Cookie Segelstein received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, Viola Performance from the University of Missouri in 1981, and a Master’s Degree in Viola from Yale University in 1984 where she studied with Raphael Hillyer (founding member of the Julliard String Quartet) and the late Jesse Levine. In 1984, Cookie joined the New Haven Symphony where she became Assistant Principal Violist in 1991, a position she held until moving to the Bay area in 2010. In 1985, she joined Orchestra New England, a chamber orchestra specializing in the music of Charles Ives with whom she recorded The Orchestral Music of Charles Ives (Koch, 3-7025-2 H1). She became Principal Violist with O.N.E . in 1991, and performed many solo works with them, including the Brandenburg Concertos #3 and #6, “Elegy” by Gustav Holst and a piece commissioned for her by the orchestra and written by composer Mark Kuss, “Viola Concertino.”
Cookie has toured the world with her trio “Veretski Pass” that specializes in the 19th and 20th Century Jewish instrumental folk music of the Carpathian mountains. They played to a sold-out audience at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and regularly tour Germany, Austria and Switzerland, playing concerts and teaching workshops. She recorded the violin music for the Jewish wedding episode of HBO’s “Sex and the City”, has recorded many CD’s, as an expert on Jewish violin style, and written many music books of historical transcriptions.
Cookie teaches violin and viola students of all ages and levels in both folk and Classical styles. In 2010, Cookie joined both the North California Viola Society, and the San Francisco chapter of ASTA (American String Teacher Association), and serves on the board of both organizations. With the guiding principal that a combination of ear training, sight reading skills and good position makes a well rounded musician, Cookie incorporates all of these elements into lessons. Her lessons stress the importance of full musicianship; a musician must be able to play musically at first reading of a sheet of music, with full expression blooming as the piece becomes more familiar. Combining Suzuki style teaching with more traditional methods, and adapting to each student’s individual learning styles, Cookie’s students range from absolute beginner to performing professional.