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About the ensemble

The Arundel Ensemble consists of a small core of highly experienced professional musicians all of whom have advanced degrees from the finest music colleges and conservatories. We have performed around the globe as solo, chamber music, orchestral and back-up musicians and have shared the stage with musical legends Ray Charles, Luciano Pavarotti, Melissa Manchester, Natalie Cole, Kenny Rogers, Larry Gatlin, Willie Nelson, David Byrne, Sarah Brightman, Josh Groban and Trans-Siberian Orchestra amongst others. We can be heard on recordings for Disney, Miramax, Sapient, Glass Eye Entertainment, Plazma, Pierian and Capital Records.

Cellist and Founding Manager Margaret Coltman moved to London after graduate work in music at the renowned Indiana University School of Music. While living in London, her quartet performed at the Chelsea Flower Show, played for corporate functions in The City, provided music for celebrity events including appearances by the Princess Royal and her family, Paul McCartney and Monty Python’s John Cleese, and played for many weddings, including that of Formula One racing driver Jackie Stewart’s daughter.

Margaret formed The Arundel Ensemble upon her return to Austin in 1994. The ensemble has performed for over a thousand events across Texas, and clients have included Senator Lloyd Doggett, Westlake Dermatology, The Texas State History Museum Foundation, Shawn Colvin, Texas Commerce Bank, Texas A&M University, Austin Junior Forum, The University of Texas’ Office of the President, The University of Texas Law School, Whole Foods, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Applied Materials, Dell Computers, National Instruments and Chase Bank to name only a few.

Members of The Arundel Ensemble are highly trained professional performers who play with The Austin Symphony, The Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra, The Austin Chamber Music Center, The San Antonio Symphony, The Fort Worth Symphony, The Houston Symphony and many other musical organizations.


Meet some of our core members

Margaret Coltman, owner/manager and cellist, made her solo debut with the San Antonio Symphony, earned her Bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas studying with Paul Olefsky, then studied with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi at Indiana University, Pierre Fournier in Geneva and Antonio Janigro at the Mozarteum International Summer Academy in Salzburg. She participated in chamber music festivals on the East Coast, coaching with Lawrence Lesser, Michael Tree, Jerry Grossman, Barbara Stein Mallow and Leslie Parnas, as well as other prominent pedagogues. Margaret lived in London for two years, free-lancing with numerous ensembles around Britain including the Westminster Chamber Orchestra, The Gwent Chamber Orchestra and the Britten-Pears Orchestra, and returned to Austin in 1994. She is a tenured member of the Austin Symphony and has performed regularly with the Austin Chamber Music Center, the Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra and the San Antonio Symphony. She is a founding member of the London-based Ananda Piano trio which has performed across Great Britain and Texas, and was invited to perform at the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival in California.  Margaret has performed at the VIII Internacional Festival de Ontono in Mexico, Musical Bridges around the World in San Antonio, the Texas Mid-Winter Music Festival and the Park Avenue Chamber Music Series in London.  She has recorded for Glass Eye Entertainment and Miramax, appeared on numerous film and game soundtracks, and toured with Puerto Rican singer Lourdes Perez.>> back to top

Jessica Gilliam-Valls, double bassist,  is an Austin native who exemplifies the ubiquitous artistry of a true music lover, heeding to no one genre, discipline, or stage.  Jessica studied at The Oberlin Conservatory and went on for a Masters of Music in Double Bass Performance at the Manhattan School of Music and now a Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. She has shared the stage with a dozen orchestras including the Austin Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera Orchestra, Tosca Tango Orchestra, and Orqestra da Radio e Televisao Cultura in Sao Paulo, Brazil where she was principal bassist. She has appeared regularly with chamber ensembles, tango and bluegrass bands, in studio recording sessions, on film soundtracks, television and radio jingles, and popular festival stages around the world. She is presently a faculty member at The Austin Chamber Music Center, The Girl’s School of Austin, and Huston-Tillotson University. An invited performer at the 2007 and 2009 International Society of Bassists Convention, she is a regular guest artist and clinician at the North Texas Bass Camps, the Austin Chamber Music Workshop  and the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, among others.

Michalis Koutsoupides, the Arundel Ensemble’s in-house arranger, was a core member playing violin and viola before accepting a conducting and performing position in Missouri. He was born in Nicosia, Cyprus, where he begun his musical studies at a very young age. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Violin and Composition, a Masters Degree in Violin Performance form the University of Kansas and a doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras in both America and Greece, and has participated in chamber music festivals around the country He has also arranged and orchestrated for several Cypriot choirs and ensembles and is happy to be able to arrange any special request you may have for your event!

Leigh Mahoney is a founding member and first violinist of the Tosca String Quartet. She has toured the world twice as string section leader for David Byrne, with performances on Austin City Limits, Carnegie Hall, Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Bonnaroo and Womad Festivals, as well as television appearances on Late Show with David LettermanLate Night with Conan Obrien and Later with Jools Holland. Leigh has recorded with David Byrne, Ray Benson, Bob Schneider, Dixie Chicks, Kip Winger, Blondie Chaplin, Heather Greene, Susanna Baca, Miguel Bose, Terry Bozzio, and has played on the soundtracks for the feature films Waking Life, Ladron, Borderland, El Cantante and the PBS documentary Last Best Hope. She performs with the Arundel Ensemble, Glovertango, BARBWIRE, American Repertory Ensemble, Golden Hornet Project, Erik and the She-Wolves, Austin Symphony, Austin Lyric Opera, and the Austin Chamber Music Center. Leigh, an avid tango violinist, has participated in master classes in Buenos Aires by renowned tango violinists Mauricio Marcelli and Raul Gallo. She was nominated for the Austin Critic’s Table Award for her performance of Augusta Read Thomas’ “Spirit Musings” and “La Maja Dolorosa,” Tango Ballet (Fast Approaching, Swiftly Gone) 2013. Leigh received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon Institute and her Masters Degree in Music from the University of Texas at Austin. Leigh has been a member of the Arundel Ensemble since 2002.

Violinist Colleen McCullough has been praised for her “elegance and big, gleaming tone” by the Dallas Morning News, and has established a reputation as a leader on many stages of the orchestral world. Dr. McCullough has served as concertmaster for the Memphis Symphony, the 2011 YouTube Symphony in Sydney, Australia under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas, the University of Texas at Austin Symphony, the New England Conservatory Orchestras and the New World Symphony. She has also served as principal with the National Orchestral Institute and Round Top Festival Orchestras. As an orchestral soloist, Dr. McCullough has performed concertos with the University of Texas at Austin Symphony and the Wichita State University orchestras. She currently holds positions in the violin sections of the Austin Symphony and Breckenridge Music Festival orchestras and is a member of the New World Symphony.

An engaging performer and inspired educator, Austin native Leah Nelson has become a highly sought after violist and violinist. Leah has performed throughout the United States including Carnegie Hall and Walt Disney Concert Hall. She has toured with Andrea Bocelli, performed with Barry Manilow and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and recorded with the Grammy nominated band Devotchka. As an orchestral musician, Leah has performed regularly with The Austin Symphony, American Youth Symphony, the New West Symphony, and the Riverside Philharmonic.  Leah holds a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance from the University o Texas at Austin and a Master of Music from the University of Southern California.  As a dedicated educator Leah is passionate about working with young people and community engagement. She has held positions with Education through Music-Los Angeles as a teacher and program coordinator. She also was the Program Director for the AYS String Project in Los Angeles, which provided high quality string instruction to over 100 under-served students. Currently Leah is president of the Central Texas Viola Society and holds a thriving private studio that includes students from Austin and the surrounding areas.

Caleb Polashek is a versatile violinist equally comfortable in a number of styles.  A member of the Austin Symphony, he is also the violinist in the rock band Les RAV which created a full length album last year after winning the opportunity to produce a professional quality recording through the Texas Recording Conservatory of Austin Singer-Songwriter competition held in December 2011.  Caleb has participated in numerous musical festivals, most recently the Sunflower Festival in Kansas. Other summer activities have included the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, the International Festival at Round Top, and the Vols Am Schlern International Festival.

Violinist Pasha Sabouri has performed recitals and concerts in Holland, Sweden, Austria, Germany and throughout the United States.  He appeared as a soloist for the opening of the Edinburugh Festival, as well as with the Texas Chamber Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Henderson Symphony, the Early Music Ensemble at the Butler School of Music, and the Ottawa Sinfonette. The recipient of numerous international prizes and awards, Pasha has quickly become a highly sought-after chamber musician in central Texas and performs regularly with The Arundel Ensemble, The Austin Symphony and The Austin Chamber Music Center.   In addition to an extensive performance schedule, Pasha served as Adjunct Strings Professor at Concordia College as well as Violin faculty and Artistic Director at Concordia College Music Academy in Austin, Texas.   He received his  Doctorate and Masters degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and his Bachelors degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music but despite these heady credentials is remarkably warm and down to earth.

Violinist Caroline Slack, originally from Vashon Island, Washington, has established a performance career as an active chamber and orchestral musician. Caroline is a member of the Austin Symphony, Illinois Philharmonic, Des Moines Metro Opera, and the Britt Festival Orchestra. She also performs regularly with the Kansas City Symphony, San Antonio Symphony and the Victoria Bach Festival.  An avid chamber musician, Caroline co-founded the Quartus Chamber Players in 2010, a Houston-based chamber music ensemble dedicated to multifaceted collaborations and bringing intimate and educational performances to the community.  Caroline studied with Gregory Fulkerson, Brian Lewis and Naoko Tanaka and received degrees from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas in Austin.

Violinist Sandy Yamamoto has dazzled audiences in concert performances around the globe for the past three decades as a soloist and as a member of the Miró Quartet. She has performed on the major concert stages of the world, regularly concertizing in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. As a member of the Miró Quartet, she was a recipient of the Naumburg Chamber Music and Cleveland Quartet Awards, won First Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and was one of the first chamber musicians to be awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has shared the stage with many prominent musicians including Leif Ove Andsnes, Joshua Bell, Eliot Fisk, Lynn Harrell, Midori, Jon Kimura Parker and Pinchas Zukerman. She has performed on the major concert stages of the world, regularly concertizing in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. As a member of the Miró Quartet, she was a recipient of the Naumburg Chamber Music and Cleveland Quartet Awards, won First Prize at the Banff International String Quartet Competition and was one of the first chamber musicians to be awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant. She has shared the stage with many prominent musicians including Leif Ove Andsnes, Joshua Bell, Eliot Fisk, Lynn Harrell, Midori, Jon Kimura Parker and Pinchas Zukerman.   Sandy was also invited to be a guest speaker and role model in New York City for the winners of the 2003 Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women.   Since leaving the Quartet in May 2011, she has been appointed Senior Lecturer of Violin at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches a studio of violin students and performs recitals regularly.

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