Kurt Sassmannshaus, violinist and conductor, is considered one of today's preeminent violin pedagogues. Founder and director of the Starling Preparatory String Project and Starling Chamber Orchestra, he is Chair of the String Department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In 2005, Prof. Sassmannshaus founded the Great Wall International Music Academy, which brings together the current and future generation of outstanding string soloists and teachers for four weeks of musical training, performance and cultural exchange every summer in Beijing, China. He is also the author of Violinmasterclass.com, an award-winning comprehensive educational website.
Won-Bin Yim, associate professor of violin at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music since 1991, is former concertmaster of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and Reno Philharmonic. He studied with Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School and Aspen Music Festival, where he also teaches.
Catharine Carroll Lees has been associate professor of viola at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music since 1993. She was appointed to the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival in 1994, where she also serves as principal violist of the Aspen Chamber Symphony. In addition, she is an active chamber musician and author. She collaborated on the widely-used teaching book, "Essential Basics for Viola."
Dominic DeStefano, viola and chamber music, joined the CCM viola faculty in 2009 and earned his Doctor of Musical Arts from CCM in 2010. A former assistant and student of Masao Kawasaki and Catharine Carroll, DeStefano also serves as their teaching fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School. He has performed across North America and Europe and has been a member of the Aspen Chamber Symphony and Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra. Also interested in arts leadership and advocacy, DeStefano managed the 2010 International Viola Congress and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Starling Project Foundation.
William Grubb, cellist, has been adjunct assistant professor of chamber music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music since 2000. Mr. Grubb has been a faculty member at Aspen each summer since 1976, where he currently is director of the string chamber music program. He frequently presents master classes at colleges and universities and has served on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and Brooklyn College of City University of New York. Mr. Grubb is professor of cello and chamber music at the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University. He has written his own cello method book and recorded for CRI and Monitor Records.
Alan Rafferty is currently a member of the cello section of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Alan came to Cincinnati in September of 2007 after four years with the Louisville Orchestra. An avid chamber musician, he has performed on numerous concert series and music festivals including Tanglewood, Aspen and Interlochen to name a few. He has studied chamber music with members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Cavani, and Pacific String Quartets and played in master classes for Yo-Yo Ma. A native of Albuquerque, NM, Alan made his solo debut playing the Dvorak concerto with the Las Cruces Symphony at the age of 16. He received his schooling at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Northwestern University and his primary teachers have included Hans Jorgen Jensen, Alan Harris, Richard Weiss and Merry Peckham. In addition to his position on the cello faculty of the Starling Program at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music, Mr. Rafferty is adjunct professor of cello and member of the Rhine Quartet at Northern Kentucky University. His students have been national finalists for MTNA and winners of the Ohio ASTA as well as numerous other competitions and awards.
Coordinator: Boyun Li