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Music Lessons in Fremont, CA

Soo Hong Student Recital

Dominican Sisters School of Music

Promoting Global Peace and Unity Through Music

Since the late 1880’s the Dominican Sisters have shared the love of music with thousands of eager students. The Dominican Sisters School of Music (DSSM) was formally established in 1961 - and continues to hear the voices of gratitude today.

photo of a DSMSJ music student

The Dominican Sisters School of Music strives to create a wholesome atmosphere in which the uniqueness of each student is valued and respected. Providing music lessons in Fremont, CA in an environment of acceptance, trust and security, our goal is to nurture students in their creative potential through a comprehensive education in music.

Located in the Mission San Jose neighborhood of Fremont, DSSM offers private music instruction in piano, violin, viola, cello, flute, and guitar.

The music lesson curriculum includes:
Instrument Technique
Music Theory
Solo Repertoire
Chamber Music Repertoire
Solo and Small Ensemble Performance Opportunities

DSSM students perform in three yearly recitals in the beautiful School of Music Recital Hall, and they are coached and prepared for competitions, auditions, and music festivals. A challenged student is a student who accomplishes much!

Students at the Dominican Sisters School of Music have received awards and honors from:
CBDA All State Honor Band
Nor Cal All State Honor Band
Junior Bach Festival
Bay Area Music Association
CMTANC International Music Competition
MTAC Certificate of Merit Convention Honors

photo of DSMSJ music teacher

For more information we invite you to call: 510-657-3217

"We thank God for the opportunity to serve our students from many cultures and religious traditions. We experience the truth that music not only enriches the lives of our students, but also promotes peace and unity in the global community."

S. Eva Beehner, Director

Music Teachers

  • Sister Eva Beehner, OP (piano)

    photo of S. Eva BeehnerSister Eva Beehner, OP (piano) holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Cal State Los Angeles. She taught primary grades for 15 years in southern California and has been involved in music education, piano and organ instruction for over 25 years. She has been Director of the Dominican Sisters School of Music from 2002 to the present. Sister shares: “At our school we are blessed to experience the truth that music not only enriches the lives of our students but also promotes peace and unity in the global community”.

  • Sister Irene Mary Diones, OP (guitar)

    photo of S. Irene Mary DionesSister Irene Mary Diones, OP (guitar) has more than 30 years of education experience teaching, including music, art and as a bilingual in the Los Angeles Unified School District. A native of the Philippines she attended Philippines Normal College and graduated with a BA in Elementary Education with a Minor in Humanities and Art. She holds lifetime teaching credentials for grades K through 12 as well as Early Childhood and is a Certified Bilingual Teacher. She has taught in the Music for Minors II program, directed student choirs and musical theater productions. Sister Irene is also a liturgical music composer and teacher of award winning composition students. She encourages and inspires her students when she says to them. “The power of music affects your whole person; body, mind and spirit. Keep the music in your heart! Experience the joy, peace and beauty in this gift as you share it with others.”

  • Sister Andre Marie Fujier, OP (piano)

    photo of Sister Andre Marie FujierSister Andre Marie Fujier, OP (piano) earned her BA in Music Performance from Holy Names College and continued post graduate studies in Music Education at San Jose State and Cal State East Bay (CSUH). She is a certified Kindermusik International instructor. Her music studies have included clarinet and flute with Ernest Thompson, Gary Foster and Jean Cunningham. She has studied piano with Sister Lioba Doehman,Madame Kroell and Sister Mary Bertha Rehers. She has been an active member of the Music Teachers Association of California since 1976 and has guided countless students successfully through MTAC’s Certificate of Merit program. Sister has instructed students in piano, woodwinds and Kindermusik for fifty-two years. Of her teaching Sister says, “Each student has within themselves potential, talent and creativity. My job is to help them be the best they can be!”   

  • Sharon Hendee (violin, viola)

    photo of Sharon HendeeSharon Hendee (violin, viola) has taught at the Dominican School of Music for the last 17 years and has more than 25 years teaching experience. She holds a BA in Music from Cal State East Bay (CSUH) where she studied with Nathan Rubin. She has freelanced with many of the bay area’s regional orchestras and performed regularly with the Chamberlain String Quartet. Sharon has coached chamber music students at San Francisco State University as assistant to the Alexander String Quartet and at Cal State East Bay as a member of the University’s quartet-in-residence. She is a member of the American String Teacher’s Association and the Music Teacher’s Association of California. “I have the privilege of sharing my love of music with children of all ages and the pleasure of watching them develop into mature young adults. Teaching in such a peaceful, nurturing setting is an added bonus!”

  • Cathy O’Connor (piano)

    photo of Cathy O'ConnorCathy O’Connor (piano) received her BA in Music from Cal State East Bay and has more than thirty years teaching experience. She is a member of the Music Teachers’ Association of California and has chaired the Certificate of Merit Program and the Friends of Today’s Music Commissioning Project. Ms. O’Connor has worked closely with composers, publishers and instructors to promote and create new works for the contemporary repertoire. As an accompanist and chamber musician, Ms. O’Connor performs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She believes that music develops positive attributes far beyond the actual music and brings joy to students of all ages and levels.

  • Kris Palmer (flute)

    photo of Kris PalmerKris Palmer (flute) has won many awards including second-prize in the National Flute Association Young Artist Competition, first prize in the Carmel Chamber Music Society Competition, a Carnegie Hall recital debut award with Artists International, and a Musical Grant award with Black Cedar from the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music.

    A former member of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Albuquerque, Palmer holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from Rice University with an emphasis on eighteenth-century performance practice. She is the author of “Ornamentation According to CPE Bach and JJ Quantz,” and her solo CD release “Versailles” features her own arrangements of eighteenth-century French Baroque music. She is a frequent guest lecturer on Baroque and Classical era performance practice at conferences and festivals throughout California, including the upcoming 2015 MTAC State Convention. Dr. Palmer’s teaching experience includes undergraduate instruction for music minors at Rice University in Houston, as well as eight years of experience in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District’s private music instructors program.

    Her students at the Dominican Sisters School of Music have been selected to the California All-State Honor Band, the Northern California All-State Honor Band, the Junior Bach Festival, and the MTAC Convention Honors Recitals. Additional awards for her DSSM students include bronze and silver medal finishes in the Bay Area Music Association’s Music Legacy Competitions and Best Chinese Composition Award at the CMTANC International Music Competition. Dr. Palmer truly believes, “Practicing music is the best form of meditation and spiritual enlightenment.”

  • Soo Hyun Hong (piano)

    photo of Soo Hyun HongSoo Hyun Hong (piano)

    Since Soo was 5 years old, she has dedicated her life to the piano. Her love of music has an energy all its own – and, her students are transformed by her enthusiasm and love of the piano.

    While Soo’s education and experience is very impressive, it’s her creative approach to teaching that captivates her students. Her sense of dedication to sharing the joys of piano music are evident in her service to MTAC SACB as a Board Member and Vice President and as an After School Band Director in the Fremont Unified School District.

    Soo Hyun Hong is an Honor Graduate from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.  Studied with Gabriel Chodos, Stephen Drury.  Coached with John Heiss, Frank Epstein.  BM, Osaka College of Music in Japan.  Studied with Nagai Yuzuru.  She has performed in many ensembles, recitals and festivals such as Aspen Music Festival, NEC French Music Festival.  NEC Contemporary Music Festival, Boston International Summer Music Festival, NEC Gala Concert, NEC Percussion Ensemble, Kirishima International Music Festival, Japan, and Yong-Pyong International Music Festival, South Korea.  NEC Wind Ensemble, Heart of Hope Asian American Hospice Care Benefit concerts. Fremont Education Foundation ASB Benefit Concert.

    As an excellent performer, Soo is excited to release her CD album in the near future.

  • Varvara Milinder (piano)

    photo of Varvara MilinderVarvara Milinder (piano)

    Ms. Varvara Milinder was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She graduated from Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music majoring in Piano Performance and holds a Theater History Degree from St. Petersburg Theater Academy. She continued her Vocal Studies at St. Petersburg State Conservatory.

    As a piano teacher Varvara has more than 25 years of experience teaching privately and at the Special Music School #18 in St. Petersburg, Russia. She teaches all ages, from beginning students to adults.

    Ms. Milinder had developed an extensive concert career as vocalist and collaborative pianist. Recent singing highlights include International Music Festival "Spanish Nights" and production of L'arbore di Diana by Martin y Soler, series of thematic recitals at Yusupov Palace and St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute, performances at Dutch and Polish consulates, and recitals at Sheremetev Palace and Rimsky-Korsakov Museum. She also recorded CD of songs "Music for a While" with Tatiana Shtoda.

    Varvara performed the role of Ilia in Mozart's Idomeneo for the Opera Academy of California and also sang recitals at Bellevue Club in Oakland, St. Michael's Ukranian Orthodox Church in San Francisco. Zion Lutheran Church in Piedmont and Bon Vivant in Palo Alto, Ca. This April she was the Chorus Master in West Edge Opera production of Donizetti's Poliuto.

  • Isaac Pastor-Chermak (cello)

    photo of Isaac Pastor-Chermak Isaac Pastor-Chermak (cello)

    Isaac Pastor-Chermak is Principal Cellist of Portland Opera and Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony; Associate Principal Cellist of Stockton Symphony; and a member of Santa Barbara Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and Dayton Philharmonic. He is the cellist of Black Cedar Trio, the only professional flute-cello-guitar ensemble in the country, and enjoys frequent sonata collaborations with pianists Miles Graber and Alison Lee. Pastor-Chermak performs more than 100 concerts every season, playing an 1889 Riccardo Antoniazzi cello.

    As an educator, Pastor-Chermak is Beelard Foundation Artist-in-Residence at Young Artists Conservatory of Music in Vacaville, CA; and a faculty member at Dominican Sisters School of Music in Fremont, CA. He is founder and principal conductor of Solano Youth Chamber Orchestra, the first youth orchestra in the city of Vacaville. Pastor-Chermak holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. with honors) and San Francisco Conservatory of Music (M.M. with honors). He makes his home in the North Berkeley hills, but is at home wherever the music takes him. His website is

  • Corina Stoian (violin)

    photo of Corina Stoian Corina Stoian (violin)

    Corina Stoian began her musical career at an early age, performing while still a student with prominent symphony orchestras throughout Romania. She attended the prestigious “George Enescu School of Music” and the “Conservatory of Music” in Bucharest, where she graduated with the highest distinctions (equivalent to a Masters Degree). During this period she also won numerous prizes in national violin and chamber music competitions. She became a member of the “National Radio Orchestra of Romania” and the “George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra” in Bucharest. Corina Stoian furthered her studies at the famous “Folkwang Musikhochschule” (“University of Music”) in Essen, Germany and completed her Soloist Diploma with honours (Konzertexamen – equivalent to a Doctoral Degree).

    After being appointed as concertmaster of the “Folkwang Chamber Orchestra Essen”, Germany, she attracted the interest and support of several music foundations, most notably “Werner Richard – Dr. Carl Dörken Foundation” and “Villa Musica”, Mainz. This resulted in numerous recital and solo concert engagements with important orchestras in Germany, such as the “Neue Philharmonie Westfalen”, the “Klassische Philharmonie Bonn”, the “Bergische Symphoniker”, the “Philharmonisches Orchester Plauen – Zwickau” and “Detmolder Kammerorchester”, performing also in the “Saalbau – Essen” and the “Grosser Musiksaal – Basel”. She has collaborated with distinguished musicians, in concert tours in Spain, England, Ireland, Austria and Lithuania and giving solo concerts in Italy, Germany, Israel, Romania, Bulgaria, France, Switzerland and United States.

    In addition, she has recorded regularly for radio and television and has made numerous appearances at famous international festivals, including the “Schleswig – Holstein Musik Festival” (Germany), the “Rheingau Musik Festival” (Germany), the “Radio France Festival – Montpellier” (France) and the “Bear Valley Music Festival” (USA). She was also invited to the “International Academy of Music of Montpellier”, France, as a faculty member among the world’s most renowned professors and performers.

    Since August 2006 she has a residency in USA, where she appeared as a soloist at the "Bear Valley Music Festival", "Sonora Bach Festival", "Lesher Center for the Arts" – Walnut Creek (CA) with the "Diablo Symphony", with the "Merced Symphony" – Merced (CA), "Auburn Symphony" – Auburn (CA), "Academy at All Hallows Orchestra" – Sacramento (CA), "Folsom Lake Symphony" – Folsom (CA) and "Mother Lode Friends of Music Orchestra" – Sutter Creek (CA). She also performed in numerous recitals and concerts in Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties and with the "Gold Coast Chamber Players" in Lafayette (CA) and San Francisco (CA).