Andra Durham, Director: violin, viola

Andra Durham began her teaching career in 1999 as a student teacher at Lawrence University while pursuing her viola performance degree.  In one of her violin courses, she read Shinichi Suzuki’s autobiography, “Nurtured by Love.”  Intrigued, she contacted Chicago-based Suzuki teacher, Edward Kreitman to observe a few lessons, which turned into a year long training in Suzuki Violin Book 1.  The course inspired Andra to become a full-time Suzuki teacher.


Andra has a diverse performance background that includes playing viola for various regional orchestras in the Midwest, being a singer-songwriter with a small following in the Chicago underground rock scene, and playing guitar and singing the part of Nancy Wilson for a Heart Tribute band. She toured nationally for three years playing fiddle with her band, Tin Horse, which lead her to move to Tennessee in 2010. She has since built up a private studio of over 30 violin and viola students.


Andra holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Viola Performance from Lawrence University. Her  teachers include Matthew Michelic, Peter Slowik, Roland Vamos, and Li-Kuo Chang.


Sarah Mitchell: violin

Sarah Mitchell is a Southern native, having “grown up” in Alabama, Tennessee and Texas, and began studying the violin at age 4 1⁄2 as a Suzuki student of the late Dr. Michael Gattozzi at the University of Alabama. After moving to Tennessee, she continued her violin study with Mary Kathryn Vanosdale at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. Her other teachers have included Soh-Hyun Park Altino, Beverly Shin, Julianna Waller and William Hayden. She received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Western Kentucky University and began her Suzuki violin teacher training at the University of Memphis with Kimberly Meier-Sims, earning a Master of Music in Suzuki Pedagogy while completing violin units 1-10. Her violin teacher training also includes courses and workshops with Lorraine Fink, Carrie Reuning-Hummel, Carol Smith, Mark Bjork, Hiroko Driver, Joseph Kaminsky, Mary Cay Neal and Terry Durbin. In addition to her violin study, Sarah has also trained with Dorothy and Sharon Jones to become a Suzuki Early Childhood Education teacher.


In 2003, Sarah was invited to help launch the Pre-College String Program at Western Kentucky University teaching Suzuki violin and beginning viola, and to help introduce string education in the Bowling Green/Warren County public schools as Professional-in-Residence. While in Bowling Green, she was a member of the Bowling Green-Western Symphony Orchestra and the Bowling Green Chamber Orchestra, and played with the Owensboro Symphony on occasion.


For the past ten years, she has been a full-time faculty at Buffalo Suzuki Strings in New York, teaching Suzuki students from birth through 18 years of age. Her advanced students have been invited to perform at the Suzuki Association of the Americas conference, and around the world as members the Buffalo Suzuki Strings Friendship Touring Ensemble. Besides her violin teaching at BSS, she served as lead teacher for the Suzuki Early Childhood Education program for infants and toddlers and directed the Fiddle Club performing group made up of violin, viola, cello and guitar students. Sarah enjoys fiddling, and as a fiddler has performed with Brother Trouble, Danny Potter and Rory Feek.

She is very excited to be back home in Middle Tennessee!


Deidre Bacco: violin

Deidre Fominaya Bacco, and her husband, Sam, moved to Tennessee in 1982, to play with the Nashville Symphony. She holds a performance degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and has been a student of Eloy Fominaya (her father), Myron Kartman, Paul Makara, and Camilla Wicks. Prior to moving to Nashville, she played with the the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham String Quartet, Concertmaster of the Hidden Valley Opera Company in Carmel, California, the San Jose Symphony and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico in Toluca, Mexico. Deidre is a founding member of the Suzuki Center of Nashville, a member of the faculty at St. Cecilia Academy and the W.O. Smith School, and has taught at several workshops and festivals in the area and around the US. She began her interest in the Suzuki Method in 1986 as a Suzuki parent of her 4 year old daughter, taking lessons with her sister, Toni Ferguson, a respected Suzuki teacher in Nashville and a founding members of the MTSA organization.

Deidre Bacco has the following registered training with the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) and maintains an active membership with the SAA. She has taken several courses more than once, to have the opportunity to work with some of her most inspiring violin teachers…
Ronda Cole – Overview 1-5 & Overview 1-6 Carol Dallinger – Bks 7 & 8 (twice)
Pat D’Ercole – Bks 1B, 2 & 3
Ed Kreitman – Bks 1A & 4
Alice Joy Lewis – Bks 4, 5, 6 (twice), 7, Practicum
Alan Lieb – Bk 4
Kay Collier Slone – Bk 1A
Carol Smith – Every Child Can & Bk 6
Tom Wermuth – Unaccompanied Bach, Group Class Techniques (twice)


Christine Schlunk: guitar

Christine Schlunk holds two degrees from the University of Chicago: a Bachelor’s, and a Master’s degree in English, emphasizing teaching and tutoring.  She has been teaching adults and children for 15 years.  Her principle teachers include John Johns of Vanderbilt University, Gustavo Leone of Loyola University, Paul Henry of Roosevelt University, and Inge Tikale in Cologne, Germany.  She is currently working towards her certification for Suzuki guitar, maintains a home studio and continues her interest in teaching art and music for children.  Christine lives with her husband and three children. All three have become fine and happy musicians because of the Suzuki program. Christine began teaching with the Franklin Suzuki Academy in 2004.

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