Thomas Helton, President / Treasurer

Thomas HeltonThomas Helton is a composer and bassist who writes and performs music in both solo and ensemble settings.

As a composer Mr. Helton was awarded a Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Fellowship Grant in 2007 for the commission and premiere of a new work for fifteen-piece ensemble, the Torture Chamber Ensemble. He was awarded an artist residency for the commission and premiere of Pride from DiverseWorks ArtSpace in Houston in October 2004, a work for ten-piece ensemble and video projection created in collaboration with video artist Maria del Carmen Montoya.

As a bassist, Thomas Helton performs with his own ensemble, The Core Trio, as well as with many celebrated jazz and free improv artists including Tim Hagans, Milt Jackson, Daniel Carter, Monty Alexander, Frank Gratowski and Ernie Watts, William Parker, Weasel Walter and Steve Swell.

Thomas has released three CD’s: Doublebass; Experimentations in Minimalism; and Saga. He recently released a new solo, DVD collaboration with videographer Jonathan Jindra. The film was featured at the International Society of Improvised Music Conference during a recent east coast. He plans to continue a US tour in 2012 and a potential tour of Europe is in the works.

In 2013 Thomas took over the non-profit group, The Houston Composers Alliance. The organization presents original work by modern composers. 2013 also saw the release of his group, The Core Trio. The recording was a live improvisation with New York piano great, Robert Boston.

A new solo album, a CD of compositions, and a second DVD collaboration with Jonathon Jindra are in the works.

Chapman Welch, Vice President


Chapman Welch received his D.M.A. in music composition and electronic music from the University of North Texas where he worked at the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia (CEMI).  Currently, he is a lecturer at Rice University where he serves as the electroacoustic specialist for the Rice Electroacoustic Music Labs (REMLABS).

He was recently commissioned by the city of Houston along with composer Anthony Brandt and visual artist Jo Fleischhauer to create an installation for the market square clock tower.  The six-month installation tunes the sounds of downtown Houston to create a resonant glow that is improvised by the computer each hour.

Other recent commissions include works for saxophonist Woody Witt, percussionist Patti Cudd, the American Harp Society, and the Liminal Space Duo as well as a multimedia collaboration with visual artist Carmen Montoya for the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College.  In addition, Welch’s article “Programming Machines and People: Techniques for Live Improvisation with Electronics” was published in the Leonardo Music Journal and discusses his interactive work Moiré which was included in the “Music from SEAMUS” CD series.

Active as a performer, Chapman’s diverse musical interests have allowed him to appear in settings ranging from performances of Stockhausen’s Kontakte with percussionist Christopher Deane to improvising with traditional American ‘fiddle’ tunes at the National Flatpicking Guitar Championship in Winfield, Kansas.  Welch’s music has been presented at numerous festivals in the United States and abroad including the June in Buffalo, Third Practice Festival, SPARK, the Florida Electro-Acoustic Music Festival, ICMC, and SEAMUS conferences.

Hsin-Jung Tsai, Secretary

Jung 4-4-2013Hsin-Jung Tsai, a native of Taiwan, studied at the PhD-DMA program in music composition at the CUNY Graduate Center with Tania Leon and Bernadette Speech, has had her compositions performed in Japan, Europe, Taiwan and the United States.

In May 2000, Ms. Tsai had her chamber music recital at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York. In addition, Ms. Tsai has collaborated on films and theater projects: she composed a clarinet solo piece, Poetry of a Painter, for a short film on the life of the artist, Fernando Gerassi; the score for Allatonceness, a multimedia performance where the composer also conducted; music design and improvisation for a documentary film Turning Japanese; music design for Dorothy Tan’s play, Palace of Loneliness, produced by Multistage Inc. and HERE Theatre for the Performing Arts in New York; and the score for a documentary film Ocean and People produced by Civilization Explorer Association (CEA). In November of 2002,

Ms. Tsai received the Music Composition Award from the Asian American Research Institute in New York. In 2006 Ms. Tsai was invited as a guest composer and held a lecture recital at Tarrant County College South Campus, Fort Worth, Texas. In 2011, Ms. Tsai received grant from City University of New York Diversity Grant for her piano solo piece “Precipitation.” In 2008, Ms. Tsai relocated to Houston, where she has been actively contributing her compositions, as well as performing as an improvisational artist.