MSSC Director Amy Cele began her music studies as a student at the Harford Conservatory, studying Suzuki violin with Lani Bortfeld. She studied Music Therapy at Marywood University before traveling to South Africa in 1992 where she worked with Pietermaritzburg Community Arts Project (CAP). Through her involvement in this grassroots arts organization in post-Apartheid South Africa she witnessed the power of music to give voice to struggling peoples and to bring people from different backgrounds to a place of peace. Amy is registered Suzuki violin teacher with The Suzuki Association of the Americas. She has studied Suzuki pedagogy with Edward Kreitman, Christie Felsing and Dr. Susan Baer and has studied Suzuki Early Childhood Education with Lynn McCall. In 2008 Amy founded Sound Crossing Studio, a small, private music school in northern Connecticut. In 2014 the school was established as a nonprofit organization under its current name, The Music School at Sound Crossing (MSSC). Amy continues to serve as Executive Director of MSSC where she also teaches Suzuki violin and Suzuki Early Childhood Education. In 2009 Amy established the Sound Crossing Suzuki Outreach Program which has provided Suzuki violin lessons and group classes free of charge to children at North Street School in Windsor Locks, CT and International Magnet School in South Windsor, CT. Amy is a firm believer in the transformational power of music on both an individual and community level. She is committed to the belief that all children deserve access to the strong, nurturing framework which Suzuki music education provides.
Lani Bortfeld received her Bachelor’s in Music from the New England Conservatory and her M.M. from the University of Connecticut. A product of Russian violin pedagogy, Lani is now an SAA-trained teacher and a 37-year member of the SAA. She is an experienced orchestral, chamber and solo musician, including 33 years in the Waterbury Symphony (CT), where she served as principal second violin and first violin. She is first violinist with the Arcos/iris Quartet and a familiar soloist at area houses of worship. An active freelance musician, she is a member of Local 171 of the American Federation of Musicians, and performed the May 2014 world premiere of Gwyneth Walker’s quartet, The Dove, and her choral work with chamber accompaniment,To Love This Earth. Honors include being an artist-teacher on the Creative Teaching Partners roster of the Mass. Cultural Council, receiving an Artist Fellowship from the Springfield Cultural Council and the McKnight Neighborhood Council 2014 Community Service Award for “dedicated work in the cultural arts and in the education of young people.” In 2001 Lani founded the Suzuki Talent Education Partnership (STEP), an interfaith music ministry in Springfield, Mass. dedicated to making Dr. Suzuki’s family-centered method of instrumental music instruction accessible to students of all ages, genders, economic levels, religious and ethnic backgrounds. She also is the advanced Suzuki teacher at the Music School at Sound Crossing in Windsor, CT. Lani teaches in English and Spanish, and enjoys involving families of all cultures and ethnicities in their children’s music education. Lani presented at the SAA’s biennial conferences in 1994, 1996 and 2008. Her 2008 presentation was entitled “Building Diversity in Suzuki Programs”, reflecting her commitment to diversity and equal access.
Kasey Calebaugh enjoys a wide range of musical endeavours, as a performer, chamber musician, and Suzuki teacher. As a member of The Hartt School’s Performance 20/20, an honors chamber ensemble that awards full-tuition scholarship to attend the University of Hartford, he is pursuing a DMA under Rita Porfiris. His previous degrees include a BM from Northern Arizona University, where he graduated magna cum laude and was awarded the Outstanding Graduating Student Award, and a MM from the University of Oregon with an emphasis in Viola Performance and String Pedagogy. Calebaugh began his Suzuki violin studies in Arizona, studying with pedagogues Louise Scott, Shelly Rich, and Karin Hallberg. As an undergraduate student, Calebaugh taught through NAU’s Community Music and Dance Academy completing Suzuki teacher training to become a certified teacher while actively performing throughout Northern Arizona with groups like the Flagstaff Symphony as well as the Verdi Valley Sinfonietta. A love for teaching led him to attend UO on full-scholarship. As a Graduate Teaching Fellow he taught Suzuki group and private lessons, Music Mind Games, Music & Movement in a group class setting, and coached student chamber ensembles. As a student Calebaugh’s musical pursuits have led him to attend many summer festivals such as NAU’s own Curry Summer Music Camp as both student and counselor, the National Music Festival, Winter Chamber Music Institute, Chautauqua Music Festival, and Bowdoin International Music Festival. He has had the pleasure of studying under renowned pedagouges Paul Coletti, Carol Rodland, Caroline Coade, Rami Solomonow, Dimitri Murrath, Honggang Li, and Roland Vamos in addition to masterclass participation with Nicholas Canellakis, Steven Moeckel, Jeffrey Swann, Bill Preucil, the Merling Trio, and Jacques Israelievitch. His plans for the future include further teaching and training through the Suzuki Association of the Americas and continuing to spread his love and passion for music.
Jaclyn is a compassionate teacher who has over ten years of professional experience. Ms. Jones received teacher training in the Suzuki Guitar Method and currently teaches at MSSC, the Ethel Walker School, the Community School of the Arts, and privately throughout the Hartford area. She was a featured guest teacher running a Technique Workshop at the Connecticut Guitar Society’s Guitar Day, founded the Grace Academy Guitar Department in Hartford, and taught at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Music & Arts.
Jaclyn earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Hartt School of Music and has been performing solo and chamber concerts for over ten years. She played for the NJ Guitar & Mandolin Society, Connecticut Guitar Society, and on a La Bella Strings sponsored concert series and was a guest artist on WPAA-TV’s Music with Purpose show. Ms. Jones has played at notable venues such as the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, the Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and the Augusta Curtis Cultural Arts Center. She is a member of the Luca Duo and actively performs with award winning mezzo soprano Meng-Chieh Hsieh. In addition, Ms. Jones founded the Simsbury Historical Society concert series and was the Music Director for two years. For recordings and more information please visit jaclynjonesguitar.com.
Eugenio Figueroa is a registered Suzuki teacher in Violin, Viola and Piano with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Currently, he is on faculty at The Hartt Community Division and the Music School at Sound Crossing. As a violist, Eugenio is pursuing his DMA in Viola Performance at The Hartt School under Rita Porfiris. Eugenio's commitment to the Suzuki Philosophy brought him to Connecticut were he completed his Masters Performance Degree and Suzuki Long Term Training with Teri Einfeldt. Previous to relocating to Connecticut, he received his Bachelors of Music degree in Viola Performance from the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico where he also taught at the Pre-College division and at the first ever Suzuki School in Puerto Rico, Kids and Musik. Eugenio Figueroa has performed with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Bayamón and the Orquesta Filarmonica Arturo Somohano. He has had the honor of performing with the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Santo Domingo and traveled to Iceland with the contemporary chamber ensemble, “Foot in the Door” in 2015. He currently serves as a rotating principal at the Hartt School Symphony Orchestra. Eugenio loves playing in orchestra and accompanying his students on the piano.
Ashley Peck (M.M. cello performance, The Hartt School of Music; B.M. cello performance, Portland State University) is a Suzuki cello teacher in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In addition to teaching at the Music School at Sound Crossing, she teaches at the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division and the Hartt School Community Division. Ashley also teaches strings in the public schools in the greater Springfield area with the award-winning Sonido Musica program. Before relocating to New England in 2017, Ashley taught beginning strings in Lake Oswego Public Schools, developed and taught a string techniques course at Portland State University, and taught private Suzuki lessons in her home studio in Portland, Oregon. As a performer, Ashley was a member of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra from 2008-2017 as well as a recitalist in several concert series in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Currently, Ashley performs with the Luna String Quartet, which was a 2019 fellowship quartet at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music. Ashley has registered Suzuki teacher training with Blake Brasch, Ann Grabe, Barbara Wampner, and Annette Costanzi. Her primary teachers included Mihai Tetel, Hamilton Cheifetz, and Ann Grabe.
Whether in opera or on the concert stage, Hungarian mezzo-soprano Agnes Vojtko has established herself as a versatile and genuine artist. It is largely her musical formation what has put her dynamic profile in the international spotlight. She completed a bachelor degree in music at the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. Later, she moved to the United States as a Fulbright fellow to attend the Butler School of Music of The University of Texas at Austin, where she obtained the degree of Doctor in Musical Arts. Her vocal flexibility and magnetic dramatic presence are, therefore, infused with the best from the Austro-Hungarian tradition and her American music training.
In 2006, Agnes made her opera debut to critical acclaim with Opera in the Heights's production of Norma as Adalgisa. The Houston press raved, calling her performance “a revelation”. Either “pouring out Adalgisa's legato remorse or scaling the heights in 'Mira, O Norma'... she's a force to be reckoned with.” She has also appeared in Austin Lyric Opera's Madame Butterfly as Ms. Pinkerton, and in several productions of the Sarah and Ernest Butler Opera Center, which include Menotti's The Medium (as Mrs. Nolan), Puccini's Suor Angelica (as La Badessa), the American Premiere of Luis Jaime Cortez's La Tentación de San Antonio (as Helena), Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin (as Olga), and Peter Brook's La Tragédie de Carmen (as Carmen), for which she was nominated for an Austin Critics Table Award. It is because of her “rich voice” (The Austin Chronicle) that Agnes delves into these roles with natural ease and grace. Meanwhile, her scholarly approach to earlier repertoire shows the span of her vocal versatility. She has sung with the Ars Classica Chamber Opera as Fidalma in Cimarosa's The Secret Marriage, as Second Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute, as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, as well as Proserpina in L'Orfeo with the Budapest Chamber Opera, and as Nerone in L'incoronazione di Poppea with the Sarah and Ernest Butler Opera Center. Recent highlights of her solo concert activity also include Mahler's Songs of the Wayfarer, Donald Crockett's The Cinnamon Peeler, and Mozart's Mass in C Minor.
Agnes' talent and trajectory has earned her recognition at some of the most prestigious vocal competitions, including the Nyiregyhazi International Music Competition in Takasaki, Japan; the S. Mercadante International Singing Competition in Italy, the International Händel Competition in Hungary, the Händel Singing Competition in England, the Dallas Opera Guild, and the W. Stenhammar International Vocal Competition in Sweden. Because of her accomplished performance at this last event she was invited to sing at the Gala Concert of the Cairo Opera, where the press praised her as “beautiful, with a captivating mezzo timbre.”