Wanchi Huang, born in Taiwan, started playing violin at age six and came to the U.S. at age 13 to study at the Peabody Conservatory and the Baltimore School for the Arts, soloing with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under conductor Catherine Comet a year later. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, a Master of Music from The Julliard School, and a Doctor of Music from Indiana University. She has given highly acclaimed recitals, solo apearances with Orchestras, and collaborated with internationally renowned performing artists in chamber music performances throughout the United States, including at the Kennedy Center. She has served as an adjudicator at the Hong Kong Music School Festival multiple times and once at the International Violin Competition in Checng-Du, China. In the summers since 2008, she serves as a performing instructor/artist at the Bay View Music Festival in Michigan. She has presented at the ASTA National Conference on multiple occasions and her CD of Eugène Ysaÿe Sonatas for Solo Violin is being released in the fall of 2012 under the Centaur Records label. Her CD of Six Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin by J.S. Bach will be released in early 2015, by the same record company . A founding member of the Trio Sorpresa, a piano trio newly formed in 2013, Wanchi is looking forward to their scheduled concert tours in the near future.
She currently resides in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she teaches a full violin studio at the James Madison University School of Music.
An avid performing artist and prizewinner, China-born Violinist Fangye Sun has concertized throughout Asia and North America, appearing as a soloist with numerous orchestras, and performed in prestigious concert venues, such as Suntory Hall, Victory Symphony Hall, Benaroya Hall, and Hong Kong Cultural Center. The renowned musicians with whom she has collaborated include Ralph Votapek, Carl Topilow, Stephan Picard, Yuri Gandelsman, Suren Bargatuni, Anthony Elliott, and musicians from the Vienna Philaharmonic as well as Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. An alumna of the Asian Youth Orchestra, Pacific Music Festival and National Repertory Orchestra, Sun was featured in Pine Mountain Music Festival, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Leelanau Music Festival, and has served as Concertmaster for several Michigan symphony orchestras in addition to performing with the Grand Rapids Symphony.
Sun is Assistant Professor of Violin at Central Michigan University. Prior to moving to the United States, she held a professorship at Xi'an Conservatory of Music where she was the recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award. During the summers, she teaches at Bay View Music Festival and holds residencies at Universities and Conservatories in China. A dedicated pedagogue, she recently presented at the International ClarinetFest and the College of Music Society National Conference. Her students have been named prize winners at international music competitions, made solo appearances with orchestras, performed in Carnegie Hall, and won full scholarships to attend prestigious music festivals. Alumni of her studio can be found in major orchestras in China as well as in collegiate music programs in the U.S., Germany, and Singapore. Her interest in multicultural musical elements in new music has led to her CD recording project featuring both traditional and newly commissioned works by Chinese composers to be released in 2018.
Her early violin training started at an early age with her father. After winning the gold medal at the "Gao Hua" Chinese Youth Violin Competition at the age of eleven, she has won the Best Performance Prize at the 7th Chinese National Youth Violin Competition, the Bronze Medal at the 3rd Chinese National "Golden Bell Award" Violin Competition, and Second Prize at the Marquette Symphony Young Artist Competition. Additionally, she was named winner of the Michigan State University Honors Concert Concerto Competition.
Sun holds a D.M.A. and M.M. in Violin Performance from Michigan State University and a B.M. from Xi'an Conservatory of Music. Her mentors include well-known violin pedagogues Walter Verdehr and Yaoji Lin. During her studies, she had further opportunities to work with the Julliard String Quartet, David Kim, Paul Roczek, and Alice Schoenfeld. Her live performances and media appearances have been broadcast on Blue Lake Public Radio, Colorado Public Radio, WCMU, WKAR, WDIY, WLNS, and Hanzhong TV Station.
Hailed for his "particularly outstanding" playing (Chattanooga Times Free Press), Josh Holritz is a violinist and violist who has performed as a soloist, orchestral, and chamber musician in Europe, Asia, Africa, and in more than 20 states around the continental United States.
Josh is currently the Associate Concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera. He has been a member of the Glens Falls Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, and served as concertmaster for the Buffalo Community Orchestra (MN). Josh has performed with the Vienna Radio Orchestra and New World Symphony and currently substitutes with the Charleston and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician, Josh was a founding member of the Emmaus Quartet which gave over 100 performances in the Southeast between 2004-2006. Josh currently maintains a busy performance schedule with Schaafritz, a duo with his wife, CSO principal flutist Kristen Holritz. Additionally, Josh performs weekly with the CSO String Quintet in their effort to bring classical music to local schools and the great Chattanooga community. Josh is currently collaborating with Lee University professor Dr. ChoEun Lee to perform the entire Beethoven Violin Sonata Cycle over four semesters between 2017-2019.
Josh is an advocate for newly composed music and improvisation. His doctoral dissertation, entitled "A Player's Guide: Lera Auerbach's 24 Preludes for Violin and Piano, Op. 46", includes a complete recording of Auerbach's Op. 46 preludes. Josh's free improvisation work can be heard on Spotify under the album title Blow-Fi. In 2017 Josh performed two world premieres of chamber works by Chattanooga composers Douglas Hedwig (Movable Borders) and Jonathan McNair (All a-Cryin').
Josh is also an active studio musician in Nashville and has played on multiple soundtracks for many of today's popular films, television shows, and video games. Recent titles include: The Shack, Rebel in the Rye, Animal Crackers, Tokyo Ghost, Outlander, and Destiny 2.
Josh currently serves as Adjunct Instructor of Violin for The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Adjunct Professor at Covenant College where he teaches violin, viola, and chamber music.
Josh holds a B.M. from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, a M.M. from the University of Minnesota, and a D.M.A. from the University of Georgia.
Libor Ondras is a viola recitalist, conductor and educator. Dr. Ondras began his studies as a recipient of the Slovak Ministry of Culture fellowship to study viola at the prestigious Moscow Conservatory with Yuri Bashmet. To further his career and experience, Ondras continued his studies at the Academy of Music Arts in Prague, and completed his M.M and D.M.A. degrees at the University of Houston. Among the highlights of his graduate studies years are fellowships at the Pacific Music Festival established by Leonard Bernstein (Japan), the Aspen Music Festival, the National Orchestral Institute (University of Maryland), Encore (Cleveland Institute of Music), and Sir George Solti's Carnegie Hall Project.
Dr. Ondras has performed with major orchestras throughout the US and Europe including Florida Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Vienna Philharmonics... He has given lectures and played recitals for the American Viola Society and International Viola D'Amore Society. His research and scholarly writings were published in the Journal of American Viola Society. Ondras' conducting engagements include Music Director of the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra of Grand Rapids and Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra of Petoskey and a guest conductor for the Slovak State Opera.
Prior to coming to MI, Dr. Ondras served as a Director of Orchestras at the University of Tampa, FL, where he also founded and lead Quartet-de-Minaret. Among their frequent chamber music appearances and residencies are such festivals as Haydn International Festspiele (Austria) and Sarasota International Chamber Music Festival. Dr. Ondras currently serves as a Director of Orchestras and String Specialist at Grand Rapids Community College.
Laurielle Warren began her serious musical studies with Sheridan Kamberger Currie and earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she studied under Masao Kawasaki, Dr. Catharine Carroll, and Dr. Dominic DeStefano. She continued her studies with Dr. Misha Galaganov while earning her Master of Music degree at Texas Christian University (TCU), where she served as the Graduate Assistant for the program. Laurielle is an active pedagogue and performer, teaching on the faculty of the TCU Music Preparatory Division and at the Fort Worth Suzuki School, and currently performing with The Jackson Symphony (TN). Laurielle has performed in several orchestras in five states.
Laurielle enjoys performing as a chamber musician and has performed in chamber music groups in the United States and in Italy. Currently, she performs with The Jackson Symphony String Quartet and with her husband, a clarinetist, in the Warren Trio. Laurielle coaches in the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra chamber program, which prepares students to perform string quartet repertoire in the United States and abroad. In the summer, Laurielle serves as a Faculty Artist at the Bay View Music Festival in Bay View, Michigan, teaching and performing in the Bay View Faculty String Quartet.
Laurielle is also the director and co-founder of a teaching business in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex called DFW Strings & Piano. (https://citystrings.com/dfw/)
Daniel Tressel, composer and cellist, divides his time among composing, performing, and teaching. After receiving a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in cello performance from University of Nevada and University of Illinois, respectively, Daniel went on to receive his Doctor of Musical Arts in music composition from Michigan State University where he studied under Dr. Ricardo Lorenz. As a composer, Daniel has written numerous works for orchestra and various chamber ensembles. He has received commissions from the Verdehr Trio, Livingston Symphony, Jackson Symphony, Jackson Youth Symphony, and Mason Symphony Orchestra. In 2011, he was named the winner of the Merle J. Isaac Composition Contest for his orchestral work Sunday Stroll.
As a cellist, Daniel won third prize at the Reno Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition and has made solo appearances with the Livingston Symphony, University of Nevada Symphony and Glenbrook Symphony Orchestra. As a founding member of Duo Piacevole and the Armonia String Quartet, he is an active chamber musician. Daniel currently teaches cello at Albion College and the Jackson Symphony Orchestra Community Music School.
Stefan Koch received his musical training at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he studied with Hirofumi Kanno and Orlando Cole. He formerly held positions as a national buyer of both books and CDs for Borders Books and Music, and he also has a Master's Degree in Philosophy from the University of Michigan. Returning to full-time performing in 2001, Mr. Koch is a member of the Lansing Symphony and is a frequent performer with the Kalamazoo Symphony, West Michigan Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Michigan Opera Theatre and Grand Rapids Symphony. In 2004, 2006 and 2007 he toured the US and Canada with the Carl Rosa Opera Company (London, UK) and since 2007 has been spending his summers at the Utah Festival Opera in Logan, Utah.
In 2012 Mr. Koch undertook a series of recitals which were the first US performances of the Cello and Piano Music of the exiled Jewish Viennese composer Richard Stohr. A CD of this music, with pianist Robert Conway, came out in August 2014 on the Toccata Classics label (London, UK). A new CD containing Stohr's Piano Trio Op. 16 and Three Songs for Voice, Cello and Piano Op. 21 will be released by the same label in January 2018. Outside of the classical realm, he has also performed with Sarah Brightman, Anne Murray, Barbara Cook, Dionne Warwick & Burt Bacharach, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Garrison Keillor, Dave Brubeck, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Mannheim Steamroller, Bernadette Peters, Amy Grant, the Von Trapp Family, Doc Severinsen, Earth Wind & Fire, and Julius "Dr. J." Erving. He has also contributed music to the Showtime television movie "The Staircase Murders" (2007) and the French horror film "House of Voices" (2005) and also appeared in a Toyota Highlander television commercial. He is a long-time resident of Ann Arbor, MI.
Philip Alejo is the Assistant Professor of Bass at the University of Arizona. Previously he performed as Associate Principal Bass in the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, taught at St. Ambrose University, and served as Visiting Professor of Bass at the University of Michigan. A former member of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and an orchestral mentor with the Detroit Civic Orchestra, Philip has played with Phoenix Symphony, Tucson Symphony, Ensemble Dal Niente, Flint Symphony, and Ann Arbor Symphony.
As a chamber musician, Philip collaborates regularly with harpist Claire Happel in River Town Duo. River Town Duo recently premiered newly commissioned works by Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw and Yale composer Hannah Lash during appearances at the International Society of Bassists 2015 Convention and the American Harp Society 2015 Summer Institute. Philip’s additional performances have taken place alongside Menahem Pressler, Yehonatan Berick, Martin Beaver, Paul Coletti, the Prazak Quartet, the Jasper Quartet, Maiya Papach, Spencer Myer, Katinka Kleijn, and David Bowlin.
Philip has performed at numerous music festivals, including Spoleto Festival USA (SC), Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), Swannanoa Chamber Music Festival (NC), Mackinac Island Music Festival (MI), Oaxaca Instrumenta (Mexico), Aldeburgh Festival (England), Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival (AZ), Pacific Music Festival (Japan), and Aspen Music Festival (CO). As a fellow at the Center of World Performance Studies at the University of Michigan, Philip studied tango performance during a residency in Buenos Aires with bassist Horacio Cabarcos.
He teaches at the Milt Hinton Institute at Oberlin College, AZ ASTA Bass Jam, and the Richard Davis Conference for Young Bassists at the University of Wisconsin. Philip holds degrees from Oberlin College (BA, BM), Yale University (MM), and the University of Michigan (DMA), where his principal teachers included Diana Gannett, Donald Palma, Peter Dominguez, and Thomas Sperl.