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Four New Conductors for Prep

Prep School adds four new conductors, one new ensemble

NEC Preparatory School Announces Appointment of Four New Conductors for Large Ensembles

NEC’s Preparatory School has appointed four new conductors to lead orchestral and choral ensembles, beginning in fall 2011, according to Leslie Wu Foley, Dean and Executive Director of Preparatory and Continuing Education.  The conductors will lead the Preparatory String Orchestra, Youth Chorale, and Children’s Choruses, plus one new ensemble—the String Repertory Orchestra.

With 26 large ensembles, “our Prep programs are able to offer exceptional learning and performance opportunities to students across a broad range of musical interests and experience," Foley said. The offerings range from full symphony orchestras to Baroque ensembles, wind ensembles, brass ensembles, multiple choruses, and jazz orchestra. 

The new conductors are:

Aram Demirjian—String Repertory Orchestra.
Described as “spirited and lively” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer and “awe-inspiring” by the Harvard Crimson, Aram Demirjian graduated this spring in the inaugural class of NEC’s prestigious Orchestral Conducting program led by Hugh Wolff, Calderwood Director of Orchestras. He was recently awarded Third Prize in the Memphis Symphony International Conducting Competition and will make his subscription debut with the orchestra in October.  In the past year, he made his Symphony Hall debut as a guest conductor of the Boston Pops, served as conducting apprentice with the Handel & Haydn Society and was one of sixteen finalists in the Dimitri Mitropoulos International Competition in Conducting.  In 2009, Aram was invited by Yo-Yo Ma to conduct members of the Silk Road Ensemble, with Yo-Yo Ma as soloist.  In that same year, he worked closely with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams in the presentation of a colloquium on Adams’ The Wound Dresser.  This summer, for the second consecutive year, he will be a Conducting Fellow at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen.

Aram holds an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from New England Conservatory, and a B.A. in Music and Government from Harvard University.  His mentors also include Robert Spano, Larry Rachleff, David Loebel, Benjamin Zander, Mei-Ann Chen and Murry Sidlin.
Marta Zurad—Preparatory String Orchestra
Marta Zurad received her Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory and her Graduate Diploma and Master of Music degree from the Longy School of Music. She also attended the Academy of Music in Krakow, Poland. Her violin teachers have included Wieslaw Kwasny, Valeria Kuchment, and Eric Rosenblith.
Marta is a very active chamber musician, and is a past participant of Yellow Barn Music Festival and Apple Hill Chamber Music Festival. She plays regularly with a number of local chamber groups, both as a violinist and a violist. She is a member of the Lexington Symphony, and has performed with many other orchestras in the Boston area.

An experienced conductor of youth orchestras, Marta leads the Young People's String Orchestra and the Intensive Community Program Orchestra at the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. She was the founder and conductor of the Longy Concertino and Sinfonietta. She is also a string faculty member at New England Conservatory, Rivers Conservatory, Longy School of Music, and the Winchester Community Music School. She serves as an adjudicator for various local concerto competitions.

Sarah Houghton—Children’s Choruses
Sarah Houghton has worked extensively with young singers in Utah, New Hampshire, and New York City, including teaching chorus and music in both public and private schools. She has also been music director for professional and community musical theater productions for children, teenagers and adults.  Sarah studied choral music education at Brigham Young University with Dr. Paul Broomhead and performing arts management at New York University.  While at NYU, she was assistant director of the university’s Children’s Chorus.  She is currently a music education doctoral student at Boston University and a graduate assistant working with undergraduate and graduate music education majors.  She also holds a level one Mastership Certification from the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML) in Early Childhood and will be completing the level one Elementary General Music Certification in summer 2011. Sarah is the Director and Founder of Early Music Advantage, in Nashua, NH, where she provides music classes for young children. 

Jonathan Richter—Youth Chorale
Jonathan Richter is an active conductor, vocalist and music educator based in the Boston area.  In addition to his role as Director of the Youth Chorale and Youth Camerata at the New England Conservatory, Jonathan also serves on the faculty of Roger Williams University as Director of the RWU Chorus. 

From 2009-2011, Jonathan was the Director of Vocal Music at Plymouth North and South High Schools, the two public high schools in Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Prior to his appointment in Plymouth, he completed a Master of Music degree in choral conducting at Yale University and bachelor's degrees in music (B.A.) and education (B.S.) at the University of Connecticut.  He has studied conducting with Marguerite L. Brooks, Simon Carrington and Peter Bagley.  Additionally, Jonathan has participated in masterclasses and private conducting lessons with Helmuth Rilling, Stephen Layton, Nicholas McGegan and Paul Hillier.

For further information, check the NEC Website


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 106-year old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115