Notable Community School of Performing Arts Alumni

Anne Akiko Meyers, violin, has released over 30 albums, with two debuting at the No. 1 on the Classical Billboard Charts (The American Masters and The Four Seasons: The Vivaldi Album in 2014 and Air: The Bach Album in 2012). She is the recipient of the Community School’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Robert Chen, violin, is the concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared with numerous orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Moscow Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, and others.

Wendy Chen, piano, has appeared as a soloist with the New York Chamber Symphony, the Cincinnati Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Uruguay’s Orquesta Sinfonica del Sodres, and others.  Her solo album, Bolero, was released by RCM

Billy Childs, jazz piano, has 13 Grammy nominations and four Grammy awards and has received commissions from Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, to name a few.

Danielle de Niese, soprano, made her operatic debut with the LA Opera at age 15, has had several leading roles in the Metropolitan Opera.

Dr. Grace Fong, pianst, is Director of Keyboard Studies at Chapman University and recipient of the Community School’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award. She has been a prizewinner in numerous competitions including the Leeds, Bosendorfer, Wideman, San Antonia, and Viardo Competitions. She also was a recipient of the 2009 Christel DeHaan Classical Fellowship of the American Pianists Association. And she appears frequently with the Grammy nominated group, Pink Martini.

Jennifer Frautschi, violin, is a two-time Grammy nominee and has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, and at the Ojai Festival, Ravinia Festival, Wigmore Hall, and Lincoln Center. She was an Avery Fisher Career Grant winner and a winner of the Irving M. Klein International String Competition.

Burt Hara, clarinet, is associate principal clarinet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and was previously principal clarinet with the Minnesota Orchestra and Philadelphia orchestra. He is on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Richard Hawley, clarinet, is the former principal clarinetist of the Cincinnati Symphony and is on faculty at Rice University. He was a Presidential Scholar and has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and New York Philharmonic.

Leila Josefowicz, violin, is an international soloist who has appeared with such orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, and many others. She has recorded with Philips Classics, Warner Classics, Nonesuch Records, and Deutsche Grammophon.

Michelle Kim, violin, is the assistant concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. She has appeared as a soloist with the Indianapolis Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony, and others.

Larry Klein, jazz bass, is a songwriter, record, and soundtrack producer. He has produced numerous Grammy Award Winning albums, including Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro with fellow community school alumnus, Billy Childs.

Yvonne Lam, violin, is a member of Grammy Award winning contemporary music ensemble, Eighth Blackbird and was Concertmaster of the Washington National Opera Orchestra. She has appeared as a soloist with the  Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Pacific Symphony, and Auckland Philharmonic in New Zealand. And she has won top prizes in the Michael Hill World Violin Competition, Liana Issakadze International Competition, the Holland-America Music Society Competition, Pasadena Showcase House International Instrumental Competition, and Bronislaw Kaper Awards.

Nokuthula Ngwenyama, viola, is Artistic Director of the Primrose International Viola Competition and has been President of the American Viola Society. She was chosen as the LA Times’ “Faces to Watch” in 2011 and has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, National Symphony, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony. She was the recipient of the Community School’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Sheryl Staples-Centanni, violin, is principal associate concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. Previously she was concertmaster of the Pacific Symphony.

Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor, has conducted some of the world’s best known orchestras, including the Boston Symphony, the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is the Artistic Director and Founder of the New World Symphony and the Music Director for the San Francisco Symphony.

Donald Vega, jazz piano, is a pianist in Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio. He has released four albums, and his second album Spiritual Nature (2012) reached No. 1 on the jazz charts. He was the recipient of the Community School’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award.

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