Board of Directors

To view a brief bio about each board member, please click each person's name.


President - Lori McDermott

President-Elect - Allison Cowan

Immediate Past President - Geoff Herd

Secretary - Margie Way-Kiani

Treasurer - Meghan Berindean

  • Past Presidents

    • Geoff Herd, Knoxville, 2020 - 2022
    • Susan Mullen, Murfreesboro, 2018 - 2020
    • Emily Hannah Crane, Clarksville, 2015 - 2018
    • Wesley Baldwin, Knoxville, 2012 - 2015
    • Dan Allcott, Cookeville, 2010 - 2012
    • Francis Elliott, Cookeville, 2008 - 2010
    • Gary Wilkes, Chattanooga, 2006 - 2008
    • Jenifer Van Tol, Oak Ridge, 2004 - 2006
    • Bill Robinson, Maryville, 2002 - 2004
    • Elisabeth Small, Nashville, 2000 - 2002
    • John Chiego, Memphis, 1998 - 2000
    • Lenny Schranze, Memphis, 1996 - 1998
    • Sara Newman Johnson, Nashville, 1994 - 1996

    We are now maintaining an online archive of past presidents of Tennessee ASTA. If you can help complete the archive, please contact us.

  • Regional Representatives

    West: Lisa Kovach

    Middle: Craig Madole

    East: Wesley Baldwin

We are an organization committed to advocacy for education in the performance of violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, and harp.


Lori McDermott

Lori McDermottLori McDermott is a dedicated strings specialist with a wide array of performing and teaching experience in Georgia, Iowa, and Kansas and in the greater Nashville area. She started her teaching career in Clayton County Schools, Georgia teaching 5th-12th strings. Upon teaching in Georgia for three years, Mrs. McDermott moved to Iowa and worked for Cedar Rapids Schools along with the Cedar Rapids Symphony School, where she began and ran Suzuki elementary strings programs. Prior to moving to Nashville to work at Harpeth Hall, Mrs. McDermott was a conductor with the Olathe Youth Symphony and a Jr. High and Elementary orchestra strings specialist and chaired the KMEA Da Capo Orchestra festival from 2005 to 2007. During her 11-year tenure at The Harpeth Hall School, the Upper School strings program has competed at the state level during concert festivals, developed Music and Culture Class curriculum, and is serving as the Interim Performing Arts Department Chair. She also spearheaded a string festival from 2010-2019 that collaborates with Montgomery Bell Academy. She holds a B.M. in Music Education from the University of Iowa and a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from Emporia State University.



Allison Cowan

Allison CowanAllison Cowan was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee where she discovered her passion for string instruments. As a child, she was consistently awarded top chairs in the Nashville Youth Symphony, the Tennessee All-State Orchestra, and her high school orchestra program. She is also an alumnus of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. After receiving her degree in Music Education from Middle Tennessee State University, Mrs. Cowan began teaching for Williamson County Schools. With Williamson County Schools, Mrs. Cowan founded the Centennial High School Orchestra, the Ravenwood High School Orchestra, and the Woodland Middle School Orchestra. She has remained the Director of Orchestras at Centennial High School since 2012. Her orchestras consistently won superior ratings at regional assessment events through the Middle Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association (MTSBOA) and State Concert Festival through the Tennessee Music Education Association (TMEA). In 2019, the Centennial Orchestra became the first orchestra in Middle Tennessee accepted into the National Orchestra Festival through the American String Teacher’s Association. In 2018, Mrs. Cowan was recognized as one of the 50 Directors Who Make a Difference by School Band and Orchestra Magazine. She has also been featured in publications through the National Association for Music Education and an Alumni Spotlight with Middle Tennessee State University. On top of her work in the public schools, Mrs. Cowan was the music director for the Music City Youth Orchestra from 2018 to 2020. Currently, she is the coordinator for the 9-10 Tennessee Mid-State Orchestra and a conductor with the Ethos Youth Ensembles.


Immediate Past President

Geoff Herd

Geoff HerdViolinist Geoffrey Herd has given performances in the United States, Latin America and Asia, and is frequently sought after as recitalist and chamber musician. Mr. Herd has performed recitals at venues such as the Isabel Stewart Gardner Museum of Art in Boston and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Herd has collaborated with some of the finest musicians of our time including Ani Kavafian, Clive Greensmith, James Dunham and Laurie Smukler. Mr. Herd has also performed concertos with numerous orchestras including the Rochester Philharmonic, the Thailand Philharmonic, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Ithaca College Symphony, the Amherst Symphony, the Finger Lakes Symphony, the University of Tennessee Symphony Orchestra, and the Longmont Symphony.

A strong proponent of new music, Mr. Herd was a founding member of the contemporary music ensemble Vicennium Void. The group was the dedicatee of many works and were Artists-in-Residence at the Thailand International Composition Festival in June 2014 and 2015. Mr. Herd returned to the festival in 2016 as a soloist with the Thailand Philharmonic performing John Corigiliano’s Red Violin Concerto. Additionally, Mr. Herd has given a number of premiers including the NY premier of Pierre Jalbert’s Wild Ambrosia, and world premieres of Daniel Knagg’s Ancient Ruins, and Chris Walczak’s Incorporeal Spaces.

Equally committed to bringing classical music to new audiences, Mr. Herd is the founder and director of the Geneva Music Festival in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Each summer, the Festival presents a three-week long chamber music series, featuring world-renowned artists, as well as donating educational concerts to local school districts.

Mr. Herd joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in August 2016 where he has built a thriving studio, attracting students from around the globe. His students frequently participate in some of the nation’s top music festivals including the Aspen, Brevard, Sarasota, and Wintergreen festivals and are frequent competition winners throughout the country. Mr. Herd studied at Rice University, Yale School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music with Ani Kavafian, Paul Kantor, William Preucil and David Updegraff.



Margie Way-Kiani

Margie Way-KianiMargie Way-Kiani was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee and began studying cello at age nine. As a performer, Margie has played with the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts (2009), the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas (2014), the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Italy and Slovenia (2015), the Lionheart Chamber Orchestra and the Tennessee Philharmonic Orchestra in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (2019 to present).

As a teacher, Margie received a grant to teach at a summer music camp on the island of Curacao (2013), has taught private cello lessons for more than 10 years, and is currently serving as music teacher and Director of Orchestras at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro. Margie received a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music degree from Middle Tennessee State University.



Meghan Berindean

Meghan BerindeanPraised for her glorious tone and dazzling technique, cellist Meghan Berindean has built a reputation as an engaging performer and a sought-after teacher. Berindean has been featured in solo performances with the Northerntier Symphony Orchestra, Austin Peay State University Symphony Orchestra, and Florida State University Symphony Orchestra. For the 2019-2020 performing season, Berindean will appear with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Jacques Ibert’s Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra.

An enthusiastic performer of chamber music, Berindean appears frequently in chamber recitals across Tennessee, as well as in Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri. She was previously a member of the Tallahassee-based Eppes Quartet and the Cleveland-based Judson Quartet, with whom she was the recipient of the Francis E. Sykora Outreach Grant through the Cleveland Institute of Music to present chamber music programs to schools and assisted living facilities throughout the greater Cleveland area. Previously, Berindean was a first-prize winner of the MENC Pennsylvania State Chamber Group Competition as a member of the Valens Piano Quartet.

As an orchestral player, Berindean is currently co-principal cello of the Tennessee-based Gateway Chamber Orchestra. She has served as principal cello of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Northerntier Symphony, and Altoona Symphony, as well as assistant principal of Williamsport Symphony and the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra. She has performed with Charleston Symphony, Mobile Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony, and Tallahassee Symphony. She has performed in masterclasses with Steven Isserlis, Raphael Wallfisch, Colin Carr, Andrés Diaz, Lynn Harrell, and David Finckel. Berindean enjoys spending her summers at Sewanee Summer Music Festival, where she coordinates the string chamber music program and serves on the cello faculty. In the summer of 2019, she joined the faculty of the String Quartet Institute at the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, Michigan.

Berindean completed her doctoral degree in cello performance at Florida State University as a student of Gregory Sauer, writing her dissertation on the cello music of Bohuslav Martinu. She received her Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she was a student of Sharon Robinson. She received her Bachelor of Music degree and a Professional Performance Certificate in cello performance from the Pennsylvania State University as a student of Kim Cook, where she was the recipient of the Eleanor Beene Scholarship Prize. Berindean is Assistant Professor of Music at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.