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 is Assistant Principal (Vorspielerin) of the Bremer Philharmoniker and loves traveling across the world to teach and perform in countries in Asia, Europe and South America. With a passion for teaching, 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 continues to grow in size and is sponsored as an educational program of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. (read more) From 2016-17 Marie taught as a Teaching Artist for the New York Philharmonic. An advocate for historical performance, Marie has performed often with period-instrument ensembles such as Trinity Baroque Orchestra, New York Baroque Incorporated & Juilliard415. From 2015-2017 she was a member of Quartet Resound and New York Classical Quartet, highlighting the performance of early string quartets by playing on instruments of the era. (more info)
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.
Marie holds a Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School and currently resides in Bremen, Germany. She is also addicted to running, having completed nine marathons including Boston, Berlin and New York, and loves the color pink. www.mariedaniels.com
Luke Fleming, viola Praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for his “glowing refinement,” violist Luke Fleming's performances have been described by The Strad as “confident and expressive...playing with uncanny precision," and lauded by Gramophone for their "superlative technical and artistic execution.” Strings Magazine said of a recent performance by Mr. Fleming: “With tender lyrical lines, the viola’s richness suited the music wonderfully…I wished I could put [him] on repeat.” Festival appearances include the Marlboro Music School and Festival, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, Perlman Music Program, the Norfolk and Great Lakes Chamber Music Festivals, the Melbourne Festival, Bravo!Vail, Festival Mozaic, and the Virginia Arts Festival. From 2009 – 2015, Mr. Fleming was violist of the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet, with whom he served as Quartet-in-Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School, and was awarded First Prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition.
In 2015, Mr. Fleming became the Founding Artistic Director of both the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based chamber music collective, and the Crescent City Chamber Music Festival, a mission/outreach-centric festival held annually in his hometown, New Orleans. He has performed as a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Sejong Soloists, Ensemble Connect, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the New York Classical Players, and the Serafin and Canterbury String Quartets, and has served on the faculties of the Innsbrook Institute, Renova Music Festival and Houston ChamberFest, and Fei Tian College. Mr. Fleming holds the degrees of Doctor of Musical Arts, Artist Diploma, and Master of Music from the Juilliard School, a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a Bachelor of Music summa cum laude from Louisiana State University. He is represented by Arts Global, Inc.
Ed Harper, cello Ed Harper is a professional cellist, educator, conductor, composer and arranger from the United Kingdom. He has a particular passion for chamber music, having been encouraged from a young age to perform in cello and string ensembles in and around his home county of Essex. He has been a member of string quartets, piano trios and other small ensembles ever since and continues to relish the unique challenges that come with performing this fascinating genre of music. Ed holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Sheffield and a Master of Music degree from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Throughout his studies he stood out as a passionate and dedicated performer, winning the Mrs Stewart Blake Prize for best undergraduate recital and holding the principal chair position in each of the RNCM Concert, Opera and Brand New Orchestras respectively. As a founding member of the Degani String Quartet at this time, he was invited to give a rare performance of Bruno Walter’s String Quartet at the prestigious RNCM Chamber Music Festival. After earning his MMus degree, Ed spent a few years performing in and around London with the Dionysus String Quartet, based at the Royal College of Music, before moving to Singapore in 2013. Whilst there he taught music at a local international school and helped to develop the strings and orchestral programs. During this time he co-founded an after-school Suzuki strings program for students aged 5-7, conducted the school’s string ensemble and directed the orchestra for several musical productions, including Oliver and Annie. He also held regular concerts in the region with the Pygmalion String Quartet and performed with the Orchestra of the Music Makers under Professor Chan Tze Law at the Esplanade Concert Hall. In 2016 Ed moved to Houston, Texas where he now maintains a private cello and theory studio and works as a freelance performer. He has recently been involved in a number of musical theatre productions, including Hairspray and Oklahoma at Sam Houston State University and the regional premiere of Unlock’d at Queensbury Theatre. Ed is a certified Suzuki Cello Instructor from the Chicago and Austin Suzuki Institutes and a lifetime member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas He is currently pursuing a DMA in Cello Performance at the University of Houston, studying with Mr Anthony Kitai of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. When he’s not playing the cello, writing/arranging music or finishing assignments he enjoys travelling, snowboarding and being chased by his dog, Riley.
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.
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.
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