Find a Teacher
As a service to our customers, we have provided a list of shop approved teachers listed by location. This list is continually changing as we build our relationship with local teachers. In an effort to strengthen confidence in both Knoxville Fine Violins as well as your teachers, we have adopted a policy of not giving teachers any set commissions for sales. Teachers that frequent the shop can expect our wide support and we try to prioritize any work they need done as much as possible. We also highly encourage students to pay their teachers the fee of one lesson, should they come to the shop in order to guide the student through the purchase of an instrument.
Rachael Szewc earned an M.M. inViola Performance from Southern Illinois University and a B.M. in MusicEducation and Violin Performance from the University of Maine. She is an activeeducator and has taught privately, coached chamber groups and directed multipleyouth orchestras. Rachael is also passionate about collaborating withother musicians through orchestra and chamber music. She seeks tocultivate a lifelong enjoyment of music in students of all ages and levels.
Ruth Bacon Edwards
Ruth Bacon Edewards has played the violin for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a student of Suzuki teacher trainer Susan Kempter, she remembers well the joys and struggles of the Suzuki journey. Ruth fell in love with performing in middle school, hearing the Mendelssohn Octet performed by older kids, and she knew that she wanted to be able to play like that. She earned her Bachelor’s of Music at the University of New Mexico, where she also completed her Suzuki long term training under the direction of her first violin teacher, Susan Kempter. She went on to pursue a Master’s degree in Violin Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with members of the Cleveland Orchestra. Starting in undergrad, Ruth has played with orchestras across the country, from the New Mexico Symphony to the Richmond Symphony, and she toured internationally with Star Wars in Concert in 2009 and 2010.
Sarah began teaching Suzuki violin lessons in 1999 at the University of TN Chattanooga’s Cadek Conservatory. While there, she received teacher training through book 6 at Suzuki Institutes, taught monthly group classes, directed a Summer Suzuki Violin Camp, and grew her studio to 45 students. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Violin Performance with an emphasis in Suzuki Pedagogy from the Hartt School in Hartford, CT, studying with Katie Lansdale and Teri Einfeldt. Throughout her time in graduate school she maintained a private teaching studio, and after graduating, taught for the Hartt School Community Division for two years.
Before moving to Knoxville, in addition to maintaining a private studio, Sarah taught on the college level, running performance classes, coaching chamber music groups, and teaching the violin studio at Covenant College, Lookout Mtn. GA, for four years. During the same time she also taught music theory and string techniques classes at Lee University in Cleveland, TN.
She has served as a guest clinician at the Girls Preparatory School Summer String Camp, the Residential Summer Strings Camp in Tasmania, Australia, and the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra String Camp.
Anna Dye, violist, has earned recognition as a significant performer and teacher both in the United States and abroad. She has participated in numerous chamber and ensemble projects, including the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra tour across Argentina, the recording of Espejismos by Carlo Nicolau, and the world premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ Blues Symphony at the Strathmore Hall in North Bethesda, MD. Anna has performed various concerts with orchestras in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., North Carolina, and Tennessee. She has attended nationally and internationally acclaimed summer festivals such as Orvieto Musica in Orvieto Italy, Brevard Summer Institute, and Maine Chamber Music Seminar. Anna is also a founding member of her trio, Triple Tango. They are a sought after chamber ensemble who have performed concert tours in various venues throughout the MD/DC/NOVA area. Anna has also established herself as a solo musician through her world premiere of the work “Modular Tango” by Jorge Variego at the The Emporium Center for Arts & Culture in Knoxville TN, and performance at the 2019 International Viola Congress in Poznań, Poland. In addition to her extensive performing career, Anna teaches private music lessons for viola and violin, and worked as a music educator for American Independent Music Association, and First Chair Strings where she gained professional experience in the music education field. She has done her Suzuki teacher training with James Hutchins.
Knoxville, Tennessee-based violinist Evie Andrus has played the violin for most of her life, in fact she and her brother Wild Hands bassist Joe Andrus grew up playing in the family bluegrass band. She has earned the title of being one of the most popular fiddle player in town and has her hand in many bluegrass outreach organizations.
Lin is from Taipei, Taiwan. She began studying piano and violin at age 5. She acquired a Bachelor of Music in 2009 and Master of Music in 2012 from National Taiwan Normal University where she studied with Nanette Chin-Horng Chen. After graduation, she moved to the United States to study with Alexander Kerr at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and received her Performers Diploma in 2013. She has studied with a variety of people across the United States and is a member of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
Christy Graffeo is a skilled and successful violist and violinist who has played for several orchestras and chamber music ensembles. She has spent a lifetime teaching students to enjoy music.
Ms. Collins is a graduate of Arizona State University where she received her Bacehlors in Violin Performance and Masters in Performance and Pedagogy while studying under Danwen Jiang. While at ASU, she was a lead teacher for both private lessons and group classes in the String Project, a program to further music education through the Phoenix area, and was the graduate teaching assistant for violin during her Masters. She has performed in halls across the United States and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, and has been a substitute violinist for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra since 2019. As a teacher, Ms. Collins has experience teaching all ages, levels, and diverse goals. Her students have participated in youth orchestras, competitions, and college auditions with much success and all have an appreciation and love of music.
Susan studied viola performance at Temple University in Philadelphia, and while she loves playing orchestral music and performing, she considers her first vocational love to be teaching children. Susan plays in the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra and teaches violin as well as viola.
Bethany holds a B.M. degree in Music Education from the University of Tennessee where she studied both classical and jazz performance. In addition, she has completed Suzuki violin teacher training with nationally recognized teacher trainers including Marilyn O'Boyle, Allen Leib, and Mary Cay Neal. Bethany is a registered teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Bethany has been teaching violin for over sixteen years, which accounts for over half her life. She holds high expectations for her students, but nurtures an enjoyable learning environment. Her students progress to high levels of playing and learn to perform in groups as well as soloists. Each of her students develop a love for the instrument and a deep appreciation for music.
After playing for the Seoul Philharmonic and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, she came to the U.S. to continue her study at Ohio University as a graduate assistant, where she was principal violist with the University’s Symphony Orchestra. She attended the Bayview Music Festival in Michigan on a full scholarship and later also participated in the Spoleto Festival in Italy. After earning her Master’s Degree at Ohio, she played with the Omaha Symphony, Lincoln Symphony, Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, Pensacola Symphony, and finally joined the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in 1985, where she has held the position of assistant principal violist since 1986. As of August 2015, she graduated from Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP).
She is passionate about serving as a Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) and sharing the benefits of therapeutic music with newborn infants as well as patients in hospitals, and nursing homes.
Having grown up as a Suzuki student playing the violin, Helen developed a love for violin and teaching at an early age. After graduating Smith College in Northhampton, MA, she was accepted into the New England Conservatory where she was immediately asked to be concertmaster. She eventually transferred to the University of Tennessee where she changed the focus of her masters degree to Suzuki Pedagogy. She is concertmaster of the Johnson City Symphony and has a wide range of students. Having had three children who have also completed Suzuki, she has been student, teacher, as well as parent in the triangle of the Suzuki method.
Cody Bauer has played with a variety of bands over the years, and in addition to playing at the Opry, Cody garnered first place in the 2016 SPBGMA International Bluegrass Band Competition with the Bluegrass Outlaws, has toured internationally, and garnered a number of ribbon wins at various fiddle contests. He studied under acclaimed fiddler Hunter Berry and has taught at Trinity Arts Center in Johnson City, TN, online, and from his home in Knoxville, TN. Cody holds a B.S. in Education and a M.A. in Religion. With 18 years playing fiddle and 10 years teaching, he has the experience to help a beginner gain basic skills or an advanced student analyze bowing patterns, moving double stops, building authentic solos, etc. From the student who is picking up the fiddle for the first time to the fiddler who’s been playing their whole life.
Ms. Pulgar is a member of the first violin section of the Knoxville Symphony. Prior to moving to Tennessee, she played with several professional orchestras including Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. She has also played on a regular basis with Greater Lansing, Saginaw, Altoona and Youngstown Symphony Orchestras.
Since 2009, Mr. Pulgar has been Principal Second Violin of the Knoxville Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, and a member of the Knoxville Symphony’s Principal String Quartet. He has a long list of qualifications and is also a moving force as instructor at Carson Newman College.
Kristiana McCombs Arnwine is an East Knoxville based pianist, cellist, and vocalist. She offers private music lessons out of her home studio and performs for a wide range of events in genres including classical, sacred, folk, and bluegrass. An experienced and enthusiastic musician, Kristiana brings creativity and care to each lesson and performance. She has won numerous musical awards and scholarships and has served as principal cellist for a number of orchestras and ensembles. Her studio has been home to young children and adults alike, and she is inspired by Suzuki, Orff, and Kodaly methodologies in her teaching. Kristiana grew up in Illinois and enjoyed private musical training, orchestra ,and choir opportunities there, but moved south in 2013 to receive her Bachelor's of Music Education and Bachelor's of Cello Performance at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. She fell in love with the beautiful scenery and culture of Tennessee, and after a few years of teaching in Toronto, she is now thrilled to be back, performing and teaching music lessons in East Knoxville.
Alicia Randisi-Hooker has been active as a cellist and Suzuki teacher for more than 30 years. She completed long term Suzuki training with Annette Costanzi (UK), and has taken many additional units of teacher training including ECC, ECM, Practicum and Group Class Techniques. She served as ensembles coordinator at the 2004 SAA conference in Minneapolis and as president of the Greater Knoxville Suzuki String Association, now the Knoxville Area Suzuki Cooperative. Alicia enjoys teaching at SAA Institutes,workshops and summer programs around the US, and is a faculty member at the annual Tennessee Cello Workshop. For ten years, she was Artistic Director and chief cello teacher at the Academy of Children’s Music in suburban Philadelphia, maintaining private studios in Pennsylvania and Texas prior to moving to Tennessee, where she presently directs Cello LEAP Studio. She engages in community outreach through concerts, recitals, workshops, and as an adjunct professor at Maryville College.
Cellist Livingston Cheney is an instructor at Knoxville Suzuki Academy, of cello and bass classes. He performs throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Poland as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. Livi has performed as a guest artist at the National Cello Institute in California, the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute, the Chicago Suzuki Institute, the National Arts Centre of Canada, the Gore Bay Museum, the Ottawa Pops Orchestra, the Festival Los Cedros in Mexico City, and the Sinfonietta Polonia in Poland.
Born to two Suzuki cello teachers, Carey and Elliott Cheney, Livi grew up a Suzuki student, beginning to play cello at the age of 3. He received his Suzuki teacher training in all 10 volumes by the age of 20, the youngest cellist ever to do so. Livi has completed Suzuki training with the renowned teachers David Evenchick, Jean Dexter, Pamela Devenport, Carey Cheney, and Avi Friedlander. Livi is continuously repeating teacher training to get the insights of other teachers as well. An excellent Suzuki instructor, Livi teaches both cello and bass classes at the Knoxville Suzuki Academy.
Clara Cowan is a cello instructor for the Knoxville Suzuki Academy. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee in 2019 with a degree in cello performance and was given the title as the outstanding graduate in Strings. She was also chosen as the student performer for the Arts and Sciences graduation for which she played her own composition, a meditation on the Tennessee Waltz. She has had Suzuki teacher training with Avi Friedlander and Carey Cheney. Clara has been honored with the JoshuaHenry Bow Prize at the Tennessee Cello Workshop Competitions, a fellowship at Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy, and being a member of the honors string quartet at Wintergreen Summer Music Academy. She has had the privilege to lead the Brevard Orchestra cello section as principal cellist, has professionally assisted the University of Tennessee cello section in multiple rehearsals and performances, and has worked as a volunteer cello teacher at the Joy of Music School. While all of these honors have been gratefully and humbly received, Clara’s true musical joy comes from simply sitting down and playing her cello. Whether it be by herself, with friends, at church, or for those in difficult places who truly need music, the joy that a simple tune can bring to the eye of a small child or an elderly person will always supply enough reason to continue teaching this beautiful craft. Clara’s mission is to share the spark of music with her students and anyone willing to learn and to pass the torch of this skill on to future generations of teachers and students.
Cellist Wesley Baldwin is a co-director of the Knoxville Suzuki Academy. Initially taught cello classes in the Suzuki method as a child, Dr. Baldwin has been active teaching his own cello classes for more than three decades. His Suzuki teacher training has been with Melissa Kraut. Wesley holds a BA, cum laude, from Yale College, a Master of Music degree (with honors) from the New England Conservatory, and a DMA in cello performance from the University of Maryland.
A passionate teacher, Wesley has taught at the University of Maryland and Florida International University, where he was artist-in-residence with the Plymouth Quartet. He serves now as the Professor of Cello at the University of Tennessee, where he received the Chancellor’s Award for Professional Promise. His former students play and teach throughout the United States.
Dr. Baldwin founded and directs the Tennessee Cello Workshop, an annual three-day gathering of more than 170 cellists of all ages from throughout the United States held each February. His interest in education has also led him to serve as Conductor of the Knoxville Youth Chamber Orchestra from 2006 to 2018.
Alexia Pantanizopoulos has taught private cello lessons in East Tennessee for over 20 years to both children and adults.
Alexia is a member of several regional orchestras and is the cellist/manager of her weddings and special events ensemble - AP Strings.
Jeanine Wilkinson is an active performer, teacher, and administrator involved in many different musical endeavors throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Since taking up residence in Knoxville in 2005 she performs regularly with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Symphony of the Mountains, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Oak Ridge Symphony, and the Bryan Symphony. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon and a Master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.
As an advocate and supporter of music education, Jeanine teaches a thriving studio of young cellists. Her students consistently win chairs in the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras, East TN Jr. and Sr. Clinics, as well as TNMEA All State Orchestra.
Andy holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Hartt School of Music and has studied post grad at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has played in many settings and is now the principal cellist of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra which he has held since 1999. Andy also serves as adjunct faculty to Carson Newman College in Jefferson City. In addition to this, he plays in a gypsy, jazz ensemble known worldwide for its instrumentation and scope.
Stephanie graduated Judson University with a music performance degree concentrating in violin. She has since played in various settings and has been teaching since her sophomore year in high school. She is bilingual, speaking both English as well as Spanish and teaches many other instruments; she is passionate about stringed instruments and teaching at any level to anyone wanting to learn.