Our Fantastic Faculty!
An avid teacher and supporter of music education for young students, Ms. Acosta has taught across the United States at many major string workshops and universities.
She is a member of the American String Teachers Association, Suzuki Music Association of California-
Los Angeles Branch, Suzuki Association of the Americas and Musician’s Union Local 47. Gail lives in Valley Village, CA, where she is Suzuki String Coordinator at Evergreen Music Conservatory, maintains a private studio of violin and viola students, coordinates and teaches the Kindergarten/1st Grade Suzuki String Program at Colfax Charter Elementary (180 little violinists!) and is an Adjunct Violin/Viola Professor at Glendale Community College. Her home in Valley Village, CA with her husband, Jerry and son, Michael is filled with music!
Most recently, Dr. Angel was invited to act as a guest concertmaster for the Amarillo Symphony and won the Principal Second violin chair in the Lubbock Symphony. In the past, Angel has also won section violin positions with the Las Colinas Symphony and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. He has also won numerous competitions including the Coeur d’Alene Symphony Orchestra National Young Artist competition in January 2015, where he performed the Glazunov Violin Concerto in a minor with the symphony the following May. Angel’s other solo engagements include works by Sarasate, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Jean Sibelius.
In the spring of 2018, Angel completed his Doctorate of Musical Arts in violin performance at Texas Tech University. There he held a prestigious position in the Graduate String Quartet, was awarded concertmaster in the University Symphony Orchestra, and was a Graduate Teaching Assistant for his instructor, Dr. John Gilbert. Additionally, during his time in Lubbock, Dr. Angel also directed the Ramirez Suzuki Violin Program at Ramirez Elementary School and worked with the Suzuki Talent Education of the Lubbock Region program.
Each summer, he continues his studies by attending training institutes and music festivals including the Brevard Music Center, Meadowmount School of Music, Suzuki Teacher Development Training, Bravo Strings institute, and the Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific.
Dr. Angel has won additional awards including the American Suzuki Institute’s John and Catherine Kendall Memorial Scholarship for 2016, the CodaBow International Scholarship for 2017, and the Most Outstanding Graduate Student at University of Texas at Arlington for the 2014-2015 school year.
Beth maintained thriving studios on the west coast for over thirty years, first in Berkeley, CA and then in Ashland, OR. In Ashland, she coached sectionals and chamber music for the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon (YSSO). In California, she was also on the faculty of Holy Names College Suzuki Program and East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and was the Director of EBCPA’s Outreach Program for the Berkeley/Albany Schools.
Beth performed with the Rogue Valley Symphony, the Rogue Opera and other chamber orchestras in Ashland, OR. As the cellist in contemporary music ensembles in Boston, NYC and London, Beth premiered cello and chamber music works, and received the National Endowment for the Humanities Youth Grant for bringing new music to wider audiences. In addition, she was awarded the Sachar International Fellowship for study in England. A native of NYC, she graduated from Brandeis University. Her training as a teacher of the Suzuki method began with Yvonne Tait and continued at School for Strings, NYC.
Shana taught Suzuki strings in the Parkway School district in St. Louis, Missouri from 2005-2008. In 2004, she completed her Masters degree in Music and Human Learning at the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied violin with Brian Lewis and music education and research with Dr. Robert Duke and Dr. Laurie Scott. Shana received her Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and completed her long-term Suzuki teacher training with Carol Dallinger at the University of Evansville. Before beginning her undergraduate studies, Shana studied with Winifred Crock in St. Louis, where she began playing Suzuki violin at the age of three.
Mrs. Hope has performed across several of the United States as well as in Mexico and Spain. She has been featured as a soloist with orchestras in New Mexico and Virginia, most notably in Washington, D.C., at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. Mrs. Hope has received her Suzuki teacher training from Susan Kempter, Allen Lieb, Gail Johansen and Alice Joy Lewis, and her Suzuki Early Childhood Education training from Sharon Jones and Danette Schuh.
Mrs. Hope currently lives in Dickinson, Texas, where she has the privilege of sharing her love of music with a studio of eager Suzuki violin and viola students during the week and performing in Houston and the surrounding areas on weekends as a freelancing violinist. After seeing firsthand the amazing effects that Suzuki Early Childhood Education classes had on her two small children, Mrs. Hope knew she must offer the same wonderful opportunity to babies and toddlers in her area! She now teaches SECE classes in addition to running her own private studio and learning how to navigate the third side of the Suzuki triangle, as the mother of a preschool Suzuki violin student!
Marty Stuart ~ Grand Ole Opry star and host of "The Marty Stuart Show" on RFD-TV.
Joey McKenzie: Master of the guitar! As you watch him play, you know he has been blessed with power and perfect control over the instrument. In my opinion, he is the greatest guitar player this side of Heaven. He is an Icon, and my hero.
Leon Rhodes ~ Legendary Nashville session guitarist and member of Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours.
The first time I heard Joey McKenzie, his playing impressed me. His sound, chord progressions and ability to keep such good time - even when playing alone, was amazing. That guitarist is Joey McKenzie. His L-12 is the best sounding I've ever heard. You've got to hear him to believe it!
Bob Bain ~ Guitarist for 22 years on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" and L.A. session icon.
Joey’s first musical experience began at age of 11, tuning the instruments his father had around their house - a guitar, mandolin, tenor guitar, and a tenor banjo. Around the age of 12, he started learning a few chords and licks on each of the instruments and has been playing them ever since. When he was 17, he became interested in playing the fiddle after becoming friends with Texas fiddle legend Benny Thomasson. “I went to fiddle contests just playing rhythm guitar, but I wasn’t really inspired to play the fiddle. When I got the opportunity to back Benny up in a few contests and hear the way he played, all I could think about was trying to learn to play the fiddle!” It wasn’t long before Joey began competing and has since won well over 100 fiddle contests and awards on other stringed instruments. Some of these include three-time World Champion Fiddler, World Series of Fiddling Champion and five-time Texas State Guitar Champion. As a touring musician, Joey has performed in 45 U.S. states as well as Canada, Europe, Russia and South America. Joey's performance highlights include The Grand Ole Opry, The Kennedy Center, NYC's Lincoln Center, Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, NPR's "A Prairie Home Companion" and RFD TV's "The Marty Stuart Show". In addition, Joey has shared the stage with musical greats Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, Ray Price, Asleep at the Wheel, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Connie Smith, and even a ukulele-slinging billionaire by the name of Warren Buffett! He has always been fascinated with the great behind the scenes rhythm guitar work of players such as Eldon Shamblin, Homer Haynes, Eddie Lang, Karl Farr, Freddie Green and Oscar Moore. In addition to touring with The Western Flyers, Joey enjoys restoring, repairing and collecting vintage stringed instruments and says he is still trying to get them in tune!
Mr. Moritz holds a Masters Degree in Double Bass Performance & Pedagogy and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education, both from the University of Houston, and also holds a Texas teaching certificate. He has studied with such bassists as Dennis Whittaker, Owen Lee, Ken Harper, David Murray, and William Black. Andy has played in masterclasses under such bass luminaries as Edgar Meyer, has been an instructor at Sam Houston State University, and has appeared as a guest clinician alongside IBMA’s five-time Bass Player of the Year Missy Raines.
Before leaving the classroom to pursue Graduate studies and establish The Bass Studio, Mr. Moritz taught orchestra in public schools for three years. In addition to his current work at the The Bass Studio, he is a regular clinician throughout the Houston area, and has regularly served as a faculty member in the SHSU summer orchestra camp program and the AFA Summer Music Festival.
His students in The Bass Studio have a tradition of excellence. Many are chosen for membership in the Texas All-State Orchestra , and nearly all win seats in every level of Region Orchestra competitions. His students are also high achievers in solo competitions, and are regularly selected as medalists at Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest. His students have attended such camps as AFA, The Texas Music Festival, The Jeff Bradetich master classes Interlochen, and Tanglewood, and have received admission and scholarships to such schools as The University of North Texas , Texas Tech University, Mannes College of Music, and The Juilliard School in New York.
Creatively, Mr. Moritz is involved with numerous projects. He is a founding member and lead bass for the innovative bluegrass fusion band, Classical Grass, and currently plays with various groups such as the Encore Strings, The Houston Mountain Boys, and Sugar Bayou. Andy also played with groups such as the Charlie Prause Trio, the Ed Gerlach Big Band, the Ronnie Renfrow Big Band, and Bo Levi and the Untamed Ponies, as well as playing bass guitar for the Woodway campus of Second Baptist Church, and was also a member of The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra for ten years.
Andy is an active freelance bassist in Houston, regularly performing with big bands, jazz combos, chamber ensembles, orchestras, string quintets, and rock, country, folk, and bluegrass bands. Andrew lives in west Houston with his wife Donna and two adorable dogs.
While still attending the University of Houston, Ms. Petersen began teaching private lessons for the Katy Independent School District. She has over 20 years of experience teaching privately and 15 years of experience teaching junior high orchestra in the Houston area. As a junior high orchestra director, her students consistently earned superior ratings in competition and a few have even gone on to study music with the goal of becoming music teachers themselves. She has also worked with both the Greater Houston Youth Orchestra and the Houston Youth Symphony as a violin section coach and has spent her summers teaching at various string camps in Texas. She is also Suzuki certified and is a member of the Houston Area Suzuki Strings Association and the Suzuki Association of America. Other professional memberships include Texas Music Educators Association and Texas Orchestra Directors Association.
Ms. Petersen currently spends her time raising her young daughter, teaching violin and viola privately and as a freelance violinist. She is the concertmaster of the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra, a member of Third Floor Strings and also performs with Encore Strings. She has performed with recording artists like Michael Bolton, Ray Price and Christopher Cross to name a few. On Sunday mornings, she can be found using her talents to praise God through music with the orchestra at Houston’s First Baptist and has made several recordings with the group.