The Yale Symphony Orchestra Roster
Miriam Viazmenski, Concertmaster
Miriam Viazmenski (BF ’25) is a Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry major from Hanover, New Hampshire. She studies with Kyung Yu, has served as a fellow of the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and has attended the Bowdoin and Aspen Music Festivals. Miriam’s teachers have included Syoko Aki, Scott Yoo, and Kristopher Tong, and she attended the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. Miriam also loves playing chamber music, dancing ballet, and cooking with friends. The YSO Mexico tour was the highlight of Miriam’s sophomore year, and she can’t wait for another season with the orchestra!
Erin Nishi, Co-Concertmaster
Erin Nishi is a junior in Pauli Murray College from Honolulu, Hawaii. She majors in Psychology on the Neuroscience track and aspires to research the effects of music on cognition. She has been playing violin since the age of three and currently studies with Professor Kyung Yu at the Yale School of Music. Erin was concertmaster/principal 2nd of Hawaii Youth Symphony and Punahou Orchestra, and was privileged to perform concerti with the Hawaii Symphony, Maui Chamber Orchestra, and Kamuela Philharmonic. In her free time, she also enjoys piano, hula, fishing, Japanese tea ceremony, and admiring sharks. During her time in the YSO so far, Erin has represented the second violin, viola, and currently, the first violin section… Perhaps she will try to learn cello/bass next?
Nate Strothkamp, Sub-Concertmaster
Nate Strothkamp is a sophomore violinist in Pierson College and student of Wendy Sharp. Nate spent the past summer traveling to various music festivals, including YellowBarn in Vermont, the Bowdoin Festival in Maine, and the Moritzburg Academy in Germany. When not playing the violin, he spent his time hiking and driving through his beautiful home state of Oregon and improving his cooking skills. Besides music, Nate is interested in education and the humanities, and you can usually find him at a coffee shop around campus.
Natalie is a sophomore violinist in Silliman College from London, UK. She began her music studies on the piano at the age of three and developed a love for the violin a few years later. From the age of nine, she was concertmaster and associate concertmaster of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain for 4 years. During that time, she continued her violin studies at the Royal College of Music with Professor Maciej Rakowski. More recently, Natalie has performed as soloist and chamber musician at Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, and Wigmore Hall. In the summers, she has participated in the Musica Mundi Festival in Belgium, Curtis Summerfest, BU Tanglewood Institute. Besides music, Natalie enjoys reading, finding good places to eat with friends and stargazing.
Keeley Brooks is a sophomore violinist in Morse College. She plans to major in Music and/or American Studies with a concentration in visual, literary, audio and performance cultures. Keeley studies with Professor Wendy Sharp and is very excited about chamber music in addition to orchestra. She spent the past summer studying at the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Burlington, VT. From Washington state, she loves spending her free time running, skiing, hiking in the mountains, and hanging out with friends.
Soyoung Cho is a senior in Pauli Murray College. She was born in Seoul, South Korea but grew up in Michigan where she began her musical studies at the age of six. She has performed with multiple orchestral groups, including the National Youth Orchestra 2 and Michigan MYAF All-State Orchestra, of which she served as concertmaster. She has also performed concerti with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and Oakland Youth Symphony. At Yale, she studies Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. Outside of science and music, Soyoung enjoys baking, hiking, and spending time with her dog.
Andrew DeWeese is a junior in Pierson College from Charlotte, North Carolina. He plans to double major in Classics and History, with a certificate in Chinese. His somewhat disparate research interests lie in Athenian war rhetoric and US-China relations. A violinist at heart, Andrew is an alumnus of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA and founding member of the Charlotte Piano Trio, in addition to his three years in the YSO. When he’s not playing the violin, you can find Andrew collecting old books he will never read or drinking oolong tea.
Jaeyee Jung is a first-year (Berkeley College) from Raleigh, North Carolina. She has been studying the violin since age seven with Rebekah Binford, and looks forward to continuing to play at Yale. Jaeyee is an avid orchestral player, with leadership experience from local to national scales. This summer, she participated in NYO-USA, and she has spent past summers at the ENCORE Chamber Music Institute, ECU Summer Chamber Music Institute, and NYO2. Besides orchestra, Jaeyee greatly enjoys playing in chamber ensembles (especially piano trios) and de-stressing through Word Hunt.
Tobias Liu is a sophomore violinist in Trumbull College from Johns Creek, Georgia. He has spent past summers at the Bowdoin and Orford International Music Festivals, as a member in NYO-USA, and studying abroad in Ecuador, Argentina and Spain. Outside of music, Tobias loves swimming, Atlanta sports, and oatmeal.
Jessica Na is a junior in Silliman College from Bellevue, Washington. At Yale, she studies neuroscience on the premed track. Jessica has been playing violin since the age of 6, and served as concertmaster of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. In her free time, she likes to travel, explore new restaurants, go to the beach, and play tennis. She is currently on an ongoing hunt to find the best iced latte in New Haven.
Skylar is a first-year violinist in Saybrook College from Seoul, South Korea. She is an alumna of the Korea National Institute for the Gifted in Arts and the Morningside Music Bridge summer program. When she is not profusely professing her adulation for Shostakovich, she can be found curating uber-specific Spotify playlists and vibing to hardcore Korean hip-hop.
Ella Saputra is a first-year violinist in Davenport College from Schaumburg, Illinois. She is an alumna of the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative Program and the Colburn School’s Fortissima program. She has participated in the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, Chamber Music Northwest Young Artist Institute, Orford Musique, and National Pathways Festival Orchestra, and she has previously appeared on NPR’s From The Top and WFMT 98.7 FM’s Introductions. She enjoys good food, coffee, and naps.
Lila Schweinfurth TD ‘25, a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics & Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, began studying the violin at an early age in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. Besides playing orchestral and chamber music, she also sings with the Yale Glee Club. Lila enjoys traveling and finding new places to eat.
Tyler Tan is a sophomore violinist in Pauli Murray College. He is from Cheshire, Connecticut and studied at the Juilliard Pre-College program throughout high school. Tyler was a National YoungArts Finalist and a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA. At Yale, he plans to study computer science and math. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis, binge-watching a new Netflix show, and taking the occasional nap.
Austin Wang is a junior from Berkeley College, majoring in Physics and Computer Science & Economics. Austin currently studies with Professor Kyung Yu at the Yale School of Music. As a Southern California native, Austin has been playing the violin for around a decade and has participated in the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra and the California All State Orchestras. Outside of music, Austin can often be found either observing bright white smudges in the night sky, indulging in fresh sushi and seafood, writing code for NASA’s next-generation autonomous rovers, listening to the symphonious soundtracks of Studio Ghibli, watching the Lakers win NBA championships, exploring the coastal towns, metropolitan cities, and idyllic trails of New England, or daydreaming about his bound-to-fail startup ventures.
Sheeline Yu is a junior violinist in Stiles. She is from Nashville, TN, where she studied at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. At Yale, she studies statistics and data science on the pre-med track. Sheeline loves playing chamber music and Mendelssohn, with whom she shares a birthday. Outside of music, she loves rock climbing with the Yale Climbing Team, eating so much fruit, and finding wildlife on hiking trips.
Naomi-Jeanne Main, Principal
Naomi-Jeanne Main is a sophomore violinist in Davenport College from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A student of Wendy Sharp, she is an alumna of the Temple Music Preparatory program and has spent past summers at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Madeline Island Chamber Music, and the Meadowmount School of Music. Aside from music, she loves backyard chicken keeping, running slowly, and green grapes.
Atticus Margulis-Ohnuma, Principal
Atticus Margulis-Ohnuma is a junior violinist in Branford College, studying music and psychology. He is originally from Westchester NY, though he feels as though he’s lived in New Haven for a while now. Outside of playing the violin, you can often find him working out, running for exercise, running to get to class, or eating lunch in Commons at 2:50pm. He currently studies violin with Wendy Sharp and works in the Mechanisms of Disinhibition psychology lab under the direction of Arielle Baskin-Sommers. Atticus is the current student president for the orchestra, and he is so excited to be working with an amazing executive board this year!
Gloria Baek is a first-year violinist in Grace Hopper College. Originally from Naperville, Illinois, she has been playing violin since the age of five and has most recently studied with Drew Lecher. During her time in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, she served as both concertmaster and second violin principal of the Symphony Orchestra and received the Albert Pick III Award in her senior year. At Yale, Gloria is interested in studying economics and public policy on a pre-law track, and would like to get involved at the Yale Farm as well. In her free time, Gloria enjoys going on long walks, finding good food, and trying to keep her succulent Kiwi alive (it may die by the end of this year but so far, so good!).
Ines is a first-year violinist in Pierson College from London, UK. She studied under Lorraine McAslan at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain for the past four years. Prior to that, she was involved with the National Childrens’ Orchestras of Great Britain. She is very excited to continue her orchestral playing career at the YSO! Away from music, she enjoys going on long walks, trying out different cuisines, musing over Classical literature, and being a night owl.
Felix Fein is a first-year violinist in Benjamin Franklin College from San Francisco, CA. He has been playing the violin since the age of five and was most recently a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, studying with Catherine Van Hoesen. Felix has enjoyed performing orchestral and chamber music as well as other styles, like fiddling and electric violin. When he is not playing the violin, Felix loves gardening and distance running.
Lea Kim is a senior violinist in Grace Hopper College from Solon, Ohio. She began playing the violin since the age of five, and she has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. At Yale, she is studying Chemistry and Music, and she can be found playing the carillon (the ~bells~) in Harkness Tower, dancing to K-pop songs with Yale Movement, and figure skating in Ingalls Rink. Lea is excited for her final year in YSO!
Rachel Kim is a sophomore in Davenport College from Irvine, California. She has played in a variety of orchestras including the National Youth Orchestra 2 and Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra, in both of which she held principal positions. She has performed as a soloist with the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra and has played in chamber groups such as the Pacific Symphony Youth Quartet, Junior Chamber Music, and the Chamber Music OC Pre-College Program. Rachel was chosen for a master class with world-renowned violinist Ray Chen. At Yale, she is majoring in Political Science and enjoys exploring a variety of fields, both STEM and humanities. In her free time, she enjoys going on walks, satisfying her boba addiction, and spending time with friends and family.
Sophia Schwaner is a sophomore in Silliman, (most likely) majoring in physics and philosophy. She is from a small but very artistic town in Virginia, home to the Heifetz Music Institute, which she attended for three consecutive summers. In addition to classical music, Sophia enjoys jazz double bass and singing, as well as Appalachian folk fiddle. In her free time, she enjoys riding her bicycle, composing, philosophy, and ballet.
William Shaw is a first-year in Saybrook College from Orange, CT. He started playing the violin at 5 and studied at the Neighborhood Music School in New Haven with Dr. Viara Albonetti. He was the concertmaster for three years and soloist with the Greater New Haven Youth Orchestra, and has played in masterclasses for Hilary Hahn and David Kim. He currently studies violin with Professor Kyung Yu of the Yale School of Music. William plans to major in either American Studies or Ethics, Politics, and Economics. When not playing violin, William enjoys working out, playing fantasy football, eating poke, and cheering on the Red Sox.
William Sun is a first-year violinist in Berkeley College from Wexford, Pennsylvania. In high school, he was concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Ruth M. Montgomery Fellowship Quartet, as well as performing in the NAfME All-Eastern Symphony Orchestra. Besides playing the violin (with some piano and viola on the side), he enjoys running, making bad puns, and spending time with his parakeet and rabbits.
Natsume Wu is a sophomore in Davenport College majoring in Chemistry. She is from Carmel, Indiana, and previously studied with Professor Mimi Zweig at the Indiana University String Academy, where she was a member of the Violin Virtuosi. Natsume has previously performed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Side-by-Side program, the Indiana All-State Orchestra, and the Honor Orchestra of America.
Outside of YSO, Natsume enjoys being a Science Tour Guide and is part of the Japanese-American Students Union. Her go-to fun fact is that she has a sixth toe conjoined to her right pinky toe. Natsume (and her extra toe) are very excited to play in YSO again this year!
Parisa Verma is a freshman violinist in Pauli Murray College from Tenafly, New Jersey. While in high school, she attended the Manhattan School of Music Precollege and was concertmaster of the Riverdale Country School Orchestra. Some of Parisa’s most recent musical achievements include winning the Grand Prize of the 2022 Vision Competition, Platinum Medal at the Quebec Music Competition, and Gold Medal at the North American Virtuoso International Competition. Parisa has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, NJPac, and BergenPAC. At Yale, Parisa plans to study the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health, hoping to pursue certificates in Global Health Studies, Spanish, and Chinese. Parisa also loves lacrosse, tennis, baking, mountain biking, and restaurant hunting.
Justine Xu is a first year violinist in Benjamin Franklin College from Guam. She began playing the violin at the age of 5 and has been the concertmaster of Guam’s award-winning Tumon Bay Youth Orchestra since 2018. Justine has played with multiple ensembles, orchestras, and enjoys solo performances. She was featured in Carnegie Hall and has won multiple international competitions as a soloist. She has also taken part in the summer violin programs at both Interlochen and Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute where she had a master class under Peter Zazofsky. Besides playing the violin, Justine is interested in majoring in biomedical engineering. She loves to hang out with friends and explore New Haven.
Alden Yorba is a first year student in Morse College. He has been playing the violin since the age of six, and has studied in the past with Professor Daniel Mason at the University of Kentucky. Alden has attended various summer programs including the Indiana University Summer String Academy, where he studied under Professor Erin Aldridge. He is tentatively hoping to study computer science (maybe in conjunction with molecular biophysics and biochemistry). Apart from music, Alden conducts research investigating microbial contamination bias in RNA sequencing and enjoys spending time with various animals on his farm at home, including the goose Eugene, of whom he is particularly fond.
Sophia Zhang is a violinist in Pierson College. Having grown up in Connecticut for most of her childhood before moving to Arizona, she is a true Connecticut native at heart. She was the concertmaster of the Phoenix Youth Symphony, AZ regional orchestra, and the Idyllwild Summer Chamber Festival Orchestra, and has performed a variety of solo repertoire as well. Sophia is an MCDB major and always loves a late night study session accompanied by a sugar free red bull. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, watching Grey’s Anatomy for the millionth time (only the original cast seasons), or doing the NYT crossword.
Josh Zhu is a violinist in Ezra Stiles College from Edmond, Oklahoma. Taught by his parents who are professional violinists in OKC, he played in local youth orchestras and organized local benefit concerts to fundraise for underfunded arts programs in OKC through his nonprofit, Live Life Music. He majors in Ethics, Politics, & Economics with an Energy Studies certificate, and in his free time he rewatches the Office (6x club) and complains about the dining hall.
Jacqueline Liu, Principal
Jackie Liu is a junior in Berkeley College majoring in history, with a focus on imperialism and immigration from Taiwan. She is from Plano, TX (though she says Dallas because it sounds better) and was principal of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra as well as the TMEA All State Symphony Orchestra from 2018 to 2020. Though it may be hard to believe, she has played viola for ten long years and also greatly enjoys the Schubert Cello Quintet and (both!) Brahms Sextets. She has spent summers with the Perlman Music Program in 2020 and 2021, and was a member of the Yellowbarn Young Artists Program in 2022. In her free time, you can find her in Grey Matter Books, smelling perfume, posting poetry to her Instagram story, rewatching Fleabag, or making cocktails at her friends’ houses.
Emily Hwang, Principal
Emily is a first-year violist in Morse College from Palo Alto, California. She studied with Dimitri Murrath at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College Division. Emily was a 2022 Klein Competition semifinalist and has been featured on NPR’s “From the Top” shows 407 and 421. She has also attended summer festivals such as Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Northwest, NYO-USA, and Morningside Music Bridge, where she received the Stuart Holland Memorial Award in 2023. In her free time, Emily enjoys writing, reading, and singing.
I’m Aaron Dean, a first year violist in Branford College. I am originally from the Washington DC area and have been playing for 10 years. Orchestral playing has been an important part of my life, and throughout high school I participated in the District of Columbia Youth Orchestra where I had the pleasure of touring to both Columbia and Italy. Outside of playing I enjoy running and baking. I am really excited to be a part of the YSO this year!
Jewon Im is a first-year in Benjamin Franklin from Saratoga, California. She plans to major in CS and has been playing the viola for the past seven years. She served as principal at her boarding school orchestra and at the Southern Regionals orchestra in Connecticut, and was a soloist for the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra. Jewon also participated in summer programs such as Tanglewood and the Curtis Young Artist Summer Program. In her free time, she enjoys lifting, eating Asian snacks, and sending memes to her siblings.
Samuel Johnson-Noya is a first-year violist in Saybrook College and hails from Laramie, Wyoming. He is an alumnus of the String Academy of Wyoming where he played violin and viola since he was five years old, studying at the Jacobs School of Music a few summers. He was awarded the Wyoming All-State Orchestra Player of the Year award his senior year in High school. His other hobbies include tennis, cooking, drawing and all things biology.
Kangsan Joshua Jin
Kangsan Joshua Jin is a first-year violist in Grace Hopper College hailing from Pittsford, NY (although he says he’s from Rochester since it’s more recognizable). Josh has been the principal violist of the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra for three seasons and a proud member for five years since the 8th grade. He was a winner of the RPYO 2021-2022 season concerto competition. At the Eastman Community Music School, he performed in Showcase Recitals and received merit scholarships along with a full scholarship Honor Ensemble. At the 2023 NAfME Eastern Division Conference, Josh was selected as the third chair viola for the All-Eastern Symphony Orchestra. Previously, he was selected for the New York State Conference All-State Orchestra in 2021 and 2022. Joshua was the principal violist in the NYSSMA Area All-State Orchestra and All-County Orchestras. Outside of YSO you can find him playing volleyball, napping, or engaging in shenanigans around campus.
Helen Qi is a first-year in Grace Hopper College. She is from Wilmington, Delaware and plans to study Ethics, Politics, and Economics. Helen has appeared on WRTI 90.1 FM and was principal violist of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) Young Artists Orchestra and the Temple Music Preparatory Youth Chamber Orchestra. In her free time, Helen enjoys painting, eating, and buying things that are pink and fluffy.
Jacob Shin is a junior violist in Benjamin Franklin College majoring in English. Having studied with Patinka Kopec at Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, Jacob spent past summers at Heifetz International Music Institute and Bowdoin International Music Festival. He appeared on NPR’s From the Top as a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist. Outside of music, Jacob enjoys sports, cinematography, and steak preparation methods.
Lily Shukla is a first year in Silliman College from Carmel, Indiana who has been playing viola for 8 years. She is a prospective Physics & Philosophy major and outside of viola, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and trying new kinds of food.
Derek Song is a junior in Pierson College studying MB&B and Global Health on the premed track. He is from Hinsdale, Illinois (although he tells people that he’s from Chicago), and has played in numerous ensembles, including the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Elm Elementary School Philharmonia. Outside of viola, he can be found longboarding, nursing his longboard-related injuries, and growing houseplants.
Conan Tighe Thibodeau
Conan Thibodeau is a first-year violist in Silliman College. He plans to major in linguistics or to double-major in Russian and linguistics. Conan has been studying the viola for 10 years under Boris Deviatov. In middle and high school, he was a member of the Norwalk Youth Symphony’s principal orchestra under Maestro Jonathan Yates. Conan has also played in an oboe quartet directed by Maestro Yates, as well as his local high school orchestra. He plans to continue his study of viola with New Haven Symphony Orchestra musician and YSM graduate Yaroslav Kargin.
Audrey Wang ‘24 is a music major from Scottsdale, Arizona in Ezra Stiles College. In her free time she enjoys reading Murakami, drinking oolong tea, and hunting waterfalls.
Brandon Yee is a junior violist in Davenport College from Honolulu, Hawaii. Prior to Yale, Brandon was involved in Punahou Symphony, Hawaii Youth Symphony, and the Hawaii All-State Orchestra. Outside of viola, you can find him playing pickleball/ping pong/poker with friends, falling off his Landyachtz, or thinking about his pet turtle.
Mateo Vidali, Principal
Mateo Vidali is a first year cellist in Timothy Dwight College. He is from Holden Massachusetts, and is considering studying history. During high school, Mateo studied cello with Emmanuel Feldman at New England Conservatory Prep, and played in the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. For most of the summers of his life, Mateo attended Greenwood Music Camp. In his free time he enjoys food, playing basketball with friends, watching soccer, and playing with yo-yos.
Kira Wang, Principal
Kira Wang is a sophomore cellist in Pierson College from Portland, Oregon. In past summers, she has loved attending Kneisel Hall, NYO-USA, BU Tanglewood Institute, and Center Stage Strings. Outside of music, Kira is interested in studying psychology and/or cognitive science, and loves running (from Wednesday chem lab to YSO) and missing her labradoodle named Carl.
Spencer Adler made his concerto debut in July, performing Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major with Michael Stern and the National Repertory Orchestra. He now looks forward to his Yale acting debut with Elias Gilbert in their two-man, Spanish-language, falsetto puppet show, “¿Desayuno?” When he’s not practicing cello or designing high-budget, low-brow puppets, Spencer is trying to finish the chemistry major before male-pattern baldness sets in.
Gabriela Berger is a first-year in Benjamin Franklin College. She is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and plans to major in Neuroscience or MCDB. Gabriela has been playing the cello since the age of five and was the co-principal of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra. In addition to orchestra, she loves playing in chamber groups with her friends and siblings, running, and finding free things.
Madeline Buchowski is a first-year in Berkeley College from St. Louis, Missouri. She is considering studying sociology and education. Madeline has been playing the cello since the age of five and enjoyed playing in the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra in high school. In addition to orchestra, she enjoys playing chamber music and teaching young musicians. In her free time, you can find her running to East Rock, eating out with friends, or constantly redecorating her room.
David Cho is a first-year in Benjamin Franklin College from Acton, Massachusetts. Having played the cello since the age of 5, he has played for the Boston Youth Symphony and the MMEA All-State Orchestra. He is interested in studying either a joint major in Computer Science and Economics, or a pre-med track as a Computer Science major. Outside of music, David enjoys religiously watching soccer (he is a devout Tottenham Hotspur supporter), playing chess, and exploring the Classics.
Benjamin Gruenbaum is a first-year cellist in Branford College and is fortunate to have made the long journey over from Greenwich Connecticut. Over the past summers, he has attended institutions such as Interlochen Arts Camp, Point CounterPoint, and CenterStage Strings. He plans to study physics and music while working on his German skills. Benjamin enjoys playing tennis and volleyball in his free time while also missing his kitty cat, Miss Junesy B.
Vien Le is a first year in Timothy Dwight from Canton, CT. She has played cello since the age of four and piano since the age of six. In past summers, Vien has loved attending the Bowdoin International Music Festival and the International Cello Institute. Besides music, Vien is interested in studying neuroscience and loves to ski, cook, and spend time with friends and family.
Huey-Ting Li is a first-year in Jonathan Edwards College from Hamden, Connecticut. He began playing the cello when he was five years old. He is thinking about majoring in either applied math or biomedical engineering as well as possibly doing pre-med. In his free time, he likes to play volleyball, play his ukulele, and watch anime.
Laec Lorentzen is a first year Trumbull College student from Alberta, Canada, majoring in Engineering. Currently studying with Ole Akahoshi, Laec has been playing cello since the age of 6, and is thankful for the many amazing experiences he’s had because of music. In 2022 his string quartet was one of three Canadian youth quartets chosen to participate in the Szekely/Rolston Young Musicians Program at the Banff Centre during the Banff International String Quartet Competition, which was an inspiring experience! He has spent several happy summers at the Domaine Forget International Music Academy in northern Quebec, and participated in programs such as the International Cello Institute and Académie Orford Musique, working with artists such as Anssi Karttunen, Philippe Muller, and Johannes Moser. Recently he performed with the Calgary Civic Symphony, and in October will perform with the Kensington Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra in Calgary. In his free time he enjoys experimenting on his electric guitar, reading, writing, and listening to music.
Jeremy Ng is a second-year in Trumbull College majoring in Computer Science and Astrophysics. He first began to play the piano when he was 5 and then took up the cello when he was 8. He attended the Manhattan School of Music Precollege, studying cello under David Geber and piano under Efrem Briskin, and was the proud assistant principal of their Philharmonic. Outside of YSO, you might find him performing in chamber trios, ringing the bells of Harkness Tower, live streaming his organ performances, proudly repping DPops, creating multi-part musical arrangements, grinding on problem sets, or sparring on the Taekwondo and MMA mats.
Alexander Oh is a junior from New York. He is an economics major in Morse College. Outside of YSO he is also involved with Low Strung. In the past he was involved in the New York Youth Symphony chamber music program for five years and the orchestral program for two. During his free time, he likes to exercise, play golf, and hang out with friends.
Antonis Christou, Principal
Eleanor Ohm, Co-Principal
Eleanor is a first-year in Trumbull College. She has been playing bass for around 7 years, and is from Bethesda, Maryland. In addition to playing in the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, she has attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and participated in NYO-USA. Outside of music, she enjoys spending time with friends and watching sports and tv.
Lauren Kim (TD ’26) is an Ethics, Politics, & Economics major from Ridgefield, Connecticut. She studied at Juilliard’s Pre-College division and attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. She was a fellow for NPR’s From the Top, appearing on their radio show in 2021, and has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Lincoln Center. Outside of playing the flute, Lauren enjoys hot yoga, French, and French toast. Her favorite composer is Bach, and her favorite instrument is the cello.
Nadira Novruzov (ES ’25) is a flutist from New York City. At Yale, she studies History, though when people ask her to be more specific, she pretends not to hear them. She recently made her international debut playing the Reinecke Concerto with the YSO on their 2023 Mexico Tour. In the past year, she has also been a fellow at the Colorado College Summer Music Festival, as well as a participant of the New York String Orchestra Seminar. Nadira studies with Tara O’Connor at the Yale School of Music. She likes to read, crochet miscellaneous winter-appropriate items, and climb rocks (but only fake ones). She loves the YSO, and is very excited for her third year with this incredible group!
Maddy Park is a junior from Connecticut residing in Pauli Murray. In high school, she studied flute at the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College and Juilliard Pre-College. Over the summers, she has attended music camps such as Kinhaven and Boston University Tanglewood Institute. She is a Statistics & Data Science major. In her free time, Maddy enjoys napping, playing the ukulele mediocrely, and watching movies on the projector from her bed.
Sasha Tarassenko is a first year in Morse from Norcross, Georgia. A former student of Christina Smith, the principal flute of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Sasha was involved with many local youth orchestras, a wind symphony, and an Eastern-European folk ensemble. In her summers over the years, Sasha attended Eastern Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and National Youth Orchestra. She loves crosswords and cats, despite rarely finishing crosswords and never owning a cat.
Supriya Weiss is a (super) senior flautist in Saybrook majoring in mathematics. Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, she can be found wearing twice as many layers as everyone else to shield from the cold and marveling at the existence of seasons beyond summer. To win her heart, offer her chai, chocolates, or Hagoromo chalk.
Estelle Balsirow, Class of 2026, is a Kalmyk-American oboist in Jonathan Edwards College working towards the computing and linguistics major. She has studied oboe with Julia Derosa and Hassan Anderson at Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program and Lillian Copeland at the Senior Mannes Prep Program. Estelle played at the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles National Festival as the principal oboist, with the Lucarelli Oboe Master Class, and in the Interlochen Arts Camp. Estelle originally studied violin and piano, but was urged by her sister, now a Columbia-Juilliard composition student, to play oboe in middle school. During summer 2023, Estelle worked as an ONEXYS math coach and studied in the STARTALK Intensive Language Program at the University of Central Florida. She also sings with the Yale Slavic Chorus and Cadence of Yale and chairs in the Yale Model United Nations.
Li-Yuan Chiang, a first-year PhD student in Physics from Taipei, Taiwan, began learning the oboe at the age of ten and studied with Prof. Chai-Hsuan Tsai for many years. More recently, he has performed as a soloist and served as the principal oboist at National Taiwan University. He often finds the connections between music, physics, and mathematics fascinating and dreams of learning more about composing music in the future.
Miranda Margulis-Ohnuma is a (super) senior in Branford studying Earth and Planetary Sciences on the paleontology track. Over the last four years, she has played oboe, English horn, and cello in the YSO. She also currently performs with the Yale Concert Band and Low Strung (Yale’s all-cello rock band) and studies cello with Professor Ole Akahoshi. In her free time she likes to hike and look at fossils.
Matthew is a sophomore in Trumbull College from Laurel, Maryland. He has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra, Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Maryland All State Orchestra. Outside of music, Matthew is interested in studying neuroscience, and hopes to eventually help deepen our understanding of mental health disorders in order to pave the way for more effective treatments.
Alex Moore is a sophomore in Grace Hopper College from St. Paul, Minnesota. He wavers between engineering, programming, and history at Yale. Alex played in youth symphony and many pit orchestras in high school, and has also played classical piano for 11 years. Outside the orchestra, Alex works in the Faboratory engineering lab and co-leads Hopper College Council.
Gisela is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College and studies philosophy. This is her third year playing in the YSO. She grew up in London, UK, studying clarinet since she was 8 and further joining the Royal College of Music Junior Department at 11. She was also a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
Harrison Copp is a sophomore majoring in math. He hails from Portland, Oregon but is actually from Seattle, Washington. He also has Australian citizenship. He also likes watching movies. Unfortunately, Harrison doesn’t like talking about himself, so this is the end of the biography.
Eli is a senior in Benjamin Franklin College from Santa Cruz, California, majoring in Computer Science and Math. He previously served as Assistant Conductor of the YSO, and currently conducts the Davenport Pops Orchestra. One of the most exciting moments of his life was getting to conduct the YSO Halloween Show last year. When not playing or listening to music, Eli enjoys exploring cities, playing disc golf, and eating ice cream.
Hi, my name is Diana Yang from New York. I am a sophomore in Berkeley college. I am a prospective Econ + Math major. I like clarinet but I also enjoy crocheting, collecting books, and going on walks with my friends.
Sharif Hassen (ES, ’26) is a Computing and Linguistics major and bassoonist originally from New York City. Having grown up almost entirely in Abu Dhabi, UAE, he started playing at the age of 12, later performing with the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra during high school and participating in various international festivals through the AMIS organization. He now lives a comfortable, settled life between the granola walls of Stiles, where he studies Japanese, collects vinyl, plays a really bad game of badminton and way too much Super Smash Brothers.
I am a first year in Saybrook College, and I grew up in DeSoto, as well as Duncanville, Texas. I have played bassoon since the 6th grade for the Duncanville band program. I have played for the TMEA region orchestra for every year since I was a freshman in high school, and although I came short in making the TMEA All State Band, I made the TMEA Area Band all four years of my high school career. I’m majoring in mechanical engineering to focus on aerospace engineering as a career. When I’m not being a musician, you can find me practicing baseball, playing GTA/Smash Bros., exploring campus, and chowing down in the dining halls.
Jack Landau (BF, ‘26) is a proud bassoonist hailing from Wellesley, Massachusetts. After starting on the piano at age 4, Jack fell in love with the bassoon, with his concert debut featuring his high school band’s arrangement of Africa by Toto. Since then, he’s participated in Boston Area youth orchestras as well as his home state’s All State band. In his free time, you can catch him struggling with problem sets, thrifting, failing skateboard tricks, or showing off his record player.
Eric is a First-Year In Branford College. Eric grew up in Pearland, TX, where he found his love for bassoon. Eric has played in many groups including Houston Youth Symphony, AFA Texas, his High School/Region Bands/Orchestras, and is also a TMEA All-State Alumni. While Eric is still undecided for his major, he does have an interest for computer and political sciences. Outside of school and music, Eric can be seen playing tennis, competing in professional Valorant, and walking around campus trying out all the dining halls.
Jasmine Chen is a first-year student residing in Grace Hopper College. She grew up in Belmont, Massachusetts and has been playing the French horn since 4th grade. Jasmine has played in the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Boston Youth Symphony, and New England Conservatory Preparatory School Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. She has spent past summers at Brevard Music Center and Boston University Tanglewood Institute. Although her major is currently undecided, she is interested in studying psychology. In her free time, Jasmine enjoys biking, reading, and trying new foods.
Annie is a First Year Student in Morse College from Huntington Woods, MI. Annie has played with Interlochen’s World Youth Symphony Orchestra as well as the Detroit Youth Symphony Wind Ensemble. When Annie is not playing the French horn, she enjoys listening to Taylor Swift and running.
Raoul is a Sophomore in Morse College studying comparative literature and urban studies. He’s played the French horn since fifth grade, but also dabbles in conducting, piano, and film scoring. His favorite orchestral work is a toss-up between Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra” and Ravel’s “La Valse.”
Ethan is a first-year in Saybrook College planning to study computer science. He has been playing the horn for seven years, and played in the Triangle Youth Philharmonic, North Carolina All State Band, North Carolina All State Orchestra, and the Duke Symphony Orchestra. He graduated from the UNCSA high school music program in 2023. At UNCSA, Ethan performed with the UNCSA Wind Ensemble, Chamber Winds, Symphony Orchestra, Nutcracker Orchestra, Amadeus Orchestra, and a faculty led student brass trio. In addition to his studies with Dr. Maria Serkin, he has been a student of Rachel Niketopoulos and Christopher Caudill. Outside of the YSO, Ethan makes horn mutes and repairs, restores, customizes, and rebuilds horns with the help of his twin brother, Ryan.
Connor Totilas is a senior in Benjamin Franklin College from Windermere, FL. He is majoring in Math and Computer Science and has been playing horn for 11 years. Connor is involved in several music groups across Yale campus alongside the YSO such as DPops. In his spare time he enjoys reading and is currently working on research in machine learning.
Rylan is a first-year in Pauli Murray College studying computer science. He’s been playing the horn for 7 years, having participated in various ensembles such as high school orchestra, the Golden State Youth Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Apart from music, Rylan enjoys trying new food spots, exploring campus, and taking naps.
Aiden Magley is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College studying History with a concentration in Empires and Colonialism and pursuing the Education Studies certificate. He has played the trumpet for 14 years and trained classically for 8. He is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has enjoyed membership in the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Three Rivers Young Peoples’ Orchestras, the River City Youth Brass Band, and multiple orchestral pits, including two here at Yale. Along with YSO, Aiden is a Communication and Consent Educator and plays in the band Free at Five.
Matthew Verich is a sophomore at Branford College with an intended major in neuroscience. He grew up in Alexandria, VA, and has been playing trumpet since fifth grade. He has played in various bands and orchestras including the Washington Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, American Youth Concert Orchestra, and the National Jazz Workshop All-Star Band. He also participated in both the Virginia All-State Concert and Jazz Bands. When Matthew is not playing the trumpet you can find him practicing piano, playing tennis, or swimming. Matthew is not only an active member of the YSO, he is also a board member of the Yale Undergraduate Jazz Collective and plays with the Yale mariachi band.
Andrew Wang is a junior in Berkeley studying Economics. He grew up in Beijing, China, attending international schools, and went to high school in Atlanta, Georgia. He has played trumpet for a little over a decade now and studied under Stuart Stephenson. Outside of YSO, Andrew enjoys cooking, playing poker, and listening to Jazz.
Emily Zhang is a first-year student in Ezra Stiles college from Needham, Massachusetts. She has been playing trumpet for 8 years and has been in various groups such as the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the MMEA All-State Orchestra. Emily also enjoys volleyball, watching Love Island, and playing minesweeper in her free time. Although she is currently undecided, Emily is considering an MCDB major.
My name is Lucas and I’m from Orlando, Florida. I’m a second year in Trumbull majoring in biomedical engineering. I’ve been playing trombone since 6th grade, participating in state honor bands throughout high school. I’ve also participated in various trombone solo competitions, winning the 2021 American Trombone Workshop National Solo Competition as well as the 2022 S.E. Shires National Youth Competition. Outside of music I enjoy talking with my friends, playing chess, walking, and eating. Fun fact about me is that I was born on leap day and this is the only year I will have a birthday at Yale. I’m most excited for the Halloween show this year and playing for a packed concert hall!
My name is Konrad Kurczynski, and I’m a sophomore in Benjamin Franklin College. Although I spent my high-school years in the UK, I grew up in Poland and completed my music education at Rozycki Music School in Kielce, majoring in Trombone and Euphonium. Over the years, I participated in ensembles ranging from classical, through folk, to jazz. Outside of music, I’m interested in history, running, and philosophy!
Sophie Richardson is a first-year in Ezra Stiles college, originally from Concord, Massachusetts. She started playing trombone in fourth grade and has played in the Boston Youth Symphony, the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Wind Ensemble. She also loves chamber music and will always have a soft spot for trombone choir and brass quintet. She wants to explore a bunch of Yale classes before she picks a major, but right now
she’s interested in Environmental Studies. Outside of school and music Sophie enjoys crocheting, going on walks, and eating yummy food.
Reid Hightower is a second-year Chemical Engineering major from Las Vegas, Nevada. He attended the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts where he participated in the Regional Honor Band and All-State Band, earning first chair in the All-State Band during his senior year. Along with the tuba, he plays the drums and bass guitar. Outside of class and orchestra, Reid conducts environmental engineering research in the Winter Lab and is an active member of the Native American Cultural Center’s student groups.
Benson Wang is an Economics and Computer Science Major at Berkeley College. Through high school, Benson has made the CT All-State Festival four times, all being first chairs. He was Principal tuba for the inaugural year of the National Youth Wind Ensemble and the Carnegie Hall HPS Series Band. He has also been awarded prestigious orchestral fellowships at Interlochen, Idyllwild, and Brevard. In addition to his orchestral and wind ensemble endeavors, he was unanimously awarded first place at the ITEA’s International Tuba Solo Competition and Third Place at the American Protege Winds and Brass Competition. Throughout his musical endeavors, he has studied tuba with Tony Clements, David Winer, and James Gourlay.
Hi! My name is Max Hammond, and I’m a pianist in Silliman. I’m in the class of 2023.5, and a double major in Math and WGSS, with a focus in queer musicology. I especially enjoy playing new and collaborative music, and hope to pursue music as a career after Yale.
Kameron Duncan is a sophomore in Morse College from Los Gatos, California majoring in Applied Physics and Music. He currently studies piano with Wei-Yi Yang at the Yale School of Music. Kameron is a Young Arts Finalist and has studied at the Oberlin Piano Festival and Curtis Summerfest. He is a member of the Yale Undergraduate Piano Collective and the enjoys playing chamber music! When not playing music, Kameron enjoys drawing and running.
Jacob Leshnower is a first-year percussionist in Grace Hopper College from Long Island, New York, and plans to study Music and Statistics & Data Science. He began playing piano at the age of two and percussion in the fourth grade. Jacob has performed on percussion with the NAfME All-National Symphony Orchestra and NAfME All-Eastern Symphonic Band, and on piano with the New York All-State Symphonic Band. He was also a finalist in NPR’s radio show From The Top and appeared in NPR’s “Daily Joy” feature. In the summers, Jacob has participated in the Juilliard Summer Percussion Seminar & Masterclass Series, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and the NYU Sandbox Percussion Seminar. Outside of music, Jacob enjoys competing in Rubik’s cube competitions and juggling.
My name is Angelica Lorenzo and I’m a senior in Grace Hopper College studying Biomedical Engineering on the pre-med track. I’ve been playing percussion since second grade with ensembles and programs such as The Percussion Scholarship Group, National Youth Orchestra 2, YoungArts, From The Top, and Interlochen Arts Camp. One of my most memorable musical experiences was going on tour to Spain with the Yale Concert Band. Outside of music, I enjoy biking, reading, and exploring new places with friends.
Nate Mathew is a sophomore in Trumbull college studying Ethics, Politics, & Economics and Computer Science. He has been playing percussion for 15 years with groups such as the Central Illinois Youth Symphony, Midwest Young Artist Conservatory, and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. Nate also spent two summers at the Interlochen Center for the Arts summer camp. Outside of music at Yale, Nate is involved with the Yale Student Investment Group and Yale Undergraduate Diversified Investments. In his free time, Nate can be found hanging out with friends, working out, or playing poker.
Zahra Virani is a sophomore in Saybrook prospectively studyLiuing Urban Studies and Film and Media Studies. She is from Houston, Texas, where she played percussion in her high school’s marching band and drumline. Her favorite percussion instrument is the marimba (with the triangle coming in a close second) and she loves being able to play such a diverse array of instruments as a percussionist. In her free time, she can be found painting, jamming out to Taylor Swift, or exploring New Haven.
Jacob is a junior in Branford majoring in Mechanical Engineering. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and reading cooking recipes, and he can often be found daydreaming about new places to go on adventures in.
Keeley Brooks, Head Librarian