The Ethos Philosophy
Everyone loves music (of some sort) and every individual has the capacity to understand and participate in it.
While the factors that limit musical success are too numerous to list here, we have learned three axioms that lead to success in this art:
The best musicians develop from mastering music through a structured and complete curriculum presented by an engaged and interested teacher.
The best musicians begin and end with constant parental participation. As with most things, the personal and introspective worth of an art is appreciated only after its value is absorbed through social interaction and approval.
The best musicians flourish by sharing their skills with others through performance, adjudication, and competition.
We have learned that adherence to these principles builds strong character and important life skills in people of all ages. Neuroscience has also proven that disciplined musical study improves brain function.
The Ethos Mission
To develop life-long musicians through precise, patient, and passionate musical training.
Our Slogan: Musica Liberator Animae (Music, Liberator of the Soul)
Our Motto: Imagine, Invent, Inspire
History of Ethos
Every year, Ethos evolves as we learn more about music education and its profound effects on human development.
Founded in The Woodlands, Texas, in 2004, Ethos espouses a philosophy of teaching that focuses on constant growth and exploration. Ensuring that both teachers and students are constantly learning and challenging themselves to excel to the next level, Ethos has been able to produce lifelong musicians, many of whom have continued on to professional careers in music. Since 2004, we have grown into a school with dozens of students across many disciplines and fields of study. Our students have the unique opportunity to work and collaborate together through our vital programs. In 2019, Ethos moved into its own 4,000 square foot campus built on 3 beautiful acres. We pride ourselves on using only Steinway brand and Steinway designed instruments for our piano lessons and all performances.
Khoren Ouzounian, began musical studies at the age of 5. He had already fallen in love with music because of the influence of his older sisters who all played instruments and/or sang. Khoren knew that music study had helped him in school and he performed well in all of his classes, always graduating in the top tier of students both in high school and in college. It wasn’t until Khoren was well into his 30’s and married with 5 children that he discovered that he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. After meeting with many psychologists, psychiatrists, and neurologists, it was agreed that music study had masked or severely diminished many of the detrimental effects of ADHD in Khoren’s childhood. By this time, Khoren had been teaching piano for nearly 20 years, and had already codified many of his observations about neurological and musical development into his practice as a teacher. He continues to pursue this area of research as neurologists have continued to come to the realization that music study has a profound impact on brain development, cognition, and retention.
Ethos Faculty Bios
Andrea Benabent (Piano)
Spanish pianist Andrea Benabent, winner of numerous prizes in national and international competitions and Artistic Director of the concert series “Elkins Lake Classicals” (Huntsville, Texas) is currently completing her doctoral studies in Piano Performance at the University of Houston, under the guidance of professor Dr. Tali Morgulis. Andrea holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Royal Conservatory of Madrid, Spain, and a Master’s Degree in Piano Performance from Sam Houston State University, Texas, where she studied with the international pianist and prize winner of Enescu International Competition, Josu de Solaun.
After her debut at the National Auditorium of Madrid in 2016, playing Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, she has been invited to perform in numerous halls around Spain and abroad. As an active performer, Andrea has received advices from pianists such as Nikolai Lugansky, Anna Petrova, Pascal Nemirovski, Anton Nel, Andrew Staupe, Edna Golandsky and Jesus María Gómez, among others. From 2018 to 2019 Andrea was appointed as Lecturer Piano Faculty professor at Sam Houston State University, where she won the First Prize in the Art Song Competition in 2018, and Third Prize in the SHSU Concerto Competition, playing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3.
Andrea is also a passionate about flamenco genre and one of her dreams is to record a CD with her own flamenco compositions. What she likes the most about playing her instrument is to share her passion about art with her students and to encourage them to pursue their dreams through their love to music.
Eduard Gavril (Piano)
Through his professional activity, Eduard has repeatedly proven to be a well-rounded pianist, that mastered his craft to the highest of standards. As an active performer, he was featured in an impressive number of concerts and festivals both in the United States and Europe. He received numerous prizes at national and international competitions, as well as generous acclaim on every performance occasion. Eduard is also an avid composer, improviser, electronic music producer, photographer, and videographer, with an impressive portfolio and skill in each of these areas. He is one of the very few classical musicians to answer the “what is your long-term goal?” question with one word: “versatility”. His curiosity has no limits, and his creativity does not fall short either.
Eduard began studying piano at the age of five at the Vocational Art School in his hometown of Tirgu-Mures in Romania. The son of professional musicians, Eduard made his solo debut at the age of twelve performing with the Tirgu-Mures National Orchestra. In 2011, he continued his studies at the Music Academy “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca from where he obtained his Bachelor in Piano Performance. In 2015, Eduard moved to the United States, pursuing a master’s degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, specializing in Collaborative Piano. Eduard continued his education and obtained a second master’s degree in Piano Performance from University of California, Irvine. He is currently a Doctor in Musical Arts candidate at the University of Houston.
Amongst him most recent and notable events are performing as a soloist with the orchestra at the prestigious Barclay Theater in Irvine, California in 2019. He also appeared repeatedly as guest artist at Electric Castle Festival in Cluj, Romania in 2017, 2019 and 2022, voted one of Europe’s best music festivals with some of the biggest names in the industry such as Gorillaz, Deftones, Florence and The Machine, Twenty One Pilots amongst many others. In 2015, Eduard co-founded ClassMates Piano Duo and other similar groups. Featuring classical and jazz works, the groups are known for performing their own compositions, arrangements, and spontaneous improvisations. ClassMates Piano Duo has performed in the US and in Romania and was awarded first prize in 2017 and third prize in 2018 at the International Duo Piano Competition in Colorado Springs, Colorado, one of the biggest duo piano competitions in the US.
Douglas Loomis (Piano)
With over 20 years of pianistic training and experience, Douglas Loomis is a skilled pianist and accomplished teacher from Conroe, Texas. Douglas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance from Southwestern University. He joined Ethos School of Music soon after graduating and his teachers have included Kiyoshi Tamagawa, David Englert, and Khoren Ouzounian. Douglas is devoted to helping musicians reach their highest potential. This has included teaching music theory camps, leading music ensembles, accompanying at high schools, and adjudicating for music events. He is also instilling the love of music in children through early childhood music classes.
Tom McClung (Violin)
Tom McClung born 1952, began studing violin at the age of twelve in Cleveland, Ohio. After moving to Oberlin, Ohio. Mr. McClung was accepted into the studio of violin virtuoso Carol Sindell (student of Gingold and Heiftz).
Tom received a full scholarship to attend Ohio University studying with Howard Beebe (student of Ivan Galamian at Julliard) where, in 1974 he completed his BMusEd and began his public schools teaching career. In 1981-82, Mr. McClung was awarded a grant as concertmaster or the Lima Symphony and 1st Violist in the Lima Symphony String Quartet. As part of the grant, Tom became a Teaching Assistant while working toward a Masters in Violin Performance at Bowling Green State University where he studied with Boris Brandt (student of David Oistrach). After moving from BGSU to McAllen, TX., Tom founded the Valley Music Academy and served as Concertmaster of the Valley Symphony where he was appointed Director of the Valley Symphony String Project reaching out to students on behalf of the symphony guild.
Overall, Mr. McClung had 32 years experience teaching public schools in Ohio and Texas before retiring in 2011 as Head Director of The Woodlands High School Orchestra. Mixing teaching and playing in orchestras,
Tom found time to perform in orchestras including Concertmaster of the following: Lorain Pops, Lima Symphony, Valley Symphony, Valley Chamber Orchestra, Corpus Christi Chamber Orchestra; Assistant Concertmaster (3nd Chair) of Corpus Christi Symphony; Associate Concertmaster (2nd Chair) of the Victoria Symphony, and section violinist of The Symphony of Southeast Texas in Beaumont
Ian José Ramirez (Voice)
Praised for a voice with “affecting lyricism” and “a pleasantly warm, spinning light tenor sound,” Ian José Ramirez has already established himself as a fine musician and dynamic actor. During the 2015-2016 season, he joined the opera studio at Oper Stuttgart in Stuttgart, Germany, singing Third Jew in Salome, Smee in Peter Pan (Richard Ayres), Le Remendado in Carmen, and Borsa in Rigoletto. As a Resident Artist at Portland Opera, he sang Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Man with Old Luggage in Postcard from Morocco, and Sellem in The Rake’s Progress, among others. Equally at home in recital and on the concert stage, Ian has spent two seasons at the Marlboro Music Festival and has sung with the Oregon Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Musica Sacra of Cincinnati. Mr. Ramirez has received awards from the National Opera Association, as well as a Career Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Arts Commission. Most recently, he was one of nine finalists invited to the ZAV-Künstlervermittlung Nachwuchsvorsingen held in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He received his bachelor’s degree in music, graduating summa cum laude, as well as his master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.
Konrad Rudowicz (Violin)
Konrad Rudowicz was born in Łódź, Poland, and began his violin studies at the age of seven. Recently he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Houston, where he studied under the tutelage of Dr. Kirsten Yon. Additionally, he holds degrees and certificates from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” in Leipzig, Germany, Academy of Music in Łódź, Poland, and Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles, California. Throughout his career, Konrad had an opportunity to perform in prestigious concert halls, including Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Konzerthaus Berlin, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Bozar Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, and Jones Hall in Houston, and to participate in lessons and masterclasses led by distinguished violinists, such as William Preucil, Brian Lewis, Leon Spierer, Kristof Barati and Wanda Wiłkomirska.
Konrad was awarded first prize in the Young Artists Competition held by the Redlands Bowl Association in Redlands, California (2014) and fourth prize in the Young Violinist Competition held in Łódź, Poland (2001). He maintains an active solo, chamber and orchestral concert schedule, performing frequently in the United States and Europe. Among his significant solo appearances are performances with the Wieniawski String Orchestra in Łódź (2008), at the Redlands Music Festival in the Redlands Bowl, California (2014), and at the Preis für die Freiheit und Zukunft der Medien (Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media) ceremony in the presence of Leipzig’s mayor, Burkhard Jung in Leipzig (2018.)
Konrad is also active in the field of pedagogy, currently serving as an Adjunct Professor at the San Jacinto College, and as a violin and viola teacher at the Humble Independent School district.
Clara Alonso Tofé (Violin)
Clara Alfonso Tofé is the Graduate Assistant of orchestral conducting at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX. She started her violin studies at the age of nine years old at the Professional Conservatory of Valladolid-Spain under the direction of Miss Ana Haliti. Later, she finished her undergraduate studies at the Higher Conservatory of Music of Castilla y Leon, Salamanca-Spain.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Music in Violin Performance from SHSU, where she studied with Dr. Javier Pinell. Throughout her career, she has been a member of acclaimed musical ensembles such as the Youth National Orchestra and Baroque Academy of Spain (JONDE). Rewarded with the second and third prize at the SHSU Concerto Competition 2019 and 2018 by her violin interpretations of Korngold and Glazunov Violin Concerto respectively, Clara has performed chamber music and solo repertoire in renowned venues such as National Auditorium of Spain (Madrid-Spain), Miguel Delibes Auditorium (Valladolid-Spain), Royal Theater (Madrid-Spain) and Steinway Hall of London (UK).
As an arranger, Clara has collaborated with Aperio Music of Americas, creating a reworking of Philip Glass’s Etude No. 2 for Piano and String Quartet. This piece was performed in Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston to critical acclaim.
Codi Wartenbach (Cello)
Codi Wartenbach started studying music at age 6. He has studied cello for 14+ years, viola for 3+ years, and composition for 2 years. He graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2019, where he took lessons in cello, viola, and composition. During college, he performed in Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Ensembles, Cello Studio recitals, Cello Choir recitals, Composition Studio recitals, and a Solo Cello Recital. He has completed Core Training with the Suzuki Association and is pursuing continued education in the Suzuki Method.
Outside of teaching and performing, Codi continues to make art in many forms, including writing, painting, drawing, crafting, and composing music. Recordings of Codi’s original compositions can be found on soundcloud.com by searching their full name or username “CodiJWBach”. His love for creativity also drove him to start a small business in 2020 selling hand-crafted miniatures, which currently averages over 500 orders per year. Their shop can be found at etsy.com/shop/cojiscrittercrafts.
Codi strongly identifies with the Ethos model and has become integral to many Ethos programs since joining the faculty in 2021. His warmth and passion for sharing music with those around him bring a special energy to his teaching. His goal as an educator is to foster a positive and supportive environment that allows young musicians to expand their talent and love for music.
Halle Yap (Cello)
Born and raised in the Houston area, Halle Yap began playing the cello at the age of 8. She is an experienced cellist with over 10 years of performance experience. A winner of many awards in high school and college, Halle is a graduate of Baylor University where she focused on the study and performance of chamber and small ensemble music. In 2018, she was a finalist in the Sempre Pro Musica competition for chamber music held at Baylor University. She is passionate about sharing her love, appreciation, and knowledge of music with her students and peers.
Khoren Ouzounian (Piano)
Khoren Ouzounian is a nationally recognized educator, composer, conductor, organist, pianist, and entrepreneur. As the founder of the Ethos School of Music, his students have successfully enrolled in conservatory and college music programs throughout the United States and he is well recognized for his work as a teacher-trainer and master class presenter. His philosophy and methodology in teaching has garnered international recognition and acclaim at such events as the World Piano Pedagogy Conference and his contributions have been published in The American Music Teacher, the journal of the Music Teacher’s National Association. Khoren’s compositions and arrangements have been published and presented by Celebration USA™, Faiths United of the Woodlands, and in LDS church services throughout the U.S. Khoren holds a Master’s in Music from Rice University where he specialized in piano performance and composition. He also studied piano performance and pedagogy at Houston Baptist University and at Brigham Young University where he also majored in comparative literature and economics.
As a performer and collaborator, Khoren has performed extensively throughout the United States both conducting and performing solo and collaboratively on organ and piano. Most recently, he has launched a chamber music series in The Woodlands in conjunction with Glade Art Gallery where he has been hosted many times. Because of his foreign language and comparative literature training, Khoren is fluent in Italian, French, and conversant in German, making him highly sought after as a vocal coach.
At Ethos, we utilize most of the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. We have tailored RCM’s offerings to our own in order to craft a comprehensive body of knowledge for our students.
Our curriculum covers three areas of musical mastery with two sub-masteries in each category. Thorough training in each of these areas enables students to do much more than play an instrument. They will be able to approach music in a holistic manner.
Musicianship (Audiation MLT)
A. Ear Training
i. Understanding and Writing what is heard.
B. Eye Training
i. Hearing and Reproducing what is seen.
ii. Score Reading/Sight Singing
iv. Socio-Political Issues
i. Effective Practice Habits
ii. Technical Mastery
iii. Repertoire Development
At The Ethos School of Music we approach education based on the humanistic model of the Renaissance philosophers. It is a mixture of apprenticeship repetition, formal theoretical instruction, and Socratic inquiry. Because we engage the students in private as well as small and large group settings, we are able to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of each musician and pace their lessons accordingly. Additionally, through individual assessment and exposure to a master teacher, we identify and cater to the individual learning styles (visual, auditory or kinesthetic) of each student.