Douglas Starkebaum, Cello

Douglas Starkebaum is a cellist, singer, and music director based in Minneapolis, MN, with a passion for music, and for fostering that passion in others. He holds a Masters of Music in Cello Performance from the University of Minnesota (studied under Tanya Remenikova) and a Bachelors of Arts in Music Performance from Gonzaga University (studied under Kevin Hekmatpanah).
Douglas has been teaching the cello privately since 2013, and has strived to teach music as a human endeavor, serving the good of the person as a whole. He regularly assists the strings track at Music Ministry Alive, a liturgical music conference hosted at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. 
As a performer, Douglas remains active in the Twin Cities community, and is included on  multiple CD’s from GIA Publications. He also substitutes for local ensembles as availability allows.
Douglas is the director of Music at St. John Neumann in Eagan, MN, where he works with singers and instrumentalists of all ages to create beautiful liturgical music for three weekend Masses.


Isabel Carlson, Violin

Violin Lessons Minneapolis

Isabel is a classically trained musician who started studying violin when she was six years old. She began her studies at St. Joseph’s School of Music in Saint Paul, Minnesota where she studied the Suzuki method with Dr. Anna Cromwell. She has had the pleasure of working with a range of talented and exceptional teachers such as Peter McGuire whom she studied with while she attended Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.

In 2017 she earned her B.A. in Music Performance at Gustavus. During her academic career, she participated in a number of musical ensembles on violin such as: the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra where she was concertmaster 2016-17, the Björling Trio, the Baroque Quartet, the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and the Blue Note Jazz Combo. The variety in her education has allowed her to experience and experiment with different genres of music.

As a passionate performer and music educator, she enjoys being a member of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra as well as being employed at S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Mankato, Minnesota where she teaches a music class consisting of music theory, violin and viola group lessons, and coached chamber ensembles. She also conducts the Buela Youth Orchestra and the Saint José Sanchez del Rio IVE Minor Seminary Orchestra affiliated with the church. She has gained experience teaching a diverse range of students of all ages who come from different cultural, multi-lingual, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Her main goals as a teacher are to instill a love for music, provide the student with solid technical skills, and to present a non-judgmental engaging learning experience.

Eva Coon, Violin

St. Paul Violin Teacher

Eva is a St. Paul violinist who began her study at age 10. She believes it is never too late to start an instrument, as it can offer unlimited mental and social benefits to anyone and everyone. Eva attended Hamline University in Saint Paul, Mn, where she participated in the orchestra, violin masterclasses, and many chamber ensembles. In the orchestra, Eva held principle and concertmaster positions and performed as a featured soloist. For solo work, Eva was honored to play in a masterclass with Weigang Li, the first violinist of the Shanghai String Quartet. Eva's collaborative projects have included: violin-duets, Beethoven Violin Sonatas, and string quartets. Eva enjoys the collaborative aspects of music most of all. The synergistic experience of playing music with others and sharing its natural expression is more fulfilling than anything else. 
Eva earned her BA in Music, with a minor in psychology, in 2016. Since graduation, Eva has been teaching beginning violin lessons, and coaching chamber music. Eva is continually inspired by her students: their eagerness to learn, the perseverance they find in the face of challenge. 
To guide her studio violin students, Eva uses an eclectic approach to teaching - one that mixes Kodaly and Suzuki techniques, as well as techniques she learned in her weekly pedagogy lessons at Hamline University. 

Xin Lin, Piano

Minneapolis Piano Teacher

Xin, originally from Fujian Province in China, began his piano studies at age five.  From 2008-2012, he studied at the School of Music at Fujian Normal University, as a piano performance major.  From 2013-2016, he studied with Dr. Jonathan Korth at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, where he was enrolled in the Master of Music program. He is currently pursuing a Doctoral Degree in Piano performance at the University of Minnesota School of Music. Lin is a prizewinner in numerous piano competitions in Asia, including the first Chinese Piano Art Festival (Singapore), 2nd place in MTNA State Young Artist Competition and the National College Piano Competition (Xiamen, China).  He was honored to be named the winner of the UH Music Department’s Student Concerto Competition, with a successful performance with University of Hawaii symphony orchestra in Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

Lin began his teaching career in his native China. As a graduate student in Hawaii, he taught students ranging from 5 year olds to adults. Lin's students have competed in various competitions including MTNA, where several students received first place in their divisions. Lin's goal as a teacher is to motivate is students to love music and the piano. He emphasizes listening and proper technique for students of all levels so that they can learn to play the piano with confidence.



Robbie Herbst, Violin

Minneapolis Violin Lessons

As a student of the Suzuki method, Robbie began violin lessons with Kathy Langston in Denver, Colorado at the age of 5. He developed a passion for ensemble playing as a member of the Denver Young Artist Orchestra. It was during this time that Robbie began teaching, working as his teacher’s studio assistant throughout his senior year of high school. 

Robbie completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Music at Dartmouth College where he studied with Liesl Schoenberger-Doty. He studied abroad in London for a term at the Royal College of Music in the studio of Dona Lee Croft. The result of this experience was an extraordinary love of all things musical. While performing with the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, Robbie worked as the Director of Recruitment. Upon graduating, he was awarded the Leibowitz Prize, given to students who exhibit exceptional promise in post-graduate musical pursuits. A recent transplant to the Twin Cities, Robbie continues his violin studies with Sally O’Reilly while applying to Master’s programs for violin performance.

Robbie discovered the joy of teaching early on, giving chess lessons to Kindergarten students when he was as young as 11. He’s worked as a teacher in a variety of capacities, including running classrooms, tutoring privately, and of course, instructing violin students. Joy is at the center of his teaching philosophy, and Robbie aims to instill the love he has for the instrument in all those who enter his studio. With a focus on solid technique and musical awareness, Robbie combines a variety of pedagogical tools to keep students happy, engaged, and always improving. 

Courtney Van Cleef, Cello

Courtney Van Cleef is a passionate cello pedagogue, inspiring students to love music first and map their individual musical journeys second. She will earn a Doctor of Musical Arts in Cello Performance at the University of Minnesota in May 2017 as a student of Tanya Remenikova.   Other completed degrees include a Master of Music in Cello Performance from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford (under Professor Mihai Tetel) and a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance at Stetson University (under Professor David Bjella).

Courtney teaches from her private cello studio based in the Twin Cities. Studying the cello since 2001 and teaching since 2010, she has cultivated a philosophy that emphasizes working smart, not hard. Additional experience working with young cellists comes from her summers as the cello teaching intern at the Upper Midwest String Camp in St. Joseph and counselor at Michigan’s Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp where she lived alongside campers and served as a musical mentor. She has worked closely with the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony as the rehearsal assistant for the novice orchestra, Philharmonia East. Courtney designed and is teaching “Music and Terror: The Lives of Prokofiev and Shostakovich” as a University of Minnesota Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Scholar Adviser in spring term 2017.

Recent diverse performance projects include 7th House Theater’s critically acclaimed new musical “The Passage: Or What Comes of Searching in the Dark”.  The production was hosted by the Guthrie Theater as part of its 2016 “Level Nine Series”, devoted to community dialogue about today’s most significant topics and questions.  Other professional Minnesotan theaters Courtney has played for include Mixed Precipitation’s touring theater in their original production of “Donald Giovanni in Cornlandia: A Picnic Operetta” and the Yellow Tree Theater, appearing in their productions of “Next to Normal” and “Violet“. Courtney is slated to play in Old Log Theater’s production of “Ghost the Musical” during the summer 2017 season. In 2014, Courtney was a featured artist in the award-winning Spirit of Broadway Theater’s production of the new musical “Bleeding Love”. Courtney regularly performs with professional regional orchestras including the Mankato Symphony Orchestra and the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra. She appeared with pop artist Michael Bublé during his 2013 Hartford performance of the “To be Loved” tour. From 2009-2012, Courtney performed with Stetson University’s endowed and elite Barron String Quartet as its cellist and also served as the quartet’s manager.  Courtney is the sole proprietor of the Minneapolis gigging service, Quartetto Dolce.

Summer programs she has attended include the Northern Lights Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and Credo Chamber Music Festival at the Oberlin Conservatory. At Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Courtney held a leadership role among the counselors in the staff Festival Orchestra and was chosen as the cellist of the staff string quartet. Other major honors include winning the 2008 Florida Young Artists Orchestra (FYAO) Concerto Competition, and receiving the FYAO Tabachnik Scholarship for leadership and musicianship. She is a sister of the national fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota for professional women musicians and a member of Suzuki Association of the Americas. Courtney ultimately aspires to become a college professor of cello. She hopes to use her position as a music instructor to teach topics in Russian music history, a genre that has inspired her throughout her musical career.

Elizabeth Chua, Violin & Piano

Elizabeth Chua, Violin & Piano

Minneapolis Piano Teacher

Born in Malaysia, Elizabeth Chua began music lessons at the age of 4, attending the Yamaha JMC Course. Starting her first piano lesson at the age of 7, she obtained her ABRSM Grade 8 in piano under the guidance of Erica Chai at the age of 16. In 2011, She received her Bachelor of Music - Classical (Hons) degree in piano performance from UCSI University. Her previous teachers include Son Hui Ling, Chew Beng Lin, and Dr. Nicholas Ong. 
Elizabeth completed her Masters of Music program in 2015, specializing in Collaborative Piano and Piano Performance at Middle Tennessee State University under the tutelage of Dr. Arunesh Nadgir. As a graduate teaching assistant at MTSU, she worked with singers and instrumentalists as an accompanist and coach. She also played for the MTSU Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano and Coaching at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. 
She has participated in various collaborative masterclasses including masterclass by Dr. Arlene Shrut, vocal coach of the Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music.
Her recent achievements in solo piano playing include winning second place at the Beethoven Club of Memphis Young Artist Competition in Year 2013. She was also recently selected to play in a masterclass with world renowned Robert McDonald, piano professor at the Juilliard School of Music and Curtis Institute of Music.
In May 2014, she participated in the Dorothy Taubman Piano Seminar at Temple University and played in masterclasses with world renowned Daniel Epstein and Jonathan Feldman. 
In addition to playing the piano, Elizabeth also plays the violin, does classical singing and learns the harpsichord under the tutelage of Dr. Lilian Pearson. 
Elizabeth is a passionate teacher. She has taught students ranging from age 4 to 60. She incorporates various teaching methodologies, tailoring her teachings to meet the specific needs of each individual. A Suzuki piano teacher, she also uses the Music Mind Games methodology, an excellent teaching approach for younger students. Her exposure to Alexander Technique is also integrated into her teachings. It is a body awareness method to avoid tension buildups in piano and violin playing which helps prevent injury. 
Elizabeth is fluent in English, Mandarin, Malay, French and German, enabling her to communicate with students of different nationalities. 

Julia Wilcox, Piano

Piano Lessons Julia WIlcox

Julia M. Wilcox is a pianist, educator and entrepreneur living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She holds a MM in Piano Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and a BM in Piano Performance from Florida State University. After graduating from CCM in 2009, where she was a graduate assistant in the Secondary Piano Department under Michelle Conda, Julia enjoyed an active teaching career in Cincinnati. Many of her students were involved in the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, with 2 students achieving Gold Medals for exemplary performance.

In addition to her teaching career, Julia was also an active performer until 2013. She has embarked on two concert tours, Dusk to Dawn (2013) and Poison in Paradise (2012) with soprano Amanda Matson. She is comfortable performing the works of the greatest composers in history, Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Debussy, to name a few, but she also has a passion for songwriting and arranging. She is currently taking a sabbatical from the performing life to compose a new set of songs.

After running the Wilcox Piano Studio for 5 years, orchestrating multiple concert tours both as a performer and artist consultant, and volunteering in Corporate Sponsorship at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Julia learned that she was equally passionate about business development and entrepreneurship. In 2015, Julia earned an MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University as a Forte Fellow. In addition to working as the Regional Manager for Northstar Strings and Piano, Julia spends her days as a Strategic Business Development Supervisor at 3M.