the greater north texas youth orchestra is the youth division of the odysseus chamber orchestra.
Jason Lim: Artistic Director and Conductor, Young Artist 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.
Kevin Garza, Director and Conductor, Symphony Orchestra
Kevin earned his Bachelor’s degree in composition from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in 2014. He studied trombone with Carl Lenthe and composition with Elliott Bark, Don Freund, and Aaron Travers. During his time at IU he played in some of the university’s most prestigious ensembles, including the IU Philharmonic Orchestra and New Music Ensemble.
After leaving IU, Kevin continued to compose and perform, as well as become involved in music education. For three years he was heavily involved with the New Albany High School Band Program, both as a teacher and composer. For two years he was very active as a trombonist, performing as a member of the Louisville Winds and Brass Band of Louisville, the latter in which he performed as a soloist. Kevin continued to teach low brass both in southern Indiana and later in Dallas, where for a few years he gave masterclasses and clinics to a handful of school districts in addition to maintaining a private lesson studio.
As a conductor, Kevin earned his Master’s in orchestral conducting from Southern Methodist University in 2019 and studied with Paul Phillips, the now-retired Director of Orchestral Activities and Music Director of the Meadows Symphony. In 2018 he was selected as a conducting fellow to attend the Pacific Northwest Conducting Institute held on Whidbey Island.
Kevin is currently the Director of Orchestras at Williams High School in Plano ISD, where he took over the position two weeks into the 2020 school year. Since his arrival the program is getting back on its feet with the reinstatement of the Williams High School Orchestra Booster Club, and the orchestra earning a sweepstakes at UIL Contest in 2022 and 2023.
When not poring over scores or chattering on about Bach, Kevin enjoys cooking, coffee, reading, yard work, and visiting friends and family.
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!
Dr. Will Pratt. Director of Winds and Brass
A native of Columbus, GA, Will Pratt is an active performer and instructor in the DFW area. In addition to playing principal trumpet with the McKinney Philharmonic, Will plays principal trumpet with the Sherman Symphony and second trumpet with the Abilene Philharmonic. Will has also performed with The Dallas Opera, Louisiana Philharmonic, Wichita Falls Symphony, Las Colinas Symphony, and Richardson Symphony Orchestras. Will is the Adjunct Instructor of Trumpet at Tarrant County College in Arlington, TX, and Austin College in Sherman, TX. Most recently, he served on the faculty for the inaugural North Texas Brass Week in Frisco, TX. Will maintains a large studio of middle and high school students in Frisco and Coppell Independent School Districts. His students have earned placements in the Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas all-state bands, and have been recognized as semi-finalists and quarter-finalists of the National Trumpet Competition solo divisions. Will holds a Bachelor of Music from Columbus State University, a Master of Music from Southeastern Louisiana University, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas. His hobbies include long-distance running and watching the Atlanta Braves.