DACAMERA Young Artist program is a fellowship program for emerging professional instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers. The goal of the program is to encourage musicians to develop the skills necessary to become passionate, forward-thinking and community-focused “citizen artists;” that is, artists who reimagine the traditional notions of their music-making and embrace the role of contributing to society through the transformative power of their art and proactive social engagement. DACAMERA Young Artists participate in an exciting variety of performances, workshops and school visits. Young Artists perform at the Wortham Center; The Menil Collection; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and area hospitals and libraries. They are also the principal teaching artists for DACAMERA’s innovative Music Encounters program.

The 2021/2022 Young Artists are: Nils Aardahl, bass; Bree Ahern, cello; Jalen Baker, vibraphone; Nicholas Bissen, saxophone; Chelsea de Souza, piano; Douglas DeVries, flute; Alexander Garde, percussion; Mary Grace Johnson, violin; Daniel Leibovic, composer; Pablo Martínez Martínez, piano; Gavin Moolchan, drums; Shannon Murray, soprano; Keeheon Nam, clarinet; Clara Saitkoulov, violin; Kelsey Sham, harp; Alexandra Smither, soprano; Nicky Sohn, composer; Sebastian Stefanovic, viola; Lucie Ticho, cello; Teresa Wang, violin; Molly Wise, viola

Click on the photo to learn more about each DACAMERA Young Artist. Look for upcoming performances by the Young Artists on our Free Events page.

Current DACAMERA Young Artists can click here to access the Young Artist Resources Page.

 

Young Artist portraits by Natalie Gaynor Photography

  • Bree Ahern, cello

    Cellist Bree Ahern is a versatile solo and chamber musician committed to building community through performing, teaching, and collaborating across art forms. As a member of Kinetic Ensemble and Loop38, she regularly presents newly composed works and interdisciplinary programs to diverse audiences throughout Houston. Her work as a Young Artist...

  • Jalen Baker, vibraphone

    Jalen Baker is a graduate of Kinder HSPVA. He studied at Columbia College Chicago and Florida State University before returning to Houston to compose and perform his unique blend of original modern jazz compositions and standards.

  • Nicholas Bissen, saxophone

    Nicholas Bissen is a strong advocate for student opportunity and success. As a saxophonist and educator, Nicholas held faculty positions through Lone Star North Harris and Stephen F. Austin State University. He currently owns and operates The Rose Street Saxophone Room, providing instruction and opportunity to saxophonists across Houston. Nicholas...

  • Chelsea de Souza, piano

    Known for her dynamic artistry and thought-provoking recital programming, Indian pianist Chelsea de Souza is a Steinway Young Artist equally at home in the worlds of traditional and new music. A finalist of the 2021 Concert Artists Guild competition, she strives to explore issues of identity and culture in her...

  • Douglas DeVries, flute

    Douglas DeVries is a founding member of Houston’s newest ensemble the Monarch Chamber Players, core member of contemporary collective Loop38, and DACAMERA Young Artist. Recent highlights include solo performances of Concerti by Mozart, Bach, and Ibert, in addition to guest appearances with the Los Angeles and Louisiana Philharmonic’s, the Florida Grand...

  • Alexander Garde, percussion

    Alexander Garde is a multi-disciplinary percussionist based in Houston, Texas, pursuing his Master’s Degree at Rice University under the tutelage of Matthew Strauss. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston, where he was the recipient of the 2020 George Whitefield Chadwick Medal. Alex’s passion for...

  • Mary Grace Johnson, violin

    Violinist Mary Grace Johnson has appeared internationally at venues from New York’s Lincoln Center to London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. A passionate chamber musician, she studied with the American, Blair, Escher, Juilliard and Pacifica quartets and co-founded the Unison Quartet, recent participants in Juilliard String...

  • Daniel Leibovic, composer

    Daniel Leibovic is a composer, pianist, and singer. His works explore his current interest in voice, lyrics, and non-western musical materials. He is particularly drawn toward Indonesian and Jewish musical elements, given his family connections to those heritages. Daniel is a Young Artist with DACAMERA and a Brown Fellow at...

  • Pablo Martínez Martínez, piano

    Described as “sensitive and thoughtful” (Volksstimme), Spanish pianist Pablo Martínez Martínez has performed in venues such as the National Auditorium of Madrid, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and Mozarteum Wiener Saal in Salzburg. Pablo is an international piano competition laureate, including the Neue Sterne Piano Competition...

  • Gavin Moolchan, drums

    Gavin Moolchan is a drummer born and raised in Houston, Texas. After graduating high school in 2013, Gavin studied with Sebastian Whittaker, Daniel Dufour, and Will Kennedy, some of the most notable drummers in the area. He is a freelance musician and private instructor covering a wide range of genres....

  • Shannon Murray, soprano

    Soprano Shannon Murray is a passionate performer of new music. Her work as a soloist and collaborator has also been featured by distinguished organizations such as the Kennedy Center for the Arts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Moody Center of the Arts, Houston Chamber Choir, Apollo Chamber Players, AURA Contemporary Ensemble...

  • Keeheon Nam, clarinet

    Korean-American clarinetist Keeheon Nam cooks up his musical appetite as an innovative performer and teacher. His performances have taken him from dive bars in Minnesota to improvising in Carnegie Hall. While not performing on stage, he is a passionate teacher and was previously a chamber music coach at Vanderbilt’s Blair...

  • Clara Saitkoulov, violin

    French-Russian born violinist Clara Saitkoulov has emerged as one of the most expressive and compelling violinists of her generation. A student of Cho-Liang Lin at Rice University, Clara has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in Europe, Russia, Australia and the United States. She has appeared at international festivals...

  • Kelsey Sham, harp

    Harpist Kelsey Sham currently studies at Rice University with Paula Page, and completed her Bachelor of Harp Performance degree under Yolanda Kondonassis at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Ms. Sham also manages a private studio, teaches in the Shepherd School of Music’s Young Children Preparatory Division, and was recently named...

  • Alexandra Smither, soprano

    An adventurous performer and one of the CBC’s 2017 “30 Young Hot Classical Musicians Under 30”, Canadian soprano Alexandra Smither is a fresh fixture on the worldwide stage. Her “sunny, cloudless top” and “silky, light, soprano” are an organic fit in staple repertoire of Mozart and Monteverdi; Ms. Smither’s signature...

  • Nicky Sohn, composer

    From ballet to opera to Korean traditional-orchestra, the wide-ranging talent of composer Nicky Sohn is heard across the US, Europe, and Asia. Her work has been described as “like John Adams’ ‘Short Ride in a Fast Machine’ on steroids” (YourObserver), “dynamic and full of vitality” (The Korea Defense Daily), and...

  • Sebastian Stefanovic, viola

    Violist Sebastian Stefanovic is a Baltimore native currently residing in Houston, having completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Rice University’s Shepherd School while studying with Ivo van der Werff. Mr. Stefanovic is a passionate advocate for new music and the expansion of the viola repertoire, and he has commissioned,...

  • Lucia Ticho, cello

    Cellist Lucia Ticho enjoys an active career as a performer and pedagogue. This season, in addition to her activities with DACAMERA, she appears with the Colorado Music Festival orchestra and in various programs at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, where she is pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree....

  • Teresa Wang, violin

    Canadian violinist Teresa Wang is a passionate musician always looking for ways to break down barriers in the concert halls. As an avid chamber musician, she has performed alongside artists such as Martin Beaver, John Novacek, and Scott St. John, and has been a member of the TAG duo with pianist Tong Wang...

  • Molly Wise, viola

    Recognized for possessing “unusual creativity and expression,” Darius Milhaud Foundation Award recipient Molly Wise is a violist who uses performance to inspire and educate. As winner of the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) Concerto Competition, she made her solo debut performing Penderecki’s Viola Concerto. She was also a finalist in...