Private Violin/Viola Lessons
&
Chamber Music

 
 
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Katie Smirnova - Violin/Viola

STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY
Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance
PEABODY CONSERVATORY OF THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Master of Music in Violin Performance
Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance
THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL
Pre-College Division

Dr. Katie Smirnova, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Rushmore Music Festival, has received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Violin Performance from the Stony Brook University under the mentorship of Hagai Shaham and Philip Setzer of the Emerson String Quartet.

An avid teacher, Dr. Smirnova currently holds an adjunct faculty position at the Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD and Sheridan College in Sheridan, WY. She has previously served on faculty for undergraduate chamber music at Stony Brook University while also maintaining a full private studio for over 7 years. Highly interested in early child psychology and the early music learning process, she has studied pedagogy with Rebecca Henry at the Peabody Institute, taken multiple courses in Dalcroze Eurythmics at the Lucy Moses School, and completed a two-year long-term Suzuki teacher training certification at the School for Strings in New York City. 

Katie has enjoyed collaborating with various arts organizations such as the Moscow Ballet, Bel Cantanti Opera Company, Stony Brook Chamber Ensemble, and Groupmuse. In addition to performing in various chamber ensembles throughout the United States, Katie places a strong value on community outreach events benefiting local food shelters, veterans hospitals, senior centers, libraries, and house charities, among others.

Katie has previously received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Violin Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with Victor Danchenko. Prior to attending Peabody, Katie attended Juilliard Pre-College as a student of Ann Setzer. 

 
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Brett Walfish - Viola/Violin

NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY
Graduate Diploma in Viola Performance
Master of Music in Viola Performance
INDIANA UNIVERSITY JACOBS SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance

Violist, Brett Walfish, co-founder and Executive Director of the Rushmore Music Festival, has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Ireland, Italy, and Israel.  Praised by the conductor David Effron for a warm sound full of a “myriad of colors,” Brett is an expressive and charismatic performer. Brett has collaborated with artists including Philip Setzer, Atar Arad, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Stephan Barratt-Due, Annie Fullard, Michael Klotz, Rudolf Koelman, Misha Vitenson, and Hillel Zori. He has also performed with the highly acclaimed conductorless chamber orchestra A Far Cry. Mr. Walfish is a devoted teacher of violin, viola, and chamber music, and has served on the chamber music faculty  for undergraduate music at Stony Brook University.

A dedicated pedagogue,  Mr. Walfish has studied violin/viola pedagogy with the legendary Mimi Zweig and Brenda Brenner at the Indiana University Jacob's School of Music.  He has additionally completed certification courses in Dalcroze Eurythmics at the Lucy Moses School, and completed a two-year long-term Suzuki teacher training certification at the School for Strings in New York City.  

His primary teachers included Lawrence Dutton, Nicholas Cords, Martha Katz, and Atar Arad. Mr. Walfish also studied chamber music with the Emerson String Quartet, the Borromeo String Quartet, the Cleveland String Quartet, and Jorja Fleezanis. He holds a Master’s Degree and a Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music in Bloomington.