Music Director and Young Peoples Orchestra Conductor
John Wilcox is Professor Emeritus at Youngstown State University and continuing as needed on an Extended Teach Service contract. He was professor of violin/viola and string area coordinator for thirty five years and conductor of the Dana Symphony and Chamber Orchestras for the bulk of that time. Previous to his hire with YSU in 1979 he was a six-year member of the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC, four years under the direction of Antal Dorati and two years as a first violinist under Mstislav Rostropovich performing with many great musicians of that era. He served as Concertmaster of the Youngstown Symphony for seven years and Concertmaster of the Warren Chamber and Philharmonic Orchestra for thirty years and currently is first violinist with the Chamber Players String Quartet. In 2008 he was awarded sabbatical leave to research laser measurements and acoustical profiling interactions via computer modeling in conjunction with the YSU Center of Excellence in Industrial Metrology & 3D Imaging Research and M+7 Technologies. In 2010 he received the Distinguished Professor Award in Teaching from YSU. Mr. Wilcox joined Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras in the fall of 2006.
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 President 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 EQTeach Coaches
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 www.soundcloud.com/jimnova.
Paul Evans holds a Bachelors degree from Duquesne University and a Masters degree from Temple University in percussion performance. Mr. Evans has studied with many of the finest percussionists in the country, including Pittsburgh Symphony members Don Liuzzi and John Soroka, as well as Philadelphia Orchestra member Alan Able. Mr. Evans appeared with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra. A veteran of many summer music festivals, Mr. Evans has toured the world with several orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony. Currently, he is a member of the River City Brass Band and on the faculties at Carnegie Mellon University and Chatham College.
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Symphonette EQTeach Coaches
1st Violin Coach
Irene Cheng 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.
2nd Violin Coach
Rachel White is a versatile violinist, experienced in playing and teaching. As an avid orchestra musician, Rachel has held permanent positions with The Florida Orchestra, the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Canton Symphony Orchestra, and the Breckenridge Music Festival. She is currently a member of the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra and a substitute musician with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony, and the Grant Park Music Festival. As a native Pittsburgher, Ms. White‘s musical education began with Huei-Sheng Kao of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She completed her Bachelor of Music Degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with William Preucil and Stephen Rose.
Mr. Wickesberg is also Symphonette‘s conductor. See above for biographical information.
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.
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