Stephen Mulligan, Occasional Symphony Co-Founder
Conductor Stephen Mulligan was awarded the Aspen Conducting Prize in 2014 after studying with Robert Spano as a fellow in the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen for two years. Highlights for the 2015-2016 season include appearances with The Florida Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. From 2014-2016, Mulligan served as the Assistant Conductor and Youth Orchestra Director for the Winston-Salem Symphony in North Carolina.
Mulligan studied with Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar, and Marin Alsop, and received his Master’s Degree from the Peabody Institute in 2013. While studying at Peabody, Mulligan co-founded and directed the Occasional Symphony, an ensemble devoted to performing innovative programs in alternative venues. In 2012, he traveled to Venezuela with the Baltimore Symphony's OrchKids staff to participate in an educational exchange with the renowned El Sistema program.
In 2011, Mulligan graduated cum laude from Yale University, where he served as the Yale Symphony's assitant conductor, traveled to Helsinki to study Sibelius's late manuscripts with a grant from the Mellon Foundation, and was awarded the Wrexham Prize for excellence in performance for violin and conducting.
Mulligan grew up in Baltimore, MD, studying violin with his father Gregory, former concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony and current violinist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Norman Huynh, Occasional Symphony Co-Founder
Norman Huynh is the newly appointed Herald and Arlene Schnitzer Associate Conductor for the Oregon Symphony and will start this position in the 16-17 season.
Norman was awarded the 2015 Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Scholarship. Chosen by Kurt Masur, Norman studied privately with the late Maestro culminating in a concert with the Leipzig Symphony Orchestra at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.
Norman's 2015-2016 season highlights include reengagements with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the Princess Galyani Vadhana Youth Orchestra in Bangkok, Thailand and a residency in Charleston, South Carolina for the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. as the Assistant Conductor.
Now in his third season as Assistant Conductor of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Norman is responsible for conducting and programming numerous concerts. Norman enjoys and excels at connecting with a wide range of audiences, including the unique Discovery Family Series' audience. A trademark concert series of the Portland Symphony, Norman has continued its success, creating accessible and engaging programs to sold out venues. His concerts have been described as a "phenomenal experience for the family" by concertgoers.
As a 21st century conductor, Norman has thoughtfully and successfully implemented sustainable programs to attract unconventional audiences to the organizations that he serves. His most recent project is Symphony and Spirits, an event to bring adults between the ages of 21-39 to meet like-minded individuals who enjoy creative cocktails and extraordinary music.
Prior to moving to Maine, Norman co-founded the Occasional Symphony, an organization that spreads orchestral music throughout the city of Baltimore. Occasional Symphony performs on holidays by presenting innovative programs that resonate with its eclectic venue (such as a concert celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday in a children’s museum or a silent-film Halloween concert in an abandoned church). During the 2011-2013 seasons, Norman was a cover conductor for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra working with Music Director Marin Alsop and Guest Conductors Juanjo Mena, Vasily Petrenko and Christoph König.
One of Norman’s greatest passions is educating the next generation of musicians and music lovers. With an extensive background in music education, he scripts and develops the PSO’s outreach programs to provide a deep and meaningful experience for concertgoers of all ages. Norman excels at working with youth orchestras and has guest conducted Maine's All-State Youth Orchestra. In January 2015, Norman made his international debut with the Princess Galyani Vadhana Youth Orchestra in Bangkok, Thailand where Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali presided over the concert.
Norman has participated in many prestigious conducting workshops, most recently he shared the podium with New York Philharmonic Music Director Emeritus, Kurt Masur at the Manhattan School of Music. In the summer of 2014, Norman was a participant at the Tanglewood Music Center's Conducting Seminar with Stefan Asbury. In 2010 and 2011, Norman won the International Conducting Workshop and Competition held in Macon, Georgia. Throughout his career, Norman has conducted the Baltimore Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Macon Symphony and Peabody Symphony Orchestra. He has served as an assistant conductor for Opera Carolina, the Lyric Opera of Baltimore, Peabody Opera Theatre, and The Peabody Singers.
Norman received his Master's Degree in orchestral conducting at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Gustav Meier, Markand Thakar, Edward Polochick and Marin Alsop. Previous teachers include John Ratledge, Demondrae Thurman and Adrian Gnam.
Shona Goldberg-Leopold, Occasional Symphony Founding Team
Shona Goldberg-Leopold is a multifaceted horn player, passionate about chamber music as well as orchestral and solo playing. Originally from Philadelphia, Shona migrated south to Nashville, TN to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Vanderbilt University, where she studied horn with the Nashville Symphony’s Principal Horn, Leslie Norton. Shona then earned a Master’s in Music and Graduate Performance Diploma at the Peabody Institute, studying with Denise Tryon of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Shona is a freelance hornist in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area and maintains an active private teaching studio.
Shona is a proud member of the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra, Washington D.C.’s first self-conducted orchestra. She also plays principal horn with the innovative new Baltimore group, Occasional Symphony. Shona has performed with several prominent ensembles, including the Richmond Symphony, New World Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Shippensburg Festival Symphony, and the Lancaster Symphony. Shona has enjoyed spending her summers at the National Orchestral Institute and the Aspen, Chautauqua, Siena, and Eastern Music Festivals. Shona loves traveling and is grateful for the musical opportunities that have given her a chance to perform in ten different countries (and counting!) across the world.
Timothy Hsu, Occasional Symphony Founding Team
Timothy Hsu joins Colorado State University-Pueblo as its new violin and viola artist-in-residence as well as its orchestra and chamber ensemble director. He is also the newest concertmaster of the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Hsu has always had a passion for teaching and community engagement initiatives throughout his career. During his time at Peabody, Timothy was actively involved in several music outreach organizations for students in underserved communities, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids. He was also on the TWIGS violin faculty at the Baltimore School for the Arts.
In the summer of 2012, Timothy traveled to Acarigua, Venezuela to teach and perform in one of their country’s El Sistema nucleos. Timothy has performed outreach concerts at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, the VA Hospital, and an educational concert for the pre-school division of the Preucil School of Music in an effort to share music and music education to people of all ages and backgrounds.
Timothy has been the recipient of the Peabody Career Development Grant and the University of Iowa School of Music Travel Funds Grant. Mr. Hsu has won the MTNA Young Artist’s Competition State Division. He has also participated in several music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival and has had the opportunity to perform in masterclasses with former New York Philharmonic concertmaster, Glenn Dicterow, and violinist Chee-Yun.
As a chamber musician, Timothy was one of the founding members of the Prometheus Piano Trio at Colorado State University-Pueblo. The trio has gone on to perform and teach masterclasses across southern Colorado. Previous orchestral appointments include section violin with the Ft. Smith Symphony in Arkansas, the Dubuque Symphony, Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony in Iowa, and principal second violin in the Orchestra of the Pines in Nacogdoches, TX. Mr. Hsu is currently finishing his doctoral studies with Katherine Wolfe at the University of Iowa. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and received his master’s degree from Peabody Conservatory. His favorite activity is having food adventures whether at home or in restaurants.
Rachel Hester-Huynh, Occasional Symphony Founding Team
Rachel Hester-Huynh is honored to be the original Director of Marketing for the Occasional Symphony. From creating the brand to developing the website to establishing social media platforms, serving OS was an experience she will never forget. Rachel received a degree in marketing from the University of Alabama. She worked as a Marketing Coordinator for the University of Maryland and as a Marketing Manager for Maine's largest media company. She is currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business.
Rafaela Dreisin, Occasional Symphony Founding Team
Rafaela Dreisin is an active promoter of the arts and education in Baltimore City who develops new audiences for classical music through a variety of platforms. Rafaela is the Audience Development Manager for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra where she conceptualizes and execute strategies and to build new and more diverse audiences for classical music.
Rafaela received her Masters degree from The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University where she studied trumpet performance. After completing her studies, Rafaela went on to work for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra where she served as the Senior Site Manger of ORCHkids, a program providing high level music education to underserved Baltimore City youth.
In addition to working for the Baltimore Symphony, Rafaela is the Director and co-founder of Classical Revolution Baltimore, a chamber music series which strives to bring classical music to varied audiences through performances in unusual settings. Rafaela has been widely recognized for her work and has been featured in the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Magazine, and was invited to speak at TEDxMidAtlantic 2012 in a talk which was titled 'Taking Classical Music to the Streets'. Rafaela has planned out-of-the concert hall events for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Evolution Contemporary Music Series, the Archipelago Project Brass Band, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's OrchKids program.
Rafaela also does freelance graphic design work to create affordable and modern marketing images for performance ensembles and non-profit organizations. Rafaela has designed posters and marketing images for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the BSO's OrchKids program, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra's Sympatico program, The Lunar New Music Ensemble, The Peabody Preparatory, Classical Revolution Baltimore, and more.
Elisabet Pujadas, Occasional Symphony Founding Team and Current Board President
Elisabet grew up in Barcelona, where she had the opportunity to participate in the vibrant cultural life of the city while building a career in science. After graduating with Honors in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago, Elisabet moved to Baltimore to join the MD-PhD program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2009. She is currently working in the laboratory of Prof. Andrew Feinberg performing research on cancer epigenetics. During her time in Baltimore, Elisabet has created strong partnerships between Johns Hopkins and several music organizations in Baltimore. She started and expanded a series called "Hopkins Evenings at the Symphony" that brings hundreds of students and faculty from Hopkins to the Off the Cuff series at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra every year. For three summers, Elisabet worked as a Production Assistant at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music led by Marin Alsop. Her engagement and commitment to new audience development and to reinventing the concert-going experience in Baltimore has earned her a position as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors at the Baltimore Concert Opera, as well as a position at the board of the Johns Hopkins Office of Cultural Affairs. Elisabet was one of the founding members of the Occasional Symphony and in her current role as President of the Board, she is working to refine and strengthen the core mission of Occasional Symphony as the organization grows in both size and scope. Elisabet takes piano lessons from Chad Bowles at the Peabody Preparatory and also enjoys rock climbing, photography and gastronomy.