Our award winning faculty is eager to help our attendees grow as cellists and as musicians. Click on their name to learn more.

Alan B. Rafferty

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CCM cello faculty member Alan Rafferty is rapidly gaining recognition as a preeminent musician and master teacher. In demand as a clinician around the world, Rafferty has presented Master Classes at numerous schools including the Cleveland Institute of Music, Northwestern University and Depaul University. In addition, he has been a visiting faculty member for the Cleveland Institute of Music, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and the New World Symphony.

A member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra since 2007, Rafferty made his solo debut with orchestra at the age of 16 and has been a featured soloist on numerous occasions since. In November 2013, he gave the North American premiere of Victor Herbert’s first published work, the Suite for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 3 and will perform Don Quixote with the CCM Orchestra and Mark Gibson this coming season. He can be heard on recordings for Telarc, Sono Luminus, CR and for WGUC Radio Station.

Rafferty regularly collaborates as a chamber musician with the likes of Matt Haimovitz, the Ariel Quartet, Sandra Rivers and members of the Cavani Quartet. In the summers, Rafferty is on the faculty of the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, VT, and the Aria International Summer Academy. Previous summer festivals have included Meadowmount, Madeline Island and the Great Wall International Music Academy in Beijing.

His students have been 1st prize winners in the MTNA National Solo Competition, Louisville Orchestra Competition, Cleveland Cello Society, Tennessee Cello Workshop and have played as soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony, Louisville Orchestra and Dayton Philharmonic. As cello/chamber music faculty for the Starling Program at CCM his groups have won the Junior Division Gold Medal of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition among others.

He and his wife, cellist Sarah Kim, were recently named the 2016 Ohio String Teachers Association Studio Teachers of the Year. They are the founders and directors of the nationally recognized Cincinnati Young Artists, which presents Chamber Music and Cello Workshops throughout the year. Learn more at cincinnatiyoungartists.org.

Sarah Kim


Miami University Assistant Professor of Cello, Dr. Sarah Kim, leads a vibrant and diverse career as performer, educator, and arts administrator. She is an acclaimed instructor who was named the 2016 Ohio String Teachers Association Studio Teacher of the Year and recipient a 2015 Cincinnati Arts Association Overture Educator Award. Previous teaching appointments have included serving on the string faculty of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she was Instructor of Cello and String Pedagogy as well as the String Pedagogy Cognate Coordinator for doctoral students. Her students have been top prize winners in regional and national competitions as well as soloists with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Blue Ash Montgomery Orchestra.

As a solo artist and chamber musician, Dr. Kim has performed internationally. She has been broadcast on WGN Chicago, Vermont Public Radio, and WGUC Cincinnati. She continues to be an active performer in the Cincinnati area where she has played with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and as guest principal cello of the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. A native of Minneapolis, MN, Dr. Kim attended Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, and the the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (UC-CCM). Her primary studies have been with Peter Howard, Steven Doane, and Hans Jørgen Jensen. Dr. Kim has regularly collaborated with members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music faculty, and faculty from renowned music schools on chamber music performances. She is the cellist of the resident Oxford String Quartet at Miami University.

Dr. Kim is executive director of the Cincinnati Young Artists, which she co-founded in 2010. The organization holds annual chamber music and cello festivals drawing the nation’s young talent to Cincinnati to work with renowned artist faculty (cincinnatiyoungarists.org). She is also on faculty at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, VT, the Aria International Summer Academy in Hadley, MA, and the Brancaleoni International Music Festival in Piobicco, Italy.

A sought after clinician, Dr. Kim has given master classes and presentations at numerous cello festivals and workshops at universities such as the University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee, Oklahoma State University, and DePaul University. She has also adjudicated local and national competitions such as the Music Teacher’s National Association National Finals. Dr. Kim maintains a strong interest in cello pedagogy and is regularly invited to present at conferences such as the American String Teachers Association and Suzuki Association of the Americas. She has developed community music cello programs at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati and other university preparatory programs such as UC-CCM, Roosevelt University in Chicago, and Northern Kentucky University. She has been a pedagogical consultant for the UC-CCM Preparatory Department Suzuki programs and has mentored many young teachers in the area.

Ji-Hee Kim

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Cellist Ji-Hee Kim attained her degrees from the Juilliard School, and Northwestern University, studying with Min Ja Hyun, Channing Robins, and Hans Jorgen Jensen. Ms. Kim has appeared as a soloist in Vienna, Prague, and Seoul. She has taught at Northwestern University, the Seoul National University, Dan Kook University, Okemo Summer Music Festival.

In her teaching, she brings her value in bolstering the importance of technical basics, and aims to instill musical skills that can ultimately be life skills beyond music, such as attention to detail, perseverance, and dedication. Jihee is accepting students who are passionate about learning and making music.  Students range in skill from musically talented beginner to seasoned professional.

She believes in a strong technical foundation to achieve freedom of expression that gives life to music—from the most fundamental elements such as proper posture, breath, and fluid motions all being in sync with the music.  She also believes that natural timing and motion creates a flow in one’s music. Through patience and focused coaching she guides students to the understanding that basic foundational techniques are of the utmost importance to make beautiful music.  Sharing the knowledge of how and why such technique works is a key step in the growth of young musicians.

Nick Curry

NickCellophotoDr. Nick Curry is the Associate Professor of Cello at the University of North Florida. At UNF, he also serves as the coordinator of scholarships and admissions for the music department and as the area coordinator for strings. He is a founding member of Trio Florida with violinist Simon Shiao and pianist Gary Smart, featuring new compositions as well as timeless classics. In early 2015, he joined fellow Jacksonville musicians Aurica Duca, violinist, and Clinton Dewing, violinist/violist, as founders of the Lawson Ensemble to play and promote chamber music in the region. From 2004-2007, he served as the assistant professor of cello and the cellist in the Rawlins Piano Trio at the University of South Dakota.

He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated from The Westminster Schools, where his chamber music coaches included Martha Gerschefski and Allan Sandlin. Nick received his Bachelor of Music, cum laude, from Vanderbilt, where he studied with Grace Mihi Bahng. While at Vanderbilt, he served as Professor Bahng’s teaching assistant and was the recipient of the Jean Keller Heard Award for Excellence in string performance. Nick then served as Hans Jorgen Jensen’s teaching assistant for five years at Northwestern University, earning both his Master and Doctor of Music degrees. He also was the teaching assistant to Professor Jensen at the Meadowmount School of Music for four summers. At Northwestern, Nick performed as soloist with the Northwestern Philharmonic Orchestra and won the Northwestern Chamber Music Competition.

Nick’s chamber training includes master classes with the Emerson String Quartet, the Pacifica String Quartet, and the Blair String Quartet. Private studies also included summers in Canada and Italy studying with Harvey Shapiro of Julliard fame. Nick has played concerts in Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan and Turkey, and throughout the United States. In April of 2006, he performed as a soloist on National Public Radio (USA) Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion on the King Amati (ca. 1538) cello. The performance was heard by over 4,000 people live and by approximately four million on radio and can be found on the Prairie Home Companion website archives.

In the summers of 2012 and 2013, Dr. Curry was visiting faculty at the Meadowmount School of Music and was full-time faculty at the Tennessee Valley Music Festival. He has presented at national conferences; is a sought after clinician and adjudicator; and active with the Florida Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.

From his undergraduate days, Nick knew he wanted to teach cello and perform chamber music and is grateful to UNF for helping that ambition be realized. He is married to fellow faculty member, Dr. Cara Tasher, and they are the parents of Mia, age one.

Mary Beth Bryant

mary beth bryantMary Beth Bryant studied with Martha Gerschefski and later went to graduate school at the University of Hartford to study with Mihai Tetel where she served as principal cello of the university orchestra. She has performed in master classes for Timothy Eddy, Hans Jorgen Jensen and Amit Peled.

Her students have served as principal of MYSO and EYSO in Atlanta as well as attended All-State Orchestra in Georgia. Mary Beth presented “How to Make your Cellists Yo YO Ma-Velous” for the past two years at the ASTA conference. She loves teaching and finds great joy in seeing her students quickly progress!

Grace Bahng Gavin

Grace Bhang PhotoGrace Bahng Gavin was a scholarship student of Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins at the Juilliard School where she received her B.M. and M.M. degrees. She was a member of the Blair String Quartet and Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University from 1984-1999. Widely acclaimed in concert performances across the country, she has appeared in recital at the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, 92nd St. Y in New York, Alice Tully Hall and on National Public Radio and Television. She has been in residence at the Aspen, Marlboro, Sunflower, Sewanee, Buzzard’s Bay and the Crested Butte Chamber Music Festivals, the El Paso Pro Musica International Chamber Music Festival, the Sedona Chamber Music Festival, the Highlands/Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and the St. Barths Music Festival.

Ms. Bahng has performed with a wide array of musicians, including: Edgar Meyer, Robert McDuffie, Donald McInnes, Joseph Silverstein, Bela Fleck, Nigel Kennedy, Mark O’Connor, Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride and has played on numerous movie soundtracks. Grace lives in Orlando, Florida, where she lives with her husband, Kip, and enjoys competitive tennis and cooking.

Avi Friedlander

Avi_Friedlander-Pic-200x300Avi Friedlander, Cello, is the director of the Barston Suzuki Center at the Music Institute of Chicago, a teacher trainer candidate and founder and former director of Suzuki Talent Education Program of Birmingham. He received his Master’s and Bachelor’s of Music performance degrees from The University of Michigan, and pursued his professional studies degree from The Cleveland Institute of Music.

Mr. Friedlander is the former Assistant Principal cellist of the Atlanta Opera, former member of The New World Symphony and former Adjunct Professor of Cello at Emory University in Atlanta. He has been trained in Suzuki Methods with Dr. Tanya Carey, Pam Devenport, Rick Mooney and Gilda Barston. Mr. Friedlander has also been trained in cello pedagogy with Irene Sharp and teaching group classes with Carey Beth Hockett and Terry Durbin. His primary teachers have included Anthony Elliott, Stephen Geber, Tanya Carey and David Premo and has also studied with Richard Aaron and Hans Jensen. Mr. Friedlander has studied improvisation methods with Eugene Friesen from the Berkley College and performs and records music from classical to rock. Mr. Friedlander currently performs with the String Theory Birmingham and Sunday Jazz Night and writes his own arrangements for solo cello of rock tunes from Jimi Hendrix to Pearl Jam.