Elizabeth Simkin

Elizabeth Simkin

Jim Grochocinski & Emily Butler Chair


Elizabeth Simkin (cello, Jim Grochocinski & Emily Butler Chair) has been on the faculty at the IC School of Music since the fall of 1994.  She has been part of the Ithaca Music community for many years now and has been very happy to rejoin CCO in 2017.  She is a founding and continuing member of Ensemble X, the Mellits consort, and several chamber music groups with friends and colleagues.  Past projects include seven years on artist faculty at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, serving as US artistic ambassadors with her current dean, pianist Karl Paulnack, and return appearances at summer festivals such as Garth Newel, Olympic, Skaneateles, Heifetz, Chenango, Roycroft, Tanglewood, Spoleto, Chautauqua and others.

As a teacher, she strives to liberate her students towards ever deeper experiences of the magic of music.  She carries and passes on some of the wisdom of her own teachers such as Carla Lumsden via Shinichi Suzuki and Toby Saks in childhood and Steven Doane, at Eastman and Oberlin. Just before coming to Ithaca, she studied with and served as teaching assistant, her mentor the late master, Janos Starker.  Alumni from Elizabeth’s 25 years of professional teaching are now spread far and wide, carrying music in many ways; Orchestras, chamber music, conducting, composing, new music, improvising, playing in bands, teaching in public schools and privately and frequently touching base back to Ithaca.  In addition to her work at Ithaca College, she enjoys working with younger students and leads the advanced cello program at the Ithaca Suzuki Institute each summer.

She has become increasingly interested in contemplative and service-oriented dimensions in music, and has nurtured this interest through exploring playing at the bedside for health care residents and their families, providing music for spiritual occasions and life transitions, collaborating with a storyteller, Regi Carpenter, and a few years ago, lots and lots of lullaby-singing.  For five years now, in partnership with Jayne Demakos, she has taught a course, “Exploring Music as Medicine” at IC.

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