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.
Joshua Kail, violist, started on the violin at the age of seven. In the fall of 2012, Josh won the concerto competition at Lucy Moses School/Special Music School and performed with an orchestra in 2013 in Merkin Hall under the baton of Nathan Herrington. He continued his studies at Special Music School High School, where he switched to viola and won the strings category of their competition as well in his junior year. Josh has participated in numerous music programs and music festivals, including New York Youth Symphony, the Chamber Music Program at NYYS, Greenwood Music Camp, Face the Music, Interlochen, and Juilliard Pre-College, where he studied with Hsin-Yun Huang, Yi-Fang Huang, and Molly Carr. The past summer was his fourth at The Perlman Music Program, where he enjoyed studying with Kirsten Docter and Carol Rodland, while immersing himself in great chamber music with guru Merry Peckham. In addition, he is a recent semi-finalist of The Stulberg International String Competition. He is a rising junior at The Juilliard School, under the tutelage of Hsin-Yun Huang and Heidi Castleman and a recipient of the Richard A. Holman, Kurt and Maria Wolter, and C.V. Starr scholarships.
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 made his solo debut at the age of 7 when he became the first place Junior Division winner of the PYO Concerto Competition, which was the beginning of many other notable accomplishments such as; Grand Prize for the First Presbyterian Young Artist Competition, 1st Place in the York River Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, 2nd place winner in the 2013 National Sphinx Competition, 1st Place winner in the 2014 National Sphinx Competition, 1st Place winner in the 2014 Richmond Symphony Concerto Competition, and 1st Place in the Bay Youth Orchestra Concerto competition, and 2nd Place in the 2015 Richmond Symphony Concerto Competition, and Runner up in the Hampton Roads Philharmonic Concerto Competition. Sterling has enjoyed the honor of performing for French and American cellist Yo Yo Ma and also performing alongside recording artist Jennifer Hudson. Sterling is proud to have been awarded the 2016 Isaac Stern Award by the Sphinx Organization as well being featured in a 3-page interview in the October 2015 “Strings” Magazine.
For summer study, Sterling has attended The Eastern Music Festival, The Aspen Music Festival, and he was also selected as among the most gifted young musicians in the world to study alongside Itzhak Perlman and Ronald Leonard at the Summer Perlman Music Program. In April 2016, as part of the Perlman Music Program, Sterling attended a 3-week residency in Tel Aviv, Israel where he studied with Paul Katz as well as performed with fellow Israeli Perlman Music Program students.
Professionally, Sterling has soloed with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, 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. In 2015 & 2016 Sterling performed a 7-week national tour with the Sphinx Virtuosi Ensemble which included a stunning performance at Carnegie Hall.
Sterling currently studies with Joel Krosnick at the Juilliard School working towards a undergraduate degree in Cello Performance where he is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship.