Faculty

Jessica Altfillisch
Executive Director
Violin and Viola

Jessica Altfillisch is an accomplished performer, passionate educator, and active leader in arts education for social change. After twenty years of Suzuki violin and viola teaching, she founded the Harmony School of Music to bring high-quality music education to families with the greatest need. In addition to her work teaching and developing intensive music programs for under-served youth in Cedar Rapids, she maintains an active private lesson studio, teaching violin and viola students ages 4 through adult.

A strong advocate for creative community partnerships, Jessica has led collaboration efforts between Harmony School and other community organizations, including the National Czech/Slovak Museum and Library, Johnson STEAM Academy, The Academy for Academic and Personal Success, and other area music organizations. She was a featured speaker in the National Guild for Community Arts Education Small Schools Network webinar series, and appears as a clinician throughout the Midwest. She is an avid performer, and has appeared as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia and across the United States. In addition to solo recitals and chamber recitals, she has performed regularly with the Des Moines Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, and Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestras, as well as appearing with many other regional performing organizations. This year she looks forward to the new challenge of serving as violinist for the Durward Contemporary Ensemble in performances of new music in Iowa and Illinois.


Andrew Acosta
Violin and Viola

Andrew is an aspiring violist in the Cedar Rapids area, and has participated in and has earned leadership roles in major music festivals. Andrew was recently awarded the prestigious Marshall Scholar at Coe College where he studies music education under the direction of Dr. Michelle Blair and Dr. Michael Kimber. Aside from being a fine player and educator, Andrew is also developing his skill as a luthier.


Marita May
Violin and Viola

Marita May is from Cedar Rapids, IA where she started playing violin and singing at an early age. She studied violin with Doris Preucil at the Preucil School of Music and was also involved in musical theatre, show choir and various church ministries. She went on to study violin performance at Eastman School of Music in NY but later transferred to Luther College to earn her degree in music management. At Luther she was a member of Nordic Choir and was also the Concertmaster of the Luther College Symphony Orchestra. Since graduating in 2014, Marita has performed and toured with various country and Christian worship bands based out of Nashville, TN. She also taught violin at Long Lake Camp for the Arts in upstate NY. Professionally, she has been the lead fiddler in Busch Gardens Williamsburg's show Celtic Fyre in Virginia and most recently fiddled in the first US national tour of Rockin Road to Dublin.


Patricia Silva
Double Bass

Patricia Silva has performed chamber recitals throughout the United States, Europe, and Brazil. She holds a Bachelors degree from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, where she studied with Dr. Fausto Borem, and a Master of Music Performance Degree from The University of Southern Mississippi where her primary teacher was Dr. Marcos Machado. As a member of the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, The YOA Orchestra of the Americas, The Aldeburgh World Orchestra and The Aldeburgh Strings, Ms. Silva has played in several venues including the Carnegie Hall, the Royal Concertgebouw and the Royal Albert Hall.

Ms. Silva is currently on faculty at Augustana College and Drake University. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Iowa, where she also served as teaching assistant. Her thesis research under Professor Volkan Orhon examines the adaptation of the Galamian scale system to the double bass. Ms. Silva frequently performs as lecturer and recitalist in the USA and Brazil and is a member of the Des Moines Symphony and the Quad City Symphony.


Hannah Van Deusen
Violin and Viola, Youth Orchestras

Hannah Van Deusen is a music educator in the Cedar Rapids area. She received her Bachelor's in Music Education degree from Coe College where she was awarded the full-tuition Marshall Scholarship. Hannah teaches orchestra at Harding Middle School and has been teaching at the Cedar Rapids Suzuki Academy, now Harmony School of Music, for 4 years. At Harmony School of Music, she teaches private Suzuki violin and viola lessons, Suzuki group classes, and coaches chamber groups. Hannah is currently Suzuki teacher certified in Violin Books 1-3.

In 2014, Hannah received the Phoebe Sherman Haman Award from the Beethoven Club of Cedar Rapids for excellence in music performance and continuing study. In 2017, Hannah won 1st place in the CCSO Concerto Competition and was awarded the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Award for the Outstanding Senior Music Education Major and Charles Bart Houser '47 Memorial Music Award.


Kelly Vieth
Cello


Ghyas Zeidieh
Cello

French-born Syrian cellist Ghyas Zeidieh is in the final steps of obtaining the Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at the University of Iowa, studying with Anthony Arnone. Ghyas also completed his Masters of Music degree in Iowa. Before traveling to the United States, he attended the National Syrian Conservatory where he earned his Bachelors of Music degree. An active chamber and orchestral musician, Ghyas has played with many of the local orchestras in Iowa, the National Syrian Orchestra, the Arab Youth Orchestra, and the Euro-Med Orchestra. For the past six years, Ghyas has participated as camp director and counselor at the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in NH and at the Music from Salem festival in New York for four years.


Abigail Frederick
Teaching Intern, Violin and Viola


Staff

Christine Hodel, Office Coordinator






NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Harmony School of Music, Inc. is committed to providing an environment that is welcoming to every person. In all its programs and practices, Harmony School prohibits discrimination and harassment of any kind based on race, national origin, gender, age, disability, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.