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New Jersey Youth Symphony Presents Its Winter Concert Feb. 4

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The New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) presents a Winter Concert featuring Youth Orchestra and Youth Symphony on Sunday, February 4 at 3:00 p.m. at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church located at 716 Watchung Avenue in Plainfield. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the door or online at www.njys.myboxoffice.us. Youth Orchestra, led by Conductor and Artistic Director Designate Helen Cha-Pyo, will open the concert with Elgar Pomp and Circumstance March in D Major, Op. 39, No. 1, Enescu Romanian Rhapsody in D major, Op. 11, No. 2, and Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67. Youth Symphony, led by Conductor Simon Lipskar, will perform Short Ride in a Fast Machine by John Adams and Totenfeier from Mahler Symphony No. 2.                                           

Both Youth Orchestra and Youth Symphony are advanced, full orchestras in the NJYS family of ensembles. Youth Orchestra is open to students in grades 7-12 and Youth Symphony is open to students in grades 9-12. Youth Symphony has appeared at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Youth Orchestra was selected to perform last April at the 2017 NAfME Eastern Division Conference in Atlantic City.

Helen Cha-Pyo has been named Artistic Director Designate and New Jersey Youth Symphony Conductor of The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts starting 2018-2019 Season.  She is serving as interim conductor for NJYS’s Youth Orchestra during 2017–2018 season.

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For the past 15 years, Cha-Pyo has 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. As Music Director and conductor of the ESYO Youth Orchestra, Helen regularly programs a wide range of music embracing many different cultures. Her vision resulted in a $100,000 grant to partially fund a music festival that commissioned nine works (one for each ESYO ensemble), and winning three prestigious ASCAP awards. She has conducted the orchestra in outstanding concert halls including Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, the Massry Center for the Arts, EMPAC, Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall, and Carnegie Hall.  She has led the orchestra on three international tours: to Europe in 2008, and to China and South Korea in 2012, and to 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. From 1996 to 2002, Cha-Pyo 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. As artistic director for the Kenya Jirani Choir and Harlem Jirani Ensemble of the Jirani Cultural Organization from 2009 - 2012, Cha-Pyo traveled regularly to Kenya and Korea to oversee artistic activities. In 2011, she toured Korea with Kenya Jirani Choir.

Born in Seoul, Cha-Pyo 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 is a frequent guest conductor for All State and Regional Festival Orchestras as well as summer festivals including Kinhaven School (VT) and Arco Youth Orchestra Festival (NJ). She resides in New Jersey with her husband and two sons.

A conductor focused on inspiring and educating young musicians, Simon Lipskar has been the conductor of NJYS Youth Orchestra since 2006. From 2004 to 2006, Lipskar conducted Philharmonia. He conducts in the summers at the Kinhaven Music School where he was a student as a teenager. He has regularly guest conducted at the Third Street Music Settlement in NYC and served as Assistant Conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic under Robert Spano, as well as for a number of other orchestras and opera companies. A member of Tanglewood’s prestigious Conductor’s Seminar led by Robert Spano and Gustav Meier, Lipskar took part in master classes led by Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, André Previn, and Joseph Silverstein. He received his Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied under Michael Morgan and Denis de Coteau and was awarded the Conducting Department Award in Honor of Outstanding Contributions to the Conservatory Ensembles. A graduate of Yale University, he received a B.A. in Religious Studies. As a teenager, Lipskar was a Juilliard Pre-College violinist, pianist, and composer as well as an award-winning chamber musician. Along with his extensive work with young orchestral musicians, Lipskar is President of Writers House, a leading literary agency where he represents many of today’s bestselling and award-winning authors.

The Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ mission is to provide the highest quality performing arts education to a wide range of students in a supportive and inclusive environment, where striving for personal excellence inspires and connects those we teach to the communities we serve.

Wharton is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center serving over 1,400 students through a range of classes and ensembles including the 14 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony which serve 500 students in grades 3 - 12. Beginning with Early Childhood music classes for infants and toddlers, WIPA offers private lessons, group classes and ensembles for all ages and all abilities.

Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 13 counties. All of WIPA’s extraordinary faculty members and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best. 

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