SB Strings Logo Color FINAL SMALL.png

Director of Toccata Orchestra, Chamber Group Coach & Orchestra Assistant


Chamber Group Coach & Orchestra Assistant

2013 Nicole Headshot-5544-fixed.jpg

Orchestra Assistant & Chamber Group Coach


Director of Piano Chamber Music

Follow Us
  • Facebook
  • youtube
  • Instagram

Violinist and violist Sara Bashore received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Violin Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 and 2019, respectively. While at UCSB, she studied under the tutelage of Yuval Yaron, Ambroise Aubrun, Ertan Torgul, and violist Jonathan Moerschel. As a graduate student, she was selected to receive the prestigious Young Artist String Quartet fellowship. Sara served as the concertmistress of both the UCSB Chamber Orchestra and the UCSB Pops Orchestra, and is now a first violinist in the Santa Maria Philharmonic and Orchestra Novo, as well as principal violist of the SB Folk Orchestra. She is an advocate for contemporary classical music, and has recently premiered several new works, ranging from solo pieces to orchestral compositions.

Sara has performed in the Gold Coast Chamber Music Festival, the Young Musician Foundation’s Debut Orchestra, the Colburn School's Orchestra da Camera under the baton of Maxim Eshkenazy, and at Luzerne Music Festival in New York. She has performed in solo and chamber master classes with the Juilliard Quartet, Danish String Quartet, Calidore Quartet, Felice Quartet, Leonidas Kavakos, Martin Beaver, Jennifer Koh, Aimee Kreston, Joyce Osborne, Danielle Belen, and Tereza Stanislav. The fiercely competitive Sara has participated in several local and international competitions as well. Her piano trio, formed at the Ed and Mari Edelmen Chamber Music Institute at Colburn, was a grand prize winner in two competitions. In 2018, she was selected to be an international guest artist at the KotorArt Music Festival in Kotor, Montenegro, where her performances were met with high acclaim.

In the summer months, Sara teaches at the world renowned Interlochen Summer Arts Camp.  Her private studio welcomes violin, viola, and chamber students of all ages. When she is not playing violin, Sara enjoys mathematics, art, and being outdoors.

Cellist Chenoa Orme-Stone is an active performer and music educator currently residing in Santa Barbara, California. Chenoa completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of California Santa Barbara in the Fall of 2020. She holds a Master of Music from the Royal Danish Academy of Music and a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Her teachers included Morten Zeuthen, Emilio Colón, Marc Coppey, and Jennifer Kloetzel, as well as members of the Pacifica Quartet, Danish String Quartet, and Calder Quartet. She has been invited to perform in masterclasses for such distinguished cellists as Yo-Yo Ma, Astrid Schween, Martin Menking, David Geber, Eric Kim, Anthony Elliot, and Chu Yi-Bing. 

An avid chamber musician, Chenoa previously performed with the Diamond Ensemble and was a member of the Young Artists String Quartet at the University of California Santa Barbara. While studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, she regularly performed with the Copenhagen Philharmonic and the Royal Danish Opera Orchestra. She currently performs with various orchestras throughout southern California.

In addition to performing, Chenoa has extensive teaching experience and maintains a full studio of private cello students. She has also taught at schools and music education programs such as University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Symphony Music Education Center, Santa Barbara Strings, Lotus Chamber Music Festival, Westmont Academy for Young Artists, Copenhagen International School, and Seattle Music Partners.

Violinist Nicole McKenzie has performed widely as soloist and chamber musician. The Santa Barbara Independent declared, "McKenzie made a splash... she performed with gorgeous musicality.

Winner of the Sutton Chamber Music Award, she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, earned a BM Degree from Oberlin Conservatory, an MM Degree from Florida State University, and studied with Gary Kosloski at the Music Academy of the West.

Ms. McKenzie is Concertmaster of the Santa Barbara Folk Orchestra, teaches music for dancers at UCSB,  directs and teaches for Sandcastle Music Together, coaches chamber music at Santa Barbara Strings, is a member of the duo, Continental Cafe, directs and teaches at Allegro Violin Camp, was a founding member of the Nicole McKenzie Improv Group (an improvising group of dancers and musicians), was a founding member of the Klezmer/Jazz group, Kalinka, regularly concertizes with renown pianist, Betty Oberacker, and maintains a private violin and viola studio. She performs on a violin created for her by Michel Eggimann of Rome, Italy.

Pianist Robert Cassidy has received critical acclaim for his performances and recordings of both solo piano repertoire and chamber music. He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Piano Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky, Constance Keene, and Marc Silverman. Subsequent studies followed with the legendary pianist Menahem Pressler at Indiana University. Dr. Cassidy holds a Doctor of Arts degree in Piano Chamber Music and Accompanying/ Piano Performance from Ball State University, where he studied with Robert Palmer.


Dr. Cassidy often appears as a soloist and chamber musician. He has also been presented on radio stations WFMT in Chicago (Dame Myra Hess Series), WRUW, WCLV and WCPN in Cleveland, WKSU in Kent, Ohio, and WNYC in New York (Around New York). Dr. Cassidy has premiered solo piano works by the American composers David Noon and Keith Fitch. He is the pianist in the Cleveland-based, Almeda Trio ( and regularly performs chamber music with members of The Cleveland Orchestra.


A extremely active and highly sought-after teacher and chamber music coach, Dr. Cassidy is in demand for master classes, workshops and lectures, private teaching, and adjudication. He maintains a private studio at The Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA.

Other Faculty Members

Junia Work, violinist, Westmont College Music graduate

Moon Man Whitehead, violist, Westmont Music student, also plays bagpipes and bells.


GUEST Faculty Members

Alita Rhodes, cellist, strings teacher, retired from Santa Barbara Symphony

Gerrie Fausett, cellist, public school administrator/ consultant

Logan Hodgson, cellist, Westmont Music graduate

Issac Kay, violinist, professional musician

Margaret Langley, violinist, soloist and chamber musician, professional musician

Carson Rick, violist, professional musician

Miller Wrenn, double bass, professional musician, bass teacher


Alita Rhodes - Orchestra Assistant