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Worlds Entwined: A Viola and Cello Recital

Saturday, July 6, 2024
2:00-3:00 PM

at the International Museum of Art & Science
1900 West Nolana Ave, McAllen, TX 78504

Included with general admission, Free for IMAS Members

Embark on a musical journey with the compositions of David Rimelis, expertly interpreted by Penny Tong and Joe Luna, in “Worlds Entwined.” Experience the enchanting melodies that traverse cultural boundaries and celebrate the universal language of music.

Penny Tong

As a versatile individual, Penny has had the opportunity to hold several professional roles in the music industry. She is the Section Viola player in the Valley Symphony Orchestra since 2022. In April 2024, she performed as a chamber musician at the Schumann Piano Quartet of the Valley Symphony Orchestra at the Gelman Stained Glass Museum. In July 2024, she has been invited by The American Pops in Washington D.C. to perform as a violist at the NATO Symphony Orchestra to play at the Library of Congress for the 75th Anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Besides, in 2022-23, she was appointed as the Section Viola player, and the Substitute Principal Viola at the Sherman Symphony Orchestra to work with the viola students at Austin College during orchestral rehearsals. In 2022, she served for the Lord as the Solo Violinist on Sunday worships at Rosen Height Baptist Church in Fort Worth. Since 2023, she has served as the Solo Violinist at RGV Chinese Baptist Church in Texas. Before moving to the U.S., Penny was appointed to be the Principal 2nd Violin at Chung Chi Orchestra and the Principal Viola at HKFW Six Arts Orchestra. Between 2010 to 2016, she was the Guest Section Violist of Hong Kong Sinfonietta, which performed at Tonalle in Zürich, and Victoria Hall in Genѐve during 2015. Penny performed as a chamber player, and an orchestral player in different international music festivals, including Trentino Music Festival in Italy; Orford Music Academy in Canada; Bowdoin International Music Festival in U.S.; Sommermusik und Meister Klaus in Germany; 3rd Marvo International Music Festival in Portugal; nuits romantiques du Lac du Bourget in France; and La Folle Journée au Japon in Japan, and Asian Youth Orchestra. Penny is currently an all-but-dissertation ABD candidate in her Doctorate degree in Viola Performance at University of North Texas, mentoring by Dr. Susan Dubois. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance at Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2007. She was the recipient of the Jackie Chan Scholarship. Her enthusiasm for music performance and teaching inspired her to undertake further, graduate studies in the United States since 2016. In 2018, she earned the Master of Music duo degree in Viola Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy at Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio, mentored by Prof. Jeffrey Irvine. And she has been a registered Suzuki teacher for violin at all unit levels since 2018.

In terms of teaching experience, she has been teaching as a Private Lesson Tutor of Violin and Viola at high schools, and middle schools at different ISDs in Texas since 2022. Besides, she had experience in both orchestral and chamber coaching. She was appointed to be the Music Director of symphony orchestra at Hoi Ping Chamber of Commerce Secondary School, between 2014-2016, in Hong Kong. Under her directorship, the symphony orchestra won the Silver Award of the School Symphonic Orchestral Contest in Hong Kong Youth Music Interflows in 2015-2016.

Joe Luna
is a cellist and educator with 34 years of experience playing the cello. He holds a BA in Music from the University of Texas Pan American, earned in 2006, and is certified to teach music at all levels. Joe currently teaches at Nikki Rowe High School in McAllen, Texas. Before this position, he worked at Edinburg North from 2006 to 2019 and at Cathey Middle School from 2019 to 2024. Joe began his cello journey at Morris Jr High in 1991 under the tutelage of Richard Clark and Ben Ponder, who taught him throughout his schooling from 6th to 12th grade. He graduated from Nikki Rowe in 1998 and studied with Brent Smith and Sarah Kapps in college.

Joe joined the Valley Symphony Orchestra in 2004 and continues to perform with them. He also played with the Laredo Philharmonic from 2014 to 2018 and the Kingsville Symphony Orchestra starting in 2017, where he remains a member. His experience with the cello has allowed him to learn other instruments, including the electric bass. Joe plays bass in a heavy metal band called Destructive Cell, a punk band named The 3 Strikes, and a rock band that is still in development, with all projects working on publishing music and media.

Joe has performed with various groups in South Texas, including the South Texas Lyric Opera, OPUS orchestra, South Texas Chorale and Festival Orchestra, and a string quartet called Bravuda. Over the years, he has shared the stage with many talented musicians, including Gary Clark Jr. in Austin in 2004 and Marco Antonio Solis, Marc Anthony, Ana Gabriel, and Gloria Trevi in 2012 and 2015. He also recorded a cello track for the heavy metal band Severance. Joe is continually exploring new ways to play the cello while preserving traditional techniques, aiming to inspire young students with his passion for music.

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