Meet the team!
Catherine Wu is a freshman at Northwestern University pursuing a dual degree of Global Health and Violin Performance. She has played violin since the age of six, and has studied under David Wang, Ning-Chih Hsu, Tong Yan, and Gerardo Ribeiro.
Catherine has won 1st prize in the Casa Argentina Competition and Stratford Concerto Competition. In addition to this, she has also won prizes in other competitions, including 2nd prize in the Houston Civic Young Artist Competition, 2nd prize in the US-China Star International Competition, and Honorable Mention in the Clearlake Symphony Young Artist Concerto Competition. For all 4 years of high school, Catherine has received a seat in the esteemed TMEA All-State Symphony and String Orchestras after a highly competitive contest in which over 50,000 students auditioned. After her senior year TMEA All-State auditions in November 2019, she was ranked 1st in the state of Texas. In addition to winning prizes in competitions and placing 1st in the State, she has won the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Gold Medal award for placing in the top 2-3% of soloists who competed in the state competition.
Besides participating in competitions, Catherine has performed in the 2018 Spread the Music Association Benefit Concert, her own solo recital she arranged with the help of Tong Yan, Joe Kai, and Sayaka Seki, and Vivace International School of Music recitals and performances.
A winner of international competitions, Tong Yan has claimed first prize at the International Music Competition of Union Francaise des Artistes Musiciens in Paris, International Violin Competition in Kazakhstan, International Chinese Violin Competition in New York, and string winner at the Gisborne International Orchestral Instruments Competition in New Zealand. She has also placed in the top three at the Andrea Postacchini International Violin Competition in Italy and the Brahms International Violin Competition in Austria. Yan has had many recitals and solo performances with orchestras in Austria, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand, China, Canada, and the United States.
Yan is currently an active chamber musician and has participated in festivals such as the Summer Strings Academy in Australia, Canada’s Morningside Music Bridge, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, Bar Harbor Music Festival in Maine, Pacific Music Festival in Japan, Spoleto Music Festival in South Carolina, Britt Music Festival in Oregon, and the Meadowmount Summer School in New York.
Yan joined the Houston Symphony in 2012 while pursuing her Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied with Donald Weilerstein. She also holds a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory, and a split bachelor’s degree from the Vienna University of Fine Arts, Joseph Haydn Conservatory, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Her teachers include Elisabeth Kropfitsch, Klaus Maetzl, and Marilyn McDonald.
Kevin Zhang is a junior from Memorial High School in Houston, TX. He started playing the violin in 2011, at the age of 8, and he has previously studied under Medea Guldedava. He currently studies under Tong Yan.
As a passionate violinist, Kevin participated in TMEA Region since middle school. He was placed into the Symphony Orchestra Violin I section for 6 straight years. In addition, he was placed into the 2021 TMEA All-State Philharmonic Orchestra. Kevin has competed in UIL in a quartet and a quintet, earning a score of 1 from both of them. Kevin has been a member in the highly-acclaimed Houston Youth Symphony for 5 years, earning a spot in the String and Philharmonia Orchestra. One of Kevin’s favorite extracurricular activities is “Share the Music”, where he performs in an ensemble for the local senior community with his classmates. Kevin also played the piano for 5 years, and he has participated in the National Piano Playing Auditions for 3 years. Kevin currently serves as a volunteer for the Vivace International School of Music, in which he helped host a virtual recital in October 2020.
Furthermore, Kevin has been a dedicated and an outstanding volunteer throughout high school. He volunteered for SpiderSmart in the Summer of 2019. He serves as a VP of his school’s volunteering club called Memorial Mustang Outreach Bunch. Kevin has earned the President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award twice.
Daniel Ma is a freshman at Memorial High School in Houston, Texas. He has played piano since kindergarten, but dropped it for the clarinet when he got to middle school. In middle school, Daniel achieved region for the last two years, getting second chair in 8th grade. In the middle school UIL Solo & Ensemble Contest, Daniel made 1's and OP's for both events in the two years he competed. This year, Daniel made high school region and was a few chairs away from advancing to area.
This year, Daniel helped host virtual recitals and other events with the Vivace International School of Music.
Outside of music, Daniel enjoys playing tennis with friends.
Grace Pan is a senior from Kinder HSPVA in Houston, TX. She started playing the cello at the age of 11, and currently studies under Wei Bing.
Grace has been selected to be a part of the Region 23 orchestra cello section for the past 6 years. She has also been a part of the award winning Houston Youth Symphony for the past 5 years in the String, Philharmonia, and Symphony orchestras. Grace has competed in the 2018 & 2019 UIL Solo Ensemble competition where she was awarded a rating of 1 for her solos and competed in the 2019 Katy Young Artist competition where she was given a rating of 1 for her quartet. In the summer of 2019, Grace attended the Bravo International Music Competition. Grace is currently a cello teacher under the non-profit Practice Pals and the Bellaire High School Tri-M Music Honor Society. She has also performed in retirement homes with the non-profit Music of Harmony and performed in the 2020 Spread the Music Association Benefit Concert. At school, Grace is the founder and president of the HSPVA Tri-M Music Honor Society where she leads and organizes the club meetings and activities. She was also the principal cellist of the HSPVA Symphony orchestra, was a part of the Quintet Con Fuoco, and currently performs with the Helios quintet at school.
Outside of music, Grace is also a passionate dancer who performs solos and lead roles at her dance studio’s performances, recently performing as the princess in the Firebird in the TMC Orchestra dreams of America concert with Mitsi Dancing School.