String Faculty

WTUE65w7kLtuYBTNaisFKoyUkUXbMLAuqk9NyOVO3V0-1Maureen Nilsen: Violin

Maureen Nilsen began studying violin at age 8. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, while studying under renowned pedagogue Sally O’Reilly, and a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, studying with the Dallas Symphony’s Associate Concertmaster Jan Mark Sloman. Her musical career has taken her to concert halls throughout the US, Europe and China. Ms. Nilsen has performed in symphony orchestras such as the South Dakota Symphony, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, East Texas Symphony Orchestra, the Abilene Philharmonic, the South Arkansas Symphony, the Mankato Symphony and the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra. She also has a passion for other styles such as jazz, big band, musicals, and popular music, and has performed as a background musician with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Mannheim Steamroller, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Amy Grant and Michael Bolton. As a teacher, Ms. Nilsen aims to guide her students to become the best violinists they can be, in a nurturing and fun environment. She works to develop confidence and a love of music in her students that will last a lifetime.


Annbur linkAnn Bur: Violin

Graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin with a B.M. Degree in Music Education. During college, Ann attended the American Suzuki Instiute as a quartet coach. After moving to Minneapolis, Ann taught private lessons for 6 years. She recently completed a Suzuki Pedagogy Class at the University of Minnesota that covered books 1-4. For the past 11 years Ann has played viola in the Kenwood Chamber Orchestra.


tXEJLreeWU6yL7UqCkCFtrlYFoH3VgYiP4CJnkTvwF0Nina Westbrook: Cello and Violin

Nina Westbrook has a BA degree in Music Education from Mansfield University of Mansfield, PA. She has done advanced work at Eastman School of Music, the University of Iowa and the University of South Dakota. Nina is a freelance cellist in the Twin Cities. She received Suzuki Cello Training at the Stevens Point, WI Suzuki Institute. Nina received Suzuki Violin Training with Mark Bjork at MacPhail and with Bette Johnson in Minneapolis.  Nina teaches both Suzuki Cello and Violin through advanced levels



Michael Carvale: Bass, Guitar and Ukulele 

Born and raised on the East Coast, Michael Carvale moved to Minneapolis, MN in the 1990’s to attend The McNally School of Music. An exceptional educator who taught guitar and bass throughout the 90s as well as working very young children at the Child Garden Montessori. Over the years, his talents have brought him all over the globe and back. Heavily influenced by Traditional Jazz, American Roots, Dixieland and Blues, he continues his mission to preserve the past while trying to reach new audiences.  Michael has lived, preformed and studied music in New Jersey, Minneapolis, Memphis, France, Switzerland and Saint Louis. 

Michael has received numerous Readers Poll Awards for his performance and contributions with different artist, including: 

  • Blues Album of the year with The Lamont Cranston Band.
  • Album of the year in Minneapolis, St Paul, Seattle, Washington DC with The Vagabonds.
  • Two Life Time Achievement awards for his work with The Lamont Cranston Band and as a solo artist.
  • The prestigious “POP” award for consistent professionalism and outstanding performance from the Minnesota Music Academy.
  • In August 2011 Michael was inducted in the Minnesota Rock & Roll/Country Hall of Fame.

Michael has shared the stage with many famous artists over the years including

Lamont Cranston, Bruce McCabe, Bo Diddley, Paul Schaffer, Keb Mo, The Blues Brothers, Wilson Picket, Pinetop Perkins, Gatemouth Brown, Steve Schectman, John Lee Hooker, Jeff Healy, Hubert Sumlin, John Nemeth, Son Seals, Kim Wilson, Gunhild Carling, Pokey LaFarge, Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders. 

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