Rene Gonzalez joins the Texas State University School of Music as a Lecturer for the Latin Music Studies Program.
Rene earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master of Music degree in Latin Music Performance and Percussion Performance from Texas State University, where he was the graduate teaching assistant for the TSU Percussion Studio and Latin Studies program. Rene was also a member of the institution’s award-winning salsa band, Salsa Del Rio. Rene won several awards with Salsa Del Rio, including the “Best Conguero” award at the Notre Dame’s Collegiate Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary in 2008 and a Down Beat Magazine’s “Best Blues, Pop and Rock Recording” award for Salsa Del Rio’s album, Llorarás, in 2007. Additionally, while performing with Salsa Del Rio, the band won three awards at Univision’s Premios a La Musica Latina in San Antonio, Texas for Best Salsa Band of the Year. The band also participated at the 2007 Brienz Jazz Festival and Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
Rene currently serves as conguero with Cienfuegos/La Moña Loca and bongocero with Natiao from San Antonio, Texas. He also freelances with other groups from San Antonio and Austin, Texas, and he is a former member of Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz from San Antonio, Texas. Rene has had the honor of performing with the Latin Playerz at the 2008 and 2015 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Jazz’SAlive in San Antonio, Texas, the 2011 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, and the Taichung Jazz Festival in Taichung, Taiwan.
He has had the honor of sharing the stage with incredible artists such as Poncho Sanchez, Larry Harlow, Pete and Rita Rodriguez, Tito Puente Jr., Memo Acevedo, Victor Rendon, Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, Ed Calle, J.R. Robinson, Butch Miles, Danny Seraphine, Russ Miller, Bill Gibson, and many others.
In 2018, Rene joined the instructional staff with Rhythmic Force Independent Drumline from Austin, Texas where he taught front ensemble/Latin percussion for the 2018 production of Matador. Rhythmic Force went on to make the top 10 Finalist at the WGI Championships in 2018 and 2019.
Mr. Gonzalez has taught Percussion in Comal ISD in New Braunfels, Texas from 2012— Present. His duties are teaching beginner percussion classes and percussion ensembles for Canyon Middle School, Church Hill Middle School, and Danville Middle School. Rene also created a middle school Brazilian Samba Ensemble at Church Hill Middle and a Latin Jazz Combo at Canyon High School. Aside from his duties at the middle schools, Rene assists with the marching percussion and percussion ensembles at Canyon High School alongside Brad Arnold. Rene’s students at Church Hill Middle School will be performing on the music showcase stage at the 2020 TMEA Convention.
Holly Wissler, PhD
Holly Wissler is now a Lecturer in Music History and Literature. Dr. Wissler worked many years in Peru as Applied Ethnomusicologist and National Geographic Expert for their student expedition programs, as well as Guest Lecturer for various U.S. university study abroad programs (lectures in musical traditions, Peruvian history and modernization). She is also high altitude trek leader for Wilderness Travel in Peru (and formerly Nepal). She received master’s degrees from the University of Idaho in Flute Performance and in Music History; and a PhD in Musicology (emphasis Ethnomusicology) from Florida State University.
Dr. Wissler’s research includes the rituals, traditions, and modernization of the music of the Quechua community of Q’eros in the Peruvian Andes and the Amazonian Wachiperi community of the Madre de Dios River Basin, with a particular focus on: indigenous theory of music; repatriation of audio-visual archives, their use and impact; effective indigenous tourism that includes music; healing through the singing of grief, and loss; and the impact of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage nomination with local people and entities. She was logistics organizer and presenter for the Wachiperi in the 2015 Smithosonian Folklife Festival that focused on Peru. She was co-author with Peru’s Ministry of Tourism for the UNESCO nomination of Q’eros traditional songs to the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Dr. Wissler has published extensively in both Spanish and English journals, and is the producer of two video documentaries: Qoyllur Rit’i: A Woman’s Journey, about Peru’s largest pilgrimage festival and her inside role in the festival; and Kusisqa Waqashayku (“From Grief and Joy We Sing”), about the annual cycle of musical rituals in Q’eros. She is currently producing a third documentary, Dante’s Story: The Fight for Deaf Rights in Peru. A classical flutist, she has performed in Peru on concert series sponsored by the Peruvian-North American Institute, and is adept at numerous Andean instruments. She speaks six languages: English, Spanish, Quechua, Nepali, and Peruvian and American Sign Languages.
Debbie Tannert is a retired music educator with 29 years elementary classroom experience in Austin ISD. She has extensive experience writing for national textbook publications and the Music Memory Program. She holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master in Education Administration degree from Lamar University. She is a National Board Certified Teacher.
She enjoyed her leadership roles in AISD as an Organizer of Special Events for AISD Students - AISD All-City Music Memory Contest, AISD All-City Choral Festival, and Elementary Organizer for “A CELEBRATION OF 125 YEARS OF MUSIC EDUCATION IN A.I.S.D.”
Tannert has served NAfME–Texas (formerly Texas Music Educators Conference) as President and Government/Relations Chairperson. She has presented sponsored sessions at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention and Clinic.
Antonio Briseño has performed in Europe, Japan, Korea, and in Mexico where he has presented recitals and Master Classes in Puebla, Ciudad del Carmen, Tampico, Victoria, Reynosa, Mante, Matamoros, Teziutlan, and Zacatlan. Briseño performed in the prestigious Robert Shaw Festival Choir which performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He also presented the world premeire of "Saving Daylight Time," a nostalgic song cycle composed by David Patterson and based on poems by David Patterson’s wife, TenBroeck Davison, a Brownsville native living in Boston. In addition, Briseño has given a lecture recital of Spanish art songs for the Texas Music Educators Association conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Mr. Briseño founded the university mariachi as a class in 1998 and it has developed throughout the years. Under Mr. Briseño’s directorship the UTB Mariachi has traveled throughout the United States and Mexico, including being asked to perform for the Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, Russia in May of 2013.
South Korean pianist Hyunjin Wang attained her undergraduate degree from Hanyang University in Korea. Hyunjin has earned her MM degree in piano performance and Certificate of Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Jason Kwak at Texas State University. Hyunjin has won the Texas State Concerto Competition (twice), first place in the Tuesday Musical Club Young Artists Piano Competition, first place in the Great Composers International Competition (Best Liszt Performance), and was a finalist in the Patrick W. Price Competition.
In 2017, composer Peter Petroff wrote and dedicated the two piano piece Triptych for Hyunjin and SungEun Park. The two pianists premiered this work at the international concert series Seoul One Month Festival. Further, the two pianists also commercially recorded this piece.