Music Director


Barbara Jaffe --- Violin & Viola.

Photo of Barbara JaffeeBarbara Jaffe, violinist, received a Master of Music degree in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, where she was a student of Donald Weilerstein. She graduated magna cum laude from the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts with a Bachelor of Music degree and was the recipient of the PCPA Book Prize for excellence in the Liberal Arts. Former teachers include Edgar Ortenberg, Charles Castleman, David Cerone, and Yumi Ninomiya-Scott.


Ms. Jaffe is a founding member of Elysian Camerata,a chamber music ensemble which has been presenting concerts in Philadelphia and its environs since 2005 and is a member of the Monteverde Quartet which formed in Vermont in 2016. Her chamber music career began in 1982 in Great Falls, Montana with the Cascade String Quartet, the resident quartet affiliated with the Great Falls Symphony, and followed with a position in the Bradley University String Quartet in Peoria, Illinois.


In the greater Philadelphia area, Ms. Jaffe has performed with the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, the Pennsylvania Ballet and Opera Delaware Orchestras, Philly Pops, Relache, the Fairmount String Quartet and Chamber Ensemble, and the Arioso Quartet. She is currently the concertmaster of Orchestra Concordia. In the Lehigh Valley she has performed with the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, the Gabriel Chamber Ensemble and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Jaffe has performed in Switzerland as a member of the New Bridge Ensemble.


Barbara Jaffe has taught violin students at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges and maintains a teaching studio in her home as well. In the summer she is the music director, faculty member, performer and chamber music coach at the Vermont Music and Arts Center in Lyndonville, Vermont.


Faculty 2020



Dana Allaband, Violin

Andreia Torain, Violin

Elizabeth Wright, Violin

Barbara Jaffe, Violin and Viola, Music Director

Louise Jaffe, Viola

Gael Abbasi, Cello

Gerall Hieser, Cello



Collette Le Fever, Flute, Early Music

Peter Ferris, Oboe

Richard Shapiro, Clarinet

Susan Shaw, Bassoon

Lee Ann Newland, Horn



Elizabeth Acker, Piano

David Iskowitz, Piano


Voice and Large Ensembles:

Murray Kidd



Bill Tulp


Elizabeth Acker --- Piano

Elizabeth Acker holds a BFA from York University and is a performer, accompanist, teacher and coach. In Toronto her engagements span classical and contemporary orchestral and chamber music, musical theatre, contemporary music and jazz - which she has been known to treat us to at the end of Fun Night.


Gael Abbasi --- Cello

Gael Abbasi tudied at Indiana University, Bloomington,Indiana. Teachers include Orlando Cole and Janos Starker. Studied chamber music with the Borodin Trio. Founding member of Strings for Schools, Inc., String Variations, the Independence Duo and the Trio International. Performs in chamber groups in the Philadelphia area. She also plays the viola.


Dana Allaband --- Violin

A native of Minersville, Pennsylvania, Dana Allaband studied under Simon Maurer, Sylvia Ahramjian, James Stern and Arnold Steinhardt and has received degrees from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and University of Maryland. Dana has concertized in Venezuela, Romania, Cameroon, Carnegie Hall and various universities across the country. She is principal second violinist of Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, has served as concertmaster with Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, Kennett Symphony and Anthracite Philharmonic and performs as an orchestral musician with Reading Symphony and Baltimore Symphony. As an active chamber musician, Dana is second violinist of Elysian Camerata, violinist with the Monteverde String Quartet, violinist of Mill Race Collective and regularly appears as a guest artist with the Gabriel Chamber Ensemble. Expressing her interest in various genres of music, Dana has performed rock music with Rachel Barton Pine and tango music with Trifilio Tango. She regularly appears as first violinist with Philadelphia singer/songwriter Andrew Lipke and the Azrael String Quartet and is also the violinist with One Alternative.


Mrs. Allaband is the recipient of the 2016 LLMEA Private Teacher Award. She coaches chamber music each summer at the Bear Crossing Chamber Music String Camp and Vermont Music and Arts at Lyndon State College, VT. Dana is currently an adjunct professor at Albright College and maintains a private violin and viola studio located in the heart of London Grove, Pennsylvania.


Peter Ferris -- Oboe

Peter Ferris was born in Buffalo N.Y. Early oboe studies with John Mack of the Cleveland Orchestra. Bachelor of Music Performance from Bowling Green State Univ. (Ohio) 1972. Oboe studies with Cleon Chase and Martin Woltman. Graduate studies at Temple University. Oboe studies with Louis Rosenblatt of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Freelance oboist in Philadelphia 1973-81. California Music Festival 1978 studies with Stephen Adelstein. In 1981 wins audition for Co-Principal Oboe Orquesta Sinfonica de Venezuela. Joins Orquesta Municipal de Caracas in 1983 as Assistant Principal Oboe and English Horn. In 1989 is named Principal oboe to the present. In 2015 is invited by the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico to participate in a 9 week tour of the U.S. as principal oboe.


Gerall Hieser --- Cello

Graduate of Temple University and the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Member of chamber ensembles in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, including the Gabriel Ensemble and the Madison String Quartet.



David Iskowitz --- Piano

David Iskowitz

David Iskowitz is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory. He directs a school for music and art, the Westerhoff School, in Metuchen, New Jersey, and also teaches piano and chamber music, and accompanies for the music department at Drew University in Madison, NJ. Performances throughout the New York metropolitan area, often in collaboration with instrumentalists and singers.


Louise Jaffe --- Viola

Louise Jaffe, violist, received a Master of Music Degree in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Ms. Jaffe earned a Bachelor of Music from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts (PCPA). At Eastman, Louise studied viola with Heidi Castleman, and chamber music with members of the Cleveland Quartet. At PCPA. she studied violin with Charles Castleman, and viola wilh Patynka Kopec. Other notable musicians with whom Louise has worked include Donald Weilerstein, Mitchell Stern, Edgar Ortenberg, and Abram Loft.


Ms. Jaffe began her performing career as violist with the Shelbourne and Cascade Quartets, string quartets based in Great Falls, Montana. Since then she has performed in numerous chamber recitals in the United States and abroad, including concerts in Zurich, Bern, Boltigen, and Castasegna, Switzerland.


Louise is a founding member of Elysian Camerata, an active chamber group consisting of two violins, two violas, cello, and piano. She also performs with Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, Gabriel Chamber Ensemble, New Bridge Ensemble (Swititzerland), Chadds Ford Strings, Wilmington String Ensemble, Fairmount Chamber Ensemble, and ViVaCe Strings. Other ensembles with whom she has performed include Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, Delaware Symphony, Allentown Symphony, and Pennsylvania Opera Theater.


Ms. Jaffe's other love is teaching violin and viola. She maintains an active teaching studio, working with children of all ages and adults.


In summertime, Louise is the faculty violist at Vermont Music and Arts Center in Lyndonville, Vermont. Besides performing with other faculty, she coaches and performs with non-professional adults who are passionate about chamber music.


Murray Kidd --- Voice and Large Ensembles

Conductor, Murray Kidd, is thrilled to be back with VMAC! He recently finished his 13th season as Artistic Director of Polymnia Choral Society. Under his direction, they have performed major works including requiems by Brahms, Mozart, Rutter, Fauré, Michael Haydn and other works for orchestra and chorus. This past season, the group performed Considering Matthew Shepard, a Passion Oratorio. Another significant highlight was performing Jesus Christ, Superstar with full orchestra and Danny Zolli as Jesus Christ. 


As a choral educator, Mr. Kidd has been very active in a wide range of activities in Massachusetts. Recently, Mr. Kidd began teaching at Xaverian Brothers High School as the Director of Choral Activities. He led the choral department at UMASS Lowell for five years. While there, the ensembles doubled in size. He prepared the University Choir for a collaboration with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops on a Sony DVD recording of Handel’s Messiah Rocks! by Jason Howland. Recently, he finished four successful years as director of choirs at Middleboro High School and two years as Director of Choirs at the highly decorated Oliver Ames High School in Easton. He is Director of Music at Christ Congregational Church in Brockton where he oversees a robust music program ranging from youth to adults in choral and instrumental ensembles. Kidd is the founding conductor of World Voices Youth Choir. As an educator and conductor, he has been awarded grants from the state Massachusetts Cultural Council, local cultural councils and the Bayrd Foundation.


His long association with the Handel & Haydn Society and Boston Baroque has led him to work with such conductors as Christopher Hogwood, Sir Roger Norrington, Seiji Ozawa, John Finney, Robert Spano, Grant Llewellyn, Harry Christophers, Giselle Ben-Dor, and Martin Pearlman. Mr. Kidd has taken part in many of the world’s most prestigious music festivals including: BBC Proms, Casals (Puerto Rico), Tanglewood, Ravinia, Edinburgh, All-Beethoven Easter Festival (Poland), Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and Boston Early Music Festival. He studied conducting with William Dehning and Robert Halseth at University of the Pacific and completed his master’s degree at New England Conservatory. While at the Conservatory, his mentors included Daniel Pinkham, Craig Smith, Martin Isepp, Nico Castel, and Terry Decima.


A respected voice teacher, he was an adjunct faculty member of New England Conservatory Preparatory School, UMASS/Lowell, Eastern Nazarene College, Boston College, and Phillips Exeter Academy. His students have won many awards and are currently singing in top music programs around the country and abroad. He has taught Song Literature, 20th Century Music History, and Vocal Pedagogy for Eastern Nazarene College, Atlantic Union College and UMASS Lowell.


In addition to his life as a conductor, Mr. Kidd has performed as a tenor soloist with many premiere ensembles including: Boston Baroque, Handel & Haydn Society, Musicians of the Old Post Road, North Shore Philharmonic, Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, and Coro Allegro. Between Boston Baroque and Handel and Haydn Society, he is present on 11 internationally released albums.


In 2009, Mr. Kidd founded the Boston Singers Relief Fund. This organization provides a financial safety net for professional singers in New England who are facing unexpected hardship. Mr. Kidd is a member of ACDA, NAfME, NATS, Boston Singers Resource, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.


Collette Le Fever --- Flute and Early Music

Colette Le Fever has performed regularly in the orchestras of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, Delaware Symphony, Princeton Opera and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. She played Broadway shows appearing in Philadelphia, including; Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, and Beauty and the Beast.


A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, Colette studied with Murray Panitz, Loren Lind, Kazuo Tokito and Robert Bloom. She has performed for Marcel Moyse, Alain Marion, Michel Dubost and William Bennett. While studying in France with Guy Cottin, she was awarded the Premier Prix, Medaille d’Or from the Conservatoire National de Region de Nantes.


Colette enjoys teaching music and has coached chamber music for ensembles at Swarthmore, Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges. She also shares her love of music as a second grade classroom teacher at Penn Valley Elementary School in Lower Merion School District.


Lee Ann Newland --- Horn

Ms. Newland, French Horn, is an active freelance horn player in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area. Classically trained, Ms. Newland served as third horn of the Delaware Symphony for seven seasons, and has performed with the American Ballet Theater Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Westchester Philharmonic, Queens Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Greenwich (CT) Symphony as well as numerous freelance orchestral and choral concerts in the Tri-state area. Commercially Ms. Newland has been a member of the Broadway pit orchestras for Ragtime, Les Miserables, Beauty and The Beast, Aida, Tarzan, My Fair Lady, and over sixty productions as a member of the Papermill Playhouse Orchestra. She serves as the Solo Eb Tenor Horn of the Gramercy Brass of New York, and hornist in the Gramercy Brass Quintet. She also performs regularly with Solid Brass and the Frank Basile 12tet, better known as the “Little Big Band”.


As an educator, Ms. Newland currently serves as a member of the Instrumental Music faculty of the Teaneck Public Schools, where she directs the concert and marching bands at Teaneck High School. She is also a faculty member of Fairleigh Dickenson University Metropolitan Campus where she directs the pep band. Her summers include participating as a faculty member of the Vermont Music and Arts Center, where she is a member of the faculty woodwind quintet, and coaches chamber music groups for both winds and strings. Ms. Newland attended Boston University, and holds a Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Manhattan School of Music. As the recipient of a Rutgers University Graduate Fellowship at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Ms. Newland earned a Master of Music Performance degree. She has been a student of Scott Brubaker, Joe Anderer and Howard T. Howard-Metropolitan Opera, L. William Kuyper-New York Philharmonic, David Ohanian- Empire and Canadian Brass and Frank Donaruma- American Ballet Theater Orchestra.


Ms. Newland can be heard on the Gramercy Brass of New York recordings- American Anthems, Christmas Time is Here and Brubeck in Brass, playing both the Eb Tenor horn and French horn. Additionally, she has been a background musician for several rock band albums and can be heard on the jazz album Steppin’ Up with the Frank Basile 12tet.


Richard Shapiro -- Clarinet

Richard Shapiro is an internationally active chamber and orchestral musician and has performed with numerous groups including the New York Chamber Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, Queens Symphony, and the Opera Orchestra of New York. Mr. Shapiro has toured the United States and Europe with the New York City Opera Orchestra, Opera Northeast, Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, and in Japan and Hong Kong with members of the New York Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera Orchestras. Mr. Shapiro has served as principal clarinetist of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Merida, Venezuela, New York Choral Society, Little Orchestra of New York, Adirondack Festival of American Music, Lake George Opera Company and Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Mr. Shapiro was a founding member of the award winning Manhattan Woodwind Quintet and served on the faculty of the Apple Hill Festival. In addition, Mr. Shapiro has regularly been heard in the pit orchestras of numerous Broadway musicals including Miss Saigon, Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, Annie Get Your Gun and the Lion King. Mr. Shapiro received his BM and MM from the Manhattan School of Music and is an active teacher, serving on the faculty of the Kent Place and Pingry Schools in New Jersey.


Susan Shaw --- Bassoon,

Susan Shaw is the Principal Bassoonist with the Allentown Symphony and the Pennsylvania Sinfonia in the Lehigh Valley andwith the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players. She has also performed in the Broadway pit orchestras for “Carousel,” “King and I,” and “Miss Saigon.” Some other longterm affiliations include the Little Orchestra Society, the Lake George Opera, and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra. Along with an active performing career, Ms. Shaw directs a band program in the public school system of White Plains, New York. Susan Shaw is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music. Major studies have been with Stephen Maxym, of the Metropolitan Opera, and Jane Taylor, of the Dorian Quintet. We are very happy that she is able to come for weeks 1 and 2 this summer.


Andreia Torain --- Violin

Andreia teaches all levels of violin, plus beginner viola, to both children and adults at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, where she also serves as chamber music coach and teaches Suzuki group classes. When not teaching or coordinating the Suzuki violin program for the school’s six branches, she can be found freelancing with chamber ensembles (Fairmount. e.g.) and orchestras (Philadelphia Classical Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Riverside Symphonia, and the Delaware Valley Philharmonic among others). Andreia has a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance from Ithaca College and a Master of Music in String Pedagogy from Temple University.


Elizabeth (Liz) Wright --- Violin

Liz, from Bethlehem, PA, completed her Bachelors at University of Michigan and her Masters at Manhattan School of Music. She held Principal and Concertmaster positions at both schools. Her primary teachers were Aaron Berofsky, Andrew Jennings, and Laurie Smukler. She has held positions in the Lansing and Midland Symphony Orchestras (MI) and has also performed with the Toledo Symphony (OH). Her string quartet is the two-time winner of the Lillian Fuchs Chamber Music Competition. She has held fellowships at Colorado College Summer Music Festival and National Repertory Orchestra. Liz is a deep believer in education and teaches students of all ages in New York City.


Bill Tulp --- Art

Bill went to school at East Carolina University where he studied painting and printmaking and received a degree in fine arts. Has taught art in the public schools and Lyndon State College and has presented many art classes and workshops to audiences of all ages. At VMAC he has led us in making masks, glass mosaics, and block printing.






The faculty coach us primarily from within the group, while playing with us.
But not entirely...