Jennie Lee-Foster - Head of Strings
Jennie grew up in Somerset, UK and attended Wells Cathedral School as a music scholar on violin, viola and voice. She studied Music at the Universities of York and later, Bristol. She has worked as Head of Strings in a number of top public schools in the UK, including Bryanston and King’s Taunton.
Jennie currently teaches Music at Dubai College and for the last three years has been developing the String and Choral programmes in the College and indeed, the wider community. She also directs the Dubai Youth Choir and a small, adult Chamber Choir in her spare time.
Jennie leads an active freelance career alongside her teaching role in school. She has played with The Emerald Ensemble and Orchestra West in the UK and currently plays with the National Symphony Orchestra in the UAE. She also performs professionally with the contemporary a cappella group The Notables. An active and dedicated musician, she also works with Charterhouse and Sherborne Summer Schools of Music over the summer months.
Simona Cmrecnjak - Violin
Born in Split, Croatia, Simona started playing violin at the age of nine. She studied at the Arts Academy University Of Split with Violeta Smailovic-Huart, obtaining a master's degree in violin performance and pedagogy in 2009.
During her studies Simona won several regional and national prizes as a soloist and a chamber musician and has attended the masterclasses of eminent violinists including Leonid Sorokow, Tamara Smirnova and Evgenija Cugajeva.
Due to her outstanding academic performance, she was awarded scholarships by Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, University of Split and City of Omis.
An experienced performer, she is a former member of several prominent youth orchestras, including the Central European Youth Orchestra, Young Musicians' International Symphony Orchestra and International Orchestra in Neumarkt. She served as a leader of Arts Academy University Of Split Orchestra. She is also a former member of the Croatian National Theatre Split Orchestra and the Split Chamber Orchestra, performing extensively over Europe.
Since moving to Dubai, Simona has performed with National Symphony Orchestra, Dubai Chamber Orchestra and Dubai Sinfonia.
Simona's students have won many prizes in international competitions (Dubai College Music Competition, Eisteddford Adelaide Music Competition, Young Musician Of The Gulf Music Competition), took masterclasses, and continued their studies with eminent violin pedagogues.
In 2013, she went to Cambodia to volunteer in the Green Gecko Project.
Clara Asuaje - 'Cello
I was introduced to classical music at the age of 10, starting to learn the 'cello, which I never stopped! I was in the orchestra and various ensembles throughout high school. In college, while doing my degree in Music Composition in the National University of Quilmes-Buenos Aires and while attending the Conservatory of Music Gilardo Gilardi, I joined the Teatro Colón Symphony Youth Orchestra taking part of their Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra for over 3 years. During this time I started teaching whole-class 'cello lessons to inner city children in Buenos Aires, as part of a community orchestra program and I also became part of renowned Tango Orchestras and shows. During this time I received my Suzuki Teaching Training qualifications 1 to 5 in Buenos Aires with Tanya Carey.
After a tour abroad with the Tango Troupe having spent some months in Italy and Djibouti, I settled in Dubai, where I have been working as a Music Teacher and Performaner since 2008. During this time I have worked for several music institutes; my last position was Lower String Specialist at the Centre for Musical Arts, where I had the opportunity to work with children and adults of all ages and abilities. Meanwhile, I have continued with my Suzuki Teacher Training in Seattle and Chicago, completing Books 6 to 8 with Barbara Wapner, Carey Cheney and Tanya Carey. This summer I will be attending the Chicago Suzuki Institute to complete Books 9-10; Cello Practicum and revisit Book 1. I am currently working as freelancer with students aged 4 to 40+.
Having worked with the Arabian Youth Orchestra in the past, I look forward to the 2016 with enthusiasm.
Bronwen Lewis - Viola
Bronwen’s first memory of being taken to a concert is that of seeing Yehudi Menuhin perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, after which she adamantly declared that she would actually like to learn the viola as she thought the violin was ‘too squeaky’.
Whilst learning the viola at school in Fife, Bronwen was selected to be a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. As a member of NYO, Bronwen had the opportunity to perform in concerts under some of the world’s most famous conductors including Sir Charles Groves, Charles Dutoit, Christopher Seaman and Timothy Reynish, in venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, Fairfield Hall, and London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Bronwen went on to study viola, voice and piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly known as The Royal Scottish Academy of Music). After graduating, she taught in various schools in Fife and was a tutor during numerous Fife Youth Orchestra, Fife Youth String Orchestra and Fife Youth Choir courses. Bronwen played viola in Fife Sinfonia and frequently performed in orchestras accompanying societies such as Dundee Choral Union, Fife Opera and Tayside Opera.
Since moving to Dubai in 1989, Bronwen has been Head of Primary Music at Latifa School for Girls, Dubai English Speaking School and Jebel Ali Primary School. She is currently Head of Primary Music at Rashid School for Boys. Bronwen often plays the viola in orchestras and groups here in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.