Strings

Faculty

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
Concertmaster of the Houston Symphony, former faculty at the Eastman School of Music, 1st violinist of the Grammy-Award winning Ying Quartet, violinist of the Huang-Altstead-Vonsattel Trio, and the concertmaster and leader of the Sejong Soloists, a conductorless chamber orchestra based in New York. Performances with orchestras throughout the world, including the Cleveland Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, Saint-Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, NDR-Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of Hannover, Amadeus Chamber Orchestra and the Genoa Orchestra. Top prize awards in the Premio Paganini International Violin Competition and the Indianapolis International Violin Competition, Gold Medal Awards in the Kingsville International Competition, the Irving M. Klein International Competition and the D'Angelo International Competition

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
is a native of Wisconsin in the United States. She 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.

Suzanne 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.

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

Kirsten Yon, violin
Undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Institute of Music and Rice University. Violin studies with Stephen Shipps, William Preucil, David Updegraff, and Kathleen Winkler. Additional work with Raphael Fliegel, Christopher Teal, and Vaclav Snitil. Winner of multiple competitions; performances with numerous professional orchestras across the United States and South America, including the Ann Arbor Symphony, the New World Symphony, and the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Concertmaster positions include the Bayou City Chamber Orchestra, the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra, the Caprock Pro Musica Sinfonietta, and Ballet Lubbock. Founding member of the Champlain Trio, the Archiano Ensemble, the Karlin Trio, and the Botticeelli String Quartet. 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.