Charliah Best

Director, Violin and Viola

When Charliah was 5 years old, her parents asked if she would like to learn to play the violin or the piano. Charliah chose the violin because she figured it would be easier to carry a violin to venues when performing, rather than carrying a piano. After many years of performing and practicing, she decided to study Music Education at Hartwick College (New York, USA). With this degree, she was able to share her love of music with others by becoming an orchestra, band, and choir teacher. Later, she earned a Masters in Music with emphasis in Viola Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Hartt School of Music (Connecticut, USA).

Throughout the years, Charliah has studied music with many prestigious musicians: Marvin Warsaw (Viola), Philip Ventre (Orchestral Conducting), Teri Einfeldt (Suzuki Violin), Linda Fiore (Suzuki Violin), Roberta Guaspari (Suzuki Violin), Melinda Daestch (Suzuki Viola), and Steve Larson (Viola). Though a native of Hamden, Connecticut (USA), Charliah has thoroughly enjoyed living in Hong Kong as a Violist and Violinist.

When Charliah isn’t teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and close friends; but she feels most comfortable performing jazz, rock, fiddle and avant-garde music on her violin around Hong Kong. Keep an eye out for her performances in local cafes and bars!

Read our interview with Charliah! 

 

Yankie Chow Lok Yan

Violin

Chow, Lok Yan Yankie started her musical journey when she was 6 years old. At that time, her school organized a violin course and her parents asked her if she would like to learn to join the violin course. Because Yankie wasn’t sure of what a violin was, her parents described a violinist in a very humorous way, which she still remembers. Yankie chose to learn the violin because she thought the posture of playing the violin was very cool. When she was 14, Yankie ‘s musical eye was attracted to the shiny, bright and silver flute; so, without hesitation, she began to learn this instrument as well.

Yankie’s love for orchestras developed when she was only in Primary One. She also served as the principle flue part in secondary school, which is quite an honor at such a young age. She has been performing with various orchestras in different venues all around Hong Kong. Yankie has participated in musical events, such as The Hong Kong Joint-University Philharmonic Orchestra charity concert and the music concert of Mr. Joe Junior. At the moment, Yankie enjoys playing music with her friends around the city.

Read our interview with Yankie! 

 

Kanice Hoi Ling Kwan

Viola, Violin and music therapy

Kanice’s fondness for music stemmed from taking up the piano at the age of 3 and following this she quickly developed a passion for the violin, viola and organ, whilst also taking classical singing lessons and being a member of various choirs and orchestras both at school and at university. Kanice’s musical taste is hugely influenced by her music teachers, Mr David Chapman and Mr Roland Fudge. Having been working as a Music Styling Programmer, Kanice has broadened her knowledge of music, including repertoire from Baroque period to popular music, yet classical music remains her all time favourite; she finds Chopin’s delicate nocturnes soothe her stresses, while Wagner’s operas especially Das Rheingold of Der Ring des Nibelungen drives her in great agitation.

After graduating from the University of Hong Kong majoring in Music & German, Kanice pursued further on her music career by returning to the U.K., completed a M.A. Music Therapy programme at Roehampton University. During the two-year- training, Kanice has gained different experiences working along with people ranging from young children to adults who have special needs e.g. autistic spectrum disorder, psychotic depression and learning disabilities. Since September 2015, Kanice has become a U.K. registered Music Therapist. Kanice believes the use of musical improvisation can stimulate imagination, encouraging expressions and enabling the exchanges of a wide variety of emotions.

Apart from devoting to music therapy work, Kanice began her music teaching career way back in 2011, providing individual/ group classes for piano, violin/ viola and music theory.

With both Music and Music Therapy trainings, Kanice hopes that her professional knowledge in Music Therapy could be a helpful source to her teaching work, thus making a more personal, reciprocal learning experience for the students.

Read our interview with Kanice!

 

Christian Gillett

Guitar

Christian is an English-born guitarist and songwriter, with a over a decade’s experience as a writing and touring musician.

He began studying guitar at the age of 12, inspired by the playing of David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Within a few years, Chris became his tutor’s first student to obtain Grade 8 in Jazz Playing, and afterwards completed a fast-track Music Theory course, gaining a distinction in Grade 5 within 4 months.

At 19, he was accepted onto the Music Performance course at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford. Here he furthered his knowledge of a vast range of genres, as well as an understanding of Music Business, guitar playing techniques, sight reading and song craft.

Since his time at ACM, he has worked at the London International Piano Competition and in an Arts Centre as a Duty Manager. These roles cemented his desire to work in the artistic field, particularly in music. He also started teaching guitar privately in 2012, where he focussed on the importance of rhythm, improvisation and a basic understanding of various musical genres in a fun and explorative way.

Outside of work, Chris has been writing, recording and performing in the Indie/Rock band ‘Zurich’, and as a solo artist. With Zurich, he has toured the UK several times, and released a critically acclaimed EP ‘Small Wars’ in 2015, which has gained radio and blog exposure all over the world. Zurich have also played alongside some prestigious Indie acts such as Two Door Cinema Club, The Boxer Rebellion and Augustines.

In March 2016, Chris started recording his debut solo album, which has been partly inspired by the electronic elements of music by Bjork and Radiohead, as well as string arrangements by composers such as Max Richter and Hans Zimmer. The album is due for release in 2017.

Chris is now residing in Sai Ying Pun, where he is looking to further his musical journey through new cultural experiences, and find inspiration in Hong Kong’s exciting and vibrant artistic scene.

Read our interview with Christian!

 

Suzanna Sitomer

Viola and Violin

Suzanna Sitomer is a native of Washington DC, where she attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, majoring in violin and viola, and minoring in piano.  She is the recipient of the Edith Grun Memorial Scholarship to the Oberlin Conservatory, where she completed her degree in music education and music technology, with a focus on chamber music and conducting. 

This year she will complete her master's degree in educational leadership at HKIED. An avid performer, Mrs. Sitomer is a member of the SAR Philharmonic and conductor/performer with the Hong Kong North Philharmonic.

Mrs. Sitomer has been teaching high school and middle school orchestra for the past two decades, and has conducted and performed with groups that perform in local, national, and international festivals and competitions.  She has also been guest judge for numerous juries, competitions and festivals throughout the years.

As an educator, her number one focus is keeping music fun and exciting for her students while maintaining a high standard of performance.

Read our interview with Suzanna!