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.

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. Recently she completed a successful three-year term as President of the Suzuki Association of Utah (SAU). In the summer she teaches at the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute (ISSI) in Draper, Utah. In 2018 Ms. Godfrey and her students joined the advanced violin performing group, Rocky Mountain Strings.

Her interests include skiing, hiking, biking and scuba diving as well as reading and family history. Ruth has five stepchildren with her husband Kevin, and seven adorable grandchildren.

Leslie Henrie

Dr. Leslie Henrie is a native to Utah, and she has chosen to return and pursue her career as a professional violinist, violist, and teacher. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance at the University of Utah in 2001 and her Masters of Music degree in Violin Performance at the University of Kansas in 2006. She completed her Artist’s Diploma in 2008 at Park University’s International Center for Music. While living in Kansas City she was also the associate concertmaster and principle second violin for the St. Joseph Symphony. She completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in violin and viola performance and pedagogy at the University of Utah in 2013, where she was a teaching assistant to Dr. Hasse Borup. Her lecture recital and dissertation emphasis was on the literary imagery and elements found in the Violin Sonatas Op. 105 and 121 of Robert Schumann. During her doctoral studies she also served as concertmaster of the Utah Philharmonia and was one of the first recipients of the University of Utah Graduate String Quartet Fellowship. As a member of the quartet, amongst her vigorous performing schedule and teaching responsibilities, she enjoyed most of all touring to local high schools throughout the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys, presenting outreach and educational chamber music concerts to young music students.

Dr. Henrie performs and records extensively with many local professional organizations and labels, including the Utah Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Vivaldi Virtuosi, Utah Chamber Artists, Telarc, Covenant, and the LDS Church. She currently serves as concertmaster for Sinfonia Salt Lake, a newly formed professional chamber orchestra, of which she is also a founding member. She was most recently featured as a soloist on Covenant Communications’ album release, “This Is The Christ,” where she premiered a new solo work written by local LDS composer and artist Marshall McDonald. She has performed in masterclasses given by Joseph Silverstein, Cho-Liang Lin, and Eric Rosenblith among others, and past teachers include Hasse Borup, Gerald Elias, Mikhail Boguslavsky, Ben Sayevich, Kanako Ito, Martin Storey, and Eric Rosenblith. Collegiate teaching experience includes her current position as Adjunct Professor of Violin and Viola at Westminster College, as well as previously serving on the faculties of Salt Lake Community College, Utah Valley University, and the University of Utah String Preparatory School, where she taught violin, viola, and various other music courses. She teaches and coaches chamber music annually at the University of Utah Summer Chamber Music Workshops and the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute. She currently maintains her own private studio of around forty students in Draper, Utah.

Dr. Henrie plays a 1929 violin by the Swiss maker, Fritz Baumgartner, and a 1986 David Wilson (Liverpool) viola. She resides in Draper, UT with her husband Chad Medeiros, son Connor (who is currently a percussion performance major at the University of Kansas!), and daughter Georgia. In her spare time she enjoys reading, mountain biking, shopping, cooking, traveling, singing, and spending time with her family.


Michael McLean

Composer/Arranger

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

Accompanist