Meet Our instructor
ELLEN JOHNSTON - Violin
Ellen Johnston is a Texas born classically trained violinist, teacher, and performer. She first started the piano at the age of six and picked up the violin at age nine, and has been teaching and performing for well over a decade. She went on to study at Loyola University, New Orleans, on a music scholarship where she studied violin performance with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenburg and Amy Thaiville.
Ms. Johnston concentrated her studies in chamber music and solo performance, as well as college-level piano. In 2019, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Music Performance. Ellen has performed with the Romero Quartet, the Loyola Strings orchestra, and the Chamber Orchestra of Music In the Mountains.
She has taught all age ranges of students and believes music is an essential part of education. During her time in New Orleans, Ellen worked with the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra to spread her love of music to the community and taught privately. She now resides in Houston, Texas, where she continues to teach and perform.
Thien Truc - Piano, Violin
Violinist Thien-Truc Nguyen is distinguished not only as a dynamic and sensitive performer, but also a caring and passionate teacher. Thien-Truc earned her Master of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Houston under the guidance of Kirsten Yon. In addition to the Violin Performance Degree from the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music, Thien-Truc holds a Bachelor of Music and Certificate in Music Performance from the University of South Florida.
While working on her BM and MM degrees, Thien- Truc received several scholarships, awards, and honors from a variety of organizations such as the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society (2015), the Presser Undergraduate Scholarship Award (2016), the Green Mountain Music Festival scholarships (2015 and 2016), the National Music Honor Society Pi Kappa Lambda (2017 and 2018), the scholarships from University of South Florida String Department (2017 and 2018), the fellowship from Texas Music Festival (2019), and the Melcher Violin Scholarship from the University of Houston (2019 and
As a versatile musician, Thien-Truc has traveled internationally to Italy, Korea, Vietnam, and across the United States to perform solo recitals and chamber music concerts. One of her notable appearances was as solo performer to represent Vietnam at the 14th International Youth Fellowship – World Culture Camp in Korea. In 2016, Thien-Truc was featured as the first violinist in the string quartet for the CD “Light of the Midnight Sun,” recorded and released by the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. Ms. Nguyen has also collaborated with several composers to record movie soundtracks for various films being produced in Vietnam and the US.
Thien-Truc is also an active orchestral musician. She has performed with several orchestras in Vietnam and the United States, including the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera, the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, South Shore Symphony Orchestra, and the Brazosport Symphony Orchestra. At the University of Houston, Thien-Truc led the Moores Opera Orchestra and the Moores Symphony Orchestra as concertmaster and principal second violin respectively.
Thien-Truc has a deep passion for teaching music. As such, she maintains a busy teaching schedule, working with violin and piano students of all ages and levels. Through her personal and nuanced methods, Thien-Truc is able to not just nurture unique talents, but also develop vital skills such as confidence, concentration, patience, and dedication. Her teaching methods vary to meet each individual at a level to help them accomplish the best of their ability. In her many years of experience, Thien-Truc has prepared students for countless recitals, orchestral seating auditions, and competitions. She is committed to guiding her students toward healthy and beautiful playing while at the same time, highlighting the fun and expressive aspects of music and violin playing.
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