IMA Judges

Jon Thiel - Piano

Composer , arranger , piano, accordion and clarinet.

Composition major at American Conservatory of Music , Chicago, Ill.
Has been exclusively in the music business for 49 years.  
Studied arranging for bands and orchestras and jazz clarinet with the renowned Carmen Dello.
Classical and jazz accordion on Moschino Freebass system.
Studied under Mario Moschino. Jazz piano under Chicago legend Skip Green.
Jon has performed and arranged in the Chicago area for over 45 years and has been teaching on all three instruments for the last 40 years.

Wendy Unrath - Piano

Wendy Unrath is active as a teacher, adjudicator, and performer.  She specializes in workshops on yoga for musicians, helping students use their bodies more efficiently at their instrument. At Elmhurst University, she currently teaches piano pedagogy, private piano lessons, and class piano.  Ms. Unrath studied piano with Pawel Checinski, organ with David Schrader, and harpsichord with Robert Conant. She has performed throughout the United States and in England and France. Ms. Unrath received her yoga certification from the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy. She also studied yoga anatomy with physical therapist Julie Gudmestad. She has also served on the faculties of Roosevelt University and Triton College. 

Karolyn Kuehner - Piano

Karolyn Kuehner holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, having studied under the tutelage of Dr. Ludmila Lazar. While at the University, she pursued advanced study of the Alexander Technique and also studied Dalcroze-Eurythmics and the Kodály Method. As a degree candidate, Karolyn was awarded the D.H. Baldwin Fellowship in recognition of excellence in piano teaching.

Ms. Kuehner served for a number of years on the piano faculties at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, and Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. She has performed at venues throughout the Midwest and frequently serves as a collaborative pianist for instrumentalists and singers.

In addition to her work as a pianist and teacher, Ms. Kuehner founded Hands On! Children’s Art Museum of Chicago and served as its Executive Director for five years. She continues to be involved in the visual arts as a consultant and curriculum writer for elementary and middle schools. Her book, The Story of Art, was published by Phantom Muse Publishing and is used as a primary resource by art educators around the country.

Richard Sladek - Piano

Richard Sladek, pianist/piano teacher – A Chicago native residing in Forest Park, he began playing piano at age seven with inspiration from his parents.

He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy at the Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University under the tutelage of Saul Dorfman and Felix Ganz.

Theory and composition studies were with Ralph Dodds and the renowned composer William Russo.

Mr. Sladek is the recipient of several awards including those from the Chicago Musical Arts Club and the Grace Welsh National Piano Competition.

Professionally, Mr. Sladek has performed in nearly every kind of venue imaginable for over 35 years. He enjoys bringing audiences a range of music from classical and contemporary masterworks to ragtime, jazz, and favorites from the great American songbook.

He has served as staff accompanist for Columbia College, and the Second City National Touring Company. He has also played for the Southwest Symphony Orchestra, the Salt Creek Ballet, and The Academy of Movement and Music.

In musical theater, Mr. Sladek has played keyboards for numerous productions, most notably at the Shubert, Marriott Lincolnshire, Theater at the Center, the Theatre of Western Springs, and the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.

As musical director/composer for 16 years with the nationally acclaimed education theater troupe Wavelength, he performed for over 100,000 educators in North America and abroad.

He presently serves as accompanist for the First Christian Church of Downers Grove, IL, The Sounds Good Choir, and plays keyboard as the fifth member of America’s longest running and most well-known Beatles tribute band, American English.    

When not performing, Mr. Sladek privately coaches and encourages young and adult aspiring pianists.

Mr. Sladek has also recorded three solo piano CDs encompassing classical, jazz and ragtime styles.

Lynette Zelis - Piano

Lynette Zelis is the owner of Noteable Notes Music Academy in Wheaton, Bloomingdale and Roselle IL, where she teaches private piano lessons, and maintains studios for 21 other music teachers. She is currently on the board as a Director for the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) where she oversees music teachers in the East-central division (Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio) and is past-president of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association (ISMTA). Lynette has been teaching piano in Wheaton since 1987. Lynette is permanently certified by the ISMTA & the MTNA. She is a frequent judge at numerous piano competitions and piano festivals.

She was one of only five teachers in the country to win the 2001 Group Piano Teachers Award from the Music Teachers National Association and the National Piano Foundation. Lynette is a member of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association where she has served as the Achievement in Music (AIM) State Repertoire Chair, AIM Performance Chair, vice president, president and treasurer for the West Suburban Chapter. Awarded Member of the Year for ISMTA in 2002. Lynette writes new music reviews for the American Music Teacher magazine. Lynette is also a member of the Illinois Music Association – IMA – where she judges at the annual competition and participates in the yearly scholarship play-a-thon. Many of her students have won scholarship monies for college music study. Lynette received her bachelor of music degree from Hope College, MI, in piano performance and pedagogy. She went on to Northern Illinois University to study with Donald Walker, earning a Masters of Music and a Masters of Arts degree in piano performance and pedagogy. Lynette continues to perform as a soloist, accompanist and chamber group musician.


Kimberly Johnson - Piano/ Voice

Kim Johnson is a piano and vocal instructor, church organist, and choir director.  She is also a professional performer, an accompanist for several suburban school choirs, music adjudicator, and composer.  She is honored to be an adjudicator for the IMA contest.

With the Johnson Music Studio there are many opportunities to perform and compete,
compose music, learn about composers, study theory, and more. All aspects of music
are taught in lessons, using various learning tools, practice methods, and games. Kim
teaches what she knows – she has competed in music competitions, is a composer and
performer, works with school choirs, and is a long-time private music teacher. Kim
believes that learning should be enriching and fun! Music makes life sparkle!

Elaine B. Smith - Piano

Elaine B. Smith, NCTM, was selected member of the year 2000 by the Chicago Area Music Teachers Association.  She has served CAMTA as President, First Vice President (Programs,) Chairperson of Sonata/Sonatina Festival, Contest, Teacher/Student recitals, Technology, Workshop, Newsletter Editor, and current co-chair of the Phil Gelinas fund that makes concert tickets available to CAMTA students. 

Mrs. Smith graduated with high honors from Eastman School of Music, continued her studies at Yale University and won the annual concerto competition at De Paul University where she earned her MM.  She won a gold medal in the American College of Musicians recording contest.  Her teachers have been Martha Levitzky, Orazio Frugoni, Artur Balsam, Ward Davenny, Phil Cohen and Dmitry Paperno.

She is an active performer as soloist and chamber musician, adjudicates for contests and gives workshops and lecture-demonstrations in the Chicago area.  She performed four consecutive years as soloist with the Hyde Park Chamber Orchestra including the Shostakovich Piano Concerto No. 1.  
She is co-founder of Hyde Park Piano Seminar and Friends which raised money to buy the Kawai piano for the Blackstone Library, CD Collection for the library, and money for the Hyde Park Kenwood Interfaith Council Hunger Programs in Performathons.  These community activities have led to the incorporation of Music Teachers of Hyde Park.  A Fourth Monday Recital series and many student activities including chamber music and workshops under the auspices of MTHP contribute to the musical life of Hyde Park where she is an independent teacher.  This year MTHP held its 18th Concerto Day virtually. 


EURI MARTINEZ earned his  degree in music from North Park University in Chicago. He studied piano with Barbara Green and the late Kimberly Schmidt. Upon completion of his formal studies, Mr. Martinez appeared in various recitals and concerts throughout the Chicagoland area as a soloist and accompanist. Mr. Martinez garnered distinguished awards in music and a recognition for “Excellence in Music Instruction Award.” Besides being an educator, Mr. Martinez is also an arranger, choir director and composer. In 1994, he made his professional recording debut with his arrangements of selected piano music. Mr. Martinez has been selected to be included in the 2005 edition of Marquis Who’s Who in America in the field of Art & Music. Marquis Who’s Who is the leading biographical reference publisher of the highest achievers and most accomplished individuals from across the United States and around the world.

Mr. Martinez has been teaching piano for 35 years. As an educator, he has taught students to compete in all levels of music competitions. Mr. Martinez is the former Co-Chairman of the Scholarship Board and currently serves as recording secretary and membership chair for the Illinois Music Association. He is also a member of the board for the Illinois Music Association and the IMA Contest Supervisory Committee. He has been serving as an adjudicator (all levels) for more than 25 years for several music competitions & festivals (local, state and national). He is an active and accredited member in numerous music associations such as: MTNA, ISMTA, CAMTA, NSMTA, NWSMTA, IMA, American Guild of Music, Steinway Society of Chicago, National Assoc. of Pastoral Musicians and North Park College of Music Alumni Association.

Mrs. Rebecca Hemminger - Piano

Mrs. Rebecca Hemminger, M.M.ed., has been teaching general music and choral music since 1997.  She has taught high school music, middle school music and now teaches elementary music, which she loves best!  She has also taught private piano and voice lessons in her home studio.  She has taught in Chicago, Des Plaines, Lyons, and now teaches in Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123.  She believes everyone can learn to express themselves through making music using creative movement, playing instruments, and singing!  Mrs. Hemminger has an undergraduate degree from Concordia University Chicago and a graduate degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago.

Donna Meyer - Piano/ Vocal

Donna Meyer is a 1984  graduate of Saint Xavier University in Chicago. She holds B.A. in Piano Performance and Vocal Studies Minor, with pedagogical emphasis in both areas. She is currently on Staff in the Music Department of Shepard High School as a Choral/Show Choir  accompanist and Sectional Assistant, and has also worked with the choirs at Evergreen Park, Richards and Oak Lawn High Schools. Donna has been teaching for 40 years and has been a regular adjudicator for competitions  (including the Illinois Music Association) for over 30 of those years. She is a freelance musician for cocktail parties, weddings and other such events and also sings/plays for weekly English and Spanish services as Worship Team leader of her home church. Donna has been married to her husband Brian for 35 years and is the mother of three wonderful sons. She resides with her family in Oak Lawn, where she currently teaches out of her home. 

patrick rustandi - Violin

Mr. Rustandi received his Master’s degree and Artist’s Diploma from DePaul University. A registered Suzuki instructor, Mr. Rustandi currently teaches violin at the Merit School of Music and is the Director of Orchestras at the Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL.

His love for music and teaching has also led him to be a sought-after performer. As a freelancer, Patrick has performed violin with numerous professional groups including the RTBF Orchestras (Brussels, Belgium), the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (as concertmaster), Southwest Michigan Symphony (ass. concertmaster), and the Northwest Indiana Symphony. Mr. Rustandi currently performs violin with the Northbrook Symphony Orchestra, a local area orchestra comprised of professional freelance musicians.

Patti nyien - Piano

Patti Nyien has been a member of the Salt Creek Chapter since 1987. She became Nationally Certified in 1992 and has been teaching in Westmont/Hinsdale, IL since 1980. Patti holds a Bachelors of Music in Education degree (Magnum cum laude) from Belmont University in Nashville,TN; where she sang on a weekly gospel television program and performed English opera by Menotti at a local theater. Before moving to IL, Patti taught 9th Grade chorus, 8th Grade chorus and 6th Grade general music in Clarksville, TN. Patti has completed graduate studies in piano pedagogy with Joanne Smith at the University of Michigan. She taught preschool music classes and children’s choir in a church school for 14 yrs. The children’s choir featured many musicals, one included a guest composer artist, a rental theater, rented production flats and guests arriving by the busload.
Currently she teaches a studio of 30+ students at her home in Westmont and directs Forever Praise, a Christian Community Choir on hiatus due to Covid. Patti is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and is a Permanently Certified Teacher with Music Teachers National Association.

She has served as Illinois State Music Teachers Association Treasurer from January 2001 – January 2007 and was the Salt Creek Chapter President since June 2003-2007 and is currently resuming that leadership role.
Patti also adjudicates for the National Federation of Music Clubs, ISMTA Voice and IMA. Patti has one MusicLink student. Her hobbies include jigsaw puzzles, swimming, biking, walking, snow-skiing, crochet, needlepoint and traveling.

Remus Badea - Violin

Remus Badea has studied with notable teachers such as Mihaela Ashkenazi of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. While growing up in Chicago, he performed regularly with many different orchestras as a member and concertmaster, chamber musician, and solo performer.

After graduating high school from the Chicago Academy for the Arts, he received his Bachelor and Masters of Music from the Univ. of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music(CCM) in Violin Performance while under full scholarship, where he studied under world renowned violin teachers Dorothy Delay of Julliard, Won-Bin Yim and Piotr Milewski. He has been a featured performer in masterclasses with Piotr Milewski, Sandra Rivers, James Tocco, Erez Ofer, and members of the Tokyo String Quartet, amongst others. While at CCM he was recipient of the prestigious Heerman Award and Starling Award.

Mr. Badea has participated and performed during the summer with CCM “Music ’97 & ’99”, Aspen Music Festival and Bard Music Festival. Mr. Badea’s most recent accolades are being a featured performer on International TV and Radio. Solo featured soundtrack on the movie ‘The Swing’. Soloing with the Southwest Symphony Orchestra and performing solo recitals throughout the Chicagoland area. Currently, Mr. Badea is Concertmaster of Southwest Symphony Orchestra, strings adjunct professor at Elmhurst College, and Executive Director of American Music Institute.

Emi Murata - Piano

Emi Murata made her debut at age sixteen as concerto soloist with the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with distinction in Music (a double major) and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she was a graduate teaching assistant and studied with Ian Hobson. Other former teachers and coaches include Helen Kettner, Janice Razaq, Annie Sherter, Joseph Banowetz, Seymour Bernstein, Jose Feghali, Petronel Malan, and Peter Takács.

Emi has given numerous lecture/recitals and lecture/demonstrations for the College of DuPage Speakers Bureau, Chicago Women’s Club, Lucent Technologies, Illinois State Music Teachers Association (ISMTA), Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and various local organizations.  Presentations include: The More The Merrier – Beyond the Duet and The Orient Express: Travel to China and Japan through Folk Songs with Emi Murata & Friends. Her article, “Finding Time to Practice in Today’s World,” was published in the ISMTA Newsletter.

Emi also presented Piano Trios for Tots through Teens: An Exploration of Piano, Violin and Cello Trios for the Beginning through Intermediate Levels, a performance of various trios by 11 students with an explanation of how to navigate an extensive catalog of individually graded list of piano trios for piano, violin and cello – the product of 3 years’ work – with cello and violin colleagues Dr. Daniel and Sarah Gasse, at a dozen locations, including ISMTA State and MTNA National Conferences. During the 2019 – 2020 season, she was invited to present Piano à la Quartette: How to Forge a Fabulous Foursome at both ISMTA and MTNA Conferences. Murata also enjoys sharing her love of teaching and frequently presents master classes. You can find her adjudicating at many of the Chicago area competitions and festivals. She has taught private and class piano, theory, sight singing and ear training at Sherwood Conservatory of Music and Columbia College and currently teaches in Oak Park and at the College of DuPage, in Glen Ellyn.
 In addition to performing as a soloist, Ms. Murata is a founding member of Piano à la Quartette, a two piano, eight hands ensemble, and pianist in the Murata Piano Trio, formed in 2008 with daughters, Natasia, cellist and Sophia, violinist. She also performs with cellist, Mara Leonard, and has collaborated with Cellissimo, senior performing cello ensemble of the joint programs of the Western Springs School of Talent Education and Naperville Suzuki School. In 2011, Emi represented Salt Creek Music Teachers Association (SCMTA) at the MTNA Conference and was presented with the Local Association of the Year Award by CEO Gary Ingle. She also co-organizes Glorious Grands: A Piano Extravaganza!!!, an 8 Steinway grand piano concert held triennially at the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, and in 2012, was invited by Emanuel Ax to produce a similar concert at Symphony Center’s Armour Stage, and help organize Youth Piano Showcase and Chicago Piano Day, for Symphony Center’s Keys to the City Piano Festival.
Ms. Murata is an active member of several performing and educational organizations. She is Immediate Past President of SCMTA, former President of Musicians Club of Women; and is also active in Chicago Area Music Teachers Association (CAMTA). Former Newsletter Editor of ISMTA, she is also a member of Lake View Musical Society. Emi was voted 1999 Member of the Year by her colleagues at CAMTA and in 2008 by her colleagues at the Salt Creek Chapter of ISMTA. Ms. Murata was honored by colleagues and students, who raised money for her to become a 2014 MTNA Foundation Fellow.

Keith Pabich - Drums/ Percussion

Keith Pabich, Drum Instructor, Professional Performer
I believe Music students of all ages should make an opportunity to take a few rhythm classes to understand the importance of tempo and pace to any and all Music. My satisfaction comes from helping students achieve
the ability of independence as it relates to the Drum kit, reading Music, and maintaining a consistent beat that allows and affords other Musicians to play together in a group. Once these skills have been achieved, there’s no greater joy than being able to play along with all Musicians and set the pace to allow them to play their parts and excel as a group.

Kathy Buehler - Piano

Kathy Buehler holds a B.A. Degree in Piano Pedagogy from Northeastern Illinois University.  Her studies include classical training at Meredith College in North Carolina and Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.  Her jazz studies were taken at DePaul University, University of Illinois and private study with Alan Swain.

She has served as an adjudicator for local and national competitions.  She is a composer and has been a professional pianist in the Chicago and North Carolina areas for over 25 years.  She has taught in public and private schools in the Chicago and Wisconsin areas.  Currently a member of CAMTA, ISMTA and Illinois Music Association.

She loves the piano, teaching and she hopes to strengthen all students musical skills, enrich their lives through music, develop a genuine appreciation for music and incorporate creativity and music literacy into everyones education.

Richard Hradek - Saxophone/ Guitar

Richard Hradek has been playing saxophone, guitar, and piano for over 20 years. He studied music at North Central College in Naperville, and currently has been teaching for several years. Richard believes strongly in student-created goals, balancing fun with technicality, and playing musically at all ages. He is especially excited to be a part of the IMA team for 3 years now.

Junichi Steven Sato - Piano

Pianist, composer, and pedagogue Junichi Steven Sato holds a Bachelor of Music degree (Honors) in Piano Performance from DePaul University and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance with a Cognate in Composition from Indiana University, where he was awarded the school’s coveted Performer’s Certificate, and as an associate instructor of piano and the recipient of a doctoral teaching fellowship, he had also completed additional doctorate courses. He also participated by invitation in piano and chamber music masterclasses under full scholarships in the United States and abroad, studying with such artists as John Browning, Arthur Greene, and André Watts.            

Sato has won awards at numerous competitions, and was a semifinalist at the 48th Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy. A frequent adjudicator at piano and composition competitions, he served as Chairman of the Jury for the Fifth “Këngët e Tokës” International Music Competition in Albania, and chaired Illinois State Music Teachers Association’s Composition Competition from 2005 to 2007 and Chicago Area Music Teachers Association’s Roberta Savler Piano Contest from 2003 to 2012. Sato has been Chicago Area Music Teachers Association’s webmaster since 2019.

In 1995, he founded J. S. Sato Music Editions, a music publishing business that has been gaining worldwide reputation as a publisher of unique and dependable editions, earning high praise in journals and magazines such as ClavierPiano & Keyboard, and 20th-Century Music. Sato’s works are performed internationally, some of which have been heard at Ravinia Festival and on National Public Radio.
Sato is currently on the faculty at DePaul University and, with his wife Regina, operates Sato Music Studios LLC in La Grange. His debut compact disc album of his solo piano transcriptions of Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue and Liszt’s Psalm XIII, as well as a rare Cortot transcription of Franck’s Sonata for Piano and Violin was noted as “thrilling…; up there with Katsaris and Wild for sheer pianistic derring-do and swirling multi-texturing” by International Piano.


Ayako Kikuchi - Violin/ Viola

Ayako Kikuchi a devoted educator, teaching the violin and viola privately for almost 20 years.
Ms. Kikuchi holds both Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she studied Violin Performance. Following her graduation, she received pedagogical training from Nancy Jackson and Thomas Wermuth.
Ms. Kikuchi was the string adjudicator at ILMEA All-State Senior Orchestra Audition and IHSA Solo and Ensemble contest for over 10 years.
Currently, she resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Steve Fagiano - Drums/ Percussion
STEVE FAGIANO, recently inducted to the Drumming Veterans Hall of Fame, August 2021. As a performer, educator, clinician & Percussion Director. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. At 16 was VFW state rudimental drum champion. And took the top solo score at VFW Nationals Individuals. Played snare drum in the CYO, VFW & A.L. National Champion Chicago Royal Airs D&B Corps. Was stationed with the Commandants Own USMC D&B Corps in Washington DC. Former Percussion Director @ McHenry County College etc. and ran his own drum contest for twenty years. Played drums w/ jazz, rock & country bands for over 40 years
Cheryl Lim - Piano

Instruments: Piano
Program Area: Private Instruction
Suzuki Education
Group Lessons
With Music Institute of Chicago since 2018
Education: Northwestern University- Doctor of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance (coursework completed) (1990-1992) Northwestern University- M.M., Piano Performance (1983-1985) Seoul National University- B.A., Piano (1973-1977)

Significant teachers and mentors: Dean Jack Pernecky at Northwestern University and Dean Michael Wilder at Wheaton College

Teaching philosophy and areas of expertise: Everyone can learn the piano! I specialize in the Suzuki method.

Awards and achievements: First place in the Korean Cultural Center piano competition First place in Chicago Musical College Scholarship Competition Selected as one of six demonstrating teachers at the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy in 1990

Professional affiliations & activities: Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) – Joined 1986 Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) – Joined 1988 Piano Guild – Joined 1995 Studied the Taubman Piano Technique (1992-1994) Three-week seminar at Saint Petersburg Conservatory in Russia (1997) Frequent competition adjudicator for MTNA, Guild, and the Society of American Musicians

Interests outside of music: I enjoy watching movies, especially romantic comedies.

Favorite quote: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

Favorite practice tip: Feeling the music is the most important! With mindfulness and concentration

Favorite composer or piece to play: I enjoy and love many composers but if I had to choose — Chopin. Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 is a particular favorite.

Favorite musical moment: Playing Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49 while volunteering at a hospital Playing Beethoven’s Tempest (Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31) at the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy Playing Schubert’s Piano Sonata in G major, D. 894, Op. 78 in Saint Petersburg on the same piano Liszt once played Accompanying Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 for my student at Wheaton College

Virginia Ebner - Voice

Virginia Ebner
Voice and Piano Instructor/Choral Director/Accompanist/General Music Teacher

Ms. Ebner holds a Master’s Degree in Choral Music Education, a Bachelor of Sacred Music Degree in Vocal Performance, and a Bachelor of Music Education Degree in Choral Music.
Ms. Ebner has been the Alto soloist for various oratorio organizations across the Midwest and the Southern United States.  She has also performed in Germany and Austria.
A 36-year veteran teacher, Ms. Ebner recently retired from teaching Choral and General Music in the Oak Lawn  public school system. 
Ms. Ebner has served as an accompanist, music director, and choir director in churches for 40 years. She currently serves at Grace Fellowship Church in Oak Forest.
In addition to teaching private piano and voice, Ms. Ebner is also adjunct Music faculty at St. Xavier University in Chicago.

violin, musical instrument, fiddle-5709254.jpg
Emilia Blaszak-Violin

Emilia Blaszak-Freymiller learned violin at the age of six under the guidance of her grandfather, Edmund Krzyminsky. Edmund Krzyminsky was a member of the famous and musical Krzyminsky family. At the age of seven, Emilia auditioned at the Primary and Secondary Music School for gifted students in Inowroclaw, Poland. She studied with Halina Farbotnik and Andrzej Jamrozy. They in turn guided Emilia in winning three major violin concerto competitions through fantastic performances of Mozart in G Major and D Major, and Vivaldi “Four Seasons”. During primary music school, she auditioned and was chosen to be a student of Professor Stanislaw Lewandowski  ( virtuoso of Old Violin School and Pedagogy). Lewandowski was a judge and member of many important violin workshops (such as Zagan and Lancut ), festivals, and competitions, including the very well known and prestigious International Wieniawski Violin Competition in Poznan, Poland. Emilia studied with Professor Lewandowski for many years. After she graduated from musical high school with a title of “Musician-Instrumentalist-violin specialty”, Miss Emilia was offered a full-time violin position at PSM for gifted students for over seven years. The school is well known for its rigorous curriculum and challenging examinations. During her elementary music school and high school, she was first and second chair concertmaster at the PSM representative orchestra and traveled around Europe and Scandinavia. Their travels included concerts in Vatican City for Pope John II. She graduated from Nowowiejski University with a Master in Violin Performance and Pedagogy. During her college years she continued her passion as a soloist and concertmaster of Wieden Promenade Chamber Orchestra in Solanki alongside her grandfather Edmund Krzyminsky, brother Juliusz Blaszak and pianist Lidia Sochanska. Emilia then continued to play at Promenade Orchestra, Torun Chamber Orchestra, and Pomeranian Philharmonics. During this time, Miss Emilia attended masterclasses, courses, and pedagogical teaching workshops with numerous well-known violinists throughout Europe and the US with T. Wronski, J. Kaliszewska, A. Cofalik, L. Balaban, P. Radzinski, Ida Haendel (1986 in Poland). She studied Suzuki Methods with E. Kreitman, Pat D’Ercole, G. Barston, and N. Jackson, Mimi Zweig Pedagogy workshops. Before she emigrated to the USA, she worked for RCCL as a violinist and member of the Moonlight Trio and Quartet and Klezmer Trio. She traveled around the world for two years and finally resided in Chicago, Illinois. Once in Chicago, she performed with the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra (in the first violin section) in numerous concerts like the Chopin Piano Concerts at Chicago Philharmonics. She was a president and judge of the Polish Music Competition. She is currently a member of the Polish-American Association-PACOMA and was a member of the Young Talent Awards presented by the Polish Consulate (Association of Polish teachers in Chicago), Suzuki Association of the Americas and many, many more. For over six years, she was a violin instructor at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox and concertmaster of Promenade Salon Orchestra of Chicago. Starting in 1999-2019, she was a violin teacher at Continuing and Community Education at Columbia College and founder, director, faculty member of the Polish-American Conservatory of Music and Arts and South Loop Strings. Her students are members of many orchestras in the Chicago area including the ILMEA honors orchestras, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, and Hyde Park Youth Symphony. Many of her students regularly participate, win or are awarded at violin competitions and festivals like the Sherwood Scholarship Competition (numerous winners), DePaul Concerto Festival for Young Performers, Sejong Music Competition, Society of American Musicians, IMA Contest etc. From 2021 she is on the Board of Directors and a Committee Chair for Strings for IMA (Illinois Music Association). Besides teaching at two very busy studios at Chicago Emilia is a member of the Mary Lou Marcin Choir in Harwood Heights as a soprano and violinist. Emilia celebrated her 25th Teaching Anniversary in March of 2018 and is looking forward to more teaching to come.