Betul Soykan, Violin
Betul is the founder of Atlanta Strings Conservatory Inc. dedicated to the teaching of String Instruments, styled after instructions at the highest European Conservatory levels. In addition, her goal is to provide an environment for teaching to exceptionally talented but economically underprivileged youth who would not have been able otherwise, to receive private lesson. She is a recording artist Violin performer and educator, with 25 years experience. She has performed around the world and the United States with Symphonies, Chamber and Solo settings. Betul is a holder of a Bachelor of Music in Violin and double Master in Violin Performance and Strings Pedagogy. She is in the faculty of Violin/Viola and Chamber music at Clayton State University and also currently directing two high school orchestras in metro Atlanta. Her private students have won many competitions, auditions and admissions to top universities.
Brian W. Kellum, Violin
Originally from St. Louis, Mr. Kellum is a graduate of Duquesne University and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with degrees in Music Education. He has taught strings grades 3-8 in the Ritenour, Parkway, and (now currently) Fulton County school districts. In addition to public school teaching, Mr. Kellum maintains a private studio of violin and piano students and was the Artistic Director for the Cameron Youth Chamber Orchestra and the founder and Artistic Director of the St. Louis Youth Chamber Ensemble. Mr. Kellum began doctoral study in music education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant to Dr. Louis Bergonzi in the Music Education Department. His duties included assisting with conducting and string pedagogy courses, supervising student teachers, and teaching a string instrument class for undergraduates.
Adam Crane, Theory/Composition
Adam Crane - artistic director of Crane Classical Music Society was born and raised
in Brooklyn, New York, and has enjoyed a successful and varied musical career.
He received his first exposure to the viola at age eleven, while attending a magnet
school. Soon after, General Mills Foundation awarded him a scholarship that enabled
him to attend the Mannes College of Music Pre-College Division in New York City.
Later, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree; as a double major in viola performance and music composition; a Master of Music degree in viola performance and a post-graduate Professional Studies Certificate, from the Mannes College of
Music. His viola mentors include Paul Doktor, Sol Greitzer, John Graham, Yitzak Schotten, and Heidi Castleman. Mr. Crane studied composition with Peter Pindar Stearns, and Roberta Shanker, and, in addition, he studied conducting with Yakov Kreizberg and Sidney Harth. As a chamber musician, Mr. Crane has performed as violist with the Roanoke String
Quartet, the Zaslovsky String Trio; which performed at Gracie Mansion (NYC) for
the Mayor; the Alaria Chamber Ensemble, the Rachmael Weinstock String Quartet,
the Niles String Quartet, the Lyra String Quartet and the Sonoklect Contemporary
With the International Music Program Quintet, he performed extensively throughout
Europe, including in Leipzig's famed Gewandhaus. Mr. Crane was a founding
member of the Boneyfiddle Chamber Players, in residence at the Southern Ohio
Museum and Cultural Arts Center. While a member of the Roanoke String Quartet,
he assisted with the development of a PBS documentary featuring music written by
Thomas Jefferson, contained in Mr. Jefferson's library in Monticello.
Mr. Crane has held principal viola positions in the following orchestras: the
Jackson Symphony Orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Ohio
Valley Symphony, the Pittsburgh Opera Festival, the River Cities Symphony, the
International Music Program Orchestra, the Rockbridge Symphony Orchestra,
the Kingsborough Symphony Orchestra, and the Huntington Chamber Orchestra.
In addition, he has performed with the Dayton Philharmonic, the West Virginia
Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, Chattanooga Symphony, Macon Symphony,
the Charleston Symphony and as a guest artist with many ensembles.
As conductor and music director, he has served the following orchestras: the
Southern Ohio Light Opera, the B'Nai Brith Repertory Theatre, the Thrid Street
Music Settlement’s Maestoso Chamber Orchestra, and the Sinfonia Strings of the
Jackson Symphony. He was a founding member of the Portsmouth Community
Orchestra. Further, The NBC series "America IS", a multi-cultural celebration of
heritage, featured him as conductor of the Third Street Music Settlement Orchestra
Mr. Crane has taught in various capacities, seeing to the artistic development of
music students of all ages. He has held violin and viola positions with the following
universities: Morehead State University, Washington and Lee University, Union
University, Lambeth University, Agnes Scott College and Shawnee State University.
Rio Grande University invited him, as a specialist, to supervise their revision of the
Ohio, K-12 music curriculum.
As a composer, Mr. Crane has been commissioned by the Roanoke Symphony. His
compositions include two symphonies and many chamber music compositions in
which he highlights the viola as a beautiful and unique instrument, as a solo voice. He
also has created various programs, developing music appreciation for young children
and their parents. Among them 'Artsounds', 'Bach to Basics' and 'Me, Mom and
Mozart'. Mr. Crane has appeared on PBS, NPR and FOX interviews on both radio and
television, and has recorded archival performances with Musical Heritage Society.
Adam has served as a clinician at hundreds of schools in many cities and presently
holds an active private teaching studio with nearly 60 private students and additional
violin training classes for adults who love to play for the joy of it. He has performed
with orchestras, and chamber music ensembles as a featured soloist. Various musical
organizations seek out Mr. Crane as a clinician and consultant. In addition he has
authored an "Audition Mastery Guide", and was the winner of Shar Music’s Kreutzer
Etude Edition Contest, with a spirited “Nift.T. Shift’s Agility Training”.
Adam's main goal is to bring joy and enthusiasm for learning and securing the role
that music serves as a vehicle of communication, one that facilitates harmony in
Dr. Lana Teko-Ahatefou, Viola
Lana Teko-Ahatefou is a freelance violist and teacher in the metropolitan Atlanta area. She is in demand for adjudication, clinics and master classes in Metro Atlanta, at Valdosta State University and for the Alabama chapter of the American String Teachers Association. An avid chamber musician and enthusiast, Lana coaches chamber music in June for At First Sight Chamber Music Workshop and performs with Sage Strings.
Dr. Teko-Ahatefou began playing the violin as a sixth-grader in school orchestra and holds dear the encouragement of Kimbraly Grimes, her first significant teacher-mentor. Her other influential teacher-mentors are Karen Clarke, the late Dr. Michael Allen, Sheryl Lowe, and Dr. Susan Dubois.
Dr. Teko-Ahatefou has maintained a private teaching studio and performed in regional symphony orchestras since 1998. She currently resides in Pine Lake, GA with her husband and Shadow the cat. When not teaching, performing or doing research, she enjoys running, recreational soccer, Yoga and Pilates.
Amy Leventhal, Music Theory/Composition/ Viola
Ms. Amy Leventhal is a Composer, Educator and Violist. Her recent professional accomplishments include: a completed first draft of a fifty-seven minute Opera based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. In the spring of 2013 Ms. Leventhal was one of the winners of the Georgia State University’s Composition Recording Competition. Her work, August Hummingbirds in My Yard for Violin and Piano, will be recorded this coming Fall 2013. This past spring Ms. Leventhal presented a concert of one of her pieces along with a new piece by composer, Alvin Singleton, at Georgia Perimeter College on April 8, 2013. Ms. Leventhal and pianist, Petar Makarievski, performed George Rochberg’s Sonata for Viola and Piano on the NeoPhonia Concert at Georgia State University on March 12, 2013. Receiving a Graduate Assistantship, from the Georgia State University’s Music Department in the Fall of 2012, Ms. Leventhal taught music composition to fifth graders at Drew Elementary School. Having completed two years of her Masters in Music degree in music composition at Georgia State University, Ms. Leventhal is looking forward to completing her degree by the end of Fall Semester 2014. Ms. Leventhal has a Bachelors of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University. Ms. Leventhal was Assistant Principal Violist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra from 1990-2009.
Ruth Einstein, Cello
is a client support manager and business analyst with Efficio Solutions, which offers media sales customer relationship management software. Previously, she was the webmaster and special projects coordinator with the William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ruth spent eight years as an orchestra director in the Cobb County Public Schools outside of Atlanta. She grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and holds a master of music degree in cello performance from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor of music education degree from Indiana University. She is an active musician in the Atlanta area.
Dr. Brad Knobel, Cello
DMA- Florida State University
MM- University of Maryland-College Park
Dr. Knobel started playing cello in the Ann Arbor, MI public schools. Although he was,
at first, a reluctant participant in the strings program (he says his mother insisted that he
participate in order to bring him out of his "shell"), he soon became very accomplished
on the instrument and decided to major in music performance upon graduation.
His undergraduate studies were at Eastman School of Music, San Francisco
Conservatory and Georgia State University. His influences span a wide range of
interests including Dr. John Bailey, David Beech, Lavaette Goldberg, Margaret Rowell,
Eckhart Ricther, E.Eugene Helme, David Soyer, Clifford Madsen, Lubomir Georgiev,
Andre Navarra and Janos Starker.
He is currently Principal Cellist and Assistant Conductor Atlanta’s Four Seasons
Chamber Orchestra. He has performed with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, Dover (DE)
Symphony, Mid-Atlantic Symphony, Cobb Symphony, Pensacola (FL) Symphony, Gulf
Coast Symphony and Mobile (AL) Symphony.
Dr. Jacqueline Pickett, Bass
is currently Principal Bassist of the Columbus, Georgia Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed as section bassist with the Detroit, Michigan and Jacksonville, Florida Symphony Orchestras in addition to playing with many of the major symphony orchestras in the Southeastern United States. As a chamber musician, Pickett was bassist with and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, whose "music without boundaries" mission produced critically acclaimed recordings of music by Aaron Copland, Conni Ellisor, and John Jorgenson, among others. She has recorded for Atlanta based contemporary music ensemble Thamyris and has also played bass with the Ritz Chamber Players.
In addition to the classical music field, Dr. Pickett is active in the jazz and popular music industry. She has shared the stage with musical legends, including Trey Anatasio, Billy Eckstine, Nancy Wilson, John Mellencamp and Natalie Cole among others. Dr. Pickett was a featured performer at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church Tribute Concert for Consuela Lee Morehead. Recording credits include Monica’s “The Making of Me,” Julie Dexter’s “Dexterity,” and Jhelisa’s “A Primitive Guide To Being There.” As a music educator, Dr. Pickett has worked with the Columbus Urban League, the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus, and with strings students throughout the Atlanta area. She is a former assistant professor of music at Auburn University and currently serves as a music specialist for the Atlanta Public Schools. Dr. Pickett is a Partner-In-Hope for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
DMA University of Wisconsin-Madison
MM (Miles scholarship recipient) Yale University School of Music
BM (high honors), West Virginia University
Indian food, or anything freshly grown or made
Stevie Wonder and the composer Igor Stravinsky are at the top of my list, but it is a very long list!
"The end of all good music is to affect the soul.”- Claudio Monteverdi
A tie between my first and last strings teachers, Jennie Lou Klim and Richard Davis--I still visit them and feel compelled to pass on what they gave to me.
Chester Griffin, Double Bass
As a professional musician, private teacher and music educator, Chester Griffin has served in music ensembles, served on state and county music education committees in Georgia, and has performed throughout the United States. He is a graduate of Howard University and Georgia State University and holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music Education. He studied with Frank Sturgis, Assistant Principal Bassist of the National Symphony and toured for three years with the United States Army Field Band following his graduation from Howard University. After his honorable discharge, he performed throughout the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area with local musicians and music ensembles.
Since moving to Georgia, he has been a member of the local musicians union, and has served as principal bassist of the DeKalb and Cobb Symphony Orchestras. As a freelance musician, he has performed with the Atlanta Ballet and Gwinnett Ballet Orchestra, Chattanooga Symphony and many other orchestras in the metro Atlanta area. In addition, he has had the honor of performing with many great entertainers including Steve Wonder.
Employed for 32 years as an educator, he has taught on all grade levels in orchestra, band and chorus, and as a professor at Clark Atlanta University and the Atlanta University Center. He served as director and co-founder of the DeKalb Youth Pops Orchestra introducing hundreds of children in DeKalb County to the joy and beauty of performing on string instruments. He has served as a clinician, adjudicator and guest conductor of honor groups in the metropolitan Atlanta area and throughout Georgia.
Now a retired educator, he continues to serve as a mentor, adjudicator and freelance musician, currently performing with the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra.