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2021 Viola Celebration Faculty

Guest Artists

Click on each person's name to learn more.

Hillary HerndonViolist Hillary Herndon has earned a national reputation for her brilliant playing, insightful teaching and creative programming. She has been heard on NPR and PBS and has collaborated with some of the world's foremost musicians, including Carol Wincenc, James VanDemark and Itzhak Perlman, who described Hillary as "having it all… a gifted teacher and an excellent musician."

Ms. Herndon teaches at The University of Tennessee, Montecito Music Festival and the Viola Intensive Workshops.  She has recently been elected to serve on the American Viola Society Executive Board and has published teaching articles in the American String Teacher Association Journal and the Journal of the American Viola Society.  Ms. Herndon's 2-CD set of recordings by women composers, La Viola, is on the MSR Classics label.   Ms. Herndon holds degrees from Eastman and Juilliard.  

Hillary Herndon website:

Masumi Per RostadAlicia Keener is a member of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and enjoys teaching a lively studio of young musicians. She began playing violin at age five as a Suzuki student and picked up the viola in high school. Alicia went on to earn degrees in viola performance from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (B.M.) and the University of Colorado Boulder (M.M.), as well as studying string pedagogy at Texas Tech University (M.M.).

Alicia has performed at numerous music festivals, including the Britt Music & Arts Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Brevard Music Center, Round Top Festival Institute, and Orford Arts Centre, among others. As a chamber musician, she was mentored by the Takács Quartet at the University of Colorado Boulder and served as Instructor of Chamber Music at Texas Tech University.

Outside of the classical genre, Alicia has collaborated with the Indigo Girls, Natalie Merchant, and the WannaBeatles. She also enjoys learning traditional and old time tunes, and she can sometimes be caught playing the fiddle.

Marissa Keener is a professional violinist, Alexander Technique teacher, and a registered Suzuki violin teacher currently living in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At the age of five, Marissa began studying Suzuki violin with Kathy Hart in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Masters of Music Degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from East Carolina University, where she studied with Hye-Jin Kim and Joanne Bath and was a Graduate Teaching Assistant. She was selected to participate in the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival's Next Generation Concert series and the Next Gen on the Road concerts. Marissa earned her Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance with Honors, Magna Cum Laude from Miami University of Ohio, studying with Dr. Harvey Thurmer.

Marissa is registered for Every Child Can! and Violin Books 1-10 with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has completed training with Suzuki Teacher Trainers Joanne Bath, Edward Kreitman, Beth Titterington, and Liz Arbus. In 2016, she graduated from the Chesapeake Bay Alexander Studies program, under the direction of Robin Gilmore, where she was certified to teach the Alexander Technique and is a certified Teaching Member of Alexander Technique International. She has also studied with Bill Conable, Bob Lada, Dale Beaver, Meade Andrews, Glenna Batson, Sarah Barker, and Diana Bradley.

Currently, Marissa is the Suzuki Program Coordinator at the Community School of the Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has a special interest in teaching children with exceptionalities and applying the Alexander Technique in private and group violin lessons. She also serves as the Principal Second Violinist in the Union Symphony Orchestra. In her spare time, Marissa enjoys baking with lots of chocolate, reading a variety of books and novels, gardening, and hiking.

Masumi Per RostadSteven Tenenbom has earned an equally stellar reputation in recital, orchestral and chamber music appearances, displaying in all the impeccable style and sumptuous tone which have earned him a reputation as one of America's finest violists.

In great demand as a chamber musician, Mr. Tenenbom has appeared as guest artist with such eminent ensembles as the Guarneri and Emerson String Quartets, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson and Beaux Arts Trios, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Chamber Music at the "Y." He has appeared as soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Brandenburg Ensemble in performances at Boston's Symphony Hall, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, and on tour in Japan. Recent seasons have included recital performances in New York and California, and concerto performances in Washington state, Michigan, Arizona and Ohio.

Additional duo recital and orchestral engagements with his wife Ida Kavafian have also played to capacity crowds across the country. Their brilliant performance with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra under Keith Lockhart's baton led to their reengagement by Mr. Lockhart with the Utah Symphony. The Salt Lake Tribune called it "an inspiring performance," saying the duo "worked magic."

Mr. Tenenbom is the violist of the Orion String Quartet, one of the most outstanding and eloquent ensembles performing today. In addition to their many performances both nationally and internationally, they are the Quartet-in-Residence of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Aspen Music Festival, Mannes College of Music and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; and have toured widely with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, premiering this unique collaboration at Hancher Auditorium, Iowa City.

As a member of the prestigious group TASHI, Mr. Tenenbom has also had a long association with the Marlboro Music Festival, including many tours across the United States, Japan and France. Other festival credits include the June Music, La Jolla Mostly Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest, Music from Angel Fire, and Bravo! Colorado. Devoted to the music of our time, he has worked closely with such diverse composers as Leon Kirchner, Lukas Foss, John Corigliano and jazz greats Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis.

He also co-founded the exciting group, Opus One, along with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Ida Kavafian and cellist Peter Wiley. The group is wide ranging in their approach, presenting educational and community outreach activities as part of engagements.

Mr. Tenenbom is on the faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music, where he is the Coordinator of String Chamber Music. He also serves on the faculties of The Juilliard School, The Conservatory of Music at Bard College and was a visiting professor at The Yale School of Music. He has recorded on RCA Records with TASHI and the Guarneri String Quartet, and can also be heard on the Sony Classical, Marlboro Recording Society, Delos, ECM and Arabesque labels.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Mr. Tenenbom began his early studies with Max Mandel. He then attended the University of Southern California as a pupil of Milton Thomas. Further studies carried him to the Curtis Institute of Music where he worked with Michael Tree and Karen Tuttle. Married to violinist Ida Kavafian, the Tenenboms live in Connecticut where they breed, raise and show champion Vizsla purebred dogs.

Juliet White-SmithA native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, violist Juliet White-Smith has appeared in recital and chamber music performances throughout the US and in Europe, Africa, and Asia. In demand as a master pedagogue and clinician, she has presented master classes at major music schools, festivals, and conferences around the world. She has been featured for her views on pedagogy, talent, and effective practice in The Strad, Strings, and American String Teacher, as well as in 2020 interviews on the discovery of viola works of composer Ulysses Kay for WBUR-Boston, the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Tanglewood, and The Boston Globe. She is a frequent adjudicator for competitions including the Primrose International Viola Competition.

An advocate for all things viola, White-Smith served as President of the American Viola Society from 2008-11. She has recorded on the Centaur Records label, and her album Fashionably Late: Juliet White-Smith Debuts! features the premiere recording of Pulitzer Prize winner George Walker’s Viola Sonata (1989). She currently serves on the Advisory Board of Music by Black Composers, a project of the non-profit Rachel Barton Pine Foundation.

White-Smith joined the Artist-Faculty at the Brevard Music Festival in 2018. She is currently Professor of Viola at The Ohio State University and previously taught at the University of Northern Colorado and Western Michigan University. She holds degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Houston and earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music.

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