Valerie Arsenault, violin & viola
At the Bach Parley String Academy, Valerie Arsenault uses a synthesis of Suzuki and traditional pedagogy, tailored to suit the strengths and learning styles of each student. Her approach is positive and compassionate, but also demanding, and she enjoys helping her students find creative solutions to technical and musical challenges.
Dr. Arsenault has two favorite musical activities: teaching the violin and playing baroque music. She is the President and Music Director of the Tallahassee Bach Parley. As Visiting Assistant Professor at Florida State University she directs the Baroque Ensemble (on period instruments) and has taught violin and directed the Irish Ensemble. She is a member of the Tallahassee Symphony, a principal player and soloist with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, and has performed and recorded with the Apollo Ensemble (NY) and Apollo's Fire. She studied violin at the New England Conservatory (BM), violin pedagogy and baroque violin at the Indiana University School of Music (MM, Early Music), and earned her doctorate from the Florida State University College of Music.
Miriam Barfield, violin & viola
Miriam Barfield began studying the violin at age six with Melissa Brewer. She received her Bachelor of Music from Florida State University, where she studied with Dr. Pamela Ryan, and completed a Master of Music in Viola Performance at The Boston Conservatory under Patricia McCarty. She was a state winner for the ASTA National Solo Competition in 2010 (Massachusetts) and in 2008 (Florida) and has performed in master classes for Joseph Silverstein, Robert Spano, James Dunham, and Thomas Dumm. She has been a member of many orchestras, including the Tallahassee Symphony, the Columbus (GA) Symphony, the Albany (GA) Symphony (as principal), the Mobile Symphony, and the Cape Ann Symphony (MA). Miriam has attended the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland, Brevard Music Festival, Schlern International Music Festival in Italy, and the Meadowmount School of Music, where she was a teaching assistant for four summers and performed with violinists Joseph Silverstein and James Ehnes.
Caroline Holden, violin
Caroline Holden has played with many orchestras across the country, including the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Mississippi Symphony, and the West Michigan Symphony. She currently serves as Assistant Concertmaster of the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, and is also a member of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.
She performs chamber music as a violinist in the Purple Martin String Quartet, and is a founding member of the Argot Trio with her husband, Dr. Jonathan Holden.
Caroline is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and earned degrees from Hope College in Holland, MI and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She resides in Tallahassee with her husband and two young children. Outside of music, she enjoys gardening and stained glass projects.
Zlatina Staykova, cello
Zlatina Staykova is a native of Bulgaria. She holds a Master of Music and Doctor of Music in Cello Performance from Florida State University where she studied with Lubomir Georgiev, David Bjella, and Gregory Sauer. Ms. Staykova received her Bachelor's degree from the National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria. An avid chamber musician, she has participated in various ensembles and has been awarded scholarships for playing in the Liberace and Eppes Piano Trios. Ms. Staykova is a co-founding member of the Torreya and Purple Martin String Quartets. Currently she performs with the Tallahassee, Pensacola, and Mobile Symphony Orchestras.
In her teaching studio, Ms. Staykova strives to achieve the perfect balance between encouraging the good habits of playing the instrument and inspiring the musical creativity of every student.