MYSO’s Alumni Community is comprised of previous members who consider our youth orchestra as a place that shaped their lifelong appreciation of music, created meaning relationships within our group, and continued to build on the foundation of life skills MYSO presented them with. From Hollywood composers and music professors, to finance directors and scientists, we are proud of our Alumni that still consider MYSO a community to support and connect with.
Alumni Performance Invitation
Want to join us? RSVP here by May 21, 2023.
Stefan L. Smith
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra
Composer | Orchestrator | Arranger | Violist
“Maestro Sisk/MYSO introduced us to repertoire a typical youth orchestra would not touch. He challenged me to play at my best and was a motivational figure. There was one rehearsal where he allowed the first movement of my symphonic poem “Pompeii” to be read. It was a huge learning experience for me. That was the day I decided I wanted to pursue a career in both performing and composition. I’m now doing both and LOVE it!”
Stefan studied at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music on a full tuition scholarship for a Masters Degree in Viola Performance with Professor Donald McInnes. His two Bachelors of Music degrees are in Viola Performance and Music Composition, from DePaul University’s School of Music in Chicago.
Stefan has written music for concert halls, film, TV, video games, r&b, pop, EDM, as well as maintaining an extensive professional symphonic performance career. He has served as a principal (and/or acting principal) violist with the: Hollywood Studio Symphony, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, New West Symphony Orchestra, Riverside Philharmonic, Henry Mancini Institute Symphony & Chamber Orchestras, DePaul Symphony Orchestra, Oistrach Chamber Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago (the training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), and various others. Smith is also a sought after on-screen musician, where he can be seen on projects such as the 93rd Academy Awards, Modern Family, The West Wing, NBC’s The Voice, Glee, 90210, American Music Awards, and the BET Awards to name a few.
“MYSO was an incredible experience. I had the opportunity to perform a wide range of repertoire with an orchestra, something that many high schools don’t offer. MYSO introduced me to classical orchestral music and because of Dr. Sisk’s programming MYSO opened the doors for my musical curiosity. I went home hungry for more music by the composer’s that wrote the pieces we performed.”
Renée holds a master’s degree in horn performance from DePaul University under the tutelage of James Smelser and a bachelor’s degree in horn performance, Performer’s Certificate, and Arts Leadership Certificate from the Eastman School of Music under the instruction of W. Peter Kurau. She is a Chicago based freelance hornist and teacher. Renée performs regularly with ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and Elgin Symphony Orchestra. She teaches Upper Brass Methods at DePaul University, and is a horn instructor for the Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative and The People’s Music School.
“MYSO and Maestro Sisk’s influences on me has been to inspire lifelong study and constant striving to better myself as a musician.”
Andrew Nogal is an acclaimed orchestral performer, chamber musician, and interpreter of contemporary music as an oboist. A longtime member of Chicago’s Ensemble Dal Niente, he has also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, CSO MusicNOW Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Nunc, Zohn Collective, and Alarm Will Sound. Nogal teaches applied oboe and chamber music at Loyola University Chicago. Nogal studied at Northwestern University, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in Music Performance and Art History as well as a master’s degree in Music Performance.