The Musicians

meet

Priscilla Tsai

Jordan Musgraves

Sixto Elizondo

Medea Guldedava

Elizabeth Frederick

Helen Pat Karakas

Dr. Jose Flores

Steve McMillan, Assistant Concertmaster

Pablo Donatti

Elizabeth Adkins, Concertmaster

Violin I

Click to learn more

After 31 years as Associate Concertmaster of the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., Elisabeth Adkins was invited to join the faculty of Texas Christian University in the fall of 2014. She serves as Professor of Violin at TCU, and continues her orchestral career as the Concertmaster of the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, the Richardson Symphony, and the Plano Symphony. She has appeared as concerto soloist for the Baltimore Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Maryland Symphony and the Seattle Symphony, as well as numerous appearances with the National Symphony. Since arriving in Fort Worth, she has performed concertos with the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra and the TCU Symphony, both under the direction of Germán Gutiérrez, and with the Corpus Christi Symphony, the Richardson Symphony, and the Sherman Symphony. She performs in recital with her husband, pianist Edward Newman; the duo has presented concerts at the Kennedy Center and the National Gallery, and was featured as the inaugural program of public radio’s Front Row Washington. The Adkins/Newman Duo are in residence at the Wintergreen Summer Festival and Academy. A noted teacher and chamber music coach, Dr. Adkins gives master classes and clinics, and is in demand for her expertise in preparing musicians for professional orchestra auditions.

Elizabeth Adkins

Concertmaster | Violin I

Pablo Donatti has enjoyed being a member of the CCSO since the 1988-89 season. Originally from Argentina, where he started studying the violin at 13 (almost half a century ago!), he joined his first professional orchestra at 18, performing also in several chamber ensembles before moving to Mexico as a member of the State of Mexico Symphony. He continued his studies in the Houston, working as a freelance musician, and since 1993 simultaneously enjoying a second career as a conference interpreter. He has performed numerous violin-piano recitals with pianist Cathy Labuda. He loves chamber music and has attended the 2018 and 2019 Manhattan String Quartets workshops, and for the last six years has worked intensively with his Opus4 quartet and trio, performing over thirty concerts in the Houston area. Being from Argentina, tango music has also been a part of his musical activities. He has worked for the last fifteen years with the Casarsa Tango Ensemble, performing in Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans, and even right here in the PAC of Texas A&M University.

He lives in Houston with his wife Diana, after raising three wonderful children, all fortunately living in the Houston area!

Pablo Donatti

Violin I

Steve McMillan

Assistant ConcertMaster | Violin I

Dr. Jose Flores has an extensive career as violin soloist and a chamber musician. He has performed in New York, Texas, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. Internationally, his career expands to countries such as South Korea, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, and Venezuela. Dr. Flores has been a professor of violin and viola at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi since 2006 and director of orchestral studies since 2012. He is permanent guest faculty at Academia Latino Americana de Violin (Latin-American Violin Academy) and also faculty at Youth Classics Master classes in Europe where he teaches violin, viola, and chamber music (www.youth-classics.com).

As one of the pioneers of the Venezuelan Orchestra system known worldwide as “El Sistema” (The System), the joined the program in 1978. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from the Aaron Copland School of Music in New York. He obtained a Doctorate in Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona in 2006. He is Concertmaster of the Kingsville Symphony, a member of the Corpus Christi Symphony, and principal second violinist with the Victoria Symphony where he has also been acting concertmaster.

Dr. Jose Flores

Violin I

Elizabeth Frederick

Violin I

Priscilla Tsai is a Taiwanese American violinist that grew up in Boston. She started playing violin at age 8. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and continuing her own development as a violinist. She loves the violin because of its potential as a tool to develop and grow each individual’s mind and soul. Teachers that have shaped her heart and playing include Kyung Sun Lee, Mikyung Kim, Laurie Smukler, Soh-hyun Altino and Joy Brown Wiener. She currently lives in Memphis with her husband Jordan Musgrave and their 3 dogs.

Priscilla Tsai

Violin I

Laura Capre

Terri Hammons

Bruce Kanagaki

Steve Merson

Nancy Reyes

Lynn Butler Bradford

Nina Mavrinac, Principal

Violin II

Steve Merson was born into a musical family in Scotland, UK. He spent his formative years being taught by his father before moving to London to study at the renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Professor David Takeno. Steve was awarded his Associate of the Guildhall School of Music (AGSM) and went on to the Advanced Solo Studies course for a further year.

On completion of his studies, Steve joined the BBC and two years later he won a position with the world famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which he held for 23 years. During his career in London, Steve also performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia to name but a few. He has also worked with a number of internationally recognized conductors of the caliber of Andre Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yuri Temirkanov, Lorin Mazel, Sir George Solti, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, James Levine and Michael Tilson Thomas.

Steve has shared the stage with Pinchas Zukerman, Itzak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Maxim Vengarov, Placido Domingo, Lucianno Pavarotti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Joshua Bell, Emmanuel Ax and Jesse Norman. He has been fortunate to have traveled extensively performing at some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Madison Square Garden, Boston Symphony Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall, The Musikverein in Vienna, The Philharmonie in Berlin, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Sydney Opera House, La Scala Milan, Royal Festival and Royal Albert Halls in London as well as for Pope John Paul II at The Vatican and for the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Steve has recorded numerous soundtracks for BBC television and films as well as for the big screen, such as The Red Violin, The Ghost and the Darkness, Mad Max 3, Ellis Island and The Lord of the Rings.

Steve now lives in Austin, Texas with his Chicago born wife Norene and enjoys an active career performing with the symphony orchestras of Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Mid-Texas, San Angelo, Waco, Abilene, Brazos Valley, Temple, Laredo and currently holds the position of principal 2nd violin with the Central Texas Philharmonic. 

Steve Merson

Violin II

Terri Hammons

Violin II

Teresa Nguyen

Jennifer Alger

Carrie Howell

Stephanie Phillips

Melissa Melendez

Jennifer Cahill Clark, Principal

Viola

Melissa Meléndez is currently Adjunct Professor of Viola at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Orchestra Director of Roy Miller High School. Dr. Meléndez keeps an active performance schedule as an orchestral player, chamber musician, and soloist.

She is the assistant principal violist of the Corpus Christi Symphony, and Principal violist of the Victoria Symphony Orchestras. As a chamber musician, Dr. Melendez collaborates with the The Dali String Quartet Festival, The Aruba Symphony Festival, and with the faculty of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

As a soloist, Dr. Melendez has performed with the Corpus Christi Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Kingsville Symphony, Balcones Symphony Orchestra, Corpus Christi Chorale, Sinfónica de Carabobo and Virtuosi de Caracas. An avid supporter of new music for the viola, Meléndez performed the Castellanos-Yumar Concerto for Viola and Orchestra in the American Viola Society Festival 2016, and performed new music for viola and bassoon in the AVS Festival 2018. During the Islander Waves Festival 2018 Meléndez premiered the Concerto in Tango (piano and viola version) by Miguel del Aguila.

Previous to her position as an adjunct music professor, Dr. Melendez was the director of the Suzuki in the Schools Program at the Early Childhood Development Center (a partnership with the Corpus Christi School District and Texas A&M University Corpus Christi), where she had the opportunity to applied the Suzuki Philosophy in the classroom. Her findings, observations and curriculum for grades Pk 4 through 6, was presented and given special attention at the Suzuki Association of the Americas Conferences in 2009 and 2016. As an advocate for music education and community outreach, Dr. Meléndez directs activities such as the Corpus Christi Viola Project, Islander Viola Days; and is Guest artist and chamber music coordinator at the Aruba Symphony Festival (Oranjestad, Aruba). She is also the assistant director of the Corpus Christi Area Youth Orchestra. Melissa Meléndez holds a Bachelor in Music Performance from Louisiana State University, a Master in Music Performance from The Cleveland Institute of Music, an Artist Diploma from Duquesne University, a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Arizona, and a certification on Nonprofit Management from Texas A&M University.

Melissa Melendez

Viola

Stephanie Phillips

Viola

Carrie Howell, viola, was a member of the Eugene Symphony
and the Eugene Opera before moving to Texas. She spent 20+ years in Texas and played with the San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Opera, the Victoria Symphony, Laredo Philharmonic, Mid-Texas Symphony, and Corpus Christi Symphony. She enjoys teaching young string players and taught Orchestra in public schools for many years. She is currently a member of the Corpus Christi Symphony and resides in Sunriver. Sunriver Music Festival since 2018.

Carrie Howell

Viola

Teresa Nguyen has been the orchestra director at Tom C. Clark High School in San Antonio for 24 years. She also serves as Department Coordinator for Fine Arts at Clark HS. Clark orchestras have won numerous local awards and national distinction under her direction. Her orchestras also carry many consecutive superior ratings and Sweepstakes honors for UIL orchestra contests. Mrs. Nguyen frequently serves as a mentor for student teachers who are future music educators, and is involved with community programs such as the Youth Orchestras of San Antonio..

Mrs. Nguyen began violin lessons at the age of 10, and decided to learn viola at age 17, earning a chair in the Texas All-State Orchestra that same year. Mrs. Nguyen was also the founder and teacher for her own string project in Mexico, where she taught violin lessons for several years through the Red Cross. She contributes her success as a musician largely to inspiration from fine public school orchestral programs and teachers.

Mrs. Nguyen has a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin, and has studied viola privately with Roger Myers and Allyson Dawkins. Along with teaching, she also plays viola for the Corpus Christi Symphony and the Laredo Philharmonic. As a symphony violist she has performed with such esteemed musicians as Itzhak Perlman, Sarah Chang, Joshua Bell, Edgar Meyer, and Van Cliburn.

Mrs. Nguyen is frequently invited as a clinician and judge for other orchestra programs in Texas. She is a past President of Mu Omicron, a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Orchestra Directors Association, and the Texas Music Adjudicators Association. She is the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award winner for Northside ISD, and a UIL Sponsor of Excellence Award nominee. When she is not teaching, Mrs. Nguyen enjoys sewing, traveling, and spending time with her husband Tom, daughter Elena, and her cat Lollie Thunderpaws.

Teresa Nguyen

Viola

Susan Sturman grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio where she was carted off by her mother to performances of the Cleveland Orchestra when she was still a preschooler. What great music she was introduced to at such an early age! She started playing the cello in the 5th grade as part of the public school music program. As a teenager she was inspired to study more seriously when she encountered the cellist Regina Mushabac whom she studied with at the Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. At Baldwin Wallace she flourished under Mushabac’s tutelage and she also discovered her love of teaching when she was given the opportunity to teach in the school’s Preparatory Department. After graduating from BW she continued her studies with Alan Harris at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where she received her Master’s Degree.

Upon graduation from Northwestern University, Susan returned to the Cleveland area where she built a large private studio and performed with such groups as the Ohio Chamber Orchestra and the Cleveland Ballet Orchestra. In 1989 Susan became Professor of Cello and Double Bass at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since then she has performed extensively in Texas and beyond as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral player with groups such as the Corpus Christi Chamber Players, the Sisauyhoat/Sturman Duo, the Ehle/Sturman Duo, the Aurora Piano Trio, the Islander String Quartet, the Islander Chamber Players, and the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. She has served as Principal Cellist with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra since 2004.

A committed pedagogue, Susan is interested in the entire spectrum of cello teaching from the very beginning through advanced. Her studio at Del Mar College reflects that interest as it ranges from young Suzuki students to advanced college music majors. Susan is constantly exploring new ways to help her students grow whether it be through taking Suzuki pedagogy courses, continuing her own studies with renowned teachers, exploring alternative styles, or integrating yoga with string playing. In 2016 she completed a 200-hour yoga teacher-training course and is now a Registered Yoga Teacher certified through the Yoga Alliance.

Susan Sturman

Cello | Principal

Dr. Carrie Pierce is the Associate Professor of Cello at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Equally at home in chamber, orchestral, and solo settings, she brings her innate musicianship to every genre with a warm, resonant, all-encompassing sound. With an engaging musical personality, Carrie enjoys connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Dr. Pierce is the principal cellist of the Victoria Symphony in Victoria, Texas, and assistant principal of the Corpus Christi Symphony. She is also a founding member of Drumpetello, an innovative chamber ensemble composed of cello, percussion, and trumpet. Drumpetello has received over $50,000 in grant funds and has commissioned many new works by composers around the country.

As a soloist, her playing has been described as “hauntingly beautiful with excellent technique.” Carrie has performed all over the world, including Austria, Italy, India, South Korea, and Scotland. Dr. Pierce strives to provide outreach and educational concerts whenever possible, including three recent trips to India and Nepal to perform with the Kolkata Classics Series, a concert series that raises money and provides health care for women and children living in intolerable conditions.

As a teacher, Dr. Pierce is adept at teaching levels of cellists. Her students have received numerous accolades and awards, including winning spots in the prestigious NYO2 festival, first chairs in the UIL All-State orchestra (Texas), and first place in the San Antonio Youth Concerto competition, which included a concerto performance with the San Antonio Symphony. She is a Suzuki certified teacher and plans on pursuing her teacher trainer certificate with future plans of opening a Suzuki center at TAMUCC. When she is not teaching or playing she is spending time with her wonderful husband Jeff and newly added member of the family, her puppy Luka.

Dr. Carrie Pierce

Cello

Ying Zhang, a brilliant young Chinese cellist,has shown outstanding musical talent since she was a child. She began studying cello when she was four years old and was later to the Central Conservatory of Music in her 19th year. In May 2011, Ying Zhang graduated from Yale School of music with Master of Music degree as an honours student following with the well-known Professor Aldo Parisot. Following, she obtained her DMA from The University of Texas at Austin under Professor Bion Tsang.

Nowadays, Ying is one of the cellists in Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra and also playing with San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and Austin Symphony Orchestra. She is also an active solo player, held solo concerts with Balcones Orchestra of Austin in the past seasons.

Ying won the 1st prize of NYIAA (New York International Competition) and held solo recital in Carnegie Hall in 2016. She also won the second price of the Grand Virtuoso International Music Competition. And she was the winner of the “Aldo Parisot prize” while studying at Yale, the gold medal at the “6th Cello Concerto Competition” of the Central Conservatory of Music and also received a number of awards in the “4th Central Conservatory of Music Cello Competition” and the “5th National Cello Competition”. Ying has honored to be the recipient of the ‘cello friend’ scholarship from the University of Texas.

Ying Zhang

Cello

 At the same time, she has also been fortunate to enjoy working with world-famous musicians such as YoYo Ma, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wang Jian, Tan Dun, Kirill Shakhovskaya, Natalia, Andress Diaz, Desmond Hebig and Matian Wasiolka. In 2018, Ying was honored to be participant in YMCG which directed by YoYo Ma and the Silk Road Band. In June 2008, she played and published the cello version of the Olympic theme song ‘You and Me’ for 2008 Olympic Games, and the CD album is widely broadcasted. Other than that, Ying has two more albums name ‘Dream Chronicles’ and ‘Ave Maria’ published in 2007 and 2008.

Through her long-term study of the cello and extensive performances in China and abroad, Ying has established a far-reaching reputation in cello performance. Her unique style embodies a richness of sound and depth of passion, combined with a young and yet elegant stage temperament. Her recital repertoire is extensive; from Baroque to Classical and Romantic to Modernist, where her interpretive skills have gained unanimous praise from music experts worldwide. She has been invited to participate in a number of important performances in music festivals in Canada, Germany, Italy and other countries.

Highlights of Ying’s career include a large number of highly acclaimed performances. She has been fortunate to work with Krzysztof Penderecki and played his cello piece ‘Saranade’ and his Orchestra work ‘Requiem’ in Carnegie Hall under Peneresky’s conduct. At the same time, Ying has also played her chamber concert in Carnegie Hall and has recently performed famous American composer Steve Bryant’s cello concerto with UT Wind Symphony in Austin. In 2008, she performed Tan Dun’s 12 cellos concerto with Orchestra under his conducting.

With her talent, she has her performing of Haydn’s “Cello Concerto in C Major” with orchestra at the age of 8. Ying held a number of personal recital concerts all around the world; she performed Elgar’s “Cello Concerto in E Minor” with the Xia Men Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Zheng Xiao Ying. In June 2005 .Ying performed Chinese Composer Ma Sicong’s “Cello Concerto” with Conductor Chu Yibing and the China Youth Symphony Orchestra in the “5th Gold Bell Award” opening ceremony concert in the Xing Hai Concert Hall in Guang Zhou. She has also participated in ‘Morning side Music Bridge’ in Canada in 2003. The performances were memorable and much acclaimed success.

In the “Beijing Modern Music Festival –2004”, Ying performed the Chinese premier of contemporary American composer Philip Lasser’s “Cello Sonata”.

Ying has been working with Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra since 2012, and played in San Antonio Symphony, and she performed frequently as principal cello or soloist with the “Yale Philharmonic Orchestra”, “University of Texas Symphony Orchestra” and “University of Texas Wind Symphony”. Ying worked with many famous soloist, composer and conductors, including Dun Tan, Krzysztof Penderecki, Robert Blocker and Langlang etc. Ying was teaching assistance to teach advanced level players when studying at the Central Conservatory, also has her studio since then. She’s been teaching from intermediate level to advanced level students throughout her career.

Ying is one of the founders of the ‘China Philharmonic Cello Octet Group’ which is famous and widely welcomed in China, and this group has two CD albums published. Recently, she has been working on her new group ‘Long Horn cello quartet’ which has been held since last year. And in March of 2007 she was invited to participate in the “Kronos Workshop” and perform in the Quartet Ensemble in South Korea, as founder of Sonork Quartet. In the same year, she won first prize in the “Central Conservatory of Music Chamber Music Competition” with her string quartet and in May 2007 Sonork Quartet was invited by Siemens Co Ltd in the Royal Granary, Beijing. Ying has been active in Chamber music.

Diego Garza-Romero began playing the double bass at age 12 and he is now starting his sophomore year as a performance major at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he studies with Dr. George Amorim. Despite his young age, Diego has already collected many accolades and awards. He was a four-year member of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, ensemble with which he performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world with performances in Latin America, Asia, and Europe under Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Sir Antonio Pappano. Last summer, Diego was a fellowship recipient to participate in Roundtop Music Festival where he won the double bass mock audition. This summer Diego was selected to participate at the Aspen Music Festival. Diego has performed in masterclasses for many artists including Alex Hanna, Robin Kesselman, Ali Yazdanfar, Jeff Bradetich, Jeffrey Turner, and Andres Martin. His favorite hobbies include lifting weights, reading, and recently collecting sneakers.

Diego Garza-Romero

Cello

A graduate of the University of Rochester, Phyllis Kline studied cello at the Eastman School of Music with Georges Miquelle. She has participated in several Suzuki Institutes, an Irene Sharp Seminar in New York City and studied for several years with Ken Freudigman, principal cellist of the San Antonio Symphony. Phyllis has been a member of the Corpus Christi Symphony since 1995. She has also played in the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Mid-Texas Symphony and, for many years, in the Victoria Symphony. For the last three years, she has been a part of the YOSA-MAS program, giving cello sectionals at area middle and high schools. A private cello teacher in San Antonio for thirty years, she continues to give her students their lessons via Zoom. Phyllis lives in San Antonio with her husband Peter and six kitties.

Phyllis Kline

Cello

Artist. Designer. Cellist. Teacher. Author

It’s hard to put Rex Spencer into just one category. An interior design instructor at The Art Institute of Houston since 2003, Rex has created many opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom, providing the framework to become successful leaders in their field upon graduation. And with a Masters degree in architecture from the University of Houston and and an undergraduate degree in Music from Baylor, Rex understands what it takes to transform an environment from the inside out. Clients appreciate his versatility and admire his ability to create exciting and beautiful spaces, with attention to details in Lighting and Acoustics.

As being an interior designer wasn’t enough, he has traveled all over the world, taking images of interiors. But it was in his own town of Houston that he focused his lens on for his book called “Houston By Design”.  Celebrating a myriad of inspiring interiors by local designers and architects. Rex proved Houston-based designers were on par with those in New York, LA,
London or Paris.

A passionate lover of the arts, Rex turned his camera onto ballet dancers in the exhibition of “How Do You Know the Dancer from the Dance?”  a gallery show that celebrates dancers in Laser Lighting was shown both in Stockholm and Houston.

A native of Corpus Christi, who studied with past Dallas principal cellist Lev Aronson at Baylor University and past principal cellist Shirley Treble of the Houston Symphony at University of Houston, has played in the Corpus Christi Symphony for 50 years and also plays in Laredo Phil, and Lake Charles Philharmonic.

Rex Spencer

Cello

George Amorim’s career is marked by versatility and creativity as a performer and educator with teaching and performances engagements that regularly take him to Europe and across Central, South and North Americas and the Caribbean. George performed for several years with the Paraná Symphony and Recife Symphony orchestras in Brazil as well as with the Santo Domingo Music Festival Orchestra under Phillip Entremont. He has been performing with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra since 2007 and he is also co-principal of the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio.

An educator in demand, Dr. Amorim’s articles on double bass pedagogy have been published by Bass World and Strings magazines. He has been a featured clinician, adjudicator and recitalist at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio, the Texas Double Bass Symposium, the International Society of Bassists Convention, the European Double Bass Congress and at the annual Chicago Bass Festival. ​

Dr. Amorim is Associate Professor of Double Bass at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where he heads a thriving double bass studio which is comprised of some of the most gifted young bass players from South Texas and a handful of equally talented international students. He also founded and directs the ¡Viva el Bajo!, an organization that promotes double bass playing in South Texas and helps inspire and guide young musicians in their studies of the double bass.

George performs on an unlabeled mid-1700’s bass and a 1860 French bass and several modern and historical bows, including a modern German bow by Marco Pasquino, a baroque bow by Antonio Airenti and a couple of transitional bows made by Ed Shillitoe.

George Amorim

Bass

Robert T. Burwell

Bass

String Bassist, Corpus Christi Symphony, 1994 – present

Resides in San Antonio, Tx.

Retired Public School Orchestra Director

Dr. Diana Sipes is a Professor of Music at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where she has taught since 2002. She served as Chair of the Department of Music for five years prior to her present role as Associate Dean for the School of Arts, Media & Communication in the College of Liberal Arts. Besides applied flute and flute ensemble, her teaching areas have included music theory, music history, and flute techniques courses. She has been principal flute with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra since 1994 and with the Victoria (TX) Symphony Orchestra since 1997. She previously performed with orchestras in South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, and Louisiana.

She earned a Bachelor of Music Education with a Performance Certificate and a Master of Music Education from the University of South Carolina and a Doctor of Musical Arts in flute performance with a theory minor from Louisiana State University. As a university student, her performance honors included placing as National Level First Runner-Up in the Woodwinds Division of the Music Teachers National Association Collegiate Competition. More recently, she won alto flute positions five times in the annual National Flute Association (NFA) Professional Flute Choir competitions, and she was selected to perform in recitals at the 2011 and 2020 NFA conventions. As a soloist, she has performed with the Corpus Christi Symphony, Corpus Christi Chamber Orchestra, Corpus Christi Area Youth Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, and with numerous university ensembles. Besides orchestral performance, Dr. Sipes remains active as a recitalist, chamber musician, clinician, and adjudicator. Under her direction, university flute students have won positions in the NFA Collegiate Flute Choir several times. She also currently serves as President-Elect of the Texas Association of Music Schools.

Dr. Diana Sipes

Flute | Principal

Dr. Jasmine Kienne

Flute

Dr. Jasmine Kienne is a professional flute teacher and performer. She currently plays with the Corpus Christi and Victoria Symphony orchestras as well as teach private flute lessons in the Austin area. 

Flutist Izumi Miyahara is a freelance artist and educator based in Houston, Texas. She is a frequent guest musician with the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, and Houston Ballet orchestras, and holds positions with the Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont, TX, and the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. Additional engagements include the San Antonio, Sarasota (FL), Louisiana, New World (Miami), and Breckenridge (CO) Music Festival Orchestras. She has performed with renowned conductors such as Sir Neville Marriner, Michael Tilson Thomas, Hans Graf, and Paavo Jarvi, among others.

A recipient of the 2018 “Let Creativity Happen!” Express Grant from the City of Houston and Houston Arts Alliance, Izumi maintains a private flute studio and is on the faculty of Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and Lone Star College-Cy-Fair. She is a native of New York City, a graduate of the Juilliard School Pre-College Program, and holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and a Master of Music from Rice University.

Izumi Miyahara

Flute

Jennifer Bernard

Serena Finnigan

Stanley Chyi, Principal

Oboe

Serena Finnigan

Oboe

Known for her sensitive and nuanced phrasing, Franco-American oboist Jennifer Bernard has a vibrant and diverse musical life that has allowed her to perform internationally in North America, Europe, and Africa. She has been heard on National Public Radio’s Classical Guitar Alive and American Public Media’s Performance Today, as well as on PBS and at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. Jennifer performs frequently with the Austin Symphony and the Austin Opera Orchestra; and she currently serves as principal oboist for the Victoria Symphony and English hornist for the El Paso Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, and Central Texas Philharmonic. She has also performed with Andrea Bocelli, GRAMMY® award-winning Conspirare, Nashville Symphony, Nashville Opera, Berkeley Symphony, Air Force Band of the West, Mid-Texas Symphony, Laredo Philharmonic, Nairobi Orchestra, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de la UANL in Monterrey, Mexico. After seven years as instructor of music at Texas Lutheran University, Jennifer worked with the Small Victories Foundation, an organization providing artistic experiences for individuals recovering from brain injuries. In 2013, she presented a chamber performance for the GLOMUS conference in Tanzania, which lead to multiple invitations to teach and perform in East Africa. She has presented chamber recitals and taught music courses as Guest Lecturer at Tumaini University Makumira in Arusha, Tanzania, given masterclasses for the Safaricom Youth Orchestra in Nairobi, Kenya, and performed with the Nairobi Orchestra. In addition to teaching her Austin studio this year, she is teaching remotely for The University of Texas at El Paso for the Fall 2020 semester. Beyond classical music, Jennifer is interested in improvisation and has performed at international improvisation conferences with the ensemble Color of Sound. She loves combining musical improvisation with theatre improv, and has performed with the Austin-based improv comedy troupe Confidence Men (two-time winner of B. Iden Payne Award).

Jennifer Bernard

Oboe

James Warth

Alan Olson

Ivan Petruzziello, Principal

Clarinet

Michael Frederick is the recent winner of the audition for the position of Principal Bassoonist of the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra. He has been the Second Bassoonist with the orchestra since 2008.

Mr. Frederick is a native Houstonian and has performed with the Houston Symphony Orchestra (with whom he toured Europe during the 1992-1993 season), the Houston Ballet Orchestra since 1982 and the Houston Grand Opera Orchestras. He has also performed with Theater Under the Stars, Houston Masterworks Society and the Kingwood Chorale.

Michael fell in love with classical music when he began performing with the Houston Civic Symphony at 13 years of age; after High School he earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Houston where he studied bassoon performance with Paul Tucci.

Mr. Frederick has worked for many companies in the Houston area as a software developer and is the father of four wonderful daughters and one granddaughter.

Michael Frederick

Bassoon | Principal

Joel Bright

Wanda Avila

Karl Kemm

Anthony Martin

Roger Simmons, Principal

Horn

Karl Kemm earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico. He studied music history and performance practice at the University of New Hampshire for a master’s degree under the guidance of Keith Polk and the renowned music iconography specialist Mary Rasmussen. In 1989 he joined the Air Force Band at Travis AFB and also began freelancing in the San Francisco Bay Area while studying under Dave Krehbiel. After 1994 he remained associated with the Air Force through the Texas Air National Guard Band from which he retired in 2011. While studying with Bill Scharnberg as a University of North Texas teaching fellow starting in 1995, he would serve as adjunct faculty at Texas Woman’s University from 1998 to 2001 and as principal horn with the Abilene Philharmonic up until 2007.

Currently he freelances and clinics as an orchestral and early music natural horn player throughout Texas and the neighboring states. He currently performs with the Corpus Christi Symphony, the Corpus Christi Brass Quintet, the Del Mar Trio, and occasionally with the Austin Baroque Orchestra, La Folia, and Sonido Barroco. At Del Mar College since 2001, he teaches horn and Introduction to the Humanities. In 2017 he took charge of Hornswoggle, a horn workshop in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, where horn players of all ages and playing levels congregate for masterclasses and a communal horn ensemble experiences. He also continues presenting The Story of the Horn which was recently re-formatted by Del Mar College’s Radio and Television Program for broadcast on KEDT the local public television station.

Karl Kemm

Horn

Originally from Cuero, Texas, Ron got an early start in music by singing in church and community children’s choirs. In the fifth grade, he was introduced to the trumpet by his father, a former musician. From that point forward, he was involved in the public school band program. Upon deciding to pursue a music career, he began his collegiate studies at Victoria College, where he studied trumpet with James McCrury. During both years at Victoria College, he was selected as a member of the Texas Junior College All-State Honor Band. He continued his education at Southwest Texas State University, where he studied trumpet with Dr. Keith Winking and Jack Laumer. While a student at Southwest Texas State University, he held positions as principal trumpet in the university’s orchestra and wind ensemble. In 1995, he was a featured soloist during the orchestra’s European tour. In the same year, he was the winner of the Southwest Texas Orchestra Concerto Competition. Ron was recognized as the Outstanding Collegiate-level lead trumpet at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in 1996. He graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Music degree.

Ron holds positions as principal trumpet in the Victoria (TX) Symphony Orchestra, Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, Corpus Christi Ballet Orchestra, and Mozart Festival Texas, and third trumpet in Central Texas Philharmonic. He has been a member of the Hill Country Brass Quintet since 1993. Other groups he has performed with include the San Antonio Symphony, Dallas Wind Symphony, San Antonio Brass, Victoria Bach Festival Orchestra, Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, and Laredo Philharmonic. Ron works as a freelance musician and music educator in central and south Texas. He lives in Inez with his wife Christine and son Trevor.

Ron S. Ledbetter

Trumpet | Principal

Mary Thornton has played the trumpet for a long time now. It seems that the precise number of years is of great interest to the thousands of children in outreach concert audiences around the world! It’s tough to do the math, but let’s just say it started with seeing Star Wars in 1978 followed by the instrument petting zoo in fifth grade soon after that. Turns out Mary’s grandmother played trumpet in the Mineral Point, WI, High School Band in the 1920’s and had an old trumpet buried in a closet. The horn had seen better days and was unplayable, but Grandma Betty could still show how to make an embouchure and it’s the basic setup Mary has used ever since.

After a lot of trial and error, school concerts, and quality time being sent to the basement to practice, Mary decided to pursue the trumpet as a career. It was the best decision she ever made. Deciding to be a musician as a profession entails giving in to your passion, not thinking about “safety”, and being open and accepting of the curveballs life can throw at you. It also means sacrifice and a joyful willingness to give of yourself as a human being. There is a life essence in the live performance of great music that cannot be replicated in any other way. You are a part, as a listener and as a performer, of something so much greater than an individual self. It is magical. And it is a magic that we can all understand.

Residing in Corpus Christi since 2001, Mary is Professor of Trumpet at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, and enjoys life on the Gulf Coast (despite hurricane season) and is a member of numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles including the Corpus Christi, Mid Texas, and Victoria Symphonies, and the innovative trio, Drumpetello. Her 72-pound standard poodle, Murphy, can attest to the fact that there are no basements in Corpus Christi used as practice space.

After a lot of training, more concerts, rehearsals, teaching, travel, disappointment, persistence, and practice, Mary still loves what she does and she hopes you will too. Enjoy the concert.

www.marythorntontrumpet.com

Mary Thornton

Trumpet

Kyle Millsap (D.M.A. – University of Memphis, M.M. – University of North Texas, B.M. Wichita State University) is an international award-winning artist and Associate Professor of Trumpet & Jazz at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

His playing has been hailed as having “superb style, [a] gorgeous sound, and masterful intonation.” (ITG) In 2018, he released his debut album Scatter the Darkness, which features several of these commissions and received a silver medal in the Global Music Awards. He has performed with a diverse array of artists and ensembles across the musical spectrum. Since 2019, he has been a member of the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra (TX). Other orchestral credits include the Monterrey Symphony Orchestra (MX), Memphis Symphony Orchestra (TN), Wichita Symphony Orchestra (KS), Corinth Symphony Orchestra (MS), and Victoria Symphony Orchestra (TX). In the jazz and commercial music realms he has performed with artists including Doc Severinsen, The Temptations, Mannheim Steamroller, Il Divo, Johnny Mathis, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Al Kapone, multiple events for Elvis Presley Enterprises, and at halftime for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.

In addition to masterclasses and recitals throughout the United States and Europe, he has performed and/or given presentations at international, national, and state-level music conferences. His students have been accepted into the nation’s top graduate programs and gone on to successful careers as performers and music educators, teaching at all levels of primary, secondary, and university music programs.

He is a Yamaha Performing Artist and Torpedo Bags Artist.


Kyle Millsap

Trumpet

Paul Hageman is in his 21st year as principal trombone with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra and the Corpus Christi Ballet Orchestra. He is in his 38th year at Texas A&M-Kingsville where he is Director of the School of Music and Regents Professor of Jazz Studies. He is director of the jazz program and directs Jazz Band I. Dr. Hageman earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Louisiana Tech University and the Master of Music and Doctor of Arts degrees in Trombone Performance from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Hageman has taught trombone, low brass and jazz at TAMUK since 1983, and was Director of Bands from 1989 to 1997.

Dr. Hageman has served TMEA Region XIV as Jazz Chairman and has been a jazz clinician for TMEA Regions XIV, XV and XXVIII. In 1999, he was selected to direct the Texas All-State Community College Jazz Ensemble at the TMEA Convention. Dr. Hageman has been an adjudicator for marching band, concert band, and jazz band contests and festivals throughout Texas. He has written musical arrangements for high school, college, and professional ensembles in the areas of marching band, concert band, and jazz ensemble music.

Ensembles directed by Dr. Hageman have performed in a wide variety of venues. The “Pride of South Texas” Marching Band has performed at UIL Region XIV and XV Marching Contests and the UIL Area G Marching Contest. In 1996, the marching band performed before an international audience on NBC television at the NBA All-Star Game at the Alamodome. Under Hageman’s direction, the Symphonic Band performed at the TMEA Convention in San Antonio in 1993. Jazz Band I has also performed at the TMEA Convention in 1995, 2003, 2009, 2013, and 2020. The band has also performed at numerous jazz festivals and competitions across the nation. In both 1997 and 1999, Jazz Band I was selected as one of eight college jazz bands invited to compete in the National Jazz Band Competition at the Mobile Jazz Festival. Jazz Band I has been recognized for excellence in the DownBeat Magazine Annual Student Music Awards. In 2004, Jazz Band I was selected as the Winner in the College Big Band category. In 2010, Jazz Band I received an Outstanding Performance Award in the Undergraduate College Big Band category, and in 2020, Jazz Band I received an Outstanding Performance Award in the Graduate College Large Ensemble category.

Paul Hageman

Trombone | Principal

Dr. Oscar Diaz, Jr. is the Professor of Trombone at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He holds dual Bachelors Degrees in Trombone Performance and Music Education from Texas A&M University at Kingsville, a Masters Degree in Trombone Performance from The University of Northern Colorado and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Trombone Performance at the University of Texas at Austin. His principal teachers include Dr. Nathaniel Brickens, Dr. Nathaniel Wickham, Dr. Paul Hageman, Ed Avila, Wanda Avila, Ron Welborn, and Paul Larson

Dr. Diaz has performed with the Fort Collins, Longmont, and Cheyenne Symphonies of Colorado, and Wyoming. He was a freelance trombonist in the northern Colorado area performing with numerous jazz bands and brass quintets. He has recorded with The Dave Camwell Group, the University of Northern Colorado Lab Band I, JazzBonez and The University of Texas Trombone Choir (winners of the Emory Remington Competition in 2007). Dr. Diaz is an active soloist and clinician. He has been a featured guest artist at the International Trombone Festival, and the American Trombone Workshop. He has given many solo recitals, concerto performances, master classes and lectures around the United States.

Dr. Diaz has shared the stage with trombone greats such as Bill Reichenbach, Conrad Herwig, Slide Hampton, and The Trombones de Costa Rica to name a few. He has performed in numerous master classes with artists such as Henry Charles Smith, Ralph Sauer, the Canadian Brass, and The Trombones de Costa Rica.

Dr. Diaz is currently Principal Trombonist in the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra, Second Trombonist in the Victoria Symphony, Bass Trombonist in the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra and freelances in the South Texas area. He is a member of the Jazz Trombone Ensemble “Jazzbonez”, winners of the 2007 Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Competition and the 2007 National Jazz Trombone Ensemble/Capitol Bones Competition. Also as a founding member of the Minor Fourth Trombone Quartet, he tours every year around the state and nation. Most recently the M4TQ performed with the United States’ “Pershing’s Own” Army band at the American Trombone Festival in Washington D.C.

The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Trombone Choir under Dr. Diaz’s baton has been awarded an honorable mention award from the International Trombone Festival’s Emory Remington Trombone Choir competition. Due to the continued excellence of the studio, the choir was invited to perform at the International Trombone Festival in Valencia, Spain in 2015. Over the years, the studio has performed at the Eastern Trombone Workshop now American Trombone Workshop in 2010 and in 2014, the Texas State Symposium in 2013, various high schools, and numerous high profile university functions personally invited by the president of our university. Over the years, members of the TAMUK Trombone studio have been placed in national and international solo competitions as well as being accepted to many outstanding institutions throughout the nation post-graduation.

Oscar Diaz is an artist/clinician for Michael Rath Instruments.


Dr. Oscar Diaz

Trombone

Dan Sipes is the Professor of Low Brass at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and Tubist with the Corpus Christi Symphony. He is an accomplished musician in many areas. As a soloist, he has performed in numerous states including New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Texas, California, and Illinois. Recent engagements include solo recitals in North and South Carolina. Dr. Sipes was soloist with the Corpus Christi Symphony on their December 2015 holiday concert He has performed with chamber ensembles at the Spoleto Festival, the Lucerne Music Festival, and on National Public Radio. As an orchestral musician, he has played with the San Antonio Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Charlotte Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, and the National Opera Company Orchestra, among others. Dr. Sipes is the tubist and personnel manager for the Corpus Christi Ballet Orchestra.

Dan has previously taught at the University of Texas-San Antonio, Trinity University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Western Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and Lenoir-Rhyne College. He has presented numerous clinics around the country at various conferences and music schools. Dr. Sipes received his Master of Music Performance degree from Appalachian State University and his Bachelor of Music Performance degree from Arizona State University. His primary teachers were Arnold Jacobs, Roger Bobo and John Sizemore. He received his Doctor of Education in Education Leadership with an emphasis on Educational Technology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Dan is a Buffet Group/Meinl Weston Performing Artist, performing on the 5450 THOR CC tuba, the Meinl 2250 F tuba and Meinl 45SLP F tuba.


Dr. Dan T. Sipes

Tuba | Principal

John Godoy received a Bachelor’s Degree from the Boston Conservatory of Music and a Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School. His principal teachers were Dean Witten (San Antonio Symphony), Arthur Press (Boston Symphony Orchestra), and Roland Kohloff (New York Philharmonic). He has been a fellowship student at the Waterloo Festival, Aspen Music School, and Solo Percussionist for the Round Top Chamber Festival.

He has performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New Haven Symphony, Connecticut Grand Opera, San Antonio Symphony, and was Solo Percussionist for the Lincoln Center Institute.

As Principal Timpanist for the Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra he has recorded Lalo Schifrin’s world premiere of Cantos Aztecas with Placido Domingo; music of Liadov; Rachmaninoff; and Carmine Coppola’s soundtrack for the movie Blood Red. He has also recorded music of Jorge Cordoba (Musica Contemporanea IV) and two recordings with Air
Force Band of the West.

Among several of his vibraphone transcriptions, two are published; Chopin’s Prelude in E Minor (Southern Music Company) and Debussy’s Footprints in the Snow.

He was appointed Principal Timpanist for the Corpus Christi Symphony in 2007.

He is Founder and Artistic Director of the chamber group, Lux Musicae.

www.luxmusicae.org

John Godoy

Timpani | Principal

James Young

Richard Rodriguez

Victor Lara

Randy Fluman, Principal

Percussion

Randy Fluman is Associate Professor of Percussion at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and has been a member of the music faculty since 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Music in Performance degree from Texas Tech University. He supervises the PRIDE of South Texas drumline, conducts the percussion ensemble, and teaches applied percussion lessons. Mr. Fluman is principal percussionist with the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra, timpanist for the Corpus Christi Ballet Orchestra, and percussionist with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra. 

Randy Fluman

Percussion | Principal

Naomi Hoffmeyer is the Principal Harpist of both the California and Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestras. She has performed as a guest musician with ensembles including the Houston Symphony and Ballet, as well as the San Francisco Symphony and Ballet. As an educator, Naomi maintains a private studio and is a co-director of the Houston Youth Harp Ensemble.

Naomi received her Master of Music and Artist Diploma Degrees with Paula Page at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. She also trained under Douglas Rioth and Ann Hobson Pilot at the San Francisco and New England Conservatories. In addition to her conservatory studies, she credits much of her musical and personal development to her time spent at the Interlochen Arts Academy.

While maintaining an active musical schedule, Naomi is an enthusiast of the culinary arts and holds a degree in Pâtisserie and Baking from the California Culinary Academy. She grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, and spends her spare time hiking, knitting, and swing dancing.

Naomi Hoffmeyer

Harp | Principal

Described as “possesses the utmost in technique, mature musicianship, and intellect” by the New York Concert Review and “simply incredible” by Corpus Christi’s Caller-Times, pianist David Sutanto gained his international recognition when he won the 1997 Artists International Audition in New York, which resulted in his critically acclaimed New York recital debut at the Carnegie Recital Hall in 1998. Other awards include winner of the 1996 Chopin Foundation Piano Competition in NY, recipient of the Arthur B. Whitney Award in Boston, top prize winner of the National Yamaha Piano Competition in Indonesia, among others.

Dr. Sutanto is an active performer as piano soloist and chamber musician including performing a duo-piano with his wife, Dr. Shao-Shan Chen. He has performed and taught master classes throughout the United States, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Dominican Republic. His performance was also broadcast at WAIF-FM in Cincinnati (Asian American Hour), KEDT-FM and KIII-TV stations in Corpus Christi. As piano collaborator, Dr. Sutanto has worked with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Sarah Chang, Julius Baker, Anthony Gigliotti, and Erick Friedman. In addition to performing and teaching, he has served as an adjudicator at the Gloriamus Piano Competition in Indonesia, South Texas Music Competition, 5th Singapore Performers’ Festival & Chamber Music Competition, and US New Star Piano Competition, among others. He has received his education from The Boston Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, and University of Cincinnati. Dr. Sutanto currently serves as Professor of Piano at Del Mar College.

David Sutanto

Piano | Principal

A recipient of the 2012 “For the Love of Art” Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2012 “Man of the Year” award by New York based Madison’s Who is Who, and the 2014 Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity’s National Arts Associate award, Maestro Hector Guzman is Music Director of the Plano Symphony Orchestra, the Irving Symphony and the San Angelo Symphony in the United States. In 2004, he was declared winner of the “Seven Conductors-One Baton” International Conducting competition and appointed Music Director of the Jalisco Philharmonic in Mexico. Since 2010 and for the first time in its history, the Jalisco Philharmonic named him “Conductor Emeritus”.

As a guest conductor, Maestro Guzman has appeared with all of Mexico’s most prestigious orchestras: National Symphony, State of Mexico symphony, UNAM Philharmonic, Xalapa symphony, Bellas Artes chamber orchestra, Mexico City Philharmonic, Vivaldi orchestra of Mexico City and many others, as well as the San Antonio, Dallas, Wheeling and Phoenix symphonies and the Chicago Sinfonietta in the United States, the National Symphony of the Dominican Republic, the Collegium Orchestra of Prague in the Czech Republic, the Rszezow Philharmonic in Poland, the Japan Philharmonic, the Masan Philharmonic and the Gangsam Symphony in South Korea, Italy’s Amadeus orchestra, Sinfonia Venetto, Milano Classica orchestra, Bari Symphony, San Remo Symphony, Pomeriggi Musicali orchestra of Milan and the Sinfonica de Murcia, Joven Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid and the Excelentia Orchestra in Spain. 

Music Director

Meet your maestro

Hector Guzman

Music Director

He made his operatic debut in 2005 with Rossini’s Barber of Seville and his performance of the opera “Frida” in 2007, was considered the “best opera of the year” by the Mexican press. He has also appeared as soloist and recitalist in venues such as the Meyerson Symphony Hall in Dallas, the Spivey Hall Distinguished Artist Series in Atlanta, Olivet Nazarene University recital series, the cathedrals of Morelia, Guadalajara, Chartres, and the 2015 International Music Festival in Toledo, Spain.

In his native Mexico, Hector Guzman achieved an impressive reputation as an organist studying with Victor Urban, by taking first prize in the “Chamber Soloists “competition and the “Manuel Ponce” national organ competition. In the United States, while a student of world famous master teachers Alfred Mouledous and Robert Anderson, he earned further distinction by winning solo competitions at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas. In 1978, he gained world acclaim when he became the first Latin-American ever chosen as a finalist in France’s “Grand Prix de Chartres”- the world’s most prestigious international organ competition.

Mr. Guzman holds degrees from the Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University and has studied with many illustrious conductors including his mentor Anshel Brusilow, and well as Helmuth Rilling and Carlo Maria Giulini at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. For several years, he was a protégé of the late Maestro Eduardo Mata, Conductor Emeritus of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

In demand internationally as a conductor and recitalist, Maestro Guzman was accorded the “Outstanding National Young Artist” award from the government of Mexico, the “Golden Lyre” award, given by the Mexican Union of Musicians, the “Meadows” award from SMU, the DeVry Institute’s “Director Par Excellence” award and in 2000, he was included in the “Outstanding Musicians of the XX Century” magazine, published by the International Biographical Centre in Cambridge, England.

In 2004 he received the “Silver Good Citizenship Medal” from the Sons of the American Revolution for his outstanding contributions to the arts. The 2005 “Artistic Merit Medal” was awarded to Maestro Guzman by the Government of the State of Mexico for his contributions to music world-wide and was also the recipient of the 2006 “Artistic Silver Medal” awarded by the government of his native state, Zacatecas, Mexico. In 2008, he was the recipient of the Mozart Medal, the highest musical honor in Mexico, awarded by the Embassy of Austria and the Mozart Academy in Mexico City.

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