Dr. Bradley Kent serves as the Conductor and Music Director of the Texas Youth Wind Symphony, a group comprised of high school musicians throughout the greater Austin, TX area. Dr. Kent also holds the position of State Director of Music for the University Interscholastic League, where he oversees a system that provides educational competition for some 750,000 student participants in Texas. Prior to his UIL appointment, he held the position of Director of Fine Arts for the Richardson Independent School District, where he administrated all Band, Choir, Orchestra, Visual Art, and Theatre programs. Dr. Kent began his career as a band director in the Lewisville Independent School District and went on to serve on the faculties of Texas A&M University at Commerce and Lamar University. Ensembles under his direction have performed at the Midwest Clinic, the Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention, the College Band Directors National Association Conferences, and the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention. He has presented guest lectures and clinics throughout Texas and at events such as the International Wind Music History Conference, the Midwest Clinic, the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention, the College Band Directors National Association Conference, and the Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention.
Dr. Kent holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree and the Master of Music degree from The University of Texas at Austin, as well as the Bachelor of Music Education degree from Louisiana State University. He enjoys serving as both a clinician and evaluator for ensembles of all levels and is active as an advocate for the arts and arts education.
Dr. Chris Lizak is the TYWS Percussion Specialist, and he brings a diverse performing and educating background. He served as the Front Ensemble Instructor for the Vista Ridge Ranger Band in Cedar Park, TX, helping them earn a 3rd-place finish in the 2013 4-A Texas State Marching Competition. Prior to this, Chris served for one year as Instructor of Percussion and Jazz at Trine University in Angola, IN. He has also taught the drum lines for The University of Texas at Austin, Northwestern University, Angola High School, and Cuyahoga Falls High School. As a performer, he has been a guest artist/featured soloist at Texas Lutheran University, Northwestern University, The Ohio State University, and Cuyahoga Falls High School. He was also a semi-finalist at the 2011 Southern California Marimba Competition. Chris has also performed alongside and in masterclasses for So Percussion, Thomas Burritt, Michael Burritt, She-e Wu, Blake Tyson, Leigh Howard Stevens, Susan Powell, and many others.
Originally from Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Chris earned his Bachelor of Music degree from The Ohio State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He then traveled to Evanston, IL and received his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University. Chris finally made his way to Austin, TX, where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin, serving as a graduate teaching assistant. During his studies, Chris had the pleasure of studying with noted percussion pedagogues, including Susan Powell, Joseph Krygier, Michael Burritt, James Ross, She-e Wu, Thomas Burritt and Tony Edwards.
A fervent supporter of new music, Chris has been on commission projects for composers Alejandro Vinao, Steve Snowden, and Chris Ozley. Recently, he began a commission project of his own, commission three new works for marimba, which will be premiered in the coming year.
Always looking for a new opportunities for young percussionists, Chris is currently organizing and planning the creation of a youth percussion ensemble for the greater Austin area. Additionally, he hopes to create a yearly high school percussion ensemble festival, showcasing the wealth of talent found in the surrounding school districts at one venue.
Mrs. Michelle DeVall is the Organizational Administrator for the Texas Youth Wind Symphony. She recently graduated with a Master of Music and Human Learning degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is beginning her first year as the Assistant Band Director at Del Valle Middle School in fall 2016. She has also worked in the Leander Independent School District as a Band Tech and Private Lessons Teacher at Rouse High School and Wiley Middle School. Prior to starting graduate school, Mrs. DeVall was the Director of Bands and Guitar at Three Oaks Middle School in Fort Myers, Florida. Under her direction, the band program doubled in size and earned high ratings at Florida Bandmasters Association Music Performance Assessments. She has served in various leadership positions including: the Executive Board for the Florida Music Educators Association, the Florida Bandmasters Association Solo and Ensemble Committee, and the Lee County School District (Florida) Advisory Council.
Mrs. DeVall received a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the Florida State University. She holds professional memberships in the National Association for Music Education, Texas Music Educators Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota.
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