WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
Christine Araoka, composer
Mackenzie Azela, composer
Eleanor Núñez, guest conductor
March 25, 2022 | 7:00 PM
International Pentecostal Church
SYNESTHESIA (N) - when the stimulation of one sense triggers an automatic experience in another sense.
At Synesthesia Sinfonietta, our purpose is to evoke in our audiences an experience of orchestral musical selections which goes beyond the mere enjoyment of sound production. By showcasing selections from the familiar to the lesser known, from the past to the relevant present in a thematic format, we invite listeners to find personal connections within the programming that takes them on journeys to imagined sights, smells, and feelings. Additionally, we seek to unite audiences within these multi-sensory experiences while working with up and coming musicians, composers, and artists in our unique programming approach.
Emma Lou Diemer (b.1927)
Mackenzie Azela (b. 1993)
Christine Araoka (b. 1992)
orch. by Isaiah Castro
Isaiah Castro, artistic director
OVERTURE IN C
SYMPHONY IN E MINOR, OP. 32 "GAELIC"
Amy Beach (1867-1944)
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Synesthesia Sinfonietta is a community orchestra dedicated to providing our audience with a variety of quality programming. Our organization is thriving thanks to our generous benefactors, and we are highly grateful for the help we get in doing what we love the most. Interested in contributing a helping hand? The sky’s the limit when it comes to all the options.
Synesthesia Sinfonietta has obtained 501(C)3 status under the IRS, making all of our donations tax deductible! Get in touch today and see how you can help!
Eleanor Núñez is an OC-based conductor, pianist, and educator with nearly 15 years of teaching experience. She graduated from California State University Fullerton with a Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting and a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance. Eleanor programs unique concerts that bridge the gap between the audience and musicians on stage. Her belief that music should be accessible to all shines through her creative repertoire programming, enthusiastic rehearsals, and inviting concert environment. Musically, Eleanor loves exploring “the classics” and pairing them with new, modern works. Her conducting experience spans orchestral, wind ensemble, and choral repertoires since she enjoys working with musical groups of all disciplines and genres. In her free time, Eleanor enjoys spending time outdoors with her adorable Maltipoo, Oboe! You can find Eleanor on Instagram @eleanornunez.
Mackenzie Azela is a composer, oboist, guitarist and educator residing in Norwalk, California. As a composer Azela writes, records, and produces both in chamber and pop genres. Her most recent publication Love’s Hidden Life features rapper Labeezium in a three part music reflection on Søren Kierkegaard’s Work’s of Love. Her piece ‘Things To Be…’ for solo bassoon and pedal board will be premiered by esteemed bassoonist and doctoral candidate Emily Lazernik this April.
Azela performs as a guitarist for the chamber pop group EMÆL and as a bassist for indie singer-songwriter Krost. She typically serves as Synesthesia Sinfonietta’s audio engineer and is greatly honored to join as a composer and oboist for this concert.
Azela is an enthusiastic and passionate educator. She teaches on behalf of Young Musicians Foundation in Compton USD and LAUSD. Her curriculum focuses on American musical genres born out of cultural movements and technologic innovations of the 20th century. Her goal is to give her students the autonomy to perform and create music that they love.
Azela’s artist name was adopted in 2021 in honor of her abuela, Azela Borunda Baeza, and her family’s Tejano heritage.
Christine Araoka is a composer, performer, and educator from Southern California. She writes and arranges for a wide selection of ensembles including big bands, jazz combos, brass bands, and has worked with groups such as Heartland Marimba, Lala Brass, and Pandemonium Prism. Likewise, Christine has recently returned from a tour of the UK with widely acclaimed pop singer Engelbert Humperdinck. Christine can be found as a working musician around the Los Angeles and Orange County area, playing jazz, pop, rock, and classical music. In addition to her performance career, Christine is also an accomplished educator, running her own private studio and teaching on faculty at UC Riverside.
Currently, Christine is excited to join Synesthesia Sinfonietta’s upcoming concert as a guest pianist for her original solo piano piece, Penumbra, orchestrated by Isaiah Castro. She will also be presenting her new compositional work with Southern California Marimba. As a composer, she strives to create cross-genre music that connects with listeners of all kinds.
When Christine is not writing or teaching, she can be found in jazz venues, botanical gardens, or in her patio propagating her plants.
Artistic and Music Director
Responsible for overseeing all programs and events, Isaiah Castro is an award-winning conductor, composer, and founding member of the Synesthesia Sinfonietta. Castro studied instrumental conducting and composition at California State University Fullerton’s School of Music. His love for music began at the age of 10 with piano and various brass instruments, later inspiring him to express interest in conducting and composing at the age of 12. His most recent accomplishments feature:
• Commissioned to compose original music for the San Jose Youth Symphony
• Received recognition through the American Harp Society for his work "Love Is" written for harp and choir.
• Scoring music for Embark Dance Theatre's first full-length production, "LOST/find.”
• Achieving status on the Grammy Awards ballot for his piece "Dios Mío", written for award-winning soprano, Sarah Lonsert.
• Writing arrangements for Pacific Symphony Orchestra's program "OC Can You Play?"
Concurrently, Castro enjoys collaborating with solo artists, and ensembles, creating new music one work at a time. He is in high demand by several organizations throughout California as both a composer and conductor. Not only is he artistic and music director of Synesthesia Sinfonietta, but he is also the conductor of Buddha's Light Youth Symphony Orchestra (BLYSO) at Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, CA and serves as the primary pianist and organist at International Pentecostal Church in Bellflower, CA. Presently, he rides in Chino, CA where he is dedicated to the development and success of the Synesthesia Sinfonietta.
Responsible for overseeing chamber programs, Michael Huynh, conductor and clarinetist, is a recent graduate of Azusa Pacific University where he studied orchestral conducting with Christopher Russell.
As a conductor, Huynh has an interest in the orchestral and operatic repertoire. In 2018, he was selected to appear at the College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference with Alan McMurray in a master class setting. Recent conducting engagements include assistant conducting Opera UCI’s 2019 production of Die Fledermaus, where he also served as the chorus master, leading the California Solisti in collaboration with the Arts at St. Margaret’s, and performances with the Community Youth Orchestra of Southern California. Future engagements are scheduled in 2021 with his new appointment as Associate Conductor of Synesthesia Sinfonietta.
Huynh holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from Azusa Pacific University where he studied with Christopher Russell. He also holds professional affiliations with College Orchestra Directors Association and Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity.
Trained as a cellist, Maranda Li received her B.A. in Music from the University of California, Irvine, where she studied with Dr. Margaret Parkins. She has been deeply engaged with classical music from a young age and has performed both solo and in ensembles of varying size, but her first love is the Symphony Orchestra.
From 2016-2019, Li lived in Amami, Japan where she served as conductor of the Amami Orchestra. There, she oversaw the development of the orchestra through its early formative period, prepared them for performances under guest conductors, created and taught classes for beginner string players, and frequently collaborated with local soloists as both a conductor and a cellist. She also expanded the scope of Amami Orchestra's educational outreach efforts through a series of side-by-side performances with local high school wind bands that continued even after her return to the US.
Li currently studies conducting with Dr. Stephen Tucker. When not on the podium or playing in the orchestra as a cellist, Li enjoys performing chamber music, teaching, and arranging. She concurrently holds a position as community program coordinator for OC Music & Dance, Orange County's premier non-profit music school, which is dedicated to making performing arts accessible to every child.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
GUERRY COLINS & RENA STONE
MARK & NORIKO MALABY
BILL ROGERS & CAMILLE DIXON
OUR SPONSORS AND PARTNERS
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Andrew De Stakelberg*
BEHIND THE SCENES
Screen Display Technician