Dr. Peter Kempter began his music studies at the age of 6 with his mother, principal cellist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, and his father, conductor of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony for 37 years and a nationally recognized music educator. He graduated with degrees in music education and cello performance studying with Yehuda Hanani (Peabody Conservatory B. M. Ed), Shirley Trepel (Rice University M.M.) and Anthony Elliott and Laszlo Varga (University of Houston D.M.A.). He has performed, toured and recorded for numerous Houston professional organizations including the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Opera, Houston Ballet, J. S. Bach Society, The Woodlands Symphony, and is principal cellist with the Lake Charles Symphony. In 2004, he premiered a cello concerto with the LCS by the late composer Keith Gates. During the summers, he and his wife perform chamber music in the Assisi Performing Arts Festival in Assisi, Italy.
From 1991-2004, Dr. Kempter taught cello, string methods and music theory at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. From 2003-2005, Dr. Kempter taught orchestra at The Woodlands High School-McCullough Campus, and in 2005 he established the orchestra program at The Woodlands College Park High School. The College Park string and full orchestras under his direction have earned superior ratings at U.I.L. Concert and Sight-Reading Contest every year. He has conducted ensembles at festivals in San Antonio, Orlando, Dallas (Meyerson Hall), Chicago (Symphony Hall), Anaheim, and in New York (Carnegie Hall). In 2013, Dr. Kempter was awarded the Dr. David Gottlieb Teacher Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts.
Dr. Kempter is an active member of the American String Teachers Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association and the Houston Professional Musicians Association. He currently serves as the TMEA Region 9 Vice-President and Orchestra Division Treasurer.
Emmanuel Coraza is currently the Assistant Orchestra Director and Music Theory teacher at The Woodlands College Park High School. He began his musical education at the age of 8, playing piano until he fell in love with the Violin at age 12. He attended Klein High School and went on to the University of North Texas and graduated in 2016 with his Bachelors of Music in Music Education. Mr. Coraza has studied violin within the studio of Ms. Julia Bushkova as well as Conducting with Dr. Clay Couturiaux. Mr. Coraza was a recipient of the Dean’s Camerata String Education Scholarship and taught with the UNT String Project. In addition to teaching, Mr. Coraza enjoys traveling, trying new foods, getting to know people. In his free time (if any), he is an active director and teacher in the Houston community theatre community. Mr. Coraza is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, American String Teachers Association, and a recognized Apple Teacher.
Ms. Shelby Nichols began her musical education at the age of 5 on piano under the studies of Mrs. Barbara Dobyns. At the age of 10 at Dolly Vogel Intermediate, Ms. Nichols was introduced to the violin and the orchestra. Along with her school orchestra involvement, she studied violin with Dr. Melinda Rubin until her graduation from Oak Ridge High School. After graduating high school, Ms. Nichols went on to study with Ms. Elisabeth Small at Belmont University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor’s degree of Music in Music Education and Honors in 2014. While at Belmont, she regularly performed with string quartets, the Belmont Chamber Ensemble, the Belmont Symphony Orchestra, and the Judson Sanctuary Orchestra. She also published her thesis “Advocating, Establishing, and Maintaining a Public Middle School Orchestra Program” which she presented at the Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Spring of 2014. Since graduating, Ms. Nichols has been the orchestra director at both White Oak Middle School and Woodridge Forest Middle School, growing the program and leading the Chamber Orchestra at both schools to their first Sweepstakes distinctions at UIL Concert and Sight-reading Competitions. She looks forward to the exciting opportunity that the Knox Junior High family and its students provide.
Ms. Nichols is an active member of the the American String Teachers Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Orchestra Directors Association, Symphony North of Houston, and the Champion Forest Orchestra.