FACULTY

Jason Lim. Artistic Director 

Recognized by the Denton-Record Chronicle as one of “2012’s Most Fascinating People,” the career of conductor Jason Lim is on the rise. Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia and began his formal training in viola performance when he won a scholarship to study at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with Alice Waten. He commenced his studies at the Canberra (Australia) School of Music, and completed his bachelor’s degree with honors at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. Jason received his Master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of North Texas.
Known for his fine technique in performances and innovative programming, Jason began his conducting studies in Australia: first as an apprentice with the Canberra Youth Orchestra, and later as an Assistant Conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney, a position that was awarded in conjunction with winning 1st Prize in the New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize. Most recently, Jason won 1st prize in the 2021 The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming and in 2020, Jason was selected by the Texas Commission on the Arts into the Texas Touring Roster Inclusion. In 2016-2017 Jason was the 1st Prize Winner of the American Prize Competition for professional conductors. In 2015 Jason was the 2nd Prize Winner. Additionally, In 2016 Jason received the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for excellence in performing American Music.  In 2013 Jason made his European conducting debut with the Academic State Concert Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in Kiev and in 2014 appeared as guest conductor with the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Jason has also appeared as guest conductor with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra and Johnstown Symphony Orchestras and has appeared as guest conductor with choruses around the globe. In addition, Jason's work extends to other art mediums such as visual arts and dance notably with collaborations with prominent dance choreographers like Bill Evans. Jason has also appeared as guest conductor of the Denton Bach Society and the American Baroque Opera Orchestra. 
A champion of new music, Jason has conducted at conventions including SEAMUS Y2K (the acousma tex conference) and the North American Saxophone Alliance. In 2001, he was a guest conductor with the Composer’s Forum Orchestra which he conducted world premiere performances of aspiring young composers. In 2012 Jason commissioned the world premiere of BREATH by Brad Robin. During his tenure as Music Director of the NOVA Ensemble, Jason led the group in its first commercial recording in 2000 on the “Equilibrum” label. Jason conducted the world premiere performance of Brian Bavelander’s Distant Visions for orchestra and pre-recorded tape.

In 2010, Jason was among eight conductors selected to participate at the Ithaca International Conducting Workshop under the tutelage of Gustav Meier. Jason has also attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Maine. Jason remains an active performing violist, having performed with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony of Malaysia, Australian National Opera Orchestra and Texas Baroque Ensemble. Jason was also a member of the University of North Texas Graduate String Quartet.
Jason is known for his commitment to community and a strong believer in education while dedicating his talents working with young musicians, and conducting orchestra workshops in Asia and the United States. He served as conductor and educator for 10 years with the Abilene Summer Music Festival in conjunction with Hardin Simmons University, the Pan American Music Festival in Edinburgh Texas, as well as the Penang State Orchestra Workshop in Penang, Malaysia and serves as Artistic Director of the Summer Music Intensives in McKinney, TX since 2015. Jason’s mentors include distinguished conductors: John Farrer, Nicholas Braithwaite, Henryk Pisarek and Max McBride. Jason currently also serves as Artistic Director of the Greater North Texas Youth Orchestra and is also Artistic Director of the Summer Music Intensives in McKinney, Texas.

Currently, Jason is the Artistic Director and conductor of the McKinney Philharmonic Orchestra a group he founded in 2012. In 2014 the orchestra was awarded second prize in the Professional Orchestra division of the American Prize Competition and third prize the previous year. Thanks to Jason’s commitment to education, the group pioneered a unique mentorship program that gives talented high school students the opportunity to perform side-by-side with professional musicians.
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Yesenia Campos Wong, Conductor, Symphony, Violin and Chamber Music. 
A native of Amarillo, TX, Yesenia Campos completed her graduate studies in Violin Performance at Southern Methodist University and her undergraduate studies in Violin Performance at West Texas A&M University. Her studies included work with world renowned soloist Chee-Yun Kim, mentors Annie Chalex, Tomas Cotik, and Dr. Keith Redpath. While at SMU, Mrs. Campos served as the graduate assistant for the chamber music program and while at WTAMU, Mrs. Campos served as concertmaster of the West Texas A&M Symphony Orchestra for three years. While at WTAMU, Mrs. Campos was also a recipient of the West Texas String Quartet scholarship all four years and a winner of the West Texas A&M Concerto Competition. As a violinist, Mrs. Campos has performed at several music festivals including the American Festival for the Arts, the Hot Springs Music Festival, and the Midwest Young Artist Music Festival which included masterclasses with Mark Kosower, Eugene Purdue, Young Nam Kim, and William Preucil. As an orchestra director, Mrs. Campos’ orchestras have received consecutive Sweepstake awards and have received numerous recognitions at various festivals including being awarded Outstanding Performance and Best in Festival. Mrs. Campos currently resides in the Dallas area as Director of Orchestras for Kimbrough Middle School and plans to join the McKinney Philharmonic for their upcoming season.
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Ben Mitchell, Conductor and Double Bass. 


Born in Dallas, Texas, Ben Mitchell began studying Double Bass under the tutelage of Jack Unzicker, Gudrun Raschen, and Jeff Bradetich before continuing his studies at Stephen F. Austin State University with Carlos Gaviria and Dr. Gene Moon. While there, he served as principal double bass of the Orchestra of the Pines for 4 years, received the Schmidbauer Orchestral Scholarship, and was a member of the Swingin’ Axes Jazz Band. During his time at SFA, he also held the principal chair of the Longview Symphony. As a double bassist, he has performed in the Round Top Festival and the InterHarmony International Music Festival, where he studied with James Vandermark, Brett Shurtliffe, and Mark Morton. He has also participated in numerous international performances in Germany, Italy, and Macau. Mr. Mitchell currently serves as an orchestra director at Otto Middle School, where his orchestras have received consecutive sweepstakes awards at UIL, as well as honors at the Peak Music and PISD Courtyard Festivals. Mr. Mitchell lives in Plano, Texas with his wife Angie, and loves spending time with his miniature dachshund named Cooper, cooking for his family, and playing video games. Mr. Mitchell teaches privately in the North Dallas area and regularly performs with the Mckinney Philharmonic, Plano Symphony, Longview Symphony, and Shreveport Symphony. 
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Sara Sasaki, Violin

Sara Sasaki is a violinist based in Dallas, Texas, and has a 15 year teaching and performing career.  She became a graduate of The University of Texas Butler School of Music with an Artist Diploma degree in 2018, 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 the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, studying with David Bowlin.

While studying at UT, she held the positions of Concertmaster and Principal Second Violin with the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Gerhardt Zimmermann, Concertmaster with the University of Texas New Music Ensemble, and Concertmaster of the Bach Cantata Project under the direction of Dr. James Morrow.  She has been a performer and fellow at The Next Festival of Emerging Artists, soundSCAPE composition and performance exchange, Heifetz International Music Institute, Aspen Music Festival, and Eastern Music Festival.

In the DFW area, she performs with the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Lawton Philharmonic, McKinney Philharmonic Orchestra, and Plano Symphony Orchestra.  She additionally enjoys playing bluegrass and jazz music, and has been a featured artist with The Quibble Brothers and Anthony Nagid.  Sara resides in Dallas with her husband Charlie and cats Kikko and Yoshi, and loves working with her wonderful students on a weekly basis.

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Michael Fang, Viola

Violist Zefeng(Michael) Fang began to play violin when he was four years old. Later, he studied viola with Wing Ho, who was the President of the Chinese Viola Society and Chairman of the Viola Department of the Central Conservatory of Music. Dr. Fang hold Doctoral of Musical Arts at Michigan State University. Previously, he holds Bachelor degree at Lynn University, Master degree at Cleveland Institute of Music and studied with Jeffrey Irvine and Lynne Ramsey. Dr. Fang has performed in Severance Hall in Cleveland Ohio, the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Liaoning Grand Theatre, and has been featured on Jining Television. Dr. Fang is the winner of the South Florida Young Artist Solo Competition, attended Primrose Viola Competition in 2008 and Viola Congress in 2012.
 
Dr. Fang had working experience with many orchestras including Erie Philharmonic, Lansing Symphony Orchestra, Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra, Mckinney Philharmonic Orchestra, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, and Richardson Symphony Orchestra.
 
Dr. Fang currently is violin and viola instructor at FCA Frisco and Prosper, Previously He taught the CMS and Warner Elementary School.
 
Dr. Fang had master classes with Kim Kashkashian, Pinchas Zukerman James Dunham, Wayne Brooks, Robert Vernon, Carol Rodland, Hsinyun Huang. Principal teachers including Jeffrey Irvine, Lynne Ramsey, Wing Ho, Ralph Fielding, Eric Nowlin.
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Emmanuel Kwok, Cello

 

Native of Hong Kong, Tsun-yuet Emmanuel Kwok has appeared as soloist in Europe, Asia, and the United States, and has also performed over 30 world premieres of contemporary music. Kwok is currently member of the McKinney Philharmonic Orchestra and has previously played with orchestras including the Dallas Chamber Symphony, Plano Symphony, Irving Symphony, Hong Kong New Philharmonic, Collegium Musicum Hong Kong and Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. He played solo and chamber recitals both in Asia and in the States, and solo appearances with orchestras including Mesquite Symphony, Collegium Musicum Hong Kong, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Art Academy Orchestra and Hong Kong Baptist University Symphony Orchestra. He has received numerous awards, including 1st prize in the Hong Kong Music Festival and 2nd prize in the National Competition of Asia. In addition to his classical performance, he worked with worship ministries and pop singers in Southeast Asia, recording more than ten CDs as solo cellist; in 2021, he also worked with RedSeaMusic (CA, USA) to produce music videos. Kwok’s future commitment including playing chamber recitals in Dallas-Fort Worth area and solo performances with Mansfield Philharmonic and Coppell Community Orchestra in the season of 2021 to 2022. Kwok began cello study at the age of 6 in Hong Kong under Ms. Tung Hiu-lo, later he has finished his Master of Music in cello performance with Professor Ray Wang at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He is currently a doctoral candidate (ABD) at TCU School of Music, majoring in Cello Performance with cognate in Music Theory. In the U.S. his primary teachers included Jesús Castro-Balbi and Eugene Osadchy. He also had the privilege of coaching by Johannes Moser, Lynn Harrell, Steven Isserlis, Bagram Saradjian, Dmitri Atapine, Maja Bogdanovic and Li-Wei Qin. As musician and scholar, Kwok holds memberships of Pi Kappa Lambda International Music Honor Society and Golden Key International Honor Society. Kwok was appointed as Assistant to Artistic Director of the Texas Cello School in 2021. He was previously served as faculty of Clear Creek Music Festival (OR), TCU Summer Cello Academy and Fort Worth B Sharp Youth Music Program. During his stay at TCU, he also serves as Professor Castro-Balbi’s teaching assistant as well as assistant director of TCU Cello Ensemble. Kwok believes in Authentic Christianity and the philosophy of Authentic Music Performance. Besides cello playing, he loves fishing, reading, trying new foods, enjoying movies, video games and music arranging

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Danny Jordan, Viola

 

Violist Danny Jordan is a current resident of The Colony, TX. They recently have returned to the Dallas area after completion of a Master of Music Degree in Viola Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music, under the tutelage of Mark Jackobs. Lauded by audiences as “outstanding,” with a “sound that enraptures,” past awards and accolades include Finalist in the Meadows School of the Arts Concerto Competition, Meadows Scholar Award, Finalist in the 2022 New World Symphony Audition Tour, National Merit Scholar Award, and two-time winner of the Meadows School of the Arts Honors Chamber Music Competition. Prior to their admission to the Cleveland Institute of Music, they completed a Bachelor of Music Degree in Viola Performance from Southern Methodist University, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

 

Jordan has extensive solo, chamber, and orchestral performance experience in some of the most prestigious concert halls in Texas and Ohio, including Jones Hall in Houston, the Meyerson Symphony Center, Moody Performance Hall, Severance Hall, and Winspear Opera House. Solo performance experience includes multiple public recital performances in and around Cleveland, Dallas, and Houston, including a performance as a featured soloist for Cleveland Repertory Orchestra’s 2022 Benefit Recital. Orchestral experience includes performances with Houston Youth Symphony, Meadows Symphony and Opera Orchestras, San Angelo Symphony, Cleveland Institute of Music Symphony Orchestra, Texas Music Festival Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland Repertory Orchestra, with experience performing as principal viola in the Meadows School of the Arts, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Cleveland Repertory Orchestras. Jordan has performed under the baton of phenomenal conductors such as JoAnn Falletta, Hans Graf, Carlos Kalmar, Sey Ahn, and Phillip Mann. Chamber Music experience includes performances alongside the Escher Quartet and the formation of two full-time string quartets, as well as performances in masterclasses for the Pacifica, Dover, and Elias Quartets.

 

In addition to their performance experience, Jordan is an avid educator, working with violists and violinists of all ages in individual and group settings for the last decade. Their students have earned entry into a variety of ensembles and programs, including Houston Youth Symphony, Cleveland School of the Arts, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, and various All-Region Ensembles across the state of Texas. In addition to their work in classical music, Jordan also spends time tutoring in Spanish, as well as various maths and sciences. In their free time, they enjoy cooking, hiking, playing with their dog Alfie, and making music with their closest friends.  Jordan performs on a viola made by Alan and Sarah Balmforth in Seattle, WA in 1999.

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Anthony Nagid, Music Theory

Anthony performs over one hundred and fifty times a year across the D/FW metroplex's most prestigious music venues, clubs and educational institutions. Anthony is a resident of McKinney, Texas where he is the founder of the McKinney Piano Dojo and producer of The Vintage Piano Hour Show. In 2015 he won the Grand Prize at the McKinney Repertory Theater's 'McKinney Has Talent' competition and since 2018 has been a artist grant recipient through the McKinney Arts Commission. Anthony's past professional experience was with Carnival Cruise Lines as a keyboardist and shipboard music director. He graduated from The University of Oklahoma with a degree in music composition and was a student of the jazz piano studies program at The University of North Texas.

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Katie Cox, Faculty and Administrative Assistant


Katie Cox began her musical journey on her 5th birthday when she received her first violin.
Since then, she has grown as a musician through various opportunities. At the age of 8, she was
a member of the Texas Old Time Fiddler’s Association where she was introduced to playing
Texas style fiddling. Katie began her orchestral experience with the Lone Star Youth Orchestra
at age 9 and continued her orchestral experience with the New Conservatory of Dallas, four years
in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, and has also had the privilege of serving as concertmaster
for the Greater North Texas Youth Orchestra as well as participating in the GNTYO Celtic
Ensemble. She has also spent summers attending intensive music programs where she learned
many important musical techniques and leadership skills that greatly enhance and assist her in
her day to day life. Katie is currently a Junior at Baylor University studying Violin Performance
under the instruction of Dr. Eka Gogichashvili while also being a student intern in the Waco
Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Stephen Heyde. After finishing Undergraduate
studies, Katie hopes to pursue a Masters in Violin Performance and enter the orchestral world of
film and videogame music.