Born and raised in Albany, NY, Mary Ann Tortolano began the violin at age 6 as part of the first wave of the Suzuki method instruction that hit the United States. She studied with Kay Nicholas and Lois Fishman and was a member of the Albany Symphony in 1980, her senior year of high school. After receiving a BM from Oberlin College and Conservatory, she became a certified Suzuki teacher, studying with Doris Preucil in Iowa City. Later she became a Suzuki “parent” and sent all three of her children to NEMC.
As Principal Second Violin of both Spoleto and Graz Festivals, she toured the U.S. and Europe before accepting a position as Principal Viola with the Whitewater and Sorg Opera companies. While teaching in Richmond, Indiana, she hosted the 1991 Suzuki Talent Education Tour from Japan at Earlham College.
A former faculty member of the New England Conservatory of Music Prep Division, Newton Music School and the Levine School of Music in Georgetown, DC, she is a freelance violin/violist and performs with the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, the Manassas Ballet and the American Festival Pops Orchestra at George Mason University. She has maintained a private studio in Alexandria, VA for 22 years and has been a member of the NEMC faculty since 2004.