Venezuelan violinist Marielisa Alvarez is founder and director of the Boston String Academy, a non-profit organization inspired by El Sistema that provides a vibrant string orchestra program for inner-city young students in the Boston area. The Academy has received recognition from renowned artists including Midori Goto, Gustavo Dudamel and Sir Simon Rattle. It has collaborated with important organizations in the Boston area, such as the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Boston Cultural Council, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Longy School of Music, Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Celebrity Series of Boston, New England Conservatory and Harvard University.
She is a graduate of El Sistema in Venezuela, where she was part of several orchestras, including Barquisimeto Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and Lara Symphony Orchestra. She has performed at festivals and master classes in countries such as Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, United States, Switzerland, Hungary, and Finland. Her principal mentors during her violin and string pedagogy studies have been Francisco Díaz, José Francisco Del Castillo, Sophie Vilker, Rictor Noren, Mela Tenenbaum, Mimi Zweig, and Geza Szilvay.
Marielisa holds a Master of Music Degree and a Graduate Performance Diploma from The Boston Conservatory. She is also faculty at Longy School of Music of Bard College, and collaborates regularly with El Sistema in Venezuela, as well as other Sistema-inspired programs in the U.S. and abroad.
In Spring of 2016, Marielisa was chosen among the 100 most influential people for the Hispanic community in Massachusetts, and this Spring, she was nominated with her organization to the 2019 Commonwealth Awards, which honor exceptional achievement in the arts, humanities, and sciences in the state of Massachusetts.
Jason Amos began his viola studies at age eleven through the public schools in his hometown of Southfield, MI. He has served as violist of the Boston Public Quartet and resident musician at musiConnects, a non-profit which provides free instruments & comprehensive music education to underserved children in Boston, since 2010. He is a also faculty member at Project STEP, an intensive training program for minority string players. He received a Graduate Diploma from the New England Conservatory of Music after undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan. Mr. Amos has won honors in several competitions including 4th place in the 2007 Sphinx Competition and 1st prize in the 2006 Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Bradlin Scholarship Competition. Jason has appeared as soloist with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, is a member of the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, and formerly played with the Flint Symphony Orchestra, among others. His extensive international engagements have included acclaimed chamber music performances, a residency at The Berlin University of the Arts (UdK), and mentoring for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In 2010, he completed the fellowship program at Community MusicWorks where he appeared regularly as guest violist with the Providence String Quartet. Jason has had the honor of studying privately with Martha Strongin Katz, Yizhak Schotten, and Caroline Coade.
A Boston native, Rebecca Bogers received her Master of Music in Harp Performance from Temple University and her Bachelor’s in Harp Performance from New England Conservatory. Ms. Bogers has successfully led many international youth orchestra tours, forging local and international partnerships around music education. In additional to her work at NEC, she is part of the L.A. Philharmonic Take a Stand team, working to create a strong summer orchestral experience for Sistema students from around the country. Prior to her time at NEC, she also worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra as a teaching artist presenting programs throughout Philadelphia Schools with orchestra members and helping write and design Philadelphia Orchestra Education curriculum materials. She also worked as the ensemble coordinator for the Temple Music Prep, helping run their string orchestra and chamber music programs at the Center for Gifted Young Musicians.
Nominated a “Citizen Musician” by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Maggie Cerjan has established herself as a committed and passionate educator over the past decade. Currently the director of the Junior Strings Intensive at Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Maggie is the founder and director of Stonybrook Strings, and a faculty member at New England Conservatory Preparatory School.
Maggie has enjoyed a full and varied career as an educator-performer. After graduating from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, Maggie joined the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, performing under renowned conductors including Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Jaap van Zweden.
While in Chicago, Maggie coached the Chicago Symphony Youth Orchestras and performed over 40 chamber music concerts a year at public schools and community centers as a Teaching Artist through the Chicago Symphony’s Institute for Learning Access and Training, and was a faculty member at the People's Music School's YOURS Project. As a founding member of the Chicago-based Élan String Quartet, Maggie was invited to perform at the Utah Symphony’s Emerging Quartets’ program, collaborated with the Chicago Symphony’s Institute and Chicago Young Authors to create beat poetry and classical music concerts with poets from Englewood High School, and performed the Schubert Cello Quintet with Yo-Yo Ma at the Chicago Symphony’s Citizen Musician Week.
Maggie completed her Master of Music degree at Boston University with Peter Zazofsky and Bayla Kayes. She was Peter Zazofsky’s assistant at BUTI’s String Quartet Workshop before founding the Junior Strings Intensive in 2017. She performs regularly throughout Greater Boston and in the Summer at Tanglewood.
Erica Cice joined the oboe section of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra during the 2006-2007 season. As one of only five finalists selected for the 2011 Fernand-Gillet International Oboe Competition, Cice competed and was awarded Honorable Mention as part of the International Double Reed Society convention in Tempe, AZ. She has performed with the New York Philharmonic as guest oboist and English hornist, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.
Cice is on the faculty of Davidson College and Queens University and enjoys teaching privately as well. Her private students have gone on to esteemed institutions such as the Curtis Institute of Music, the Mannes School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy. Prior to joining the faculty of the Summer Orchestra Institute at New England Conservatory of Music, Cice has been oboe faculty at the Performing Arts Institute summer program held in Kingston, PA. Along with enjoying teaching and orchestral performing, she gives recitals, masterclasses and is an avid chamber music performer in the greater Charlotte area and the Carolinas.
Cice is a graduate of Temple University where she studied under Louis Rosenblatt and Richard Woodhams of the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School as a Fellow and was the only American oboist invited to the Académie Musicale de Villecroze oboe masterclass in France with Alexei Ogrintchouk of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Originally from the Boston area, Cice’s early studies were under the guidance of Ron Kaye and her mentor, Wayne Rapier.
Alexei Doohovskoy is an active New England area freelance trombonist and music educator. He is a member of both the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Orchestra of Indian Hill. He has performed with the Boston Symphony and Pops Orchestras, the Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Ballet, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Springfield Symphony, and the Portland Symphony. As a chamber musician, he has toured nationally and internationally with the Empire Brass Quintet. Mr. Doohovskoy has earned fellowships from the New World Symphony in Florida, the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Connecticut. He has been a featured soloist with the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the U.S. Air Force Band, the Sounds of Stow Festival Orchestra, the Lynn University Symphony, and the Brown University Wind Symphony.
Mr. Doohovskoy currently serves on the faculties of Brown University and Rhode Island College. He has been an adjudicator for both the Junior and Senior District Festivals of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association. Since 2009, he has directed a unique summer trombone choir program in Concord, Massachusetts combining the talents of players from around New England.
Mr. Doohovskoy holds a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University.
Eli Epstein enjoys a multi-faceted career as performer, educator, conductor and author. Epstein was second horn of the Cleveland Orchestra (1987-2005), and horn professor at the Cleveland Institute of Music (1989-2005). He has appeared several times as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra.
Epstein left Cleveland in 2005, and moved to Boston to devote more time and energy toward educational and creative endeavors. He is currently on faculty of New England Conservatory and Professor of Horn at Boston Conservatory at Berklee. At NEC, Epstein is on the college faculty, NEC at Walnut Hill, and Brass Chair of the Preparatory School. Epstein's students hold positions as chamber musicians and teachers, and have won posts in more than 30 major orchestras in North America.
An active performer, Epstein has appeared on chamber programs at Jordan Hall, Severance Hall, Tanglewood, Philadelphia's Academy of Music, Kennedy Center, Music Academy of the West, where he was on faculty (2005-2013), and the Aspen Music Festival, where he served as principal horn of the Aspen Chamber Symphony (2000-2012). Epstein has collaborated with the Borromeo and Brentano String Quartets, and has been guest principal horn for the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Saint Louis Symphony. Epstein performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra from time to time and has played on the BSO Community Chamber Concerts series.
Director of the NEC Youth Brass Ensemble since 2009, Epstein has conducted college ensembles at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Cleveland Institute of Music, Longy School of Music, Music Academy of the West, NEC, and El Sistema in Venezuela. Advocating the idea that music can be a meaningful and uplifting force in society, in 2009 Epstein won Grand Prize in the Entrepreneur the Arts Contest for his Inside Out Concerts, and appeared on Heartbeat of America with William Shatner. Drawing on years of experience as a performer, educator and entrepreneur, in 2013 Epstein joined the NEC Entrepreneurial Musicianship faculty to teach their survey course The Entrepreneurial Musician.
As a flute soloist and orchestral performer, Bianca Garcia has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, Central and South America. Graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Bianca was the last student hand selected by the legendary Julius Baker, and her graduation recital was featured live on New York Times Classical Radio. She has taught masterclasses at the First Annual International Flute Festival of Costa Rica, the First Annual Ecole de Music Woodwind Festival in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and in her native state of New Hampshire (USA). As a Fulbright Scholar to Rome, Italy in 2009, she performed as concert soloist at the American Embassy, the ancient Roman site of Teatro Marcello, and later at the International Fulbright Seminar in Berlin, Germany. Her experience also includes performances with Placido Domingo in Munich, Germany and her debut as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra at Symphony Hall. Bianca currently enjoys travel as guest principal flute of the Roma Tre Orchestra in Rome, Italy and as principal guest piccolo with the Jacksonville Symphony, Florida.
Bassist Christopher Johnson started his musical journey in Boston Massachusetts with Project S.T.E.P. (string training educational program) at the age of 7. He completed his Bachelors Degree in Bass Performance at New England Conservatory and received his Masters in orchestral performance at Manhattan School of Music. Christopher currently lives and freelances in New York City where he explores a wide range of different genres Of music and several musical groups such as Sphinx Virtuosi, Rootstock Republic, JP Jofre Quintet, NYC Ballet just to name A few.
Gregory Newton is one of New England’s most active musicians, having performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. His performance schedule regularly includes the Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Musica Viva, New Hampshire Symphony, Portland Symphony, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Boston Philharmonic, Granite State Symphony, Symphony New Hampshire, the Boston Classical Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project and formerly as a Artist-Faculty member of the Brevard Music Center. He has also performed with the Bolshoi Ballet Orchestra and the Prague Radio Symphony. Mr. Newton performs regularly in the Boston theater orchestras for many of the Broadway touring companies including the pre Broadway break-in of Tony Award winning The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess
In addition to his orchestral performances, Mr. Newton maintains an active chamber music schedule as founding member of the Northwinds Quintet (affiliate with Young Audiences of America).
Mr. Newton has been a featured soloist with the Boston Classical Orchestra, Symphony New Hampshire, the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra, the Granite State Symphony and can be heard on the A&M, Gasparo, North Eastern, Pickwick Masterworks, BMOP and New World labels.
Mr. Newton received his BFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music where he studied with Sherman Walt, former principal bassoonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Venezuelan-American cellist Aristides Rivas leads a versatile career as a multi-genre cellist, educator, and public speaker. He has been nominated for the Grammys and is a founding member of the fusion world music band Voci Angelica Trio, a Neighborhood Arts artist of the Celebrity Series of Boston. Rivas has performed at a wide range of international music venues and festivals such as Caramoor Music Festival, Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall, Newport Jazz Festival, the Barbican in England, Sejong Center in South Korea, Teatro Colon in Argentina, and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, among others. His most recent performances include the complete works for cello and piano by Beethoven at Pickman Hall and Brahms double concerto with the Orquestra da UCS in Brazil. In 2015, Rivas gave a TEDx Talk about his early music training in the Venezuelan El Sistema music program and how he survived poverty and crime. His first album, Laberintus, Soul of Latin America was released in 2019 and is now available for download or in physical form. Rivas is a cello faculty at California Baptist University.
This past fall, Miles Salerni began his position as Principal Percussion and Timpani with the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra in Philadelphia. He has played as an extra percussionist with professional orchestras across the country including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2016, he was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, and previously attended the Round Top Festival Institute in Texas, and the Castleton Festival in Virginia. While getting his Master’s degree at New England Conservatory, he, along with his chamber music group, 4racas, were awarded the NEC Honors Chamber Ensemble Competition. He holds degrees from Boston University, New England Conservatory, and Duquesne University, where he primarily studied with Tim Genis, Will Hudgins, and Ed Stephan.
Stanford Thompson is a musician and educator who serves as the Founder and Executive Director of Play On Philly and Founding Board Chairman of El Sistema USA, bringing music education to students in underserved areas throughout Philadelphia and beyond. Recognized as a TED Fellow, Stanford believes that music education is a powerful tool for positive personal and community change. Mr. Thompson serves on the faculty of the Global Leaders Program and regularly presents at major universities and music conservatories about leadership, entrepreneurship and social justice. As a consultant, he has guided the development of dozens of music programs across the United States and collaborated with major orchestras, higher education institutions, and arts organizations to develop new strategies and initiatives that help provide equitable access to the arts. As a professional trumpeter, Stanford has performed as a soloist and member with major orchestras around the world and continues to perform chamber music and jazz. Stanford is a native of Atlanta, GA and holds degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory’s Sistema Fellows Program.
A native of Los Angeles, California, Ryan Yuré currently makes his home in Boston, Massachusetts. Ryan plays both the clarinet and saxophone regularly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. He has also performed with the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Albany Symphony, Boston Philharmonic, San Antonio Chamber Orchestra, and the New World Symphony, among others. He has appeared at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, New Hampshire Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Santo Domingo Music Festival, and the Hampden-Sydney Chamber Music Festival.
In 2006, Mr. Yuré made his professional solo debut with the Boston Pops, performing the Artie Shaw Clarinet Concerto under the baton of John Williams. Ryan has also played the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, both Weber concertos, his own arrangement of Bloch’s Schelomo on bass clarinet, and Charles Leoffler’s saxophone concerto, Divertessement Español.
Ryan has had the privilege of working with a diverse group of incredible musicians, including Andrea Bocelli, Elliot Carter, James Carter, Sutton Foster, Rhiannon Giddens, Arlo Guthrie, John Harbison, Jeremiah Kissel, James Levine, Kenny Loggins, Jane Lynch, LL Cool J, Audra McDonald, Seth MacFarlane, Yo-Yo Ma, Anna-Sophie Mutter, Bernadette Peters, Steve Reich, Arturo Sandoval, Dawn Upshaw, Andre Watts, John Williams, Brian Wilson and John Zorn.
Ryan is currently on faculty at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School, has also been on faculty at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and maintains a private teaching studio. His students have continued to study at some of the country’s most well respected music schools including New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, Boston University, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Eastman School of Music, University of Southern California, and Northwestern University.