String Project Faculty

The University of Arizona String Project is directed by Dr. Theodore Buchholz.
The String Project Master Teacher is Dr. Kesley Nussbaum.


Isabel Burgos-DeStephanis is currently in her third year at the university of Arizona pursuing a double degree of cello performance and music education. Isabel studies at the university under the guidance of Dr. Theodore Buchholz at the Fred Fox School of Music. Isabel has performed solo repertoire in a master class with Brooklyn Rider. In high school she has performed in the Civic orchestra youth competition, in the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra youth concerto competition, in AMEA solo and ensemble festival, and in the Tucson Cello Congress Young Artist competition. In college Isabel has performed in the University of Arizona concerto competition, the Tucson Cello Congress Young Artist competition, the 2023 Bach competition and the 2023 contemporary string solo competition which she won. Isabel currently participates in the Arizona Symphony orchestra and the chamber music program at the University of Arizona. Outside the University of Arizona Isabel participated in the 2023 Arianna chamber music festival where she studied with Kurt Baldwin, John McGrosso, Joanna Mendoza, and Julia Sakharova.  In her free time Isabel enjoys baking, riding horses, and line dancing.

Claire Davis is a performer and an educator. As a violist and a chamber musician, she has performed in ensembles, concerts, and festivals virtually, in Italy, and across the United States. Recent highlights include the Wild Plums Recording Retreat, International Music Festival of the Adriatic, and the Arizona Symphony Orchestra. As an advocate for equity in music, Claire aims to support diverse voices through representative programming, pushing for inclusion at all levels of decision-making, and music history research. In 2022, her quartet premiered her performing edition of Isabella Beaton’s Quartet for Stringed Instruments (1898-1899).

Currently based in Tucson, AZ, Claire teaches private lessons and group classes at the University of Arizona’s String Project. Previously, she was the Associate Teacher of Viola and Violin at Studio E Grinnell and co-taught KidsMusic, an after-school elementary program, in Grinnell, IA. Beyond forming excellent technical proficiency, Claire aims to support her students’ self-confidence, sense of belonging, and well-being through her teaching.

Claire is pursuing her Master of Music in Viola Performance with Dr. Molly Gebrian at the University of Arizona. She attained her Bachelor of Arts in Music and History from Grinnell College. Read more about Claire on her website: 

Lori Hennessy is a doctoral student in cello performance. She holds a B.M. in cello performance and a M.M. in cello performance and Suzuki pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Lori worked for a decade as a cello instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area, developing the talent of students as young as three while continuing her education in pedagogy by studying with the most prolific teacher-trainers in the field. She hopes to contribute to the field of pedagogy as a visionary who prioritizes body ergonomics while grounding her work with the history of performance practice.

Madeleine Guillaumot
is a senior at the University of Arizona pursuing a BS in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science as well as a BA in Music, focusing on cello performance under the tutelage of Dr. Buchholz. At the University she has enjoyed participating in chamber music, playing with the Arizona Symphony Orchestra, and performing solo. Madeleine placed first in the 2023 Solo Bach Competition and was a finalist in the 2023 Cello Congress Solo Competition. Madeleine has played in masterclasses for renown pedagogues such as Hans Jensen, Anthony Elliot, Lawrence Stromberg, and the Brooklyn Rider Quartet. Madeleine teaches privately as well as with Tucson Youth Music Center and String Project. She loves to inspire students to believe in their abilities through understanding how the brain learns and how to practice effectively. In her free time Madeleine loves to connect with her Oregon roots through hiking, rock climbing, and spending time outdoors.

Julian Hodge is currently in his second year of a Bachelors of Music Education and Cello Performance Degree studying under Theodore Buchholz at the University of Arizona. Julian is a Tucson native and started playing cello at the age of ten. He has always enjoyed spreading joy through music leading him to collaborate with other musicians across the country. This has brought him to programs like Fulton Music Academy, Rockyridge, Southwest Strings Quartet, and Cello Congress. Julian is excited to start his teaching career and hopes to inspire his students to express themselves through their instruments.

Kelsey Osburn, a Seattle native, is currently in his second year pursuing a BA in Information Science, Arts, and Music with a minor in Italian at the University of Arizona, under the tutelage of Elena Chernova-Davis. With over seven years of dedicated practice, Kelsey enriches the Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the University’s string chamber music program. Mentored by luminaries like Timothy Kantor and Dr. Marcus Talley, Kelsey has performed for renowned Violinist James Ehnes. Prior to his university pursuits, he was involved in the vibrant musical community of Seattle, playing in the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and engaging with the esteemed Seattle Chamber Music Society. Additionally, outside the University of Arizona, Kelsey participated in UOttawa’s 2024 Summer String Academy under the guidance of Timothy and Nikki Chooi.

Sarah Rosales is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Arizona pursuing a double degree in Cello Performance and Illustration/Design/Animation. Sarah studies at the university under the guidance of Dr. Theodore Buchholz at the Fred Fox School of Music. Over the years, Sarah has acquired a number of performance opportunities, including at the International Summer Music Institute at the University of North Texas, the Killington Music Festival in Killington, Vermont, and the El Paso Youth Symphony Orchestras, where they have performed as both a soloist and an ensemble member. Currently, Sarah performs in the Arizona Symphony Orchestra and the chamber music programs at the University of Arizona.
Sarah is passionate about the exposure of marginalized and underrepresented groups in the arts, especially the LGBT+ community. On their free time, Sarah enjoys other creative activities such as drawing and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Dorthea Stephenson is currently in her fourth year of a Bachelor’s of Music Degree in Viola Performance at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, where she studies with Dr. Molly Gebrian. An avid advocate for underrepresented voices in classical music, Dorthea was part of a team of musicians from across the country to develop a database for underrepresented composers who have written viola repertoire. The database is currently on the American Viola Society website, and has over 500 composers and nearly 1600 pieces. While at the University of Arizona, she has performed with several ensembles, including University of Arizona Philharmonic, Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Desert Vio- las (a viola ensemble), and various chamber ensembles. She loves classical music, and would like to have a studio someday where she can share her love of viola and music with other underprivileged students free of charge. Dorthea is passionate about sharing the gift of music with underprivileged students in hope that music provides as much peace and solace as It does for herself. Dorthea also hopes to continue to pursue a graduate degree in viola performance once she graduates, and hopes to have a career as an orchestral musician.

Willow Qian-Yu Yong (Willow) is in her final years at the University of Arizona, pursuing a double major in finance and violin performance. She began her musical journey as a String Project student at age 5 or 6, later studying under Dr. Laura Tagawa until college. In college, Willow has had the privilege of studying with Lauren Roth and Timothy Kantor. She performs with the Arizona Symphony Orchestra and occasionally with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra. Willow has also played in various chamber settings, including the Oracle Piano Society, Southwest String Quartet, and Rocky Ridge Summer Programs. She has had experience playing different styles of music throughout her experience including movie music (Lord of the Rings with Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra as well as Ghibli music individually), Jazz (with Kenji Lancaster in the Century Room Downtown), although she most extensively works with classical music. She is passionate about helping students find joy in music and developing their fundamental skills through fun paths. Willow enjoys crocheting, reading, and hiking when she is not practicing.



Faculty members Mr. El, Mr. Jayden, and Ms. Maria perform Auld Lang Syne for three cellos.