Raúl Gómez-Rojas, Music Director
Symphony Orchestra, Interlude Orchestra
Raúl Gómez-Rojas is in his sixth season as Music Director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony (Portland, OR), where he enjoys working with a vibrant community of conductors, coaches, staff, families and over 500 students in 13 orchestra, band and jazz ensembles. Mr. Gómez was recently selected as one of six conductors to be featured in the League of American Orchestra's 2018 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview, after competing for the honor with nearly 150 applicants from around the world. Conductors were selected for their "experience, talent, leadership, and commitment to a career in service to American orchestras." A sought-after guest conductor for professional ensembles, Mr. Gómez's recent and upcoming engagements include multiple appearances with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio and Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, as well as engagements in Mexico, Brazil and Costa Rica. Mr. Gómez has previously served in artistic and musical leadership positions with the Orchestra of the Americas, Mississippi Youth Symphony Orchestra, Premier Orchestral Institute, Louisiana Sinfonietta and Kids' Orchestra (Baton Rouge, Louisiana). A native of Costa Rica, Gómez holds masters and doctoral degrees from Louisiana State University, where he studied with Carlos Riazuelo (conducting), Kevork Mardirossian and Espen Lilleslåtten (violin/viola). Additional conducting training includes a fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and numerous masterclasses with leading conductors.
Elizabeth Peyton, Conductor
Violinist Elizabeth Peyton is a tenured member of the Portland Opera and Oregon Ballet Theater Orchestras, and is on the music faculty of Reed College. Her performing experience includes decades of symphonic, chamber, opera, and ballet performances, as well as many soundtrack recordings for both studio albums and films, including the major motion picture Ray and Pink Martini’s Sympathique. She has performed extensively with local ensembles including the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Festival of American Music, Eugene Symphony, Portland Chamber Orchestra, Portland Summerfest Opera, and Cascade Music Festival. Prior to moving to Portland in 1995, she played for two seasons with the Santa Fe Opera and the New Mexico Symphony, and toured internationally with the Broadway mega-musical, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber tour. She has also performed with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Grand Tetons Music Festival.
A native of New Jersey, Elizabeth began her orchestral career at age 12 and was concertmaster of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra before going on to complete her studies at at Indiana University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. An avid educator, she has served as a private instructor, group teacher, and chamber music coach on the faculties of the Community Music Center and Multnomah Arts Center, and was violin faculty and orchestral coach for Young Musicians and Artists. She is a member of the Oregon Suzuki Association and maintains a thriving private studio of violists and violinists of all ages and levels. Elizabeth has completed extensive training and certification in Suzuki Talent Education, and her students have consistently won high recognition in many solo competitions and contests.
Richard Littledyke, Conductor
Since Richard Littledyke first conducted his high school band at a performance, he knew he wanted to teach music. He completed his undergraduate studies in Utah and moved to Portland to start a career and pursue a Masters in Education. He is currently building a music program at Ockley Green Middle School where he teaches band, jazz band, ukulele, choir, and singing/songwriting classes. In addition to working with MYS, he also teaches with Vibe of Portland during their Eastwinds Summer Band Camp and has recently started playing baritone saxophone with the Mt. Tabor Community Band.
Jeffrey Peyton, Conductor
Hailed as a performer of “brilliant artistry and dazzling virtuosity,” Jeffrey Peyton possesses extensive experience in diverse roles as conductor, percussionist, composer, and educator. Mr. Peyton attended the Juilliard School in New York City on full scholarship, receiving a Masters degree in percussion performance. Additional training includes doctoral studies in instrumental conducting and percussion performance at the University of Oregon, and residencies at the Aspen and Waterloo Music Festivals. Mr. Peyton is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Eugene Symphony. He as also appeared with Anchorage Symphony, Eugene Youth Symphony, and at the Peter Britt Festival. Formerly Music Director and conductor of the Third Angle New Music Ensemble, he led collaborations and regular appearances with the Oregon Bach Festival, Cascade Music Festival, in collaboration with the Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet, Oregon Festival of American Music, PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art), and throughout the Pacific Northwest, including numerous commercial recordings. Mr. Peyton has held academic and conducting appointments at Portland State University, Lewis and Clark College, University of Oregon, Pacific University and George Fox University. Mr. Peyton currently serves as principal timpanist of the Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra, section percussionist with the Portland Opera Orchestra, and is a regular guest percussionist and timpanist with the Oregon Symphony. A published composer, Mr. Peyton’s concert works have been performed extensively throughout the United States, Asia and Europe, and have been featured on three commercial recordings. In addition to his musical activities, Mr. Peyton is a licensed psychotherapist, and owns a thriving private practice (Peyton Adolescent Therapy, LLC) specializing in the emotional wellbeing of adolescents and young adults.
Kevin A. Lefohn, Conductor
Hillsboro Chamber Strings
Violinist Kevin A. Lefohn maintains an international career as recital soloist, chamber musician, and pedagogue. His performances have earned considerable acclaim, with performances, workshops, and masterclasses presented throughout Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, and South East Asia. He studied with Dorothy DeLay, Piotr Milewski, and Kurt Sassmannshaus at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, Kathryn Lucktenberg at the University of Oregon, and with members of both the Emerson and the Tokyo String Quartets. He has held faculty teaching positions at the University of Oregon and the University of Otago where he was Professor of Violin and founding Director of the renowned Marama Strings Project from 1998-2007. He was the founder and Artistic Director of New Zealand’s Queenstown Violin Summer School and Festival of Chamber Music. As an executive arts administrator, he has served as Manager of Artistic Planning for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and as Executive Director of the Portland Youth Philharmonic. He performs with the Bodhi Trio and currently holds faculty teaching positions at the University of Portland and Pacific University. He maintains a Portland-based private studio, an international studio via online video lessons, and frequently travels overseas for performances, masterclasses and teaching residencies.
Erica Boland, Conductor
Hillsboro Overture Strings
Erica Boland, nêe Mehlhorn began studying violin through the Suzuki Method at the age of 3 under the tutelage of Susan Kempter in Albuquerque, NM. Erica decided to pursue a degree is music at the University of Texas at Austin where studied with Dr. Eugene Gratovich, and began teaching with the UT String Project Program. Erica graduated with a Bachelors of Music Studies with High Honors and received her K-12 teaching certification. Erica continued her musical studies at the University of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, AZ. Erica studied violin with Dr. Louise Scott and worked as a graduate assistant to the Suzuki training program and the NAU conductor, Victor Liva. She performed with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra and served as Principal Second Violin for a portion of the 2001-2002 season. Erica also directed the Flagstaff Junior Orchestra for 2 years during her studies. Erica graduated with a Masters in Music with Distinction and completed her long-term teacher training in the Suzuki Method Books 1-4. After her graduate degree, Erica moved back to Albuquerque, NM where she opened her own violin studio, taught Orchestra in the Albuquerque Public Schools, and taught sectionals with the Albuquerque Junior Symphony. Erica enjoyed performing at weddings and other functions with the Empire String Quartet. In 2014 Erica moved with her family to Portland, Oregon where she continues to teach and perform violin. Erica is a member of the American String Teachers Association, Suzuki Association of the Americas, and the Oregon Suzuki Association.
Ryan Meagher, MYS Jazz Director
Ryan Meagher is a critically acclaimed jazz guitarist and composer with five albums as lead guitar released on internationally distributed record labels. He teaches at Mt. Hood Community College, Lower Columbia College, Portland Community College and various community music schools. His latest album “Tango in the City of Roses” received high praise from Downbeat and other leading jazz publications. He combines a wealth of experience from his time in the New York jazz scene with fresh energy and ideas. He is extremely knowledgeable in the history and tradition of jazz, and his unique voice is a result of his work with some of the greatest living jazz musicians and pedagogues.
Kenji Bunch, Director
Kenji Bunch is one of America’s most engaging, influential, and prolific composers. Through an expansive blend of classical and vernacular styles, Bunch makes music that’s “clearly modern but deeply respectful of tradition and instantly enjoyable.” (The Washington Post) Deemed “emotional Americana,” (Oregon ArtsWatch) and infused with folk and roots influences, Bunch’s work has inspired a new genre classification: “Call it neo-American: casual on the outside, complex underneath, immediate and accessible to first-time listeners… Bunch’s music is shiningly original.” (The Oregonian) Hailed by The New York Times as “A Composer To Watch” and cited by Alex Ross in his seminal book The Rest Is Noise, Bunch’s wit, lyricism, unpredictability, and exquisite craftsmanship earn acclaim from audiences, performers, and critics alike. His interests in history, philosophy, and intergenerational and cross-cultural sharing of the arts reflect in his work. Varied style references in Bunch's writing mirror the diversity of global influence on American culture and reveal his deft ability to integrate bluegrass, hip hop, jazz, and funk idioms. Rich, tonal harmonies and drawn-out, satisfying builds characterize Bunch’s work and easily lend themselves to dance and film. Over sixty American orchestras have performed Bunch’s music, which “reache(s) into every section of the orchestra to create an intriguing mixture of sonic colors.” (NW Reverb) Recent works include commissions and premieres from the Seattle Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the Lark Quartet, the Britt Festival, Music From Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, the Eugene Ballet, and the Grant Park Music Festival. His extensive discography includes recordings on Sony/BMG, EMI Classics, Koch, RCA, and Naxos labels among others.Also an outstanding violist, Bunch was the first student ever to receive dual Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in viola and composition from The Juilliard School and was a founding member of the highly acclaimed ensembles Flux Quartet (1996-2002) and Ne(x)tworks (2003-2011). Bunch currently serves as Artistic Director of Fear No Music, and teaches viola, composition, and music theory at Portland State University, Reed College, and for the Portland Youth Philharmonic.
Michael Roberts, Director of Percussion
Michael Roberts joined the Oregon Symphony during the 2012-2013 season. He has also performed with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, Detroit Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Portland Symphony (ME), New World Symphony, and Hyogo PAC Orchestra. Michael’s summer engagements include fellowships with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, Spoleto Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Music Academy of the West, and the Tanglewood Music Center, where the Boston Globe hailed him as a “fearlessly accomplished performer.” A native of Fairfax County, VA, Michael began his musical studies on piano at the age of eight, and percussion at age ten. After high school, he moved to Boston, where he earned a B.M. from the New England Conservatory, and his M.M. from Boston University. Michael’s principal teachers were J. William Hudgins and Timothy Genis. In his free time, Michael enjoys publishing and promoting the piano and chamber works of his grandfather, composer Arnold Mysior. He is also a strong advocate for new music, and enjoys performing with Portland-based ensembles Third Angle and fEARnoMUSIC. (from the Oregon Symphony website) (Bio courtesy of OSO)
Marian Gutiérrez, Conductor
Portland Overture Strings
Note: Ms. Gutiérrez will conduct Portland Overture Strings if our Winter/Spring program in 2021 is in person.
Born in Venezuela, Marian was formed within "El Sistema" founded by maestro José Antonio Abreu. At the age of 12, she was selected as a violinist in the Venezuelan National Children's and Youth Symphony Orchestra. In 2001 she moved to Caracas to study violin at the Latin-American Violin Academy, she got a position in the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra performing in worldwide theaters such as Carnegie Hall (USA), Berlin Philharmonie (Germany), Royal Albert Hall (England) Teatro Alla Scala di Milano (Italy) under batons of renowned conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, and Gustavo Dudamel. In 2017 she moved to Miami and was part of the first violin section of The Miami Symphony Orchestra and its production team as well. In 2018 she moved to Portland to be part of the teaching artists staff of BRAVO Youth Orchestra and manager of the BRAVO Community Orchestra.
Giancarlo Castro D’Addona, Conductor
Awarded composer, conductor and trumpet player. Giancarlo has been recognized as one of the most exceptional artists formed in “El Sistema” from Venezuela. His compositions have been performed in scenarios such as Carnegie Hall in New York, Disney Concert Hall in L.A, Radio France Theater in Paris, the Royal Albert Hall in London, Berlin Konzerthaus in Berlin, Vienna Concertgebouw in Vienna among others. Giancarlo’s music is performed around the world by groups and soloists as Laurentius Dinca (Violinist of Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra), Carol Jantsch (Principal Tuba of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and U.S. Marine Band which performed one of his pieces in the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. Some of his works have been recorded under the EMI Classics, Genuin and Euroarts labels and also has been recognized as “best seller” in Europe becoming mandatory works in international Wind Band and soloist competitions. He has been recognized with a gold medal at the Global Music Awards in San Diego ‑ California (USA) as a composer in 2016. As a conductor, he has performed with many orchestras and chamber music groups as Simón Bolívar Orchestra (Venezuela), Paris Symphonic Orchestra (France), Orchestra Valentiana (France), Twin Ports Wind Orchestra (Minnesota) among others. In 2018 he moved to Portland to be part of the teaching artist staff of Bravo Youth Orchestra and conductor of BRAVO Community Orchestra. Giancarlo recently completed his work "Euphantasy" commissioned by the renowned French Euphonist Bastien Baumet for the new album "Radiance” recorded by the Air Force Band of Lisbon in Portugal. His last work “Tuba Sonatina” commissioned by Carol Jantsch was premiered at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference 2019 in Iowa. On September 2019 Giancarlo will be the new Conductor of Sinfonietta Orchestra Program at MYS and principal conductor of Reed College Orchestra.
Alexandria Christy, Conductor
Alex Christy has been a music educator since 2006. A native of Denver, CO, she received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Colorado State University before relocating to the Northwest. After beginning her career teaching band and choir in public schools she received a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting from Portland State University and began working as a freelance music educator. Currently she maintains a large private studio teaching clarinet and saxophone to students of all ages across the greater Portland/Vancouver area. She is a frequent instrumental clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator in schools, youth instrumental ensembles, and festivals, and is a longtime member of the instructional staff of the Skyview High School marching band in Vancouver, WA. Ms. Christy performs with the Oregon Symphonic Band and the Zephyr Clarinet Choir.
Paloma Griffin Hébert, Conductor
The multifaceted career of violinist Paloma Griffin Hébert includes solo appearances and collaborations with leading musicians throughout North America and Europe, as well as orchestral, pedagogical, and popular music activities. Formerly the Assistant Concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony, Paloma is currently a member of the modern classical ensemble fEARnoMUSIC, which she led as Artistic Director from 2011-2014. She has also served as a Guest Concertmaster for the Eugene Symphony and a tutti violinist with Norway’s Kristiansand Symfonieorkester. Paloma's solo appearances include concerts with the Oregon Symphony, the Fresno Philharmonic, and the Arizona Musicfest Orchestra. As a touring member of the band Pink Martini from 1999-2008, she performed in Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, and with such orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Orchestre de Paris. Paloma can be heard on Pink Martini’s 2004 album "Hang On, Little Tomato", and 2007’s "Hey Eugene", among others. She appeared with the band on "The Late Show With David Letterman" and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." A frequent guest artist at music festivals around the US, she has also taught and coached chamber music workshops at Oregon State University, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and beginning in 2017, the Northwest Orchestra Institute in central Washington. Paloma was a graduate fellow at the New World Symphony in Miami Beach under conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. Prior to that, she studied at the Eastman School of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory. Her principal teachers include Charles Castleman, Ian Swensen and Claudia Shuih.