Artistic StaffConductors and coaches of the Young Artists Philharmonic
Guest Conductor, Young String Ensemble
Darwin Shen has been performing as a soloist in concert halls and with ensembles and orchestras all over the United States for over twenty years. Although he continues to perform much of the standard violin repertoire of concertos, sonatas and short pieces, in recent years he has specialized in resurrecting lost or rarely performed works of the late 19thand early 20th centuries. He has been sought after by other artists and musicians as an expert in these works, and his most recent projects in this area have been published online.
Most recently, Darwin reconstructed the 1940’s Heifetz arrangement of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and rare pieces by Leopold Auer and John Crowther, and published his work online in video format. All were highlighted by violinist.com. Darwin is currently working on a number of similar projects.
In addition to his performance schedule, Darwin maintains a teaching studio for pre-college students in the New York metropolitan area. His students have gone on to study at many of the major music conservatories and colleges in the United States. Darwin is also the founder and executive director of the Violin Audition Prep Program, an annual, intensive program which is designed to teach young musicians how to approach and perform in auditions of all types, including for college and conservatory admissions and orchestra placements. He also works with student orchestras and school music programs as a guest teacher, helping students work through intensive rehearsals or difficult pieces.
Darwin studied violin with Paul Kantor, Kyung Yu and Yuval Waldman. He also has a BA degree in History from Manhattanville College.
Guest Conductor, Young People's Symphony
Ian Shafer is a passionate, multifaceted musician; a conductor, oboist and composer. He is the Staff Conductor for the Buffalo Philharmonic and a Cover Conductor for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Music Director of New York’s Sylph Ensemble, the orchestras at Crescendo! Chamber Music Camp, and the Greater Philadelphia Honors Orchestra. Mr. Shafer was the Assistant Conductor of the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra and the cover conductor of the Oberlin Conservatory Contemporary Music Ensemble and asked to conduct Ancient Voices of Children at Oberlin’s “George Crumb Festival.” In addition to symphonic works, he has prepared the cast and orchestra for the performance of Il Barbiere di Sivigila; for Starbird, a children’s opera, by Henry Mollicone and the Medium by Menotti. Additionally, he has: debuted at Carnegie Hall, played for delegates at the United Nations, commissioned and performed several world premieres, created chamber music and youth orchestra programs, designed music theory and history courses and has served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music Precollege in the Woodwind and Theory divisions since 2013.
Making his conducting debut at 13 years old, leading an original composition, Beau Terre, composer Ian Shafer is a strong advocate for new music. He truly enjoys the creativity synthesized through collaboration. Mr. Shafer has proudly led the world premieres of several works, including: Dreamer and Special Secret Someone two, one-act operas of Theodore Christman; Palindrome, by Sowha Lee, Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, by Nathan Fletcher, End of War by Meiqao Wang, and Study in Sonorities I by Jihyeong Choi, Seth Bedford’s The Bronx Suite, Observations of an Early Universe of Samuel Nedel, Juliet’s Farewell of Bjorn Berkhout.
As an oboist, whose playing has been described as “sinuous, refined… and refreshing,” Mr. Shafer is honored to have several pieces written for him including: Mohammed Fairouz’s Locales (2014), premiered with the Voxare String Quartet at Canegie’s Weill Recital Hall; James Adler’s Elegy and Impromptu for oboe and piano premiered at the Yamaha Studios in Manhattan, Layers of Earth, by Lars Graugaard, with Mr. Shafer & the NYU Percussion ensemble, which was released in the spring of 2015 on CD by DaCappo Records; Langanaich-Taragto; a seven-minute improvised solo to Elizabeth Hoffman’s digital score, which later expanded to Improvisational Spirals for oboe, dancer, and DJ premiered at the NYSoundCircuit; Noor Al Salam (Light of Peace) and ResoNations at two “Concerts for Peace” for the delegates of the United Nations.
His compositions: Russian Games was premiered by the Oberlin Wind Ensemble; Dreams for Woodwind Quintet by the Florida West Coast Symphony Quintet; and Fugue a Four Trombone Quartet by the trombone section of the Chicago Symphony. Mr. Shafer holds degrees in composition and oboe performance from Oberlin and NYU respectively and is currently in the Professional Studies Diploma program in Orchestral Conducting at the Mannes College of Music. He has studied conducting with David Hayes, Jorma Panula, Robert Spano, Louis Lane, and Michael Charry.