About Me

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I am a professional musician and educator in the Washington DC Area.

I have been playing the violin and piano since the age of 2 1/2, studying with my mother, Eloise Hellyer.  Because of my father’s work, I had the privilege of traveling all over the world, eventually settling in the town of Assisi, Italy, home of St. Francis and St. Claire.  Documents show that my family has been living in central Italy since the 14th century.

In August of 1993, I came to the United States to attend the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC, where I earned both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Violin Performance.  While studying in the United States, I also prepared to take exams in Italy. I received a diploma with a rating of Excellent from the Conservatory of Modena.

I have studied with some of the greatest performers and teachers of our time: Robert Mann (former first violinist in the Juilliard String Quartet), Nicholas Mann (second violinist in the Mendelssohn String Quartet), Vadim Brodsky, Paola Besutti, Elaine Richey, and of course my own mother, Eloise Hellyer, a renowned instructor in central Italy.

In 2005, my husband and I moved from North Carolina to Virginia, where we now reside in Springfield with our Shiba Inus.

As an active performer in the DC Metro Area, I solo with orchestras, play in chamber groups and am concertmaster of the PASO (Pan American Symphony Orchestra) in Washington, DC. At my studio in Springfield, I teach individual and group lessons to violin students ages 2 1/2 years through adults.

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5 Comments

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    soheilasohrabian - December 25, 2010

    This is Sima, your hair stylist. I saw your website and it is wonderful. You look beautiful. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. See you soon.

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    Dean McMakin - May 23, 2011

    Your mother and I are both graduates of Hononegah High School, Class of 1967, and we both played in the Beloit Youth Symphony. Whereas nearly all of our classmates gave up music after finishing school, I have played continuously in one ensemble or another throughout my life. More recently I have been an adult volunteer at your mother’s alma mater in the Beloit College orchestra playing contrabass, bassoon and contrabassoon. When I came across you website, I had to take pause – you look so much like your mother when we were playing together. In the times that we are living in now, with our media so eagerly promoting to our young people that the ultimate goal of any young person is to become a popular culture icon, I read with interest the comments of those who study under you the contribution that you have made to their young lives. After I graduated from high school, I conmpletely lost track of your mother, and I have always wondered if she continued playing violin. I would appreciate it if she would contact me in the future.

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    Brian - March 17, 2012

    Hi:
    While I’m not related nor am I Italian (my descendants are Irish) – just wanted to say I appreciate your music and your writing. Well done! I look forward to hearing of your next adventure.
    - Brian

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      diana - April 18, 2012

      Thank you so much Brian. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and listen.

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    Diana Peterson - January 16, 2015

    Wonderful website, Diana! You look very glamorous. I’m impressed with your credentials and your background. Along with the name Diana, and being a professional musician, another thing we have in common is living in Italy. My husband and I were newlyweds when we moved to Gaeta, Italy for 2 years. We loved every minute of it! I look forward to hearing one of your performances!

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