Noseda Returns to DCYOP

By Sandy Choi, Community Engagement and Digital Media Manager

Gianandrea Noseda, Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, conducts members of the Youth Orchestra. (photo: Dylan Singleton)

Last month, DCYOP celebrated a true highlight of the season: the long-awaited return visit from acclaimed conductor Gianandrea Noseda, Music Director of DC’s own National Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Noesda visited program last month to conduct our Youth Orchestra in a rehearsal and participate in a Q&A with them. It was the third time the Maestro has come to conduct at DCYOP, the most recent time being back in February 2020 just before the pandemic brought everything to a halt. Maestro Noseda’s return provided an opportunity for the entire program to celebrate the enduring commitment and resilience of our students through two long years.

“He brings such joy and inspiration,” said Evan Ross Solomon, DCYOP’s Artistic and Music Director. “Our students just really, really enjoy working with him and feeling the positive musical energy that he brings with him.”

Just as Maestro Noseda led the advanced symphonic orchestra in an insightful rehearsal of an iconic work (Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 5) during his last visit, he once again brought his extensive knowledge and expertise to bear in another beloved standard, Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 (“Unfinished”).

Liberty Kessler, a member of the first violin section, remembers Noseda’s last visit well. “When I learned he was coming here again, I was very excited…He’s able to make it fun for us while setting boundaries for what he expects of us and pushing us as a conductor. A lot of it is him allowing us to interpret it in our way and use our technique to interpret it differently rather than telling us what technique to do…I think that’s one thing that I enjoy about his conducting.”

For Amalia Levitin, a flutist who just joined DCYOP for the first time this season, the experience was equally thrilling. “It was really cool and eye-opening how he paid attention to all these little details that I had never even thought of before and really made the music come alive.”

In the Q&A that followed a reading of the first movement of the Schubert, Maestro Noseda shared his musical journey to becoming a conductor with the students as well as his thoughts on the lifelong value of studying music.

For Austin Adaranijo, a horn player and Pathways scholar, learning that the Maestro’s career path was driven by his deep love of music, and not necessarily conducting, was inspiring. “Somebody asked what inspired him to become a conductor. He said that he didn’t want to be at first, he just wanted to see music from different perspectives. I thought that was pretty cool.”

When asked about his inspiration, Maestro Noseda shared, “It seems an easy answer but it’s the love for the music and the conviction that the music has a language (with) the power to bring people together. Music is a big teacher for me (in learning) how to serve others more than serving myself. It’s not about me.”

Maestro Solomon perhaps best summed up what made this opportunity so meaningful for everyone in the orchestra that day. “We all try to transcend our instruments, transcend ourselves as individuals to be part of something greater, which is serving the music. One of the things he said is to imagine the music and do whatever is possible to then create that music. And that’s really what it’s all about with performing, to get past the technical limitations of instruments and be part of something magical, spiritual even. And that’s what making great music is. It’s amazing that a maestro can come in and help our students recognize this.”

Even beyond great music-making, Maestro Noseda emphasized the influential and uplifting role music can play in anyone’s life, no matter what path they may choose to follow. “Just the fact that music is part of your life, that is incredibly important. Because you know, music, when there are very joyful and happy moments, helps the joy to be even more complete. When there are difficult moments, the music can really…console you and to motivate you to build a different way of society. So, continue. Because to have music in your life is one of the greatest friends you can ever make.”

Watch the YouTube video below to see highlights of Maestro Noseda’s rehearsal and Q&A with our Youth Orchestra.

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Flutist Anthony Trionfo Brings Virtuoso Talents to DCYOP Masterclass

Last month, we had the great pleasure of welcoming acclaimed flutist Anthony Trionfo to DCYOP, where he gave a masterclass featuring some of our top flute students. Anthony is not just a prize-winning soloist but also a dedicated music educator and activist who is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion work in the field of classical music. 

You can learn more about Anthony in our Q&A or watch highlights from his masterclass below. Thanks so much to Anthony and Young Concert Artists for making this special visit possible.


How did you get started on flute? Were there any people or organizations that supported you and inspired you on your journey to becoming a professional musician?

I was an eleven-year-old aspiring Broadway actor navigating an unhealthy Britney Spears obsession, paired with a black belt from my elementary school’s “Recorder Karate” music class when the flute came into my life. I remember watching the top middle school Wind Ensemble perform during 6th grade orientation and being enthralled by the piccolos chirping virtuosic passages that soared above the entire band. I knew I needed to join the band and play this instrument that, to me, seemed like the Queen of all instruments. The moment I made my first sound on the flute, a light switch went off in my soul and I knew this is what I would be doing forever. I was running full steam ahead, practicing as much as I could and loving every single moment of it. 

I was extremely lucky to have mentors from the very beginning that saw my passion and potential. My first band directors, Mr. Mack and Mr. Reid, set me up with a flute teacher who I ended up studying with for years and who I consider one of my personal heroes, Dr. Megan Lanz. From there I went to the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI where I studied with Nancy Stagnitta. I did my conservatory training at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, studying under Jim Walker. I am blessed to have had amazing experiences with such supportive individuals and I would definitely not be where I am today without them. 


We know that community engagement and mentoring young artists, particularly young artists of color, is really important to you. Can you talk about this a little bit?

Growing up, music classes and private lessons were the best parts of my week. For me, studying music was a way of connecting with myself, connecting with others, and allowing the more challenging aspects of my home life to take a backseat for a little while. I consider certain teachers extensions of my family, and I know firsthand the special power that can come from having a good mentor. Because of this, I always hoped to create a space for students to feel the same way when working with me. 

The study of music in itself is a massive privilege. If it wasn’t for individuals who went above and beyond to help me with the financial, equipment, travel, and emotional needs of studying music, I wouldn’t have been able to keep doing what I do. That is why I make a point of working with communities needing more accessibility and opportunities to shine in the music field. 

I’ve taught through the Jumpstart Program, which provides instruments, sectionals, full ensembles, and private lessons to students from families that would otherwise not be able to support musical education in Los Angeles County. I’ve toured across California narrating a story I created called “Pedro on the Beach,” a retelling of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” geared towards creating a more relatable story for California’s young students. I’ve also toured with an educational show for younger students that teaches them about the power of “unity” in music and introduces them to various composers and instruments.

Currently, I teach through MusicAlly, which allows students to study in a way that is not a financial burden on their families and I am a creator and Development Chair of the UMOJA Flute Institute.


Could you tell us a little bit more about the UMOJA Flute Institute? How and why were you inspired to create this organization? What are UMOJA’s plans for the future? 

UMOJA Flute Institute was created in the summer of 2020 with our inaugural festival taking place in July 2021. It is the result of fifteen flutists of African descent from all over the country coming together entirely virtually to create this organization! The mission of UMOJA is to:

  • Provide flutists of African descent with the tools needed to succeed and thrive at all levels of music making
  • Foster an international community of flutists
  • Celebrate flutists of African descent and their contributions to music
  • Expose flutists to the diverse experiences and opportunities of the flute world

The idea of UMOJA came as a call to create a space for Black flutists to thrive and reclaim joy during a time that was deeply unsettling. The pandemic was just beginning to show us how long it would stick around, the wrongful deaths of our Black brothers and sisters were running rampant with no sense of justice being served, and our spirits were suffering.
What came from a dire beginning has blossomed into a nonprofit organization that is continuing to grow and inspire. We are currently planning our next summer festival in addition to organizing professional development and educational workshops. We also offer free masterclasses to our members and are a resource for anyone needing assistance. We have members from all over the world! 

Watch Anthony working with four of our flutists during last month’s masterclass and check out more content on the DCYOP YouTube channel: