Meet the 2021-22 Fellows


Four image filmstrip of fellows: Benevides, Bonner, Brooks and Chirwa

Nicolas Lell Benavides

Nicolas Lell Benavides’ music has been praised for finding “…a way to sketch complete characters in swift sure lines…” (Washington Post) and cooking up a “jaunty score [with] touches of cabaret, musical theater and Latin dance.” (OPERA NEWS). He has worked with groups such as the Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, MassOpera, West Edge Opera, Nashville Opera, Shreveport Opera, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and Friction Quartet.

His opera Pepito (libretto by Marella Martin Koch) was premiered by the Washington National Opera. He and Koch will premiere a new opera, Tres Minutos, with Music of Remembrance in 2022 with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The pair are also developing an opera about civil rights icon Dolores Huerta.

Upcoming premieres include a new dance piece called On Trac|< for The Glimmerglass Festival, La Cuna for Khemia Ensemble, and a new chamber orchestra work for Gabriela Lena Frank’s Composing Earth initiative with support from New Music USA.

Benavides has studied at the Santa Clara University, San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Southern California, where he is currently teaching as a lecturer of music theory while finishing his DMA.

Mark Bonner, Jr

Mark Bonner, Jr, is a music educator, composer and clinician from Memphis, Tennesee, pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in wind conducting at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Conservatory. Bonner serves as a graduate teaching assistant studying conducting with Steven D. Davis, teaches the undergraduate instrumental arranging course at UMKC Conservatory and is an active clinician and music arranger for high school and university programs across the country with arrangements being performed worldwide. One of those arrangements is a marching band show titled “Binge-Watch,” written for LSU, which received national recognition on ESPN and by multiple cast members of “The Office.”

Bonner completed his master’s in wind conducting at LSU and his bachelor’s in music education at the University of Memphis. Mark holds membership in the National Association for Music Education, Tennessee Music Education Association, West TN School Band and Orchestra Association, Kappa Kappa Psi, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Tau Beta Nu.

Angelica Brooks

Angelica Brooks is a decorated choral director and music educator. She served as a K-12 public school music educator for 13 years and developed a reputation for building strong choral programs and advanced singing musicians. She has been honored to serve her professional community as a guest conductor, festival adjudicator, mentor teacher, curriculum writer and professional development presenter on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion in music education.

Brooks was a 2015 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year Semifinalist, recognized for her efforts in music leadership and education. In 2019, she was awarded a Leadership in Education award from Bowie State University and named Prince George’s County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year. Most recently she was named Maryland Music Educators Associations’ Outstanding Music Educator for 2021.

Brooks received her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at Bowie State University and master’s degree in vocal pedagogy from The Catholic University of America. She is currently pursuing her DMA in Music Teaching and Learning at the University of Southern California.

Kabelo Chirwa

Kabelo Chirwa began his higher education in music at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. At Bellarmine, he received a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in jazz studies. Immediately after his time in Louisville, Chirwa attended University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he received a master’s degree in music theory and composition. His thesis composition "Encumbered Existence: A Three Movement Work for Jazz Orchestra" is—in part—a musical depiction of his life experiences and hopes, and is used to examine the Black American struggle.

Chirwa is now ethnomusicology PhD student at University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. His primary area of research is hip-hop in West Africa and the United States. Specifically, his work interrogates how the transmission of music and culture in Africa and the diaspora can inform one’s understanding of global and local popular music traditions. He is also interested in digital music culture. Chirwa’s interests in music behind a screen both consider a broad understanding of digital music culture and center hip-hop as a music that was created and popularized in the “new” digital age.

Four image filmstrip of fellows: de Cossio, Dominguez, Dorn and Garza

Teresa Díaz de Cossío

Teresa Díaz de Cossío is a flutist and teacher. American born of Mexican descent, as a child she attended school in Spain, and as a young adult she taught flute lessons in China. De Cossío studied at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC), San Diego State University and Purchase College in New York. From the beginning of her musical endeavors, she was inclined to reach out for meaningful engagements with communities through her creative practice. A first iteration was with Música para la Paz, the nonprofit she cofounded and directed for five years, which taught music to kids in orphanages and low-income communities.

As a musician, de Cossío has participated in concerts with Plácido Domingo, the Carnegie Hall-affiliated Decoda ensemble and Los Tigres del Norte. As a recipient of Resiliencia Sonora: Intérpretes fellowship, next summer she will be recording works of Mexican composers.

Among her current interests, de Cossío is investigating the life and work of Mexican female composers from the 20th century, with a particular focus on Alida Vázquez Ayala. In addition to being a DMA student in performance at UC San Diego, she teaches flute in the pre-college and college programs at UABC and coordinates Neofonia, Festival de Música Nueva, Ensenada.

Raul Dominguez

Raul Dominguez recently completed his second year as doctoral student at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he studies with Dr. Gregory Gentry and Dr. Elizabeth Swanson. His primary research focus is the choral music of the United Mexican States; his first publication, Tipitin, can be found on the Lawson-Gould series through Alfred Music. Additionally, he has completed his second season as the Assistant Artistic Director of the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus.

During the summer of 2020, he curated a free virtual lecture series called the Choral Conductors Colloquium, Vol. I, which provided its 900+ subscribers with opportunities to learn from choral music’s finest conductors; subscribers were made up of choral musicians representing every continent except Antartica. The second volume of the Colloquium will take place during the summer of 2021.

He also holds a master’s degree in choral conducting from Ithaca College where he studied with Dr. Janet Galván; prior to Ithaca, he was the choir director at Clear Lake High School in his hometown of Houston, Texas, for four years, and earned bachelor’s degrees in vocal performance and music education from Oklahoma City University where he studied with Dr. Randi Von Ellefson.

Henry Dorn

Composer/conductor Henry Dorn has had compositions performed by the Aizuri Quartet, Harlem Quartet, Argento Ensemble, Sanctuary Jazz Orchestra, at performances of the Dallas Wind Symphony and by collegiate ensembles across the country. As a trombonist, Dorn has performed with Slide Hampton, Luis Bonilla, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Memphis Jazz Orchestra and Sanctuary Jazz Orchestra. Dorn was assistant director of the Memphis Area Youth Wind Ensemble and formerly director of Nu Chamber Collective, a Memphis-based chamber ensemble dedicated to performing new music. He was invited to be a composition fellow for the 2021 Next Festival of Emerging Artists, studying with Aaron Jay Kernis and Derek Bermel. 

Dorn, recipient of a 2010 ASCAP Foundation’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award, completed his undergraduate studies in composition at the University of Memphis and master’s studies in wind conducting and composition at Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently completing doctoral studies in wind conducting and composition at Michigan State University. He has studied composition with David Biedenbender, Oscar Bettison, Kamran Ince and Jack Cooper, conducting with Kevin Sedatole, Harlan D. Parker and Kraig Alan Williams and has been mentored by Joel Puckett and Anthony Plog. 

Mary E. Garza

Mary E. Garza is a hornist and music educator in Ann Arbor, Michigan, currently completing her DMA at the University of Michigan. Prior to Michigan, she studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and Die Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” in Leipzig, Germany. She has performed extensively throughout Europe, China, South Korea and the Midwest, performing with members of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, Mozarteum Salzburg Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and she has been a regular guest with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.

Garza has been successful in solo competitions including being a first prize winner in the International Women’s Brass Conference Concerto Competition in 2017, and winner of the International Horn Society’s Premier Soloist Competition in Brisbane, Australia, in 2010. She has a deep interest in using the arts to support communities and create a platform for marginalized voices. Most recently, she is the recipient of the 2021 Sphinx MPower Artist Grant and the U-M Diversity and Inclusion Grant to support her work. She has commissioned several works to expand the modern horn repertoire and create a more representative canon. In addition to her private studio, Mary is a teaching artist for the U-M Michigan Artist Citizens program. 

Four image filmstrip of fellows: Gonzalez, Guerra, Guerrero and Guilles

Alex Gonzalez

Described by the Viborg Folkeblad as a "true virtuoso...[that] left the audience almost breathless,” violinist Alex Gonzalez has appeared across the United States and abroad as a chamber musician, ensemble leader and educator.

A dedicated chamber musician, Gonzalez has enjoyed performances at Carnegie Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Kirsten Kjaer Museum and Oxford University.  He has also performed for broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and at the Thy, Sitka and Krzyzowa Chamber Music Festivals. 

He is a member of The Knights, having recorded and toured internationally with the ensemble. Gonzalez is also a member of the Sphinx Virtuosi, touring extensively with the ensemble and regularly serving in a principal role. Previously, he was a member of the New World Symphony, where he regularly served as concertmaster.

As an educator, he has served on the faculty of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra Program, Iberacademy in Colombia and Sphinx Performance Academy at CIM.  Gonzalez has also led masterclasses at North Carolina School of the Arts, Montclair State University and Skidmore College.

Gonzalez is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Rice University and Carnegie Mellon University. His principal mentors include Shakeh Ghoukasian, Oleh Krysa, Paul Kantor and Cyrus Forough.

Kelly Guerra

Peruvian-American mezzo-soprano Kelly Guerra was noted as a “standout” in the Wall Street Journal, for her performance with the Tanglewood Music Center as Mrs. Doc in Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place. In 2021, she will star as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Scalia/Ginsburg by Derrick Wang with the Chautauqua Opera Company and will premiere Iphigenia by Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding in the fall. Guerra was an Opera Santa Barbara Chrisman Studio Artist and has been featured at the Lucerne Festival, Tanglewood Music Center and the Bard Music Festival.

As a first-generation American and native of Southern California, Guerra is passionate about producing projects that raise awareness and monetary aid for detained immigrants in the USA as well as premiering and championing contemporary vocal works. She holds her DMA in vocal arts from UC Santa Barbara and the subject of her thesis was Gabriela Lena Frank’s Conquest Requiem.

Lily Guerrero

Lily Guerrero is Director of Vocal Studies at Texas Lutheran University. The daughter of Mexican and Cuban immigrants, her research focuses on advocating for Latinx voices in classical music and she has received fellowship funding for this endeavor from the Society for American Music. She is sought out as a DEI lecturer and contributes her expertise as an Art Song Advisor for the Institute for Composer Diversity.

As a singer, Guerrero has performed with Opera Grand Rapids, Wichita Grand Opera, Winter Opera St. Louis, Teatro Lirico d’Europa, GLOW Lyric Theatre, Windy City Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus. She holds awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, NATS Artist Awards, National Opera Association Opera Scenes Competition, Naftzger Young Artist Competition and Bel Canto Foundation. Notable roles include Curley’s Wife (Of Mice and Men), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Norina (Don Pasquale), Cunegonde (Candide), Morgana (Alcina), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Mabel (The Pirates of Penzance), and Despina (Così fan tutte).

Guerrero received her bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University, master’s from Wichita State University and Doctor of Music with certificate in diversity and inclusion from Florida State University.

Jackson Guillen

Honduran violinist and violist Dr. Jackson Guillen has performed in venues in USA, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia and Chile, and has toured across Latin-America with the Orchestra of the Americas.

He has served as Principal Second Violin of the Gulf Coast Symphony, Lubbock Symphony and the Symphony of Southeast Texas, and as guest concertmaster of the Shreveport Symphony.

An avid chamber musician, Guillen completed a two-year fellowship with Da Camera of Houston. He also performs regularly with Mercury Chamber Orchestra, Musiqa Houston and the Terra Nostra Ensemble. Guillen also plays an important role in the organization of the Encuentro de Cuerdas, a string-focused festival in Honduras. He was also a member of the first generation of the OA’s Global Leaders participating in missions in Honduras, El Salvador and Chicago.

Guillen has also been in the faculty of the International Music Festival in Medellin, Colombia; The International Music Festival in Naolinco, Mexico; and as regular guest artist of the Victoria-Bach Festival.

Guillen currently serves as Director of the CODA Music Program and Conductor of the Debut String Orchestra of the Houston Youth Symphony. Additionally, he has a position as professor of violin, viola and orchestra at Lone Star College-Tomball.

Four image filmstrip of fellows: Henry, Holt, Jimenez and Jones

Jasmine A. Henry

Jasmine A. Henry (she/her) is a versatile audio engineer and engaging musicologist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sound engineering and a master’s in music management from William Paterson University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Musicology at Rutgers University where she is working on her dissertation entitled Jersey Club: Race, Place and Independent Music Production in Newark, New Jersey. Through a critical race examination of music production, placemaking and performance practices, her study illuminates the significance of contemporary Black independent music-making in the United States. You may find her other published work on popular music, race and technology in the Popular Culture Studies Journal and Journal of the Society for American Music.

As a lecturer, she has taught music business, music technology and music history courses at The New School, Rutgers University and several other higher education institutions. As a live sound engineer, she has worked on critically acclaimed productions such as the Blue Man Group and HBO’s The Newsroom. Henry currently serves as the artistic director and coordinator of the Newark School of the Arts Media Lab where she works to provide marginalized youth with access to music technologies and music industry knowledge.

Kevin C. Holt

Kevin C. Holt is an ethnomusicologist who holds a PhD in musicology from Columbia University, a master’s in African-American studies from Columbia University, and bachelor’s degrees in Africana studies and in double bass performance from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music respectively. After completing his doctorate, he was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wesleyan University, hosted by the African-American Studies department. Holt joined Stony Brook University’s Department of Music as an assistant professor of ethnomusicology in 2021. His research interests include American popular music and its sociopolitical applications, especially concerning navigations of race, class, gender and sexuality. His current research project focuses on Atlanta hip-hop party music as a performative resistance to the policing of Black youth in public space.

Josue Jimenez

Josue Jimenez is a native of San Jose, Costa Rica. He began his studies at the National Institute of Music in Costa Rica, and completed his undergraduate studies and graduated magna cum laude from Lynn University Conservatory of Music. Later, he earned his master’s degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. He has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera, Cleveland Opera Theater and Atlantic Classical Orchestra among others. Jimenez has given recitals as a guest doctoral student at Northwestern University Bienen School of Music and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He has given masterclasses in Costa Rica, United States, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize and Trinidad and Tobago.

His main teachers include Andres Porras, Kenneth Amis, Yasuhito Sugiyama, Daniel Perantoni and Demondrae Thurman. Jimenez is an Associate Member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He has also served as faculty for the pre-college department at Indiana University for the College Audition Preparation Workshop. He was previously an Associate Instructor at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he is currently a candidate for the doctorate degree in music performance with a minor in music education.

Stephanie Jones

Stephanie Jones is a PhD student and research assistant at the University of Miami, Frost School of Music. She is currently focused on studying the experiences of student teachers in their internships during COVID-19. Her other areas of focus include music technology in the online classroom, music education for diverse learners and popular music education in the general classroom. In addition to her research duties, she is the coordinator for student teaching for the music education department. Jones finds a great joy in being able to connect student interns and local music teachers together and seeing how they learn from each other.  

Prior to her current pursuits at UM, she was a music teacher in Miami-Dade County for six years, teaching K-5 general music classes. Jones also sponsored after school ensembles with the intent of bringing music to residents at assisted living facilities and performing for various community functions. In the schools she has worked at, the main goal was to instill the importance of music in the lives of students, teachers, parents and administrators.

Four image filmstrip of fellows: Lewis, Lozano, Molina and Moore

Amy Lewis

Dr. Amy Lewis is the daughter of Jayne McShann Lewis and Bennie Lewis and is the granddaughter of jazz pianist Jay McShann and Frances McShann. She is currently an assistant professor of music education at James Madison University where her research is focused on critical race theory in music education. Previously she was named a James Madison University Future Faculty Fellow and she completed her doctoral work at Michigan State University in music education with a research focus on Critical Race Theory, antiracism education and activism in music education.

As a public music teacher, she taught K-1; 6-8 general music, beginning band, middle school choir and jazz band in the Chicagoland suburbs. She received the 2019 Black Faculty, Staff, and Administrators Association Emerging Leader Award and was also named the 2015 Illinois Education Association Teacher of the Year. She is an active clinician and guest lecturer on topics pertaining to equity in music education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from DePaul University and a master’s from Concordia University. Her work is published in Action, Criticism, and Theory in Music Education and Michigan Music Educator Journal.

Teresita Lozano

Dr. Teresita Lozano is a newly appointed Assistant Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she will begin in Fall 2021. Prior to this position, Lozano served as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Ethnomusicology and Musicology at West Virginia University. A native of the US-Mexico border, Lozano engages in research that explores the relationship between music, migration, religion, history, memory and identity. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for research centered on religion and ethics. In 2013, she was awarded a graduate fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution.

A passionate advocate for musical and community activism, particularly in public education and immigrant rights movements, Lozano serves as a performer and Borderland music specialist for Motus Theater’s UndocuAmerica Project. She maintains a professional performance career as a flutist and vocalist in Western classical, Latin American and diverse global traditions. She is a co-founding member of the Colorado-based women’s ensemble Las Dahlias, and has also performed and recorded with multiple multicultural ensembles. Lozano holds a bachelor’s degree in music education with an emphasis in flute performance from Baylor University and a PhD in Ethnomusicology (Musicology) from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Patricio Molina

Dubbed “a gifted artist” by The New York Times, Dr. Patricio Molina has gained a reputation as a composer, pianist and educator. The New Jersey Education Association acknowledged Molina’s artistic accomplishments with their Award for Excellence.

The Chilean-American-Syrian pianist, composer and educator’s musical activities include commissions by New Jersey Youth Symphony in collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs E.A.T. and regular performances at Carnegie Hall. Molina is committed to serving marginalized communities by commissioning new works from underrepresented composers, performing underrated works and working toward decolonizing academic research.

Molina is the Conservatory Director at the Newark School of the Arts, fulfilling vital artistic and fundraising roles. He is President and co-founder of Notes for Growth Foundation, a non-profit that creates access to music education for underprivileged children in Chile and the USA.

Molina holds a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music, as well as a DMA in piano performance and a PhD in music composition from Rutgers University.

Devan Moore

Devan Moore is a doctoral student at the Florida State University College of Music, pursuing a PhD in Music Education. She was previously the Band and Orchestra Director at Fairview Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida. Prior to her position at Fairview, Ms. Moore was the band director at R. Frank Nims Middle School in Tallahassee  and the Assistant Band Director at Mundy’s Mill High School in Jonesboro, Georgia. Moore is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a bachelor’s in music education and Florida State University with a master’s in music education. She is an active member of the Florida Music Educators Association and actively serves the Florida Bandmasters Association as a member of the ethics committee and adjudicator. Moore is also active as an ensemble clinician and conference presenter.

Four image filmstrip of fellows: Munoz, Paige, Palmer and Parker

Melissa Muñoz

Melissa Muñoz is a vibrant trumpeter, educator and music equality advocate based in New York City. She enjoys playing various genres of music and has performed extensively across the United States including with The Dallas Winds, Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, New Baroque Soloists and New World Symphony.

Muñoz earned her bachelor’s degree at UT Austin in 2018 and master’s degree from Yale School of Music in May 2020, where she was awarded the John Swallow Brass Prize. She also studied at the Colburn School under the tutelage of Jim Wilt. Muñoz has served as Adjunct Instructor of Brass at Cheshire Academy since 2019 and has maintained a private lesson studio since 2017. She has a passion for education and loves bringing out the best musicianship in her students.

As a female brass player of color, she strives to promote diversity and inclusion in the music industry. Muñoz is a co-founder of Brass Out Loud, an organization dedicated to uplifting musicians from underrepresented communities. She has lectured on the topic of diversity in the brass world at universities across the US and will be presenting her lecture at the 2021 International Trumpet Guild Conference.

Aaron Paige

A native of Detroit, Dr. Aaron Paige is a former member of the Singing Sergeants of the United States Air Force Band. His time in the Air Force Band included 12 national tours, two Super Bowls and performances of the national anthem at 47 professional sporting events. He has performed for every living US President and heads of state from Italy, France, China, Croatia, Poland, Canada and Lithuania.

Paige has presented lectures and recitals on African American music in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute at the National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum, and National Museum of African Art. He has also been a featured soloist at the White House, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and DAR Constitution Hall.

Paige is currently an Assistant Professor of Music (Voice) at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, master’s in voice from The Ohio State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance from the University of Maryland. Paige is a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Elizabeth Palmer

Elizabeth Palmer, DMA, holds degrees in music technology from Susquehanna University, music education from Towson University and University of Southern California. She is an instrumental music teacher in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and co-author of the middle school band and orchestra curriculum for the school district. 

Palmer is the founder of Modern Maestro, Inc., a non-profit offering enrichment programs and professional development for music students and teachers. Her research focuses on social and cultural capital, social justice and culturally relevant/responsive pedagogies. Palmer’s research has been presented at international and domestic conferences and is published in Update: Applications of Research in Music Education.

Quinton Parker

Quinton Parker is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Education at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. From 2016 to 2021, Parker served as the Music Education Program Coordinator and Assistant Director of Symphonic and Marching Bands at North Carolina Central University. His research interests include imposter syndrome in university music students from marginalized populations, systemic injustice in collegiate musical study, implicit bias in music performance evaluation and social justice in music education. His research interests are fueled by his personal commitment to advancing social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the field of music.

Parker earned a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from North Carolina Central University and a master’s in music education from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago. He is a candidate for the PhD in music education from UNC Greensboro, completing a dissertation titled The Lived Experiences of Black Undergraduate Music Education Majors in Predominantly White Schools of Music.

Parker was recognized as Spectacular Magazine’s 2018 Emerging Leader of the Year in Education. He is a member of NAfME, NC Music Educators Association, College Music Society, The Intercollegiate Music Association and Pi Kappa Lamdba.

Four image filmstrip of fellows: Pique, Quesada, Ramos and Rodriguez

Gabriel Piqué

Gabriel Piqué is an assistant professor of saxophone and jazz studies at Baldwin Wallace’s Conservatory of Music. He is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the University of Illinois and a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and University of Georgia.

As a soloist and active performer, Piqué has presented concerts all over the world, including in Las Vegas, Croatia, Moscow, Strasbourg, Beijing, Shanghai and Thailand. In 2020, he was the featured concerto soloist at the North American Saxophone Alliance conference in Tempe, Arizona, and was named first prize winner of the North American Saxophone Alliance Solo Competition in 2016. He is the baritone saxophonist of the award-winning Fuego Quartet, which was the gold medal winner of the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the 2017 Plowman Chamber Music Competition. Fuego Quartet recently released its debut album, Migration, on the Parma Recordings label. Piqué also plays alto in the critically acclaimed touring saxophone sextet The Moanin’ Frogs.

Piqué has studied jazz saxophone with Dave D’Angelo of the Buddy Rich Orchestra and Ron Bridgewater of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. His primary classical teachers have included Debra Richtmeyer, Chien-Kwan Lin and Connie Frigo. Piqué is a Vandoren Artist.

Sebastian Quesada-Ruiz

Dr. Sebastian Quesada is a composer and pedagogue interested in exploring the ambiguous and subjective condition of music to suggest particular images. Appealing to a mixture of different genres and processes, his pieces try to address musical narratives related to how we, as social entities, perceive our environment. His openness to collaboration has led him to work in a variety of contexts (from chamber music to rock music, incidental works, arranging, installations, among others), which has contributed in his intentions to synthesize different elements towards extra-musical concepts.

As a teacher, Quesada has taught composition, music theory and guitar to young people for different institutions such as the Ministry of Culture of Costa Rica and the Technological Institute of Costa Rica. He has also worked as a teaching assistant for the theory department at Truman State University and Michigan State University. His research interests include the analysis of popular music narratives, the demystification of monolithic discourses in music theory and the intersection between music, cultures, and societies.

Quesada holds degrees in composition from Michigan State University, Truman State University and University of Costa Rica, as well as a degree in music theory from Michigan State University

Maria Romero Ramos

Venezuelan-born violinist Maria Romero Ramos is on faculty at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, where she teaches modern and historical violin. An alumna of Venezuela’s El Sistema music program, she is an advocate for social transformation and empowerment through music education and teacher training. She has served as teacher, program director and development director for MusAid, a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting socially driven music programs around the world.  

Ramos has collaborated with ensembles including Orchester Wiener Akademie, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, Bourbon Baroque, New Vintage Baroque and Michigan Bach Collective, and presently collaborates with Les Délices, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Princeton Baroque Festival Orchestra, Mountainside Baroque and Arts on Alexander. An alumna of the Sphinx Competition, Ramos has performed in the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall with the Sphinx Virtuosi chamber orchestra. 

A graduate of the Global Leaders Program, Ramos holds a Doctor of Music degree in violin from Indiana University, where she studied with Kevork Mardirossian, baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie and violin pedagogy with Mimi Zweig. She is concertmaster of Music City Baroque and plays with the Nashville Opera in Nashville where she lives with her husband, pianist Nicholas Reynolds.

Karlos Rodriguez

An advocate for multifaceted musical diversity in the 21st century and a founding member of the Grammy Award winning Catalyst Quartet, Cuban-American cellist Karlos Rodriguez is an avid soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, clinician, recording artist, writer and administrator. Rodriguez made his orchestral debut with the New World Symphony at the age of 13 to critical acclaim.  

Rodriguez has appeared at many of the United States’ major musical venues, including Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The New World Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and Radio City Music Hall, to name a few. He has also had the honor of working with distinguished artists and members the Beaux Arts Trio, American, Cavani, Cleveland, Emerson, Guarneri, Juilliard, Miami, Orion, Tokyo and Vermeer String Quartets; Janos Starker, Lynn Harrell, Zuill Bailey, Pieter Wispelway, Rachel Barton-pine, Awadagin Pratt, Joshua Bell, Anthony McGill, Paul Neubauer and Steven Isserlis. His teachers have included Richard Aaron, Peter Wiley and David Soyer.  

A love of dance has led to collaborations with the Thomas/Ortiz Dance Company, Freefall, Mark Morris Dance Group, Vail International Dance Festival and Chita Rivera. Rodriguez has attended and been a guest artist at the Encore School for Strings; the Sarasota, Strings, Aspen, Grand Canyon, Great Lakes and Kneisel Hall chamber music festivals; the Cleveland Chamber Music Society, Philadelphia Orchestra Chamber Music Society and Napa’s Festival Del Sole. As an educator, he is the Director of Artistic Affairs for the Sphinx Performance Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard School and has given master classes domestically and abroad.  

Rodriguez has worked on various commercials, films, collaborated with pop artists such as Shakira, John Legend, Pink Martini, contributed to numerous Broadway musicals and is a member of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra. He is a board member of the Aronson Cello Festival and former principal cellist of the Florida Grand Opera Orchestra in Miami. His book Living and Sustaining a Creative Life-Music, published by Intellect Books UK, will be released in 2022. 

Four image filmstrip of fellows: Smith, Solivan, Sterrs-Howard and Waugh

Brice Smith

Dr. Brice Smith has a deep passion for teaching and engaging communities through classical music. Smith serves as Adjunct Professor of Flute at Adams State University and Assistant Artistic Director for Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music Flute Academy. He has performed in several professional ensembles, including the Colorado Symphony, New World Symphony and National Repertory Orchestra summer festival. He has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center, and with the Arkansas Philharmonic and University of Michigan Camerata Symphony Orchestra, as well as other ensembles.

Smith has performed at the National Flute Association’s Convention as a member of the Colorado Flute Orchestra, and premiered solo flute works for the NFA Summer Series and Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. Smith is a founding member of Carter Pann’s Boulder Altitude Directive ensemble.

An internationally sought after performer and teacher, Smith serves as an executive board member for the Texas Flute Society and NFA Low Flutes Committee.

Smith completed a DMA in flute at Colorado University Boulder, master’s in flute and chamber music at the University of Michigan, Performer’s Diploma at Indiana University and a bachelor’s in flute, violin and German from the University of Arkansas. He is recently published in Flute View magazine.

Marianne Solivan

Marianne Solivan is an internationally recognized Jazz vocalist, educator and bandleader with a bachelor’s in performance & music education from Berklee and a master’s in Jazz studies from the New England Conservatory. She is an Assistant Professor of Jazz and Commercial Voice at Syracuse University and is the creator and director of the MS Jazz Vocal Workshop in Manhattan and the Jazz Vocal Repertoire Hang. She has led workshops and masterclasses throughout Europe and has performing credits that include numerous tours in France, Italy, Russia, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Austria, Lebanon and the US as a leader. 

Tamika Sterrs-Howard

Dr. Tamika Sterrs-Howard is a part-time adjunct professor in Music Appreciation and Music Theory at Lanier Technical College and the University of North Georgia. She earned her PhD in music theory from the University of Georgia, her master’s in music theory from Georgia State University, and her bachelor’s in flute performance from Spelman College. She is a Georgia certified music teacher with 20 years of teaching experience in grades K-12 as well as higher education. She is a member of the American Musicological Society and the Society of Music Theory. She is completing scholarly articles and instructional material for publication on various topics in Jazz and Third Stream Music. She is also an active composer of Jazz, Gospel and Third Stream music.

Carline Waugh

Dr. Carline Waugh is a Jamaican-born soprano acclaimed for her ability to mesmerize audiences. This powerful teaching artist has performed throughout the USA, Italy, Russia, her homeland of Jamaica and other parts of the world singing solo recitals, opera and oratorio. She has appeared on the operatic and concert stage with such companies as the International Opera Theatre, Wichita Grand Opera, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Missouri Symphony, Jefferson City Symphony and the Colombia Choral Union. 

She has been a winner of competitions including the Monroe Symphony’s Marjorie Stricklin Vocal Competition, Beethoven Club of Memphis Vocal Competition, Thayer Young Artist Competition, National Association of Teachers of Singing Regional Competition, Classical Singer Regional Competition and the Young Artist Competition sponsored by the National Association of Business and Professional Women’s Club of Long Island. She has also been a finalist in the Harlem Opera Theater Competition, Opera Ebony Vocal Competition in New York and was a regional winner for the New York Lyric Opera Competition. Waugh is frequently sought after as a master clinician and guest lecturer and she serves Marshall University in West Virginia as Assistant Professor of Voice.

Three image filmstrip of fellows: Wheeler, Williamson and Wooten

Kendra Wheeler

Kendra Wheeler is a saxophonist, educator, chamber musician and collaborator, with academic emphases in musicology and music theory. She has been an active advocate for music education, as well as for the inclusion, visibility and support of underrepresented and marginalized groups within classical, contemporary and new music disciplines. Wheeler is a Légère Reeds Endorsing Artist and has been the recipient of numerous scholarships, grants and awards including prizes from Thursday Musical, Vandoren Emerging Artist and Downbeat Magazine.

 She received her master’s degree in saxophone performance under Preston Duncan from the University of Minnesota where she also received her bachelor’s in music education under Eugene Rousseau. In the Fall of 2018, Wheeler began her DMA at Michigan State University under the study of Joseph Lulloff. For the Fall semester of 2020, Wheeler was the Visiting Professor of Saxophone at the Crane School of Music, at SUNY Potsdam.

Lisa Williamson

Lisa Williamson is a soprano vocalist and educator. She is an active performer of opera, concert, musical theater and recital, and has sung with the Hartford and New Haven Symphonies, Washington National Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Portland Opera and The United States Coast Guard Band, and at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. She teaches voice at Southern Connecticut State University.

Williamson holds degrees from the Yale School of Music and the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University and is a candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts at UConn, focusing on the music of the early 20th century Black American songwriting trio, Cole and Johnson Brothers. She  lives in Connecticut with her husband, Commander Adam Williamson, the director of the United States Coast Guard Band, and their son.

Khyle Wooten

Leading a unique life in music, Philadelphia native Khyle Wooten is an educator, conductor, researcher and composer. He has previously maintained posts with National Heritage Academies, Clayton County Public Schools and the Walter D. Palmer School District where he led middle and high school choral ensembles.

Among his recent accomplishments, Wooten recently led a session at the 2021 Florida Music Educators Association conference entitled And Still They Rise: Exploring and Advocating for Choral Music of Black Women Composers. At present, his dissertation research will provide a conductor’s guide to the cantatas of Lena McLin. As composer, he has completed an art song commission for the Cincinnati Song Initiative to be premiered in May 2021. Recent compositions include an SSA arrangement of Zenobia Powell Perry’s Spring Song and a TTBB choral work, Sancta Maria.

Wooten holds the bachelor’s in music education from Lincoln University (PA), master’s in choral conducting from Georgia State University, and is a PhD candidate in music education, with an emphasis in choral conducting, from Florida State University.