University of Maryland String Quartet


Daniel Sender, violin

Daniel Sender is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland. Studying with David Salness and John Dalley, Daniel has performed as a chamber musician, recitalist and orchestral violinist throughout Europe, China, the United States and the Middle East. Daniel is a native of Philadelphia and holds a bachelors degree in music performance and education from Ithaca College as well as a Master of Music degree from the University of Maryland. Daniel also pursued studies in Vienna, Austria. While in Vienna, Daniel won the annual chamber music competition sponsored by IES which awarded him the opportunity to perform in a recital in Milan, Italy. Named a Presser Scholar by the Theodore Presser Foundation, Daniel was also the recipient of the Anna Sosenko Artist Assist Trust Grant. Daniel has been coached by members of the Guarneri, American, Cypress and Ariadne String Quartets and participated in masterclasses with Ani Kavafian, Arnold Steinhardt, and Daniel Heifetz. Daniel plays regularly in the Annapolis Symphony and has been a member of the Annapolis Chamber Players since 2006.

Francis Liu, violin

An inclination for eclectic and innovative projects has led violinist Francis Liu to play diverse music ranging from early Baroque to the latest contemporary pieces. Currently a freelancer and member of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, previous experiences have included his involvement in the Inscape Chamber Orchestra, 20/21 New Music Ensemble,  Crisalis Music Project, and 2006 Society of Composers, Inc. Region VI Conference. In 2005, Mr. Liu was a featured soloist in a performance of Antonio Capuzzi's Triple Concerto, presented as part of a three-day festival showcasing rediscovered works of the 18th century Venetian composer. He has participated in chamber music studies with the Diaz Trio, as well as members of the Guarneri, Cleveland, Audubon, Orion, and Kronos Quartets. Mr. Liu received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where he studied with Kenneth Goldsmith, and is currently engaged in doctoral studies with David Salness at the University of Maryland.

Cassandra Stephenson, viola
Violist Cassandra Stephenson is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Maryland, studying with Daniel Foster. A native of Saratoga Springs, NY, Cassie began her musical studies on piano and violin, later switching to viola. She graduated summa cum laude from Ithaca College in 2005, completing her undergraduate studies with Debra Moree. Miss Stephenson completed her Masters Degree at the University of Maryland in 2007, studying with Kathy Murdock. Cassandra has appeared in recitals in New York and Maryland, and well as with various orchestral and chamber ensembles throughout the United States, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Venezuela, and the Czech Republic. Miss Stephenson has attended the Tanglewood Young Artists Program, the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival (Italy), the National Orchestral Institute, and the Blas Traditional Music Festival (Ireland). In addition to performing in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Miss Stephenson is an avid teacher and maintains a studio in College Park. She plays on a 2006 Stanley Kiernoziak, recipient of the 2006 VSA Certificate of Merit for tone.

Leslie Lyons, cello
Leslie Lyons is pursuing a Master’s of Music degree at the University of Maryland. She holds a Graduate Assistantship with the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra, in which she is a rotating principal cellist. Leslie graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BM in cello performance in 2005 from Ithaca College. While at Ithaca, she was a finalist in the concerto competition in both 2003 and 2004.  In addition, Leslie toured Ireland with the chamber orchestra and performed at Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall with the symphony orchestra. Leslie is a devoted chamber musician, and has performed in numerous ensembles while in school and at summer festivals. She has studied chamber music with the Guarneri, Maia, Pacifica and Kronos Quartets, as well as Donald Weilerstein, Peter Salaff, Felix Wang and Ani Kavafian. Leslie has also played with the Battle Creek and Madison Symphonies, and is a current member of the Fairfax Symphony. Her past teachers include Nicola Heinrich, Heidi Hoffman, Elizabeth Simkin, and Uri Vardi. Leslie is currently studying with Evelyn Elsing.

University of Maryland String Quartet