Ruth Banwell


Ruth has experience teaching violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano.  She has taught for over 35 years, which has included 18 years as orchestra director with the Janesville School District.   She graduated with a Bachelors in Music from Augustana College in Rock Island Illinois.  

Ruth is certified through Suzuki Book 6 and had her own private studio up to when she started in the Janesville School District.  Ruth has experience teaching students ranging from 3 years of age to adults. She has performed many years in the Rockford Symphony, Rockford Symphony String Quartet and was the Rockford Symphony Librarian. Ruth has also performed with the Beloit Janesville Symphony and Turtle Creek Chamber Orchestra.

Zachary Peterson

Zachary Peterson, a Beloit-based violinist, has an extensive background in performance.    He is comfortable teaching violin, viola, and cello to all ability levels and ages, and he is happy to take on adult students as well as absolute beginners to very advanced students. He is also comfortable teaching people in fiddle and non-classical styles.

Zachary holds degrees from The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (Bachelors 2006-2010), The University of Western Ontario (Masters 2010-2012) as well as Roosevelt University (Performance Certificate 2012-2014).  After completing his degrees Zachary went right into a two year membership with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, one of the countries leading training orchestras.

Zachary grew up in the Beloit / Janesville area where he studied with Lori Davis (Wier) and John Pickart, and later with Janet Chisholm in Madison. After graduating High School, Zachary went on to study with Klara Bahcall, Annette Barbara-Vogel, Jaime Weisenblum and Stefan Hersh.

While studying at the collegiate level, Zachary received various honors and opportunities. He was a featured soloist with both the Western Ontario and UW-Oshkosh Orchestras playing the Mozart Adagio and Rondo (Western) as well as Dvorak’s violin romance (Oshkosh). Other honors include being a UW-Oshkosh Honors Recitalist as well as passing his Master’s Degree final recital with a mark of Distinction, a mark given to exceptional student recitals the the University of Western Ontario. Zachary has also had the honor of working with as well as performing alongside some of the leading classical musicians of our time. During the end of his time at UW-Oshkosh, Zachary had a teaching studio at Mike’s Music in Fond du Lac, where he taught students aged 6 - 60.

While at Roosevelt, Zachary’s quartet was given the honor of playing the Mozart Viola Quintet with Julliard Professor of Viola Toby Appel. While at the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Yo Yo Ma worked extensively with the Orchestra giving masterclasses, workshops and coaching, which during the Bach Brandenburg Concertos Marathon Concert in 2015, Mr. Ma sat in with the Brandenburg group Zachary was playing in. Also while in Civic, Zachary played under many influential conductors including Riccardo Mutti, Charles Dutoit and Sir Andrew Davis. At Roosevelt, Zachary performed in Masterclasses taught by concert violinists James Ehnes and Augustin Hadelich.

Outside of his training, Zachary has organized and performed in many solo recitals and concerts. He has a passion for finding and performing obscure and under-performed masterpieces and championing lesser known composers. In addition to classical performance, Zachary is an accomplished fiddler, which he hopes to showcase more in the coming years.