Alyssa Beckmann, Violin and Viola

Director, Kansas City Suzuki Academy

Alyssa Hardie Beckmann was raised a Suzuki student and has been an active teacher for the last decade, studying with many fantastic teacher trainers including her mother Julia Hardie, William Preucil, Teri Einfeldt, Carol Smith and Louise Behrend. Ms. Beckmann served as Upper Strings Coordinator of the Greenwich Suzuki Academy, where she taught violin, viola and chamber music for almost a decade. She has served on the faculty of the Colorado Suzuki Institute, Point Counterpoint and Heartland Chamber Music Festivals. Ms. Beckmann holds degrees from Vanderbilt (BM), and Boston Universities (MM), in Viola and Violin Performance. She attended the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center for three summers, enjoying extensive work with conductor James Levine. She has performed in masterclasses for the Juilliard, Takacs and Guarneri String Quartets, and at the International Viola Congress. Ms. Beckmann is a substitute with the Kansas City Symphony and the St. Louis Symphony. In her spare time, Alyssa loves gardening and cooking with her husband, cellist Matt Beckmann and their son Miles.


Mary Bassett Shemon, Flute 

Mary Bassett Shemon is an active performer and passionate teacher based in Kansas City. Performance highlights from last season include appearances with the Kansas City Symphony, the Saint Louis Symphony, and at the National Flute Association’s annual convention in San Diego. An active clinician in the schools, Ms. Shemon founded the Blue Valley Southwest HS Flute Ensemble in 2015, which was selected by audition to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association’s annual conference. Her students have been selected to participate in the Sousa Honor Band (6-9 grade), KS district honor band (10-12 grade), KS All-State Orchestra (10-12 grade), and the Kansas City Youth Symphony. Ms. Shemon received her Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University and her Master of Music from the University of Southern California where she studied with Walfrid Kujala, Richard Graef, and Jim Walker. With over 15 years of experience working with children, Ms. Shemon is thrilled to be teaching at the Kansas City Suzuki Academy.

Photo by Eric Williams

Photo by Eric Williams

Matt Beckmann, Cello

Cellist Matt Beckmann has developed a passion for teaching that is evident in his enthusiastic, and nurturing teaching style. Comfortable with all ages and abilities, Matt has maintained a diverse private studio with three-year-old beginners, high school students preparing for college auditions, and adults taking on cello as a retirement activity!

Before returning to his hometown of Kansas City, Matt had a rich teaching and performing career in the New York City area. Matt participated in long-term Suzuki training at the prestigious School for Strings in New York City, and has been on the faculty of the Greenwich (CT) Suzuki Academy and the Suzuki School of Westport (CT), and spent three years at Music Haven, a non-profit community music program in New Haven, CT. In the summers Matt has taught at the Point CounterPoint camp in Vermont and is Co-Director of the Heartland Chamber Music Junior Festival in Kansas City. In addition to his passion for teaching, Matt has a diverse performing career as a cellist in Kansas City. Matt was a member of the Kansas City Symphony during their 2014-15 season, and he has also performed with the KC Chamber Orchestra and is a founding member of the Kansas City Cello Quartet. Matt also performs frequently as a recitalist and chamber musician locally and across the Midwest. Matt holds a BA from St. Olaf College and a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. His primary teachers are Natasha Brofsky and David Carter, and he has benefited greatly from his close work with chamber musicians from the Takacs, Guarneri, and Cleveland Quartets. Outside of teaching and playing the cello, Matt enjoys cycling, cooking, and eating ribs. Good thing he lives in KC! 


Liz Codd, Violin

Liz Codd received her Masters of Music and Graduate Performance Diploma in Violin Performance studying with Ben Sayevich at Park University's International Center for Music. She plays with numerous ensembles in the metro area including the Kansas City Symphony, and is the founding first violinist of Quintetto Matiz, Kansas City's newest live tango ensemble. Codd has taught private violin lessons for almost a decade and has prepared many students for successful school orchestra auditions and for top honors in Missouri Solo and Ensemble. Liz has completed Suzuki unit training with esteemed pedagogue Esther Fellows. Liz began violin at the age of 5 using the Suzuki Method, and is very enthusiastic about being a Suzuki teacher now herself.


Mary Grant, Violin

Mary Grant grew up a Suzuki student in one of the earliest Suzuki programs in the country. Mary received an undergraduate degree in violin performance from Rice University, where she studied with Raphael Fliegel. She received a master's degree from Queens College-City University of New York, where she studied with Ruth Waterman and Ani Kavafian. While in New York City, she played with the National Orchestral Association, a training orchestra for young musicians. She also studied baroque violin with Nancy Wilson. Mary has been a violinist with the Kansas City Symphony since 1989 and is a founding member of Summerfest, a chamber music series in Kansas City.  She has taught violin in the public schools in Houston, at the Aaron Copland School of Music pre-college Suzuki program at Queens College in New York, and privately in Kansas City. She lives with her husband, Jim, and her cat, Eleanor, in Stilwell. She enjoys spending her free time with her two grandchildren or sewing, gardening, and traveling.