Meet Our New Instructors!

Hey, Suzuki fam! Did you know we have three new instructors this year? We’re so excited to have these bright lights join our staff this year, and we can’t wait to see what they achieve with their students. Let’s meet them!

It was with great sadness that we bid adieu to former guitar instructor Bill Jones, who is on to other things in life (primarily being a heck of a great dad!), but he is replaced by shredder extraordinaire Mike Savina!

Hi, I’m Mike!

Hi, I’m Mike!

Here’s what Mike has to say for himself:

”Mike is a guitarist and percussionist with over 20 years of performing experience. He began taking guitar lessons at the age of 9 after playing the air guitar in his bedroom window for the better part of two years. It was a sense of finality, of attaining the key to unlock a lifetime of exploration. When guitar was not an offering for concert band in school, he joined the percussion section instead. Intent on being immersed in music as much as possible, he was a member of concert band, the symphonic wind ensemble and the marching band in high school, and for his final two years joined the choir. He joined his first "rock" group at 13, has played extensively in a recording studio collective that encompassed half a dozen projects, and is currently a member of Kalamazoo-based band The Go Rounds. Music is fun, elevating, and a wonderful tool for processing the relationship between the world around us and our inner selves.”

Next up, we’ve got pianist Michael Zutis in the house!

Meet Michael!

Meet Michael!

"Michael is a pianist/composer who holds an undergraduate degree in composition from Western Michigan University. In addition to being a piano teacher at SAK, he is also Director of Music at St.Thomas More Student Parish.

In his free time, Michael takes absurdly long hikes, plays tabletop games with his roommates, walks his dog Clawra Schumann, and cooks obscenely large meals."

We would also like to add that Michael brought the office saltwater taffy from his vacation right after being hired, so we're big fans already.

Last, but certainly not least, is Pablo Valladares! This guy is a piano POWERHOUSE.

Introducing Pablo!

Introducing Pablo!

“Pablo Valladares, a young Ecuadorian pianist born in the city of Quito, began his studies at the age of 4 years with the Russian teacher Aliona Ivanenko and later with the teachers Chinatzu Maeda and Angela Rouschanian. During his studies in the city of Quito, he made his debut as a soloist at the age of 14 with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Loja, performing the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in D Major by J. Haydn, and in 2008 he presented a version and adaptation of the same concert for piano and orchestra of Andean instruments. His talent and good level led him to seek new challenges outside the country, and in 2014, he traveled to the United States where he obtained a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance with Dr. Nicholas Roth in Drake University, Iowa-United States. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Piano Performance with Lori Sims at Western Michigan University where he also serves as graduate assistant. 

During his career he has had performances in several countries around the world, including China, Austria and the United States. In addition, he has performed concerts with the Symphonic Orchestra at Drake University in the United States and in Ecuador with the Symphony Orchestra of Guayaquil, Cuenca, Loja and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ecuador. He has collaborated with great national and international directors, among which are David Arutyunyan (ARM), Andrei Vasilevsky, Jose Alvarez, Jorge Oviedo, Nathalie Marin, Medardo Caisabanda, Juan Carlos dos Santos (BR), Akira Mori (USA), Dante Anzolini (ARG), among others.

Valladares began his international debut at age 16 at the University of Texas, United States, which led him to participate in prestigious piano festivals such as Edward Auer Piano Workshop, Jacob School of Music Piano Academy and Classical Music Festival Piano Academy. During his career, due to his remarkable performances, he has been chosen to play in important master classes for world renowned pianists such as Karen Shaw (Indiana University), Jerome Lowenthal (Juilliard School), Azaf Zohar (Tel-Aviv, Israel ), Daniel Shapiro (Cleveland Institute of Music), Steven Spooner (University of Kansas), Arthur Green (University of Michigan), among others.”

That’s a heck of a CV!

Again, we’re beyond excited to have these three joining us this year and can’t wait to see what they do. Welcome them!