Trained as a classical violinist, musicologist, and a Suzuki violin teacher, Mariana Dimitrova has developed a teaching method that begins with Dr. Suzuki’s early childhood education and gradually introduces the elements of traditional violin schooling along with the basics of music theory. Her goal is to help students to pursue excellence in music and to bring each of them to their maximum potential.
Mariana Dimitrova has been a member of the Holy Names Music Center faculty since 2008. During this time, her students were among the medalists at the Classics Alive Young Artists Auditions and Musicfest Northwest as well as the winners of Holy Names Music Center’s Talent Grant.
A native of Bulgaria, Mariana Dimitrova graduated from Sofia School of Music as a violinist and then went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Musicology from the famed St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia. She holds a Doctoral Degree in Music History from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
Garnik Goukasian – Violin
Master of Violin Performance from the St. Petersburg Conservatory; studied with Elena Komarova. Featured soloist of St. Petersburg Student Orchestra and Yerevan Chamber Orchestra. Professor of Violin at Sofia Music School (1981-90). Solo recitals at Yerevan, Edmonton (Canada), and faculty recitals at HNMC. From 1981 to 1990, he worked in the Bulgarian Radio Orchestra and Festival Orchestra. Performed and recorded with Valery Gergiev, Emil Tchakarov, Maurizio Arena, and Alexander Lazarev; toured Spain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Greece, Poland, and Japan.
Member of Spokane Symphony (1990 – 2010). Faculty member at HNMC since 1991. Co-director of Honors Chamber Music Program. Web page: http://goukaslukas.weebly.com/
Margie Heller – Violin, Viola, Fiddle, Suzuki Violin/Viola
Attended Oberlin College. Founding member of Woodlands Community Orchestra. Has been teaching violin, viola, and fiddle since 1977. Trained in Violin Suzuki method. Performances with Connoisseur Concerts, Spokane Bach Festival, Lake Chelan Bach Fest, 22 years with Spokane Symphony, and the Klezmer music group Chutzpah. Previous faculty member of Holy Names Music Center in 1980 and from 1987-1993. An active member of the Spokane Folklore Society.
After earning her Master’s degree in viola performance from the University of Minnesota in 2013, Jessica Jasper has lived in her home state of Washington. Since then, she has enjoyed being a freelance violist and violinist, chamber musician and teacher. She has been a tenured violist in the Spokane Symphony Orchestra since 2012, and a tenured violist with the Northwest Sinfonietta chamber orchestra since 2013. She also recently won the position of Assistant Principal viola of Yakima Symphony orchestra.
Jessica loves traveling, and her musical career has taken her around the globe– In the summer of 2010 she studied abroad in Vienna, Austria and performed solo recitals as part of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars program. In the fall of 2014, she traveled to Gumi, South Korea and played as part of the Gumi International Music Festival. The past few summers, she has had the pleasure of rafting through the Grand Canyon, performing string quartets in natural amphitheaters along the Colorado River. She just returned from a tour to China with the American Festival Orchestra.
Jessica is excited to have recently moved to Spokane after making a several hour-long commute to the symphony for the past seven years. She can’t wait to spend far fewer hours in the car, and more hours playing and teaching music, hiking and enjoying nature!
Claire Keeble – Viola, Violin
Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Redlands in California; studied with John Golz. Further studies at the University of Iowa under Charles Tregor. Played with Francesco Trio in Grinnell, Iowa for three years, from 1969-1972. Principal viola of Spokane Symphony from 1975 to 2000. Studied strings pedagogy, including Suzuki classes, under Mimi Zweig at Indiana University in 2002. Performed with the Spokane String Quartet for 19 years, including tours in Germany and Taiwan. Performs with Tedesca Piano Quartet. Faculty member at Holy Names Music Center since 1993. Faculty Representative on Holy Names Music Center’s Board of Trustees.
Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Performance from Eastern Washington University; studied with Kelly Farris. Member of Strolling Strings of U.S. Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. from 1985-1993; studied with William Steck, concertmaster of National Symphony in D.C. Violinist in Spokane Symphony.
Duo Xu – Violin
A notable Chinese violinist, Dr. Duo Xu is an international music competition award winner and serves as Chair of the Judging Panel for String Instruments at Zhongsing International Music Competition in Singapore. Duo is the first Chinese violinist to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree from the world-renowned St. Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia. He also earned an
Artist Diploma from Ball State University, Indiana, where he received superior violin and conducting education from A. Vayman and Maestro B. Rattay. Duo has been invited to serve as Guest Concertmaster with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia, Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra and Shreveport Symphony Orchestra in the U.S.A. He also has received invitations to give master classes in China and Singapore.
In 2010, Duo was appointed Associate Principal Second Violin of the China National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra in Beijing. With the NCPAO, he has partaken in over 200 performances of various concerts, operas and ballets. He has had the privilege to work with some of the most world-renowned conductors of our time, including Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Vladimir Ashkenazi, Christoph Eschenbach and Günther Herbig. Duo Xu has participated in concert tours through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea and the U.S.A. His music festival appearances include Salzburg Music Festival, Stuttgart Beethoven Music Festival, Luzern Music Festival and the Schleswig – Holstein Music Festival, among others.