Winter Workshop 2019

Loma Linda Academy

January 20-21, 2019


The LLA String Program’s annual Winter Workshop is an intensive two-day event for string students enrolled in our Suzuki string program. Modeled after Suzuki summer institutes, it is intended to give each student a chance to focus on the study of their instrument with world-class guest faculty from all over the country. 

Both days, the schedule will include:

  • Masterclasses: a short individual lesson with a master teacher, set up so that other students and parents can also learn from observing the lesson
  • Group class: based on the Suzuki repertoire (for books 1-5) or advanced repertoire
  • Orchestra for more advanced students
  • Enrichment activity for younger students
  • Improvisation

On Monday afternoon, we will finish with a grand finale concert at 4:30 PM in Chan Auditorium.

All classes will take place on the campus of Loma Linda Academy. Parents of students younger than age 13 are required to accompany their students during the day. During free periods, students may practice, read a book or catch up on homework, or just relax with their friends and family. Lunch is not provided; parents must bring along a sack lunch or accompany their children off campus (students may ONLY leave campus with their parents, unless previous arrangements are made with String Program faculty). Childcare is not provided, but parents are encouraged to bring their other children as well for observation.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Kime Popa, LLASP Director, at


2019 Workshop Guest Faculty

Liz ArbusLiz Arbus, (violin) is an SAA Sanctioned Teacher Trainer. Liz received her Bachelors Degree in Music Education at Illinois State University and her Masters Degree in Violin Performance at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville where she studied with the renowned Suzuki Teacher Trainer, John Kendall. She became director of Suzuki Talent Education in Pasadena (STEP) in 2002. She enjoys teaching at Suzuki Institutes all over the United States. Liz studies Baroque performance practice along with continuing musical education at independent and Suzuki workshops . Ms. Arbus has also taught in the Joliet, Il. Public Schools (1978), Suzuki violin in Berkeley, Calif. 1980-1985 and with the Pasadena Suzuki Music Program 1985—2004. In teaching children I see the hope and joy that learning brings. In learning the violin, children do a step-by-step process of discovery which carries over into every aspect of life. The Suzuki Method aids in this growth process with consistent nurturing from both parent and teacher. Suzuki Institutes provide an enjoyable environment to motivate students, parents and teachers. Being able to produce music can create self-assurance and an inner joy. Listening to music can soothe our hearts and minds. I hope through my teaching I can create a lifelong connection to a marvelous musical tradition.

Megan Shung SmithMegan Shung Smith, (violin and improvisation) graduated with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music with honors, studying under David Updegraff, and also earned her Suzuki pedagogy certifications with Kimberly Meier-Sims. Upon graduation, she continued her studies with Paul Kantor in Houston, TX for two years. Past mentors include Richard Schwabe and Henry Gronnier at the Colburn School of Performing Arts. Megan’s honors include the 2011 Dr. Jerome D. Gross Prize in Violin from the Cleveland Institute of Music and 2008 International House of Blues Foundation Ambassador Scholarship.

She is currently a Suzuki violin/viola faculty and department coordinator at the Pasadena Conservatory of Music. In addition, she spends her summer teaching at numerous institutes with a specialty in jazz and improv.

Kathleen SpringKathleen Spring, (violin) a 1974 graduate of Walla Walla University, has also studied at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Vienna with Eduard Melkus and with Alan Bodman at Washington State University. She received a M.Mus. in Violin performance with James Maurer from the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.

Honors include the ASTA Outstanding Studio Teacher Award for Washington State,1996. Con Brio, her Jr. Hi. string ensemble performed at the Washington MENC convention, 1998. Her violin studio performance group, Spring Strings, performs regularly in the Denver metro area and has participated studio exchange tours with both Swiss and Belgian Suzuki students in Switzerland.

A registered Teacher Trainer, Kathleen teaches workshops the US, has guest taught in both Europe and Asia. She teaches Suzuki Violin Pedagogy in the long-term Suzuki Pedagogy Program at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music and maintains an active studio in the Denver metro area.

Elizabeth Wright (cello)

Elizabeth WrightA native of North Carolina, Elizabeth Wright received her B.A. in Cello Performance from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996, where she studied with Ronald Leonard.

Currently, she plays with the New West Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony, the Long Beach Opera, the Long Beach Ballet, and the chamber music series, Jacaranda: Music at the Edge of Santa Monica. A versatile performer, Ms. Wright has shared the stage with Zubin Mehta, Michael Tilson-Thomas, David Zinman, Ivan Fischer, John Williams, John Clayton, Vince Mendoza, David Newman, Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, Christian McBride, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mandel, Terence Blanchard, Billy Childs, Ben Harper, Kelly Clarkson, and Whitney Houston. She is also an active studio musician for film and television; her work includes The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the HillAmerican Dad, American Idol, The Voice, and X-Factor. 

In 2000, she earned her M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from UCLA and concluded six years of directing the Westwood Chamber Orchestra, which she founded in 1994. Soon after, she became the Associate Music Director of the Henry Mancini Institute. She has attended festivals at Tanglewood and Aspen, and studied conducting under Mehli Mehta, Gustav Meier, and Larry Rachleff.

A passionate educator, Ms. Wright has designed and implemented educational outreach programs for the Young Musicians Foundation and the Pasadena Pops Orchestra. She has taught cello, violin, and general music for the YMF Youth Mentor Artist Program, Children’s Music Workshop, the American Youth Symphony String Project, and the Henry Mancini Institute, as well as the LAUSD and Santa Monica-Malibu School districts. Ms. Wright also served as the Director of the Los Angeles Suzuki Institute, and on the faculty of the Harmony Project and Mount Saint Mary’s College. In 2016, she launched three new summer programs:  ChamberFest, SuzukiFest, and CelloFest.

Ms. Wright is a Suzuki cello teacher and maintains a private studio in Los Angeles.  She also serves on the faculty of the Colburn School.

Nancy YamagataNancy Yamagata (cello) began her cello studies in Los Angeles with Eleonore Schoenfeld. She received a Bachelor Degree in Music Education from the University of Southern California where she was awarded Outstanding Graduate. In 1986 she was awarded the SHAR Distinguished Young Teacher Award by the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Ms. Yamagata has concertized extensively as a chamber musician with the Young International Trio, winning prizes in the 1974 and 1975 Coleman Chamber Music Competition. She is a founding member of the Marina Ensemble and is the cello coordinator of the Suzuki String Program at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts. Ms. Yamagata was formerly the director of the Chamber Music Workshop at the Los Angeles Suzuki Institute and has served on the 

Board of the Association of California. In addition, Ms. Yamagata is a registered teacher trainer in the Suzuki method and has taught at numerous institutes and workshops throughout the United States and Canada, including the National Cello Institute at Pomona College.

Alvaro G. Diaz Rodriguez (conductor) studied music at the Centro de Estudios Musicales de la Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) and the Escuela Nacional de Música de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), having as main teachers Boris Glouzman, Susan Barret, Carmen Thierry and Julio Estrada. He also holds a BA in History from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, a specialty in Cultural Policy and Management from the UAM-Iztapalapa, a Masters in Teaching and is currently a PhD candidate in Music with a specialty in Historical Musicology from the Universidad Católica Argentina. 

Rodriguez has been invited to give concerts and conferences in various universities, festivals and congresses in Mexico, France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, England, Holland, Portugal, Italy, Canada, USA, Cuba and Argentina. Within his publications he has several articles in music and aesthetic research journals, and he has written chapters for various books.

He is currently the musical director of the Ensenada Chamber Orchestra, and the Founding Patron of the IAP Music and Art Networks Project Foundation, focused mainly on the support of children and young people with limited resources, through music. He is a full time Research Professor at the UABC. He has received several scholarships and distinctions for his career, among which stand out: fellow as orchestral director of the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (2010-2011 / 2015-2016) and in 2011 he was named Distinguished Citizen of Ensenada, for his artistic career.


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