Since 1945, thousands of PYSO Alumni have graduated from the Orchestra and moved on with their lives, some staying in Pittsburgh, others traveling the world. Many have gone on to professional music careers in major symphony orchestras both here and abroad. Still many others, while not active as performing musicians, continue to support classical music in many ways. Please send us an email with your news and updates!
PYSO ALUMNI DATABASE
The alumni list below is a work in progress. If your name is missing, please let us know! Or if you know of friends or colleagues who should be added, we would appreciate hearing from you. Please contact PYSO with the most current contact information you have for them.
Alumni Sorted by Last Name (as of 02-27-17)
Alumni Sorted by Year (as of 02-27-17)
Alumni Sorted by Instrument (as of 02-27-17)
PYSO’s Alumni Side-By-Side Concert took place on May 17, 2015 at 7:30 PM in Heinz Hall. Alumni participating and performing were:
Our Alumni Picnic was held in Point Breeze on May 24, 2015.
Want to know about the accomplishments of current PYSO members? Go to the Kudos page of our website.
Watch and listen to recollections and testimonials from PYSO Alumni!
PYSO FORMER MUSIC DIRECTORS: Where are they now?
Lawrence Loh is now in Syracuse serving as the Music Director of the recently formed Symphoria. Arthur Post is the Music Director of the San Juan Symphony and the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Kirk Muspratt is the Music Director and Conductor of the New Philharmonic Orchestra and DuPage Opera Theatre at Illinois’s College of DuPage. Andreas Delfs is the new Music Director of the Honolulu Symphony. Mischa Semanitzky is recently retired from Music in the Mountains (Durango, CO). Edward Cumming is the Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Daniel Meyer is the Music Director of the Ashville (NC) and Erie (PA) orchestras, as well as the recently appointed Artistic Director of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra.
RECENT NEWS, UPDATES, and RECOLLECTIONS from PYSO ALUMNI
This past year has been a very busy one for PYSO alumnus Michael Tsang (piano 2007-2011) who finished a dual-degree program last May 2016 between Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western with piano and biology, along with the masters overlap program at CIM to receive his MM in piano! He’ll be pursuing a different direction for the next stage of his graduate education by applying for Doctor of Physiotherapy programs. He continues to play piano in St. Louis and also teaches piano.
Colin Brookes’ (viola 2002-2007) string quartet – the Ulysses Quartet – won the gold and the grand prizes at Fischoff last weekend (May 6-8, 2016) in South Bend, IN. They are thrilled and excited to see where this leads.
Laura Manko (viola 2001-2005) is currently living in Ankara, Turkey, playing in the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra and teaching at Bilkent University.
Julia Potein (violin 2009-2012) is a violinist in the San Francisco Bay area.
Hanna Kim (percussion, 2009-2012), currently a junior at the Juilliard School, was selected as a member of the 2015 Verbier Festival Orchestra. The Festival will take place in Verbier, Switzerland from July 17 through August 2, and the Orchestra will be conducted by Manfred Honeck, James Levine, Charles Dutoit, Gianandrea Noseda, Valery Gergiev and Zubin Mehta.
Christian Woehr (viola 1965-67) currently plays in the St. Louis Symphony.
Mark Debski (oboe 2010-2013) recently won the New England Conservatory Mozart/Haydn Concerto Competition, and will be performing the Mozart Oboe Concerto with the NEC Chamber Orchestra on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.
Laura Markowitz (violin 1978-79) has been a member of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and remembers how valuable her experience was in PYSO. She is also a charter member of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra.
Jack Scandrett (horn) was a member of the PYSO when a senior in high school for the 1960-61 season with Karl Kritz as the conductor. He remembers that Paul Ross was the concertmaster. From 1971-75 he was the Operations Manager for Marie Maazel. Jack recently retired from IUP after many years serving on the music faculty.
Alexander Lee (violin 2005-10) has been accepted as a fellow in the New World Symphony in Miami and will start there in December 2014. He joins Michael McCarthy (violin 2005-08) who was previously accepted. Eleanor Lee (cello 2007-11) is presenting her senior recital at Eastman School of Music on November 1, 2014.
Inori Sakai (violin 2010-13) was accepted into Carnegie Hall’s 2014 National Youth Orchestra Festival and she will be attending the Juilliard School in the fall of 2014. Laura Rollick (oboe 2009-10) and Mark Debski (oboe 2010-13) were winners in the National Society of Arts and Letters (N.S.A.L.) 2014 Pittsburgh Chapter Competition for Flute, Oboe & Clarinet. Michael McCarthy (violin 2005-2008) has been accepted into the New World Symphony. Alexander Lee (violin 2005-2010) performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra on November 15, 2013. Steven K. Leonard was a member of PYSO from 1974 to 1977. He started out as a clarinetist for one year, then moved to the violin section in 1975 later serving as principal second. He and his wife moved from Atlanta to Traverse City, MI where Steven teaches violin at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, is Associate Concertmaster of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, and has a private violin studio. His father, Stanley Leonard, was the Principal Timpanist of the PSO for nearly 40 years (he retired in the mid 1990’s), and he and his wife now live in Naples, Florida.
ALUMNI SIDE-BY-SIDE CONCERT
PYSO alumni returned to play in a side-by-side concert with the current members of PYSO for a performance on Sunday, May 19, 2013. Lawrence Loh conducted the program that included three side-by-side pieces: Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah by St. Saens, Dvorak Slavonic Dance in G Minor (encore), and Strauss Voices of Spring Waltz (encore). The current PYSO members also played (without alumni) the finale from Mahler 1, first movement of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto in C Minor with the winner of our concerto competition Hannah Che, and Mozart’s Overture to the Abduction from the Seraglio.
BASS: Micah Howard
CELLO: Aron Zelkowicz, Tim Lewis, Chelsea Medic, Zachary Flaus, Eleanor Lee
FLUTE: Erin Mitz, Lauren Abel, Keith Norbutt
HARP: Chelsea Lane
HORN: Sarah Knapp, Dan Salera
PERCUSSION: Austin Allen, Josh Dick, Ed Stephan
VIOLA: Mary Persin, Grace Stokan, Natalie Somerville
VIOLIN: Claire Niederberger, Julia Poetain, Tiffany Lim, Shinju Sasanuma, Olivia Ren, Caronline Stephenson, Barbara Stolp
Ross Snyder (violin 1999-2003) and the Tesla Quartet he co-founded just won the gold medal in the senior strings division of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and second place in the grand prize competition in South Bend, IN. They also placed third in the London (Wigmore Hall) Chamber Music competition last month and made it to the second round of the Schubert and Modern Music Competition in Graz, Austria in March.Sarah Stern (harp 2000-2002) recently auditioned successfully for the Orquesta Estable del Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the orchestra that performs the operas and ballets in that theater. She is completing a very busy year as Principal Harp for the Orquesta Filarmónica in Santiago de Chile. Her season at the Teatro Municipal in Santiago. TJ Wible (flute 2002-2005) won 1st prize in the 2012 Atlanta Flute Club Young Artist Competition. He’ll be returning next February as a featured guest recitalist at their 2013 Flute Fair. Valdosta Symphony Orchestra (Howard Hsu, Music Director) audiences will hear Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton (harp) perform composer Reinhold Gliere’s Concerto in E flat major the weekend of February 18, 2012. The VSO’s “Symphonie Fantastique” will also feature guest conductor Edward Cumming leading the orchestra in Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun” and Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.” TJ Wible (flute) recently received 1st Prize in the 2011 Alexander & Buono International Flute Competition in NYC and will be giving his winner’s performance in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on October 23, 2011. Rachael Stutzman (clarinet) holds the 2nd clarinet position with the West Virginia Symphony. Brandon Schantz(percussion 2004-06) was appointed to a one-year position with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Michael DePasquale (cello 2006-08) participated in the National Orchestra Institute in Maryland and then attended the Zephry Chamber Music Festival in Italy. Robert Kotcher (violin 2003-08) was a semifinalist in the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic’s composition contest. His orchestral piece, “Broken Records”, will be performed by the orchestra on the 13th and 20th of February in Washington DC and Virginia. On a similar “note”, the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic will be performing another one of Mr. Kotcher’s pieces in the spring 2011 at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. In March 2010 TJ Wible (flute 2002-2005) won the 3rd Prize in the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition and gave his NY recital debut in April at the Yamaha Piano Salon. In April he was a prizewinner in the Pittsburgh Concert Society’s Major Auditions and gave his winner’s recital at CMU’s Kresge Hall in September. In August he travelled to Anaheim, CA to compete in the National Flute Association’s Piccolo Artist Competition and won the 2nd Prize. In October he competed in the Alexander & Buono International Flute Competition in NYC and was named the 2nd Prize winner. His flute duo “Duo21.5” also competed in the competition and also received the 2nd Prize. He will give his winners recitals in the Spring of 2011 in NYC. Aaron Boyd (violin 1991-96) was the subject of a recent article and blogin the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Aaron is currently the concertmaster of the Tuscon Symphony Orchestra and will be auditioning for a position with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. TJ Wible (flute) tied for 1st place in the concerto competition at The Boston Conservatory and gave a performance of Griffes Poem in February at the Berger Center for the Performing Arts in Boston. He graduated from New England Conservatory last May with a B.M. and was lucky enough to receive a full-scholarship from The Boston Conservatory to pursue his M.M. studies. He was also a prize winner in the Doriot Anthony Dwyer Flute Competition, held by The Boston Woodwind Society. Jamison Ignatius (horn 2008-09)is attending Eastman School of Music for horn performance. Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton (harp 1998-2004) ) won first prize in the American Harp Society young artists’ competition held in Salt Lake City, UT in June 2009. Kevin Halenda (trumpet 2007-08) was named principal trumpet of the Princeton University Orchestra. Lindsay Goodman (flute 1997-99) recently won the principal flute audition for the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. PYSO alum 1997 – 1999 Jessica Prus (flute) won the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic’s 3rd flute/piccolo position in September of 2007 and continues to hold that position today. Brittany Lockman (oboe 2004-07) graduated in May, 2008, from Carnegie Mellon University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Performance. Chuck Jacks (Bass Trombone 1991-99) is currently working on a cruise ship for Royal Caribbean International, assigned to “Liberty of the Seas” which is the largest cruise ship in the world. He plays trombone in the pit orchestra and also the jazz band. Chuck calls this is a dream job. “I spend a lot of my free time walking along beaches from all over the Caribbean. We are back in Miami every Saturday, too.”…WVU music student Ruth Miltenberger (flute 2004-06) of Morgantown recently won first place and a $1,000 prize at the Chicago Flute Club’s 2007 Solo Artist Competition. Robert Mellin played double-bass with the PYSO from 1966-68, studying at the time with Anthony Bianco. After leaving Pennsylvania, he was principal bassist with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra from 1982 to 1984. He later became a registered architect in Canada and is currently professor at the School of Architecture, McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Albie Micklich (bassoon 1989-90) was named Associate Professor of Bassoon at Arizona State University in the fall of 2006. He is currently Co-Principal Bassoon with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, and also performs with the Ocotillo Winds. Evan Hertrick (bassoon) has been named the Pittsburgh Jazz Society/Mellon Jazz Scholarship recipient for 2007. The Juilliard School has announced the appointment of several prominent artists to its faculty, effective with the 2007-08 academic year, including Pedro Diaz, oboe. On May 5, 2007, forty alumni spanning all 60 years of PYSO came back and joined the current members for an alumni side-by-side concert: Helen Andrascik, Joe Liu, Dalena Klavin, Martha Kukich-Steen, Zsolt Zavodszky, Jonathan Gribe, Esther Hwang, Virginia Mills, Michael Cresanta, Frances DeBroff, Samantha Duffy, Mary Persin, Lucia Soltis, Bill Tackett, Laura Evans, Lisa Kellerman, Bridget Meacham, Sarah Morris, Dennis R. Persin, Nadia Tuma, Melanie Samson Tuttle, Felix Cohen, Don Evans, S. Hartley Johnston, Lawrence Tamburri, Lucy Scandrett, Barbara O’Brien, Patty Zawadski, Rita Brockway, Matthew Litterini, Bonnie McDonald, Jack Scandrett, Bernard Baiden, Susan McKinney, Michael Zeglinski, Robert Fleischman, Georgina Gutierrez, James Wright, Gary Ryan, and Vincent Guentner. Following the concert, alumni and friends attended a reception at Six Penn restaurant.