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Aaron Jacobs 

Violinist | Violist | Educator

DMA – Violin Performance and Literature
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MM – Violin Performance and String Pedagogy

Northwestern University

Artist Certificate – Violin and Viola Performance

Bowling Green State University

BM – Music Education

Bowling Green State University

Dr. Aaron Jacobs enjoys a multifaceted career as a teacher, performing artist, ensemble director, and clinician. His teaching experience includes public school, community, pre-college, and university level studio and classroom teaching. His performance experience includes extensive work as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral musician. Additionally, he has an extensive background in program building, curriculum design, pre-service and professional teacher education, administration, and leadership.


For over 20 years, Aaron has taught at universities, academies, music schools, and summer institutes throughout Ohio, Maine, Wisconsin, and Illinois. At the collegiate level, he taught applied violin, string pedagogy, and string methods courses as a faculty member at Millikin University and Illinois State University, and as a graduate assistant at Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For ten years, Aaron worked at the University of Illinois, where he collaborated with a team of faculty and graduate students to establish the Pre-College Chamber Music Program in 2011 and personally founded the Illinois String Academy in 2015. There, he maintained a studio of roughly 25–30 violin and viola students annually, mentored a staff of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral instructors, provided his staff with pedagogical training on a weekly basis, taught a wide range of violin and viola group classes, coached pre-college chamber music, directed two chamber orchestras, and administered all the Academy’s offerings. Also in 2015, he created a violin program for Danville, IL school district 118, which offered violin instruction to nearly 200 first and second grade students at two elementary schools in Danville, IL. Aaron continues to instruct young violinists and violists privately, and his students consistently win top honors and performance awards each year, including solo concerto performances with orchestras as well as admission and scholarship offers to prestigious collegiate music institutions.


As an active chamber and solo recitalist, Aaron has performed throughout the United States and Europe. Collaborations with his wife and duo partner—pianist, Tatiana Shustova—have been particularly rewarding. Since 2005, performances have taken the Jacobs-Shustova Duo to Italy, Russia, and several U.S. states, and they have earned awards at two international competitions. Notable chamber music collaborations for competitions and tours have included the Sariana Trio (violin, saxophone, and piano), Chambana Arts Trio (violin, cello, and piano), and the Illinois Arts Trio (violin, cello, and piano). Aaron has worked closely with composers Stacy Garrop, Missy Mazzoli, and Bright Sheng in the performances of their works. His extensive work as a professional orchestral musician has included numerous appointments as concertmaster, principal second violin, or principal viola, and he has been a featured soloist with chamber orchestras at Bowling Green State University and the University of Illinois, the Danville Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Illinois Symphony Orchestra, and the Illinois State University Symphony Orchestra. His repertoire in teaching and performance covers the entire range of classical art music from baroque to contemporary and works by underrepresented composers. 


As a clinician, Aaron has served as Co-Director and faculty member of the Paul Rolland String Pedagogy (PRSP) Workshop for professional musicians and teachers. In this role, he has become a resource to string teachers throughout the United States and on six continents. He has presented research and clinical sessions at the American String Teachers Association National Conference, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and the Illinois Music Educators Conference, and has been invited to lead master classes and clinics at several universities throughout the Midwest. Additionally, he is a certified Mentor for string teachers enrolled in the certification program of the PRSP Society, for which he is also a member of the Board of Directors. Visit for more information about PRSP workshops and certification events.


Aaron is very grateful to his many teachers and mentors over the years. His primary violin instructors and professors include (in chronological order) Kay Harbaugh, Anna Bittar Weller, William Terwilliger, Movses Pogossian, Dr. Penny Thompson Kruse, Vasile Beluska, Bernard Zinck, Gerardo Ribeiro, Sherban Lupu, Sibbi Bernhardsson, and Megan Freivogel. Viola professors include Csaba Erdélyi and Charlie Pickler. String education and pedagogy mentors include Dr. Elaine Colprit, Darcy Drexler, Stacia Spencer, Dr. James Kjelland, Mimi Zweig, Sherry Sinift, Dr. Gerald Fischbach, and Joanne May. Orchestral studies with Blair Milton and Charlie Pickler. Additional violin performance studies (alphabetically) with Marjorie Bagley, Yehonatan Berick, Jacques Israelievitch, Ilya Kaler, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Almita Vamos, Roland Vamos, Won-Bin Yim, and Mimi Zweig. Master class performances for Alla Aranovskaya, Dmitri Berlinsky, Lawrence Dutton, Ralph Evans, Jacques Israelievitch, Sherri Kloss, Annette Barbara Vogel, Jasper Wood, the Jupiter Quartet, Parker Quartet, Won-Bin Yim, and Mimi Zweig. And chamber music studies with the Audubon Quartet, Alan Bodman, Alan Chan, Lawrence Dutton, Csaba Erdélyi, the Fine Arts Quartet, James Giles, Ian Hobson, the Jupiter Quartet, Stefan Kartman, Kevin Lawrence, Stefan Milenkovich, the Pacifica Quartet, Max Raimie, Debra Richtmeyer, Alan Smith, and Almita Vamos.

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