Valerie Mack Callahan


Valerie Callahan has a B.M.Ed from University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a MM in Viola Performance from the Boston Conservatory. She has performed with many local orchestras, for several years in the Larcom String Quartet, and continues to play for enjoyment when not running Bridges and Bows, teaching her private violin and viola students, and spending time with her family. Valerie studied violin repair with Horst Kloss at the University of New Hampshire Violin Craftsmanship Institute, and enjoys applying her knowledge of instrument construction to help customers. Valerie is extremely fortunate to play on a violin made by her late great-grandfather, F. A. Leavitt of Weymouth Mass., and she would love to meet other Leavitt violin owners!

Lisa Kempskie

Staff Member

Lisa Kempskie has a degree in violin performance from UMass Lowell and has done graduate work in music education at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. Equally comfortable on violin and viola, she freelances throughout the greater Boston area and is currently principal viola of the Lexington Symphony. For 7 years, Lisa directed the elementary and middle school string program in the Winchester Public Schools and is currently on the faculty of the Westford Suzuki School. She also has studied bow-making , repair, and rehair at the Violin Craftsmanship Institute in New Hampshire, and works as a repair person for regional string companies as well as many local players. Lisa is a certified music practitioner through the Music for Healing and Transition Program which trains musicians to aid the sick and terminally ill through individually-tailored live therapeutic music.

Susan Turcotte-Gavriel

Staff Member

Susan received an undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of Lowell. She completed a Masters Degree with an emphasis on Suzuki Pedagogy, at Southern Illinois University while a teaching assistant to Professor John Kendall, a pioneer of Suzuki education and one of the first American string teachers to visit Japan. Susan also traveled to Japan where she had the privilege of studying with Dr. Suzuki.

In addition to private violin instruction, Susan is a strong advocate and supporter for music education in the public schools. She has directed public school string programs throughout Massachusetts as well as initiated private Suzuki programs and served as clinician for workshops and summer institutes throughout the country. Susan is a founding member of the Massachusetts Suzuki organization, where she served as president, directed past Festivals, and facilitated events for the MA Suzuki community. She has also served as orchestra manager for District and All State Festivals. As a faculty member at UMass Lowell and founding member and Master Teacher of the UMass Lowell String Project, Susan supervised assisting university students and instructed string pedagogy classes. Susan currently teaches in the Westford Public Schools and performs regularly with the Orchestra of Indian Hill.She has long been part of the Westford musical community through her association with the Westford Suzuki School and she very much enjoys assisting the musicians and families who visit Bridges and Bows!

Dimitar Krastev

Staff Member

Dimitar Krastev has a master's degree in violin, chamber music, and teaching from the National Music Academy in Bulgaria. He was in the first violin section of the Bulgarian National Radio Orchestra, and participated in many different recording projects and tours in various European countrie

During all this time, he also worked as a luthier, repairing violins and other string instruments . Before moving to Massachusetts, he studied violin repair with Paul Wiessmeyer at the University of New Hampshire Violin Craftsmanship Institute.

Nowadays, among other things, Dimitar takes care of the string instruments at the Bridges & Bows shop, working with precision to ensure swift and high-quality repair services.

Theresa Cleary

Staff Member

Theresa Cleary is an active violist/violinist throughout New England. She earned her bachelor's degree in viola performance UMass Lowell and has studied with Loren Pearson. Scott Woolweaver, and Elliott Markow. Theresa currently teaches strings in the Westborough Public Schools. Prior to that, she taught in the Fall River Public Schools and in various outreach programs including the UMass Lowell String Project and Up With Music. In addition to teaching in the schools, Theresa is a very active player and freelancer. She is a member of Symphony Pro Musica and principal violist of the New Hampshire Philharmonic. She is also in two regionally successful rock/indie bands, As The Sparrow and Arms and Ears. Theresa was the store manager of Bridges and Bows from 2012 to 2014 and is happy to be back in the area and part of the B&B staff!