Education and Background
Kirsten Shallenberg studied cello performance for 2 years with Thomas Stauffer at San Diego State University before deciding to change her degree emphasis to music education and music theory. She went on to earn her B.A in Music at University of California, Riverside and graduated Summa Cum Laude. After completing her undergraduate work, Kirsten stayed on at U.C. Riverside to study composition, theory and musicology with Dr. Philip Brett, Dr. Byron Adams and Dr. John Crawford and graduated Magna Cum Laude with her MFA in Music Theory and Composition.
Kirsten has performed throughout California as a cellist and pianist, and has worked in the Bay Area with the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, Broadway by the Bay, Verismo Opera, OMG Productions, Performing Arts Academy of Marin, YMTC Berkeley, San Francisco City College’s musical theater program, the Awesome Orchestra Collective and the Kensington Symphony Orchestra. Kirsten also performs solo and with various chamber music groups for weddings and other private functions and has been a member of several rock bands as both a cellist and a pianist.
Kirsten has been teaching cello, piano and music theory for over 20 years to students of all ages and all ability levels. She was the Visual and Performing Arts Department Chair at Holy Names High School in Oakland for ten years, teaching winds and strings, piano, digital music, musical theatre, Advanced Placement Music Theory, and orchestra. As conductor of the HNHS Orchestra, she led the only all-girls high school orchestra in the East Bay, created a chamber music outreach program and trained student-centered pit orchestras for the musical theater productions.
“I believe in an individualized approach, with a strong emphasis on excellent technique, musicianship, and mastery over the language of music. My goal is to create a safe and supportive learning environment for every student, in which they are both challenged and nurtured to grow as musicians. I want the learning experience to also be fun, so I combine the best of traditional classical literature with whatever musical styles the student is most interested in.”