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.