Faculty & Staff

Alphabetically | By Department

Administration and Support Staff

Alan Austin, General Director, Texas Music Festival (713)743-3167  email
Correan Barker, Development Office Assistant (713)743-3168 email
Jill Bays-Purtill, Public Relations and Box Office Manager (713)743-3307 email
Jason Burton, Assistant Theater Manager (713)743-3431 email
Patricia Cooper, Director of Development (713)743-3104 email
Andrew Davis, Director (713)743-3294 email
Graduate Academic Advisor email
Thom Guthrie, Designer and House Manager, Moores Opera Center (713)743-3305 email
Sarah Hardin, Office Assistant (713)743-3291 email
Lynn Lamkin, Associate Director (713)743-3171 email
Melissa McCrimmon, Assistant Director, Texas Musical Festival (713)743-7274 email
Stacia Morgan Dunn, Admissions and Scholarship Coordinator (713)743-5934 email
Kenneth Ponche, Piano Technician (713)743-3226 email
Ric Richardson, IT support (713)743-2850 email
Carol Risinger, Band Office Coordinator (713)743-3175 email
Omar Sheikh, Music Administrative Coordinator (714)743-0913 email
Elizabeth Shepard, Department Business Administrator (713)743-5121 email
Cara Spinks, Director, Preparatory and Continuing Studies (713)743-3303 email
Jeffrey Sposato, Director of Graduate Studies (713)743-5697 email
Shaterica Washington, Music Office Coordinator (713)743-3146 email
Blake Wilkins, Director of Undergraduate Studies (713)743-3192 email
Carrie Young, Undergraduate Advisor (713)743-3172 email

Brass Faculty

Mark Barton, Brass Area Coordinator

James Austin, trumpet

Mark Barton, tuba
Current tubist with the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, the Moores Brass Quintet, and teacher of Applied Tuba and Chamber Music at the Moores School of Music. He is an active teacher and freelance artist, having performed with the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, and the Waco Symphony. Mr. Barton received degrees in music education and applied music from Baylor University in 1981 and then taught for several years in the Cypress-Fairbanks ISD.

Mark Hughes, trumpet
Currently Principal Trumpet of the Houston Symphony since 2006, Hughes was Associate Principal Trumpet with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for the 12 years previously.  Noteworthy performances include Haydn's Trumpet Concerto under the baton of Carlos Miguel Prieto, and, with the HSO, the Shostakovich Concerto #1 for Piano, Trumpet and Orchestra as well as Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2 and Copland’s Quiet City under the baton of Maestro Hans Graf.  Hugues has also performed and recorded with the Boston and Chicago Symphonies. Recording labels include Duetsche Grammophon, Telarc, Sony Classics, Naxos, New World, Argo and Nonesuch. He also recorded for NPR Classics, performing works used during the 1996 Olympics. Along with being an Artist Affiliate at the University of Houston, Hughes currently teaches at the Texas Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center.

Robert Johnson, French horn
Currently, Johnson is the Associate Principal Horn of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Prior 2012, he was Assistant Principal/Utility Horn of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, Principal Horn of both the Dayton Philharmonic and Richmond Symphony, Fourth Horn of the Honolulu Symphony, and a member of the New World Symphony. Robert has performed with the IRIS Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Saint Louis Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and San Antonio Symphony. He has performed as a Concerto Soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and at the Chicago Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic.  In addition, Johnson has performed with Aspen Music Festival, Cascade Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival, Strings Music Festival, Sun Valley Summer Symphony, Tanglewood Music Festival as well as the Perlman Music Program in both Shelter Island, NY and Sarasota, FL. In the Summer of 2013, he also joins the faculty of the Texas Music Festival. A graduate of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, Robert studied with William VerMeulen.

Brian Kauk, trombone
Formerly principal trombone with the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and the Houston Ballet Orchestra. Mr. Kauk joined the faculty as Trombone affiliate artist and became a member of the Moores Brass Quintet in 1995. He has performed extensively with the Houston Symphony Orchestra including 2 international tours and recordings. Mr Kauk has performed in the Grand Teton Music Festival and teaches at the Texas Music Festival during the summer.

Noe Marmolejo, trumpet; Director, Jazz Ensembles
Active jazz and classical trumpet performer; active adjudicator and clinician in Houston area; former conductor, Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet Orchestra; director, Jazz Institute of the Texas Music Festival, as well as festival brass ensemble coach.

Ilan Morgenstern, bass trombone
Ilan Morgenstern is bass trombonist with the San Antonio Symphony, as well as the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra.  Prior to his current positions, Ilan has held positions with the Jacksonville Symphony and Kansas City Symphony, and in addition has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Detroit Symphony, New Israeli Opera, and the Israel Philharmonic.  As a soloist, Ilan has performed concertos with several orchestras, has performed recitals throughout the United States, and has won numerous awards for his playing.

Gavin Reed, French horn
An active freelance artist in the Houston area, Reed appeared frequently with the Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, River Oaks Chamber Orchestra and Houston Symphony. He toured with Canadian Brass on their "Legends" tour, participated in the Las Vegas Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute and the Music Academy of the West, and appeared with the symphony orchestras of Tallahassee, Raleigh, San Antonio and Milwaukee and Houston.  Principal teachers— Gail Williams and William Barnewitz, additional studies with William VerMeulen, David Jolley, Jeff Nelsen and Eli Epstein.  M.M., Northwestern University.

Jim Vassallo, trumpet
Currently principal trumpet with the Houston Ballet Orchestra and the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. A teacher and frequent performer with the Texas Music Festival each summer, he has also performed with the Grand Tetons Festival Orchestra, the Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, and the AIM Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria.

Danny Vinson, euphonium
Danny Vinson is Adjunct Instructor of Euphonium at the University of Houston. He is also currently adjunct instructor of low brass at East Texas Baptist University, the University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler Junior College, and Kilgore College. As a performer he is a member of the tuba-euphonium quartet Alchemy, the Rose City Trombone Quartet (Tyler), and the ETBU Brass Quintet. He is only hours from completing a D.M.A. in euphonium at the University of North Texas with a minor in music education. For 22 years Mr. Vinson was a member of The U.S. Coast Guard Band serving as principal euphoniumist for 10 years. He was also Instructor of Euphonium at University of Connecticut (10 years) and Instructor of Euphonium and Trombone at University of Rhode Island (11 years). During his tenure with the Coast Guard Band he appeared as soloist on countless occasions and as featured soloist on three of the band's CDs. He has appeared with high school, college, and professional ensembles throughout the United States and internationally, including with the U.S. Army Orchestra in Washington, D.C.; combined military service bands in Norfolk, Virginia and Honolulu, Hawaii; the American Band of Providence, RI; the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine; and at the North German Horn-Tuba Workshop both as soloist and with Alchemy. 

Micah Wilkinson, trumpet


Music Composition Faculty

Rob Smith, Composition Coordinator

Marcus Karl Maroney, composition and theory
B.M., The University of Texas at Austin; M.M., M.M.A., D.M.A., Yale School of Music. Studies with Ned Rorem, Joseph Schwantner, Joan Tower and Dan Welcher.  Fellowships from the Tanglewood Music Center and Copland House.  Commissions from Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Orchestra of St. Luke's, eighth blackbird and Timothy McAllister. Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, Yale University, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Faculty, Yale School of Music, 2002-2004.

Robert Nelson, composition and theory (Emeritus)
D.M.A., University of Southern California, where he studied with Ingolf Dahl and Halsey Stevens and opera production with Walter Decloux; former music director and composer-in-residence, Houston Shakespeare Festival; numerous scores for film and television; co-author of a number of widely-adopted music theory textbooks; musical theatre works include A Room With a View, libretto by Buck Ross, The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyville, libretto by Kate Pogue; Tickets, Please and The Demon Lover, librettos by Sidney Berger. Hear a composition by Robert Nelson: MSSO and soloists: Symphonic Scenes from A Room With A View | The Moores School Chorus and Symphony Orchestra: Christmas Cantata

Rob Smith, composition, theory, Director of AURA Contemporary Ensemble
D.M.A. in composition, University of Texas at Austin. Fulbright Grant recipient to Sydney, Australia, where he studied with Peter Sculthorpe. Taught at Australia's University of Wollongong. Awards: Aaron Copland Award & Residency, National Band Association, Luigi Russolo International Electronic Music Competition, Society of Composers Inc., National Association of Composers in the USA, ASCAP; Selected commissions: Texas Music Festival Orchestra, American Composers Forum (Continental Harmony), New York Youth Chamber Music Program; published by Boosey & Hawkes, Carl Fischer, Southern Music, C-Alan Publications, and Skitter Music Publications; works performed throughout the US and abroad. Smith is director of AURA, the Moores School of Music's contemporary music ensemble. Hear a composition by Rob Smith: The Moores School Wind Ensemble: Whirl.

David Ashley White, composition and theory
One of the leading composers of sacred music in the United States; numerous publications include hymns which are found in major American and international denominational hymnals; his own collection of hymns, Sing, My Soul published in 1996; composer of many secular works, particularly chamber music and songs; B.M. and M.M., University of Houston; D.M.A., University of Texas at Austin; published by E. C. Schirmer, Selah, Southern, Shawnee, Paraclete, Augsburg, Concordia, St. James Music Press. Hear a composition by David Ashley White: Magnificat


Music Theory Faculty

Timothy Koozin, Theory Coordinator

Garreth Broesche, theory

Andrew Davis, theory, Director of Graduate Studies
Ph. D. in music theory, Indiana University; M.M., University of Massachusetts; B.A., Pennsylvania State University. Formerly on faculty of the University of Massachusetts; papers at regional and national conferences on late-19th and early-20th century opera, music of Bartók, and Schenkerian analysis; articles on Italian opera and Schenkerian analysis in professional journals and collections; service to the New England Conference of Music Theorists; formerly assistant editor, Indiana Theory Review.

Aaminah Durrani, theory
(B.M. (1990) and M.M (1996), University of Houston; Ph.D. in Music Theory, Louisiana State University. 2005) is a Clinical Associate Professor and teaches undergraduate courses in music theory, history, and music appreciation and graduate seminars in music theory pedagogy, instrumental works of Haydn, string quartet analysis and aesthetics, and chamber music of Bartók. She was the winner of LSU's Alumnae Association's Distinguished Dissertation Award (Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) in 2005 for dissertation, "Chorale and Canon in Alfred Schnittke's Fourth String Quartet." She has read papers at regional, national and international conferences on Medieval music, gender studies, music of Alfred Schnittke. Research interests include early music, music and aesthetics of the Enlightenment, and post-tonal music. Dr. Durrani also holds Master’s degrees from Harvard University (Regional Studies – Middle East, 1970) and the American University in Cairo (Arabic Studies, 1978).

Timothy Koozin, theory
Ph.D., University of Cincinnati. Areas of research include music and meaning, popular music, Japanese music, and technology applications for musical study. Author and software designer for several widely adopted digital applications for music study, including Music for Ear Training (Schirmer-Cengage, 4th ed., 2013). Articles in Perspectives of New Music, Contemporary Music Review, Music Theory Online, The Journal of Film Music, and College Music Symposium. Edited volume on the film music of Fumio Hayasaka and Toru Takemitsu published by the Journal of Film Music (2010). Former editor of the Society for Music Theory journal, Music Theory Online.

John L. Snyder, theory
Ph.D. in music theory, Indiana University; B.M. and M.M., Michigan State University; formerly on faculties of Nicholls State University, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Oklahoma State University; articles in leading professional journals; papers at many scholarly meetings and symposia in regional, national and international venues; a former president of Texas Society for Music Theory; a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee for Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum; a former member of the Editorial Board for Music Theory Online. A Fellow of the Mannes Institute for Advanced Studies in Music Theory.


Conducting Faculty and Ensemble Directors

David Bertman, Director of Bands
M.M., University of Houston; B.M.E., University of Oklahoma; former Associate Director of Bands, Haltom High School, Haltom City, TX; active as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the region; numerous awards and honors for bands under his leadership; member, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Tau Beta Sigma, Phil Mu Alpha.

Raymond Harvey, opera

Charles Hausmann, Director of Graduate Choral Studies
Director Emeritus of the Houston Symphony Chorus; many appearances as choral clinician and guest conductor; chorus preparation for Robert Shaw, Christoph Eschenbach, Helmuth Rilling, Roger Wagner, Neville Marriner, Edo De Waart and many others; choirs have received acclaim at major American music conventions and at festivals in the United States, Mexico and Europe; co-author of a textbook on choral music and has written articles for several music journals.

Franz Anton Krager, Director of Orchestras
Artistic Co-Director, Virtuosi of Houston; former Music Director, Brazos Valley Symphony & Sinfonietta; Guest Conductor, Houston Symphony, Romanian & Kazan State Philharmonics, Chetham's Symphony Orchestra & Musicfest International Orchestra (UK), Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, Akademisches Orchester Leipzig, Honolulu & Florida West Coast Symphonies, Riverside Philharmonic (CA); chamber orchestras of Stratford
(Principal Guest Conductor) & Leamington England, Grosseto Italy, Columbia Missouri, Round Top Texas; ballet & modern dance companies of Houston and Oakland (CA); Lichfield & Aberystwyth International Arts Festivals (UK), Lunatica, Festival Sinfonico & Scarlino Castello Music Festivals (ITALY), Interlochen, Texas Music Festival, Shostakovich 2000 Festival General & Artistic Director; recordings, Albany Records.

Noe Marmolejo, Director of Jazz Ensembles
Active jazz and classical trumpet performer; active adjudicator and clinician in Houston area; former conductor, Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet Orchestra; director, Jazz Institute of the Texas Music Festival, as well as festival brass ensemble coach.

Marc Martin, Director of Athletic Bands

Jeb Mueller, Director of University Men’s Chorus, Concert Women’s Chorus
Director of University Men’s Chorus, Concert Women’s Chorus, helps prepare opera choruses, and teaches choral music education courses. In addition to his teaching duties, he is an active clinician, adjudicator, and conference presenter. Mueller taught high school choral music in the Houston area for six years. His choirs consistently earned superior ratings at contests and were twice chosen the Overall Best Choir at state and national choral festivals. Dr. Mueller holds degrees from The University of Miami, The University of Texas, and Texas Tech University.

Buck Ross, Producer/Director, Edythe Bates Old Moores Opera Center
Has staged productions for the Houston Grand Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Houston Symphony, San Antonio Opera, Kentucky Opera, El Paso Opera, Utah Opera. For many years he was Director of Dramatic Studies for the Houston Opera Studio and co-director of the apprentice program of the Des Moines Metro Opera. Librettist for opera adaptation of E.M. Forster's A Room With a View with music by Robert Nelson. Author of English singing versions of several operas including Don Pasquale, La Finta Giardiniera, and Orpheus in the Underworld. He holds degrees in music and theatre from Bucknell University, and an MFA in stage direction from the University of Minnesota where he was assistant to H. Wesley Balk.

Rob Smith, composition and theory; Director, AURA Contemporary Ensemble
D.M.A. in composition, University of Texas at Austin. Fulbright Grant recipient to Sydney, Australia, where he studied with Peter Sculthorpe. Taught at Australia's University of Wollongong. Awards: National Band Association, Luigi Russolo International Electronic Music Competition, Society of Composers Inc., National Association of Composers in the USA, ASCAP; Selected commissions: American Composers Forum (Continental Harmony), New York Youth Chamber Music Program; works performed thoughout the US and abroad. Smith is director of AURA, the Moores School of Music's contemporary music ensemble.

Betsy Cook Weber, Director of Choral Studies
Director, Houston Symphony Chorus; Director of Moores School Concert Chorale and the Concert Women's Chorus; served for seven years as Assistant/Associate Director of the Houston Symphony Chorus; successful music teacher in the public schools at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels, during which time choirs there won numerous competitions and awards; active at local and national levels as a conductor, presenter, and clinician; several of her editions of choral works are in current publication; degrees from North Texas State University, Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ), and University of Houston.


Jazz Faculty

Noe Marmolejo, Jazz Area Coordinator

Joel Fulgham, jazz percussion
Currently performs with an average of ten different bands per month; one of the area's first-call drummers; graduate of High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; studied four years at North Texas State University; teaches at Rice University and San Jacinto College, South in addition to being on faculty at the Moores School of Music.

David Klingensmith, jazz bass
B.A., Rice University; additional studies, University of Maryland, University of Miami, Carnegie Mellon University; extensive orchestral and jazz performance experience; faculty, North Harris Community College.

Noe Marmolejo, Director of Jazz Ensembles; jazz trumpet 
Active jazz and classical trumpet performer; active adjudicator and clinician in Houston area; former conductor, Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet Orchestra; director, Jazz Institute of the Texas Music Festival, as well as festival brass ensemble coach.

Woody Witt, jazz saxophone
Affiliate Artist at the Moores School of Music; Professor of Jazz Studies at Houston Community College Town and Country campus; performances include events with the Houston Symphony, The Temptations, Randy Brecker and Ray Charles.

Mike Wheeler, jazz guitar
Guest instructor for clinics throughout the U.S.; member, Danny Ward and Ed Gerlach Orchestras; performances with numerous celebrities such as Englebert Humperdinck, Robert Goulet, Andy Williams, Larry Gatlin and others; on faculty, University of St. Thomas.


Keyboard Faculty

Nancy Weems, Keyboard Area Coordinator

Robert Bates, organ
Robert Bates comes to the Moores School of Music from Stanford University where he served as University Organist. Bates received his Ph.D. in Musicology from Stanford and his MM in Organ Performance from Southern Methodist University. Previously, Bates served as Professor of Organ at Conservatoire de Marlye-le-Roy, France. His recent recordings include Brahms: The Complete Organ Works, The Splendor of Oaxaca Cathedral, Battle in Berkeley, Daguin and the French Noel and The Three Organs of Memorial Church at Stanford University

Courtney Crappell, piano/piano pedagogy
DMA, NCTM, serves as Associate Professor of Piano Pedagogy in the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston where he teaches piano, piano pedagogy, and class piano. A native of south Louisiana, he earned his BM in Piano Performance at Louisiana State University and then traveled to the University of Oklahoma (OU) to complete his MM and DMA degrees in Piano Performance and Pedagogy. Dr. Crappell’s research in piano literature, piano pedagogy, and ethnomusicology has been featured at international and national conferences and he is active as a clinician for state and local teachers in Texas. He has published articles and reviews in American Music Teacher, Clavier Companion, the online Piano Pedagogy Forum, and the MTNA e-Journal. He is also author of the bi-monthly column, The ABCs of Generations XYZ  featured in the American Music Teacher journal.

Timothy Hester, piano, collaborative studies
Native Houstonian, Hester graduated from The Juilliard School as a student of the renowned pedagogue Adele Marcus. He was previously a pupil of the late Professor Emeritus of the University of Houston, Albert Hirsh.  Currently, Mr. Hester is Associate Professor of Piano at the Moores School of Music where he also enjoys instructing students in the skills of sight reading, collaborative techniques and also serves as Director of Keyboard Collaborative Arts.  Named Outstanding Faculty Member of the year in 2003 as presented by the Moores Society, Mr. Hester has worked with internationally known vocalists and instrumentalists. He has also taught Opera Studies at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and is currently on the faculty of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.  Mr. Hester's has appeared worldwide in venues in Britain, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. He has been a regular performing faculty member of the Schlern International Music Festival in Northern Italy. In the United States, he has performed at the NYC Bargemusic Series, the Ojai Festival in California, the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, the Park City International Chamber Music Festival in Utah, the Texas Music Festival, and the OK Mozart Festival in Oklahoma as well as performing with Da Camera, a Houston-based chamber music ensemble.

Tali Morgulis, piano
Ukrainian-born Israeli pianist Tali Morgulis has appeared in UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Taiwan, China, Israel and the United States as a soloist and chamber musician. Ms. Morgulis was a prizewinner of numerous national and international piano competitions. She graduated with a Master's Degree from the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv, and completed her Doctorate at the New England Conservatory, Boston. She has studied with Michael Boguslawsky, Wha Kyung Byun, and Lev Natochenny. Ms. Morgulis has joined the Moores School of Music faculty in the fall of 2008, after serving on the faculty of Fort Hays State University in Kansas for three years.

Abbey Simon, Distinguished Cullen Professor of Piano
Internationally recognized concert artist; recitals in all major music capitols and appearances with the world's leading orchestras; one of the most recorded classical artists of all time; recordings on Philips, EMI and Vox Turnabout labels; awards include Walter Naumburg Prize, National Orchestra Award, Elizabeth Sprague Collidge Medal and Harriet Cohen Medal; judge at international piano competitions

Brian Suits, accompanying
Faculty positions at University of Houston, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival; former faculty at Yale University (1990-2002), Banff Festival and several festivals in Korea; concerti performances with Jupiter Symphony, Sejong Soloists, others; regular performances as half of Lee/Suits Duo with violinist/wife Kyung Sun Lee; multitudinous performances with other instrumentalists and singers; as conductor, often guest with Orchestre de Chambre Français Albéric Magnard, Prime Philharmonic (Seoul), others; as composer, many pieces and arrangements in many styles, including "Piano Concerto" and "String Quartet on Irish Themes," and two albums of solo piano music in a quasi-jazz idiom; as orchestrator, films (in Korea) include "For Horowitz," "The Host," "Bunt," "Miracle on First Avenue," "Voice of a Murderer," "Soo," "Mask," and KBS television documentary "Yellow River"; recordings with musikdorf, Chung Eum Sa, Sung-Eum, and UW Madison Records; training at University of Texas at Austin and University of Southern California; teachers include David Renner, Brooks Smith, Jean Barr.

Nancy Weems, Madison endowed professor of piano
Top prizes, International Recording Competition, U.S. Artistic Ambassador Program; presents master classes and concerts throughout U.S.; has given concert tours in Europe, Russia, Mexico, Asia and Central America; recipient of 1991 Texas Music Teachers Association Collegiate Teacher of the Year; recipient of 1995 University of Houston Enron Teaching Excellence Award; recordings, Bay Cities and Albany labels, Grammy nomination 1990


Music Education Faculty

Julie Kastner, Music Education Coordinator

John Benzer
M.M. from University of Houston and B.M.E. from North Texas State University; teaches undergraduate instrument pedagogy and band/orchastra director methods classes; taught for twelve years at Griffin Middle School in The Colony (Lewisville ISD), where his top band was named the Texas CC State Honor Band in 1993 and 1997, and was awarded the Sudler Silver Cup under his direction; active clinician, presenter and adjudicator throughout Texas and nationally; co-author of Essential Musicianship-Ensemble Concepts.

Cora Bigwood

Erin Hansen

Terri Humphries
holds degrees from Baylor University, (B.M.E.) and from University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, (M.M.). At these institutions, she participated as a performer in orchestras, wind ensembles (as an oboist) and in choirs, under the direction of distinguished conductors. Ms. Humphries' teaching experience includes twenty-six years in Spring Branch Independent School District, in addition to experience at the University of Cincinnati and University of Houston. Other professional experience includes writing curriculum and teaching in-service for new music teachers. She has also served as Coordinator for Children's Choirs at South Main Baptist Church.

Julie Kastner
Ph.D. in music education from Michigan State University, where she completed her Master’s of Music Education degree. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Previously taught K-6 general music and choir in the Fairfax County Public Schools in Northern Virginia and early childhood music classes at the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C. She also taught early childhood music classes for children from birth to age five at the Michigan State University Community Music School. She holds certifications in Music Learning Theory (Elementary I & II and Early Childhood I) and Orff-Schulwerk (Levels I-III). Dr. Kastner is passionate about the importance of music education in the lives of young children and seeks to help other adults learn how they can foster musical growth in the lives of their children and students.

Anna Langley
brings over thirty years of experience in the elementary classroom to the University of Houston. She has conducted in-service workshops for several school districts, and has twice presented creative ideas and methods at the Texas Music Education Association’s (TMEA) annual convention. Anna holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Capital University in Ohio, a Master in Elementary Education from Sam Houston State University in Texas, and is Orff Level 3 certified.

Robert Mayes
Spent 16 years as Director of University of Houston Bands, including the Cougar Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, and Cougar Brass; active clinician and adjudicator.  Former director of bands at University of Wyoming; taught public school at Lee High School in Midland, Texas; assistant director of bands at Texas Tech; Specialist in secondary instrumental education, national reputation as a director and educator.

Laura McGregor


Musicology Faculty


Matthew Dirst, Interim Musicology Coordinator

Paul A. Bertagnolli, musicology
Doctorate in musicology, Washington University; studied music criticism, McMaster University in Canada; review and feature articles to daily newspapers in Connecticut; performance degrees in clarinet, Yale University and University of Wyoming.

Matthew Dirst, musicology; harpsichord
PhD in musicology, Stanford University; Fulbright scholar to France, Grammy nominee (conductor, Best Opera 2011). First American to win major international prizes in both organ and harpsichord: first prize, American Guild of Organists National Young Artist Competition; second prize, Warsaw International Harpsichord Competition. Publications include a number of articles on the music of J. S. Bach and its reception and a recent book:  Engaging Bach: The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Barbara Rose Lange, ethnomusicology
Ph.D, University of Washington; research areas include Hungary, Roma (Gypsies), and the music of folk religion. Articles in Ethnomusicology, Journal of American Folklore, the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, and other publications. Author, Holy Brotherhood: Romani Music in a Hungarian Pentecostal Church (Oxford, 2003). Research awards include a Mellon Fellowship, Fulbright CIES and IREX grants, and others. Lange's current project concerns free improvisation and the avant-garde music scene in Houston and other American cities.

Howard Pollack, musicology
B.M., music history, University of Michigan; M.A. and Ph.D., musicology, Cornell University; research interests include 20th-century music, American music, musical theater, film music; author, Walter Piston (1982); Harvard Composers: Walter Piston and his Students, from Elliott Carter to Frederic Rzewski (1992); John Alden Carpenter: A Chicago Composer (1995); Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man (1999); George Gershwin: His Life and Work (2006); and Marc Blitzstein: His Life, His Work, His World (2012); recipient of two Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Nicolas Slonimsky Award, the Irving Lowens Award, an Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research, two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards, a Kurt Weill Foundation Travel and Research Grant, a Newberry Library Fellowship, and other grants and awards.

Jeffrey S. Sposato, musicology
MM and BM in vocal performance, New England Conservatory; BA in German studies, Tufts University; PhD in musicology, Brandeis University; author, The Price of Assimilation: Felix Mendelssohn and the Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitic Tradition (Oxford, 2006) and William Thomas McKinley: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood, 1995), and articles and reviews in 19th-Century Music, Ars Lyrica, Choral Journal, Music & Letters, Musical Quarterly, Notes, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (second edition), and the collections Historical Musicology (Stephen Crist and Roberta Marvin, eds.) and Nineteenth-Century Choral Music (Donna Di Grazia, ed.); research grants include an ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship for Junior Faculty and a Fulbright fellowship.

Katherine Turner, musicology

Megan Woller, musicology
B.M. in vocal performance, Saint Mary’s College; M.M. and Ph.D. in musicology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; research interests include popular music, musical theater, film music, reception studies, American classical music, and women in music; articles in Studies in Musical Theatre and upcoming in Music and the Moving Image; research presentations at musicological and interdisciplinary conferences, including AMS-Southwest and Society for American Music.


Percussion Faculty


Blake Wilkins, Percussion Area Coordinator 

Joel Fulgham, drumset (email)
Currently performs with an average of ten different bands per month; one of the area's first-call drummers; graduate of High School for the Performing and Visual Arts; studied four years at North Texas State University; teaches at Rice University and San Jacinto College, South in addition to being on faculty at the Moores School of Music.

Alec Warren, percussion (email)
Has performed as a freelance artist with the Houston Ballet, the Woodlands Symphony, the Irving Symphony, TUTS, the Houston Choral Society, HITS, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Cantare, the Michelle Brangwen Dance Ensemble, the United Nations Chorus, Synergy Brass Ensemble and James Conlon among many others. He has studied tabla with Pandit Sharda Shahi and Bob Becker. Mr. Warren received his Bachelor's of Music from Sam Houston State University where he studied percussion with Rod Cannon and Ray Dillard. He received his Masters in Music Performance from the University of North Texas where he studied under Dr. Robert Schietroma, Ed Soph and Leigh Stevens. Alec is an active clinician and performer who teaches at the University of Houston, North Harris College, San Jacinto College, Friendswood, Spring and Westfield High Schools. Mr. Warren has an endorsement with Innovative Percussion.

Blake Wilkins, percussion
Director of Percussion Studies at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston; former percussionist and substitute principal timpanist, Oklahoma City Philharmonic; specialist in solo classical marimba and in contemporary music performance; co-founder of El Dos, an experimental performance duo; active composer; reipient of Percussive Arts Society Composition Award; original compositions for percussion ensemble on Albany Records label.


String Faculty

Dennis J. Whittaker, String Area Coordinator

Alan Austin, Baroque violin
Active career as chamber musician, soloist, and orchestral player; member, period instrument groups Ars Lyrica Houston and Aquinas, the resident ensemble at the University of St. Thomas; principal player and concertmaster, Texas Bach Collegium (San Antonio), J.S. Bach Society Orchestra (Houston); regular performances, Texas Baroque Ensemble, Dallas Bach Society; featured guest performer, Early Music Weekend at Roundtop, Amherst Early Music Festival; studies with Baroque violinists Simon Standage, Elizabeth Blumenstock, Manfredo Kraemer, and Andrew Manze; faculty, University of St. Thomas, UH Moores School of Music; recordings on Dorian and Zephyr labels.

Wayne Brooks, viola
Principal Violist, Houston Symphony; graduate of the Curtis Institute; chamber music appearances with Joseph Silverstein, Lynn Harrell, Yefim Bronfman, Garrick Ohlsson, and Christoph Eschenbach; festival performances in Houston, Vermont, Colorado, and Chicago; tours of Japan and Europe; recorded works of Webern and Berg; former faculty, Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Pacific Music Festival of Japan.

Andrzej Grabiec, violin
Former concertmaster, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish National Radio and Television Symphony, Wichita Symphony Orchestra; concertmaster, American Sinfonietta, Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra; prize winner, Wieniawski and Thibaud International Competitions; Carnegie Hall debut in 1984; member, Polish radio trio, Mozart Festival Chamber Orchestra, Fairmount String Quartet, and the Trio NOVA; faculty, Sarasota Music Festival; recordings, Summit and Vifon.

Frank Huang, violin

David Klingensmith, jazz bass
Jazz Bassist, graduated from the Rice University Shepherd School of Music, and primarily studied with Paul Ellison and H. Stevens Brewster. He currently teaches and performs in Houston and surrounding areas. He leads The Blue Monks, and is a member of the Theory of Three and Category Five. He has performed with the Houston Symphony, Theater Under the Stars, Ray Charles, Clark Terry, Rita Coolidge, Rosemary Clooney, the Sun Ra Arkestra and many other renowned artists and organizations. His performances include commercial jazz, modern classical and forays into the avant-garde. He resides in Southwest Houston with his wife and four children.

Suzanne LeFevre, viola
A native of Wisconsin, LeFevre began her formal education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Music. She spent one year at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam Holland, where she studied with the principal violist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. She holds a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma from Yale University. Has led an active orchestral career and chamber life music life, which has involved playing in numerous orchestras and ensembles in the US, as well as Europe, including: Principal Viola of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Assistant Principal Viola of the Charlotte Symphony, Nederlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, and New Haven Symphony. Suzanne has spent the summers participating in different Music Festivals, such as the Grand Teton Music Festival and Peninsula Music Festival. At present Suzanne lives in Houston Texas, where she is a member of the Houston Grand Opera, and Mercury Baroque. She is also a member, as well as personnel manager, of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.

Paula Page, harp
Principal harp, Houston Symphony; former principal, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma symphonies; guest harpist, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Greand Teton Festival orchestras; former faculty, University of Oklahoma, Temple University Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Interlochen Arts Camp; faculty, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University.

Vagram Saradjian, violoncello
Vagram Saradjian gave his first public recital at age 9 and won his first prize at the Russian National Competition at age 18, which put him in the country's national spotlight. International recognition of his prodigious talent came when he won several major contests, including the Tchaikovsky International Competition in 1970 and the Geneva International Cello Competition in 1975. By the time he was twenty, Mr. Saradjian was being compared with such masters as Mstislav Rostropovich, who was his teacher at the Moscow Conservatory for eight years. As a recitalist, Mr. Saradjian has performed around the world in such concert halls as the Barbican Centre in London, Gaveau in Paris, La Scala in Milan, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Musikverein in Vienna, Tonhalle in Zurich, Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, and the Leningrad Philharmonic Hall.

Kristen Yon, violin
Violinist Kirsten Yon is currently in residence at the University of Houston where she serves as Associate Professor of Violin. Previous to this she was Associate Professor of Violin at Texas Tech University, a position she held for eight years.  A sought-after teacher, performer, and clinician, she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and the Cleveland Institute of Music before pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.  During her degrees, Ms. Yon studied with Stephen Shipps, William Preucil, David Updegraff, and Kathleen Winkler.  Additionally, Ms. Yon has worked with Raphael Fliegel, Christopher Teal, and Vaclav Snitil. Her concert schedules have included solo and chamber music recitals throughout Texas, New York (Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall), California, Minnesota, Michigan, New Mexico, Brazil, Honduras, Germany, France, and Norway.  Dedicated to musical outreach at the community and international levels, Ms. Yon was a founder and the faculty advisor of Cuerdas de Enlace (String Connection), a pedagogical outreach program with ties to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  Previously on the faculty at the Interlochen Center for the Arts and at the Texas Tech University Orchestra Camp, Ms. Yon has also taught at the International Music Academy in Pilsen, Czech Republic from 2009-2011.  In the summer of 2012, Ms. Yon will be teaching and performing at the Cambridge International String Academy in England.  Ms. Yon's debut recording will be released by Centaur Records in 2012, featuring the Ravel and Kodály duos with cellist Jeffrey Lastrapes.  Kirsten Yon frequently concertizes with her husband, organist and keyboardist Sigurd Øgaard.

Mike Wheeler, jazz guitar
Guest instructor for clinics throughout the U.S.; member, Danny Ward and Ed Gerlach Orchestras; performances with numerous celebrities such as Englebert Humperdinck, Robert Goulet, Andy Williams, Larry Gatlin and others; on faculty, University of St. Thomas

Dennis J. Whittaker, double bass
Winner, 1987 Gary Karr Solo Competition; principal, Houston Grand Opera, active as substitute bassist with Houston Symphony and as freelance performer; active as upright and electric bassist in jazz and pop ensembles; public school students have been accepted into programs at Tanglewood, the Disney Young Musician's Orchestra and the Texas All-State Orchestra; faculty, Texas Music Festival


Voice and Opera Faculty


Joseph Evans, Voice Area Coordinator

Cynthia Claytonsoprano
Leading roles with Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Knoxville Opera, Central City Opera, New York City Opera, Utah Opera, Orlando Opera, Festival Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Cleveland Opera, and Santa Barbara Grand Opera. Roles include Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Liù in Turandot, Lady Penelope Rich in Britten's Gloriana, Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, both Mimì and Musetta in La bohème, the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, the title role in Floyd's Susannah, Mary Willis in Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree, Micaëla in Carmen, Massenet's Manon, Violetta in La traviata, Nedda in Pagliacci, and Marguerite in Faust.

Joseph Evanstenor
Among his appearances as a leading tenor are those for La Scala, Ireland's Wexford Festival, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera de Nantes, Orleans, and Nancy, La Fenice, Theatre de Geneve, New York City Opera, eight seasons, Houston Grand Opera and the companies of San Diego, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Boston and Cleveland; performances with New York Philharmonic, Tokyo Philharmonic, orchestras of Cleveland, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and others; recordings, Sony Classics, CBS Masterworks, Cybellia and Gasparo labels

Raymond Harvey

Timothy Jonesbass-baritone
Is emerging as one of the leading baritones of his generation. An extraordinarily versatile artist, he performs widely in opera, concerts, chamber music, and solo recitals. A champion of new music, he has commissioned and premiered numerous works across the United States and Europe. Now an Associate Professor of Voice at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, he has contributed to the cultural life of Houston for several years through his performances with CONTEXT, Musiqua, Ars Lyrica, The Bach Society, and the Masterworks Chorale. Dr. Jones has performed throughout the United States, Mexico, South America, the Czech Republic, Europe, and Canada. Much in demand by symphony orchestras for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Verdi's Requiem, Mozart's Requiem, Berlioz's La Damnation du Faust, and Bach and Handel oratorios, his operatic career is flourishing with leading roles in Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Porgy and Bess, Carmen, Romeo et Juliette, Hänsel und Gretel, and Die Fledermaus. He has performed new works and songs in festivals across the United States, and he made his New York debut with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in February, 2000. Dr. Jones earned his DMA degree from the University of Michigan where he studied with the distinguished Metropolitan Opera tenor George Shirley. His undergraduate degree in piano and voice is from Centenary College in his hometown, Shreveport, Louisiana..

Lynda McKnight, soprano
Ms. McKnight holds both a MM in Voice and an Artist Diploma in Opera from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, as well as a BM in vocal performance from Baylor University.  Ms. McKnight is a past winner of the WGN/Illinois Opera Guild National Competition, the National Federation of Music Clubs National Competition, and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Auditions. She was named the Singer of the Year in 1994 in the Texoma Regional NATS and the Shreveport Opera Competitions.  Her  discography includes Seduction and Prayer: The Music of Daron Hagen on the Arsis label, and she has been seen and heard in the “Live From the Met” radio and video broadcasts of Ghosts of Versailles.  

Ana Maria Otamendi Vocal Coach
Since her orchestral debut at age twelve, Ana María has performed as a soloist and collaborative pianist at important venues and with renowned orchestras in Austria, Panama, Brazil,  the United States, Spain, Italy, and Venezuela. After finishing her two-year tenure as Studio Artist at the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, she is now a Visiting Professor at the University of Houston, as well as Music Director, pianist and conductor for different programs at HGOCo. She has won First Prize at all the major Venezuelan piano competitions, as well as the University of South Carolina Concerto Competition and the Ouro Branco Festival Competition (Brazil). Ana María holds a Master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Wisconsin, an Artist Certificate from the University of South Carolina, and a Doctorate in collaborative piano from the University of Michigan, where she studied with renowned pianist Martin Katz. She was principal keyboardist of the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra (2007–08) as well as assistant professor at the University of Musical Studies in Caracas. Besides her musical training, Ana María is also a Geophysical Engineer, and her thesis was published in the prestigious journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors.

Melanie Sonnenberg, mezzo-soprano
International appearances include leading roles with Teatro San Carlo, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Graz Oper, Salzburg Festspielhaus, Tokyo Yoyogi Arena, New York City Opera, Dallas Opera, Seattle Opera, Washington National Opera, Edmonton Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Edmonton Opera, Opera Ontario, New Orleans Opera, San Diego Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Indianapolis Opera, among others, and soloist with Opera Orchestra of New York, Grazer Philharmonic, Little Orchestra Society, San Antonio Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra, and Princeton Festival Orchestra. Television performances on PBS- "Live from Lincoln Center" and "Great Performances" and the ORF- Austrian Radio and Television; recording on Reference.

Hector Vasquez, baritone
Leading roles, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Cleveland, Orlando, and Houston Grand Opera in addition to his appearances as baritone soloist with Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Houston Philharmonic/Symphony Orchestras, among others.  Featured artist at Music Festivals of Berlin, Ojai, Aspen, Carmel, Santa Fe Chamber, and the Hollywood Bowl Summer Season.  Voice instructor at University of Southern California and California State University, Los Angeles; clinician, Opera America.  National and international adjudicator, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.  Recordings on Kultur Video, Sony Classical and Albany records.  Broadcasts appearances include Live from the MET, Live from Lincoln Center and NPR radio.


Woodwind Faculty

Mark Barton, Wind Area Coordinator

Robert Atherholt, oboe

Adam Dinitz, oboe

Aralee Dorough, flute
Principal flutist of the Houston Symphony. Attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music as a student of Robert Willoughby, and continued her studies with Thomas Nyfenger at the Yale School of Music In 1993 she recorded the same concerto with Christoph Eschenbach and the Houston Symphony for the IMP label. She performed the world premiere of Bright Sheng's Flute Moon, commissioned by the Houston Symphony, in a concert broadcast on PBS. She has a lso appeared with harpist Marisa Robles and baroque specialist Nicholas McGegan. Aralee has toured extensively throughout Europe and Japan, and performed at Chicago's prestigious Ravinia Festival as a member of the Houston Symphony Chamber Players, often in collaboration with Christoph Eschenbach at the piano.

Jonathan Fischer, oboe

Dan Gelok, saxophone
Bachelor's of Music Education degree from Indiana University and his Masters in saxophone performance from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Featured in solo, duet, and quartet performances at the New England Saxophone Symposium, the North American Saxophone Alliance regional and national conferences, and Cape Cod's Falmouth Academy. He has given recitals in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, Texas, and Singapore, including being an invited soloist at Singapore's Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts Commuter Concert Series. As a performer of new music, he has worked closely with composers such as Zach Browning, Kawai Shiu and Zechariah Goh, recording and commissioning new works. In addition, he is a member of Echo Rogue Quartet, a group dedicated to the performance and proliferation of avant-garde chamber music for the saxophone.

Randall Griffin, clarinet
Principal, Houston Ballet Orchestra; has performed as acting Associate Principal, Houston Symphony and principal, Orquesta Sinfonica Municipal de Caracas, Venezuela; appearances as soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, South America, and the U. S.; active clinician and adjudicator

Jennifer Keeney, flute
Currently second flute with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. Founding member of Trio Angelico. Former Principal Flute of the Hong Kong Philharmonic and New World Symphony. Performances with the Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera and Colorado Music Festival Orchestra, among others. Recent master classes at University of Texas, Rice University, University of Colorado (Boulder), Texas Tech University, Bowling Green University, and The High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Houston. M.M., Rice University. B.M., University of Michigan.

Jeffrey Lerner (Emeritus), clarinet
Performed with the New York City Opera, New York Goldman Band; principal with the Texas Opera Theatre, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra and Houston Grand Opera Orchestra for many years; currently performs for HGO; active recitalist and member of Winds of Texas; faculty, Texas Music Festival; B.M. and M.M., Juilliard School of Music.

Chester Rowell, clarinet
Chester Rowell, Affiliate Artist in Clarinet received his B.M, and M.M. from the Eastman School of Music. In addition, he was also awarded a Performers Certificate in Clarinet . Mr. Rowell has been a clarinet performer with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera and has been a contracted clarinetist/bass clarinetist for past 27 seasons. Mr. Rowell is also a lead reed doubler with the Theatre Under the Stars Musical Show Orchestra.

Peggy Russell, flute and piccolo
Since 1984, Peggy has been performing with the Houston Ballet Orchestra and also has performed with the Bach Society Orchestra, Ars Lyrica, and is a former member of Texas Chamber Orchestra. She has recently joined the faculty at the Moores School of Music, and is an active flute instructor and clinician around Houston. She is a founding member of the Winds of Texas Woodwind Quintet, and currently the Administrator for the Houston chamber music group, CONTEXT. Peggy has a B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and M.M. from Indiana University. Her teachers have included Robert Willoughby, James Pellerite, John Heiss, Geoffrey Gilbert and Claire Johnson.

Melissa Suhr, flute
Orchestral and chamber musician; founding member/flutist of Cimarron Woodwind Quintet in Houston; principal substitute with the Houston Ballet Orchestra for twenty-four seasons; principal flute of the Masterworks Chorus Orchestra; second flute with the Houston Chamber Orchestra and piccolo and substitute flute with the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Symphony; performs with Grand Teton Music Festival and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

Elise Wagner, bassoon
Member of the Houston Symphony bassoon section since August of 2008. Bachelors of Music degree at Temple University where she studied with Daniel Matsukawa, principal bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Masters of Music degree at Carnegie Mellon University where she studied with Nancy Goeres, principal bassoon of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.