Based in Austin, Texas, Sara Sasaki is a violinist dedicated to the performance of contemporary music. She is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma degree at The University of Texas Butler School of Music, studying primarily with Sandy Yamamoto. Previously she has earned her Master of Music degree from The University of Texas Butler School of Music and Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College and Conservatory. While studying at UT, she has held the position of Concertmaster and Principal second violin with the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann. She is an active performer for the UT composition department and has performed with the New Music Ensemble under the direction of Dan Welcher. Ms. Sasaki is the director of the contemporary chamber group prismatx ensemble, founded in May 2016 and based in Austin, Texas. They are scheduled to be the premiering ensemble for a VR (virtual reality) ballet composed by Sam Lipman in March 2017 and an inaugural performance by the ensemble in April 2017 featuring timed media artwork by Rachel Stuckey. She performs as a substitute violinist for Round Rock Symphony Orchestra, and performs for weddings and special events in the Austin area through Strings Attached with Will Taylor and Musical Discovery with Jill Dalley. Ms. Sasaki has been a performer and fellow at soundSCAPE composition and performance exchange, Music Academy International, Heifetz International Music Institute, Aspen Music Festival, and Eastern Music Festival. Sara resides in Austin with her boyfriend Charlie and cat Kikko.
Olivia Davis grew up in Eugene, OR where she began her studies in violin performance at the age of nine years old. She attended the University of Oregon where she received her B.M. in Violin Performance and Music Composition in 2013. Olivia studied violin performance under Kathryn Lucktenberg, and composition with David Crumb, and Robert Kyr. In her last year of studies at the University of Oregon, Olivia began playing viola, studying with Leslie Straka. She continued her studies in 2014 at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her M.M. in Composition in 2016. There she studied composition with Dan Welcher, Russell Pinkston, Yevgeniy Sharlat, and Donald Grantham. She studied viola with John Largess, and had the opportunity to perform as violist with the University of Texas at Austin New Music Ensemble directed by Dan Welcher, as well as the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gerhardt Zimmermann.
Matt Armbruster, cello, has performed across the United States and Europe. He holds the Steve A. Wilson & Nancy H. Wilson chair in the Austin Symphony Orchestra and is the co-founder of Tetractys New Music. He has appeared with the National Repertory Orchestra, Castleton Festival Orchestra, Icicle Creek Chamber Music Festival, and the Penderecki Academy Orchestra as principal cellist, where he collaborated closely with renowned composer and conductor Kryztof Penderecki on his orchestral and chamber works. He was previously a member of the 2013 San Francisco Academy Orchestra, where he was featured as a soloist in the second performance of Mark Volkert’s Pandora along with principal members of the San Francisco Symphony.
Matt made his solo recital debut in Austin at Heller Hall. He has been a featured artist presented by the Wiscasset Salon Series and has performed a number of times at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. He has also appeared as a soloist with the University of Tennessee Chamber Orchestra, Old Dominion Symphony, and the Landon Symphonette.
Matt is currently pursuing his Masters of Music at UT Austin under the tutelage of Bion Tsang. His previous teachers have included Amos Yang, Anthony Elliott, Janos Starker, and John Kaboff.
Stephanie Doche is a French-American mezzo-soprano whose recent engagements with the University of Texas at Austin Butler Opera Center include Zweite Dame in Die Zauberflöte, Meg March in Mark Adamo’s Little Women, La Suora Zelatrice in Suor Angelica, Mère Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites, and Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel. In 2016 and 2017, Stephanie was a studio artist with Opera NEO, where she sang the roles Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte and Juno in The Fairy Queen. Stephanie has been a featured soloist with the University of Texas Wind Symphony, Rocky Ridge Music Center, and the Austin based chamber ensemble, prismatx, with whom she performed Schoenberg's ‘Pierrot Lunaire.’ Raised in Rochester, New York, Stephanie completed her Bachelor of Music degree at State University of New York at Fredonia and her Master of Music degree at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music.
Meghan Bennett leads a diverse career as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician and educator. She was a prizewinner in the Atlanta Flute Club Young Artist Competition, the Flute Society of Kentucky Young Artist Competition and the Greater Philadelphia Flute Society Collegiate Young Artist Competition. Most recently, Meghan was guest soloist with Chamber Music International in Dallas, TX and joined the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players on tour. In addition, she has performed with the Waco Symphony Orchestra, Round Rock Symphony and the Palmetto Opera Orchestra. Meghan has been a recipient of fellowships to attend the Brevard Music Center, the Marrowstone Music Festival and the National Music Festival. Currently, she is the Flute Teaching Assistant at the Butler School of Music. Before moving to Austin, she was on flute faculty of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program. Meghan is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin where she studies with Marianne Gedigian. She received her Master of Music degree at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University as a student of Marina Piccinini and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of South Carolina as a student of Jennifer Parker-Harley.
Bethany Lawrence is currently based in Austin, Texas, where she performs with Listen. A Wind Quintet and prismatx ensemble. She is the English hornist with the Symphony of Southeast Texas, a position she won in 2014. In addition to winning her position in the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Bethany also advanced to further rounds for positions in other orchestras, including the Milwaukee and Omaha symphonies. Bethany frequently appears as a guest oboist and English hornist with both the Houston and San Antonio symphonies. She has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Sessione Senese de la Musica e l’Arte Orchestra in Siena, Italy, as well as The University of Texas University Orchestra. As the winner of the 2016-17 University of Texas Wind Brass Percussion Concerto Competition, she will return to The University of Texas to perform the Concerto for English Horn and Orchestra by Peteris Vasks with the UT Symphony Orchestra in the spring, a work rarely performed in America.
Bethany is an active chamber musician. As a member of the Aero Sextet from 2013 to 2015, she was a senior division finalist in the Coltman Chamber Music Competition. She has also appeared regularly as a guest artist with the Greenbriar Consortium, a modular chamber ensemble made up of primarily Houston Symphony musicians, since 2015. From 2012 to 2013, she was the artistic director and principal oboist of the Houston Serenade Project, an ensemble devoted to wind octets and other large chamber works.
Bethany is a recent DMA graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, where she studied with renowned pedagogues and performers Andrew Parker and Rebecca Henderson. She also received her Masters degree from UT Austin, where she studied with Ms. Henderson. She completed her undergraduate work at The University of Houston, where she studied with Anne Leek, and was the recipient of the prestigious A. Clyde Roller Award for orchestral excellence. Bethany attended the Brevard Music Center and the Texas Music Festival for multiple summers, where she studied with Eric Ohlsson, Emily Brebach, Paige Morgan, and Robert Atherholt.
In addition to an active solo and chamber performance schedule, Bethany has also maintained a small private studio since 2008. Her former students have been successful in district, region, area, and state auditions, and one of her students was recently accepted into the Artist Diploma program at UT Austin. She has given guest master classes for middle school, high school, and university students across both the Houston and Austin areas, as well as in Kansas and Wisconsin.
Tyler Webster is a native Texan and currently resides in Austin, TX. He is the second clarinetist of the Abilene and Midland Symphonies, positions he won recently, and has performed with the Victoria Symphony, Lubbock Symphony, and Round Rock Symphony. Mr. Webster is very active on the audition circuit and recently was finalist for the "President's Own" Marine Band and the Air Force Premiere Band, where he was offered a position with the "Heritage Band of America." Recently, he was invited as a quarter-finalist for the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and held a residency at the Banff Center for the Arts in Banff, Canada with his quintet, LI5TEN. He is an advocate for contemporary music and is a member of Prismatix, a performing new music ensemble based in Austin. He has also attended various summer orchestral institutes, including the Brevard Music Festival, Domaine Forget, Aria Institute, and Eastern Music Festival. Tyler also has a strong passion for teaching. He has maintained private studios over the past 7 years and also serves on the faculty for the Longhorn Music Camps. Currently, he maintains studios is Austin ISD and Leander ISD. When Mr. Webster isn't playing or teaching clarinet, he can usually be found writing music. He's been an avid and active composer/ arranger since is was 10 years old and loves writing for chamber music. His current projects included arranging a multitude of pieces for his wind quintet, LI5TEN. Mr. Webster holds degrees from Texas Tech University, Northwestern University, and The University of Texas at Austin. His primary teachers include Jonathan Gunn, Steve Cohen, and David Shea.
soon to come
Bassoonist Adam Drake is an active musician across the central Texas region. Based in Austin, Adam teaches a large studio of middle and high school bassoon students throughout the area. As a student at The University of Texas, Adam has performed with the University’s Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and on many recitals and chamber concerts at the Butler School of Music.
Adam’s festival appearances have included the National Music Festival and the Brevard Music Center’s Institute. He also has had the opportunity of performing as bassoonist for the American Wind Symphony Orchestra’s 55th season, touring across America’s waterways spanning the states from Mississippi to Pennsylvania. As a founding member of listen. a wind quintet. the resident quintet of prismatx ensemble, Adam is a dynamic chamber musician. His past chamber projects include The Coreopsis Quintet, an internationally acclaimed woodwind quintet that focused on outreach and performed on several concert series across Florida and Southern Georgia.
Along with performing, Adam has a passion for Arts administration. Throughout his career, he has seen the need for successful management within the professional music environment. In an era where classical music is seeking new models of audience engagement, he believes that with successful management, a revolutionized concert environment is necessary to attract new audiences. Because of this, Adam has earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance along with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the Florida State University, has worked on the administrative team for the National Music Festival, and is enrolled in the Portfolio Program in Arts and Cultural Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Texas.
Adam is working towards his Master of Music at The University of Texas’s Butler School of Music, and studies with Kristin Wolfe Jensen. His former teachers and other musical inspirations include Jeff Keesecker, Laura Hauser, and Amanda Swain.
Trumpet / Composer
Hailing from sunny Long Beach, CA, Casey Martin moved to Austin in 2014 and has since established himself as a composer, performer, and educator. Casey has held the position of principal trumpet in all of the major performing ensembles at both his undergraduate and graduate institutions. From 2013-2014 Casey held the spot of principal trumpet with the Los Angeles-based Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra, one of the nation’s oldest and most premier pre-professional orchestras. He has competed with chamber ensembles in the Coleman Chamber Music Association Competition and the National Trumpet Competition, the latter of which his groups won 3rd (2013) and 2nd (2016). Casey has been featured as a soloist with the Bob Cole Conservatory Wind Symphony, the Cole Conservatory Trumpet Ensemble, and True Brass Choir.
Casey has received commissions from ensembles and institutions across and the country, including True Brass Choir, the University of Texas at Austin Trumpet Studio, the Somos Trombone Quartet, the University of Dubuque, Fullerton College, Amador Valley High School, the Four Seasons Youth Orchestra, and the Orange County School of the Arts. His compositions have been performed internationally at festivals, conferences, and competitions. Highlights include the premier of his Symphony No. 1 Ocean at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific (June 2015), 2nd place performance of his trumpet septet The Autonomy of Machines at the 2016 National Trumpet Competition, and the upcoming premier of Ashen Skies of a Timeworn World by the University of Texas at Austin wind ensemble in April 2017.
Casey received BMs in trumpet performance and composition from California State University Long Beach in 2013 and an MM in composition from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016, where he was the recipient of the Theory and Composition Department Fellowship. His primary trumpet teachers include Joan LaRue, Rob Frear, David Washburn, and Ray Sasaki and has studied composition with Carolyn Bremer, Dan Welcher, David Dzubay, Bob Aldridge, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Russell Pinkston, Robin Cox, Alan Shockley, Adriana Verdie, Martin Herman, and Ryan Brown.
Evan Sankey grew up in Houston, Texas where he began playing the trombone at the beginning of his 6th grade year. Evan is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance and a Masters of Music degree with a related field in Early Music. He is currently the trombone graduate teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin working on the Doctor of Musical Arts degree under Dr. Nathaniel Brickens and serves as Adjunct Professor of Trombone and Euphonium at Texas Lutheran University. Evan was selected as the winner of the 2015 Big 12 Yamaha Xeno Tenor Trombone competition, finalist in the 2016 National Solo Competition Division III, and was a finalist for three consecutive years in the Larry Wiehe International Trombone Competition (a competition devoted to the legacy of Arthur Pryor), performing Pryor’s works at the International Trombone Festival in Austin, TX in 2010, Nashville, TN in 2011, and Paris, France in 2012. Evan has been a featured soloist performing Pryor’s Love’s Enchantment with the San Jacinto College Central Brass Band and Annie Laurie and Fantastic Polka with the Austin Symphonic Band. In the spring of 2013, he performed the 1st movement of the Concerto pour Trombone et Orchestre by Henri Tomasi with the UNT Symphony Orchestra as a winner of the UNT concerto competition. Evan has been a member of the UNT Wind Symphony, UNT Symphony Orchestra, the UT Wind Ensemble, the UT Symphony Orchestra, and can be heard performing on the Jeanne Inc., GIA, and Klavier labels.
Thomas has a MM in Piano from the University of Arizona and a post-graduate diploma from the Manhattan School of Music. He also holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from the University of Texas at El Paso. He has also studied at Aspen, and Beijing International Music Festivals, and at Vladimir Feltsman's "Piano Summer" in New Paltz. He is organist at University United Methodist Church. Thomas contributed original music for his brother's band, Demi the Daredevil, and is currently working on a new musical entitled "Mount Olympus." He teaches piano and composition in the Austin area.
Jordan Walsh is a percussionist based out of Austin, Texas. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree at the University of Texas at Austin, and holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University where he studied percussion performance and audio technology. An avid endorser of new music, Jordan has performed on world premieres by composers like John Mackey, Dan Truman, Gordon Stout, and Sergio Assad. He has held playing positions with the Springer Opera House, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, and the Columbus State University Theater Department, and has performed in both orchestral and chamber settings at festivals including the International Saxophone Symposium and Competition, Southeastern Trombone Symposium, the International Trombone Festival, the International Double Reed Society Conference, and the Percussion Arts Society International Convention. Jordan has been the recipient of a number of awards and scholarships including the Tower Scholarship, the Presser Award, and 1st Prize in the Great Composers Competition’s Art of Percussion contest. He is a founding member of 909 Percussion, the prismatx ensemble, and Columbus, GA based rock band Almost Educated. Jordan’s primary teachers have included Erik Forst, Ryan Smith, Paul Vaillancourt, Tony Edwards, and Thomas Burritt.
Jordan is also an active audio engineer and producer, working both independently and for the University of Texas at Austin. Some of his credits include the CSU Trombone Ensemble’s Beautiful Noise, James Markey’s Psychedelia, Peter Steiner’s United, and Gerry Pagano’s Horizon. Beyond production work, Jordan is proficient in both the Max/MSP and SuperCollider audio processing languages and is an advocate for electroacoustic music. He has acted as technical director for the Southeastern Composer’s Symposium, run live sound for groups ranging from the Dana Landry Trio to Seth Walker, and is the voice of the classical music radio show “Classical Overnight”, which airs on WCUG 88.5 FM in Columbus, Georgia. His audio technology teachers include Matthew McCabe and Russell Pinkston.
Rhys Gates is currently a masters student at the University of Texas at Austin in Double Bass Performance, and has participated in masterclasses with teachers ranging from Edgar Meyer to Eugene Levinson and Albert Lazlo at the Juilliard school. In Austin Rhys plays with the Austin Symphony, the Austin Opera, as well as regional groups including the Victoria Symphony where he plays as Assistant Principal. He did his undergrad in music composition and is interested in new music featuring the bass because of it's inherent challenge, as well as to feature the bass in interesting ways. In the new music world Rhys has featured pieces by composers from Boston to Portland, including a piece for solo bass and soprano performed with the Roomful of Teeth, and is currently working on a recording of a piece for Solo Bass and Electronics for Boston area composer Benjamin Penwell.