Chamber Music ~ Practice Training ~ Improvisation
Suzanne Smith, Cello Chan Woods Founder and Director, has performed and taught for over 30 years. During that time she has developed a philosophy of teaching that includes the whole person in ways that help ignite the creative process and instill confidence in her students. A pursuit of excellence at CCW takes place in this context. Over the last seven years, many cellists have left CelloChanWoods with a new clarity about their personal, cellistic, and artistic goals. A highly supportive community of musicians makes it all the more possible.
Ms. Smith has a bachelors in performance from Oberlin Conservatory under the late Richard Kapuscinski, formerly a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She went on to complete a Masters in Music under Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio. After doing two more years of post graduate study with Mr. Greenhouse, she later worked with Janos Starker over a 2 year period from 2010-2012. At the Tanglewood Music Festival she performed under Colin Davis, Michael Tillson Thomas, Seji Ozawa, and Gunther Schuller. In master class Suzanne has worked with Lynn Harell at the Scotia Festival, Jules Eskin at the Sarasota Festival, Rya Garbasova at the Cleveland Institute, and more. Suzanne studied the Suzuki method in the 1980s with Evon Tate, Gilda Barston, and was honored to have a meeting with Dr. Suzuki himselfin 1970. She has preformed as chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral peformer thoughout her life.
Suzanne's cellisitc work, has become directly and positively impacted by her study of Zen, or Ch’an Buddhism, for the past 25 years. Ch’an, in the name Cellochan or CelloChanWoods, means the deepest understanding or to “see”. Though Buddhism is not studied here, many of the ideas relating to focus, confidence, and openness are shared. The retreat is an opportunity to explore the joy of music making in the context of mind and body integration. Through basic centering meditation and relaxation in movement classes, students can locate tension and/or blocks in their playing. Zen offers many ideas regarding focus and concentration. Over a period of 10 years, Suzanne studied under the late Zen Master, Master Sheng Yen, for whom a chair at Columbia University has been dedicated. Master Sheng Yen founded the Dharma Drum Buddhist University in Taiwan. She has participated in numerous Zen retreats and uses the method of “Silent Illumination”. As a result, Suzanne is able to clearly communicate to her students how to effectively sit, move, focus, and to be more open and aware at the cello. The cello is part of her own spiritual practice. This retreat accepts students as young as 12 up to adults. Participants are placed in their appropriate playing level at the retreat. The CelloChanWoods staff is highly qualified to teach very advanced students of any age. *See Staff Bios.
Janos Starker "You have to have confience before you put your hands on the instrument".
Dory Mead, CelloChanWoods Assistant Director, leads classes in movement, facilitates many aspects of the CCW vision, and creates dynamic events. Her talent as a leader and ability to bring people together is well known. She earned her BMA in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan school of Music, where she studied with George Shirley and Freda Herseth, and has had 18 years of private study. She appeared in La Purpura de la Rosa and The Rover while at Michigan. Ms. Mead spent two summers performing with the Aspen Music Festival Opera program, during which she was a featured artist opening for Jessye Norman. Ms. Mead has also performed with the Metro City Lyric Opera, Arbor Opera Theater and the Austin Shakespeare Company. While studying with W. Steve Smith in New York, Ms. Mead incorporated both Jazz and Classical into her performance repertoire at the Victor Café in South Philadelphia. Recently appearing with the Brass Tacks Ensemble as King Henry in Shakespeare's Henry V, Titania in Ann Arbor Shakespeare in the Arb, 2015 alumna of the OperaWorks Intensive training program and member of A2CT's long-form Imrov troupe 'Dearly Beloved, Ms. Mead is dedicated to continued education as a performer and educator. She currently teaches privately in Ann Arbor, MI, is a faculty member of the Community Music School of Ann Arbor. As a teacher and mentor, Ms. Mead spent ten years teaching rock climbing and outdoor adventure activities to children and adults. She has been teaching singing lessons for 5 years and her technique is influenced by her teacher W. Stephen Smith, author of The Naked Voice. Assistant director of the CelloChanWoods Music Retreat, her experience mentoring a wide range of people through challenging processes makes her a patient and positive vocal instructor with a unique approach.
Andrew Bader recently completed his Master of Music degree at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Anthony Elliott. While attending, he was a member of the Contemporary Directions Ensemble, as well as the University Symphony Orchestra. He recently won first prize in the MASTA Solo Competition. The American String Teachers Association promotes excellence in string and orchestra teaching and playing. ASTA pursues its mission through an open sharing of ideas; benefits, services, and activities responsive of the needs of all members; development of strong state leadership and chapters; enhancing the image and visibility of string teaching and study; advocacy for string education; and an inclusive community of string teachers and players.
Today, Andrew is an active performer and teacher in Southeast Michigan and maintains a private studio while playing solo and chamber music. Apart from cello, Andrew loves cooking, brewing, reading and all things game related.
Jason Gong is an international pianist from Michigan, currently pursuing his Guildhall Artist Masters in Music Performance with Prof. Noriko Ogawa and Prof. Paul Roberts at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, United Kingdom. An accomplished performer and music educator, he has studied piano for eighteen years and has been accompanying and coaching both instrumentalists and vocalists since 2008. Jason is also a cellist, having studied for twelve years, and is well versed in both classical and contemporary styles. He comes to CelloChanWoods as a cellist assistant to other staff. His playing is at a very high level and combined with his teaching skills, brings another perspective to the artistic process. Recently, Jason has performed around London, collaborating with both local musicians and also other artists, such as members of the London Contemporary Dance School. Previously he received his Bachelors of Music at the University of Michigan, where he has given both solo and chamber recitals. Jason has also performed with chamber groups and orchestras such as the UM University Choir, Detroit Symphony Orchestra Civic Ensemble, the Panache Group, Mosaic Youth Theatre, and the Seaway Chorale and Orchestra. Jason performed at The Poland International Festival and The Foulger International Music Festival, and was the Assistant Musical Director and rehearsal pianist for MUSKET's production of ‘Sweeney Todd,’ as well as for the Pioneer Theatre Ensemble's production of ‘The Little Mermaid.’ This is Jason’s third summer teaching at CellochanWoods and he is very excited to be returning. Jason loves the positive and encouraging atmosphere, as well as the strong sense of community the retreat fosters. CellochanWoods creates an extremely supportive environment where the participants are able to work through both musical problems, but also mental and emotional barriers.
Sonja Kraus, originally from Germany, is an international cellist, teacher and researcher whose musical career has taken her around the world. Early in her career, she frequently performed chamber music in Germany and France. Orchestra tours took her to Japan, Venezuela, and to 10 countries in Europe. In August 2012, Sonja moved to the US and has since performed as soloist or as chamber musician around the US. Sonja recently had her debut in South America where she played the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto with the Guayaquil Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador. Ms. Kraus has taught cello at the Musikschule Unterensingen ( Germany), been an assistant instructor to Emil Colon at the Jacobs School of Music - Indiana University Bloomington and currently a cello professor at Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo and principal cellist in the Orquesta Filarmonica Municipal de Guayaquil in Ecuador. She has led master classes at the University of Nevada and Reno, Indiana State University Bloomington. Sonja has won multiple competitions, most recently the Indianapolis Martinee Musicale Scholarship Competition and the Popper Competition during the Cello Fresno Festival. Since the summer of 2014 she has been a CelloChanWoods teacher and staff coordinator, bringing insight, compassion, and excellence to all participants.
Gabriele Jimbo Viteri is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Music in cello performance at the Jacobs School of Music - Indian University Bloomington, studying with Emil Colon. Gabriel is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador and has toured mulitple countryies throughout Latin America as a member of various youth orchestras and of the Guayaquil Symphony Orchestra. Garbiel's musical experiences include a diverse range of ensembles including string quartets, chamber , and symphony orchestras. He is co-founder of the city's first cello ensemble and has been a solois with multiple youth and university orchestras in Ecuador. While in Ecuador, Gabriel has taken part in many national competitions, including the "Jovenes Talentos" National Competition on it's 2013, 2015, and 2016 editions, being a finalist in both 2013 and 2015. In 2016 he won 1st prize. As a teacher and instructor, Gabriel has collaborated on a regular basis with several youth orchestras as instructor and section coach. He taught both individual lessons and sectionals to help develop orchestral cellists. Future projets include dynamizing Ecuador's classical music scene by bringing US-based musicians to Ecuador to both teach and perform during the summer and to collaborate with different orchestras in Ecuador. Gabriel will also participate in international music festivals in the US and abroad. Picture
Ethan Young is a cellist from Oswego, IL, and is active in a variety of orchestral and chamber settings. He has served as principal cellist of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, the Kent Blossom Chamber Orchestra, and the Indiana University Baroque Orchestra where he has studied baroque cello for years under renowned early music specialist Stanley Ritchie. Other orchestral positions have been with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, substitute with the New World Symphony, and most recently the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. He has worked under the baton of numerous conductors including David Zinman, Leonard Slatkin, Alan Gilbert, Christoph Eschenbach, Andris Nelsons, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Ludovic Morlot He has played chamber music at the Tanglewood Music Center and Schleswig-Holstein festivals, and has performed on numerous chamber concerts in Ann Arbor, MI and Bloomington, IN, where he performed in the world premiere of Brian Newbould’s transcription of Schubert’s D. 385 violin sonatina for clarinet and string quartet, featuring James Campbell on clarinet. Ethan holds a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Michigan where he studied with Anthony Elliott, and a Master’s Degree from Indiana University under Peter Stumpf.
Chef Mary Potts lives a multifaceted life, which comes together in creative and adventurous approaches to food. Celebrated photographer, competitive Jujitsu World Gold Medalist, and avid traveler, Mary weaves many talents in to an expressive tapestry of cooking. Her long career in some of the finest restaurants in the culinary air of South East Michigan includes being a Baker at Blue Tractor, Pastry Chef for the famed Vellum restaurant, leading to a position as Sous Chef at Lena and ultimately recruited as the inaugural Executive Chef at the Ypsi AleHouse in Michigan. All these experiences come together to create Chef Mary’s unique approach, which blends home-cooked comfort foods with the flavors she experiences around the globe.
You will see numerous photos of Chef Mary's creations during CelloChanWoods in the Gallery (many of which incorporate locally grown food purchased at the local farmers market as well as bounteous organic blueberries harvested right in the blueberry fields of Knoll Farm).