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"Life is something like a trumpet. If you don't put anything in, you won't get anything out." William Christopher Handy

Andrés González Parra is one of the young talents of the Venezuelan school of orchestral conducting, which emerged from the renowned social and musical program known as El Sistema. In 2013, Gonzalez Parra, who studied conducting with maestros Mario Benzecry and Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema, created the Jose Francisco del Castillo Youth Symphony Orchestra, with which he performed several symphonic and choral works, such as Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler in July 2015. In July 2016, he debuted at an international level, as guest conductor of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of the Biennial Festival in the province of Chaco, Argentina.

From an early age, Andrés has devoted most of his musical career to the academic education of Venezuelan children and young musicians, acting as teacher, orchestral conductor, and academic project developer - always committed to the progress of culture throughout communities. Since 2004, he has been a trumpet player member of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Gustavo Dudamel, with whom he has performed in the most important concert halls worldwide, such as the Berliner Philharmonie Hall, the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Munich Philharmonie Hall, the National Grand Theater of China, the Municipal Theater of São Paulo, the Columbus Theater in Buenos Aires, and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, among others.

During his education as a trumpet player, he has benefited from the training by masters Rolf Smedvig, Vladimir Kafelnikov, Thomas Clamor, Marc Reese, Rafael Zambrano, Eduardo Manzanilla, Jairo Hernandez, Max Sommerhalder, Lukas Beno, Gabor Taerkovi, among others. Also, as a musician of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, he has participated in the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals. He has been conducted by masters Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, and Lorin Mazel; and has been a part of the recordings of the Venezuelan orchestra, under the Deutsche Grammophon and Euro Arts record label. 

In 2010, he founded the Caracas Brass group. He is a member of the Simon Bolivar Trumpet Ensemble. He has completed his studies in the Atlantic Coast International Conducting Academy in Portugal with masters Luis Clemente and Colin Metters from the Royal Conservatory of Music in London. He began his musical studies at the age of 2 in the Jacinto Lara Conservatory. At only 3 years old, he raised the baton for the first time to conduct Ode to Joy along the the Children’s Orchestra and Choir of the Lara State. At the age of 8, he starts his studies as trumpet player, having Leonardo Mendez, Alfredo D’Addona, and Gary Nuñez as teachers. At the same time, he studies orchestral conduction with professors Libia D’Addona and Tarcisio Barreto.
In 1994, he is selected to be a member of the trumpet row of the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, with which he also performs as Guest Conductor and goes on a tour around Europe, the Americas, and Asia.   

Now is serving both as Music Director of Play On Philly and Principal Trumpet at the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

 Parra is one of the young talents of the Venezuelan orchestral conduction emerged from the renowned social and musical program known as El Sistema. In 2013; Gonzalez Parra, who was trained in conduction by masters Mario Benzecry and Jose Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema; created the Jose Francisco del Castillo Youth Symphony Orchestra, with which he performed several symphonic and choral repertoires, such as Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler in July 2015. In July 2016, he debuts at an international level as guest conductor of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of the Biennial Festival in the province of Chaco, Argentina.


From an early age, he has devoted most of his musical career to the academic education of Venezuelan children and young musicians, acting as teacher, orchestra conductor, and academic project developer; always committed to the deep progress of culture through communities. Since 2004, he is a trumpet player member of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, conducted by master Gustavo Dudamel, with whom he has performed in the most important concert halls worldwide, such as the Berliner Philharmonie Hall, the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Munich Philharmonie Hall, the National Grand Theater of China, the Municipal Theater of São Paulo, the Columbus Theater in Buenos Aires, the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, among others.
Throughout his education as a trumpet player, he has benefited from the training by masters Rolf Smedvig, Vladimir Kafelnikov, Thomas Clamor, Marc Reese, Rafael Zambrano, Eduardo Manzanilla, Jairo Hernandez, Max Sommerhalder, Lukas Beno, Gabor Taerkovi, among others. Also, as a musician of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, he has participated in the Salzburg and Lucerne Festivals. He has been conducted by masters Claudio Abbado, Simon Rattle, and Lorin Mazel; and has been a part of the recordings of the Venezuelan orchestra, under the Deutsche Grammophon and Euro Arts record label. 

In 2010, he founded the Caracas Brass group. He is a member of the Simon Bolivar Trumpet Ensemble. He has completed his studies in the Atlantic Coast International Conducting Academy in Portugal with masters Luis Clemente and Colin Metters from the Royal Conservatory of Music in London. He began his musical studies at the age of 2 in the Jacinto Lara Conservatory. At only 3 years old, he raised the baton for the first time to conduct Ode to Joy along the the Children’s Orchestra and Choir of the Lara State. At the age of 8, he starts his studies as trumpet player, having Leonardo Mendez, Alfredo D’Addona, and Gary Nuñez as teachers. At the same time, he studies orchestral conduction with professors Libia D’Addona and Tarcisio Barreto.
In 1994, he is selected to be a member of the trumpet row of the National Children’s Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, with which he also performs as Guest Conductor and goes on a tour around Europe, the Americas, and Asia.   

Now is serving both as Music Director of Play On Philly and Principal Trumpet at the Miami Symphony Orchestra.

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Lucy Smith is a British horn player based in Philadelphia, PA where she is studying for a Doctor in Musical Arts in horn performance at Boyer College of Music and Dance, Temple University. She completed her Masters of Music at the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, studying with Randy Gardner, Elizabeth Freimuth and Jonas Thoms.

In 2016 Lucy won the orchestral audition competition at the International Horn Society Mid-North Horn workshop and was a finalist in the soloist competition. While completing her undergraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, UK, she won the natural horn competition giving her the opportunity to present a lecture recital on the history of the horn. Lucy is a founding member of 5KBrass, a Cincinnati based brass quintet focused on commissioning and recording new works for the genre. In 2018 they participated in an academy with world renowned brass quintet Stockholm Chamber Brass. During the course they worked with British composer Alex Paxton and gave the world premier of his piece ‘Band’.

As well as participating in a number of summer music festivals including the Miami Summer Music Festival and the National Orchestral Institute, Lucy has played professionally with orchestras both at home in the UK and in the US.  Lucy is passionate about teaching musicians of all ages and abilities and looks forward to expanding the horn studio at Elite Music Academy.

Gregory Tsafos attended High school from 2001-2005 at Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA). Attended undergrad at Temple University where he received a degree in Music Performance with a Tuba Concentration in 2011. Attended University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) where he received his Masters in Music Performance in 2014.

 

He began his teaching career as a Teaching Assistant with the UCLA Wind Ensemble as well as the UCLA Bruin Marching Band. When returning to Philadelphia, He was offered a position at Settlement Music School where he teaches Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Baritone and Tuba. He also works offsite for Settlement at Hardy Williams High School as the Band Director as well as off-site with after school programs where he teaches Brass. He is also a teacher for weekend music programs geared toward teaching 3-8 year olds music and rhythm at Settlement Music School.

 

Some past teaching experiences have been teaching at Father Judge High school for 1 year as the Band Director as well as music outreach at Carnell Elementary, Hardy Williams Elementary and Lee Elementary as the brass teacher for after school programs. He has also worked at several camps during summer break as a general music teacher. Such camps include the band camp at Ridley Park High School teaching the Low Brass, the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) where he taught young students the basics of music and rhythm in Camden New Jersey, as well as a summer program at Carnell Elementary.

 

Currently, Gregory is a Performer with the Philadelphia Wind Symphony as a member of the Tuba Section.