Colburn Playlist: The Women of Suzuki in the Community School of Performing Arts

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In this playlist, the women of Suzuki in the Community School of Performing Arts share works from women that have inspired them

Rumi Shimasaki received her Bachelor of Music (BM) in Violin Performance from Oberlin Conservatory in 1995 and her Master of Music (MM) in Violin Performance combined with Suzuki Pedagogy from The Cleveland Institute of Music in 1997. Formerly on the faculty of The Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Division, she joined the violin faculty at The Colburn School in 1998. In addition to teaching, she serves as the Suzuki String Program and Violin Coordinator.

Nancy Yamagata began her cello studies in Los Angeles with Eleonore Schoenfeld. She received a Bachelor Degree in Music Education from the University of Southern California. She is a founding member of the Marina Ensemble and is the cello coordinator of the Suzuki String Program at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts. Ms. Yamagata was formerly the director of the Chamber Music Workshop at the Los Angeles Suzuki Institute and has served on the Board of the Suzuki Music Association of California.

Dr. Connie Sheu studied US History and Music at Columbia University, and earned a Master of Music from the Juilliard School. She completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Southern California under William Kanengiser and Pepe Romero. She also studied under scholarship at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana with Oscar Ghiglia in Siena, Italy. Connie serves as General Manager for the Guitar Foundation of America and teaches at the Colburn School, Vanguard University, and online with Classical Guitar Corner.

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Connie Sheu: Variazioni Su Un Tema Di Mercadante, Op. 9 by Emilia Giuliani


Emilia Giuliani. She was the daughter of Mauro Giuliani, a notable guitarist and composer. Few people realize that he had a daughter who could play as virtuosically as he could (if not better!) and composed many beautiful works as well.

Connie Sheu: “4 Miniatures : II. A Tide of Living Water”


I released an EP featuring works by a woman composer named Clarice Assad. Her work is fabulous…My favorite track on this EP is the title track, “A Tide of Living Water.” This is a gorgeous song that Clarice wrote, and has this haunting melody that works so well on the warmest colors of the guitar.

Ezperanza Spalding: NPR Tiny Desk Concert (2010)


Shared by Nancy Yamagata

Esperanza Spalding (b. 1984) is a Grammy-winning bassist, singer, songwriter and educator. Inspired to play the cello after seeing Yo-Yo Ma on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, she eventually found her soulmate – the bass – in high school. Esperanza’s captivating lucid vocal tone is as extraordinary as her prodigious virtuosity on the bass.

Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding: Jam at the 53rd Grammy Pre-Telecast


Shared by Nancy Yamagata
Pure joy is the emotion experienced after watching the mind-blowing collaboration of vocal genius Bobby McFerrin and the spellbinding Esperanza Spalding. That year she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, the first jazz musician to receive this award.

Hiroshima: “Lion Dance”


Shared by Nancy Yamagata

The jazz fusion band Hiroshima was formed in 1974 by Sansei Japanese Americans Dan and June Kuramoto. By adding distinctively Japanese instruments like the koto and taiko drum, their music reflects a racially diverse America. June Kuramoto, born in Japan but raised in Los Angeles is one of the world’s leading koto players who became the driving force behind Hiroshima. By integrating these ethnic timbres, a multi-cultural musical statement was created. I felt a kinship with these musicians who desired to retain what they could of their culture while trying to assimilate into American society.

Dana Lyn: Maintenance Music (2012)


Shared by Rumi Shimasaki

I realized that I could give an entire playlist for Dana Lyn, but I have listed three selections. I met Dana in youth orchestra over 35 years ago, and we have kept in touch over the years, but I had no idea of the scope of her versatility. I am in awe.

Apple Hill String Quartet: “Madame Maxwell” by Dana Lyn


Shared by Rumi Shimasaki

Dana is also a well-versed fiddle player in the Irish tradition. Madame Maxwell from Looking for Lady Gordon – A Suite for Fiddle and String Quartet, performed by the Apple Hill String Quartet and Dana Lyn, fiddler.

Palaver Strings: “The Coral Suite” by Dana Lyn


Shared by Rumi Shimasaki

With longtime collaborator, guitarist Kyle Sanna, Dana co-composed, “The Coral Suite”, a medley of Irish tunes and co-arranged it for Palaver Strings. It celebrates the biodiversity of a coral reef and reminds us of the fragility of the environment. Dana’s illustrations were animated and superimposed on the performers.

Grażyna Bacewicz: Quartet for Four Violins


Shared by Rumi Shimasaki

Grażyna Bacewicz (1909 – 1969) was a Polish composer and violinist. Her Quartet for Four Violins was written in 1949 and intended as a student piece. I particularly love the playful nature of the first and third movements.

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