Artistic Staff

Ensemble Directors

Brian Worsdale

Brian Worsdale

Music Director and Conductor

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Worsdale attended public schools, the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division, and received his formal music training as a trombone student of David Finlayson (New York Philharmonic). He is a conducting protégé of the late Maestro Jonathan Strasser (former faculty of Manhattan School of Music) and has continued his professional studies working with Larry Livingston (on faculty of University of Southern California) and Anthony Maiello (on faculty of George Mason University). He had recently returned to the Manhattan School of Music as conductor of the Pre-College Division Symphony Orchestra.

His work as a guest clinician and adjudicator has brought him to cities throughout the United States. He has conducted Texas’ Region 23 Orchestra, The Southeastern Regional Orchestra for the State of Virginia and many other honor bands and orchestras. He is a senior teaching artist and consultant for The New York Pops and helps run their Kids on Stage program.

Having appeared on the podiums of the Brooklyn Symphony Orchestra, The Williamsburg Consort (VA), The Westchester Symphonic Winds, The Brooklyn Wind Symphony, The Kilkenny Youth Orchestra (Ireland), and the Royal Spa Brass Band (UK), he is in active demand as a guest conductor and clinician, frequently working with middle school and high school programs across the country. He is a champion of new music and young artists, having commissioned works for both wind ensembles and orchestras, including many new works from composer Michael Markowski.

Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Worsdale’s commitment to education shines brightest through his entrepreneurial efforts to build stronger wind band programs in New York City. The award-winning “InterSchool Orchestra of New York” Symphonic Band, which is one of the only private youth wind ensembles in the Metropolitan New York area, is an ensemble he began more than two decades ago. Last season, he served as Music Director and Conductor of the ISO organization and led the Symphony Orchestra.  He also was conductor of the Grand Street Community Band.

During the summer months, Brian calls Delaware County, New York his home where he serves as artistic director and conductor of the French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts. There, he leads the symphony orchestra, conducting classes, and numerous pit orchestras while supervising one of the largest and most comprehensive summer performing arts programs in the United States.

Mr. Worsdale conducts YPO, co-conducts Wind Symphony with Mr. Lavelle, and runs the Apprentice Conducting Program.

Bhattacharyya Ujjal for website

Ujjal Bhattacharyya

Virtual Percussion Ensemble Director

Ujjal Bhattacharyya is an Indian-American percussionist based in Pittsburgh. Ujjal holds a BFA in Percussion Performance with an Additional Major in Mathematical Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University and an MM in Percussion Performance from Ithaca College under the instruction of acclaimed marimbist and pedagogue Gordon Stout.

As a soloist, Ujjal has won or placed in several competitions, including the ENKOR International Music Competition (1st Prize, 2019), Ithaca College Concerto Competition (Winner, 2019), Italy Percussion Competition (2nd Prize, Marimba Category B, 2018), Heartland Marimba Festival Solo Competition (Winner, 2015), Carnegie Mellon All-University Orchestra Concerto Competition (Winner, 2014), and Great Plains International Marimba Competition (3rd Prize, Undergraduate Division, 2014). He has also premiered solo marimba works by several composers, including Gordon Stout, Marco Schirripa, and Josh Oxford. As a chamber and orchestral percussionist, Ujjal has played with several groups, including un/pitched Percussion Trio, Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes, Nat28, and Alia Musica. As an educator, Ujjal has given masterclasses at Tennessee Tech University, Fort Hays State University, and Northern Kentucky University. He also co-taught Percussion Methods and served as an assistant in Music Fundamentals as a graduate student at Ithaca College.

Over the years, Ujjal has held many roles within the Heartland Marimba organization; he started as a festival participant in 2014, became an apprentice in 2015, and toured as an artist with Heartland Marimba Ensemble in 2018. In 2020, Ujjal was selected to become a member of Heartland Marimba Quartet- the premier ensemble of the Heartland Marimba organization.

Ujjal is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma from Carnegie Mellon University as the first percussionist to be accepted to this highly competitive program in recent history.

Pierce Cook Headshot

Pierce Cook

Symphonette Conductor (2021-22 Season)

Pierce is the proud director of orchestras at Mellon Middle School in Mt. Lebanon, designated in 2019 as a Don Eichhorn Pennsylvania School to Watch.

In 2016 Pierce began recruiting high school orchestra students to tutor at Mellon, which planted the seeds for the Mt. Lebanon High School MC-AT club (Music Cross-Aged Tutoring), for which he serves as the sponsor and coordinator. Currently, over 50 students across the district participate by either giving or receiving weekly lessons.

That same year, Pierce added to Mellon’s already strong after-school Chamber Orchestra, a Pops Orchestra dedicated to performing music from stage, screen, and stream, and Mellon Small Groups, which are student-formed ensembles that meet weekly to rehearse curated music and perform throughout the year.

Over the past six years, Mellon’s orchestras have performed annually throughout the region at local hospitals, assisted living residences, and an annual holiday performance at South Hills Village Mall. This spirit of making music to share music is one that Pierce is excited to bring to Symphonette.

Additionally, as an educator, Pierce has provided private lessons out of his home studio since 2005 and served as the Bass Coach for Pittsburgh Youth Philharmonic Orchestra for a decade. In 2018 he hosted the District 1 Jr. High Honors Orchestra in Mt. Lebanon.

Pierce has been blessed with many opportunities to make music for the Pittsburgh community. His group, South City Jazz, has been regularly performing for over 15 years, and he was a founding member of the Three Rivers String Quartet, for whom he served as a cellist. An active member of the Musicians Union Local 60-471, Pierce has had the opportunity to play bass for many musicals across the region, including for Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, the Pittsburgh Playhouse, and Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. Pierce is also the newest member of Gary Racan and the Studio E Band, known for their national Warriors Rock concerts and TV Productions.

A native of Arlington, Virginia, Pierce moved to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University and resides in Green Tree.

Evans Paul

Paul Evans

Percussion Ensemble Director

Artist Lecturer of Percussion at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Paul Evans is a performing artist and an educator of percussion. Mr. Evans is a member of the River City Brass, Pittsburgh CLO, and Pittsburgh Broadway Series and has performed regularly with Pittsburgh Symphony in Pittsburgh and on tour throughout the world and with many other musical organizations throughout the country. He is also the percussionist for the National PBS Television Series, “American Soundtrack” and “My Music.” Through his involvement with PBS, Mr. Evans has recorded and performed with over 200 music acts from do-wop, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, soul, disco, rock, funk, and folk genres and has over 20 national and international television shows to his credit.

As an educator, Mr. Evans has guided many young percussionists during his years as percussion coach for the River City Youth Brass Band and Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra in Pittsburgh. He has touched many young lives through his involvement with Carnegie Mellon University’s Urban Music Project. As visiting artist, Mr. Evans has had a positive effect on countless school children in the Pittsburgh region, working with students to gain a better understanding and love of music.

Len Lavelle 2019 photo

Len Lavelle

Co-Conductor of Wind Symphony

Len Lavelle is the Director of Bands at North Hills High School and serves as the Music Department Curriculum Leader. He has taught instrumental music from the elementary through the college level.

Len is a graduate of Duquesne University, where he was recognized as the Outstanding Music Education student from his graduating class. He has completed additional study through conducting symposiums with Jerry Junkin, Mallory Thompson, Craig Kirchhoff, Stephen Petersen, Tim Lautzenheiser, Richard Mayne, Thomas Lee, Stephen Melillo, and Stanley DeRusha, among others.

In the last nine years, Mr. Lavelle’s bands have been featured four times each at the PMEA State Convention and NAfME All-East Convention, all in different years. Since coming to North Hills High School eight years ago, enrollment in the marching band and orchestra programs have nearly doubled. Both programs are currently the largest in school history while overall school enrollment is at a low.

During his tenure as Music Department Curriculum Leader at North Hills, the district was recognized for the first time as one of NAMM’s “Best Communities for Music Education” and became one of only six schools in the nation to be accredited by The Middle States Association as a “Program of Distinction.” The MSA now uses North Hills as a case study for other aspiring school districts. He has been invited to present professional development at regional and state conferences on topics including “Building and Retaining Your Program,” “Supporting and Working with Your Booster Organization,” and “Getting the Sound You Want from Your Concert Band.”

Mr. Lavelle has been recognized with PMEA’s Citation of Excellence, as a Teacher of Excellence by the Pittsburgh Teacher Excellence Center, received the Outstanding Music Educator Award from the Pittsburgh Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, and received the Extra Mile Award from Bethel Park School District. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has featured him as a “Newsmaker You Should Know.” Mr. Lavelle has served as a guest conductor and clinician for both school and honor groups and at all levels including the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp. He has been interviewed by The Instrumentalist and is included in the Meredith Publication, The Conductor’s Companion. He is an active member of PMEA, NAfME, the National Band Association, and a member of the Phi Beta Mu, International Band Masters’ Fraternity.

Mr. Lavelle is also responsible for guiding the North Hills Bands Commission series, the longest-running series of its kind in the country. During his time with the series, his ensembles have presented the world premiere of works by Michael Daugherty, Julie Giroux, Philip Sparke, Timothy Mahr, Travis Weller, Dana Wilson, Nancy Galbraith, and Sean O’Loughlin. Several of the works have already been recorded by top ensembles around the country, including the University of North Texas Wind Symphony. During this time, guest conductors and clinicians have included Stephen Petersen, Timothy Mahr, Peter Boonshaft, Tim Lautzenheiser, Stephen Gage, Scott Tobias, Eric Hinton, John Thompson, and Keith Brion, among many others.

Len is a proud graduate of North Hills High School. His wife Sarah is the Director of Orchestras at North Allegheny High School. They live in the North Hills School District with their daughters Annie and Grace, who study piano.


Rob Traugh

Robert Traugh

Co-Conductor of Wind Symphony

Robert Traugh is a Pittsburgh-based freelance composer and Adjunct Professor of Composition at Duquesne University. Rob has written for wind bands, jazz ensembles, chamber ensembles, dance as well as other commercial projects. Rob’s music draws influence from an eclectic study of contemporary music, an appreciation of the natural world, and pervading undertones of jazz. He is currently actively engaged with commission projects. With a background spanning 12 years of service as a public school music teacher, his works have received acclaim as having artistic and pedagogical applicability in the modern ensemble curriculum. Most recently, Rob’s music has been programmed for performances in the Arizona MEA Conference, Pennsylvania MEA Conference, Ohio MEA Conference, as well as the Music for All National Festival.

Rob holds an M.M. degree in Electronic Composition (2017) from the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University, where he studied theory and composition with Lynn Purse, Patrick Burke, and Joseph Willcox Jenkins. He completed a B.M degree in Music Education at Youngstown State University (2006), where he studied music theory, score analysis, conducting, composition, and arranging with Till MacIvor Meyn, Stephen Gage, Michael Crist, and David Morgan.

Rob currently resides in Cranberry Township, PA, with his wife Bethany and children Gavan & Maia.

Andrew Wickesberg Headshot

Andrew Wickesberg

Symphonette Conductor (2020-21 Season)

Andrew Wickesberg began conducting Symphonette with the 2012-13 season. Mr. Wickesberg came to Pittsburgh in 2008 to join the viola section of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, having previously held a viola fellowship at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, FL. Mr. Wickesberg received Bachelor‘s degrees in Violin and Viola Performance from Indiana University and a Master‘s Degree in Viola Performance from the New England Conservatory. He is an active faculty member of City Music Center at Duquesne University. A resident of Pittsburgh‘s historic Mexican War Streets neighborhood, Mr. Wickesberg is a board member of the Allegheny City Central Association, the Community Development Corporation for Pittsburgh‘s Central Northside neighborhood. Mr. Wickesberg enjoys teaching, renovating his home, and exploring the many icons of Pittsburgh.

Young Peoples Orchestra Section Coaches

Jeremy Black

Jeremy Black

1st Violin Coach

Jeremy Black has been a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra‘s first violin section since 2002, and enjoys performing not only at concert halls around the world but also with his colleagues in Pittsburgh area hospitals and schools. In the summer months, he performs as Concertmaster of the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago, a position he has held since 2005. He began his orchestral career in 2000 as a first violinist in the Grant Park Orchestra in Chicago and a frequent substitute with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. An avid fan of chamber music, he has served as Concertmaster of the University of Pittsburgh‘s Music on the Edge Chamber Orchestra since 2002, and has performed in recital throughout the Pittsburgh region, including Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne Universities, Chatham College, West Liberty State College, and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Dennis O'Boyle

Dennis O'Boyle

2nd Violin Coach

Dennis O’Boyle joined the second violin section of the Pittsburgh Symphony in the fall of 2000 under Music Director Mariss Jansons, and rose to his current position of Assistant Principal Second Violin in 2011. Before arriving in Pittsburgh, Mr. O’Boyle spent three years in Florida as a fellow in Miami Beach’s New World Symphony and subsequently Principal Second Violin of the Florida Orchestra, Tampa Bay. Mr. O’Boyle holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, as a student of Oswald Lehnert. He earned his Master of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Ik Hwan Bae. He lives in Squirrel Hill with his wife, Anna Wukich, and their two sons.

Photo of Marylene Gingras-Roy

Marylène Gingras-Roy

Viola Coach

A native of Québec City, Canada, Marylène Gingras-Roy joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra viola section in the 1997 season, and in 2004 was promoted to fourth chair. She studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec with Douglas McNabney and François Paradis and graduated in 1993 with unanimous First Prizes in both in viola and chamber music. She was the recipient of Canada and Québec Arts Councils’ Scholarship Grants, enabling her to attend the Harid Conservatory, where she studied with Victoria Chiang, and then at the renowned Curtis Institute of Music with Karen Tuttle and Joseph DePasquale. She earned an Artist Diploma in 1997.

Marylène is adjunct professor of viola at Duquesne University and has a full private studio at home. She is also an orchestra coach for the Three River Young Peoples Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony. A highly sought-after teacher and pedagogue, Marylène has over twenty years of experience with students at various levels of experience and distinction. Marylène has also taught at summer music festivals such as: Domaine Forget, Québec, Interharmony Festival in Germany and Italy and Advanced Chamber Music Seminar in Pittsburgh. Marylène has been featured as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Duquesne University Orchestra and Symphonette and she performs regularly in chamber music concerts.

She has participated in many festivals, including the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy, the Solti Project at Carnegie Hall, the Jerusalem Music Festival, the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra (where she served as Principal violist), and since 2000 the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. Marylène’s recordings of chamber music include Leo Zeitlin’s Yedish songs and the Caprichos Nos. 2-4 by Leonardo Balada (world premiere recording) for the Naxos label. She has also recorded the Serenade no 6 for trombone, viola and cello by Vincent Persichetti. Marylèneʼs viola is by Italian maker Umberto Muschietti (1929).


Photo of David Premo

David Premo

Cello Coach

David Premo joined the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1992 and now serves as Associate Principal. Mr. Premo has been Artist-Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University since 1994. He came to Pittsburgh from Washington, D.C., where he was Assistant Principal Cellist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra from 1980 until 1991. Since coming to Pittsburgh, Mr. Premo has appeared frequently as a chamber musician and soloist on Shadyside and Rodef Shalom concert series. In 1996 Mr. Premo won the prestigious Passamaneck Award entitling him to a solo recital which he gave in Pittsburgh‘s Carnegie Hall in April 1997. His cello, made in approximately 1860 is by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.


Photo of Aaron White

Aaron White

Bass Coach

Born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, bassist Aaron White began his musical studies in public school system after moving to Irving, Texas. He continued his studies at Southern Methodist Univ. and then Duquesne Univ. His principal teachers include Thomas Lederer and Jeffrey Turner. In 2012 and again in 2014, he performed with the “All-Star Orchestra” lead by Gerard Schwarz. Prior to joining the Pittsburgh Symphony, Mr. White was a member of the Louisville Orchestra and the Florida Orchestra.


Photo of Jim Rodgers

James Rodgers

Woodwind Coach

Mr. Rodgers has been the Principal Contrabassoonist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since September 2001. Formerly, he was the Principal Bassoonist with the Jacksonville Symphony, Associate Principal Bassoonist with the Florida Orchestra, Second Bassoonist with the Houston Symphony, and Contrabassoonist with the Colorado Symphony. Summer activities have included the Grand Tetons Music Festival, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Colorado Music Festival, and Tanglewood Music Center. His Bachelor of Music was earned at the University of Southern California, with a Master of Music from Rice University. He has been a soloist with the PSO several times and is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Reed Trio. Jim lives in Moon Township with his wife, Sue, and their feline family.


Photo of James Nova

James Nova

Brass Coach

James Nova joined the Pittsburgh Symphony as second/utility trombone in 2009. Prior to this, he served as assistant principal/second trombone of the Utah Symphony for eight seasons. He attended the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree before moving on the New England Conservatory of Music for his Master’s Degree. Mr. Nova is adjunct trombone professor and brass coordinator at the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University. Since 2012, Jim has found a new passion using recording technology to explore multitrack recording, also known as “overdubbing” and created numerous stunning recordings of challenging new arrangements he’s done of a variety of exciting repertoire for trombone choir. These employ a number of trombones: contra bass, bass, tenor, small tenor, alto and even soprano trombones! To hear these, got to


Evans Paul

Paul Evans

Percussion Coach

Artist Lecturer of Percussion at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Paul Evans is a performing artist and an educator of percussion. Mr. Evans is a member of the River City Brass, Pittsburgh CLO, and Pittsburgh Broadway Series and has performed regularly with Pittsburgh Symphony in Pittsburgh and on tour throughout the world and with many other musical organizations throughout the country. He is also the percussionist for the National PBS Television Series, “American Soundtrack” and “My Music.” Through his involvement with PBS, Mr. Evans has recorded and performed with over 200 music acts from do-wop, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, soul, disco, rock, funk, and folk genres and has over 20 national and international television shows to his credit.

As an educator, Mr. Evans has guided many young percussionists during his years as percussion coach for the River City Youth Brass Band and Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra in Pittsburgh. He has touched many young lives through his involvement with Carnegie Mellon University’s Urban Music Project. As visiting artist, Mr. Evans has had a positive effect on countless school children in the Pittsburgh region, working with students to gain a better understanding and love of music.

Symphonette Section Coaches

Photo of Irene Cheng

Irene Cheng

1st Violin Coach

is a member of the first violin section of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She won her first job with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra while pursuing her undergraduate studies. She has since held the positions of Principal Second violin, then Assistant Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon in Portugal for two years before moving onto the first violin section of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra in Spain. She also spent two years as an Assistant Principal First Violin in the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ms. Cheng has also performed with the Seattle Symphony, New Haven Symphony, and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestras. Ms. Cheng has performed numerous solo recitals and chamber concerts in Western Europe, the East and West coasts of the United States, and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She has performed as soloist with the Camarata di Sant’Antonio, Seattle Philharmonic, Bellevue Philharmonic, Northwest Chamber Orchestra, Central Washington University Orchestra, and the Pacific Lutheran University Orchestra. She has been the winner of the Seattle Young Artist Competition, the Washington State Concerto Competition, and the McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase–which featured her on WQXR in New York City. Originally from the Seattle area, Ms. Cheng received her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington. While at Yale, she studied with Sidney Harth, and chamber music with the okyo String Quartet and Claude Frank. She also spent many years studying with Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi, Ilkka Talvi, and Erich Eichhorn. Ms. Cheng attended several summers at the Aspen and Waterloo Music Festivals.

Rachel Stegeman

Rachel Stegeman

2nd Violin Coach

Rachel Stegeman is on the Adjunct Violin Faculty at Duquesne University, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, since 2002. At Duquesne she teaches Applied Violin and Orchestral Literature and Repertoire Class, as well as Violin Boot Camp during the summers. Many of her students have performing careers in professional orchestras and are teaching at Universities themselves. She was trained in Washington D.C. at Catholic University and teachers include William Steck, Luis Haza, Leslye Gartrell, Ramona Coppage, Sidney Harth, and Robert Lipsett. She is Concertmaster of the Wheeling Symphony and Youngstown Symphony, Associate Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestra, performs as guest concertmaster for the West Virginia Symphony and Johnstown Symphony, and performs as a guest section violinist at Pittsburgh Symphony. Before moving to the East Coast, she was Associate Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Opera Pacific, Los Angeles Opera as well as other orchestras in the area. She was also a member of the Pacific Symphony and a recording studio violinist in hundreds of major motion pictures, records, television shows, commercials and live award shows.

Katelyn Piroth viola headshot

Katelyn Piroth

Viola Coach

Katelyn Piroth is an orchestra teacher in the Pine-Richland School District, where she teaches fourth through eighth grade orchestra. In addition to her work in the public school, she teaches private lessons for students in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Ms. Piroth is also a member of the Butler Symphony Orchestra and often plays with other orchestras and various ensembles in and around the Pittsburgh area. She holds both her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music Education from Duquesne University, where she studied viola with Marylène Gingras-Roy. Ms. Piroth is also an alumna of Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras. In addition to teaching and making music, Mrs. Piroth enjoys working out, traveling, and spending time with her husband and daughter.

Kathleen Melucci

Kathleen Melucci

Cello Coach

Kathleen Melucci is the Principal Cello of the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra as well as an active freelancer with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and many other local orchestras. She has a very active teaching studio with students who have achieved much success over the years. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. Originally from Pittsburgh, she also is an alumna of Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras as well as the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony and is thrilled to be working with the next generation of TRYPO and PYSO members.

Photo of Amanda Rice-Johnston

Amanda Rice-Johnston

Bass Coach

Amanda Rice-Johnston, a native of Northern Virginia, is a performer and teacher in the Pittsburgh area. She frequently performs as principal Bass with the Westmoreland Symphony, and with orchestras in Wheeling, Erie, and Akron, the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Ballet, and the West Virginia Symphony. She is also involved in many other musical initiatives within Pittsburgh, including the Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh and the Kassia Ensemble, a group dedicated to working with empowering women through quality performance and collaboration. Ms. Rice-Johnson currently resides in Pittsburgh‘s historic Squirrel Hill district where she moonlights as a Certified Cheesemonger and spends more time than she should attempting to teach her cat to sing Ode the Joy.