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.
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.
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.