Mailing Address:

PO Box 259452, Madison, WI 53725




               © 2017 by Music con Brio, Inc.




Our Team
Carol Carlson (Executive Director, Co-Founder, and Instructor) 


Violinist Carol Carlson is an avid performer, a devoted teacher, and a successful creative arts entrepreneur. In 2011, she co-founded Music con Brio with partner Amber Dolphin. After serving as co-director for three years, Carol became Executive Director in 2014. In addition to her work with Music con Brio, Carol teaches strings at Clarke University and maintains private studios in Madison and Dubuque. She regularly performs as a member of the Pecatonica String Quartet and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. Carol holds Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in violin performance from UW-Madison where she studied with Professor Felicia Moye, whom she also served as teaching assistant. Additionally, Carol holds Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Truman State University, and a Graduate Certificate from Park University. Carol is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, and Sigma Alpha Iota. Carol lives in Madison with her husband Matt, a trombonist, and their daughter Julianna.

Amber Dolphin (Co-Founder)

Amber Dolphin is an accomplished musician and experienced violin instructor in the Madison area. Ms. Dolphin teaches privately, leads music workshops locally, and directs the string orchestra (Creative Strings Collective) at Beloit College. She has previously taught at Viterbo University and the University of Wisconsin – Platteville. Ms. Dolphin loves all styles of music including classical, jazz, fiddle and Latin. Currently she performs with Charanga Agozá (Cuban dance music) and the Pecatonica String Quartet. She formerly has played with Istmo Tango Trio and Quinteto Yzafa (traditional Argentine tango) and local symphonies (Madison, Green Bay, Dubuque and LaCrosse). She earned degrees in violin performance from Luther College (BA), the University of Wisconsin - Madison (MM), and Northern Illinois University - DeKalb (Performance Certificate). She founded Music con Brio with Carol Carlson in 2011 and served as co-director and instructor for three years.

Catherine Stephens (instructor)


Catherine Stephens brings background in teacher education, piano performance and choral singing.  She is a long time participant in the arts, and serves as a tireless advocate for access to the arts.  Catherine offers an Arts and Culture program for children at Goodman Community Center After School, and this Fall, she begins as a reading tutor at the Goodman Community Center.  

Catherine began her piano studies at age 5 with Dr. Rosemary Clark from UW-Platteville, WI and later studied with Professor Carroll Chilton at UW Madison.  She sings with the Wisconsin Chamber Choir and the ARTemis Women's Choir at Madison’s LunArt festival. She serves on Madison’s Arts + Literature Laboratory Literary Curatorial Board.  She brings instructional design expertise and provided support for faculty in the UW School of Education and at Edgewood College.  She holds an English degree from UW Madison, masters degree in Education from Edgewood College and a teaching certificate from UW Platteville.

Hillary Harder (instructor)

​Hillary Harder is a music educator from Elkhart, Indiana. Her wide variety of teaching experiences include string orchestra, vocal and general music, and early childhood music in both public school and community-based settings. A fluent Spanish speaker, she has experience with bilingual music instruction. She was honored to be voted Elementary Teacher of the Year for Elkhart Community Schools in 2018. While her primary instruments of study are violin, voice, and piano, she also enjoys songwriting and playing the mandolin and bluegrass fiddle in her free time.

Brian Grimm (instructor)

Multi-style Cellist Brian Grimm has been teaching privately and at community arts centers for over a decade. In addition to Classical violoncello and Jazz bass training, he has studied Traditional Chinese instruments, Flamenco, North Indian Classical, Composition, and Free Improvisation.  Brian performs over 100 shows a year with various ensembles (


“My first goal for students is to learn healthy technique. Musicians ask of a lot of our bodies, especially as repertoire gets more advanced.  It doesn’t matter what style of music you want to learn, we will always make healthy technique the first focus.


"Music is like language.  My second objective for students is applied (playable) music theory. We will learn the inner workings of musical spelling, grammar, vocabulary, phrase structure, etc. directly on the instrument.  This music theory tool-set results in more expressive performances, informed interpretation, and better communication with musicians & audiences alike.”

Kimberly Gilmore (Board Member)

I bring well-rounded millennial experiences to a nonprofit board. As a African American, college educated, queer woman I bring a very broad perspective on issues that require nonprofit attention. As an American that was born and raised in the very poor inner city of Detroit, my family has been recipients of many nonprofit programs. Now as a working middle class tax payer that has "pulled themselves up by their bootstraps" when I didn't even have a boot to begin with, I understand what resources are needed to secure a decent chance at a sustainable life. My views focus in on multiculturalism intersectionality. These views have been forged not only from my AA viewpoint but also from my sisterhood in a multicultural sorority, workings from extensive worldly travel, social justice political work, and current non profit volunteering through MUM. In my professional capacity, I work for Glanbia Nutritionals where I determine if it is strategically wise to enter certain markets or target specific companies for our food ingredients.

Gwen JeSchonek (Board Member)

Gwen JeSchonek grew up in Eastern Pennsylvania and has had more lives than cats, among them Elementary School Librarian, Multi-Media Specialist with Twentyonehundred Productions, Administrative Assistant, Interior Designer, and a twenty-three year stint with American Girl (Mattel) before retiring, functioning in various roles in Customer Service, Corporate Training, and as a Department Assistant in Quality and Compliance.  Her first musical instrument was her voice, and she regularly sang in school and church choirs with three of her four siblings, followed by college choir.  A product of the 60’s, there were folk guitar lessons in there somewhere as well!  As an involved parent of a singing daughter, she served on the board of Madison Children’s Choir from 2000-2003.  At that point, the organization merged with Madison Boychoir to become Madison Youth Choirs, and she continued on that Board for three more years, including a year as President.  Gwen brings to Music con Brio a desire to make music accessible for all children, personal skills in writing, editing, and organization, and with significant knowledge in human resources, having recently served on her church personnel committee for ten years, two of them as Chair.


Jill Ness (Secretary of the Board)


Jill Ness is an experienced nonprofit professional focusing in the healthcare sector.  She earned her BA from Luther College in Decorah, IA, in Political Science, Sociology and Russian Studies and her MPH from University of Michigan School of Public Health, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education.  Besides her professional credentials, she is a parent of Music Con Brio students and has witnessed firsthand the impact of the program in the lives of children.


Dave Verban (Treasurer of the Board)

Dave Verban is an advocate, a teacher, and a musician, who is interested in citizenship, equity, access, and community. He is currently TMG’s Senior Learning and Development Consultant, where he works to ensure the principles of self-determination and person-centered thinking are infused throughout the organization. He is also the Limited English Proficiency Coordinator and a member of TMG’s Civil Rights Compliance team. In 20 years at TMG Dave has filled a variety of roles, always working to support TMG’s mission by amplifying the voices of people with disabilities, older adults, and their families. Prior to joining TMG, Dave worked in supported employment, and as an advocate for children and adults with disabilities and their families. In addition to his work with TMG, Dave also holds a part-time teaching position with the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Brad Kose (Board Member, Principal of Emerson Elementary)

Dr. Brad Kose is principal of Emerson Elementary School, where he leads with a strong commitment to educating the whole child. Academics, social emotional learning, cultural competence, participation in the unified arts, and service learning are important toward preparing all students for college, career, and community. In addition, personalized learning makes learning more engaging and relevant. At Emerson, learning is connected to students’ goals, interests, backgrounds, and strengths and students gradually take more ownership of their learning. Excellence, or “rigor” in the above well-rounded education, involves setting clear, high expectations for learning. Equity or fairness means that rather than treating all students the same, we provide them with supports that meet their different needs toward excellence.

Felicia Moye (President Emeritus of the Board)

Felicia Moye has performed throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America as soloist and chamber musician with groups such as the Miami String Quartet, Orpheus and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Moye was first violinist of the Miami String Quartet when the group won top prizes in both the Evian and London International String Quartet Competitions. Ms. Moye is currently Full Professor of Violin at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and a member of Trio Antigo. She has also served as Professor of Violin at The Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada, the University of Oklahoma, the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida and the pre-college division of The Juilliard School as Ivan Galamian and Margaret Pardee’s assistant. Ms. Moye is a very enthusiastic teacher; she is a frequent guest artist and coach of the New World Symphony, and has served on the faculty for many summer music festivals, including ARIA (Massachussetts), Zephyr (Italy), Madeline Island (US), Marrowstone (US), Vianden (Luxembourg) and the International Festival-Institute at Round Top. The New York Times has acknowledged her for her "rich sound, a broad coloristic palette...and seemingly unflagging energy."