Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra Chamber Orchestra

Jonathan Dexter, Music Director and Conductor


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 2017-18 season.


Tim Farrand, Assistant Conductor and Chamber Music Coach

Conductor and pianist Timothy Farrand, is currently Assistant Conductor of the Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra, working alongside Music Director Yaniv Attar.  He is also Assistant Conductor of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra (aka CPYO), where he collaborates in planning rehearsals and chamber music coachings. 

Tim has served as rehearsal conductor with the Penn State Campus Orchestra and other Penn State ensembles.  In addition to these appointments, he assists and is mentored by conductor and Music Director Teresa Cheung of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra

As a collaborative pianist, Timothy has worked extensively with both vocalists andinstrumentalists on a wide variety of repertoire. He also enjoys working as anensemble pianist with the Penn State Orchestras and Symphonic Bands.   Since 2015, he has served as the Piano Coordinator for the summer Honors Music Institute at Penn State University.   Both as a conductor and a pianist, Timothy is passionate about performing student compositions through Penn State’s Musica Nova concert series.

Starting his conducting studies at an early age, Timothy has participated in several conducting workshops and festivals in the United States and abroad. While at these workshops, he was privileged to working with conductors Harold Farberman, Mark Gibson, Apo Hsu, Donald Portnoy, Maurice Peress, Paul Vermel and many others. 

Recently, he completed his second summer of study with Larry Rachleff and Donald Schleicher at the highly selective International Conducting Workshop and Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Timothy is currently in his fourth year of study at Penn State University where he will receive a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance.  He studies piano with Dr. Timothy Shafer and conducting with Maestro Gerardo Edelstein.


Max Zorin, Chamber Group Conductor

Violinist Max Zorin has engaged audiences and critics worldwide with his uniquely diverse repertoire and style, spanning well beyond the standard classical canon into jazz, theatre, and pop. 

In recent seasons, Max has appeared with the Williamsport Symphony, Saint Petersburg State Orchestra, Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra and San Jose Youth Symphony. Previous engagements brought Max to Europe, China, Israel, Brazil, Argentina, Russia and United States. Max was featured in venues such as Tchaikovsky Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Tel Aviv University, and in festivals such as the Granada International Music Festival, Summit Music Festival and Aspen Music Festival.

Max’s 2008 debut album French Touch, a collection of 20th century French works for violin and piano, was praised as “simply magnificent” by Strings Magazine and earned him a Gold Medal and Emerging Artist recognition from the Global Music Awards. In 2015, Max released his first music video, a fresh jazz quartet arrangement of the well-loved standard Mack The Knife, which is part of his latest album.

A fervent proponent of new music and artistic collaboration, Max has previously joined forces with a range of performers, both inside and outside the classical realm, including Maxim Vengerov, Itamar Golan, jazz violinist Didier Lockwood, rock guitarist Rik Emmett, and the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet.

Max is associate professor of violin at Penn State University; he regularly presents master classes at various institutions including London’s Royal Academy of Music and the State Conservatory of Thessaloniki, Greece. He also serves as co-artistic director of Recontres Musicales Internationales des Graves, a Bordeaux-based new music festival which annually hosts 120 international participants for a summer of musical and cultural partnership. 

Born in Israel into a Russian family of professional musicians, Max began studying the violin at the age of five with his father. His family moved to France when he was six and he gave his first performances when he was eight years old. At age 17 he won First Prize at the Corpus Christi International Competition (USA) and moved to the US. He studied with Dorothy De Lay, Naoko Tanaka, Peter Oundjian, Ani Kavafian and Philip Setzer (of the Emerson String Quartet), and subsequently earned degrees from the Juilliard School, Yale University, and Stony Brook University.

Max performs on a violin crafted by J.B. Vuillaume (Paris ~1860) and a bow by Edwin Clement (Paris, 2011).


PSU CAMPUS Orchestra

Fernanda Lastra

Fernanda 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.

Born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, 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 is the founding Music Director of the orchestra “La Trama Ensemble” (Argentina), and as a choral conductor,  is founding Music Director of the “Punta Indio City Hall Choir.”,

Ms. Lastra’s has guest conducted 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.


Assad Benraf  (BIO COMING SOON)

Nittany Valley Symphony

Maestro Michael Jinbo
Michael Jinbo is in his 25th season as Music Director and Conductor of the Nittany Valley Symphony.  He is also the Music Director of The Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians, with whom he has enjoyed a long affiliation.  For 20 years, Jinbo has served as only the third music director in the 72‑year history of the school, following his mentor Charles Bruck and the school's founder, eminent French-American conductor Pierre Monteux.  Serving as the school's master teacher, he directs an orchestra comprised of musicians from around the world and teaches a class of 15‑20 conductors each summer.  For four seasons, Jinbo served as the Assistant Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony, a full-time professional orchestra with whom he performed 60-75 concerts each season, including classical, ballet, pops and educational programs.  He has performed with a wide range of artists, including pianist Garrick Ohlsson, violinist Kyoko Takezawa, prima ballerina assoluta Galina Mezentseva and the St. Petersburg Ballet of Russia, and the legendary Cab Calloway.

Jinbo received a B.A. in Music from The University of Chicago, concentrating in the areas of music history and musicology, and an M.M. in Conducting from the Northwestern University School of Music, where he was the winner of the Honors Conducting Competition and selected for induction in the national honorary music society Pi Kappa Lambda.  He received further conducting training at The Pierre Monteux School (Hancock, Maine), the Herbert Blomstedt Institute (Loma Linda, California), the Scotia Festival of Music (Halifax, Nova Scotia), and at workshops of the American Symphony Orchestra League and the Conductors Guild.  In 1991, Jinbo was selected by the Conductors Guild as a nominee for their biennial Robinson Conducting Award.

Michael Jinbo made his European debut in 1999, appearing as guest conductor with the Sinfonieorchester Basel in concerts in Switzerland and Germany.  He has also appeared as guest conductor with the Orquesta Sinfónica Carlos Chávez in Mexico City and with the Quebec Festival of Youth Orchestras.  Other guest engagements have included programs with the Altoona Symphony, the Bangor Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic, the Erie Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, and the orchestra of the Longy School of Music in Boston.  Jinbo participated in the 2000 Annual Conference and 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Conductors Guild in New York City, where he served as guest speaker in a session entitled “The Education of Conductors."

Michael Jinbo has served twice as a member of the instrumental music panel of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Jinbo is also a violinist.  He has appeared as soloist with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, among others.

PSU Philharmonic

Maestro Gerardo Edelstein

A native of Argentina, Maestro Gerardo Edelstein has an extensive experience conducting symphonic music, opera, and choral works in four continents. Audiences, musicians, and press alike continuously praise him for his sensitive, charismatic, and energetic performances.

Edelstein was principal conductor of the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir and Orchestra in Israel, appearing on radio and television on several occasions and touring throughout the country. In the United States, he served as assistant conductor, associate conductor, and music advisor for the Richmond Symphony in Virginia conducting a variety of performances including several subscription series. Under his leadership, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) awarded the symphony first prize for innovative music programming awarded in 2000.

Gerardo Edelstein has guest conducted the Israel Sinfonietta and the Israel Kibbutz Orchestra in Israel, the Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic in the Czech Republic, the Kharkov Philharmonic in the Ukraine, the Tucuman Symphony Orchestra and Choir and the Orquesta Sinfonica de la Universidad Nacional de Cuyo in Argentina, the Houston Chamber Orchestra, the Houston Ballet, the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet, the Pennsylvania Chamber Chorale and Orchestra, and the Kalamazoo, Williamsport and San Antonio symphonies in the United States. In 2004, Edelstein was invited to guest conduct in the first international orchestra festival in Dublin, Ireland and, most recently, in the Recontres Musicales Internationales des Graves in Bordeaux, France.

Committed to the education of young musicians, Maestro Edelstein has served as clinician and guest conductor for many orchestra festivals in Virginia, Texas, Vermont, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. He has also collaborated the San Antonio Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony in side-by-side concerts. He has presented masterclasses and conducting workshops in the United States as well as Argentina.

Maestro Edelstein graduated with high honors from the National Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires (piano) and studied choral conducting at the J. J. Castro Conservatory of La Lucila. He continued his education in Israel at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem where he won the Leonard Bernstein Conducting Scholarship awarded by the American/Israel Cultural Foundation. In the United States, he received a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. His teachers included Mendi Rodan, Helmuth Rilling, and Larry Rachleff, among others.

Currently, Edelstein serves as director of orchestral studies at the Pennsylvania State University. He is the conductor of Penn State’s Philharmonic and Chamber orchestras as well as the music director of the Music at Penn’s Woods Summer Orchestra Festival. In addition, he is music director of the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra.