"Success lies in the strength of the teachers, their students, the parents who support their musical development and the conductors who together celebrate the power of music"

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Conductor Bios

2020-2021 FESTIVAL CONDUCTORS

NASSAU LISFA GRADE 5 CONDUCTOR - PATRICIA ROSENTHAL

     Patricia Rosenthal is a graduate of the School of Music at SUNY Fredonia where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education K-12. After graduating, Mrs. Rosenthal worked in the Smithtown Schools where she enjoyed working with elementary music students. Mrs. Rosenthal has completed her Masters degree at SUNY Stony Brook through the MALS program with a concentration in Fine Arts Education.

     Mrs. Rosenthal is currently the Bayview Elementary School and Manetuck Elementary School Orchestra Director, as well as working with our Life Skills Students at the High School.  Mrs. Rosenthal is very involved in LISFA as she was a Middle School Chairperson, Secondary and Elementary Vice President, Membership Chairperson and finally held the Presidential position of the Long Island String Festival Association. Now, she is a consultant for the association. Mrs. Rosenthal has also enjoyed being apart of SCMEA were she had been a chairperson for the Central Division I All-County Orchestra for four consecutive years.  She has received her NYSSMA Adjudicator certification and has been judging at NYSSMA’s all around Long Island and Upstate New York. Mrs. Rosenthal is a member of the Long Island String Festival Association (LISFA), The New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), Music Education National Conference (MENC), American String Teachers Association (ASTA), Internet Cello Society and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA).  Mrs. Rosenthal played with the Gemini Youth Orchestras and Brookhaven Youth Orchestras growing up, as well as playing along with Sound Symphony under the direction of Dorothy Savitch and various quartets throughout Long Island.    Most recently Mrs. Rosenthal was a guest conductor for NMEA (Nassau County Music Educators Association) Elementary Orchestra which took place at the Tilles Center. She was so honored to work with students that have so much passion for music.

SUFFOLK LISFA GRADE 5 CONDUCTOR - GREGORY KRAJCI 


     Gregory Krajci is a violinist, conductor, educator, and clinician from East Meadow, NY.  He is in his third year as the Director of Orchestras at W. Tresper Clarke High School in the East Meadow School District.  He conducts two thriving performing orchestras, both of which earn Gold and Gold with Distinction ratings at the NYSSMA Majors Festival.  He coaches a select-chamber music program, the Clarke Camerata Ensemble, which meets weekly and consistently attends competitive chamber music festivals and performs for various school events and community outreach fundraisers.  Prior to joining the East Meadow faculty, Mr. Krajci was the orchestra teacher at H. Frank Carey High School in the Sewanhaka Central High School District for six years.  Due to a lack of an elementary feeder program, he built students from absolute beginners in 7th grade to two high school performing orchestras winning consistent Gold ratings at the NYSSMA Majors Festival.  

     Mr. Krajci has been an active member of the Nassau Music Educators Association (NMEA) since he began teaching.  He served on the Division 3 Festival Committee from 2013-2014, was Division 5 Orchestra Chairperson from 2015-2018, and has sat on the Executive Board as Division 5 Vice-President since April 2018.  As Division 5 Vice-President, he spearheaded the team responsible for creating the Division 5 String Orchestra for the 2019 Festival to provide more 11th and 12th grade string students with an equal opportunity to perform in the All-County Music Festivals.  

     Mr. Krajci is very active in the music education and performance communities.  He is a violinist with the South Shore Symphony Orchestra, where he holds consistent leadership positions thought the concert season.  He is a frequent coach and guest conductor for the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of New York’s Nassau and Suffolk Orchestras.  As a guest conductor, he was slated to conduct the 2020 Division II West Orchestra for the Suffolk County Music Educators Association (SCMEA) (cancelled due to COVID-19) and will conduct the 5th Grade Orchestra for Suffolk’s Long Island String Festival Association (LISFA).  He has presented sessions relating to string pedagogy at the Balanced Mind Conference presented by Nassau NYSCAME.  Mr. Krajci also maintains a small private violin studio and serves as a NYSSMA Solo and All-State Festival adjudicator.

     Mr. Krajci graduated summa cum laude from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam (BM with Honors) and Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University (MM) with degrees in Music Education.  He has completed long-term Suzuki Method teacher-training in Violin Units 1-8 at the Hartt Suzuki Institute.  Principal teachers and mentors include Dr. Sarah Hersh, Kenneth Andrews, Sgt. Judith Spokes Cho, Jeffrey Brous, Dr. Susan Baer, Dr. Stephanie Standerfer, and Dr. David Zerull.

     In addition to music, Mr. Krajci shares equal passions for dance and theatre.  He began dancing at age 4 and is trained in ballet, modern, jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Ballroom, and Latin styles.  He has taught dance masterclasses, presented at conferences for professional development, and is a Principal Dancer for the Rockville Centre Guild for the Arts’ annual production of The Nutcracker.  He is an active director and choreographer for high school musical productions across Nassau County and has choreographed for the Long Island Theater Workshop.  Students in his productions have been recognized for their work on and off the stage by the Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in High School Theater and many of his former students are pursing theatre or arts management at the collegiate and professional levels.  Mr. Krajci is currently the director and choreographer for the theatre troupe at W. Tresper Clarke High School, where he strives for bringing together the greater school and community populations through involvement in theatrical productions. 

LISFA GRADE 6 CONDUCTOR - TERRENCE THORNHILL


     Terrence Thornhill serves as the Instrumental Music director at Kent Place School in Summit New Jersey.  Mr. Thornhill earned his bachelor’s degree in music education studying Cello with Nicholas Tzavaras, Cellist of the Shanghai Quartet, and received his master’s degree in Cello Performance from SUNY Purchase College, studying cello with Julia Lichten, cellist of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He studied conducting with Ken Lam, the Conductor of the Charleston Symphony and Illinois Symphony Orchestra.
     As an educator, Mr. Thornhill maintains a diverse private cello studio in the New York Metro Area, teaching students from young children to adults. In addition to his private studio, Mr. Thornhill is on the Faculty of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as the curriculum director/assistant conductor of the youth orchestras. He is the conductor of the Varsity Youth Orchestra, the JCC String Camerata, and the brand new Harambee Chamber Orchestra, which is dedicated to performing work by underrepresented composers, specifically composers of color and women while raising money for community projects that the group feels passionate about. Mr. Thornhill is an original teaching artist and lead conductor for the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema program serving over 250 students in Paterson, New Jersey and the lead conductor at the Opportunity Music Project which services over El Sistema students in New York City.
     Moreover, his credits include becoming the inaugural award recipient of the John J. Cali School of Music Alumni Achievement Award in 2018. The same year, Mr. Thornhill was selected to be on faculty for his first year at the Youth Orchestras of Los Angeles National El Sistema Festival sponsored by The Los Angeles Philharmonic.

LISFA GRADES 7 & 8 CONDUCTOR - JERI LYNNE JOHNSON


     Jeri Lynne Johnson is a graduate of Wellesley College and the University of Chicago. In 1998 she won the Jorge Mester Conducting Scholarship to attend the Aspen Music Festival and her conducting mentors have included Sir Simon Rattle, Marin Alsop and Daniel Barenboim. In 2005 Ms. Johnson made history as the first African-American woman to win an international conducting prize when she was awarded the Taki Concordia Conducting Fellowship. Since then, Ms. Johnson’s conducting engagements have included leading orchestras around the world such including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony (UK), and the Weimar Staatskapelle in Germany where she has often been the first African-American woman to lead these ensembles. Her broad and eclectic musical tastes have allowed her to perform world-premieres of MacArthur Genius Grant winning classical composers as well as a ground-breaking collaboration at Carnegie Hall with rapper Jay Z, singer/songwriter Alicia Keys, and hip hop band The Roots. 

     In 2008 she established her own orchestra in Philadelphia, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, with some of the top musicians in the country from diverse cultures and ethnicities as a model for the 21st-century orchestra. Through Black Pearl, she pioneered a fresh new approach to community engagement that has been imitated and adopted by orchestras across the country. The world-class quality of her concert performances have earned Black Pearl numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. And her innovative community engagement programs have made Black Pearl the only organization in the nation ever to win three prestigious Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grants. 

     Ms. Johnson was heralded as one of today’s leading young women conductors on the NBC Today Show and she has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers as well as television and radio shows around the world including 20/20 and the “Tavis Smiley Show” on NPR. She is also civically engaged and has served on the Board of Directors of a number of organizations including the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Einstein Health, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science (the “Grammys”. Currently she serves on the Boards of the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation and the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council. Most recently, she was named the 2020-2021 Woman One honoree for Drexel University’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys playing golf, traveling, and spending time with her daughter, Evelyn.

LISFA GRADES 9 & 10 CONDUCTOR - ANDREA PROFILI


     Andrea Profili is music director of American Youth Orchestra, an El Sistema-inspired orchestra in New York City. Since 2016 she has served as executive director of Orchestrating Dreams and is a founding board member of The Bach Store.
     She has worked as a guest lecturer at Carnegie Halls' Music Educators Workshop and the LA Phil: Take a Stand Symposium and in 2015 collaborated with Fundación Musical Simón Bolivar and Upbeat NYC to prepare the first binational youth orchestra of Venezuela and the United States.
     Andrea is a Sistema Fellow graduate of New England Conservatory, and has a B.M in violin performance and a M.M Ed. from Converse College. She studied with Sarah Ioannides, serving as assistant in Spartanburg Philharmonic. She has worked with Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's, OpportunityMusicProject, MYCincinnatiand Austin Soundwaves.

LISFA GRADES 11 & 12 CONDUCTOR - HELEN H. CHA-PYO


     Helen is currently the Artistic Director of the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts and the Principal Conductor of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. The Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving over 1,400 students from 13 different counties of New Jersey through a range of classes at Wharton Performing Arts School, 15 performing ensembles at New Jersey Youth Symphony and Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired program serving children every day at 5 different sites in the city of Paterson, NJ.  She previously served as Visiting Associate Professor of Orchestral Studies and Conductor of the Montclair University Symphony Orchestra at the John J. Cali School of Music (NJ) from 2017 to 2019.
     For 16 years as Music Director and Conductor of the Empire State Youth Orchestra (NY), Helen inspired hundreds of young musicians to perform at the highest levels, resulting in Empire State Youth Orchestras being recognized as one of the nation’s premier music organizations for youth. Helen regularly programmed a wide range of music embracing many different cultures. Her vision resulted in three prestigious ASCAP awards and a $100,000 grant to partially fund a music festival that commissioned nine works, one for each ESYO ensemble. She conducted the orchestra in outstanding concert halls including Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Zankel Hall, EMPAC, Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, and Carnegie Hall.  She led the orchestra on three international tours: to Europe in 2008, China and South Korea in 2012, and Portugal in 2016. Helen’s vision was instrumental in the founding of ESYO CHIME in 2015, a music education program dedicated to serving underprivileged youth in Schenectady and Troy, NY. In 2018, ESYO established the Helen Cha-Pyo Golden Baton Award and Scholarships for students who embody her passionate commitment to music as a means to uplift and enrich communities.
     From 1996 to 2002, Helen served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Riverside Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and Associate Director of Music at The Riverside Church in New York City. A committed music educator, she pioneered the Riverside Music Educational Program, which served thousands of New York City public school children. Helen worked regularly in Kenya as Artistic Director of the Kenya Jirani Choir and Harlem Jirani Ensemble (NY) of the Jirani Cultural Organization from 2009 – 2012.  She trained artistic staff and conducted the Jirani Choirs on their U.S. tour in 2010 and conducted the 5th anniversary concert at the Sejong Cultural Center (S. Korea) in 2011.
     Born in Seoul, Helen immigrated to the US when she was 12. She studied piano and organ in the Pre-College Program at The Juilliard School. She holds a Bachelor of Music in organ performance from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Music in conducting and organ performance from the Eastman School of Music. She served as assistant conductor to the Eastman Philharmonia and the Britt Festival Orchestra (OR). She also won a conducting fellowship at the Aspen Festival and Yale School of Music. Her conducting mentors include David Effron, Murry Sidlin, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Benjamin Zander and Kurt Mazur. She is a frequent guest conductor and clinician for All State and Regional Festival Orchestras throughout the country and spends her summers at Kinhaven School (VT). She has also appeared as guest conductor and clinician for the Nebraska All-State Festival Orchestra, the ASTA National Orchestra festival (NM), Texas All-State Philharmonic (TX), the Newport Youth Orchestra Festival (OR) and the Ithaca College Summer Music Academy (NY).  She resides in Morristown, New Jersey with her husband and two sons.