ICMI Faculty are highly qualified musicians with years of chamber and orchestral experience.  Many of our faculty members are principal players in the
Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, the Atlantic String Quartet, and various other chamber and orchestral ensembles.

Partial list of 2018 faculty includes:

Zach Ebin, violinzacharyebin2

Dr. Zachary Ebin has performed extensively in the United States, Israel, and Canada. He has studied with Leslie Fayette, Jocheved Schifter, Lazar Gosman, Daniel Stepner, Joseph McGauley, and Jacques Israelievitch. He earned Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in music from Brandeis University, where he was concert master of the Brandeis-Wellesley Symphony Orchestra, as well as a Master of Music degree in violin performance from the Boston Conservatory. Zachary recently released his debut recording with pianist Maria Dolnycky titled Dreams: A Revival of Ukrainian Music.

Active as a music educator, Zachary was on faculty at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, Massachusetts, where he was appointed chair of the Suzuki Department. Zachary has also served as teaching assistant to world-renowned violinist Jacques Israelievitch. He is currently on faculty at Etobicoke Suzuki Music and on the executive board of the Suzuki Association of Ontario. Zachary is also the music director of Arco Violini, an advanced student ensemble that performs throughout Ontario. Zachary is in demand as a guest clinician in both Canada and the United States.

Jennifer Johnson, NL, violin, Body Mapping

Jennifer played as principal second violin of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and second violin of the Atlantic String Quartet for twelve years. Presently, she plays first violin in the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.  In 2004, a generous grant from the Canada Council for the Arts funded a 7-month Alexander Technique sabbatical for Jennifer which permitted her to study  with many of the world’s leading Alexander Technique teachers. Jennifer went on to train in Body Mapping with Barbara Conable and in 2005 became Canada’s first Licensed Andover Educator. She now presents Body Mapping workshops internationally teaching musicians to enhance their musical ability and to prevent injury through a clear understanding of how their bodies are designed to move.

She has presented at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, at numerous music schools across Canada, including McGill University and University of Ottawa.  She was the keynote speaker at the Australian String Teachers’ Association in Brisbane, Australia in 2015 and is a regular presenter for the New York Philharmonic Zarin Mehta Program.

Jennifer is also a Professional Associate at Memorial University of Newfoundland Music School where she teaches Body Mapping and violin. She also teaches for the Suzuki Talent Education Program of St. John’s.

Jennifer’s book What Every Violinist Needs to Know about the Body was published in 2009 and is available from GIA Music Publications, www.giamusic.com. The Japanese translation of What Every Violinist Needs to Know about the Body was published in 2011 by Shunjusha Publications and it is presently being translated into French.  Her new book, Teaching Body Mapping to Children, will be published in  October 2016.

Carole Bestvater, NL, violin (Co-Director)

Carole relocated to St. John’s, NL to pursue a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance with Nancy Dahn as part of the inaugural class of the SUNCOR String Quartet Fellowship Program. She recently graduated in May 2013. Originally, Carole is from Saskatchewan, but ventured over to Manitoba to study music at Brandon University. Upon completion of her degree, she packed her belongings into her car and drove to Providence, RI. There, she was part of a unique Fellowship Program at Community MusicWorks, a non-profit organization based in the inner-city neighbourhoods that melds high quality performance and music education together. Along her travels, she has collected many tunes and stories, and is thrilled to continue her adventures here.

A lover of both classical and folk music, Carole is a diverse and energetic musician. She is also a dedicated educator, having experience teaching individual lessons and an array of different types of group classes. She has studied the Suzuki Method with Joanne Martin and Karen Kimmett, and is very happy to be teaching with the STEP program here in St. John’s. You are likely to see her at folk sessions downtown, sitting as Assistant Principal Second in the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, or performing chamber music in a variety of spaces around the city of St. John’s.


Julia Bowdring, NL, violin, fiddlebowdring

Julia Bowdring, a St. John’s native, is a violinist, fiddler, and pianist, working with the STEP Program and the Montessori School, and as a freelance performer. She holds a Bachelor of Music (classical piano) from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a Masters degree from the University of Limerick, where she specialized in Irish Traditional Music Performance. Julia has studied the Suzuki Method with Helen Brunner and Paule Barsalou, and has experience with the Dalcroze and Kodaly Methods. She has taught in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Limerick, Ireland. She is actively involved in the St. John’s music scene as a violinist, fiddler, and pianist, playing with many local musicians.

Visit Julia’s website for events and teaching ideas at juliabowdringmusic.com

Nancy Case-Oates, NL, violin

Nancy Case-Oates began her musical studies on piano and violin at an early age, performing regularly at local Kiwanis Festivals and winning many awards for violin, piano and voice. She has acquired degrees in performance from both Universities of Toronto and Victoria.

Nancy holds the position of Principal Second Violinist with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, a position she also held with the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, and is also currently the violinist of the Atlantic String Trio. She has been featured as solo artist twice with the NSO Sinfonia.

Currently, Nancy maintains an active performing career with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, teaching Suzuki violin, and playing with The Pachelbel Trio. In her spare time, Nancy designs and creates hand-embroidered crafts and enjoys spending time with her sons Edmund and Noah.

Kate Read, NL, viola (Co-DIrector)

In 2013, after almost 10 years, Kate Read returned to Newfoundland and rejoined the Atlantic String Quartet and Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra as principal violist, where she had already played for 3 seasons between 2001 and 2004. Kate is also the violist of Dark by Five, resident ensemble at Gros Morne Summer Music.

In 2004 Kate won a position with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London, England where she was a member of the viola section for 6 years. Kate also regularly played with the renowned Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestra of London. As a member of the Elgin String Trio, with fellow BBC colleagues, Kate never strayed far away from opportunities to play chamber music.

In 2011 the draw of chamber music combined with astonishing nature led Kate to the north of Norway to play with chamber group MiNensemblet, with whom Kate performed all over Norway and internationally.

Kate has been recorded by CBC for Two New Hours and Musicraft and made numerous recordings with orchestras in the UK for the BBC as well as for top record labels.

Kate joined the STEP faculty in 2015. As well as her private studio and the Suzuki Program, Kate teaches at Memorial University as a sessional professor and is also looking forward to working with the NSYO this year to help build the viola programme.

Heather Kao, NL, violin

From St. John’s, Heather Kao is the concertmaster of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and first violinist of the Atlantic String Quartet since 2015. She studied at Memorial University with Dr. Nancy Dahn. She has played in masterclasses for Martin Beaver, Lorand Fenyves, Mark Fewer and Pinchas Zukerman to name a few. She is a past member of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Quintessential Vocal Ensemble, and Lady Cove Women’s Choir. Heather has been a guest performer on countless recordings, as well as on TV and radio. She has enjoyed performing in many genres, from pop music with Rod Stewart and Hey Rosetta! to traditional music with Ennis and the Once. She has played in pit orchestras for many local productions, including White Christmas, Our Divas Do Broadway, West Side Story, Evita, and Annie. In addition to the NSO, Heather teaches with the MUN Chamber Program for Youth, Suzuki Talent Education Program, and in her private studio.


Jenny Griffioen, NL, piano 

Bio coming soon!


Theo Weber, NL, cello

Theo Weber has been the principal cellist for the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra for the past twenty-three years now. Originally from Michigan, Theo received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where his teachers included Samuel Mayes, longtime principal cellist of the Philadelphia and Boston Symphony Orchestras. He then went on to earn his Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Allan Harris. In addition to sitting principal in the symphony, Theo is also a member of the Atlantic String Quartet as well as Sinfonia, the NSO’s subsidiary chamber orchestra.

Theo is a versatile musician, comfortable with a wide variety of musical styles from classical to pop, folk and jazz and in demand as an engaging performer as well as a recording artist. He has collaborated with classical luminaries such as Anton Kuerti, Angela Cheng, Rivka Golani, Andre La Plante, Colin Carr, and Shauna Rolston. Outside of the classical field he has performed and recorded with many well-known popular artists and groups such as Ron Hynes, Duane Andrews, Bill Brennan, Brian Way, The Pathological Lovers and Rasa, in venues ranging from Ottawa, St. Pierre and Miquelon to Rio de Janeiro where he was twice invited to sit principal in the Orchestre Sinfonica do Brasil and to participate in the Rio International Cello Encounter.