Teacher Biographies

Roy and Lynn Oakley, Violin and Viola

Directors Roy and Lynn Oakley have an extensive musical background with graduate degrees from San Francisco State University in music education and performance. They have taught in public and private schools, guest conducted at Cazadero Music Camp, and taught at Suzuki Institutes. Their approaches to teaching and playing reflect their years of study with Russell Gerhart, David Schneider, Frank Houser, Daniel Kobialka, Andor Toth, Sascha Jacobinoff, and Artur Argeiwicz. Lynn and Roy are members of the Musician’s Union Local 6 and have performed for years with San Francisco Bay Area musical groups including the Villa String Quartet, The Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Marin Symphony, The San Francisco Symphony, the Lamplighters, and others.

Omid Assadi, Violin and Viola

Native of Iran, Omid Assadi holds a B.M. and M.M. from San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with Jodi Levitz, and Bettina Mussumeli. Mr. Assadi is an active ensemble player and soloist; he has concertized with many of the Bay Area’s orchestras, and has appeared numerous times as soloist with Golden Gate Philharmonic, City College of San Francisco String Orchestra, Kensington Symphony Orchestra, and Villa Sinfonia. Omid’s love for chamber music has led him to study chamber music with the members of the Kronos String Quartet as well as the San Francisco Conservatory of Music faculty members. In addition, he has collaborated with Jennifer Culp, Jodi Levitz, Jorja Fleezanis, and with the Shams Ensemble.

Nancy Ewing, Viola

Nancy Ewing was an active free-lance violist and teacher in the Bay Area before moving to Nevada County in 1990. She appeared with the Oakland, San Jose, Marin Berkeley, and California Symphony Orchestras, as well as with Western Opera Theater, Villa Sinfonia and Lamplighters. She holds a B.M. from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (1979), where she studied with Don Erhlich, Gennady Kleiman, and Dan Kobialka. Since moving to the Foothills she has been a member of the Music in the Mountains Orchestra, North State Symphony, Apolla orchestra, Sac Choral Society, and subs with Sac Phil, Opera and Ballet, Modesto, and Stockton, Reno and Auburn Symphonies. She is presently dividing her time between her violin/viola studio in Auburn and Suisun City. Rounding out her teaching presently includes coaching with the Sacramento Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program, summers at Villa Sinfonia’s Zephyr Point Chamber Music Camp, and mentoring with All Hallows Academy Orchestra in Sacramento.

Through all these years her three children have been involved with VSF and the multi-generational aspect of the program has inspired her development as a musician and teacher.

Patrice May, Violin

As a toddler, Patrice was entertained by her mother Joyce’s practicing (Wieniaski, Paganini, Chausson, Saint-Saens) during afternoon naps and late at night while her Dad was at school. An advantage of being the first child was her mother’s undivided attention in those first years, which focused on singing and piano playing. At age eight, while living in the Central Valley, she began studying the violin with Alexander Vdovoin, and then Severin Saphir in Berkeley. In high school and at Mills College, Nathan Rubin guided her violinistic efforts, while Colin Hanpton nurtured her love of chamber music. A year in London at the Guildhall School of Music and two years at Brigham Young in Provo, Utah rounded out her education. Professionally, Patrice freelanced for a year in northern Germany, joined the Phoenix Symphony for a year, and then returned to the Bay Area to become a member of the Oakland Symphony and various chamber orchestras and smaller ensembles. She played the long-running Phantom of the Opera for almost five years, and since then, concurrently with the birth and growth of her and her husband Robin’s twins, has turned her enthusiasm to teaching, joining the staff of the Villa Sinfonia Foundation and building her own private studio in Berkeley. She credits her involvement in music, and the joy and satisfaction that this involvement brings, to her parents, who had the foresight and the willingness to sacrifice all the time, energy, and money necessary to provide a musical home environment and, of course, all those lessons!

Carol Rice, Cello

Carol Rice grew up in the California coastal town of Morro Bay. She received a B.A. from UC Santa Cruz, where she studied cello with Laszlo Varga and Irene Sharp, her most important cello mentor. Chamber music studies with Heiichiro Ohyama, who later became Principal Viola for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is now a noted conductor, also had a major influence on her musical development. Carol and Villa Sinfonia violist Gordon Thrupp played quartets together at UCSC under Ohyama’s direction, and through Ohyama’s friendship with Yo-Yo Ma, Carol had the opportunity to play chamber music with Ma several times over the years and to study with him at a summer program in Texas. She was also a participant at the Piatigorsky Seminar in Los Angeles and the New York String Orchestra Seminar, both full scholarship programs.

Carol did her graduate work (M.M.) at the Yale School of Music, where she met her husband, David Wishnia, also a cellist with Villa Sinfonia. Together, they have been involved with Villa for about 15 years and have had the joy of playing together with their two daughters in dozens of concerts, in venues from Lake Tahoe to Carnegie Hall and Prague. Carol is currently Principal Cello for the Berkeley Symphony, a member of Symphony Silicon Valley, and freelances with other groups. Carol is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s Pre-College Division and teaches students of all ages in her home studio.

David Ryther, Violin and Viola

Violinist David Ryther is a ubiquitous performer in the San Francisco contemporary music scene. He has recently appeared with such innovative ensembles as Earplay, the San Francisco Contemporary Players, and is a regular member of the intrepid S. F. Sound Group. Fueled by a passion for new music, David is completing his doctorate in contemporary violin performance at the University of California at San Diego, a world-renowned music department for contemporary music. His dissertation includes the original composition of violin etudes which explore contemporary violin techniques. While in San Diego, David performed with the UCSD faculty new music ensemble, Sonor, alongside such musicians as Harvey Sollberger, Steven Shick and George Lewis. He was also concertmaster of the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Harvey Sollberger, where he received the Thomas Nee Award for Excellence. David has brought his interpretive power to Darmstadt (200) and the Banff Centre (2002) as a resident performer and soloist. David has been a featured soloist up and down the Califonia coast in such festivals as the Green Umbrella Series in Los Angeles, the Ojai Festival, the “New Music for a New Century” festival in Santa Barbara and “April in Santa Cruz”. As an undergraduate at the University of California at Santa Cruz, he was first violinist in the University of California new music ensemble Octagon, which performed extensively at all UC campuses, and at Merkin Hall, New York City. A dedicated teacher, David has taught violinists and musician through the undergraduate level and has received the “Teaching Assistant of the Year” award from UCSD. Currently he is an affiliated teacher, member, and occasional conductor with the Villa Sinfonia and has coached chamber music at the Zephyr Point music camp. His association with the Villa Sinfonia goes back many years to his formative years as a young student in the program. David’s principal violin teachers have included Roy Oakley, Roy Malan, Henriek Kowalski and Janos Negyesy. Reflecting his diverse musical interests, David has also worked closely with such eminent musicians as Pauline Oliveros and Ravi Shankar.

Daryl Schilling, Violin

After playing violin for special concerts with the Villa Sinfonia for several years, Daryl Schilling began teaching with the organization in the Fall of 1999. Her previous violin teaching experience includes working with the Suzuki program at San Francisco State University and private teaching.

Ms. Schilling has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College in Studio Art and a Master of Music degree in Violin from the University of the Pacific. She has done further study in violin and chamber music at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Indiana University and San Francisco State University. Her private teachers include Ralph Matesky, Irving Ilmer, Andor Toth and Leonard Austria.

Before settling in the Bay Area, Ms. Schilling was a member of the Milwaukee and the Indianapolis Symphonies. Her Bay Area professional experience includes the Golden Gate, Orpheum, and Curran Theatre Orchestras; the Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra; and the Western Opera Theatre. She often plays with the Lamplighters Music Theatre, Pocket Opera, and the Berkeley and Modesto Symphonies.

Julie Smolin, Violin

Julie Smolin grew up in Rochester, MN, and began playing the violin when she was eight. At the age of fourteen, she joined her mother to become a member of the Rochester Symphony Orchestra. After graduating from high school, she was awarded a full scholarship to participate in the Congress of Strings in Cincinnati. There, she was concertmistress under the direction of Morton Gould. After receiving a B.A. in Music Education from Luther College in Decorah, IA, she taught junior high and elementary orchestra in Red Wing, MN. During that time, she also studied the Suzuki Method of teaching violin. After two years of teaching, Julie continued her violin studies with Eduard Melkus at the Hochsschule fur Musick und Kunst in Vienna, becoming a member of the Maurice Ravel Chamber Orchestra and performing throughout Europe. Now living in San Francisco, she is teaching Suzuki violin at the Villa Sinfonia Foundation.

David Wishnia, Cello

David Wishnia has been involved with the Villa Sinfonia Foundation for over fifteen years, first as a professional cellist in the Villa Sinfonia concerts and now in dual roles as both performer and parent of two children involved in the program. He is a member of the Marin Symphony and has performed with many Bay Area ensembles during the past two decades, including the Sacramento Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony, the Russian Chamber Orchestra, and others. David received his M.M. from the Yale School of Music and a B.S. in Mathematics from SUNY Stonybrook.

Affiliated Teachers