STEP Director Lani Bortfeld received her Bachelor’s of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music and her Master’s in Music from the University of Connecticut, and has studied with Mischa Mischakoff, Eric Rosenblith, Raphael Bronstein and Ariana Bronne. She is an experienced orchestral, chamber and solo musician, performing throughout the region and a familiar soloist at area houses of worship.

Ms. Bortfeld has performed with the Waterbury (CT) Symphony, where she was principal 2nd violin for many years, as well as the orchestras of Springfield, Hartford, and New Haven.  She was invited to join the Creative Teaching Partners roster of the Massachusetts Cultural   Council as an artist teacher in 2005, and enjoys designing educational programming.

Lani is first violinist and founder of the Arcos/iris Quartet, which was selected for the Mass. Cultural Council’s Education Roster, and has performed with the quartet in schools, libraries, houses of worship, retirement communities and arts festivals for audiences of all ages, as well as in weddings throughout Western Mass.  She premiered Gwyneth Walker’s The Dove quartet and To Love This Earth with the Connecticut Chorale in 2014.

A member of the American Federation of Musicians, Lani especially enjoys helping people celebrate life’s milestones, whether it’s a wedding, anniversary, graduation, or memorial service, with special music selected just for the occasion.

She began using the Suzuki® Method over forty years ago in grad school and finds it a transformational way of teaching. Ms. Bortfeld founded the Suzuki Talent Education Partnership (STEP) in 2002, after training through the Suzuki Association of the Americas and with 20 years experience using the Suzuki® method in music schools in Brookline and Springfield, Mass. and Storrs and Hartford, CT.  She currently teaches string students from four to adult at locations in Springfield and Enfield, CT.  Lani teachers violin, viola, Suzuki group classes, chamber orchestra and ensembles at STEP.

Ms. Bortfeld was the director of the Brightwood Suzuki Partnership at Brightwood Elementary School in Springfield’s North End for 13 years, where she taught in English and Spanish. She has given master classes in Spanish free of charge as an outreach to her Suzuki colleagues in Chile and Peru. She received an Artist Fellowship from the Springfield Cultural Council in 1999 to arrange multicultural folk songs, blues, and Latin music for her students. She continues to arrange many styles of music from around the world for the STEP string ensemble.

She has also presented at the Suzuki Association of the Americas’ biennial conferences in 1994, 1996 and 2008. Her 2008 presentation was entitled “Building Diversity in Suzuki Programs,” and reflects her commitment to diversity and equal access. Ms. Bortfeld is a registered teacher with the Music Link Foundation, which provides financial aid and services to low-income families who want to give their children music lessons.  She was awarded the McKnight Neighborhood Council’s 2014 Community Service Award for contributions to the cultural arts through her work with Suzuki musical instruction in Springfield.

Ms. Bortfeld had her article on STEP’s efforts at inclusion and welcoming a diverse group of families, “Working Toward a More Nurturing Suzuki Community”, published in the American Suzuki Journal in January 2021.

In addition to Ms. Bortfeld, STEP students receive yearly master classes from Suzuki teacher trainers like Allen Lieb, Teri Einfeldt and Christie Felsing.

Contact her with any questions about the STEP program at:

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