We welcome young cellists from around the world to Sitka for the 2018 Sitka Cello Seminar. Here are this year’s participants!


Born in Oakland, California, William Cayanan is a cellist and composer and has recently completed a Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance with a minor in composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Dr. Melissa Kraut, and composer Dr. Keith Fitch.  As a cellist, William has performed in a masterclass for the Kronos Quartet’s John Sherpa and has premiered solo works by Bay Area-based composers Steve Horowitz, Michael Senturia, and David Coll.  He has also raised funds, through performing, towards commissioning music from Bay Area composers to be played by the Berkeley High Orchestra.  As a composer, William has had performances of his pieces by the Left Coast Ensemble, members of the San Francisco Choral Society, faculty at the Rocky Ridge Music Festival, and presented his music in a workshop with John Adams.  From 2011 to 2013, he was a composing and performing member of the Berkeley-based composition collective, Harmonikos, a non-profit ensemble dedicated to the performances of original music by its members.  More recently, William has written for and performed with the PacAm (Pacific American) Ensemble, a group focused on programming West Coast and Asian composers alongside those of the traditional western canon (ie. Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, etc.). 

While away from pencil, paper, bow, and cello, William youthfully enjoys milk chocolate, Tapatio hot sauce, a good dumpling, and overcast skies in his native Bay Area.   


Born in New York City, Lindsay Cheng began playing the cello at the age of eight. An avid chamber musician, she has played in numerous chamber ensembles under the guidance of Menahem Pressler, Jennifer Koh, The Pacifica Quartet, and The Miami String Quartet among others. Lindsay has participated in many summer music festivals, including Eastern Music Festival and Kent Blossom Music Festival, where she served as both principal and assistant principal cellist. She also attended the Meadowmount school of Music studying under Hans JØrgen Jensen. A winner of numerous young artist competitions, Lindsay has performed in notable venues including Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. Her first place award with the New York Concerti Sinfonietta led to her orchestral debut of the Elgar Cello concerto in E minor at Saint Gregory the Great Church in New York City. She was also selected as runner up in the NYU concerto competition with the Elgar concerto that same year. Lindsay Cheng was a member of the pre-college divisions at Mannes The New School for Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and New York Youth Symphony. Lindsay also maintains an interest in the art of lutherie, and has served as a shop assistant for Matthias Lehner in New York City. Her previous teachers include Marion Feldman and Ole Akahoshi. Lindsay is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Cello Performance, in the studio of Eric Kim, at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. She is honored to play on a Neuner and Hornsteiner cello made in Mittenwald, Germany, generously on loan to her by the Carlsen Cello Foundation.


Elizabeth Cook, this year’s Gloria Miner Fellow, is a Winston-Salem based cellist and teacher. She is recent graduate of UNCSA’s Professional Artist Certificate program, where she studied under cellist Brooks Whitehouse. 

From 2011-2014 Elizabeth studied in Israel with cellists Zvi Plesser and Michal Korman at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Elizabeth participated in the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance’s annual Chamber Music Competition and won first place in May 2012 and third place in May 2013. 

Elizabeth obtained her Masters in Music in 2016 from Mannes College of Music at The Newschool University, where she studied under cellist Marcy Rosen. She has participated in masterclasses with artists such as Peter Wiley, Gary Hoffman, Paul Watkins, and Wu Han.

Elizabeth has done extensive volunteering internationally including working for six months as a caregiver for Children of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in an orphanage for disabled and HIV positive children. Additionally, Elizabeth volunteered in June 2017 through Musicians Without Borders for a program called Sounds of Palestine where she instructed cello to high risk Palestinian children, many of whom live in nearby refugee camps. Elizabeth currently enjoys serving her community as an AmeriCorps member, by instructing cello to high risk youth in over 5 sites in Forsyth county in the ArtistCorps program. Through the ArtistCorps program Elizabeth started a music class at the local domestic violence for children of victims. She has collaborated with multiple peace organizations in North Carolina to raise awareness and funds for international social justice issues, through music events. Elizabeth is the proud recipient of the 2018 Gloria Miner Fellowship, which has allowed her to attend this year’s seminar.


Annika Krafcik is an upcoming fourth year at Oberlin College and Conservatory, studying with Darrett Adkins. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance as well as a Bachelor of Arts in History, with a focus in Russian and Central European Studies. One of the highlights of her year was performing in Oberlin alumna Du Yun’s 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning chamber opera Angel’s Bone for its second-ever performance. She also enjoyed learning a new, or rather, old instrument—the viola da gamba. Annika will spend the fall semester in St. Petersburg, where she plans to continue her study of the Russian language while also soaking in the city’s vibrant and historic musical culture.


Amy Miller, 24, is attending her first year masters at UTEP, University of Texas at El Paso. Her hometown is in Bethesda Maryland where she began her cello studies. In high school she was selected to be part of the National Symphony Orchestra Fellowship Program based at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. where she had the opportunity to play side by sides with National Symphony Orchestra and perform on the Millennium Stage. Her extracurricular actives were playing with the American Youth Symphony Orchestra and singing with the Children’s Chorus of Washington. Ms. Miller received her Bachelors of Music at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2016, studying under Anthony Elliott as well as receiving a minor in Asian studies. Her summers were spent at music festivals such as Interlochen Center for the Arts, Encore Coda music festival, and Meadowmount School of Music. She is currently a student of Zuill Bailey and is on a full scholarship as his teaching assistant. Her other involvements on campus are being an active member of El Paso’s Pro Musica program where she plays within the community, the lead teaching assistant of the String Project,a sub for El Paso Symphony, and is the principle cellist of the UTEP Symphony Orchestra.


Sarah Miller, 21, has been sharing her love and joy for playing the cello for the past seventeen years. Originally from Long Island, NY, Sarah is currently a rising senior at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Dr. Melissa Kraut. Sarah also received education at the Manhattan School of Music Precollege with Deborah Park, and at the Suzuki School for Strings with Ivy Chatanow.

As a soloist, Sarah has won first prize in the Tennessee Cello Workshop Competition, prizes in the New York Music Competition, the Cleveland Cello Society Concerto Competition, the Island Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and had received the 2014/2015 Long Island Arts Alliance Scholar Artist Award of Merit. Most recently, Sarah was selected as a semifinalist in the 2018 Ann and Charles Eisemann International Young Artist’s Competition where she travelled to Dallas, TX to compete, and made her orchestral debut with the South Shore Symphony playing Dvorak’s cello concerto. Sarah especially loves the way her participation in music creates lasting friendships and connects her to the community. To this end, she enjoys performing at community venues across Cleveland, and even enjoys organizing community events alongside CIM faculty and administrators while serving as the President of CIM’s Student Government Association.

During the past few summers when she has not been travelling, swimming or hiking, Sarah has attended the Aspen Music Festival as a fellowship recipient, the Heifetz International Music Festival, the Meadowmount School of Music, the National Arts Centre Young Artists’ Program, and the Sitka International Cello Seminar. Sarah has played in master classes for David Geringas, Joel Krosnik, Amit Peled, Hans Jorgen Jensen, Zuill Bailey, and Jacob Shaw, among others, and she hopes to continue her passion for performing for as long as possible. In the future, Sarah plans to not only continue to perform, but to teach, and is therefore also pursuing a minor in Suzuki Pedagogy at CIM.


Robyn Neidhold has performed professionally since age thirteen.  In eighth grade, Robyn auditioned for and won a contract with the Reno Philharmonic and in the same year won the Reno Philharmonic Youth Symphony Concerto Competition with the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations.

As a recent graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, she had a vast orchestral experience.  She spent two years performing with the orchestras as principal and including one semester as principal of the top orchestra.  Through the University, she performed with Joshua Bell and performed Krzysztof Penderecki’s St Luke Passion with Penderecki himself.  As a professional she was also a contract cellist with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic from 2017-2018.

Robyn’s other accomplishments include earning principal cello positions with the Suzuki Youth Orchestra of America, Tanglewood (BUTI) Symphony Orchestra and Nevada All-State Orchestra. Robyn is the only cellist to have won Command Performance at the NMEA All-State Conference in Nevada four years in a row.  Robyn has attended nationally known summer programs including Meadowmount, Tanglewood, Sitka International Cello Seminar, Young Artist Program and Music at Menlo. 

Many eminent teachers have influence Robyn’s life as a cellist. Robyn has performed on masterclasses for distinguished cellist such as, Hans Jørgen Jensen , Lynn Harrell, Wendy Warner, Alisa Weilerstein and Joan Jenrenaud. Her past teachers include Dmitri Atapine, UNR professor and member of the Argenta Trio, noted Suzuki cello educator, Emily Uhlman and Eric Kim, former principal of Cincinnati Symphony and cello professor at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Robyn earned her BM in cello performance at Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music class of 2018 with Eric Kim as a Premier Young Artist.  She will be continuing her studies as a graduate student at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music with Hans Jørgen Jensen.


Cicely Parnas, this year’s Gloria Miner Artist Apprentice, praised for her “velvety sound, articulate passagework and keen imagination” (The New York Times), performs recitals, concertos, and chamber music throughout the country. Her 2016-2017 season included appearances as soloist with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, the Westmoreland Symphony, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra, and the Charlottesville Symphony. She recently performed as a guest artist at the Sitka Summer Music Festival is presently attending the Sitka International Cello Seminar as Artist Apprentice to Zuill Bailey.

Ms. Parnas has performed at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the Morgan Library and Museum, University of Florida Performing Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Vanguard Concerts, and the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, and has also appeared with the Brevard Sinfonia under Keith Lockhart, the Long Bay Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, the Owensboro Symphony, the Southwest Michigan Symphony, the Vermont Symphony, the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, and the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, where she gave the world premiere of Jim McGrath’s Concertino for Cello.

In 2012, Ms. Parnas made her Carnegie Hall concerto debut, performing the Saint-Saëns Concerto with the New York String Orchestra under the baton of Jaime Laredo. The New York Times raved: “Cicely Parnas, a fast-rising young cellist, was the impressive soloist in a rhapsodic performance.” She toured France performing the Saint-Saëns Concerto with L’Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire. Other international appearances include her participation in the 2013 Young Concert Artists Festivals in Tokyo and Beijing.

No stranger to the limelight, Ms. Parnas was named an inaugural Young Artist in Residence on NPR’s Performance Today in 2011, where she was featured in five broadcasts and an American Public Media video spotlight. Winner of the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, she was presented last season in debuts at Merkin Concert Hall and the Kennedy Center to rave reviews. She was the recipient of YCA’s Mortimer Levitt Career Development Award for Women Artists in 2012 and captured First Prize in the 2011 Cello Concerto Competition at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.

Ms. Parnas also performs in Duo Parnas with her sister, violinist Madalyn Parnas. Duo Parnas has performed as soloists with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic under Randall Fleisher, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra under Lawrence Loh, and the Albany Symphony Orchestra under David Alan Miller, as well as in many recitals with pianist Peter Serkin. Duo Parnas has recorded three albums on the Sheffield Lab label, including their most recent CD, entitled Duo Parnas NOW, which includes 21st century works by Lera Auerbach, William Bolcom, Paul Moravec, and Charles Wuorinen. In 2012, they recorded Brian Fennelly’s Fantasia Concertante on Albany Records, a piece written for Duo Parnas and the digital-instrument Fauxharmonic Orchestra.

Granddaughter of the distinguished cellist Leslie Parnas, Cicely Parnas started playing the cello at the age of four and made her concerto debut at eleven with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. She has studied with cellists Peter Wiley and Ronald Feldman, and earned an Artist Diploma from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, where she worked with Sharon Robinson. Ms. Parnas performs on a 1712 Giovanni Grancino cello.


Robert Rosenfeld was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He picked up the cello at age 12, and began seriously studying the instrument at age 14 with Lachezar Kostov. Since then, he has participated in several musical organizations and festivals, including the Interlochen Arts Camp, Aria International Summer Academy, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and Texas Music Festival. His primary teachers have been Lachezar Kostov, Anthony Kitai, and Andrew Mark. He has also studied privately with renowned teachers such as Astrid Schween, Wesley Baldwin, Alison Wells, Stephen Balderston, Marci Rosen, Desmond Hoebig, and George Neikrug.  Mr. Rosenfeld has studied chamber music with musicians such as Peter Zazofsky and Lucia Lin of the Muir String Quartet, Robert Merfeld, and Michelle LaCourse, and has played in chamber masterclasses for Jorja Fleezanis, Frank Huang, and Joel Smirnoff. His freshman year was completed at the Boston Conservatory, studying under Andrew Mark, and he is continuing his studies with Anthony Kitai at the University of Houston. 


Joseph Teeter is known for his diverse range of talents and creative programming. A native of Topeka, Kansas, he began playing the cello at age four and is now a masters student at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Dr. Melissa Kraut. Teeter recently graduated from CIM and Case Western Reserve University, earning bachelor’s degrees in cello performance and psychology with a minor in dance, respectively. Teeter was awarded the prestigious Theodore Presser scholarship his junior year at CIM for academic and musical excellence, and the Darius Milhaud and Kaplow prizes for uncommon creativity his senior year. Additionally, he graduated summa cum laude at Case Western, and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honors society. Teeter has played in the New Music Ensemble and Intensive Quartet Seminar at CIM and has also served as principal for several CIM orchestra concerts. During the summer he has attended the Aspen Music Festival, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the Sitka Cello Seminar, among others. An accomplished ballet and modern dancer, Teeter has created several projects combining live music with his own choreography. These projects pair recorded dancing with live performance in an attempt to change the way audiences and performers interpret music. In his spare time, Teeter also enjoys traveling, going to films, and bowling with friends.