Our instructors have advanced degrees from leading universities and conservatories across the country, as well as exceptional performing experience around the globe.
Kiersten Baker holds a MM in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and a BM in Piano Pedagogy from Louisiana State University where she studied both piano and violin. Baker has been teaching piano and Suzuki violin since 2011 and has also taught music theory and aural skills as a part of her graduate assistantship at UH. Baker enjoys teaching music in a variety of settings with people of all ages and stages of life. In whichever context, she is most passionate about making music accessible, relevant, and enjoyable to each student.
B. B. Bamberg
Barbara Bamberg is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University with graduate work at University of Houston. She has taught piano for over forty years as well as classroom music, coaching and accompanying for schools, churches and seminaries. Her interest in motivating students to enjoy making music for a lifetime has renewed her desire to return to the Bridges faculty after a hiatus of several years.
Andrés González, Violin, attended the University of Miami and received the MM from Rice University, where he studied with Sergiu Luca. Now, a resident of Houston, he regularly performs with Mercury Baroque, Houston Grand Opera, The Bach Society and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. He is experienced with Suzuki violin and teaches all ages.
Monica Griffin, Director
Monica joined Bridges Academy in 2007. She received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Texas and has taught voice for over 15 years. Monica is certified by the LoVetri Somatic Voicework® program.
Jasmine Hatem is a graduate of the Conservatory of the University of Cincinnati, holds the MM in accompanying and chamber music from both The University of Houston's Moores School of Music and Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. She teaches piano and accompanying at University of St. Thomas in Houston.
Anne Heath-Welch has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Centenary College of Louisiana and a Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. She also did doctoral work (DMA) at UT Austin before leaving to study and audition in Europe. She spent a year at the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria studying on a Lieder Course. Anne has sung lead roles with Welsh National Opera, English National Opera, Scottish Opera, the Royal Opera House as well as Opera Zuid (Maastricht) and Pocket Opera, Nuremberg.
Clarinetist Molly Mayfield has been performing professionally in Houston for over 20 years. She received her bachelors degree in performance from the University of Texas at Austin, and her masters degree in performance from the Shepherd School at Rice University. She has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Symphony, the Houston Ballet, and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra.
Clarinet, Euphonium/Baritone, Flute, French Horn, Piano, Trumpet/Cornet, Tuba
Dr. Emily McGinnis is a passionate musician and teacher. She has been a private lesson instructor since 2002, and is also a music professor, band clinician, and freelance performer in the Houston metro. McGinnis performs locally with the Houston Brass Band and competes nationally and internationally with the award-winning Fountain City Brass Band of Kansas City. She has previously been a member of the music education faculty at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, the assistant director of the Roeland Park (KS) New Horizons Band, and a school band director in Kansas and Illinois. McGinnis enjoys engaging with ALL music students. Her studio has included of a wide range of ages (4 - 73 year olds!), instruments, and abilities. New to Houston, she is excited to connect with Houston’s younger musicians in her role as the Director of Youth and Outreach Activities for the Houston Brass Band, and also hopes to work with Houston’s adult musicians by starting a New Horizons Band (typically ages 50+) within the loop. McGinnis has received numerous grants for her research in undergraduate music education curriculum, life-long music making, and experiences of women brass players, resulting in publications and presentations at regional, national, and international levels. She earned PhD and MME degrees from the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory, and a B.A. degree from Luther College in Decorah, IA.
Randy Murrow, Associate Director
Administration, Photography, Voice
Randy holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Oklahoma and Master of Music in Voice Performance from the University of Houston. In addition to a career teaching choral and solo singing to secondary students, Randy has sung several seasons with the Santa Desert Chorale, Conspirare, Cantare, and Houston Chamber Choir. In additions to his responsibilities for Bridges Academy, he directs the St. Cecilia Women's Choir at St. Luke's.
Pianist Jessica Myers has performed extensively across the United States and abroad. Based in Houston, Texas, Jessica is a staff pianist for the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston and has collaborated with many of the top musicians and conductors in Houston, including members of the Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Moores School of Music Faculty, Texas Music Festival, Houston Chamber Choir, and the Houston Symphony Chorus. Jessica is an advocate for contemporary music, and she premiered and recorded new works as a member of the highly-regarded AURA Contemporary Ensemble. Equally passionate about music education and arts advocacy, she has held leadership positions in community arts schools and music teacher organizations and serves on the faculty of the Bridges Academy in Houston.
Jim Roman holds a BM and MM in Organ Performance and Sacred Music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ where he studied with Ken Cowan and Alan Morrison. In 2020 Jim completed his Certificate in Music Performance at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music as a student of Daryl Robinson. He has also had additional private studies with Grethe Krogh in Copenhagen, Denmark and is the winner of the 2013 Joan Lippincott Organ Competition for Excellence in Organ Performance. Jim is currently the Associate Organist at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Houston, TX and also serves as Dean of the Houston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Grace Roman is a lyric soprano and performs frequently in the Houston area. Previous roles include Josephine (HMS Pinafore), Meg (Little Women), Flora Bervoix (La Traviata), La Bellezza (Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno), Flaminia (Il mondo della luna), and Belinda (Dido and Aeneas). Grace made her professional debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the spring of 2015 in Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Ancilla II). She has a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Florida and a Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College. Grace is currently Associate Director of Music and Fine Arts for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.
John Edward Ross
John Edward Ross has 25 years of teaching experience, and enjoys working with students of all ages and levels. He performs professionally as a jazz, rock, gospel and folk musician; he also works as a composer, producer, and recording engineer. His musical output ranges from scoring films, to producing popular music, to writing music for musicals, to boundary pushing collaborations with modern dance choreographers and video artists, to creating a series of instructional books and recordings for guitar. In addition to offering guitar instruction, John Edward offers lessons in recording technology, music theory, and music production and composition.
Lauren Ruhl, Mezzo Soprano, holds a Bachelor of Arts in vocal performance from Pepperdine University. She recently performed in The Magic Flute with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and Madame Butterfly with VAS in Colorado Springs. Lauren enjoys teaching voice to all ages and levels in Katy ISD, HISD and at Bridges.
Elizabeth Schneider, soprano, completed a double major at Michigan State University with Bachelor of Music degrees in both Vocal Performance and Music Education. She completed her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois. Elizabeth also has background in piano, flute, dance, and yoga, and she holds teacher certifications for both early childhood and K-12 music classes. Some of the roles she has performed include Adonis (La púrpura de la Rosa), Hanna (Die lustige Witwe), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Rosasharn (Grapes of Wrath), Serpetta (La finta giadiniera), and Desiree (A Little Night Music). Other notable experiences include studying and performing opera internationally in Todi, Italy and Tianjin, China.
Violist Yvonne Smith received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University under the tutelage of Joan DerHovsepian and James Dunham. She performs frequently with Houston Symphony, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Bach Society Houston, La Follia Austin Baroque, Ars Lyrica Houston, American Bach Soloists (San Francisco), and Lyra Baroque Orchestra (Minneapolis/St. Paul). In 2016, Yvonne founded La Speranza, one of the preeminent American ensembles dedicated (exclusively) to the historically informed performance of 18th and 19th century chamber music repertoire.
Josh Wharton received his Bachelors in Music Performance in percussion at the University of Kentucky. After graduation, he taught in the Clear Creek School district in south Houston for 4 years, directing percussion and teaching private lessons at both the Junior high and High school levels. He currently is a private instructor and freelance percussionist.
Steven Wiggs, Cello, plays with the Houston Grand Opera/Ballet Orchestra. He was principal cellist for the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra, and studied at the University of Kentucky. He has also been a member of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the Oklahoma Symphony. Steven is experienced with students of all ages.
Amy Saxton Wiggs is an honors graduate of the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, where she earned her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Flute Performance as a student of Albert Tipton. Ms. Wiggs held the position of 2nd Flute with the New Orleans Symphony/Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra from 1990-1994. Currently Ms. Wiggs is Principal Flute of the Baytown Symphony Orchestra along with free-lancing and performing with the various arts organizations in the Houston area. She teaches as an adjunct professor at Sam Houston State University and Lone Star College – Kingwood, Montgomery and North Harris. Amy is the owner/manager of Accent Chamber Music.
JP Williams is a Houston-based singer and graduate of the University of Houston where he received his Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. He has performed for the mainstage shows at the Moores Opera Center as the title role from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, The Father from Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, and Joseph Talbot in William Bolcom’s Dinner at Eight. He has also performed the role of Toante from Handel's Oreste with Baylor Opera Theatre. He also works regularly with Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church as a Staff Singer and soloist. JP believes that performing and teaching go hand in hand when it comes to learning how to sing. He strives to provide his students with a safe atmosphere that helps them grow and learn in a nurturing environment. His primary goal is to provide each student with a strong technical foundation for singing that helps them achieve their artistic goals.
Kris Woldy received a BA from Knox College in Illinois, and continued her music studies at Moores School of Music at UH. Experienced as an accompanist and Music Director at various churches and a piano teacher at Johnston Middle School, she continues to play, sing and direct throughout the city.
Bass, Composition, Guitar, Piano
Daniel Zajicek is an American composer, artist, and pianist, whose works have been described as both “significant” and “unsettling.” His creative output consists of installation and video art, as well as electronic, orchestral, operatic, and instrumental works. He studied composition and piano at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, electroacoustic music and composition at the University of North Texas, and composition and video & installation art at Rice University. Presentations of his works have taken place with the Fort Worth Opera and Diverse Works, as well as in Portugal, the Czech Republic, France, England, Cuba, Canada, China, and Taiwan. Daniel is also active as a performer of both the electric and acoustic bass, performing regularly with bluegrass, gospel, and rock ensembles.