We regret to announce that Montana Suzuki Institute 2022 has been cancelled. Check back here in January 2023 for information on future MSI events.


Dr. Timothy (Terry) Durbin – Suzuki Violin

Dr. Timothy (Terry) Durbin’s unique brand of teaching excellence makes him one of the most sought-after clinicians/conductors throughout the world. With infectious enthusiasm and inspired musicianship, he brings smiles and laughter to students throughout the United States and around the world. His dynamic teaching career includes over 800 workshops and institutes! His performance and teaching career stretches across the United States and Canada into Bermuda, Germany, Italy, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, and he has recorded two CDs, including the complete chamber music of Marcel Dupre for the Naxos label. He has been appointed principal conductor of the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra beginning with the 2016 season. He has directed the South Dakota and Montana All State Orchestras. He is the holder of the American Suzuki Institute Suzuki Chair Award for 2013. Terry Durbin is also an accomplished composer and notable arranger.

Dr. Durbin holds a DMA in orchestral conducting from Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles, California, a Masters in violin performance from the University of Illinois, an undergraduate degree in violin performance from the University of Alabama, and is currently the director of the Suzuki String Program at the University of Louisville. He is a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Rachel Fellows-Schnackel – Suzuki Violin

Rachel Fellows-Schnackel began her violin lessons at age 3 with her mother, Suzuki Teacher-Trainer, Esther Fellows. Rachel is currently violin and viola teacher for Schnackel Strings Studio in Hamilton, MT. Rachel holds a Bachelors and a Masters in Music Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) and received her Artist Diploma in Violin Performance at the University of Memphis. During her studies she served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant to Kevin Lawrence at UNCSA School of Music and apprentice to Suzuki Teacher Trainer Esther Fellows. Rachel completed Long-Term Suzuki training while at University of Memphis with Janet (Libby) Armour. Other influential teachers also include Soh-Hyun Park-Altino, Rossitza Jekovah-Goza, Evan Wilson, and Sarah Plum.
Rachel has performed as Associate Concertmaster with North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and guest Concertmaster with the Arkansas Philharmonic and Tuscaloosa Symphonies. She has performed in the violin sections of Nashville, Memphis, Arkansas, and Tulsa Symphony, as well as Roanoke and Nashville Opera. When not performing in the classical circuit, Rachel can be found playing fiddle and jazz tunes with her husband and bassist, Joel Schnackel. Together they have 2 children. Her favorite violin memories growing up include her summers attending the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens-Point WI with her family.

Oumar Keita - African Drumming

A native of Guinea, West Africa, Oumar Keita is known for his extensive knowledge of music and history. Oumar showed an interest in traditional music and began singing at an early age with his mother. He plays traditional instruments like the bolon, gnoni and gongoma to accompany his singing. Although his focus is on traditional music, he also enjoys modern music. Oumar is proud to be multilingual and can rap and sing in Malinke, Susu and French.

In Guinea, Oumar was primarily a dundun player in the nationally recognized Ballet Saamato and Wofa Percussion in Conakry. Ballet Saamato gave Oumar the opportunity to share his country’s rich cultural tradition of music and dance with children in small villages throughout Guinea. This included working with the orphanage SOS to integrate art into their education. He continues sharing his culture in Missoula through SPARK!, school programs, and performances in the community.

Oumar lives in Missoula with his wife and daughter. He is an active member of the community dance and drum group Djebe Bara.

Matthew Nord – Music & Movement

Matthew Nord is the founder and director of Tangled Tones Music Studio.

He has been playing music since the age of 6. Matthew has been instructing guitar, piano, ukulele, djembe & harmonica privately for 17 years. He graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in Anthropology.  Tangled Tones offers a variety of outreach programs in Missoula and surrounding communities. He teaches children’s music and movement in Montessori’s and daycares through a program named Kids Vibrations. Matthew has in depth experience teaching all ages various instruments, singing, dancing, movement and games to explore music from around the world. Matthew was a co-creator in the Missoula band The Salamanders a music group focused on performing and recording kids music for all ages! Matthew loves to share diversity, enthusiasm and excitement through his teaching and performing.  Visit tangledtones.com for more information.

Sylvia Allen Oman – Institute Director

Originally hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, Sylvia moved to Missoula in 2007 to work in administrative and leadership positions with local non-profit organizations. Prior to this, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Massachusetts-Boston and a Master of Music in Pedagogy from Boise State University. She has registered teacher-training with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has a full studio of violin students, ages 6+. She has played in the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and the Helena Symphony Orchestra, as well as other ensembles in the area.

Aneta Panusz - Collaborative Pianist

Aneta Panusz was born in Poland where she studied music from an early age and completed a Master’s program in Music Theory at the Kraków Music Academy.

Upon arriving in Missoula in 2002, Ms. Panusz soon associated herself with UM’s Department of Music as an accompanist.  She was awarded a Teaching Assistantship and resumed her studies in 2007, completing a second masters (M.M., Piano Performance) with Dr. Christopher Hahn.  She taught piano and theory courses while serving as T.A., Adjunct, and Visiting Assistant Professor between 2007 and 2014.

Aneta maintains a busy schedule, teaching privately and performing.  She has played harpsichord for the String Orchestra of the Rockies since 2008.  She has also taught for the annual UM Piano Camp since 2009. She has performed with many UM music faculty, guest artists and students and enjoys collaborating in chamber music projects, especially with strings.

Jim Van Reeth

Jim Van Reeth remembers marching around the elementary school gymnasium playing Twinkle rhythms at his first concert. His violin journey began with lessons in the public-school program in New Concord, OH that was greatly influenced by John Kendall who was a professor at the local college when he contacted Dr. Suzuki about the Talent Education Method. Though Jim did not come to know and study the Suzuki method formally until he was teaching after college, he was hooked during his first teacher training class and has enjoyed a rich career as a Suzuki student and teacher.

Jim is director of the Denison University Suzuki Program in Granville, OH and teaches violin. He is also a member of the faculty at Suzuki Music Columbus in Bexley, OH and enjoys teaching music appreciation and violin at Denison. Jim holds a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College-CUNY where his principal teacher was Ruth Waterman, and a master’s in music education with Suzuki Talent Education emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point having completed long-term Suzuki training with Patricia D’Ercole. Jim is married to composer Ching-chu Hu, and they are Suzuki parent/practice partners for their four kiddos (2 violinists, a pianist and a flutist). He is a member of the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra, and his favorite food is ice cream, so he makes a point of sampling the local creameries whenever possible.

Beth Youngblood – Fiddle

Beth was introduced to both fiddling and improvisation in the 1970's/ 80's while living in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Based out of Asheville North Carolina, she spent eight years touring the country and the world with the Howard Hanger Jazz Fantasy. While off the road, she played with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, and spent time with "old timers" learning fiddle tunes literally “back porch style”. Much more recently, Beth has enjoyed diving further into Québécois and modern Celtic styles of fiddling, with a little Nordic fiddling sprinkled in. She has directed the Missoula Branch of the Montana Women’s Chorus since 2007, is on the staff each summer of Judy Fjell's Summersing Camp, performs as violinist/vocalist with several ensembles - most recently the acoustic art trio, Ouzel - and this past fall completed a solo recording project "Edge of Wonder". Beth is the incredibly fortunate mother of two musically passionate adult sons, and has received Suzuki teacher training from Alice Joy Lewis, Stevie Sandven, Ronda Cole, and Edmund Sprunger among many others, and maintains a private violin studio in Missoula, and is always overjoyed to be teaching fiddle and improvisation at the Montana Suzuki Institute!

Loryn Zerr - Art

Originally from Colorado, Loryn Zerr (MT) has lived and worked in most every state in the Western United States as well as in the US Virgin Islands. She received two degrees from the University of Montana: a B.F.A. with a ceramics emphasis, and a B.A. in Education, Art Teaching emphasis and certified K-12. She taught art for many years at The Missoula Art Museum, Sentinel High School, Sussex School, the Flagship program, and at Zootown Community Arts Center. She remains active in the local arts community and makes and shows her paintings, sculpture, and mixed media art whenever possible.