RFYO Teaching Artists & the Side-by-side Model
Professional musicians with extensive and diverse teaching and performing backgrounds sit with students during rehearsals and concerts to provide support for students in playing their individual parts and learning how to play in an orchestra. This model offers intensive individual and group instruction during rehearsals. Read their bios below.
Bill Capps, Music Director
Bill Capps has led the RFYO as its Music Director since the program's start in 2011. As conductor he also works closely with the mentors and private teachers to guide the musical direction of the RFYO.
Bill holds a B.A. in music from Wheaton College and a Master of Music degree from University of Denver. In addition to conducting, he is an accomplished cellist, private music instructor, and classroom music teacher. Bill recently retired as general music teacher at the Aspen Country Day School after 17 years of teaching. He lives in Carbondale and has an active teaching studio with students of all ages.
Sarah Graf, RFMS Executive Director and RFYO Cello Teaching Artist
Cellist Sarah Graf is an active performer, chamber musician and teacher living in the Roaring Fork Valley. Sarah has performed solo and chamber music recitals throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and the Western Slope. Since graduating from the Eastman School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree and Performer’s Certificate, she has taken part in many music festivals including the Freiburg Ensemble Academie for Baroque and Contemporary Music, the Aspen Music Festival, the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, and the National Orchestral Institute. She has studied with such acclaimed teachers as Alan Harris and Steven Doane and played in masterclasses for Ronald Leonard, Guido Larisch, and Bobby McFerrin. Ms. Graf is also active in both contemporary and early music performance. During her time at Eastman, she performed with the Ossia New Music Ensemble and Collegium Musicum and studied with baroque specialists Paul O'dette and Christel Thielmann. Ms. Graf believes in sharing the joy of serious musical study and performance with the next generation of young cellists. She maintains a private teaching studio and is a mentor to the cellists of the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra in addition to being the Executive Director of the Roaring Fork Music Society.
Dr. Brittni Brown, Violin Teaching Artist
Dr. Brittni Brown is a sought-after violin pedagogue and artist- performer in Aspen, Colorado. She maintains a full studio, with the focus of transforming students into artists, and is an avid performer of solo and chamber music in the Roaring Fork Valley. A coach for the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestras, she enjoys helping the violin sections develop their ensemble skills.
During the summertime, Brittni is on the string faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp, spending six weeks mentoring some of the most advanced and dedicated young students. Dr. Brown received her undergraduate and masters degrees with honors from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying under William Preucil, concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra. She went on to receive a doctorate in violin performance from the University of Texas under the tutelage of Brian Lewis.
She is a certified Suzuki teacher, having received her long-term training from Kimberly Meier-Sims at the Sato Suzuki Center. Brittni frequently uses Eurhythmics, a method used to teach rhythm involving hands-on activities, during lessons. Ms. Brown enjoys concertizing with her peers in chamber music recitals, and has had the privilege of being coached by renowned chamber musicians: Anton Nel, Peter Salaff, James Dunham, and members of the Miro and Cavani Quartets. She previously taught at Clavier-Werke Music School, Mentor High School, the CIM Preparatory Department, University of Texas String Project and Aspen Music Festival’s Beginning Strings Program. She also has played with numerous orchestras, most recently, the Canton Orchestra and the Austin Symphony.
Ross Kribbs, Violin Teaching Artist
Ross Kribbs is active as a performing violinist and teacher. He plays a wide range of styles from bluegrass to jazz to classical and enjoys sharing these skills with student musicians. Ross holds a B.A. from Brown University and has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for more than a decade. Ross plays with various bands and ensembles throughout the Valley and works with private students in both Aspen and Carbondale. Ross has mentored students in the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra since 2012.
Erin Gallagher, Viola and violin Teaching Artist
Erin Gallagher studied viola with Richard Marshall of the Minnesota Orchestra before attending Northwestern University (Evanston IL). There she studied viola with Roland Vamos, and spent six months studying with Sven Arne Tepl at the Conservaterium van Amsterdam. An avid chamber musician and Early Music performer, she has played in chamber and Baroque concerts and festivals in Amsterdam, Paris and Nice, France, Boston, and Vancouver, BC. After receiving degrees in Viola Performance and English Literature from Northwestern, Erin moved to Aspen for the skiing and stayed for everything else. Erin is a viola and violin mentor with the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra and teaches students throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.