Violin & Viola

Ayako Kikuchi - Violin

Ayako Kikuchi

Ayako Kikuchi is a dedicated performer, collaborator, and educator in the greater Chicago area. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ayako Kikuchi holds both bachelors and masters degrees in violin performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she studied with Yuko Mori, Teresa Fream and Cyrus Forough.

Ayako began her musical training on piano at age four, having studied with Renee Robbins, Dickran Atamian and Carl Alexius on jazz improvisation. Ayako is a winner of the Ann Arbor Bach Festival and first prize winner of the Ann Arbor Piano Teachers Guild Foundation Award.

Ayako was accepted to the Chicago College of Performing Arts as both a pianist and a violinist, but made a decision to focus on violin. Ayako played second violin in the Iridis String Quartet was awarded the first runner-up prize at the MASTA Chamber Music Competition. She has been a substitute player with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Renovo String Orchestra, Chicago Composers Orchestra, and an associate member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra.

Violin InstructionCurrently, Ayako is a freelance violinist in the Chicago area performing in various ensembles and maintains a full time teaching schedule. Ayako had Suzuki trainings with Edward Kreitman and a member of American String Teachers Association, served as a judicator for the Solo and Ensemble, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and Illinois Music Educators Association State Honors Orchestra. As a private teacher, Ayako has trained and mentored young violinists participating in the Blue Lake International Exchange Program, the Michigan Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.


Nicholas Jeffery - Violin and Viola

Nicholas Jeffery

Nicholas Jeffery began viola lessons in the public school
system in Muncie, IN before studying with Catherine Carroll and Masao Kawasakiat the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In 2010 he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where his main teacher was Sally Chisholm. Along the way heworked with a number of coaches and teachers, including Lee Fiser, Victoria
Chiang, Sydney Hodkinson, and David Perry. He spent many summers as a fellowshipstudent at the Aspen Music Festival, serving two summers as the violist in the
Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. Other summer festivals he has attended include the
Atlantic Music Festival in Waterville, ME, the Opera Theater and Music Festival
of Lucca, Italy, Interlochen, and the Encore School for Strings.

As a performer, Dr. Jeffery has been a member of the Madison
Symphony orchestra, served as principal viola of the Round Rock Symphony in
Round Rock, TX, and performed regularly with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. As
chamber music is an important part of any violist's musical life, Dr. Jeffery
helped to found the Quartet of Outsiders in Austin, TX, as well as being
invited to appear as a guest artist with the Chamber Music in the Pines
Festival, the Oakwood Chamber Players, and the Heart Strings Ensemble in
Madison, WI.

Dr. Jeffery is strongly committed to teaching.  As a member of
the Hunt String Quartet at the University of Wisconsin, he visited area
elementary schools to present musical lessons and give performances in the
classroom. Recently he was invited to give masterclasses to viola students at
Ball State University and the University of Wisconsin. His students participate
in the Youth Symphony of DuPage and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. Dr.
Jeffery was recently appointed associate principal viola of the Illinois
Symphony Orchestra.


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