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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.

Matt Sharrock – Percussion

Living Music Summit

Matt Sharrock (they/them) is a vibrant musician whose performances have been praised as “eloquent” (San Francisco Chronicle), “sumptuous” (Boston Globe), “gorgeously lyrical” (Pittsburgh Gazette), and they have been hailed one of "Boston's best percussionists" (I Care if You Listen).

Along with clarinetist Amy Advocat as Transient Canvas, Matt tirelessly champions the music of living composers. Since its founding in 2011, TC has premiered over 80 pieces for bass clarinet and marimba while touring extensively in the United States and abroad. They have also sponsored an annual paid Composition Fellowship Program since 2017 that is free and open to composers of all ages. TC has released three albums on New Focus Recordings: Right Now, In a Second, noted by the Boston Globe for its “assemblage of fresh compositions” that “demonstrates the expanse that this pairing…can afford imaginative composers,” Wired, “a must-add to any new music lover’s library” according to I Care If You Listen, and Sift, which KLANG New Music called “one of the more refreshing things I’ve heard in recent years.”

In demand as a chamber musician, Matt is the resident percussionist with the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston and has performed with the Lydian String Quartet, Boston Musica Viva, Sound Icon, the Lorelei Ensemble, and with cellist Andrés Díaz at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival. They are also a founding member of the mixed quartet Hinge and the Boston Percussion Group. As an orchestral percussionist, Matt can be heard regularly with the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, the Orchestra of Indian Hill, and the Grammy-winning Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and they have performed with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, and Symphony New Hampshire, among others. From 2013-2020 they served as Music Director and conductor for Equilibrium. They have recorded as a soloist, conductor, chamber musician, and orchestra musician on Beauport Classical, BMOP/sound, Innova, Navona, New Focus Recordings, and Ravello Records.

A passionate educator, Matt teaches music theory and liberal arts at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music in addition to being a course developer and facilitator for Berklee Online. They regularly present masterclasses across the U.S. with recent engagements at Chapman University, East Carolina University, University of Missouri Columbia, and the University of Kansas. Dedicated to working with student composers, Transient Canvas has been an ensemble-in-residence with The Boston Conservatory High School Composition Intensive since 2013 and they have held residencies with the composition departments at Harvard, Brandeis, Tufts, and Northeastern Universities, the Dancz Center for New Music at the University of Georgia, Vermont College of Fine Arts, the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, North Carolina NewMusic Initiative, Charlotte New Music Festival, Divergent Studio at Longy School of Music, and the Alba Music Festival Composition Program in Alba, Italy, among others.

Matt holds an M.M. in Marimba Performance from The Boston Conservatory and a B.M. in Music Performance (Percussion) from Baldwin Wallace University. Their primary teachers include Nancy Zeltsman and Jack Van Geem (marimba); Keith Aleo, Josh Ryan, and Sam Solomon (percussion); John Grimes (timpani), Sharan Leventhal (chamber music), and Dwight Oltman (conducting).
Matt proudly endorses Marimba One and Encore Mallets.

Stephen Marotto – Cello

Living Music Summit

A native of Norwalk, Connecticut, Stephen has received a Bachelors degree with honors from the University of Connecticut, and Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Boston University. Stephen’s formative teachers include Michael Reynolds, Kangho Lee, Marc Johnson, and Rhonda Rider. A passionate advocate for contemporary music, Stephen plays regularly with groups such as Sound Icon, Callithumpian Consort, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and also performs on various new music concert series in the Boston area and beyond. Stephen has attended music festivals at the Banff Centre, Cortona Sessions for New Music and SoundSCAPE festival in Italy, and the and the Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. Stephen has a wide range of musical interest that include contemporary chamber music, improvisatory music, and electroacoustic music. As a soloist, Stephen has commissioned several new works for the instrument, and is concerned with expanding and augmenting the tonal pallet of his instrument both with and without technology. Stephen can be heard as a featured artist on Mode Records. In his spare time, Stephen is an avid hiker and outdoorsman.

Shu Wen Tey - Piano

Praised for her “beautiful sound” (Arnaldo Cohen) and “wonderful fingerwork” (Lars Vogt), Singaporean pianist Shu Wen Tay enjoys a multi-faceted identity as a musician. As a solo pianist, she has performed in Europe, Singapore and the United States, in venues including Jordan Hall (Boston, MA), and Victoria Concert Hall (Singapore). She won First Prize (Asia Youth Piano Competition 2016), Dakademy Scholarship Award – Best Performer (Singapore Performers’ Festival and Chamber Music Competition 2018) and most recently qualified as a Semi-Finalist (Madrid International Piano Competition 2023). In a chamber music setting, she has worked closely with members of the Borromeo String Quartet, Cleveland Quartet and the Singapore-based early music ensemble, Red Dot Baroque. Having a keen interest in music outside of the classical canon, Shu Wen regularly gives premieres of contemporary works by composers within Asia, and will be performing in concerts for the Boston New Music Initiative. Shu Wen received her Bachelor’s degree from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YST), National University of Singapore, on a full scholarship and graduated valedictorian, under the tutelage of Albert Tiu. Currently, she is finishing her Master’s degree in piano performance at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studies with Vivian Weilerstein. She also serves as Teaching Assistant to non-majors and Pianist accompanist at the NEC Preparatory School. Starting Fall 2024, she will be embarking on her Doctoral studies at Stony Brook University, alongside a Teaching Assistantship under renowned pianist Gil Kalish.

David Angelo - Clarinet

David Angelo is a clarinetist and teacher who recently relocated to Houston from Boston. As a fierce advocate for new music, David has participated in the world premieres of over 100 pieces including solo, chamber, and large ensemble works. Additionally, David was named first prize winner of the Cortona Sessions Contemporary Performance Competition in 2015. Select performance highlights include premiering a concerto by Sid Richardson with the Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble, and touring the US with Ambient Orchestra, performing an arrangement of David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, with orchestrator and conductor Evan Ziporyn. David has played with many Boston-based groups including the Du Bois Orchestra, New England Film Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Sound Icon, Boston New Music Initiative, the Boston Opera Collaborative, MassOpera, New England Conservatory’s Contemporary Ensemble, and MIT’s Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Chorus Orchestra. He has also been a guest artist for the music departments of Harvard University, the University of Hartford, Berklee College of Music, and the Boston Conservatory. David studied Clarinet Performance at the Boston Conservatory (Bachelor of Music, 2016) and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Contemporary Music Performance (2018). David is also a certified Alexander Technique teacher, having completed a three-year program with The Alexander Technique Center of Cambridge. He currently teaches a studio of clarinet and piano students.

Kimberleigh Holman - Choreographer

Kimberleigh A. Holman is an artist working interdisciplinarily in dance, theatre and design. Her work gravitates to the exploration of human social interaction and behavior, both real and fictitious, miniscule instances or broad patterns, through comedic, dark, sensory or abstract narrative. As a mover and maker, one of her biggest considerations is authenticity; she hopes to enable those performing her work to find genuine ways to be present in the performance space and hopes to inspire viewers to react in genuinely felt ways of their own. Holman excitedly creates work around these principles for Luminarium, where she passionately leads the company’s Arts in Action Project; an annual outreach program that strives to make social impact through youth arts experiences. Besides nearly 80 performances with Luminarium across New England, Holman has been invited to choreograph for commercials and film, dozens of theatrical productions across Boston, and to bring her work to stages ranging from public library basements to the globally renowned APAP conference in NYC. Holman is frequently hired as a guest artist at Boston-area universities, speaks on her career as an arts entrepreneur, and serves on multiple boards of directors. Some favorite recent projects include collaborating on a video/performance piece by Adara Meyers, which debuted at the Boston Center for the Arts in early 2018, and a research and performance project where Holman traveled up the Eastern Seaboard, performing in public locations in each of the fifteen East Coast states. Holman earned her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College.

Katrina Conte - Dancer

Katrina Conte is a dance artist and choreographer. She was raised in Mt. Pocono, PA, and has recently moved to Boston. Conte graduated with her BFA in Dance with a minor in Technical Theater from Ball State University. During her time there she had the opportunity to work with Sidra Bell, Jamy Meek, Shen Wei Dance Arts, and Noa Shadur. She currently is working with Luminarium Dance, ALIVE dance collective, and is a trainee with Kairos Dance Theater; she couldn’t be more excited to dance and create with these inspiring artists.

Shannon Leigh - Clarinet

Shannon is a contemporary clarinetist living in Jamaica Plain. She received her bachelor's degree in Music Education at Shenandoah University, and her master's degree in Contemporary Classical Music Performance at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Shannon currently works at Berklee as the Senior Administrative Associate in the Professional Writing and Technology Division. Shannon also walks dogs, teaches lessons, and loves a good (or bad) horror movie.

Bri Tagliaferro - Cello

Bri Tagliaferro (she/her) is a cellist, collaborator, and arts administrator who cares deeply about creating new and meaningful work. Bri has premiered numerous pieces for the cello in solo, chamber music, and orchestral contexts, and in collaboration with theater, dance, and visual artists. Especially interested in the new and cutting edge, Bri has performed with the Ambient Orchestra, Liars and Believers Theater Company, with the Next Festival of Emerging Artists, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, at the Klangspuren Schwaz Ensemble Modern Academy (Austria), the Boston New Music Festival, as a soloist with the Boston Conservatory Composer’s Orchestra, as a guest artist at universities including Harvard, MIT and Clark University, and more. Bri can be heard on Chris Opperman's "Chamber Music From Hell,” The Ambient Orchestra's “Blackstar” and Curtis K. Hughes’ “Tulpa", among others.

©#### The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc.
P.O. Box 400420 Cambridge, MA 02140