The DACAMERA Young Artist Program is a fellowship program for emerging professional instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers. This program is designed to achieve two goals: 1) Provide career-expanding experiences and training to the next generation of artists, encouraging them to create music for the community throughout their careers, and 2) Offer young students and underserved audiences exposure to impactful music and talented performers, using music as a vehicle for scholastic exploration and inspiration. 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 2020/2021 Young Artists are: Bree Ahern, cello; Tinca Belinschi, violin; Nicholas Bissen, saxophone; Douglas DeVries, flute; Alexander Garde, percussion;  Malgorzata Goroszewska, piano; Mary Grace Johnson, violin; Shannon Murray, soprano; Keeheon Nam, clarinet; Jake Sandridge, composer; Kelsey Sham, harp; Alexandra Smither, soprano; Nicky Sohn, composer; Chelsea de Souza, piano; Sebastian Stefanovic, viola and Molly Wise, viola.  The second year fellows are Bree Ahern, Tinca Belinschi, Malgorzata Goroszewska, Mary Grace Johnson, Jake Sandridge, Nicky Sohn, Chelsea de Souza, and Sebastian Stefanovic.

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.

Young Artist portraits by Natalie Gaynor Photography

 

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    Bree Ahern, cello

    Houston-based cellist Bree Ahern is establishing herself as a versatile 21st century musician committed to contemporary music performance, community engagement, and collaboration across the arts. Now in her second year as a DACAMERA Young Artist, she also performs as a core member of KINETIC, an artist-led ensemble committed to performing...

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    Tinca Belinschi, violin

    Romanian violinist Tinca Belinschi performs extensively as a chamber and orchestral musician. She holds awards from various competitions, including the John Oliveira String Competition, Alhambra Concerto Competition, Remember Enescu International Competition, and The National Music Competition of Romania. Summer festival appearances include the International Music Academy in Austria, Wintergreen Music...

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    Nicholas Bissen, saxophone

    Nicholas Bissen is a strong advocate for student opportunity and success. As a saxophonist and educator, Nicholas holds faculty positions at Lone Star North Harris, the New England Music Camp, and formerly Stephen F. Austin State University as adjunct professor and sabbatical replacement. Nicholas has been featured as a chamber...

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    Douglas DeVries, flute

    Douglas DeVries is solo flutist of the contemporary music collective Loop38 and a guest performer with the Houston Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, Musiqa Houston, and the Texas New Music Ensemble. He is an adjunct flute professor at Houston Community College, a Young Artist with DACAMERA in Houston,...

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    Alexander Garde, percussion

    Alexander Garde is a multi-disciplinary percussionist based in Houston, pursuing his master’s degree at Rice University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. Alex is a strong proponent of the importance of contemporary music; he is a founding member of Alinéa, a new music ensemble...

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    Malgorzata Goroszewska, piano

    Pianist Malgorzata Goroszewska earned her doctoral degree from Stony Brook University and master’s degree from The Juilliard School. A Polish native, she grew up with affinity for Fryderyk Chopin, and was honored for her interpretations of his music by The Polish Institute in Vienna in 2010. She has also won...

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    Mary Grace Johnson, violin

    Violinist Mary Grace Johnson received her master’s degree from the Juilliard School where she studied chamber music with the Juilliard String Quartet and served as concertmaster of the Juilliard Orchestra. She made her solo debut with the Nashville Symphony at age 17 and was first prize winner of the 2017...

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    Shannon Murray, soprano

    Soprano Shannon Murray is a fearless performer and emerging artist specializing in contemporary music. She was most recently featured along with the Apollo Chamber Players as part of the Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America initiative in the production Voces Fanstasmas, a multi-disciplinary work of music, dance, and film. She has also appeared in...

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    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...

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    Jacob Sandridge, composer

    As a composer, installation artist, and performer, Jake Sandridge is interested in creating both concert works and non-linear installation and improvisation pieces for acoustic and electronic media. His creative work centers on themes of memory, community, nature, and acceptance, with a strong interest in works that allow for audience and...

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    Kelsey Sham, harp

    Harpist Kelsey Sham is currently pursuing her graduate studies at Rice University and completed her undergraduate degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. A dedicated orchestral musician, Ms. Sham has performed with both classical and contemporary ensembles and has worked to promote new music and art installations across the United...

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    Alexandra Smither, soprano

    Described as “particularly impressive” and “silver-voiced” (The Arts Fuse) in her 2019 debut with the Boston Symphony, soprano Alexandra Smither is making a name for herself as an exhilarating performer as well as a vocal activist for the transformation of classical music. With a technique described as “beautiful, elegant, and...

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    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. Sohn’s 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),...

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    Chelsea de Souza, piano

    Chelsea de Souza is an award-winning Steinway Young Artist from Mumbai, India. A musician of varied interests, both solo and collaborative, Chelsea has performed with the contemporary music ensembles at Oberlin Conservatory, the Peabody Institute and the Shepherd School. She is a committed performer of music by living composers and...

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    Sebastian Stefanovic, viola

    A native of Baltimore, Sebastian Stefanovic is a violist currently studying for his Master of Music degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. In his time in Houston, he has organized and presented solo and chamber music programs in venues as diverse as bookstores, dorms, embassies, and concert halls....

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    Molly Wise, viola

    Molly Wise made her solo debut in Penderecki’s Viola Concerto with the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) Orchestra in October 2018 and will compete as a finalist in the 2021 American Viola Society Competition. She is currently James Dunham’s graduate assistant at Rice University and received her Bachelor of Music...