About our Faculty...
Georgia, and Texas. Lewis was the winner of the Ladies’ Music Club Concerto Competition in 2016 and the Oklahoma City University Concerto Competition in 2015, and has performed with such ensembles as the Houston Ballet Orchestra, Symphony of Southeast Texas, Brazosport Symphony Orchestra, Clear Lake Chamber Ensemble, Fort Smith Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Hampton Roads Chamber Players, and many more. She has received teacher training from Johnny Hamil and Dr. Kate Jones, and has performed in masterclasses for such renowned bassists as Francois Rabbath, Edgar Meyer, and Mark Dresser. Lewis has been featured on the Contrabass Conversations podcast and the JKL Podcast, and has been a member of the Texas Music Educators Association since 2017.
Double Bass - Grace Lewis
Grace Lewis is a freelance double bassist, private instructor, and clinician in Houston, TX. She received her M.M. in instrumental Performance from the University of Houston, and her B.M. in Instrumental Performance from Oklahoma City University. Ms. Lewis is the founder and executive director of Collegia: Houston, and a member of the International Society of Bassists Advisory Board. She is a former faculty member of El Sistema Oklahoma and a current faculty member of the Texas Double Bass Academy, Kansas City Bass Festival, Motivation Strings Camp, Bay Area Chamber Music Festival, Hampton Roads Chamber Players Camp, and more. As a clinician, she has traveled to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia,
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
Viola - Octavio Macias
Octavio Macías Meléndez currently pursues an M.M. in musicology at the Peabody Institute. He served as both co-director and teaching artist for the El Paso Symphony’s division, Tocando, and as a violist, he has performed in various solo, chamber, and orchestral recitals in the United States, Mexico, and Italy. Macías served as principal violist for the INFAO chamber orchestra and as a violist for the Ciudad Juarez Symphony Orchestra. He is also is an active mandolinist commissioning new works for the instrument. His interests have lead him to collaborate and perform in all types of genres.
Violin - Cheng-Wei Hsieh
Born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, violinist Cheng-Wei Hsieh is currently pursuing his doctoral degree
at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, under the tutelage of Dr. Kirsten Yon and
Mr. William Preucil (Guest Professor from 2016-17). A versatile musician, Mr. Hsieh is active in
solo, 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 Chamber
Ensemble, Cantare Houston, and Chamber Music Outreach. Mr. Hsieh regularly led the Moores
School of Symphony Orchestra, Opera Orchestra, and Ballet Orchestra as a concertmaster. He
has 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.
Wesley Smith - Director
Wesley Smith is a graduate from the University of North Texas with his Bachelor's of Arts in Music Education and Trumpet Performance. After college, he taught private trumpet lessons for Katy and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD's until accepting his first full time teaching position as Assistant Director of Bands for Huntington ISD. After that, he taught elementary music in Alief ISD before accepting his current position teaching orchestra for Houston ISD. Wesley has performed with several groups, including the German Band of North Texas, the Cypress Symphonic Band, Fellowship of the Swing, and the Houston Symphonic Band - being honored as a featured soloist with the group.
Along with teaching orchestra, Mr. Smith currently performs with the Houston Texans pep-band, Deep Steel Thunder, teaches private trumpet lessons, is in the process of forming a brass quintet, and is a founder of Motivation Orchestra Camp.