Dennise began playing viola when she was 9 years old in her native Lewiston, NY. When she was 12, she moved to Kenmore, NY, where she had an amazing orchestra teacher, Marijean Quigley-Young, who instilled in her a love for music. Dennise studied privately with Louis Baroudi and Benjamin Simon while in high school. She was co-principal violist of the Greater Buffalo Youth Orchestra, and she was an orchestra student at The Interlochen Arts Center Summer Program. After high school, Dennise attended Louisiana State University where she studied viola with Dr. Jerzy Kosmala and played with the Baton Rouge Symphony. She then attended SUNY@Buffalo where she studied with Pamela Adelstein. Following a job as teaching assistant at Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, Dennise was invited to be a viola student of Joseph DePasquale at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, from where she earned her Diploma in 1990. Dennise moved back to NY and went to The University of Rochester, during which time she freelanced and took violin lessons with Charles Castleman, professor at The Eastman School of Music. Dennise also began teaching violin and viola at The Hochstein School, where she found her calling. She started learning more about the Suzuki Method while thoroughly enjoying her two years on the faculty. A fun memory of her experience there was performing as kazoo soloist in Robert Hirsch’s Concerto Grosso for 3 Kazoos and Orchestra! She began her Suzuki Method teacher training by taking summer classes at Suzuki institutes and by pursuing long-term teacher training in violin with Mary Cay Neal, founder and executive director of Buffalo Suzuki Strings. By the time she completed her B.A. in Geological Sciences in 1995, she knew she was going to make her career in teaching music.
Dennise then moved to San Jose, CA. There, she maintained a private studio of over 50 violin and viola students, ages 2 to 84. She completed extensive Suzuki Method teacher training in both violin and viola, including long-term teacher training in viola with Elizabeth Stuen-Walker. She continued performing and was principal violist in The Mission Chamber Orchestra, where she was a soloist in Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.
Dennise became a mother of two children, and in 2006 moved with her family to Fort Collins, CO. After a hiatus to homeschool her children, she began teaching in her home studio. She continued her education by taking viola lessons with Margaret Miller, special assistant professor at Colorado State University, and she enjoyed performing as a freelance musician around Northern Colorado. She has performed with the Larimer Chorale Orchestra, the Front Range Chamber Players, Classical Revolution, and in the the band at Midtown Arts Center. While in Fort Collins, she also learned how to play handbells and was a bell ringer and violin soloist with Bells of the Rockies.
Dennise's husband changed jobs and they moved to Austin, TX in the spring of 2022. Their daughter is grown and married, and their son is about to embark on his college career. She is super excited about this new chapter in life where she can slow down the pace a little and explore a new part of the country. Dennise is an avid reader and a fiber artist, and in her spare time you will find her hanging out with her husband, doing the New York Times Crossword with her son, creating something out of yarn, reading, or playing with her dogs.