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History

ORGANIZATION

Buffalo Suzuki Strings Inc. is a not-for-profit (501 c3) music education program utilizing the Suzuki Method. BSS provides instruction by Suzuki Association of the Americas registered Suzuki Teachers on Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Piano, and Classical Guitar. The BSS music program consists of a combination of private lessons and group instruction for children ages birth to 18 years.

Enrichment programs such as Music Reading, Orchestra, Fiddling Classes, Quartets, and Advanced Ensemble are also available. The BSS curriculum includes annual school wide concerts, smaller recitals, opportunities for community performances, summer workshops, solo performances plus national and international tours. BSS is one of the first programs to offer Suzuki Music for Infants and Toddlers for children from birth to three years of age taught by a SMIT registered teacher.

Buffalo Suzuki Strings maintains an enrollment of approximatly 300 students, who are taught by a faculty trained in the Suzuki Method of instruction. Our musical home, the Buffalo Suzuki Strings Musical Arts Center, is located in the business district of North Tonawanda, NY. BSS is one of only several Suzuki programs nationwide, which is not associated with a university or other school program.

HISTORY

Buffalo Suzuki Strings was founded in 1969 by Mary Cay Neal, beginning with two students, studying violin, in her home in Kenmore. Since that time Buffalo Suzuki Strings grown to touched the lives of thousands of children and their families. BSS students of all levels have provided hundreds of community concerts throughout Western New York and have performed with every major orchestra in Erie and Niagara Counties.

The BSS Advanced Ensemble has played annually with the Ars Nova Chamber Musicians in their Viva Vivaldi Festivals since 1979. The BSS Friendship Touring Ensemble was formed in 1983 as a response to Dr. Suzuki’s dream of peace through music. The Touring Ensemble, an outgrowth of our most advanced repertory classes, has traveled to over twenty countries on five continents since 1984. Our Western New York children have been acknowledged as an embodiment of Dr. Suzuki’s goal: to use the Language of Music to promote peace, understanding and friendship among the people of the world.

ORGANIZATIONAL GROWTH

• 1969: Mary Cay Neal begins Suzuki Violin Program, Kenmore.
• 1978: BSS Program consolidates at Daemen College, Amherst.
• 1979: Advance Ensemble first invited to play at Viva Vivaldi Festival.
• 1980: BSS students begin community and public performances, Chautauqua.
• 1981: BSS Parents Association founded.
• 1983: Week-long Suzuki Summer Workshops begins at SUNY Buffalo, Amherst Campus.
• 1984: Advanced Ensemble embarks on first International Friendship Tour.
• 1987: BSS is granted (501 c3) non-profit status.
• 1990: BSS Program moves to Church of the Nativity, Tonawanda.
• 1994: Permanent venue of Spring Concert at UB Center for the Performing Arts begins.
• 2001: BSS moves to permanent home in North Tonawanda.
• 2003: Grand Opening of Wutz Concert Hall, BSS Musical Arts Center.

MUSICAL PROGRAM EXPANSION

• 1969: Suzuki Violin Program
• 1983: Suzuki Cello Program
• 1986: Suzuki Viola Program
• 2001: Suzuki Infant/Toddler Program
• 2001: Suzuki Piano Program
• 2003: Suzuki Classical Guitar Program
• 2006: Suzuki Double Bass Program

“REPUTATION FOR EXCELLENCE”

With its national and international reputation for excellence, Buffalo Suzuki Strings has been both a model and an inspiration to other Suzuki programs here in the United States and abroad. The BSS 2002 Advanced Ensemble was selected by the Suzuki Association of the Americas to be the model on their “Every Child Can” Course training video; this course is a required part of the curriculum for registered Suzuki teachers. Since first selected by Dr. Suzuki as his demonstration group for a European Workshop in 1984, generations of Buffalo Suzuki Strings students have been maintaining the highest levels of music performance.