• Black Facebook Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon

2020 ESME String Camp


The 2020 ESME String Camp is an exciting week long summer intensive chamber music program held August 3-7, 2020 at the Aquinas College Art and Music Center in Grand Rapids, MI for grades 6-12, college, and post-college string players.  Our world class artistic string faculty includes musicians from the New York Philharmonic and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as well as visiting teaching artists from The Manhattan School of Music and the Grand Valley State University faculty.  Individual students will be arranged into chamber groups based on grade/level and work with ESME on both traditional classical and ESME chamber arrangements.  Application fee is $450 if received by March 29, ($460 after March 29, $475 after May 29.  After June 29 applications will be accepted on a case by case basis.)

Meet the Artistic Faculty

Blake Hinson joined the New York Philharmonic as assistant principal bass in 2012.  Previously he served as principal bass of the Grand Rapids Symphony for two seasons, played with the New World Symphony as a fellow, and performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra.  A native of West Des Moines, Iowa, Blake was accepted at age 16 to The Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Philadelphia Orchestra principal bass Harold Robinson and Edgar Meyer.  He spent three summers at the Aspen Music Festival and School on fellowship, where he played in the Aspen Festival Orchestra and won the 2006 low strings competition.  Blake won third prize in the International Society of Bassists Double Bass Competition and made his solo debut at Boston's Symphony Hall.  Besides performing with the New York Philharmonic, Blake also teaches bass at Stony Brook University in New York.

Jeremy Crosmer completed multiple graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in cello, composition and theory pedagogy, and received his D.M.A. in 2012 at age 24.  He has served as Assistant Principal Cellist in the Grand Rapids Symphony, and is currently a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.  Jeremy has written arrangements for the GRS Music for Health Initiative, which pairs symphonic musicians with music therapists to bring classical music to hospitals, as well as full orchestral compositions programmed for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's 2019-2020 classical concert season.  Jeremy has toured London with the Grand Valley State University Chamber Orchestra and performed as soloist with the GRS.  While still in school, Jeremy was awarded the prestigious Theodore Presser Graduate Music Award to publish, record and perform his Crosmer-Popper duets.  Jeremy has taught music theory, pre-calculus and cello at universities across Michigan.

Kimberly Ann Kaloyanides Kennedy has served as Associate Concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 2003 and first joined the orchestra at the age of 22.  She began studying violin at the Brevard Music Center and Interlochen Arts Camp and has studied at the Sarasota Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival on Fellowship and as Associate Concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra, the Harid Conservatory with Sergiu Schwartz, and at the University of Michigan with Paul Kantor.  She won Grand Prize in the National MTNA competition and 1st prize in the Skokie Valley Concerto Competition, the University of Michigan Concerto Competition, and the Harid Conservatory Concerto Competition and was one of the few Americans invited to the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.  She solos regularly with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and performs chamber music with various groups, including the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.    

Mike Chen has been a violist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra since 2018.  He was a member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra from 2012 to 2018 and a member of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2012.  He received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University and has studied violin with Blair Milton and viola with Li-kuo Chang, Michael Strauss, Peter Slowik, Keith Conant and Baird Dodge.  He has performed with the Detroit Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony.  He received a Master’s degree in Conducting at Northwestern University in 1999, and studied conducting with Victor Yampolsky, Mariusz Smolij, Gilbert Varga, David Zinman, and Murry Sidlin.  Mike was a conducting fellow at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen, Colorado and has served as Assistant Conductor of the Saint Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and guest conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony Side-by-Side Orchestra.

A native New Yorker, violinist Gene Hahn made his debut at Carnegie Hall as a guest soloist at age 13.  He continued to perform regularly at Carnegie with the New York Youth Symphony.  He has appeared as soloist with the Mannes College of Music Orchestra and was a winner of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Young Musicians' Competition.  Gene studied chamber music at the Manhattan School of Music with The American String Quartet and orchestral performance with members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and The New York Philharmonic.  He participated in the Musicorda and Quartet Program chamber festivals, toured with The Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and upon moving to Michigan joined the Grand Rapids Symphony.  He also performs with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and as associate concertmaster of The West Michigan Symphony and is the founding member of ESME.

Gemma Hinson is an active teacher and performer in New York City with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in violin performance from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Lucie Robert and Grigory Kalinovsky.  She has studied chamber music with members of the Emerson and American string quartets and in master classes by the Shanghai String Quartet and Robert Mann of the Juilliard String Quartet.  She has performed with the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar orchestras, the Salome Chamber Ensemble and as an Orchestra Fellow at the Texas Music Festival.  Ms. Hinson has trained with the Suzuki Association of the Americas through the Suzuki Institutes at Ithaca College and the Hartt School of Music.  After completing Northwestern’s course “Teaching the Violin and Viola: Creating a Healthy Foundation,” she became a community mentor to help guide other teachers and has an active studio in New York, teaching violin at the Browning School, Florentine Music School, and for the Elizabeth Faidley Studio.

Brendan Hollins studied originally at Stellensbosch, South Africa where he was active as a concert soloist as well as conductor of opera and musicals. Since moving to Michigan he has worked with Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera Grand Rapids, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Ballet in addition to Civic, Circle and Spectrum theaters. He has performed as conductor pianist internationally with orchestras and studied with Charles du Toit, Jorma Panulaa, Harold Fabermann, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Alexei Lubimov, Alicia de Larrocha, Andre Watts and Konstantin Scherbakov. As arranger and orchestrator he has contributed to cinematic soundtrack, operas, musicals, cabaret and is part of the creative team bringing “The Walking Dead” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” to television. A frequent ESME collaborator Brendan Hollins recently performed and arranged music on ESME’s live music and dance production “Swan Song” with dancers of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company at the Peter Martin Wege Theatre.

Daily camp sessions are 9am-5pm and include:

  • Small Chamber Ensemble (duo, trio, quartet) and Large Ensemble (string orchestra) Rehearsals and Coachings

  • Masterclasses with ESME Faculty Artists

  • Student and Faculty Performances

  • Large Group Demonstration Workshops

  • Ear Training, Rhythmic Training, Harmony and Theory Classes

  • Public Concert by ESME Faculty and Students.


Each student will participate in both chamber group ensembles and string orchestra. Camp sessions include rehearsals, chamber group and one-on-one coachings, masterclasses, both student and faculty performances, side-by-side performances and interactive group workshops as well as classes on ear and rhythmic training, harmony and theory.  String workshops tie fundamentals of music and string playing together using stylistic elements of eclectic repertoire (from classical to pop to bluegrass).  


ESME Interactive Workshops are led daily by each faculty member and focus on chamber group interaction, modern day theory, practice techniques, body awareness while playing (treating the instrument as an extension of the self; maintaining physical health, stability and playing efficiency) repetitive stress injuries, chronic pain from overplaying or poor technique and introduction to improvisation exercises.  Workshops include improv jam sessions with ESME and students.   


ESME demonstrations include:

  • Chamber Group Interaction and Practice Techniques

  • Introduction to Improvisation exercises

  • Body Awareness: treating the instrument as an extension of the self.  Physical stability and efficiency of playing.

  • Repetitive Stress Injuries and the Path Back to Strength and Endurance.  Chronic pain from overplaying or poor technique.  Dead shoulder pronator syndrome, carpal tunnel, tennis elbow.

  • The Right Hand: how to get your instrument to speak at optimum for beginner or professional

  • Maximizing Sound Potential Through Proportions (weight to speed to placement)

  • Applying Modern Music Exposure to Classical Training


ESME chamber arrangements provide a unique and exciting context for students at any level to form connections between fundamentals of music making and string playing while presenting a “modern day Sukuzi” style approach utilizing modern musical exposure towards classical training.  


  • Music at the Root is a musicianship training session where students will learn contemporary musical concepts and how they relate to any music they hear.  Students will develop knowledge and understanding of scales and keys, accompanying and critical listening.

  • In Anatomy of a Pop Song students will learn everything from musical structure to beats, from scales to riffs.  Along with extensive group playing and experimentation, this class will cover listening skills, rhythmic training, theory for modern music and how to recognize modern music styles.


The ESME String Camp offers a limited number of scholarships to cover tuition fees for qualifying and underserved applicants.  To find out how to apply for a scholarship contact us at nihon25@hotmail.com.

The ESME String Camp is sponsored in part by Meyer Music and the Aquinas College Music Department.