CMA students learn from talented, certified musicians
Shareen Vader: CMA Director & Choral Director
Mrs. Shareen Vader retired from teaching in May of 2019, after a career of 31 years in public school education. She has a double major in Music Performance (Voice and Piano) and holds a Music Education degree from Texas State University in San Marcos. She also received a Master's in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University.
She began her teaching career in the Lamar CISD in Rosenberg, Texas, teaching elementary music, as well as middle school and high school choir. In 1996, she moved to the Seguin area and taught with Judson ISD for nine years, teaching High School Choral Music and Music Theory for three years at Judson High School, and then taught elementary music at Crestview Elementary School in Judson ISD for six years.
Mrs. Vader went on to begin a Choral program at La Vernia ISD, teaching intermediate and secondary music and choir for four years. She went on to teach at Canyon High School in Comal ISD from 2009-2019, teaching secondary choir and piano classes. She joined the Community Music Academy staff in 2017, directing the youth choirs.
Mrs. Vader is married to her loving husband, Morris. They enjoy the outdoors, gardening, riding horses, and of course, special time with their children, and grandchildren.
Stephanie Britten Phillips: Beginning Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Private Violin & Viola
Stephanie Britten Phillips is a violist, a composer, and an improvisation specialist. She facilitates workshops in creative music making and improvisation for people of all ages and abilities. She particularly loves to help classically trained musicians to find and release their individual creative voice.
Her Improv Orchestra workshops are sourced from her lifelong exploration of improvisation in music and interdisciplinary arts and focus on helping participants to bridge the gap between technical training and creative self-expression. She has found that this process builds confidence, releases tension, allows musicians to diversify their skills, and it’s FUN!
Her number one goal is that students enjoy the process and develop a lifelong joy in music. She has presented her unique improvising program at numerous universities, camps and conferences across Texas, the U.S. and Canada including the McGill School of Music in Montreal, the international conference of the Applied Improvisation Network, and student orchestras across Texas and the US.
She is annual summer faculty at various camps including the Austin Chamber Music Center and TCU Summer String Workshops. She is currently teaching chamber music at several schools in Austin and playing in symphonic and eclectic orchestras across Texas.
Dr. Eric Siu: CMA Performers Director, CMA Outreach Violin, & Private Violin
Eric Siu has been a member of the San Antonio Symphony since 2013 and a member of Texas Lutheran University’s violin faculty since 2014. Eric was born in Hong Kong and began violin studies at age 6. Following studies at Wells Cathedral School (UK), he earned degrees at the Juilliard School and the Mannes College of Music where he studied with Sally Thomas. In 2012, he graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Rice University where he studied with Kathleen Winkler.
Eric’s solo performances have been heard on KUHF Houston Public Radio and Classic FM. He has presented a recital of the complete violin sonatas of Eugene Ysaÿe and a lecture-recital on Bartók’s Sonata for Solo Violin. As a chamber musician, Eric has performed at the Three Cities Chamber Music Marathon at the Kennedy Center and at the Cali de Camara festival in Colombia. He also performs regularly with the Ritter Piano Trio, a collaboration which began at Rice University as a student ensemble. Eric has performed with the Houston Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic as a substitute musician.
Eric has attended the International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove and the Pacific Music Festival, where he was concertmaster for two years. An avid pedagogue, Eric earned his Suzuki Teaching Certification at the School for Strings in New York, and served as Sally Thomas’s teaching assistant at the Meadowmount School of Music for five years. He has taught masterclasses at the Antonio Maria Valencia conservatory in Colombia.
Elizabeth L. Massad: CMA Outreach Cello & Private Cello
Elizabeth L. Massad, also known as Liz Massad, is from Corpus Christi, Texas. At 6 years old, she began piano lessons and cello lessons at 8 years old. She studied composition with Dr. Michael Ippolito, Dr. Neil Flory, Richard Hall, Dr. Russell Riepe, and Dr. Thomas Clark. Elizabeth studied cello with Dr. Karla Hamelin, Claire Holland-Onuf, Susan Sturman, and Benjamin Westney. Her studies also include, piano and choir with Mildred Benight and Judy Mellenbruch.
Elizabeth holds a Master of Music Composition, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Texas State University. Her main interests are composing for film scores, commercials, video games and performing electronic, classical, and new music. Elizabeth's music has been performed by the Del Mar Chamber Orchestra in Corpus Christi, and students at Texas State University in San Marcos. She was named principal cellist for the Texas State University Symphony Orchestra, the Del Mar Chamber Orchestra, the and the Starlight Symphony Orchestra.
In 2017, she had the honor of being a guest soloist for the Del Mar Chamber Orchestra. She performed works written by colleagues that range from string quartets and cello solos, to amplified cello with visuals. In addition, Elizabeth performed as a pit musician for operas and musicals including "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"with Texas State University’s Musical Theater Department. Her compositions are featured in the film Yorktown (of which parts of the score can be found on iTunes) and El Cucuy, 2014 SXSW film participant and winner of the Pepe Serna award. As a studio musician, she recorded cello for multiple projects, including Ashleigh Stone’s album, "Elements" (2015) and Memories in Broken Glass’s album,"Enigma Infinate"(2017).
Dr. Eliza Jeffords: Private Violin & Viola
Dr. Eliza (Thomason) Jeffords is the director of strings and an assistant professor at TLU, holding the Anita Windecker Endowed Chair. She completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she served as teaching assistant to Masao Kawasaki and Catharine Carroll. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Vanderbilt University, magna cum laude, and Master of Music from Indiana University.
Previous to her current position, Dr. Jeffords has served as a mentoring fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and on the faculties of the Cincinnati Music Academy, Wyoming (Ohio) Center for the Arts, and the Talent Education Suzuki School in Connecticut. A registered Suzuki violin and viola instructor, she has also studied string pedagogy with Mimi Zweig and Kurt Sassmannshaus. As a dedicated educator, Dr. Jeffords has presented at the American String Teachers Association National Conference and Texas Music Educators Association Convention, and has served on the Texas ASTA Board for three years. She has studied orchestral rehearsal techniques with Cliff Colnot at Indiana University.
Sought after as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral violist, Dr. Jeffords keeps an active performance schedule. She is currently assistant-principal with the Mid-Texas Symphony and violist for the Mid-Texas Symphony Chamber Players, as well as appearing often with the San Antonio and Corpus Christi Symphonies. In addition to having previously won positions with the Spokane, New Haven, and New World Symphonies, her orchestral solos as principal violist with the Aspen Concert Orchestra have been featured on The Classical Station of New York City and NPR's show, "Performance Today."
An advocate of new music, Dr. Jeffords has premiered several works for solo viola, chamber
ensemble, and orchestra. Most recently, she has recorded new chamber music for the MSR Classics recording label, "Winning Works of the 2010 Bassoon Chamber Music Composition Competition." Jeffords' other recent performances include chamber and solo works on Texas Public Radio, and at Oklahoma State, The University of Texas at Austin, TLU, and Stephen F. Austin University, chamber music at the International Double Reed Society conference, and solo recitals in various Texas locations.
Dr. Chad Ibison: Private Classical Guitar & Lindenbaum Guitar Pilot Class
Chad Ibison is an assistant professor at TLU and has more than 20 years of guitar teaching experience.
American guitarist Chad Ibison has captivated audiences across North America and abroad through his imaginative musical interpretations and charismatic stage presence. Hailed through critical acclaim, Chad has been described as “really versatile in terms of contrast and range of expression” (Classical Guitar Canada) with “masterful phrasing combined with technical precision” (ClassicalGuitar.org).
Composer Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, perhaps best describes Ibison’s impact as a performer; “Chad gave an incendiary performance. His approach was, at the same time, aggressive and intimate. He melded with the instrument, and the result was brash, expressive and technically secure.”
Along with his critical acclaim, Ibison has accumulated ten first place awards among his eighteen top prize wins at international guitar competitions. Chad has distinguished himself in some of the world’s most prestigious competitions: The Guitar Foundation of America, JoAnn Falletta Concerto Competition and Boston’s New England Conservatory Guitarfest. As a result of the competition wins, Chad is sought after as a concert artist throughout America. He participates regularly at many guitar festivals as a performer, teacher and judge.
Currently, Chad resides in Austin, Texas where he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a doctorate in guitar performance. For the past four years, Chad served as Adam Holzman’s teaching assistant. For his final year as a doctoral candidate, Chad created a new critical edition of selections from the 24 Caprichos de Goya, op. 195 by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
As a dedicated educator, Chad began teaching at a young age which eventually led to the formation of his thriving company, CMI Music Lessons in Houston, Texas, where Chad taught on average sixty students per week for over ten years. In addition, Chad has also taught at the Columbus Conservatory, Orpheus Music Academy, St. Elmo Elementary, The University of Texas at Austin and in masterclasses across the United States and abroad.
Dr. Elizabeth Lee: Private Cello
Elizabeth Lee (cello) is a dedicated performer and independent teacher residing in Austin. She completed a DMA in Cello Performance at the University of Texas at Austin studying with Joshua Gindele of the Miro Quartet. She is currently a faculty member at TLU.
Past studies have included degrees from Rice University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as training in the Juilliard Pre-College division. Her principal teachers have included Norman Fischer, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, Timothy Eddy, Hyung-Won Chang, Andre Emelianoff, and Michael Kannen.
Nominated by Austin Critics Table Award for Best Instrumentalist in 2009 for her performance of the Dvorak Cello Concerto, she is also committed to playing cello across many music genres and enjoys exploring the many possibilities of sound. This commitment has led to performances across North America, Asia, and Europe.
Elizabeth was a prize-winner in the Yonkers Enrico Fermi Concerto Competition resulting in a performance with the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra at just 15 years old. She has also been a featured soloist with the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, and the Texas Chamber Players.
With a passion for chamber music, Elizabeth has also performed as a chamber musician and recitalist in esteemed halls including the Overture Center, Alice Tully Hall and Carnegie Hall. In addition, In addition she has performed in masterclasses for Mstislav Rostropovich, Paul Katz, Desmond Hoebig, Colin Carr and Lynn Harrell.
As a chamber musician, she has performed with artists Ian Swensen, Jorja Fleezanis, Bonnie Hampton, Joel Krosnick, Jean-Michel Fonteneau, eighth blackbird, Bang On A Can AllStars, and the Colorfield Ensemble. Elizabeth is a founding member of the Sonorous Ensemble, and Okean Trio premiering many newly composed works.
As an orchestral musician, she has performed with the Austin Symphony, Mid-Texas Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and the San Francisco Lyric Opera. She has also ventured beyond classical music and has recorded and toured with the bands Future of Forestry, Fernando Ortega, as well as recorded for independent artists. You can follow her on social media and YouTube @cellomoji.
Claudia Ferguson: Private Violin & Viola
Claudia Ferguson is a violin teacher and a professional orchestral violinist. She is a graduate of Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Music degree where she studied violin and pedagogy with Linda Case and orchestral studies with Pamela Gearhart.
She is also a graduate of Indiana University with a Master of Music degree in music theory, where she was an associate instructor of music theory. She is a registered Suzuki teacher and did her Suzuki training with Laurie Scott. She is also a former Suzuki student herself, studying violin with Nicole DiCecco at the Queensborough Community College Suzuki Program.
She plays violin in regional orchestras including the Mid-Texas Symphony, Mozart Festival Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Symphony of the Hills in Kerrville, Laredo Symphony, Round Rock Symphony, and the Valley Symphony. She was a scholarship recipient with the National Orchestral Institute, the North Carolina School of the Arts Summer European Touring Orchestra, and the Walt Disney All-American College Orchestra. She has a wide variety of training and teaching experience. She taught public school for 15 years. She teaches Suzuki private lessons and group classes as well as traditional violin lessons.