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 and received his Masters degree in orchestral conducting from the University of North Texas.
It was in Canberra that he began his conducting studies: 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 the New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize in which Jason was the first prize winner. Most recently, Mr. Lim won 1st Prize in the American Prize Conducting Competition and also was awarded the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award recognizing Jason and the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra for their work performing American music.
Prize Competition: the 2011 Young Conductor Citation Award and most recently winning first prize in the 2016-17 American Prize Competition for professional conductors. Jason Lim added to his accomplishments as a laureate of the Ernst Bacon Memorial award for excellence in performance of 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 appeared as guests with orchestras and choruses in the United states which includes, The Denton Bach Society and Johnstown Symphony and Chorus.
Nicholas Baker. Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Music
Recently graduated from the orchestral conducting program at SMU Meadows School of the Arts and Assistant Conductor of the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, Dallas-born Nicholas Leh Baker is quickly establishing himself as a dynamic and exciting young conductor. Baker's artistic achievements have earned him the prestigious Bruno Walter Conducting Scholarship at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. In 2018, Nicholas made his debut with the Lviv Philharmonic in the Ukraine. In April Nicholas premiered a commissioned Violin Concerto with renowned violinist, Chloé Trevor, hosted by SMU’s Syzygy Contemporary Music Ensemble. In the past Nicholas has guest conducted the String Orchestra of Brooklyn with guest violinist, Giora Schmidt, the Austin Symphony as well as with the Syzygy Contemporary Ensemble at the Meadows School of the Arts. He has previously worked with professional ensembles including Alia Musica Pittsburgh, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Shepherd School of Music, Sonus Chamber Orchestra, and held the principal guest conducting position with Houston Symphonic Band, as well as serving as resident conductor for The Foundation of Modern Music. Nicholas has actively participated in masterclasses at distinguished festivals with worldrenowned conductors, Marin Alsop and Gustav Meier at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and the International Conducting Workshop and Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria. In addition to his conducting engagements, Nicholas Leh Baker is also a dedicated violinist and chamber musician. As an advocate with a great passion for new music, Nicholas founded the ensemble Duo Scordatura. Currently in their 12th year, Duo Scordatura, has both premiered and commissioned over 65 new works by composers such as Jordan Kuspa, George Heathco, Paul Dooley, Avner Dorman, and Alexandra Bryant. In 2013 Duo Scordatura released their debut with rave reviews:
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. As a chamber music enthusiast, Mrs. Campos was awarded the West Texas String Quartet Scholarship and served as the first violinist of the quartet during her undergraduate studies at West Texas A&M. As a soloist, Mrs. Campos won the concerto competition at West Texas A&M on two separate occasions, awarding her the opportunity to perform movements from the Bruch Violin concerto as well as the Barber Violin Concerto with the WTAMU Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. Campos has also performed at several music festivals including the American Festival for the Arts, the Hot Springs Music Festival, and the Midwest Young Artist Music Festival, as well as served as a first violinist with the Amarillo Symphony for eight years. Mrs. Campos is currently the co-director at Poteet High School in Mesquite, TX and plans to join the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra for their upcoming season.
Keyreel Raskolenko. Violin, Chamber Music and Celtic Fiddle
Keyreel wrote his first composition when he was eight and at the age of twelve he gave a local radio interview and performed his first works. At the age of seventeen he got the highest score at the entrance exams to Gnesin's Russian Academy of Music to study violin under Professor Kh. Akhtyamova. He also attended the quartet program of Professor V.Berlinsky, the founder of The Borodin String Quartet. Keyreel has performed with the State Symphony Cinema Orchestra and Pavel Slobodkin's Center Chamber Orchestra and has arranged scores for «Sonore» chamber music ensemble and «Just Enjoy String Band. His passion for discovery, self-perfection and determination has led to Keyreel's interest in different styles of music. He has mastered classic techniques, American bluegrass style and he is one of the most recent Russian performers in Celtic music (Irish, Scottish) on fiddle. Keyreel is the first Russian finalist on «All-Ireland» folk music competition in Tullamore and he took part in Alasdair Fraser's Fiddle Courses on the Isle of Skye (Scotland) in 2010 and 2012. Willing to go beyond the known, he travels as often as possible and tries to learn new styles of playing violin, his beloved instrument.
Julie Daniels. Conductor of the Sinfonietta Orchestra. Violin and Chamber Music.
Julie Daniels graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Music Education. While at OU she studied Violin performance with Mr. Michael Ma and the art of Cello with Mrs. Marjorie Cornelius. After completion of her degree, she taught Elementary Music in Moore, Ok, and then on to Stillwater, OK, to begin a lengthy career as an Orchestra Director. She performed with the OU Symphony Orchestra, Norman Community Orchestra and the OSU Symphony Orchestra while teaching in Oklahoma. Ms. Daniels moved to Texas to take a position with the Carrolton/Farmers Branch ISD as an Elementary Strings Teacher. In 2002 she accepted a position with Frisco ISD to begin a new Orchestra program in the District. Teaching at two of the then four Middle Schools, she opened Wester Middle School and also taught at Clark Middle School. She was the Director of Orchestras at Wakeland High School and Frisco High School simultaneously, from 2006-2008. From there she opened Hunt Middle School in 2010 as the Director of Orchestras while also maintaining the Director position for Frisco High School. Currently, Ms. Daniels is the Director of Orchestras at Frisco High School. Ms. Daniels is an active supporter of the Arts in Frisco, a Violinist with the Stonebriar Community Church Symphony, former board member for the Arts of Collin County, and a seasoned adjudicator. She is also the Mother of 5 children and a Soccer Mom!
Sabrina Mackenzie. Viola, Chamber Music, All State, Chamber Music Co-ordinator
Sabrina Mackenzie received her Bachelor of Music in viola performance from the University of North Texas, where she studied under the tutelage of Dr. Susan Dubois. She went on to receive a Master of Music in performance from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, where she was a student of Elizabeth Freivogel. While at UIUC she also received extensive training in chamber music from the acclaimed Jupiter String Quartet. In high school, Sabrina made it into the Texas All-State Orchestras all four years and was in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra for three years. She maintains an active teaching career in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and performs in regional orchestras such as the Sherman Symphony, the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra, the Las Colinas Symphony, the Fort Smith Symphony, and the Lyric Stage Orchestra.
Tess Crowther. Cello, Chamber Music , All State
Originally from Edmonton, AB, Tess Crowther started playing the cello at age three studying with Diana Nuttall. She holds a Performance Diploma in Cello Performance from The Glenn Gould School at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, ON, as well as a Performance Diploma and Master’s Degree in Cello Performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Crowther was fortunate to study with teachers such as Andrés Diaz, Chris Adkins, David Hetherington, and Shauna Rolston.
Crowther has led as principal cellist in a number of orchestras including the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Canada where she was awarded the Steve Sitarski Leadership Award. She was invited as one of three cellists in Canada to participate in the Canada-India National Youth Orchestral in India, as well as the sole cellist invited to take part in the 2015 Canadian Opera Company Orchestra Academy, giving chamber recitals at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, as well as playing alongside the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra. She is currently also a member of the East Texas Symphony and a regular sub with many other orchestras in Texas.
An avid chamber musician, Crowther was a co-founding member and the cellist of the Grigori String Quartet, which was awarded first place at the University of Toronto’s Felix Galimir Competition. Another ensemble Crowther co-founded, piano trio “1-2 Trio” led her to Quebec’s Palais Montcalm by invitation to perform an all-French program. Crowther has made regular appearances in chamber concerts in Toronto, at venues such as the Arts and Letters Club, University of Toronto Noon Concert Series, and Noon Series at Christ Church Deer Park. Since moving to Dallas, Crowther has been a regular performer in the Meadows Virtuosi Concert Series, and winner of the 2016 and 2017 Meadows Chamber Music Honors Competition, and was invited to perform with members of the Escher String Quartet during their 2017 and 2018 residencies at Southern Methodist University.
In addition, Crowther has performed in solo masterclasses across Europe and North America, including the Banff Centre Masterclasses for Strings and Winds, the Clandeboye Festival, and the Lev Aronson Festival. She has worked with various international artists and ensembles, including Lynn Harrell, Colin Carr, Melissa Kraut, David Geringas, Raphael Wallfisch, Timothy Ying, the Cecilia String Quartet, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet.
Ben Katzen. Cello, Jazz and Rock Orchestra, Chamber Music.
Ben Katzen is a multi-genre cellist and singer-songwriter based in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. He has performed in nine countries, and in such esteemed venues in the United States as Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.. In the Dallas area, he has performed on multiple occasions at the American Airlines Center, Fair Park Music Hall and the Verizon Amphitheater, among many other locations. He has performed at major festivals, backing up Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith and opening for Erykah Badu, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Wallflowers and Cheap Trick. He is Principal Cellist of the Odysseus North Texas Chamber Orchestra, and cellist of the Odysseus String Quartet. He can also be heard performing with flamenco-fusion ensemble Pistolero Flamenco, gypsy jazz group Zigano, singer-songwriter Eddie Lott, the electric-based Texas String Quartet, and the Irving, San Angelo and Plano symphonies, among many others.
Christopher Lettie. Double Bass, Chamber Music, All State
Mr. Lettie has been an active performer and teacher for over 10 years in the DFW and NYC area. He earned a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas under Professor Jeff Bradetich and went on to earn a Master of Music from Yale University under Professor Donald Palma. In addition to teaching in the classroom, Mr. Lettie maintains a private studio of bassists from the Denton area and performs regularly with professional orchestras around the region such as the Fort Worth Symphony, Odysseus Chamber Orchestra, and the East Texas Symphony Orchestra.
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.
Jerry Rizzi. The Blend
The basis for Jerry’s unique composition and performance style, as heard on a number of his CDs, is derived from a passion for music in all forms combined with opportunities to learn from some of the best artists from various genres. Early In Jerry’s Career, he had the opportunity and privilege to study bass with Jimmy Garrison, famed bassist with the John Coltrane quartet. Later, while attending Classical Music classes at Hofstra University, Jerry was privileged to study Cello under the guidance of Seymore Benstock. At the same time, Jerry was utilizing his talents on Bass Guitar as a member of the band for legendary Jazz& blues guitarist Joe Monk, a relationship that lasted 10 years. Jerry still considers Joe as one of the most significant mentors in his development. Jerry, also as a background in Rock and Folk Rock as well.