2012 Texas Music Festival Orchestra Fellows - University of Houston
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2012 Texas Music Festival Orchestra Fellows

The Texas Music Festival Orchestra Fellows are chosen through a rigorous live and recorded audition process. Each student receives a full tuition fellowship and housing assistance for their stay in Houston. The 2012 Orchestra Fellos come from Texas, 18 other U.S. States, and 11 foreign countries. We welcome them to Houston!


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Kayla Burggraf, Germany

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A 19-year old aspiring orchestral flutist, Kayla Burggraf is currently studying with Leone Buyse at Rice University. She plans to graduate in 2014 with degree in flute performance.

Before coming to Rice, Kayla studied with flute professor at University of Iowa, Nicole Esposito. Most recently, Kayla was accepted into the final round of the Coleman and Fischoff Chamber Music Competitions. She will compete this spring with the Noctua Wind Quintet – an ensemble of Rice University sophomores. In May she will attend the Iowa Piccolo Intensive on scholarship and in June she will attend the Texas Music Festival on full fellowship.

Caitrine-Ann Piccini, Texas

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Caity Piccini is an accomplished prize-winning flutist who has performed with orchestras and given numerous solo and chamber recitals across the United States and abroad. Caity is currently pursuing her DMA at the University of Houston and studies with Houston Symphony Principal Flutist, Aralee Dorough. She received her Master's in Music Performance from NYU, studying with Keith Underwood, and holds a Bachelor of Music Performance from Temple University, where she studied with The Philadelphia Orchestra's Associate Principal Flute, David Cramer.

Gloria Yun, New Jersey

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Gloria Yun began her flute studies at the age of 12 with Wendy Stern, and was accepted to the Mannes College of Music in 2007 as a student of Sue Ann Kahn. She was the recipient of grants from the Children's Foundation for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award, awards from the Pittsburgh and New York Flute Clubs' Young Artists Competitions, and First Prize in the Wind Division of the 2009 LISMA International Music Competition.

Ms. Yun received her Bachelor of Music degree in Flute Performance in 2011 as an Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society member, and is currently continuing her studies at Mannes, this time as a Masters of Music degree candidate.

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Heather Baxter, Kentucky

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Heather Baxter has played the oboe since age twelve and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and a Master of Music degree in Performance from The Hartt School. Her principal teachers include Cally Banham, Humbert Lucarelli, and Ann Homann Mottl. She has taken lessons and attended master classes with Ray Still, John Mack, John Ferrillo, Robert Atherholt, Laura Ahlbeck, Mark Ostoich, Nancy Clauter, and Karen Birch Blundell, among others. Currently, Heather is pursuing her DMA at the University of Kentucky and performs frequently with the Evansville (IN) Philharmonic and Lexington (KY) Philharmonic Orchestras.

Daniel Cruz, Texas


Kelly Mozeik, Pennsylvania

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Kelly Mozeik, is currently holding a Bachelor's degree in Oboe performance. She studied oboe at the Cleveland Institute of Music with her teacher, Frank Rosenwein.

She plans on attending Rice University in the fall of 2012 for her Master's of Music degree. Originally from Pittsburgh, she began studying at the age of ten. Ms. Mozeik has been a winner in several scholarship competitions including the Tuesday Musical Club, Keynotes, and McKeesport Music Club. She was a soloist with the West Mifflin Chamber Strings and the West Mifflin Wind Ensemble. She had her Severance Hall debut with the University Circle Wind Ensemble in February, 2011 and since then, has soloed with them three more times. Ms. Mozeik has performed with the Pittsburgh Opera Theater, Pittsburgh Youth Symphony, alongside the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and on a national level with the LCMS Youth Wind Symphony.

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Chi Hang Fung, New York


Julian Hernandez, Texas

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A native of El Paso, Texas, clarinetist Julian Hernandez began his musical studies at the age of nine, and went on to study with Dr. Richard Shanley, Dr. Vanguel Tangarov, and Mr. Alan Olson at Baylor University where he earned his undergraduate degree in music education. This fall he will continue his musical studies at the University of Michigan studying under Dan Gilbert and Chad Burrow. Julian has performed with the Baylor Symphony, Baylor Opera Orchestra, Waco Symphony, and Mid-Texas Symphony. Last summer, Julian attended the Brevard Music Center Festival and the Hot Springs Music Festival.

Amanda Witt, Texas

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.

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Alex Amsel, Argentina

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Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alex Amsel moved to the United States at the age of 11. He began his musical studies at age 13 and soon became immersed in the classical music world through the bassoon. He has since performed with ensembles such as the Texas Festival Orchestra at the Round Top Festival Institute, Rice Campanile Orchestra, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Symphony Orchestra of Southeast Texas, Houston Youth Symphony, as well as ensembles at the University of Texas at Austin. Amsel has also conducted the Rice Campanile Orchestra and the University of Houston Chamber Orchestra.

Erik Malmer, Texas

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Erik Malmer is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Bassoon Performance from the University of Houston where he studies with Elise Wagner. He has attended various summer music festivals including Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific (SOAP), Madeline Island Summer Chamber Program, and Sewanee Summer Music Festival. He has attended Master Classes with Benjamin Kamins, Matthew McDonald, Karen Pierson, Dr. Christin Schillinger, and Dr. Eric Varner. His primary teachers have been Elise Wagner, Cheryl Huddleston, and Carrie Pierson. This summer he will be attending the Texas Music Festival.

Allison Nicotera, New York

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Bassoonist Allison Nicotera recently completed her first year as a Master of Music student at the Juilliard School under the instruction of Metropolitan Opera Principal bassoonist, Patricia Rogers. A versatile player, Allison is at ease in both solo and collaborative settings. She is a winner of two concerto competitions, and her playing experiences have brought her across the United States and Canada with ensembles such as The Juilliard Orchestra, Foot in the Door, The Chelsea Symphony, Ensemble 212, The Hartt Symphony Orchestra, and The American Wind Symphony Orchestra. Allison received her Bachelor's Degree in Bassoon Performance from The Hartt School under the tutelage of Marc Goldberg.

Marissa Olegario, California

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Marissa Olegario, from El Dorado Hills, California, began her bassoon studies at age 13 with Karen Gale. She has received additional instruction from John Miller, Frank Forst, Sue Heinemen, Ron Phillips, and John Clouser. In 2009, she was awarded the John Paynter Memorial Scholarship and Honorable Mention at the Mondavi Center Young Artist Competition. Marissa has attended summer festivals including Marrowstone Summer Music, Summer Music Institute with the National Symphony Orchestra, and Kent-Blossom Summer Music under a merit scholarship. Marissa is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music in bassoon performance at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where she studies with Lewis Kirk and Christopher Millard.

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Katelyn Benedict, California

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As a freelance musician in the Greater Los Angeles area, Katelyn Marie Benedict has performed with several ensembles, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center. In addition, she has attended festivals such as the Round Top Music Festival and the Idyllwild Arts Festival. Katelyn was also a Young Musicians Foundation ASCAP finalist and received honorable mention with the NFAA.

Katelyn earned her bachelors degree of music in Horn Performance from the Eastman School of Music is currently pursuing her master's degree at the University of Southern California. Her principal teachers include W. Peter Kurau and Dr. Kristy Morrell.

Daniel Hawkins, Texas

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Daniel Hawkins started playing the French Horn at the age of 11. He was a three year All-State member and was 1st chair for two years. He attended the Mid-South Horn Workshop at Oklahoma State University and won 1st place at the High School Concerto Competition. He was just recognized as a National Finalist in the Music Teacherʼs National Association Brass Competition. He currently is a Freshman at Stephen F. Austin State University and studies under Dr. Charles Gavin where he is learning the various abilities that he needs in order for his dream of performing in a professional orchestra to become a reality.

Adam Houpt, Texas

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Adam Houpt recently graduated from Southern Methodist University with a M.M. in horn performance, where he studied with Dallas Symphony Principal Horn, Greg Hustis. Originally from Las Cruces, New Mexico, he received his Bachelor's degree in Music Education from New Mexico State University, where he studied with Nancy Joy. From 2005-2010 he was assistant/utility horn for the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra. Last summer he attended the Texas Music Festival for the first time and is excited to be returning. Currently, he lives in Dallas with his wife Jonelle, freelancing and teaching Horn in the Mesquite Independent School district.

Ernesto Tovar, Mexico

Originally from Mexico, Ernesto started playing the Horn at the age of 10. He is currently a Sophomore Music Performance Major at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma studying under Professor Lanette Lopez-Compton. He was a 2 year All-Stater in the Texas Music Educators Association. In addition to attending the Texas Music Festival, Ernesto has also attended the Eastern Music Festival and the Idyllwild Arts Festival. As well as playing in the Oklahoma State Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, Ernesto has also played with the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra and the New Life Symphony Orchestra. Ernesto was recently named first place winner in the Undergraduate Solo Competition at the 2012 Mid-South Horn Workshop in Conway, Arkansas. In his free time, Ernesto enjoys the outdoors and hanging out with friends.

John Turman, Texas

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John Turman is a Yamaha Young Performing Artist.

John began his solo career at the age of sixteen with his performance of Gordon Jacob's Concerto for Horn and Strings with the Austin Civic Orchestra. Since then, John has performed on stages all over the world as both a soloist and an orchestral horn player. As a founding member of the Noctua Wind Quintet, John is an actively involved chamber musician. John is currently a student of William VerMeulen at Rice University in Houston, Texas. In his rare free time, John enjoys beach volleyball, indie filmmaking, and playing Jazz Guitar.

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Ben Hauser, Texas


Gerardo Mata, Texas


Kevin Shannon, Oklahoma

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Kevin Shannon received a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2011 while studying with Michael Sachs of the Cleveland Orchestra. While at CIM Kevin received the Bernard Adelstein Prize in Trumpet and the Dr. K.L. Wu Memorial Award in Trumpet. Kevin has also earned multiple finalist awards at the National Trumpet Competition. Kevin was a member of the 2011 Youth Orchestra of the Americas and in 2010 he was a member of the National Repertory Orchestra under the direction of Leonard Slatkin and Carl Topilow. Kevin has served as substitute trumpet for the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Ballet Orchestra.

Casey Tamanaha, New York


Timothy Will, New York

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Trumpeter Timothy Will is currently pursuing a bachelor of music degree from The Juilliard School as a student of Raymond Mase and John Thiessen. As a period instrument specialist, Timothy has performed with Trinity Baroque Orchestra, American Classical Orchestra, and Juilliard 415 as well as under conductors Jordi Savall, Richard Eggar, William Christie. This summer Timothy is looking forward to performances at the BBC Proms in London with the Juilliard Orchestra, as well as performing at Le Batiment, William Christie's estate in the south of France.

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Tenor Trombone

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Steven Holloway, Texas

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My name is Steven Holloway. I am a trombonist from Richardson, Texas. I began playing trombone when I was 12 years old. After playing trombone through high school and being selected as the principal trombone player in the 2006 TMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra, I decided majoring in music is something I might consider. I ended up at Sam Houston State University majoring in music education. After three years as a music education major, I decided that performance interested me more and changed my major. After receiving my degree from SHSU in 2011, I went on to the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University to study trombone performance.

Thomas Neal, Texas


Andrew Nissen, New York

Photo of Andrew NissenIn 2011, Andrew Nissen arrived in New York City and began his studies for a Master of Music with James Markey of the New York Philharmonic. Growing up in Sydney, Andrew completed an undergraduate degree at the Sydney Conservatorium, awarded first class honors under the tutelage of Scott Kinmont of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Andrew has performed professionally in Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria, The Czech Republic, The United States, Canada and Italy. Believing in the transformative power of music, Andrew is determined to hone his skills whilst abroad to bring his ideas to Australian audiences on his return in the future.

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Bass Trombone

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Richard Stiles, New York

Photo of Richard StilesHailing from Rochester, NY, Rick Stiles recently completed his BM at the Eastman School of Music. Rick has performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Syracuse Symphony. He also appears on the Canadian Brass's 2008 album Manhattan Music and with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas on their 2006 DVD Massa Da Requiem under Placido Domingo. As a jazz musician, Rick has shared the stage with Chuck Mangione, Lew Soloff, Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, Jiggs Whigham, Byron Stripling and Wycliffe Gordon among others. His principal teachers have been John Marcellus and Jeff Dee. Rick will soon begin his MM at Rice University.

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Zach Bridges, Texas

Photo of Zach BridgesZach Bridges is currently pursuing an undergraduate music degree at Baylor University. He was recently named the 1st place winner in the student tuba division at the International Leonard Falcone solo competition in Blue Lake Michigan. Zach has performed with the Texas Music Festival and Sewanne Summer Music Festival orchestras and frequently performs with many large and chamber ensembles in the central Texas area. His Primary teachers include: Mark Finley, David Graves, David Kirk and Dr. Kent Eshelman.

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Carmen Abelson, Texas

Photo of Carmen AbelsonMy name is Carmen Abelson. I am a rising senior at the Rice University, where I am studying violin performance (with Mr. Kenneth Goldsmith) and musicology. My dream is to audition into a professional orchestra, hopefully some day soon. In addition to violin and classical music, I enjoy running, writing, and dance music, and I am so excited to be participating in TMF this summer!

Felix Alanis, Mexico

Photo of Felix AlanisFelix Alanis is the 3rd place winner of the Violin National Competition in Zacatecas, Mexico 2010. He completed his Master's degree in Violin Performance in December 2008 and his second Master's degree in Violin Pedagogy in 2009 at Texas Tech University, where he has been a student of Professor Kirsten Yon.

He has been the featured soloist with the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra, The Zacatecas Philharmonic Orchestra, The Honduras National Conservatory symphony, The Texas Tech Symphony Orchestra and the Chamber Music Orchestra of Xalapa. He is now obtaining his Doctorate degree in Violin Performance at the University of Houston and he is currently co-founding the Siqueiros String quartet.

Salma Bachar, Texas

Photo of Salma BacharSalma Bachar received her BM in violin performance in May 2012 at the University of North Texas. In 2012-13, she will be pursuing her MM in violin performance at UNT studying with Dr. Felix Olschofka with a concentration in Early Music. Salma attended the Castleman Quartet Program, studying with Charles Castleman and Laura Bossert. She has played with such varied ensembles as the UNT Symphony Orchestra, La Novella Baroque ensemble and the Beatles tribute band Rockola. She participated in masterclasses with the Juilliard String Quartet, Jessica Guideri and Henning Vater. Her hobbies include arts management, Baroque violin, and choral music.

Gemma Baehr, New York

Photo of Gemma BaehrGemma Baehr completed both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Violin Performance at Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Lucie Robert and Grigory Kalinovsky. An avid chamber musician, she has been coached by members of the Emerson and American string quartets and has performed under the baton of Kurt Masur. Gemma performs regularly in New York City and was a member of the Salome Chamber Ensemble (2009-2010), with concerts at Bargemusic and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has taught at Manhattan School of Music's "MSM Sunday Program" and is establishing herself as an active teacher.

Lindsey Baggett, Texas

Photo of Gemma BaehrAn accomplished performer, Lindsey Baggett has served as concertmaster of the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra and the Moores School Symphony Orchestra. Lindsey is an alumna of Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, LyricaFest Chamber Music Festival, and Brevard Music Festival. Most recently, she toured Mexico as a member of YOA Orchestra of the Americas. Lindsey received her Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University as a student of Karen Clarke. In May 2011, Lindsey graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Music with her Master of Music degree. She was a student of Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil.

Eunae Cho, South Korea


Nicholas Hatt, Pennsylvania

Photo of Nicholas HattNicholas Hatt, native to Beaver, Pennsylvania, began studying the violin at the age of seven. During high school, he was awarded numerous principal positions in festivals and orchestras of the Pittsburgh and Morgantown regions. Recently, he has performed in master classes with members of the Florida Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Nicholas is also an alumni of the Eastern Music Festival's 2010 and 2011 seasons. Here he has studied with John Fadial, former Concertmaster of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, and also performed in various principal positions. Currently, he is pursuing his undergraduate degree in Instrumental Performance at West Virginia University, where he studies with Dr. Mikylah Myers McTeer.

Brian Howe, Texas

Photo of Brian HoweBrian Howe graduated from the University of Houston in 2010 with a degree in Music Education. He has been playing violin since the age of six. Howe currently teaches 40 violin and viola students through Music and Arts.

Li Chung Hsieh, Taiwan

Photo of Li Chung HsiehMy name is Hsieh Li Chung and I'm from Taiwan majoring in Violin Performance. I am a first year student of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music as a student of Ang Chek Meng, a member of the Tang Quartet. This will be my first time attending a summer music festival. I am looking forward and very excited about it!

Eve Kennedy, United Kingdom

Photo of Eve KennedyScottish violinist Eve Kennedy began learning the violin when she was seven years old. In 2005, she was awarded the Ernest Boden/Erskine Orr scholarship to study at the Junior Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where she studied with Jerre Gibson. Upon finishing at the junior academy, she was invited to study at the senior department of the Royal conservatoire of Scotland and is currently in her third year, studying with William Chandler.

A passionate orchestral player, Eve has performed with the RCS Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Jeunesse Orkester, Camerata Scotland and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, with whom she held the position of Concertmaster in 2011. Other orchestral projects include working as an apprentice student with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the orchestra of Scottish Opera.

Highlights from her career so far include a solo performance in the Princess Grace Theatre in Monte Carlo, Monaco and a trip to the island of Mauritius with the young professional chamber orchestra, Camerata Scotland. Eve has performed solo before HRH Princess Anne and has recorded a new commission which was given to Princess Anne as a gift for her 60th Birthday.

Yerim Kwon, South Korea

Photo of Yerim KwonMy name is Yerim Kwon. I was born into a family of teachers in South Korea, where my mother was a piano teacher. When I started playing the piano on my own at age two, my parents decided to train me musically. My mother chose the violin for me because she thought it was a sociable instrument. I am grateful for her choice because I love chamber music. I received my Bachelor's and Professional diploma from the Korea National University of Arts. I got married last year and moved to New York. I am currently pursuing my Master's of Music at the Manhattan School of Music.

Jing Jing Li, China

My name is Li JingJing and I am from China. I am 19 years old. I graduated from the high school attached to the WuHan Conservatory of Music. I am a currently a first-year student at the Yong Siew Conservatory of Music of studying violin with Zuo Jun. I am an outgoing person and love making friends. I also enjoy traveling and am so eager to travel to the United States for the Texas Music Festival!

Lilliana Marrero Solis, Puerto Rico

Photo of Lilliana Marrero SolisLilliana Marrero Solís started playing the violin at age 12 under the guidance of Fernando Medina in the "Escuela Libre de Música" in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She debuted as a soloist with the Arturo Somohano Philharmonic Orchestra in 2006. In the summer of 2008, she was invited to participate in Venezuela's Violin Festival. Lilliana has also worked as a Teacher Assistant in the Texas Panamerican Festival in 2009, and in the "Escuela Libre de Música" Summer Workshops in 2010. She studied with Dr. Francisco Cabán in the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico and finished her Undergraduate degree in Violin Performance on May 2011. Lilliana has taken masterclasses with violinsts such as Guillermo Figueroa, Federico Agostini, Francisco del Castillo, and Joey Corpus. Lilliana is a member of Bayamón Symphony Orchestra, and teaches violin in the Conservatory's Preparatory School.

Jisun Min, South Korea

Jisun MinI'm Jisun Min from Seoul, South Korea. For about 20 years, I've loved violin as a soloist as well as a member of orchestra and ensemble in Korea. I have an academic (Bachelor and Master) accomplishment at the conservatory of KNUA (Korea National University of Arts). TMF will be a wonderful remembrance for me in June 2012.

Yuiko Nakano, Japan

Photo of Yuiko NakanoA native of Japan, Yuiko Grace Nakano is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Classical Performance at the Manhattan School of Music under the tutelage of Lucie Robert. Yuiko attended the Interlochen Arts Academy from 2005-2007, where she studied with Hal Grossman and received a Fine Arts Award upon graduation. She continued her undergraduate studies in Music Performance at Boston University from 2007-2011 with Bayla Keyes. She has participated in summer festivals including National Orchestral Institute, Round Top Music Festival, Summit Music Festival, International Academy in Pilsen, and Eastern Music Festival.

Man-Khoi Nguyen, Texas


Nicholas Pappone, New York

Photo of Nicholas PapponeNicholas Pappone is a native of Los Angeles and began the study of violin at the age of ten. Playing the role of a prodigy violinist in an independent film inspired his interest in the instrument. Nicholas embarked on a successful career as a child actor at the age of six, then he left his acting career at the age of thirteen to focus entirely on his violin study.

His solo competition wins include the Marina del Rey-Westchester Symphony Competition, the Palisades Symphony's Young Artist Award, and the Redlands Bowl Young Artists Competition. Nicholas has performed multiple recitals in the New York area including an engagement at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. In the summer, Nicholas has continued his studies at numerous music festivals including Pinchas Zukerman's Young Artist's Programme in Ottawa, Canada, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival (Yale University Music School, CT), and Domaine Forget Chamber Festival (Quebec)

Nicholas was awarded membership in the Maestro Foundation Chamber Music Academy of Los Angeles, and the Colburn School Honors String Quartet. The quartet was featured on live KMZT, Los Angeles radio broadcasts and played in master classes for the Julliard String Quartet and Itzhak Perlman. Nicholas is also the youngest member of the Huntsville Symphony (Alabama) and the Chamber Orchestra of New York.

Jung Won Park, South Korea

Photo of Jung Won ParkJung-won Park has an Undergraduate and Master's of Music degrees from Yonsei Universiy. Park is currently the principal violinist in the Yonsei University Orchestra. She has won second prize in the Korea Herald Competition, third prize in the Nanpa Seong-Jeong Competition, and third prize in the Music Association of Korea Competition. She is also an active performer as the Violinist of the KT Chamber Group and Anima Chamber Group.

Caitlin Pequignot, Connecticut

Photo of Caitlin PequignotMy name is Caitlin Pequignot from Orlando, Florida and am a sophomore at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where I am pursuing a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology. I am also studying violin performance with Kyung Yu at the Yale School of Music and play in the Yale Symphony Orchestra. I was also the concertmaster of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2007-2010. I attended TMF in 2011, as well as Eastern Music Festival in 2009 and 2010. At school I enjoy producing and writing my own original alternative music, playing in a rock band, and volunteering my time with other Yale Symphony students at nursing homes and hospitals around the New Haven area.

Vernonica Randolph, Virginia

Photo of Vernonica RandolphVeronica Randolph began violin lessons at the age of four, and continues to do so today at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas where she is about to begin her Junior year as a Violin Performance major. Veronica also studied piano, organ, and voice at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia. Veronica is from Front Royal, Virginia, and is one of five siblings, all of whom are musicians and participate in a family band - The Woodhouse Band - playing celtic and traditional American music for a variety of venues. Future plans for Veronica include graduate school for performance and music theory, and possibly an orchestral or concert performance career. Veronica is thrilled to be back in Texas, especially as part of such a wonderful and exciting musical event!

Liu-Yi Retallick, United Kingdom

Photo of Liu-Yi RetallickLiuyi Retallick went to Malaysia at the age of 4 and started learning the violin with the concertmaster of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Markus Gundermann.

She is an active participant of orchestral activities, having been the concertmaster of the National Youth Orchestra for 3 years and touring with them around Malaysia. In 2012 she was also invited to perform in a side-by-side concert with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Liuyi is also an experienced chamber player, having been the founding member of the Encounter String Quartet where they performed for various events around town. Also recently she was invited to perform at the 2011 HSBC Classics Opera Extravaganza where she performed trios, piano quartets and quintets.

As a soloist Liuyi has performed with the National Youth Orchestra, Encounter String Ensemble and the KL Performing Arts Sinfonietta. She is now a first year student of Professor Qian Zhou at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music of the National University of Singapore.

Heng-Chen Tsai, Taiwan


Hsuan-Ju Wang, Taiwan

Photo of Hsuan-Ju WangHsuan-Ju Wang, a native of Taipei, Taiwan. She is currently pursuing her Doctor Degree of Violin Performance in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied violin with Prof. Sibbi Bernhardsson and studied chamber under Dmitry Kouzov and world famous Pacifica String Quartet. She is active playing the orchestra and chamber music.

Shu Wang, China

Photo of Miss WangWang Shu is a native of Hubei, China. She started learning the violin formally at age five. When she was twelve years old, she was admitted to the music school attached to the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, studying with Zhang Jinzhou for six years. In 2010, she was awarded a full scholarship with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music National University of Singapore. She is currently a second-year student under the tutelage of Zuo Jun.

Sooyeon Wang, South Korea


Xiao Wang, China

Photo of Xiao WangChinese violinist, Xiao Wang, started learning the violin at the age of five. His professional training began in the middle school attached to the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music at age ten with professor Wei-Dong Tong. He achieved his first honor at the age of eleven by winning the Sonata Competition in the Central Conservatory and also a semi-finalist of the 2002 International Young Tchaikovsky Competition. In his eight years at the Central Conservatory, he has been the concertmaster for the Chamber Orchestra and Young artist symphony. He made his orchestra debut in China at the age of sixteen playing Sibelius Violin Concerto. After graduating High School in Beijing, Mr. Wang was accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music in 2005 where he attained his Artist Diploma with former Boston Symphony Concertmaster Joseph Silverstein. He has been the associate concertmaster for the Opera Orchestra in Curtis from 2007-09 and has worked with many renowned conductors such as Simon Rattle, Charles Dutoit, Michael Stern, Christopher Eschenbach and Philippe Entremont. Also accompanying many famous musicians in such as Lean Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Lang Lang and Hilary Hann in Carnegie Hall.

As an active chamber musician, Mr.Wang's ensembles have been coached by members of the Emerson, Juilliard, Guanari, Takacs and Tokyo String Quartets. He has also collaborated with the American String Quartet and performed with the members many times. He has taken master classes for solo and chamber works with Claude and Pamela Frank, Peter Wiley, Midori and Cho Liang Lin, Arnold Steinhardt and David Geber. Mr. Wang has performed in the New York String Seminar of Orchestra, Meadowmount Music Festival and Great Wall Music Festival in Beijing.

Mr. Wang is currently a full scholarship student at the Manhattan School of Music studying with Professor Lucie Robert.

Pian Pian Wu, China

Photo of Miss WuWu Pianpian is a senior student at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music in China. She started learning violin when she was six. She joined the Oriental Symphonic Orchestra established by Wuhan Conservatory of Music in 2008. Additionally, Wu has performed with the Wuhan Philharmonic Orchestra while attending college. She has attended master classes and was a participant of the invitational tournament during the 2011 Chamber Music Week held by Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Wu is also a member of her chamber group, the Butterfly String Quartet.

Jing Wen Xu, China

Photo of JingWen XuMy name is Xu JingWen, a violin student from XingHai Conservatory of Music. I have played violin since the age of four years old. I attended the XingHai High School of Music when I was twelve years old. Since then, I have attended many master classes and have been in orchestra for many years. I love playing music and am excited to learn and experience the Texas Music Festival.

Jennifer Yarbrough, Virginia

Photo of Jennifer YarbroughViolinist Jennifer Yarbrough's career has been highlighted by performances with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra, the Richmond (IN) Symphony Orchestra, and the Symphony of the Mountains. After previously attending the Interlochen Arts Camp, the Brevard Music Center, and the Round Top Festival Institute, Yarbrough is thrilled to join the Texas Music Festival this season. Yarbrough received bachelor's and master's degrees in violin performance from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Piotr Milewski and Gabriel Pegis. Currently, Yarbrough lives in Virginia Beach where she teaches her own private violin studio.

Lina Zhao, New York

Photo of Ms. ZhaoViolinist Lina Zhao is currently an undergraduate student at the Manhattan School of Music. In 2005, Lina attended the Middle School attached to the China Conservatory. She is now a first-year student under the guidance and teaching of Professor Lucie Robert.

Christina Zhou, Singapore

Photo of Christina ZhouChristina Zhou, 22, born in Rochester, New York, earned her Bachelor's degree at the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Zvi Zeitlin. In 2001, she took third prize in the junior category at the Singapore National Piano and Violin Competition. She won the violin concerto competition at Eastman and made her solo debut in Eastman Theatre. She has attended the Bowdoin International Music Festival under Sergiu Schwartz and the Music Academy of the West under Zvi Zeitlin. This fall, she will be pursuing her Graduate Diploma at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory in Singapore under Zuo Jun.

Huyi Zhou, China

Photo of HuYi ZhouHu Yi started having an interest in music at a very young age. He started learning violin with his father at the age of three. In 2003, he joined the high school attached to the Xi 'An Conservatory of Music. He was the principal violinist of the Xi' An Conservatory Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 2008, he won first prize in the Shaan Xi Music Competition. During his high school career, Hu Yi performed frequently in chamber music concerts as well as a soloist and was highly praised. Hu Yi is currently a second-year student of Zuo Jun.

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Salwa Bachar, Texas

Photo of SalwaA native of San Diego California and of mixed Arab and Mexican descent, Salwa Bachar began playing viola at the age of 13 in her public school orchestra class and has been devoted to it ever since. She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Music Degree in Viola Performance at the University of North Texas, where she studies modern viola with Susan Dubois and baroque viola with Cynthia Roberts.

As an advocate for musical outreach and healing, she has performed in collaboration with notable organizations such as Heartpower Performances (dedicated to inspiring and motivating by providing musical workshops for youth in juvenile detention centers, homeless veterans, and senior home residents) and the Rainbow-Froelich Community Outreach Program (performing concerts for assisted living residents).

She currently resides in Denton, TX with her twin sister Salma Bachar and will be starting on her Master's Degree in August 2012.

Carrie Campbell, Ohio

Photo of Carrie CampbellCarrie Campbell currently studies with André Roy as a Master's student at McGill University. She has performed with ensembles and orchestras in Australia, Croatia, Italy, Canada, and the U.S. Carrie has spent many summers in the mountain environments of both the Aspen Music Festival and the Banff Centre where she enjoyed not only her music studies but also hiking. In 2011, she was selected to participate in the prestigious Young Artists Program at the National Arts Centre where she studied with Pinchas Zukerman. Her passions include traveling, learning about different cultures, and cooking.

Ryan Deguzis, Connecticut

Photo of Mr. DeguzisRyan Deguzis earned his B.M. In Viola Performance from the Peabody Institute of Music where he studied with Stephen Wyrczynski. Currently he is a graduate student studying with Rita Porfiris at the Hartt School of Music earning his G.P.D. As an avid orchestral musician Ryan has studied privately with members of the Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Houston Symphony as well as performing at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Tanglewood Institute. In addition to music, Ryan enjoys long distance running, and often tries to bridge the gap between the two by mixing training plans with practicing techniques to increase practice room efficiency.

Renee Gilliland, Texas

Photo of Renee GillilandRenee Noel Gilliland is from the border city of El Paso, Texas. She obtained a B.M. in Music Studies and Certificate in Violin Performance from the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music and her M.M. in Viola Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In 2009, Renee was a violist in the first YouTube Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas and Tan Dun. She currently is the Director of Orchestras at Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Texas, and performs with the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra in Washington D.C.

Xiaoti Guo, China

Photo of Xiaoti GuoOriginally from Jilin, China, Guo Xiaoti started learning the violin at the age of four. Subsequently, she took up voice and piano lessons at eight. In 2004, she studied the violin at the Shenzhen Arts School under Feng Pei. In 2006, she was appointed concertmaster of the school orchestra and took up many performance opportunities including a joint collaboration with the Hong Kong Youth Orchestra. In 2010, she was awarded a full scholarship with the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore, to study viola under Zhang Manchin, Principal Viola of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. She has taken lessons under Zhang Ti, Professor of Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing and has actively participated in masterclasses with David Tankeno, Li Honggang of 'Shanghai Quartet', Sheng Li, Berkul Tatiana, Lin Yaoji and Kong Zhaohui.

Emily Jensenius, Florida

Photo of Emily JenseniusEmily Jensenius was born in Seattle and began studying viola at the age of 11. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where her primary teachers were Jeffrey Irvine and Lynne Ramsey, and a Master of Music from Rice University, where she studied with James Dunham. She is working on her Doctor of Music degree at Florida State University, where she studies with Dr. Pamela Ryan and holds a graduate teaching assistantship. Emily is also the violist of the Eppes String Quartet and is a member of the Tallahassee Symphony.

Jen-Hsuan Liao, New York


Sarasa Otake, Japan

Photo of Sarasa OtakeSarasa Otake started playing the viola at the age of 9 in Spring Valley, New York where she grew up. After returning to Japan, she studied with Shoko Mabuchi and Sumiko Edo and graduated from Toho Gakuen School of Music in 2011. As a fellow of the of Asia Philharmonic Orchestra Academy, she has toured Japan and Korea. Sarasa currently studies at Lynn University with full scholarship and is pursuing her Master's Degree under the guidance of Ralph Fielding.

Mary Scripko, Pennsylvania

Photo of Mary ScripkoA native of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Mary began playing the viola at the age of nine. She is finishing up a B.M in Viola Performance at The Hartt School of Music, Dance and Theatre, where she currently studies with Rita Porfiris. Mary's past teachers include Steve Larson, Marvin Moon, and David Nicastro. Mary is very interested in promoting new works for the viola in chamber ensembles, and has given several world premiers by local composers, the most recent being a commissioned work for viola and tuba. This coming fall, Mary will be attending Pennsylvania State University as the new Viola Graduate Assistant studying under Tim Deighton.

Michael Sinni, Maryland

Photo of Michael SinniMichael Sinni is currently pursuing a B.M. in viola performance at the University of Maryland, College Park. Over the summers, Michael has participated in the National Orchestral Institute, the NSO Summer Music Institute, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. He has served as principal violist with orchestras such as the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra and the American Youth Philharmonic, and was a member of the National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellowship program while in high school. Michael's teachers have included Daniel Foster, William Foster, Michael Tree, and Ralph Fielding.

Wei Wan, China

Photo of Wei WanChinese violist Wei Wan started learning the violin at seven with Mr Shenghua Liu. In 2001, she was awarded first and fourth prizes at the 4th Hubei Youth National Violin Competition and 5th Chukong Piano Youth National Violin Competition respectively. The following year, she was accepted into the Middle School Affiliated to the Central Conservatory of Music, majoring in Viola under distinguished professor Changhai Wang. During her time there, she joined the Chinese Youth Chamber Orchestra and made her chamber debut in 2003 in Korea.

In 2003 she was one of the two Chinese violists selected to attend the prestigious Morningside Music Bridge workshop in Calgary, Canada, and in 2007, was offered a full scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music under Mr. Predrag Katanic. She was awarded the prestigious RNCM Viola Prize in 2011. Wei Wan is currently completing her Postgraduate Diploma at the RNCM where she is currently under the tutelage of the distinguished violist Asdis Valdimarsdottir.

Dawson White, Texas

Photo of Dawson WhiteDawson White is a professional violist whose solo appearances have included performing as a finalist in the MTNA National Competition in Toronto, Ontario and performing the solo viola part in Strauss's Don Quixote with the Baylor Symphony. As an orchestral player, he has played with the Houston Grand Opera and Dallas Chamber Orchestras as well as the Austin, YouTube, Waco, and Shepherd School Symphonies. A recent graduate of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, Dawson is a fervent supporter of music written in our time. This appreciation led to organizing an immensely successful concert at the Rice Art Gallery titled New Art/New Music where he commissioned composers to write music based on the artwork.

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Miles Cole, New York

Photo of Miles ColeMiles Cole was born in San Diego, California and began his cello studies at the age of eleven. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance and Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music, where he studies with Alan Harris. Other principal teachers include Yao Zhao and Thomas Stauffer.

Allison Drenkow, Maryland

Photo of Allison DrenkowCellist, Allison Drenkow has had the honor of performing as a member of the Peabody Institute Concert Orchestra, Texas Music Festival Symphony Orchestra, Boulder Bach Festival Ensemble, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Transylvania Symphony Orchestra, and as principal cellist of the Colorado All-State Orchestra. In the midst of these experiences, Allison has performed with such artists as Edgar Meyer, the Markus Roberts Trio, William Preucil, Mark Kosower, and the Colorado Symphony. As an active chamber musician, Allison has had the pleasure of working personally with the Borromeo and Biava Quartets, and members of the Takacs and Jupiter Quartets, Apollo and Peabody Trios. As a current sophomore at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, Allison studies with Alan Stepansky. She is currently employed as a chamber coach in the Peabody Preparatory program.

Yi Jia Fang, China

Photo of Yi Jia FangFang Yijia started follow his father's example by learning the cello at the age of five. He has studied with Philipe Muller at the Conservatoire National Supériur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris). He is currently studying with Professor Shen Yijun at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music.

Joseph Howe, Colorado

Photo of Joseph HoweJoseph Howe, a native of Oregon, is a Master's student in cello performance at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studies with Judith Glyde and serves as a teaching assistant. He recently received a Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from the University of Oregon, where he was a student of Steven Pologe. In Eugene, OR, he was a member of the Oregon Mozart Players. In addition to being principal cello of the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra, he is currently assistant principal cellist of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra and cellist of Seicento Baroque Ensemble and Ensemble Pearl.

Benjamin Kim, South Korea

Benjamin Kim is a cellist in NY. He has won several music competitions, including the Seoul International Music Competition. As a very active performing musician, Benjamin recently performed a solo recital and participated in a chamber music festival at the Manhattan School of Music. Kim has also performed at the Great Mountains Music Festival and Rose Hall at the Lincoln Center. Benjamin was also a performer at the Pablo Casals Legacy Concert, celebrating the cellists of Juilliard and Manhattan Schools of Music.

Brian Klickman, Indiana

Photo of Brian KlickmanBrian has been a member of both the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra and the Bowdoin Festival Orchestra and has participated in acclaimed music festivals, including the Credo Chamber Music Festival and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. He has studied with teachers including David Ying, Peter Howard, and members of the Cleveland Orchestra cello section, and has been coached by mentors such as Peter Salaff, The Cavani Quartet, Andre Emelianoff, Stephen Clapp and Peter Slowik. Brian began studying the cello at age three as a student of the Suzuki method, and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Cello Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying under Richard Weiss.

Emily Austin Smith, Maryland

Photo of Emily Austin SmithEmily Austin Smith, cello, is from Kansas City, Missouri. She began studying the cello at age eight and has since studied with Lawrence Figg, Alison Wells, Csaba Onczay, and Amir Eldan; participated in master classes with Richard Aaron, Susan Moses, and Zvi Plesser; and studied chamber music with the Shanghai, Juilliard, Jupiter, and Rossetti String Quartets. She was principal of the Kansas City Youth Symphony, and has attended Indiana University String Academy, Encore School for Strings, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Kansas City String Quartet Program, and Heartland Chamber Music Academy. Emily currently attends Peabody Conservatory, where she studies with Alan Stepansky.

Mayara Velasquez, Venezuela

Photo of Miss VelasquezNative from Valencia, Venezuela, Mayara began her Cello studies at the Conservatorio de Carabobo under the tutelage of Cuban Cellist Carmen Rosa Rodriguez. In Venezuela, Mayara was part of Youth Orchestra System for which she served as principal cellist y many occasions. At the age of 16 she wins a position as section cellist with the Carabobo Symphony Orchestra. Mayara began her College studies at the University of Southern Mississippi studying with Dr. Alexander Russakovsky. In 2008 she transferred to the Louisiana State University from where she finished her Bachelor's degree in May 2012 studying under cellist Dennis Parker.

Miss Velasquez has won first place in the MTNA Collegiate Artist State Competition en Jackson, Mississippi in 2007 and was one of the finalist in the LSU Concerto Competition in 2011. Mayara has served as section cellist with professional orchestras in United States such as: Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra in Louisiana, and Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra. Miss Velasquez has also participated in summer festivals including: Texas Music Festival, Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival in New Hampshire and Chautauqua Music Festival in New York. Mayara will continue her Graduate studies in the near future.

Zihao Wang, China

Photo of Zihao WangWang Zihao started to play the cello at the age of four studying with Liu Zhengtan. When he was 13, Zihao was admitted to the Middle School affiliated with the Central Conservatory of Music. For three consecutive years, he was admitted to the "Morningside Music Bridge" International Music Academy in Canada, where he won the first prize of the concerto competition and etude competition with a published CD recording. As a result he was invited to perform with the Symphony Orchestra of Gdansk, Poland. He was also the principal cellist of Chinese Youth Symphony Orchestra for three consecutive years. At the age of 17 he was invited to study at the Mount Royal University Conservatory with Professor Na Mula and Professor John Kadz.

Hellen Weberpal, Illinois

Photo of Hellen WeberpalBorn and raised on a farm in Illinois, Hellen Weberpal is the forerunner of classical music in her family, beginning her studies on piano at age six and cello at age ten. She completed her bachelor of music degree at DePaul University in Chicago in 2010 and recently graduated with her master's of music from Rice University as a student of Brinton Averil Smith. Hellen is currently a teacher and freelance cellist in the Houston area and will be be given the chance to perform with the New World Symphony next year.

Xuena Xu, China

Photo of Xuena XuXu Xuena started to play cello since the age of 8. She graduated from the high school affiliated to the shanghai conservatory of music in China. She has performed in master class conducted by Lay Wang, Wang Jian and Jan Vogler. At the age of 16, she took part in the Bo De Bei competition in shanghai and won the second prize. In 2007, she participated the Ehingen music festival in Germany and had a chance to perform in Melbourne and Sydney in 2008. In 2010, she got full scholarship to study at Yong Siew Toh conservatory of music. She is currently a second year student of Qin Li-Wei.

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Double Bass

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Sean Donovan, Texas


Martin Lazo, Texas


Stephen Martin, Massachusetts

Photo of Stephen MartinDouble Bassist Stephen Martin is currently finishing his graduate studies at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston with Lawrence Wolfe. Originally from Houston, Texas he began his "serious" studies of the double bass with Deborah Dunham at Sam Houston State University. Stephen played with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, toured internationally throughout Europe, Puerto Rico, and China in orchestral/cultural exchanges, and makes every effort to explore the diverse roles of his instrument.

Martin Pham, California

Photo of Martin PhamMartin Pham made his orchestral debut with the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra in 2006 until their 2009-2010 season, during which he served as principal bassist, and also served as principal bassist for the 2009 SCSBOA All-Southern High School Orchestra. Pham's interest in solo performance has led him to win competitions including the 2011 Grossmont Community Concert Association Scholarship Competition, earning second place in the strings division, as well as first place in the 2011 American String Teachers Association Solo Competition for San Diego County. Pham joined the La Jolla Symphony this past fall and studies with Jeremy Kurtz-Harris.

Caleb Quillen, Texas

Photo of Nathan VargaA native of Houston, bassist Caleb Quillen began his studies on Double bass at the age of 12. In high school, Caleb studied with Houston Grand Opera Principal and Professor of Double bass at University of Houston, Dennis Whittaker. Throughout high school he also had the chance to work with Bass pedagogues Paul Ellison, Hal Robinson and Eric Larson. Caleb is now in his third year at the New England Conservatory studying under the co-founder of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Donald Palma. In 2009, Caleb won first prize in the Virtuosi of Houston Concerto Competition. Although being an orchestral musician is Mr. Quillen's main focus, he enjoys playing bluegrass on the side when at all possible. His favorite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach.

Nathan Varga, Massachusetts

Photo of Nathan VargaNathan Varga is currently a Master of Music candidate at Boston University studying with Benjamin Levy. In 2011 Nathan completed a Bachelor of Music in double bass performance at Baldwin Wallace College in Cleveland, Ohio. Nathan has drawn great inspiration from leading bassists such as Henry Peyrebrune, Edwin Barker, Scott Dixon, Todd Seeber, and Meredith Johnson. Nathan is pursuing a career in orchestral and baroque bass performance. His hobbies include cycling, auto-mechanics, and travel.

Eric Windmeier, Illinois

Photo of Eric WindmeierEric Windmeier is a double bassist currently studying at the University of Southern California under David Moore, double bassist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Eric Windmeier studied with Greg Sarchet of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Also he has played with Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra for four years. With this ensemble Eric has traveled to Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Argentina and Uruguay. This past summer he has worked with esteemed double bassists Paul Ellison, contrabass professor at Rice University, and French / Syrian soloist Francois Rabbath at the Domaine Forget Academie in Quebec. Outside of the University Eric also plays with the American Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Trevor Young, Massachussetts

Photo of TrevorPursuing an Undergraduate degree in Bass Performance at Manhattan School of Music, Trevor Young is among the most ambitious of young musicians today. His bass playing has taken him to festivals and workshops in Bavaria, British Columbia, Baltimore, and the University of North Texas. His primary teachers to this date include Orin O'Brien of the New York Philharmonic, David Neubert of of the Austin Symphony, and Jessica-Gilliam Valls of the Austin Lyric Opera. Also a prolific composer, he has received commissions from Jeff Bradetich and Tomastik strings. Mr. Young is always writing and exploring the vast expanse of the musical world in attempts to better understand this transcendent language.

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Meghan Caulkett, California

Photo of MeghanHarpist Meghan Elizabeth Caulkett is pleased to be returning to TMF. She is currently a graduate student at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music.

Caulkett is the acting principal harpist of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, and has served as principal harpist with the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Shepherd School of Music Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, New England Philharmonic, and London's Royal College of Music Sinfonietta Orchestra. She has performed for legendary film composer John Williams, Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor James Levine and His Royal Highness Prince Charles.

Recently, she initiated the "47 Strings Project"- an outreach program designed to bring harp recitals to 47 different charitable organizations in the Greater Houston Area within the next year.

Abigail Klein, Ohio

Photo of Abby KleinChicago born harpist, Abigail Klein, is currently finishing her senior year at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Currently studying under recording artist, Yolanda Kondonassis, Abigail has furthered her studies under the instruction of Elizabeth Hainen of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Sarah Bullen of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and touring guest conductor Kent Nagano. An active orchestral player, Abigail is currently principal with the Firelands Symphony Orchestra. Abigail has also held principle positions with The Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, and The Cleveland Pops Orchestra. A member of The Heart Strings Trio, Abigail is also an active and experienced ensemble musician.

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Pedro Fernandez, Panama

Photo of Pedro FernandezPanamanian percussionist Pedro Javier Fernandez has appeared as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral settings across Latin America, the United States, Spain, and China. He has performed with the Houston, and Miami symphonies, the Aspen Music Festival, Symphony of the Americas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, Texas Music Festival, among others. He has also appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Panama. Pedro has played under the batons of Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, David Zinman, James Conlon, Benjamin Zander, Gunther Schuller, and George Manahan. He holds a Bachelor degree from Sam Houston State University and a Masters from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.

Spencer Jones, Oklahoma

Photo of Spencer JonesSpencer Jones is a native of Broken Arrow, OK and a freelance percussionist living in Kansas City, MO. He earned a BA in music and history from the Oklahoma State University and an MM in percussion performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. Spencer has performed as a percussionist with the Kansas City and Des Moines Symphonies and as timpanist with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Northland Symphony Orchestra. An active music teacher in Kansas City, Spencer serves on the staff of Keith Larson Percussion Studios, Kansas City Youth Percussion Ensemble, and Shawnee Mission South High School.

Bernadette Manalo, Illinois


Joshua Vonderheide, New York

Photo of Joshua VonderheideJoshua Vonderheide has been described by Joseph Gramley, percussionist of the Silk Road Ensemble, as having "strong artistic expression and superb musicianship." Winner of the Brazosport Center Stages Young Artists Competition, Vonderheide displays a virtuosic flare and has been featured twice as soloist at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention.

Recently completing his second year of undergraduate studies at The Juilliard School under Greg Zuber, Joshua has performed with the Juilliard Orchestra, Axiom Ensemble, New Juilliard Ensemble, and Juilliard Percussion Ensemble. He is an alumnus of the Aspen Musical Festival and School.

Joshua enjoys Ultimate Frisbee, cooking, and learning Mandarin Chinese

Xueqing Wu, Pennsylvania

Photo of Xueqing WuXueqing Wu is the first-year M.M percussion student of Temple university, studying under Mr. Alan Abel and Mr. Chris Deviney. She received her Bachelor's degree from Shanghai Conservatory of Music. She did Performance Residency Program in Carnegie Mellon University for one year, studied under Mr. Jeremy Branson, Mr.Paul Evans and Mr. Chris Allen.

Xueqing Wu played with Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Opera Orchestra, Macau Synphony Orchestra as substitute. She got in Canton International Summer Music Academy, studied under Mr. Don Liuzzi 2006. She won the second prize of National Percussion Competition in China 2010.

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