Melanie Brsan has a BM in Piano Performance from Southwestern Oklahoma State University where she studied under Dr. James Breckenridge. She took Suzuki piano lessons with Linda Poquette and has coached with teachers including Dr. Bruce Berr, Melody Lord, and Dr. Ray Landers. Ms. Brsan maintains a full piano studio in Shorewood, IL and continues her post-graduate education by attending pedagogy conferences and workshops, including extensive training with Marilyn Taggart, MTNA, and NCKP. In 2003, she was chosen as a finalist for the MTNA Studio Fellowship Award for best new teacher in the US. Her students participate in performances and competitions each year; many have received awards and scholarships, and have pursued music as a career. Melanie accompanies instrumentalists, vocalists, and opera singers and also performs as a soloist. She is active in her community as an accompanist/pianist for choirs and churches, including full-time accompanist and small group director at Joliet West High School. She is also principle accompanist for the Naperville Men's Glee Club, who is performing at Kennedy Center in February 2013 as part of the National Presidents' Day Choral Festival. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in the city, Chicago, traveling, and planning her wedding.
Katie Hooper (GMSI Piano Coordinator) maintains an active Suzuki studio in Saratoga Springs, NY. In addition to regular studio recitals, all of her students participate in a chamber festival and a Capital District Contemporary Music Recital every year. She is also the high school choral music director at The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. She holds a BM from Ohio Wesleyan University. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and enjoys the outdoors.
Cynthia Huard teaches at Middlebury College as well as running a Suzuki studio. She has both an MM in piano performance and an MM in early music from Indiana University, and has studied extensively in Austria. Cynthia is the Artistic Director of the Rochester Chamber Music Society. Devoted to chamber music and collaborative music making, she has performed with the Lark Quartet, chamber players of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony, and the National Symphony, among others, and has met and played for "Mr. Rogers."
Phyllis Kraunz maintains an active Suzuki studio in Dover, NH, where she teaches students of all ages. She accompanies a children's chorus, has been active in the SAA for 25 years and holds a BM from the University of Michigan. In her spare time she loves to ski, run and play tennis.
Renee Robbins maintains an active piano studio in Ann Arbor, where she teaches piano students of all ages, trains other Suzuki teachers and performs chamber music, performing with a variety of other musicians in many settings. Recently she organized members of the Ann Arbor Area Piano Teachers Guild (of which she is a past president) in two performances of two-piano music at Kerrytown Concert House and at the Michigan Music Teachers Association convention. In the fall of 2010 she organized a playathon fundraiser for the music program of the New Victorian School in Port au Prince, Haiti. She holds a B.A. from the Eastman School of Music in piano performance, an M.S.W. in social treatment from the University of Michigan and an M.A. from Eastern Michigan University in piano accompaniment. Renée has studied piano with José Échaniz and Joseph Gurt. She continues her study of chamber music throughout the United States at summer workshops. Her two sons, both grown, were Suzuki violin students and now her grandchildren are continuing the tradition!
Marilyn Taggart (GMSI Chamber Music Coordinator) began piano study before the age of five with her pianist mother and later attended Oberlin, Converse, and Catholic University (M.Mus.), becoming a Suzuki piano teacher in 1978. In addition to giving workshops and Institute teaching, Mrs. Taggart is a contributor to the book Teaching Suzuki Piano: Ten Teachers' Viewpoints. Her students have won numerous awards and performed at both SAA and International Suzuki conventions.