String Faculty


talbott

Dr. Laura Talbott Clark

Violin and Viola

laura.talbott@okstate.edu

 

A vibrant musician and innovative educator, Laura Talbott Clark is a violinist and violist equally dedicated to performing and teaching.  Currently, Laura serves as Associate Professor of Violin and Viola at Oklahoma State University, where she was awarded the Wise-Diggs-Berry Award for excellence in the performing arts in 2011.  In 2007, she was named the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Professor by the OSU Student Council.  She co-founded the OSU String Academy (OSUSA) in 2009 and started the OSUSA Violin Head Start Program in 2011. She is theDirector and Founder of the OSU Horizons String Chamber Music Camp.  Laura has held teaching positions at the Inspiration Point Fine Arts String Camp, Meadowmount School of Music, Indian Hill MusicCenter, Bands and Orchestras of America Summer Symposium, Triada Music Festival, and Boston University.  She has served as a Member-at-Large, Vice President, and President of the Oklahoma chapter of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA). She is currently OK-ASTA's Special Projects and Membership Chair.

An avid chamber musician, she is the second violinist of the Tulsa Rock Quartet.  She is a member of Tulsa Camerata, for which she performs on both violin and viola.  She has served as the principal violinist of the Janus 21 Chamber Ensemble of Boston and performed as part of the Brightmusic Chamber Music Series (Oklahoma City), Mannes Conservatory’s annual Beethoven Institute (NYC), Triada Music Festival (Ludlow, VT) and Tulsa Brown Bag-It Recital Series.  Formerly, she was the Artistic Director of theFrontiers New Music Ensemble, an ensemble she co-founded.  She has appeared as a recitalist throughout the United States.

Laura has an extensive background as an orchestral musician.  She is currently a member of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, playing in their viola section; she also performs with the Tulsa Ballet (viola) and the Tulsa Opera (violin).  In the past, she has performed with the New Hampshire Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Huntsville Symphony, Boston Virtuosi, Ann Arbor Symphony, Aspen Chamber Symphony, Cantata Singers Chamber Orchestra, Boston Lyric Opera, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra.

Laura received her doctorate in string performance from Boston University.  She holds additional degrees from Vanderbilt University (B.M.) and the University of Michigan (M.M.).  Her principal teachers have included Peter Zazofsky, Paul Kantor, Christian Teal, and John Kochanowski. Laura has spent summers at Interlochen, Meadowmount, Tanglewood, Oberlin Baroque Institute and the Aspen Music Festival, where she was a fellowship student.

Equally interested in the scholarly aspects of performance, music education, and the creative process, Dr. Talbott has presented lectures at the American String Teachers Association National Convention (2007; 2009) and the Maryland Music Educators Association State Convention (2008).  Her 2007 ASTA presentation resulted in a feature article in Strings magazine’s “Strings 101” column (“From Croak to Croon” compiled by James Reel; October 2007, No. 152).  In 2007, Dr. Talbott organized a two-day seminar featuring San Francisco-based creativity coach and author, Dr. Eric Maisel.  The workshop, entitled “Coaching the Artist Within,” attracted artists from all disciplines and provided them with ways to connect more deeply to their art.

Initially triggered by her own experiences with overuse-injuries, Dr. Talbott is actively involved in educating OSU and Oklahoma string students about the biomechanics of playing the violin/viola and over-use injury prevention and rehabilitation.  She has participated in the Ithaca College Healthy Musician Symposium and is working toward certification as an Andover Educator.  In 2005, Dr. Talbott organized a three-day workshop at OSU featuring Andover Educator Chairperson, Dr. Amy Likar.  Dr. Likar worked with OSU students, members of the Stillwater community, and OU students to increase awareness of the biomechanics of string playing.

Dr. Talbott Clark is a member of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Music Educators National Committee (MENC), Oklahoma Music Educators Association (OMEA), and Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.


 MG 3964Megan McClendon Rios

Violin 
meganmcclendon@gmail.com

Megan McClendon Rios, violinist, leads an exciting and active career as a performer and educator. She resides in Oklahoma City and has been a member of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic since 2014. Additionally, she performs witht eh Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony, and has served as guest concertmaster of the Amarillo Symphony.

Megan was a member of the San Antonio Symphony from 2011-2013. Prior to that she held a fellowhip with the New World Symphony, directed by Michael Tilson Thomas in Miami Beach, Florida in which she had several leadership opportunities as concertmaster and chamber musician as well as coaching from world-renowned soloists and orchestral musicians. Other orcehstral experiences include performances with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. 

In addition to Megan's orchestral experience, she is an avid chamber musician. She was a member of the highly-acclaimed Delray String Quartet based in south Florida. She has performed with the Monadnock Chamber Players in Monadnock, NH, the Zephyr International Chamber Music Festival in northern Italy, and the Festival Amadeus in Whitefish, MT where she has also been a guest soloist with the Glacier Symphony Orchestra. Megan has performed in summer festivals including the Spoleto Festival in both Italy and Charleston, SC, and the Ash Lawn Festival in Charlottesville, VA.

As an educator, Megan currently has a private studio in Oklahoma City. Her students have won top honors in concerto competitions and gained acceptance to music festivals nationwide. She has held teaching appointments at Miami Dade College, Oklahoma City University, and has served as clinician and judge for competitions and masterclasses, and workshops.

Megan McClendon Rios recieved a Bachelor of Music degree and Graduate Performance Diploma from the Peabody Conservatory studying with Martin Beaver and Violin Melanin. She received a Master of Music degree from San Francisco Conservatory, studying with Camilla wicks and Ian Swenson. She pursued further studies with Angela Fuller Heyde at Baylor University.


Blecha

Dr. Meredith Blecha-Wells

Cello

meredith.blecha@okstate.edu

 

Dr. Meredith Blecha-Wells leads a dynamic career dedicated to both performing and teaching.  She has appeared as a chamber musician and orchestral player in the United States, Australia, and Europe, and has had the pleasure of performing in world class concert halls such as the Kennedy Center and the Sydney Opera House.

As a chamber musician, she is a founding member of the Pangaea Chamber Players and regularly performs with the Tulsa Camerata and the Brightmusic Ensemble in Oklahoma City.  She recently recorded a CD with the Pangaea Chamber Players entitled Purple Line.  The CD, which will be released under the Blue Griffin Label, includes flute, cello, and piano and features works by Gaubert, Rorem, Villa-Lobos, and Weber.

A devoted teacher, Dr. Blecha-Wells is currently the Associate Professor of Cello at Oklahoma State University, where she was recently awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Junior Faculty Award for Scholarly Excellence.  Her students have won a number of competitions, including prizes in the American Protege Competition, the Music Teachers National Association Competition, the Ad Astra String Competition, the Buttram Competition, the Oklahoma City Youth Orchestra, and the Keith Competition.  Her students have been accepted to study at a number of music schools in the US including Indiana University, Southern Methodist University, and festivals such as Round Top, Meadowmount, Eastern Music Festival, Brevard, Interlochen, Hot Springs, and Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival.

Dr. Blecha-Wells has taught throughout the United States and has most recently given classes at Auburn University, the University of Kansas, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Northern Colorado, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Georgia.  Previous teaching posts include Point CounterPoint Chamber Music Camp in Vermont, Colorado Suzuki Institute, Chicago Suzuki Institute, Indiana University Summer Music Clinic, the Hochstein School of Music and Dance, the Eastman Community Music School, the Indianapolis Academy of Music, and Indiana University's String Academy.

Dr. Blecha-Wells received a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Cello Performance from Indiana University, studying under Janos Starker and Helga Winold.  Additionally, she holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music where she served as the teaching assistant to Distinguished Professor Alan Harris.  Additional studies include festival participation at the Taos School of Music, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, the National Repertory Orchestra, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival.


Tulsa Camerata 052414 0072

Jesus Villarreal

Double Bass

Double Bassist Jesus Villarreal leads an interesting and eventful life, eager to follow whatever path his curiosity takes him. He is currently Artistic Coordinator with Tulsa Camerata, Tulsa’s premier local chamber music ensemble, which he co-founded in 2010. A group without bounds, Tulsa Camerata not only performs works by composers of the standard canon, but actively pursues the performance and creation of new works by living composers.

An avid and busy orchestral musician, Jesus is currently a member of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Signature Symphony of Tulsa, OK. He has had the great fortune to be able to work with many of today’s preeminent conductors and composers (including Myung-whun Chung, Bernard Haitink, Gerard Schwarz, Kent Nagano, John Corigliano, Michael Daugherty, Oliver Knussen, Bright Sheng, David del Tredici, Dan Welcher), and numerous international touring soloists. He has previously been a member of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, and has performed with the Austin Lyric Opera, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Orchestra, and Tulsa Opera.

Jesus holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Studies from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and a Bachelor of Music in Double Bass Performance from the University of Texas at Austin. He began playing the double bass at the age of eleven in the public schools in Austin, TX and started his private studies with Dr. David Neubert, the past principal double bassist of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, at The University of Texas at Austin. In Chicago, he had the pleasure of studying with Stephen Lester and Michael Hovnanian of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Andrew Anderson of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. While a student at the University of Texas, Jesus performed with the UT Early Music Ensemble on viola da gamba, New Music Ensemble, UT Wind Ensemble and performed at the Austrian-American Mozart Festival in Salzburg, Austria.

He currently resides in Tulsa, OK with his wife Liza and two children. When he is not busy with Tulsa Camerata or practicing for upcoming concerts, he is working on their old English Tudor-style home, wrenching on his 1959 Volkswagen Beetle, enjoying the outdoors on two wheels or trying to convince his family that they need another canine friend in the house.