Noah Luft-Weissberg discovered his great-grandfather’s violin in the closet of his childhood home in Niskayuna, New York when he was two years old, and since then he has never put it down. During high school, he joined the Empire State Youth Orchestra as concertmaster, and he attended the New York State Summer School of the Arts’ orchestral studies program with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mr. Luft-Weissberg obtained Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Violin Performance at Temple University, where he studied under William Depasquale, former concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2008 and 2010 he was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Colorado, serving as Principal Second Violin and soloist. After university, Noah played with the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra, Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, and Catskill Orchestra. He currently resides in Manhattan, freelancing and teaching.
All Violin Teachers
Nicholas Alexander Wilson, P.S. 114
Nicholas is a graduate of George Mason University’s music program and has been teaching privately for over 12 years. Nicholas is a member of Park Quartet, a resident quartet in Brooklyn through the Park Church Co-Op, which showcases new works and collaborates with local composers and artists. Nicholas also works in sound healing, providing musical therapy in yoga and meditation settings as well as private sessions.
Julia Danitz, P.S. 124
Violinist Julia Danitz is a graduate of the Juilliard School with a Master’s degree under the tutelage of Masao Kawasaki and Li Lin. Prior to her graduate studies; she completed a Bachelor’s degree at Columbia University, where she was enrolled in the rigorous dual degree Columbia-Juilliard exchange program. She has been a fellow at many prestigious summer music festivals including the Tanglewood Music Center, Spoleto Festival USA, Aspen Music Festival and School, and Bowdoin International Music Festival. She has collaborated with a number of iconic musicians, including most recently Yo-Yo Ma with the Silk Road Ensemble. When not performing, Julia is a devoted teacher, maintaining a full studio of private violin students. Her students have gone on to be accepted to notable pre-college programs such as Juilliard Pre-College and Manhattan School of Music Pre-College, as well as Youth Symphony programs, such as the New Jersey Youth Symphony and New York Youth Symphony.
Marija Kovacevic, P.S. 124
Born in Serbia, Marija began playing violin when she was seven years old. From the age of 10 she started training, under the tutelage of Georgy Zazrovic, at The School for Musically Gifted Children in Cuprija, one of three institutes in Europe exclusively devoted to the teaching of stringed instruments. During these years, and before moving on to university, she traveled throughout Europe, competing and winning multiple summa cum laude musical festival awards for solo and ensemble playing. Marija earned her Master’s degree and graduated in 2010 from the University for Music Arts in Belgrade. Marija has performed in many ensembles with musicians of varying genres (including Willie Colon, Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, Marie Christine Katz, Ibo Cooper, Freddy McGregor, Ken Boothe, Hamish Kilgour). Along with exploring and expanding her repertoire, Marija privately teaches violin to students of all skill levels.
Katie von Braun, MS 358Q
Katie von Braun received her Master’s degree in violin performance from the San Francisco Conservatory, and her Bachelor of Music with a minor in anthropology from the University of Michigan. She is currently on faculty with Opus 118 East Harlem School of Music, and Fort Lee School of Music. She has also taught violin at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, Amabile School of Music, BLUME Haiti, and Conservatory in the Schools in San Francisco. In New York City, Katie is Concertmaster of Utopia Opera and Blue Hill Theatre Troupe, and also performs with the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of the Bronx and Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. She has held the position of Concertmaster at Opera in the Ozarks, San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, Brevard Festival Orchestra and Phillips Academy Chamber Orchestra. Katie is a former student of Ian Swensen and Yehonatan Berick.
Abby Swidler, P.S. 107
Abby Swidler is a performer, composer, and educator. A violinist, violist, and vocalist, Abby is a passionate collaborator with a versatile performance career. She received a Bachelor in Music in Violin Performance from Eastman School of Music and a Master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation from The New England Conservatory. Originally from Missoula, MT, she currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. She has performed across North America, Central America, and Europe and both performs her own compositions and is a thoughtful and imaginative interpreter of the music of others. She frequently performs with NYC’s Ennio Morricone inspired Italian film score band, Tredici Bacci, and performs her own compositions with a variety of ensembles in concert spaces and in collaboration with film, dance, and theater.
Kelly Flynn, Copiague Middle School, Harmony Program Youth Orchestra South
Kelly Flynn is the Lead Harmony Teacher at the D’Addario location on Long Island. She is also the assistant teacher for Harmony Program Youth Orchestra South, created Fall 2016. This is her third year teaching with Harmony Program.
Violinist Leerone Hakami began her studies at age five. She attended Mannes Pre-College, and currently studies with Lewis Kaplan at The Juilliard School. She has had the pleasure of collaborating with various musicians ranging from the ICE Ensemble to DJ LibraNine. With a passion for teaching, Leerone is the co-founder of The Heartbeat Project- a workshop aimed at teaching music alongside math to children on the Navajo Reservation of New Mexico. She also facilitated a workshop on improvisation and collaboration, teaching music and dance to high-school students in Montreal, Canada.
Liz Lee is a violinist and a Faculty Mentor for the Harmony Program. Liz has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the New England Conservatory, Masters of Music from Rice University Shepherd School of Music, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Michigan. In 2015, Elizabeth performed as the concertmaster with Yo-Yo Ma at the Kennedy Center Honors concert in Washington, D.C. to recognize Maestro Seiji Ozawa, which was attended by former President Barack Obama. Following Elizabeth’s solo debut at nine years old, she has been a guest soloist with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Symphony of the Mountains, Orquesta Sinfonica de la Unal (Mexico), Seoul Virtuosi, Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra (South Korea) and Filharmonie Bohuslava Martinu (Czech Republic). In addition to her performance career, Liz is the Assistant Artistic Director of Innsbrook Institute, a music festival in Innsbrook, Missouri, and the Artistic Director of a mixed ensemble with traditional Korean instruments. Her passion for music education has led her to work with outreach programs around the country, and she continues to work on innovative ways of bringing music to new audiences.
Alev Gokce Erem
A. Gokce Erem was born in Istanbul, Turkey. She developed a strong interest in music at a very early age when she started to learn the piano. Gokce received her Master’s degree, cum laude, from Istanbul University State Conservatory in June 2011, studying with Venyamin Varsavsky. A current resident of New York City, Gokce graduated from New York University – Steinhardt School in May 2014 , studying with Prof. Kikuei Ikeda, with a scholarship in the performance program for an Advanced Certificate Diploma. She has performed with Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young (Jersey Boys) at Café Carlyle where she played in a series of concerts with musician/producer Tommy Faragher. She has subbed in Broadway musicals, such as Hamilton, and has performed in Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. She also plays in chamber music groups with the most talented musicians in NYC and is the second violinist in her newly formed quartet, ‘Gaia’. She is an active teacher in the NYC/NJ area and is on the faculty of Rutgers University Extension Division.