Founders

Matthew Kundler

Matthew Kundler is a performer and educator based in Austin, Texas, pursuing a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. As a soloist, Matthew has been awarded prizes and recognition in the Leonard Falcone International Tuba and Euphonium Competition, the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference, the University of Alabama's Concerto Competition, the Concours Prestige Internationale, the University of Texas’s Concerto Competition, the Army Band’s National Solo Competition, and Northwestern University's Concerto Competition. Matthew has performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Chicago Brass Band, the BackBurner Tuba Ensemble, the Georgia Brass Band, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, as well as performing as a featured soloist with the Brass Band of Huntsville, Mt. Prospect Wind Ensemble, the Kealing Middle School Wind Ensemble, The Red Stone Brass, the University of Alabama Brass Ensemble, the Wheaton Municipal Band, and the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble. As a member of the International Tuba and Euphonium Association, Matthew performed as guest artist at the Midwest Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference, Southeast Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference, and the 2019 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference.

 

An advocate for new music, Matthew has performed the premieres of solo works for euphonium by Derek Holden, Matthew Jackfert, Steven Snowden, Jose Flores, and Paul McGhee. As a member of euphonium quartet !ncite, Matthew has commissioned and premiered works for this growing genre of euphonium chamber from composers Dan Kramer, Ian McCollum, and Doug Bristol, as well as being the group’s primary arranger.

 

Matthew received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and his Master’s degree from Northwestern University. His primary teachers include Rex Martin, Demondrae Thurman, Jeremy Crawford, Martin Cochran, and Charles Villarrubia. 

Jose Flores

Jose Flores is a Senior Music Studies major at The University of Texas at Austin. A native of San Antonio, he is a graduate of G.W Brackenridge High School where he performed with several community ensembles including the San Antonio Youth Wind Ensemble, Heart of Texas Concert Band, and the San Antonio Wind Symphony. Originally an oboist, Flores currently plays the euphonium and composes, writing chamber works and solo repertoire for low brass instruments.

While studying at The University of Texas, Flores has written over a dozen original compositions performed by The University of Texas Jazz Ensemble, the LeVeL Tuba Quartet, the Butler Brass Quartet, Matthew Kundler, and Professor Charles Villarrubia. Flores was a Semi-Finalist in the Leonard Falcone International Young Artist Euphonium Competition and earned third place at the South Central Regional Tuba and Euphonium Conference's Artist Euphonium Competition. He also received third place at the International Women's Brass Conference's and International Tuba and Euphonium Conference's Chamber Music competitions, as well as third place in the Rich Matteson Jazz Euphonium Competition held at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference.

Flores's programmatic piece for tuba and euphonium quartet, Three Short Stories, was named as a finalist for the Winston Morris Award in Composition given by the International Tuba and Euphonium Association.

Currently, Jose serves as the President of the University of Texas at Austin's chapter of Phi Mu Alpha, Alpha Iota.

Judging Panel

Ashley Ertz

Ashley Ertz is the newly appointed Program Manager with the International Music Foundation, a Chicago institution dedicated to providing free high-quality classical music performance and music education experiences for people of all ages.

Ertz will be managing production and programming of all concerts, getting to promote her passion of gender and race equality in classical music. In March of 2018 Ashley saw a lack of performance space for womxn composers and thus founded 5th Wave Collective, a chicago based ensemble dedicated to the performance and promotion of music by womxn composers. They are now in their second season with Ertz as Artistic Director, having had over 150 musicians perform with them and presenting over 75 womxn composers.

 

In addition to Ashley’s administrative passions, she is also a freelance oboist in the Chicago metropolitan Area. Since relocating to Chicago in 2017, Ertz has performed with numerous ensembles including Civic Orchestra of Chicago, New Philharmonic, Northwest Indiana Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, Wisconsin Philharmonic, International Chamber Artists, Unsupervised Ensemble and 5th Wave Collective. While living in San Francisco to earn her first two degrees, Ashley performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Green Music Center’s ChamberFest with Jeffrey Kahane, Santa Rosa Symphony, Symphony Napa Valley, Merced Symphony, Awesome Orchestra Collective and more.

Ertz earned her Performance Certificate from DePaul University studying with Alex Klein, her Masters degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with San Francisco Symphony’s solo English Hornist Russ DeLuna, and her Bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University, studying with San Francisco Ballet’s Principal oboist, Laura Griffiths.

Devin Gossett

Devin Gossett is currently Second Horn of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music where he earned a Master’s in Music Performance. While at Northwestern, he studied with Gail Williams and Jon Boen and was a two-time recipient of the Emily Boettcher and Yule Bogue Endowed Fund. He was also awarded the School of Music Eckstein Fund and served as Graduate Assistant to Professor Gail Williams.
Devin received his Bachelor of Music in his home state of Ohio at The Ohio State University. He studied with Bruce Henniss during his time at Ohio State and was both an Aldridge Scholar and a winner of the Concerto Competition. In the summer of 2017 and 2018 Devin was a Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center.
Devin has played with many orchestras and conductors across the Midwest and East Coast. He served as the Principal Horn of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra in the 18-19 season and was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for two seasons. Devin has performed with The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago. He has also recorded and toured with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
In his free time Devin enjoys learning other instruments, hanging out with his cat Chester, and backpacking and skiing out west.

Dr. Gretchen Renshaw James

Gretchen Renshaw James enjoys a multifaceted career as a conductor, tuba and euphonium performer, educator, and arranger. As an educator, she is the Director of Bands/Applied Low Brass at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas where she leads the Wind Ensemble and teaches applied low brass lessons and other courses in the Music Department. In addition, she is the Adjunct Professor of Tuba at Arkansas Tech University and the Music Director of the award-winning Natural State Brass Band, a British-style brass band which is based in Little Rock and made up predominantly of avocational musicians.

 

As a low brass performer, Gretchen is the tubist with the internationally acclaimed Seraph Brass, a dynamic brass quintet/sextet that draws from a roster of America’s top female brass players. Her recent orchestral work includes serving as Principal Tubist with the Artosphere Festival Orchestra and substitute tubist with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist, Gretchen has enjoyed success in major solo competitions, including being a finalist in the Artist Tuba Competition at the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival and, on euphonium, winning the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Young Artist Brass Competition and being named the Low Brass Winner of the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition.

 

As an arranger, Gretchen has contributed a number of works for tuba-euphonium ensemble, brass quintet, solo tuba, and solo euphonium. Her works are published by Potenza Music and Tuba-Euphonium Press. Most recently, she has completed arrangements of Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s Souvenir de Porto Rico for tuba-euphonium ensemble, brass sextet, and brass quintet.

 

Gretchen is grateful to have studied with fantastic teachers over the course of earning her four degrees. Most recently, she completed a D.M.A. in Tuba Performance and M.M. in Wind/Orchestral Conducting at Michigan State University, where she was a University Distinguished Fellow and studied with Philip Sinder (tuba/euphonium), Kevin Noe (orchestral conducting), and Kevin Sedatole (wind conducting). Previously, she earned an M.M. degree in Euphonium Performance from the University of Arkansas where she studied with Benjamin Pierce (tuba/euphonium) and W. Dale Warren (wind conducting). She began her collegiate studies at Penn State University, where she earned a B.M. in Euphonium Performance while studying with Velvet Brown. During this degree, she spent a semester abroad at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, where she studied euphonium with Steven Mead and played Solo Euphonium in the Besses o’ th’ Barn Brass Band.

Dr. Matthew Mireles

Matthew Mireles (B.A. ’07) is the Chair of the Department of Music and Director of Bands at St. Mary’s University, serving as conductor of the Wind Ensemble, and professor of conducting, music education and euphonium. Under his direction, the St. Mary’s University Wind Ensemble performs a yearly season of concerts around the cityand regularly commissions and premieres new works for band. Mireles also works with the top-conducting students as part of the University’s “Apprentice Conductor” program.

In addition to his responsibilities at St. Mary’s University, Mireles is the Musical Director and Conductor of the San Antonio Brass Band. The ensemble reached international acclaim as winners of the 2018 North American Brass Band Association 1st Section Championship, achieving the highest score of any ensemble in North America. The ensemble performs throughout South Texas, while also providing masterclasses for high school and middle school band students. Members of the ensemble include performers with the San Antonio Symphony, the United States Air Force Band of the West, the 323rd Army Band, professors from Texas State University, St. Mary’s University, Trinity University, University of the Incarnate Word, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio College and top music educators from the area.

Mireles is also conductor of the famous Backburner! Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble. The group is comprised of some of the finest low brass performers in the world and regularly performs at international brass conferences.

As a euphonium soloist, Mireles was the winner of the 2008 Leonard Falcone International Euphonium Competition, the most prestigious euphonium competition in the world. Mireles also released a solo album titled “Prometheus,” on the Potenza Music record label, which includes previously unrecorded works for euphonium with strings, wind ensemble and piano. Mireles was also the winner of the 2007 Mid-Texas Symphony Young Artist Competition, the 2007 University of Alabama Concerto-Aria Competition and the 2008 International Tuba Euphonium Conference (ITEA) Chamber Music Competition. Mireles has given solo recitals at the United States Army Band Tuba Euphonium Workshop, the International Tuba Euphonium Conference, the National Band Director Association convention, the South East Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference, the Mid-West Regional Tuba Euphonium Tuba Euphonium Conference, the South Central Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference and at numerous universities around the country.

Also an active chamber musician, Mireles plays euphonium with the internationally renowned Boreas Quartet. Their album, “The Serpent’s Kiss,” was the winner of the 2016 ITEA Roger Bobo Award for Recording Excellence, the highest award internationally for low brass. Their second recording, “Whirlwind,” is scheduled for release in 2019.

Mireles is also on the Executive Board of Directors for the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio (YOSA), President of the Andy Mireles Charitable Foundation, Director of the St. Mary’s University Summer Band Camp, Associate Director of the Fiesta Jazz Festival, Grants Reviewer for the Texas Commission of the Arts, New Materials Reviewer for the International Tuba Euphonium Association and a previous member of the Arts and Humanities Council of Lawton, OK. Mireles also holds memberships with the College Band Directors National Association, World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, College Music Society, Kappa Kappa Psi, Oklahoma Music Educators Association, International Tuba Euphonium Association, Texas Bandmasters Association, and Texas Music Educators Association.

Prior to moving back home to San Antonio, Mireles was the Joye R. Lenz Endowed Professor and Director of Bands and Low Brass at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma and also the Conductor of the Frontier Brass Band. Mireles also held positions as conductor of both the University Band and Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while also teaching undergraduate euphonium.

Mireles is in high demand all over the world as a conductor, clinician, performer, teacher, adjudicator, public speaker and advisor. He earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master of Music degree from the University of Alabama and a Bachelor of Arts degree with Teacher Certification from St. Mary’s University. His major teachers have been John Stevens, Demondrae Thurman, D.M.A., Lee Hipp, Scott Teeple and Mark Hetzler.

Samantha Owens

Samantha Owens is a film composer based in Los Angeles, California. In addition to composing for visual media, she has worked in music production, editing, and publishing. Samantha has a Masters degree in Scoring for Film and Multimedia from New York University, where she was the recipient of the Excellence in Graduate Music Composition and Film Music Award and a winner of the 2018 NYU Film Scoring Competition. At NYU she studied with film/TV composers Mark Suozzo and Irwin Fisch, and video game composer Tom Salta. Samantha also has a Bachelor of Arts in Music - Film Scoring from the University of Texas at Austin.


Samantha is well versed in both hybrid and orchestral scoring, and loves implementing sound design techniques and audio manipulation into her scores. Her compositional style stems from her training in Neoclassical and Contemporary scoring, and her first-hand study of Celtic and Nordic folk music. She has spent the majority of her life immersing herself in foreign traditional music and culture, and has traveled and lived in numerous countries including Germany,
Denmark, Switzerland, Korea, Spain, England, and France. She enjoys making melodic use of underutilized instruments, and often integrates instrumentation from a wide variety of cultures,forging varied hybrids of traditional styles.