- Mimi Zweig, Director
- Brenda Brenner, Co Director
- Christina Hightower, Administrator and Coordinator for new students
- Gwen Chan
- Emily Nehus
- Sarah Cranor
- Esteban Hernández Parra
- Morganne Aaberg
- Zoie Hightower
- Michael Klinberg
- Helen Shively Ford
Music Theory Faculty
- Amy Hamburg
Mimi Zweig is currently Professor of Violin at the Jacobs School of Music and Director of the Indiana University String Academy. Since 1972 she has developed pre-college string programs across the United States. She has given master classes and pedagogy workshops in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Israel, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Europe. She has produced Mimi Zweig StringPedagogy.com, an innovative web-based teaching tool, which is being accessed worldwide. In the spring of 2006, American Public Television released the Emmy-nominated documentary, Circling Around — The Violin Virtuosi, featuring String Academy students. Her students have won numerous competitions and teach and perform worldwide.
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Brenda Brenner is Associate Professor of Music Education in the IU Jacobs School of Music, Co-Director of the IU String Academy and the Jacobs School of Music Associate Dean. She recently completed her tenure as President of ASTA (American String Teachers Association). She specializes in the area of string music education, teaching applied violin and courses in violin and string pedagogy. Her String Academy students have been featured in concerts in major venues throughout the United States and Europe. Prior to her arrival at IU, Dr. Brenner was Assistant Professor of Music at Carleton College. Active as a performer, she received her Doctorate in Musical Arts in Violin Performance from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Sylvia Rosenberg, Donald Weilerstein, and the Cleveland Quartet. A member of the award-winning Augustine Quartet, she was a finalist or prize winner in several competitions, including the Banff International Quartet Competition, Concert Artists Guild, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, and Cleveland Competition, and has worked with the Cleveland, Toyko, Juilliard, American and Emerson Quartets.
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Christina Hightower has earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Utah, where she studied with Leonard Braus, served as concertmaster of the University Philharmonic and was a member of the Honors Quartet. She received the Master of Music degree from Indiana University while a student of Mimi Zweig. She has served as the violin coordinator of the Indianapolis String Academy. Currently, in addition to teaching violin, Christina is the Administrative Assistant for the IU String Academy.
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Gwen Chan holds a Master of Music from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she studied with Mimi Zweig, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. Her performing experience includes work both as soloist and orchestral musician, and she is active as a chamber musician. She has extensive experience as a teacher both at the college and pre-college levels, and also serves as violin and viola faculty at Anderson University. Her students have included prizewinners in both local and state competitions.
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Emily Nehus studied violin and music education at IU Jacobs School of Music with Brenda Brenner, Mimi Zweig, Ik-Hwan Bae and Baroque Violin with Stanley Ritchie. Emily also studied with Tiberius Klausner at UMKC Conservatory, and holds a BA degree in English from Grinnell College. In addition to 20 years of teaching for String Academy, she created the Bloomington Project School’s grant-winning Strings program, where she taught for seven years. Currently Emily performs with Cardinal Stage Theatre (Les Miserables, 1776, Shrek: The Musical, West Side Story, Oliver, Peter Pan) and IU Theatre (Into the Woods, Big Fish), and with vocal groups Quarryland Mens’s Chorus and Voces Novae. Emily builds houses with Habitat for Humanity, and will gladly recruit anyone interested in swinging a hammer for a good cause.
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Sarah Cranor is an Associate Instructor at the Historical Performance Institute at the Jacobs School of Music, where she is pursuing her Doctor of Music degree with Stanley Ritchie, with emphases in music education with Mimi Zweig and Brenda Brenner, and modern violin with Grigory Kalinovsky. Sarah performs regularly with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, the Bloomington Bach Cantata Series, the Indiana University New Music Ensemble, and the IU Baroque and Classical Orchestra. Recent collaborations include commissioning a new work for solo baroque violin “Partita for Sarah” by Jake Gunnar Wash, performing at the Berwick Academy at the Oregon Bach Festival and the Junges Stuttgarter Bach Ensemble and the Weimarer Bachkantaten-Akademie under the batons of Helmuth Rilling and Hans-Christoph Rademann. She presented a guest Convocation lecture and Guest Artist Recital at Western State Colorado University, and performed at the new music and entrepreneurial festival “fresh inc”, the Amherst Early Music Festival and the Hot Springs Music Festival. She produced and performed “Strings for Kinshasa”, a benefit concert for the Kinshasa Symphony in the Congo, which raised funds to purchase a complete set of violin, viola and cello strings for every member of the adult and youth symphonies. She is passionate about teaching and performing early music and historical performance practice, incorporating stylistic specifics at all levels of violin pedagogy, as well as music of living composers, and the related freedom and sonic possibilities in music from these opposite time periods. She also teaches with the Fairview Violin Project and teaches courses in baroque improvisation to middle school instrumentalists.
Esteban Hernández Parra
Colombian violist born in 1992, his love for music was nurtured by his parents since his early childhood; Esteban learnt viola and piano from his father and inherited his mother’s passion for music education. In his country, he has performed solo and chamber music recitals, taught viola and violin masterclasses and led orchestral viola sections since 2010. Esteban also studied baroque viola with Prof. Stanley Ritchie, performing with baroque ensembles in Bloomington, IN and Bogotá D.C. He has been recently invited to perform, as viola principal in the merging of youth and professional ensembles of the Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra (August 2018), as a soloist with the Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra (October 2018), and as part of the Bogotá Baroque Ensemble (July 2019).
As a pedagogue, he studied violin and viola pedagogy with Prof. Mimi Zweig and is currently co-instructor of violin in the Tunaweza Kimuziki project at the Kabarak University (Kenya); he was assistant viola teacher in the pre-college strings program of the Colombian National University Conservatoire, he was invited as a faculty member of the 2017 “Festival Interuniversitario de Violistas de Bogotá”, and has gained invaluable experience under the guidance of Dr. Brenda Brenner while leading group violin classes at the Fairview Violin Project (Bloomington, IN). He obtained a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance degree at the Fundación Universitaria Juan N. Corpas (Bogotá, Colombia) in 2014 as part of the studio of Prof. Aníbal Dos Santos, a Master of Music degree and a Performer Diploma in Solo Viola Performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the guidance of Prof. Stephen P. Wyrczynski in 2016 and 2017, and he is currently pursuing a doctorate in viola performance with a minor in music education at the same institution.
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Violinist Morganne Aaberg is a founding member of the interdisciplinary ensemble Artists By Any Other Name. With Artists By Any Other Name, Morganne performed in and produced shows featuring chamber music, dance, drama, and visual art in the US and abroad. Morganne enjoys teaching violin and music literacy classes. She has served on the faculties of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Diller-Quaile School of Music, Cuyahoga Community College’s Orchestra Program, and Cleveland Institute of Music’s Sato Center for Suzuki Studies. Morganne has taught at several summer festivals, including Midsummer Sound (Barrie, Ontario) and the Meadowmount School of Music (Westport, NY), where she served as assistant to Dr. Ann Setzer (Juilliard/Mannes). Morganne earned a masters degree in violin performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a bachelors of music in violin performance from the Mannes School of Music. Morganne is currently working towards a PhD in music education at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.
Zola (“Zoie”) Hightower is a graduate of University of Michigan where she studied with Danielle Belen (violin) and Caroline Coade (viola). She was a member of the Indiana University Virtuosi for six years, studying with Mimi Zweig and Brenda Brenner, and has been a featured soloist and ensemble performer on stages and in concert halls in America, Europe, Canada and South America. She has soloed with the South Shore Orchestra, New World Youth Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Zoie has been invited to Carnegie Hall to perform on multiple occasions, both on violin and viola. At University of Michigan, she was selected as Principal Viola for the 2016–2017 season and was selected Concerto Master 2018–2019. Zoie was a finalist in the undergraduate concerto competition on viola in 2018. As a pedagogue, Zoie has been a Teaching Artist at the Aspen Music Festival Roaring Fork Valley Youth Summer Workshop, Blue Hill Youth Summer Program (through Kniesel Hall), Fairview Project in Bloomington (with Dr. Brenda Brenner), the Heartbeat Project (a free music two-week summer workshop for children K–12 of the Navajo Nation), and Center Stage Strings. She also has a thriving private studio of her own, consisting of violinists and violists ages 5–28. Her students have been accepted to and received awards from prestigious musical institutions such as Bowdoin, Illinois Chamber Music Festival, and Center Stage Strings.
Michael Klinberg is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance, studying violin with Mimi Zweig. His performing experience includes work as a chamber, solo, and orchestral player. Before this, he was a member of the IU String Academy, studying with Maria José Romero and Mimi Zweig. As a pedagogue, Michael has been teaching students at the IU String Academy for three years, studying pedagogy under Professor Mimi Zweig and Dr. Brenda Brenner. His work has included teaching alongside Professor Lucia May at IU Summer String Academy for two years, as well as working in the Fairview Project in Bloomington, under the guidance of Dr. Brenda Brenner.
Helen Shively Ford, cello and chamber music. Previously, Helen was on the faculty of the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, where she also served as string department chair and chamber music coordinator. She earned her BM and MM degrees at the University of Minnesota, studying with Tanya Remenikova and Robert Jamieson. Helen was a member of the Minneapolis-based Sartory String Quartet and performed with the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble, and other regional ensembles. She was active in the contemporary music scene in Austin, Texas, as a member of the group Audio Inversions and as a frequent guest with the University of Texas New Music Ensemble. Currently, Helen performs as a member of the Bloomington chamber music collective, Studio in Bloom.
Amy Hamburg-Mead currently teaches music theory at the String Academy and also plays the carillon at Indiana University. She studied piano with Julian Martin at Peabody Conservatory, then attended the University of Kansas, where she completed a degree in music theory with minors in piano and composition. She pursued graduate studies in theory and piano at the University of Michigan. She has taught music theory at Eastern Michigan University, Spring Arbor University, as well as at the University of Michigan. While at Michigan she performed regularly on the Burton Tower Carillon. In addition to her theory teaching, Amy has performed with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra.
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