Dr. Kevin Salfen
Kevin Salfen (Associate Professor of Music, University of the Incarnate Word) is an interdisciplinary artist, scholar, and producer. His principal composition teachers were Martin Mailman, a student of Howard Hanson, and Cindy McTee, a student of Krzysztof Penderecki. Major research interests include twentieth-century British music and Japanese music in film and theater. Salfen has written a music appreciation e-textbook, Pathways to Music (Kendall-Hunt, 2nd ed., 2018), and his writing on Britten has appeared in multiple academic journals and essay collections. He has presented papers at numerous academic conferences, including the national meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society of Ethnomusicology, and he is currently President of the American Musicological Society, Southwest Chapter. He curates and writes for the blog Sound Trove.
Salfen lived in Japan for almost two years, and he is a Company Member of international performing ensemble Theatre Nohgaku. With them he has performed traditional noh and newly written (shinsaku) noh. Salfen was executive producer of the multi-year performance and education project Where Rivers Meet, which brought together the classical noh Sumida River, Benjamin Britten's Curlew River, and the newly commissioned Song of the Yanaguana River by 2015 Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla.
Salfen's music has been performed in Japan, England, China, and throughout the U.S. He was a finalist for the ASCAP Young Composer Award, was nominated for the 2019 Artist Foundation of San Antonio People’s Choice Award, and has been recognized twice for his music by the American College Theater Festival. Salfen was executive producer for two film projects: Made in SA: New Performers, New Musicians (2020) and SA24: Two Dozen Songs from Now (2021), and his intercultural work Phoenix Fire received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Dr. Rick Davis
Rick Davis (librettist) has written texts for two major works with composer Kim D. Sherman: an opera, Love’s Comedy, based on an early play by Ibsen, and an oratorio, The Songbird and the Eagle, commissioned and premiered by San José Chamber Orchestra and The Choral Project in 2006 to critical acclaim, and revived in 2014. He adapted the text of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale for trio performance with Washington, DCs’ IN Series (2013, 2018), and created several opera translations and adaptations for Mason Opera Theater.
Rick is active in the field of translation for theater as well, with four published and produced plays by the Spanish Golden Age master Calderón de la Barca, and in collaboration with Brian Johnston, five Ibsen plays that have been published, anthologized, and widely produced in major regional theaters and universities. He has also written for American Theatre magazine, Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World, Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama, and other publications.
As a stage director, he has directed plays and operas across the country, for venues including The Kennedy Center, Baltimore Center Stage, Theater of the First Amendment (where he served as Artistic Director for more than 20 years), Players Theater Columbus, Delaware Theater Company, Lake George Opera, Capital City Opera, Opera Idaho, the IN Series, and many more.
Rick has worked at George Mason University in Virginia since 1991, and currently serves as Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Executive Director of the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and Professor of Theater. He received his BA from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and his MFA and DFA from the Yale School of Drama.
Dr. Richard Novak
Richard Novak has established a national reputation as a professional tenor and voice teacher. Dr. Novak has performed with Opera San Antonio, Washington Concert Opera, Opera Carolina, San Antonio Opera, Alamo City Opera, Opera Piccola, Annapolis Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, The Living Opera, Texas Concert Opera Collective, Wagner Society of Washington, San Antonio Symphony, San Antonio Chamber Choir, San Antonio Choral Society, Chautauqua Symphony, Prince William Symphony, the Monroe Symphony, the Conservatorio di Musica Agostino Steffani in Castelfranco Veneto (Italy), the Institute of Culture in Culiacán and Mazatlán (Mexico), and the Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival (Germany). Among Dr. Novak’s operatic credits are Rodolfo, Pinkerton, Alfredo, Don José, Nemorino, Ernesto, Werther, Eisenstein, Tamino, Lippo, Roméo, and Tybalt. Training programs include the Chautauqua Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Wichita Grand Opera, Wesley Balk Singing/Acting Institute, and the Evelyn Lear/Thomas Stewart Emerging Singers (at the request of Evelyn Lear). In 2005 and 2006, Mr. Novak won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Tulsa District). He is also a former 1st Place winner of the Texoma National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) ‘Singer of the Year’ award. Recent engagements include a lecture-recital for the South Texas Chapter & Texoma Region of NATS (Liszt: In Love & Lust), the soloist in the World-Premiere of Kevin Salfen’s Birding Super Flumina Babylonis, Handel’s Messiah with the San Antonio Choral Society, the tenor soloist in Richard Danielpour’s An American Requiem at Stephen F. Austin State University, the tenor soloist in Missa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez with the San Antonio Choral Society, ‘A Forgotten Composer of Terezin: Songs of James Simon’ at Carnegie Hall, the 2018 International Czech Music Festival, & the NATS Texoma Regional Conference, Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera San Antonio, performances with Joey Martin and Ames Asbell at the International Viola Congress in Poznań, Poland, Letter to Lisbon 1-5 by Ken Metz at the College Music Society (South Central) conference, the roles of Werther (Werther) and Sam (Susannah) with the Texas Concert Opera Collective, and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings at Texas State University. With the assistance of a Research Enhancement Program Grant from Texas State University, Dr. Novak has been the driving force behind the commissioning/creation of Kevin Salfen and Rick Davis’ Stations of Mychal (a song cycle based on the life, ministry, and death, of FDNY Fire Chaplain, Fr. Mychal Judge). Dr. Novak holds a BM and MM in Vocal Performance from Stephen F. Austin State University, and the DMA in Vocal Performance from the University of North Texas. Richard is an Assistant Professor of Voice at Texas State University where he teaches voice, vocal pedagogy, and vocal literature. In addition, Dr. Novak performs and teaches during the summer at the Interharmony International Music Festival in Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany. He also currently serves as the Vice President/Auditions Chair for the South Texas Chapter of NATS. Prior to his position at Texas State University, Dr. Novak taught voice at the University of the Incarnate Word, Trinity University, George Mason University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Louisiana-Monroe, and Angelina College. Richard lives in New Braunfels (TX) with his wife, Laura, and their children.
Dr. Ames Asbell
Violist Ames Asbell has performed classical, tango, and popular music in over 30 countries around the world, in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to universities to clubs. She appears on dozens of internationally released CDs, film scores and broadcasts, including the Dixie Chicks’ Grammy-winning Home, Richard Linklater’s arthouse hit film Waking Life (in which she also appears onscreen), and six appearances on PBS television staple Austin City Limits. From 2001 to 2005, she toured globally with rock legend David Byrne (of Talking Heads), appearing with him on broadcasts such as Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman and Later...with Jools Holland (BBC) as well as two international DVD releases.
After earning the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas, Ames put down roots in Austin, where she is currently violist of the classical crossover Tosca String Quartet, Principal Violist of the Austin Opera Orchestra and a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. She appears regularly with the Victoria Bach Festival, Conspirare and Arizona Musicfest, and is also in great demand as a chamber musician throughout the area.
Ames has performed with artists in a wide variety of musical styles, such as Andrea Bocelli, Stevie Wonder, Bernadette Peters, John Cale, Gilberto Gil, Bonnie Raitt, and Harry Connick, Jr. She has played tango in Argentina, most notably at the Fifth World Tango Summit in Rosario in 2000 with Tosca Tango Orchestra performing the Nuevo tango chamber compositions of Glover Gill. Her orchestral experience includes the San Antonio Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, and regional orchestras around the state of Texas, and she has also performed on Baroque viola with La Follia Austin Baroque and the St. Cecilia Baroque Festival. She has recorded for labels such as Nonesuch, Harmonia Mundi, Naxos, Sony and Merge, as well as a multitude of smaller and independent labels.
A passionate teacher, Dr. Asbell has twice had the honor of teaching the top high school violist in the state of Texas, and her former students have gone on to study at prestigious schools of music such Eastman, Rice, Oberlin, Peabody and others. She has served on Texas State University faculty since 2005, teaching viola and chamber music as well as theory and music literature courses and performing with faculty ensembles. In fall 2010, she launched the Texas State String Project, a Suzuki-based community outreach program which offers string instruction to San Marcos-area elementary-school students.
Dr. Joey Martin
Joey M. Martin is a musician regarded for his diverse musical interests, engaging artistry, and passionate enthusiasm for the choral art. After twenty years of service as the director of choral activities, Dr. Martin continues to service the Texas State School of Music as the interim director. Distinctions include recognition as a Favorite Professor recipient of the Presidential Distinction Awards for both Teaching and Service. During his time at Texas State, he has directed four of the seven university vocal ensembles. Highlights include engagements throughout much of Europe, South Africa, and China with performances for numerous conferences, including TMEA, SWACDA, ACDA, and the International Kodály Festival.
Dr. Martin served as the artistic director for the San Antonio based Alamo City Men’s Chorale and with Craig Hella Johnson on the creative team for the Victoria Bach Festival. His scholarly/creative activities span twenty-seven of the United States and fifteen countries on six continents, including many western European countries, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil. He continues in his twelfth year as the artistic director and conductor for Honor Choir USA in Honolulu, Hawai’i, as he shares the ‘aloha spirit’ with exceptional young musicians from the mainland.
As coach/accompanist, he enjoys collaborating with vocal and instrumental artists – vocalists Jennie Olson, Maria Jette, Timothy Jones, Ron Ulen, Daveda Karanas, Richard Novak, and Cheryl Parrish and with chamber musicians Ames Asbel, viola, and Karla Hamelin, cello.
Dr. Martin received his DMA in choral conducting from the University of Texas in Austin where he was recognized as The Outstanding Graduate while studying with Craig Hella Johnson (conducting), Betty Mallard (piano), and Martha Deatheridge (voice). He is a recent graduate of the Harvard School of Education Management Development Program and was recently selected to participate in the second cohort of the Texas Academic Leadership Academy. In his spare time, he dreams of culinary school.
Courtney Katzmeyer is a musician, director, teacher, and design specialist based in the central Texas area. Her love for anything creative has led her to pursue design, vocal performance, play writing, theatrical and musical directing, and theatrical performance.
Courtney currently serves as the head choral director and assistant theatre director at Wimberley High School, as well as the head theatre director and head choral director at Danforth Junior High in Wimberley, TX. Her students have placed in TMEA Region Choirs and won individual and group awards at UIL One Act Play contest. In 2021, her junior high theatre students performed her own one act adaptation of Little Women and placed third overall, winning 'best crew'. Her high school students advanced to OAP Regional Contest with their production of Anatomy of Gray.
In addition to teaching, Courtney performs as much as possible. She sings as a soprano choral scholar at the First United Methodist Church of Austin and has most recently performed with Hill Country Opera and Arts, Texas Concert Opera Collective, the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Austin, and the Bastrop Opera House. She will perform this July as Lysander in Bastrop Opera House's production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Courtney received a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Miami University of Ohio, where she studied with Audrey Luna (soprano). She then went on to earn a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at Texas State University, where she studied with Dr. Soon Cho (mezzo-soprano) and Dr. Richard Novak (tenor). She also studied vocal performance at SongFest at the Colburn School in Los Angeles (2015) and Accademia Vocale Lorenzo Malfatti at the Boccherini Conservatory in Lucca, Italy (2018). She earned her Music EC-12 certification through Texas Teachers and will soon test for her EC-12 theatre certification as well.