Simply Violin

The Simply Violin Team
Lisa Berman
Lisa Berman, M.M., J.D.

Lisa Berman holds a Masters Degree in Violin Performance from the Yale School of Music, a JD from the Yale Law School, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music history and theory from Yale University. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lisa began violin lessons at age four at MacPhail Center for Music, where she studied with Mark Bjork and Mary West. She went on to study with Erick Friedman at Yale School of Music. Lisa has been teaching private violin lessons for over a decade to students of all ages and levels in New Haven, CT, Pittsburgh, and now the Twin Cities area. Lisa is a past first prize winner in the Schubert Club Solo Competition and has been a guest soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and at Tanglewood.

Lisa is the producer and an author of the Simply Violin Series of instructional books for violin, available online through, Southwest Strings, The Sound Post (Canada), and in music stores.
Teacher Questiion and Answer: 
    Fred Flowerday
    Music Editor
    Fred Flowerday

    Born in London England, Fred is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, and holds a B.M. in Commercial Arranging.

    Inspired by the music of Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder and "Star Wars" from an early age, music has always been an intregal part of his life. As a performer, he has worked with many fantastic artists including: Shirley Jones, John Davidson, Tony Sandler, and the R&B band: Cameo.

    As a music editor, Fred has worked for, amongst others, Lisa Berman, and Lorie Line. Fred currently resides with his family in Minneapolis, where he writes and performs with the jazz group "Story City."

    Fred also works for MakeMusic, producers of Finale®, the world's best-selling music notation software, as a Music Editor and Engraver.
    Dan Freiberg
    Art Director
    Dan Freiberg

    As an advertising creative professional, Dan Freiberg worked many years at prominent ad agencies in Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Since starting Freiberg Advertising, he has provided advertising art direction, copy writing, graphic design and marketing services for a variety of clients, including industrial, technological and retail. Whether in print, TV or Internet, Dan Freiberg believes that advertising must do more than just be there; it must work for the client.
    Susan Giannantonio
    Senior Vice President & Artist
    Susan Giannantonio


    Susan has many years of playing and teaching strings and piano. She has sung and played violin and piano since elementary school, culminating in the study of voice, strings and piano pedagogy at Westminster Choir College and at Temple University. She has directed choirs and choral groups and has been a vocal soloist in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Texas. She has composed and arranged music for piano, choral and orchestral ensembles.

    Susan has studied and been an active painter for almost thirty years. Her work emphasizes watercolor and other water media and collage techniques. Her music background has informed her art work, and she finds her greatest joy in the creative process. She loves color and texture and experimentation with water media.

    She has remained active in the Watercolor Art Society-Houston (WAS-H) for twenty years, serving as president in 2000/2001. She has studied with world-recognized watercolor artists and continues to teach watercolor painting workshops both privately and in public settings: WAS-H, public schools, colleges, and community centers in Texas and New York.
    sheila Graves
    Sheila Graves

    Sheila started playing violin/fiddle in at the age of 8 and holds a degree in viola performance from Northwestern University.  She has taught viola and violin at Augustana College and the University of Sioux Falls, in addition to maintaining a private teaching studio.  She has been a member of the Heidelberg (Germany) Chamber Orchestra, the Sioux City Symphony, and the South Dakota Symphony. 

    Sheila entered her first fiddle contest in 1975.  She is a past 1st place winner of the National Old time Country & Bluegrass Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa and Spudfest in Minnesota.  In addition, she has placed in numerous fiddle contests and talent shows in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Missouri and Minnesota, including the Iowa State Fair and the Minnesota State Fair.  She has been arranging fiddle tunes since 1987 and is the author of Serious Fiddling: Fiddle Tunes for Violin published by SimplyViolin.

    Sheila is a member of the Violin Society of America, the American Viola Society, and the Minnesota Viola Society, as well as the Minnesota State Fiddlers Association and Minnesota Old Time Fiddlers Association.  She has a background in violin repair and owned her own shop G&G Violins in Sioux City, Iowa.  Sheila has also worked for Kenneth Stein Violins in Chicago, Sioux Falls Music, and Claire Givens Violins.  Currently, she is Sales Manager at House of Note in Minneapolis, where she specializes in selling and appraising instruments and bows in the violin family.   

    Sheila has been a guest lecturer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas national conventions.  She would like to dedicate her arrangements to the memory of her mother, Marilyn Graves, and beloved teacher John Grossman who was a master at teaching, arranging music, and making all styles of music fun!
    Sheila's Blog: 
      Ute Zahn luthier
      Product Reviews Director
      Ute Zahn

      Ute is a graduate of the Newark School of Violin Making and Repair and a violin maker and restorer whose instruments are played all over the world.  She has worked for Beverley Music Centre in England, Sandra Wagstaff in Hong Kong, Vintage Violins in Vancouver, B.C., and Claire Givens Violins, Minneapolis among other fine shops. She is currently a luthier at House of Note Violin Shop.

      Ute grew up in Duesseldorf, Germany, where she studied cello under Professor Juergen Wolf of the Duesseldorf Conservatory. At the age of nineteen, she moved to England to attend the Newark School of Violin Making, and has worked as a violin maker and restorer ever since, while still maintaining an active life making music.

      Ute spent the 1990s living in Hong Kong, combining the running of her own violin business with a busy freelancing schedule. She performed with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, touring Taiwan and China several times, as well as the Hong Kong Chamber Orchestra, the Mount Davis String Quartet, and the Mandarin Trio; and played in numerous theatre, opera and ballet productions. The venues she performed in ranged from junks to the governor’s mansion to Chinese sports stadiums.

      Since moving to the Twin Cities, Ute has focused on playing chamber music, while also exploring the colorful world of pop by joining the avant-garde indie-pop band Smattering. She currently plays with the West End String Quartet, as well as the Ayana Quartet.

      Product Reviews: 
        Ute Zahn luthier
        Consulting Editor
        Jeff Whitmill

        Composer, conductor, arranger, teacher, hornist, singer - Jeff Whitmill has been involved in music all his life. His mother, a gifted pianist, and his father, a creative mind of the first order, raised him in a home full of music. Some of his earliest memories are of playing in the back yard while listening to his mother play Chopin, Bach and Mozart.

        Currently the Director of the St. Barnabas Center for the Arts (and the church's Choir Director), Jeff taught music for 15 years across a wide spectrum - from beginning 5th-graders to college students. He has taught bands, orchestras, choirs, music theory classes, private horn lessons, theatrical voice - and even did a stint one summer teaching the History of Rock 'n' Roll. His school performing ensembles accumulated an impressive array of awards at contests and festivals, and on more than one occasion he used his compositional skills to push the envelope for not only his students, but for judges and audiences as well. A particularly memorable incident involved a Texas UIL orchestra contest, a junior high orchestra and a 35-minute performance piece complete with staging, lighting, surround-sound electronic effects and nine projectors. The piece concluded with almost all of the students putting aside their instruments and singing. It was only performed once, but it was unforgettable for all who were there.

        Multimedia works were a big part of Jeff's output for about a decade, but the far larger proportion of his work has been centered around traditional ensembles. Two symphonies, five masses, three ballets, five tone poems and two cantatas comprise the larger works of his career. In addition, he's written a host of smaller works for band and for chorus. He very much enjoys writing works for chorus and instruments; his Mass for Job was premiered in February, 2006 at St. Barnabas.

        Jeff has conducted - and written for - school music groups, community, church and corporate choirs and professional and community musical theatres. He conducted a production of Barnum in Japan, and his musical direction for shows such as Chicago, Into the Woods, Sweet Charity and Jekyll & Hyde earned high marks in the theatrical community.

        Jeff has also worked as Automation Specialist for a public library, webmaster and Flash designer for a web production company and as a technical support specialist and software tester for the music notation program Finale.
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