Austin Chamber Music Center
Artist Biographies

Håkan Rosengren

Internationally acclaimed clarinetist Håkan Rosengren has performed as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician all over Europe, the United States, Israel, Brazil, and Asia. Will Crutchfield of the New York Times wrote: “Rosengren has an immediately memorable musical personality. His technique is excellent, his tone is beautiful and he draws a great variety of color from the instrument.”

Rosengren earned degrees from the Royal  College of Music in Stockholm, Royal Flemish Conservatory in Antwerp, Belgium and the University of California. He has received numerous grants, prizes, and awards, including those from the Fulbright Commission, Concert Artists Guild International New York Competition, UNESCO’s International Performer Competition, and the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.

Charles Wetherbee

Violinist Charles Wetherbee is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music. A native of Buffalo, New York, Charles gave his first performances at age six.
He has performed solos under the baton of Mstislav Rostropovitch, as well as with the Japan Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogota (Columbia), the Columbus Symphony, the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Mexico, and many others. The Washington Post has called Wetherbee “a consummate artist… with flawless technique.”

Charles is the first violinist of the Carpe Diem String Quartet. He is a devoted teacher, currently Assistant Professor of Violin at The University of Colorado - Boulder. He is also the Artistic Director of The Dercum Center.

Bion Tsang

Cellist Bion Tsang is internationally recognized as one of the outstanding instrumentalists of his generation. Among his many honors are an Avery Fisher Career Grant, a MEF Career Grant, the Bronze Medal in the IX International Tchaikovsky Competition, and a Grammy nomination for his performance on the 2009 PBS special A Company of Voices: Conspirare in Concert. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University and his Master of Musical Arts degree from Yale University.

Mr. Tsang resides in Austin, where he is Division Head of Strings and holds the Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long Chair in Cello at the Sarah and Ernest Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin. He was the recipient of the Texas Exes Teaching Award after just his first year of service and in 2004-05 was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by the Austin Critics Table. In his spare time, Bion helps his family run the Paul J. Tsang Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed to help facilitate educational or career opportunities for promising students and professionals in the arts and sciences.
 

Michelle Schumann

Hailed for her “sensitive, flexible, and tempestuous dexterity” (Fanfare Magazine), pianist Michelle Schumann has built a reputation for evocative and moving performances. Since 2006, Michelle has served as Artistic Director of the Austin Chamber Music Center, where she “is fearlessly expanding our definition of chamber music” (Austin American-Statesman). Her brand of performance includes an enthusiastic interplay with the audience and her trademark includes bringing diverse music together under a blanket of narrative events.

Schumann is artist-in-residence and professor of piano at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin and additionally holds a Performance Diploma from the Vienna Conservatory.

Stanislav Pronin

Canadian violinist and composer Stanislav Pronin was born in Moscow, Russia and began his violin studies upon his immigration to  Israel at the age of 8. His first teacher was his grandfather, Veniamin Pronin, a student of Pyotr Stolyarsky and former Professor at the Odessa Conservatoire. Stanislav continued his studies at Indiana University with Nelli Shkolnikova and Jaime Laredo, as well as composition lessons with Professor Sven-David Sandstrom, and later at the Hochschule für Musik in Köln, Germany, with Professor Zakhar Bron. 

Just as his grandfather who, in his time, had worked closely with numerous composers, including Dmitri Shostakovich, Stanislav is an avid performer of new music. He has worked with and premiered works of such composers as John Adams, Fabian Panisello, Murray Schafer, Ned Rorem, Toivo Tulev, Hans Abrahamsen and Lera Auerbach.

Stanislav is a recipient of multiple awards from such organizations as the American String Teachers Association, America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, and Classical Artists Development Foundation. He is a laureate of numerous international competitions, including Michael Hill, Wieniawski, and Queen Elizabeth.

RUSSIAN STRING ORCHESTRA

Founded in 1991, the orchestra (formerly Chamber Orchestra Kremlin), comprised of some of Russia’s finest young string players, has carved a niche for itself under the creative baton of its founder and music director Misha Rachlevsky. Whether it is the highly-acclaimed CDs or its mesmerizing concerts, the Russian String Orchestra’s warmth and high energy create addictive performances that stay with listeners long after the last note has been played.

The signature quality of the orchestra is the depth and variety of its repertoire—over 1000 compositions from early baroque to works written on commission from the orchestra by composers from Russia, Europe, and the USA. The orchestra prides itself in offering interesting and often unique programs, not only for its home audience, but on tour as well; about half of its nearly 2,000 concerts have taken place on tours in 25 countries in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East. The orchestra’s discography of over 30 CDs has received widespread international acclaim, including the Diapason d’Or award in France, Critics Choice in London’s Gramophone, and Critics Choice in The New York Times.

Sonja Larson

Sonja Larson earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota, where she studied violin performance and pedagogy. An active freelancer, Sonja has performed in numerous orchestras, chamber ensembles and festivals in Minnesota, New England, South Carolina, and Texas. Her orchestral work includes performances with Boston Ballet, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and the Masterworks Chorale. She has accompanied violinists Gil Shaham, Itzhak Perlman, and Anne Akiko-Meyers, and has shared stages with Deep Purple, Kat Edmonson, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Since arriving in Austin in 2013, Sonja has performed with the Austin Symphony, Austin Opera, and Chorus Austin, and has collaborated in chamber music performances with Dr. Michelle Schumann, Artistic Director of the Austin Chamber Music Center, and cellist Nora Karakousoglou. Other notable Austin work includes accompanying Local Opera Local Artists (LOLA) as well as teaching and concertizing as an Artist in Residence at Armstrong Community Music School. She has also enjoyed organizing a few local house concerts.

Nora Karakousoglou

A native of Athens, Greece, Nora Karakousoglou is an active performer and teacher, working in the United States and Europe. She completed her undergraduate work at Cleveland State University, her Master of Music as well as a Graduate Performance Diploma at the Boston Conservatory, and earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 2016. She serves as cello faculty and is an artist in residence at the Armstrong Community Music School. Nora frequently performs with Local Opera Local Artists (LOLA). She has collaborated with Dr. Michelle Schumann, Artistic Director of the Austin Chamber Music Center, and has participated in the Victoria Bach Festival. Nora is the recipient of the Hellenic-American Women’s Award in Chicago, as well as achievement awards and competition prizes in Greece and abroad. Nora has earned a Soloist Diploma from the Athens Conservatory, the First Prize in Cello Performance and Chamber Music from the ENM d’Aulnay-sous-bois in France, as well as a Médaille d’Or in Formation Musicale. In her free time, Nora likes to cook, keep up with her French, and brush up on geography.

Eleanor Dunbar

Violinist Eleanor Dunbar is an accomplished and commanding artist, performing regularly as a soloist, chamber music enthusiast, and concertmaster. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she earned her Bachelor’s of Music degree in Violin Performance under the direction of Emanuel Borok. During her education at SMU, she was awarded the prestigious Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award, given to an outstanding music major each year.

A native of California, Eleanor began her musical education at the age of three. Under the tutelage of violinist Gail Gerding Mellert, she began her performance career throughout California, entered and placed in many competitions, and appeared as a soloist with symphonies such as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. She continues to perform throughout the country presenting recitals and performing with esteemed orchestras. An avid chamber musician, Eleanor is a founding member of the Cézanne Quartet with whom she performs regularly. The quartet was named the Peak Fellowship Ensemble-in-Residence at Southern Methodist University in the fall of 2015.

 

Elizabeth Lee

Originally hailing from New York, cellist Elizabeth Sook-Hee Lee has performed extensively as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. Lee completed a DMA in Cello Performance at the University of Texas Butler School of Music studying with the Miró Quartet cellist Joshua Gindele. She previously studied at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music (BM) and at the San Francisco Conservatory of
Music (MM Chamber Music). Lee was a prize-winner in the Yonkers Enrico Fermi Concerto Competition resulting in a performance with the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra. She was also a winner of the University of Texas Butler School of Music String Concerto Competition. Her performance was nominated by the Austin Critics Table Awards for Best Instrumentalist.

Lee is a founding member of the Sonorous Ensemble premiering many newly composed works. In addition to performing, Lee is a dedicated teacher and has served on the faculties of the University of Texas at Austin String Project and the Austin Chamber Music Center as well as maintaining her own independent teaching studio. She is currently faculty at Texas Lutheran University.

 

Artina McCain

Described as a pianist with “power and finesse,” Artina McCain enjoys an active international career as a solo and chamber performer, educator, and lecturer. A dedicated educator, Dr. McCain has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music summer chamber music festival, Austin Chamber Music Center Academy and Summer Workshop, and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. Currently, she is Assistant Professor of Piano at the Rudi Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. Dr. McCain graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University studying with Carol Leone. She received her Master of Music from Cleveland Institute of Music with Kathryn Brown and completed her Doctoral Studies at the University of Texas at Austin with Anton Nel.

 

Jonathan Tsay

Soloist, collaborative pianist, chamber musician, producer, and arts administrator Jonathan Tsay maintains an artistic career as diverse as his interests. Away from the piano bench, Jonathan is the host of the classical music podcast entitled “Between the Barlines” which explores the lives of the various personalities that make up the classical musical landscape in the DFW Metroplex. Jonathan also serves as Artistic Director of Ensemble75, a chamber music series based out of Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Tsay started his piano studies with Carolyn Savko at the age of five. Under the tutelage of Dr. Carol Leone, Jonathan earned a Bachelors of Music with Honors at the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. Jonathan entered l’Université de Montréal as a Masters of Music student of Marc Durand, and received his doctorate through an accelerated program. Jonathan’s musical background also includes composition studies with Simon Sargon and David Karp, and conducting with Jack Delaney and Paul Phillips.

 

Samuel López

Samuel López works in Latin Music Studies as a Lecturer at Texas State University. Born in Puerto Rico, Samuel moved to Texas and began learning how to play Latin percussion. Samuel has been active in the local salsa scene for over 20 years, and also has a passion for the music of his native Puerto Rico, especially bomba and plena.

In 2005, Samuel began his studies in Music Education at Texas State University-San Marcos, where he became the official timbal player for the award winning Salsa Del Rio Band. In 2009 Samuel graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and in 2011, earned a Master of Music in Latin Music Performance from Texas State University.

Samuel is a member of Austin’s Cienfuegos and La Moña Loca for which he has written and arranged music. He also plays congas and arranges for Orquesta Trabuko, and frequently performs with a variety of other professional groups. Samuel is a member of TMEA and the Percussive Arts Society.

 

Sandy Yamamoto

Sandy Yamamoto has dazzled audiences around the globe as a soloist and as a member of the Miró Quartet. As a member of the Miró Quartet, she received the Naumburg Chamber Music and Cleveland Quartet Awards, won First Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition, and was one of the first chamber musicians to be awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She was a guest speaker and role model in 2003 Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. Since leaving the Miró in 2011, she has been appointed Senior Lecturer of Violin at the Butler School of Music at The University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches a studio of violin students and performs concertos and recitals regularly.

 

Amy Levine-Tsang

Cellist Amy Levine-Tsang enjoys an active career as both chamber musician and teacher. She is a founding member of the Laurel Trio and frequently collaborates with numerous ensembles such as the Brentano Cassatt, Colorado, and Meridian String Quartets; the New Jersey Chamber Music Society; the Richardson Chamber Players; and the Chamber Soloists of Austin. She received degrees from Yale and Rutgers Universities, where she studied with Aldo Parisot and Bernard Greenhouse, respectively. She is a former member of the music faculty at Princeton University, and continues to teach privately since relocating to Austin.

 

KASA QUARTET

KASA was founded in the summer of 2016 by Andy Liang, Aaron Schwartz, Stephanie Price-Wong, and Kyle Price. The quartet performs an array of musical styles ranging from classical to gypsy jazz and various genres in between. Summers of performing together at the Caroga Lake Music Festival, culminating in a prizewinning performance in the Senior Division at the 2012 OSTA Biennial Chamber Music Competition, have since led to performances and masterclass appearances facilitated by the Chamber Music Connection. As a quartet, KASA won the Grand Prize in the 2017 Collegiate Division of the 4th Annual Coltman Chamber Music Competition held in Austin, Texas. Individually, the four have won multiple national solo and chamber music competitions, been featured on NPR’s From the Top! radio show, held professional orchestra positions, and frequently appear in performances across
the globe in solo, chamber music, and orchestral settings. KASA looks to convey the magic of chamber music and the diverse possibilities of the quartet genre through engaging, memorable, and free-spirited performances and education events.