Kyle Stachnik

Co-founder of Viridian Strings, cellist Kyle Stachnik just graduated with a masters in Chamber Music at The San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying under Professor Jennifer Culp. Previously to SFCM, Kyle completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music with Professor Ross Harbaugh. As a chamber musician he has been able to perform with artists such as Andrés Cárdenes, Amy Schwartz Moretti, Marcy Rosen, Itamar Zorman, Dimitri Murrath, William Fedkenheuer, Dennis Kim, Chauncey Patterson, and Jodi Levitz. Around the Bay Area, Kyle can be seen performing regularly with the New Century Chamber Orchestra, Vallejo Festival Orchestra, and Marin Symphony.

Joseph Skerik

Co-founder of Viridian Strings, Joseph Skerik, 23, is the newly-appointed violist of the Vega String Quartet, in residence at Emory University and the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta. He has studied at the Yale School of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Paris Conservatory and Interlochen Arts Academy. Joseph has performed at festivals such as the Heifetz Chamber Music Seminar, Highlands-Cashiers Festival, Perlman Music Program, Aspen Music Festival, and the Lake George Music Festival, and his chamber music performances include concerts with musicians such as Ani Kavafian, Ilya Kaler, Jaime Laredo, Philip Setzer, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Andres Cardenes, and Shannon Lee. Joseph is a Young Arts Merit Violist, a prize-winner at the American Viola Society Competition and most recently was awarded 3rd prize at the 4th Oskar Nedbal Viola Competition in Prague. This summer, he will be performing with the Viridian Strings in Interlochen, Michigan, the Ravinia Steans Music Institute and will also be appearing as an Emerging Artist at the 2023 Vivace Festival under the direction of Ani Kafavian.

Brian Isaacs

American violist Brian Isaacs, 23, recently graduated from Yale University, where he received his MM degree as a student of Ettore Causa and his BA in Sociology. He will be based in Berlin starting September 2023 as a scholarship holder of the Karajan-Akademie der Berliner Philharmoniker. Brian received several awards while at Yale and won both the School of Music’s Woolsey Hall Concerto Competition (2023) and the College’s William Waite Concerto Competition (2022). He was a semi-finalist at the Primrose International Viola Competition (2021) and Kodaly International Music Competition (2022), and a top prizewinner of the Rubinstein International Viola Competition (2019). Brian has performed in numerous American, Asian, and European festivals and academies including Bowdoin, Gimhae, Heyri, Moritzburg, Nume, NYO-USA, NYSOS, Schiermonnikoog, Taos, Thy, Verbier, and Yanghwajin. This summer, he will be returning to the Verbier Festival Academy and will participate in the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival and Gstaad String Academy. Brian plays on a 2011 Douglas Cox viola, on generous loan from the Virtu Foundation. This is Brians fourth summer with Viridian Strings. More info at:

Matthew Hakkarainen

Matthew Hakkarainen is a highly accomplished violinist, being the first American to win first prize at the Premio Rodolfo Lipizer International Violin Competition in Gorizia, Italy. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music studying with Pamela Frank, and currently studies at the Juilliard School with Sylvia Rosenberg and Ronald Copes. Matthew has won numerous competitions, including the New World Symphony's Concerto Competition and the Aspen Music Festival and School's Violin Competition. He has also served as Concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra and Curtis Symphony Orchestra, and appeared frequently as a Substitute Violin with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Matthew has performed as a guest artist at FestivalSouth, on National Public Radio's "From the Top," and as a soloist with many prestigious orchestras around the world. Born in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Matthew is also an accomplished academic, having been recognized as a National Merit Scholarship recipient, a Kovner Opportunity Scholar, and a Sunshine State Scholar. He has attended numerous festivals and masterclasses, studying with some of the world's most renowned artists, including Zvi Zeitlin, Gordon Nikolić, and Vadim Gluzman, among others. This is Matts first year with Viridian Strings.

Zachary Brandon

Zachary Brandon, age 24, is pursuing his Artist Diploma at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studies with Jaime Laredo and Stephen Rose. Zachary has collaborated with renowned concert pianist Jean Yves Thibaudet and acclaimed oboist Ramòn Ortega.  Zachary has also been invited to perform as a soloist with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham- Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra, the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra, and the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra among others. Additionally, Zachary is the 4th place Laureate of the Elmar Oliveira International Violin Competition. He was also a semi-finalist in the 2022 Sibelius International Violin Competition, the 2019 Concours musical international de Montréal and also in the Senior division of the 2021 and 2018 Menuhin International Violin Competition. He received top honors in the Cooper International Violin Competition and was honored as the Fourth Prize Laureate in the  International Stradivarius Competition.  He was a two-time finalist and the Bach prize winner in the International Stulberg Competition. Zachary was also a semifinalist in the International Princess Astrid Music Competition and finished in the top six. This is Zachs first year with Viridian Strings.

Jakob Taylor

Jakob Taylor, 25, has recently completed his Masters of Musical Arts degree at the Yale School of Music under the tutelage of Paul Watkins, cellist of the Emerson Quartet.
Born in New York City, Jakob began playing the cello at the age of three. His career as a soloist and chamber musician has led him around the globe and has taken him to perform at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Stude Hall, Bargemusic and Jordan Hall. Jakob received his Masters of Music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music studying with Desmond Hoebig. He has also received diplomas from the New England Conservatory and The Juilliard School. Jakob was the recipient of the Harvey R. Russel Scholarship and Irving S. Gilmore Fellowship at Yale University where he most recently performed Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante under the baton of Leonard Slatkin. Jakob has spent his summers performing at Music@Menlo, the Taos School of Music, Music Academy of the West, and Bowdoin International Music Festival, among others. This is Jakobs first year with Viridian Strings.

Katie Liu

Katie Liu is a Master of Musical Arts student at the Yale School of Music in the studio of Ettore Causa. She received her Master of Music degree at the Colburn School and her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, concentrating in Operations Research and Financial Engineering with minors in Musical Performance and Computer Science. She is currently a section violist at the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and was selected to compete in the Hindemith International Viola Competition and Tokyo International Viola Competition. This is Katies first year with Viridian Strings.

Renee Skerik

Renee Skerik is the Chair of Strings, Instructor of Viola and Chamber Music, and Violist of the Interlochen String Trio at the Interlochen Arts Academy. An active member of the American Viola Society and the American String Teachers Association, She has presented at national conferences and served as the festival competition coordinator of the Inaugural American Viola Society Youth Competition. A highly sought educator, Skerik has worked with violists in masterclasses throughout the United States and South America, including recent masterclasses at the Oberlin Conservatory and Cleveland Institute of Music. Graduates of her Interlochen Arts Academy Viola matriculate to top conservatories and universities across the United States each year.

During the summers Skerik serves on the faculties of the Interlochen Viola Institute, The Saint Paul Chamber Music Institute, and the Montecito International Music Festival. Previous festivals include: the Green Mountain Music Festival; The Quartet Program; Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival; Bravo!; Summer Chamber Music Institute; Stringwood Chamber Music Festival; and, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Her chamber music collaborations include performances with Cho-Liang Lin, Margaret Batjer, Yizhak Schotten, Janos Starker, Raphael Hillyer, Arnold Steinhardt, and Charles Castleman. Her principal teachers were Heidi Castleman, Yizhak Schotten, Korey Konkol, and David Holland. This is Renees second year with Viridian Strings.

Claire Geho

 Violinist Claire Geho recently completed the Advanced Musical Studies certificate at Carnegie Mellon University where she studies with William van der Sloot. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Miami in May of 2020, where she studied with Charles Castleman, and her Master of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University in May of 2022. She has participated in a variety of summer programs including the MasterWorks Festival, the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, the Castleman Quartet Program, the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, the National Repertory Orchestra, and Orford Music Academy. Claire was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America in 2016, with which she performed in Carnegie Hall and across Europe with artists including Christoph Eschenbach, Emanuel Ax, Valery Gergiev, and Denis Matsuev. She has also performed in masterclasses for James Ehnes, Martin Chalifour, Erin Keefe, and Jeff Thayer, among others. Claire originates from Cleveland, Ohio, where she studied with Emilio Llinas. Claire was a winner of the 2019 Frost Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition, and she has appeared as a substitute violinist with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, and the Canton Symphony. This is Claires second summer with Viridian Strings.