Katie Carrington, viola
Katie originally hails from Chicago and made her Carnegie Hall debut performing the Telemann Viola Concerto. She holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Rice University, where she had the pleasure of working with Heidi Castleman, Hsin-Yun Huang, and James Dunham. Katie previously played in the Louisiana Philharmonic as well as Principal Viola in the Breckenridge Music Festival. She currently serves as Principal Viola in the Mercury Chamber Orchestra and as the violist of the Axiom Quartet.
In addition to her performing career, she enjoys a rewarding teaching career that fulfills her passion for sharing music with children. She previously served as Artistic Director of the Greater New Orleans Suzuki Forum.
She currently is on the Board of the Southeast Texas Suzuki Association as well as working with the Houston Youth Symphony and Mercury Chamber Orchestra’s educational programs.
Matthew Carrington, viola
Violist Matthew Carrington enjoys a diverse performing career, from chamber ensembles to large orchestras. He currently is a member of the Mercury Chamber Orchestra, which performs music of all eras on period instruments to enthusiastic audiences. Prior to joining Mercury, he has performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic and the New World Symphony. As a chamber musician he has shared the stage with members of the Borromeo, Attacca, and Argus quartets, as well as exploring folk music from around the world with the Apollo Chamber Players. A native of Fresno, CA, Mr. Carrington holds degrees from UC Santa Cruz and Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and counts Roy Malan, Mimi Zweig, and Atar Arad among his principal teachers.
Elisabeth Hope, violin
Elisabeth Hope is in demand as a freelancing violinist and guest violin clinician, in addition to running a thriving private studio in Dickinson, TX and serving as the orchestra director at Bay Area Christian School in League City, TX. She began studying the violin at the age of three in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She obtained two bachelor degrees (in music and communications, public relations concentration) from George Mason University and a master's degree in music performance from the University of Houston. She has been featured as a soloist with orchestras in New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Texas. She is on the board of the Southeast Texas Suzuki Association, serving as 2020-2022 president. Mrs. Hope is pleased to be offering Hope Violin Studio's Region and All-State camp for its eighth year, and is excited to have such amazing faculty for this year's camp!
Brittany Leavitt, cello
Houston native Brittany Leavitt completed her Bachelor of Music in Violoncello with specialization in Marketing at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music. She graduated with the highest GPA in her department, Summa Cum Laude. Her years at the University of Houston allowed her several performing opportunities nationally and internationally including with the Akademisches Orchester Leipzig in Germany, Schlern International Music Festival in Italy, Texas Music Festival in Houston, The Midwest Convention in Chicago, amongst others. Previous instructors include the late Vagram Saradjian and Daniel Saenz. She often performs as a sub for The Symphony of Southeast Texas, Brazosport Symphony Orchestra, and the Lake Charles Symphony.
Ms. Leavitt began teaching cello privately in 2010 as a high school student. Several years and a music degree later, she has instructed dozens successful cello students out of BRL Cello Studio in the Northwest Houston area. Her students consistently earn placement in Region orchestras, TMEA All-state orchestras, and Texas Private School All-state orchestra. She takes sincere joy in preparing her students for college music auditions to music programs throughout the country.
Courtenay Vandiver Pereira, Cello
Cellist and native Houstonian Courtenay Vandiver Pereira has been acclaimed by the Boston Globe as “an expert player,” and by the New Jersey Star Ledger for her “wonderful technique and creamy sound”. Her music has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Musikverein (Vienna), and the Gewandhaus (Leipzig). In addition, she has concertized in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.
She is former Principal cellist of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra and member of both Mercury Chamber Orchestra and ROCO. A founding member of the Grammy-nominated ensemble A Far Cry, they enjoy residencies at New England Conservatory and Kneisel Hall. Locally, Courtenay is Artistic
Director of House of Cello.
A passionate chamber musician, Ms. Vandiver Pereira has performed with the St. Petersburg, Borromeo, and Jupiter String Quartets. She has collaborated in concert with artists such as Donald Weilerstein, Roger Tapping, Ronald Leonard, Steven Dann, and Natasha Brofsky. Festival appearances include Ravinia, Yellow Barn, Sarasota, Schleswig-Holstein, Leipzig BachFest, and the New York String Orchestra Seminar.
Televised before millions across the United States and Canada, she played for Billy Graham's final My Hope Campaign. She also plays for Jesus Image, teaches at House of Bethany’s Worship Academy and writes worship songs. Her album, Journey to Light can be heard regularly on iTunes, Spotify, and radio stations round the world including refugee camps in the Middle East.
Ms. Vandiver Pereira earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees at New England Conservatory with Academic and Artistic Distinction under the tutelage of Laurence Lesser and Paul Katz. She’s performed in masterclasses with cellists Heinrich Schiff, Frans Helmerson, Pieter Wispelwey and Christoph Henkel. Inspirational teachers in her youth include former Principal cellist of the Houston Symphony, Shirley Trepel and Myung-Wha Chung. She is a recipient of The Yellow Rose of Texas. Presented by former Governor Ann Richards, the award is given only through the Office of the Governor and recognizes women for their significant and outstanding contributions to the State of Texas.
Melissa Williams, Violin
Violinist Melissa Williams is a core member of both the Houston Grand Opera and Houston
Ballet Orchestras, and maintains an active private teaching studio in Houston, TX. She has
also performed as a member of the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, National Ballet of
Canada, Esprit, Saskatoon, Okanagan, and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, as well as being
an avid freelancer.
Melissa is featured as soloist on the 2022 release 'Canadian Soundscapes' on the
Centrediscs label, featuring her live 2015 performance of the monumental Violin Concerto by Order of Canada recipient Imant Raminsh, with the Okanagan Symphony
Born and raised in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada Melissa moved to Houston, TX in 2012 to pursue her Master’s Degree in Violin Performance at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music ('14) with Paul Kantor after completing a Bachelor's degree in Violin Performance at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto with Paul Kantor and Barry Shiffman. Other principal teachers included Marc Destrube and Denis Letourneau.
Melissa has participated in the Tanglewood Music Centre, Youth Orchestra of the Americas,
Banff Festival Orchestra, and the Mannes Institute for Contemporary Performance in NYC
summer programs, and participated in the Kronos Quartet’s professional training workshop at Carnegie Hall as a member of the Annex String Quartet.
Melissa lives in Houston with her husband Erique and their two children, Raena and Esmae.