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Music Staff

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
Music Director
Conductor of Principal Orchestra

FYO Music 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.


Steven Burnes, Resident Conductor, Associate Conductor, Principal Orchestra Steven Burnes
Resident Conductor
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 Brubeck
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, Associate Conductor, Symphony Orchestra Dr. Laura Joella
Associate Conductor
Symphony Orchestra

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.


Brian Mirsky, Conductor of Repertory Strings Brian Mirsky
Conductor of Repertory Strings

Brian Mirsky 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 University.


Teresa Esparza
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.


Jeanne Halberg
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.


Stephanie Firdman
Conductor of Alpha Strings
Assistant Conductor, Repertory Strings

Stephanie 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 Philharmonic Orchestra.


Marie Schwartz, Director of Flute Orchestra Marie Schwartz
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.

 FACULTY
 
  • 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 Orch. Manager
  • Dawn Janosik, STEPS Director
  • Andrea Lindgren, Asst. Symphony Manager
  • Maria Seto, Manager, Aurora Strings
  • Anna Ukleja, Asst. Symphony Manager
  • Harvey Walfish, Operations
  • Missy Walfish, Symphony Manager
  • Anna Ukleja, Liaison, Florida Youth Orchestra/Cleveland Clinic Florida “Arts & Medicine” program
  Proudly Sponsoring The 2013-2014 Season
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Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture
This program is supported by Funding Arts Broward, supporting innovative local visual and performing arts in Broward County.
With the support of the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners.
 
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