Artistic Advisor

Jonathan Carney
Jonathan Carney is the concertmaster at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra after 12 seasons in the same position with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Born in New Jersey, Mr. Carney hails from a musical family with all six members having graduated from The Juilliard School. After completing his studies with Ivan Galamian and Christine Dethier, he was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship to continue his studies in London at the Royal College of Music.

After enjoying critically acclaimed international tours as both concertmaster and soloist with numerous ensembles, Mr. Carney was invited by Vladimir Ashkenazy to become concertmaster of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1991. He was also appointed concertmaster of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in 1994 and the Basque National Orchestra in 1996. Recent solo performances have included concertos by Bruch, Korngold, Khatchaturian, Sibelius, Nielsen, the Brahms Double Concerto and Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, which was featured as a live BBC broadcast from London’s Barbican Hall. He has made a number of recordings, including concertos by Mozart, Vivaldi and Nielsen, sonatas by Brahms, Beethoven and Franck, and a disc of virtuoso works of by Sarasate and Kreisler with his mother Gloria Carney as pianist. New releases include Beethoven’s Archduke and Ghost trios, the cello quintet of Schubert and a Dvorak disc with the Terzetto and four Romantic pieces for violin.

Mr. Carney is passionate about music education and currently serves as Artistic Advisor for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras. He is also an artist in residence at the Baltimore School for the Arts, one of the country’s premier high schools, and also serves on its Board of Directors.

Artistic Director

Kristofer Sanz, Artistic Director & Philharmonic Conductor
KRISTOFER SANZ has matured as a vibrant and talented conductor whose energy and fervor for music have allowed him to achieve a passionate, mature and musical sound with any ensemble he has conducted. Mr. Sanz recently has been praised for his modern and adventurous interpretations, as well as his contemporary and interactive concert presentations. He is the Artistic Director and Philharmonic conductor for the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras program that rehearses and performs at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. Under Mr. Sanz’s baton the Philharmonic is quickly becoming known for their highly musical, moving, and nuanced interpretations of a wide range of works from all genres—including orchestral works, dance, and opera. Mr. Sanz strongly believes in exposing orchestras and audiences to new works by living composers while programming works from the time honored classical canon. In May 2014 he performed the US premiere of Ilan Eshkeri’s Stardust Suite. In March 2016 he conducted the Philharmonic in his own arrangement of The Ring of the Nibelung by Wagner. Teaming up with narrator, Greg Jukes, the Philharmonic presented a 45-minute orchestral journey—with narration—that encompassed themes from Wagner’s Ring Cycle. This special arrangement was conceived to honor MCYO’s seventieth birthday celebration. In March 2017, Kristofer presented the DC premier of Tolga Kashif’s lush and decadent Queen Symphony, an orchestral homage to Freddie Mercury and QUEEN for large orchestra and choir. In 2019 Mr. Sanz presented the US Premier of Pablo Manavello’s orchestral suite “El Camino de Santiago llega a ti,” a passionate and expressive work describing the pilgrimage of “The Way of Saint James.” In 2019, Mr. Sanz also worked with Black Violin on their concert tour combining a 90 piece classical orchestra with Hip Hop violin/viola, vocals, and DJ.

Mr. Sanz is a founding member and Music Director / Conductor for Young Artists of America (YAA) at Strathmore, a non-profit organization founded to provide aspiring and talented young artists with exceptional opportunities to perform with—and be mentored by—professional artists and educators in fully orchestrated performances. In March 2017, Kristofer worked with Academy Award winning lyricist Tim Rice and Broadway star Adam Pascale to present a world premier concert “The Circle of Life:” The Songs of Tim Rice. In March 2016 he worked with Broadway composer, Stephen Schwartz, and YAA to present his orchestrated version of Children of Eden at Strathmore. In March 2014 Mr. Sanz worked side by side with three-time Tony Award-winning composer, Jason Robert Brown, to present his fully orchestrated song cycle Songs for a New World. YAA is an Affiliate of Strathmore, and resides at The Music Center at Strathmore.


Katherine Smolen, Future Stars/Kamerata! Conductor
Katherine Smolen is a passionate educator and an active violinist in the DC/MD/VA/DE region who has performed on stages throughout the United States and Europe. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Katherine earned a Bachelor of Music Education as well as a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance under the study of Irina Muresanu, Kimberly Fisher, and Oleg Ryltako. Ms. Smolen has since worked in many different settings including teaching violin and viola privately, coaching chamber ensembles, and rehearsing full ensembles. This year marks Ms. Smolen’s third season with MCYO. Ms. Smolen is currently completing a Master of Music Education at the University of Michigan and is the Director of Orchestras at Loiederman Middle School for the Performing Arts in Silver Spring, MD.

Seth Castleton, Preparatory Strings Conductor
Seth Castleton is a cellist, viola da gambist, and composer. Passionate about passing on the gift of music to the next generation, he is a faculty member at LevineMusic where he formerly directed their beginner, intermediate and advanced orchestras. Dr. Castleton is also dedicated to his vibrant private cello studio. His students have performed regularly in the Metro D.C. area including at the Music Center at Strathmore and on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and have been accepted into music programs at Boston Conservatory, Berklee College, Syracuse University, St. Olaf College, DePaul University, and the University of Maryland.

A member of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Castleton has also performed with the Apollo Chamber Orchestra, the Amadeus Orchestra, Saint Andrew’s Parish Orchestra and various chamber ensembles in the DC metro area including with La Poesia Cello Quartet and with the Levine Baroque Trio. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park, as well as a Bachelor of Music degree from Brigham Young University where he was winner of the BYU Concerto Competition, soloing on Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations.

Dr. Castleton has enjoyed collaborating with the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra (MCYO) as a cello section coach and chamber music coach, and director of the Composition Lab at the MCYO Summer String Week. His recent collaborations with MCYO include the premier of his original composition for string orchestra titled “Striving,” written and dedicated to the Chamber Strings Orchestra, then directed by Maestro Jorge Orozco. Dr. Castleton is looking forward to his first season directing the Preparatory Strings Orchestra jointly with Ms. Elizabeth Peterson. He has had the privilege of studying under many remarkable artists, including Brian Wharton, Julie Bevan, Evelyn Elsing, David Teie, Kenneth Slowik, Peter Wiley, Catharina Meints, Eric Kutz, and Stephen Geber.

Seth Castleton lives in Silver Spring with his wife, violist Dr. Caroline Castleton, and their three musical children, James, Laura, and Rose.

Elizabeth Peterson, Preparatory Strings Conductor
Elizabeth Peterson is excited to be starting her first season as co-conductor of the Preparatory Strings. She has been with MCYO for thirteen years as orchestra manager and coach for chamber music and cello sectionals. Ms. Peterson received her education at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Mozarteum Music and Performing Arts Academy in Austria, and George Mason University. She participated in the Interlochen National Music Camp in Michigan, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music in Maine, Round Top Festival in Texas, and Opera Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria. She is a dedicated educator and has taught music in Austria, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Washington DC and currently teaches in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ms. Peterson is sought after as an adjudicator including for Honors Orchestra, the Solo and Ensemble Festival of Montgomery County, Solo and Ensemble Festival of International Schools, and American String Teachers Association Certificate Advancement Program. She maintains a private cello studio and is a frequent sectionals coach for area youth ensembles. MCYO holds a deep place in Ms. Peterson’s heart as all three of her children are alumni.

Dietrich Paredes, Chamber Strings Conductor
Dietrich Paredes, a distinguished conductor from Venezuela, has made significant contributions to the world of classical music through his dynamic leadership and innovative approach to orchestral performance. As a product of Venezuela’s renowned “El Sistema” program, Paredes has built an impressive international career, conducting various esteemed orchestras across the globe. Paredes began his notable tenure as the Music Director of the Caracas Youth Orchestra (CYO) in 2008. Under his direction, the CYO toured extensively throughout South America, Asia, and Europe, performing at prestigious venues and festivals such as the Salzburg Festival, the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Dvorak Festival in Prague, the Beethovenfest in Bonn, and the Ravello Festival in Italy. Their performances were also highly acclaimed in cities like Zurich, Hamburg, Paris, Budapest, Vienna, Gothenburg, Zagreb, Barcelona, Castellón de la Plana, Zaragoza, Beijing, Hiroshima, Tokyo, and Seoul. His international career includes conducting engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (2012-2013), Orchestra della Toscana at the Cortona Festival (2014), which led to a re-invitation for their 2015-2016 subscription series in Florence. Additionally, Paredes has guest-conducted the orchestras of Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Opera di Roma, and the Maggio Musicale Festival for the Carlo Maria Giulini memorial concert with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana. In the 2015-2016 season, he debuted with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Toulon Symphony Orchestra in France, and undertook extensive projects with the Australian Youth Orchestra. His engagements also included performances with I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan, the Teatro Olimpico Orchestra in Vicenza, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Round Top Festival in Texas, the Orchestra Estágio Gulbenkian in Portugal, the Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra, and the Opera Carlo Felice di Genova in Italy. More recently, Paredes played a pivotal role in the New York Philharmonic’s weeklong celebration of music education in April 2024, commemorating the centennial of the Young People’s Concerts. He prepared a 95-member youth ensemble alongside the iconic maestro Gustavo Dudamel. This initiative, which culminated in a concert at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, highlighted Paredes’ dedication to nurturing young talent and expanding the reach of classical music education. Since moving to Washington, D.C., in 2017, Paredes has been working with some of the most advanced musicians in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, further solidifying his reputation as a leading conductor and educator in the classical music community.

Andrea Cameron, Concert Orchestra Conductor
Andrea Cameron is a 34-year veteran of Montgomery County Public Schools, where she has been the Band and Orchestra Director at Robert Frost Middle School since 2016. Under her leadership, the Instrumental Music Department has become one of the most represented in the district and state honors ensembles, and her band and orchestra performed at the Maryland Music Educators (MMEA) fall and spring conferences in the 2023-2024 school year. MMEA recognized Mrs. Cameron’s exemplary teaching in 2020 by presenting her with the Outstanding Music Educator Award. She serves as the Middle School Representative for the Maryland Band Directors Association (MBDA) and is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician throughout the state.

MaryAnn Poling, Young Artists Conductor
MaryAnn Fasold Poling is excited to be in her sixth year with MCYO. Mary earned B.S. degrees in both Music Education and Fine Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she held the Principal chair in all major ensembles and won the Frank Gorell competition. Attending the Peabody Institute of Music on a full scholarship and playing Principal in all graduate ensembles, she earned an M.M. in Oboe Performance under the tutelage of Sara Watkins, with whom she also pursued doctoral studies until Ms. Watkins’ untimely death in 1997.

Ms. Poling performed in the American Waterways Wind Orchestra and in both the American and Italian Spoleto festivals; she has performed professionally in fifteen different countries. Locally she has performed with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Annapolis Opera, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, the Frederick Symphony, the Maryland Lyric Opera and the Melos Sinfonia.

Last year marked Ms. Poling’s fifteenth year as the conductor of the intermediate orchestra for the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestras (formerly the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra Association), which she joined after teaching for nine years in the Harford County Public Schools. Mary is frequently called on by school systems in several Maryland counties as an adjudicator and guest conductor. She has a substantial private studio, teaches oboe at Goucher College, and performs as a freelance musician in the Baltimore-Washington area. Mary also leads the music ministry at New Hope Community Church in Pikesville. She lives outside of Baltimore with her husband and two daughters, both of whom aspire to careers in the arts.

Julie Savignon, Chamber Ensemble Director
Violinist Julie Savignon has established herself as an active soloist, chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher. Her performances have taken her to such distinguished venues as Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian in Washington D.C, the Kennedy Center, Salle Cortot in Paris and the Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall in Tokyo. Ms. Savignon recently traveled to Paris where she performed in recital and to critical acclaim at the famed Salle Cortot.
Equally comfortable in the orchestral world, Ms. Savignon is currently a regular substitute player with the Baltimore Symphony and the National Symphony Orchestra. She has toured extensively with the NSO, and was invited to participate in the National Symphony’s most recent South American tour. Previously, Ms Savignon was appointed Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Charlotte Symphony. Ms. Savignon also performs with the Washington Concert Opera, Master Chorale of Washington at the Kennedy Center, as well as the National Cathedral Choral Society. She is a member of the North Eastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and has performed with the Reading, Lancaster and Delaware Symphonies and the Smithsonian Chamber Players. She has participated in several recordings with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach conducting, while serving as a substitute player at the invitation of Mr. Eschenbach. Ms Savignon toured Asia with the New York Symphonic Ensemble in July 2007.
As a chamber musician Ms Savignon has collaborated with such artists as Kenneth Goldsmith, Norman Fischer, Csaba Erdely, Anne Epperson, and Brian Connelly, among others. She has participated in the acclaimed Foothills Chamber Music Festival in Winston-Salem where she took part in a concert in homage to the late African-American composer Undine Smith Moore. She is currently working on a recording of works by Bartok, Strauss and Shostakovich with the Smithsonian Chamber Players.
Ms Savignon served on the faculties of both Penn State University and Juniata College in Pennsylvania, where she also directed the string ensembles. Ms. Savignon’s students can be found among the ranks of some of this countries’ finest music institutions. In addition, she has maintained a private studio for the past 8 years. Ms. Savignon studied in France, at the renowned Conservatoire National in Dijon, where she was awarded The Medaille D’or by unanimous vote. While in Europe, Ms Savignon was profiled on several occasions by National French television and featured in live performances and interviews. She completed her academic Baccalaureate Degree in France with high honors and then joined famed violinist Josef Gingold’s studio at Indiana University. She then completed both the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in violin performance at Rice University under the tutelage of Sergiu Luca and Kathleen Winkler.
Ms. Savignon plays a fine Enrico Rocca violin and a Eugene Sartory bow, considered to be one of his finest examples.

Simeone Tartaglione, Symphony Conductor
Schooled in the European tradition covering conducting, composition and opera Simeone Tartaglione has become a versatile musician with a wide knowledge of and passion for the many areas of this art. He studied composition and conducting in Rome at the SantaCecilia Conservatory and piano performance at the Bellini Institute. In addition to his various degrees, he earned a Laurea as Doctor in Italian Literature and Musicology Magna cum Laude, and is a published author.

He serves as Associate Conductor of the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra, Orchestral Department Head and piano instructor at the Music School of Delaware, and Music Director of the Newark (DE) Symphony Orchestra since 2010, during which time, this orchestra’s audience increased by 63%.

Tartaglione has had extensive conducting experience in symphonic and operatic repertoire with orchestras from Italy, the United States, Spain, Russia, Romania, Mexico, Ukraine and Bulgaria. He has won numerous competitions and prizes. In Rome he served as the Artistic Director of the Theatre Fusillo and of the MUSA Association for five years.

After winning an audition at the University of Denver he moved there in 2005. At the same university he became Adjunct Professor of Conducting while earning an Artist Diploma. He worked as guest conductor, vocal coach, pianist and harpsichord player with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s Education and Outreach Programs, Central City Opera, Marilyn Horne Foundation, Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra, Augustana Musica Sacra Orchestra, and Broadway Music School. He also served as cover conductor for the Colorado Symphony on a number of occasions.

Invited by Gustav Meier in 2006, Tartaglione moved to Baltimore where he continued conducting studies at the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University earning a Graduate Performing Diploma in 2009 with a conducting assistantship. From 2008 to 2010 he served as Adjunct Faculty for the Peabody Opera Department, coaching and conducting several performances. Simeone has recorded several CDs and DVDs as conductor and as pianist in duo with his wife, violinist Alessandra Cuffaro, the first Italian woman who performed all the 24 Paganini’s Capricci in one concert.

Artistic Director Emerita
Olivia Gutoff

Conductor Emerita
Ruth Albright

Assistant Conductors
Daniel Lima
Noel Nascimento

Small Ensemble Directors

Harp Ensemble Director
Monika Vasey Rhodes

Clarinet Choir Director

Lori Fowser

Senior/Junior Flute Choir Director

Carolyn Oh

Percussion Ensemble Director

Christopher Barrick


Orchestra/Strings Coaches

Seth Castleton, Cello

Jennifer Lee, Violin

Elizabeth Peterson, Cello

Talya Schenk, Viola

Katherine Smolen, Violin

Evelyn Song, Violin