Manny Laureano, Co-Artistic Director and Conductor, Symphony Orchestra
Manny began his musical studies in the New York City public school system and received his Bachelor of Music Degree from the Juilliard School in 1977. He was appointed principal trumpet of the Seattle Symphony, a post he held for four years before serving in his current position as principal trumpet with the Minnesota Orchestra. As a conductor, he has worked with a variety of ensembles, ranging from having been Music Director of the Calhoun-Isles Community Band, Music Director of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, to several guest conducting appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra, including serving as Assistant Conductor during the 2005-06 season. Manny was invited to serve as a guest conductor at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina during the summer of 2012. Manny has guest conducted the St. Olaf Orchestra, and was recently acclaimed as a guest conductor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He has conducted the Viva City Orchestra through the Minneapolis School District for several years, was selected to conduct the 2009 Minnesota All-State Orchestra, and is in demand as a clinician for young orchestras throughout the state. Manny and Claudette were invited to guest-conduct the National Suzuki Youth Orchestra Festival Orchestra and were invited to serve again in 2004. Manny has served as Co-Artistic Director of MYS since 1988, conducts the MYS Symphony Orchestra, is the brass and woodwind coach for the MYS Repertory Orchestra, and has been Artistic Director and Conductor of The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (MN) since 2013.
Claudette Laureano, Co-Artistic Director and Conductor, Repertory Orchestra
Claudette’s musical training began in the public schools of New York City. She is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and became a teacher and freelance violinist in Seattle, Washington before coming to the Twin Cities in 1981. In 1982 Claudette was hired to begin a string program at the Breck School where she remained until 1988. In that same year Claudette, along with her husband Manny, were hired as co-directors of the Minnesota Youth Symphonies, which is recognized as one of the leading youth orchestra programs in the United States.
Claudette has guest conducted at various conferences and festivals in the Twin Cities. They include the Northwest Suburban Conference Music Festival, the National Suzuki Conference, the Minnesota All-State Junior High School Honors Orchestra, the Classic Lake Festival, the West Metro Festival, the Metro West All-Conference Music Festival, and the St. Paul Honors Orchestra. In addition, Claudette is on the MacPhail faculty as a conductor for the Allegro Camp Festival program.
In the autumn of 2003, Claudette resumed her position as String Director of Breck School and continues to enjoy working with her students on a daily basis. In 2007 Breck School awarded Claudette the Jean Wigley Award for teaching excellence.
Jim Bartsch, Conductor, Philharmonic Orchestra
Jim Bartsch has been part of the MYS artistic staff for 28 years, teaching the String Orchestra for 7 years and the Philharmonic Orchestra for 21 years.
A native of St. Paul, Jim started playing the violin in the St. Paul Public Schools Orchestra program taught by Linville Doan. He attended Highland Park Jr and Sr High Schools, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a Master’s Degree in Violin Performance from the University of Minnesota, studying with Young-Nam Kim.
Jim taught Public School Orchestra programs in Northfield and Red Wing 1983-1999. Following a 14-year stint as Education Director with the Minnesota Orchestra, he returned to the Public Schools in 2013, teaching Orchestra at Highview Middle School and Bel Air Elementary school in the Mounds View Public Schools district.
Active as a guest conductor and clinician, Jim has conducted Orchestra Festivals in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas, Montana and Manitoba. Most recently, the University of Wisconsin-Madison String Clinic Orchestra (2013 and 2016), the MN Suburban East Conference Festival Orchestra (2013), the Tri-Metro Orchestra Festival (2014), the Concordia College/Moorhead String Festival (2015), the Shell Lake Orchestra Festival (2018) and many others. He served as conductor for the International Music Camp at the Peace Garden, North Dakota, for over 20 years, and has adjudicated the St Paul Public Schools Honors Orchestra, the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra Solo Competition, the South East Minnesota Youth Orchestra competition, the MacPhail Scholarship Competition and others. He serves as Dress Rehearsal Pianist for the Northern Lights Suzuki program.
Jim is Past President of the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association, and has served as clinician/adjudicator for multiple MNSOTA events for many years.
He has performed as violist in over fifty Minnesota Opera productions since 1998. He has also performed with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, VocalEssence, the Royal Strings-Minnesota Renaissance Festival, the Northrop Ballet series, Theatre Latte Da, the Cavelle Chamber Ensembles, and many others.
An active summertime hiker, Jim has climbed the highpoints of 44 US states, and 22 of the US peaks over 14,000 feet. A Twins Baseball fan, he especially enjoyed conducting MYS and Mounds View Schools musicians on the National Anthem at Target Field multiple times.
Patricia Kelly, Conductor, String Orchestra
Patricia Kelly has been the String Orchestra conductor with Minnesota Youth Symphonies since 1997 and also leads the MYS Summer Orchestra program. She has conducted the MacPhail Camerata Orchestra, founded the MPS All-City Orchestras and been a clinician and guest conductor at numerous music camps and festivals such as the International Music Camp and the South Metro Conference Festival. Pat joined the music faculty of Roseville Area High School as Director of Orchestras and Guitar in 2015 after leading the Ramsey/Folwell Performing Arts Magnet String Program in Minneapolis Public Schools for many years. Her orchestras have been chosen to perform at the Minnesota's Music Educators Mid-Winter Music Conference three times, the National Principals Convention and many others. Her groups have consistently won superior ratings in music competitions and appeared three times in the Tier 2 performances of MNSOTA Middle Level Orchestra Festival at Orchestra Hall. In 2018 the Roseville Symphony Orchestra auditioned and was invited to perform at the National Orchestra Festival at the National American String Teachers Convention. They were just one of 24 orchestras selected from across the nation and the only one from our five state region. She has hosted at her schools music luminaries such as Yo Yo Ma, Ray Brown and Bobby McFerrin. She was awarded the Minnesota Master String Educator Award and the Outstanding School Orchestra Program from the American String Teachers Association. She was nominated as Teacher of the Year, and was recognized in the Minnesota Public Radio's Music Teacher Feature in 2015. In 2018 Minnesota Youth Orchestras honored her with a 20 year recognition of "Superior Conducting and Service." She is a freelance violist and has played in the Nicollet Quartet since 1998. Pat received her BA in Music and Journalism from St. Catherine University, and a Masters in Art from University of Minnesota where she continued with post graduate work investigating the intersections between math, music, and semiotics. Columbus Smith, winner of the Best Rap Song, Producer in 2015 and her former student, gave her the greatest honor by calling her, "his most amazing teacher" in his acceptance speech at the Grammies. To all her students past and present she says, "Watch the stick, subdivide, love the music and practice daily!"
Whitney Lussier, Conductor, Wind Orchestra
Whitney is a Vermont native who earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from St. Olaf
College. She has taught instrumental music in both Vermont and Minnesota, and currently
teaches at St. Helena School in Minneapolis, where she oversees a comprehensive K-8 music
program. In addition to her general music duties at St. Helena, she also founded the school’s
first self-sufficient band program in fall 2016. Outside of teaching, she enjoys rock climbing,
playing trombone with the Minnesota Symphonic Winds, and spending time with her dog
Terry Burk, Instructor, Music Education, Piano, Theory, and Composition
Terry holds degrees in composition, music theory and vocal music education from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. He has taught music theory and ear training at several music schools in the Twin Cities area and currently serves as a music specialist for the Forest Lake Public Schools. Terry is a professional composer and ensembles throughout the Midwest have commissioned and performed his choral works. Terry joined the MYS staff in 1992 and also prepares choirs for MYS performances of choral pieces with the orchestras.
Shelley Hanson, Woodwind Coach
Shelley Hanson’s compositions have been performed throughout the United States, and in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Also a record producer, clarinetist, and conductor, she and her band, Klezmer and All That Jazz, have performed her concerto for klezmer band and orchestra with The Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. She received a Ph.D. in Performance, Music Theory, and Music Literature from Michigan State University. Her Master’s degree in the Woodwind Specialist program involved her studying and performing on each of the orchestral woodwind instruments. More recently, MYScommissioned La Vida Sefardi (The Sephardic Life), which was premiered by the Repertory Orchestra. Shelley joined theMYS staff in 2002.
Greg Grimes, Brass Coach
Greg received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Trumpet Performance at the University of Minnesota in 2006. He works as the Information Technology Manager for Destineer Studios, a video game development studio in Plymouth. He also performs as a freelance trumpet player in the Twin Cities. Greg joined MYS in 2006.
Aaron Isakson, Percussion Coach
Professor Aaron Isakson conducts the Concert Band and Percussion Ensemble at Concordia University in Saint Paul as well as teaching conducting and instrumental literature classes. He has been a performing percussionist and has conducted various private school bands in the Twin Cities area since earning his masters degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Minnesota in 1997. He has studied percussion with world renowned performer/educator Fernando Meza and has studied conducting with the “Art of Wind Band Conducting” director Craig Kirchoff. He has performed and directed bands at every level of education and regularly works with young artists and ensembles throughout Minnesota. Aaron is also a Minneapolis/ St. Paul representative for Music with the Minnesota State High School League. Aaron joined the MYS staff in 2013.
Jessica Wilson Newhouse, String Orchestra Assistant
An MYS student from 2003-2006, Jessica joined the MYS staff in the summer of 2006. She received her Bachelors of Music degree in Violin Performance at the University of Minnesota. In addition to being a part of MYS, Jessica is currently teaching privately in the metroppolitan area. She plays piano, guitar, and violin, and loves being part of small ensembles. MYS played and continues to play a big role in inspiring Jessica's musical aspirations.
Toyo Lang, String Studio Instructor, Folwell Performing Arts Magnet
Toyo Lang has thirty plus years teaching traditional and Suzuki strings in public and private schools. She has recently performed with the Century College Orchestra, Crown College Orchestra, Wayzata Symphony Orchestra, Bloomington Chorale, Regency Trio and a string quartet. She is a former board member of the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association. Toyo holds a music education degree from Gustavus Adolphus College. Toyo joined MYS in 2016.