Marie Daniels is a violist devoted to sharing her passion for music as a performer, teacher and entrepreneur. Currently Marie holds the position of Assistant Principal (Vorspieler) of the Bremer Philharmoniker in Bremen, Germany.
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, which was adopted as an educational program of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in 2013. From 2016-17 Marie taught music to 3rd graders in the Bronx as a Teaching Artist for the New York Philharmonic. In addition to private instruction, Marie enjoys sharing her expertise through her Viola Tips with Violamad videos on YouTube, which continue to inspire viola fans around the world.
In addition to being seen and heard with the Philharmoniker in Die Glocke and Theater Bremen, Marie performs regularly in the Philharmoniker's chamber music series as well as in various projects with groups in northern Germany such as Das Prima Streichquartett and Ensemble Obligat. Since the Bremen Philharmoniker's collaboration with Orchester des Wandels (OdW) in 2020, Marie has become an active member of her orchestra's "Climate Group", helping to plan events and concerts to raise awareness and money for OdW's sustainability projects, as well as donating her time to maintain the OdW's website.
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. She enjoys biking and running, having completed nine marathons including Boston and New York, and loves everything pink.
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.” 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, and Festival Mozaic. Formerly the violist of the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet, he has served as Artist-in-Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and received the National Federation of Music Clubs Centennial Chamber Music Award. He was awarded First Prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition and top prizes at the Melbourne 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. He is also a founding member of the Delaware-based Serafin Ensemble. He has performed as a guest artist with the Escher, Pacifica, Serafin, and Solera String Quartets, the Eroica, Lysander, and Gryphon Piano Trios, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Decoda, Ensemble Connect, Sejong Soloists, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the New York Classical Players, and has given masterclasses at UCLA, Louisiana State University, Ithaca College, Columbus State University, Syracuse University, Melbourne University, and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, among others. Mr. Fleming has served on the faculties of the Innsbrook Institute, Renova Music Festival, Festival del Lago, and Houston ChamberFest, and Fei Tian College and is Lecturer-in-Residence for the concert series Project: Music Heals Us.
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 with the Manhattan Chamber Players by Arts Management Group.
Photo credit: Sarah Fleming
Cellist Mitchell Lyon is a founding member of Empire Wild, a genre-bending crossover trio and Ambassador Prize Winner of the 2020 Concert Artist Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. Passionate about community engagement and education, Mitch has been on the Teaching Artist Faculty of the New York Philharmonic since 2014 and frequently leads workshops for students of all ages and abilities, most recently at The Juilliard School Extension Division, Preucil School Chamberfest (IA), Omaha Conservatory (NE), and the Charles Ives Music Festival (CT). An alumnus of Juilliard (B.M., M.M.), Mitch was the recipient of several fellowships and led a multidisciplinary team of performing artists—actors, dancers, and musicians—to New Orleans in 2012 and 2013 to help rebuild the city after Hurricane Katrina. In the 2022-23 season he has appeared across the U.S. with his trio Empire Wild and will be resuming the “Landscapes: Music for a Changing Climate” program with his duo partner, Mika Sasaki. mitchlyoncello.com
Photo by PIerre Lidar
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 and has performed with Stages Repertoire Theater, the A.D. Players, and Theater Under the Stars, performing in musicals such as Chicago, Oliver, Oklahoma!, a Grand Night for Singing, among others.
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’s current passion is performing for the elderly, where he provides a safe place for his audience members to interpret classical music through the lens of their experiences, thoughts, and emotions.
Originally from central Illinois, Hannah Watson moved to Houston to attend Rice University for her bachelor’s degree in violin performance, studying with Kathleen Winkler. Subsequently, she attended Indiana University, where she completed her Master of Music degree in performance. During her time at IU, she completed a secondary focus in string pedagogy.
Upon graduating with highest honors, Hannah returned to Houston and began a rich freelancing career that combines both of her professional passions: teaching and performing. Hannah has enjoyed serving through various musical outreach programs, such as collaborating in the development of Houston Symphony’s School Residency Program, serving as an instructor and coach for Mercury Chamber Orchestra’s Academy for Professional Musicians, and teaching for Houston Youth Symphony in several capacities. Hannah enjoys maintaining her teaching studio where she most directly nurtures her students’ love of music, encourages excellence in their art, and help them grow individually. Her students consistently place with high rankings in competitive environments such as solo performances, youth orchestras, and TMEA Region and All-State.
Hannah is a versatile performer, and plays with several orchestras such as Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet and Mercury Chamber Orchestra. She has also performed with artists such as the Eagles, the Who, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Cece Winans and others.