Shannon Thomas

Co-Artistic Director

DSC06231.jpg

          A Tennessee native, violinist Shannon Thomas has garnered a reputation for exciting, thoughtful performances as a chamber musician, soloist, and in recital throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Recent performing engagements have taken her to the Kennedy Center, Spoleto Festival USA, Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium, Bolivia’s Centro Sinfonico in La Paz, and the Banff Centre where she has collaborated with distinguished artists such as the St. Lawrence String Quartet, David Halen, Richard King, Wendy Chen, Anita Pontremoli, and Midori.

          As a chamber musician, Shannon has performed at the Innsbrook Summer Music Festival, Garth Newel Music Center, Sarasota Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, ENCORE School for Strings, Aspen Music Festival, Stony Brook University, the International Clarinet Association National Conference (Belgium), Northwestern University, Brancaleoni International Music Festival (Italy), and with the Bryant Park Chamber Players in New York City. In addition to concerts with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra where she serves as principal second violin, Shannon performs regularly with the IRIS Orchestra under the direction of Michael Stern. Shannon has recorded for the Blue Griffin Records, and her CD celebrating the music of women composers Lera Auerbach, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and Jennifer Higdon was released in 2018.

          Interested in sharing her enthusiasm for the arts through teaching, Shannon is in demand as a pedagogue. She currently serves as Associate Professor of Violin at Florida State University and gives master classes throughout the United States and abroad. She also teaches at Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Luby Violin Symposium, and Hilton Head Chamber Music Institute. Previously on the faculties of University of Southern Mississippi, the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Division, and Interlochen Arts Camp, her students have been prizewinners and finalists at national competitions, including MTNA and the Sphinx Competition.  She has also taught at the Kinhaven Music School, Stony Brook University Chamber Music Camp, and the Innsbrook Institute Summer Music Academy and Festival, where she served as Education Director. Shannon has presented educational sessions at the National ASTA conferences, Florida Music Educators Association annual conference, and the Luby Violin Symposium. In addition, she has served as an adjudicator and clinician for the Seattle Young Artists Music Festival Association in addition to regional All-State orchestral auditions. She is Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of MusicBridges Tallahassee, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for youth to succeed through the power of diversity and music. 

          Shannon earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was Paul Kantor’s teaching assistant. She received a Master of Music at Yale University and a Bachelor of Music at Vanderbilt University, and also pursued graduate work at Arizona State University, where she was the first student to be accepted into the Artist Diploma program. She studied chamber music with Peter Salaff, Merry Peckham, George Sopkin, Christopher von Baeyer, Laurie Smukler and members of the Juilliard, Blair, Tokyo, and Cavani String Quartets. Her principal teachers have included Paul Kantor, Cornelia Heard, Jonathan Swartz, Robert Lipsett, and Ani Kavafian. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with her husband, violinist Frank Trem, and their Yorkiepoo Techo. For more information, visit shannonthomasviolin.com.

Lee Taylor

Co-Artistic Director

Lee Taylor headshot.JPG

       A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lee Taylor enjoys a varied musical career involving performance, education, and administration.  Lee is currently a member of the Atlanta Ballet and Tallahassee Symphony Orchestras and is a founding member of Amati Chamber Music.  She was a long-time member of the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and has played with the Alabama Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, and Colorado Music Festival. As a chamber musician, Lee has performed at the Cincinnati Young Artists Chamber Music Festival, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival and Chamber Music Quad Cities in Davenport, Iowa. 

      An avid educator, Lee maintains an active home studio and is on the music faculty of Perimeter College of Georgia State University.  Her students populate youth orchestras and chamber music programs in both Atlanta and Tallahassee. She enjoys working with beginners and advanced students alike and has celebrated their successes in Georgia and Florida All-State orchestras and solo competitions. Former students have gone on to study violin performance at Oberlin Conservatory, Lawrence University, and Boston University. As an administrator, Lee has been on staff at the Cincinnati Young Artists Chamber Music Festival and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival.  In 2020, Lee joined forces with Dr. Shannon Thomas to establish MusicBridges Tallahassee.  As Co-Artistic Directors, they introduce pre-K students in Title I schools to the violin with a curriculum that strengthens literacy skills and promotes early music education.

 

       Taylor received her Bachelor’s in Violin Performance, Summa Cum Laude, at the University of Michigan as a student of Paul Kantor.  She currently resides in both Atlanta and Tallahassee with her husband, Greg Sauer, and their wonderful crew of teenagers.