conductors, mentors, board



Artistic Staff

The artistic staff of GBYO work as a collaborative team, assisting with many different aspects and ensembles within the broader organization. Emily Bowman, Artistic Director, oversees all aspects of the artistic effort.  


Outstanding professional musicians and graduate students at the CU College of Music, GBYO Mentors work with the students on a regular basis. For the student musicians of GBYO, working with Mentors has many benefits, as the Mentors provide strong examples of musicianship in every way:

  • Elements of music - rhythm, pitch, dynamics, etc
  • Rehearsal etiquette
  • Performance practice
  • Technique

The Mentors not only lead sectionals and provide direction for rehearsals, they teach by example.

Team GBYO in action

GBYO conductors

Andres Lopera
Symphony Conductor

Andres Lopera is a leading Latin American orchestral artist in the United States with nearly a decade of work in both North and South America.

Lopera is currently serving as Assistant Conductor of the Colorado Symphony. He also has conducted in the United States orchestras such as Oregon Symphony, Toledo Symphony, Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra, New World Symphony Academy and festival orchestras such as National Repertory Orchestra and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.

Outside the states he has conducted orchestras in his home country Colombia, such as EAFIT University Orchestra, and the Colombian National Symphony Orchestra. He also worked with professional and youth orchestras throughout Central and South America, including orchestral groups in Brazil, Uruguay, and Honduras. He has done workshops and collaborations in countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Honduras.

Before joining the Colorado Symphony, Andres was music director of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony in Portland, OR, where he oversaw more than 460 students. In recognition of his contributions to Portland, Andres received the Portland Monthly Award, Rising Star Award, and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber Bravo Award.

Lopera has worked with and learned from some of the most outstanding professional artist including Hugh Wolff, Andrew Litton, David Loebel, Carlos Kalmar, Ludovic Morlot and Marin Alsop.

He earned a master’s of music in orchestral conducting from New England Conservatory, and a master’s degree in trombone performance from the University of Texas at Austin.

Erik Johnson
Wind Ensemble Conductor

Dr. Erik Johnson is a member of the Music Education faculty at Colorado State University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education, conducts the CSU Concert Band, and coordinates the CSU Middle School Outreach Ensemble program. As an award winning conductor, teacher, and scholar, Erik’s goals are to cultivate a passion for music learning for students at all levels. He holds a Ph.D in Music Education from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Erik is a 2016 GRAMMY Research Award winner -- an award accompanied by a grant that supports research into how peer-assisted learning in music can help to improve social responsiveness for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. As a teacher, Erik has received three school board commendations, two 9-News “Teacher Who Cares Awards” and a Colorado Teacher of the Year Award sponsored by the Walmart Foundation. Erik has also been a two-time finalist in the Colorado Teacher of the Year Award sponsored by the Colorado Department of Education. In 2009, Erik received first prize in the Hugh McMillan conducting competition and was recently a featured scholar in the documentary, Carry the Tune that won best documentary at the 2015 San Francisco Film Festival and was an Official Selection of the World Arts Film Festival. In 2001, he helped his students at Highlands Ranch High School organize an event called “United We Sing” which raised over $350,000 for the victims of the September 11th attacks.

As a conductor, clinician, and educational consultant, Erik has worked extensively as a conductor and consultant throughout Colorado, the United States, Japan, India, Lithuania, Spain, and China. He is a frequent music festival adjudicator and presenter at state, national and international music conferences including recent presentations in India, Spain, Scotland, and Lithuania, and Ireland. As a researcher, Erik focuses upon ways that scholarship can help teachers in the K-12 classroom deliver outstanding and inspired instruction. His current research focuses peer-assisted learning, music teacher identity development, and music theory pedagogy. His scholarly writings and research have been published in the Journal of Research in Music Education, Music Educators Journal, Contributions to Music Education, Journal of Education and Training Studies, and The Bulletin for the Council of Research in Music Education.

Emily Bowman
Artistic Director, Philharmonic Conductor

Emily Anne Bowman is an active educator and performer who enjoys developing the skill and joy of music making with young players! Ms. Bowman teaches strings grades 3-12 at Shining Mountain Waldorf School and teaches viola, violin and fiddle with Boulder Suzuki Strings.

In addition to her active teaching schedule, Ms. Bowman performs regularly with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. Ms. Bowman also performs with the Seicento Baroque Ensemble, the Free Range String Quartet and joins folk americana group The Bowmans whenever she can.

Ms. Bowman received her formal classical training from the New World School of the Arts and the University of Colorado College of Music. Ms. Bowman graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Viola Performance and was the recipient of the Gabor Ormai Viola Award. Ms. Bowman has twice been awarded the Exemplary Private Teacher Award by the American Strings Teachers Colorado chapter. Ms. Bowman has presented at state and national music education conferences. In addition to making music Ms. Bowman delights in eating and spending time outdoors.

Paul Rowinski
Sinfonia Conductor

Paul Rowinski has been teaching violin using the Suzuki Method in Boulder, Colorado since 1983. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in music, studying violin performance and pedagogy with William Starr. He is the director of the Woodsong Suzuki Violin Instruction program in Boulder, and performs locally in various community orchestras.

Some of our Supporters

GBYO is a non-profit organization and relies on the support of donors.

Student tuition and ticket sales cover less than half of the costs
of this organization; the rest comes from donations and grants.

GBYO has supported dozens of students with financial assistance,
some of whom have gone to study music in college.

GBYO Mentors

Joshua Ulrich Violin

Joshua Ulrich joined the award-winning Altius Quartet in the spring of 2014. Joshua has performed internationally as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. He is quickly establishing a reputation as recitalist and chamber musician having collaborated with such artists as James Tocco, Awadagin Pratt, and Sandra Rivers. He is currently a candidate for the degree of Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Joshua completed his studies with renowned pedagogues: Won-Bin Yim, Dorothy Delay, Hyo Kang, Joel Smirnoff, and Cho-Liang Lin and has performed in master classes taught by Midori, Pinchas Zuckerman, Cheeyun Kim, and Igor Ozim. He has been awarded fellowships at the Aspen Music Festival and Bowdoin International Music Festival and was a Shouse Artist at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. As an orchestral musician, Joshua is a regular substitute with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, an associate musician with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and the Associate Concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Indiana.

Joshua is currently a student at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he and the Altius Quartet are the Graduate Quartet-in-Residence working with the Takács Quartet. He is studying privately with Ed Dusinberre, Károly Schranz, and Lina Bahn.

Joshua plays on a violin made by Franz Kinberg in 1966.

Yenlik Weiss Violin

Dr. Yenlik Weiss has performed in the US, Europe, and Asia and has over fifteen years of experience teaching strings in individual, group, ensemble, and orchestral settings. After graduating with honors from the National Conservatory in her native Kazakhstan, she came to the US to study on a full scholarship in 1997. She completed her Master of Music in Violin Performance in Cleveland in 1999. In 2005 she received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she was a graduate assistant in the studio of Professor Oswald Lehnert and was coached by the members of Takacs Quartet. After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles, CA where she worked as a freelance violinist and teacher for 7 years before returning to Boulder.

In addition to maintaining contracts with the Boulder Philharmonic and Redlands Symphony, Yenlik has performed with the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra, Santa Barbara Opera, Opera Colorado, Pasadena Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Pops, Riverside Symphony Orchestra, San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony Orchestra, Fresno Philharmonic, Marina del Rey Symphony, Colorado Music Festival, Aspen Choral Society, and served as Associate Concertmaster of the Colorado Mahler Festival and Boulder Chamber Orchestra. She has been a featured soloist for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra, Aurora Symphony, on Colorado Public Radio. As a member of the Boulder Philharmonic Education String Quartet she has visited and performed at dozens of schools and performed in a sensory-friendly performance for families with autism at Boulder Public Library.

Yenlik is a passionate teacher dedicated to helping her students succeed and achieve their best. In Los Angeles, she taught string classes and orchestras at the Education Through Music-Los Angeles, a non-profit organization with the mission to provide and promote music in disadvantaged schools. She also taught at Renaissance Arts Academy, an award winning public charter school for the Performing Arts in partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Currently she is Artistic Director, teaches strings, and conducts orchestras at the Golden Music Center and teaches strings at Mountain Phoenix Waldorf Community School. Her students have entered the Denver School for the Performing Arts, won auditions at the Colorado All State Symphony Orchestra Competition, and participated in the Colorado Honor Orchestras at the Denver Performing Center for the Arts.

Alex Vittal Viola

Denver-based violist Alexander Vittal grew up in Phoenix, AZ where he discovered many of his life’s passions. In addition to long distance running, being in nature, time with friends, board games, and dancing, Vittal found his love of music of all types and a passion for the viola. After attending Arizona State University (B.M. Viola Performance, 2008), Vittal next moved to Boulder to enjoy the thrilling nature here, hike 14ers, and also to attend the University of Colorado (M.M. Viola Performance and Pedagogy, 2010).

As he has made his way in the professional world, Vittal has been very fortunate to find great friends in many musical circles. He joyfully performs and eclectic blend of music with the Sphere Ensemble (debut album Divergence now available!), Argentine tango music with Orquesta Típica Natural Tango, early music with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, and orchestral masterpieces with the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra and other front range orchestras. On a daily basis, Vittal enjoys teaching classrooms full of Kindergarteners and 1st graders how to play the violin through the nonprofit organization El Sistema Colorado, teaching group violin lessons for 2nd-5th graders, private viola and violin lessons, and mentoring the Symphony Viola Section of the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestra, a post he has held since 2009.

Living in Colorado has also opened some unexpected doors as well. Vittal has discovered a love for arranging many styles of music for various ensembles, teaching music to students of all ages and ability levels, and also the joy of skate skiing! He is hoping for a beautiful, snowy winter!

Joey Howe Cello

Joseph Howe, a native of Oregon, recently recieved a Master of Music degree in cello performance at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where studied with Judith Glyde and served as a teaching assistant and principal cellist of the University Symphony, Chamber, and Opera orchestras. He also received a Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from the University of Oregon, where he was a student of Steven Pologe. In Eugene, OR, he was a member of the Oregon Mozart Players.

He is currently assistant principal cellist of the Boulder Chamber Orchestra, section cellist in the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, and cellist and co-director of Ensemble Pearl, a baroque chamber ensemble, which has been heard on Colorado Public Radio. He is also a lecturer in the music theory department at CU Boulder. He has performed in masterclasses for cellists such as Steven Doane, Johannes Moser, Alban Gerhardt, and Alisa Weilerstein, and members of the Takács, Ying, and Emerson quartets.

Jason Thompson Bass

Danny Pliskow GBYO Bass Mentor

Jason Thompson moved to Colorado in the summer of 2015 and since has played in orchestras across the Denver Metro Area. He completed a Bachelor of Music at the George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and a Master of Music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD where he had the opportunity to work with musical greats such as Leon Fleisher, Harold Robinson, and Eugene Levinson.

Jason has participated in the Chautauqua Music Festival (NY), Sewanee Summer Music Festival, National Music Festival, Miami Music Festival and most recently Colorado Music Festival. Currently residing in Boulder, Jason plays with the Fort Collins Symphony, Colorado Springs Philharmonic and makes regular substitute appearances with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

Jason’s mentorship is sponsored by Arthur Lieb, in memory of Detroit jazz bassist Danny Pliskow.

Kristen Goguen Bassoon

Dr. Kristen Goguen earned her doctorate at the University of Colorado-Boulder where she studied with Dr. Yoshi Ishikawa. While at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Kristen was a finalist for the Symphony Orchestra’s Honors Competition in the Spring of 2013 as well as a semifinalist for the Bruce Ekstrand Graduate Student competition in the Fall of 2013.

Before attending the University of Colorado-Boulder, Ms. Goguen studied with Saxton Rose and Mark Popkin at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts were she received a Performing Artist Certificate as well as a Masters in Bassoon Performance. While at UNCSA, Ms. Goguen was a member of the Halcyon Winds, the premiere chamber music ensemble at the school. Halcyon Winds was the second place winner of the Music Teachers National Association National Chamber Music competition in 2010. Ms. Goguen received her Bachelors of Music in Bassoon Performance at the University of Kentucky where she was a student of Peter Simpson.

Derek McDonald Trumpet

Derek McDonald resides in Boulder, Colorado and is principal trumpet of the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra and a member of the trumpet section of the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. Before moving to Colorado, Mr. McDonald earned his Bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance from the Pennsylvania State University, where he studied under John Daniel and Dr. Langston J. Fitzgerald, III. After completing his Bachelor’s degree, Mr. McDonald moved to Colorado and earned a Master of Music degree in trumpet performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder where he studied with and was a graduate teaching assistant for Professor Terry Sawchuk.

While attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, Mr. McDonald performed extensively with The Flatirons Brass Quintet with whom he was a prize winner and finalist at the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition in 2009. Mr. McDonald also served as a guest artist in residence at Renmin University in Beijing with the Flatirons Brass Quintet in 2011, where he gave master classes and performed a concert for their students and faculty.

As an active performer in the Denver/Boulder area, Derek has performed numerous times with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, notably on Mahler Symphony no. 9 under the direction of Marin Alsop, and Verdi’s Requiem and Mahler Symphony no. 6 under artistic director Andrew Litton. Other organizations that Mr. McDonald frequently performs with include the Boulder Philharmonic, Boulder Brass, and the Steamboat Springs Symphony, among others. Mr. McDonald also performs annually at the International Ballet Festival held in Vail, Colorado. Before moving to Colorado, Derek served as associate principal trumpet of the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, and second trumpet of the Penn’s Woods Festival Orchestra.

Aside from performing, Mr. McDonald was a graduate teaching assistant for five years at the University of Colorado while earning his Master’s and working toward his Doctorate in trumpet performance and pedagogy. While serving as a teaching assistant, Derek taught undergraduate trumpet students, coached brass quintets, conducted trumpet ensembles, and gave presentations to the trumpet studio. Mr. McDonald continues to teach with his own trumpet studio and does educational outreach for many of the middle and high schools in the Denver/Boulder area.

GBYO Board

GBYO admin

Brian Jack Executive Director

Dr. Jack’s affinity for education and community involvement has played a large role in his life.

After earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and Education at Ithaca College, he earned both his Master’s Degree and Doctorate in Bassoon Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Colorado. As one of only thirty invited participants, he completed the League of American Orchestras’ Essentials of Orchestral Management in New York City in January 2010.

A bassoonist, he currently teaches and performs in the Denver-Boulder area, having played with ensembles such as the Colorado Ballet, Colorado Music Festival, Colorado Symphony, MahlerFest Symphony Orchestra, and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. He is an avid chamber musician, having formed the Boulder Bassoon Quartet.

He and his wife Kaori Uno, a bassoonist in the award-winning Antero Wind Quintet, are proud parents of two boys!