Dannielle Weems-Elliott is a prominent Suzuki Violin teacher in Newport News, Virginia. She is the founder and visionary of The Elliott Family Quartet, the Elliott Violin Studio, and the Elliott Summer Chamber Workshop.
Dannielle earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University where she studied music and environmental sciences. She has served as a clinician and adjudicator at local Universities, and public and private schools. Dannielle is a member of the Suzuki Association of Americas and the National Association of Music Education.
Being brought up as a Suzuki Violin student, she has always been fascinated with how very young children can learn to play the violin with such high technical skill. This fascination inspired her to begin teaching her own children at very young ages. Dannielle has always wanted to have a family quartet. So once her youngest child, Sterling, was born, she put her plan into action by starting him on the cello. Dannielle's strong and sometimes controversial ideas on how to raise musical children have resulted in three Elliott children with extraordinary talents. She balks at the suggestion that extraordinary talent is the result of children being natural "prodigies", because she strongly believes that all children have the ability to reach "prodigious" levels of talent, given the right tools, environment, and hard work.
Brendon Elliott has been described as an accomplished performer who plays with substantial sound and a lovely feeling of warmth, with a not especially youthful self-possession (The Richmond Times Dispatch). A Virginia Native, Brendon Elliott is a graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Pamela Frank, and Joseph Silverstein. Brendon is currently continuing his graduate studies at the Juilliard School of Music as a full scholarship recipient.
Brendon began his violin studies under his mother’s tutelage at the age of three and made his debut as a soloist when he was 10 years old, performing a concerto with the Hampton University Orchestra. Since then, he has won many solo competitions and has been a soloist with several professional and community orchestras. Brendon is a two-time alumni of NPR's From the Top, which is a nationally syndicated radio broadcast featuring America’s talented young musicians. Brendon toured with the Virginia Symphony performing the Hailstork Violin Concerto, and also soloed on the masterworks program for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. He also performed during a special concert with the New York Philharmonic. Brendon performed in national tour with the Sphinx Virtuosi Ensemble, which included a stunning performance at Carnegie Hall.
Brendon’s summer music study have included two years at The Aspen Music Festival and The Heifetz International Music Festival, The Eastern Music Festival, The Sarasota Music Festival, and The Chautauqua Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Festival. Brendon enjoyed a role in the feature-length film documentary The Brigetower where he portrayed the young adult version of the Afro-European child violin prodigy George Bridgetower, who had a friendship with Beethoven.
Brendon plays on violin Opus 731, made by Douglas Cox, violinmaker in Brattleborro, Vermont, through a Sphinx Music Organization scholarship program.
Dianne Chapman is a graduate of Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, where she received both her Bachelor of Science degree in Instrumental Music Education and her Master of Music Education degree. She retired from Newport News Public Schools with 32 years experience as a string teacher, an orchestra director, and Coordinator of Strings for the school system. Dianne recently retired from her position as the Sinfonia conductor for the Peninsula Youth Orchestra. She also performs as violinist and violist with the HICO String Quartet as well as in various other ensembles in the area. Ms. Chapman has served as clinician and guest conductor for District, Regional, and All-City groups throughout the Tidewater area. A former Board member of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Mrs. Chapman has life membership in the Virginia Music Educators Association and the Music Educators National Conference, and membership in the Virginia and Newport News Retired Teachers Association, Delta Kappa Gamma Society International (Honor Society for women educators), and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She has been profiled in the publication, Black Women in American Bands Orchestras by D. Antoinette Handy.
William Hederer graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in May of 2016 with a Bachelor of Music, and a concentration in viola performance. While there he studied viola with Molly Sharp, principal violist of Richmond Symphony. Living in Richmond has also provided William with the opporturnity to participate in master classes lead by Roberto Diaz - Dean of Curtis, Atar Arad - Soloist | Professor Indiana University, Paul Silverthorne - London Symphony | Professor Royal Academy of Music, James Dunham – Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and Lawrence Dutton - Emerson String Quartet.
During the summers, William has attended Wintergreen Summer Music Academy in Wintergreen Virginia where he worked closley with Ralph Fielding- Lynn University, Steve Larsen- Hart School of Music, Misha Galaganov- Texas Christian University and Sharron Levanthol- Boston Conservatory. He also attended the Domain Forget International Music Festical in Saint-Irénée, Quebec.
As an instructor William focuses on relaxed efficient playing. Paying close attention to releasing tension from repetitive/strenuous gestures. This is to be preventative against injury and work towards sustainable healthy playing.
Sterling Elliott has received raved reviews for his solo performances. Adam Parker of the Charleston Post and Courrier wrote: “Sterling Elliott’s professional career is already is underway, and his concerto provided a perfect vehicle for him to demonstrate his impeccable technique and musicality.” Peter Ingle of the Charleston Today.net wrote: “Sterling Elliott is a name you may hear in the future, but don’t necessarily count on seeing this young cellist in Charleston very often, because we may soon be too small for him. Sterling’s mastery, musicality, and personal charm were all evident Saturday night where he performed Victor Herbert’s Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor.” Victor Carr Jr. of Classics Today.com wrote: “Elliot’s impeccable musicianship, as well as his discernible love for the music won over the audience, which responded with sustained standing applause.” Zachary Lewis, of The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote: “Cellist Sterling Elliott, held a full Severance Hall in his grasp with a strikingly mature account of David Popper's "Hungarian Rhapsody," a feisty virtuoso showpiece on the Cleveland Orchestra's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert.”
Sterling Elliott made his solo debut at the age of 7 when he became the first place Junior Division winner of the PYO Concerto Competition, and was featured as a soloist with the orchestra. Since then he has been named the winner of many competitions; First place winner of the Senior Division of the PYO Concerto Competition, 2nd Place Junior Winner of the National Sphinx Competition in 2013, 1st Place Junior Winner in the 2014 National Sphinx Competition, 1st Place in the York River Symphony Concerto Competition, 1st Place in the Richmond Symphony Concerto Competition, and Grand Prize Winner for the 2013 First Presbyterian Young Artist Competition.
Professionally, Sterling has soloed with the Hampton Roads Philharmonic, The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, The South Bend Symphony Orchestra, The Colours of Music Festival Orchestra, the New World Symphony, The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, as well as a solo performance at a National TED dinner in Vancouver, Canada. Sterling is also a two-time alum of NPR’s From the Top, a nationally syndicated radio broadcast featuring America’s most talented young musicians, where he was announced as a recipient of a $10,000 Jack Kent Cooke Award. Sterling performed in a national tour with the Sphinx Virtuosi Ensemble which included a stunning performance at Carnegie Hall.
Sterling had the privilege of performing in an intimate master class for the world renowned Yo-Yo Ma. He is also an honor roll student and currently a private student of Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s principal cellist, Michael Daniels.