Marie Daniels, Founder and Artistic Director Marie Daniels is a violist devoted to sharing her passion for music as a performer, teacher and entrepreneur. An active solo, chamber and orchestral musician, Marie performs regularly throughout New York City and loves traveling across the world to teach and perform in countries such as Brazil, China, England, Germany, Japan, France, and Mexico. She appears regularly as a substitute with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Charleston Symphony and recently joined the New York Philharmonic Teaching Artist faculty. Marie was a 2015 recipient of Juilliard's Benzaquen Career Advancement Grant for demonstrating outstanding artistry and achievement in leadership, entrepreneurship, and breadth of engagement.
In 2012 Marie founded The Woodlands ChamberFest, an annual week-long workshop teaching young students communication, collaboration and leadership through chamber music. The Woodlands ChamberFest has since doubled in size and is now sponsored as an educational program of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
An advocate for historical performance, Marie performs often with period-instrument ensembles such as Juilliard415, New York Baroque Incorporated & The Sebastians. She is a founding member of Quartet Resound, performing regularly in salon-style concerts in NYC. The 2016 - 2017 season will include a world premiere of a classical monodrama at Bucknell University, a quartet residency in Hamilton, Montana and an orchestra tour with Trinity Baroque Orchestra.
Marie holds a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School and currently resides in New York. She is also a serious marathon runner, having completed nine marathons including Boston and New York, and loves the color pink. www.mariedaniels.com
Francis Liu, violin With an inclination for eclectic projects, Francis Liu specializes in exploring contemporary works and period interpretations of Baroque and Classical repertoire. Based in New York City, he is an active member of the Sebastians, New York Baroque Inc., the Bach Players of Holy Trinity, and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra. He has also performed with the Smithsonian Chamber Players, Les Arts Florissants (“Festival Dans les Jardins de William Christie”), and has toured with the Baroque ensemble Musica Angelica and the actor John Malkovich in two productions: “The Infernal Comedy” and “The Giacomo Variations.” An active chamber musician, he performs regularly with Quartet Resound, and the piano trio, Broadwood Junction. In addition to his work on Baroque violin, Francis performs with the New York-based contemporary ensemble, Hotel Elefant, and has appeared at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival and the KLANGSPUREN Festival of Contemporary Music in Austria.
Francis is currently on faculty at Point CounterPoint Music Festival and maintains a private teaching studio in New York City. While attending the University of Maryland, Francis was a teaching assistant to David Salness. He holds BM and MM degrees from Rice University, a DMA from the University of Maryland, and a MM in Historical Performance from the Juilliard School.
Mitch Lyon, cello Cellist Mitchell Lyon approaches music making with a zest for harnessing the unique power of musical experience. At home with audiences of all types, he has performed in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to intimate house concerts.
A native of Philadelphia, Mitch has performed extensively as a soloist, chamber musician, and in orchestras throughout the United States, France and the United Kingdom. As a recipient of Juilliard’s Gluck Community Service Fellowship, he brought music to new and underserved audiences, including patients in New York area hospitals, nursing homes and alternative care facilities. Mitch arranges, organizes and performs house concerts at private residences throughout the boroughs of New York City and in other locations by arrangement.An accomplished chamber musician, Mitch specializes in ensemble collaborations that run the gamut from classical piano trios, to crossover string quartets, to jazz combos, to dance and theater collaborations.
Passionate in his quest to spread the joy of music to young performers, Mitch has taught the children of New York through various Juilliard-funded fellowship programs at schools including Children’s Promise Zone and Harlem Promise Academy II. As a director of Juilliard’s student-run outreach organization, ARTreach, Mitch led several Juilliard teams to New Orleans, reaching out to children displaced by Hurricane Katrina and doing hands-on labor with Habitat for Humanity. Mitch continues his educational outreach mission in his current role as Teaching Artist Faculty for the New York Philharmonic School Partnership Program.
He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School where he studied with Bonnie Hampton and recently completed his Master of Music Degree at Juilliard under the tutelage of Timothy Eddy. www.mitchlyoncello.com
Zachary Montasser, violin Native of Bethesda, Maryland, violinist Zachary Montasser fell in love with the violin in preschool and shortly thereafter inquired about taking violin lessons. His teachers include Mary Findley, Robert Cole, Sylvia Ouelette, Oleg Sulyga, Andrzej Grabiec, and Janet Sung. Mr. Montasser’s passion for music was a driving force through a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Violin Performance under the tutelage of prize-winning violinist Andrzej Grabiec. During his Masters, Mr. Montasser developed a love for the String Quartet genre. Subsequently, he co-founded the Fuzion String Quartet, which was later featured at classical music festivals such as the Hot Springs Music Festival in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and the Cali De Camara in Colombia, South America.
Mr. Montasser completed a Performance Certificate at DePaul University under the guidance of concertizing violinist Janet Sung. While at DePaul, Mr. Montasser co-founded Clark Street Quartet, whose activities included classical concerts as well as collaborations with choreographer Lin Kahn, and Hip-Hop/Jazz Fusion group Sidewalk Chalk. In 2015 Mr. Montasser moved to Houston to pursue a career as a freelance musician. Mr. Montasser is a core member of the Symphony of Southeast Texas. As well, Mr. Montasser performs as a musical theater musician. He is frequently contracted by Stages Repertoire Theater and has performed with Theater Under the Stars. He is currently a member of the Westheimer String Quartet, whose focus is to bring classical music to the community by performing at churches, elementary schools, high schools, and colleges in Texas and Oklahoma.
Mr. Montasser has a passion for table tennis. He plays whenever he can, with whomever has the patience to play with him.
Edson Scheid, violin Edson Scheid has been praised for his “polished playing” (The Strad), for being “more than equipped to deal with the virtuosic challenges” (Seen and Heard International), and for being "both musically and technically one of the most assured and accomplished of today’s younger period violinists" (The Boston Musical Intelligencer). His performance of Strauss’s song Morgen at Carnegie Hall was described as follows: “The concertmaster, Edson Scheid, proved a worthy foil as violin soloist” (The New York Times).
A native of Brazil, Edson Scheid has performed with such ensembles as Les Arts Florissants, Il Pomo d'Oro, the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Juilliard415, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Sejong Soloists, NOVUS NY, the Aston Magna Music Festival, Orchester Wiener Akademie, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra. He is the two-time winner of the Historical Performance Concerto Competition at The Juilliard School, and recipient of the Broadus Erle Prize at the Yale School of Music. Edson Scheid’s many performances of Paganini’s 24 Caprices, on both period and modern violins, have been received with enthusiasm around the world. He has performed the Caprices in cities in Europe, North and South America, and Asia, and has been featured live in-studio on In Tune from BBC Radio 3. His recording of the Caprices on the baroque violin for the Naxos label has been critically acclaimed: “Far from being mere virtuoso stunts, Scheid’s Caprices abound in the beauty and revolutionary spirit of these works...” (Fanfare Magazine).
As a chamber musician, he has performed as a violinist and a violist in festivals including the Juilliard Chamberfest, Utrecht Early Music Festival, Dans les Jardins de William Christie, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. He is a faculty member at the Woodlands Chamberfest as a member of Quartet Resound, the festival’s ensemble in residence. Edson Scheid holds degrees from the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg, the Yale School of Music and The Juilliard School, where he was a recipient of a Kovner Fellowship. www.edsonscheid.com
Valeri Speights, violin Violinist Valeri Speights specializes in performing chamber music while teaching violin privately. She has performed in various recitals in Germany through the Saarburg International Chamber Music Festival and is a founding member of the Chateau String Quartet. An alumni of the Dylana Jenson Workshop and the MasterWorks Festival, Valeri exclusively teaches private lessons and has been a teacher for the Huntsville Youth Orchestra and the Art of Music Studio. For the last two years she has taught for the Woodlands Chamberfest and now is an orchestra assistant at Sam Houston State University. Ms. Speights is a member of the Woodlands Symphony Orchestra and is the current president of the Fellowship of Christian Musicians. As a senior at Sam Houston State University studying violin performance, she is preparing to pursue a master’s degree in performance. During her time at SHSU, Valeri has performed in masterclasses for notable artists such as Dylana Jenson, Ken Goldsmith, Rodrica Gonzalez, Deylana Lazarova, and Jonathan Godfrey. Currently she is a student of Dr. Naomi Gjevre and former teachers include Dr. Javier Pinell and Zoran Jasmak. Valeri is a member of the Honors college and is a recipient of the Elliot T. Bowers Scholarship, SHSU School of Music Scholarship, and a scholarship from local benefactors, Mr. and Mrs. Clark. Looking forward to graduate studies, she has taken special interest in orchestral conducting, historically informed performance practices, and improvisational skills. In her free time, Valeri enjoys rock climbing and graphic design.
Sarah Stone, cello A curiosity in the cultural background behind the music she plays led Sarah Stone to the baroque cello and viola da gamba. She performs with a number of ensembles including Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Mercury, the Sebastians, Early Music New York, NYBI, and Grand Harmonie. This season includes tours to Montreal and California with Trinity Wall Street, Rameau's Les Indes Galantes with Mercury as their guest principal cellist, and performances of Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo at National Sawdust. Past highlights include concerts abroad: she took part inDans les Jardins de William Christiewith Les Arts Florissants in Thiré, France, and toured with Juilliard415, performing in the London, Paris, Leipzig, Boston, and New York, with Rachel Podger and Masaaki Suzuki.
Sarah is passionate about performing and teaching chamber music. She is a founding member of the period string quartet, Quartet Resound, cellist of Broadwood Junction, a square piano trio exploring music from the 19th century, and cellist for Mount Sinai Concerts. This June, Quartet Resound is returning for the second year to coach chamber music and performed as quartet-in-residence at The Woodlands ChamberFest near Houston, TX. The quartet is also planning a week of chamber music outreach in Hamilton, MT in collaboration with Bitterroot Baroque for October, 2017. Broadwood Junction will be returning to Gotham Early Music Scene's Midtown Concerts Series and performing concerts at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts with programs Rule! Britannia and Music in Jane Austen's Home. Sarah was one of the first musicians to join Mt. Siani Concerts, whose mission is to bring music and healing to New York's Mount Sinai Hospital through monthly baroque and classical concerts.
Sarah holds a Masters in Historical Performance from the Juilliard School, a Masters from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelors of Music from Rice University. She currently lives in Long Island City, New York and enjoys making pasta from scratch, playing badminton, and creating temporary tattoo sleeves. www.sarahabigaelstone.com