Private Lessons

Private Lesson Studio Teachers

Jessica Blanchard (cello) -

Heather Steffes (Violin/Viola) – Heather Straley (Steffes) was raised in Villa Park, IL, and has been playing both violin and piano since the age of 10. She actively participated in a variety of music events and programs throughout her school-aged years and went on to study Music Composition at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL. At IWU, Heather studied violin with Professor Vadim Mazo and piano with Joy Doran. As part of her studies, she traveled abroad to England and Ireland and had the unique opportunity to fiddle in the pubs with the locals in rural Ireland, learning the importance of folk music in everyday European life. Following the completion of her Bachelor degree, Heather continued her education at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, where she earned Master of Music Education with Certification. 

Concertmaster for the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra since 2010, Heather was recently appointed the concertmaster position with the Clinton Symphony Orchestra as well. Heather holds a private violin and viola studio (since January 2014) and teaches locally at Muscatine Community College as well as holds an adjunct string faculty position with Pleasant Valley Schools. Heather currently resides in Geneseo, Illinois and is enjoying raising her two children, Gage (6) and Noralyn (3), while maintaining an active playing and teaching career.

Jonathan Thoma (String Bass) -


Jenwei Yu (Viola/Violin) – Jenwei Yu is a freelance violist based in the Chicago area. A graduate from Ariimg_1042zona State University and DePaul University, and a recent member of Civic Orchestra of Chicago as principal viola, he has worked with esteemed conductors and musicians such as Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kent Nagano, Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, and members of Silk Road Ensemble.

He is also an avid chamber musician as well as a passionate educator, recently being part of the Orchestra Iowa chamber series and Music in the Schools program. Jenwei regularly performs with Quad City, Dubuque, Chattanooga, Northwest Indiana Symphonies as well as Fort Wayne Philharmonic and the Des Moines Symphony.

When he is not busy on the road performing, Jenwei enjoys casual road trips and cuisines from all over the world. His goal is to visit all of the national parks in the United States.