Debra Lyle is the Director of Instrumental Music at St. Anne’s-Belfield School where she conducts the Upper School orchestras. She is also the Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of String Education. FASE, Inc. is a non-profit originally created in 1978 by the famous pedagogue, Dr. George Bornoff. His laser-focused commitment to provide the best opportunities for teachers through training led him to create an incredible institution that provides financial support for teacher education through grants and scholarship programs. Over the last thirty-five years, Lyle has helped realize Bornoff’s vision as an educator and FASE board member.
A fixture in the Bornoff household since her teens, Lyle has been involved in the Bornoff teacher workshops as far back as 1976 at the National String Workshop (started by Dr. George Bornoff and Dr. Marvin Rabin) in Madison, WI. It was through these incredible experiences that she became acquainted with other influential masters in the field such as David Becker, Dr. Bob Culver, Dr. Gerry Fischbach, and Dr. William LaRue Jones. During that time, first as a student and then as a young teacher—going by the name Debra Ankney—Lyle began her teacher training career working with colleagues from across the country and Canada at Bornoff’s main training camp in Hanson, MA, the Bay State String Camp.
The Founder and Director of the Arcata Summer Strings camps for students and Bornoff Weeklong Workshops, Lyle hosted the camps with Dr. Bornoff and his core of top instructors in attendance in Minnesota in the 1990s. In the early 2000s after Dr. Bornoff’s passing, she continued the tradition in Charlottesville, VA with lead teacher Jennie Chan—Dr. Bornoff’s right hand assistant for over forty years—as well as with other Bornoff specialists from around the country.
While in Minnesota, Lyle also served as chair of the Fine Arts Department as well as Orchestra Director at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School. Lyle founded the S-SM Jazz String Festival and took her student ensembles to participate as a “wire choir” to jazz band festivals in the Mid-West, coming away with honors such as one of the “Top Big Bands” at the University of Mary Jazz Festival in North Dakota. Lyle was also the principal conductor for the Southeastern Minnesota Youth Orchestra and the Cannon Valley Youth Orchestras, Newsletter Editor for the American String Teachers Minnesota Chapter’s quarterly magazine, and co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Orchestra Festivals. She received a 1998 Downbeat Magazine Award as director of the “Best Classical Chamber Ensemble,” and the MN ASTA’s “Meritorious Orchestra Program Award” 1999.
While living in Minnesota and since her move to Charlottesville, VA, Lyle has been a clinician and presented student ensembles in performance for many colleges and string education conferences and workshops, most notably: National American String Teachers Association’s yearly conferences since 2012, ASTA state conferences, NAfME bi-annual and state conferences, the Institute for Innovation in String Education, the International String Workshop, the International Association of Jazz Educators conference, Texas Orchestra Directors conference, and more. In addition, she’s presented at colleges and universities nationwide.
Lyle attended the Hartt School of Music while she studied violin and string pedagogy privately with George Bornoff. Her studies included private violin lessons and pedagogy with Jennie Chan as well as Raphael Bronstein, cello with Bornoff specialist Brenda Chambers, and conducting with Jere Lanz.
She dedicated ten months to an independent study with George Bornoff during her sophomore year at Hartt. Lyle moved into his neighborhood and worked with him in his home each day. Her studies included daily private lessons and a guided practice schedule of 50 hours per week. She studied the Bornoff methodology as she honed her own performance skills under his tutelage. In addition to her studies with Dr. Bornoff, Lyle also taught at two after-school programs under the direction of Jennie Chan. She eventually took over Chan’s classes and several private students, and her teaching was evaluated under the strictest tenants of the Bornoff Approach.
After her year in Newton, MA with Dr. Bornoff, Lyle returned to the Hartt School to study with Raphael Bronstein. Bronstein was a great supporter and friend of George Bornoff and took Debbie into his studio to continue her work on violin pedagogy at advancing levels.
President of FASE, Inc.
Dedicated to the art of violin for over 25 years, Amanda has held many positions in both the performance and teaching field. She received her Masters in Music Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with the esteemed Linda Cerone, and her Bachelor in Art and Science from Texas Tech University under the tutelage of Dr. John H. Gilbert.
As an orchestral violinist, Amanda has performed with many orchestras around the country including: The Orlando Philharmonic, The Lubbock Symphony, The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, The Shreveport Symphony and the Sarasota Orchestra. She has held leadership roles in the Abilene Philharmonic, the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra and the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater where she now spends her summers. After moving to the Gulf Coast area, Amanda spends most of her time in the opera pit performing with the Sarasota Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Opera Tampa, and The Palm Beach Opera.
In addition to her busy performance schedule, Amanda fosters her deep passion for string education through private studio, classroom, and master class teaching. She began her education career as the orchestra director for Lake Highlands Middle School in Dallas, Texas. While there, she also worked with beginners to advance students throughout the greater Dallas area teaching master classes, All-State clinics, and sectionals for the Loan Star Youth Orchestra. After leaving the school classroom, Amanda had a large private lesson studio of over fifty students in the McKinney ISD. Relocated to the Gulf Coast, Amanda became an adjunct orchestra director at Booker Middle School and conductor of “The Chamber Strings” within the Sarasota Youth Orchestra.
This season Amanda is looking forward to growing her private lesson studio, performing throughout the region, and collaborating with the members of the FASE board to bring new ideas and the Bornoff technique to students and teachers around the country.
Randy regularly steps beyond the boundaries of what many think of as jazz, forging headlong into the worlds of rock, blues and funk. The resulting sound is swinging, rocking, rhythmic and bluesy with a fiddle that often plays more like a saxophone than a violin. There are shades of Duke and Miles and you can certainly hear the echoes of the great jazz violinists from the swing era.
Randy is a pioneer and leader in the world of modern string education. He began in 1978 by creating the first college degree program for contemporary string performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He also teamed up with the string editor at Alfred Music Publishing to produce Jazz Philharmonic, an acclaimed comprehensive method for alternative styles on violin, viola, cello and bass. Currently Randy is the founding chair of the String Department at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota offering both Bachelors and Masters degrees in alternative string performance.
Widely regarded as one of the outstanding cellists of our time, Mark Summer is known worldwide for his phenomenal percussion and pizzicato techniques combined with bowed jazz and fiddle phrasing. Mark is a co-founder of the two-time Grammy®-winning Turtle Island Quartet, and was the quartet’s cellist for 30 years.
He is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music where he was a student of former principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra, Stephen Geber. In 2008, he was awarded a Distinguished Alumnae award from CIM. Mark was a tenured member of the Winnipeg Symphony from 1981–1984, before leaving the orchestra to perform in several Canadian contemporary and Baroque ensembles, as well as his own group, The West-End String Band. Asked to perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1985, the group went on to record Mark’s original music for CBC Radio. In the fall of 1985, Mark visited the Bay Area where he was invited by David Balakrishnan to help form Turtle Island Quartet.
Mark continued to touch base with his classical roots, performing with the Chamber Symphony of San Francisco, the Oakland Symphony, Oakland Ballet, and the contemporary music ensemble, Earplay. Over 30 years since embarking on an improvisational musical odyssey, Mark has continued to develop a unique and multi-timbered style, which incorporates virtuoso jazz soloing, distinctive bass lines and extensive percussive techniques adapted from the guitar, bass and drums.
He has been the subject of feature articles in Strings and Bass Player magazines, and has published several pieces for solo cello; his best known and beloved “Julie-O,” has been performed by cellists all over the world, and was featured on two episodes of NBC‘s “Parenthood.”
In addition to composing and his past performances with Turtle Island Quartet, Mark currently performs in a trio with jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton, a seven-time Grammy®-nominated singer. Mark also performed in a trio with clarinet virtuoso Paquito D’Rivera of which their recording, The Jazz Chamber Trio, was nominated for a Grammy® in 2005, and includes Marks piece “Kalimba” for solo cello.
Mark has recorded on numerous motion picture soundtracks and performed and/or appeared on albums with Linda Ronstadt, Toni Childs, guitarist Jeff Tamelier of Tower of Power, singer-songwriter Debbie Friedman, saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and guitarist Will Ackerman.
In 2011, he made his American debut as an orchestral soloist, premiering David Balakrishan’s cello concerto “Force of Nature,” written especially for Mark. In 2013 he had his European solo premier, performing the concerto with both the Neuss Chamber Orchestra and the Georgian Chamber Orchestra Ingolstadt. For the last three summers, he has taught and performed recitals at Cello: An American Experience, a program for young cellists.
Debbie Lyle worked with him several times as a teacher, and he wrote a piece, African Dreams, for her honors string group, Counterpoints that they premiered in New Orleans at the IAJE fest in 2000.
Charlene Monte is a string specialist in the Dartmouth Public Schools where she teaches and conducts grades five through twelve. She is a member of the executive boards of the Massachusetts Music Educators, the Massachusetts String Teachers Association, and the Foundation for the Advancement of String Education. As a cellist, she has performed with several orchestras throughout Southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Mrs. Monte has been active in organizing festivals and managing orchestras for the past 27 years and has served as an adjudicator and conductor for several District and All State festivals in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine. In the summer, Mrs. Monte teaches at the Southern Maine String Camp and at her own summer program in Dartmouth. She teaches String Pedagogy at UMASS Dartmouth and maintains a private cello studio. Mrs. Monte lives in Southeastern Massachusetts with her husband Toby and their four children.