Natalie Tobita, 18, is an incoming freshman at the University of Texas in Austin, studying violin performance with Professor Brian Lewis. In the past years, Natalie has been concertmaster of many orchestras, including several of the Austin Youth Orchestras, Region 18 Orchestra, Westridge Middle School Orchestra, and the Westlake High School Orchestra. Other orchestral experiences include being a member in the Texas All-State Orchestra. Natalie has been invited to play as a featured soloist in school shows, orchestra competitions, and for the Annual Taiwanese Association which was broadcasted on a National Taiwanese channel. Natalie has been honored to perform in masterclasses with Gerardo Ribeiro, Steven Rochen, Kikuei Ikeda, David Kim, Karen Gomyo, and the Pacifica Quartet. In addition, Natalie has also worked with acclaimed artists including: David Geber, Eugene Drucker, Daniel Phillips, Hagai Shaham, and the Borromeo Quartet. Over the past summers, Natalie has attended the Meadowmount School of Music and Heifetz International Music Institute.
Tiffany Tobita is a junior at Westlake High School. She has been playing cello for eightyears, currently studying with Douglas Harvey, principal of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. At school, Tiffany was the principal cellist in her school orchestra. In addition to her five years at the Austin Youth Orchestra program, she has served as assistant principal several times in the top Austin Youth Symphony Orchestra. She won multiple Outstanding Musician medals for Solo and Ensemble for five consecutive years, as well as UIL State Solo and Ensemble for both freshman and sophomore years. Tiffany is also a full-time member of the Sharing Music Club, where she performs at nursing homes. Over the summers, she attended Meadowmount School of Music where she studied under Jonathan Koh. Tiffany also enjoys giving lessons to children during her free time. Outside of music, Tiffany is invested in many different types of clubs including Latin Club, Mu Alpha Theta Club, HOSA Club, and the National Junior Honor Society. She has held leadership positions such as Historian of Orchestra Club and Social Media Director of the Fermion Speaker Series. This past summer, Tiffany was recently pronounced as Alumni of the Envision Advanced Medicine Program at the Johns Hopkins University.
> Nick Hammel is a freshman at UT Austin, studying Violin Performance and Mathematics. He is a music ambassador for the organization Classical Music for the World, whose goal is to spread the joy of music throughout the community. Nick has also been a part of many ensembles, including the Newtonian Trio, Melomanus Quartet, and the Newtonian Quartet, which was a finalist in the 2018 Coleman Chamber Music Competition.
Abhinav Madduri started violin at the age of 11, where he began taking lessons with John Holguin, as well as participating in the West Ridge Middle School. When he reached high school, he was the only freshman in Westlake High School to make the TMEA All-State Orchestras (specifically the Philharmonic Orchestra). He also received a 1 at the annual Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest that same year. Later, he began participating in the Austin Youth Orchestra, led by Kay Vanlandingham and William Dick. Soon after, he made the TMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra and received not only a 1 at TSSEC, but the Outstanding Performer's award as well, given only to 2% of students from across the state participating in the contest. He was also part of the Neptune Quartet, which made it to the semifinals of the Coltman National Chamber Music Competition. He also won the Asian American Challenge Cup with the quartet as well. Abhinav frequently plays with chamber groups, and is the concertmaster of the Westlake Symphony Orchestra. He also continues to be an active member of the Austin Youth Symphony Orchestra. He recently became a part of the AYO Opus Quartet, made of members from all around the Austin area, which will perform multiple times through the year at AYO concerts and other venues, as well as performing at outreach concerts with the Austin Symphony Quartet. Abhinav currently studies with Professor Brian Lewis at the University of Texas at Austin. In Abhinav's spare time, he likes to hang out with family and friends, play video games, watch Netflix, go biking, and do research.
Member Since Winter 2018
Isabella started studying violin with Jo and Tal Schifter at age 5 of the Long Island Suzuki Strings. Isabella is currently studying at the University of Texas at Austin with professor Brian Lewis. Isabella was named Concert Master for NMEA in 6th and 8th grades and Concert Master for SCMEA in 9th and 10th grades. She also participated in All-State NY orchestra for the past two years. Isabella debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2015 playing the Bruch Concerto, 3rd Movement, with pianist Grace Heaphy and again in 2017 playing Lalo Symphonie Espagnole 4th movement. In February of 2018, Isabella was honored to be a guest soloist at the Salome Chamber Orchestra Gala Concert playing Lalo Symphonie Espagnole 1st movement with the chamber orchestra at Carnegie Hall. In 2016, and again in 2018, Isabella participated in the advanced violin ensemble at the Suzuki Association of America’s Conference in Minneapolis, MN. She also toured Alaska with the Long Island Suzuki Strings. In addition, she was the winner of the Long Island Youth Orchestra’s annual concerto competition in 2018, and was featured at a soloist playing Lalo Symphonie Espagnole.
Shifan Qian is an 8th grader at Kealing Middle School. He has been playing piano for eight years. He studied with Maki Korczynski and is currently studying with Professor Timothy Woolsey, retired professor and head of the keyboard area at Texas State University. This past summer, Shifan won second place in Beryl Baty Summer Merit Scholarship audition, and attended Baylor Summer Piano Institute. Shifan has also been playing cello for three years. He studied with Andrew Nguyen, and is currently studying with Douglas Harvey, principal of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Shifan started to attend the all-region orchestra as a 6th grader, and was the second chair cellist as a 7th grader. Shifan's other passion is math. When Shifan is not playing music or working on math, he plays water polo and video games, reads, and explores Austin's surrounding parks.
Violinist Jillian Johnson, 20, a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy (IAA), currently studies at the University of Texas at Austin with Brian Lewis and the Miró Quartet under full scholarship. Jillian has performed in venues including the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, and the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. She teaches with the UT String Project, directed by Dr. Laurie Scott. She performed in masterclasses for Rachel Barton Pine, Giora Schmidt, Oleh Krysa, James Buswell, Philip Setzer, and others. Jillian has enjoyed chamber music collaborations with contemporary ensemble eighth blackbird, Condoleezza Rice, and Chloé Trevor. A fan of modern compositions, Jillian has served as concertmaster for the premiere of “The Three Musketeers” by Michael Thurber on From The Top Live with Christopher O’Riley, played in the Austin New Music Co-Op, and the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial. She recently engaged in solo performances with the Las Vegas Young Artists Academy Orchestra and the Nevada School of the Arts Chamber Orchestra. Over the summer, Jillian has attended the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Center Stage Strings, and the Starling-Delay Symposium at Juilliard. As an orchestral musician, Jillian has performed with the Canton Symphony and Henderson Symphony Orchestra. When she’s not performing or teaching, Jillian enjoys reading, painting, and cooking.
Ashley Wang is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music at the University of Texas at Austin under Professor Bion Tsang. She started her cello studies at age 8 with Eleonora Lopez, and later her husband, Emmanuel Lopez when she started high school. In addition to cello, she has been studying piano since she was four and a half years old. Ashley is equally passionate about performing and teaching music. She has started teaching cello and piano private lessons since 2015. Ashley has completed training for Suzuki book 1 in cello with Dr. Alice Ann O’Neill (2018) and Book 2 and 3 with Dr. Andrea Yun (2019) at DFWWOW. She strongly believes in encouraging her students to become the best they can be in a healthy and productive learning environment. Ashley has played in Lab orchestra, University Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra at UT Austin. She is heavily involved in chamber music at UT and has founded her own piano trio of 3 years. She has worked closely with Maestro Dr. Mark Bartley, played in masterclasses with Madeleine Kabat and Kenneth Freudigman, and received coachings from the Harrington String Quartet and Miró String Quartet. She has also performed with the Chamber Music Amarillo Virtuosi Orchestra alongside Professor Jeffrey Lastrapes. In May 2016, she toured with the WTAMU Symphony Orchestra in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest as assistant principal cellist. Ashley loves to cook, eat good food, and go on adventures with her friends and family.