Maya French

Co-Artistic Director & Executive Director

I grew up in the vibrant and artsy city of Belfast, in midcoast Maine. I grew up playing music, sailing, going to public schools, running in fields and falling out of trees. There are not many classical music opportunities in Maine but I was lucky to be part of a small family of string students who grew up playing together in various ensembles. I have studied and performed chamber music at Bay Chamber Concerts, Kneisel Hall MYMP, the Interlochen String Quartet Seminar, Virginia String Quartet Seminar, Kinhaven Music School and Manchester Music Festival.  I am currently pursuing my masters in Violin Performance at Boston University under the direction of Bayla Keyes.  I teach music and strings at the El Sistema inspired program at Bridge Boston Charter School.  Beyond music, I enjoy exploring new places, good conversation, cooking and growing things. When I got to Boston in 2011 I was overwhelmed and enamored by the amount of music and art and learning around me but still wanted to find ways to musically connect with people on a small scale. Palaver Strings formed from many ideas including social service, participating in an original and self-run ensemble, and playing new music, but most of all it was the concept of connecting with each other and our audience in an honest and open environment. My formal education has taught me bountiful lessons, but it is an ensemble like this that gives me hope and energy for a career in music.


Ryan Shannon

Co-Artistic Director & Community Engagement Coordinator

My name is Ryan Shannon, and I’m the 23 year old male violinist with Palaver Strings. I’m originally from Colorado, but I’m proud to be a Bostonian these past 8 years. I graduated from New England Conservatory in May 2014 and now I gig around Boston when I’m not being awesome with Palaver. But what does that stuff matter? What you really need to know about me is this: I’m mischievous, (pronounced with a long E, like Cheese; that’s very important…) I’m giggly and I’ve got killer hip motion when I choose to break it out. I grin and laugh because why the hell not? I like sweet things and sweet people because life’s too short not to love everyone you can. I’m the Tall one. 


Kiyoshi Hayashi

Co-Artistic Director & Education/Community engagement coordinator

 I’m Kiyoshi, I am a violinist, and I just joined Palaver Strings in August 2016. I am incredibly grateful to have been welcomed into such a passionate, loving family of talented and awesome musicians. I grew up in Oak Park, IL and started violin when I was seven years old after attending one of my friend’s Suzuki solo recitals. Since then, I’ve been hooked on performing and making music. In high school, I played in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and attended the Music Institute of Chicago’s Academy preparatory program where I studied under the direction of Almita and Roland Vamos. In 2016, I went on to get a BM in Violin Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music where I was guided by the incredibly inspirational, knowledgeable, and overall amazing guy, Nicholas Kitchen. Some cool things I’ve had the opportunity to do through music include performing with A Far Cry Chamber Orchestra, participating in the Pacific Music Festival, and Bowdoin International Music Institute.

I love to play music because literally everyone in the world can relate to it in some way. It has the power to bring people together and is a beautiful way to cultivate genuine, profound connections, regardless of social background, ethnicity, culture, age, or gender. My goal as a musician is to continue expanding my ability to positively affect and uplift people’s lives. Additionally, I am super passionate about using music as a social and healing service. I love volunteering to play at local nursing homes, healthcare settings, and schools. Seeing how much these individuals - who are often going through very difficult times - genuinely appreciate the gift of music is what makes the hours spent everyday in the practice room worth it. I also teach violin at the El Sistema - inspired nonprofit organization, the Roxbury Youth Orchestra

Overall I’m a pretty simple dude. I’m pretty much down to do anything that makes me smile and laugh. I believe in maintaining balance in one’s life and truly pursuing all of your passions. Why limit yourself when there are so many unbelievable things to experience!! Work hard, then play hard. Specifically, I have interests in health, fitness, nutrition, sports, exploring the outdoors, meditation, and mindfulness. When I’m not playing music, you’ll most likely find me going on a morning run, cooking or baking nourishing, scrumptious meals, playing pick up basketball or soccer, hanging out with my dog, Rusty, watching the Food Network, or enthusiastically screaming at the television as I support my hometown Chicago Bears and Bulls.   


Danielle Wilson

Co-Artistic Director & Education Coordinator/Librarian

I'm Danielle, and I am a violinist in Palaver Strings! My love of the violin began when I was six years old. After a few years of treatments and surgeries, I had recently completed my journey with childhood cancer. My mom wanted to give me a gift that could never be taken away from me, a gift that would feed my spirit despite the uncertainties of health and life. The love and appreciation of music was the gift she gave me, and I’m so grateful to her for that. (Love you mom!) 

Growing up in beautiful Berkeley, California, I was surrounded by stunning nature and cultural richness within the backdrop of a liberal atmosphere. I drew many of my inspirations and values from this environment and continue to carry those with me today. I developed my passion for ensemble playing and collaboration as an active member in the Oakland and San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestras. Upon my departure from the left coast, I attended Oberlin Conservatory and subsequently ended up in Boston studying with Bayla Keyes at Boston University. 

To me, music is such a powerful vehicle for human connection. Performing for an audience is not only an act of giving and receiving but a means to connect people together in a meaningful way despite our similarities and differences. For me, that’s what life is all about.

In the fall of 2014 I had the wonderful opportunity of becoming a member of Palaver Strings. This ensemble has been not only a musical outlet for me in Boston but has also become a family away from home. Besides my love for music and Palaver, I can be found drinking tea at anytime of day, listening to NPR and testing my mindfulness on the yoga mat. 



Su Yin Chan

Co-Artistic Director & Marketing coordinator

Hi there, I'm Su Yin! I realize I'm listed here as a violist, however I spent most of my musical journey as a violinist and just recently started dabbling in Viola recreationally. More importantly, I'm a human being who loves sharing music with others!

I grew up in Malaysia, a tropical country and home to some of the most delicious foods you would have in your life! Following the footsteps of my cousins and a very strict music teacher(who is also my talented aunt), thus began the choir rehearsals and music lessons. Music had always just been a fun activity for me, a place I made new friends and we would perform together and nothing would matter but having fun. Nothing much has changed although being an adult kind of makes things more serious. I've been told my laughter is constant,loud and obnoxious but mainly contagious. Life is just too short not to appreciate every moment and fill it with giggles and positive thoughts. 

This is my second year with Palaver and my seventh year in America. Half of that time in Chicago and the other half in Boston. While pursuing my undergraduate degree at DePaul University, I had the exciting opportunity of being a member with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Fast forward to awesome summers in Brevard Music Festival, Round Top music festival, Manchester Music Festival, Garth Newel Music Festival, I find myself with a Masters degree from Boston University and feel like there is a whole lot more to explore in my musical journey. Enter palaver strings, one of the most exciting endeavors I've been a part of! 

In my spare time, I like traveling and finding new experiences(even if some of them scare me a little, what's life without a bit of risk right?), cooking up a storm, and also part of this agenda is pursuing a Doctoral degree at a Boston University. 


Brianna Fischler

Co-Artistic Director & education Coordinator/marketeer

There has never been a time in life when music did not exist. Coming from a long line of musicians and artists, you can even say that I had prenatal musical experiences. My grandmother was the first to introduce me and my twin sister to the violin. A few years later, my two younger twin brothers picked up the cello. This meant that if you were to walk into my house after school, there theoretically should have been four children practicing at once. Growing up with live-in “chamber music mates” was a luxury that positively enhanced my development as a human being. My official introduction to chamber music was also an early one. My sister, my best friend Jennie Brent, and I began playing in a trio at the age of 8 at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven, Ct. We called ourselves The Annellies, and we were guided by the love and support of our coach, Jody Rowitsch. Although our rehearsals were most likely 80% laughter and 20% work, we learned about the bond that music can create between people. So skip local music school lessons, Kinhaven Music School, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Aspen Music Festival, Manhattan School of Music Pre-College, and the pursuit of a degree in violin performance at the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, and my friends and I found ourselves in an environment desperately in need of inspiring chamber music-making. After an incredible amount of planning and dedication, Palaver Strings came to be. It has been an absolute joy to see our ensemble grow and the process of learning through music will be one that I will continue to enjoy and love immensely.  


Lysander Jaffe

Co-Artistic Director & Education Coordinator

I’m Lysander, and I play viola with Palaver Strings. I grew up in a musical family in western Massachusetts, majored in Russian at Williams College, and received my classical training from Ahling Neu and Michelle Liechti. Since then, I’ve traveled through the Balkans and Turkey in search of good fiddle music and fish sandwiches, and to Corsica and the Republic of Georgia to study their unique styles of polyphonic singing. Now back in Boston, I perform and teach with Village Harmony/Northern Harmony, Balkan Mind Meld, and the Cherry Street Singers.
As a student of music and languages, I’ve been really lucky to come into contact with many different musical cultures and communities. I keep coming back to Palaver because it embodies the same essential values as the traditional music I love: real give-and-take between “audience” and “performer,” trust in one another and in the current moment, and a sense of community that thrives in and out of the concert hall.


Elizabeth Moore

Co-Artistic Director & Programming Coordinator/Librarian

When I moved to Boston in 2012, I was immediately enveloped by the warm community that Palaver Strings was creating, even in its infancy. This unique group of musicians immediatelymade me feel comfortable in a new city, and has developed into a close-knit family and home away from home. 

Growing up in rural mid-coast Maine, I was lucky to have been surrounded by music at an early age. Whether playing fiddle music, participating in chamber music ensembles through Bay Chamber Concerts, or learning a thing or two about jazz singing at the local coffee shop, I was able to explore so much in a small, yet supportive community. 

I went on to study viola performance with Sheila Browne and Karen Ritscher, graduating from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a bachelor of music, and Boston University College of Fine Arts with a master of music. In addition to my viola studies, I have had the opportunity of completing The Keenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education in New York City, where I worked with Teaching Artists in public schools, and put on a collaborative performance at Lincoln Center Education's Clark Theatre. I am currently teaching, freelancing, getting back to my songwriting roots, and making music with Palaver and our collaborators. Other favorite activities include night swimming, singing every chance I get, and designing my dream cabin in the Maine woods, equipt with stone fireplace and wine cellar.



Nikolai Renedo

Co-Artistic Director & Community Engagement Coordinator

Hi, I’m Nikolai. I hail from the Great State of Maine, where I grew up playing music with fellow Mainahs and Palaverinos Maya and Lizzie. In 2011, I moved to Boston, and this past May I graduated Tufts University with degrees in biology and philosophy. My cello, whose name is Maurice, has faithfully been at my side the whole time, and together we’ve played in a diverse range of ensembles, from orchestras (Bangor Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Chamartín, and as a soloist with the Tufts Symphony Orchestra) to our very favorite, chamber groups. We live for those performances in which we form intimate connections with our fellow musicians and our audience, when we all feel deeply moved by music together. When I’m not hanging out with Maurice, I do biomedical research, developing drugs to combat tuberculosis. I also enjoy juggling, ping pong, chess, Nordic skiing, and thinking about evolutionary theory.


Matthew Smith

Co-Artistic Director & Community Engagement/Development Coordinator

I'm Matt and I'm a cellist who loves making people excited about classical music. Originally from the sun-saturated desert of Arizona, I have always had a strong connection to classical music. However, none of the other members of my family are musicians so making classical music relatable and accessible to new audiences is a huge passion of mine. With Palaver, I help lead our Community Engagement activities including our partnership with the Boston Medical Center and the Boston University Arts Initiative. With BMC and BU, Palaver works to open up classical music to patients, doctors and staff within that community.

Outside of Palaver, I am the Artistic Coordinator for Project STEP and a Teaching Artist for the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program. In the past, I have served as a teaching assistant at The Boston Conservatory where I completed a Masters of Music and frequently visit Beijing, China as a teaching artist at the Verdi Arts School. 



Alex Goodin

Co-Artistic Director & Education Coordinator/Marketeer

If we’re going to be friends, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, I get sarcastic and/or quiet when I’m mad. Secondly, I sometimes continue eating when I’m no longer hungry. Thirdly, I can be insecure when I receive critical feedback - I’m working on it though, I promise!

Hello, my name’s Alex, and I’m an artist. I believe that everyone has the ability and responsibility to create and share “like their hair’s on fire,” (Dr. Suzanne Burton, 2016) with everything they've got. Ideas aren’t created by our instruments or paintbrushes or cameras or college degrees; they’re created in our hearts and then flow out through our hands and bodies.

I love trying to find things that make sense and ring true. I love trying to coax out those ideas through writing, making music, and being quiet. I love pizza. I dream of a world where people are empowered to think and create independently in any medium, and tell their story without embarrassment, stigma, or fear.


Nate Martin

Co-Artistic Director & Development Coordinator

Nate Martin is a bassist, teacher, and curiosity seeker. When he is not acting as Co-Artistic Director of Palaver Strings in Boston, he is a freelancer and faculty at Bay Chamber Music School in Rockport. Early in adulthood he experienced the mystical and humanizing power of large ensembles playing together, and it has been a source of joy and inspiration ever since. He is a graduate of Boston University and New England Conservatory, and alumni of the Institute of Orchestral Studies at the National Arts Center Orchestra in Ottawa. He has continued his education in gardens and wilds of Swanville Maine, and is fascinated to see what comes next.