OrASTA Newsletter

Dijana Ihas.jpeg
Rebekah Hanson.jpeg
Lily Burton Secretary.jpg
Sharon Eng Treasurer.jpg
Diane Chaplin Membership.jpg
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Tomas Cotik The Strad.jpeg


  • Message from OR President Dijana Ihas

  • Introduction of New ORASTA Officers

  • Dijana Ihas' Election to National ASTA Board

  • Review of Calder Quartet Master Class--Valdine Mishkin

  • Tomás Cotik in The Strad Magazine on performance practice in Bach

  • ASTACAP 2020

  • ASTA National Conference in Review


The ASTA National Conference took place in Orlando, Florida, from March 4th-7th. As every other year, the conference was filled with educational sessions designed for all levels and types of string teaching, masterclasses for all string instruments and all levels, learning laboratories, and an exhibitor hall with publishers and luthier companies from all around the world. During the chapter’s leadership workshop, we met incoming ASTA president, Dr. Kristen Pellegrino, who will start her term in May 2020. The main message of the leadership workshop was to create environments within our chapters that are welcoming to all types of ASTA members, including private teachers, school orchestra teachers, college faculty, college students, and professional performers. The Oregon ASTA chapter works hard to promote national ASTA values in our state and we will keep offering masterclasses of high quality. We will continue to  organize our biennial conference with national and international pedagogues, as well as working on expanding our educational offerings aimed to benefit school teachers, their students, and other valuable ASTA members in Oregon. Please visit our updated ASTA OR website often for updates on our offerings and please be in touch via Facebook

Dijana Ihas

ASTA OR Chapter President 


We are proud to announce that our ORASTA president, Dr. Dijana Ihas, has been elected Member-at-Large to the national ASTA board. Congratulations, Dijana!


Results of the January 2020 Election


Rebekah Hanson, President-Elect
Rebekah Hanson, violist and violinist, holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Oregon in Performance and String Pedagogy with an emphasis in Musicology. Rebekah has been at George Fox University since 2012 and teaches applied violin and viola lessons, Music History, and directs the University Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Music Ensembles.

Rebekah has been teaching both violin and viola in Newberg for over 15 years. Her students have won awards, including the NAfME All-Northwest Orchestras, Suzuki Association of the Americas Young Artist Violin and Viola Ensembles, Concertmaster of the University of Oregon Symphony and George Fox University Concerto Competition winners (8 years in a row!). Rebekah is a music reviewer for the ASTA Journal and will be speaking at the ASTA Conference in March. In addition to teaching, Rebekah loves hiking, spending time with her dog, Emmylou, and playing board games.

Lily Burton, Secretary

Lily Burton received degrees in violin performance from the University of Cincinnati and the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is a former member of the Atlanta Symphony, Honolulu Symphony, and San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Her passion for teaching began in Corvallis, Oregon, where she was an Elementary Strings instructor in the public schools. Since moving to the Portland area in 2006, she has been an extra with the Oregon Symphony and is concertmaster of Portland Chamber Orchestra and the Portland Festival Symphony. She also plays chamber music with Waters Chamber Players. She remains a devoted teacher who thoroughly enjoys her studio of violin students.

Sharon Eng, Treasurer

Violist Sharon Eng has performed worldwide with her trio, Classical Nuances (oboe, viola, piano) for more than 20 years on five continents. While studying for her bachelors and masters in viola performance at the Juilliard School in New York City, she played in the American Ballet Theatre and NYC Opera orchestras. Professionally, Dr. Eng toured China twice as co-principal viola of the Polish Sinfonietta, maintains a private violin studio in Portland, is on the strings faculty of Portland Parks and Recreation, co-founded Madrona Viola Duo and the Raphael Spiro String Quartet, and is president of the Oregon Viola Society. She freelances with many local ensembles, among them-- Oregon Coast Music Festival and stints with the Portland Opera, Portland Symphonic Choir, Newport, Rogue Valley, Corvallis, and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, among many. Since 2003, Dr. Eng has served on the summer faculty of the Intermuse lnternational Music Institute and Festival (IIMIF) at Mount St. Mary's Univ. in Emmitsburg, Maryland ( Eng has been a member of ASTA for over 40 years and currently sits on the board of the Oregon Chapter of the American Strings Teacher Association. Her board qualifications include a doctorate (PhD) in international nonprofit management and 25 years as a development aid specialist managing USAID, Asian Development Bank and Australian AID projects ranging in grants of $25,000 to $8 million. Dr. Eng is currently adjunct associate professor on the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra in Australia (

Diane Chaplin, Membership Chair

Diane Chaplin is a solo artist, chamber music cellist and nurturing music educator who lives Portland, Oregon. She tours around the U.S. as a featured member of the Portland Cello Project, and is often heard in solo and chamber music performances across the globe. She is on the faculty at Linfield College, where she teaches privately, directs the Linfield Cello Ensemble and conducts the Large String Ensemble; she is also Program Coordinator for the Chamber Music Camp of Portland, where she conducts the Advanced Chamber Orchestra. Diane has taught at Yale University, Bard College, Oberlin Conservatory and most recently at the Castleman Quartet Program, and has given master classes in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, Bosnia and Russia. 


As a member of the Colorado Quartet for twenty years, Diane performed in more than twenty countries and recorded several critically acclaimed albums. The Quartet was the first all-female string quartet to perform the complete quartets of Beethoven in both North America and Europe. Diane received a BFA degree from the California Institute of the Arts as a student of Cesare Pascarella, and a Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Harvey Shapiro. She holds a Special Prize from the International Cello Competition in Viña del Mar, Chile, and a Certificate from the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. This past summer she made her Italian solo recital debut and she is currently in the process of recording a solo CD, Il Violoncello Capriccioso.Rebekah Hanson, violist and violinist, holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Oregon in Performance and String Pedagogy with an emphasis in Musicology. Rebekah has been at George Fox University since 2012 and teaches applied violin and viola lessons, Music History, and directs the University Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Music Ensembles.


ASTA Pic.jpg

Dr. Lisa Robertson,  

Editor of "The Chorda"

ASTA Best State Chapter

Newsletter 2014


Sponsored by OR-ASTA and High Desert Chamber Music, February 13th, 2020 at 5:00 PM at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Oregon.


There is nothing better than taking a Valentine’s weekend getaway to sunny Bend and getting to observe a masterclass with the renowned Calder Quartet and nine young string players from across Oregon.  High Desert Chamber Music brought the Calder Quartet to Bend to perform a recital on Friday, February 14th, and OR-ASTA was fortunate to sponsor an evening masterclass on Thursday, February 13th with this dynamic group.   It was an entertaining “tag-team” of coaching from each member of the string quartet- violinists Benjamin Jacobson and Teresa Stanislav, violist Jonathan Moerschel, and cellist Eric Byers.  

First, we heard from a quartet of young ladies from Portland, the PDX Girls Quartet, playing a Mozart Divertimento.   They worked on using more bow speed and volume in the inner voice accompaniment parts, both to help project into the large hall we were in, and to encourage more group energy and excitement.  Coach Benjamin asked the players each to contribute ideas about the character and sound textures of Mozart’s music, giving this young group a glimpse into how a professional quartet might extrapolate technique from the meaning of the music.  Several solo performances followed with mini-lessons and demonstrations on projection, tone color, and several repertoire-specific tips and techniques.  Violinist Katie Liu played Bruch’s Concerto No. 1, cellist Kristen Kim performed Haydn’s Concerto No. 1, violinist Claire Youn performed Zigeunerweisen, violist Emily Whitney played Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata, and Jacob Youn performed Dvorák’s Cello Concerto.   Each student left encouraged, and with many useful ideas about their instrument and repertoire.

OR-ASTA would like to thank Isabelle Senger, High Desert Chamber Music, and the Calder Quartet for organizing the masterclass, as well as OR-ASTA president Dijana Ihas and the board adjudication panel.

Valdine Mishkin, 

OR-ASTA Board Member


Tomás Cotik in The Strad Magazine on performance practice in Bach

ORASTA Board Member and PSU professor Tomás Cotik presented at the ORASTA biennial conference on performing Bach. His thoughts on Bach interpretations have now been published by The Strad Magazine in a series of ten articles. 


Have a look here:


The American String Teachers Association Certificate Advancement Program (ASTA CAP) provides a comprehensive curriculum and program of examinations designed to serve string teachers and their students in the United States (American String Teachers Association). The ASTA CAP establishes and defines national goals for string students at all levels. Students are evaluated on technical and musical achievements, receiving a written comments and grade, and awarded with a certificate for successful completion of each level.

There are two types of exams for ASTA CAP, one is taking place locally and the other is online. For the online exam, please go to to obtain further information.

The local event will be taking place on May 2, 2020, Saturday, at Portland Community University Rock Creek Campus Building 3, 17705 NW Springville Road, Portland OR 97229. The Application due date is March 15, 2020. For an application, please select

There is parking charge of $2 every two hours. Most time parents just drop off students and pick them up later if it is more convenient. Young students below high school ages should be brought and picked up by the parents inside the building.


The address to send the application is:

Hong Chou OR ASTA

ASTA CAP Chair RC 3 201

PO Box 19000 Portland OR 97229-0990

The following is the fee for local certification exams:

Foundation to Level 3: $35; Level 4 – 6: $40; Level 7 – 8: $45; Level 9 – 10: $50

Please note that application form received after March 15, 2020 will not be accepted for the exam and no refund after April 1, 2020. All music prepared for the exam needs to meet the styles and copyright requirements for each level. . Please double check the requirements for each level and copyright. No parents nor teachers are allowed to be present in the exam rooms. The exam will be stopped until the room is clear and will be canceled without any refund if such behavior persisted. Notice will be sent within two weeks after March 15, 2020 to the teachers and parents if requirements are not met. Please contact Hong Chou at for further information.

The ASTACAP online examination is available by using the following link to

Hong Chou
OR ASTA Board Member