the greater north texas youth orchestra is the youth division of the odysseus chamber orchestra.
Jason Lim: Artistic Director and Conductor, Symphony Orchestra
Recognized by the Denton-Record Chronicle as one of “2012’s Most Fascinating People,” the career of conductor Jason Lim is on the rise. Lim was born in Penang, Malaysia and began his formal training in viola performance when he won a scholarship to study at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with Alice Waten. He commenced his studies at the Canberra (Australia) School of Music, and completed his bachelor’s degree with honors at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. Jason received his Master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the University of North Texas.
Known for his fine technique in performances and innovative programming, Jason began his conducting studies in Australia: first as an apprentice with the Canberra Youth Orchestra, and later as an Assistant Conductor with the Ku Ring Gai Philharmonic Orchestra in Sydney, a position that was awarded in conjunction with winning 1st Prize in the New South Wales Ministry of Arts Conducting Prize. Most recently, Jason won 1st prize in the 2021 The American Prize—Vytautas Marijosius Memorial Award in Orchestral Programming and in 2020, Jason was selected by the Texas Commission on the Arts into the Texas Touring Roster Inclusion. In 2016-2017 Jason was named 1st Prize Winner of the American Prize Competition for professional conductors. In 2015 Jason was the 2nd Prize Winner. Additionally, In 2016 Jason received the Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for excellence in performing American Music. In 2013 Jason made his European conducting debut with the Academic State Concert Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine in Kiev and in 2014 appeared as guest conductor with the Zabrze Philharmonic Orchestra in Poland and the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Jason has also appeared as guest conductor with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra and Johnstown Symphony Orchestras and has appeared as guest conductor with choruses around the globe. In addition, Jason's work extends to other art mediums such as visual arts and dance notably with collaborations with prominent dance choreographers like Bill Evans. Jason has also appeared as guest conductor of the Denton Bach Society and the American Baroque Opera Orchestra.
A champion of new music, Jason has conducted at conventions including SEAMUS Y2K (the acousma tex conference) and the North American Saxophone Alliance. In 2001, he was a guest conductor with the Composer’s Forum Orchestra which he conducted world premiere performances of aspiring young composers. In 2012 Jason commissioned the world premiere of BREATH by Brad Robin. During his tenure as Music Director of the NOVA Ensemble, Jason led the group in its first commercial recording in 2000 on the “Equilibrum” label. Jason conducted the world premiere performance of Brian Bavelander’s Distant Visions for orchestra and pre-recorded tape.
In 2010, Jason was among eight conductors selected to participate at the Ithaca International Conducting Workshop under the tutelage of Gustav Meier. Jason has also attended the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Maine. Jason remains an active performing violist, having performed with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony of Malaysia, Australian National Opera Orchestra and Texas Baroque Ensemble. Jason was also a member of the University of North Texas Graduate String Quartet.
Jason is known for his commitment to community and a strong believer in education while dedicating his talents working with young musicians, and conducting orchestra workshops in Asia and the United States. He served as conductor and educator for 10 years with the Abilene Summer Music Festival in conjunction with Hardin Simmons University, the Pan American Music Festival in Edinburgh Texas, as well as the Penang State Orchestra Workshop in Penang, Malaysia and serves as Artistic Director of the Summer Music Intensives in McKinney, TX since 2015. Jason’s mentors include distinguished conductors: John Farrer, Nicholas Braithwaite, Henryk Pisarek and Max McBride. Jason currently also serves as Artistic Director of the Greater North Texas Youth Orchestra and is also Artistic Director of the Summer Music Intensives in McKinney, Texas.
Currently, Jason is the Artistic Director and conductor of the McKinney Philharmonic Orchestra a group he founded in 2012. In 2014 the orchestra was awarded second prize in the Professional Orchestra division of the American Prize Competition and third prize the previous year. Thanks to Jason’s commitment to education, the group pioneered a unique mentorship program that gives talented high school students the opportunity to perform side-by-side with professional musicians.
Julie Daniels: Director and Conductor, Philharmonic Orchestra
Julie Daniels graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Music Education. While at OU she studied Violin performance with Mr. Michael Ma and the art of Cello with Mrs. Marjorie Cornelius. After completion of her degree, she taught Elementary Music in Moore, OK, and then moved to Stillwater, OK, to begin a lengthy career as an Orchestra Director. She performed with the OU Symphony Orchestra, Norman Community Orchestra and the OSU Symphony Orchestra while teaching in Oklahoma.
Ms. Daniels moved to Texas to take a position with the Carrolton/Farmers Branch ISD as an Elementary Strings Teacher. In 2002 she accepted a position with Frisco ISD to begin a new orchestra program in the district. Teaching at two of the then four Middle Schools, she opened Wester Middle School and also taught at Clark Middle School. She was the Director of Orchestras at Wakeland High School and Frisco High School simultaneously, from 2006-2008. From there she opened Hunt Middle School in 2010 as the Director of Orchestras while maintaining the Director position for Frisco High School. Currently, Ms. Daniels is the Director of Orchestras at Frisco High School.
Ms. Daniels is an active supporter of the Arts in Frisco, a violinist with the Stonebriar Community Church Symphony, former board member for the Arts of Collin County, and a seasoned adjudicator. She is also the mother of five children and a Soccer Mom!
Mark Jansen: Director of Brass
Mark Jansen is a native of Georgetown Texas with strong ties to DFW. After attending Interlochen Arts Academy, he received his education at the Chicago College of Performing Arts as a student of Dale Clevenger. Mr. Jansen has been fortunate to study under some of the finest musicians and teachers such as Jay Friedman, William VerMeulen, Luca Benucci, and David Cooper. After working in classical music for many years, Mr. Jansen joined Austin indie rockers Wild Child, touring the US and performing at festivals such as ACL, Bonnaroo, SXSW, ACL Live at Moody Theater, and many more. Mr. Jansen is an Atkinson performing artist playing exclusively on Atkinson Horns.
Currently Mr. Jansen maintains an active performing schedule as a member of the McKinney Philharmonic and is engaged across DFW in a variety of performances regularly working alongside members of the Dallas and Fort Worth Symphonies. A passionate educator, Mr. Jansen maintains a studio of approximately 70 students who have enjoyed a range of success with students qualifying for the UIL and TMEA All-State competitions, Tanglewood Festival and Blue Lake.
KeyReel Raskolenko: Director of the Celtic Strings Ensemble
Uzbekistan born multi-instrumentalist KeyReel Raskolenko has been described as “world class as a violinist and composer.” He has performed and recorded with many musicians across North America and Europe. A virtuoso player on 4-string and 5-string acoustic and electric violins, he is a classically trained musician with experience in classical chamber and orchestra music, fiddle music, improvisation, and music composition. While his fiddling is rooted in the Cape Breton style, he is equally versed in playing classical, Irish, Scottish, and American Folk music. He has taught and performed at prestigious festivals such as the Cape Breton Fiddler’s Association (Canada), Celtic Colours (Canada), and Summer Music Intensives (Texas), and has also toured extensively across Europe and Asia with classical chamber and fiddle music.
In addition to teaching and performing, Raskolenko composes for many instruments, including violin, string quartet and orchestra. His works have been performed at the Great Hall of Gnesin’s Academy, the Moscow House of Composers, and Texas Christian University. Mr. Raskolenko graduated from the Gnesin’s Russian Academy of Music with his BM and MM degrees for violin in 2005, and Artist Diploma in 2018 from Texas Christian University, where he was a student of Dr. Elisabeth Adkins. He is a member of several orchestras in DFW. In addition to his classical program and fiddle life, he studies and plays jazz and occasionally performs solo and rock events in the DFW area on his 5-string electric violin.