Centenary Suzuki Institute

June 5-8, 2024

2024 Faculty

We are honored to announce our faculty for the 2024 Centenary Suzuki Institute:

Nicolette Solomon, Violin

Nicolette Solomon, Director Emeritus of the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas, was born in Laingsburg, South Africa. She began her violin training with Neil McKay in Port Elizabeth, continuing her studies with Pierre de Groote at the College of Music in Cape Town, and completing her University studies under the tutelage of Alan Solomon. She obtained a Bachelor of Music (Honors) and Higher Education Diploma (Post Graduate) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In 1975 she played at the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in Scotland and later toured Europe and Israel. She has played in the International Festival Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, London and performed in Israel, Taiwan and Hong Kong with Harmonia Juventia. She studied Chamber Music from 1974–1981 with Betty Pack and Alan Solomon. She has also been both an Adjudicator and Examiner for music competitions and examinations in South Africa and the USA. After her introduction to the Suzuki method, she became a fervent proponent and pioneer of the method in South Africa, founding and directing the Solomon Suzuki School in Johannesburg in 1980. She expanded her training with Christophe Bossuat in Lyon, France, and in 1992 she studied with Dr. Suzuki himself at the Talent Education Research Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. While in Japan, she taught at a private studio in Nagano City, Japan and at Shinshu University. In 1994, she attended the International Strings workshop in France, playing in the Eduard Melckus Baroque Ensemble. She has led violin and viola workshops and master classes internationally, and trained and conducted String Orchestras in South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand and throughout the USA and Central America. In 2000 she emigrated to the United States, where she served as string specialist and then Director of the Suzuki Music Institute of Dallas. She is married to Carl van Wyk, has two adult children and two grandchildren, and divides her time between their home in Dallas, their retreat in Dripping Springs and her teaching commitments internationally. 

Joanna Binford, Viola

Joanna Binford is currently a viola and violin instructor with the Suzuki Strings Program at the Academy of Music, based in Norfolk, VA. She freelances in the Hampton Roads area and performs frequently with the Virginia Symphony.

Her education includes an M.M in Viola Performance, B.M. The University of Kentucky; post degree viola studies with Paul Neubauer (The Juilliard School); solo and chamber music studies included participation at Banff and Kneisel Hall summer festivals, violist of the Endless Road Strings, Niles Graduate String Quartet (Univ. of Kentucky) and participation in the Lexington Baroque Ensemble.

Awarded the Kentucky Chapter of the American String Teachers Association 2013 “Outstanding Service” award and District 7 KMEA “Outstanding College/University Music Teacher of the Year”, she is a sought after Suzuki institute and workshop clinician around the country. Ms. Binford is a member of the Suzuki Teachers Association of Hampton Roads. She prepared viola students to perform on the STAHR tour of Peru (June 2014). In addition to her Suzuki classes, Ms Binford also teaches a Fiddling in D class, coaches chamber music and offers an Improvisation Techniques Workshop, upon request. She is featured on several recordings, including the 2016 release of “Almost Home” by the Endless Road Strings, an ensemble specializing in alternative styles.

In addition, Ms. Binford has served as a back-up musician for celebrities such as Arlo Guthrie, Mark O’Connor, Dave Brubeck, Anne Murray, Bob Hope, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart, Ray Price, David Gates, Dinah Shore, Ann Hampton Callaway, Natalie Cole, Stewart Copeland, and the Moody Blues. As a member of the Lastinger Ensemble, she appeared in the movie Simpatico, which starred Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone.

Irene Mitchell, Violin

Irene Mitchell was fortunate to experience a diversity of cultures in her youth, living in ten countries throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. This shaped her appreciation for a wide range of music, eventually leading her to earn a BM and MME at the University of North Texas. After exploring theatre, violin performance and orchestral conducting, she discovered her life-long passion in teaching the Suzuki method. Irene studied twice with Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan; returning to establish Suzuki Strings of Dallas in 1981. Irene teaches in her home studio in Dallas, TX, and serves as a clinician for Suzuki programs throughout the world.

Molly Goforth, Cello

Molly Goforth is a cellist and teacher based in the Lafayette area. She is principal cellist with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and also plays with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra. She teaches applied cello lessons at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and at McNeese State University. As a performer, she gives regular chamber music and solo performances throughout Louisiana.

Molly received her Master’s degree in cello performance from DePaul University in Chicago and her Bachelor’s degree from University of Louisville. Her teachers have included Stephen Balderston, Alan Harris, Craig Hultgren, Alice Ann O’Neill and Paul York.

And more to be announced soon…