Executive Board

HMTA Executive Board


Terry Higashi

Terry Higashi has been teaching music for over 12 years in Leeward Oahu. She earned her B.M. in piano performance from University of Hawai?i at M?noa and her instructors include Peter Coraggio, Marilyn Liu Kim, Paul Lyddon and Dr. Alan Ysac. She is currently also a member of the Honolulu Chorale.

Co-First Vice President

Katy Luo

Dr. Katy Luo, originally from Berkeley, CA, recently moved to Oahu, where she is currently on faculty at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, West O'ahu, and the Punahou Music School. Dr. Luo's major teachers include Gilbert Kalish, Haewon Song, Monique Duphil, and Jacqueline Chew. As a performer Dr. Luo enjoys exploring a wide range of repertoire from classical to contemporary, as well as period instruments and modern non-traditional keyboard instruments. Her past collaborations have included projects with the New York City Ballet, the Boys Choir of Harlem, My Brightest Diamond (a New York City-based indie rock band,) and most recently with San Francisco-based Guerrilla Composers Players. Dr. Luo is an alumna of the Young Musicians Program, a community outreach music program at the University of California at Berkeley. She has taught at the Harlem School for the Arts and the Bloomingdale School of Music where she served as both a Resident Teaching Artist and the Director of "A4TY (Album for the Young): Student New Music Project." A4TY, a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, is a program Dr. Luo founded to provide children the opportunity to compose original compositions for fellow young musicians and to premiere works written by living composers. Dr. Luo received a B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and M.M. and D.M.A from Stony Brook University.

Co-First Vice President

Christine Suehisa-Jang

Christine Suehisa-Jang, pianist, was born and raised in Honolulu. Her teachers were Jeannette Chun and Ellen Masaki. She went on to study at The Juilliard School where she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees under the tutelage of Martin Canin, Daniel Pollack and Seymour Lipkin. She has been teaching piano for over two decades and is also in demand as an accompanist. Her hobbies include studying French, yoga and gardening.

Second Vice President

Alice Yeung

Alice Yeung is a piano teacher at the Masaki School of Music in Honolulu and has been teaching there for over 15 years. She studied her music at the Hong Kong School of Sacred Music,Liu Shih Kun Institution of Piano and Art, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Ms. Yeung enjoys being with children, which is reflected in her work as a kindergarten teacher in Hong Kong. Her main focus now is teaching young pianists (age from 3 and up) to enjoy music and develop their potentials.

Third Vice President

Leilani Motet

Leilani Motet is a graduate of the Honors Program at Texas Christian University, where she studied Piano Pedagogy under Dr. Ann Gipson and piano and chamber music under John Owings and Jose Feghali. Previously, she was a student of Ellen Masaki, during which she took part in numerous HMTA and MTNA competitions. Most notably as winner of the 2000 MTNA-Yamaha High School Piano Competition in Hawai’i, she went on to receive Honorable Mention in the Southwest Division Competition in Utah. While in Texas, Ms. Motet interned at the Van Cliburn Foundation and was an assistant to the Executive Director at the Piano Texas International Academy and Festival. She is currently a piano instructor at the Masaki School of Music and serves on the worship team as a pianist/keyboardist at her church, New Hope Christian Fellowship Oahu.


Julia Fujioka

As a graduate of Punahou School, Julia Fujioka attended the Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music,as well as San Francisco State University, where she majored in violin performance and earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. Her influential teachers include Daniel Kobialka, Marilyn McDonald, Marianne Fleece, and Peter Mesrobian. While studying at SFSU, she was a recipient of the Morrison Chamber Music Scholarship and was coached by Laszlo Varga, Daniel Kobialka, William Corbett-Jones, and the Alexander String Quartet. During her studies, Ms. Fujioka performed as a freelance violinist with the Ashland Symphony (OH),Crestmont Symphony (CA), and orchestras of the CCSF, SFSU, and San Francisco Conservatory of Music. While still in the Bay Area, she was also a member of the Harmonia String Quartet. Since 1995, Ms. Fujioka has been a first violinist with the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Maui Symphony, and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to joining the faculty of the Masaki School of Music, Ms. Fujioka's teaching experience has included coaching at SFSU and establishing private studios at the Fiat School of Music (CA) and Punahou Music School, as well as at her homes in California and Hawaii. Her professional affiliations include the American String Teachers Association, Music Teachers National
Association, and the American Federation of Musicians.


Laurie Shimabukuro

Born and raised on Oahu, Laurie Shimabukuro grew up studying the Suzuki Method primarily with Sheryl Shohet for violin and was the concertmaster for the Punahou Advanced (intermediate) and Symphony (high school) orchestras as well as the Hawaii Youth Symphony I and II orchestras. She was the winner of several awards and competitions, including the Honolulu Symphony’s Talent Pool and the HMTA and MTNA competitions in Hawaii. She continued her music studies with Daniel Rouslin at Willamette University and graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Chemistry. After living in Japan for 2 years while teaching English as part of the JET Programme and playing in the local orchestra, she returned home and earned a Masters of Accounting degree from the University of Hawaii.

Music has provided her with amazing opportunities such as master classes/workshops with Yehudi Menuhin, Kyoko Takezawa, The Emerson String Quartet, Almita Vamos, and John Kendall; traveling to Europe with the Ambassadors of Music from Hawaii; performing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Japanese chorus groups both in Hawaii and Japan; and musical theater collaborations, most recently with Ohana Arts in their original musical “Peace On Your Wings.”

Laurie currently teaches violin part-time, while balancing her accounting career with her other interests as a Master Gardener and Consulting Rosarian.


Ethel Iwasaki

Ethel Iwasaki is presently a piano and voice teacher at the Masaki School of Music and a church musician at Kilohana United Methodist Church. Formerly she was a choir and band director in the public school system.

Ethel received her Bachelor of Education and Master of Arts in Music Education degrees from the University of Hawai'i in Manoa. She also attended Trinity School of Music in London and various institutes in several states.

Past President

Sheryl Shohet

Sheryl Shohet

Sheryl Shohet, originally from Wisconsin, has been a section first violinist with the Honolulu Symphony and Hawaii Symphony since 1983. She earned her bachelor's degrees in Violin Performance and Music Education from Drake University in Iowa, and her master's degree in Violin Performance from the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut. Sheryl taught strings for three years at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa and played in the Des Moines and Hartford Symphonies and the Colorado Philharmonic before moving to Honolulu. She currently has a home studio in Waipahu, Hawaii, of 50 violinists ages 3 and up who love to play.

Her touring ensemble, Na Mele O Suzuki, visited Tokyo in 2006 and 2013, and Hilo and Maui numerous times. Ms. Shohet has taught at summer Suzuki institutes in Ottawa, Kansas; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Maui, Hawaii. She presented a topic at the World Suzuki Convention in Melbourne, Australia in April 2009, and at the Suzuki Association of the Americas Teachers Convention in Minneapolis in 2012. She wrote an article which appeared in the Winter 2011 American Suzuki Journal, and was featured in an extensive interview in the Fall 2012 issue. Sheryl is active with the Suzuki Association of Hawaii, Hawaii Suzuki Institute, Hawaii American String Teachers Association, Hawaii Music Teachers Association, and the Musicians' Association of Hawaii, Local 677.