Meet Our Staff

We are blessed with an exceptional staff of musicians and violin makers.  Whether you have met them in person or communicated via phone or e-mail, you will have benefited from their expertise and commitment to caring for musicians. Here you can learn a bit more about them.

Monica Behler

Monica Behler Monica Behler Email Address

Monica Behler began her violin studies at the Port Jefferson Music Academy in 1998 (the founding year of the Academy) as a student of Sophie Arbuckle and Arik Braude. During that time, she was a member of the Academy's String Quartet which performed regularly at various local outreach events.

She later concurrently attended the Mannes College Prep where she was a member of the Mannes Philharmonic - Monica has also attended the Killington and the Green Mountain Summer Chamber Music Festivals. She began her collegiate studies of music at the Aaron Copland Conservatory of Music at Queen's College (CUNY) and is a violin student of Arik Braude.

Monica joined the Port Jefferson Music Academy faculty in 2008 and has since developed a vibrant violin & viola studio. In addition she teaches music theory and kindermusik classes. Monica is our new Education Coordinator. She will be happy to assist you with any questions about our music lessons program!

LIVS Employee Endre Fischer

Endre Fischer Endre Fischer Email

Endre Fischer was trained in the art of violin making and repair in Budapest, where he apprenticed under renowned Hungarian master Laszlo Marosvari from 2000 to 2003. He subsequently completed his studies in cultural anthropology at Binghamton University.

He began his association with Charles Rufino and the Long Island Violin Shop in 2007. As resident luthier, Endre has spent several years at the repair bench, while honing his skills in the creation of new instruments. Outside the shop, Endre enjoys spending time with his family, exploring music and literature, and playing soccer.

The LIVS Own Christine Suter

Christine Suter Monica Behler Email Address

Christine started playing the violin in elementary school at age eight and has played in school and university orchestras for most of her life.

At age 20 she moved to Santa Cruz, California where she completed her degree in Physical Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. It was during her time on the west coast that she really began to break away from classical music and explore a variety of other musical genres including jazz, bluegrass, country, irish fiddle and mariachi music.

While in Santa Cruz she also began playing the musical saw and upon returning home to NY in 2009, has performed at the NYC Musical Saw Festival for the past 8 years. In her free time she enjoys doing anything outdoors such as gardening, bike riding, and bird watching.


Lessons @LIVS Studio Private String Teachers

LIVS Lessons Teacher Jennifer Malanowski

Jennifer Malanowski

Jennifer Malanowski has been playing string instruments for 35 years. She has taught strings since 1992. Mrs. Malanowski received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education/Violin from the Crane School of Music, SUNY, Potsdam in 1993 and her Masters in Music History from the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College in 1997.

Mrs. Malanowski taught High School Orchestra and Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass lessons at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, NY from 1993-1997. She then taught Middle school Orchestra and Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass lessons at Brentwood East Middle School in Brentwood, NY from 1997-2000. Mrs. Malanowski is a freelance violinist who plays regularly for weddings, social events, community and summer stock theater in a flute, violin, cello trio, string trios and quartets and solo violin. She has performed with the Orchestra of Northern NY, the Susquehana String Band, the Gateway Playhouse and with Broadway star Kelli O’Hara. She has maintained a successful private violin, viola and cello studio since 1992.

Mrs. Malanowski has successfully prepared her students for NYSSMA, All County, LISFA, All State, All Eastern, All National, Youth Orchestra auditions and repertoire and college auditions. She also hosts two student chamber groups that meet 1-2x a month to sightread and work on duets, trios and quartets. Mrs. Malanowski grew up in South Salem, NY in Westchester County. She studied violin with John Lindsey (a student of Aaron Rosand) at Crane, and Jeanne Ingraham (a student of Ivan Galamian) of the NYC Ballet Orchestra and American Composers’ Orchestra. Mrs. Malanowski is a mom of six beautiful children, all musicians, and happily married to her trombonist husband since 1993.

Past Employees - Gone (but not forgotten)

Jacob Clewell

American violist Jacob Clewell began his musical education at the piano at the age of 6, switching to viola at 11. He has participated in the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, Eastern Music Festival, performed as a guest artist at the Chickasaw Chamber Music Festival, attended the Marrowstone Music Festival on a full fellowship, and was the 2015 Staff Apprentice for the Max Aronoff Viola Institute.

A fearless competitor, he has won the Ladies Music Club of Oklahoma City scholarship competition and Oklahoma City University’s MUSINGS competition, and has performed as a finalist in the Beatrice Hermann competition, the Seattle Philharmonic’s Don Bushell concerto competition, and the Eastern Music Festival’s concerto competition twice, both years being the only violist to reach the finals.

He holds a Bachelor of Music (summa cum laude) from the Cornish College of the Arts, where he studied with Mara Gearman. He attended Stony Brook University in New York, where he studied with Nicholas Cords, Lawrence Dutton, and the Emerson String Quartet.

Jacob recently accepted a full scholarship to Glenn Gould School of Music in Toronto, Canada.

 LIVS Employee Estefan Cortez

Estefan Cortez

Estefan began playing cello at age 9 and excelled in his studies. After graduating from Patchogue-Medford High School he was admitted to The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York on a full scholarship due to his musical abilities.  He graduated in May 2013 with a degree in Music Education.

Estefan maintains a busy performance schedule and has performed with artists such as Madalyn and Cicely Parnas, The Golden Strings Quartet, and Livingston Taylor. He has been an active teacher for many years and his students have had great success in school and NYSSMA. Estefan joined us in December 2013 to coordinate our new in-store lessons program.

Jonathan Davies

Double Bassist Jonathan Davies is a recent graduate of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts where he studied on full scholarship with Edwin Barker, Principal bassist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Joining the Long Island Violin Shop in 2015 as the Double Bass Teacher and Sales Associate, Jonathan is looking to expand the reach of the department and the appreciation for the instrument.

Jonathan received his Undergraduate Degree from The Juilliard School, where he studied with Albert Laszlo, and was a principal bassist of the school’s Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. He has participated in masterclasses with Double Bass pedagogues such as Timothy Pitts, Lawrence Wolfe, Nico Abondolo, and Donald Palma. Jonathan has attended many summer music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West, and the Spoleto USA Festival.

Lessons@LIVS Studio Teacher Joe D'Esposito

Joe D'Esposito - Private Lessons @ LIVS Huntington

A native of Huntington Station, New York, Joe D’Esposito began studying violin at the age of seven. He has studied with Marge Janke, Earl Maneein, and Susan Waterbury at Ithaca College, where he is currently a senior studying music education. He has taught beginner and advanced instrumental music classes in the Northport Public Schools, and private violin lessons at St. Mary’s School in Cortland, and Huntington.

Joe has taught community classes that included students from Pre-K through adulthood, as well as the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals. His most recent project is directing a youth fiddle orchestra in Ithaca, N.Y. He has also performed in jazz and popular ensembles such as Albert Moses Gravy Train, Doolin Odey, Manouch A Trois, 3D, as a soloist with the Northport Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra.

Joe has performed with contemporary bluegrass string bands Gilmore Boys and Someone to Ride the River With. Currently, he is touring with his band The Free Wheel Trio.

Gabriella Forgit

Gabriella began playing violin at the age of 9. After graduating from West Islip High School, Gabriella attended SUNY Fredonia to pursue her dream of becoming a music educator. There, she studied with Maureen Yuen and was an active member of the College Symphony, Opera Orchestra, and various string chamber ensembles. Gabriella held several executive board positions for Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women, including Vice President of Ritual and Music Director. She was the recipient of the Robert Hesse Violin Scholarship and the Class of 1953 Award for Excellence in Music Education during her time at Fredonia.

Gabriella recently graduated in the spring of 2016 and since moving back to Long Island. She continues to teach privately and perform in the New Inlet Chamber Orchestra. In her spare time, Gabriella enjoys fashion, creating DIY projects, listening to various genres of music, and spending time with her family and her dog.

Ryan Furrer

Ryan Furrer has been studying Viola since he was 8. After graduating from Islip High School he attended the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam where he studied under Shelly Tramposh and then went on to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music at CUNY Queens where he studied with Greg Williams – at both schools he studied Music Education.

Ryan performs regularly at weddings, with local community orchestras and with local theatre groups. He has down shows such as: Spring Awakening, Beauty and the Beast, Fiddler on the Roof, and much more. He also teaches his own private studio as well as in the Long Island Violin Shop. As a hobby Ryan enjoys singing and beatboxing (vocal percussion) in a cappella groups as well as arranging for different vocal groups.

Lessons@LIVS Studios Teacher Bar Hamiov

Bar Hamiov

Conductor, violinist and violist Bar Haimov started his musical education at the age of seven on the violin and the piano at the Ramat-Gan Conservatory in Israel. He later took up conducting studies under Maestro Jonathan Webb of London, England. In New York, Mr. Haimov studied musicology at the Mannes College of Music and continued his conducting studies.

Today Mr. Haimov regularly performs as a guest conductor with orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. In 2014 he founded "Collegium 1756", a period instruments ensemble dedicated to exploring 17th and 18th century repertory, and as a violinist and violist he is the co-founder of the "Island Chamber Players" and serves on the faculty of the Long Island Conservatory in Albertson, and the Costa School of Music in Garden City.

Amanda Hartman

Amanda began playing the violin at the age of 4 and was a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, New York All-State Symphony & Chamber Orchestras, and the University Symphony & Chamber Orchestras at the University of Chicago, where she graduated with her BA. After several years in publishing and as part of the LIVS team, she is currently pursuing her JD at Brooklyn Law School.

Juliette Incandela

Juliette Incandela began playing cello at the age of 9. After graduating from Babylon High School, Juliette attended SUNY Fredonia to study with Dr. Natasha Farny. There she was an active member of the College Symphony, Chamber, and Opera Orchestras. Additionally, she was selected for numerous masterclasses, most notably playing for The Shanghai String Quartet.

Most recently, Juliette attended the National Music Festival as a principal cellist and soloist in their orchestral masterclass. She also performs with local community orchestras such as The North Shore Symphony Orchestra and New Inlet Chamber Orchestra. Since moving back to Long Island Juliette has had much success preparing students for NYSSMA and All-County Orchestras. In her spare time, Juliette enjoys cooking, exploring music genres, and practicing yoga. Juliette graduated in the spring of 2016 with a degree in Music Education and is excited to continue her teaching career.

Samantha Kadisch

A graduate of Half Hollow Hills High School, where she studied cello, Samantha began her association with the LIVS as a high school sophomore.

She now works in the workshop as a violin maker and sales associate. Samantha has studied under Charles Rufino and Endre Fischer, and also participated in the University of New Hampshire Violin Craftsmanship Institute to further her studies. In her spare time she enjoys camping and outdoor activities.

Lessons @LIVS Studios Instructor Courtney Miller

Courtney Miller

Courtney Miller began her classical music training with Marilyn Smith through the Suzuki School at LIU Post when she was 3 years old.

Throughout her childhood she learned to play various other instruments and decided to pursue a degree in Music Education with a Concentration in Special Education in Music at the Crane School of Music. While continuing her classical studies with Dr. Sarah Hersh, she also sought out opportunities to be more diverse in her playing by studying other genres of music such as Improvisation, Jazz, Pop, and Irish Fiddling; which included studying with native fiddlers and teaching school children in Ireland over the summer.

Courtney has experience teaching students of various ages, is familiar with Alexander Technique, served as an interim Orchestra Librarian for The Knights, and currently performs in the South Shore Symphony Orchestra.

Recently, Courtney has accepted a full-time position teaching Middle and High School Strings in Chatham, NY.

Robert Salzer - Private Lessons @ LIVS Huntington & LIVS East

Robert began playing violin at the age of 8 in the Connetquot School District, where he was concert master of his elementary, district, junior high and high school orchestras. After studying performance, theory and composition at Suffolk County Community College and Stony Brook University, Robert spent 9 years traveling the United States performing his compositions.

Robert graduated from Five Towns College in May, 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in music education and will be beginning a Masters of Arts and Music Education graduate program at Columbia University in September 2015. In the past several years, Robert has performed with the North Shore Symphony Orchestra as well as at weddings, and is currently enjoying success teaching violin, viola and cello.  Rob is currently pursuing a Masters in Music Education.

Stephanie N. Vitkun - Private Lessons @ LIVS East

Stephanie received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the Crane School of Music in May of 2014. She is a New York State Certified String Teacher and is currently working on her Master’s degree at Crane. Stephanie started studying the violin at age nine and viola at age fifteen.

She has been a member of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, the New Inlet Chamber Orchestra, and the Crane Symphony Orchestra, and has served as concertmistress for the Crane Opera Orchestra. She has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as well as the Crane Symphony Christmas Concerts recorded on PBS. She has taught in the Brookhaven Arts & Music Program at Gelinas Junior High School, the Town of Babylon Summer Music Program and maintains a busy teaching schedule. Stephanie has accepted a full-time teaching position in a public school.

David Wong

David Wong was our electric violin expert, and has been called a “Rock Star” in the violin world. He arranges rock, pop, and other top 40 hits into improvisation filled orchestrations. With over 16,000 subscribers and 2.5 million views on YouTube, David has attracted world-wide attention.

He has performed on network television, and his artistry has been acclaimed in the Huffington Post and MSN, and his videos have been featured on the YouTube Home Page. Many of his recordings are available for purchase on iTunes.

Cameron Zandieh

We are thrilled to welcome our summer intern, and talented violinist Cameron Zandieh, to the Long Island Violin Shop team. Cameron started playing the violin at the age of four, and began his studies with Marilyn Smith at C.W. Post on Long Island, currently LIU Post. Four years later, he transferred to The School for Strings in New York City with Ecaterina Gerson, then moved to The Juilliard School. He currently studies with Ann Setzer and has performed at numerous events, including the All-County Music Festival, where he served as concertmaster; Steinway Hall, where he has given many concerts alongside his two brothers, Charlie and Christopher (cellist and pianist, respectively); Carnegie Hall; and the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony, where he has also served as concertmaster. Cameron enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and playing videogames.