Conductors’ Concert: UMD Symphony Orchestra and UMD Wind Orchestra

Conductors’ Concert

UMD Symphony Orchestra and UMD Wind Orchestra
Saturday, April 2, 2022 . 8PM
Photo by Tanya Rosenjones.
Principal People: 

Qun Ren, bassoon

Event Attributes

Presented By

Presented By: 

For more information regarding accessible accommodations, please click here.

Estimated Length: 
This performance will last approximately 2 hours with one intermission.

Join us in person at The Clarice or watch the livestream from the comfort of your home. 

The UMD Symphony Orchestra and UMD Wind Orchestra combine for this concert led by members of the graduate conducting studios. The program will include Gioachino Rossini’s Bassoon Concerto with 2019 Concerto Competition winner and doctoral student "Jimmy" Qun Ren as soloist. Additional concert repertoire coming soon.

About the Ensembles:

UMD Symphony Orchestra (UMSO)
Through its committed and polished performances under the baton of David Neely, UMSO is dedicated to the power of musical communication. In its repertoire, the orchestra explores the intersection between traditional symphonic masterworks and marginalized works from various eras, with many programs featuring composers of diverse backgrounds.

UMD Wind Orchestra (UMWO)
Led by Michael Votta, Jr., UMWO is a leading voice among collegiate ensembles in premiering new works for winds. This season’s engaging performances will feature faculty soloists and world premieres of new works and masterworks of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Clarice lobby concession bar Encore will be open for food and beverage sales during this event.

Health + Safety

Patrons attending University of Maryland arts events are no longer required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. We continue to encourage audiences to wear a mask and stay current with vaccinations and boosters. Please see our Health & Safety information page for information about what to expect during your visit.

Tragic Overture, Op. 81
Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
Yu Wang, conductor
Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra
Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868)
  1. Allegro
  2. Largo
  3. Rondo
Bradley Jopek, conductor
Jimmy Ren, bassoon
Music for Prague 1968
Karel Husa (1921–2016)
  1. Introduction and Fanfare
  2. Aria
  3. Interlude
  4. Toccata and Chorale
Christine Higley, conductor
Alexander Scott, conductor
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Claude Debussy (1862–1918)
Jesse Leong, conductor
The Three-Cornered Hat, Suite No. 2 Manuel de Falla (1876–1946)
  1. The Neighbors
  2. Miller’s Dance
  3. Final Dance
Shun Yao, conductor


Tragic Overture, Op. 81
A clear tension between living in sadness and rising above it grounds Johannes Brahms's Tragic Overture. Short, sharp notes at the beginning and end of the piece contrast with long, extended melodies in the middle. One section of the orchestra plays one rhythmic pattern while another section plays a completely different rhythm, which worms its way into the middle of the first pattern. At times, changes in melody, rhythm and style happen so quickly that it is hard not to experience a kind of listener whiplash.
Brahms captures these fleeting moments with occasional major chords scattered throughout the piece that seemingly come from nowhere. After these brief moments, the instruments frequently return to a "call and response” texture in which a solo instrument (often from the brass section) plays a short musical idea and other instruments echo that idea. The texture quickly becomes complicated once again with various themes competing for attention. This lack of agreement following moments of unity not only resonates with current events, but also events of the time period in which the piece was written.
Brahms composed this work in 1880 along with his Academic Festival Overture, and the two pieces are often programmed together. Brahms did not have a specific tragedy in mind when he composed the piece, however, which places the power of applying meaning squarely on the listener's shoulders––and allows it to resonate powerfully with the tragedies of the present day.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of over 900,000 Americans to date and yet has also remained a divisive issue as policymakers argue over mask and vaccine mandates. War in Ukraine has led to unspeakable scenes of violence being broadcast on social media at every moment. Police violence has shaken our nation to the core in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many other innocent victims of racial injustice. Competing crises of income inequality, voting rights, climate, school shootings and immigration loom large as topics that must be addressed before more tragedies occur.
But back to the overture. It ends exactly how it begins—with short, accented notes that capture the attention of the audience, just as a large-scale tragedy captures the attention of an entire population. But what happens after this initial jolt of energy? Will we lose focus and argue with others that our point of view is the only way? Brahms demonstrates how fast this can happen in this piece. Or will we finally make the choice as a society to capture the fleeting moments of unity present in the overture, and sustain this unity to make changes to ensure a more equitable and just world for all people?
— Program Note by Justin Caithaml
Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra
Gioachino Rossini is a name synonymous with Italian opera. Between the years of 1812 and 1829, Rossini composed 39 original operas, many of which remain among the most popular operas of all time. The renowned Italian opera scholar Phillip Gossett wrote that “no composer in the first half of the 19th century enjoyed the measure of prestige, wealth, popular acclaim, or artistic influence that belonged to Rossini.” Here is a composer known for some of the most memorable tunes of the nineteenth century, known for his ability to captivate audiences both musically and theatrically, and known for changing the world of opera forever. But while Rossini’s operas need little introduction, his Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra requires a few prefatory remarks.
In 1829, the year of his final opera, Rossini received assurance from the French government for a lifetime annuity. This arrangement was soon disrupted by the 1830 revolutions. In the following years, Rossini experienced a rapid decline in his health, a series of illnesses that would torment him for the rest of his life. He composed very little after 1829. Only two subsequent major works were publicly performed during his lifetime, following the end of his operatic career: a set of 12 songs for piano and voice and his Stabat Mater for chorus and orchestra. The Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra remained unknown until very recently.
The manuscript score for the Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra was found in the early 1990s by a priest working in a public library archive near Mantua. The work belongs to a period in Rossini’s life, starting in 1841, during which he worked as an advisor to the Liceo Musicale of Bologna. An obituary of one of the school’s students, Nazzareno Gatti (1822–93), a respected bassoonist and, according to one source, Rossini’s favorite student, mentions that Rossini composed the work for Gatti’s graduation exam. Certain virtuosic passages in the first and last movements suggest that the work was composed with the abilities of a highly skilled bassoonist in mind. The manuscript score contains numerous annotations by others, but the consistency of the musical style throughout the work is evidence that this is indeed a work by Rossini.
The first movement (Allegro) shifts quickly between moments of liveliness, sober drama and spontaneous wit. The soloist’s entrance following the orchestral introduction is humorous, but soon tinged by a certain loftiness provided by the orchestra’s subsequent interjections. Then, plucked strings make room for some impressive showmanship for the soloist. Before the end of the movement, the soloist arrives at a high D-flat, one of the highest notes their instrument can achieve, a dramatic conclusion to an eloquent and entertaining movement. The pensive second movement (Largo) that follows is elegant in its restrained simplicity. The orchestra assumes a more subordinate role throughout, leaving the bassoon to its own melodious introspection. The third movement (Rondo) that immediately follows features the most characteristically Rossinian music in the work. The technical challenges of the instrument are brought to the fore by the fast-paced, dance-like passagework. The work concludes without incident, leaving behind feelings of exuberance and lightheartedness.
— Program Note by Nathaniel Harrell
Music for Prague 1968
KAREL HUSA (1921–2016)
In the midst of protests, counter-protests and international negotiations, one Prague native sat at his cottage in the United States with his ears tuned to BBC radio coverage of the events. August 21 of 1968 marked the end of the Prague Spring, a movement within then-Czechoslovakia that saw significant protests against the Soviet Union. A U.S. citizen, a Cornell University professor and a celebrated composer, Karel Husa nevertheless maintained a keen interest in the struggle for freedom in the country of his birth. Music for Prague 1968 is one expatriate’s memorialization of those events and a call for something bigger. In an interview in 1986, Husa said, “I don’t think of it as a political message for one country. It is universal.”
What that call or message precisely is, though, is difficult to decipher. Husa’s four movements bear titles that are commonplace throughout Western classical music; they suggest a journey, one that begins with the wandering piccolo solo of the “Introduction” and ends with a bold unison in the “Chorale.” Between these end caps are horror and hope, despair and resolve, fear and the quest for freedom. His attention to history and its meaning in the present is reflected in the use of a 15th century Hussite hymn, Ye Warriors of God and His Law, which is creatively interwoven throughout the work yet never played in full. Husa writes of this piece that “[i]t is not as beautiful a music as one always would like to hear. But we cannot always paint flowers, we cannot always speak in poetry about beautiful clouds, there are some times we would like to express the fight for freedom.”
Husa’s first movement depicts air-raid sirens played by smearing trombones and calls for help evoking Morse code in the woodwinds. The second movement, “Aria,” indeed suggests a singer, but one who is confused and desperate, hoping to escape the machine-like advance of mallet percussion. The percussion-only “Interlude,” a musical palindrome, begins and ends with the snare drum; one player, muted and distant, to start, but joined by others near the end, coming together to carry us into the fourth movement. Here, the entire ensemble returns in force, continuing the relentless charge spurred ahead by the snare drums. This newfound resolution eventually crumples following further unison Morse code-like stabs by the woodwinds; maybe the calls for help were never answered. For a while, we wander the war-torn streets of Prague, picking through the rubble of favored childhood haunts. Crumpled, yet not truly defeated, Ye Warriors of God returns, first in the timpani and then finally played by the entire ensemble; the fullest statement of the tune yet serves as the work’s finale. The unified conclusion might suggest a sort of victory or closure, but the destruction and loss faced along the way cannot be wholly cast aside.
The composer writes:
Three main ideas bind the composition together. The first and most important is an old Hussite war song from the 15th century, Ye Warriors of God and His Law, a symbol of resistance and hope for hundreds of years, whenever fate lay heavy on the Czech nation. It has been utilized also by many Czech composers, including Smetana in My Country. The beginning of this religious song is announced very softly in the first movement by the timpani and concludes in a strong unison (Chorale). The song is never used in its entirety.
The second idea is the sound of bells throughout, Prague, named also the City of “Hundreds of Towers,” has used its magnificently sounding church bells as calls of distress as well as of victory. The last idea is a motif of three chords first appearing very softly under the piccolo solo at the beginning of the piece, in flutes, clarinets and horns. Later it reappears at extremely strong dynamic levels, for example, in the middle of the Aria.
Different techniques of composing as well as orchestrating have been used in Music for Prague 1968 and some new sounds explored, such as the percussion section in the Interlude, the ending of the work, etc. Much symbolism also appears: in addition to the distress calls in the first movement (Fanfares), the unbroken hope of the Hussite song, sound of bells, or the tragedy (Aria), there is also the bird call at the beginning (piccolo solo), a symbol of the liberty which the City of Prague has seen only for moments during its thousand years of existence.
— Program Note by Hayden Kramer
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862–1918)
Claude Debussy was a French composer of the impressionist style whose unconventional musical practices set the stage for the modernist era in music at the turn of the century. After a modest beginning in Burgundy, Debussy furthered his musical career as a student at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872, where he received much of his training in piano. By 1887, he had many compositions and prizes under his belt and was developing his signature style. At this time, he was struggling financially and attempting to avoid the widespread influence of Richard Wagner on French composition. After hearing and subsequently being influenced by the Javanese Gamelan at the 1889 Universal Expo, he came to create this ethereal Prélude.
Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune is a symphonic poem that is known for its fantastical and undulating sounds, inspired by a poem of the same name by Stéphane Mallarmé. The poem is set in a forest where a lone faun plays a haunting tune on his pipes, depicted here by a solo flute. It’s an iconic solo, such that flute players often have to prepare it for auditions. Though Mallarme’s poem is narrative, Debussy’s approach was to avoid making his piece programmatic or plot-based. The composition only loosely imagines gauzy and seductive imagery of the faun, nymphs, naiads and fantasy, as the faun succumbs to a deep sleep by the conclusion of the piece.
Composed in 1894, Prélude takes listeners on a ten-minute musical journey laden with melodic uncertainties and elusive rhythmic presence. Aside from the flute solo, beautiful harp scales, meandering French Horns and lighthearted English horn solos all contribute to the dense sounds that are reminiscent of the fantastical and magical scene they represent. Originally, the work was conceived as a series of three pieces, but Debussy decided to condense his vision into just this single Prélude.
When Debussy’s Prélude first premiered in 1894, it clearly marked a departure from the romantic sound to which audiences at this time were accustomed. But a positive reception showed Debussy’s capability as a composer and even impressed Mallarmé himself. Upon hearing the premiere, he remarked: “Your illustration of the ‘Afternoon of a Faun,’ which presents a dissonance with my text only by going much further, really, into nostalgia and into light, with finesse, with sensuality, with richness. I press your hand admiringly, Debussy.”
Unstable key signatures and rhythms, as well as oscillating dynamics layered under the flute solo create a scene much like the one Mallarmé depicts in his poem. Instead of the impressionist brush strokes that we know from paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Degas, Debussy takes us on a similar journey using music as a medium of displaying the faun’s afternoon.
— Program Note by Amanda Henderson
The Three-Cornered Hat, Suite No. 2
MANUEL DE FALLA (1876–1946)
Manuel de Falla, a prominent Spanish composer of the early 20th century, transports the audience to a quaint Spanish countryside town with his score to The Three-Cornered Hat. With an affinity for French culture, de Falla spent a number of years in Paris, where he met Ravel, Debussy and Stravinsky, among other composers, who influenced his work before he returned to neutral Spain at the start of World War I. The French influence on his music, however, was not always well-received back home: right-wing critics bemoaned de Falla for being “untrue to the Spanish soul,” although many lauded the composer’s accomplishments. The mixed reactions to his music foreshadowed intense political convulsions that would later manifest during the Spanish Civil War, giving prominent rise to nationalist music.
Based on Pedro Antonio de Alarcón y Ariza’s novel of the same name, de Falla’s piece was composed during the height of World War I, between 1916 and 1917, for a two-scene pantomime. Sergei Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes and a mutual acquaintance of de Falla and Stravinsky, asked de Falla to further develop the music into a full ballet, which premiered in 1919. Following the romantic story of an honest miller and his wife, and the corrupt and lecherous town magistrate trying to come between them, de Falla’s score explores passion, humor and storytelling with intensity and drama. With choreography utilizing modified Spanish folk dancing instead of classical ballet, costume and set design by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, and Andalusian folk music throughout, The Three-Cornered Hat captures the soul of Spanish classical music from the early 20th century––yet the influence of French impressionism and Stravinsky’s neoclassicism are present, if distant.
Castanets and flamenco pervade the score, ever-present reminders of Andula, the Spanish town in which the ballet transpires. Woodwind and string flourishes give way to captivating dance rhythms increasing in intensity, accentuated by percussion and brass fanfares. Lilting melodies pass between solo and ensembles, exploring sadness, longing, and passion before brass fanfares return in celebration. In Act II, from which the music of Suite No. 2 is taken, the miller hosts a dinner party for guests, providing entertainment with the farruca, a traditional dance. The magistrate, previously embarrassed by the miller, seeks revenge and has him arrested on fraudulent charges, interrupting the dinner party. On his way to the miller’s wife that evening, the magistrate falls into a river, and a sequence of misunderstandings ensues, ultimately resulting in a raucous town brawl. Much like the work of Picasso, these fragments are reshaped and recombined in every-changing arrays of patterns. The melodies are capricious yet obstinate, combining and receding in waves of shifting harmonies and textures––the influence of French impressionism at play––yet the underlying rhythms of Spanish dances, whether a fandango or seguidilla, always return.
— Program Note by David Miller
Manuel de Falla was a major figure in early-20th century Spanish music. Because there were few orchestras and many theaters in Spain, he focused on composing staged works. The Spanish civil war of the 1930s saw nearly every action, personal or public, politicized. Despite this, de Falla tried to remain neutral. Religion was a central issue and de Falla retained his religious practices while recognizing the issues with the church. While he escaped the war physically unscathed, little love or hope remained for his homeland, and he accepted a professional engagement in Argentina, never to return.
The Three-Cornered Hat, or El Sombrero de Tres Picos, was a pantomime adapted into a ballet. Sergei Diaghilev, director of Paris’s highly influential Ballets Russes, commissioned the ballet. It received mixed critical reception, much of it focused on the work’s Spanish qualities. De Falla was one of many artists accused of an obsession with French modernism detracting from their works. One critic called The Three-Cornered Hat “an ostentation of modernism and dislocation” diminishing its Spanish character. At the other end of the spectrum, the critics of Barcelona accepted modernism, praising the “modern harmonies and fresh, spontaneous melodies that bear the mark of Spanish music.”
The ballet’s story tells of a corrupt magistrate infatuated with a miller’s wife. The “Neighbors’ Dance” begins the second act as the miller hosts a party for the townsfolk. Winds dominate the texture conjuring images of a folk dance. The melody is embellished in ways unmistakably Spanish. The magistrate arrives, interrupting both the party and the music before arresting the miller on trumped-up charges. The party timidly resumes, but, unable to reach their previous joy, the neighbors leave, ending the dance.
The “Miller’s Dance” follows the miller’s exploits after he escapes from prison. The movement opens with a quote of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, often called the “fate” motive, suggesting this shall be a “fateful” night for the miller. Again, the winds contribute much to the sound, starting with the bright and powerful French horn and followed by the warm and enticing English horn (two instruments far less similar than their names would imply). The dance ends as a fight breaks out with blistering speed by way of an accelerando.
The “Final Dance” is the high-energy finale of the ballet. This dance is constructed of many smaller sections. Magnificence and tragedy are made neighbors. Joy and horror and love gather to create the whirlwind of emotions that drive the suite towards conclusion. The triumph of the miller and his wife stands tall as the dance reaches its surprise ending.
— Program Note by Walter Stedman


Yu Wang is a Canadian conductor based in Toronto. She completed her music history degree at the University of Toronto, and is currently finishing a graduate degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Maryland, College Park.
She was the founding music director of the Linus Chamber Orchestra project, with a focus on reading and performing standard repertoire amongst early-career musicians.
Wang has performed in the Pärnu Music Festival as a participant of the Järvi Academy. She has conducted concerts in Estonia, Romania, UK, the USA and Canada. Since 2020, Wang has had a productive pandemic, hosting virtual outreach programs in music appreciation in the Chinese-Canadian community.
A proud millennial, Wang enjoys Oxford commas, video games, and traveling.



Brad Jopek is currently a first-year doctor of musical arts wind conducting student at the University of Maryland School of Music studying under Michael Votta, Jr. Jopek previously served as the music and artistic director of River Cities Concert Band in Louisville, Kentucky, where he worked to increase the band’s outreach in the Kentuckiana area, collaborating with local community bands and establishing chamber ensembles to reach underserved communities.

Jopek was an active assistant conductor for several ensembles at the University of Louisville. He led the University Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Fanfare for Louisville by Witold Lutosławski at the 62nd Annual College Music Society conference in Louisville, Kentucky, and he worked as a rehearsal conductor for the University Sinfonietta’s performances with the 2019 and 2020 Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) Intercollegiate Choir and the University of Louisville Concerto Competition. He also served as assistant conductor and operations manager for the 2019 University of Louisville Sinfonietta Costa Rica tour and collaboration celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Instituto Costarricense Pro Música Coral.
Jopek served as assistant conductor of the University of Louisville Saxophone Ensemble, which performed at the 2017 KMEA Conference featuring student arrangements of standard wind and orchestral repertoire. Jopek also worked with the saxophone ensemble as an arranger, mentored student composers and conductors, and conducted a world premiere performance of When I Arrive by Jeffrey Fox. In addition, he also volunteered with the University of Louisville Community Band as assistant conductor and percussionist.
Outside of conducting, Jopek served as an administrative assistant at the University of Louisville for numerous departments including the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, the Committee on Academic Performance and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative through the university president’s office, Academic & Professional Studies, Performance Studies, and the Dean’s Office for the School of Music and University Libraries.
Jopek holds a bachelor of music education from Grove City College and two master of music degrees from the University of Louisville in wind and orchestral conducting. He has studied conducting with Edwin Arnold, Joseph Pisano, Jeffery Tedford, Frederick Speck, Kimcherie Lloyd and Amy Acklin.


A native of Zheng Zhou City, He Nan Province, Jimmy Ren began to play bassoon at the age of 9 with the local theater’s bassoonist Haiquan Yan. In 2007–2012, he attended the music school attached to Central Conservatory of China. Jimmy finished high school in Ohio and obtained his Bachelor of Music degree at the Oberlin Conservatory. As a soloist, Jimmy has received honorable mentions from Beijing International Music Competition in 2008 and 7th Mravinsky International Winds Competition in 2010, in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a chamber musician, Jimmy was a member of University of Maryland Fellowship Woodwind Quintet from 2017-2019, where the group also collaborated and performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. Jimmy also founded and arranges music for Impeccable Bassoon Ensemble, a large-scale ensemble made up of UMD bassoonists. Jimmy has made appearances with several professional orchestras in the DC area, including Washington National Opera Orchestra, Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Washington Chamber Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra and National Repertory Orchestra. Jimmy has attended many festivals including National Orchestral Institute, National Repertory Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival. He’s currently pursuing the Doctoral of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland in College Park, where he also earned Master of Music degree in 2019. His primary teachers include Jun Zhu, George Sakakeeny and Joseph Grimmer. In addition to playing bassoon and making reeds, Jimmy enjoys traveling, hiking and reading.


Christine Higley is a first year doctoral student in wind conducting at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she serves as a wind conducting graduate assistant and studies under Michael Votta.
Before coming to Maryland, Higley attended California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), where she earned her Master of Music degree in instrumental conducting in Fall 2020, studying under Emily Moss and Christopher Gravis. In addition to her wind conducting responsibilities, Higley taught courses including “Intro to Music Education” and “Intro to Classical Music in Western Culture” at CSULA. She also served as the president of the CSULA chapter of the National Association for Music Education.
Before pursuing her graduate degrees, Higley was the band and orchestra director at Sunset Ridge Middle School in Salt Lake City, Utah, from 2014–2018. She also taught elementary school beginning band and served on staff for the Copper Hills High School Marching Band.
In addition to teaching and conducting, Higley enjoys life as a horn player. She was the horn section leader for the CSULA Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band, and has played with the Salt Lake Symphonic Winds, the Brigham Young University Idaho Symphony Orchestra and various chamber groups. She has studied with Nathan Campbell, Jon Klein and Bruce Woodward. Higley earned her B.M. in music education from BYU-Idaho.


Alexander Scott is pursuing a master of music in wind conducting at the University of Maryland, College Park where he currently serves as an instrumental conducting graduate assistant. He is a conducting student of Michael Votta, with additional mentoring from Andrea Brown and Craig Potter. In addition, he serves as interim music director for the Maryland Community Band and assistant conductor for the Bel Air Community Band.
Before coming to the University of Maryland, Scott taught for nine years at the elementary, middle and high school levels in Maryland public schools. For seven years, he was the music department chair and director of instrumental music at Meade Senior High School in Fort Meade, Maryland, where he was responsible for conducting the concert band, string orchestra, philharmonic orchestra, marching band, jazz band, steelband and pit orchestra, as well as instructing International Baccalaureate (IB) Music, Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory and guitar courses. Additionally, he served as the school’s advisor for the Tri-M Music Honors Society.
​While teaching at Meade Senior High School, Scott’s bands and orchestras consistently earned excellent and superior ratings at county and state adjudication festivals and his marching band earned second place at the 2018 USBands Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. His concert band was a member of a commission consortium for Anthony O’Toole’s Latin Dance Movements. Scott was a semifinalist for Music and Arts’ national “Music Educator of the Year” award (2016) and the Maryland winner for School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference Award” (2018). His departmental leadership was twice recognized by the NAMM foundation with a “Best Communities in Music Education” designation (2018, 2019).
​Scott earned his master of music in music education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and his bachelor of arts in Music Education from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). While at UMBC, Scott served as the inaugural undergraduate conducting fellow with the wind ensemble. Scott is a member of the National Association for Music Education, Maryland Music Educators Association and the Flute Society of Washington.
As a woodwind specialist, Scott enjoys performing flute, clarinet and saxophone in various community and amateur ensembles in the DMV area. He also plays the double seconds steel pan in the Baltimore-based steelband sextet Charm City Steel.




Possessing a repertoire of over 45 operas and musicals ranging from Mozart and Puccini to Rodgers and Hammerstein and Sondheim, conductor and pianist Leong is a musician of uncommon breadth and versatility. His conducting has been called “taut and assured” by Opera Today. Leong was named the 2019 Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill conducting fellow by the Kurt Weill Foundation. In this capacity, he served as associate conductor to Ted Sperling—the Tony Award-winning artistic director of MasterVoices (New York City)—on Lady in the Dark, which featured another Tony winner, Victoria Clark. Leong has served as conductor, assistant conductor and pianist at Cincinnati Opera, Pacific Opera Project, Queen City Opera, Opera Saratoga and Pittsburgh Festival Opera.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Leong was hired at Dayton Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera before their respective performances of Going for Baroque! and Sweeney Todd were canceled. For the latter, he served as virtual orchestra audio/video editor for their gala concert. His audio/video work can now be seen at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) as well as at College of Fellows of the American Theatre, Wear Yellow Proudly, Youth Music Monterey County, Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston and Bella Voce a cappella ensemble.
Also an accomplished educator, Leong serves as music director of the UMD Repertoire Orchestra and assistant conductor of the UMD Symphony Orchestra. His programming focuses on the work of BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women composers in thematically integrated concerts alongside classical masterworks. He was also recently appointed assistant conductor of the Capital City Symphony.
An enthusiastic grammarian, linguist and author, Leong has written a book entitled “La bohème: A Connotative and Grammatical Translation.” Having been described as “Nico Castel plus,” his book has been praised by singers, conductors, coaches and directors alike. His doctoral dissertation will be entitled “The Butterfly Effect: Color Conscious Casting in the 21st Century.”
Leong received both his bachelor of music in piano performance and his master of music in orchestral conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is currently a doctor of musical arts candidate in orchestral conducting at the University of Maryland, College Park.



Born in the historical city of Xi’an, China, Yao has worked with orchestras across Europe, Asia, and North America. In the 2020–2021 season, he appeared in concerts with South Demark Philharmonic and Janacek Philharmonic (Czech Republic). He assisted at Chicago Summer Opera for their production of Britten’s Albert Herring, as well as at the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra for their live-stream concerts during the pandemic, while advancing to the final round of the inaugural Arthur Nikisch Conducting Competition in Bulgaria.
Other highlights of Yao’s career include appearances with Eastern Festival Orchestra in North Carolina, Divertimento Ensemble in Milan, Hear&Now Ensemble in Houston, Cleveland Institute Symphony, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, and London Classical Soloists. He has participated in masterclasses with prominent figures such as Jorma Panula, David Zinman, Robert Spano, Tomas Netopil, José-Luis Novo, Larry Rachleff and Gerard Schwarz. Dedicated to evolving orchestral performances to suit our time, his music-making has been described as “natural,” “attentive” and “elegant” (Classical Voice).
Yao’s upcoming performances include Debussy’s Suite Bergamasque with Orion Youth Orchestra, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto with University of Maryland Repertoire Orchestra (Alexei Ulitin, soloist), and de Falla’s Three Cornered Hat Suite with the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra.
Music Directors
David Neely
Michael Votta
Ensembles Manager
Mark Wakefield
Alexander Scott
Brad Jopek
Christine Higley
Yu Wang
Jesse Leong
Shun Yao
Jonathan Toomer, Concertmaster (Rossini, De Falla)
Rachel Choi, Concertmaster (Brahms, Debussy)
Myles Mocarski, Principal Second
Emily Konkle
Carl Chung
Emilie Flores
Clare Hofheinz
Yuna Kim
Wolfgang Koch-Paiz
Yu-Shin Lee
Eugene Liu
John Park
Chad Slater
Hannahlise Wang
Elisa Pierpaoli
Rey Sasaki
Nina Staniszewska
Joey Yeoh
Seth Goodman, Principal (Rossini, Brahms)
Rohan Joshi, Principal (Debussy, De Falla)
Tonya Burton
William Gu
Maya Seitz
Emily Bussa
Emily Doveala, Principal
Gavriel Eagle
Rachel Hagee
Noah Hamermesh
Wesley Hornpetrie
Roland Kahn
Sean Kim
Samuel Lam
Michael Li
Simone Pierpaoli
Omar Martinez Sandoval, Principal (Rossini, Brahms)
Daphine Henderson, Principal (Debussy, De Falla)
Asa Dawson
Ethan Schwartz
Paul Metzger
Iris Yourick
Danielle Kim
Angelina Lim
Selia Myers
Erica Spear
Hadas Sandalon
Katelyn Estep
Michael Helgerman
Nathaniel Wolff
English Horn
Katelyn Estep
Michael Helgerman
Julie Berry
Alexander Dudkin
Kyle Glasgow
Chase Hogan
Ashley Hsu
Katie Urrutia
Emma Selmon
Andrew Zhang
Alto Clarinet
Sophie Ross
Bass Clarinet
Brooke Krauss
Temon Birch
Makayla Bowen-Longino
Robby Burns
Alex Wiedman
Patrick Heinicke
Joe Florance
Eric Aaron
Danielle Cornwell
Molly Flanagan
Allison Happ
Zach Miller
Isaac Vallecillo-Rangel
Drew Mincey
Ivanna Ajakpo
Theresa Bickler
Reece Updike
Jacob Rose
Julia Tsuchiya-Mayhew
Tony Eleftheriou
Rodrigo Slone
Madison Hamilton
Allison Bratz
Jacob Weglarz
Abel Solomon
Eusong Choe
Gilberto Cruz
Brett Manzo
Pedro Martinez
Adrian Sims
Raymond Schleien
Raymond Schleien
Eusong Choe
Bass Trombone
Austin Fairley
Cameron Farnsworth
Quinn Sarracco
Jonathan Sotelo
Joanne Kim
Maia Foley
Peter Handerhan
Maia Foley
Jonathan Monk
Robert Rocheteau
Jonathan Sotelo
John Plate
Lauren Twombly
Willow Watkins
Piano / Celeste
Yihan Sun
Operations Assistant
Clinton Soisson
Orchestral Librarian
Shun Yao