Amelia Eckloff is a violist, violinist, and teacher from Northern Virginia currently based in Baltimore, Maryland. Amelia is a recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and has been playing the viola since the age of 9 when it was introduced to her in her elementary school music class. Most recently, Amelia performed as principal violist under the batons of Marin Alsop and JoAnn Falletta with the National Orchestral Institute in June 2022. Amelia regularly performs with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and has attended the Castleman Quartet Program and the Chautauqua Institution Summer Music Festival. Aside from orchestra, Amelia is an avid performer of chamber music and worked with a string quartet to present concerts and participate in competitions during her time at the Eastman School.
Amelia also greatly enjoys teaching and working with young musicians. She has taught many private lessons over the years on both the viola and violin to students as young as age five to adult life-long learners. As a teacher, Amelia’s goal is to cultivate a personal, but professional learning environment tailored to each student’s individual needs where the student is encouraged and inspired to think creatively, explore their instrument, and develop their own musical voice.
Amelia is currently pursuing her Masters of Music in Viola Performance at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University under the tutelage of Victoria Chiang. She previously studied with Masumi Per Rostad at the Eastman School of Music and retired National Symphony Orchestra violist, Ramon Scavelli, and has also worked with violists such as George Taylor, Choong-Jin Chiang, Phillip Ying, David Harding, Joan DerHovsepian, and Karen Ritscher.
Kat Dillon has been a professional violinist, singer, and stage performer for over 20 years in a broad variety of musical arenas. She started learning violin at the age of 12 and later studied classical violin under famed violinist Mischa Lefkowitz. Her first professional work was as a violinist in Tehachapi, CA Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16. Through high school, she performed simultaneously as a member of both Bakersfield CA Symphony Orchestra and Antelope College Symphony Orchestra. During her college career, she performed classical violin as a member of Washington State University Orchestra (go Cougars!) and later with West Chester University Orchestra in Pennsylvania.
After college, she turned to power-rock style music and joined the Trans-Siberian Orchestra-inspired group Wizards of Winter as lead violinist. She toured with the band for 3 seasons, from Maine to Maryland, playing the entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra catalogue as well as a variety of original material. She transitioned her style in 2012 to Irish fiddle and joined the Trad-Celtic group Burning Bridget Cleary. Kat toured with the band across the entire north-eastern seaboard performing both traditional Celtic as well as bluegrass style fiddle. As both a violinist and vocalist, she is credited for her performance on the band’s popular studio album, ‘Pressed For Time.’
In 2013, Kat fronted her own namesake band, Kat and the Mad Dogz. The wildly popular Pennsylvania-based rock/country cover group performed over 100 shows per year and specialized in hits spanning the 1970’s to 2000’s. During this time, Kat perfected her signature “back bend” move, defying gravity while performing the fiddle solo to ‘Devil Went Down To Georgia.’
By 2016, Kat discovered her love of neon and became the lead singer of M80, one of the top 80’s rock bands in Pennsylvania. With M80, Kat sang and played electric violin in venues ranging from MusikFest to Atlantic City. 2 years later, Kat was selected as lead singer of The Reflex, the Washington D.C. area’s top 80’s cover band. The band has been voted DC’s best cover band by Washington City Paper and was the headlining act at the MGM Grand in National Harbor for New Year’s Eve in 2019. There, Kat performed a duet of the hit 80’s song ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ side by side with the song’s original artist, Tiffany.
In the winter of 2020, Kat joined forces with The American Rogues, a Celtic Rock group based out of Maryland and Canada. They recently performed for the Annual Navy SEAL's Muster in Ft. Pierce, FL and are scheduled to perform in Scotland and Quebec, among other locations. Kat plays the violin and sings a few tunes as well!
Kat applies her wide range of musical experience to personally tailor lesson plans that best fit each student’s taste and style. She believes that students best learn when playing the music they love the most and adapts each of her lessons to provide the most fun, optimal learning experience.
Marylin Mello is an accomplished violist now based in Baltimore, MD. As a classically trained musician, Marylin has performed in various types of ensembles in the States and abroad. She served as principal violist for the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music’s Symphony Orchestra and their prestigious University String Quartet. Additionally, she has attended the Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy, and the Sierra Academy of Music Chamber Festival.
Interested in exploring new venues as a violist, Marylin has been featured in contemporary classical world premieres and composition projects, as well as studio album recordings and performing genres outside of the typical classical violist. Highlights include recordings for Bryan Lanning’s album “Us”, performing with the Studio Ghibli tribute orchestra “Tonario”, and collaborating with Irish Singer-Songwriter Chloë Agnew (Celtic Woman) with the Studio Orchestra at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music. During the COVID-19 pandemic Marylin adapted to the closing of performing venues by cultivating recording skills from home and participating in a number of virtual orchestra performances with the Studio Orchestra at BCCM, A Virtual American Symphony, and the Philanthropic Philharmonic, an organization that raises awareness to social causes and donates streaming revenue to charitable organizations.
As an educator, Marylin currently served as a private string instructor at the Huntington Beach School of music and the surrounding area. She always strives to provide the highest quality education for her students. She does this by a combination of emulating teaching styles she has learned throughout her years of studies and implementing her own stylistic choices in order to enrich the lives of every student, ensuring they receive the best education possible.
Marylin is currently finishing her Master’s in Viola Performance at the Peabody Institute under the tutelage of Victoria Chiang. She earned a B.M. from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSU Long Beach, where she studied with Jason Bonham and Dr. Josephine Liu Moerschel. There, she received both the Cole Scholarship and the Sigma Alpha Iota Scholarship. Marylin has also participated in masterclasses with Paul Coletti and Misha Galaganov.
Cristian Contreras is a young and accomplished violist from Los Angeles, CA. He lives a life dedicated to improving the lives of others through the two musical principles he is most passionate about: performing and teaching.
Cristian just recently won a position with the Fairfax Symphony as a Section Violist and is also a substitute violist with Symphony in C. He currently attends the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and studies Viola Performance under the tutelage of Professor Choong-Jin Chang. Cristian will receive his Master’s Degree in May 2024.
Cristian holds a Bachelor’s in Music with Emphasis in Viola Performance from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University Long Beach in which he studied viola under Professor Jason Bonham. During his undergraduate studies, he won a three year tenure with the American Youth Symphony and a two year fellowship with the National Orchestral Institute + Festival. Cristian also sat regularly as Principal Violist with the Bob Cole Conservatory Symphony.
In addition to his orchestral experience, Cristian managed a studio of fourteen private students at the Irvine Art and Music Center in Irvine, CA in which he trained his students to prepare for auditions and recitals. Cristian also teaches technique, solo repertoire and orchestral repertoire to his students. Cristian’s teaching style accommodates the needs of each student and aims to develop a gentle conviction within each of his students to practice enthusiastically and to improve their craft.
In his free time, Cristian enjoys hiking, the outdoors, finding new places to eat with friends, and playing Dance Dance Revolution.
Wesley Catherine Hamilton is a violist, violinist, educator, and music theorist based in Baltimore, Maryland. Wesley is pursuing a Master's degree in Viola Performance and Pedagogy at Peabody Conservatory in Johns Hopkins University. She graduated with the class of 2020 from the University of Georgia with two undergraduate degrees in Music Performance and Music Theory, Summa Cum Laude. Wesley is currently teaching viola and violin lessons at Mike’s Music in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Wesley spent the 2020-2021 school year as an itinerate teacher in the Richmond County Orchestra Program in her hometown of Augusta, Georgia. She was responsible for orchestra programs at Goshen Elementary, McBean Elementary, Hains Elementary, Pine Hill Middle, Butler High, and Cross Creek High School. During this year, she taught both face-to-face and online instruction at each school in addition to her private studio.
An avid orchestral and chamber musician, Wesley has performed as a section viola with the Augusta Symphony, Aiken Symphony, North Georgia Chamber Symphony, and has held assistant principal positions with the UGA Symphony Orchestra and UGA Opera Orchestra. In addition to her ensemble experience, Wesley has been a finalist of both the UGA Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and the UGA Wind Ensemble Concerto Competition. She has participated in masterclasses with Jordan Bak, Roberto Diaz, Ivo van der Werff, Victoria Chiang, Edward Klorman, Jenny Snyder-Kozoroz, Erika Eckert, Daphne Gerling, and Hillary Herndon.
Wesley has attended the Brevard Music Center for five summers during her high school and college careers in 2015-2017, 2019, and 2021 where she studied with Maggie Snyder and Jenny Snyder-Kozoroz. At Brevard, Wesley performed with the Brevard Music Center Orchestra and the Brevard Camerata where she has held principal positions. Additionally, she attended the Montecito International Summer Music Festival in 2018 where she studied with Yizak Schotten.
Wesley is mother to Zelda, her sweet and amazing cat. In her spare time, she enjoys playing video games, socializing with friends, walking in nature, attempting to be funny, and napping.
Maksymilian Krzak began his viola studies at the age of fifteen. A native of Poland, he earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Gdansk, and was qualified for a one-year scholarship at the historic University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he studied with Wolfgang Klos. He recently graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, where he received a master's degree as a student of Victoria Chiang.
As a soloist and chamber musician, Maksymilian Krzak has received many prizes in local and national competitions in Poland. In 2017, he won auditions for the I, CULTURE Orchestra concert tour, and, as an orchestra musician, he performed in four European countries with world-known violinist Julian Rachlin. As a member of diverse orchestras, Mr. Krzak has recorded CDs under various labels such as Naxos and DUX. In 2018, under the baton of Marin Alsop, he led the Peabody Opera Theater Orchestra viola section in the production of Leonard Berstein’s Mass. He has also performed in Vienna Musikverein and Berlin Konzerthaus under the batons of Christoph von Dohnanyi and Andrey Boreyko. Mr. Krzak is an alumnus of the National Music Festival, and in 2019, he was invited to the Atlantic Music Festival as Resident Artist Fellow. He is a recipient of a scholarship from The Kosciuszko Foundation in New York.
Maksymilian Krzak is also a chamber music instructor at the Preparatory Department of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and a violin instructor at the Bridges Program in Baltimore.
Asa Zimmerman is a violinist and violist based in Cockeysville, Maryland. In this capacity, they perform with a number of ensembles, including The Smithsonian Chamber Players, The Washington Bach Consort,The Thirteen, Tempesta di Mare, the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra, Mallarmé Chamber Players, Modern Musick, Musica Spira, Burning River Baroque, Bach Akademie Charlotte, Handel Choir of Baltimore, Baltimore Choral Arts, BaRock Band, Tazzina Drammatica, the Baltimore Baroque Band, and Charm City Baroque. Asa has been teaching violin and viola for more than a decade in various capacities, including positions with the Peabody Preparatory and Musical Empowerment. Asa holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a Master of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma from Peabody Conservatory. They are currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Peabody.
Elizabeth Robbins began studying the viola at age 9 and the flute at age 10, and has experience performing and teaching strings and woodwinds. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Education at Ithaca College, where she studied flute with Kelly Covert. She spent one semester at the Ithaca College London Center, taking lessons with Susan Milan at the Royal College of Music. After completing her undergraduate degree, Elizabeth moved to southern Maryland, where she taught pre-k through fifth grade band, strings, chorus, and general music for four years at St. Mary’s County Public Schools. While in Maryland, she earned her Master of Music in Music Education from Boston University. In 2010 she played Griffes’s Poem for Flute and Orchestra with the Chamber Orchestra of Southern Maryland In Concert as the winner of the COSMIC Young Artist Competition.
Elizabeth earned her PhD in music education at Temple University in 2019. While at Temple, she worked as a TA in the music education department, which included serving as a graduate conductor of the Night Owls Community Band and teaching Woodwind Methods to undergraduate and graduate students. She also taught as an adjunct and supervised student teachers at West Chester University. During her doctoral studies, she was a member of the viola faculty for the Music Education Pathways program at Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, PA and was a member of the flute faculty at Ferrwood Music Camp in Drums, PA. Elizabeth is happy to be back in Maryland, teaching 4th-6th grade band and orchestra in Prince George’s County Public Schools.
Megan (Meg) Bradshaw began her violin studies at the age of 7 with Irina Briskin and later with late BSO violinist John Merrill.Throughout high school, Meg participated in All State, All County, Baltimore Symphony Side by Side, and performed the first movement of Mozart’s 3rd Violin Concerto with her school orchestra.
While pursuing a BA at UMBC, Meg studied with Dr. Airi Yoshioka, performed in the UMBC Symphony Orchestra, various string ensembles, recitals and masterclasses-most recently for Daniel Heifetz. In the summer of 2018, Meg participated in UMBC based music festival, Festival Baltimore, where her quartet performed Tchaikovsky’s 2nd String Quartet.