Artistic Leadership

053115_WCYO_374_Low-ResSMEric Mahl

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

Mr. Mahl serves as the Music Director of the Northport Symphony, Geneva Light Opera Company, The Philharmonia Orchestra at Third Street, and Lakeland Youth Orchestra, as well Associate Conductor of the Greenwich Village Orchestra. He is also the founder and Music Director of OrchestraOne, a NYC based organization founded on community involvement, and ensembles conductor at the Charles Ives Music Festival in Danbury, CT. Mr. Mahl is a musician who believes in the transformative powers of music above all else. 

He has had guest conducting experiences with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, Ridgefield Symphony, New Amsterdam Symphony, Greenwich Village Orchestra, The Chelsea Symphony, Urban Playground orchestra, and the University Orchestras of the College Conservatory of Music (CCM), Orchestra de l’Universite de Montreal, and SUNY Fredonia. 

A fervent supporter of New Music, Mr. Mahl frequently conducts New Music Ensembles in the Greater NYC area, has led ensembles in the performance of more than twenty world premiers and has commissioned nine pieces for full orchestra through the ensembles he directs. These and other projects have led to many collaborations and commissions with professional and student composers including the world premieres of fully-staged operas, experimental ballet, and countless small and large ensemble pieces of all genres and instrumentations. He was also selected from over 100 applicants to participate in the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Conducting Workshop, where he worked closely with Marin Alsop and James Ross. 

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. As a firm believer that music can provide a transformational experience for any child regardless of background, he attempts to engage and inspire students from as many cultural and geographic backgrounds as possible through community engagement activities such as free lectures, workshops, and concerts in addition to working with student orchestras. It is his goal to expose the humanistic meaning behind great works of art, to tear down any and all barriers between the audience and performers and bring the world together.

Mr. Mahl received his Bachelors of Music in Education from Ithaca College and continued his studies both at Universite de Montreal and the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he received his master’s degree. He has studied with some of the foremost conducting pedagogues in the United States including Marin Alsop, James Ross, Harold Farberman, Neil Varon, Marc Gibson, Larry Rachleff, Don Schleicher, Jean-Francois Rivest, Paolo Bellomia, and Joeseph Gifford. He has participated in workshops and competitions in the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic; at the Eastman School of Music, College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and Bard College. Mr. Mahl’s primary instrument is the trumpet, although he is schooled in all orchestral instruments. He continues to perform in orchestral, jazz, and chamber music settings.  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, and educator based in Connecticut.

A recent graduate of Western Connecticut State University (Magna Cum Laude, graduate of Kathwari Honors Program), Malin holds her Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance where she studied under the direction of Grammy-nominated saxophonist Jimmy Greene. Along with her position as Wind Ensemble conductor for the WCYO, Malin is currently Greenwich Country Day School’s director of the Jazz Band and teacher’s assistant for the Concert Band. 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 the CT-based band Lavender Social Club and the New Haven-based Elm City Big Band lead by Nick DiMaria. She has made appearances with several different groups including the Hartford Jazz Orchestra, the Greg Packham Group, the Berkshire Jazz Orchestra, and the Governor’s Foot Guard Band conducted by Chuck Lignelli.  During her four years at WCSU, she played lead alto saxophone in the Jazz Orchestra and Frankensax, lead by Jimmy Greene, Jamie Begian, and Andrew Beals; first chair in the Wind Ensemble, lead by Dr. Luis Fernando Jiménez; and soprano saxophone in her Saxophone Quartet, lead 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 is currently an active member of the Women in Jazz Organization (WIJO), where she worked with musicians Karolina Strassmayer, Alexa Tarantino, Sharel Cassity, Roxy Coss, and Emily Pecoraro .

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 2018 James Furman Memorial Award, and the 2020 JUMY Foundation Scholarship.

Malin currently resides in Danbury, CT. Aside from music, Malin loves to hike, swim, and care for her plants.  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