Gregory Maldonado, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Nevada Chamber Orchestra, has over 35 years' experience conducting professional ensembles, and has also performed on the violin and viola for over 40 years in many professional orchestras, including Philharmonic Baroque Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, Long Beach Opera, Santa Fe Pro Musica/Santa Fe Opera, Monterey Symphony, Fresno Philharmonic, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. He also worked as a violinist and violist accompanying popular artists such as Glen Campbell, Carol Channing, Sammy Davis, Jr., Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Evancho, as well as Martin Fontaine as Elvis Presley in "The Elvis Experience." Additionally, he was Principal Conductor and Leader of the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, a critically acclaimed period-instrument ensemble, for nearly two decades. He holds a doctorate degree from USC, a master's from CSULB, and a bachelor's from UCLA, and has taught for over 25 years at many universitites and colleges, including UCLA, USC, CSULB, UNLV, and CSN. Dr. Maldonado teaches in the Clark County School District - he is Director of Orchestra at West Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, and was a nominee for the 2017 "Heart of Education Award." He served as Director of the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra Concert Strings division from 2016 to 2019 and has been a judge and clinician for music festivals and competitions in California, Nevada, and Utah for over 30 years. Maestro Maldonado also served as Guest Conductor of the Nouveau Chamber Ballet and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. He is an AFM Local 369 member and has recorded on the Harmonia Mundi, RCM, Centaur, and Rococo labels.
Candace Chun is the current concertmaster of the Nevada Chamber Orchestra. She began playing at age 12 and studied under Valerie Poullette and Oscar Carrescia. She graduated from Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor in Music Education with Emphasis in Violin Performance, and completed some graduate coursework in music education at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition to performing with the Nevada Chamber Orchestra, Candace also has spent the last 16 years as a music educator in CCSD. Her students have consistently received high rankings in competitions and performances. Candace has also spent the last seven years as a violin instructor for the Foundation to Assist Young Musicians (FAYM). She is also a co-founder of Girls Rock Vegas, a summer music program aimed at empowering young women through music and performance. She has also been recognized as a GRAMMY Music Educator quarterfinalist, and a 5-time Heart of Education Award finalist. Candace has been playing violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, percussion, and ukulele for over 20 years.
Candace also serves as the site's webmaster. She has a loving husband and two beautiful children who are her greatest accomplishment.
Principal Violin II
Originally from California, Donna is a classically trained violinist who holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education. She currently holds prinicipal positions with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra and the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra.
Donna has performed in numerous corporate events and weddings with The Quartet, a pop-rock string ensemble. She has also performed with an array of artists such as the Jacksons, Sonny Turner from The Platters, Evelyn "Champagne" King, George Benson, Aerosmith's guitarist Joe Perry, Rick Ross, and Ne-Yo.
A Las Vegas native, Kimberly began playing viola at the age of 10. Throughout middle school and high school, she was a member of various ensembles that included Honor Orchestra, Las Vegas Youth Orchestra, All-State Orchestra, and Amadeus Chamber Orchestra. In college, she continued studying violin and viola with instructors such as Teresa Ling, Byron Tauchi, and Andrew Duckles. Kimberly was also a member of the UNLV Symphony Orchestra during the time Maestro Hal Weller was conductor.
Kimberly now performs with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra (former principal viola), the Nevada Chamber Orchestra (current principal viola), the Southern Nevada Symphony, as well as the HSO Quartet. She has also taught students since 2002 in various ways from private lessons to coaching sectionals for the Las Vegas Youth Orchestras.
French Horn I
French Horn 2
French Horn 3
French Horn 4
Katherine Kinsley de Garcia
Jonathan Rhodes Lee
Nevada Chamber Orchestra Personnel
Cellist Mert Sermet, a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and co-founder of the electric cello duo BRIDGE, has performed with many of the biggest luminaries of the classical, pop, Latin, and country music worlds. He played at the prestigious Carnegie Hall under the baton of the internationally renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim. He also performed at the Grand Ole Opry with John Rich and Big Kenny of Big & Rich that same year. He has performed with Natalie Cole, Nelly Furtado, Carlos Santana, Smokey Robinson, India Arie, and has recently appeared with Stevie Wonder and tenor Andrea Bocelli. Mert performs as a regular member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic, and has also performed in several Las Vegas shows, including The Lion King, Phantom, Cheap Trick, ShowStoppers, and The Frankie Moreno Show.
Kyle Ruggles is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he earned his Bachelor of Music degree under the tutelage of Paula Robison. Kyle was a recipient of the Sunriver Music Festival Young Artist Scholarship from 2008 to 2015 and was runner-up in the Petri Scholarship Competition in Oregon. As a soloist, Kyle has performed Ibert's Concerto for Flute and Orchestra with the Central Oregon Symphony, in addition to giving many recitals throughout Oregon and Boston during his collegiate studies. Kyle has performed in masterclasses throughout the United States with Raffaele Trevisani, John Heiss, Marina Piccinini, Elizabeth Rowe, Cynthia Myers, and the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet. In addition to being an active soloist and chamber musician, Kyle is an active orchestral musician, and has performed as principal flute and piccolo of the NEC Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras as well as principal flute of the Central Oregon Symphony, principal piccolo of the Sunriver Music Festival Orchestra, and has served as both principal flute and piccolo of the Desert Winds ensemble in Las Vegas.
Jairo Andres Pulido was born in Chula Vista, California, and began his musical journey shortly after moving to Las Vegas at 12 years old. Mr. Pulido joined the Nevada Chamber Orchestra in the middle of the 2017-2018 concert season and has continued to perform with them since. He currently teaches and performs in the Las Vegas area.
Mr. Pulido has performed in many masterclasses, including ones with oboe legends Allan Vogel (Principal Oboe, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, retired) and Sherry Slyar (Associate Principal Oboe, New York Philharmonic Orchestra). His teachers include Dr. Stephan Caplan, Dr. Matthew Guschl, and Mrs. Coreen Levin.
Mary Gunnell is a performer and a music teacher in the Clark County School District. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music from Grand Valley State University with emphasis in Harp and Piano and a Masters in Music from Central Michigan University. Mary was also selected as a candidate for the 2nd annual Juilliard Conducting workshop held in New York. In addition to the Nevada Chamber Orchestra, she has appeared with the Grand Rapids Symphonic Band in Grand Rapids, MI, the Henderson Symphony, and is Harpist with the Desert Winds appearing with them at the 2017 Midwest Clinic International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference. Within CCSD, her students have won multiple awards and she herself is a Heart of Education Finalist several times over. She is happily married to Bryan Brady, educator in Mathematics at Fremont Middle School.
Jonathan Snyder is a freelance horn player and instructor of theory at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who earned his doctorate (DMA) at UNLV under the direction of Professor Bill Bernatis. He completed his Master of Music in Horn Performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara. At California Lutheran University, Jonathan received his Bachelor of Arts in Music in both Horn Performance and Music Composition.
He has performed with the Tournament of Roses Honor Band (2000), Topanga Symphony, Santa Barbara Master Chorale, Santa Maria Philharmonic, Colburn Wind Ensemble, Gold Coast Wind Ensemble, Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra, Desert Winds, for the Rubicon Theater’s production of West Side Story, and for various university ensembles. He has performed internationally at Hornclass in Prague and has toured with the Kirkkonummi Chamber Orchestra of Finland. Currently, Jonathan performs with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Southern Nevada Symphony, Nevada Chamber Orchestra, and was a founding member of the Red Rock Wind Quintet. He also released a CD in 2019.
As a composer, Jonathan was a recipient of the 2012-2013 Sherrill C. Corwin Metropolitan Theater Award for his revised edition of “The Last Hope” for orchestra. He continues to actively compose arrangements for the High Desert Horns, the UNLV Horn Studio, and for the Red Rock Wind Quintet. His arrangements for horn ensembles have also been performed in the Czech Republic and throughout the United States.
Liz Valvano, bassoonist, received her Doctor of Musical Arts in bassoon performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, studying with Dr. Janis McKay. She completed her master’s in music, woodwind performance specializing in the double reed instruments, at Texas State University, under the tutelage of Daris Hale and Dr. Ian Davidson, and her Bachelor of Arts in music and chemistry at Hollins University with Danny Felty of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Currently, Liz is serving on the woodwind faculty at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, leading the esteemed bassoon
With performances from Reno, Nevada, to Budapest, Hungary, music omnivore Liz has maintained a consistent performing career since falling in love with the double reed instruments as a young musician. While in residence in Las Vegas, she performs with local ensembles, including the Nevada Chamber Orchestra and The Desert Winds, as well as UNLV’s resident Red Rock Wind Quintet. She is honored to substitute in the Las Vegas
Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Reno Pops Orchestra. Liz’s doctoral research is in Baroque performance and aesthetic, about which she created an accessible method book for the modern bassoonist to learn how to play the baroque instrument. As a lecturer, she teaches introductory music classes for non-majors at UNLV.
Principal Clarinet, Principal Saxophone
Las Vegas musician Dr. Lindsey N. O’Connor is the Adjunct Professor of Saxophone at Southern Utah University and the College of Southern Nevada, the Woodwinds Paraprofessional for both Clark County School District and Faith Conservatory of the Fine Arts, the Director of Woodwinds for the Las Vegas Youth Orchestras, and the Artistic Director of the Las Vegas Youth Saxophone Ensembles. As a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM), she maintains a private woodwind and piano studio of more than fifty students at Family Music Centers Academy, Nevada’s largest private music teaching institution. O’Connor was previously on faculty at Union College and was a Band Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
O'Connor is the Vice President - Social Media/Publicity and Woodwind Chair of the Nevada Music Teachers Association. As an educator, she frequently serves as an adjudicator and clinician for the Nevada Music Educators Association, Southern Nevada Band Association, and Las Vegas Music Teachers Association. An active member of the North American Saxophone Alliance since 2003, O'Connor has given master classes, lectured on “The Music of Benjamin Boone,” and performed in various solo and chamber settings at several regional and biennial conferences. She has been featured in Pan Pipes (Spring 2020) and The Instrumentalist Magazine (December 2016).
O’Connor’s performances have been described as “extraordinary” (Mesquite Local News), “flawless” (Walter White, Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra Co-Concertmaster), and “beautifully played” (Moapa Valley Progress). O’Connor is an active solo artist, as well as soprano saxophonist of the Red Rock Saxophone Quartet and principal clarinetist of the Nevada Chamber Orchestra. She has been a saxophonist with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra and has played in musical productions on the Las Vegas Strip including Jesus Christ Superstar at the Tropicana and Guys and Dolls at the Westgate. O'Connor performed Marcello's "Concerto” for oboe [or soprano saxophone] with the Southern Nevada Symphony Orchestra, Russell Peterson’s “…Who Needs Enemies?” for saxophone quartet and wind orchestra at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the North American premiere of Jun Nagao’s “Die Heldenzeit” for alto saxophone and wind orchestra with the Desert Winds, and Henri Tomasi’s “Ballade” for alto saxophone with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Symphony Orchestra as a Graduate Solo Competition Winner. An advocate for new music, she has premiered solo and chamber works by Krista Abrahamson, Daniel Dorff, Garrett Hope, Kincaid Rabb, and David Von Kampen.
O'Connor's research is focused on the life and works of David C. Heath, British composer and flutist currently residing in Scotland. Her dissertation, "A Performer’s Guide to and Analysis of David Heath’s Out of the Cool, Rumania, and Coltrane," is the first and only academic document on Heath, making her the foremost scholar of both him and his music.
O’Connor received a Doctor of Musical Arts in Saxophone Performance cum laude from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Master of Music in Saxophone Performance magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelor of Music in Saxophone Performance cum laude from Michigan State University. Her primary teachers include John Bailey, Phillip Barham, Paul Haar, Joseph Lulloff, and Diego Rivera; she has also performed in solo master classes for Claude Delangle, Jean-Yves Fourmeau, Ellis Marsalis, Bennie Wallace, and Walt Weiskopf. O'Connor's professional memberships include the American Federation of Musicians, College Music Society, International Clarinet Association, Music Teachers National Association, North American Saxophone Alliance, Pi Kappa Lambda (ΠΚΛ) National Music Honor Society, and Sigma Alpha Iota (ΣΑΙ) International Music Fraternity. She is the President of the Sigma Alpha Iota Las Vegas Alumnae Chapter and founding director of both the Las Vegas Saxophone Day and Las Vegas Clarinet Day.
O’Connor is a Vandoren Artist-Clinician and performs exclusively on Vandoren and Yamaha products. She is also an endorsing artist for Meridian Winds’ Center Brace Resonance Weights and Ergonomic Heavy Mass Saxophone Neck Screws
People often find themselves stressed and uptight with the struggles of life and its challenges. It is typical for us humans to have our thoughts scattered mostly through life's stresses. Research suggests that music can help soothe one's mind and soul as a healing source, as music has been given its place amongst the best resources for mental healing, and or mental therapy.
Gerald Reid has studied music from many styles and forms, and is now aware that music has social, mental, and physiological therapeutic treatment. Gerald has since high school started performing groups for the public's enjoyment. After serving 32 years with the Clark County School District and retiring from the Clark County Schools in Las Vegas, Nevada, he continues to teach at the Nevada Arts Academy, a private school in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also, since 2001 Gerald has been an active member of the Rome Festival Orchestra in Rome, Italy. Currently he is in the process of helping develop the non-profit Nevada Chamber Orchestra in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Gerald's educational background includes a Master's in education with an emphasis on leadership from Nova University, and a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Also, he has a bachelor's in music education from Chapman University in Orange, California, an Associate's of Arts from Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California, and completed studies for a Master of Music in Education from UNLV (no Comps), Las Vegas, Nevada.
Tyler Gordon is a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Double Bass Performance major under Professor Brycen Ingersoll and a minor in Viola Performance. As a bassist, he has held principal positions in the Reno Philharmonic Youth Orchestras, and the Marrowstone Music Festival in Bellingham, Washington, and performed a concerto with the Reno Pops Orchestra as well as subbed in the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra. As a violist, he regularly performed with the Reno Pops Orchestra and currently, with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra. Tyler has also been studying conducting for the last six years under various conductors in Nevada. He is currently a student of Taras Krysa at UNLV.
Starting in 2008, Jimmy has been playing bass for 13 years here in Las Vegas. Originally from Hacienda Heights California, he has resided in Las Vegas for 13 years. During High school he attended the prestigious Las Vegas Academy for Orchestra after picking up music very quickly in middle school.
He is a 6 year veteran of Las Vegas Youth Orchestra and CCSD honor Orchestra as well as 4 year veteran of NMEA Nevada All-State Orchestra. Jimmy was also chosen principal bassist of Las Vegas Youth Philharmonic in 2010 and served as such until graduation in 2013 including a Concert Tour of China.
While on tour in China he was asked to play with the Qinhaungdao Symphony Orchestra as they were short on bassists. After graduation he attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas where he played with UNLV Symphony and Chamber orchestra's under the direction of Taras Krysa from 2014-2016. During this time he was also invited to play for the Henderson Symphony Orchestra as well as the Desert Winds concert band, both of which he is still involved in to this day.
While busking one day he was approached by Gerald Reid of Nevada Chamber Orchestra and after a brief conversation was invited to be a part of that group as well. He is also a founding member of the Dr Shirley Linzy Young Artist Orchestra of Las Vegas also known as YAO directed by Yunior Lopez. He also currently plays for 1 take Improv Comedy directed by Faustino Solice.