Artistic StaffConductors and coaches of the Young Artists Philharmonic
Recognized as an “energetic” performer by The New York Times, Italian conductor Christian Capocaccia has distinguished himself as an artist of keen insight and musicianship. His ease on the podium and comfortable coaching style with musicians and singers alike have made him a favourite with orchestras, opera companies and vocalists.
In the 16/17 season, Mr. Capocaccia continues in his role as Music Director of the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic for the fifth year. In the Fall he made his company debut with the Pittsburgh Opera, conducting La Traviata. In February he returns to Syracuse Opera to lead performances of Rigoletto.
In the 15/16 season, Mr. Capocaccia took the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic ensemble to New York City for their Carnegie Hall debut. For the Spring semester of 2016, he served as adjunct professor and visiting conductor with Montclair State University’s opera department. In the Fall of 2015 he returned to the Manhattan School of Music to lead the Philharmonia Orchesetra in a symphonic concert, and in February 2016 made his debut with Syracuse Opera in La Boheme. His performances with the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra in March marked his debut with that ensemble.
Mr. Capocaccia previously held positions as assistant conductor of the Dallas Opera, resident conductor of the Fischer Center at Bard College, assistant conductor of the IU New Music Ensemble, and assistant professor of conducting at the State University of New York College at Fredonia. He has regularly conducted AsLiCo, and has recently conducted operas with the Manhattan School of Music, and the Welsh National Opera. He is a former Aspen Music Festival Conducting Fellow, where he studied with David Zinman and Murry Sidlin.
Born in Rome, he attended the Santa Cecilia Music Conservatory studying under Paolo Ciociola and completed his studies with world-renowned violinist Nina Beilina in New York. Subsequently he studied composition under Boris Porena and Luciano Pelosi, and conducting with Piero Bellugi and Donato Renzetti. A graduate of Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington under David Effron he has participated in Master classes with Herbert Blomstedt, Gustav Meier and Leonard Slatkin.
As a guest conductor he has appeared both in the United States and Europe leading ensembles such as the Orchestra di Roma e del Lazio, Moscow Ballet Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Città di Grosseto, Orchestra Città Aperta, International Chamber Ensemble, Orchestra da Camera delle Marche and Orchestra Sinfonica di Pesaro among others.
Conductor, Young People's Symphony
Tristan Rais-Sherman is the recently appointed Conductor of the Young Peoples Symphony with the Young Artists Philharmonic. He also has recently been named Artistic Director and Conductor of the Hilltop Chamber Music Series in Greenwich, CT. Tristan has become one of the most sought after young conductors in New York/Connecticut area, and is becoming known for his vivid and thrilling music-making. He previously served as Assistant Conductor and David Alan Miller Fellow of the New York Youth Symphony from 2015-2017. Tristan recently performed as part of the Lamont Conducting Workshop in Denver, CO and the Aurora Festival in Vänersborg, Sweden. He is passionate about creating inspiring musical experiences for people of all ages. Tristan graduated from the University of Michigan with a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting, studying with Kenneth Kiesler.
Conductor, Young String Ensemble
Barbara DiFranco is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University. She has done graduate work in music at Bridgeport Uniiversity. Ms. DiFranco, violinist, has performed with the Ridgefield Symphonette and Bridgeport Civic Orchestra. An alumna of the Young Artist Philharmonic, she conducted the Young String Ensemble from 1980-1986. In 1986, she was nominated for the American Symphony Orchestra League’s Helen M. Thompson Award. She has taught strings and orchestra in the Fairfield and Norwalk CT school systems for over forty years. In 2015, she was a finalist for the Connecticut Association of Schools Exemplary Educator Award which recognizes educators who have had a significant impact on their students and the music programs of district schools.
Director, Woodwind Ensemble
Anna DeFelice, director of woodwinds at the Young Artists Philharmonic, is an accomplished and experienced clarinetist, pianist, musicologist and music theorist. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. (ABD) at Stony Brook University and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, along with other certifications, from the Eastman School of Music, Syracuse University, and the Juilliard School. An experienced wind ensemble performer, Anna has performed internationally and recorded with the acclaimed Eastman Wind Ensemble. She performed across the East Coast with the Trio d’Exuberance. She has concertized at many major concert halls around the world, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Anna studied with Richard Shillea and Kenneth Grant, participated in master classes with David Shifrin and Larry Combs, and has been coached by the Emerson String Quartet.
Prior to her Ph.D. studies, Anna worked as the full-time music critic and arts reporter at the daily newspaper in Rochester, NY, covering the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Eastman School of Music, and all the professional and youth groups in the area. She freelance writes about issues in classical music for major publications. Currently, Anna maintains a small private music studio, teaching clarinet, saxophone, auxiliary woodwinds, piano, and historical and theory topics to students of all ages in Fairfield County. She has successfully prepared grade school students for All State, music festivals, and college auditions.
A sought-after violinist, Chie Yoshinaka has been performing and teaching all over United States and abroad. The highlight of recent seasons includes Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello with Micha Haran (the former principal cello of the Israel Philharmonic) and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic in Quezon City, Philippines and Baroque concerti with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s chamber orchestra in Greenwich, Connecticut. Her solo and chamber music engagements have taken her throughout the United States, Graz (Austria), Tokyo and Yokohama (Japan).
Also an avid orchestral player, she has appeared as a guest concertmaster with numerous orchestras such as Lake George Chamber Orchestra. With the AIMS Festival Orchestra she performed in Steirmark region of Austria in 2012 and 2014. She has performed regularly with Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Northwest Indiana Symphony and New York Asian Symphony.
Chie has served on faculty at music schools, festivals and youth orchestras such as Chicago Youth Symphony. In 2013, she was on artist-faculty of Opusfest Antipolo: the International Classical Music Camp in the Philippines. As a Visiting Mentor of Orchestra of the Filipino Youth, she coached the combined orchestra of OFY and other young musicians at Child Aid Asia 2016 in Malaysia, and she was invited to give a masterclass at Fine Arts and Music in Kuala Lumpur.
She is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music (B.M.) and New York University (M.A.) where she received the Graduate Education Scholarship and Kappa Delta Pi membership. Her major teachers include Neil Weintrob and Peter Winograd.