Joanna began her violin studies at the age of three. She was fortunate to have as models her grandmother, a violinist and teacher, as well as parents who are professional musicians. Her early training included studies with Albert Markov at the Manhattan School of Music, and she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music with distinction in the major at Yale University, where she studied violin with Kyung Yu. She completed a year-long Suzuki teacher training course at the School for Strings in Manhattan, and also studied musicology at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Joanna recently completed her Master’s Degree in Violin Performance at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where she was a student of Sergiu Luca and Ken Goldsmith and served as concertmaster of the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra.
Joanna has been a member of the violin faculty at the Neighborhood Music School and of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. In 2011-12 she was selected as a Young Artist by Da Camera of Houston. An avid chamber musician and recitalist, she has a particular interest in stylistic performances of Classic and Baroque repertoire as well as contemporary chamber music. Recent international performances include recitals at the International Holland Music Sessions, and a concerto appearance with the National Symphony of Quito, Ecuador. She currently resides in Houston.
Nina Bledsoe is a passionate performer, skilled teacher, and an enthusiastic educator. She is currently Adjunct Instructor of Viola at Sam Houston State University where she teaches viola, coaches chamber groups, and performs with the Kolonneh Faculty String Quartet. Ms. Bledsoe is a fervent and versatile chamber musician and has performed with chamber ensembles in the United States and abroad. In addition to an active teaching and performance schedule at SHSU, she is currently serving as the 2018 President of the Houston Viola Society. Ms. Bledsoe has been the recipient of fellowships to the Aspen Music Festival and School and to the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival. She also won the FSU Young Artists Concerto Competition in 2007.
She holds performances degrees from Florida State University, Georgia State University, and also attended the Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Bledsoe is a doctoral candidate at University of Houston.
BM University of Houston, MM Juilliard School. Clarinetist and saxophonist Bryan Conger is currently a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow of The Juilliard School, and is an assistant for their music history and theory departments. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Banff Summer Arts Festival Orchestra and the New Juilliard Ensemble, for which the New York Times described his playing as possessing “commanding technique, myriad colorings, and flair.”
As a chamber musician, Bryan has performed with the New York Woodwind Quintet, the AXIOM ensemble, the Houston Symphony’s Greenbriar Consortium, and Da Camera of Houston.
Houston based flutist Douglas DeVries is a Young Artist of DaCamera Chamber Music, guest Principal Flute of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra in Los Angeles, and Solo Flutist of Loop38, a contemporary music collective based in Houston, TX. Mr. DeVries also performs frequently with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the San Antonio Symphony, the Chattanooga Symphony, and the New World Symphony.
Mr. DeVries is the Adjunct Flute Professor at Houston Community College. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School in New York City as a student of Jeffrey Khaner, and his Masters of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music in Houston, TX, where he studied with Leone Buyse.
Jacob joined the University of Texas at Arlington music faculty in the Fall of 2017. He received his Bachelor’s degree from The University of Houston, Master’s degree from The Boston Conservatory, did additional graduate studies at The New England Conservatory, and is currently a doctoral candidate at The University of North Texas. He has studied percussion under Christopher Deane, Will Hudgins, Nancy Zeltsman, Keith Aleo, Mark Ford, Ed Soph, Daniel Bauch, David Herbert, Jose Aponte, Dr. Blake Wilkins and Dr. Paul Bissell. He maintains an active performance schedule as the Principal Percussionist for The Texarkana Symphony, Section Percussionist with The Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale, and also plays with The Arkansas Symphony, The Las Colinas Symphony, The Abilene Philharmonic, The Shreveport Symphony, and the Dallas Winds. He has also worked with conductors such as Alan Silvestri, Mei Ann Chen, Eugene Migliaro Corporon, Jerry Junkin, and Gustavo Dudamel.
He has served as a faculty member at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, and Texas Woman’s University in Denton. Jacob also new music proponent, performing as a founding member of The Texas New Music Ensemble based out of Houston, TX. He has publication credits with Albany Music Distribution with the University of Houston Moore’s School of Music Percussion Ensemble CD Not Here But There (2009) and GIA Records with the UNT Wind Symphony, Reconstructions and Voicings and several volumes of Teaching Music through Performance in Band. Jacob is also a published writer through the Percussive Arts Society, Percussive Notes, and he is endorsed by Encore Mallets Inc. as well as Grover Pro Percussion.
Max is currently pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University under the tutelage of Desmond Hoebig. Before his studies at Rice, he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan. As former principal cellist and project manager of the conductorless string orchestra KINETIC, Max assisted in building the nonprofit from the beginning and strongly advocated for the ensemble’s communicative chamber music making in the Houston area. He has performed regularly as a part of the new music organization MUSIQA in Houston, as well as alongside Brian Connelly on his chamber music series, Music in Context. Together with Leah Gastler, he co-founded the Kalmia Garden Chamber Music Festival in Durham, Connecticut.
He is a current performer/member of Latitude 49, a dynamic mixed-chamber ensemble exploring new sounds, engaging diverse audiences, and serving as a bridge between the composers and the listeners of today.
Photo by Latitude49
Flutist Meg Griffith has received several awards and honors as a modern and Baroque performer, including first prize at the Chicago Flute Club National Chamber Competition, placement as a semi-finalist in the National Flute Association’s Baroque Young Artist Competition, and Honorable Mention in the Respighi Prize Music Competition. Her Carnegie Hall debut received critical acclaim from the New York Concert Review. Meg’s passion for new music and support of new composers through commissioning projects has led to five World Premieres. She is a founding member and partner of Whole Musician, 501(c)3 which offers unparalleled intensive retreats addressing the mental, physical, and musical demands placed on the 21st century performer. Her work with the flute duo Esperanto supports new music and works to create a bridge connecting the music, dance, and art worlds. She currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Flute at Texas Wesleyan and Southwestern Adventist Universities. DMA: Texas Tech; MM: Boston University; BM: University of North Texas.
Nathan received his BM, summa cum laude, from Wichita State University and his MM and DMA from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the Associate Professor of Bassoon at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. He has appeared as a workshop clinician and lecturer at Southern Methodist University, Baylor University, the University of Georgia, and many area middle and high schools. He has also presented at the conventions of the Texas Bandmasters Association and the International Double Reed Society, and was a featured soloist at the Kansas Bandmasters Association convention. He has been on the faculties of the Bocal Majority/Operation O.B.O.E. camps, the Longhorn Music Camp, and the High Plains Band and Orchestra Camp.
Festival appearances include the Round Top Music Festival, the Texas Music Festival, the Pierre Monteux School Orchestra, and the Festival de Música de Santa Catarina in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil. He has been on the faculties of the Longhorn Music Camp, Bocal Majority Bassoon Camp, and the High Plains Band and Orchestra Camp.
Dr. Andreea Muţ attended the Gheorghe Dima Academy of Music in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. MM Sam Houston State University. DCA University of Houston. She has performed solo and chamber music recitals throughout Romania, France, Colombia, Mexico and the United States and won numerous prizes in both national and international competitions.
Between 2012 and 2014, Dr. Muţ held the position of Head Repetiteur and Assistant Conductor at Opera in the Heights Houston. She is currently serving as staff pianist at University of Houston. In addition, she teaches at Virtuoso Music Academy Houston, and plays for the Houston Chamber Choir, the recipient of the American Prize in Choral Performance, 2015.
Ariana completed her BM at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she graduated cum laude, and recently completed her MM at the Juilliard School, studying with Darrett Adkins. At Juilliard, Ariana’s quartet, the Eva Quartet, was part of a year long seminar called Chamber Music and Community Service Seminar led by Natasha Brofsky and Catherine Cho. Her extensive chamber music experience has included coaching with renowned musicians such as Emanuel Ax, James Dunham, David Finckel, John Harbison, Desmond Hoebig, Jon Kimura-Parker, Joseph Lin, and Roger Tapping. In recent years Ariana has attended the Spoleto USA Festival, Fontainebleau Conservatoire Américain, Aspen Music Festival and School, Le Domaine Forget Chamber Music Festival, the Olympic Music Festival and the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in Italy.
She has received many honors as a soloist, most recently winning third prize at the 2016 Eisemann Young Artists Competition in Dallas, Texas.
Ariana joined the Houston Grand Opera in 2018.
Violinist Emily Osinski holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the Eastman School of Music.
Since moving to Houston in 2016, Emily has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, Bach Society, Divisi Strings, Third Floor Music, and Richard Brown Music. Prior orchestral experience includes the Buffalo Philharmonic, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, Rochester Oratorio Society, Syracuse Symphony, Symphoria, Binghamton Philharmonic, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Columbus Symphony (GA), Laredo Philharmonic, Corpus Christi Symphony, Mid-Texas Symphony, and Victoria Symphony (TX). Emily has also performed extensively as a chamber musician with many groups, including Quartsemble, Marini String Ensemble, and the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival.
As a teacher, Emily has taught privately and coached chamber music at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance (NY), the Eastman Community Music School (NY), and at home for the past fifteen years. Emily has recently joined the faculty of The International Music Academy in Houston.
Andrew Schneider received his B. Mus. degree in composition at Rice University (Class of 2013) in Houston, Texas. He has lived in the Houston area all his life. His 5-voice madrigal “On May Morning” won 2nd prize in its division in the 2008 TMTA Young Composers Competition. He has also been a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Competition.
He currently plays harpsichord and chamber organ for the Houston ensemble Mercury in various concerts given by that organization. He is also employed at St. Michael Catholic Church as an organist.
BM, MM Rice University, and began studying viola at age 9. She appears regularly in the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Ballet, and Grant Park Orchestra (Chicago). On baroque viola, Ms. Smith performs frequently with Bach Society Houston, Mercury Chamber Orchestra, La Follia Austin Baroque, Ars Lyrica Houston, and American Bach Soloists (San Francisco, CA).
She is the founder of La Speranza, a period instrument ensemble that brings historically informed performances of wind and string chamber music to Houston communities. Ms. Smith also maintains a small private studio through the Tallowood Academy of Fine Arts and Houston Youth Symphony, and frequently coaches middle school and high school viola sections in orchestra programs throughout the Greater Houston area.
BM in Toronto atThe Glenn Gould School, and MM in Violin Performance at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. She has performed as a member of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Esprit, Saskatoon, Okanagan Symphony Orchestras, and currently performs with the Houston Grand Opera.
She has participated in the Youth Orchestra of the Americas, Banff Festival Orchestra, Mannes Institute for Contemporary Performance in NYC, and the Tanglewood Music Centre summer programs, and her string quartet was the only North American String quartet to participate in the Kronos Quartet’s professional training workshop at Carnegie Hall.
MM Yale, DMA University of Houston. He performs across the USA, UK, and in Italy. Winner of the 2009 Myrna Brown and 2008 UH Concerto Competitions. He has performed on Houston’s KUHF radio and with baroque ensemble Arts Lyrica.
Daniel served as 3rd flute and piccolo with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, and has run summer masterclasses for flutists in England.
Violist Matthew Carrington enjoys a diverse performing career, from chamber ensembles to large orchestras, performing works from ancient times to the present day. He currently is a member of Mercury: the Orchestra Redefined, which performs music of all eras on period instruments to enthusiastic audiences. Prior to joining Mercury, he performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic and the New World Symphony. As a member of the Apollo Chamber Players for three seasons, he helped illuminate the intersection of classical and traditional folk music from around the world.
A native of Fresno, California, he benefitted from early instruction from Claudia Shiuh. Mr. Carrington received a B.M. from UC Santa Cruz and a M.M. and Performer Diploma from Indiana University. He counts among his primary teachers Roy Malan, Mimi Zweig, and Atar Arad as well as secondary instruction from Stanley Ritchie and Yuval Gotlibovich.
Amanda Chavis is a passionate musician who believes in bringing music and the arts to her community. She is a founding member of the flute duo Esperanto, which strives to incorporate different elements of the fine arts into engaging and collaborative performances. Additionally, Amanda has had the opportunity to play flute, piccolo, and alto flute with the San Antonio Symphony, as well as served as second flute and piccolo with the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. She was the winner of the 2013 San Diego Flute Guild Artist Gold competition, was a semi-finalist in the Texas Flute Society’s Myrna Brown Competition in 2013 and 2014, performed in the live round of the 2013 National Flute Association’s Young Artist Competition, and is the first runner-up in the 2014 National Flute Association’s Orchestral Audition and Masterclass Competition.
Amanda received her B.M. from the University of Houston where she studied with Sydney Carlson and Kim Clark, and has recently earned her M.M. from California State University Fullerton where she had the great privilege to study with the world-renowned Jean Ferrandis.
Violinist Eugeniu Cheremoush is passionate about performing in many musical styles from the classics to contemporary to jazz improvisation. Coming from a family of musicians, his musical journey began at the age of four. Eugeniu participated and took places in various international violin youth competitions in Moldova: Paul Constantinescu Violin Competition, First Prize 2004, in Moldova: E. Coca International Violin Competition Second Prize 2005, and Bulgaria Nedyalka Semionova international Violin Competition Second prize 2006.
He received his MM at Cleveland Institute of Music with Paul Kantor, and performed recitals in the greater Cleveland area with Shaker Symphony, and Solon Philharmonic as concertmaster. In the Spring of 2015 Eugeniu completed his second MM at Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, TX. Eugeniu has been awarded with fellowships from Aspen Music Festival for three consecutive years, and was a part of Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.
BM and MM University of Houston. Principal cellist of the Texas Medical Center Orchestra. Born in Ukraine and began studying music at age 7. He was a student of the Univ. Institute of Fine Arts in Colima University, Mex., playing as a soloist with San Luis Potosi Orchestra. He won First Place in the 2nd National Competition “Petrof-Simphony-Pearl River” for young performers.
BM University of Houston, MM Mannes College of Music. Native Texan, Amy Glover, is an avid chamber musician and dedicated teacher. Ms. Glover recently founded an innovative, mixed chamber ensemble of woodwinds, brass, and strings for which she arranged part of Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite and selections from Monteverdi’s Madrigals, Book 8 and commissioned a new work by composer, Josh Vinci.
She has performed in the orchestra at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Lucerne, Switzerland, under the baton of such conductors as Pierre Boulez, David Robertson, Peter Eötvös, and Susanna Malkki.
BM Manhattan School of Music, MM New York University, Artist Diploma The Colborn School. Makiko Hirata’s professional activities have extended throughout North and South America, her native Japan, and Europe. At seventeen, she toured with the National Symphony Orchestra of Bolivia.
In December, 1998, her debut in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall was received with a standing ovation. She has toured the United States and Europe as the featured soloist with Pecs Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, Polish Philharmonic Resovia, and Arad State Philharmonia from Romania. Seeking diverse and creative ways to share music, she collaborates with composers, visual artists, dancers and writers in various projects, and regularly writes and gives lectures about music.
She has released three solo CD’s and is currently a DMA Candidate at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
Francis Koiner is an active performer, teacher, and clinician in the Houston area. Ms. Koiner regularly performs with Mercury, the Orchestra Redefined; Kingwood Chorale and Chamber Orchestra; and also serves as principal cellist with both Clear Lake Symphony and Pasadena Philharmonic. Before moving with her husband to Houston, she performed in New York with the Cornell Contemporary Chamber Players, the Cornell Festival Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Tri-Cities Opera, Ithaca Opera, and the Binghamton Philharmonic.
BM summa cum laude, Ithaca College, and MM at Rice University, where Ms. Koiner instructed non-major cello students. She attended the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine, as the performing and teaching assistant to Marc Johnson of the Vermeer Quartet.
Ms. Koiner’s past teachers include Elizabeth Simkin, Desmond Hoebig, Christopher French, and Norman Fischer. She has teacher trained at the Chicago Suzuki Institute, the DFW-WOW Suzuki Institute in Dallas, and the Central Pennsylvania Suzuki Institute. She is currently an instructor at San Jacinto College-Central and in her home studio.
BM Roosevelt, MM Rice University. Principal cellist with the Cypress Symphony and Houston Latin American Philharmonic, and is the asst. principal cellist with Opera in the Heights. He is a dedicated cello teacher at the University of St. Thomas and at the American Festival of the Arts. He performs throughout the USA, Asia and Europe, and plays with the chamber group Axiom Quartet.
Allan Steele, AYS alumnus and principal cellist with the Fort Worth Symphony, was born in Chicago and began studying the cello at the age of four. Steele has studied with many eminent pedagogues such as Tanya Carey, Hans Jensen and Susan Moses. He has placed first in competitions such as the Society of American Musicians, Midwest Young Artists, St. Paul String Quartet Competition, and Fischoff Competition.
Steele maintains an active solo career and has soloed with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, the Northwest Symphony Orchestra, and the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra. He has also been a participant at Indiana University’s Summer String Academy program, the Meadowmount School of Music, and the Montreal International String Quartet Academy.
He is a founding member of the classical music group “MC2,” and regularly performs in the Chicago and Los Angeles areas.
BM, MM New England Conservatory. A Houston native, Courtenay Vandiver Pereira has been praised for her “wonderful technique and creamy sound,” New Jersey Star Ledger and called an “expert player”, The Boston Globe.
Mrs. Vandiver Pereira has performed with the St. Petersburg and Jupiter String Quartets, The Young Eight, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and Fifth Tier New Music Ensemble. She was also awarded the Yellow Rose of Texas by former governor Ann Richards for outstanding artistic achievement.
Amanda Witt is the second clarinet of the Corpus Christi Symphony and maintains an active clarinet studio in Houston. A recent graduate of University of Michigan under Daniel Gilbert, she also holds a masters from the University of Houston under Randall Griffin and a bachelors under Richard Shanley from Baylor University, studying also with Alan Olson.
Amanda participated in the 2008, 2009, and 2011 editions of the Texas Music Festival, and has also performed with the Lansing and Victoria Symphonies.