). He led a 16-piece band for four years and performed arrangements that included Thad Jones as well as MRJO’s own Mack Rucks, who studied with the tenor sax great Frank Foster.
Raitzyk's guitar style is based on a mix of blues, funk, R&B, and Jazz. Raitzyk grew up listening to bands like Earth, Wind, & Fire; the Allman Brothers Band; the Police; and the Pat Metheny Group. In the 1990’s, Raitzyk was introduced to Klezmer music and soon realized he had married into a klezmer band. His wife is a vocalist and his father-in-law plays clarinet. Klezmer music has now become a part of Raitzyks’ guitar syntax. For the past 3 years Michael has been performing a Friday night Sabbath service at Congregation Beit Tikvah. Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton leads this rockin' service full of music and spirit.
Raitzyk studied guitar at Towson University and at Thomas Jefferson Performance Arts High School in Portland, Oregon. He has studied with Walt Namath, Larry Coryell, Sheryl Bailey, and Adam Rafferty. Raitzyk has performed with Bill Hardman, Junior Cook, Pepper Adams, Carl Grubbs, Mel Torme, Mary Ann Price, Kyle Caughlin, Ethel Ennis, and Greg Hatza.
Interested in jazz guitar lessons with Michael? Click here to contact Kyle Coughlin, the Coordinator of Jazz Studies.
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.
Interested in lessons with Sheng? Click here to contact Ben Myers, Coordinator of String Studies.
Derek Wiegmann, Strings Faculty
Derek Wiegmann is an up and coming bassist living and working in Baltimore, MD. He graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz/Commercial Performance in Spring 2017. While at Towson, his versatility and sensitivity as a musician lead to a variety of performance opportunities. During his junior year, he was selected to perform with the Mid Atlantic Collegiate Jazz Orchestra under the direction of trumpeter Sean Jones at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. Soon after he performed alongside Towson faculty and BSO members in the pit orchestra for Randall Thompson’s Solomon and Balkis as part of the American Opera Symposium hosted at Towson that year. Through the jazz residency program, he performed with artists such as Drew Gress, Jeff Lederer, Ralph Alessi, Ellery Eskelin, Tony Malaby Donny McCaslin, and Mary Halvorson. In Spring of 2016, he performed in the chamber ensemble that premiered Dave Ballou’s composition “For Seven Instruments and Ellery Eskelin” alongside Ellery Eskelin. Derek has always had a keen interest in pedagogy. While at Towson, he worked with cellist and professor Cecylia Barczyk to write “Teaching the Double Bass in the Classroom” and to film the accompanying DVD to be used in the lower strings method class for music education students. He has been teaching and performing as a freelance musician in the area for the past six years and continues to diversify his skillset. In addition to his freelance work, Derek performs with local bands such as the Tom Lagana Trio, Derrick Michaels Chamber Quartet, Bachelor Boys Band, Screaming Art Large Ensemble, Ephemera Quartet, Liberata and more.