Robert Gillespie, Past President of ASTA (American String Players Association)
National Orchestra Festival at Chicago
"Excellent! Wonderful, informed creative choices!"
Charles Pelz, New England Conservatory,
National Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall
H, Robert Reynolds, School of Music University of Michigan, National Orchestra Festival at Carnegie Hall
With her broad professional career, veteran public school teacher, former program director of a successful incorporated Suzuki program, and annual conductor of orchestras of all levels at Blueridge Suzuki Camp, she is uniquely qualified to conduct orchestra clinics, residencies and festivals for children of all ages.
She is a member of the national Membership and Engagement Committee of El Sistema USA. She has served as the North Carolina Chapter President of ASTA (American String Teachers Association)
She received an “Outstanding Educator Award” from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Her orchestras have performed at Chicago’s Symphony Hall, Piccolo Spoleto, and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Many of her students have gone on to professional careers, most notably Stefani Matsuo, concertmaster of the Cincinnati Orchestra, and all continue to love orchestra, either as performers or listeners.
RUTH JOHNSEN, CONDUCTOR & EDUCATOR
Ruth has spent most of her career motivating students to love orchestra. During her twenty-year tenure at North Carolina’s Ligon GT Magnet Middle School in Raleigh, the orchestras were invited to perform at Carnegie Hall six different times with acclaim. She attributes her success to her philosophy of tempering exacting demands with whimsy: convincing students that every working piece in every rehearsal is a creative experience, not just a drill.
She teaches “Follow the baton” at every stage of the orchestral experience, from beginners to advanced students who can perform Rossini overtures. This organic approach inspires an awareness of the ensemble as a whole, where the sum exceeds the total of its members. The result is immediately evident: kids who love orchestra, a flexible and creative ensemble, that can achieve excellence. Her recent conducting success was with the El Sistema program Kidznotes.Org Orchestra.
RUTH JOHNSEN, VIOLINIST
As a member of UNC’s Ensemble Courant, Ruth made her baroque violin debuts in New York, Boston and Charleston’s Spoleto Festival. She has also been a member of the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Her Scandinavian playing has led her to Norway, Sweden and Iceland. Locally, she plays in the duo, To Nordiske Feler, and has performed with Nordic Lights and Triangle Spelmanslag. She taught violin at UNC Music Department in Chapel Hill for six years. She received her Master of Music in Violin Performance at Ithaca College where her chief influence was Maestra Pamela Gerhart. She received her Bachelor in Violin Performance at Hartt School of Music where her studies lead her to renown Raphael Bronstein, Ariana Bronne as well as Dr. Nathan Gottschalk.