Tihda Vongkoth is a second-generation Lao American whose parents are members of the Lao diaspora. She currently occupies land in Sarasota, Florida, formerly Calusa territory.
Tihda has appeared as a marimba soloist with the United States Air Force Band, The Florida Orchestra, and the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. As a percussionist she has performed at the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí (parading on caixa with Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba Unidos de Vila Isabel), the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Breckenridge Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival and Brevard Music Festival. She recently recorded marimba on ‘Arise – Choral Music of Ola Gjeilo’ with the Key Chorale of Sarasota and appears on ‘Symphony No. 1’ by Thomas Sleeper on Albany Records.
Tihda performs as a guest orchestral percussionist with the Sarasota Orchestra, The Florida Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Opera Tampa, St. Pete Opera, and has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony and the New World Symphony. She has performed with many local performing arts organizations in Sarasota, where she also co-founded and performs solo and chamber music with Modern Marimba, a nonprofit music organization committed to maintaining equitable spaces for music creators and the local community.
Tihda has presented educational clinics at Kutztown University, the University of South Florida, 9no Encuentro de Ensambles de Percusión, and regularly presents clinics to K-12 students in Sarasota County. She attended the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, Interlochen Arts Academy, and has advanced degrees in music performance from Southern Methodist University and Temple University.
Tihda is also an Iyengar yoga practitioner and enjoys being on the water, traveling with her partner, Dean Anderson, adventures with her yellow lab, and listening to music on vinyl.
Interim Vice President
Steph Davis is a Boston based marimbist, percussionist, composer, and arranger interested in identity-focused art. They are currently pursuing a Bachelor of Music Degree in Percussion Performance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Steph studies marimba with Nancy Zeltsman, percussion with Sam Solomon, and is taking composition lessons with Marti Epstein.
Passionate about the marimba, they have premiered over 10 works for marimba in chamber ensembles, arranged eight works for solo marimba, marimba ensemble, and marimba in duo settings, and studied and performed numerous works in the solo marimba repertoire. Pierre Hurel (professor at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and pianist of the acclaimed Pierre Hurel trio) has described Steph as a “colorist” and a “virtuosic” chamber musician who can “weave in and out of the texture with ease.” They have performed in masterclasses with Andrew Thomas, Steven Mackey, Beverly Johnston, Colin Currie, Thad Anderson, Marja Kerney, and Nancy Zeltsman.
Steph’s music explores issues of Black/Queer identity, politics, and environmental issues. Their process of composing involves what they refer to as “aural painting,” in which inspiration takes the form of a mental painting, which then takes the form of sound. Their music has been described as “hauntingly beautiful,” “complex,” and “serious.” They have been commissioned by Modern Marimba and Marimba One artist, Cameron Denby.
When they’re not playing or writing music, Steph enjoys cooking (100% plant-based), tending to house plants, volunteering with local political campaigns, writing, and reading. Steph is the founder of So You Want to Talk About Race Book Club, a reading community of over 30 people around the United States who meet monthly to discuss books with themes of race and identity. Visit Steph’s website.
Dean Anderson is experienced in many musical styles, including orchestral, avant-garde, multimedia, and commercial music. Currently retired in Sarasota, Anderson is Principal Percussionist of the Punta Gorda Symphony and performs with the Venice Symphony, and Southwest Florida Symphony. Mr. Anderson was Principal Percussionist with the Boston Ballet Orchestra for 25 years and a member of the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra for 42 years. He has also performed extensively with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Pops, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Cantata Singers Orchestra, and the Boston Opera.
A great lover of contemporary chamber music, Anderson was the percussionist in the contemporary music ensemble, Boston Musica Viva, from 1972 to 2012. Throughout his membership he premiered over 72 new music works, recorded eight albums, and performed on four European tours through 14 different countries. He has also performed internationally as an electronic percussion specialist with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Audiovisual Lab Artists and with the Berklee Virtual Orchestra.
In 1996, Anderson recorded Divinations, a solo percussion album available on Neuma records featuring new music by William Kraft, Shirish Korde, Peter Child, Alvin Etier, and Matt Marvuglio. As a soloist with orchestra, Anderson has appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa performing Nikos Mamangakis’ Anarchia for solo percussion with orchestra and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under John Williams performing Paul Creston’s Concertino for Marimba.
Anderson was also Chair of the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1974 to 2010 where he led the world’s largest percussion educational program. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Percussive Arts Society, and currently serves on the boards of the Sarasota Music Conservatory, Modern Marimba, and the Avondale Residents Association, taking an active role in the local Sarasota community.
Dean Anderson’s studies include degrees from the University of Miami and New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He is a performing artist for Avedis Zildjian™ cymbals, Pearl™ drums and percussion, Gibralter™ hardware, Remo™ world percussion, and Vic Firth, Inc.™ sticks.
As a straight cis-gendered man who also identifies as a person who is hard of hearing, Dean is committed to doing the work to dismantle white supremacy in himself, interpersonally, and in our institutions. He listens, learns, and amplifies the voices of people who identify as BILPOC, LGBTQIA+, and people with disabilities, is learning about his biases, and makes anti-racist actions in the Sarasota, Florida community.
Jen Martinez-Bre is a physically disabled Peruvian/Cuban-American vibraphonist, percussionist, composer, and educator currently based in South Florida. Her performance style and initiatives have been commended by the Gold Coast Jazz Society and the P********e A**s S*****y in the form of grants to continue her pursuits. In her handful of years studying, Jen has been under the tutelage of Stefon Harris, Warren Wolf, Tony Miceli, and David Friedman – as well as local jazz heavyweights Rodolfo Zuniga, Fernando Ulibarri, Jason Hainsworth, and her original mentor Hector “Pocho” Neciosup.
Most recently, Jen co-founded the ongoing translated interview/masterclass series “Mate Meetup in Espanglish” with Pauline Roberts to bridge the gap between the English and Spanish speaking music industry.
Jen also recently graduated with a BAS in Supervision and Management from Broward College. A portion of the coursework included courses in Accounting, such as several levels of Accounting and Managerial Accounting. She is currently working on obtaining the certifications necessary to become a licensed bookkeeper.