Daniela Gongora holds a Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Rhode Island. She began her studies at the Pallotti School of Music in Belize City, Belize. Ms. Gongora first went to Rhode Island as a participant and representative of her country in the World Scholar Athlete Games. Following that trip she received a Feinstein Scholarship to attend a school in the state of Rhode Island.
She began her teaching career from 1996-1999 as director of the Pallotti School of Music prior to attending college. She is the Director of the Daniela Gongora Music Academy located in Norwalk, CT, and serves as adjunct Violin/Viola instructor at St. John’s Junior College in Belize City, Belize.
Her warm and patient yet persistent style of teaching has made her a highly reputable teacher. Her students have all received recognition in their own right as music scholarship recipients to universities. They have been accepted into advancement programs in conservatories such as The Juilliard School and competitive summer programs such as the Sphinx Performance Academy. They have also received high marks (distinctions) on exams through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
She has received her Suzuki training through the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has received her Level 1 Certificate of Achievement from the SAA. Pedagogues include Helen Brunner-Spira, Alice Joy Lewis, Ronda Cole, Susan Baer, Kathy Wood, Doris Preucil, Kimberly Meier-Simms and Thomas Wermuth.
Ms. Gongora began the Belize Music Project In the summer of 2001, a very important venture of sharing what she holds dear to her heart. This philanthropic project entails hosting workshops, masterclasses and concerts in Belize with invited professors and students, as well as alumni from the Pallotti School of Music. These trips are held once every two or three years.
Ms. Gongora enjoys biking, watching movies, grilling, and drinking wine.
Muireann Lemus, a graduate of the University of Miami Frost School of Music, studied viola performance under the direction of Jodi Levitz. Previously, she had studied with Chauncey Patterson of the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University and Pamela McConnell, former violist of the Bergonzi String Quartet and viola professor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Muireann has also received instruction in masterclasses from Csaba Erdelyi, Charles Castleman, Laura Thielke, and Yo-Yo Ma.
Muireann played as a member of the Frost Symphony Orchestra and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra at the University of Miami, where she performed with various artists including Carl St. Clair, Gerard Schwartz, Ben Folds, Bruce Hornsby, and James Newton Howard. She has also frequently performed as a guest with the South Florida Symphony Orchestra.
Muireann received her bachelor’s degree in viola performance at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where she was a member of the Stamps String Quartet. She, along with her fellow quartet members, was a recipient of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation Music Scholarship Fund. With this prestigious award, she participated in several outstanding events, including the annual American String Teacher Convention and Stamps Scholars National Convention. She also attended the Castleman Quartet Program and the Green Mountain Chamber Music Program. Upon graduating, she remained at the University of Miami to pursue her Artist Diploma in Viola Performance.
In addition to her vast performance background, Muireann is also a teacher of both violin and viola. She coached string chamber music at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Florida and with the Miami Youth for Chamber Music organization. She has also taught lessons for individual music instruction at Ludlam Elementary School in Miami, Florida and the Donna Shalala MusicReach Program at the University of Miami.