Academy Faculty

Below is a list of the faculty of the Tallowood Academy of Fine Arts:

Debbie Barker – Director

Debbie Barker brings a wide array of musical and administrative skills to the Tallowood Academy of Fine Arts.  She has been active in church music ministry for the past 30 years.    With her organization skills, she has been the orchestra manager/librarian for 26 years at Houston’s First Baptist Church and currently serving in that same capacity at Tallowood.   Being involved in the education world, Debbie has 34 years of music education experience in the public schools in the role of Orchestra Director of grades 6-12.  She is involved throughout the state as a clinician in orchestra and string pedagogy workshops, and is also active as an adjudicator and consultant for various school districts.

Debbie studied violin at the University of Houston where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education degree.   She continues to perform as a freelance musician in orchestral and chamber settings.  Being a native Houstonian, she is highly respected in the music community as a contractor of musical services.  She has served in leadership roles in the TMEA Region and State organizations.  The professional organizations she is affiliated with are:  Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association and Mu Omicron, an elected music honor society.

Her students have won numerous awards such as consistent Sweepstakes Awards at UIL Competitions and Texas Music Educators Association All Region and All State Orchestra placement.  Her Junior High String Orchestra was awarded by her peers the most prestigious award in the state: TMEA Junior High Honor Orchestra.  With her successful track record in the classroom, she frequently mentors teachers new to the profession.

Debbie has been actively involved with several youth community groups:  Houston Youth Symphony- clinician, Virtuosi of Houston- volunteer, Bay Area Youth Symphony- Advisory Board, and Boys Scouts of America- Committee Member.

Dennis Bell – Cello

Dennis Bell has loved working with children throughout his career as a Suzuki cello teacher and a church music minister. He received his Suzuki training in Books 1-2 from Yvonne Tait and Tanya Carey and is a member of the Southeast Texas Suzuki Association, where he has served as a clinician and adjudicator. He has also been invited to be a cello clinician for the Parker Elementary, a music magnet school in HISD. Dennis received Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music degrees in cello performance from University of the Pacific and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, respectively. Dennis and his wife, violinist Mary Bell, have maintained a studio in Sugar Land, TX since 1994.

Mary Bell – Violin

Mary Bell has been teaching Suzuki Method violin for over thirty years and loving every minute of it! She and her husband, cellist Dennis Bell, have maintained a studio in Sugar Land, TX since 1994. As a member of the Southeast Texas Suzuki Association, Mary served as Treasurer for over 20 years and has also served as Workshop Chairperson. In addition to her Suzuki Books 1-3 training, she received short term on-site Suzuki training with Alice Joy Lewis. Mary holds a Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Janene Bostwick – Violin

Janene Bostwick, violin, a former, long time, Tallowood member, is excited to return to the Houston area to be a part of the Tallowood Academy of Fine Arts. Janene brings to the Academy 35 years of successful teaching in the areas of violin. She received her Bachelor and Master’s of Music Education degrees from the University of Houston studying under the world acclaimed violinist, Fredell Lack and later under Josephine Boudreaux. She has had training in the Suzuki method of instruction as well as additional studies in conducting. Studying voice under Pat Alexander of Eastman School of Music opened the doors to additional performance opportunities for Janene. She is a former member of the Opera Delaware Chorus, Rochester Opera Chorus, Houston Symphony Chorus, and Tanglewood Festival Chorus performing with the Boston Symphony and POPS Orchestra. Janene holds teaching certifications in Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina, and Massachusetts. She continues to be active in professional organizations including Texas Orchestra Directors Association and National Association for Music Educations (formally MENC), to name a few.

Janene has taught students from elementary through high school age. Her students have won many awards at the District, Region and State levels and her school orchestras have won superior ratings in competitions. She has initiated many extracurricular music activities, festivals, and camps in various communities. Janene has served as a mentor to student teachers and trained future professional musicians.

Church music has always been an important part of Janene’s life with participation as choir member, soloist, and violinist in various Baptist and Presbyterian churches throughout the country.

bio pic BouseSarah Bouse – Piano

Sarah Bouse started teaching piano when she was 14 years old under the direction of her private piano teacher in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her love for teaching and performing encouraged her to attend Belmont University, where she was able to double major in piano performance and piano pedagogy. She also completed a Spanish language minor. Her diverse background in these three areas of study prepared her well for graduate school. Sarah graduated magna cum laude from Belmont University in 2013, after which she moved to Houston, Texas to attend Rice University. Sarah completed a Master of Music in Vocal Coaching degree at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in May 2016. She was privileged to study under Thomas Jaber, who continues to influence her teaching and performing. This unique program is designed to teach pianists how to coach opera singers in their diction, musicality, and acting. She loved her time at Rice and was fortunate to perform in over twenty recitals and productions during her time there. Sarah was privileged to represent Rice University and make her Kennedy Center debut in the Conservatory Project concert in Washington, D.C. in February 2016. She joined the adjunct faculty of Houston Community College in January 2017, where she continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member. In Spring 2018, she developed the curriculum for Music Literature, a course she will continue to teach in Fall 2018.

Sarah had the opportunity to work at Interlochen Center for the Arts in northern Michigan for three summers as a Piano Teaching Assistant. This prestigious fine arts camp provided a wonderful opportunity for Sarah to put her pedagogy knowledge to good use. She worked with students ranging in age from eight to eighteen years old and was able to teach group classes, coach ensembles, and supervise practice hours. Not only was this great teaching experience, but Sarah also loved spending time on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and enjoyed getting to know other musicians from around the world.

Sarah’s interests are not confined to music study. Through the language department at Rice University, she was able to study Italian in Genoa, Italy, for a month in summer 2014. She was thrilled to return to Italy in the summer of 2015 for three months to continue to refine her language skills through two different study abroad programs and travel. In the summers of 2016 and 2017, Sarah was both staff pianist and assistant director at an opera program in Lucca, Italy. She will return this summer as assistant director of the same program and is looking forward to enjoying all the beautiful parts of Italian culture – coffee, art, and delicious food!

Lindsey Day-newLindsey Day – Voice

Lindsey Day, voice, is a graduate of Sam Houston State University where she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. She is a long-time Tallowood member, growing up in the youth choirs and progressing into the Adult Choir. Lindsey has sung in professional choral groups in the Houston area comprised of music majors and choral teachers. She is currently the Head Choir Director at Memorial Middle School in Spring Branch ISD where her choirs have earned Division 1 Sweepstakes ratings and a number of her students have won solo singing competitions. Lindsey is thrilled to be sharing her passion for music with her voice students in hopes that they will find their own passion in singing.

Kelly Hearn – Violin/Viola

Kelly Hearn, Violin, began her love for musiKelly Hearnc 32 years ago. She is continually active as a freelance musician in the Houston area, something she has enjoyed for the past 20 years. Kelly has maintained a private violin studio for the last 20 years coupled with teaching orchestra at Northland Christian School for the last six years. Kelly attended Peabody Preparatory School followed by Ithaca College in New York where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Performance and Education degrees. She is a certified Suzuki teacher of Book 1-3 as well as holding a Texas teacher certification. Kelly’s goal is to instill a love and appreciation of music, while teaching a solid foundation of technique and theory, meeting the student’s needs and helping them reach their full potential. Her hobbies include photography, scrapbooking, and being a mom. Kelly serves as concertmaster of the Tallowood Baptist Church Orchestra.

Eugene Holton – Piano

Eugene Holton is a classically trained pianist and graduate of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Kiev,Ukraine. He achieved his Bachelor’s Degree in Music in 2009 and in the following year, his Master’s degree in Piano performance. His principle teachers being Professor Alexander Petrovich Lisokon, the late Professor Nataliya Nikolaevna Vitte, and Nataliya Rzhanov, wife of the famous Ukrainian pianist Evgeny Rzhanov.

Eugene’s musical career started at an early age when his mother took him to a classical concert as a young boy where he was then inspired to dedicate his life to music. After several years of study he graduated from Russian music school no.9 with the highest honors. He then spent the next two years under intensive preparation for entry into the Kiev Conservatory guided by laureate pianist Sergei Mizhega. Eugene entered the conservatory with the highest marks and was among the youngest students to ever be accepted into the musical institution.

Mr. Holton’s most notable performances have been at the Kiev Conservatory, performing works from varying periods including classical, romantic and jazz pieces. He has also performed at the prestigious Revutzky Music College in Chernihiv,Ukraine and also at the St. Sophia Orthodox Cathedral in Kiev. Eugene was also Church Music Director at Living Water Church in Kiev for 8 years directing the adult choir and worship services, accompanying various musicians.

kwon celloHyeok Kwon – Cello

Hyeok Kwon recently graduated from Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music with a Masters of Music degree and a Performer’s Diploma where he studied under Eric Kim.  He earned a Bachelor of Music degree at the Eastman School of Music under the tutelage of David Ying, from the Grammy award winning ensemble- The Ying Quartet. He has participated in numerous prestigious music festivals such as Sarasota Music Festival, The New York String Orchestra Seminar, ENCORE: School for Strings, National Orchestra Summer Institute and Aspen Music Fesival where he served as Assistant Principal Cello for the Festival Orchestra. Hyeok has been awarded first prize in multiple competitions including the Fort Bend Symphony Competition, Houston Civic Symphony Competition, Houston Youth Symphony Competition, and High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Concerto Competition, and was a finalist in the Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition, the George and Peggy Schmidbauer International String Competition, and the Eastman Cello Concerto Competition.

Not only is he a gifted performer but he is also gifted in teaching.  During his time at Indiana University, he taught cello as Associate Instructor at Jacobs School of Music. Prior to his time in Indiana Hyeok has taught privately at the Tallowood Academy of Fine Arts.

Hyeok began studying cello at age 11 with Donna Rogers in Houston, TX. Other instructors include distinguished pedagogues such as Timothy Eddy, Ronald Leonard, Clive Greensmith and has performed master classes for Steven Isserlis, Desmond Hoebig, the Ying Quartet, and the Kopelman Quartet. His latest achievement was to perform at the 2013 U.S. Presidential Inauguration as member of The Eastman School String Quartet. Hyeok has been a member of Tallowood since 2000.

sun-4Sunjung Lee – Piano

Sunjung Lee is a Korean-born pianist who is actively performing solo and ensemble. She brings to TAFA over fifteen years of teaching experience of all ages from beginners to advanced (college level).  She enjoys teaching private and group piano classes. Her favorite part of teaching is to share the joy of playing the piano and learning music with her students, and to help students understand the principal of music. Sunjung received her Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance from the University of Kansas. Previously, she received her Master of Music from the University of Houston as a student of Tali Morgulis, and earned a Performer’s Diploma from Indiana University-Bloomington while studying with Karen Shaw. She also earned a Bachelor of Music degree at Hansei University. Dr. Lee has performed with several orchestras as featured soloist including the Kansas University Orchestra, Hansei University Orchestra, and Korean Philharmonic Orchestra. She also was involved in the AURA contemporary ensemble. She performed at many music festivals including Busan International Music Festival, Music Fest Perugia, Atlantic Music Festival, Beijing International Music Festival and Academy, and Winter Euro Music Festival. As a collaborative pianist, she has performed many chamber concerts, including with the Borromeo Quartet, and attended the Atlantic Music Festival as a fellow pianist. She recorded duo piano music with Tali Morgurlis on a CD released by American Recording. She has also performed on KUHF Houston Public Radio on 87.9.

LLisa McCarrollisa McCarroll – Piano

Northern Irish pianist Lisa McCarroll began her studies in her home town of Derry at the age of six. It was not long before she started performing locally in Derry, Donegal and other parts of Northern Ireland. Before she reached her teens, a chance meeting at a music summer school led her to study in Dublin with world renowned piano pedagogue Dr. Frank Heneghan. This proved to be an extremely successful partnership, resulting in performances at the R.D.S. in Dublin and the John Field Room in the National Concert Hall, as well as annual first prizes in piano competitions throughout England and Ireland. She most recently won the Betty Clarke medal in 2009 at Ireland’s prestigious Feis Ceoil (founded in 1896), where noted piano scholar and critic Bryce Morrison described her playing as “a technique that disguises technique, and an art that disguises art.”

Throughout her career Lisa has worked with distinguished artists such as Jan Cap, Reamonn Keary, Martin Jones, Fanny Watermann (founder of the Leeds International Piano Competition), Colin Stone, Aaron Shorr, Petras Geniusas, Patsy Toh, Daniel Sher and Anne Epperson. She holds a Bachelors degree and LRAM (Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music) from The Royal Academy of Music in London where she worked with Diana Ketler, Michael Young, Michael Dussek, and Andrew West. She began her teaching career in 2004 at the Royal Academy of Music.

She recently graduated with her Doctorate degree in piano performance under the tutelage of renowned piano professor Nancy Weems. She currently teaches class piano at Moore’s School of Music and maintains a private studio at the St. Andrews School of Fine Arts in Houston.

Mauricio Oliveros 2015 Web PicMauricio Oliveros – Violin

Mauricio Oliveros, a native of Colombia, attained his Doctor of Musical Arts in Violin Performance from the University of Houston, under the mentorship of Andrzej Grabiec. He also holds a Graduate Artist Certificate in Violin Performance from the studio of Julia Bushkova at the University of North Texas, and a Masters in both Violin Performance and Music Theory at Texas Christian University. He has given violin masterclasses in Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, and recently in Cuba, where he was invited by the Mozarteum Salzburg to teach undergrad students from the Lyceum Mozartiano Habana. Dr. Oliveros currently holds an adjunct faculty position at Houston Baptist University, as well as violin faculty positions at Tallowood Academy of Fine Arts and The Kinkaid School.

He has attended important music festivals, including the Youth Orchestra of the Americas (YOA), the Texas Music Festival, and the Mimir Chamber Music Festival, among others.  As a member of the YOA string quartet he had the opportunity to work and perform concerts alongside famous Jazz musician Paquito D’Rivera. He has been a member of the Valle Symphony Orchestra (Colombia), San Angelo Symphony Orchestra, Irving Symphony Orchestra, Midland-Odessa Symphony Orchestra, and Opera Vista. Currently, he is the Associate Concertmaster of the Symphony of Southeast Texas.

An avid lover of chamber music, he co-founded the Fuzion String Quartet, which was featured as the guest quartet in the 2010 Hot Springs Music Festival. Most recently the quartet performed at the “Cali de Camara 2012” International Chamber Music Festival in Colombia, performing concerts with internationally acclaimed guitarist Ricardo Cobo. He is also an active recitalist performing regularly throughout the American continent.

Alisa Pederson – Violin, ViolaAlisa Pederson violin

Alisa Pederson graduated from the University of Houston in 1984 with a Bachelor of Music degree in music education.  She taught for 15 years on the elementary and junior high levels as a choral director which allowed her to perform as a professional violinist on the weekends.  During this time she trained in Kodaly and Orff teaching methods and was widely sought after as a workshop presenter in vocal music techniques for children.   

In 1998 she left the choral position to teach junior high orchestra.  Her orchestras excelled at the state and national level – placing in the top six in honor orchestra competition and were invited to the Midwest Clinic in Chicago.  After seven years on the junior high level, Mrs. Pederson moved to high school orchestra and remained as an orchestra director at the high school level until she retired after 30 years in public education in June of 2013.   

Throughout her career as an educator she also performed professionally as a violinist, vocalist and pianist.     Her group, Encore Strings, is well-known in the Houston area and she performs each weekend in various capacities – with area orchestras, at private parties, weddings, etc.    She is a full time contract musician at Houston’s First Baptist Church where she also serves as the organist.  In addition she is sought after to clinic orchestras and judge UIL orchestral competitions throughout the state.   In January of 2016, Mrs. Pederson began teaching as Adjunct Professor of Violin at the CyFair campus of Lone Star College.   Alisa Pederson currently resides in Meadows Place, Texas with her husband of 33 years, Vaughan, and her dog Angel.

Aimee Peterson – Violin/ViolaAimee Peterson

Aimee Petersen began the study of the violin at the age of six but her musical education started as a baby when her father would play a recording of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik whenever he gave her a bottle. Her first experiences with the violin were through the Suzuki method. One of the highlights of her Suzuki studies was getting to perform on stage with Dr. Suzuki, the founder of the method, at a Suzuki conference when she was in the second grade. Ms. Petersen went on to major in music in college and graduated from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. Some of her former teachers include: Borivoj Martinic-Jercic, Andor Toth and Albert Muenzer.

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.

Annamarie ReaderAnnamarie Reader – Cello

A native of Kansas, Annamarie began her musical studies on the violin and piano at an early age. Growing up as one of eight children who all played instruments, she was constantly surrounded by music. At age 13, Annamarie switched to the cello, having always been drawn in particular to the instrument and its timbre. Annamarie has enjoyed performing within small and large ensembles around Houston including River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, Mercury Baroque Orchestra and the Houston Symphony. In addition to her extensive performance experience, Annamarie has received Suzuki cello teacher training through Book 10 from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Having received training from some of the most skilled and inspiring teachers in the country, she feels the desire to pass on the best of what she has learned to others. She loves working with all ages and has noticed that the process of learning a musical instrument provides a unique opportunity for people to grow not only as musicians, but also as human beings. Annamarie has attended numerous music festivals, the most recent including the Tanglewood Music Center in 2011 and 2012. She completed her undergraduate degree in Cello Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2010 studying with Melissa Kraut and her Masters Degree in Cello Performance from Rice University in 2013, studying with Desmond Hoebig.

Jisu Shin – ViolinJisu Shin headshot (1)

A native of South Korean, Jisu Shin started playing the violin at the age of four. She received her Bachelor’s degree at Korean National University of Art. During her undergraduate studies, she toured in Paris, Vienna and Hong Kong as a soloist. After she earned her degree, she served her musicianship at the Korean Symphony Orchestra as a member in the first violin section from 2007-2008. Since 2008, she has come to America to study with Kyung Sun Lee. Jisu has received her Master’s degree at the University of Houston and continued to study to receive her doctoral degree studying under Frank Huang in 2011.

Honors and awards include, first place winner of the Han Kook Ilbo newspaper competition and Han-Sae University competition as a high-school student, second place at University of Houston concerto competition, and a finalist in the Corpus Christi International Competition. She has attended prestigious music festivals across the world, including Texas Music Festival, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival (2011 and 2013), Pyeong Chang Music Festival, and Masters de Pontlevoy International Music Academy Festival in France.

As an educator, she taught at Texas All-State Strings Camp and Bay Area Chamber Music Festival as a faculty member. She is currently a registered member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) and a violinist at Clear Lake Chamber Ensemble. She is happily married and mother of an absolutely angelical three-year-old girl.

Yvonne Smith – Violin/ViolaYvonne Smith

Yvonne Smith attended Rice University where she earned a Bachelor of Music Performance and Master of Music Performance in Viola degrees.  She has experience as a guest soloist with  Dubuque Strings.  She has been a finalist at the Coleman Competition and a semifinalist at the Sphinx and Fischoff Competitions.

Her private teaching experience has been with Klein ISD, and Conroe ISD, the Melody Program for the Houston Youth Symphony as well as her own private studio.  Besides teaching Yvonne enjoys performing.  She has performed with the New World Symphony has spent summers performing at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Aspen, Banff Centre and Grant Park Orchestra of Chicago. In Houston, Yvonne performs regularly in the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and Mercury: the orchestra redefined.

Yvonne began her musical studies on the piano under her mother’s tutelage. She began studying the viola at age 9 in her elementary school. Her primary teachers include James Dunham, Joan DerHovsepian, and Alice Young.

Leah Williams Solis – Oboe

Oboist, Leah Williams, developed a passion for playing music at a very young age and has fostereLeah Williams -photo- 2017d it through maintaining private teaching studios in the Houston and Dallas-Ft. Worth areas as well as performing as a freelance musician. She considers teaching private students her biggest passion in life. She hopes to instill in her students the same passion and effect music has on her.

She has private teaching experience in the Houston area in the Cyfair, Katy, and Fort Bend Independent School Districts as well as Birdville ISD in the Dallas area where she taught master classes on the TMEA All State Literature.

Leah studied oboe performance as an undergraduate at the University of North Texas, graduating magna cum laude, under James Ryon of the Baton Rouge Symphony. She obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Houston under Jonathan Fischer of the Houston Symphony.  Leah is intent on giving her students a well-rounded education, encompassing important areas of study including music theory and history as well as performance practice.  She is a member of the International Double Reed Society and Texas Music Educators Association.

Leah also enjoys several hobbies outside the realm of music including photography, yoga, health and fitness, and exploring the outdoors. Leah has the honor of playing in the Tallowood Orchestra each week.
Hannah Watson

Hannah Watson – Violin

Hannah Watson grew up in central Illinois, and moved to Houston to attend Rice University for her undergraduate degree in violin performance. After completing her degree studying with Kathleen Winkler, Hannah went to Indiana University’s Jacobs School of music where she studied with Jorja Fleezanis, former concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra. Upon graduating with highest honors, Hannah moved back to Houston, where she currently teaches violin privately and freelances in and around Houston. This season, Hannah will beperforming with the Houston Grand Opera, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Lyric Opera, and the Symphony of Southeast Texas.

Beth Wiehe-newBeth Wiehe – Flute

Beth Wiehe, a native Houstonian, recently moved back to Houston after several years teaching at St. Mary’s University, Texas Lutheran University and Texas State University. She was flute professor and conductor of the Flute Ensemble at each university. She has also been on the faculty of Sam Houston State University and San Jacinto College in Pasadena and Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She has taught private flute lessons at a number of High Schools and Middle Schools and often contracted by the schools to teach master classes and section rehearsals. She has given presentations at The National Flute Association, The Texas Bandmasters Association and The Houston Flute Club. She has been adjudicator for The Texas Flute Club (Dallas area), The Houston Flute Club and U.I.L. solo contests and all levels of All State Competitions. She was a National Flute Association Chamber Music Competition Winner and on the roster the Young Audiences of Houston with The Houston Flute Quartet. Beth has played principle flute with the Pasadena Symphony, and Beaumont Symphony and 2nd flute with Mid Texas Symphony, San Antonio Symphony and Victoria Bach Festival. She was a featured soloist in the Victoria Bach Festival in 2015. She is on the faculty of FlootFire (, a flute camp held at Tallowood Baptist in the summers. In 2014, she released a CD of flute, panpipes, alto flute and piccolo with pianist Marvin Gaspard called Tis So Sweet. It can be found on iTunes, Spotify,, and on Facebook Beth A. Wiehe.