Current Faculty at Lone Star College-University Park:
AARON ALON, DMA
Chair of Music & Drama
Director of Music, Professor of Music Aaron.Alon@LoneStar.edu
Office: B12.110 | 281.290.5009
DMA in Composition, Rice University Shepherd School of Music, 2009
MM in Composition, Cleveland Institute of Music, 2005
BA (with honors) in Music, University of Chicago, 2003
Aaron Alon is the director of music at Lone Star College-University Park. Until 2017, he was a professor of music and lead faculty for the department of music, drama and dance at Lone Star College-CyFair, where he was named a 2014 Distinguished Faculty Member and a 2015-2016 Faculty Excellence Award winner. He was also the director of the composition program at the American Festival for the Arts (2008-2018) and has taught at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Alvin Community College, Writespace Houston and several continuing education programs in the greater Houston area. His music has been performed in concert halls around the world, released on several CDs, and awarded numerous national and international composition honors. He is also active as a playwright, lyricist, musical theatre composer, director, producer and filmmaker. He wrote and directed the 2017 award-winning feature film musical BULLY. He is also a founding member of Thunderclap Productions, a production company dedicated to presenting new, lesser-known and underperformed plays, musicals and screenplays, and serves as president of its board of directors.
DMA in Composition, University of Houston, 2015
MM in Composition, Bob Jones University, 2010
BM in Piano Performance, Bob Jones University, 2008
The music of composer and pianist Mark Buller has been performed in a wide variety of locations from Carnegie Hall to Houston's Wortham Center to venues in Europe, South America and Asia. He has been commissioned by a range of organizations, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera (for two 45-minute operas, an extended choral work, and numerous art songs), the Houston Symphony and River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. For two years, he was a member of the Da Camera of Houston Young Artist Program, which also commissioned a number of chamber works. Buller's three operas to date (all with libretti by Charles Anthony Silvestri) have been performed a combined 190 times, and his art songs have been performed around the world. His chamber works have won awards as well: Regressive Variations won the national Rapido! Composition Contest, and String Quartet No. 3 was the winner of the Sarofim Composition Award.
Lamar Burkhalter is an award-winning educator, clinician, arranger, and performer. He currently serves as a full-time clinician and the Music Director for the NFL Houston Texans and recently served as the Music Director for Super Bowl LIVE and the Percussion Entertainment Director for the recent MLB World Series in Houston. Mr. Burkhalter is the founder and Executive Director of the Percussion One Foundation, a renowned Houston-based independent percussion group that has performed internationally. He is endorsed by Yamaha Percussion, Evans Drumheads, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, and Latin Percussion Music Group.
DMA in Orchestral Conducting, University of Houston, 2014
MM in Orchestral Conducting, The Hartt School, 2010
BM in Music Education, Willamette University, 2006
Pierre-Alain Chevalier is Music Director of the Baytown Symphony Orchestra and an adjunct faculty member at Lee College and in the Lone Star College System. An active performer, Chevalier has conducted orchestras across the country and was a winner of the International Conductors Workshop and Competition in Atlanta, Georgia in 2016. Previously Chevalier served as Interim Director of Orchestral Activities at Stephen F. Austin State University for the 2018–2019 academic year and has taught at San Jacinto College, Houston Community College, the American Festival for the Arts, Sam Houston (MSTC) High School, as well as in elementary and middle schools in Houston and Oregon. An active orchestra clinician, Chevalier has worked with students in the Goose Creek Memorial, Cypress-Fairbanks, Spring, Klein, Katy, and Houston independent school districts.
PhD University of Kansas 2017
MM in Musciology, University of South Dakota, 2014
MMEd in Instrumental Music Education, Southeast Missouri State University, 1994
BS in Music Education, Northwest Missouri State University, 1989
Melissa Cummins is an Adjunct Professor of Musicology at Sam Houston State University. Her specialties include French Opera, Women composers in Opera and Musical Theater, and Twentieth-Century music. She has written articles and read papers on Ethel Smyth, Francesca Caccini, and Germaine Tailleferre. In February 2016, she directed the American premiere staging of Tailleferre’s Monsieur Petitpois achète un Château, which was also broadcast on Kansas Public Radio. Her current research includes a deeper analysis of Jacques Offenbach’s operettes and the works of one of his stars, Delphine Ugalde. She recently reviewed The Real Tales of Hoffman and is currently working on a critical edition of Ugalde’s La Halte au Moulin. After completing a 22-year career as a public school band director in Missouri, Melissa taught music history courses at Southeast Missouri State University, Western Iowa Tech Community College, the University of South Dakota, Sam Houston State Universtiy, and has assisted with online classes at the University of Kansas. She is active as a woodwind doubler in pit orchestras, onstage as an actor in plays and musical theater and as a woodwind judge in Missouri and Kansas.
MA in Composition, University of Denver, Lamont School of Music, 2001
BA in Music Education, California State University at Los Angeles, 1971
Leslie Drayton is originally from Los Angeles where he served as Associate Professor of Music at Ventura College for six years until his relocation to Houston in 2016. He was also Associate Professor of Music at Santa College from 2004-2010. His professional career as trumpeter, composer, and arranger spans five decades and has included being a founding member of the group "Earth Wind, and Fire," musical director and conductor for R&B icon Marvin Gaye, musical contractor for Quincy Jones Productions, and leader of the critically acclaimed Leslie Drayton Orchestra, along with leading his small ensemble, Leslie Drayton and Fun. Since 2009, he has been involved with the GRAMMY in the Schools summer GRAMMY CAMP serving as combo instructor, camp coordinator, and consultant. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, a non-profit jazz performance organization and is currently Artistic Director for the Live Music Movement Foundation, a Houston non-profit organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, and present jazz, blues and soul music. He has recorded 12 albums as leader and remains active as a performer with his small ensemble, Leslie Drayton and Friends. Many of his compositions can be found at draytonmusic.com.
MM in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, 2018
BM in Vocal Performance (Classical Voice), New York University, 2016
Soprano Caitlin Duckworth is an emerging artist and vocal pedagogue from Clear Lake City, Texas. In spring of 2018, Caitlin gave the world premiere of the role Mariola in Jake Heggie’s newly revised chamber opera Out of Darkness: Two Remain the Baltimore Theatre Project under the direction of Garnett Bruce. She was also featured in the U.S. premiere of Actress One in Errollyn Wallen’s ANON in Spring 2017, which received critical acclaim by the Maryland Theatre Review and was featured in the Baltimore Sun. New York performance credits include Kurt Weill Review, The Saga of Jenny, at Provincetown Playhouse and Massenet’s Cendrillon at Frederick Loewe Theatre. Partial roles performed at the Peabody Institute include Zdenka from Strauss’ Arabella and Veronique from Thomas Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca. Duckworth’s teaching aims to connect healthy, balanced, and athletic vocal production to the body, human empathy, and dramatic instincts to create music that is fully realized, personal, and fulfilling for every student.
AD in Vocal Performance, Carnegie Mellon University, 2012
MM (summa cum laude) in Vocal Performance, Ohio State University, 2008
BME (magna cum laude) in Vocal Music Education, Texas Christian University, 2006 Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy Certified, Shenandoah Conservatory, 2018
Leah Dyer is a classically trained soprano with extensive performance experience in opera, oratorio, musical theater and jazz. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soprano soloist with the New York Pops. She has also served as a resident artist with Opera Theater Pittsburgh, Pine Mountain Music Festival, Opera Saratoga, Central City Opera and Quantum Theatre. While she loves performing, her first love is teaching students to develop a deep appreciation of music in its varied forms and settings, whether that be in a classroom, concert or private lesson setting. Dyer is a member of National Association of Teachers of Singing, American Guild of Musical Artist, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Kappa Lambda.
MM in Clarinet Performance, University of Oklahoma, 2004
BM in Clarinet Performance and Pedagogy, Brigham Young University, 2002
Erica Garcia has performed and taught clarinet for more than 20 years throughout Illinois, Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan and Texas. She has performed as a soloist with the Brigham Young Chamber Orchestra throughout the Eastern United States, as well as with the Utah Symphony in Salt Lake City. She studied with Bernard Steiner, Russ Dagon (Northwestern University, Milwaukee Symphony) and Leslie Grimm (Chicago Symphony Orchestra) through her high school years. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University, where she studied with David Randall and her Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from University of Oklahoma, where she studied with David Etheridge. Besides teaching, she has worked in arts administration at the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, Longy School of Music and the Detroit Symphony. ?
BFA in Guitar Performance from Carnegie-Mellon University, 1986
Marc Garvin is aguitar soloist, chamber music performer, radio show host and well-known instructor. As a professor of guitar, he is currently on the faculties of Houston Community College, Lone Star College and St. Francis Episcopal School. He has a well-attended private guitar studio. In addition, he has been on the faculties of Carnegie-Mellon University, Houston Baptist University and Lamar University. Many of his students have been accepted to prestigious music schools including the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Texas and Northwestern University. As a performer, he has accompanied Italian soprano Cecilia Bartoli (HGO’s Barber of Seville) and legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti (Recital with the Houston Symphony). He’s played with The Houston Ballet in Canada and at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Recently, he gave seven performances in Spain as part of ChamberArt Madrid. In addition, he was the co-host of Houston Public Radio’s “Pulling Strings” – a weekly show featuring instruments that are picked, plucked, and strummed.
DMA in Composition, The Juilliard School, 2018
MM in Composition, The Juilliard School, 2014
BM in Composition, Rice University Shepherd School of Music, 2012
American composer Ross S. Griffey is the recipient of several national and regional awards, including an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, first prize in the Voices of Change/ Dallas Symphony Orchestra Texas Young Composers Project, and first prize in the New York Composers Circle Competition. Recent and notable performances of his work include the premiere of Night Music by the New Juilliard Ensemble, the premiere of Brooke on Love at the Oxford Lieder Festival, and a performance of A Catalogue of Agonies as part of an installation piece by artist and musician Julie Zhu. A native of Houston, Texas, Dr. Griffey studied first at Rice University, with composers Pierre Jalbert and Shih-Hui Chen, and later at the Juilliard School, with composers Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. Dr. Griffey also earned his doctorate from Juilliard, authoring an award-winning dissertation on support for composers by the National Endowment for the Arts. Most recently, Dr. Griffey was an Albi Rosenthal Visiting Fellow in Music at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries.
JD Guzmanis from Kingsville, Texas. He is a proud alumnus of the Harlingen HS band under the guidance and mentorship of Ronnie Rios. Mr. Guzman has worked for Spring Independent School District for the past eighteen years as a master class and private instructor, where he served as Percussion Director at Spring High School for 10 years. Mr. Guzman is a clinician/artist in jazz, salsa, rock, R&B, orchestral, and commercial music styles. He has had the opportunity to share the stage with such musicians as Wayne Bergeron, Bill Evans, John Faddis, Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, Diane Schuur, and Victor Wooten. Mr. Guzman was also a member of the NFL’s Houston Texan Drum line, NBA’s Houston Rockets drum group “BIG BANG!” and the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, where he worked as part of the instructional staff. He is an active member of Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, Jazz Educators Network, Texas Jazz Educators Association, and the Percussive Arts Society. In addition, he is an active clinician/artist for Innovative Percussion, Pearl Adams Corporation, and Sabian Cymbals.
MM in Flute Performance, Rice University Shepherd School of Music, 2011
BM in Flute Performance, University of British Columbia, 2007
Recognized by the Winnipeg Free Press for “shaking up the classical music world," Garrett Hudson is known for his charismatic stage presence and highly personal voice on the flute. The young Canadian’s roots lie in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he emerged at the age of 16 in a solo debut with the Winnipeg Symphony. Before embarking upon a dynamic career as an international soloist, instructor, orchestral and chamber musician, Garrett held positions in some of North America's leading professional training orchestras including the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie in Montreal, Quebec and participated in other world-class training programs such as the Young Artists Program through Ottawa's National Arts Center. Garrett completed a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of British Columbia, studying under Scottish flutist Lorna McGhee and earned his Masters of Music degree from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music under the tutelage of renowned flute pedagogue Leone Buyse. Since 2009 Garrett has served as flutist with WindSync, an ensemble considered to be one of North America’s foremost emerging chamber forces and a recent Gold Medalist in the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and winner of the Concert Artists Guild international competition for artist management.
AD in Opera Studies, The Juilliard School, 2004
Performer Diploma in Professional Opera Studies, Indiana University, 2002
BM in Vocal Performance, Southwestern University, 1999
This season Weston brings his signature role of Germont to La traviata productions at Opera San Antonio, Portland Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago He builds on his streak of Verdi Dad roles with Rigoletto at New Orleans Opera and continues to demonstrate his commitment to education with a masterclass at Lone Star College-University Park and with Oklahoma State University. Weston bookends his season with engagements at Opus Opera, first appearing in O Sole Vino and returning for Mystique, which pairs operatic singing with circus acts by mesmerizing aeralists. Career Highlights include the title character in Nabucco at Seattle Opera, his house and role debut with Houston Grand Opera as Scarpia in Tosca, his role debut as Iago in Otello with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras, and his Carnegie Hall debut as the baritone soloist in Britten’s War Requiem with David Atherton.
MM in Music Performance, West Texas A&M University, 2007
BM in Music Performance, West Texas A&M University, 2000
Chris Johnson has been an active performer and clinician around the state of Texas since 1998. With a background in all types of percussion performance, Chris has drummed with bands of all styles, and also has performed with several symphony orchestras, including the Midland-Odessa Symphony and Chorale and the New Mexico Philharmonic. As an instructor and clinician for the last 21 years, Chris has worked with many Middle schools and high schools all over Texas, and is currently working in the Houston area.
MM in Piano Performance, University of Houston, 2018
BM in Piano Performance, University of Iowa, 2016
Caroline Krause teaches and performs frequently in the Houston area and beyond. She works with students in group and individual settings, most recently teaching group piano classes at the University of Houston. An active performer, she placed second in the Moores School Concerto Competition in 2017. She has soloed with the University of Iowa Chamber Orchestra and the Fort Dodge Area Symphony. Ms. Krause shared second prize in the 2015 Liszt-Garrison Festival and International Piano Competition, as well as receiving the Best Interpretation Award for a piece by an American composer. During the 2014-2015 season, she participated in the University of Iowa Rzewski Project, performing portions of The People United Will Never Be Defeated! across the Midwest. Ms. Krause has been an active member of Music Teachers National Association since 2017.
MM in Clarinet Performance, Rice University, 2016
BM in Clarinet Performance, University of Michigan, 2012
Sean Krissman currently serves as Principal Clarinet of the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. During his tenure at HGO, Sean completed his Master of Music degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music under the tutelage of Richie Hawley. He received his Bachelor of Music degree with Highest Honors from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has studied extensively with Dan Gilbert, Chad Burrow, and Yehuda Gilad. Winner of the Gino B. Cioffi Memorial Prize at the Tanglewood Music Center, Sean has spent previous summers at Crested Butte Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, The Banff Centre, National Repertory Orchestra, and AIMS Graz. Currently during the summers, Sean serves as 2nd and Eb Clarinet of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. In addition to being featured as a soloist with the National Repertory Orchestra, University of Michigan Philharmonia, and Cole Conservatory Orchestra, Sean has performed with the New York Philharmonic as an inaugural Zarin Mehta Fellow. Other orchestral appearances include performances with the Houston Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, and guest Principal Clarinet with Pacific Symphony.
MM in Vocal Performance, University of Houston Moores School of Music, 2005
BM (magna cum laude) in Vocal Performance, University of Nebraska-Omaha, 2003
Wesley Landry, baritone, has been praised for his “wondrously rich and pure” singing by the Houston Press. Some favorite recent roles include Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus and Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale (Opera in the Heights), Trevor in Courtside (world premiere, HGOco), and Masetto in Don Giovanni (New York Lyric Opera Theatre). He is also a champion of new music, having toured in over 400 performances around Texas with Houston Grand Opera’s Opera to Go! and having premiered new songs and song cycles, including those by local composers Mark Buller and Mary Carol Warwick. He has been a member of the Houston Grand Opera Chorus since 2005 and has sung in over 40 different mainstage productions. He currently serves as the Director of Music at St. Mark’s UMC in Houston’s historic Heights neighborhood.
MM in Violin Performance, The Juilliard School, 2016
BM in Violin Performance, Cleveland Institute of Music, 2014
An Arizona native, Sam made his solo debut with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15. He has since participated in prestigious music festivals such as the Tanglewood Music Center, the Pacific Music Festival and Music Academy of the West. Recent performances included collaborations with renowned artists such as Gil Shaham, Desmond Hoebig, Brinton Smith, Phillip and David Ying, and the Orion String Quartet. Sam is currently studying at Rice University. Major teachers include Paul Kantor, Joel Smirnoff, Joan Kwuon, and Catherine Cho.
MM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy, University of Houston, 2017
BM in Piano Performance, Furman University, 2015
Pianist Joanna Evelyn Reeder is an active performer, accompanist, and pedagogue. A recent graduate of the University of Houston, she completed training in music pedagogy, interning under Dr. Courtney Crappell and studying performance with Nancy Weems. Reeder has taught private and group piano at the University of Houston and is a teaching artist for the American Festival for the Arts. An active member of the Houston Music Teachers Association, she maintains a studio of private and group piano students. Reeder has given numerous solo recitals and appeared as a concerto soloist with the Furman Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras, and Union Symphony Orchestra. She continues to perform as a collaborative pianist, most recently with the University of Houston Chamber Orchestra. Reeder has presented her research at the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Chapters Pedagogy Symposium, the Texas Music Teachers Association Annual Convention, and the Graduate Association of Musicologist and Theorists student conference. She is a member of the national music honors society, Pi Kappa Lambda.
MM in Ethnomusicology & Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin, 1990
BM in Ethnomusicology & Anthropology (magna cum laude), Univ. of Washington, 1984
AA, North Seattle Community College, 1980
Sandra Salstrom is a Houston-based harpist and musicologist who has been teaching for the Lone Star College System since 2002. Her areas of interest include ethnomusicology, systematic musicology, anthropology, harp performance, acting and computers. In the early 1990s, she published several articles on the music industry. She is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Kappa Lambda and Phi Theta Kappa honor societies. In addition to her courses on Lone Star College campuses, Salstrom has been an active harpist and harp teacher in Houston, Austin and Seattle.
MM in Piano Performance, University of Houston Moores School of Music, 2018
BM in Piano Performance, Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge, 2016
Pianist Mary Katherine Schober has built a versatile career as a freelance musician, private teacher, and adjunct instructor in the Houston area. She performs regularly at retirement homes, community events, and other venues, and plays organ for St. Andrew Lutheran Church. Mary Katherine accompanies choir, band, and orchestra programs in multiple school districts, both middle and high schools. She teaches private lessons at Annunciation Orthodox School as well as running her independent studio. She holds an adjunct teaching position at Lone Star College-University Park, where she teaches class piano. Mary Katherine’s professional activities have included founding the annual MTNA at UH Young Artist Gala and organizing an outreach concert for victims of Hurricane Harvey; she also presented her independent research, “The Impact of Emotion and Mindset in the Music Studio,” at the 2018 Texas Music Teachers’ Association Convention.
MM in Guitar Performance from University of Louisiana, 2016
BA in Music from Southwestern University, 2014
Sean Stone-Ashe is a guitarist and guitar instructor from Houston, TX. As a teacher, Mr. Stone-Ashe is currently a member of the fine arts faculty at Bellaire High School and Century Fine Arts. At BHS, several of his students have had success earning medals in the state and regional UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest, and have been accepted to top universities across the country. Additionally, Sean has held the position of Assistant Director for the Summer Guitar Conservatory in Houston since 2018.
BFA in Musical Theatre, University of Texas at El Paso, 2012
Taelon Stonecipher is an active performer and voice teacher in the Houston area. As an actor/singer, he has performed at many of Houston’s great theatre companies, including Main Street Theater for Youth (Lyle the Crocodile, Charlie Brown Christmas, Shrek), Obsidian Theater, the Ensemble Theatre (Fly- Regional Premiere), Unity Theatre (Plaid Tidings), Island ETC (Next to Normal, Godspell, Urinetown) and Houston Grand Opera. With HGO, he had the pleasure of appearing in two World Premieres, Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life (Mr. Ruffino/Chorus) and Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers (Monkey). He also made his film debut last year in Aaron Alon’s BULLY.
Mark Vogel is Artistic Director of International Voices Houston, a 150-member multicultural choir, which has performed at Zilkha Hall, the Midtown Arts & Theatre Center of Houston, City Hall, and the George R. Brown Convention Center. He also holds Music Director positions at both First Unitarian Universalist Church of Houston and Congregation Beth Israel. Previous choral directing positions include Lone Star College-North Harris, The Woodlands Chorale, Woodlands Community Presbyterian Church, and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, in Oakton, Virginia. As a pianist, he has performed locally at Sam Houston State University, San Jacinto College, The McGovern Medical School; and in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center, Strathmore Concert Hall, National Cathedral, Wolf Trap Performing Arts Center, and the Library of Congress. His passion for performing is equaled only by his love for music education. He has held teaching positions at Lone Star College-North Harris, as well as the Kinkaid School and St. Pius X High School. He has studied piano with Ruth Laredo, (Manhattan School of Music) and Rene Lecuona (University of Iowa).
MM in Trombone Performance, University of Texas at Austin, 2017
BM in Trombone Performance, Texas State University, 2015
A Texas native, Steven Vogel studied with completed his undergraduate education in Trombone Performance with Dr. Martin McCain at Texas State University and received his Master of Music degree from the University of Texas, while studying with Dr. Nathaniel Brickens. Steven currently holds multiple teaching positions throughout Texas and has also served on the faculty of the prestigious Luzerne Music Center. As a performer, Steven currently serves as the Principal Trombone of The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Second Trombone of the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared as a substitute trombonist with the Round Rock Symphony, Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, Houston Sinfonietta, and other orchestras throughout the state. He is a regular performer with both the Texas Brass Ensemble and the Hill Country Brass Quintet, and frequently performs as a freelance player throughout the state of Texas. Steven has been a finalist for the ITF Larry Weihe Trombone Competition, as well as the winner of the 2017 Big 12 Trombone Conference Tenor Trombone Competition.
BM in Cello Performance, University of Music Frankfurt (Germany), 2015
Christoph Wagner is a prize-winning cellist and sought-after chamber musician and pedagogue. He received first prizes at the German Youth Competition “Jugend Musiziert;" won the competition “Ribalta Mozart Italia” in Italy, as well as the “Peter-Pirazzi-Competition” in Germany in 2013; and was prize winner of the National Society of Arts and Letters-competition in Bloomington/IN in 2016 and 2017. He was scholarship holder from the “Live Music Now-Yehudi Menuhin”-Foundation, the “Richard-Wagner-Verband” Frankfurt, the LIONS-Club Karlsruhe and the “Theodor-Rogler Foundation for Young Musicians." As a member of the “Junge Deutsche Philharmonie,” he performed in major concert halls in Europe such as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam under renowned conductors, like Jonathan Nott, Lothar Zagrosek and Stefan Asbury. He played in the “Gürzenich-Orchestra/Opera Cologne” in the season 2013/2014 and has performed on festivals in Switzerland, Croatia, France, Italy, South-Africa, South-America and the US. Christoph Wagner is currently pursuing a DMA at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
MM in Viola Performance, Northwestern University, 2019
BM in Viola Performance, Oberlin Conservatory, 2017
Violist Matthew Weathers is a Houston-based performer and teacher. He is an active performer of works by living composers, and has premiered dozens of works as both a soloist and ensemble member. Recent projects include collaborations with Houston-based Loop38 and Chicago-based Zafa Collective. Matthew has been a Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center for the past two years and will be returning for a third summer in 2020. He has also attended the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and Duxbury Music Festival. Matthew’s primary teachers include Ivo-Jan van der Werff, Helen Callus, Kirsten Docter, and Michael Strauss. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
DMA in Saxophone, University of Houston, 2000
MM in Jazz Studies, University of North Texas, 1995
BM (summa cum laude) in Performance, 1992
Woody Witt has been an increasingly significant musical force during the past decade as a tenor-saxophonist, a composer and as an educator. He has taught at Houston Community College since 2000, is an Affiliate Artist at the University of Houston, and has conducted a countless number of workshops and master classes throughout the United States, France, Romania, Germany and Asia. As a saxophonist, Woody Witt has recorded over 25 CDs as a sideman and led ten CDs of his own. He has collaborated with such major jazz artists as trumpeters Randy Brecker, Tim Hagans and Jim Rotondi, saxophonists James Moody, David Liebman and Tim Armacost, trombonist Conrad Herwig, pianists Larry Ham, Joe LoCascio and Mark Levine, drummers Louis Hayes, Adam Nussbaum, Billy Hart, and singer Nancy King; has worked with the Houston Symphony and Houston Ballet; and has been featured on major third-stream works that blend together jazz and classical music. The winner of the 2010 Chamber Music America French American Cultural Exchange grant and the 2014 International Jazz Saxophone Competition in Taiwan, Woody is the booker and the artistic director at Houston’s top jazz club, Cezanne.
MM in Piano Performance & Pedagogy, University of Houston, 2004
MM in Piano Chamber Music & Accompaniying, University of Houston, 2001
BM in Piano & Vocal Performance, Taipei Municipal Teacher's College, 1994
Chia-Wen Wang Bonbright has performed all around Taiwan, including at the Taipei National Concert Hall, as well as in the Greater Houston area, where she is known as an outstanding collaborative concert pianist and educator. She was an adjunct professor of music and music coach in Taipei and Yi-Lan between 2004 and 2006. She has been the music director of the CAMA Chorus since 2013 and has also musical directed “Winter Wonderettes” for Houston Family Arts Center (now Stageworks Theatre). She is the chairwoman of the HFMC and is an active competition judge and performer/coach for several Houston area school districts as well as for the University Park and CyFair campuses of Lone Star College. She also teaches piano through her private studio.
MM in Piano Performance, Kent State University, 1996
BM in Vocal Performance, Kent State University, 1994
Kerri Elrod is an active accompanist/ pianist in the greater Houston area and has over 40 years of experience accompanying. She has worked with both The Cleveland Opera and Houston Grand Opera, as well as recorded for NPR (National Public Radio) “In Memorium Leonard Bernstein” by Srul Irving Glick. In 2007, Kerri accompanied the Texas All-State Treble Choir under the direction of Janet Galvan. Mrs. Elrod was also a Texas choral music educator in the public school system for about 16 years and has also taught music courses for Lone Star College-CyFair.
MM in Music Theory, University of Houston, 1996
BM in Composition, University of Houston, 1989
Since graduating from the University of Houston, where he studied composition with Dr. Michael Horvit and Carlisle Floyd, and piano with Robert Brownlee and Carlisle Floyd, Mr. Guess has divided his time between teaching, performing, and composing. He has served in a variety of musical roles, including pianist for the Houston Ballet Academy, Houston Grand Opera’s Opera-to-Go, HITS Theater and Orchestra X, staff accompanist for Lonestar College, Lee College, and the St. Francis Episcopal School, accompanist for master classes and recitals, music director for musical productions with the HITS Theater, and Lonestar College North Harris, jazz pianist, church musician, and composer of music for theater and education. His piano ensemble piece, Hey Ya’, Hey! is scheduled to be premiered at the TMTA Convention in Houston in June 2020.
Mr. Guess has maintained a full studio of private students for over 20 years, teaching piano, theory, composition and jazz. His private students regularly place in local contests and score high marks in National Piano Guild Auditions, and in TMTA and ABRSM examinations. In addition, he has taught piano, theory and ear training at San Jacinto College and Lone Star College North Harris. Always interested in making learning more effective and enjoyable for his students, he is currently developing a piano method aiming to draw together the best ideas and methods of the past century and the natural learning abilities with which children are born.
MM in Collaborative Piano, University of Colorado Boulder, 2017
MM in Piano Performance, University of Utah, 2012
BM in Piano Performance, Houston Baptist University, 2010
Ben Sieben is an accomplished collaborative pianist from Bay City, Texas. He is passionate about vocal, instrumental, and choral accompanying and primarily works in these fields, along with gigging and playing church music. He also enjoys running, skiing, and traveling whenever possible.