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North Palm Youth Symphony
Artists and mentors

Artists in Residence

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Carissa Reese

Carissa Reese was born and raised in Houston, TX. She started playing the piano at the age of 10 and went to many Suzuki piano workshops over the years. She even went to Japan to take lessons and got to meet Dr. Suzuki! She began the cello at age 13 and studied with some of the finest cello teachers in Houston.

Ms. Reese attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and was Principal Cellist with the school orchestra for three years. She was also Principal with the following orchestras while in high school: Houston Youth Symphony, All–City Orchestra, Houston Regional Orchestra, Texas All–State Orchestra, and she sat with the Principal Cellist of the Houston Symphony for the Festival of Schools concert.

 

Ms. Reese studied with world-renown teacher, Phyllis Young, while she attended the University of Texas where she majored in music education and minored in performance. She received her master’s degree in performance at the University of Miami where she studied with Eugene Eicher. 

 

Ms. Reese has taught piano at Parkway Middle School of the Arts for the past 13 years. She has performed with many orchestras over the years in Texas and Florida. Locally, she performed with the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra and the Palm Beach Pops Orchestra, for many years. Ms. Reese resides in Coconut Creek where she lives happily with her husband, Rafael and two children, Ryan and Christalyn.

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Rafael Elvira

Rafael Elvira was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He studied violin with Jose Figueroa, Concertmaster of the Puerto Rico Symphony. He was the winner of the Pro-Education Violin Competition, winning a scholarship to study in the US and play as a soloist with the Conservatory Orchestra. He later played as soloist with the Puerto Rico Symphony.

 

He studied violin at the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts with Dorothy Delay and her assistant, Masao Kawasaky. He received a full scholarship at the Brooklyn College to continue studying with Mr. Kawasaky and participated in master classes with Itzak Perlman. He later attended the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Raphael Bronstein and his daughter, Arianna Bronne. He then attended the University of Miami on a full scholarship and received a Master of Music in Performance.

 

Rafael has been a soloist with the Orquesta Armonia de Lima, the Orquesta Nacional de Peru, Ballet Florida Orchestra, and the Puerto Rico Symphony. While at the Manhattan School of Music, he was chosen to be one of five violinists to serve as concertmaster of the two student orchestras. He has been concertmaster of the Strauss Symphony of America, Palm Beach Opera, Ballet Florida Orchestra, Orquesta de Lima in Peru, the US National Tour Orchestra of the Broadway show, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and the Broadway show, "Showboat."

 

He has played with the Florida Philharmonic, Naples Philharmonic, New World Symphony (including two tours and two recordings with Michael Tilson Thomas), was the former Concertmaster of the Palm Beach Pops, former Assistant Concertmaster of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra and is the Associate Concertmaster of the Palm Beach Opera. He has participated in the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina where he was Concertmaster and the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado.

Rafael has been a member of the orchestra for such shows as Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music, and has played with such artists as Frank Sinatra, Gloria Estefan, and made recordings with Julio Iglesias, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Placido Domingo.

Artists in Residence

Mentors

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Lily Kanoff

Lily is nineteen years old and currently working on completing her bachelors in communications at Southeastern University. She has been playing the violin since she was 6 years old and started playing the piano at 14 years old. From an early age, her Russian instructor taught by heavily emphasizing ear training and inner motor development. This has significantly influenced how Lily approaches violin instruction today, focusing on developing a consistent intonation and good tone. As her family moved several times, her training would continue with various instructors, all of them investing their knowledge to stretch and grow her skills. She has now played and taught with the North Palm Youth Symphony for two seasons and this is her second year assisting with all of the younger orchestras. Lily has a growing private studio, which she began at the age of 15, and strives to continue to grow in her teaching skills throughout the coming years.  

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Ezra Kanoff

Ezra has been playing multiple instruments most of his life. While the violin has been the focus for nearly a decade, Ezra has found a passion in the piano and has been learning it for three years. He uses his musical skills in many ways including playing for his church as both pianist and violinist, and also playing for weddings, fund raisers and youth rallies. He has been  involved with the North Palm Youth Symphony for the last 3 seasons. He enjoys supporting young students as a mentor in summer camps, youth events and the Youth Orchestra, always serving as a positive role model, encouraging students to learn, participate, be active and grow as young people. 

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Eric Ubarana

Eric is a Junior attending Jupiter Community High School. He has been involved in the Youth Orchestra program for about 2 years. He has been playing both violin and clarinet since middle school, and began his string studies under the direction of Douglas Ferreira. Eric is a talented pianist, which he began studying at the age of six. For Eric, piano has been a wonderful foundation for learning both violin and clarinet. Academically, he is interested in the humanities, psychology and languages. with the intention of pursuing one of these areas as a major in college. 

As a mentor, Eric shares his time and talent with younger students, supporting the orchestra's mission and elevating the next generation of young players. 

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Hadiya Stewart

Hadiya Stewart is a senior at The King’s Academy. She started playing bass in second grade under the direction of Victor Fernandez and has been playing for the past 11 years. Hadiya has studied with Jeff Adkins and has played alongside many professionals. In 7th grade, Hadiya participated in the Youth Orchestra of Las Angeles where she played under the direction of famous conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Hadiya has also played in the All State Orchestra, starting in 7th grade, where she was principal bassist. Hadiya has participated in All County for 3 years, as well as All County Jazz for one year. In November 2022, Hadiya participated in Tri-State, hosted at Florida State University. Hadiya was one of 3 bassists selected and was able to work with Rodney Jordan, a jazz bass faculty member at FSU. Currently, Hadiya is a part of the orchestra, regiment band, and Jazz band at the The King’s Academy. She serves as drum major for the regiment band and as an instrumental arts leader at her school. While playing with the jazz band, Hadiya has had the opportunity to meet, play with, and learn from jazz professionals such as Wayne Bergeron, Wycliffe Gordon, Arturo Sandoval, and Ron Carter. Hadiya shares her musical abilities through productions put on by her school such as The Nutcracker, Ruth and Singing in the Rain. In addition to her musical involvement at school, Hadiya is also a cofounder of the Annie Matot Jazz Quintet. She and the group have played music from the Great American Songbook all over South Florida from Jupiter to Key Largo. In May 2023, Hadiya was recently named the Instrumental Young Artist of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of the Great American Song Book.

Hadiya greatly enjoys mentoring and teaching her younger peers and is currently supporting the orchestra students within the North Palm Beach Youth Symphony across multiple orchestras. She plans on attending UF to study medicine and eventually become a Pediatrician.

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Alicia Bickel

Alicia Bickel has been playing violin since kindergarten. She is currently a senior at AW Dreyfoos School of the Arts and through her musical upbringing has played countless concerts at numerous venues from private events, to concerts to weddings. She recently performed with the The Espressivo Singers on first violin for their spring concert series. Alicia is an AP Scholar, Florida State Parks Youth Volunteer of the Year, and the SECME National Bottle Rockets Champion.

 

Alicia loves working and mentoring younger students, fostering their learning, growth, and enjoyment in playing their instruments. She also plays a critical  leadership role within the youth orchestra with data processing and management.

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Victoria Guimbard

Victoria is sixteen years old, currently attending Jupiter High School. She began playing the violin at the age of five, and began to really blossom as a young player under the teaching of Douglas Ferreira. She has always enjoyed mentoring and teaching, making a positive impact in her local music community and the Youth Orchestra by inspiring and helping younger musicians with her dedication and skill. As a mentor, she shares her passion for the violin, offering guidance and encouragement her younger peers in a positive and friendly approach. Victoria’s commitment to nurturing her own musical talent and that of her younger peers while balancing the demands of her own education showcases her maturity and wonderful potential to excel and be successful in the world of music and beyond.

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Mia Mudrick 

Palm Beach Gardens High School senior Mia Mudrick  was introduced to music, orchestra and the upright bass by Victor Fernandez as a student in fourth grade at The Conservatory School. She has loved playing her instrument from day one. She played the upright bass all through Elementary and Middle School, and has continued playing in High School through the North Palm Youth Symphony, after joining the organization's inaugural orchestra in the Fall of 2021. After nearly 10 years of playing the upright bass, Mia now also serves as a dedicated mentor for the young students at NPYS. She is a passionate musicianalways ready to grow and learn more, as well pass her knowledge along to the next generation of young musicians. 

Outside of music Mia’s passions include space exploration and student leadership, and she hopes to study Aerospace Engineering and Space Operations at Embry-Riddle or University of Florida. 

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