The Florida Youth Orchestra music staff consists of the
finest musicians in South Florida. Top artists from the
former Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, New World Symphony,
University of Miami and Symphony of the Americas offer world
class educational and artistic experiences.
||Thomas M. Sleeper
Conductor of Principal Orchestra
Director, Thomas M. Sleeper, is also Director of the
renowned University of Miami Symphony Orchestra and
Guest Conductor worldwide. He earned his Bachelor's in
Music Education at the University of Texas, and his
Master's in Conducting at Meadows School of the Arts,
Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He was
appointed to his first position as Associate Conductor
of the Dallas Civic Symphony and the SMU Chamber
Orchestra and Opera Theater at age 22. He later became
Interim Music Director of the Dallas Civic Symphony
until joining the faculty at Stetson University as
Conductor of the university orchestra. In 1992 he
received an appointment as Foreign Guest Conductor and
Artistic Advisor for the China-Wuhan Symphony.
Mr. Sleeper has guest conducted major orchestras in
the U.S. and abroad, appearing with the Rousse,
Bulgaria, State Philharmonic; Savannah Symphony
Orchestra; Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and Central
Philharmonic Orchestra of China. He has conducted a
series of highly successful concerts and
radio/television broadcasts with the Philharmonic
Orchestra of China, and led that orchestra in a historic
tour to Shanghai, the first time the orchestra had
performed there since the revolution of 1949. An active
composer, his compositions have been performed
throughout the United States as well as in Europe and
Asia, and have been recorded on six labels.
Associate Conductor, Principal Orchestra
A native of Australia, Steve Burnes holds a Master's Degree from the University of Surrey, with performance studies completed at the Royal College of Music in London. He taught in the Government Schools for the New South Wales Dept. of Education, and has vast performing experience at the Sydney Opera House, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the "Con Brio" Chamber Ensemble, among others.
||Dr. David William
Conductor of Symphony Orchestra
Director, Top Brass
An active bass trombonist, conductor and educator, Dr. Brubeck serves as Professor of Music at Miami Dade College, Kendall, where he coordinates the chamber music program and teaches applied trombone and music theory. He performs regularly with the Miami City Ballet Orchestra, Brass Miami, Duo Brubeck, The Brubeck-Neal Due and as a soloist. Among many music luminaries, he has performed with Steve Wonder, The Bolshoi Ballet, Ray Charles and as solo artist for the International Trombone Festival. His compositions, entitled “Stereograms”, have been performed and recorded throughout the globe. Dr. Brubeck has also published numerous compositions and arrangements, scholarly articles, a basic theory text and a method text for trombone.
||Dr. Laura Joella
Laura Joella, a second generation conductor, holds the position of Director of Orchestral Studies at Florida Atlantic University. The Sun-Sentinel has praised her as having a “superbly idiomatic touch” and for “drawing tremendously energized rhythmic kick and verve” from the orchestra.
She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting degrees from Michigan State University, and has conducted at the Conductor’s Institute at Spoleto, Mason Orchestral Society, the Michigan Youth Symphony, the Naples Philharmonic and many others, as well as serving as the Music Director of New England Music Camp’s Concert Orchestra in Maine.
Conductor of Repertory Strings
received graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins and
Princeton Universities and has been on the faculty of
the University of Georgia, New Mexico State University
and Florida International University. He held the
position of Orchestra Director at the Dreyfoos School
for the Arts and at Pine Crest School, and has performed
with the Palm Beach Opera and other distinguished
ensembles. In addition to performing as a violinist, Mr.
Mirsky is an active piano accompanist, serving as
accompanist at the Dreyfoos School and Florida Atlantic
Conductor of Chamber Strings and Silver Strings
Teresa Esparza, an accomplished cellist, received her
Bachelor's in music from the State University of New
York, where she studied with Bernard Greenhouse. She
taught school in New York and Miami, and has been a
member of the Miami City Ballet Orchestra. Currently Ms.
Esparza is a member of the Symphony of the Americas.
Conductor of Chamber Strings
Jeanne Halberg received her Bachelor of Music Education from FSU and Master of Music degree from the University of Miami. She has been recognized in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” and was honored as Broward Arts Teacher of the Year and School Orchestra Teacher of the Year by the American String Teachers Association. She currently serves as a Florida Orchestra Association State Adjudicator.
Conductor of Alpha Strings
Assistant Conductor, Repertory Strings
Firdman earned a Bachelor's in Music on Viola
Performance at Eastman School of Music, where she
studied with Heidi Castleman, and continued on to
receive her Master's in Music at the prestigious
Juilliard School in Manhattan. She performed in the
Mexico City Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony and the New
Artists String Quartet before joining the Florida
Director of Flute Orchestra
Marie Schwartz is a professional flutist and piccoloist who pursues an active career as a soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber musician in both Florida and New York. A proponent of new music, Marie collaborates with composers, who have written Woodwind Quintets for her group, 4 Winds & A Horn, and is awaiting the completion of a Flute Concerto written for her premiere. She frequently performs with The New Philharmonic and the Boca Raton Philharmonic Symphonia, and is a member of The New York Wind Trio and The Art Trio. Marie has numerous TV appearances, and has been featured on National Public Radio. Additionally Marie was instrumental in developing the "Young Musicians in Performance" (YMIP) concerto competition series that was broadcast on New York City's renowned classical musical station WQXR. She is a member of the National Flute Association and the Florida Flute Association.
- Ruby Berland, Violin
- Cornelia Brubeck, Cello
- Matt Calderin, Percussion
- Jason Calloway, Cello
- Jeanne Halberg, Strings
- Richard Hancock, Winds
- Martin Hand, Guitar (STEPS)
- Lei Fei Jenkins, Harp
- Calvin Jenkins, Brass & Winds
- Michael Klotz, Viola
- Ken Martinson, Viola
- Eddie Mejia, Percussion
- Geremy Miller, Strings
- Chauncey Patterson, Viola
- Jennifer Rudzinski, Strings, Winds, Brass
- Deena Shapiro, Violin & Viola
- Gabriel Torres, String Bass
- Erika Venable, Violin
- Shirley Crow, Repertory & Flute Choir Manager
- Dawn Janosik, STEPS Director
- Andrea Lindgren, Asst. Symphony Manager
- Maria Seto, Manager, Aurora Strings
- Harvey Walfish, Operations
- Missy Walfish, Symphony Manager