violin

About our Faculty...

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Technique and Ensemble Director

Wesley Smith

Wesley is a graduate from the University of North Texas with his Bachelor's of Arts in Music Education and Trumpet Performance. He has taught private trumpet lessons for several school districts before moving on to teach band, elementary music, and finally orchestra. Wesley has performed with many local groups, being honored as a featured soloist with the Houston Symphonic Band. Along with teaching orchestra, Wesley currently performs with the Houston Texans pep-band, Deep Steel Thunder, the Fellowship of the Swing, and the Prevailing Winds, teaches private trumpet lessons, is a founder of Motivation Orchestra Camp, and is a member of TMEA, TODA, and TBA.

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Director and Double Bass Instructor

Grace Lewis

Ms. Lewis is a freelance performer, clinician, and private instructor based in the Houston area. She serves as Director of Orchestras at Drew Academy in Aldine ISD, and is the founder and director of after-school music education program Collegia: Houston. Ms. Lewis holds a M.M. in Double Bass performance from the University of Houston and a B.M. in Double Bass Performance from Oklahoma City University. Since 2012, she has enjoyed teaching around the country, serving as a faculty member of El Sistema Oklahoma as well as a traveling double bass and chamber clinician in Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, and more. She has performed with numerous ensembles, including the Houston Ballet, the Brazosport Symphony, the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the Clear Lake Symphony, the Enid Symphony, the Fort Smith Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Symphonicity Orchestra of Virginia Beach, the Hampton Roads Chamber Players, and as one half of the Oklahoma-based Lewis/Rupp double bass duo. In addition, she was the 2016 winner of the Ladies’ Music Club Concerto Competition, and the 2015 winner of the Oklahoma City University Concerto Competition. Ms. Lewis serves on the advisory board of the International Society of Bassists, and is a member of the Texas Music Educators’ Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations Music Directors & Adjudicators. She has received valuable teacher training from esteemed instructors like Dennis Whittaker, John Schimek, Johnny Hamil, Kate Jones, Caroline Emery, Tracy Rowell, David Murray, and Jorge Aguirre.

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Music Theory Instructor

Nathan Mays

Mr. Mays is an active musician and versatile composer from the Gulf of Texas, who has collaborated with numerous musicians, dancers, and painters to explore the artistic bounds of modern music. He began studying composition in 2009 at San Jacinto Community College, finishing his Bachelor of Music in Composition at Sam Houston State University in 2013 and Master of Music in Composition at Texas State University in 2016. Mr. Mays’ music has appeared throughout the United States and Europe in festivals and on the air. He constantly looks for ways to progress his art beyond the norm, and maintains an eclectic collection of musical interests, with his body of work reflecting this. An avid supporter of rock and jazz music, styles that always find a place in his works, he continues to search for the balance between popular and classical genres. Mr. Mays has attended masterclasses in composition with many notable figures in music, including Robert Levin, Dmitry Tymoczko, Christopher Theofinidas, Amy Beth Kirsten, Carter Pann, and Mark Applebaum. His private composition teachers have included Joseph Schenck, B.P. Herrington, Kyle Kindred, Richard Hall, and Micheal Ippolito

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Clinician - Violin

Cheng-Wei Hsieh

Born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, violinist Cheng-Wei Hsieh is currently pursuing his doctoral degreeat the University of Houston Moores School of Music, under the tutelage of Dr. Kirsten Yon andMr. William Preucil (Guest Professor from 2016-17). A versatile musician, Mr. Hsieh is active insolo, chamber, and orchestral realms. He appears on many concert series in the Houston area,including the University of Houston faculty chamber music concert, Clear Lake ChamberEnsemble, Cantare Houston, and Chamber Music Outreach. Mr. Hsieh regularly led the MooresSchool of Symphony Orchestra, Opera Orchestra, and Ballet Orchestra as a concertmaster. Hehas had an opportunity to play with Clear Lake Symphony as a soloist. Besides his classical training, Mr. Hsieh also specializes in Baroque violin under the guidance of Mr. Alan Austin and Dr. Matthew Dirst. In 2019, Mr. Hsieh and his friends founded the La Joie Trio, a violin/flute/harpsichord baroque ensemble dedicated to the performance of early music. The Trio had a successful premiere concert in December 2019.In addition to performing, Mr. Hsieh is also passionate about teaching and coaching chamber music. Previously, he served as a Teaching Assistant for the string area at the University of Houston Moores School of Music from 2016-19. He taught violin private lessons, group technique class, and chamber music at undergraduate level. Mr. Hsieh currently teaches as a violin instructor at the Seven Lakes, Clear Brook, and Clear Falls High School and also maintains a studio of private students in the Houston area. Since 2017, Mr. Hsieh is invited to teach and perform as a violin faculty in the Annual Encuentro de Cuerdas, a pedagogical outreach program based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Mr. Hsieh completed his Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan, where he studied with Dr. Ming-Shi Du and Dr. Ping-Yu Chuang. He received his Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of North Texas as a member of Dr. Felix Olschofka’s studio.

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Clinician - Viola

Alexa Brown

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Clinician - Cello

Alberto Macias

A native of the border region of El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juarez, Alberto Macías is a cellist,  violist da gamba, music educator, and artistic director of Bach and Friends in the Barrio. As an active performer, he has premiered and commissioned works for the both the cello and gamba while simultaneously serving as a member of American String Teachers Association  and the Viola da Gamba Society of America. Mr. Macías has also taught both orchestra and mariachi for the Ysleta Independent School District. Presently, Mr. Macías currently enjoys teaching is studio of young cellists and violists (da gamba) alike. In 2017, He received his B.M in Cello Performance cum laude under the tutelage of Dr. Theodore Buchholz at the University of Arizona. Alberto is currently pursuing is M.M. in historical performance at the Peabody Institute and studies with John Moran. His other principal teachers include David Schepps, and Philip Alejo.