Rebecca Minio-Paluello - Musician
Born in Germany, Rebecca started learning the violin in England and then continued to move back and forth between those countries, attending the Royal College of Music Junior Department in London and C.P.E. Bach Gymnasium, a music secondary school in Berlin, after which she moved back to the U.K., studying with Nick Miller, then Krysia Osostowicz and David Takeno while at Cambridge University, before moving back again to Germany to study with Helge Slaatto in Münster. Then at short notice, she broke the pattern and moved to Bethlehem, Palestine, teaching at the Edward Said Conservatory of Music for three years.
Now she's back in the U.K., but new to Scotland, and curious to get to know Dundee! As a passionate music educator, Rebecca is committed to teasing out potential and sharing the transformative experience of music-making. She has recently been a Teaching Artist with the New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers project in Palestine, was a MusAid Fellow at the El Sistema programme in El Salvador, and is currently completing a Colourstrings Certification.
Ulla-Riikka Kuisma - Musician
Ulla-Riikka started playing cello at age of five. Her dream profession as a child was to become a cello teacher and as a teenager, her passion for music grew stronger and she started seriously considering a career as a professional musician.
Ulla-Riikka studied in University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä, Finland graduating in Music Pedagogy in 2008. Part of her studies was an Erasmus exchange year in Liszt Academy, Hungary as well as a two months internship as tutti cello player in Cape Philharmonic orchestra, South Africa. Ulla-Riikka continued her studies in Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduating with MMus degree 2009. She carried on instrumental studies two more years in Tampere, Finland with Soloistic Specialisation Studies 1 and 2, 2009-2011.
Ulla-Riikka has been working as a cello teacher and musician since 2010 in varied music schools and community colleges in Tampere and surrounding areas and since 2017 with Big Noise Torry. Ulla-Riikka is interested in different teaching methods and has herself specialised in the Suzuki method.
In her free time she enjoys singing, music-making and reading, as well as learning and speaking different languages.
Jonathan Daly - Lower Strings
Born and raised in the USA, Jonathan first started playing the cello at age 10. Soon after, he started playing the violin and viola in the school orchestra and he continued playing all three instruments throughout high school. Jon earned a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Masters in Cello Performance from Illinois State University.
Jonathan has been a junior high school orchestra director at a low-income school in the US, an adjunct cello instructor at the Illinois Wesleyan Preparatory Department, and on the board of Ameropa International Music Festival in Prague. He has played in numerous orchestras abroad, including the Filmova Filharmonic, NeoKlasik Orchestr, and Praha Klassika.
Jon has always been passionate about finding connections between music and culture. This is why he has spent time living and working in Prague, Czech Republic, Taipei, Taiwan, and Medellin, Colombia. While in Colombia, he was amazed by the music program Red de Músicas de Medellín, a project that contributes to the strengthening of civic culture through the musical training of children. This is one of many reasons why he was excited to join the team at Big Noise Wester Hailes in 2023, to use music as a tool to build a sense of community and to work towards social change.
Joe Donmall - Lower Strings
Joe grew up in Manchester and began learning the cello and piano at primary school. Cello playing has taken him all over the world – from rain-soaked campsites in Scotland, to temples high in the mountains of southern Brazil, to pubs in Beijing. Joe really enjoys playing in orchestras and works as a freelancer across the UK, most recently with the Halle Orchestra, Welsh NationalOpera and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Joe joined Sistema Scotland in 2018 and after teaching lower strings at Big Noise Torry (Aberdeen) and Big Noise Douglas (Dundee), he is really happy to have joined the Wester Hailes team! He loves encouraging young people to have fun making music together and exploring different sounds and styles. When he is not playing his cello, you’llprobably find him climbing mountains, cooking curries or nervously watching Arsenal FC from behind the sofa.