The Switchgrass String Quartet plays a variety of styles of music with an emphasis on intricate folk and popular rhythms and improvisation. Featuring styles from around the world they create an individual and unique sound. They are adept at engaging with their audience; interlacing interesting stories about composers and genres as they perform. The Switchgrass String Quartet is a fresh look at the classical genre of the string quartet that audiences of all types and ages will enjoy. They are all seasoned music educators and consummate musicians who delight in working with others.
Dr. Ramiro Miranda is a native of Asunción, Paraguay, Ramiro Miranda came to the United States to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in violin performance at Pittsburg State University. Miranda holds a Master’s degree from Illinois State University in violin performance and orchestral conducting, and a Doctoral in Musical Arts in orchestral conducting from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including first place in the Rosa Mistica violin competition in Brazil in the year 2000, the revelation award in the Cardozo Ocampo music competition in the year 2002, two Concerto Aria competitions, chamber music prizes, and a grant from Illinois State University’s Friends of the Arts for a full production of Igor Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale.
Prior to coming to the United States, Miranda was an active teacher and performer, playing first violin for the Orquesta de la Universidad del Norte, and as an instructor of strings in Escuela Musical Miranda and Proyecto Sonidos de la Tierra. He continues to give recitals and lectures for string teachers and students in Paraguay and oversees the exchange of international faculty with Escuela Musical Miranda, one of the top music schools in Paraguay.
He has appeared with orchestras, chamber groups, and as a violin soloist in the United States, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Ramiro has conducted several orchestras at the collegiate level, including the recent performances of Mark Adamo’s acclaimed opera “Little Women” and Mozart’s “Cosí fan Tutte” with the University of Missouri-Kansas City Opera program, and youth orchestras in Kansas, Paraguay and Argentina. He has participated in international festivals and conducting workshops in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, with instructors of high acclaim such as Paul Vermel and Enrique Garcia Asensio. He recently attended the European American Musical Alliance-Nadia Boulanger Institute in Paris.
Rob Loren toured as a fiddler/violinist with country legend Ray Price and has worked with artists as diverse as Charlie Daniels, Johnny Mathis, Jerry Hahn, Phil Keaggy, Pavarotti, and other nationally known artists. After getting his Bachelor’s in Music Education degree (with Distinction) from the U of New Mexico, he taught for years with the Wichita public schools and has also taught fiddle and improvisation at Wichita State University. He works regularly throughout the Midwest playing chamber and symphonic music, as well as folk, country, jazz, and popular styles.
Dr. Elizabeth Wallace previously served as adjunct professor of viola and violin at Utah Valley University, Dickinson College, and the Gifted Music School in Salt Lake City. She has held additional teaching positions at Eastern Mennonite University and Stony Brook University. From 2010-2016, she was a member of the Utah Chamber Orchestra at Ballet West and performed frequently with the Utah Symphony. Prior to that, she was Artistic Director for State Street Academy of Music in Harrisburg, PA and served as Assistant Principal Viola of the Reading Symphony and Principal Viola of the Williamsport Symphony.
Dr. Wallace made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Pangea String Quartet in 2007. Other performances include the Bang On a Can Marathon in NYC, and collaborations with artists such as Eugene Drucker, Phillip Setzer, Steven Taylor, and William Purvis on the the Staller Center Recital Series. Winner of the 2008 concerto competition at Stony Brook University, she performed the Penderecki Viola Concerto with Guillermo Figueroa conducting.
She held fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Taos School of Music, and Schleswig-Holstein Musikfestival, where she performed under the world’s foremost conductors including James Levine, Bernard Haitink, Christoph Eschenbach, and Herbert Blomstedt. She also studied chamber music with members of the Emerson, Kronos, Borromeo, Brentano, and Juilliard String Quartets.
Dr. Wallace is a dedicated teacher to students of all ages, and has received Suzuki Certification through Book 5. Her students have been accepted to many prestigious conservatories and universities including Rice University, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, Indiana University, Boston Conservatory, the University of Maryland, Arizona State University, and many others.
Wallace earned her Doctorate in Viola Performance from Stony Brook University, where she served as teaching assistant for Katherine Murdock. She received a Bachelors degree in violin performance from the University of Kansas with Ben Sayevich, and also studied violin with Lorand Fenyves at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1996 she won the Kansas State Fiddle Championship, and she has had the pleasure of playing on stage with the Chieftains.
Dr. Susan Mayo has been part of the musical landscape of Kansas for over 30 years. She has taught at Emporia State University and is currently a guest lecturer at Wichita State University. She pursued her undergraduate degree at the University of the Pacific (BM: Cello Performance) as well as doing graduate work at Peabody Conservatory of Music, Wichita State University (BME in Special Music Education), and the University of Kansas (DMA in Cello Performance). She has performed globally with both classical and alternative ensembles and is currently co-executive director of Flint Hills Counterpoint an ecology arts project based in Marion County Kansas, music director for Symphony in the Flint Hills fall event Woodfest, board chair of the Historic Sunflower Theatre, guest lecturer at Wichita State University, and a member of the Wichita Symphony.
The Switchgrass String Quartet plays a variety of styles of music with an emphasis on intricate folks and popular rhythms and improvisation. Featuring styles from around the world and many original compositions, they create an individual and unique sound. They are adept at engaging with their audience; interlacing interesting stories about composers and genres as they perform. The Switchgrass String Quartet is a fresh look at the classical genre of the string quartet that audiences of all types and ages will enjoy.
The quartet is suitable for a wide variety of venues including concert series, festivals, university campuses, senior and retirement facilities, and public schools.
All members of the quartet are seasoned music educators. Possible workshops and masterclasses could cover topics including string pedagogy, chamber music coaching, private lessons, improvisation workshops, and presentations on various types of folk rhythms and styles.