Faculty at White Mountain Suzuki Institute at Ogontz are carefully chosen for their background and experience, their musicianship, their training and commitment to the Suzuki method, and their genuine interest in teaching and making connections with young people.
Kim Barrett (Co-Director, Violin) began studying the violin at age 12 with Linda Fiore in Pennsylvania. After graduating from West Chester University with Bachelors Degrees in Music Performance and Music Education, she went to Matsumoto, Japan to study personally with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and other master teachers. During her 3½ years in Japan, she assisted in translating for Dr. Suzuki and his writings as well as performed as an example of his teaching and method at National and International conferences in Japan. After graduating from the Talent Education Institute with the highest degree offered, Teaching and Performance Certificate, she returned to the United States in 1991 with her violinist husband, Tim Barrett. Kim also holds a Masters Degree in Violin Performance from the University of Tennessee where she studied with Mr. Mark Zelmanovich. Other teachers include Mark Bjork, Ronda Cole, Dorothy DeLay, Anastasia Jempelis, Brian Lewis, Sanford Reuning, Louise Wear, and Tom Wermuth.
For more than 25 years, Kim has been teaching music in both public schools and the private sector. Since moving to Johnson City, TN in 1991 as Director of the Violin Program for the Academy of Strings, Kim has taught numerous students ages 3 through adult. The Academy of Strings, a non-profit music academy, began with 12 students in 1991 and has grown to have a yearly enrollment of more than 90 students that come from 4 counties. Its faculty is dedicated to the personal development of students through quality music education and performance. The students of the Academy of Strings give back to the community by performing for a variety of community and civic organizations as well as for hospitals, nursing & retirement facilities, museums, churches, and schools. The most advanced students at the Academy perform as Ambassador Strings, a touring, recording, and concert ensemble, which has produced a compact disc titled: Noel Christmas Holiday Favorites and has performed at the Barter Theatre, Rhododendron Festival, with the Symphony of the Mountains and the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra. Most recently, Ambassador Strings completed a tour to Disney World.
Kim has taught as a guest clinician/string specialist for various workshops/clinics in CT, DE, GA, NC, NJ, PA, and SC. Together with her husband, she also directs a string orchestra program for students at a Title 1 public school in Johnson City. In addition to being former co-concertmaster of the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra and co-director of the Johnson City Youth Orchestra, Kim has performed with the Asheville, Kingsport, and Knoxville symphonies and is a member of the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra and Sophisticated Strings. She received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts as well as the Forty Under Forty Award by the Business Journal of the Tri-Cities. Kim lives in Johnson City with her husband, Tim and their two children, Harrison and Kristen.
Sarah Smale (Co-Director, Violin/Viola) attended the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where she received a BA with honors and continued her studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Her musical studies eventually took her to the Hartt School, where she studied with the Emerson String Quartet and obtained her MM in viola performance, also her Suzuki teacher training with Linda Fiore and Teri Einfeldt. Ms. Smale has won several awards, including the Birmingham Conservatoire string quartet scholarship and the Herbert Lumby Viola prize. She has worked with world-renowned artists such as Pierre Boulez, Yuri Bashmet, Nicholas Kramer, Steve Reich, Sir Simon Rattle and Valery Gergiev. Her experience includes numerous concerts and seminars with talented quartets and orchestras including: Takacs Quartet, European Chamber Opera, Russian National Ballet, and the Emerson Quartet, to which she was the assistant while in Hartford. Ms. Smale has also played with numerous choral societies as principal viola, recorded television work for the BBC, and recorded extensively for Radio Suisse. She also performs with L'Orchestre des Jardins Musicaux in Switzerland, where she is principal viola. Sarah is co-director of the White Mountain Suzuki Institute at Ogontz in New Hampshire and is in demand as a guest teacher at various workshops and summer Suzuki institutes around the country.
Annie Barley Givler (Cello) began playing the cello at the age of two. After graduating from the Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts, she went on to pursue further education at the Eastman School of Music and the University of South Florida - earning both bachelors and masters degrees in cello performance as well as completing an additional major in music theory at the graduate level. She is in high demand as a Suzuki cello clinician and has frequently been invited to teach at some of the most prestigious Suzuki programs in the world. She has taught at every level of the music education spectrum – from infant Music Together classes to cello performance majors at the university level. For the past ten years, Annie has worked as a music teacher and strings specialist for the KIPP national network of charter schools – first in the South Bronx, then in North Philadelphia, and currently in Camden, New Jersey. She also maintains a private cello studio and can be heard on Bridge and New Amsterdam recording labels. Annie lives in Bryn Mawr, PA, just outside of Philadelphia with her husband Harley and their (soon to be) three awesome kids.
Laura Nerenberg (Violin) Montreal native, Laura Nerenberg, started playing the violin at 3 and the piano at 7. Laura has performed chamber music, orchestral music and jazz all over the Ottawa region, as well as in Newfoundland, California, Tanzania and beyond. Laura is a founding member of Gatineau, Quebec's premier chamber music group: “Ensemble Prisme.” She also helped found the Ottawa Baroque Consort, the jazz quartet Courage Four, the Ottawa Jazz Orchestra and most recently the Triptych Piano Trio. She held leadership roles in the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra as assistant concertmaster and principal second violin from 2000-2011. She was also principal second violin of the now-defunct, “Orchestre des concerts symphoniques de Gatineau.” Laura plays often with Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra. Always wishing to push herself musically, Laura recently returned to the piano by taking jazz piano lessons.
Laura is the director of the Rideau Falls Violins. She teaches Suzuki Violin and Creative Ability Development (improvisation) to students aged 3-adult. She also trains fellow teachers to teach their students how to improvise. Her students perform frequently in formal concerts as well as at hospitals and retirement homes. In concert, they play standard classical repertoire, and their own creative improvisations. Much sought-after as a Suzuki, chamber music and improvisation clinician, she has taught in four Canadian provinces, and one territory as well as in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Boston, Tanzania and beyond. In April, 2016, six of her students participated in a play-in with esteemed Canadian violinist virtuoso, James Ehnes at Rideau Hall, the residence of Canada's Governor General.