Violin & Viola


Jacob Olbrot

Jacob Olbrot is the Executive Director of the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo as well as an instructor. He attended Western Michigan University's School of Music, and was brought up in the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra and the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo before becoming part of its staff in the early 2000s.

Additionally, Jacob is the Director of Strings at Kalamazoo Kids in Tune, and he is a core member of the Traverse City Symphony Orchestra.

Jacob enjoys klezmer music, improvisation, and collecting records. He has a wife, Sheri, and two daughters, Mayim and Zoe, who keep him on his toes.

Josh Holcomb

Josh teaches both violin and viola at the Suzuki Academy. He studied at the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University, as well as in Mysore, India, where he learned to play classical Indian violin. Josh also has a background in folk and bluegrass, and he dabbles in various stringed instruments aside from violin and viola. He has also studied rhythm with Dede Alder. Additionally, he is a member of the Earthworks Collective Ensemble and he plays viola in Dede and the Dreamers. He has been teaching for 10 years in the Kalamazoo area. If Josh could be alive in any time period, it would be in the 60s and 70s.



Harmony Kelly

Playing violin has always been a passion for Harmony, who started taking lessons at the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo when she was 3 years old. She has previously studied with Dana Duncan-Davis, Alvaro Gomez, and is currently taking lessons with Renata Knific. She is a sophomore at Western Michigan University and she is majoring in Music Therapy and Violin Performance with a minor in Psychology. She has always enjoyed working with kids. She also really enjoys being outside and taking walks in the park.




Dan Koshelnyk

Dan is a pianist and multi-instrumentalist who has been teaching for 17 years. He is also the Director of Music at St. John Bosco and St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Churches, in addition to being active in multiple bands around Kalamazoo, and an instructor here at the Suzuki Academy.

Jessica Mauer

Jessica Mauer has completed Suzuki Piano teacher training through Book Four and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She received her training from Marilyn Andersen.

She began her musical studies at age four with Suzuki violin lessons, and started traditional piano lessons around age seven. In high school she played in the String Orchestra of Kalamazoo directed by Dr. Barry Ross, accompanied the Middle School Music program at Calvary Bible Church, and took lessons from various teachers on both instruments. While in college, she attended the Fine Arts Summer Academy in Nashville, TN as a student and assistant violin coach, and performed at the Grand Ole Opry with the Annie Moses Band. She is a graduate of Liberty University Online with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies.

At the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo, Jessica teaches private and group piano lessons, and accompanies the strings at group classes and recitals. Her goal as a teacher is to encourage parents and students to learn with love, as Dr. Suzuki taught, in order to develop a lifelong love of music.



Somi Yoon

Teaching piano has been Somi’s passion from the beginning of her professional career. She has been actively involved in the Kalamazoo Area Music Teachers Association (KAMTA) and the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). She is an expected graduate of Western Michigan University and studied under the tutelage of Lori Sims and Jeremy Siskind. Her teaching philosophy is rooted in her belief that every child benefits from music lessons and has a potential to become an awesome musician. 



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.


Pablo Valladares

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.



Grace Field

Grace holds a BA in cello performance from Michigan State University, where she studied with Louis Potter, Jr. She also attended the New School of Music in Philadelphia, where she studied with Orlando Cole, cellist of Curtis String Quartet and professor of cello at Curtis. She received her Suzuki certification at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, and at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

In the past, Grace has been a member of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (1959-1989), a member of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra String Quartet (1963-1989), the Bach Festival Orchestra, the Arion Trio and Quartet, and the Four Seasons String Quartet.

In addition to teaching at the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo, Grace has also taught at Kalamazoo College, and has served as a Suzuki Association of the Americas teacher and trainer in Brazil, Australia, and Calgary. She continues to be a clinician at many US workshops.

Grace is the director of the Suzuki Academy of Kalamazoo cello program, and is also a director of the Chamber Music Workshop here in Kalamazoo, MI. She has also served as the president of the Michiana Cello Society, the Stulberg International String Competition, and the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Women's League. She is a current member of SAA, ISA, and ASTA. She was the 2000 recipient of the Community Medal of Arts Award and the 2002 recipient of the PRISM award given by Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity.

She has two grown sons and four grandchildren.


Mike savina

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.




From humble beginnings, Dede has paved her way on her own experimental, alternative, off the grid musician journey. Dede has been studying, performing, recording and writing music for over 15 years. She has studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, Northwestern Michigan College, National Frame Drum Association, and in Ireland and Italy. She has worked with world renowned percussionists including Gwen Burgett: MSU Percussion Instructor, Roger Kashou: Percussionist in the National Arab Orchestra, Alessandra Belloni: World renowned Italian Tambourine Performer and many more. Dede has a fun and supportive teaching style that is backed by a deep passion for music. She loves to teach group and private lessons.

Operations Manager

RosaLee WarD

RosaLee holds a Bachelor's of Fine Arts with an emphasis in photography and intermedia from Western Michigan University. She has a background in design, marketing, management, and administrative work as well. She is our dedicated jack-of-all-trades behind the scenes, managing everything from our web presence and communications, to accounting, to scheduling, to human resources - you name it, she does it! She will often be your first point of contact at the Suzuki Academy, and can always be reached at