Congratulations to the GCTYO Principal Orchestra musicians who advanced to the Final Round of the 2022 Concerto Competition! Read about each finalist and the adjudicators below. Watch a recording of the Competition.
And the winners are… Tyler Park, Violin and Madison Chueka, Flute
Hear Tyler and Madison each perform a movement of a concerto, accompanied by Principal Orchestra, at the Spring Concert at The Klein Auditorium on May 22, 2022.
Scroll down to read Tyler and Madison’s bios.
Bravo to them both!
Alexander Parent, age 15, has been studying cello for 7 years. For the past 3 years, he has studied under the excellent direction of Adam Grabois. Fun fact: Alex started lessons at age 8 with GCTYO alumnus Ben Crosby. Alex, a sophomore honors student at Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, CT…
Alexander Parent, age 15, has been studying cello for 7 years. For the past 3 years, he has studied under the excellent direction of Adam Grabois. Fun fact: Alex started lessons at age 8 with GCTYO alumnus Ben Crosby. Alex, a sophomore honors student at Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, CT, has enjoyed performing with the chamber orchestras through both middle school and high school. He has been a dedicated member of the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras (GCTYO) since fourth grade, performing with the Principal Orchestra for the past 3 years. Extending his involvement with GCTYO, he just completed their inaugural chamber program in collaboration with the Stamford Symphony. In both 2020 & 2021, Alex secured a seat in the Connecticut Music Educator’s Association Western Regional High School Festival Orchestra. During multiple summers, he has performed with quartets at the Asya Meshberg Chamber Music Institute, Chamber Music Central, and the New England Music Camp Chamber Music Intensive.
Brian Li, age 14, is a freshman honors student at The Williams School in New London. Brian comes from a musical family. His older siblings are current and former GCTYO members. Brian is in his second year of Principal Orchestra after joining GCTYO six years ago as a 4th grader. Brian began his cello studies at age 7 with his mother, private music teacher Katie Callaghan. In 2020, he began 18 months of online studies with Juilliard-trained cellist Bernard Tamosaitis of White Plains, NY. Brian currently studies with Allison Eldredge, internationally-renowned soloist, Avery Fisher Career Grant winner and faculty member of Harvard University and New England Conservatory. Brian has also participated in Young Talent Chamber Music with Ms. Eldredge. Outside of music, Brian enjoys playing lacrosse, swimming, and soccer for The Williams School. He is also a member of Nutmeg Aquatics Club in East Lyme and Shoreline Sharks Lacrosse Club. He has been a Top 16 swimmer in Connecticut for the last 4 years. He enjoys sailing and traveling with his family.
Clara Chi is a 9th grade student who is focused on the violin but also enjoys other ancient and classical instruments. She began her musical adventure when she was 8 years old, inspired by an incredible violinist from GCTYO, Juliana Sharp Chen, who now teaches in Orange. Clara has studied with many other teachers throughout the years, and currently she studies weekly with three teachers: Primarily, she studies with Dr. Ann Setzer whom she also sees during the summer in the Meadowmount School of Music. Locally, she studies with Dr. Stephan Tieszen. Clara also studies historically informed period music with Lisa Rautenberg with alternate tunings on the baroque violin.
Kyra Brown is a freshman at New Milford High School. They began studying cello at the age of 7 and quickly joined the local community youth orchestra. An active member of the Decatur (Alabama) Youth Symphony and Chamber Ensemble, Kyra served as a mentor for other children beginning cello as part of a peer coaching program. They participated in “Cellobration” at the University of Alabama and they were a 2020 finalist in the junior division of the Tennessee Cello Workshop in Knoxville, TN. Kyra joined GCTYO this year, performing with Principal Orchestra and Advanced Chamber Ensemble. Kyra is also an accomplished pianist, composer, and vocalist. They have won recognition from the Alabama Music Teacher Association in both piano and piano composition and from the National Federation of Music Clubs in composition. They also participated in the All-State vocal festival in the Middle School Treble Choir and as Outstanding Accompanist for the entire festival. Kyra continues to enjoy composing for piano and ensembles, including choral ensembles. Kyra would like to thank their accompanist and piano teacher, Ray Pierpont, and their cello teacher, Mary Costanza, for their encouragement and support.
Madison Chueka, 17, is a junior at the Pierrepont School in Westport, CTwho has studied flute with Adrianne Greenbaum (Professor of Music, Mount Holyoke College) for the past seven years. She started playing the flute in kindergarten at the Suzuki Music School of Westport. Madison has been a member of the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras (GCTYO) since 2019 and principal flutist of the Principal Orchestra since 2020. In 2021, Madison participated in the Juilliard Summer Winds Program. Throughout her high school career, Madison has secured a seat in the CMEA Western Regional High School Festival Orchestra. In 2021, she earned an Honorable Mention in the first annual Greenwich Symphony Orchestra Teen Talent Contest. In 2020 and 2021, she was a finalist in the GCTYO Concerto Competition. In 2020, she won the Suzuki Music School of Westport’s Concerto & Aria Competition and was also a winner of the 11th Annual American Chamber Orchestra Concerto Competition. Additionally, Madison is an accomplished choral singer and a member of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Choir of Fairfield, CT. She has also performed with the opera program at the Yale School of Music. Madison enjoys reading and exercising in her spare time.
Sandra Ventura, 17, is a senior in the magnet program at Central High School in Bridgeport, CT. Sandra started playing the flute in fourth grade with her school band. She has been studying flute with Terrance Griswold since 2015. Sandra has been a part of Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras Principal Orchestra since 2020. She enjoys playing a variety of music genres including orchestral, chamber, jazz, and musicals. Aside from playing flute, she also enjoys playing piano, guitar, and singing. She hopes to continue studying music and pursue a flute performance degree in college.
Tyler Park is a seventeen-year-old senior at Trumbull High School who studies the violin with Bernice Friedson. He has been a member of the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras for 6 years and has been in Principal Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra since his freshman year. With the opportunities given by GCTYO, Tyler has received masterclasses from world class violinists such as Lara St. John and Midori Goto. In addition to GCTYO, he was selected for the CMEA Western Regionals Orchestra all four years of his high school career. This year, Tyler was appointed Concertmaster of GCTYO’s Principal Orchestra, Advanced Chamber Ensemble, and his high school orchestra. He is also a member of the GCTYO stage crew. At his high school, he is an active participant of the Model-UN team and Tri-M Music Honors Society as well as a member of the National Honors Society. Tyler plans to study Aerospace Engineering in college.
Music Director and Alumnus of the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras (GCTYO), Christopher James Hisey, has conducted concerts throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico and China.
Music Director and Alumnus of the Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras (GCTYO), Christopher James Hisey, has conducted concerts throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico and China. Maestro Hisey has conducted with such notable musicians as Sir James Galway, Tim Janis, Jackie Evancho, James Dunham, Chris Finckel, and Deborah Wong.
In addition to his duties with GCTYO, Maestro Hisey serves as Music Director of the American Chamber Orchestra and is Co-founder and Music Director of the Connecticut Philharmonic. He has also served as Music Director of the Civic Orchestra of New Haven, Connecticut Valley Chamber Orchestra, Troupers Light Opera Company, and Perrysburg Symphony Chorale, and as Associate Conductor of the Perrysburg Symphony, Bowling Green Philharmonia and Opera Theater Orchestras.
Maestro Hisey has been a guest and cover conductor of the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and has made appearances with the Ruse Philharmonic and Pleven Philharmonic in Bulgaria, and the St. Petersburg “Klassika” Symphony, formerly the Leningrad State Philharmonic, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
A passionate and sought-after music educator, Maestro Hisey frequently appears as guest adjudicator and clinician at schools and festivals throughout the region. His student orchestras have won top prizes in competition and have been invited to appear at Carnegie Hall, NAFME Eastern Music Festival and other festivals and concerts in the United States and abroad. He has served as Professor of Conducting, Orchestration and Music Director of the Orchestra at Manhattanville College and Professor of Conducting and Music Director of the Orchestra at Fairfield University. Maestro Hisey has been Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, CT for 20 years.
Maestro Hisey holds a bachelor’s degree in Viola Performance from the Eastman School of Music and master’s degree in Conducting from Bowling Green State University. He has been fortunate to study conducting with Emily Freeman Brown, David Effron, Gustav Meier, Donald Portnoy, and Donald Hunsberger.
An avid chamber musician, violist Suzanne Wagor has collaborated with numerous artists, including members of the Tokyo String Quartet, the Nash Ensemble of London, and the Peabody Trio. Suzanne holds a B.M. from the Oberlin Conservatory, and an M.M. from the Juilliard School. She also received a Performance Diploma in Orchestral Training from the Guildhall School of Music, with additional chamber music studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her principal teachers include William Preucil, Sr., Jeffrey Irvine, Lynne Ramsey, Ian Swensen, Roger Chase, Heidi Castleman, and Misha Amory. Suzanne is particularly at home performing viola piano duos and smaller chamber works, and performs regularly in New York City and Connecticut, as well as internationally, with performances in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Britain, and around the US.
With more than twenty years of teaching experience, Suzanne received her Suzuki training at the School for Strings under the tutelage of Louise Behrend, Allen Lieb, and Ekaterina Gerson, and has served on the faculty of Northern Arizona University, Coe College, The School for Strings, the Special Music School (P.S. 859), The Lucy Moses School, and the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program, the Hudson River School of Music in Dobbs Ferry, and recently served as the Suzuki coordinator at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains. Suzanne is currently on the faculty at Western Connecticut State University and maintains a vibrant private studio of violin and viola students from ages 3 to adult.
Luis Fernando Jimenez
Dr. Luis Fernando Jiménez is a gifted conductor, trombonist, educator and clinician. Dr. Jiménez has been on the faculty of Western Connecticut State University since 1997 and served as Music Department Chair from 2002-2005.
Dr. Luis Fernando Jiménez is a gifted conductor, trombonist, educator and clinician, who is equally at ease in the orchestral, opera, musical theatre, and wind ensemble genres. His experiences as a conductor have taken him from across the Northeastern United States, to Central – South America and points in between, ranging from his work with the Costa Rica National Symphony/Chorus/ Opera, to conducting symposiums for Central American conductors. In addition, Dr. Jiménez served as Music Director-Conductor of the Westchester Wind Symphony for three seasons.
As a trombonist, Dr. Jiménez has performed with numerous symphony orchestras, most notably the Costa Rican National Symphony, the American Wind Symphony, the Symphony Orchestra of the Americas, Waco Symphony, Longview Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Ridgefield Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Symphony. He has also maintained an active schedule as a clinician with several appearances at the Connecticut Music Educators Association and at the Nafme Regional Conference.
Dr. Jiménez has been on the faculty of Western Connecticut State University since 1997 and served as Music Department Chair from 2002-2005. He holds degrees from Baylor University (BM trombone), Duquesne University (MM – conducting/trombone) and the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University (DMA Orchestral Conducting) where he served as a teaching assistant under the tutelage of Maestro Frederik Prausnitz. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education (Nafme), The College Directors National Association (CODA), The Conductors Guild, The International Trombone Association, and the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA).