Dr. Cora Cooper


Dr. Cora Cooper has taught violin, viola, and chamber music at K-State since 1990. Before that, she played in the Vermont, Austin and Tallahassee Symphonies during and around her graduate school years. While at K-State, Cooper also performed with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and recorded the Loeffler “Quintet for Strings” for NAXOS American Classics with the DaVinci Quartet. She has done a great deal of research on women composers, and publishes music (including the Violin Music by Women and Viola Music by Women anthologies) though her company, Sleepy Puppy Press. Her puppy is a miniature labradoodle.

Dr. Rachel Dirks


Rachel Dirks, Director of Orchestral Studies, is an active conductor, clinician, and educator. In addition to her work with the KSU Symphony Orchestra, she teaches applied cello and string education at K-State. Dr. Dirks holds cello performance degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and Bethel College, and a Ph.D. in music education, with an emphasis in orchestral conducting, from the University of Kansas. As a guest conductor Dr. Dirks has been invited to conduct orchestras throughout the United States, including appearances in Kentucky, Oregon, New York, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and throughout Kansas.

Ben Jones-Hayes


Benjamin Jones-Hayes is a luthier and violin maker now based in Fairfax, Virginia. He is also a classically trained violist who often performs Irish fiddle, and teaches both violin and viola lessons to private students. Jones-Hayes began his training as a luthier in 2003, at The Loft Violin Shop in Columbus, Ohio. During his apprenticeship, he first learned how to repair and restore string instruments, and then began to work on making instruments. He has furthered his training at the University of New Hampshire’s Violin Craftsmanship Institute and the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Violin Repair Workshop with Hans J. Nebel.

Heather McCornack

Yoga Instructor

Heather McCornack is a registered yoga teacher who specializes in teaching yoga for musicians and yoga for people in eating disorder recovery. She will complete her master’s degree from Kansas State University this spring upon completion of her master’s report, “Yoga, singing, and the singer.” Heather also teaches voice and piano and works as a musical theatre voice coach and collaborative pianist for soloists and choirs. She loves to walk her Golden Retriever, can’t wait to travel to NYC again, and her favorite classical composer is Strauss.

Michael Linert

Mariachi Instructor

Using an organized, instructional approach that fosters rigor and inspiration, Linert engages with his community through advocacy for equity within music education. Linert has received extensive training under the guidance of Dr. Lorenzo Trujillo of the Mariachi Los Correcaminos de MSU Denver, José Hernández of Mariachi Sol de Mexico, and the faculty of the National Summer Workshop for Mariachi Educators run by Marcia Neel. As a mariachi educator, Linert has presented for the Colorado Music Educators Association and the University of Colorado Boulder while also serving as a mariachi consultant to the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Joe Fedrizzi

Fiddle Instructor

Joe Fedrizzi hails from Dearborn, Missouri, and plays both classical violin and fiddle. He has been a prize-winner at multiple fiddle competitions, including the South Dakota Old-Time Fiddle Contest. Joe graduated from K-State in 2017 with a degree in music education, and currently teaches in the North Platte, MO schools. In addition to his musical activities, Joe has been a volunteer firefighter for many years.

Student Instructors