Alfred Tam

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Alfred Tam received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Texas at Austin and Master of Music from the University of Houston, both in Trombone Performance. He has performed with numerous classical, jazz and pop groups including Galveston Symphony, Houston Civic Symphony, Campanile Orchestra, Clouseaux, SA8, etc. and participated in festivals such as International Music Festival – Roundtop and Texas Music Festival.

Alfred began guitar instruction at 9 and soon learned works by Albeniz, Bach, Carcassi, Giuliani, Sor, Villa-Lobos, etc. and participated in numerous recitals. Electric guitar and bass followed as Mr. Tam learned the songbooks of early Rock and Pop songs to the latest hits. He is active in the live music community, performing in a variety of venues here in Houston and abroad as well as lending his musicianship to studio recordings by local artists.

Mr. Tam has been teaching guitar, bass and low brass since 1996 and has been an instructor with The Moosic School since 2008. He enjoys introducing students of all ages to fundamental practice and musicianship skills as they learn a diverse range of music. He has many years experience successfully preparing students for auditions, competitions and recitals.
Ayako Onishi

A native of Tokyo, Japan, Ayako Onishi began piano lessons at the age of seven with Noriko Nakamura. She learned solfege, sight-reading, and music theory at the Music School for Children Toho Gakuen School of Music while taking lessons with Machiko Kurihara and Mami Kumabe until she moved to the US. In 1998 she entered Oberlin Conservatory of Music with a scholarship and studied in the studio of Lydia Frumkin. As a soloist and accompanist, she performed at many recitals and concerts including a master class with Jeremy Denk and the Interharmony International Music Festival in Geneva, Switzerland. After earning her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance in 2002, she pursued her piano studies with Nancy Weems while earning a scholarship at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music.

After completing her Master of Music in Piano Performance in 2004, she joined the teaching staff at The Moosic School. She has been teaching students from age three to adult and from beginner to advanced. Many of her students take the ABRSM (Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music) exams and successfully pass with Merit or Distinction.

BriAnna Dewar

BriAnna Dewar is a soprano that can sing a vast range of genres from opera, musical theater, jazz, and much more. She began voice training at the age of 14, where she took voice lessons at NOCCA-The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. She graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy, in Interlochen, MI where she studied with Mr. Jeffrey Norris. During that time she won first place in the High School division of The Barry Alexander International Vocal Competition. She then competed as a NFAA YoungARTS finalist, and she won First Place in the Slidell’s Got Talent Competition.

BriAnna continued her studies as a music major with a focus in vocal performance. She began her college career at Eastman School of Music. She is continuing her college career at the University of Houston where she studied with Dr. Lynda McKnight and is currently studying with Dr. Timothy Jones. Her passion and love for music has made her the person that she is today. Her goal is to empower people with the power of music.

BriAnna believes "all people can experience success in their lives with a musical background. Start learning music now! It has the potential to keep you focused. It has the potential to open doors for you. The world is competitive. Let’s get a head start!”
David A. Benitez

David Armando Benitez started his musical career at the age of 13 when he started to learn his first instrument, the trumpet. He quickly developed a natural inclination towards music and continued to play the trumpet throughout his high school years, playing trumpet for the Nogales High School Regiment in La Puente, CA helping the organization earn numerous awards across the state and across the nation. It was in his junior year in high school that David started to teach himself how to play the guitar, and quickly started playing for the jazz band and drum line. After graduation David moved to Texas where he would attend school for his BA in music, starting first at Wharton County Junior College and transferring to the University of St. Thomas where he recently graduated in the summer of 2013 with his BA in Music.

David can be seen playing with various musical groups and solo jazz guitar across numerous stages in the Houston area and also with his ministry Shaddai in various churches around the Galveston-Houston area. Being self-taught David fell in love with playing guitar and playing music in general, and later developed skills for the ukulele, bass, piano, and drums. He works to instill that same excitement he still feels to his students, teaching that although learning an instrument isn’t always easy, the rewards of playing and creating art are always worth the hard work. 
Hoa Ly

Hoa Giai Ly was introduced to the piano at the age of 5. After graduating with honors in 1992 from the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Conservatory of Music in Piano Performance, she got a Bachelor’s Degree in Conducting and Master’s Degree in Piano Performance in 1998, and then pursued further study at the Shanghai Conservatory in China. She has performed frequently with the HCMC Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO) throughout Viet Nam as well as in China, Hong Kong, and the United States; playing numerous piano concertos with the HCMC Orchestra under the batons of Zhang Xiao Dong (China), Jean Deroyer (France), Franz Rasmussen (Denmark), Colin Metters (England), Minh Cam and Tran Vuong Thach (Vietnam).

Since the age of 16, Hoa began to experience teaching, and substituted for her teacher, Mr Nghiem Phu Phi, in his class of piano in Saigon where he left in 1984. Her undergraduated pedagogic experience was a good preparation for her later teaching career in the Piano Department of HCMC Conservatory from 1992 to 2006, as well as in her private studio in Saigon, and recently in Orange County Conservatory, California. Her students range from 4 year old who have an early musical interest to adults who play piano in their leisure time as a mental exercise.
Jack McLaughlin

Born and raised in Houston, Jack McLaughlin began playing the piano at the age of nine and quickly developed a passion for it. Since then he has performed recitals around Houston and entered in piano competitions, winning second place in the Houston Music Teachers Association’s piano competition and competing in the Music Teachers National Association’s piano competition. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in piano performance with highest honors at the University of Houston in May of 2015 studying under the world renowned pianist Abbey Simon. He is now pursuing a Master’s degree in the same subject at the University of Houston and plans to graduate by the end of 2016.

Jack has studied pedagogy at the university level and taught around Houston the past few years in group and private settings of all different ages.
Lucia Nowik

Lucia Nowik is originally from North Plainfield, NJ. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance from the Juilliard School in May of 2016 and is currently pursuing a Master of Music from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. Lucia’s past teachers were You Sun Kim, Stephen Clapp, Masao Kawasaki, and presently Kathleen Winkler of the Shepherd School.

While at Juilliard, Lucia was a violin mentor in the Pre-College Division and a member of the Gluck Community Service Fellowship for three years. From 2014 to 2016, Lucia held a Morse Teaching Artist fellowship, a program run through Juilliard that puts student teachers into public schools. As a fellow, she taught instrumental group lessons through a City College after-school program in Inwood, Manhattan. This past summer she served as a mentor for the Music Academy of the West’s 2017 MERIT program.

Lucia has subbed with the New World Symphony and attended the Tanglewood Music Festival twice. She was selected for the Spoleto Festival USA in 2014, and in 2015 she participated in the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival held in Germany. Most recently, Lucia attended the Music Academy of the West, where she was selected to serve as one of the concertmasters for the summer, concluding in a final performance with Alan Gilbert and Renee Fleming.

In addition to music, Lucia loves hiking and anything outdoors, dancing, and spending time with her nine siblings whenever she can.
Michael Lanahan

Michael Lenahan is a Houston-based pianist. He received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance from The Juilliard School where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal and is currently studying with Dr. Robert Roux working towards his master’s degree at Rice University. His other teachers include Anita Wilkin, Dr. Robert Saterlee, and Dr. Logan Skelton.

In 2010, Michael won the Toledo Symphony Young Artists Concerto Competition, performing with the orchestra; second place in the International Zimmerli Piano Competition in 2011 and 2013. He won the Toledo Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition two years in a row, and first place in the 2012 Graves Piano Competitions, as well as winning a discretionary award in the 2012 Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. In 2017 he was selected the scholarship recipient for Art of the Piano’s “Enlight Scholarship.” Michael's involvement in chamber music has led to performances in many colorful venues, including Alice Tully.

Michael has been teaching piano since he was 16 years old. He was secondary piano faculty at The Juilliard school from 2014-2016 and also served as a piano teacher in Juilliard's Music Advancement Program. Besides, he was an Ear Training teaching fellow at Juilliard and has also served as a judge in competitions, most notably the International Music Arts Society in the NYC tristate area for 4 years in a row. Currently, Michael is a piano teacher to non-majors students at Rice University.

 Sayaka Seki
Born in Japan, Ms. Sayaka Seki began piano lessons at age 5, studying with Ms. Hisae Kashiwagi until age 18. She participated in Joyful Sounds Piano Contest throughout her middle-high school years and won several awards. Accepted by Moores School of Music in University of Houston (UH) with scholarship, she started lessons with Mr. Timothy Hester in 2002. She participated in Schlern Music Festival, Italy in 2003 and 2005, as well as studying abroad in Siena, Italy in 2003 with a scholarship by UH’s Italian department, where she pursued Italian language as minor. After finishing her undergraduate degree in Piano Performance, she continued her studies with Mr. Hester, for her Masters in Accompanying and Chamber Music, which was successfully completed in 2009.

Ms. Sayaka has been enthusiastically teaching piano since 2006, inspired by pedagogy classes with Ms. Alicia Shirley.  She has sent a number of students to the Associate Board of Royal School of Music Exam, and many of them passed with Merit or Distinction. She is also a staff accompanist at UH, as playing music with other musicians has always been her passion. 

Shannon Murray
  voice & piano
A native of Boston, Shannon Murray grew up in a household of professional musicians. She began studying piano at the age of four with her mother, and later with Dr. Silvia Santinelli in San Antonio, Texas. At twelve years old, Shannon began teaching her own students and discovered her true passion for music and education.

Shannon is currently completing her undergraduate studies with soprano Cynthia Clayton as a vocal performance major at the University of Houston, Moores School of Music. During her studies, she has performed with the Concert Chorale and with the Moores Opera Center in productions of Hansel and Gretel, The Love for Three Oranges, Romeo and Juliet, and La Rondine. She most recently featured as Tina in the 2019 production of Dinner at Eight by William Bolcom. In 2017, Shannon was selected to be an exchange student to the Mendelssohn Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Leipzig, Germany.

Shannon is passionate about new music. She has performed as a soloist with AURA Contemporary Ensemble, and has recently premiered the song cycle “Voces Disconjuntas” by award-winning composer Alejandro Basulto Martinez. Shannon also dedicates herself to the study of foreign language and speaks French, Spanish, and German. She is an alumna of the Middlebury Language School for German studies, where she sang in a German-language production of The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.

 Ton Ta
Ton Ta studied violin with his father Bon Ta at the Hanoi National Conservatory of Music and Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music from the age of five until he left for Melbourne, Australia to pursue his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Melbourne. He also began his classical piano training with Ms. Ha Tran, Head of the Piano Department at the Hanoi National Conservatory, at the age of eight. After completing his Bachelors degree with Honors in 2003, he moved to San Francisco and earned his Master of Music Performance degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 2006, he joined the studio of the world renowned violinist Fredell Lack at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where he completed his Master of Music Pedagogy degree in 2008.

Ton discovered his passion for teaching soon after he began in 2001 and he has not stopped since. His teaching approach focuses equally on nurturing the student’s interest in playing the instrument, improving student’s playing technique, and the ability to read music.

More information about Ton Ta, his performances and teaching can be found on his website

 Wakana Kizu
Ms. Wakana Kizu is a concert pianist, collaborative pianist, and piano teacher from Sapporo Japan. She began her piano training at the age of three from her mother, who is a piano instructor in Japan. She was coached by Mrs. Kayoko Shimoya, Mrs. Yasuko Sato from Yamaha Institute, and Mr. Shigeru Maruyama, head of the music department at The Musashino Music University. In 2003, Ms. Kizu came to the U.S. and attended
The University of Texas at Austin where she studied with Dr. Betty Mallard and completed both her bachelor's and master's degrees in Piano Performance. She has performed internationally in numerous solo recitals, concerts as a collaborative artist, and in master classes with Claude Frank, David Chang, William Doppmann, and Anton Nel.

Ms. Kizu is passionate not only for performing but also for teaching piano, and she enthusiastically shares her musical expertise with each of her students. She received piano pedagogy training under Ms. Sophia Gilmson at the University of Texas at Austin. Additionally, she taught for the UT Piano Project and college piano class PIA201.

She has been teaching private piano lessons and group piano classes at The Moosic School since 2009.

According to Ms. Kizu, the enjoyment of playing the piano is the key to becoming a successful student of the piano.

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