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Principal Conductor, 2023-2024

Guest Artists, 2023-2024

Principal Conductor, 2023-2024

John Masko

Rhode Island native John Masko is a rapidly rising orchestral conductor with a knack for bringing contemporary music and time-honored classics together in new ways. He is currently music director of the Brockton Symphony Orchestra and the Providence Medical Orchestra, director of orchestral activities at Marywood University, and a frequent assistant and cover conductor with orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra. An enthusiastic advocate for new music, John is principal conductor of the Boston New Music Initiative. He has conducted at the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music and the Atlantic Music Festival, and led numerous premieres, including recent works by Robert Ruohola and Oana Vardianu.

John holds a master’s degree in conducting from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Eric Dudley. He has also studied conducting with Charles Peltz at New England Conservatory. John has conducted in masterclasses led by Cristian Măcelaru, Rüdiger Bohn, Sian Edwards, Paavo Järvi, and Jorma Panula, and has assisted conductors including Michael Tilson Thomas, Krzysztof Urbanski, Cristian Măcelaru, and Osmo Vänskä.

Outside of music, he fancies himself maker of the best gumbo north of the Mason Dixon Line and is a devotee of the novels of Thomas Hardy.

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Guest Artists, 2023-2024

photo © Susan Wilson

Deirdre Viau – Flute

Deirdre Viau received a Graduate Performance Diploma in Flute from the Longy School of Music. She studied flute with Julia Scolnik and Vanessa Mulvey, and jazz improvisation with Peter Cassino. An enthusiastic proponent of New Music, Ms. Viau is currently a core member of the Boston New Music Initiative. She also performs classical and modern chamber music with the flute/viola/harp ensemble Trio Notturno.

Arjun Mudan – Violin/Viola

Arjun Mudan is a Boston-based violist/violinist, with a particular interest in the new and the unusual. This is his second season involved with the Boston New Music Initiative. He has performed with numerous Eastern MA ensembles, including the Boston Philharmonic, Cape Ann Symphony, and Plymouth Philharmonic. He was involved in the US and Swiss premiers of major works by Helmut Lachenmann and Friedrich Cerha, and has worked with conductors such as Matthias Pintscher, Jeffrey Milarsky, Heinz Holliger, and JoAnn Falletta. His festival credits include Spoleto, Round Top, and Lucerne. Arjun has a bachelor's degree from Columbia University, and influential teachers include Michelle LaCourse, Jessica Meyer, Cyrus Beroukhim, and Dimitri Murrath.

Shalun Li – Piano

Chinese-born, Shalun Li is a student of pianist Ting Zhou and composer, Jianzhong Wang in Music Middle School Affiliated to Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He is now pursuing a Master of Music at New England Conservatory in Boston as a student of Meng-Chieh Liu.

With equal parts discipline, drive and passion, Li has built a deep appreciation for the rigorous, high-level technical skills involved in piano. That, combined with his profound love for emotionally-driven storytelling through music, underpins an illustrious career for the young but already distinguished pianist.

In 2018, Li created his own ‘Multi-Art’ exhibition series, which combined his passion for music, painting and poetry, essentially creating a unique, never-seen-before, cross-disciplinary art experience. The exhibition series broke new ground, and is being critically praised for its innovation as a new medium of artistic expression. More importantly though, it has been a milestone for Li as it has allowed him to successfully mix interdisciplinary fields in a way that he was previously unable to.
Shalun Li’s notable accomplishments to date include:
  • First Prize in the 16th US Open Music Competition
  • First Prize in the Japanese Nation Piano Competition
  • Third Prize in the 21th Chopin International Piano Competition ASIA
  • First Honor Prize in the 4th Asia Toyama Teenager Piano Competition
  • First Prize in the 4th Wiesbaden Piano Competition, South China Division

Yhasmin Valenzuela-Blanchard – Clarinet

Yhasmin Valenzuela-Blanchard's musicality is communicated through her warm and heartfelt sound both in her orchestral and chamber music performances.

She is a vibrant performer and educator throughout all of New England. In addition to the Boston New Music Initiative, she collaborates frequently with the Apollo Ensemble of Boston, Symphony New Hampshire, New England Philharmonic, Cape Ann Symphony among others.

As an advocate for contemporary music, Yhasmin has performed in the premiere of many new works as a core member of The Boston New Music Initiative.

Yhasmin holds a Bachelor’s degree in performance and music education from Conservatorio de Lima “Josafat Roel Pineda”, a Master’s Degree in clarinet performance from Texas Christian University and a Graduate Performance Diploma in clarinet performance from Longy School of Music.

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