Suzuki Academy welcomes new director

The Missouri Southern Suzuki Academy has acquired a new director this semester. After former director Kexi Liu’s sudden retirement over the winter break, Rebecca Cutler has found herself as the new head of the program.

“I’ve enjoyed taking over that position. There’s a little craziness and extra work, but it’s exciting at the same time,” said Cutler.

Cutler first became involved with the Suzuki Academy when she was hired as an instructor last year, and credits the job and her newfound position to her former music professor from Pittsburg State University.

“My former professor from Pitt-State actually had encouraged me to look into teaching for the academy,” said Cutler. “My brother-in-law taught for the academy whenever he was a student, so I was familiar with the program, then had been asked to come help teach last year. And then when the position for the director became available and I was offered that, I was really excited to step into that position.”

Cutler originally grew up northeast of Nevada, Mo., where she says her mother encouraged her to pursue music.

“It was my mother’s plan to keep me out of trouble,” said Cutler. “She just made me do as much as possible, musically. Apparently it worked. I didn’t get into too much trouble and it got me a lot of scholarships when I was doing my undergrad, so it worked out.”

Keeping with her mother’s plan, she continued to pursue music throughout college and received her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from Pittsburg State University in 2008. She later earned a Master of Music degree in Violin Performance and Orchestral Conducting from Illinois State University in 2011.

“Probably my greatest inspiration was my conducting professor in grad school,” said Cutler. “He’s just an amazing musician and an amazing philospher. He definitely encouraged me to see music differently and see the world differently, and I definitely think I’ve got a lot of my teaching styles from him.”

Cutler’s primary instrument is the violin, but she says she also plays viola and has explored some cello as well as piano.

“I’ve been playing piano since I was a little one, and I actually have played trumpet and accordian and French horn back in the day.”

In addition to teaching at Southern, Cutler also teaches at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School and performs with both the Symphony Orchestra of North Arkansas in Fayetteville and the Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra in Pittsburg.

“I’m very grateful to have these positions become available to me and I feel very blessed because I have not sought them out,” said Cutler. “God’s been very, very good to me.”