Ann Montzka-Smelser began playing violin at age 3 with the help of her father, Arthur Montzka. Later, she studied under Kazuko Numanami and Sarah Hersh at Oberlin College’s Suzuki Program and with Rebecca Sandrok and Pierre Menard of the Vermeer Quartet. In between receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Master’s degree in Performance and Pedagogue at Northern Illinois University (NIU), Ann studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki at the Talent Education Institute in Matsumoto, Japan. She toured with the Ruggieri String Quartet and has performed in many orchestras and chamber ensembles. Currently, she is principal second violinist with Camerata Chicago and concertmaster of the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Ann became a Registered Suzuki Teacher Trainer in 2005 and teaches Suzuki Pedagogy at both Wheaton College and NIU where she directs the Community School of Arts Suzuki Strings Program. Ann has enjoyed working with Suzuki families and teachers at institutes and workshops throughout the Americas. Ann was a guest teacher at the 2010 International String Conference in Singapore and has given Teacher Training courses in Lima, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico City. Ann is a lifetime member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas, has been invited to present at several SAA Conferences and has coordinated the Suzuki Youth Orchestras of the Americas and the National Suzuki Conference Violin Program. In 2003, Ann received the Hester Byron Excellence in Teaching Award and in 2013 was honored with the Legacy Award and inducted into the Sycamore Music Booster Hall of Fame.