Honduran violinist and violist Jackson Guillen is currently the Director of the EL Sistema-based CODA Music Program of the Houston Youth Symphony, an organization for which Jackson also serves as the Conductor of the Debut String Orchestra. Additionally, Mr. Guillen has a position as professor of violin and viola at Lone Star College-Tomball.
Dr. Guillen completed his Bachelor and Master’s degrees at the University of Southern Mississippi and Texas Tech University where he studied with Dr. Stephen Redfield and Dr. Kirsten Yon respectively. He also received his Doctor in Musical Arts degree from the University of Houston where he continued his studies with Dr. Kirsten Yon.
Jackson has performed in venues in United States, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, and Chile, and has toured most countries of Latin America with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA). He has served as Principal Second Violin of the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, Lubbock Symphony, and the Symphony of Southeast Texas. He also serves regularly as guest concertmaster of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.
An avid chamber musician, Jackson completed a two-year Young Artist Fellowship with Da Camera of Houston. In the same area, he also performs regularly with professional chamber ensembles in the city. As an arts entrepreneur Jackson plays an important role in the yearly organization of the Encuentro Anual de Cuerdas, a string-focused festival that takes place in Honduras. In 2012 Jackson was accepted as a member of the first generation of the Global Leaders Program participating in missions in Honduras, El Salvador, and Chicago.
Mr. Guillen has also been invited as guest artist to the International Music Festival in Medellin, Colombia, The International Music Festival in Naolinco, Mexico, the Victoria-Bach Festival, the Quartz Mountain Music Festival, the Texas Music Festival, and the Masterworks Festival Orchestra among others.
Colombian violinist/arranger Mauricio Oliveros is currently the Associate Concertmaster of the Symphony of Southeast Texas and is on the Adjunct Faculty at Houston Baptist University. He attained his Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance at the University of Houston. Dr. Oliveros also holds a Graduate Artist Certificate in Violin Performance and Masters in both Violin Performance and Music Theory. His main teachers were Pedro M. Torres, Dr. Curt Thompson, Julia Bushkova, and Andrzej Grabiec. As an active recitalist and chamber musician, Dr. Oliveros performs regularly throughout the American Continent, and has also appeared as soloist with the Symphony of Southeast Texas, the University of Houston Concerto Orchestra, the Magnolia Chamber Orchestra, and in Colombia with the Sinfonica del Valle and the Ensamble Bacata. In addition, Mauricio has been a member of the Sinfonica del Valle, the Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA), and several orchestras in Texas.
An avid lover of chamber music, Dr. Oliveros co-founded the Fuzion String Quartet, which was featured as the guest-quartet in the “2010 Hot Springs Music Festival” and quartet in residence at the “Cali de Camara 2012” International Chamber Music Festival in Colombia. As a former member of the YOA string quartet, he had the opportunity to work and perform concerts alongside famous Jazz musician Paquito D’Rivera. In addition to his performance career, Dr. Oliveros has extensive experience as an educator. He is an active teacher in the Houston area and was also a member of the prestigious YOA Global Leaders Program. He has given violin/viola and chamber music masterclasses in Texas and abroad in countries such as Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Cuba, and Chile (online format).
Spanish pianist Yanira Soria has performed extensively as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, China, Spain, Mexico, Czech Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, and Honduras. She holds degrees from Sam Houston State University and University of Houston, where she completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in Collaborative Piano and Chamber Music, studying under Mr. Timothy Hester.
Dr. Soria has appeared as guest soloist with the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, and the Sam Houston State University's Symphony Orchestra. Her awards and scholarships include 1st place winner and People's Choice Award of the Crescendo Music Awards in 2006, 1st place winner of the TMTA Young Artist Division in 2008, and 2nd place winner of the TMTA Young Artist Division in 2009.
In 2015, Dr. Soria was guest faculty at the Encuentro Anual de Cuerdas, a summer festival for students and players from the most respected musical institutes and orchestras in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. From 2017-2019, Dr. Soria served as the Piano Director at Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School. Currently, she is the Assistant Choir Director at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and is also on staff at the American Festival for the Arts, a music summer program for students ages 9-18. Dr. Soria has been teaching privately for over ten years with students ranging from elementary to pre-collegiate level and maintains a strong private studio.
Venezuelan cellist Mayara Velasquez is an active chamber musician and educator in the Houston area. She currently teaches at the Coda program with The Houston Youth Orchestra, the Kinkaid school and holds a private studio; she is the cellist for the St. Andrew’s Strings.
Ms. Velasquez completed her Bachelor of Music at Louisiana State University, studying with Dennis Parker, and earned her Master of Music degree at the University of Houston, studying under Vagram Saradjian. Her awards and scholarships include winner of the 2007 MMTA collegiate competition, honorable mention at the 2007 MTNA, finalist at the 2011 LSU Concerto Competition, member of several festivals in the United States such as Colorado College Summer Music Festival, Chautauqua, 2013 TCU Cello Fest, The Youth Orchestra of the Americas Central America Tour, among others. In 2014 she joined the faculty of the Encuentro Anual de Cuerdas in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where she performed concerts and taught students from the most respected musical institutes in the city. She has performed as a soloist with the Magnolia Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of the National Autonomous University of Honduras.
An active and versatile performer, violist Rainey Weber is based in Houston, Texas, where she is currently the violist of the Carya String Quartet, the Terra Nostra Ensemble, and St. Andrew’s Strings. Highlights from recent seasons include performing five of Beethoven’s String Quartets as part of the 2017-2018 Beethoven For All Series with Da Camera Chamber Music and Jazz, a tour with the Calliope Quartet of Italy and Austria (July of 2017), and recording string tracks for Robert Ellis’ most recent album, Robert Ellis (2016, New West Records).
Committed to chamber music and community engagement, Ms. Weber is currently a Da Camera Young Artist Fellow, serves on the board of the Houston Viola Society, and is a sectional coach and teaching artist for the Houston Youth Symphony.