The Academy @ SCMS

Seattle Chamber Music Society is excited to announce the Academy, an intense precollege chamber music program designed to develop the next generation of world class chamber musicians. 18 of Seattle’s most talented young musicians will be selected to play in chamber groups together, participate in master classes with SCMS musicians, and receive weekly coachings from our internationally renowned faculty.

Academy Details

Participants are placed into ensembles (trios or larger) of like-age and ability and receive 10 coachings and two master classes from SCMS Academy faculty and visiting artists. Ensembles will also perform in public concerts.

Age: 12-18 years of age; exceptionally talented applicants under the age of 12 may apply, but additional screening requirements will be requested.

Instruments: violin, viola, cello, bass and piano

Application Fee: $50
$900 (need-based financial aid available for those that qualify)

Application Requirements:
Participants must submit two contrasting works representing their current level of performance. A minimum of 10 minutes is requested.

Dates:  September – December, 2022

Application Deadline: August 1, 2022

Questions: Contact Ali Friedman, Director of Education and Community Engagement at

Participants are expected to attend weekly coachings with SCMS faculty, as well as additional rehearsals as an ensemble. All coachings take place at the Center for Chamber Music at Seattle Chamber Music Society.

Program Faculty

Noah serves as concertmaster of the Seattle Symphony and previously was Concertmaster of the Kansas City Symphony. Prior to this, he held posts in The Philadelphia Orchestra as a first violin section member and later as Acting Assistant Concertmaster. He attended The Juilliard School for both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees and has also performed with many chamber and festival organizations around the U.S. including the Marlboro Music Festival, Seattle Chamber Music Society, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center, and here in the Pacific Northwest at the Olympic Music Festival in Port Townsend, Washington.

Elisa Barston is the Seattle Symphony’s Principal Second Violin. Prior to the appointment, she served as the Associate Concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for eight seasons and was a first violin section member of The Cleveland Orchestra. As a soloist and chamber musician, Barston has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, appearing with the Chicago Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the St. Louis and Taipei symphony orchestras, among many others. In 1986, she made her European debut with the English Chamber Orchestra at the request of Sir Yehudi Menuhin. Barston studied at the University of Southern California and Indiana University.

Violinist Rachel Lee Priday has appeared as soloist with major international orchestras, among them the Chicago, Houston, National, Pacific, St. Louis and Seattle Symphony Orchestras, Boston Pops Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Germany’s Staatskapelle Berlin. Her distinguished recital appearances have brought her to eminent venues, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, Chicago’s Ravinia Festival and Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series, Paris’s Musée du Louvre, Germany’s Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival and Switzerland’s Verbier Festival. She serves on the faculty at the University of Washington.

Principal violist of the Seattle Symphony since the 1992-1993 season, Susan Gulkis Assadi enjoys a varied career as an orchestral player, chamber musician, soloist and teacher. After playing in numerous chamber orchestras, including The Brandenburg Ensemble, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia and the European-based New American Chamber Orchestra, she began her orchestral career as the Principal Violist of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra before coming to Seattle. She also performs regularly with the Seattle Opera, the Seattle-based Music of Remembrance, and The Governor’s Chamber Music Series.

Turkish cellist Efe Baltacıgil, won the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, was awarded The Peter Jay Sharp Prize and the Washington Performing Arts Society Prize, and is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He debuted with the Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, and with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Baltacıgil serves as principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony and performed the Brahms Sextet with Pinchas Zukerman, Midori and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall for Isaac Stern’s memorial, and participated in Ma’s Silk Road Project. He has toured with Musicians from Marlboro and is a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society.

Craig Sheppard is a renowned pedagogue whose former students hold positions in major universities and conservatories in this country and around the world, including England, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Known for his passion at the keyboard, allied to technical mastery and a deep commitment to both scholarly and historical perspectives, Sheppard celebrates more than fifty years on the international concert platform.

Starcevich has an extremely active and internationally recognized private studio in Bellevue, Washington, and gives masterclasses around the world. His students have established themselves as grand prize winners in national and international piano competitions such as the Gina Bachauer International, Cooper International, Young Concert Artists International, Piano E Competition, Yamaha and Bosendorfer International, in addition to many others. These students have gone on to pursue serious study at the world’s most renowned musical institutions, such as The Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute, the Peabody Conservatory, the Yale School of Music, and the Royal Academy of Music

Additional faculty to be announced.