Faculty

Leah Kim, Director/Violin, Viola

Ms. Leah (Kyoungwoon) Kim was born in Busan, S. Korea. She was an Associate concertmaster at Suwon Philharmonic Orchestra in Korea and a guest concertmaster for Pottstown Symphony and Philadelphia Camerata. As a violinist she performed with Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Opera, Harrisburg Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Elysian Camerata, Trio Excelsior. She is the founding member of Tononi Quartet, Sori Duo and Caritas Trio.
Ms. Leah was faculty at Temple University, West Chester University, Valley Forge Christian College, West Catholic High School, Settlement Music School and Peabody Conservatory Prep. She was a director of string ensemble at Archbishop John Carroll High School, Lehigh Valley Performing Arts High School, and director of music at Rebecca Davis Dance Company.
Currently Ms. Leah is the Director of Music at Villa Maria Academy High School, Faculty at Eastern University and Owner/Director of Vivace (young musician’s) Orchestra and Chamberstrings Summer Camp.
Ms. Leah studied Performance and Pedagogy at Juilliard, Peabody Conservatory, National Conservatory in France and began her Doctorate in Music and Arts at Temple University.
Ms. Leah’ music majoring students have gone onto Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard Music School, Manhattan Music School, Eastman Music School, Peabody Conservatory, Boston College, Berkley, PennState, Swarthmore, University of Hartford, Gettysburg College, Eastern University, New York University, Michigan University, Moravian University and Temple University. )
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Jennifer Jie Jin, Co-Director/Cello

Jennifer Jie Jin has been widely recognized for performances in music capitals in North America, Europe and Asia. She has appeared as a soloist with Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, National Repertoire Orchestra and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. She held principal cello positions with Bay Atlantic Symphony Orchestra,National Repertoire Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, and performed with Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Houston Symphony, New World Symphony, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet and Princeton Symphony. Ms. Jin was the member of Harrisburg Symphony, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.

Ms. Jin has been invited to Aspen Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Taos Chamber Music Festival,International Summer Academic Prague-Vienna-Budapest Festival, Beijing International Music Festival, Margess International Festival, Daniel Music Festival and Amadeus Masterclass.

Before her move to the United States, she won First Prize in the National Cello Duo Competition of China, the Bao-gang Elegance Art Award and the Excellent Performance Prize in the National Competition of China. An active chamber musician, Ms. Jin is the founder of the Tang-gu-la String Quartet. The Quartet toured England, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Australia and China and received numerous honors, winning Second Prize in the First National String Quartet Competition. Shortly after, the quartet appeared in Isaac Stern’s Oscar-winning documentary “From Mao to Mozart”, and performed for President Bill Clinton.

Ms. Jin began her cello study at age 5. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Upon receiving a full scholarship from Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, she came to the United States and studied with Prof. Norman Fischer for her Master’s degree. Ms. Jin also received the Artist Diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music studied with Mr. Desmond Hoebig.

As a committed teacher, Ms. Jin named as  grand prize winner of Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s 2016 Ovation Award. Her students won the top prizes in the competitions, performed in Carnegie Hall, Kimmel Center and made the 1st chair in All State Orchestra NJ.  Ms. Jin is the founding member of Pyxis Piano Quartet. The group is in their eighth season in residence at Delaware Art Museum. She is also  the member of  the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.

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Gary D. White, Conductor

“. . . [White] reveals himself to be a thoughtful interpreter who engages the musicians in discussions of history and period practice, while fostering an understanding of the creative artist. He encourages the ensemble to push beyond mere mastery of the notes to uncover what is at the heart of the music.” -The Times of Trenton

Gary D. White, appointed Music Director and Conductor of Philadelphia Sinfonia in 1999, educated, nurtured, inspired, and shaped a troupe of unseasoned but ambitious young musicians into one of the Delaware Valley’s finest youth orchestras.

Since he took the podium, Sinfonia has grown to more than 90 members, competitively selected each year from an ever-more gifted pool of musicians attracted by White’s conducting skills, and expanded into a full symphonic orchestra and a string chamber orchestra.

Under Mr. White’s baton, both orchestras perform a full season of concerts at venues in Pennsylvania and New Jersey that have included the Kimmel Center, the Republican National Convention, the Liberty Medal ceremony for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, and the Lewis & Clark 200th Anniversary Conference.  He has conducted Sinfonia in collaborations with famed soprano Julianne Baird, jazz violin virtuoso Christian Howes, renowned jazz composer and pianist Stanley Cowell, and the celebrated Philadelphia Boys Choir, and led the orchestra on critically acclaimed tours of Italy, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Russia, Finland, Poland and Argentina.

An experienced educator, musician, administrator, and conductor, White trained at the prestigious Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians in Hancock, ME.  Monteux alumni include legendary conductors Lorin Maazel, André Previn, and Sir Neville Marriner.  On the podium Maestro White strives to capture the spirit of the school’s founder, French-born conductor Pierre Monteux (1875-1964), who once said, “Conducting is not enough.  I must create something.  I am not a composer, so I will create fine young musicians.”

With a conducting philosophy that focuses on the process as much as the final product of the concert, White cultivates a creative partnership with young musicians that empowers them to make passionate music, a hallmark of Sinfonia performances.

Mr. White has a Bachelor of Music degree from The New School of Music and a Master of Music degree from Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music, both in Philadelphia.  He studied conducting under Maestro Michael Jinbo at the Pierre Monteux School; Arthur Chodoroff, Professor of Music at Temple University; and Luis Biava, retired Conductor-in-Residence of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

White is Music Director and Conductor of the Pottstown Symphony. He has also been cover conductor for the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Chair of Music at Germantown Friends School, and is in demand throughout the tri-state areas as a conductor of professional, college and youth orchestras including the Temple University Sinfonia, the Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, the Delaware Youth Orchestra, Delaware Youth Symphony, Delaware All-State Orchestra, All-Catholic Orchestra Festival, PMEA District 12 Intermediate Band Festival, Montgomery County Honors String Orchestra Festival, and the Rose Tree Pops.

A professional French horn player, Mr. White has performed with the Fairmount Brass Quartet; Concerto Soloists; Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra; Pennsylvania Sinfonia; the Harrisburg, Reading and Pottstown symphonies; as a substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra, and is heard on numerous orchestra and chamber recordings.

In 2008, Mr. White was inducted into Temple University’s “Gallery of Success” for his achievements in the music profession as a conductor, educator and performer.

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Sylvia Davis Ahramjian, Violin/Viola

Sylvia Ahramjian has performed repertoire from all time periods and has many pieces by American composers in her repertoire. She has appeared as soloist with many orchestras in the Tri State region around Philadelphia including, The Delaware and Lancaster Symphony. With the Lancaster Symphony performances included a world premiere by Stephen Paulus, as well as concertos by Brahms, Korngold, Beethoven and Bach. Her many performances in Romania have included concerts as soloist with the Bucharest Sinfonia, the Ploiesti Philharmonic, and orchestras in Bacau, Ploiesti, and Rimnicu-Vilcea. She also toured with a group that performed concerts in the Czech Republic where she was featured as soloist. Trio Casals, Sylvia Ahramjian, violin, Ovidiu Marinescu, cello and Carl Cranmer, piano, have performed repeatedly on the Upper Hudson Chamber Music Society Chamber Series, the Keene Valley recital series and many other regular programs in the Delaware Valley. In the 2008-9 season they performed the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Helena Montana Symphony and the South Eastern Pennsylvania Orchestra. Another chamber group of which she is a member, Trio International, played at Carnegie Hall this season and played a series of concerts in Wyoming this month.

A well-respected teacher, Sylvia Ahramjian is Professor of Violin and Viola at West Chester University, and a faculty member at the Temple University Preparatory School. Her students have attended Julliard, Curtis, and the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin and essentially all the Ivy League Schools. They have won many awards and honors, including performance opportunities with the Philadelphia, Lancaster, Delaware and Lansdowne Symphony Orchestras. Two of her students have won the National Competition of the Music Teachers National Association in the High School Division. Her student quartet from West Chester won the Eastern Division of that Competition and
was a finalist at the national competition.

Ms. Ahramjian is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where she was a scholarship student, working with Ivan Galamian and Margaret Pardee. She received her Master of Music degree from Indiana University, studying with Josef Gingold, and did post-graduate study with Paul Rolland at the University of Illinois completing all course work for a DMA. Sylvia Ahramjian was the Concertmaster of the Lancaster Symphony for over 20 years. She has recorded the Khachaturian Trio on Golden Crest Records. She also has a recording “Crossroads”, with pianist Carl Cranmer. She also has recorded a CD with all viola music.

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Fabián López, Violin/Viola

Violinist Fabián López has toured extensively through the United States, Europe and South America, gaining recognition as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. As soloist he has performed with orchestras in the United States, Spain, and France such as Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Hebert Springs Festival Orchestra, Orquesta Filarmonica de Málaga, etc. Fabián was a member of the Manuel de Falla String Quartet from 2000-2003 and currently is the first violin of the Carlos Chavez String Quartet. In North Carolina he has appeared as concertmaster of the Greensboro and Ashville Symphonies.

In the pedagogical terrain, he is an active and dedicated teacher, maintaining a studio of prize winning, talented, and committed students. He taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music “Manuel de Falla” of Cádiz, Spain from 1999 to 2004 and has been teaching at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 2007. Regularly he presents master classes through the United States, Mexico, and Europe. In the summers he teaches at the Richard Luby International Violin Symposium in Chapel Hill and the Chamber Strings Music Workshop in Rosemont, Pennsylvania.

Fabián has a very diverse and extensive education that makes him “…a violinist that has everything…” and “…expressively thought with distinctive flair…” according to the press. At age eighteen he received a scholarship from the Hispanic-American Joint Commitee/Fullbright Commission to continue his studies in the United States. He holds degrees from the Conservatorio Superior de Música de Málaga (Spain), Baylor University (MM), and The University of Michigan (DMA). He has also studied at Louisiana State University, San Francisco Conservatory, and Reina Sofia School of Music. His teachers have been: Nicolae Duca, Zakhar Bron, Laura Kugherz, Kevork Mardirossian, Camilla Wicks, Bruce Berg, and Andrew Jennings.

Fabian’s love for etudes and infinite curiosity of the trades from the great masters of the past and present, leads him to be the author of a violin etude anthology “Master the Violin Etudes”. This is a comprehensive and on going five-volume collection with explanatory texts accompanying each etude and free access videos that can be found at www.mastertheviolinetudes.com.

He performs on a violin made by Ioan Guillami, 1756, which is called “little strad” among good friends.

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Peter Opie, Cello

Peter Opie is associate professor of cello at Ball State University and cellist of the American Piano Trio. He has performed widely as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe, Asia, the United States, and his native Britain.

Recent concerto performances include works by Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, and Vivaldi with the Daegu Melos Ensemble in Korea, the Provintsia Chamber Orchestra in Russia, the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Marion Philharmonic Orchestra, and Lake Charles Symphony Orchestra.

With the American Piano Trio he has performed at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, Oxford University, Yonsei University, Canterbury Christ Church University, Anglia Ruskin University, the Great Philharmonic Hall in Minsk, Belarus, Chunma Arts Center in Daegu, Korea, and in Russia as a guest artist at the “Eighth International Conservatoire Week” at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. He has also performed chamber music with Ida Kavafian, Paul Kantor, members of the Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Chester String Quartet, and at the Tolyatti International Chamber Music Festival.

As an orchestral player he has worked with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Fort Wayne Philharmonic. He spent a summer as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival, where he performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and was also offered a fellowship to the Aspen Music Festival.

Formerly on the faculty of Eastern Michigan University, he has given cello and chamber music master classes at many universities and conservatoires in the USA, Europe, Russia, and Korea. Additionally he has taught at number of summer festivals, including the Indiana University Summer String Academy, Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain, Cincinnati Young Artists Cello Workshop, Benefic Chamber Music Camp, Music For All Symposium, and ChamberStrings Summer Music Workshop.

His students have won competitions, attended major festivals (RoundTop, NRO, Aspen, Eastern) and have successfully auditioned to perform (either as a member or substitute) with numerous orchestras, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony (Miami), Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Columbus (OH) Symphony Orchestra, and Louisville Orchestra.He holds degrees from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London (BM), the Cleveland Institute of Music (MM), and the University of Michigan (DMA). His principal teachers have included Richard Aaron, Anthony Elliott, Oleg Kogan, and Raphael Sommer. Further studies were with Eleanore Schoenfeld and Marc Coppey.

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Shelley Beard Schleigh, Viola/Violin

Violist Shelley Beard Schleigh, prizewinner with the Mühlenberg Piano Quartet in the Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition 2004, has sustained an active career as a chamber musician including performances at the Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Peabody Conservatory, Temple University, Aspen Music Festival, Round Top International Festival-Institute, Credo Chamber Music Institute, and with members of the Minnesota and Cleveland Orchestras, among others.

Currently, Ms. Beard Schleigh is the Vice President of the both the Philadelphia Viola Society and the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association, Chair of the Wilmington Music School’s Suzuki Academy in Delaware, and an adjunct faculty at Temple University Music Preparatory in Philadelphia. Ms. Beard Schleigh is also President of the Philadelphia based non-profit Concerts for Causes.

Ms. Beard Schleigh holds degrees from the Interlochen Arts Academy, Peabody Conservatory (BM in viola performance), and Indiana University (MM in viola performance and violin pedagogy). Her principal teachers include Victoria Chiang, Atar Arad, James Dunham, Heidi Castleman, David Holland, and Mimi Zweig (pedagogy).

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Sarah Sutton, Viola/Violin

Ms Sutton has an international profile as both a performer and teacher.  As a performer she has brought music to some of the most eminent figures in the history of our time.  She has played a command performance for the late Pope John Paul II;  was invited to perform at the State Banquet and Celebrations in honor of Nelson Mandella and Queen Elizabeth II, not to mention performances for Diana, Princess of Wales, The Duchess of York and the Duchess of Kent.  Her playing has been described by the Saanen Post (Switzerland) as “enthralling”, captivating audiences with her “range of emotion and the darkly melancholic timbre of the instrument”.

Ms Sutton has performed throughout Europe, North and South America.  She has appeared as both soloist and principal violist with the Camerata Lysy Gstaad (Switzerland), and played at many prestigious venues, including the Palais des Beaux Arts (Brussels), Teatro Colon (Buenes Aires), the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Albert Hall and St John’s Smith Square (London).  Festivals include solo and chamber performaces at the Summer Music Festival at Blackthorpe Barn (UK), the Menuhin Festival, Alpen Gala, and Verbier Summer Academy (Switzerland), and Tanglewood (USA).  An avid chamber musician, Ms Sutton has collaborated with the Carmina Quartet as Guest Violist in performances as part of the Rencontres Musicales (Switzerland), and has appeared as a soloist in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 6, with members of the New World Symphony and Nicholas McGeegan.

As an orchestral player, Ms Sutton has held the Principal Viola position with the New World Symphony (directed by Michael Tilson-Thomas) and was a member of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra.  She has been a guest Sub-Principal with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (UK), participating in the historic EMI recording of Tristan and Isolde with Antonio Pappano and Placido Domingo, and the new production of Das Rheingold, which has been broadcast live on BBC TV and BBC Radio 3. Sarah has been a member of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia(formerly the Concerto Soloists) and also appears as Guest Principal Violist with the Princeton Symphony and guest artist with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Born in England, Ms Sutton is a graduate of the Yehudi Menuhin School of Music (UK), where she studied with Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Simon Rowland-Jones, Yuko Inoue and Mauricio Fuks.  She went on to accept a full scholarship at the International Menuhin Music Academy (Switzerland) where her teachers were Johannes Eskaer and Maestro Alberto Lysy.  Ms Sutton went on to study with Alan DeVeritch at  Indiana University, where she was his Assistant.

Ms. Sutton resides in the Philadelphia area with her husband, William Wozniak, and son Edward.  She plays a beautiful viola by Sergio Peresson (anno 1970) named “The Geist”.

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Beth Dzwil, Violin/Viola

Beth Dzwil is a founding member of the Fairmount String Quartet and the Fairmount Chamber Ensemble with whom she has been performing for over thirty years. She is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, where she studied with long time principal violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Joseph dePasquale.  She was a founding member of the Elysian Camerata, with whom she has recorded one album. She served as principal violist of the Pottstown Symphony Orchestra for over twenty years and has appeared as soloist with the Pottstown Symphony Orchestra, the Fairmount Chamber Ensemble, the St. John Festival Orchestra and the Buxmont Chamber Orchestra.  In 1995, she was the subject of a Philadelphia Inquirer feature article.

In addition to her classical work, Beth has studied jazz techniques with the Turtle Island String Quartet and has performed internationally and recorded six critically acclaimed jazz albums with the Tyrone Brown String Sextet.  It is her work with this group that earned her the status of voting member in the Grammy organization.  She also performs  with the contemporary Christian band “For the Spirit”, with whom she has recorded one album.

She has been teaching violin and viola and coaching chamber music for over thirty years.  In addition to maintaining a private teaching studio, she teaches at the Community College of Philadelphia and Germantown Friends School.

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Katherine Bechtold, violin/viola

Katherine M. Bechtold is the Director of the Instrumental Music Program at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, PA. She currently directs the Upper School Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble, Middle School Boys’ and Girls’ Orchestras and 5th Grade Ensembles. In addition, this year she started an instrumental program for all 4th grade students.
In her previous position, Mrs. Bechtold was the Middle School and Upper School Orchestral Director at the Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, PA. Mrs. Bechtold earned a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, where she was in the studio of William dePasquale. Most recently, she has started classes toward earning her Master of Education degree at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In addition to her teaching career, Mrs. Bechtold is an active freelance musician. She currently performs with many Philadelphia area ensembles, including the Kennett Symphony Orchestra and University of Pennsylvania ensembles. She also performs for different touring acts at the Kimmel Center, works for Elan Artists, a Manhattan-based entertainment company, and Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Bryn Mawr, PA. In addition to her performance career, she also maintains a private violin and viola studio. Mrs. Bechtold hold professional memberships with the Music Teachers National Association, American String Teachers Association, National Association for Music Education, and the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.

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