Violin Ensemble

Designed for both Suzuki and traditional violin students, the Violin Ensemble (VE), previously known as Violin Sight Reading and Musicianship (VSRM), is an entry-level ensemble for the Community School of Performing Arts pre-college orchestra program. Emphasis is placed on reinforcing reading skills, developing musicianship, and introducing orchestral performance techniques, such as learning proper violin posture when seated with a music stand and how to read and mark a music score.

All new and returning students must audition for placement.


Weekly on Wednesdays, 6:00 – 6:40 pm


Participants must study privately and are required to have finished Joanne Martin, I Can Read Music, Volume 1 prior to audition. No previous orchestral experience is necessary.

Minimum Age Requirement

3rd grade; must be eight years old by September 1, 2024

Recommended Minimum Level of Playing

Dvořák Humoresque (Suzuki Vol. 3)

Audition Information

In-person auditions for the 2024–2025 academic year will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2024. Upon completion of the application form, a link will be provided to schedule an audition time.

Audition Requirements

Please be prepared to demonstrate:

  1. Two scales. A two-octave G Major scale AND a two-octave D Major scale. The scales should be memorized and played slurred, 2 quarter notes per bow at a moderate tempo. (Quarter note = 72)
  2. A polished solo piece. Choose 2 to 3 minutes that represent your technical skill and musicianship.
  3. Sight Reading. A series of sight reading examples will be presented at your audition.

Audition results will be sent via email by midnight on June 15.

Alex Granger

Hailed as “superb” by the San Francisco Classical Voice, Alex Granger has premiered numerous works as a soloist, concertmaster, and chamber musician, working directly with some of the world’s foremost musicians and composers. Alex is a founding member of the Webern Quartet, and recently performed the complete Arnold Schoenberg String Quartets as part of a week long residency at the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna. Alex’s chamber music performances have been featured on NPR and in the New Yorker, and he has recorded on major labels such as Warner Classics with Delirium Musicum. Alex regularly performs on different concert series’ around Los Angeles including Jacaranda, Le Salon de Musiques, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Noon to Midnight, and Street Symphony, to name a few. During his time as a student at the University of Southern California, Alex had the honor of studying with Henry Gronnier, Bing Wang, and Midori Goto. Aside from performing and teaching, Alex’s hobbies include going on runs by the ocean and playing sports.

Eloise Kim, DMA

Praised by Washington Post’s The Columbian as a “musician with great poetic phrasing and poised lyrical nature,” pianist Dr. Eloise Kim is a performing artist and passionate music educator. Kim regularly performs solo and collaborative music across the United States, and has been a featured soloist with the Vancouver Symphony (USA), Jefferson Symphony in Colorado, and the Columbia and Beaverton Symphony Orchestras in Oregon.

Kim has won numerous awards, including grand-prize of the Pinault International Piano Competition where she had her Carnegie Weill Recital Hall debut at age 11, semi-finalist of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, and finalist of the New York International Piano Competition. Kim won top prizes in the Lennox, Kingsville, WPPC (dedicated to Leon Fleisher), and Jefferson Young Artists International piano competitions. In 2014, Kim was a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award, one of only 20 young artists in the United States to receive this award of a total of $100,000 scholarship for her graduate studies. She has also been a scholarship recipient of the Chopin National Foundation of the United States, featured young artist at Chamber Music Northwest, and a recipient of the Beaux Arts Society Award in Portland, Oregon.

As an active chamber musician, Kim was one of the six finalist groups of the 2010 International Chamber Music Ensemble Competition where the Kim-Garbot Duo made their first debut at Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. She was also a member of the Areta Piano Trio (2015-17) at Manhattan School of Music. The Areta Piano Trio performed in several outreach concerts together and was also one of the winners of the 2016 Lillian-Fuchs Chamber Music Competition.

Kim has participated and performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Orford Arts Centre, Banff Music Centre, “Art of the Piano” Festival, and the Lake George Chamber Music Festival, studying with renowned instructors including Jean-David Coen, John O’Conor, Lee Kum Sing, Marc Durand, Jacques Rouvier, Robert McDonald, Awadagin Pratt, Yoshikazu Nagai, and Gabriel Kwok.

Dr. Eloise Kim received her DMA at the USC Thornton School of Music studying with Daniel Pollack and was the recipient of the Outstanding Keyboard Departmental Award from the DMA program. Kim was also a Teaching Assistant and Studio TA at the USC Thornton School of Music, instructing group piano classes and individual instruction at the University. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree at The Colburn Conservatory with Ory Shihor and her Master’s at the Manhattan School of Music with Andre-Michel Schub. At the Manhattan School of Music, Kim graduated with the honorary Helen Cohn Award in recognition as an Outstanding Pianist in Chamber Music 

Dr. Kim is currently a Faculty at the Colburn Conservatory, teaching Keyboard Harmony Skills and also works as a staff pianist at the Colburn Conservatory. Kim maintains a private piano studio in Los Angeles, and serves as CAPMT (California Association of Professional Music Teachers) Vice President of Conferences. Her students have won many local and state competition prizes and honors including MTAC branch, MTNA, and Certificate of Merit exams in California.  

Catherine Gregory

Australian flutist Catherine Gregorywinner of the Pro Musicis International Award, enjoys a dynamic career as a soloist, ensemble player, teaching artist and creative collaborator. Her performances of both new and old music have taken her across the globe from Alice Tully Hall in New York, to Londons Milton Court, Hamburgs new Elbphilharmonie, and the Sydney Opera House. The New York Times has called her playing magically mysterious,” also writing that Ms. Gregory left a deep impression… her sound rich and fully present.” Committed to nurturing the next generation of young artists, Catherine has served as visiting Flute Lecturer at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, and has given masterclasses and residencies at top music schools all over the world, from The Tianjin Juilliard School, to Curtis, Eastman and the Guildhall School in London. Catherine currently serves on the faculties of The Colburn School and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, where she has developed a new course helping students to become artistic citizens,” strategizing how to integrate their artistic practice within real communities.  Catherine Gregory released her debut album together with pianist David Kaplan, entitled Vent, on the Bright Shiny Things label in September 2023.

Andrew Frane, PhD

Dr. Frane earned his Ph.D. in psychology, with an emphasis in cognitive neuroscience, from the University of California, Los Angeles. His published research addresses various topics, including statistical methodology and the perception of rhythms in music. He is especially interested in how music, and other emotive auditory information, is cogni8vely and emo8onally experienced. In addi8on to his scientific work, Dr. Frane has also composed and produced music for film and audiobook soundtracks.

Ray H. Greene

Ray Greene is known for his work as a producer and director on seasons three through nine of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and as producer/director of the documentaries The Wedge: Dynasty, Tragedy, Legacy (2014), Vampira and Me (2012) and Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001).  Mr. Greene is a multi-award-winning journalist and radio producer, known for creating and hosting approximately 100 broadcast segments for NPR and Southern California Public Radio.  Greene’s book “Hollywood Migraine: The Inside Story of a Decade in Film,” about American cinema in the 1990s, was an L.A. Times Bestseller. He has served as a writer, editor and media director on numerous museum installations, including for the Images of Singapore Museum on Sentosa Island, Singapore; the Adler Planetarium in Chicago USA; and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.  Greene has been an adjunct professor of media for the School of Film and Television Studies at Loyola Marymount University since 2002. Greene holds an MFA in Cinema and Television Production, awarded by the School of Cinema and Television Studies at USC.

Andrea Thabet, PhD

Dr. Andrea Thabet is a historian, writer, researcher, and historic preservation consultant specializing in Los Angeles, urban, and public history. Dr. Thabet holds an M.A. and PhD in U.S. History from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her published works on Los Angeles and urban history have appeared in both print and digital formats, including “’From Sagebrush to Symphony’: Negotiating the Hollywood Bowl and the Future of Los Angeles, 1918-1926” (Pacific Historical Review). Dr. Thabet has taught courses on the Civil Rights Movement, America in the 1960s, and 20th Century American History, most recently at Caltech in Pasadena, and U.C. Santa Barbara. She currently serves as Co-Coordinator for the L.A. History & Metro Studies Group, a research group based at the Huntington Library, and she is revising a book manuscript, Culture as Urban Renewal: Postwar Los Angeles and the Remaking of Public Space.

Keum Hwa Cha, DMA

Keum Hwa Cha, DMA has given numerous concerts as a soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster in the United States and South Korea. She has had the privilege of performing with maestros David Effron, Robert Shaw, and Stanislaw Skrowaczewski. As a concertmaster, Cha has performed with Chee-Yun, the Marcus Roberts Trio, Béla Fleck, and Time for Three. She has also performed with the Cornell Contemporary Chamber Players, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Han-Eum Chamber Ensemble, and the Seoul Tutti Ensemble. Her summer festival appearances include performances at the Kneisel Hall, the Castleman Quartet Program, the Philadelphia International Music Festival, and the Lydian String Quartet Festival.

Cha has taught at universities including Pepperdine University, California Lutheran University, and Idaho State University as an Assistant Professor of Music. She studied violin with Hyo Kang, Masuko Ushioda, Charles Castleman, and Chee-Yun Kim, and she was a Teaching Assistant of Charles Castleman at the Eastman School of Music. Her chamber music coaches were Lucy Stoltzman, Katherine Murdock, Eric Shumsky, James Dunham, Norman Fisher, Alan Harris, Andres Diaz, Stephen Drury, Malcolm Bilson, the Lydian String Quartet, and the Ying Quartet.

Cha’s students have won various concerto competitions and received multiple academic and music scholarships and accolades for their accomplishments. Her pre-collegiate students have served as principal players in youth orchestras and have been selected to play with All-State Honor Orchestras, the MTAC Convention Honors Ensemble, and the SCSBOA High School Honor Orchestra. Cha’s students have gone on to study at music schools and Ivy League universities including Indiana University, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, Brown, Cornell, and Yale.

Cha is a Suzuki violin teacher at the Colburn Suzuki Strings Program and is on the faculty of the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, teaching violin, viola, and chamber music. She also coaches chamber music at the JCM (Junior Chamber Music – the Conejo Valley/San Fernando Valley branch) and offers the Certificate of Merit through the Music Teachers’ Association of California, and the ASTACAP through the American String Teachers Association.

Cha received her BM from the New England Conservatory, her MM and DMA from the Eastman School of Music, and her Artist Certificate from the Meadows School of the Arts.

Jessie Oliver

Jessie Oliver (she/they) is a singer and voice teacher originally from Chicago, IL. She holds a Masters in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in Pedagogy and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Vocology at New York University. Her extensive continuing education includes Estill Certification, LoVetri’s Somatic Voicework™ (Levels I-III), Linklater training, Gender Affirming Speech and Singing through the Voice Lab, Total Vocal Freedom Body Courses, and multi-year participation, both as a teacher and singer, in her mentor Steve Smith’s Naked Voice Institute.

Jessie is passionate for Vocal Rehabilitation and Trauma informed Holistic Teaching. She has collaborated with Speech Pathologists to create warm-ups and practices for wellness for the singing actor.

As a performing soprano, Jessie Oliver has been thrilling audiences with their, ‘dramatic choices’ and ‘sizable beauty’ of her instrument’. She has sung with Opera Theater of the Rockies, New Moon Opera, Third Eye Theater, and starred and produced Opera on Tap’s first ever full-length opera with the Chicago chapter. In the competition circuit she was a finalist at the Denver Lyric Opera Guild, a semifinalist in the NATS competition, finalist for the Bel Canto competition, and the winner of the Society of American Musicians competition. Recent roles include Eliza in Dark Sisters, Agathe in Der Freischütz, and Mother Abbess in Sound of Music.

Jessie also has held positions in theater and cabaret companies throughout Chicago and Colorado. They are an Emeritus member of Playmakers Laboratory Theater, InGen Productions, and Brain Surgeon Theater and well as a frequent collaborator with ModBo Cabaret.

Jessie is a proud member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing), VASTA (Voice and Speech Trainers Association), PAVA (Pan-American Vocology Association), The Voice Foundation (SoCal Chapter), and the Somatic Voicework Teachers Association

John Craig Johnson

John Craig Johnson, baritone, has been praised internationally by Opera News as a distinguished voice of “solid technical facility and impressive, rich, singing.” He has performed forty operatic roles on stage, with the Los Angeles Times calling him “very appealing” and a singer who “handled roles with honor and conviction.” He has sung principal roles with Los Angeles Opera (in the world premiere of Nathan Wang’s On Gold Mountain, the inaugural Voices of California project), Long Beach Opera, Orange County Opera, Opera de Tijuana, and the San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and Palisades Symphonies. He has been heralded as “the star of the evening . . . deliciously comic and richly sung” by the Pasadena Star for his Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. He continues to sing both opera and musical theater roles and collaborates frequently with San Diego Opera, Opera de Tijuana, OB Playhouse, Coronado Playhouse, and Intrepid Theatre.

Johnson is the recipient of many awards and holds a doctorate in vocal arts from the University of Southern California where he was honored as the outstanding DMA Vocal Arts Graduate of the Year. Dr. Johnson is an alumnus of OperaWorks and has sung with the organization in many special events. At the National Classical Singer Convention, he collaborated with OperaWorks’ founder and director, Ann Baltz, in presenting an “operavisation” workshop. Eighteen of his students have been selected for the nationally competitive OperaWorks summer intensive training program, eleven of whom have completed the Advanced Artist program. His students have also completed apprenticeships and sung roles with Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass, Wolf Trap Opera, Aspen Musical Festival Opera, Tanglewood, Opera Academy of California, and Opera Neo.

Dr. Johnson maintains a very active role as a voice teacher, passionately mentoring and promoting singers. He is currently on the voice faculty of Colburn Community School of Performing Arts in Los Angeles and Associate faculty San Diego Mesa College, where he teaches all sections of beginning – advanced voice and directs the Mesa College Choir. He has taught at the University of Southern California, Azusa Pacific University, Mt. San Antonio College, and La Sierra University, where he served as Director of Vocal Studies. At Point Loma Nazarene University, he served as the Vocal Studies Director and faculty adviser and music director/conductor for Point Loma Opera Theatre and the Point Loma Musical Theater Club. From 2010 to 2017 he produced and/or conducted 23 works including Gianni Schicchi (2009), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (2009) Dido and Aeneas (2010, ‘15), Massenet’s Cendrillon (2011, ’14), La finta giardiniera (2011), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (2012) Edges (2012), Die lustige Witwe (2012), Most Happy Fella (2013), Così fan tutte (2014) Offenbach’s Daphnis et Chloe (2014), Donizetti’s Rita (2014), Rachmaninoff’s Aleko (2014), Hänsel und Gretel (2015, ‘16), La bohème (2015), Trouble in Tahiti (2015), Don Giovanni (2015), Rota’s Il cappello di paglia di Firenze (2015), Mikado (2015), Old Maid and the Thief (2017), and Heathers (2017).A champion of younger singers, Dr. Johnson has taught the summer opera intensive at the nationally recognized San Diego High School for Creative and Performing Arts, and served on the guest faculties of Opera Academy of California, Broadway Dreams Summer Intensives (Los Angeles, Omaha, Sacramento, and Philadelphia, where he taught Titus Burgess, Quentin Earl Darrington, Ryann Redmond, Alex Newell, Jailen Josey, and Carina-Kay Louichey;) and Atlanta’s Renaissance International School for Performing Arts. He teaches voice students who are pursuing or currently engaged in professional careers singing opera, pop, rock, and musical theater. From 2008 – 2018 alone, his students garnered ten first place wins and thirty other awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. His students are also winners and grant recipients of auditions sponsored by the Sullivan Foundation, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Carmel Music Society, Los Angeles Opera Buffs, La Jolla Symphony Young Artists, Musical Merit of San Diego, Virginia Hawk Memorial Scholarship, and most recently Operalia, the World Opera Competition. His students are engaged as professional singers on the local, regional, national, and international levels. They have completed graduate degrees and/or certificates in Voice Performance at University of Southern California, Yale, Academy of Vocal Arts, Rice, University of Colorado – Boulder, Boston Conservatory, University of North Texas, Manhattan School of Music, California State University – Northridge, University of Kansas, and Boston University’s Opera Institute.