Rebecca Maciejczyk, Artistic Director
Rebecca Maciejczyk has been teaching classical ballet for the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania (PASCP) since 2007 and became Artistic Director in 2012. As Artistic Director, Rebecca arranges two major productions annually, in addition to smaller-scale performances throughout the year, for which she has choreographed and set new and existing works on PASCP students and guest artists. Rebecca also plays a crucial role in establishing opportunities for the local community to experience dance performance through PASCP.
Rebecca began her training with eight years of classical ballet with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. During this time, she trained under permanent and guest teachers including Richard Cook, Leslie Hench, Darla Hoover, Melinda Jones Howe, Lisa de Ribere, Violette Verdy, Gennadi Vostrikov and Deborah Wingert, among others. She studied ballet and modern dance with Washington School of Ballet and Delaware Dance Co. Rebecca danced principal roles with both CPYB and Delaware Dance Co. and performed various principal and ensemble roles with Virginia Opera, Virginia Musical Theatre, Theatre Harrisburg and State College Community Theatre. She has also danced locally with Brio Dance Company and Van Dance Inc. Professionally, Rebecca has attended the CPYB Summer Teacher Training Seminar, the Peabody Conservatory Teachers Seminar, and observes master classes with various professional ballet companies.
Rebecca holds a B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science from Penn State University and lives in Boalsburg with her husband and 2 children.
Ann Van Kuren, Performance Manager
Ann has been an influential creative force in Pennsylvania since 1988. Originally from Dayton, OH, Ann received a B.A. in Dance and Mathematics from Butler University and her master’s in Dance Performance and Choreography from Ohio State University. As a performer she has danced professionally with New World Dance Theatre in New York City, Fleet Street Contemporary Dance Company of Louisville, Pennsylvania Dance Theatre (PDT), The Ballet Theatre of State College and her own company, VanDance Inc., and was invited to perform in the Festival Dance of the World in Hungary.
Ann danced with PDT from 1988 to 2001 and served as the company’s artistic director and resident choreographer for 10 years, commissioning work from guest choreographers and creating more than 40 dances. In addition, her work has been set on the PASCP Company, dancers at Stephens College Summer Program and at Penn State University. As a performer she has danced in the works by renown contemporary choreograhers Bebe Miller, David Dorfman, Doug Varone, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Heidi Latsky, Cathy Young, and many others.
Fernanda Lastra, Music Director and Conductor of the CPYO Full Orchestra
Born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Fernanda Lastra was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the CPYO FULL orchestra in the summer 2016, bringing extensive experience as a conductor, pianist, educator and musical entrepreneur. PASCP is proud to appoint the first female conductor in CPYO’s 25-year history.
Ms. Lastra holds graduate music degree from La Plata University in Orchestral and Choral conducting, and an undergraduate degree in Piano Performance. She also plays the viola.
She has been selected to attend and/or participate in numerous conducting Master Classes and Workshop with renowned Maestros: Luis Gorelik (Argentina), Abel Rocha (Brazil), Daizuke Soga (Japan), (Christine Larsen-Maguire) England, Camilo Linares Roso (Colombia), Osvaldo Ferreira (Portugal), Jose Antonio Cerón Ortega (Venezuela), Ernst Scheele (Suiza). In Choral Conducting: Ariel Alonso (Argentina-France), Néstor Andrenacci and Néstor Zadoff (Argentina).
She is the Founding Music Director and Artistic Director of “La Trama Ensemble” (Argentina), an orchestra which presents several concerts, frequent outreach projects in the community and master classes with renowned Maestros for the last four years.
Ms. Lastra’s is a sought-after guest conductor, having led the Mar del Plata City Hall Symphony Orchestra, the Youth Symphony Orchestra at the Mar del Plata Conservatory, the “Vientos del Sur” Buenos Aires Symphonic Band, and the Brazil Youth Symphony Orchestra at the International Music Festival Caraguatatuba, Brazil.
As a choral conductor, Ms Lastra is the Founding Music Director of the “Punta Indio City Hall Choir”, and she was also a choir singer for more than 20 years.
As a professor, she has served on the music theory faculty of La Plata National University since 2005, as well as Assistant Conductor in the State Youth Orchestra Program, based in “El Sistema.” In 2010 she travelled to Venezuela for several formative experiences and training in this exceptional initiative. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Sistema and http://www.cbsnews.com/news/el-sistema-changing-lives-through-music/)
As musical entrepreneur, she has participated in several courses such as “Emprending” (Buenos Aires University), and being part of the TEDxPaseodelBosque´s organizing team (La Plata, Argentina).
Ms. Lastra was awarded a Teaching Assistantship from the School of Music at Penn State University, where she is currently studying towards the Master's degree in conducting under Maestro Gerardo Edelstein. She serves as Assistant Conductor of Penn State Orchestras and directs the Penn State Campus Orchestra.
Fernanda Lastra is delighted to join the PASCP family and looks forward to working with our musicians and co-Music Director Jonathan Dexter.
Jonathan Dexter, Music Director and Conductor of the CPYO Chamber Orchestra
Jonathan Dexter, conductor and cellist, received music degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory, the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, and the University of Texas at Austin. Performance highlights include the Jimmy Fallon Show, The View, Fox and Friends, Rachel Ray, and live on Sirius XM satellite radio. Recently, Jonathan was part of the recording “Irving Berlin: This is the Life” with the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. Jonathan has been featured in many recordings including SONY Masterworks & Columbia Records recordings with singer Megan Hilty and at two sold out CD release shows in 2013. Other highlights include the Kerrville Folk Festival with David Amram (2011), the Trans Siberian Orchestra (2008-2012), and Mannheim Steamroller (2015-2016) He has been heard on film soundtracks for Bernie (2013) and A Scanner Darkly (2006). He produced strings for the 2011-2013 seasons of NBC’s TV series Smash and composed the original score to the short film Recess, an official selection at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. With the Allegria Ensemble, Jonathan has been a part of a musical outreach show “How to Listen to Classical Music” with Debbie Trudeau funded by the PA Council on the Arts (2014-2016). Jonathan performs with the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Music at Penn’s Woods Festival, principal cello with Altoona Symphony, and with his own original music trio, THE UNBANNED, seen at Arts Fest and monthly at the Happy Valley Brewing Company.
Mr. Dexter is a much sought-after cello teacher, highly esteemed by his students. He is delighted to take the podium in front of the Chamber Orchestra, and looks forward to a terrific 2016-17 season.