Peter Bay, Music Director, Conductor
Peter Bay is celebrating his 16th full season as Music Director and Conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. He is also Music Director of the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas, and Conductor of the Big Sky Festival Orchestra in Montana.
Maestro Bay has appeared with seventy different orchestras including the National, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia, West Virginia, Colorado, Hawaii, Jacksonville, Richmond, Sarasota, Alabama, Arkansas, Canton, Eugene, Fort Worth, Springfield, Bochum (Germany), Carinthian (Austria), Lithuanian National, and Ecuador National Symphonies, the Minnesota and Algarve (Portugal) Orchestras, the Louisiana, Buffalo, Rhode Island, Tulsa, Fort Wayne and Reno Philharmonics, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Eastman (Argento’s Postcard from Morocco) and Aspen (Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe) Opera Theaters, and the Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center. Summer music festival appearances have included Aspen (CO), Music in the Mountains (CO), Grant Park and Ravinia (IL), Round Top (TX), OK Mozart (OK) and Skaneateles (NY).
Peter is the primary conductor for the ASO’s performances with Ballet Austin. He made his Austin Lyric Opera debut in January 2002 with André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, conducted Verdi’s La Traviata in November 2002, Puccini’s Turandot in November 2003, and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in April 2005.
Other positions held by Mr. Bay have included Music Director of the Erie Philharmonic, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival (CO), Britt Festival Orchestra (OR), and four different conducting posts with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and the Richmond Symphony in Virginia. Bay and the Austin Symphony Orchestra have recorded music of Edward Burlingame Hill for release in late fall 2014, and with the Richmond Symphony he recorded the US premiere performance of Britten’s The Sword in the Stone for Opus One Records. His CD, Voices, featuring the percussion ensemble NEXUS and the Rochester Philharmonic, is on the Nexus CD label.
A native of Washington, DC, Mr. Bay is a graduate of the University of Maryland and the Peabody Institute of Music. In 1994, he was one of two conductors selected to participate in the Leonard Bernstein American Conductors Program. He was also the first prize winner of the 1980 Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Young Conductors Competition and a prize winner of the 1987 Leopold Stokowski Competition sponsored by the American Symphony Orchestra in New York. In July 2012 he appeared in Solo Symphony, a choreographic work created for him by Allison Orr of Forklift Danceworks.
Peter is married to soprano Mela Sarajane Dailey and they have a son, Colin.
Jessica Mathaes, Concertmaster, violin
Hailed as “something to behold” by the Village Voice, award-winning violinist Jessica Mathaes enjoys a multifaceted career as a soloist, recording artist, educator and concertmaster of the Austin Symphony. Ms. Mathaes has appeared as a soloist with orchestras throughout the United States, and has toured Europe several times. Her debut CD, Suites and Sweets, was released on the Centaur label in 2009 to critical acclaim in Fanfare, Audiophile Audition, and MusicWeb International (UK) among others. She also appears regularly in recital across the country, and her interpretation of Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing was featured in 2010 on Performance Today in a segment highlighting music based on the works of William Shakespeare.
Ms. Mathaes was appointed concertmaster of the Austin Symphony in 2005, becoming the youngest person to occupy the chair and the first woman concertmaster in the symphony’s 100-year history. The Austin Chronicle selected her debut as featured soloist with the orchestra as one of the “Top 10 classical music wonders of 2007,” declaring her “a master of the Khachaturian Violin Concerto.” A champion of new music, she has premiered works of numerous composers such as Pierre Jalbert, Paul Reale, Andrew McKenna Lee, and the thrice Pulitzer-nominated composer and Austin Symphony bassist P. Kellach Waddle. In 2010 Ms. Mathaes was invited to perform a solo recital in New York City featuring multiple world premieres written for her by composers of the Random Access Music Composer’s Collective.
Ms. Mathaes has conducted master classes at universities across the United States, and has served on the faculty of the Hot Springs Music Festival and the International Festival-Institute at Round Top. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, she made her orchestral solo debut at age 16, performing Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto No. 3. Ms. Mathaes holds performance degrees from Rice University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and performs on a violin crafted in 1807 by Johannes Cuypers, who is known as the Dutch Stradivarius. For more information, please visit http://www.jessicamathaes.com.
Brenda Sansig-Salas, trombone
With much encouragement from her junior high band director and algebra teacher, Brenda Sansig-Salas started taking trombone seriously at age twelve. By the time she was just fourteen, she was already playing professionally in Southwestern Pennsylvania as a freelance musician. As a senior in high school, she attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts.
Upon graduation from high school, Ms. Sansig-Salas enlisted in the United States Army Band. She was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Fort Clayton, Panama. While in the service, she performed for such dignitaries as Ronald Reagan and Colin Powell among others.
After receiving her honorable discharge, she attended the University of Texas at Austin earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. While at UT, her primary teachers were Donald Knaub, Allen Barnhill, and Wayne Barrington.
While living in Austin, Brenda has become very busy freelancing in the area. She plays principal trombone in the Austin Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra, and the San Antonio Opera Orchestra. She had performed with the Mid-Texas Symphony for a number of years. She had also been a regular member of the Victoria Symphony, and has appeared with the Houston Symphony and the San Antonio Symphony on numerous occasions, as well as local back-up bands.
Generally during the week it is business as usual, serving on the faculty of Texas Lutheran University where she teaches low brass lessons and masterclasses. In addition to her university duties, she participates in the private lesson program at Austin High Schools.
Steve Bryant, tuba
Steven Bryant, Associate Professor of Tuba/Euphonium at the University of Texas at Austin, also serves as Principal Tubist with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra. He was a founding member of the University’s Faculty Brass Quintet, the UT Brass, and the Texas Tuba Quartet. He served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the School of Music and as Treasurer for the International Tuba/Euphonium Association (formerly TUBA) for six years. Mr. Bryant is the Associate Director for Administrative Affairs for the Butler School of Music.
Professor Bryant received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Theory from The Ohio State University, a Master of Music in Tuba Performance from Wichita State University, and continued his graduate work at The University of Iowa. In 1986 he hosted an International Tuba Euphonium Conference, sponsored by UT-Austin and the Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association. He organizes and hosts the annual Merry Tuba Christmas Austin celebration.
Jack Laumer, trumpet
Professor of Trumpet since 1977 at Texas State University, Mr. Laumer has performed and taught master classes in Russia, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Norway, Denmark and Brazil. Since 1977 he has played in the Austin Symphony where he is currently associate principal trumpet. He has also performed with the Austin Lyric Opera orchestra. Since 1999, Laumer has been performing on baroque trumpet with the Texas Early Music Project, the Texas Bach Choir, the Southwest Baroque Ensemble and the University of Texas Early Music Ensemble. He has studied baroque trumpet with Leonard Candelaria, Edward Tarr and Niklas Eklund. Laumer completed an undergraduate degree in music education at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where he was a finalist in the young artist’s competition of the Minnesota Orchestra. He received a Master of Music degree at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. While in New York, he played co-principal in the National Orchestral Association Orchestra, National Orchestral Association Brass Quintet, and was first trumpet and soloist with the Goldman Band. He studied trumpet with Ron Hasselmann of the Minnesota Orchestra, Cecil Collins of the Manhattan School of Music, and William Vacchiano of the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Laumer also taught and conducted classes at Music and Art High School and Performing Arts High School in New York. After conducting band, orchestra, and jazz band at Manchester College in Indiana for four years, and playing with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Laumer arrived in Texas in 1977. In 1978, Mr. Laumer established the Texas State University Trumpet Ensemble. He has rehearsed and conducted the ensemble for eight International Trumpet Guild conferences.
Leah Zeger, violin
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, violinist and vocalist Leah Zeger comes from a family of classical musicians. Having played the violin since the age of six, she has won numerous awards and soloed with orchestras in and around Texas. At 15, she made her solo debut playing the first movement of the Wiieniawski Violin Concerto with the Clear Lake Symphony Orchestra. That same year, Zeger began studying voice with leading American mezzo-soprano, stage director, and professor, Katherine Ciesinski. Zeger attended the High School for Performing and Visual Arts from 1999-2001, and was the concert-master of the Lamar High School Orchestra from 2001-02 with which she performed the Bach Double at Carnegie Hall that spring. In 2002, Leah won a scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Austin. She has a a Bachelor of Arts in Opera Performance from the University of Texas. At 19 years of age, whilst studying voice and jazz improvisation, she won a tenured position in the 1st violin section of the Austin Symphony Orchestra becoming the youngest member on staff.
Leah’s eclectic range on the violin covers many musical styles including bluegrass, flamenco, jazz, and blues. She demonstrates tremendous versatility outside of classical music with numerous groups. From 2006-07, she performed as the lead singer/violinist/dancer with the international world-touring fiddle concert sensation Barrage across Europe, Asia, and North America.
Leah joined blues guitarist Aaron Loesch at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Blues Festival in Chicago in July 2007 alongside prominent artists such as Alison Krauss, John Mayer and B.B. King. She worked with Loesch on his new studio album of classically-infused blues originals with Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam) heading the project. Zeger has performed with Will Taylor of Will Taylor and Strings Attached, former member of Turtle Island String Quartet, and appears as a guest vocalist/violinist with the Austin Pops Orchestra . She has worked with the likes of Indie Rock band, Voxtrot and Austin’s own Bob Schneider. She recently recorded with the Americana group, Aaron and the Polynomials and sings/plays for Austin group, Leah and the Moonlighters (leahandthemoonlighters.com)
While in the Austin Symphony, Zeger has played with soloists including Pinchas Zukerman, Leila Josefowitz, Yo Yo Ma, Elvis Costello, and bands such as Air Supply, Pink Martini, Asleep at the Wheel, The 4 Tops, the Big Bad Voodoo Daddies, and Charlie Daniels, with whom she was selected to duel on the tune Devil Went Down to Georgia.
Zeger performed and recorded a concerto composed by Austin film composer, Graham Reynolds under Gabriel Prokofiev’s record label, NonClassical. She has performed in numerous SXSW showcases and recently performed with Pearl Jam on their live filming of Austin City Limits. Her international touring band “The Hudsons” won Best Folk Band of 2009 in the Austin Chronicle Awards.
Leah recently opened for American Idol finalist, Jason Castro, at an event in Austin. She has also toured with the Trans-siberian Orchestra on their Texas tour and performs at various corporate events in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Zeger currently resides in Austin and Los Angeles.
Stephen Girko, clarinet
Presently principal clarinetist with the Austin Symphony, Stephen Girko was appointed as principal clarinetist with the San Antonio Symphony for the 1999-2000 season. Prior to that, he was the principal clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1975 through 1998. He made his debut appearance with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra by performing the Clarinet Concerto of Aaron Copland, with the composer conducting. Since then Mr. Girko has appeared as soloist performing the concertos of Mozart, Nielsen, & Weber, as well as the Introduction, Theme & Variations of Rossini & the Premiere Rhapsodie of Debussy.
Stephen Girko was born in New York City. He attended the State University College of New York at Potsdam, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in music education in 1965. The following year, he received his Master of Music degree in performance from The Manhattan School of Music. After a year of teaching, Mr. Girko fulfilled his military obligation by performing with the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, N.Y. While at West Point, he also played principal clarinet with both the Albany Symphony Orchestra and the Hudson Valley Philharmonic Orchestra. Upon leaving the military, Stephen was appointed principal clarinetist with the Oklahoma City Symphony, a position he held for four years. He subsequently served as associate principal clarinetist with the Houston Symphony Orchestra for a year before coming to Dallas.
Mr. Girko has also enjoyed an active career as a teacher, having taught at Oklahoma University for four years as well as Southern Methodist University for 18 years. His students are represented in orchestras and colleges throughout the United States. Mr. Girko is a frequent soloist and clinician at various clarinet symposia, as well as having been a member of Music in the Mountains, a summer chamber orchestra festival held in southwestern Colorado and The Carmel Bach Festival.
Mr. Girko is presently on the faculty of San Antonio College, Our Lady of the Lake University, The University Of The Incarnate Word and Saint Mary’s University as well as teaching clarinet in the San Antonio public schools.
Mr. Girko, a skilled cook, owns and operates a small catering company called “Eat My Pizza!” Steve takes to his client’s home the ingredients with which to make New York style pizzas as well as an incredibly delicious salad. After the guests have observed his culinary skills and have filled themselves with the fruits of his labor, he will then entertain them by performing both classical and popular music on his clarinet.
Paula Bird, violin
Paula E. Bird, an accomplished violinist and pianist, received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, her M.M. from Texas State University, and is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio. She also studied music performance (violin and piano) at Temple University in Philadelphia with Helen Kwalwasser and Marian Filar, where Bird received the Dean’s Outstanding Achievement Award. A former member of the San Antonio Symphony and the Austin Lyric Opera, Bird has been a member of numerous professional symphony orchestras in Pennsylvania and Texas, including the Harrisburg, Waco, Victoria, and Corpus Christi Symphonies. Bird has also played with the Winters Chamber Orchestra (Soloist and Assistant Concertmaster) and the Laredo Philharmonic. Bird has performed in numerous master classes as a violinist and pianist with Jaime Laredo, Elmar Oliveira, Leonard Rosen, Franco Gulli, and Eugene Fodor. Bird currently plays first violin with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and serves as Associate Concertmaster and Master Class Clinician with the Sunriver Music Festival in Oregon. She is also a principal player, soloist, and chamber player with the Conspirare Choir and the Victoria Bach Festival under the direction of Craig Hella Johnson. Paula currently teaches theory, chamber music, private violin lessons, Mariachi violin sectionals, and String Techniques classes at Texas State University. She is also a certified teacher of Dr. Suzuki’s Talent Education Method and maintains an extensive private studio in Wimberley, TX. In addition to her responsibilities with Texas State University, including the University Summer Strings Camp, Bird is a faculty member of the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio summer camp and was the Director of the former Texas State University Suzuki String Institute. As a pianist, Bird has accompanied recitalists at UTSA and SAC in San Antonio, Indiana University, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Texas Lutheran College. Bird was also the accompanist for the San Antonio Symphony’s Operation Opera and for Richard Stoltzman (clarinet) in school concerts for the Austin Symphony.
Paula also has a passion for mini long-haired dachshunds and breeds them. See her website http://dachshundmini.com
Joan Ely Carlson, violin
Joan Ely Carlson is a tenured violinist in the Austin Symphony Orchestra and also a member of the Victoria Bach Festival Orchestra. She performs on baroque violin regularly with La Follia Austin Baroque and has performed with the Texas Early Music Project and as part of the St. Cecilia Series’ Baroque Festival at First Presbyterian Church in Austin. Also a singer, she has been a member of Conspirare since 1998 and sings in the Compline Choir of St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin, often serving as cantor for the short, meditative service of ancient evening prayer. In the civilian world, Joan is a recovering lawyer and a Crossfitter who can deadlift her body weight and then some. This keeps her in shape for doing her main thing: joyfully doing the bidding of her two daughters: Clara, four, and Emma, seven.
Richard Kilmer, violin
Richard Kilmer began playing the violin at the age of four in Tulsa, Oklahoma and quickly became an accomplished young violinist under the early tutelage of Mazie Kilmer, Richard’s mother and first violin teacher. Richard performed on many recitals as a young man in Tulsa and decided to attend the Eastman School of Music where he was Concertmaster during an historic University Orchestra tour to the USSR in 1960. After achieving the Artist Diploma from Eastman, he moved overseas to study with Authur Grumiaux at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, and with Szymon Goldberg in Amsterdam where he performed in the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Richard lived in Amsterdam for fifteen years as a member of the famed Amati Quartet and the Mendelssohn Trio, performing worldwide with these ensembles. In addition, he has appeared as soloist with the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Michoacan (Mexico) and with the Sinfonica Nacional de El Salvador. He is currently Principal Second Violin with the Austin Symphony and maintains a busy teaching schedule of private violin students and chamber music ensembles.
Bruce Williams, viola
Bruce Williams began his professional career at age sixteen and three years later won a position with the Fort Worth Symphony. Four years later, he traveled to Israel to become principal violist in the Haifa Symphony and a member of the Haifa Clarinet Trio, performing all over Israel and Europe. Upon returning to the United States, he became a member of The Orchestra of Santa Fe as assistant principal. During that time, he was in great demand as a free-lance player as well, traveling all over Texas performing with various musical organizations. Currently Bruce is the principal violist in The Victoria Bach Festival and The Austin Symphony and in 2003, won The Austin Critics’ Table award for Outstanding Instrumentalist for his performance with the ASO of “Harold in Italy” by Hector Berlioz. He is also a member of the Allegro Chamber Trio with Flutist Megan Meisenbach and harpist Mary Golden. This group has been touring the United States for years and has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” and recorded on Centaur records as The Meisenbach / Golden Duo. Bruce also recently finished a recording project on the Harmonia Mundi label with the twice Grammy Award nominated Choral group Conspirare conducted by Craig Hella Johnson and featuring the music of the popular young British composer Tarik O’Regan.
Douglas Harvey, cello
Douglas Harvey performed his first concert as a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra at the age of seventeen. At the age of eighteen, he won an audition to become the Orchestra’s Acting Principal cellist and performed his first concert in that position shortly after. In 2002 the position became his, following a national audition, thus making him the youngest Principal Cellist in the almost 100 year history of the Orchestra. In 2003 Harvey shared the stage as soloist with celebrated news anchor Hugh Downs, Peter Bay, and the Austin Symphony, in a performance of Dan Welcher’s massive oratorio, “JFK: The Voice of Peace,” for solo cello, narrator, symphony orchestra, and choir. The Austin-American Statesman said, “ASO principal cellist Douglas Harvey, in his first solo appearance with the orchestra, provided a strong and expressive musical representation of JFK, choosing to emphasize the more inward, sensitive aspects of the man.” The success of his performances led to the presentation of a J.B. Vuillaume cello, the JFK Award, presented by the Amatius Foundation, and the world premieres of two additional works, one of which written for him by the composer (Welcher), in New York’s Steinway Hall.
Harvey began playing the cello at the age of 9 in the fourth grade public school program in San Antonio, Texas. Two years later he began private study with Mrs. Annette DiGiosia, cellist with the San Antonio Symphony, and over the next several years he won numerous first place awards in every local competition that he entered. He began further study at age thirteen with Emeritus Professor Paul Olefsky of the University of Texas at Austin.
Douglas performed his first concerto as solo cellist with the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio at the age of 13, and made his debut as soloist with the San Antonio Symphony at the age of 15. At the age of 15, he began study of the Kodaly Sonata for Solo Cello Op. 8, which he has performed at two World Cello Congress events in College Park, Maryland. At age 16 he was the youngest cellist in history to be invited by the University of Texas at Austin to perform a full recital on its campus. He won first place awards in the 2000 William C. Byrd International Competition, the Idyllwild International Young Artists Competition, and the Corpus Christi International Competition, as well as two first place solo Bach prizes awarded at the Corpus Christi and Kingsville International Competitions.
Since then, Mr. Harvey has performed almost 20 different works for cello and orchestra including works by: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Boccherini, Dvorak, Elgar, Faure, Haydn, Lalo, Saint-Saens, Schumann, Vivaldi, and others. In 2007, Douglas gave the Texas premiere of the Concertino for Cello and String Orchestra by Irving Schlein in the presence of the composer’s son, the late Dr. Peter Schlein, with conductor Anthony Corrora and the Austin Symphony during the Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park series. Last summer he performed the Brahms Double Concerto in Bear Valley, California, with violinist Larry Shapiro, and conductor Carter Nice.
He has given performances for St. Austin’s Catholic Church, the Austin Chamber Music Center, the Amatius Chamber Music Series at the Dell Jewish Community Center, Austin’s Classical Guitar Society, Into the Light Live, the University of Texas at Austin Jessen Series, the UT PAC at Bates, Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas State University in San Marcos, and performs regularly with the Chamber Soloists of Austin, and in intimate chamber music concerts with the Salon Concert Series. Harvey has also been the Principal Cellist of the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra since 2005.
Douglas Harvey, as a member of the Tosca Strings, has twice toured through America and abroad with David Byrne of Talking Heads fame. Live broadcasts from the tours have included, David Letterman (CBS), On the Record with Bob Costas (HBO), Later with Jools Holland, London BBC, and Live at the Union Chapel, London BBC DVD. The tour featured performances at Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Concertgebouw, Royal Festival Hall, The Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Hollywood Bowl and many others and was named in the top-ten of live touring shows by Rolling Stones Magazine, and the number one live show from the Dallas Morning News. Harvey has also recorded and worked locally with Ray Benson (Beyond Time), David Byrne (Grown Backwards), Matt Morris and Justin Timberlake (When Everything Breaks Open), Andrew Heller (Christmas Wonder, Places), Disney’s (Merry Little Christmas), and others.
Douglas plays on the Grand Prize winning “Emperor” cello made c. 1860 in Paris by Gand Freres, commissioned by the Emperor Napoleon III.
Elaine Barber, harp
Elaine Barber began playing the harp at the age of ten, and began playing professionally in her native Mississippi four years later. She earned her master’s degree at the Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, studying with Beatrice Rose. Ms. Barber is Principal Harpist for Austin Symphony and Austin Lyric Opera. She has been a featured soloist at the American Harp Society National Conference, and with Austin Symphony, Mississippi Symphony, Shepherd Symphony, and Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra. As an orchestral musician she has performed with Spoleto USA, San Antonio Symphony, Houston Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Alabama Symphony, Mississippi Symphony and Mississippi Opera. She has performed with Ray Charles and Pavorotti, for the King of Norway and the Governor of Mississippi, on movie and video game soundtracks and children’s TV shows. She plays with central Texas chamber music groups such as Cactus Pear Music Festival, Chamber Soloists of Austin, Musical Bridges Around the World, Musical Offerings, Salon Concerts, Texas Early Music Project, Victoria Bach Festival and Viola By Choice. She has recorded for the Naxos, Nonesuch and Matador labels, and has premiered solo and chamber works by Gordon Jones, James Sclater, Peter Stopschinski, and P. Kellach Waddle. Ms. Barber maintains a private teaching studio in Austin and has been on the faculty of Austin Chamber Music Center, Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Abilene Summer Music Festival, University of Texas Harp Camp, and Mississippi College. She has two nicely grown children and a sweet old dog.
Colleen McCullough, violin
A native of Kansas, violinist Colleen McCullough has established herself as a gifted young artist in many arenas of the violin world. Ms. McCullough has performed for important dignitaries, including President George W. Bush at the Hall’s mansion in Kansas City and the Bob Bullock museum in Austin, as well as for Secretary of State Madeline Albright at the Truman Library in Missouri. As an orchestral soloist, Ms. McCullough has performed Vieuxtemps’ Concerto No. 4 with the Wichita State University Symphony Orchestra. She was also a featured soloist at the Kansas Music Educators Association Convention in January 2007. As winner of the UTSO String Concerto Competition in 2008, Colleen performed Mozart’s Concerto No. 4 with the UT Symphony at University of Texas, and the Meyerson Center in Dallas, TX.
Active also as a chamber musician, Ms. McCullough was invited to perform the Shostakovich Octet in concert with the Miro Quartet in September 2006. Other chamber music performances include Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale with The University of Texas New Music Ensemble, and Vivaldi’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe KV548 with the Breckenridge Music Festival. One of Colleen’s greatest honors was being chosen to perform the inaugural recital of the Green Recital Series at the Carnegie Cultural Center in Ottawa, KS in 2007.
An experienced orchestral musician, Colleen was the youngest member of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra at the age of 18. She currently holds positions in the first violin sections of the Austin Symphony, Waco Symphony, and Breckenridge Music Festival orchestras. Ms. McCullough has served as concertmaster for the University of Texas Symphony and Opera Orchestras, the Blanton Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Symphony Orchestra at the New England Conservatory of Music. In addition to performing frequently, Colleen teaches privately, and is the professor of violin at Austin Community College.
Ms. McCullough began her violin studies at age two under the direction of Alice Joy Lewis. Ms. McCullough received an undergraduate degree in violin performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA, where she completed her studies with Eric Rosenblith. She received her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in violin performance from The University of Texas at Austin under the tutelage of Brian Lewis.
Joseph Smith, violin
Joseph Daniel Smith is originally from Charlotte, NC; moving to Austin in 2003. Although he started on piano at the age of 6, Joseph switched to violin at 10 and quickly fell in love with the instrument. He began his studies with Wolfgang Roth and Ernest Pereira of the Charlotte Symphony, and served as concertmaster of the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra and North Carolina All-State Orchestra before moving to Texas.
Joseph moved to Austin to attend the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance in 2007 studying with Vincent Frittelli. Joseph is a member of both the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra the Austin Symphony Orchestra and can be seen throughout the Austin area playing chamber music with both Salon Concerts, Inc. and the Austin Chamber Music Center. He recently sat as Assistant Concertmaster with Golden Hornet Project’s performance of Graham Reynold’s Symphony VI, which won an Austin Critic’s Table Award for Best Symphonic Performance. Joseph is also on faculty at the Austin Chamber Music Center, participating in school outreach concerts and in-school chamber music programs. An avid teacher, Joseph maintains a private violin studio of several students.
He has participated in several major music festivals including Eastern Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, the International Festival-Institute at Roundtop, and also served as Principal Second and concert soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra. He has also performed with both the Charlotte Symphony and the New World Symphony.
When not playing the violin, Joseph likes spending time at his church and enjoying fine wines. Passionate about health, Joseph is very active and regularly practices ashtanga yoga and attends Body Pump. Joseph is a firm believer that creating a healthy body, both mentally and spiritually, is necessary to be a healthy musician.
Robin Burwell, violin
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Ms. Burwell began her violin studies at the age of 10. She attended the University of Toledo and graduated with a degree in Music Performance at Toledo University. While attending the university, Ms. Burwell was the featured soloist with the university orchestra performing, Havanese by C. Saint Saens. Her musical development has been influence by studying with the concertmaster of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Symphony, private instructors, the late Betty Foster and the late Lorene Gunderson. Ms. Burwell continued her studies at Penn State University and performed with the graduate chamber orchestra which toured in Poland. Ms. Burwell returned to Ohio and was the concertmaster of the Lima Symphony Orchestra and a violinist with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra for 4 years.
Upon moving to San Antonio, Texas in 1983, Ms. Burwell taught orchestra in the Alamo Heights School District, and the San Antonio Independent School District along with performing with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. In 1987, Ms. Burwell moved to Austin where she excelled as an orchestra teacher in the Austin Independent School District. Ms. Burwell holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Administration from Texas State University. Currently, Ms. Burwell is a 8th grade assistant principal at Running Brushy Middle School in Leander Independent School District. In prior years she was an elementary assistant principal in Pflugerville Independent School District for thirteen years. Ms. Burwell has also taught third and fifth grade at Sims Elementary School in Austin Independent School District.
Pflugerville ISD has benefited from Ms. Burwell’s skill as a musician. In 2000 a district youth orchestra was formed under her leadership. The youth orchestra was such an early success that the orchestra received a resolution from State Representative Jack Stick for their orchestral accomplishments at their first competition. As a result of Ms. Burwell efforts of establishing an orchestra program in PISD she received the Administrator’s Excellence Award from the Texas Chapter of the American String Teachers Association at the 2009 Texas Music Educators Convention held in San Antonio, Texas. This award is given to an administrator who has made a significant contribution to a school orchestra program either by imitating a string program or expanding an existing string orchestra program.
Ms. Burwell continues to perform extensively with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Due to her dedication in motivating and inspiring students to excel in music, Ms. Burwell performs with the Austin Symphony Orchestra each spring for high schools along with the young peoples concerts held in the Austin area.
In the spring of 2010, Ms. Burwell was honored with the Connie Yerwood-Conner African American Women’s Profile of Prominence award in the area of Arts/Music. This award is given to outstanding African American women in the Austin Metroplex area.
Ms.Burwell professional affiliations include the Texas Secondary Principals and Superviosrs Association, American String Teachers Organization, TexASTA, The Women’s Symphony League of Austin, and has recently joined the Texas Music Administrators Conference along with serving on the Austin Chamber Music Board. Ms. Burwell is the proud mother of a 26- year old daughter who is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and a graduate from Connally High School in PISD. Like her mother, she has followed the path of fine arts in the area of film and music in California.
In 1987 Mand taught orchestra for Austin Independent School District for 6 years. In 1993 Ms. Burwell taught third and fifth grade at Sims Elementary School in AISD. She also holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Administration from Texas State University. Ms. Burwell is presently an assistant principal in the Pflugerville Independent School District for the past twelve years where the PISD Youth Orchestra was formed under her leadership. One of the most distinct honors the youth orchestra received was a resolution from State Representative Jack Stick for the orchestra accomplishments at their first competition. Ms. Burwell continues to perform extensively with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and takes the time to perform with the symphony for High School concerts along with young peoples concerts held each spring. Ms. Burwell professional affiliations include the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association, American String Teachers Organization, TexASTA, The Women’s Symphony League of Austin, and has recently joined the Texas Music Administrators Conference. Ms. Burwell is the mother of a 24 –year old daughter who graduated from Connally High School in PISD and is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin.
Jeffrey Wang, cello
Cellist Jeffrey C. Wang is recognized for his sensible interpretation and harmonious musicianship. In a concert career spanning twenty years, he is equally at home with orchestra, in recital, playing chamber music, as in a teaching studio.
Since his debut performance of the Haydn C major Cello Concerto with the North America Elite Youth Orchestra in 2000, he has toured throughout the globe as a performer and educator. Wang has appeared as a recitalist on the Seattle Chamber Music Festival’s Emerging Artist concert. As a grand prize winner of the Seattle Ladies Musical Club competition, he was invited to give concert lectures in more than 15 cities. His honors include 2-time Seattle Symphony Gold Medalist Award, Concerto soloist and Presidential Scholarship recipient and Dean’s List at the University of Washington and University of Texas at Austin School of Music, a prize winner of Chamber Music International, Sorantin, Alexander & Buono International String Competition, amongst others. He is named an Honorary Citizen of Taiwan and Richardson, Texas.
Wang has been a featured artist with the American Repertory Ensemble, Craig Hella Johnson & Company of Voices, Shoreline Arts Festival, The Sound of Pride Austin, and Viola By Choice. He has premiered and recorded works by composer Stephen Louis Bayne. His collaboration disc with cellist Jou-An Hou on Graziani’s cello works can be found on the Naxos label. Beyond Classical, he has performed with touring groups such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and hip hop star P. Diddy. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts both locally and abroad.
Born in Taiwan, he started his basic keyboard music fundamental skills with the Yamaha Music Foundation at age 6. In a fateful encounter with the cello in his school Chinese Music Ensemble, followed by his family’s move to the U.S., he started his first formal cello lesson in Seattle when he was 12 years old. He went on to study with Toby Saks at the University of Washington, and Bion Tsang at the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed his graduate work. He has also studied extensively with Raymond Davis and has participated in master classes with Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, Lynn Harrel, Pieter Wispelwey, Nathaniel Rosen, Matt Haimovitz, Amit Peled, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Pamela Frame, Norman Fischer, Tanya Tomkin, Eric Wilson, Cordelia Miedel, John Michel, David Tonkonogui, Amos Yang, the Guarneri and Miro String Quartets.
He has been a member of the Austin Symphony since 2004. He has served on the faculty of Austin Lyric Opera’s Armstrong Music School, UT String Project, and Austin Chamber Music Center. He currently teaches at Austin Waldorf School, Blackerby Violin Studio, and privately. He also devotes his time to Austin Symphony’s Building Blocks and Music on the Move educational programs throughout the Austin area schools.
Rachel Lopez, flute
Rachel Lopez has played with the Austin Symphony since 2006. Originally from Houston, TX, she started playing the flute at age 11. She received a Bachelor of Music in flute performance from the University of Houston, Master of Music from the University of North Texas, and an Orchestral Studies Diploma from Roosevelt University in Chicago. Her teachers include Claire Johnson, Catherine LeGrand, Terri Sundberg, Leslie Fagan, Jean Berkenstock, and Donald Peck. Honors include prize winner for the National Flute Association Orchestral Audition Competition, Mid-South Flute Society Young Artist Competition, and finalist for the Myrna Brown Artist Competition. She was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, has performed with the San Antonio Symphony & the Dubuque Symphony, and also plays piccolo/3rd flute with the Ann Arbor Symphony in Michigan. In the summers, she has performed with the Texas Music Festival, Henry Mancini Institute (CA), International Festival-Institute at Round-Top (Texas), & the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. She enjoys private teaching & currently has many talented students in the Austin area. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her pets, listening to 80s & 90s alternative-rock/dance music, playing guitar & bass guitar, writing rock music, singing karaoke, & doing pilates/yoga.
Stefan Sanders, assistant conductor
Stefan Sanders left his hometown of Austin, TX to study at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Juilliard School of Music. In 1999, at the age of 22, he was appointed bass trombonist of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held for 7 seasons before joining the conducting staff of the Buffalo Philharmonic for 2 more seasons.
Since returning to Texas in 2008, Mr. Sanders has been the music director of the Kingsville Symphony Orchestra and is currently an assistant conductor for the Austin Symphony Orchestra. His current music directorship with the University Orchestra at the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music, gives him the incredible opportunity to teach and make music with young musicians. He has also conducted performances for the University of Texas’ Butler Opera Center. His primary conducting mentors have been Gerhardt Zimmermann, Peter Bay, JoAnn Falletta, and Gerard Schwartz. He has also studied with pedagogues Gustav Meier, Larry Rachleff, and Jorma Panula at various international conducting workshops.
As an orchestral musician, Mr. Sanders has performed with several orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Opera’s 2001 production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and the Florida Orchestra. Mr. Sanders was also invited by Sir Elton John to play in the orchestra for his Radio City Music Hall concerts that were aired on the Bravo Network in 2004. He has also collaborated with such notable living composers as John Corigliano, Samuel Adler, Eric Whitacre, Eric Ewazen, and Dave Brubeck.
Mr. Sanders lives in Austin, TX with his wife, harpist Kela Walton, and their dog Siesta.
Rebecca Powell Garfield, principal flute
Rebecca Powell Garfield is the Principal Flutist of the Austin Symphony. She has also performed as guest Principal Flutist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Ballet Orchestra, and Houston’s River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and is a regular substitute with the Houston Symphony. During the summers, she travels to Iowa to play with the Des Moines Metro Opera Orchestra. Her performances have been heard on NPR’s Performance Today, the soundtrack for Spy Kids 2, and Houston Grand Opera’s world premiere recording of Carlisle Floyd’s opera Of Mice and Men. An avid competitor, she won First Prize in the 2007 Myrna Brown Artist Competition of the Texas Flute Society, was a Semifinalist in the National Flute Association’s 2007 Young Artist Competition, and has won First Prize in several other competitions, including the National Flute Association Orchestral Audition Competition, the Mid-South Flute Society Young Artist Competition, and the San Francisco Conservatory Concerto Competition. Rebecca divides her time between Austin and Houston, where she lives with her husband, Simon, and son, Oliver. She maintains a large teaching studio in Houston and is President of the Houston Flute Club. Rebecca began her flute studies with Ruth Ann McClain in Memphis, Tennessee. She holds degrees from Indiana University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she studied under Jacques Zoon, Thomas Robertello, and Timothy Day, respectively.
Philip Arno, bass trombone
Before Mr. Arno began his current position with the Austin Symphony (1978), Austin Lyric Opera (1987) and the Victoria Bach Festival (1984), he was a member of the Mobile Symphony (1968-70), Pensacola Symphony (1969-71), American Wind Symphony (1973), and the Calgary Philharmonic (1973-75). Along with his duties as a bass trombonist, since 1971 he have been heard at rare moments playing bass sackbut, which is a trombone from the Renaissance and Baroque Eras.
He studied with Peter Reichlin at the University of South Alabama and Terry Cravens at the University of Texas. In tandem with his performing, from 1970-88 he was a piano technician, but he replaced that career with technology when he earned an associate’s degree in electronics in 1988. He retired in March 2014 from his position at Travis County as a customer support analyst.
He is a freelance photographer, is a nationally ranked triathlete and practices yoga. Philip is married to our principal oboist, Beth Sanders and their daughter is Sabrina Arno.
Beth Sanders, principal oboe
Beth Sanders has been the principal oboe of the Austin Symphony Orchestra since 1984. She also plays principal oboe in the Austin Lyric Opera and Victoria Bach Festival Orchestras.
She has been on the faculty at Tennessee Technological University, Southwest Texas State and the University of Texas at Austin. A native of Indianapolis, she received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University. Her primary oboe teachers were Jerry Sirucek and John Mack.
Ms. Sanders is married to Austin Symphony bass trombonist J. Philip Arno. They have a daughter, Sabrina.
R. Ben Osborne, trombone II
R. Ben Osborne began his studies in music with the piano at age 5, and then on trombone at the age of 12. He grew up in Lubbock, TX, where he also received his bachelor’s degree in music performance from Texas Tech University in 2002 studying under Don Lucas.
After one year of urban ministry in Chicago, he completed two years of full-time study at Dallas Theological Seminary, earning a certificate of graduate studies. In 2007 Ben completed a master’s degree in trombone performance at Southern Methodist University where he studied with John Kitzman.
Ben has served as second trombone of the Austin Symphony Orchestra since 2008. He performs frequently with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and is on faculty at the MasterWorks Festival in Winona Lake, Indiana. In August of 2010 Ben was appointed as Adjunct Instructor of Trombone at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
As a soloist Ben has performed with the Metropolitan Winds in the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, TX, and in recital as a guest artist at Baylor University and at the 2010 Junior International Trombone Festival in Austin, TX.
Ben currently teaches privately in the Austin area, conducts master classes and sectionals in public and private schools, is an active freelancer, and is an artist and clinician with the Edwards Instrument Company.
Hilary Scop, clarinet II
Hilary Scop was appointed 2nd clarinetist of the Austin Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 2005. Prior to moving to Texas, she was an active freelancer in the New York City area, performing with Orchestra New England, the New Haven Symphony, the Queens Symphony, and DiCapo Opera. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan, where she was a recipient of the Albert Stanley medal.
She also holds graduate degrees from Yale University and Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Scop has been awarded fellowships with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Pacific Music Festival and Music Academy of the West. She has also appeared as soloist with the Ann Arbor Symphony and the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra.
She teaches at the Manhattan School of Music Summer Camp and also teaches in the Austin public schools. Ms. Scop currently resides in Austin with her husband Evan and son Alexander.
Bob Cannon, principal trumpet
Robert Cannon, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, is an active professional trumpet player in the Austin,Texas area. He currently is Principal Trumpet with the Austin Symphony as well as the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra. Dr. Cannon performs with the Pinnacle Brass and does a great deal of freelance work. He has also performed with the San Antonio Symphony and the Louisville Orchestra among others.
His playing can be heard on such feature films as “Spy Kids 2”, “ The Alamo ” and the IMAX film “Ride Around the World”. He maintains a very busy private trumpet teaching studio and is an adjunct instructor at Southwestern University. He has also taught trumpet at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Lutheran University and Texas State University. Dr. Cannon holds music degrees from the University of Louisville where he studied the trumpet with Leon Rapier, the University of Southern Mississippi studying with Michael Tunnell, and the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in trumpet, studying with Raymond Crisara of the NBC Symphony. He has also studied trumpet privately with Richard Giangiulio of the Dallas Symphony, James Wilt of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Craig Morris of the Chicago Symphony. Delbert Hoon of Louisville, gave him his start with trumpet lessons in high school.
His hobbies include golf, tennis, running and watching his sons perform in their school bands.
Sha Zhu, violin
Violinist Sha Zhu joined the Austin Symphony Orchestra in 1988 and two years later joined the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra with tenure from both orchestras. Ms. Zhu, originally from China, graduated with a B.A. degree at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music with honors (China), with a graduate study of music performance at University of Montreal with fall scholarship (Canada), and with a M.A. degree at the University of Texas at Austin.
Ms. Zhu’s orchestra appearances have included the Beijing Opera Orchestra (China), Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra (China), and Laval Symphony Orchestra (Canada). She has performed solo and chamber music in China, Canada, and the United States. In the fall of 1987, Ms. Zhu was honored with the Honorary Citizenship Award by the Governor of the State of Texas. This award was given to ten outstanding Chinese students at the University of Texas at Austin.
She is also the proud mother and the violin teacher to her only son and best student—Charles Yang, born a month after she joined the ASO. Charles Yang is a scholarship student at the Juilliard School in New York City. His numerous awards include the ASO’s Youth Award when he was 12, followed by his performance of the Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto with the ASO. His many honors include “Cultural Leader Young Master” in Texas and official proclamation of June 9th, 2005 as “Charles Yang Day” by the Mayor of Austin. Charles Yang was also a featured violinist in “From the Top”: Live from Carnegie Hall, a showcase of the nation’s top young classical musicians, which came to PBS in April 2007.
Ms. Zhu has been invited as mother and teacher with her son’s study and performance nationwide and worldwide including Interlochen (MI), Aspen (CO), Boston (MA), Cincinnati (OH), Juilliard (NY), ShenZhen (China), Beijing (China), Taibei (Taiwan), Hannover (Germany), Munich (Germany), Vienna (Austria), and St. Petersburg (Russia). She seen and learned much from such experiences. Ms. Zhu has been a faculty member at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School since 2005. She also has a private studio at her home in Austin’s Westlake area. She has donated her talents to the church and community. She loves the young people and likes to share her love for music with her students.
Linda Day, violin
Linda Day had a roundabout path to the Austin Symphony. As a young girl, she studied with Joseph Nardulli, a student of Jeno Hubay, in Southern California. At 16, she won the Long Beach Philharmonic youth competition and performed the Bruch violin concerto with them. The next year, she was chosen by conductor Bruno Walter as winner of the string division of the Los Angeles Conservatory’s young artist competition, performing in that capacity at the Wilshire-Ebell Theater in Los Angeles later that year. More solo appearances followed, as she began her studies at Pomona College in Claremont, California. Marriage and motherhood sidetracked her career at that point, and persistent health problems influenced her painful decision to set aside her violin. She did not pick it up again until twenty-two years later, while she was living in Japan. “I regained my identity then,” she says, “and felt indescribable joy.” She studied in Japan before returning to the United States, where she won Colburn-Pledge scholarships to the Aspen Music Festival for two summers, performing in the Aspen Festival Orchestra and studying with Ruben Gonzalez. After graduating from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, Linda auditioned here and was accepted into the Austin Symphony in 1991. She continues playing and composing here in Austin, where her musical eBook, Love Your Enemies, is due to be published soon.
William Gowen, double bass
William Gowen started playing bass at the age of 11 and is a 4th generation musician. A graduate of Winston Churchill High School, he was a four-year All Stater, and a recipient of the prestigious Emerson Scholar Award to attend Interlochen Arts Camp. In addition, Mr. Gowen was a two-time finalist in the Interlochen Concerto Competition, received second prize in the Juanita Miller Concerto Competition, and was the featured soloist in Carnegie Hall with his high school orchestra.
Upon graduation from high school, Mr. Gowen won a position with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and was accepted on full scholarship into the TCU Artist Diploma Program. Currently, Mr. Gowen continues as a tenured member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and completed his Artist Diploma in May 2012. In addition, he is a frequent substitute with the Fort Worth and San Antonio Symphony Orchestras.
Jill Van Gee, viola
Happily based in her home state of Texas, violist Jill Van Gee is thrilled to join the Austin Symphony for the 2012-2013 season. In addition to her work in Austin, Ms. Van Gee frequently plays with the San Antonio Symphony and travels to Colorado to play with the Crested Butte Music Festival Orchestra. She was Principal Violist with the Juilliard Orchestra for a summer residency in Spoleto, Italy, and during years spent in Canada, played with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Ms. Van Gee has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and North America, and while playing with the avant-garde Canadian ballet company La La La Human Steps, she recorded original music by David Lang and Gavin Bryars. A winner of the Canadian Music Competition, she was privileged to perform at the 2006 International Viola Congress.
Ms. Van Gee holds a Bachelor of Music from The Juilliard School, a Master of Music from the Université de Montréal, and enjoys working with the next generation of musicians through her private studio, in her class at Saint Mary’s Hall, San Antonio, and with local youth orchestras.
Caroline Slack, violin
Caroline Slack, violinist from Vashon Island, Washington, received her Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and her Masters degree at the University of Texas at Austin studying with Brian Lewis. Caroline is a freelance musician in Houston and Kansas City as well as a member of the Austin Symphony and the Britt Festival Orchestra. She also performs regularly with the San Antonio Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera, Victoria Bach Festival, Opera in the Heights, and Theatre Under the Stars. Caroline is one of the founding members of the Quartus Chamber Players, performing chamber music throughout Texas. She has also given solo performances in Austin, Seattle, Ohio, Colorado and Mons, Belgium. Besides the violin, Caroline enjoys hiking and camping in the Pacific Northwest, playing disc golf and making delicious homemade sushi.
Shana Bey, violin
Shana Bey has been playing the violin since the age of six. A native of Houston, TX, she attended some of the premiere performing arts schools , including The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After graduating from high school, Bey continued to Loyola University New Orleans where she studied with Valerie Poullette and received a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance. While at Loyola, Shana won the School of Music’s Concerto Competition and soloed with the Loyola University Symphony Orchestra. She was also the Concertmaster of the Loyola Symphony and Chamber Orchestras her Junior and Senior years. In 2009, Bey received a Masters in Violin Performance at the University of Texas at Austin where she studied with Eugene Gratovich. Over the course of her career, she has performed in several masterclasses given by world-renowned musicians including Brian Lewis, Robert McDuffie, Roland and Almita Vamos, Donald Weilerstein and the Miro’ Quartet. She has also been fortunate to perform with numerous major symphonies and ensembles including, the Houston Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony, Austin Pops Orchestra, and The Hollywood Concert Orchestra. In 2008, Bey auditioned for the Round Rock Symphony and was appointed the Symphony’s first Concertmaster. In August 2010 Shana auditioned for the Austin Symphony and won a violin position, joining the group in its Centennial Season!
Kevin Berg, Oboe
Originally from Montana, Dr. Berg received his Bachelor’s degree in Performance from the University of Montana and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Texas. Active in the Austin educational community, he has a number of oboe students, ages ranging from middle school to post graduate students. Sought after as a performer, he has been featured with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Evansville Philharmonic, and regional orchestras throughout Texas, Ohio, and Montana. His principal teachers have included Rebecca Henderson, Mark Ackerman, Robert Walters, Elaine Douvas and Roger McDonald.
Christopher Flores, double bass
Christopher Flores began his musical studies on double bass at age 11 in the McAllen, Texas public school system. By age 17 while studying with Mr. Dustin Williams he had won a finalist spot in the Valley Symphony Orchestra’s 1994 concerto competition that included a solo appearance with the orchestra. He was a member of the Valley Symphony Orchestra (from 1993-1996) as both a bassist and cellist. In 1995 he won the assistant principal position with the National High School Honor Orchestra that performed in Kansas City, Kansas. In 1996 he received a Golden Achievement award from the city of McAllen for four years (1992-1996) of participation in the T.M.E.A. All-State Orchestras. In the summer of 1997 he was awarded a full scholarship to attend the Eastern Music Festival of Greensboro, North Carolina.
Mr. Flores pursued his musical studies with Professor Jeffrey Bradetich and completed his bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of North Texas in 2001. While studying he performed with the Richardson Symphony, Irving Symphony, Sherman Symphony and Abilene Philharmonic in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Mr. Flores later continued performing and studying in Chicago, Illinois. Overseen by Daniel Barenboim and Cliff Colnot, he was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago from 2003-2007. He studied at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois with Professor Robert Kassinger after being awarded a full scholarship and completed his masters’ degree in 2005 with distinction in Music Performance. While living in Chicago he also performed with the Elgin Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta and Camerata Chamber orchestras of Chicago; Racine Symphony, Waukesha Symphony and the Rockford Symphony. He was principal bassist of the Advent Chamber Orchestra and The Oistrach Ensemble from 2004-2007. Furthermore he was co-principal of the New Millennium Chamber Orchestra and the DePaul Symphony Orchestra from 2003-2005.
In 2008 he began performing with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2009 he performed with the Victoria Bach Festival and in 2010 he won a position with the orchestra. Earlier that year he had previously won a position with the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra. Today Christopher Flores actively performs as an orchestral musician, chamber musician, concert recitalist, clinician and private studio instructor.
Ashley Cooper, violin
Violinist Ashley Cooper pursues multiple musical paths that allow her to share her passion for music with children and adults alike. Since 1994, Mrs. Cooper has enjoyed playing with symphony orchestras, string orchestras, various chamber ensembles, church rock bands, and fiddle groups. She has experience under the baton of Leonard Slatkin and has accompanied such great musicians, such as Chi Yun, Dave Brubeck, and Renee Fleming. While playing with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, she was part of the Grammy Award Winning CD William Bolcom’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.
Ashley Cooper received a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music degree from Rice University. Mrs. Cooper’s principal teachers include Aaron Berofsky, Yehonatan Berick, Sergiu Luca, and Kenneth Goldsmith. At Rice University, Mrs. Cooper was the recipient of the Iris and Lloyd Weber Foundation Scholarship, the Sergiu and Susan Luca Award, and the Sviatoslav Richter Fund for Music Outreach – with which she created and produced interactive string quartet outreach concerts around Houston at office buildings, women centers, and public schools.
Mrs. Cooper has performed as a young artist with Da Camera of Houston and on the Round Rock Symphony Chamber Concert Series. She has enjoyed playing in the violin sections of the Mid-Texas Symphony, Symphony of Southeast Texas, Victoria Symphony, and the Ann Arbor Symphony. In 2012, Mrs. Cooper won positions in the first violin sections of the Austin Lyric Opera and Austin Symphony Orchestra.
Mrs. Cooper is passionate about education and invests her time in leading local high school sectionals, coaching string ensembles through the Austin Chamber Music Center and CHAMPS program, teaching music fundamentals classes for young children, and maintaining a private violin lesson studio. She has also served as an orchestra director for the KIPP Sharpstown Academy.
Her summers have been spent performing in the Victoria Bach Festival, in residence at the Grand Teton Music Festival with the Red River String Quartet, on the violin faculty at the Belvoir Terrace Performing Arts Camp and PhoenixPhest Amateur Chamber Music Festival in Ann Arbor, MI and as a violin fellow at the Garth Newel Chamber Music Festival.
Ashley moved to Austin,TX in August 2011 to be with her husband, Joseph Cooper, as he completes his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Trumpet Performance at the University of Texas.
Anna Park, cello
Anna Park began studying the cello at the age of 11 in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University where she studied with Alan Stepansky. Following her education at Peabody, Anna completed her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University with Hans Jørgen Jensen. Some of her other influential teachers and coaches include Martha Gerschefski, Carole Neuen-Rabinowitz, Dr. Sylvia Wang, Gerardo Ribeiro and the members of the Peabody Trio. In addition, Anna has had the pleasure of performing in masterclasses for Yo-Yo Ma, Norman Fischer, Amanda Forsyth, Scott Kluksdahl, and Matt Haimowitz. An active performer, Anna has performed with numerous ensembles including the Houston Symphony, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. She is currently a member of the Austin Symphony, the principal cellist of the Victoria (TX) Symphony, and the assistant principal of the Round Rock Symphony. Anna is also a dedicated teacher and has served on the faculties of Wood Bridge Music Company in Maryland, Solo Classic Inc. in Illinois and Armstrong Community Music School in Texas. When she is away from the cello, Anna enjoys spending time with her cellist husband, Frank, Ansel the cat, and Piper the chihuahua.
Daniel Chrisman, contrabassoon
Growing up in the hills of central Kentucky amidst a family of musicians, Daniel developed an appreciation for a variety of musical genres as well as for natural, cultural, and social phenomena which continue to inspire his playing. He dabbled in piano, voice, and trumpet studies until he attended the University of Kentucky where he began studies on the instrument he always wanted to play, the bassoon. After four years of demanding yet supportive instruction from Professor Peter Simpson, Chrisman graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2003. He continued his studies at the University of Louisville for one year with Matthew Karr before relocating to Philadelphia to study with the principal bassoonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Daniel Matsukawa. Mr. Chrisman received his Master’s degree in music performance from Temple University in 2006. Daniel has soloed with the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, playing the Concerto in F Major by Carl Maria von Weber. He has also soloed with the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, performing von Weber’s Andante and Hungarian Rondo. In September of 2005, Daniel attained the contrabassoon position in the Haddonfield Symphony (now Symphony in C) in New Jersey. In September of 2008, Daniel moved to Austin, Texas where he is the contrabassoonist/3rd bassoonist in the Austin Symphony Orchestra. He also has been a member of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra in Houston, TX since October of 2008.
Molly Emerman, Assistant. Concertmaster, violin
Alaska born violinist Molly Emerman is an active performer and educator in Austin, Texas. A winner of the Young Alaskan Artist Award, she is the Assistant Concertmaster of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and a first violinist with the Austin Lyric Opera.
As an orchestral musician Molly has performed in Japan, Malaysia, China, Switzerland, and across the US, under conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Fabio Luisi, and Krzysztof Urbański. Before moving to Austin she was engaged as Principal Second Violin of the Reading Symphony (Philadelphia) and was a violinist with the Delaware Symphony and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She has performed with orchestras such as the Malaysian Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, the New World Symphony, and the Charleston Symphony. She currently spends her summers with the Victoria Bach Festival and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra, and has spent past summers with the Pacific Music Festival, Lucerne Festival, and Spoleto Festival USA, among others.
As a chamber musician and soloist Molly enjoys collaborating with composers and has premiered new works, both alone and with folk re-imagined, in Germany, Brazil, Switzerland, Japan, and throughout the US. She also enjoys playing other styles of music and has performed with fiddle and rock bands at concerts and festivals such as SXSW and for numerous commercial recording projects for movies and video games.
Active in music outreach and education, Molly worked as a Teaching Artist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, teaching and presenting concerts and workshops throughout Philadelphia schools and at the Curtis Institute of Music. In Austin, Molly is a coach with the Austin Chamber Music Center, has worked as a teacher and mentor for leadership seminars and at the Arc of the Arts, and maintains a private violin studio.
Molly received her Master of Music from Rice University, her Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, and her high school diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy. Her principal teachers include Almita and Roland Vamos, Kathleen Winkler, and Julia Bushkova.
Meredith Nelson Huffman, percussion
Meredith Nelson Huffman joined the Austin Symphony Orchestra to fill the chair for Percussion III in 2003. Previously she has held positions as Percussionist with “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band of Washington D.C. from 1998-2002, Assistant Principal Timpanist / Percussionist with the San Antonio Symphony for the 2007-2008 season, and Principal Timpanist of Orchestra X of Houston. Since 2003, she has regularly performed with the Houston Symphony as both a percussionist and timpanist.
Other ensembles that have utilized her skills in percussion and timpani include the Houston Ballet Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra of Houston, Maryland Orchestra, USB21 (United States Brass 21st Century) of Washington D.C., Monarch Brass Ensemble, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
Meredith Nelson Huffman received her Bachelor of Music in both Percussion Performance and Music Education from Northwestern University, being awarded Music Education Program Honors, and then received a Master of Music in Percussion Performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. She is an alumna of many music festivals including the Pacific Music Festival of Sapporo, Japan, the National Orchestra Institute, the National Repertory Orchestra, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Hot Springs Music Festival. Her teachers include Alan Abel, Richard Brown, Patricia Dash, Brian Del Signore, Edward Koehler, Mike Lefebvre, Albert Payson, and Paul Wertico.
In addition to percussion, Mrs. Huffman is also trained as a pianist and organist. An active educator, she enjoys maintaining a private lesson studio for percussion and piano students.
Meredith Nelson Huffman resides in Houston with her husband Dean.
Caleb Polashek, violin
Caleb Hans Polashek is a 2012 graduate with a Master’s in Performance from the University of Texas, Butler School of Music. Caleb has had the pleasure of performing in numerous ensembles in classical venues around the United States. Other activities include composition and performing with the rock band Les RAV. He is very pleased to join the Austin Symphony-Orchestra this season.
Eugene Gratovich, Associate Concertmaster, violin
Eugene Gratovich, Associate Professor of Violin/Chamber Music, made his successful debut in London’s Wigmore Hall in 1974 and in Carnegie Hall in l976. He has appeared as a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony among others. He also performs as a member of the Gratovich-Golmon Duo. The Duo has performed extensively in the US including in New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Los Angels, San Francisco, and throughout Europe including London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Milan, Ljubljana, among others and throughout Latin America. The Duo has recently released a CD “Music of Spain and Italy” on Wildwood Productions. Eugene Gratovich studied with some of the greatest performers of the 20th century including the late Jascha Heifetz, Max Rostal, and Roman Totenberg. They were all child prodigies and Gratovich observed the ease and comfort of their exquisite performances. Gratovich also studied with renowned violin pedagogues including Ivan Galamian, Paul Rolland, Raphael Bronstein. These master teachers had the ability to explain the intricacies of violin technique and coordination. It is this combination of ease, comfort, and confidence that guides the teaching philosophy Eugene Gratovich in his violin studio at The University of Texas at Austin. He has also consulted with David Oistrakh to better understand the so-called “New Russian Violin School,” of Odessa, Ukraine, and with George Neikrug to study the teachings of D.C. Dounis. Dr. Gratovich was invited to the Odessa Conservatory and to the Staliarsky Special Music School to observe violin teaching in Ukraine and to listen to their students. His violin studio includes students from across the US and from the European Union, Russian Federation, Latin America, and Asia. He stays in touch with his current and former students through his webpage (Gratovich.com) and through his blog offering both professional mentoring and musical suggestions. Students can hear his performances at the Butler School on Youtube.com (Gratovich Nin). His many students enjoy successful careers as soloists under management, principal players of major orchestras, chamber musicians of touring ensembles, and professors across the world. Eugene Gratovich performs both the standard classical repertory and contemporary music. As a performer of contemporary music, Eugene Gratovich has performed with many celebrated composers including Aaron Copland, Ralph Shapey, John Cage, George Flynn, Virko Baley, and Sidney Knowlton among others. Many composers have written solo and chamber compositions for him. He has presented world-premier performances of these compositions at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Wigmore Hall among others. He has commissioned 16 original etudes, funded by the American String Teacher Assoc., which he recorded on “20th Century Concert Etudes for Solo Violin” with Titanic Records (Ti-199), funded by The National Endowment for the Arts. This recording is available online. He has served as concertmaster for the San Jose (CA) Symphony Orchestra, San Gabriel (CA) Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, and Acting Concertmaster of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra. He has toured extensively with the Boston “Pops” Orchestra under the late Arthur Fiedler, John Williams, the late Erich Kunzel, among others. He has also worked with legendary conductors including Gunther Wand, Istvan Kertez, Sara Caldwell, Richard Burgin, George Cleve, among others. An active chamber musician, he was the founding member of “The Chicago Soundings Ensemble,” the Esterhazy String Quartet, and the Arcturis String Quartet. He has also performed with the Boston New Festival Quartet. A published author, he is a leading authority on the violin sonatas of Charles Ives and has contributed to the book, “An Ives Celebration.” He has written articles for The Strad Magazine, American Teacher, American String Teacher, Instrumentalist, among other publications. His article on the violin music of J.S. Bach has appeared in the journal, “International Violin Symposium,” (Gorizia, Italy). Gratovich has taught on the faculties of Cleveland Institute of Music (Head of Graduate Violin Department), DePaul University School of Music (Head of the String Dept.) University of California, San Diego, San Francisco State University, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Summer), and currently at The University of Texas at Austin-Butler School of Music. In the summers, he has been invited to participate in music festivals in California (Strawberry Creek, Batequitos, Mendocino), Maine (Kneisel Hall, Down East), in Europe in St.Petersburg, Portugal, Germany, Spain, and in Italy. Eugene Gratovich received his musical education at the Boston Conservatory with Frank Kneisel, his B.M. degree from Boston Univeristy School of Music, Master of Music from University of Illinois-Urbana, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from Boston University. He also holds an Artist Diploma from the Cologne Hochschule of Musik and a Post-Doctorate Certificate from USC-Los Angeles. Born in Ukraine during the Second Word War, his family emigrated to the U.S. with the help of the Tolstoy Foundation. He was able to continue his musical studies with the financial help from the Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra Music Talent Fellowship. He won numerous music competitions and appeared on national and local television. He has recorded “Sonatas of Arthur Foote and J.A.Carpenter for Orion, “Music of Cage, Ives, Messiaen, and Flynn” for Atlantic, “Romantic Violin from Ukraine,” for Yevshan, “Music of Respighi and Nin” for Musical Heritage, “20TH CENTURY VIOLIN ETUDES FOR SOLO VIOLIN, on Titanic, “20th CENTURY UKRAINIAN VIOLIN MUSIC,” on Orion. He is currently recording music by Willaim Grant Still and by Henry Burleigh. He has been awarded the Fulbright Grant, the National Endowment Grant, and the Ducleux Grant at UT. In celebrating the 300 anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg in Russia, Dr. Gratovich was invited to present a Lecture-Recital on Jascha Heifetz in the same studio where Heifetz studied with Leopold Auer. To celebrate the US Bicentennial, Eugene Gratovich was invited to play a program of American music at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. This special program ended with a performance of “At the River,” by Charles Ives. Dr.Gratovich has adjudicated national and international violin competitions. He serves on the board of the Jascha Heifetz Society and is the Vice-President of the Macfarlane Music Foundation. He has been invited toserved as a nominator for the MacArthur Foundation in awarding the “Genius” awards. His studio is always open to interested students for further musical growth and for professional advising.
Bruce Colson, violin
With a strictly classical upbringing, Colson started playing violin at age 7, performing professionally by 16, and by college was a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Bruce holds a degree in music from the University of Texas. He also enjoys musical theater, playing with Zachary Scott, Austin Musical Theater, Zilker Summer Musical, and the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin. He is a member of the Austin Lyric Opera and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and performs with choral groups around Austin as well as the Golden Arm Trio and the Golden Hornet Project. Hear him on soundtracks for both Hollywood and local productions and on stage with the likes of Red Skelton, Ray Price, Rod Stewart and Garth Brooks to name a few.
David Delambre, violin
David Delambre was born in Paris, France, where he received his early education. He moved to the US in 1984 to study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee under Efim Boico. He then moved to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts, while studying under Arkady Fomin. Upon graduating, he joined the New American Chamber Orchestra, an eleven member conductorless string ensemble. With that group he toured extensively throughout Europe, and performed in many of Europe’s prestigious concert halls like Salle Pleyel in Paris and Herkulessaal in Munich, and Chamber Music Festivals, such as the Nortaljee(Sweden), Santander,Granada, Deia(Spain),Vence and Val-de-Charentes(France) Festivals. He then returned to the US to become Assistant Principal Second of the Knoxville Symphony and Chamber Orchestra. While in Knoxville he performed several times as soloist with the Knoxville Chamber Orchestra and was active as a chamber musician. Later he became a member of the New World Symphony and participated in their Japan and U.K tours and in their Grammy Nominated recording of Latin American Music, “ Tangazo“. Currently, David is a member of the of the lst violin section of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and as well as bring a member of the San Antonio Symphony. He has played with the River City Consort, and Soli, both local chamber ensembles. In March 1997, David was invited to perform at the Festival Musical de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. David was a founding member of the Sierra Grande String Quartet and the Sierra Grande Chamber Music Festival in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. David has soloed with the Laredo Philharmonic in 2007 and 2010, and will again in 2013. David is married to Karen Stiles, the Assistant Principal Second violin of the San Antonio Symphony, and together they are proud parent of their daughter, Talia. David is a gourmet cook and an avid reader, and has a passion for languages.
Karen Stiles, violin
Karen Stiles was born in Rochester , New York and began studying the violin at age 5. She received a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College where she studied violin with Stephen Clapp and Gregory Fulkerson. She went on to earn a Master of Music degree at Indiana University and New England Conservatory where she studied violin with James Buswell and baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie. She toured throughout Europe and Scandinavia as a member of the New American Chamber Orchestra, an eleven member string ensemble, performing at many of the major European music festivals including the Korsholm Music Festival in Finland and the Uppsala Festival in Sweden.
Karen was Principal Second Violin of the Knoxville Symphony and Chamber Orchestra for two seasons. She joined the San Antonio Symphony in 1991 and is currently Assistant Principal Second Violin. Karen has appeared as a soloist with the Knoxville Chamber Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony and the Laredo Philharmonic. She was a member of the Sierra Grande String Quartet and a founding member of the Sierra Grande Chamber Music Festival in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico . She has performed with several local chamber ensembles including the River City Consort, Olmos Ensemble, Soli Chamber Ensemble and Camerata San Antonio.
Helen Bravenec, violin
A native of Texas, Helen began her violin studies at age 2 with the Suzuki method. She gave her first solo performance at the age of 3 in Monterrey, Mexico and performed several years later at the Round Top Festival in Round Top, Texas. Helen spent several summers in Europe and studied with Edouard Grach and members of the Vienna Philharmonic. She received her Bachelors in Violin Performance from the University of Texas at Austin with Vincent Fritelli, where she was also coached by members of the Cavani String Quartet, Sylvia Rosenberg and Don Weilerstein. While at the University of Texas, Helen was asked to perform a solo at the Bartok Congress in 2000. Helen completed her Masters in Music in 2006 at the Eastman School of Music, studying with Lynn Blakeslee and Charles Castleman. Helen has been a member of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra and the Binghamton Symphony Orchestra and, in addition to being a member of the Austin Symphony, serves as Assistant Principal Second of the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra.
Elizabeth Girko, violin
Presently Beth performs with the San Antonio Symphony, the San Antonio Opera and the Austin Symphony. Her past affiliations include associate principal second violin with the Jacksonville Symphony and principal second violin with the Virginia Symphony and Virginia Opera. She is an active teacher of violin and an adjunct faculty member at San Antonio College and Our Lady of the Lake University. Beth received her degrees from Eastman School of Music (MM) and Oberlin Conservatory (BM).
Neela Kinariwala, violin
Neela Kinariwala began studying the violin at age 12 in her hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii and later graduated from the University of Hawaii with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance. Neela came to Austin from Hawaii in 1978 to attend graduate school at the University of Texas. While attending UT, she completed a Master of Music and a Ph.D. in Music Theory in addition to continuing her violin studies as a student of Leonard Posner, former Concertmaster of the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
Neela joined ASO in 1979 and is looking forward to continuing her 32nd season with the organization. She also was a member of the Austin Lyric Opera orchestra, starting in 1986 with ALO’s inaugural performance and playing almost every performance until retiring from the organization in 2004.
After graduating from UT, Neela became a certified Suzuki violin teacher and currently has a thriving violin studio. In 1985 she married Dan Dickey, longtime member of Trio Los Romanceros and St. Andrew’s Episcopal School faculty. Neela and Dan have one daughter, now a college student at UT. Neela spends her summers in Hawaii, visiting family, teaching violin at Punahou School, and enjoying the beaches.
Tracy Seeger, violin
Tracy Seeger has called Austin home for the last 20 years. At the age of 17 she became a tenured violinist of the Austin Symphony and went on to receive her Master of Music degree from the University of Texas at Austin. Maintaining a busy life as a professional musician Tracy performs regularly with numerous chamber ensembles. She has toured the world extensively as a violinist for David Byrne of the Talking Heads and has much studio work to her acclaim. Tracy is now the primary contact for our clients and will handle all of your needs including booking the Barton Strings and helping with all the music selections. In her free time, Tracy works on her home and plays with her Catahoula Leopard dog, Cooper.
Georgeann Dubell Shockley, violin
Georgeann Shockley is the Assistant Director of Orchestras and Instructor of Piano at the McCallum Fine Arts Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from Houghton College in Houghton, New York, and has pursued graduate studies in Violin Pedagogy and Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. She is an accomplished violinist and tenured member of both the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra. This is Mrs. Shockley’s 22nd year in AISD and second year at the Fine Arts Academy. She is a well-respected musician and is currently Chairperson for the Orchestra UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest, AISD Orchestra Solo and Ensemble Contest, and the All-City Middle School and High School Orchestra festivals.
Ames Asbell, viola
A native of Columbus, GA, Ames Asbell completed viola performance degrees at Furman and East Carolina universities before relocating to Texas. In 2001, she received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a teaching assistant to Roger Myers during the 25th International Viola Congress, and worked with renowned Bartók scholar Elliott Antokoletz on her treatise, An Analysis and Performance Guide for the Bartók Viola Concerto.
A founding member of the Austin-based Tosca String Quartet, Ames performs and records in many musical genres. Most recently, she and the Tosca Strings accompanied rock legend David Byrne on two world tours and his album, Grown Backwards, on the prestigious Nonesuch label. These performances took the group to nearly 30 countries and venues such as Carnegie Hall, Town Hall and the Apollo Theater in New York, and Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles. An ongoing collaboration with tango composer/arranger Glover Gill has resulted in concerts in Argentina, California, and throughout Texas, as well as recording the soundtrack to Richard Linklater’s film Waking Life. A fixture in Austin’s contemporary classical music scene, the quartet specializes in premiering new works by local composers. Their performance of Bartók’s Fifth String Quartet was a highlight of the International Bartók Congress 2000. A seasoned studio musician, Ames has recorded on over 40 CDs, including the Dixie Chicks’ Grammy-winning album, Home.
In addition to her activities with Tosca, Ames is Assistant Principal of the Austin Lyric Opera orchestra, maintains a private studio, and performs frequently with the Austin Symphony, Barbwire Music Project, Golden Hornet Project, and various chamber music series in Austin. Past performing engagements include the San Antonio Symphony, Conspirare, Victoria Bach Festival, North Carolina Symphony, Breckenridge Music Institute, and National Repertory Orchestra. Ames recently co-founded and serves as the first President of the Central Texas Viola Society, a local chapter of the American Viola Society, which promotes viola performance and research.
Stephen Buckles, viola
Stephen Buckles is the orchestra director at Lamar Middle School. After graduating from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Music degree, he began teaching in AISD in 1984. Stephen has performed in several area orchestras, and also is the violist and manager of the Encore String Quartet. Stephen has been married to his wife, Erna, for 25 years and has three children-Katherine, Robert, and Joseph.
Martha Carapetyan, viola
Martha Carapetyan is an active violist in the Austin and Central Texas area. She holds degrees in viola performance from the University of North Texas and Indiana University. Her teachers have included David Holland, George Papich, Yizhak Schotten and Kim Kashkashian. Martha performs with the Austin Symphony, the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Victoria Bach Festival, the Austin Chamber Ensemble and with several choral and orchestral organizations in Austin and Central Texas.
In addition to her performing career, Martha is also an Adjunct Lecturer at Baylor University, teaching both viola and chamber music. In her efforts to bring the viola into greater focus in the Central Texas area, Martha co-founded the Central Texas Viola Society, a chapter of the American Viola Society. She has helped organize many events, both educational and performance-oriented, for violists and audiences in the Greater Austin area.
Eugenie Edmonds, viola
Eugenie Marie Edmonds has been teaching Orchestra in AISD since 1983. Her teaching is most influenced by Shinichi Suzuki. Eugenie has registered all ten violin books with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. For the gift of music, Eugenie would like to thank her teachers: Carol Schaub the orchestra director at ACS in Beirut, Lebanon, Raymond Harvey the choir director at Northfield Mt. Hermon, Hazel Cheilek, viola instructor for Catholic University and Leonard Posner, violin professor at UT Austin. She hopes to pass their gift on to her own students for many years to come.
Lana Harris, viola
Ms. Harris earned her Bachelor’s degree with the highest honors in May 1990, after completing her studies in the Plan II Liberal Arts Program at the University of Texas. Ms. Harris then attended the University of Texas School of law and graduated with honors in 1993. She has been licensed to practice law in Texas since November 1993. Ms Harris practices primarily in the areas of wills and estate planning. She authored four chapters for a legal treatise on asset protection techniques published in 1995. Ms. Harris is a current member of the Probate Sections of the State Bar of Texas and the Travis County Bar Association. Ms. Harris is a professional classical violist and has been a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra since 1984.
Michael Bucalo, trumpet
Mike Bucalo, a native of Ann Arbor Michigan, attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He was a member of the trumpet section of the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra from 1977-2005. In addition to playing with the ASO, Mike is a member of the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra and freelance musician and teacher in San Antonio and Austin.
Tony Edwards, timpani
Tony Edwards is currently the Principal Timpanist for the Austin Symphony Orchestra,Principal Percussionist for the Britt Music Festival, Assistant Principal Percussionist for the Austin Lyric Opera, and Principal Percussionist/ Timpanist for the Texas Philharmonic. From 1991-2003 he served as Co-Principal Percussionist for the Austin Symphony Orchestra. In addition he performs regularly with the San Antonio Symphony, Conspirare Orchestra, and Austin Chamber Music Center.
Tony received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Henderson State University, Master of Music in Percussion Performance degree from the University of Texas and a Professional Studies Cerfificate from Temple University. His recordings include Bartok’s Sonata for “Two Pianos and Percussion” with the Southwestern University Chamber Soloist, “Music of Donald Grantham” with Voices of Change (Centaur Records, Inc.) His most recent recording includes the movie soundtrack to Spy Kids 2 (Dimension Motion Pictures). He can also be seen perfoming the movie “Waiting for Guffman” (Castle Rock Productions). Tony currently teaches at the Round Top Music Festival and is adjunct professor at The University of Texas at Austin.
Genaro Gonzalez, percussion
ASO Principal Percussionist, Genaro Gonzalez, is currently Professor of Music and Coordinator of Percussion at Texas State University. Under his direction, Texas State percussion groups have presented clinics and performances at various state music conventions and international festivals including the Texas Music Educators Association Convention, the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention, the Montreux Jazz and World Music Festival, the Berklee World Percussion Festival, and the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. The Texas State University Panorama Steel Band has also toured Mexico twice and performed at Euro-Disney in Paris, France.
In addition to his teaching duties at Texas State, Mr. Gonzalez is a very active performer, clinician, and adjudicator. He currently serves as Principal Percussionist with the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Lyric Opera, and he frequently performs with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Gonzalez has presented clinics in conjunction with the Yamaha Corporation of America, Sabian Cymbals, Mike Baler Mallets, and Ellie Mannette Steel Drums. Mr. Gonzalez has also served on the Educational Advisory Board for the Pro-Mark Corporation, an internationally known manufacturer of drumsticks and percussion mallets.
Mr. Gonzalez is also very active in the commercial music arena, having performed with Lena Horne, Robert Goulet, Johnny Mathis, Mickey Rooney, Carol Channing, Liberace, Barbara Eden, Tommy Tune, Juliet Prowse, Debby Boone, Rich Little, Joan Rivers, and Jerry Lewis among others.
Mr. Gonzalez is very active in the Percussive Arts Society, the international association of percussionists. He served as Host for the Society’s international convention held in San Antonio in 1988, served on the Society’s Board of Directors from 1989 to present, served in the offices of Secretary from 1991-92, Vice-President from 1993-96, and President from 1997-98. Mr. Gonzalez currently serves on the Council of Past Presidents of the Percussive Arts Society.
Richard Berkley, percussion
Richard Berkley joined the Austin Symphony while a student at the University of Texas in 1969 studying with George Frock, then Timpanist and Principal Percussionist for ASO. His percussion teachers in addition to George Frock were F. Michael Combs and Ron Dyer at the University of Missouri / Columbia. After completing graduate studies at UT, Richard, joined the band directing staff for the Round Rock Independent School District where he served from 1974 until his retirement in 1999. During the 2011-12 season, Richard completed his 40th season with ASO.
Sylvia Golmon, piano
Sylvia Golmon holds an endowed chair as the Principal Keyboard Player of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Her responsibilities include not only the piano, but performances on the harpsichord, celeste, and organ as well. She has been a featured soloist for their Young People’s Concerts (Carnival of the Animals by St. Saens), High School Concerts, (Gershwin Piano Concerto in F Major), and on the Symphony’s collaborations with Ballet Austin, (Piano Concerti by Chopin, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky). She was also the musical director, arranger, and pianist for Ballet Austin’s production of “Tango!” and received the ballet’s highest award in appreciation for her work on the project. Sylvia was born in Alexandria, Louisiana where she received her earliest training from local piano teachers. As a teenager, she was an active competitor in piano events across the state. She was presented with the Irving Carr Award in New Orleans for her solo performance at Newcomb College, and she was soloist with the New Orleans Philharmonic for two seasons as winner of their Young People’s Contest. At 16 years of age, Sylvia then received a full scholarship to attend Sherwood Music School in Chicago where she earned a Bachelor of Music Degree. Just after graduation, Sylvia became a scholarship recipient for work in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and she earned a Master of Music degree from De Paul University under the tutelage of Mary Sauer, Principal Keyboard Player of the Chicago Symphony. While in Chicago, Golmon was featured in solo performances for the Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in the Chicago Public Library, and in the Performing Arts Festival in Chicago’s Art Institute. Eugene and Sylvia became the Gratovich-Golmon Duo, and as their musical work brought them closer together, they became husband and wife. The Duo traveled from coast to coast, and to many European countries performing concerts, conducting masterclasses, and giving lectures. They were hired to teach at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music, where they lived until deciding to move to Austin, Texas to raise their children, Michael and Anna. In 2009, Michael performed on guitar with the Austin Symphony in Ode to Common Things by Cary Radcliff for chorus, and vocal soloists with both parents in the orchestra. He is currently pursuing a Masters Degree at USC. Anna is an artist-printmaker studying at the prestigious Paris 8. Sylvia has accompanied for renown artists such as violinist Roman Totenburg for the opening concert of the National Music Teachers Association, and cellist George Neikrug, at the opening festival concert of the National String and Piano Pedagogy Workshops, where critics wrote that “Golmon performed with profound chamber music sensibilities.” In New York, the duo was hailed as “First class artists.” Together, the Gratovich-Golmon Duo perform in the U.S. and in Europe in live concerts and on radio broadcasts in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and in Europe for the Italian National Radio (RAI). The Duo has also performed for leading summer music festivals in Italy, Austria, England, and in Hawaii. They were invited to perform a program of American music for the National Gallery of Art Concert Series in Washington, D.C. which was broadcast live over national radio. Leading American composers have written for the Duo including the late Ralph Shapey and George Flynn. They have recorded for the Canadian Yevshan, Musical Heritage Society, SDK Productions, and Wildwood Music Studio Productions. In Austin, Ms. Golmon is dedicated to teaching young pianists. Her success rests on her adamant belief that young students should be trained from the beginning with professional technique, theoretical knowledge, and high artistic expression which allows all students to develop to their highest personal potential.
Ian Davidson, oboe
ASO Associate Principal Oboist Ian Davidson has appeared as soloist and chamber musician on six continents. His many international concerts have taken him to Italy, England, Russia, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Scotland, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Poland, The People’s Republic of China, Hungary, Czech Republic, Korea, and the Republic of South Africa.
He is also Assistant Principal Oboe of the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra. Other engagements include stints as Principal Oboe of the Dallas Bach Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Dallas and the Austin Sinfonietta as well as Assistant Principal /Utility Oboe of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, Co-Principal Oboe of the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, and Solo English Horn of the Bear Valley Music Festival.
Concerto appearances include the Dallas Bach Orchestra, the Austin Chamber Orchestra, the Austin Sinfonietta, Dallas Chamber Orchestra, the Laredo Philharmonic, Chamber Soloists of Austin, Balcones Chamber Orchestra, and the Bear Valley Symphony Orchestra.?International recitals and residencies include the Moscow Conservatory of Music, Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Silesia, Trinity College of Music in London, the Institute of Culture in St. Petersburg, the University of Piui in Brazil, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, and the State Conservatory of Music in Bratislava.
His festival appearances in the Aspen Music Festival, the Victoria Bach Festival, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Bear Valley Music Festival, Blue Lake Festival, Mendocino Music Festival, Festivale da Musica Camera, the Assisi Chamber Music Festival, and the Festivale dei due Mondi.
Dr. Davidson is a founding member of the Wild Basin Winds, an Austin-based national woodwind quintet that has performed in such locations as the Kennedy Center and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, and has commissioned, recorded, and premiered dozens of new works.
His recordings include numerous television commercials, pop music recordings, the movie “Spy Kids II”, and six recordings with the Wild Basin Winds – “Christmas”, “High-Wood”, “Three for Three”, “The Ugly Duckling and Other Stories”, “Wild Basin Music”, and “Ferdinand the Bull” – all available on iTunes.
Recognized for outstanding contributions in teaching, service and scholarly/creative activity, he has received twelve Presidential Award Nominations, a Grammy Nomination, been twice named “Favorite Professor” by the Alpha Chi Honor Society, was invited to present the Dean’s Seminar, and was elected to the TSU Faculty Senate. In 2003 he was nominated by the Austin Critics Round Table as “Best Instrumental Soloist” for his work with the Chamber Soloists of Austin, performing the Complete Brandenburg Concertos of J.S. Bach.
Conference and Convention performances include the Texas Music Educator’s Association, Texas Band Master’s Association, National Flute Association, International Clarinet Association, International Trumpet Guild, Society of Composer’s International, NACUSA, Regional College Music Society Conventions, The College Music Society National and International Conventions, and five performances at the International Double Reed Society Convention. A two-time college nominee, Dr. Davidson was awarded the Presidential Award for Outstanding Scholarly / Creative Activities in 1999.
Dr. Davidson holds degrees from DePauw University and the University of Texas and teaches at Texas State University, where he holds the rank of Professor.
William D. Lewis, bassoon
William Lewis, Principal Bassoon, joined the Austin Symphony in 1986. He is a native of Indiana and attended Ball State University. He is also Principal Bassoon of The Austin Lyric Opera, was instructor in bassoon at Southwest Texas State University and now teaches public school in Elgin, TX. He is an active performer and clinician in bassoon throughout central Texas.
Daris Word Hale, bassoon
One bassoon, 11 orchestras, 7 countries, 47 world premieres, TV, film, commercials, DVD’s, CD’s; life long learner with one heart, one soul, one loving husband, two sweet kids, hundreds of brilliant students, or rather teachers; 7 billion friends; always manifesting music and art. Her hat is currently hanging at Texas State University.
Thomas Hale, french horn
Tom Hale is principal horn of the Austin Symphony and the Austin Lyric Opera. He has been a member of the Bear Valley Music Festival and the Spoleto (Italy) Festival Orchestra since 1987 and has appeared at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. as both performer and conductor. Tom has served on the faculties of Southwest Texas State University, the University of Texas, and at Southwestern University in Georgetown. He is a founding member of the Pinnacle Brass Quintet and a frequent guest artist with the Chamber Soloists of Austin. Tom was educated at Texas Tech University (B.M., M.M.) and the University of Texas (D.M.A.).
Kurt Moede, french horn
Associate Principal Hornist, Kurt Moede, is the son of missionary parents and was born in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. He was raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. Kurt studied horn as a scholarship student of Ranier DeIntinis at The Juilliard School of Music. At the University of Texas, Kurt earned his master’s degree as a student of Wayne Barrington. For the past thirty-two years, Kurt has been a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra serving as Principal Horn, Third Horn, and currently as Associate Principal Horn. In addition to performing actively as a freelance musician in the Austin area, Kurt is a Lecturer of Instructional Music Education and Student Teaching University Mentor at Texas State University.
Ed Tschoepe, french horn
Ed Tschoepe has degrees in Physics and Horn Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. After spending 3 years in Miami playing in the New World Symphony under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, Ed moved to Valladolid, Spain where he performed for 7 years with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León. He’s been back in Austin since 1998, freelancing on the horn and developing web-based interactions for HCI Training. He is currently Third Horn in the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
David Neubert, double bass
ASO Principal Bassist, Dr. David Neubert is considered one of the preeminent double bass artist/teachers in the world. David grew up in Pebble Beach, California and began playing the bass when he was in the 4th grade. His best friend played the cello so when he asked the orchestra teacher if he could do the same, she tricked him into playing a slightly larger version – one that was more needed. Like candy, playing the bass can be addicting and David has never stopped since – that was in 1963. They say that 90% of being a successful bass player is showing up with a bass – so his Grandmother gave him $3,000 and he bought an 1874, Neuner-Hornsteiner 7/8ths size bass. That was only after he went to graduate school at the Eastman School of Music in 1974. While going to school in Rochester, one of the projects was to practice writing a resume which he did and happened to submit to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst while still in school at Eastman. Graduating with a Masters from Eastman, he began a long teaching career in 1975 – he was 22. He also began playing with the Springfield Symphony, as principal bass, for the next three years. In 1978, David accepted a position at Wichita State University and principal bass with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra. He met his wife Terri there and was married in 1981, right before coming to Austin to finish up a required “terminal degree” – the doctorate. After only one year, he finished his DMA at UT Austin and even played Assistant Principal with the ASO under Sung Kwak that year. Something must have gone right because he was invited back to teach at UT and be Principal Bass in 1984. Joshua, the first son, was born a month after they arrived that fall. Since then David has hosted two International bass conventions, three Texas bass conventions, numerous national master classes, taught and performed over 100 solo performances on four continents (North America, South America, Asia and Europe), published over 100 articles (including Editor for the International Society of Bassists, Bass Forum Editor for the American String Teacher, contributor to Perspectives of New Music, TMEA, ASTA and MENC Journals), received numerous research awards (including an NEH Summer research fellowship to Dartmouth and premiering the MIDI Accompaniment project), produced four solo CD’s and one record album of original electronic music compositions for bass. He has graduated 4 DMA, 6 MM and numerous BM and BA students – several are now holding major positions and most of them have performed with me in the Austin Symphony and Lyric Opera. Paul Determan, BM 98, founded the international internet service for bass players called “TalkBass.com” and is still playing with both the ASO and ALO orchestras. Lu Yuan Xiong (MM 89) who is an Assistant Professor of Double Bass at Texas Christian University, Robert Stiles (DMA 96) who is the Librarian and Section Bass Player for the Detroit Symphony, Tracy Dullea Rosenkrans (MM 90) who was Principal Bass of the Phoenix Opera, Karl Seigfried (DMA 94) who is Assistant Professor of Double Bass in the Chicago area, John Palensky (MM 88) who is Assistant Professor of Double Bass in Lafayette, Louisiana and Roxanne Roberts (BA 98) who went on to Medical school and is now a Pediatrician in San Antonio. One of my very first bass students when I began teaching at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, is now the premier double bass luthier in New York City – David Gage. I also still enjoy teaching high school and middle school students, one who recently received a full tuition and room/board scholarship to attend Mannes – Luke Stence from McCallum High School right here in Austin. Last year, I helped to develop an educational Video conferencing program called ASO CHAT through a grant from the Dell Corporation and the Austin Symphony. Almost every double bass player from around the world knows who David Neubert is and what great things are going on here in Austin.
David Dawson, double bass
David Dawson began his career performing with the Ft. Worth Symphony and Dallas Symphony while still in high school. He has since been a member of the San Antonio Symphony and the Orchestra of Santa Fe. He has participated in numerous summer festivals including the Colorado Music Festival at Boulder, the Spoletto Festival of Italy and the Victoria Bach Festival. He is currently engaged as the Assistant Principal Bassist for the Austin Lyric Opera. He is also a frequent guest on numerous chamber music series such as the Chamber Soloists of Austin and Camerata San Antonio. Mr. Dawson has performed with many jazz/popular music groups and in 1988, he won a Grammy Award for his recording with the Texas Swing Group Asleep at the Wheel. He has performed on numerous television and radio broadcasts including Austin City Limits and Lonesome Pine Special. He has played Baroque Double-Bass with the Texas Baroque Orchestra, the Handel-Haydn Society of Austin, and Cappricio Stravagante at the Longy Baroque Institute of Boston. He is also a frequent performer of the Kirtan styles of India and has undertaken studies of the classical music of North India on the sitar.
Bebo Shiu, double bass
Bebo Shiu is currently pursuing his doctoral degree to become the first DMA Double Bass student under Edwin Barker at Boston University. Bebo will be making his solo debut in Panama in association with the sixth annual Alfredo Saint Malo Music Festival while teaching lessons and coaching chamber groups. He won first place in the 2010 Bass Coalition Solo Competition and was the String Division winner in the 2006 Entergy Young Texas Artists Competition. He maintains his tenured member status with the Austin Symphony Orchestra while freelancing and teaching in Boston. Bebo has performed with the New World Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops Orchestra, and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. He has been awarded numerous fellowships to attend the Aspen Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and the Tanglewood Music Center. Mr. Shiu currently serves as the principal bass with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra.
P. Kellach Waddle, double bass
Pulitzer-Prize nominated composer P.Kellach Waddle maintains an active career not only as a composer but also as a bassist, conductor and writer. With over 270 performances of his music by the end of the ’01-‘02 season, and a list of completed works nearing the 140 mark, Mr. Waddle continues to maintain a career as one of the most performed and prolific composers of his generation. His works have been performed in 30 states and in 11 countries on 3 continents and radio features/interviews with him have been heard on classical radio stations in Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee and Vermont . A performance by Mr. Waddle of his Op. 1 #1, the bass caprice De Salones Espanoles, marked the first hearing of his music on National Public Radio as part of its Music From Roundtop Series in 1993. After the major debut of Mr. Waddle’s music for the bass at the 1986 International Bass Symposium the list of bassists he has written or is writing for reads like a Who’s Who of the instrument including Bert Turetsky, David Neubert, Michael Cameron, Jeff Bradetich, Francois Rabbath, Sidney King, Hal Robinson, Jessica Gilliam-Valls and Paul Ellison among others. Mr. Waddle’s music was first published in 1991 and while still adding to his own instrument’s repertoire, his medium has expanded considerably. His list of works now contains nearly three dozen duets and trios (many including the bass), several pieces for instrument and piano, 10 pieces for solo winds and brass, 3 choral works, 2 song cycles, 3 orchestral (non-concerto) works, a recent set of piano works (3 ballades, a fantasy and a suite), solo guitar, organ, a recent set of three pieces commissioned by the contrabassoon virtuoso Sue Nigro, works for trombone quartet, saxophone quartet, saxophone choir, tuba choir and a series of concertos for “unusual” instruments not usually thought of in a solo context including bassoon, contrabassoon, bass, tenor saxophone and bass trombone. The premiere of this latter concerto marked Mr. Waddle’s NYC conducting debut with its premiere at the Julliard School in February 1999. Beginning with a lauded performance of his tenor Saxophone concerto with the organization in 1997, Mr. Waddle is now Principal Guest Conductor of the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland and maintains a special relationship with the orchestra through his current seven year series of composing a concerto each season for featured members of the Cleveland Orchestra. The first piece in this series, a double concerto for Horn, Cello and Orchestra composed for Principal Horn Richard King and his wife Julie and premiered in Dec. of 1999 has already received nationwide acclaim through its hearings on NPR and a number of other radio features. The premiere of the most work in the series, a double concerto for Two Cellos and Orchestra occurred in Dec. of 2001. It was for this piece that Mr. Waddle garnered a nomination for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Other works in development for future seasons include double concertos for trumpet, trombone & orchestra and clarinet, violin & orchestra.
Carolyn Blubaugh-Hagler, cello
Carolyn Hagler moved from California to Austin to begin studies on a Master of Music degree at the University of Texas. After completing her degree, she won a position with the New World Symphony in Miami Florida, where she worked with Michael Tilson-Thomas and Leonard Bernstein. As a performer, Carolyn is the founder and director of the Barton Strings, a tenured member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and tours internationally with the acclaimed world ensemble, Mundi. As a teacher, Carolyn has taught strings to individuals from 4 years old to 64 years old! She was a cello professor at Texas Lutheran University, Austin Community College and the Armstrong Community School. Carolyn has taught in both the Eanes School District as well as the Austin School District, most recently at Mendez Middle School. Carolyn is a member of the Texas Orchestra Directors Association, Texas Music Educators Association, American String Teachers Association and the American Federation of Musicians.
Margaret Coltman, cello
Margaret has performed as recitalist and chamber musician throughout Europe and North America. After making her solo debut with the San Antonio Symphony at 17, she earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin as a student of Paul Olefsky. She studied with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi at Indiana University, Pierre Fournier in Geneva, and Antonio Janigro at the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg. Margaret lived in London for two years, free-lancing with numerous ensembles, and is currently a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. She also performs with the San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Camerato and the Houston Ballet Orchestra and has recorded for Pierian Records. She manages the Arundel Ensemble, a group of varied instruments that performs for weddings and other functions in the Austin area.
Sara Nelson, cello
Sara Nelson is a native of Houston, Texas, where she graduated from the prestigious High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. In 1990, she moved to Austin where she completed her Bachelor of Cello Performance degree with Paul Olefsky at the University of Texas.
In 1997 she became a founding member of the Tosca String Quartet, which has garnered an international reputation by collaborating with renowned artists from a variety of genres, including David Byrne, Bob Schneider, the Dixie Chicks and Spoon. In 2001 Sara and the Tosca Strings joined Mr. Byrne on two world tours and his album, Grown Backwards. A continuing collaboration with local pianist/accordionist/composer Glover Gill has led to Tosca’s fluency in Argentine tango, as well as concerts in Buenos Aires, California and Texas, and appearances in the movie and soundtrack of Waking Life.
Sara is currently a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra.
Charles Prewitt, cello
Charles Prewitt, Director of the Prague Cello Corp.,was broadcast on Maine Public Radio at St. Luke’s Cathedral’s “J.S. Bach’s 300th Birthday Celebration.” Following that performance where Joel Martin, past President of the Portland Symphony Board of Trustees heard him he formed a consortium to purchase and restore the “Prague” cello (circa 1850) in 1985. Celebrating the Prague Cello Corporation’s 25th Anniversary he is performing solo Bach Suites from Texas to New England promoting his new CD: “J.S. Bach to the Future,” Six Suites for Solo Cello,Vol. I .Get current tour dates and performance info at http://www.charlesprewitt.com.
Margaret Ayer, french horn
Originally from Denton, Texas, Margaret came to UT Austin to study with Wayne Barrington. After completing studies with this great teacher, including four years of playing next to him in Austin symphony, she left to play for seven years in the Mexico City Philharmonic. Returning to the US to play in the Houston Ballet Orchestra, she also played with Houston Grand Opera, extra with Houston Symphony, and in the Cimarron Woodwind Quintet. Currently, she holds positions in the Austin Symphony and Lyric Opera and is a member of the Mundi Ensemble. She coaches for Austin Chamber Music Center and teaches in the Eanes school district. Her favorite activities include swimming year round at Barton Springs and Kundalini Yoga.
Leah Kovach, viola
Violist Leah Kovach has performed in both orchestra and chamber music settings across four continents. Her festival and orchestral appearances include Spoleto USA, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, and the New World Symphony. Most recently, Leah performed with Houston-based Fuzion String Quartet in the Cali da Camera International Festival in Cali, Colombia.
Leah is a recent graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and has remained active as a performer and educator in the greater Houston area. She is a 2013-14 Da Camera of Houston Young Artist, as well as a 2013 Britten-Pears Young Artist and a new member of the Austin Symphony.