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Preparatory & Continuing Studies Faculty

Chien-Jung Chen, director

Piano, Honors Piano Program

PCS Director, Dr. Chien-Jung Chen, joined the PCS faculty in 2004 as a professional instructor of piano and quickly built a successful class of students who perform and compete in numerous events throughout the region. Dr. Chen is a past president of Forum Music Teachers Association and is currently the coordinator of the Houston Forum Young Artists Competition. In addition to her leadership roles, she frequently serves as a judge and clinician for music teachers associations throughout the state of Texas. Though a native of Taiwan, Dr. Chen was raised in Johannesburg, South Africa where she was taught by Beverly-Ann Green. She competed in many music festivals and competitions throughout the country and was the recipient of a host of trophies and prizes. She recorded extensively for the South African Broadcasting Association and was aired on the national radio program Musici van Môre. Dr. Chen has performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras including the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Gauteng Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Clear Lake Symphony Orchestra. She has appeared in numerous solo and chamber recitals in the U.S., as well as in her hometown, Johannesburg. More recently, she has performed extensively as a collaborative artist giving performances in the Moores Opera House, Houston's Hobby Center, and outreach endeavors with the Houston Grand Opera. Dr. Chen received her Bachelor of Music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music; a Master of Music and Graduate Diploma in Piano Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music; and a Doctor of Musical Arts at University of Houston Moores School of Music. Her principal teachers were Monique Duphil, Victor Rosenbaum, and Nancy Weems.

richards Julie Richard Carlson - Suzuki violin/traditional violin (professional)

 Ms. Carlson earned a B.A. in music education from MidAmerica Nazarene University in 1997; an M.M. in violin performance from Wichita State University in 1999; and a D.M.A. in violin performance from the University of Houston in 2009. While at Wichita State, she was a member of the Graduate String Quartet and was a winner in WSU's Concerto-Aria Competition in 1999. Ms. Carlson was a member of the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and maintained an active private studio in Wichita from 1997-2005.

Ms. Carlson has taught for the U of H Preparatory and Continuing Studies department since fall of 2005. She is currently an active member of STXSA (Southeast Texas Suzuki Association). She is concertmaster of the Clear Lake Symphony and is a member of Clear Lake Chamber Ensemble.

MClarkMichael Clark - Piano, junior faculty

Michael Clark is a pianist, scholar, and Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) based in Houston, Texas. His primary teachers include Robert Roux, Nancy Weems, Jennifer Hayghe, and Melinda Smashey Jones. He studied piano pedagogy with John Weems and Courtney Crappell. While at Ithaca College, Clark received the Peggy Ryan Williams Award for Academic and Community Leadership and the James J. Whalen Talented Young Artist Award, a full-tuition scholarship given to the incoming freshman with the highest academic and musical rating. He has appeared as a soloist with the Ozarks Festival Orchestra and the May Day Orchestra.

Clark serves on the faculty of Music Academy of Houston and the University of Houston Preparatory and Continuing Studies Program, where he helped launch a Recreational Music Making program. He teaches students of all ages in both individual and group lessons. Clark is active in Forum Music Teachers Association, Texas Music Teachers Association, and Music Teachers National Association and has served as president of the Ithaca College and University of Houston collegiate chapters of MTNA. His recent scholarly projects include publications in the MTNA e-Journal and on the Clavier Companion website and presentations at the MTNA National Conference, American Musicological Society–Southwest Division Conference, Midwest Graduate Music Consortium, the MTNA Collegiate Chapters Piano Pedagogy Symposium, and the New York State Music Teachers Association Conference. 

Claire Eary - Suzuki violin/traditional violin (professional)

Claire Eary is a Suzuki violin instructor. She is an active member in, and president of, the Southeast Texas Suzuki Association, a local affiliate of the national Suzuki Association of the Americas. She is experienced in teaching all ages (4 years old to college students), and all levels of Suzuki violin, from beginners to advanced (up through Volume 8).

Mrs. Eary has taught Suzuki violin lessons in the public schools; she was with the Houston ISD for 38 years, and now teaches private and group classes with the Spring Branch ISD. She has also taught in private studios for over 35 years; she is currently teaching private and group lessons in several locations: in her own Houston Suzuki Violin studio; in the Houston Suzuki Music studio; and in the University of Houston PCS (Preparatory and Continuing Studies) program.

Mrs. Eary received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at the University of Kentucky (1976), and her Master’s degree in Music Education at the University of Houston (2010). She studied Suzuki Violin Units with many acclaimed Suzuki trainers over the years, including John Kendall, Doris Preucil, Judy Offman and Carrie Reuning-Hummell.

Brian Howe - Violin

BM, Music Education University of Houston 2010, MM; Violin Performance University of Houston 2017. Brian has over ten years of teaching experience with students from young beginners to adults. Students of his have been accepted as members of Region, Area, and All-State orchestras. During the Master’s program at the University of Houston, Brian served as concertmaster of the Moores School of Music’s symphony, ballet, and opera orchestras, and was the 2016 recipient of the A. Clyde Roller Orchestra Award for superior musicianship, outstanding Leadership, and meritorious service to the orchestra program.

Maria Khoobyar- Voice

Maria Annette Khoobyar is a lyric soprano who currently resides in Houston, Texas. She is currently a Masters candidate and Fellowship Recipient at University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. She can be seen as Suzel in the Moores Opera Centers’s January Opera- Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz.

She holds taught music in Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District for 5 years-2 as a music teacher and 3 years as a private voice teacher. She also taught private piano and voice at the West Oaks Music Studio and private ballroom dance at Fred Astaire and Arthur Murray.  In May 2018 she will graduate with a Master’s Degree in both vocal performance and vocal pedagogy.

Houston audiences recently enjoyed her performance in Operativo’s Soirée Musicales and as a Guest Artist with the ECHO orchestra of Houston singing the Czardas from Die Fledermaus in their Spring concert: Dance Dance Dance. She previously debuted with ECHO Orchestra at their East by Southwest concert performing Puccini’s beloved aria, Un bel di vedremo from Madame Butterfly. Since 2010 Maria has performed as an opera chorister with Houston Grand, most notably in the 2016 world premiere of Carisle Floyd’s Prince of Players. She was also a dancer and chorister in HGO’s North American premiere of Mieczysław Weinburg’s The Passenger in Houston and again when HGO was invited to perform The Passenger at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City. Her most recent operatic role was  as Fata Morgana in Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges in the fall production at the Moores Opera Center.  She has also performed Beatrice Fazzobaldi in John Musto’s The Inspector and Sarah Good in The Crucible at the Moores Opera Center. Other roles include Micaela with Utah Lyric Opera, Belinda and Fiordiligi with Hawaii Performing Arts Festival, Luisa in The Fantasticks with BYU-Idaho. Maria graduated with a BMA in voice with minors in both dance and theater from BYU-Idaho.

Caroline Krause - Piano, junior faculty

Caroline Krause, a pianist, teacher and student, is pursuing her Master’s degree at the University of Houston with Mrs. Nancy Weems. Ms. Krause takes a holistic approach to teaching, caring about the general well-being of students in addition to their musical abilities. She believes that one can express emotions, order, and creativity through music. She promotes a healthy physical approach to playing the piano and strives to create a unique learning experience for each student. Ms. Krause also emphasizes solid rhythmic and note-reading skills, memorization, thoughtful fingering, historical knowledge, and finding the characters and emotions of each piece. Ms. Krause received her B.M. in piano performance from the University of Iowa, graduating with highest distinction. She currently teaches at St. Andrew’s School of Fine Arts and previously taught piano at Willowwind School, a Montessori school in Iowa City. An active performer as well as teacher, she shared second prize in the 2015 Liszt-Garrison Festival and International Piano Competition, as well as receiving the Best Interpretation Award for a piece by an American composer. Ms. Krause won the 2015 Fort Dodge Young Artists Competition and The University of Iowa Concerto and Aria Competition, performing with their respective symphonies.

Yukino Miyake - Piano, junior faculty

Yukino Miyake was born in Kyoto, Japan. She began studying piano at age of five and she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Kyoto City University of Arts (Japan). She was a winner of the Los Angeles Liszt International Competition in 2016. She also received 2nd place at the All-Japan Artist Competition (2009), 3rd place at Novji International Music Competition (2012).

As a collaborative musician, she has acted as a pianist for the Buffet Crampon USA Summer Clarinet Academy for now the past four years (2014-2017) where she performed with clarinetists from New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and so on. She was awarded the Outstanding Collaborative Artist of the Year (2016) from the UNF School of Music for her contribution as the collaborative pianist for their four different choral ensembles and also as a staff pianist for the voice area.

Yukino is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in Piano Performance & Pedagogy at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, where she also teaches group piano classes. She studies piano with Dr. Tali Morgulis and piano pedagogy with Dr. Courtney Crappell. She has been teaching both private and group lessons for young beginners in Houston area. 

ReederJoanna Reeder - Piano, junior faculty

Pianist Joanna Evelyn Reeder received her masters in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Houston where she studied with Nancy Weems and Dr. Courtney Crappell. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Furman University in South Carolina, graduating magna cum laud. She appeared as a concerto soloist with the Furman Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestras, and the Union Symphony of Orchestra and has given numerous solo recitals. The recipient of the Hirsch Memorial Scholarship Endowment and the Sigma Alpha Iota collegiate honor award, Reeder is also a member of the national music honors society, Pi Kappa Lambda.

While a graduate student, she served as president of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) collegiate chapter, twice presented her pedagogical research at the MTNA Collegiate Chapters Pedagogy Symposium, and completed extensive training in music pedagogy through a year-long pedagogy internship. She has taught private and group piano at the University of Houston as a Graduate Assistant and works as a faculty artist for the American Festival for the Arts outreach programs. Reeder has a growing studio of private students and continues to teach at the University of Houston as group piano adjunct instructor. Ms. Reeder’s teaching emphasises technique and musicality and cultivates disciplined and structured practice habits that are needed for success. In addition learning classical repertoire, her students learn music theory, collaboration and harmonization skills, and various styles of music.

Jonathan Scofield - Piano, junior faculty

Jonathan Scofield is a pianist and piano instructor currently pursuing a master's degree in piano performance at the University of Houston where he is also employed as a teaching assistant in the keyboard area. Teachers include Virginia Dismukes, Cynthia MacCrae, Douglas Weeks, Kevin Chance, and Timothy Hester. While studying at University of Montevallo, Mr. Scofield was chosen as a winner in the annual Alabama Music Teachers Association (AMTA) Collegiate Piano Solo Competition in the years 2013, 2015, and 2016. He was also awarded the Senior Elite award for academic excellence in music performance and the University of Montevallo H. Forrest and Jo Murphree Duncan Memorial Scholarship. In addition to performances at the University of Montevallo, Mr. Scofield has performed frequently at the Alabama Piano Gallery in numerous solo recitals and benefit concerts. He attended the Brevard Music Center Summer Institute and Festival (BMC) in 2015 and 2016 where he studied with Douglas Weeks and performed in student piano recitals, run-out concerts in the Brevard community, and collaboratively in BMC's new music ensemble, itch, in 2015. He has performed as a student accompanist at the University of Montevallo, and as an independent accompanist at the University of Alabama. Mr. Scofield first began teaching piano privately in 2013 and continued to teach at Old Towne Music in Helena, Alabama in 2014, and at the University of Alabama Community Music School in 2016. He also served as a substitute piano teacher at Scrollworks Youth Music School in 2016. He has been an adjudicator the Alabama Federation of Music Clubs (AFMC) District II Hymn and Solo Festivals. Mr. Scofield was president of the University of Montevallo MNTA Collegiate Chapter from 2014-2016 and is now a collegiate member of the Texas Music Teachers Association and the University of Houston MTNA Collegiate Chapter. His teaching emphasizes sound technique and knowledge of music theory. with an ultimate focus on cultivating a student's self-motivation and love of music through inspiration and example. 

Ying Zhu - Piano

Pianist Ying Zhu, a native of China, has been recognized as a piano soloist, chamber musician, accompanist, and educator. She began studying the piano when she was seven years old. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degree from Hangzhou Normal University in China, where she received several top prizes. In 2004, she came to the United States and studied with Robert Palmer firstly at Ball State University, where she was awarded a full scholarship for graduate student, then moved to East Lansing and got her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at Michigan State University under the tutelage of Deborah Moriarty.

An active performer, Dr. Zhu has appeared as a recitalist and collaborator across U.S. and China. Her chamber music performances have collaborated with many renowned musicians. She has frequently performed with Hangzhou Xizi Women’s Chorus in concert broadcast over public radio and television in China. She was also selected as a performance fellow to perform at Aria International Summer Academy in Indiana and Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in Michigan. During the 2012-2013 season, she was invited as a guest artist to give a recital in Ningbo Great Theatre by Ningbo Music Radio Station in China and toured to several Universities in East China to give master classes and recitals.

Dr. Zhu was on the piano faculty at Conservatory of Music of Hangzhou Normal University prior to coming to the United States. She has served as a piano instructor and coordinator of class piano at Michigan State University. She has joined NEMC (New England Music Camp, Maine) as a faculty member since 2009 summer. She also worked as an adjunct faculty of class piano at Wichita State University before residing in Houston.

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