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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.

Dr. Claudio Jaffé
Music Director
Conductor, Symphony Orchestra

Born in Brazil and educated at Yale University, Dr Claudio Jaffé made his orchestral debut as a cellist at age 11, and, at the age of 18, made his first appearance as a soloist with a major symphony orchestra. He has since performed with orchestras worldwide, winning the most prestigious competitions and being hailed by the New York Times as  an elegant and accomplished artist of taste, technique musicianship and enthusiasm.

In addition to performing in over 40 U.S. States, Dr. Jaffé has been an active educator, conducting master classes around the world and holding positions on the faculty of major music festivals and universities. He has been a faculty member at Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University, and served as Dean of the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University.

Dr. Rufus Jones Conductor, Principal Orchestra Dr. Rufus Jones

Conductor, Principal Orchestra

FYO Music Dr. Jones earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Orchestral Conducting at Texas Tech University. He has conducted youth, university and professional orchestras in this country and beyond, including the Washington Sinfonietta, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Paul Quinn College, Austin Area Community College, Detroit Youth Symphony and Texas Tech University. Prior to moving to South Florida, Dr. Jones taught and conducted at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., serving as director of their chamber music program, wind ensemble and symphony orchestra. Among his many awards are the Georgetown Learning Initiative Curriculum Enrichment Grant, Dean's Travel Grant Award and Competitive Grant-in-Aid Award. Dr. Jones is also a respected author, whose most recent book,  Dean Dixon: Negro At Home, Maestro Abroad  was top-ranked on the New York Times Best Seller List.

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.

August Berger, Assistant Conductor, Symphony Orchestra August Berger

Assistant Conductor, Symphony Orchestra

Originally from New York, August Berger is a Teaching Artist now residing in South Florida. As a bassist, he appears regularly in regional orchestras and ensembles throughout the state. A passionate educator, Mr. Berger is currently a teacher and Double Bass Specialist at North Broward Preparatory School. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College and his Master's in Music Performance from the Conservatory at Lynn University.

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

Co-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.

Lynne Camenga

Co-Conductor Chamber Strings/Asst. Conductor, Repertory Strings

Lynne Camenga received a degree in violin performance from Purchase Conservatory and a Master of Music from Hartt School of Music. She was one of two violinists selected to perform new works while in residence at Norfolk Music Festival, Yale School of Music. She has performed and soloed with many professional orchestras and chamber ensembles.

Tarra Guerra

Conductor, Alpha Strings

Tarra Guerra has an active teaching studio in Fort Lauderdale, where she teaches violin and guitar. As a member of the Suzuki Association of South Florida, she organizes workshops, recitals and community events.  Ms. Guerra performs classical music in venues ranging from small groups to international festivals, both solo and in chamber ensembles, and has been described by the Miami Herald as “expert and sensitive”.  She holds a Master of Music degree and has composed music for the FAU Composition Studio.

Sarah Weinstein, Conductor, Flute Choir Sarah Weinstein

Conductor, Flute Choir

Ms. Weinstein is a graduate of Princeton University, where she studied Music Performance. She has toured Europe, performing in iconic concert halls, and continues to perform locally and beyond. Ms. Weinstein currently teaches music at Weston Christian Academy, sits on the advisory council of Keiser University and is an interviewer for applicants to Princeton University. We re proud to say that, as a high school student, she was a member of Florida Youth Orchestra!

Anna Rudzinski

Conductor, iPlay

Anna Rudzinski is highly trained in early childhood music education and has, for many years, served as an Instructor for FYIO's STEPS classes for at-risk children. She is experienced on several string, wind and brass instruments. She has also Served as a string teacher at FYO's annual Summer MusicFest and as an Assistant Director of the Broward home-school  HEAT band.

Orion Mendenall Orion Mendenall

Conductor, Alpha Strings

Orion Mendenall is a talented violinist, trumpet player and pianist earning advanced degrees in Composition and Arranging. He has been a member of various ensembles, performing throughout the community. His service with FYO includes extensive teaching of outreach STEPS classes, working with at-risk children - as well as serving as a String Instructor at the annual Summer MusicFest. Orion is also arranger of various musical selections and pianist at student performances.

  • August Berger, String Bass
  • Eric Berken, Strings
  • Steven Burnes, Winds
  • Matthew Calderin, Percussion
  • Teresa Esparza, Cello
  • Lisa Gelfand, Winds
  • Dr. Claudio Jaffe, Cello, Cello
  • Calvin Jenkins, Brass
  • Dr. Laura Joella, String Bass
  • Eddie Mejia, Percussion
  • Orion Mendenall, Violin/Piano
  • Brian Mirsky, Violin, Viola
  • Chauncey Patterson, Violin, Viola
  • Anna Rudzinski, Violin
  • Jennifer Rudzinski, Brass
  • Sarah Weinstein, Flute
  Proudly Sponsoring FYO programs

www.ArtsCalendar.com sponsors Florida music education Broward County sponsors music education in Florida JM Family Enterprises Inc sponsors orchestra music lesson in Florida League of American Orchestras sponsor music schools in Florida Florida Cultural Alliance sponsors music classes for children
National Endownment for the Arts sponsors music education in Broward NSU University School sponsors classical music education in Florida The Jim Moran Foundation Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation Tanglewood
Turnaround Arts State of Florida Funding Arts Broward sponsors classical music lessons in Florida Miami-Dade County sponsors orchestra schools in Florida A.D. Henderson
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 Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County mayor and Board of County Commissioners.
    The Charles & Joan Hermanowski Family Foundation    

A copy of the official registration (#SC-01177) and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free within the State (800) HELP-FLA or http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Consumer-Services. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the state.

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