Lee has been playing the cello for 12 years. He started in the third grade in the Suzuki Cooperative of Cincinnati Public Schools at Sands Montessori. Prior to graduating high school, Lee studied under the tutelage of Norman Johns of the Cincinnati Symphony and Nadine Monchecourt of the Dayton Philharmonic, who started him as a child.
Lee traveled to perform at Carnegie Hall in his 10th grade year of High School. As a junior, he was one of the winners of the Corbett-Mayerson competition at SCPA where he competed against other juniors from the school from all the other artistic majors for seven $750 prizes. In his senior year of High School he went on a performance tour of Poland playing popular polish jazz songs with other top musicians in his school. Graduating from the School for the Creative and Performing Arts where he was Principle cellist of the top orchestra, He has also held the seat of Principle Cello at the Encore Advanced Orchestra camp 2012, where he also was awarded a scholarship from the Cincinnati Foundation.
Lee has attended Suzuki Summer Institutes in Chicago, Columbus and at the University of Louisville, where he won the Mastropauolo Merit Award. In 2011, Lee attended the Sphinx Performance Academy at Oberlin Conservatory. He had participated in the Ohio Music Education Association for 4 years and always received the highest rating. Outside of school, Lee is a member of the Cincinnati Community Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Gerald Doan.
For his freshman year of college he was a cello performance major at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music on a full ride under the tutelage of Dr. William Grubb. He took a break from cello for a year and attended UC’s Mcmicken College of Arts and Science’s to major in Organizational Leadership for his sophomore year, but missed cello enough that he returned to CCM to finish out his Bachelors of Music.
As a result of attaining Suzuki Teacher Training, in 2015 Lee found his true passion in life and started a private teaching business called Griffith Talent Education Studio and built a studio full of cello students aged 4- 17 from all over the city.
Patrice Kirksey is a graduate of Spelman College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 2014. In April of 2017, Patrice graduated from The University of Cincinnati and received her Master of Arts Degree in Psychology, with a concentration in Organizational Psychology. She is currently working as an HRIS Specialist at Pomeroy IT Solutions. In her spare time, Patrice enjoys exercising, traveling, and being an active member in her sorority.
Patrice was the concertmaster of the Atlanta University Center Symphony Orchestra (AUCSO) and first violin of the AUC Quartet. During her time at Spelman, she studied with Dr. Roumena Georgieva, an accomplished violinist with an international reputation. She is currently a student of Gayna Bassin, former violinist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Patrice is a member of the Seven Hills Sinfonietta under the direction of Dr. Aik Khai Pung.
She was a 3 year member of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra (CSYO), an educational program of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO). While in CSYO, she was a recipient of the Multicultural Awareness Council Norman E. Johns Chair Award, a merit award selected by audition to encourage participation of high school music students traditionally underrepresented in symphony youth orchestras. In addition to her orchestral experience, she was a member of CSO’s Nouveau Chamber Players, playing violin and viola. Prior to her membership in CSYO and the Nouveau Chamber Players, Patrice was a four year member of Cincinnati Junior Strings Orchestra (CJS), where she traveled to Australia for a three week tour.
Edna Pierce is a student at the University Of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music (CCM). She is a Bachelor of Arts viola performance major and is obtaining a minor in Spanish. Edna is the violist in the formerly well known Ebony Strings quartet, and has been a member for six years. She has also been a member of CCM's, Concert Orchestra, where she held the principal violist position during the 2016-17 academic year. She is the first CCM student to be accepted into the Robert E. McNair postbachelaureate scholars achievement program. Currently, she is studying viola under the tutelage of Catharine Carroll Lees, Professor of Viola and head of the String department at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music.
Edna began studying violin at the age of 8 at the Cincinnati Music Academy under the mentorship of Amy Cluggish. In 2014-2015, Edna was one of three recipients of the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra Norman E. Johns chair award, and listed in Who’s Who in Black Cincinnati. Edna is also currently an active collegiate member of the University of Cincinnati's Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity. Edna has also volunteered for CCM's New Horizons program where she helped coach chamber music and viola sectionals.
Edna graduated from Fairfield High school where she was a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, peer mentor, and served as the concert master for the Fairfield Chamber Orchestra. In the past years, prior to being accepted to the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, she played for the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Concert Orchestra, where she earned the concert master position. She auditioned for the viola section and earned a position in the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014 as well. This is where her passion for the viola began. Edna has also performed in a variety of chamber music programs: Cincinnati Young Artist Chamber Music Workshop, Encore Advanced Chamber Orchestra, Crescendo Chamber Music, CCM Preparatory, Encore Summer Strings, and CSYO Nouveau Chamber Players. Edna has performed in a various venues and locations, such as: Cincinnati’s Music Hall, Washington Park, LumenoCity, Carnegie Hall in New York City, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Aside from these musical endeavors, Edna enjoys Zumba, learning Spanish, cooking, and reading.
Alan Lawson began playing violin at the age of 4. He has been a member of various orchestras/ensembles since the age of 6 including Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, CSO Nouveau Chamber Players and Ohio All State Orchestra.
Alan has won numerous awards including Gold medals in classical, and contemporary music, music composition and a National Silver medal for contemporary music performance, 3 Norman E. Johns/M.A.C. awards, National orchestra, 2 Artistic Director’s awards and OFMC Gold cup. Alan had the honor of being invited to Michelle Obama’s Classical Music Day at the White House and performing with The Phantom and the Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, Currently, Alan is completing his education at the Univ. of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
Alan plans to continue to perform, teach and compose.