Praised by The Boston Globe as having a “full tone” and a “striking generosity of expression,” violinist Francesca Bass will join the Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s first violin section at the start of their ’23/24 season after having been a member of the NSO’s second violin section for their ’22/23 season. Francesca has appeared as Concertmaster of several orchestras including the Verbier Festival Orchestra, the Ann Arbor Symphony, the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, and the Canton Symphony Orchestra, and has also performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra.
She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music as a student of Jaime Laredo, Joel Smirnoff, and Jinjoo Cho, and received her Master of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music as a student of Paul Kantor. At the age of fifteen, Francesca appeared on the NPR program “From the Top”, performing Zigeunerwiesien by Sarasate in Boston’s Jordan Hall with pianist Christopher O’Reilly, and has appeared in recital and as concerto soloist with a variety of orchestras in the New England area. Francesca has extensive chamber music experience, and has collaborated with musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra as well as with the late Joseph Silverstein at the Meadowmount School of Music.
In 2019 Francesca performed as part of a piano quintet throughout Asia for Lincoln Center Stage on Holland America’s Westerdam. As a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center in 2018 and 2019, she coached intensively with members of the Juilliard Quartet. She has played in solo and chamber music masterclasses for eminent artists such as Pinchas Zukerman, Noah Bendix-Balgley, Sharon Robinson, Ani Kafavian, and Pamela Frank. Francesca has been a recipient of multiple awards, including the Cleveland Institute of Music Anna Y. Tringas Award for Violin and the Tanglewood Music Center Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize.
Lessons Offered: Suzuki Violin
Sarah Cote has been on the Faculty of Belmont University since 2003. She performs as a member of the Belmont Camerata and has performed as a recitalist and also as a soloist with the university orchestra and the Choral ensembles. Ms. Cote also teaches Suzuki violin and viola through the Belmont Academy, and teaches string Pedagogy of the violin and viola.
Before moving to Nashville, Ms. Cote was a member of the San Antonio Symphony for 17 years. In San Antonio, Ms. Cote was a frequent performer on the Musicopia chamber series and was a frequent guest performer with other chamber groups. She was also an active member of the San Antonio Symphony’s Music Advancement Program for inner city children, serving as an instructor and a member of the steering committee.
Sarah Cote has been a member of the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival since 1995 and performs as a member of the Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra and the Eastern Chamber players. She enjoys teaching viola students from around the world and runs a morning “viola boot camp”.
Ms. Cote has also played with the Nashville Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony, and performed at the Piccolo Spoleto, Fontana, Blowing Rock, Aspen, and Garth Newell summer festivals. Ms. Cote also performs as a Baroque violist with Music City Baroque and with Belmont faculty as a member of Early Music City. Ms Cote has also performed as a member of the Stones River chamber ensemble and the Tippecanoe Chamber Society. In addition, Ms Cote was a guest artist on the American Viola Society Facebook page in 2019 and has performed and lectured at the American Viola Society Festival.
Ms. Cote holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Indiana University. She did postgraduate work as a special student at Oberlin Conservatory. Her viola teachers include Jeffrey Irvine, Lynne Ramsay-Irvine, Patricia McCarty, Karen Tuttle, and Mimi Zweig. In addition, she did orchestral studies with Lynne Ramsay-Irvine, Patricia McCarty, Ellen Rose, Joseph DePasquale, Leonard Davis, Thomas Dumm, and Josef Gingold. She studied Baroque violin and viola with Marilyn MacDonald and Simon Standage.
Sarah Cote studied string pedagogy with Carol Dallinger and Mimi Zweig. She has registered Suzuki violin training to book 10 and Music Mind Games level 1 training.
Lessons Offered: Suzuki Violin/Viola
Caroline Farmer is the Assistant Supervisor for serials at the Lila D. Bunch Library here at Belmont University. She received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and a Master of Music from Appalachian State University. Caroline has worked as a staff member for the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestras and Cannon Music Camp, where she conducted ensemble rehearsals, led sectionals, and taught private lessons. Ms. Farmer also served as the Concertmaster of the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra and a section violinist for the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Caroline Farmer teaches private lessons and performs for local events in and around Nashville.
Lessons Offered: Violin
Anna Lisa Hoepfinger
Anna Lisa is excited about the Suzuki Program at Belmont Academy, joining teachers Sarah Coté and Ian Robinson. Being part of a larger teaching community by combining recitals and classes offers many rewards. She loves how this approach at Belmont builds success.
Anna Lisa is a tutti first violinist in the Nashville Symphony (since 2002). She has also been in the Eastwood Ensemble Chamber Music Group and has joined other members of the Nashville Symphony to teach and perform in ensembles in the schools throughout Nashville.
She co-founded a Suzuki Violin Program in the Nashville Symphony’s “One Note One Neighborhood” partnership through the W.O. Smith School (2009-2015). Anna Lisa has also served on the board of the Middle Tennessee Suzuki Association (2009-2020). She taught Suzuki violin in Franklin at the former Franklin Suzuki School and at the East Nashville Center for the Creative Arts. She studied Suzuki violin as a child with Carol Dallinger at the University of Evansville.
Her Suzuki training includes courses with Edward Kreitman, author of “Teaching from the Balance Point”, Michele Higa George, Joanne Melvin (Book 1), Rebecca Sandrok (Book 2), Ronda Cole (Suzuki Books 3, 4 and Overview Books 1-6), Nancy Jackson (Book 5), Linda Fiore (Books 6 and 7), Alice Joy Lewis (Technical Skills across Suzuki Rep Bks. 1 – 6), and Carol Dallinger (Book 8).
Anna Lisa has a Master’s degree in Music Performance from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Performance from Oberlin Conservatory. She studied Violin Performance with Paul Kantor, Roland Vamos and Almita Vamos.
Lessons Offered: Suzuki Violin
Nashville native Carrie Kimbrough is the Director of Belmont Academy—the pre-college and community music program at Belmont University’s School of Music. She received both her B.M. in classical violin performance and her M.M in violin pedagogy (with an emphasis in early music) from Belmont University. Her Master’s thesis was titled Teaching with Style: Baroque Music for Modern Players Learning through the Suzuki Method.
Carrie teaches traditional violin lessons at Belmont Academy, and her students also regularly participate in Mid-State Orchestras, area youth orchestras (including the Curb Youth Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Reparatory Orchestra and Ethos Youth Ensembles) various school/church programs and summer camps in and around Nashville. In addition to teaching private lessons, Carrie also enjoys teaching music theory and music history classes at Belmont Academy and is the Director of two of Belmont’s Summer Music Camps—String Crossings Camp and the Preparatory Piano Camp. Carrie delights in sharing her love of music with students at all ages and stages.
An avid early music enthusiast, Carrie performs regularly with Music City Baroque, an early music ensemble in Nashville, TN. She is also currently serving as secretary on the Music City Baroque Board.
Lessons Offered: Violin
Ian Robinson started Suzuki cello at age four because his parents said he was “too much trouble and needed something to do.” Now he is a cellist and teacher in Nashville, TN. Ian went to Indiana University, where he was the last student of the legendary cellist Janos Starker. He went to grad school at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he received degrees in Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy. Passionate about teaching, he is the Suzuki cello instructor at Belmont, and has a private studio in Franklin.
Ian frequently works as a studio musician, and has played on over 75 major projects for companies like Netflix, Disney, Amazon, EA Games, Bungie and Major League Soccer. He plays bass and mandolin as well, and has performed in many genres, from jazz big band to hard rock to country. Outside of music, he enjoys hiking and board games, and collecting too many potted plants.
Lessons Offered: Suzuki Cello and Bass
Katja Yeager is an active orchestral player, chamber musician, studio musician, and dedicated teacher, and she is excited to join the Suzuki Program at Belmont Academy this year. Katja is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Viola Performance as a student of Jeffrey Irvine and of Lynne Ramsey.
Her orchestral experience as a leader and section player includes performances with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, Verbier Festival Orchestra, New World Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, and Canton Symphony. She has performed under distinguished conductors such as Manfred Honeck, Valery Gergiev, Lahav Shani, Matthias Pintscher, Theodore Kuchar, and Fabio Luisi; and with internationally recognized soloists such as Kristof Barati, Joshua Bell, Renaud Capucon, Jinjoo Cho, Joelle Harvey, and Golda Schultz. In addition to her Proms debut at Royal Albert Hall in 2013 as a member of the inaugural National Youth Orchestra of the United States, Katja toured Southeast Asia with the Lincoln Center Stage Piano Quintet aboard the MS Westerdam in 2019. Previous years have seen Katja performing at private events, community concerts, and at American music festivals including the Castleman Quartet Program, Bowdoin International Music Festival, and Aspen Music Festival as a fellowship recipient.
Initially trained as a Suzuki Method violinist in the Northern Virginia area where she grew up, she credits the foundations of her musical appreciation and technique to her very first teachers, David Strom (Northern Virginia Suzuki Music School) and Tsuna Sakamoto (National Symphony Orchestra). Other influential teachers and mentors include Victoria Chiang, Caroline Coade, Daniel Foster, Dimitri Murrath, and George Taylor. In addition to her work at Belmont, Katja will join Tennessee State University as Adjunct Professor of Violin & Viola for the 2023-2024 school year.
Lessons Offered: Suzuki Violin/Viola