Mercedes Yvonne Lysaker is a cellist and teacher located in New York City. She holds degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and Columbia University Teachers College in cello performance and music education, and she is a specialist in pre-college string education. After many seasons as an orchestral musician, she currently performs classical fusion as well as metal and alternative, composing and recording from her home studio. Her interests lie in performing classical and pre-existing works in a new way, bringing out different elements that may be overlooked or ignored in conventional presentations. Her original pieces are often highly improvisatory, with elements of Jewish mystical music combined with ethereal and amplified sound-scapes. As a scholar, Mercedes’ research focuses on the relational nature of music and music education, social justice and equity in string education, and designing community-focused, culturally relevant string curricula. She is also active in disability rights advocacy in higher education settings.