String Faculty


The 2020 OSU Summer Music Camp has been moved to an online format.

Please follow this link for more information: https://musiccamp.okstate.edu/

Strings

Laura Talbott Clark

Dr. Laura Talbott Clark

Violin
laura.talbott@okstate.edu

A vibrant musician and innovative educator, Laura Talbott Clark is a violinist and violist equally dedicated to performing and teaching.  Currently, Laura serves as Associate Professor of Violin at Oklahoma State University, where she was awarded the Wise-Diggs-Berry Award for excellence in the performing arts in 2011.  In 2007, she was named the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Professor by the OSU Student Council.  She co-founded the OSU String Academy (OSUSA) in 2009 and started the OSUSA Violin Head Start Program in 2011. She is theDirector and Founder of the OSU Horizons String Chamber Music Camp.  Laura has held teaching positions at the Inspiration Point Fine Arts String Camp, Meadowmount School of Music, Indian Hill MusicCenter, Bands and Orchestras of America Summer Symposium, Triada Music Festival, and Boston University.  She has served as a Member-at-Large, Vice President, and President of the Oklahoma chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). She is currently OK-ASTA's Special Projects and Membership Chair.

An avid chamber musician, she is the second violinist of the Tulsa Rock Quartet.  She is a member of Tulsa Camerata, for which she performs on both violin and viola.  She has served as the principal violinist of the Janus 21 Chamber Ensemble of Boston and performed as part of the Brightmusic Chamber Music Series (Oklahoma City), Mannes Conservatory’s annual Beethoven Institute (NYC), Triada Music Festival (Ludlow, VT) and Tulsa Brown Bag-It Recital Series.  Formerly, she was the Artistic Director of theFrontiers New Music Ensemble, an ensemble she co-founded.  She has appeared as a recitalist throughout the United States.

Laura has an extensive background as an orchestral musician.  She is currently a member of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, playing in their viola section; she also performs with the Tulsa Ballet (viola) and the Tulsa Opera (violin).  In the past, she has performed with the New Hampshire Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Huntsville Symphony, Boston Virtuosi, Ann Arbor Symphony, Aspen Chamber Symphony, Cantata Singers Chamber Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra.

Laura received her doctorate in string performance from Boston University.  She holds additional degrees from Vanderbilt University (B.M.) and the University of Michigan (M.M.).  Her principal teachers have included Peter Zazofsky, Paul Kantor, Christian Teal, and John Kochanowski. Laura has spent summers at Interlochen, Meadowmount, Tanglewood, Oberlin Baroque Institute and the Aspen Music Festival, where she was a fellowship student.

Equally interested in the scholarly aspects of performance, music education, and the creative process, Dr. Talbott has presented lectures at the American String Teachers Association National Convention (2007; 2009) and the Maryland Music Educators Association State Convention (2008).  Her 2007 ASTA presentation resulted in a feature article in Strings magazine’s “Strings 101” column (“From Croak to Croon” compiled by James Reel; October 2007, No. 152).  In 2007, Dr. Talbott organized a two-day seminar featuring San Francisco-based creativity coach and author, Dr. Eric Maisel.  The workshop, entitled “Coaching the Artist Within,” attracted artists from all disciplines and provided them with ways to connect more deeply to their art.

Initially triggered by her own experiences with overuse-injuries, Dr. Talbott is actively involved in educating OSU and Oklahoma string students about the biomechanics of playing the violin/viola and over-use injury prevention and rehabilitation.  She has participated in the Ithaca College Healthy Musician Symposium and is working toward certification as an Andover Educator.  In 2005, Dr. Talbott organized a three-day workshop at OSU featuring Andover Educator Chairperson, Dr. Amy Likar.  Dr. Likar worked with OSU students, members of the Stillwater community, and OU students to increase awareness of the biomechanics of string playing.

Dr. Talbott Clark is a member of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Music Educators National Committee (MENC), Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OMEA), and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.


  Jakie SkaraDr. Jacqueline Skara

  Viola
  jackie.skara@okstate.edu

 

 

 

 

 Currently, Dr. Jacqueline Skara serves as Assistant Professor of Viola and Music Education (Strings) at Oklahoma State   University's Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music. A native of Southern California, Jacqueline is a driven and  focused string instrument educator and performer. A valued teacher who connects personally with her students, she  designs innovative curricula and infuses modern technology into the classroom. Committed to community engagement,  Jacqueline has worked with organizations such as Cheerful Heart Mission located in the Dominican Republic and Haiti,  Kabarek   University in Kenya, and the Fairview Violin Project in Indiana, to create and develop string programs locally and  internationally. Her global teaching experience includes proficiency in distance teaching and a commitment to culturally responsive pedagogy.

Jacqueline is a member of the ASTA Conference Planning Committee, the Advisory Board for the Music Educators Journal, and she currently serves as the Student Advisory Committee Chair for the National ASTA. Jacqueline has presented at the ASTA National Conference, the NAfME National Research Conference, Big Ten Academic Alliance Music Education Research Conference, and Desert Skies Research Symposium. Her research interests include pedagogical and descriptive analyses of string shifting, and the intersections of parental involvement, parent attitudes towards music in school curricula, and parent social/cultural capital.

An avid chamber musician, Jacqueline was a founding member of the Allium String Quartet and has always enjoyed participating in local groups that perform music outside of the Western art tradition. During her time in Chicago, she was principal violist of the Civic Orchestra and frequently performed with many regional ensembles.

Jacqueline received bachelor's degrees in viola performance and French from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, a master's degree in viola performance and chamber/orchestral literature from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music, and a Ph.D. in music education with a minor in viola performance at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Her primary viola teachers included Robert Becker, Pam Goldsmith, Roland Vamos, and Steve Wyrczynski. Dr. Brenda Brenner served as her dissertation chair and mentor throughout her Ph.D. studies.


 Dr. Meredith Blecha-Wells

 Cello
 meredith.blecha@okstate.edu

 

 

 

 

 Praised for her “beautifully full and lyrically strong tone” by Gramophone Magazine, Meredith Blecha-Wells is a sought-after performer and instructor. She has played throughout much of the United States, as well as Europe, Australia, Central America, and South Korea. Currently based in Oklahoma City, Dr. Blecha-Wells performs regularly with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Brightmusic Chamber Ensemble, the Tulsa Camerata, and the Pangaea Chamber Players.


As a recording artist, Dr. Blecha-Wells recently released her debut album, Small Storms: A Collection of Short Pieces for Cello and Piano by Bohuslav Martinu. Released on the Navona Records label, her playing is described as “technically dazzling” (the Whole Note) and is praised for her “lyrical warmth and her powerful athleticism” (Classical Music Discoveries). Additional recording endeavors include projects for the Lorenz Corporation, as well as performances on WMBR (Cambridge, MA), KALX (Berkley, CA), WRUV (Burlington, VT), WCNY (Syracuse, NY), and KUCO (Edmond, OK).

Dr. Blecha-Wells is currently the Associate Professor of Cello at Oklahoma State University, where she was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Junior Faculty Award for Scholarly Excellence. Her students have won a number of competitions, including prizes in Classics Alive Artists, Enkor International Competition, American Protégé Competition, Ad Astra String Competition, MTNA, Hyechka String Competition, among others. As a devoted teacher, Dr. Blecha-Wells has seen her students accepted to study at prestigious institutions such as the Eastman School of Music, Rice University, Indiana University, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Dr. Blecha-Wells received a bachelor's and master's degree in Cello Performance from Indiana University, studying under Janos Starker and Helga Winold. She also holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, where she served as the teaching assistant to Distinguished Professor Alan Harris. Additional studies include festival participation at the Taos School of Music, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival.

In addition to performing and teaching, Dr. Blecha-Wells is passionately invested in community engagement. Most recently, she formed the Global Pedagogy Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing teacher training to students and teachers living in developing countries. Visit www.globalpedagogyinitiative.com to learn more about this organization.


Jack Helsley Dr. Jack Helsley


 Bass, Jazz Bass
 jack.helsley@okstate.edu

 

 

 

Dr. Jack Helsley is a bassist and educator based in Oklahoma City. He is a recent graduate of The University of North Texas where he was a teaching fellow and bassist with the One O'Clock Lab Band. During the Fall 2014 semester, he directed the Jazz Bass Department at UNT as sabbatical replacement for Lynn Seaton.

After receiving a Bachelor's degree in Music from the University of Louisville, he toured extensively throughout Europe, Africa, and the U.S. with the United States Air Force Band. As a freelance bassist, he has been featured on numerous recordings of jazz, pop, rock, and country artists, and has performed with such notable talents as Jamey Aebersold, Lynne Arriale, David Baker, Bob Berg, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Joey Calderazzo, Bob Dorough, Michael Feinstein, Benny Golsen, Ernie Watts, and Jeff Watts.

He holds a Doctor of Music in Performance from The University of North Texas, a Master's in Jazz Studies from Indiana University, and has been on faculty at Anderson University, DePauw University, Eastern Illinois University, Marian University, Oklahoma Christian University, University of Indianapolis, Wabash College, and Western Illinois University.

Dr. Helsley was a presenter at the 2016 JEN Convention in New Orleans, and has been invited to present at the upcoming Performing Arts Medical Association Symposium in Aspen, CO., and the International Society of Bassists Convention in Ithaca, NY. He is also formerly the co-host of the Jazz Radio show "Have You Heard" on WICR-FM.