New Jersey Symphony musicians set for cello, violin masterclass


(JANUARY 21) The Count Basie Center’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music has announced an advanced strings masterclass featuring musicians from the New Jersey Symphony (NJS).

The session, open to all interested students, takes place on Saturday, February 24 from 5-6PM and features New Jersey Symphony cellist Frances Rowell and violinist / NJS Associate Concertmaster Brennan Sweet. The event is free, though advance registration is required.

About The Musicians

Frances Rowell

A versatile and enterprising cellist dedicated to musical outreach, FRANCES ROWELL received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. She taught cello at Muhlenberg College for 12 years and is currently on the adjunct faculty of New Jersey City University and Montclair State University. An inventor as well as a cellist, she received a United States Patent for a portable endpin resonating platform for the cello.

In 1992, the city of Allentown, PA, bestowed on Rowell its Arts Ovation Award for outstanding achievement in the performing arts. She has premiered several cello works written for her, including Gwyneth Walker’s North Country Concerto with the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra in 1995 and Douglas Oven’s Concerto for Cello with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in 1996.

Rowell has been a member of the New Jersey Symphony since 1995. As a member of the Craftsbury Chamber Players, she performs chamber music each summer in her home state of Vermont.

Rowell is a past coordinator of the New Jersey Symphony’s Community Partners program (formerly called the REACH program). She is currently on the roster of Young Audiences of New Jersey in a string quartet program. She has also served young audiences as a teaching artist, working with young soloists from the radio program “From the Top” in presentations in public schools.

Rowell served as President of the American String Teachers Association New Jersey chapter from 2008–10.

Brennan Sweet

Brennan SweetBorn in New York City, New Jersey Symphony Associate Concertmaster BRENNAN SWEET began violin studies at age 2 in Edmonton, Alberta. In 1977, he studied violin at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. Beginning his college education as an engineering student at Washington University in St. Louis, Sweet transferred and earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University, eventually serving for three years as teaching assistant to Josef Gingold before joining the faculty for another two years as Lecturer.

Concertmaster of several orchestras, including the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, Sweet was also a founding member of the Evansville String Quartet. He performed for two seasons as Assistant Concertmaster of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder. He joined the New Jersey Symphony in 1994 as Associate Concertmaster and subsequently led the Orchestra for three seasons as Acting Concertmaster under Maestro Zdenek Macal. Sweet is a founding member of the Mostly Mozart at Monteux Festival in Hancock, Maine, and has served as coach and performer at the Raphael Trio Chamber Music workshop in New Hampshire.

In 2007, he joined the faculty of Kean University as a Concert Artist, teaching students and performing chamber music concerts regularly throughout the year. Sweet performs recitals with acclaimed pianist Jenny Lin in the New York metropolitan area.

More on the Basie Center’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music

The Count Basie Center’s Monmouth Conservatory of Music believes that music education enriches both the individual and society. The Conservatory maintains that studying music benefits persons of all ages and circumstance, and enhances appreciation, enjoyment and understanding of classical performance, while promoting the discipline and focus necessary to succeed in music as well as life.

All of the Conservatory’s programs are based in a philosophy that music education enriches both individuals and society. The core of our curriculum is individual (private) music education. However, the Conservatory also provides group classes, live performance opportunities and involvement in community outreach to provide for a well-rounded student educational experience.

Private and group lessons are available, along with ensemble and student orchestra opportunities. For more information or to register online, visit