Paula Simmons: Conductor and Viola Coach

Paula Simmons received her bachelor's degree in Music Education from Viterbo College, a fine arts college in La Crosse, Wisconsin. And her Master of Music in Viola Performance from Florida State University in Tallahassee.Before moving to San Diego, she performed with the El Paso Symphony, the Pro Musica Chamber Ensemble in El Paso Texas, and the Jacksonville Symphony in Jacksonville Florida. Since moving to California, Ms. Simmons has freelanced extensively in the San Diego area and the Baja with a variety of orchestras, chamber ensembles and guest performers including Starlight Theatre, San Diego Comic Opera, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra de Baja, Camarata de Ensenada, the Bolshoi and San Francisco Ballet, The Moody Blues, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, Burt Bacharach, Dion Warwick, Natalie Cole, and Michael Crawford. In June of 2006, Ms. Simmons partnered with Luthier, Kevin Smith and opened The Violin Shop in Sorrento Valley, offering a full range of instruments, bows, accessories and services to students and professionals.Paula currently has a private teaching studio of 20 violin & viola students of all ages at her shop. In addition she is the conductor of the Primary Strings, the youngest group within the Civic Youth Orchestra and just this past November, became the founding conductor for the North Coast Strings, an adult beginners orchestra, sponsored by The Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad. It is the goal of this nationwide adult program to welcome complete beginners to string performance as well as adults that have returned to their instruments after a number of years. She also is the director and host for The Violin Shops Summer String Quartet Program which offers students the opportunity to be coached by many of the best professional players and teachers in San Diego County.
Gregory Lawrence: Violin Coach
Gregory Lawrence earned his Bachelor of Music in Performance (violin) at San Diego State University where he studied with Dr. Theodore Brunson (with a strong emphasis in the Suzuki Violin School) and Mr. Howard Hill. He then continued his post graduate studies with Eudice Shapiro at the University Southern California and later with Mr. Noumi Fischer at his studio in Glendale. Gregs professional performing career has afforded him a wonderfully varied background in many different musical genres. He has worked with the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Opera, the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Starlight Opera and the San Diego Lyric Opera. Greg also worked three tours with the Montovani Orchestra, including a three week tour of Japan. More recently Greg has been working with Orquesta de Baja in Tijuana, Mexico, as a violinist and subcontractor. He also works with Mariachi Compana Nevin, a virtuoso mariachi ensemble directed by its founder and virtuoso trumpeter, Dr. Jeff Nevin. In January 2001, Greg founded the Cabrillo Chamber Orchestra (CCO), a professional 12-15 piece ensemble which specializes in the literature of the baroque, rococo and early classical periods. To date CCO has given 15 concerts at various venues throughout San Diego County, including two engagements at the California Center for the Arts Escondido, and two at the First Presbyterian Church (4th& Date, San Diego) concert series. In addition to performing, Greg also maintains a private teaching studio of 20 students.

Carolyn Lechusza Aquallo: Cello Coach

Cellist, improviser and composer, Carolyn Lechusza has freelanced in the New York region for the past ten years. She made her New York debut with the American Symphony Orchestra in 1997, playing the Kabalevsky Cello Concerto. The following year, Leon Botstein conducted the ASO's premier of Ms. Lechusza's cello concerto, "Lament", with the composer playing the cello solo. Her composition teachers include Joan Tower and Alvin Curran. Beyond playing the traditional cello solo repertoire and composing in the conventional instrumental mediums, Ms. Lechusza has improvised with Fred Frith, Joelle Lendre, Pauline Oliveros, Wadada Leon Smith and Cecil Taylor. She is currently a Cota-Robles Fellow at U.C. San Diego, where she is pursuing her PhD in cello performance.
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