© 2019 The Woodlands Chamberfest. 

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Faculty

Marie Daniels

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. From 2016-17 Marie taught as a Teaching Artist for the New York Philharmonic. Marie also enjoys inspiring viola fans around the world through her Viola Tips with Violamad videos on YouTube.

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. 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 is also addicted to running, having completed nine marathons including Boston and New York, and loves the color pink.

 

Luke Fleming

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 has performed as a guest artist with the Pacifica, Solera, Serafin, and Canterbury Quartets, the Eroica and Gryphon Trios, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Sejong Soloists, Ensemble Connect, 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.  He 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 by Arts Global, Inc. More at www.lukefleming.com

 

Francis Liu

Violinist Francis Liu specializes in period performances spanning from the Baroque through the Romantic. He is based in New York City, where he performs with Baroque ensembles New York Baroque Inc., the Sebastians, Holy Trinity Lutheran, and Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra.

 

In performances of later Classical and Romantic repertoire, Francis has appeared with the Handel & Haydn Society, Smithsonian Chamber Players, Teatro Nuovo, Grand Harmonie, and the 19th Century Romantic Salon in Huddersfield, England. An avid storyteller, Francis is one of the hosts of the “Anacreontic Society” music history podcast. In the summer he can be found teaching at the Point Counterpoint festival on Lake Dunmore, Vermont, and the Woodlands Chamberfest in Houston, Texas.

 

Mitchell Lyon

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  He also explores in an interest in a wide variety of styles and his group Empire Wild will release their EP ‘Paper Seasons’ in the spring of 2019.


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 Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with Bonnie Hampton and Timothy Eddy. More at www.mitchlyoncello.com

 

Zachary Montasser

A 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 whoever has the patience to play with him.

 

Valeri Speights

Ms. 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 was 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 three years she has taught for the Woodlands Chamberfest at the Cynthia Mitchell Woods Pavilion and is now opening her own studio serving the Woodlands/Conroe area. Having just graduated with a performance degree from Sam Houston State University, she is currently a member of the Conroe Symphony, the Woodlands Symphony, and Legacy Baroque. As she prepares for a master's degree in violin, she is currently exploring historically informed performance and continuing to develop her skills as a conductor. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, photography, and playing with her dachshund mix, Oliver.

 

Sarah Stone

A curiosity in the cultural background behind the music she plays led Sarah Stone to baroque cello and viola da gamba. This season, Sarah has performed around the country with Seraphic Fire, Washington National Cathedral, House of Time, NYBI, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Repast, and Apollo's Fire. Last summer, she joined Teatro Nuovo in performing unconducted bel canto opera, and traveled to Portland, Maine, making music in unconventional venues as a part of The Portland Bach Experience.

 

This spring, Sarah performs Handel's Radamisto with Opera Lafayette, Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto with Apollo's Fire, and returnes to Montana four times, including performing Christmas Oratorio with Musikanten Montana as well as co-leading Bitterroot Baroque's Montana Cantata Project in Hamilton and Missoula. Past highlights have included performances of Bach cantatas with Trinity Wall Street in Montreal and a northeast tour with Apollo’s Fire including Sarah's Carnegie Hall debut. She 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. More at www.sarahabigaelstone.com