Key to Change is thrilled to offer our students master classes with distinguished guest artists from around the world. This school year our students will have the opportunity to work with the following renowned musicians
Noah Geller, violin
Studio Classes: September 26, October 9, October 31, December 5, 2023 January 9, January 16, March 5
Violinist Noah Geller has performed extensively throughout the United States and abroad. After being named Kansas City Symphony concertmaster in 2012, Geller was appointed David & Amy Fulton Concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony in 2018. He is an instructor here at Key to Change.
Geller began his professional career in the ﬁrst violin section of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2007 while still pursuing his master’s degree, and served as acting assistant concertmaster there in 2010 and 2011. Geller has also performed as guest concertmaster with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the China National Symphony Orchestra. An active chamber musician, Geller has performed at the Marlboro, Tanglewood, Kingston, Saratoga, Heartland, and Taos festivals, and he has appeared on the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Lyric Chamber Music Society series, among others. He is an original member of Shir Ami, an ensemble dedicated to the music of composers whose lives were adversely affected by the Holocaust.
Geller received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with Hyo Kang, Donald Weilerstein, and Cho-Liang Lin. Geller currently lives in Kansas City with his wife, percussionist Mari Yoshinaga, and their dog, Monkey. He performs on a violin made by Andreas Postacchini c. 1840.
Learn more about Noah Geller here.
Daniel Dona, viola
Tuesday, October 30, 2023 5:00pm pacific
Daniel Doña has distinguished himself as an active performer and pedagogue. Daniel serves on the viola faculty of Boston University alongside his duties as Assistant Chair of the String Department, Coordinator of String Chamber Music, and Lecturer of String Pedagogy and String Literature. He has also taught at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute String Quartet Workshop and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. Dr. Doña is a member of the prizewinning Arneis Quartet.
Dr. Doña received his AB in Philosophy from the University of Chicago, where he was awarded the inaugural David Fulton Award for excellence in instrumental performance. He received his MM in Viola Performance from the University of Oklahoma where he studied with Matthew Dane (viola) and Felicia Moye (violin). At Boston University he studied with Michelle LaCourse, Steven Ansell and Ed Gazouleas. He received his PD and DMA from BU and was a two-time recipient of the String Department Award.
Learn more about Dr. Dona here.
Christian Howes, violin
November 9, 2023 5:00pm pacific
Violinist, educator and composer, Christian Howes was voted #1 in the Downbeat Critics Poll (“Rising Stars/Violin”), named among the top three jazz violinists in the JazzTimes critics poll, and nominated for Violinist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association. He received the Residency Partner Award through Chamber Music America, earned a USArtists grant through the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and was invited by the U.S. State department to teach and perform as a cultural ambassador twice, in Ukraine and Montenegro. His release on Resonance Records, “Southern Exposure” earned recognition in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, Jazz Times, as well as a six-night run at Lincoln Center. His release, “American Spirit” was named among the Best Jazz Albums of 2015 by the Huffington Post. Howes is the founder of “Creative Strings“, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to expand music education through the creation of an online curriculum, an annual summer conference, and dozens of visits to schools annually teaching improvisation, contemporary styles, and related subjects. He endorses Yamaha violins and D’Addario strings.
Learn more about Christian Howes here.
Curtis Stewart, violin
December 6, 2023 5:00pm pacific
Based in New York, Curtis Stewart enjoys an eclectic career bouncing between various realms of music: from MTV specials with Wyclef Jean and sold out shows at Madison Square Garden with Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Seal, to stints at the Kennedy Center with the Jimmy Heath Big Band and performance installations at the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has performed as a classical soloist at Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall, as a special guest soloist/curator with the New York Philharmonic “Bandwagon,” held chamber music residencies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival. His ensembles PUBLIQuartet and The Mighty Third Rail realize a vision to find personal and powerful connections between styles, cultures, and music. He is the Chamber Music & New Juilliard Ensemble Manager at the Juilliard School, in NYC.
Last year, Curtis served as the Composer in Residence for Key to Change.
Learn more about Curtis Stewart here.
Denise Dillenbeck, violin
February 27, 2024 5:00pm pacific
A radiant violinist that delivers extraordinary performances imbued with imagination and insight, Denise Dillenbeck is “simply first-rate.” (San Francisco Chronicle) Celebrated for her work as a soloist, Dillenbeck offers “gripping and technically accomplished [interpretations]… at once soulful and well-reasoned,” (The Oregonian) of both classic repertoire and breathtaking new masterworks. Dillenbeck’s recent and upcoming solo engagements include a tour of China with the American Festival Orchestra in addition to appearances with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, Washington-Idaho Symphony, Boise Baroque Orchestra, Sinfonietta Nova, and Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra among others. With her “long-lined phrases and unflagging focus,” (The Oregonian) As concertmaster, Dillenbeck leads the Yakima Symphony, York Symphony, Lake Chelan Bach Festival Orchestra, and the Northwest Sinfonietta with “dynamic nuances and virtuosic aplomb.” (The Oregonian) An avid chamber musician within the region’s leading chamber ensembles, Dillenbeck imparts “subtlety, honesty, and vulnerability, with a rarefied tone.” (The Tacoma News Tribune) Career highlights also include tours of Europe and America with the Philadelphia Orchestra, membership in the Oregon Symphony, and performances and coaching opportunities as part of the American Church of Paris, Siletz Bay Music Festival, Westminster Choir College, Bravo Summer String Institute, Max Aronoff Viola Institute, Charles Castleman’s Quartet Program, Icicle Creek Summer Academy, Oregon Bach Festival, Ernest Bloch Festival, Chautauqua Music Institute, Musicorda, and the International Congress of Strings. Through her board membership, volunteer work, teaching, writing, and by modeling and mentoring empowered female roles, Dillenbeck enriches her communities with visionary thought leadership.
Learn more about Denise here.