Harrison String Conservatory

About the Harrison String Conservatory

Quality Private Lessons Program

The Harrison String Conservatory is set up to provide private instruction for students at Harrison High School. The conservatory is designed to make quality instruction convenient and accessible in a comfortable learning environment. The Harrison String Conservatory is designed to serve those students not currently studying privately. The HSC is not designed to take students away from teachers not in the String Conservatory and should not be interpreted as a signal to change teachers. There are several fine teachers in the area who offer comparable quality instruction. Private instruction is for all students and not just for serious music students or students who are falling behind. Students taking private lessons will explore the extensive wealth of solo literature available for their instrument and will have additional performing opportunities that bring recognition to them. We highly encourage all orchestra students to take part in private lessons from a professional on their instrument.

How to sign up: 

Fill out this registration form and submit to the lock box in the orchestra room or email to: conservatory@harrisonorchestra.org

(Please read for details regarding payment, scheduling, make-up lessons, and more.)


Harrison String Conservatory Facutly:

Dr. Vera Ilyushina, Violin

Shortly after her graduation from the acclaimed St. Petersburg Conservatory with a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance and Pedagogy (class of Prof. A. Shustin) she moved to the United States to continue her education at the SUNY at Stony Brook, where she was awarded a full ride scholarship and teaching assistantship. There she studied with the renowned violinist Lazar Gosman and received her Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance in 2001.

After graduating Dr. Ilyushina she moved to Atlanta, where she performed with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Opera and Atlanta Ballet. In 2009 she founded Lark Chamber Music, a chamber music group that performs recitals and classical music for private functions. Recently, Dr. Ilyushina was invited to become a board member for the Atlanta Music Club, a non-profit organization created in 1904 to promote classical music in Atlanta. She is a head chair of the Young Performers Series and a member of the Scholarship Committee. Dr. Ilyushina is also very proud to serve as a judge for International Youth Music Competitions and Pro-Mozart Society Annual Competition.

Dr. Vera Ilyushina was always very passionate about teaching violin, and has 25 years of teaching experience.  She successfully prepared students for college auditions and competitions. Her students were selected into  GYSO, ASYO,  and All State Orchestra.


Katie Taylor, Viola

Katie Taylor is an active freelance violist and private instructor in Metro-Atlanta. She performs a wide range of styles from Baroque to Pop and musical theater and has appeared with such artists as Michael Buble, Sutton Foster, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra to name a few.  She performs regularly with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, Terminus Ensemble, and is a string faculty at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta.  

Katie has an extensive background in chamber music, having attended prestigious festivals such as The Castleman Quartet Program, Killington Music Festival, and the Maine Chamber Music Seminar. 

She has performed in master classes for renowned violists such as Roberto Diaz, Yizhak Schotten, and Karen Ritscher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Columbus State University and a masters degree in orchestral instrument performance from Georgia State University where she was the recipient of the Dean’s Fellowship Award. Her major teachers were Tania Maxwell Clements and Zoran Jakovcic.  


TBA, Cello


We will have a new cello teacher starting with the HSC soon!


Gabriel Monticello, Bass

Gabriel Monticello’s music career is a diverse blend of genres and styles. He is one of the top freelance classical musicians in the Southeast. Gabriel earned a Bachelor of Music Performance from Valdosta State University under the tutelage of Dr. James Barket and a Master of Music from The University of Florida where he studied with Mr. Kevin Cassiday. 

Gabriel serves as principal bass for the Albany Symphony, assistant principal for the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, and frequently performs with the Savannah Philharmonic, Hilton Head Symphony, Sinfonia Gulf Coast and many others in the region. Gabriel has toured internationally with The Hollywood Concert Orchestra and Spaceseed. He can be heard performing with modern ensembles including The Artifactual String Unit, Panthera Leo Atrox, and Atlanta Improvisation Orchestra. Gabriel also plays bass guitar for Space Mirrors which includes members from The United States, United Kingdom, Italy and Russia. Gabriel has frequently performed with the art duo The Ghosts Project, and has had the honor of performing with artists such as 2cellos, Kristen Chenoweth, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Sarah McLachlan, Chris Tomlin, Il Divo, Il Volo, The Nathaniel Johnstone Band, Walfredo Reyes Jr, Rachel Barton Pine and János Starker.