Meet our Teachers

Matthew Stephens, Founder/Head Director

Matthew Stephens, a recent graduate from Texas State University, earned his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting. A former public school teacher, Stephens was the choral director for Fairview Concert Choir. The 55 member SATB middle school choir was sponsored and developed by Stephens from scratch and quickly became a campus and community hit. Students performed for their local community on the Business Christmas Tour that included local business and nursing homes. They won multiple “I” ratings at district contests, “First” and “Best Overall” awards at national competitions and were chosen to sing at the state music educator’s annual conference. The students also performed at the state principal’s annual conference.

Stephens also served as Associate Conductor at Texas State University’s Men’s, Treble, and University Singers ensembles as well as Conspirare Youth Chorus in Austin while completing his Master of Music in Choral Conducting. For his master’s recital, Stephens conducted “Requiem for the Living” by Dan Forrest (chamber orchestra and choir). The 42-minute performance followed a composition for string quartet, “The Last Goodbye,” composed by Stephens.

Matthew enjoys teaching choir and writing, composing for choir and string quartet, and spending time with his children.


  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education – Missouri State University
  • Teaching Certificates: Middle School English, High School English, K-12 Music
  • Master of Education (MEd) in Administration – William Woods University
  • Master of Music: Choral Conducting – Texas State University


  • Choral Director -15 years
  • (Men’s choir, Women’s choir, Middle School Choir, High School Choir, Mixed Chorus)
  • Worship Leader – 5 years
  • Vocal Lessons – 15 years
  • Choral Clinician
  • Invitation to perform at MMEA
  • Teacher of the Year


Ivy Cantu, Assistant Director/Administrative Assistant

Soprano, Ivy Cantu received her degree in Vocal Performance at Texas State University. Her roles include, Reporter in Ruffled Flourishes (world premiere), Venus/Juno in Orpheus and the Underworld, L’écureuil in L’entfant et Les Sortilleges, Lady Bird in Lady Bird: First Lady of the Land (world premiere), Mrs. Grose in The Turn of the Screw, Mother in Hansel and Gretel, 1st Lady in The Magic Flute, Mrs. Gleaton in Susannah, Queen Dido in Dido and Aeneas, and a soloist in Howl (world premiere). She made her debut with Alamo City Opera in their production of Maria de Buenos Aires (2016), Texas Concert Opera Collective in their production of Susannah as Mrs. Gleaton (2019), Austin Opera in their production of Everest (2019), and Local Opera Local Artists (LOLA) in Dido and Aeneas as the lead, Queen Dido (2019). She won first place in the Edward Baird Singer of the Year competition at Texoma NATS in 2018 and third place in the Meistersinger Competition at AIMS in Graz, Austria in 2019.

Miss Cantu had her own voice studio for two consecutive years of high school students at San Marcos High School in San Marcos, TX.

Miss Cantu joins South Austin Academy of Vocal Arts as a recent graduate from Texas State University where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. She serves as the Assistant Choir Director and Administrative Assistant and is known for her bright spirit and encouraging demeanor.

Miss Cantu is also a theatre teacher at Christian Youth Theatre in New Braunfels, Texas where she teaches a Stage Makeup class for teens and a Musical Theatre for Kids class.


  • Bachelor of Vocal Performance – Texas State University


  • Professional performer – 10+ years
  • Private Voice Instructor – 5+ years
  • Musical Director – 2+ years
  • Musical Theatre Director – 2+ years 



Steve Carlton, Accompanist

Steve received his B.A. in music, with a focus on jazz and classical piano, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2011. After graduating, he worked as an accompanist for the Central Coast Youth Chorus, San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church, and several high schools. In 2014, Steve moved to Austin to pursue additional opportunities in music. In addition to accompanying the choirs at South Austin Academy of Vocal Arts, he works with The Honor Choir in Bastrop, the Austin, Bastrop, and Del Valle school districts. When not musically involved, Steve pursues his passions for cooking, bbq’ing, skiing, and painting.


  • Bachelor of Arts in Music – California Polytechnic State University


  • Music Director at KidsActing Studios 
  • Elementary Music Teacher 
  • Private Piano Instructor
  • Choir Accompanist – 14+ years