One West University Boulevard, Brownsville, Texas 78520 | 956-882-8200

Three Violin Students and Professor to Perform as Guests of Austrian Orchestra

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – APRIL 25, 2014 – Three music education students at The University of Texas at Brownsville – Victor Flores, Yolanda Vidaña and Cristian Martinez – will use their third language, the international language of music, on their upcoming trip to Lustenau, Austria.
The students will accompany their violin professor from the Department of Music, Martha Placeres, who has been invited to be a guest conductor of the Rheintalische Musikschule Symphony Orchestra. They depart Brownsville on Thursday, May 8 and return on Saturday, May 17.
Professor Martha Placeres (left) will conduct, and students (left to right) Victor Flores, Cristian Martinez and Yolanda Vidaña will perform with the the Rheintalische Musikschule Symphony Orchestra in Austria.
“This is not only a prestigious invitation for me, but a great opportunity for our students to share their talent and represent the Department of Music,” said Placeres, UTB Director of String Studies and Symphony Orchestra.
Students were selected for the trip by an audition with excerpts of musical pieces, including some of the difficult passages from Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, dubbed the New World Symphony.
“That moment when I saw the results, I was really astonished,” said Martinez, who began playing the violin at age 15. “I still think it was just a matter of luck because there are many really talented string students in our music department. I believe that any other student could have been chosen, and that leads me to feel responsible to well represent the Music Department on this trip.”
The students and Professor Placeres are responsible for airfare, train tickets, some meals and other incidental expenses during their journey and when sightseeing.
“The students are receiving some financial support from the UTB Department of Music and the Office of the Dean of Liberal Arts,” said Dr. Tom Nevill, Chair of the Music Department. “Additionally, we are tremendously grateful to the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts for its generous assistance; yet, contributions are being accepted to help offset the students’ expenses.”
Flores, a senior music education major from South Padre Island, said he first picked up a violin the summer before his freshman year in high school, when he was 15.
“That is really late to start learning the violin, so I always felt I was playing catch up,” he said. “I probably chose this instrument because it was so beautiful sounding and looking. Whenever I take out my violin, people who are not familiar with orchestral instruments always want to get a closer look and ask me questions.”
Martinez, a freshman music education major who began studying violin when he was 15 at the Colegio de San Juan Siglo XXI music school in Matamoros, said he was attracted to the violin as though it were “love at first sight.”
Another who was late to pick up the violin was Vidaña, a junior music education major, who began playing the violin at age 16. She originally wanted to play the guitar, but the guitar instructor advised her to select another instrument because she has small hands.
“So, I selected the violin without knowing or expecting anything, and I’m so glad I did because I just love it now,” she said. “Being a music major requires dedication – to study and to practice the violin to be able to do everything well. I commute from Matamoros, and this takes extra time; at the end of the day, I barely sleep.”
Once in Austria, the students will rehearse with the Rheintalische Musikschule orchestra and attend Master Classes with professors from the school, as well as the nearby Feldkirch Conservatory. Placeres will also conduct Master Classes and rehearse with the orchestra.
The Concert Reichshofsaal Lustenau will take place on the evening of Thursday, May 15. The school director, Doris Glatter-Götz, Chair of the Rheintalische Musikschule, will conduct Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9” and Placeres will conduct George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
The students and Placeres will be guests of the Music School and its director, staying with host families in Bregenz, on the shore of Lake Constance. Their free time will include excursions to Innsbruck, Bodensee, Bregenzerwald, and St. Gallen, Switzerland.
Student travel and scholarship donations can be sent to the UTB Department of Music, attention Dr. Tom Nevill. For more information, contact or 956-882-8247.


For comments and questions, please contact the Webmaster.