John Gerschefski

Violin/Viola Instructor Located at the Perfect 5th

Title: Instructor for violin, viola, cello and music theory.

Genres: Classical

Skill Level: Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginner by Audition

Education: Juilliard School of Music, B Mus University of Georgia, Graduate studies, Florida State University

John GerSchefski's Summary

John has been teaching violin, viola, and cello and conducting youth and adult orchestras, and coaching string ensemble for over 45 years in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Many of his students have gone on to attend music schools and conservatories and are now professional performers and teachers

He was a member of the United States Marine Band, the "President's own", for over 24 years, arranging and composing music for the band, and playing on occasion with the White House Orchestra. During that time, he performed with the Richmond, Roanoke, and Lynchburg, VA, symphonies, as well as participating in various local university orchestras when his time would allow.

John conducted the Preparatory and Junior Youth Orchestras in Montgomery County, MD for 8 years, then organized and directed his own chamber string orchestra, the Cosmopolitan Chamber Players. More recently, he conducted the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra for 8 years, which performed 7 Beethoven symphonies under his baton, and accompanied the talented winners of the Maryland Music Teachers piano competition annually.

John was a violin student of Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School of Music and the rigorous summer program at the Meadowmount School for Strings, where Dorothy DeLay and her mentor, Ivan Galamian were instructors. While in New York, he performed at Carnegie Hall, Philharmonic Hall and other venues with an orchestra of Juilliard and NYU musicians, conducted by rising artists of the baton chosen as guest directors for each concert. His teaching approach is a reflection of his time with DeLay and her philosophy: Careful attention to the talents, strengths, and needs of the individual student, with a focus on building or repairing the fundamentals and enhancing the development of the strengths and talents. The ideal result is a young performer who is excited about the program tailored to his or her specific needs, and who develops confidence and higher self esteem from the success of the method. John believes that students can become highly motivated and passionate about their playing, and their affection for music soars, when they are made aware that they have something special to grow


Teaching Assistants


Arik Anderson

Assistant for violin and viola.

Arik Anderson is a violist and violinist and has been a musician since he received his first violin at the age of three. During his life, he has studied under Sherri Anderson and Peter Sirotin and is currently studying violin with John Gerschefski and viola with Kerry Harker-Roth. He is studying philosophy and music at Messiah College, with a focus on the viola. He has performed with the Stretto Youth Chamber Orchestra and The Perfect 5th Celtic Band in local and worldwide performances of both classical and contemporary music in locations such as Beijing and Shanghai, China, and as familiar as the Federal Taphouse in Harrisburg. He has been attending the Blue Mountain Chamber Music Festival as a camper and a counselor for eleven years, working closely with world class musicians like Olivia Hajioff, Emanouil Manolov, and Luba Sindler. He currently plays as a member of the Messiah College Symphony Orchestra and the Cosmopolitan Chamber Players.


Julia Duvall

Assistant for violin and viola.

Julia Duvall is seventeen years old and has been playing the violin for thirteen years. She is currently studying with Xiao Fu Zhou, graduate of Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School. Julia has also had the opportunity to study with the late Stephen Clapp of Juilliard, Masao Kawasaki of Juilliard, Won-Bim Yim of University of Cincinnati, and Brian Lewis of Butler School of Music. She has played for numerous ensembles during her musical career including the Hershey Festival Strings however she currently is a member of the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra where she sits Associate Concertmaster. She is also the cofounder of the Cosmopolitan Chamber Quartet and plays first violin. Aside from playing in ensembles, Julia competes yearly and has won the Harrisburg Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, was a two time recipient of the Eric Morris Mendlow Scholarship, and has been a finalist for the past three years of the Hershey Symphony Young Artists Competition. Music has played a large role in her life and she plans on sharing it with others.


Eli Whitehead-Zimmers

Assistant for cello.

Eli Whitehead-Zimmers is 16 years old and has been playing the cello for four years under John Gerschefski, a Julliard-trained string teacher. Eli has played in various ensembles including pit bands, his school's concert band, and Hershey's festival strings orchestra. During his time with Hershey, Eli played at venues such as The Lincoln Center in New York City and a Music Educator's Association conference in Atlantic City. More recently, Eli is has founded the Cosmopolitan Chamber Quartet that meets regularly at the Perfect Fifth and sits eighth chair in the Harrisburg Youth Symphony Orchestra. Eli continues to participate in various ensembles for school and community events, always anxious to share his passion for music and the cello.