The Round Rock Symphony is committed to enriching the quality of life in the greater Round Rock community by building on our foundation of artistic and educational excellence. We are passionate about music and are united in our desire to be a vigorous part of the cultural fabric of our community. We embrace our responsibility to serve and expand our audience through creative programming, broader venues, and increased educational opportunities while balancing artistic growth with financial soundness.
Charlotte Barbini, President
Julio Palacios, Vice-President
Judy McLeod, Secretary
Jay Ridgley, Treasurer
Stefan Sanders, Music Director
Brett Kroening, Executive Director
Sean Dacy, Music Librarian, Administrative Assistant
Martha Ruth Chavez
Toby Blumenthal-Phillips (Advisory)
Tim Laughlin (Advisory) Sharon Owens (Advisory)
The Round Rock Symphony, Inc., operates as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our board is proudly made up of business and community leaders from the wider Round Rock Community who donate their precious time with a strong commitment to preserve and foster the artistic life of the Central Texas region. If you have questions about or for our board or you would like to take part in our artistic mission, please contact us.
Adrienne Inglis, Principal
Amy Burgus, Principal
Jennifer Bernard, EH
Shih-Wen Winnie Fan, Principal
Julia Littleton, Principal
Alexander Onieal, Contrabassoon
Paul Blackstone, Principal
Michael Arnold, Principal
Evan Williams, Principal
Billy Gayman, bass
David Hummel, Principal
Cory Fica, Principal
Tim Mabrey, Principal
Susanna Campbell, Principal
Nick Montopoli, Concertmaster
Steve Merson, Principal
Karl Mitze, Principal
Karoline Leal Chu Young Kim Kenneth Holmes Rebecca Lester
Seulki Lee, Principal
CJ Johnson, Principal
Laura Dykes Jackson Hocott
Nick Montopoli, Concertmaster
Hailed by the Washington Post as a performer with "no-fail agility," Nick Montopoli is one of the most versatile musicians in the Austin area, with performance, studio, and composition experience over a wide range of genres and instruments.
Nick is a founding member of Invoke, a folk-infused quartet whose repertoire features original compositions by the group and works by exciting young American composers. Invoke won First Prize at the 2018 M-Prize and Coltman competitions, and at the 2015 Savvy Musician in ACTION competition. The group has been selected as Young Professional String Quartet in Residence at the University of Texas, Artists in Residence at Strathmore, Wintergreen Performing Arts Fellowship Quartet, and has held residency positions at institutions around the country, including the University of South Carolina, Interlochen, and the University of Maryland.
Nick's performance highlights include sharing the stage with members of Orpheus, Eighth Blackbird, and the St. Lawrence String Quartet. He has also appeared with numerous local ensembles, including Tetractys and Density512. Nick’s performances, compositions, and arrangements can be heard on records by Chris Brown, Ruut, Invoke, Marian McLaughlin, and more. In addition to regular session work, Nick records, arranges, and produces from his home studio in Austin.
Nick has performed with the Annapolis and Alexandria Symphonies, and has appeared as a member of the Fairfax Symphony, PostClassical Ensemble, Concert Artists of Baltimore, and the International Chamber Orchestra of Washington.
Nick holds an Artist Diploma in Chamber Music from the University of Texas, and a BM and MM in violin performance, both from the University of Maryland. His teachers include Daniel Ching of the Miró Quartet and David Salness. Find out more here: www.nickmontopoli.com
Steve Merson, Principal Second ViolinSteve Merson was born into a musical family in Scotland, UK. He spent his formative years being taught by his father before moving to London to study at the renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Professor David Takeno. Steve was awarded his Associate of the Guildhall School of Music (AGSM) and went on to the Advanced Solo Studies course for a further year.
On completion of his studies, Steve joined the BBC and two years later he won a position with the world famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which he held for 23 years. During his career in London, Steve also performed with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonia to name but a few. He has also worked with a number of internationally recognized conductors of the caliber of Andre Previn, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yuri Temirkanov, Lorin Mazel, Sir George Solti, Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, James Levine and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Steve has shared the stage with Pinchas Zukerman, Itzak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Maxim Vengarov, Placido Domingo, Lucianno Pavarotti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Joshua Bell, Emmanuel Ax and Jesse Norman. He has been fortunate to have traveled extensively performing at some of the most prestigious concert halls in the world such as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Madison Square Garden, Boston Symphony Hall, Chicago Symphony Hall, The Musikverein in Vienna, The Philharmonie in Berlin, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Sydney Opera House, La Scala Milan, Royal Festival and Royal Albert Halls in London as well as for Pope John Paul II at The Vatican and for the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Steve has recorded numerous soundtracks for BBC television and films as well as for the big screen, such as The Red Violin, The Ghost and the Darkness, Mad Max 3, Ellis Island and The Lord of the Rings.
Steve now lives in Austin, Texas with his Chicago born wife Norene and enjoys an active career performing with the symphony orchestras of Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Victoria, Mid-Texas, San Angelo, Waco, Abilene, Brazos Valley, Temple, Laredo and of course, Round Rock.
Seulki Lee, Principal Cello
Korean cellist, Seulki Lee pursued her Bachelors of Music degree at the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Julia Lichten and completed her Master's degree at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University under Norman Fischer. She has played under conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Alan Gilbert, George Manahan, Jose De Eusebio, and Leonard Slatkin. She has participated in the Lucerne Music Festival in Switzerland, the Britten-Pears Aldeburgh Festival in UK, Pacific Music Festival in Japan, and Music Academy of the West which included a string quartet seminar with the Takacs quartet. Currently, she is pursuing her DMA with Bion Tsang at University of Texas in Austin.
Karl Mitze, Principal Viola
Originally from Dade City, FL, violist Karl J. Mitze received his Bachelor’s of Music from the McDuffie Center for Strings in Macon, Georgia and his Master's of Music at the University of Maryland. He currently resides in Austin, Texas, where he enjoys hiking, running, and eating great tacos. He is a founding member of Invoke, a bowed and fretted string ensemble where he writes, sings, and performs on a variety of instruments. Recent accolades include first prize at the Savvy Musician in Action chamber music competition and a residency at the University of Texas at Austin as a member of the Young Professional String Quartet. Karl has played with several orchestras including the Fairfax and Annapolis Stmphonies. Currently, he serves as principal of the Round Rock Symphony. He is a sought after teacher and orchestral coach and teaches regularly at the Annapolis Young Artist Program Summer Workshop, Interlochen Arts Adult Chamber Session, and the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies Summer Institute.
Andrew Potter, Principal Contrabass
Originally from Milwaukee, Andrew Potter went to school at Michigan State University, where he got degrees in Music Education and Music Performance. A bass player by trade, he has played in numerous orchestras across Michigan and has been a participant of Interlochen Center for the Arts, Indiana University Music Festival, and Brevard Music Center. He has helped teach award winning orchestras in Michigan, and has worked with countless young string players in a variety of settings. When not teaching or playing, Mr. Potter is an avid cyclist and loves being in the outdoors.
Adrienne Inglis, Principal Flute
Adrienne Inglis received a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance from Lewis and Clark College and a Master of Music in Flute Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. She performs, records and tours with Latin American folk music trio Chaski. She also performs with Celtic Chaski and plays principal flute with Round Rock Symphony Orchestra and Texas Choral Consort. She teaches flute at Southwestern University, St. Stephen's Episcopal School and the Austin School of Music. She has freelanced as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player in the Austin area for many years. She recorded on the film soundtracks of SpyKids 2, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Ride Around the World: A Cowboy Adventure, and The Children's War, playing up to twelve different flutes. She composes music for Chaski as well as sacred choral music. “She's an extremely talented performer capable of playing a truckload of different woodwind instruments from around the world. She owns the sometimes hard-to-find alto flute and also owns an incredibly rare bass flute and plays both with such impassioned expression. I could hear her play the bass flute for hours.” -- Brian Satterwhite, film composer, 2008.
Amy Burgus, Principal Oboe
Amy Burgus is the principal oboist of the Round Rock Symphony, second oboist of both the Victoria Symphony and the Brazos Valley Symphony, and has lately been seen on stage with the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Corpus Christi Symphony, and the Temple Symphony as well as other regional orchestras. She maintains a busy teaching and performing schedule, including performances at the 2010 International Double Reed Society and the 2010 Louisiana Music Educators Association Conference. She was the Assistant Program Director for the 2005 IDRS Conference held in Austin.
Shih-Wen Winnie Fan, Principal Clarinet
Winnie Fan (Shih-Wen Fan) has performed in the United States, Taiwan, China, Japan, and United Kingdom as a soloist and a chamber musician. She joined the Round Rock Symphony as Principal Clarinet in 2013 and was invited to perform with a number of professional orchestras in Taiwan and the United States. Winnie has collaborated with many student and professional ensembles. As an advocate of new music, she has worked extensively with composers from around the world and premiered numerous works. She is also a founding member of Sonic IMPACT (Project: Sound) New Music Ensemble. Winnie has also received numerous honors and recognition at Music Teacher National Association (MTNA), International Clarinet Association (ICA), Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition, and summer music festivals. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Winnie moved to the United States in 2010, where she received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music from The University of Texas at Austin, her Bachelor of Music from the Taipei National University of the Arts. Winnie currently teaches in the Katy Independent School District and maintains a large private studio in the Greater Houston Area, Texas.
Julia Littleton, Principal Bassoon
Julia Littleton, a native of Kingsport, Tennessee, holds a bachelor's degree in Music Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a graduate of the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy and has participated in the Colorado College Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Interlochen Arts Camp and Las Vegas Music Festival. Julia has performed with Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, Temple Symphony Orchestra and Orquesta Sinfonica de la UANL (Monterrey Symphony Orchestra) in Monterrey, Mexico. Former teachers include Kristin Wolfe Jensen, Barrick Stees, and Keith McClelland. She teaches private music lessons and is a freelance bassoonist in the Austin area. Julia currently performs with Round Rock Symphony Orchestra and Waterloo Sound Conspiracy.
Paul Blackstone, Principal Horn
Paul Blackstone is currently in his fifth year in the Round Rock Symphony. He is also third horn with the Mid-Texas Symphony and a member of the horn quartet, The Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse, with which he has performed in most of the United States and on three continents. Passionate about teaching, Paul also maintains a small private studio of middle and high school horn students in Austin. Previous positions held include the Brazos Valley Symphony, the Abilene Symphony, and the Champaign-Urbana Symphony. Notable performances have been with groups such as the San Antonio Symphony, the Toronto Symphony, and the Orquestra Sinfónica de Yucatán in Mérida, Mexico. His music studies were at the Universities of North Texas, Illinois, and Texas.
Michael Arnold, Principal Trumpet
Michael Arnold holds a Master’s in Trumpet Performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and is teaching as well as actively performing a variety of different concerts, shows, and solo performances ranging from orchestral concerts to musicals to polka festivals in the greater Austin area. In addition to winning the Principal Trumpet job with Round Rock Symphony in 2016, he is lead trumpet for the annual Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards at the Long Center, has been a featured soloist at the Midwest Convention in Chicago, has performed with Phil Smith, played with rock/funk groups including Ghostland Observatory, and has taken the stage at the ACL music festival. Always trying to reach a new audience, Michael is currently arranging and commissioning compositions to be self-recorded and placed online for public viewing.
Evan Williams, Principal Trombone
A native of Georgia, Evan Williams holds a Bachelor of Music Performance Degree from Columbus State University, a Master of Music Degree from the University of Texas at Austin (UT), and he is currently working towards a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Trombone Performance at UT while working as a Teaching Assistant for the Trombone Studio. His principal teachers include Nathaniel Brickens and Bradley Palmer.
An active pedagog, Mr. Williams currently teaches – all levels – and presents regular masterclasses at high schools and middle schools in the Leander and Austin Independent School Districts, as well as teaching several students for the University of Texas. Mr. Williams also serves as 2nd Trombonist with the Mid-Texas Symphony and is a regular performer in orchestras in Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia – including the Memphis Symphony, Round Rock Symphony, Macon Symphony, and the Columbus Symphony. As a soloist, Mr. Williams has been cited in events staged by the International Trombone Association, the Southeast Trombone Symposium, the Zellmer Minnesota Orchestra Trombone Competition, the University of Texas, and the Fort Benning Army Brass Band. Additionally, he performs in numerous jazz and pop bands throughout the state of Texas.
David Hummel, Principal Tuba
David Hummel was not born in Texas, but got here as fast as he could and is relatively new to the Austin area! After finishing his undergraduate degrees in Music Performance and Education from Texas Tech University in 2009 he completed his Master's degree in Bloomington, Indiana at Indiana University, studying tuba performance. He has since been teaching low brass privately in the Round Rock, Leander, Georgetown and Austin Independent School Districts as well as teaching marching band and playing in the Starlight Symphony Orchestra. During his time at Texas Tech, he was the principal tubist with the Amarillo Symphony for two years as well as a substitute with the Big Spring Symphony Orchestra. He has competed in several regional and international competitions, most recently being in the semi-final round of the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference's Tuba-Euphonium Quartet Competition and the final round of the Mock Band Audition. He has been lucky enough to study with such notable teachers as Dan Perantoni, Kevin Wass, Fritz Kaenzig and Bob Tucci. David won the Principal Tuba position in 2010.
Tim Mabrey, Principal Percussion
Tim Mabrey was named Principal Percussionist of the Round Rock Symphony in 2014. In addition to his position with Round Rock, he is also the Principal Timpanist with the Midland-Odessa Symphony, where he has played in some capacity since 2008. Tim has also performed with various other orchestras in the area including the Arkansas Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, the Dallas Chamber Symphony, and the Austin Symphony. His major teachers include Alan Abel of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Matthew Strauss of the Houston Symphony, Joseph Tompkins of Rutgers University, and Christopher Deane of the University of North Texas.
Originally from Grapevine, Texas, Tim currently lives in Austin where he teaches percussion to middle and high school students and maintains an active freelancing career. When not playing, listening to, or thinking about music, he enjoys dancing lindy hop in Austin’s vibrant swing dance scene as well as exploring the many quirky and interesting spots around town.
Cory Fica, Principal Timpani
Percussionist Cory Fica recently completed his graduate studies from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Music Performance. While at UT, Fica was a member of the UT Wind Ensemble, UT Symphony Orchestra, UT Percussion Ensemble and the UT Steel Pan Ensemble. Currently, Fica is a member of contemporary chamber ensemble Hear No Evil and is principal timpanist for the Round Rock Symphony. Prior to moving to Austin, Texas, Fica received his undergraduate degree in Music Education from The University of South Carolina. Fica has performed as concerto soloist with the UT Wind Ensemble, Interlochen Youth Wind Symphony, and has performed showcase concerts at the 2012 and 2016 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) with the USC Percussion Ensemble and UT Percussion Ensemble, respectively. In 2017 he will present a solo recital for the PASIC 2017 Solo Artist Competition. Fica has participated in the Chosen Vale International Percussion Seminar, the Leigh Howard Stevens Marimba Seminar and the SŌ Percussion Summer Institute. His teachers include Dr. Thomas Burritt, Tony Edwards and Dr. Scott Herring.
Susanna Campbell, Principal Harp
Susanna Campbell is a passionate and experienced music educator and performer based in Houston, Texas. Recent concert highlights include the world premiere of Gary Schocker’s Heaven’s Above for the American Harp Society’s National Conference in Atlanta, GA, the debut concert of the New Houston Harp Ensemble, and performances with AURORA – a harp, flute, and cello ensemble embracing classical repertoire and contemporary music by emerging composers.
Susanna is principal harpist with the Round Rock Symphony Orchestra and Houston Civic Symphony and has previously performed with the Symphony of Southeast Texas, Lab Orchestra - ATX, and the Mobile Symphony. In addition to performing, she maintains a private harp and piano studio, teaches at Lone Star College, is on faculty at the Houston Summer Harp Festival, and plays keyboard in her church ensemble. In 2014, she graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a master's degree in harp performance where she studied with Emily Mitchell.
Stefan Sanders is the newly appointed Music Director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic of South Carolina. This season also commences his second as Music Director for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra in North Carolina and his sixth season as Music Director for the Round Rock Symphony in Central Texas. He recently concluded a one year appointment as Principal Conductor for the Hot Springs Music Festival in Hot Springs, AK and a successful four year tenure with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Having joined the BPO as its Associate Conductor in 2014, after two seasons, he was promoted to Resident Conductor. While with the BPO, Stefan lead over 200 performances on all of the orchestras series.
Sanders has collaborated with an array of distinguished orchestras and guest artists. Recent guest appearances include the Sarasota Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, San Antonio Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Opera, Corpus Christi Opera,Orquesta Sinfónica de Guayaquil (Ecuador), Filharmonia Warminsko-Mazurska (Poland), Symphoria (Syracuse, NY), and the Round Top International Festival Institute.
He has also served as cover conductor for the New York Philharmonic and was invited to work with high school orchestras in Ann Arbor, MI as a part of the New York Philharmonic's 17/18 residency at the University of Michigan. In May of 2018, Stefan lead the National Orchestra of Cuba in a program of the legendary film music of John Williams. Stefan will return to the Naples Philharmonic this December for five performances, make his debut with the Stockton Symphony (CA) in October, and return to the New York Philharmonic to cover/assist for four weeks.
Stefan was a featured conductor for the League of American Orchestras “Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview.” The prestigious conductor showcase is designed to feature talented young conductors poised for music directorships with American Orchestras and was hosted by Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony in May of 2016.
Prior to a career as a conductor, Stefan was an internationally renowned trombonist, having performed as a soloist in North America, Asia and Europe. His performance of Eric Ewazen’s Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra, with the Czech Philharmonic, can be heard on the Albany Records label. Mr. Sanders was a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic’s trombone section for seven seasons and has performed with several orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, and the Seattle Opera’s 2001 production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle.
Stefan was a fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen under the tutelage of maestros, Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff and Hugh Wolff. He is a graduate of the the Juilliard School, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Interlochen Arts Academy.
The Round Rock Symphony brings you performances by these great artists thanks to the support of Classical Artists Development Foundation and other area contributors. We welcome you to join the RRS team in support of our artistic mission. Your generosity is greatly appreciated by the orchestra, your neighbors, and the wider Round Rock Community. Thank you.