About The Directors

Ramona Stirling

Ramona Stirling has been the director of the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute (ISSI) in Salt Lake City, Utah, for thirty years. ISSI is a two week string music camp, involving over 800 students and teachers of the Suzuki method. Teachers and students come from all over the world to attend this event. She has been teaching the Suzuki violin method for 38 years. Mrs. Stirling maintains a violin studio of about 40 students. Ramona Stirling is a co-director of the Rocky Mountain Strings, an advanced violin performing group that has toured Poland, Italy, Argentina, Belgium, Russia, and Austria. The group performed at the SAA International Teacher Convention in 1998 and 2006. She has taught at workshops all over the USA and in Singapore, Argentina, Tanzania, Belgium, and Poland.

Mrs. Stirling has a degree in Humanities from Brigham Young University, where she studied the violin with Percy Kalt. From 1980-83 she had three years of long term Suzuki training with Hiroko Primrose, and has taken many short term courses over the last 38 years.

Her other great loves besides the violin are downhill skiing, hiking, traveling, knitting. She successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010. She and her husband Craig have four grown children and ten grandchildren, some of whom are now Suzuki violinists.

Chandelle Fairbanks

Chandelle Fairbanks grew up in the Suzuki method studying with Doralee Madsen and continued studying with with Jack Ashton, Mikhail Boguslavsky, and Leonard Braus. As a young child she had the opportunity to study with Dr. Suzuki at the International Suzuki Institute in Alberta, Canada. She attended the Manhattan School of Music and received a Master's Degree in violin performance, graduating Suma Cum Laude as a graduate assistant from the University of Utah. As a graduate student she served as concertmaster for the Utah Philharmonic and was a member of the Mt. Olympus String Quartet. She has played in various orchestras including the Utah Symphony and Orchestra at Temple Square where she has played with such artists as Keith Lockhart, John Williams and soloists Hilary Hahn and Marvin Hamlisch. She currently plays for Ballet West and records for L. A. East studios. Chandelle shares her love for music with her children three of whom are violinists and one a pianist. Chandelle has been teaching for 30 years and currently has a studio of 26 students, and a very supportive husband and five wonderful children.

Ruth Godfrey

Ruth Ann Godfrey received her Bachelors of Music in violin performance from San Francisco State and her Masters of Music from the University of Arizona. Her career has taken her from California where she was a member of the Santa Rosa and Sacramento Symphony orchestras to the Tucson Symphony and then Rome, Italy where she played for the Teatro dell'Opera for nine years. In Michigan in the early 90's she did extensive orchestral work, performing in the Ann Arbor, Flint, Saginaw, Lansing, and Toledo symphony orchestras and the Michigan Opera Theatre. She began her Suzuki training at Stevens Point, Wisconsin the summer of 1995, followed by continued training in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ithaca, New York, and Salt Lake City, Utah. Since 1996 Ruth has made her home in Salt Lake City where she played in the Ballet West Orchestra for 22 seasons, maintains a full Suzuki studio, and participates in the Suzuki Association of Utah. In the summer she teaches at the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute in Draper, Utah. Recently she has become a co-director of the advanced violin performing group, Rocky Mountain Strings. Currently she is serving the Utah chapter as president of the Suzuki Association of Utah. Her interests include skiing, hiking, and scuba diving as well as reading and family history. Ruth has five stepchildren with her husband Kevin, and seven adorable grandchildren.

Michael McLean


Based in Los Angeles, California, composer and violinist Michael McLean is an internationally noted composer, violinist, and pedagogue. On the faculty of the Colburn, he teaches violin, composition, and conducts various ensembles throughout the school while maintaining a lively career as a composer of orchestral, chamber, and film music. He received his B.M. in Violin Performance from Northwestern University where he studied violin, composition, counterpoint, and orchestration extensively and has recently completed the prestigious program at the University of Southern California, "Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television". He is founder and president of Oak Cliff Publishing, which features more than 100 of his compositions and four CD’s. His three concertos for Violin and Viola have been recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios. These works have been performed many times domestically and internationally to rave reviews. His film music for an award winning documentary on Louis Sullivan has been haled as “innovative and exquisitely distinct…”

Currently, Mr. McLean has been studying the solo violin music of J. S. Bach and has been asked to Lecture on this topic for the SAA conference and for the Delay-Starling Symposium for Teaching Excellence at the Juilliard School. His studies about this important music will soon be published in a forthcoming book, along with recordings by various artists. He is also arranging the great preludes and fugues of Bach for string quartet and will have more than 50 of these masterworks published in the near future. When not overworking, Michael enjoys long backpacking trips in the Sierras. He knits his own wool hiking socks.

Shelley Astle