Benjamin Firer, Music Director and Conductor CPYO Full Orchestra
A native of Long Island, New York, Benjamin Firer is currently the Music Director and Conductor of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Orchestra Full Orchestra in State College, PA. He also directs the Penn State Campus Orchestra and serves as Assistant Conductor of the Penn State Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras under the direction of Maestro Gerardo Edelstein.
Benjamin holds a master’s degree from the Yale University School of Music where he was Conductor of the Yale Saybrook College Orchestra and served as Teaching Assistant for graduate music theory courses. As a trombonist, Benjamin was the winner of the 2012 Woolsey Concerto Competition, the 2011 Yale Chamber Music Competition and a fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. He was a featured performer in Yale in New York series "De Profundis" at Carnegie Hall. As founder of the Aries Chamber Ensemble, he was awarded the 2010 SUNY Thayer Fellowship in the Arts.
Other conducting experiences include the National Music Festival, New Music New Haven and New York Youth Symphony. He has attended workshops at The Juilliard School, the University of Michigan, Waterville Valley Music Center and Beyond the Baton Seminar studying with Otto-Werner Mueller, Kenneth Kiesler and David Effron.
Hyewon Kim, Assistant Music Director
Hyewon Kim started playing the violin in her native Seoul, South Korea when she was 6 years-old. At an early age, she was recognized by winning prizes from prestigious competitions in Korea: Eum-Yeon, Chun-chu, and the Music Journal. While attending Ewha Women’s University, she earned the opportunity to perform the Mendelsshon and Tchaikovsky violin concertos with the Ewha Orchestra, as well as Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. As a chamber musician, Ms Kim was the first violinist of the EN Quartet in Korea and the Suda Quartet in the United States. The EN Quartet won the Haneum Chamber Competition in Korea, and the Suda Quartet has appeared in recital at Stony Brook, NY, Deer Park, and Tanglewood, MA.
Ms. Kim was a full scholarship recipient at Ewha Women’s University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree, and again at the Yale School of Music for a Master’s degree, studying under Ani Kavafian. In recent summers, she has served as Concertmaster and “Principal” chair in the Castleton Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Spoleto Music Festival, Pacific Music Festival, and National Orchestral Institute. In 2013 she was selected by Maestro Lorin Maazel to perform the Verdi String Quartet as a Castleton Chamber Player. Other chamber music collaborations include those with Nick Cords, Colin Carr, Philip Setzer and David Finckel from the Emerson Quartet. She has performed in various venues throughout Korea, Japan, Germany, Denmark, Austria, and the United States.
In central Pennsylvania, Ms. Kim serves as Principal second violin of the Williamsport Symphony, Assistant Concertmaster of the Altoona Symphony, and the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra. Ms. Kim is currently a full scholarship recipient at SUNY Stony Brook, where she will receive the Doctoral Music of Arts in 2014, studying with Soovin Kim and Philip Setzer.
CPYO is proud to have appointed Ms Kim Assistant Conductor of CPYO in the fall of 2013. She has been leading intensive sectional rehearsals with our string.