Strings - University of Houston
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Kirsten Yon
Division Head of Strings
phone: 713-743-3154
office: MSM 201

Welcome to the Moores School of Music String Division! Committed to excellence, our internationally renowned faculty provides our students with an outstanding and personal educational experience. Global in scope, we pride ourselves on educating our students with the necessary skills to succeed in a diverse and modern musical landscape, whether it’s a performance career path, music education degree, an entrepreneurial route, or a position in the field of arts administration.  Our multi-faceted approach to a 21st-century musical education enables students to forge unique and exceptional paths while fully exploring their inner creative potential. Please email or call to learn more about our comprehensive programs!#GoCoogs 
Faculty and Staff - University of Houston ( 

Academic Programs

  • Bachelor of Music

    Our Bachelor of Music students thrive in a highly focused culture that prioritizes mentorship, individual attention and directed educational goals.  The instrumental curriculum includes weekly lessons and studio class, chamber music, orchestral repertoire class, pedagogy and participation in the Moores School Symphony Orchestra or the AURA Contemporary Ensemble.  Qualified music education majors enjoy 100% job placement, and current performance majors often gain valuable experience performing with professional area orchestras while pursuing their undergraduate degree.  Please refer to UHin4 for academic maps in performance, education, marketing and non-profit arts leadership tracks. 

  • Master of Music

    The Master of Music degree allows for greater concentration on one’s instrument while preparing to step forward into the professional realm or pursue a doctoral degree in either performance or pedagogy. Orchestral leadership opportunities within the school rotate throughout the academic year, and students are encouraged to deepen their pedagogical and musical journey on their chosen instrument.    

  • Doctor of Musical Arts

    Applicants are required to hold a master's degree, preferably in applied music, and follow the Doctor of Musical Arts in performance instrumental track degree plan. Students choose between a full dissertation track or a shorter essay track . Recent graduates have an excellent record of job placement at the college and university level, as well as creating new and exciting opportunities on the international stage.  

  • Certificate in Performance

    This two-year program is designed to allow highly advanced students to devote themselves to the serious pursuit of their performance craft.  A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required to apply for the certificate program.  The curriculum includes lessons, studio class, chamber music and ensemble participation.  This is an exceptional program for competition and audition preparation, with a total of four required recitals. 

Tomatz Quartet


Scholarships are available for students at all levels of study who demonstrate outstanding accomplishment and promise. For nonresident students, merit-based scholarships may make a student eligible to receive a tuition waiver resulting in Texas resident tuition rate. A variety of teaching assistantships is available for qualified graduate students. 

Qualified graduate applicants may be considered for a String Department TA position, a Musicology or Music Theory TA position , or for inclusion in the   Tomatz   Graduate String Quartet, which offers a graduate scholarship position.

Select Strings Courses

  • Applied Music Pedagogy

    An introductory exploration of pedagogical principles relevant to all string instruments. Scope and sequence: survey of pedagogical concepts developed by Shinichi Suzuki and Paul Rolland; repertoire sources; learning styles; private studio management.  

  • Orchestral Repertoire

    An intensive, concentrated study of standard symphonic excerpts required for orchestral auditions.  Emphasis is on advanced practice techniques, including appropriate bowing styles and bow strokes, articulations, phrasing style, left-hand solutions, rhythm, dynamics and musicality.  Current performance practices, audition preparation techniques, mock auditions and critical listening analysis are core components of the course. 

String Events

We believe that exposure to outstanding artists in the professional world is essential to growth and development, and we invite guest artists from around the world to our campus to work with our students.  Recent guest artists include:  

  • Violin: Rachel Barton Pine (International Performance Artist), Simon James (San Francisco Conservatory), Lucie Robert (Manhattan School of Music), KristófBaráti (International Soloist and Recording Artist), Shirley Givens (Peabody Conservatory), Elizabeth Blumenstock (Baroque Violinist)  
  • Viola: James Dunham (Rice University), Katherine Plummer (Vanderbilt University), Ivo van der Werff (Rice University)  
  • Cello: Paul York (University of Louisville), Istvan Vardai (Music Academy of Vienna), Suren Bagratuni (Michigan State University)  
  • Double Bass: Paul Ellison (Rice University), François Rabbath (International Recording Artist and Teacher), Hal Robinson (Principal Bass, Philadelphia Orchestra) 
string section

Symphony Orchestra

The Moores School Symphony Orchestra provides our students with a world-class exploration of music that encompasses overtures, symphonies, operas, tone poems, blockbuster hits and exquisite hidden gems. Core repertoire ranging from early classical works through modern masterpieces, take the stage next to ground-breaking contemporary world premieres. Through the course of a year, students experience symphonic literature, award-winning opera productions, collaborations with Houston Ballet Academy and chamber orchestral concerts.  Performances are showcased in the majestic Moores Opera House, a state-of-the-art concert hall with stellar acoustics. The Moores School Symphony Orchestra is open to all UH students by audition. 

Iris Trio

Chamber Music

In Chamber ensembles, students study literature written for smaller, more intimate groups. Whether working in a quintet, quartet, trio or duo, students benefit from coachings focused on tonal blending, score knowledge, communication, listening skills, intonation and musical expression. 


AURA Contemporary Ensemble

Dedicated to innovative performances of contemporary chamber music, AURA utilizes theatrical lighting, projections and electronics in their concerts and frequently collaborates with actors, authors, dancers and visual artists. 

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“The MSM faculty provided me with the tools, support and connections I needed to fulfill all of my goals for graduate study and more. During my time at Moores, I became active and connected in Houston’s vast and eclectic performance scene, built a thriving private studio in a community that invests significantly in music education, gained new cultural perspective on music performance and history and developed plans to contribute to Houston’s musical landscape through the formation of my nonprofit music education organization. The Moores School offers a nurturing and creative environment, which is a continued source of support and inspiration for me as an alumna.” - Grace Lewis (MM '19) Double Bass Performance Founder/Executive Director,  Collegia  Houston Advisory Board Member,  International Society of  Bassists