Artistic Leadership

Eric Mahl

Maestro Eric Mahl is the Music Director of the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra and conductor of the Symphony Orchestra.

Known for his contagious energy and passion, Mr. Mahl has solidified his place as one of the most exciting conductors of his generation. His performances captivate audiences, and through these unique musical experiences, he unleashes music’s immense power to bring positive change to the world. He is dedicated to bringing music to life for everyone, believing that it is a necessary part of a joyous and fulfilling existence.

Currently, Mr. Mahl is the Music Director of the Northport Symphony Orchestra, Geneva Light Opera Company (NY), the Philharmonia Orchestra at Third Street, and Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, as well as Associate Conductor with the Greenwich Village Orchestra and faculty/festival ensemble conductor at the Charles Ives Music Festival.  He is the Founder and Music Director of Orchestra One, a NYC based 501c3, a community involvement and participation based organization.

Maestro Mahl leads, collaborates and performs with ensembles and soloists comprised of world-class musicians from orchestras ranging from the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra among others, as well as with Grammy Winning artists including Brandon Patrick George, Rannan Meyer, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and Judy Collins.  Mr. Mahl has become known for his unique and innovative programs, which highlight the rich diversity of the world, which in turn actively interests audiences of people from all backgrounds into the fold of classical music. He is constantly searching for meaningful music that is under represented in the current cannon.   Most recently Mr. Mahl’s orchestral arrangements of Nathaniel Dett’s Piano music was given its world premier with the Northport Symphony, and a fresh interpretation of Florence Price’s The Oak with the Greenwich Village Orchestra was met with thunderous applause.

As a fervent supporter of new works, Mr. Mahl frequently conducts various New Music Ensembles in the Greater NYC area, including more than twenty world premieres and has commissioned nine pieces for full orchestra, as well as world premieres of fully-staged operas, ballet, and countless small and large ensemble pieces of all genres and instrumentations.

This busy musician also can be heard in his unique music lecture series, a library workshop series, inter-active children and family concerts, outreach programs, and concerts that explore the history and culture of a particular communities.  As a passionate educator, Mr. Mahl has personally taught all ages and instruments at public and private schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City, and frequently works with student musicians from under-served communities.

Mr. Mahl received his Bachelor of Music Degree from Ithaca College, and continued his studies at Universite de Montreal and the State University of New York at Fredonia. He has studied with some of the foremost conducting pedagogues in the country including Marin Alsop, James Ross, Harold Farberman, and Larry Rachleff and has participated in workshops in the United States, Canada and  Europe. Mr. Mahl plays trumpet and piano, and in his very limited free time continues to play in orchestral and chamber music programs. When not on the podium, his passions extend to fitness, tennis, and spending time in nature.   Eric Mahl’s Website

Joanna Giordano

Joanna Giordano, conductor of the WCYO String Orchestra, is a classical violinist, strings educator in New York State, and a WCYO alumna.

Joanna received her Bachelor’s degree in Music with a minor in Education & Child Study from Smith College. While she was there, Joanna studied violin with Joel Pitchon and was the concertmaster of the Smith College Orchestra under conductor Jonathan Hirsh. She performed in a variety of concerts, including Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana collaborating with members of the Smith College Glee Club, as well as Montage, a series of contemporary songs centered around various themes. Joanna also studied composition under Dr. Kate Soper, which culminated in the original composition “Echoes,” exploring various composition techniques and extended performance techniques centered around a four-note melody. The piece was written for bass flute, C flute, violin, and vibraphone, performed by Erin Lesser, Ian Antonio, and Josh Modney of the Wet Ink Ensemble.

In the summer of 2014, Joanna was awarded a Susan Rose Internship from Smith College and pursued a teaching internship at Escuela de Música Qantu in Cuzco, Peru. There, she instructed Peruvian and international strings students in Suzuki Method and participated in concerts showcasing traditional Andean and Peruvian music. It was this internship and working with a diverse group of students that sparked Joanna’s passion for music education.

Joanna followed this passion to Teachers College, Columbia University, where she received her Master’s degree in Music & Music Education. Her studies included instrumental pedagogy, music education philosophy, and the intersection of child development and music under Daniel J. Brown, Dr. Randall Everett Allsup, Dr. Lori Custodero, and Dr. Kelly Parkes. One highlight of Joanna’s graduate program was the collaborative composition “Stages of Grief,” a semi-improvised exploration of the grieving process written for two voices, violin, cello, and piano. Joanna has always believed music to be a powerful means of self-expression–this composition felt even more powerful in that it allowed the co-composers to share and express those emotions in a musical community.

Joanna has played violin for over 15 years, including as a member of the Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra for six years. Some of her concert highlights include playing at Carnegie Hall in 2006 as a member of the Greater Westchester Youth Orchestra and at Avery Fisher Hall in 2008 as a member of WCYO. Joanna also sang in the Canticum Novum Youth Choir under director Edie Rosenbaum for a few years. Her performance highlights with the choir include singing in The Ennio Morricone Concerts at Radio City Music Hall and The United Nations in 2007 as well as performing at Cooper Union in 2007.

Joanna currently resides in White Plains, where she serves as concertmaster of the New Westchester Symphony Orchestra. In addition to music, Joanna loves spending time outdoors hiking or going to the beach, lifting weights, and taking care of her house plants.

Malin Carta

Malin Carta, conductor of the WCYO Wind Ensemble, is a jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer and educator based in Connecticut.

“Malin Carta continuously exhibits the talent, dedication, conviction and pursuit of excellence critical for success as a musician and artist. Her leadership abilities and strength of character are immediately recognizable. I am truly excited to watch her career take off.” – Jimmy Greene

Carta is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University (Class of 2021, Magna Cum Laude, Kathwari Honors Program) where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance while studying under the direction of Grammy-nominated saxophonist Dr. Jimmy Greene.

Along with her position as Wind Ensemble conductor for the WCYO, Malin is the current director of Jazz Bands and assistant director of Bands at the Greenwich Country Day School. Malin’s past teaching positions have included both group and private music classes at Bearclaw’s Academy of Music of New Milford, Southbury Music Studio, Summit Music Center of Manchester, Music & Arts of East Hartford, and Bach to Rock of Ridgefield.

Malin performs regularly with CT-based band Lavender Social Club and her own self-led groups. She has performed with groups around the state including the Hartford Jazz Orchestra, the New London Big Band, the Elm City Big Band, the Berkshire Jazz Orchestra, the Broken Reed Saxophone Quartet, and the Governor’s Foot Guard Band. During her four years at WCSU, she played lead alto saxophone in Jazz Orchestra and Frankensax, led by Jimmy Greene, Jamie Begian, and Andrew Beals; first chair in the Wind Ensemble, led by Dr. Luis Fernando Jiménez; and soprano saxophone in her Saxophone Quartet, directed by Dave Noland. She has had the opportunity to share the stage with masters such as Ron Carter, Sean Jones, Josh Evans, Russell Malone, and Geoffrey Keezer.

Past venues that Malin has performed at include the Soapbox Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Space Ballroom (Hamden, CT), The Buttonwood Tree (Middletown, CT), the Cellar on Treadwell (Hamden, CT), the State House (New Haven, CT), and Cafe Nine (New Haven, CT). She has been a member of the Women in Jazz Organization (WIJO), where she worked with musicians Karolina Strassmayer, Alexa Tarantino, Sharel Cassity, Roxy Coss, Emily Pecoraro, and Allegra Levy.

Carta has been featured as a guest on Jim Motavalli’s segment on WPKN, where she discussed her self-released EP A Beautiful Storm (2021). Her original song “Sleeping Song” was played on WPKN 89.5, as well as her recordings of standards “Four” and “Stars Fell On Alabama”. She has won numerous awards including the 2021 WCSU Music Book Award for Jazz Studies, the 2020 JUMY Foundation Scholarship, and the 2018 James Furman Memorial Award.

Malin currently resides in Stamford, CT.  Malin Carta’s Website

Paul Frucht

Hailed as a “composer with a career to follow” by Hearst Media, Paul Frucht is an American composer whose music has been acclaimed for its “sense of lyricism, driving pulse, and great urgency” (WQXR), “jagged beauty” (Buffalo News) and “excellent orchestration” (Ridgefield Press). His music has been commissioned and performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Weill-Cornell Music and Medicine Orchestra, Western Connecticut Youth Orchestra, American Modern Ensemble, Asian American New Music Institute, Euclid Quartet, Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, LONGLEASH Trio, New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, Utah Arts Festival, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Midsummer’s Music, and the Eastern Music Festival among numerous other performing ensembles and organizations.

His work Forever is Composed of Nows was recently commissioned and premiered by the Grammy-Award winning trio Time For Three in Ketchum, ID at the Argyros Performing Arts Center and will be performed at the Geneva Music Festival Princeton Music Festival among other venues as the group tours with it this year. Summer 2023 also features the world premiere of There Are Stars, a new work for flute and string quartet commissioned by the Sonora Collective and the world of Finding Religion, a new work commissioned for violinist Jeffrey Multer, cellist Julian Schwarz, and the Eastern Music Festival Orchestral lead by Gerard Schwarz. The 23-24 season will also feature the world premiere of Rhapsody II, a new string quartet commissioned by the Carpe Diem String Quartet as well as performances of Paul’s violin and piano work What a Time, performed by William Shaub, the concertmaster of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, on the KSO Merchant and Gould Concertmaster Series.

Paul has long prioritized cultural engagement through his work as a composer and artistic leader. In 2013, he wrote Dawn, in memory of Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was his middle school principal when he was a student at Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury, CT, which neighbors Newtown, CT. The work honors her legacy of courage and dedication to education and has been performed around the United States by the American Composers Orchestra, Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, Bowling Green State University Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony, Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, and Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. The wind band version was recently premiered by the UMKC Conservatory Wind Symphony led by Steven Davis, who will lead a subsequent performance at Interlochen Center for the Arts with the World Youth Wind Symphony in August 2023. Additionally, in 2012, the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra led by Yuga Cohler gave the world premiere of A More Perfect Union, an orchestral song cycle for baritone and orchestral based on the speeches of Pres. Obama, commissioned for baritone Jorell Williams and the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. Paul and Yuga collaborated on the work with Cody Keenan, Pres. Obama’s chief speechwriter and the work was featured in a NowThis feature.

Recently, Paul was named the winner of the 2023 Lake George Music Festival Composition Competition. Additionally, he has been the recipient of a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Brian H. Israel Prize from the Society of New Music, an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, Juilliard’s Palmer Dixon, Arthur Friedman, and Gena Raps Prizes, the American Composers Orchestra’s 2016 Audience Choice Award and has been recognized for his work by the Copland House, American Modern Ensemble, the Nashville Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Red Note New Music Festival, Chelsea Symphony,  Periapsis Music and Dance, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, and the Spectrum Chamber Music Society.

In 2015, Paul founded the Charles Ives Music Festival (CIMF), of which he currently serves as the artistic director. Based in Ridgefield, CT, CIMF explores the rich history of Ives and his legacy, American music, through dynamic artist concerts and interactive educational events, with a particular focus on presenting the works of living American composers. The festival presents ten concerts and events per year, primarily concentrated during the first two weeks of August when the festival holds its educational programming, which brings talented artist-faculty from leading U.S. orchestras and chamber groups to CT to perform side-by-side with 55 youth musicians. Leading American musicians and composers including composer Kevin Puts, double bassist Ranaan Meyer, cellist Julian Schwarz, harpist Emily Levin, and composer Justin Dello Joio have been featured artists.

A passionate educator of all ages, he has been a faculty member at New York University’s Steinhardt School since 2015. Paul received his doctoral of musical arts and master of music degrees at the Juilliard School and a B.M. from New York University, where he studied with Justin Dello Joio.  Paul Frucht’s Website