Hsuan-Yu (Alex) Lee 李軒宇 - SO Conductor
Hsuan-Yu (Alex) Lee is quickly establishing himself as one of the most promising and dynamic young conductors in America. The Taiwan native has been working with orchestras on three continents, including the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra, Norwalk Symphony Orchestra of Connecticut, and Bohuslava Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra in Czech Republic. Mr. Lee is the conductor of the Dallas Asian American Youth Symphony Orchestra and TAMS Symphony Orchestra in Texas from 2012.
Mr. Lee is selected as the semi-finalist of the 2013 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview held by the League of American Symphony Orchestras. He is also invited to participate in the prestigious Tokyo International Conducting Competition in 2012 and conducts Beethoven Symphony No.1 with the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tokyo Opera City Hall.
Mr. Lee has been selected into several famed international conducting master classes and has thereby worked with several renowned conductors and teachers including Maestro Jorma Panula, David Effron, Larry Rachleff, Donald Schleicher, Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar and Lawrence Golan.
Mr. Lee holds degrees from the National Taiwan Normal University and is presently a doctoral conducting fellow at the University of North Texas. He is currently studying with Maestro David Itkin at University of North Texas College of Music.
Dr. Alicja Usarek - PO Conductor
Collin College Professor Alicja I. Usarek has joined DAAYO to be our PO conductor. A native of Wroclaw, Poland, she is a graduate of the Krakow Music Academy, and the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany, and in December, 2000 received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin. Her principal teachers were Eberhard Feltz, Zbigniew Szlezer, Eduard Melkus, Kurt-Christian Stier, Vincent Frittelli and Eliot Chapo. Dr. Usarek has enjoyed a varied performing career as a solo recitalist, chamber player, and an orchestra musician. During her years in Europe she performed a solo concerto/recital for radio broadcast in Ansbach, Germany. She has served on the faculty of the City Music School in Ingolstadt, and was a medalist in both the String Quartet Competition in Budapest, Hungary and the Szymanowski Solo Competition in Krakow, Poland. Alicja Irena Usarek was a first violinist in the Chamber Orchestra in Venice, Italy, has performed with the Krakow Radio Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic (internship), the Austin Symphony and Civic Choir Orchestra and the San Antonio Symphony. In August 2001 Dr. Usarek was appointed as Assistant Dean at the Valdosta Campus of Georgia Military College. From 2002-2008, she served as Director of Strings at Valwood College Preparatory School and in 2004 was appointed as Assistant Professor at Valdosta State University. During her tenure at VSU, she performed with the faculty string quartet, the Quartet in Residence, and the Palm Beach Opera. Dr. Usarek has soloed with the Civic Choir Orchestra in Austin, TX and the Central Florida Symphony.
Dr. Usarek’s musical expertise is not confined to violin performance. Having scored successes in the field of Musicology, she discovered Wagnerian influences in the early compositions of the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. Her article Béla Bartók’s 1907 Violin Concerto: In the Spirit of Trista is published by the International Journal of Musicology. She has lectured at the National American Musicological Conference in Kansas City, the Southern Chapter College Music Society Conference, Rice University, and has lectured and performed at the Valdosta State University Bartók Conference. Dr. Usarek was awarded a research grant for continued Bartók scholarly investigation and in 2009 had completed a book review on Bartók Perspectives for IJM. Alicja Usarek-Topper is married to Chair and Professor of the Brookhaven College Department of Music, Matson Topper, and is mother to Austin Carlton Topper, their 8-year old son and future cellist in the Dallas area. Alicja is an accomplished cook, specializing in central European cuisine with the taste of adventurous “Tex-Mex.”
Erin Fox - YO Conductor
Ms. Fox is from Richardson, Texas and attended Plano public schools. She received her Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas in 2001, and studied Early Music in England through the Cambridge Early Music Summer School. Her principal instrument is oboe. Ms. Fox studied modern oboe with Dr. Charles Veazey and Baroque oboe with Ms. Joyce Alper. Her background in Early Music was developed by participating in UNT’s Collegium musicum under the director of Dr. Cecil Adkins and Dr. Lyle Nordstrom. During her time at UNT Ms. Fox studied conducting under Dr. Dennis Fisher and Dr. Bradley Genevro. She currently studies violin with Ms. Edina Pastyik.
Ms. Fox is an orchestra director in Richardson ISD at Parkhill Junior High, where she is beginning her sixth year as head director. In 2007 Ms. Fox received the Golden Apple award from the Parkhill Junior High PTA. Previously Ms. Fox had taught music history, orchestra and band in Dallas ISD, and was assistant band director in Farmersville ISD. Additionally, Ms. Fox teaches piano and violin privately, and provides accompanist services for chamber performances.
Currently Ms. Fox is a performing member and librarian for the New Texas Symphony Orchestra where she plays violin. Ms. Fox’s past performing experiences include Principal Oboe of the Mesquite Symphony, New Texas Symphony, Frisco Symphonia and Collegium musicum, playing oboe and violin in various modern and Baroque small ensembles and chamber groups, in addition to playing piano, oboe and violin for various events around the Dallas area.
Ms. Fox’s other musical interests lie in the field of composition. Several successful premieres of her works have been performed over the years in Texas, Colorado and North Carolina, and have been featured in radio commercials in Colorado. Several of her arrangements are being used by string quartets in the Dallas area.
Ms. Fox lives in Dallas and enjoys cooking, reading, studying languages and traveling.
James Song - Chamber Music Conductor
James Song will be teaching our newly inaugurated chamber music program for the 2012/2013 season. James is currently concertmaster of the New Texas Symphony Orchestra, a central Dallas symphony orchestra that performs in the Dallas Arts District. He has performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Richardson Symphony Orchestra and has played in several symphony ensembles in Europe such as the Rudolfinum concert hall in Prauge, as well as Her Magesty's Theater in London where he played for the theater performance of Phantom of the Opera. His chamber music experience includes a variety of performances with his brother Edward, an award winning Cellist. James also runs a thriving teaching practice for violin in the North Dallas area. Many of his students are either members of the DAAYO or GDYO and many are all region or state ranked.
James graduated with honors from the UNT School of Music with a degree in Violin Performance. His former teachers Include Philip Lewis, John Giesel and Barbara Allen.
James is currently engaged to his fiancé, Kate. His hobbies include gourmet cooking, boating and martial arts where he is a 4th Degree Blackbelt in Kendo.