OUR CONDUCTORS AND DIRECTORS
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 passion for music began at the age of 10 with piano and bass trombone, later inspiring him to express interest in conducting and composing at the age of 12. His most recent accomplishments feature: being commissioned by the San Jose Youth Symphony, compositional recognition from the American Harp Society, scoring original music for Embark Dance Theatre, achieving status on the Grammy Awards ballot, and much more.
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 well as the nation, as both a composer and conductor. Not only does Castro serve as the Artistic and Music Director of Synesthesia Sinfonietta, but he also serves as Music Director of Buddha's Light Youth Symphony Orchestra (BLYSO) at Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, CA and is the primary pianist and organist at International Pentecostal Church in Bellflower, CA. Presently, he resides 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.