Meet the Instructors

Faculty Instructors

Erica Shirts

Director of the Duke University String School. Teacher of Violin, Viola, Chamber Music, Beginner Violin, and Violin Choir III.

Erica, a native of Utah, is currently the Associate Concertmaster of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and regularly performs with the North Carolina Symphony, North Carolina Opera, and the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle.  She regularly plays chamber music on the viola as well as the violin. ... full profile »

Dorothy Kitchen

Founder of the Duke University String School in 1967 and Director Emeritus.

Dorothy Kitchen began her studies at Eastman School of Music, finished Phi Beta Kappa at Case Western Reserve University and took her Master's Degree from Brandeis University. She also studied at the Longy School of Music and at the University of London on a Holden Prize Fund Fellowship. Her... full profile »

Carlos A. Bardales

Teacher of Cello, Conductor of the Cello Choir.

Carlos A. Bardales was born in Tela, Honduras.  At an early age, he began taking cello lessons from Jerry Withkowsky and Max First in the Victoriano Lopez conservatory in San Pedro Sula Honduras.  After playing cello for three years, he won his first audition to be part of the advanced chamber... full profile »

Andy Bonner

Teacher of Violin

Violin and viola teacher Andy Bonner is also a member of the music faculties of Duke and Elon universities and an active performer on both baroque and modern violin. Andy grew up in Durham as a DUSS student himself, and studied with Dorothy Kitchen and Eric Pritchard. He now holds a Doctor of... full profile »

Erica Leavell

Teacher of Cello, Conductor of Beginning Cello Class

Cellist Erica Leavell grew up in New Jersey where at an early age, she began her studies with former Philadelphia Orchestra principal cellist William Stokking.  She received her Bachelor’s of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory in the studio of Alan Stepansky.  She earned her Master’s of... full profile »

Conductor of the DUSS Youth Symphony Orchestra; Teacher of Violin, Viola and Chamber music

Shelley Livingston, Conductor of the Duke University String School Youth Symphony Orchestra, is recognized for her many contributions to the arts, both locally and internationally. As guest artist at the Laredo Institute in Cochabamba, Bolivia, she conducted master classes for advanced violin... full profile »

Teacher of Violin and Viola, Conductor of Violin Choir I

Nonoko started her violin training at the age of six in her native Japan. She grew up studying with teachers who were close pupils of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, the founder of Suzuki Violin Method. After meeting Lewis Kaplan, she moved to New York to pursue her violin study with him. She received... full profile »

Rob Rempher

Conductor of the Concert String Orchestra, Chamber Music Coordinator, Teacher of Violin, Viola and Chamber

Robert Rempher received his Bachelors Degree in Violin Performance as well as a Performers Certificate from Purchase College, State University of New York. He has been a member of the Chattanooga Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Southwest Michigan Symphony, and Garden State Philharmonic as well as... full profile »

COdy Rex

Teacher of Double Bass

Dr. Cody Rex is a double bassist and educator based in central North Carolina. He is Instructor of Double Bass at Duke University String School and at High Point University.  Previous teaching appointments include the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Methodist University, and the Music... full profile »

Conductor of the Intermediate String Orchestra, Teacher of Music Theory

Matthew Stutzman grew up in Indianapolis, IN and in 2004, received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music (Chicago, IL). Currently, he is the General Manager of High Strung Violins & Guitars and teaches music theory at the Duke University String School.... full profile »

Teacher of Violin and Viola

Dr. Sangeeta Swamy is an award-winning musician and Board Certified Music Therapist. She has performed nationally and internationally as a violinist, violist and chamber musician, and currently performs with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. She received the Louis & Annette Kaufmann Award... full profile »

Maria Valencia

Teacher of Viola, Violin, and Conductor of Violin Choir II

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, violist Maria Valencia began her music studies at the Carabobo Music Conservatory. She then transcended her studies to the Simon Bolivar Music Conservatory and into the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela. From a young age she has performed internationally with many... full profile »

Staff

Katharine Whitmore

Staff Assistant

Katharine grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and is a Duke graduate.  She received her Bachelors in History, Comparative Areas, and Religion and later her Masters in History, concentrating in US Social History. Her musical experiences are limited to childhood piano lessons and listening to the... full profile »

Associated Duke Artists

ciompi quartet The Ciompi Quartet

The Ciompi Quartet was founded at Duke University in 1965 by the renowned Italian violinist Giorgio Ciompi. All its members are professors at Duke and play a leading role in its cultural life, in addition to traveling widely throughout the year for performances. In a career that includes many hundreds of concerts and spans five continents, the Ciompi Quartet has developed a reputation for performances of real intelligence and musical sophistication, and for a warm, unified sound that is enhanced by each player’s strong individual voice. With a maturity and insight born of wide experience, the Ciompi Quartet projects the heart and soul of the music, in a repertoire that ranges from well-known masterpieces to works by today’s most communicative composers.

Recent concerts have ranged across the country from Washington State to California, Texas, New York and New England, and abroad from China to France, Italy, Germany, Prague, Serbia and Albania. In the summer the Quartet has performed at Monadnock Music in New Hampshire, at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Michigan, North Carolina’s Eastern Music Festival and Highlands Chamber Music Festival. Collaborations have included the distinguished talents of pianists Bella Davidovich, Menahem Pressler and James Tocco, the Borromeo Quartet, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, soprano Tony Arnold, and jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, among many others. The Quartet’s commitment to creative programming often mixes the old and the brand new in exciting ways. It’s extensive record of commissions includes many strong works that it continues to play on tour. Close ties to composers such as Paul Schoenfield, Stephen Jaffe, Scott Lindroth, and Melinda Wagner have produced important contributions to the repertoire; the quartet recently premiered Stephen Jaffe’s Third String Quartet and Lindroth’s Cello Quintet, written for the Ciompi and cellist Ashley Bathgate. The group’s latest recordings are on Toccata Classics (a string quartet by 19th century violin virtuoso Heinrich Ernst), and Naxos, which released “Journey to the West” by Chiayu Hsu in 2015; also on Naxos online is a recording of the quartets of Paul Schoenfield including the popular “Tales from Chelm.” Numerous other discs are on the CRI, Arabesque, Albany, Gasparo, and Sheffield Lab labels, with music from Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, up through the present.