Teresa Skinner has resided on Maui since 1986, She began playing professionally and teaching while still attending Hollywood High School in her native hometown of Southern California. While at Hollywood High, she was granted a full four-year scholarship to attend the Vienna Music Conservatory in Austria. Much to her disappointment, she was unable to attend the conservatory due to her fatherʼs declining health and untimely passing. An opportunist, she began playing in various orchestras in the greater Los Angeles area and played both viola and violin on motion picture and television soundtracks and commercials in acclaimed Hollywood studios.
On Maui, Ms. Skinner has performed with the Kapalua Music Festival (now the Maui Classical Music Festival), was a member of the Honolulu Symphony and was a member of Maui Symphony for which she also was a soloist. She currently plays with the Hawaii Symphony, is principal violist of the Maui Pops Orchestra, and principal violist of the newly formed Maui Chamber Orchestra. An active chamber musician, Ms. Skinner performs with “Prism”, a clarinet trio with Jeff Alfriend, clarinetist, and pianist Lotus Dancer. Outside the classical realm, she has performed with well-known local artists Barry Flannigan/Hapa, Amy Hanaialii-Gilliom, Eric Gilliom, Willie K., Kealii Reichel and Uluwehi Guerrero. She has had the opportunity to perform with world renown musicians including members of the Ying Quartet, Edgar Meyer, John Kimura Parker, Benny Kim, Andres Cardenes, Scott St. John, Marilyn Horne, Marvin Hamlish and Burt Bacharach.
An injury to her neck in 2002 left her unable to use her left arm and fingers, thus ending her career as a full-time symphonic musician. “If I couldnʼt play music, I donʼt know what I would do”, says Skinner. Through caring and knowledgeable physicians, surgeries, and physical therapy, Ms. Skinner was able to regain use of her neck, left shoulder, arm, and fingers, and had to re-learn to play her violin and viola. Through determination from her injury, Ms. Skinnerʼs career path metamorphosed from being a full-time performer to being a teacher/mentor. She founded the Suzuki-Maui School of Talent Education and Ability Development, fostering students to learn to play violin or viola in the Suzuki Method or “Mother Tongue” method of Talent Education. Students begin lessons as young as 2 years of age up to those in their golden years.
Since Suzuki-Mauiʼs inception in 2002, Ms. Skinner has touched the lives of close to 200 students. Several of the students she has trained now play in our Maui Chamber Orchestra and Maui Pops. Ms. Skinner currently serves on the board of the Musiciansʼ Association of Hawaii, local 677 of the American Federation of Musicians and is a registered instructor of the Suzuki Method with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
In addition to teaching, she raises a variety of hens and roosters who enjoy listening to music and crow to their heart’s content in beautiful, well-tuned intervals throughout the day.