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Hilltop String Festival

Hilltop String Festival

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June 14 - 21, 2024


The Hilltop String Festival is an intensive program housed on the beautiful campus of Western Kentucky University, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Festival offers dedicated string players the opportunity to deepen their musical and instrumental skill through studying with world-renowned faculty members. The program includes lessons, master classes, chamber music, performance opportunities, faculty concerts, practice coaching, and musical enrichment.  

Students will receive:

  • multiple individual private lessons
  • daily technique class
  • daily chamber music coachings
  • masterclass performance opportunities
  • daily musicianship training
  • practice coaching
  • multiple solo and chamber performances
  • performance attendance


The Hilltop Music Festival is open to all violin, viola, and cello students age 12–18. Students will be expected to practice a minimum of 2 hours per day.  

Schubert String Quintet


Audition Information

Audition DEADLINE EXTENDED - April 15

Students are required to submit a YouTube link of a performance of two contrasting works.  

Students will be notified of their acceptance by April 1st. Late auditions will be accepted pending availability.  




Violinist Ching-Yi Lin’s recent performances and masterclasses have taken her to the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Norway, the Shenyang and Xi’an Conservatories in China, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of British Columbia. She’s also performed in New York on the Museum of Modern Art’s Summer Garden Series, at Sejong Center in South Korea, and in Taiwan at the National Concert Hall in Taipei.

Her recent album on MSR Classics features sonatas for violin and piano by Charles Ives, William Bolcom, and John Corigliano. In reviewing the album, Gramophone noted the “panache and warmth” of Ms. Lin’s playing and described her interpretations as “a series of tender, lively, and challenging conversations.”

A dedicated and creative teacher, Ching-Yi Lin is Associate Professor at Western Kentucky University and also serves on the faculty at the Indiana University Summer String Academy and the WKU Summer String Institute. Previously, she served on the faculty of the Sommersymfoni i Kristiansand in Norway and Chicago Chamber Music Festival.

In 2017, Ching-Yi received a Sisterhood grant from Western Kentucky University to direct student teachers and volunteers in teaching the violin to refugee children in Bowling Green, KY. In 2020, this program developed into a non-profit organization called Bridging Cultures with Music. The program offers college music majors an opportunity to teach, inspire, and make an impact in a global classroom setting.

Ching-Yi regularly presents at the American String Teachers Association National Conference and is an active clinician and adjudicator. As a board member for the Daraja Music Initiative, a non-profit organization in Moshi, Tanzania, Dr. Lin founded a beginning strings program for students of the Majengo Primary School in 2016. Over 60 string instruments were donated from across the United States for this endeavor. She also currently serves as the Secretary and on the Board of Directors of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Dr. Lin holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and she undertook additional studies at the Vienna Conservatory. She plays on a violin made in 1863 by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.



Dr. Zachary Ebin is the Director of the Suzuki Program at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.  Zachary holds a BA and an MA from Brandeis University, an MM from the Boston Conservatory, and a PhD from York University.  Before relocating to Nashville, Dr. Ebin was on the faculty of Etobicoke Suzuki Music in Toronto, where he founded and directed Arco Violini, an advanced precollege string orchestra dedicated to giving back to the community through performances at hospitals, senior residences, and charity events.  Dr. Ebin led Arco Violini in over 40 performances including two television appearances.

In high demand as a guest clinician Zachary has taught and lectured all over North America at conferences, institutes, and workshops. His research has been published in the American Suzuki Journal and the American String Teacher. In 2015, Dr. Ebin founded the Silent Voices Project. In the project young composers write chamber music based on poems written by children during the Holocaust. The Silent Voices Project has given multiple concerts across North America and recently released a recording.

yuuki wong

Winner of the 2011 Prix de la Ville de Lausanne, Yuuki Wong has been quoted by The Strad as an artist ‘'with imagination and insight….a crowd-pleaser'’.  Musical studies began at the age of four with the piano and two years later, he started playing the violin. After just three years of violin lessons, he was admitted to the world renowned Yehudi Menuhin School in England, where he studied with Rosemary Furniss and Natasha Boyarsky alongside lessons with Yehudi Menuhin. He was the youngest student at the age of 15 to be admitted to the class of Amita and Roland Vamos at the Oberlin Conservatory, USA to begin his Bachelor of Music degree. This was followed by studies with Boris Kuschnir at the Vienna Conservatory, Pierre Amoyal at the Haute-Ecole de Musique Lausanne and Ilya Gringolts at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. Yuuki has participated in masterclasses with personalities such as Itzhak Perlman, Donald Weilerstein, Joel Smirnoff, Tibor Varga, Aaron Rosand, Zakhar Bron, Frans Helmerson, Viktor Tretyakov, Pamela Frank, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Miriam Fried, Sylvia Rosenberg, Leon Fleischer to mention a few.

Honours bestowed upon Wong include 1st Prize at the 2007 Summit Music Festival Competition in New York, 2nd Prize and Special Prize at the 2007 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand, Special Prize and 4th Place at the 2005 Jean Sibelius International Violin Competition in Helsinki, 3rd Prize at the 2004 Abbado International Violin Competition in Milan, the Grand Prix at the 2000 Kingsville International Competition, where he also swept the 1st Prize in the Senior Strings and Best Violinist Prize. While at Oberlin Conservatory, he was a recipient of the Dean’s Talent Award, which recognizes exceptional talent at the institution. At the Konservatorium Wien, he was prizewinner of the Fidelio Competition in 2005.

Yuuki has performed at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad as part of the 'Jeunes Étoiles' Series, Bellerive Festival in Geneva and has participated in the Verbier Festival Academy, Perlman Music Program, Ravinia Festival. He was invited numerous times to perform at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall as part of he Professional Training Workshop. Recital, concerto and chamber music performances have taken place across 5 continents. Not only is the geographical scope diverse, other highlights include performances for the President of Singapore, for HM Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, and with orchestras such as the Helsinki Philharmonic, Finnish Radio Symphony, Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne, Camerata de Lausanne, Auckland Philharmonia, Singapore Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Bruno Walter Festival Orchestra, Morphing Chamber Orchestra.

As concertmaster of the Morphing Chamber Orchestra, recent highlights include the 2020 CD release by Sony Classical of Aleksandra Kurzak’s album ‘Desire’, the New York Metropolitan Opera Live-Stream ‘Met Stars in Concert’ with Aleksandra Kurzak and Roberto Alagna followed by a re-invitation by the Met for the New Year’s Eve Gala Livestream with Angel Blue, Pretty Yende, Javier Camarena and Matthew Polenzani. Upcoming album releases include Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with Tomasz Wabnic, founder and artistic director of the Morphing Chamber Orchestra on the Aparté label.


Violist Andrew Braddock’s teaching and performing career has recently taken him to the Sejong Center in Seoul, South Korea, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, and the International Viola Congress in Rotterdam.

A passionate educator, he has given masterclasses at Vanderbilt University, the Chinese Culture University in Taipei, Taiwan, Bowling Green State University, and many others. He is currently on the faculty of Western Kentucky University (WKU) and is the co-director of the WKU String Academy. In the summers, he teaches at the Indiana University Summer String Academy and directs the WKU Summer String Institute, an intensive summer camp for students ages 4 to 18 based around chamber music and orchestral performance. His creative teaching led him to co-found Bridging Cultures with Music, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports various pedagogical and outreach programs in his community and abroad.

Research, writing, and intellectual discovery are central to his artistic mission. His writing has appeared in The Strad, the Journal of the British Music Society, the American Suzuki Journal, and the Journal of the American Viola Society. He is currently the editor of the American Suzuki Journal, a quarterly publication of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. From 2017 to 2021, Dr. Braddock was the editor of the Journal of the American Viola Society, the most prominent peer-reviewed publication for viola scholarship. The journal presents musicological and music theory research relating to the viola, in addition to pedagogical insights and current reviews. Most recently, Dr. Braddock spearheaded an issue devoted to the 40th anniversary of George Rochberg’s viola sonata, examining it from various musicological, historical, and theoretical perspectives. He previously served as the journal’s New Music Editor and on the board of the American Viola Society.

He is the principal violist of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, and he regularly plays with the Nashville Symphony and the Nashville Opera. He also serves as an adjudicator for Carnegie Hall’s NYO2 program. He holds degrees from Indiana University, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Kentucky. His principal teachers are Atar Arad, Kathryn Plummer, and John Graham. He plays on a viola made by Giovanni Pistucci, ca. 1920.



Cellist Wesley Baldwin holds degrees from Yale College, the New England Conservatory, and the University of Maryland. He performs throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a soloist and chamber musician. As a soloist with orchestra he has recently appeared with the Laredo Philharmonic, the Oregon Mozart Players, the Symphony of the Mountains, and the Aberdeen, Bemidji, Bryan, Chattanooga, Florence, Germantown, Johnson City, Hot Springs, Knoxville, La Porte, Oak Ridge, Manchester, New River Valley, Salisbury, Wintergreen, and Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestras, among others. His passionate and charismatic performances have been widely lauded.

An advocate for great music from all eras, Mr. Baldwin is one of the only performers of several little known and new concerti for cello, including recently those by Sollima, Wagenseil, Jacob T.V., Behzad Ranjbaran, and Alan Shulman. His recording of music for cello by Alan Shulman, released by Albany records, enjoyed widespread critical acclaim. He has also recorded for the Naxos, Zyode, and Innova labels. His most recent CD release, his fourth on the Centaur label, features the chamber music of Arthur Honegger.

Wesley was the founder of the Plymouth String Quartet, with whom he was a top prize-winner in the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and a finalist in the Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition. He was also cellist of the James Piano Quartet for five years, with residencies at both Sweet Briar College and the Wintergreen Festival. Solo and chamber music performing honors Baldwin has received include the Prix Mercure, Homer Ulrich Awards, and a Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Performing Artist Fellowship.

As a member and principal cellist of the New World Symphony, Baldwin performed with many of the world’s great conductors and toured Japan, Scotland, England, Argentina, and Brazil. His orchestral colleagues there selected him as the recipient of the New World Symphony’s Community Board Award for artistic integrity and leadership. For many years Wesley served on New World Symphony regional audition committee panels throughout the U.S.

Dr. Baldwin has performed chamber music at the Aspen, Cazenovia, Hot Springs, Ojai, Sandpoint, Mainly Mozart, May in Miami, Skaneateles, and Sub-tropics Music Festivals, and internationally in Italy, France, Monte Carlo, Spain, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, the United Kingdom, and Costa Rica. In 2017 and again in 2018 he visited China, performing and teaching in Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Nanjing, Ningbo, and other cities.

In the summers he performs and teaches at the Michigan City Chamber Music Festival, the ARIA International Academy, and at the Wintergreen Festival, where he is the principal cellist of the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra, and serves as the chair of strings of the Wintergreen Festival Academy.

Currently Professor of Cello at the University of Tennessee, where he received the Chancellor’s Award for Professional Promise, Wesley previously taught at the University of Maryland and at Florida International University, where he was artist-in-residence with the Plymouth Quartet. He. His former students play and teach throughout the United States and Malaysia, an include a 2021 Marshall Scholarship Fellow.

Dr. Baldwin’s commitment to string education extends beyond his work at the University of Tennessee. He founded and directs the Tennessee Cello Workshop, an annual three-day gathering of more than 170 cellists of all ages from throughout the United States held each February. After serving as conductor of the Knoxville Youth Chamber Orchestra for 15 years, he now serves as Director of the Knoxville Symphony Youth Orchestra Association Chamber Music program. In Knoxville he also serves as Co-Director of the Knoxville Suzuki Academy.

Wesley lives in Knoxville with his wife, soprano Melisa Barrick Baldwin, and four wonderful children.



Check-in Day: Friday, June 14

3:00pm Check in

4:00 Orientation and building tour

4:30 Dorm Checkin

5:00 Dinner 

7:00 Evening Activity

9:00 Pickup/Dorm


Typical Daily Schedule

8:00 am Breakfast and Morning physical activity 

9:00 Musicianship 

10-Noon Practice time/Private Lesson time 

Noon: Lunch 

1:00pm Technique Class

2:00 Practice time/private lesson time

3:00 Chamber Music Rehearsal 

4:30 Performance Class

5:30 Dinner 

7:00 Evening Activity 

9:00 Pickup/Dorm


Friday, June 21, 2023

5:00pm Final Concert 


Tuition and Housing Information

Tuition: $950

Tuition includes all instruction and activities, as well as all meals from dinner on Friday, June 14 through Lunch on Friday, June 21. 

Housing Information 

Students are offered the opportunity of supervised housing in a dormitory on WKU's campus with double occupancy rooms and private bathrooms.

The housing fee is $300 for the duration of the festival. Adult supervision will be present 24 hours per day. Students will vacate their rooms the morning of Friday, June 21th. 

Hotel Information

For families not wishing to stay in the dormitory, we recommend staying at the Hyatt Place of Bowling Green, which is within walking distance of the music building. 

Traveling from Nashville Airport

Shuttle Service to Nashville Airport


Application Form

Student Information

As of June 1 of the current year

Audition Information

Type the name/composer of your audition pieces.

Paste the link to your audition video(s)

Guardian Information

Contact and Medical Information

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WKU Photo Release

I hereby assign full copyright and grant permission to Western Kentucky University and its campus offices/departments to use photographs and/or video recorded images taken of me on the date and at the location listed below for use in print, video, website, and/or social media projects such as brochures, advertisements, posters, newsletters, display boards, publications or on the university websites or other electronic forms of media, and to offer them for use or distribution in other university publications, electronic or otherwise, without notifying me.

I hereby waive any right to inspect or approve the finished product that may be used in conjunction with them now or in the future, whether that use is known to me, and I waive any right to royalties or other compensation arising from or related to the use of the image(s).

I hereby agree to release, defend, and hold harmless WKU and the Music Department and its agents or employees, including any firm publishing and/or distributing the finished product in whole or in part, whether on paper or via electronic media, from and against any claims, damages, or liability to any misuse, distortion, blurring, alteration, optical illusion or use in composite form, either intentionally or otherwise, that may occur or be produced in taking, processing, reduction or production of the finished product, its publication or distribution.

I am 18 years of age or older, and I am competent to contract my own name. I have read this release before signing below, and I fully understand the contents, meaning and impact of this release. I understand that I am free to address any specific questions regarding this release prior to signing, and I agree that my failure to do so will be interpreted as a free and knowledgeable acceptance of the terms of this release. A photocopy of this consent form shall be considered as valid as the original.

Location(s) of Photo/Video: Fine Arts Center, Van Meter Auditorium, Music Hall

Date(s): June 14-21, 2024

Type parent/guardian's initials to agree to the photo release policy

Student performance

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Hilltop String Festival

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faculty performance

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 Last Modified 4/2/24