New Mozart Students in Heidelberg with CHMYO (July 26 - Aug 5)

This has been amazing 9 days for the New Mozart students who were selected to participate in the prestigious European youth orchestra program, CHMYO (Cambridge-Heidelberg-Montpellier-Youth-Orchestra).

Allyson Dinh (cello), Roshelle Bunuan (violin), and Sheel Pant (violin) along with 90 other talented young musicians from Cambridge, Heidelberg, and Montpellier practiced and rehearsed 6-7 hours daily.  This intense but friendly and supportive environment allowed the young musicians to discover, learn, and achieve exponential musical growth.  The afternoon-evening schedule was also packed with sightseeing and other fun activities.  We have returned home having made lifelong friends.  

Though we were from 4 different countries and spoke 3 different languages, we connected and communicated with the language of music and the resulting final concert at the beautiful Heidelberg Castle was absolutely magical. We were in awe witnessing what talented young musicians can accomplish in 9 days of exceptional music making.

CHMYO conductors Georg Schmidt-Thomée (Heidelberg) Matthew Gunn (Cambridge) and Olivier Vaissette (Montpellier) led the orchestra in 2.5 hour concert on August 4th - showcasing demanding repertoire of Saint-Saens, Strauss, Mendelssohn, Kern, Wagner, Skriabin, Schumann, Liszt, Weber, and Brahms. 

We want to express our heartfelt thanks to the city of Heidelberg and our home city of Palo Alto, the CHMYO conductors, host families, and all the staff members and volunteers from Heidelberg, Cambridge, Montpellier, and Palo Alto who made this possible.  Special thanks to Neighbors Abroad for administering this program to celebrate the commencement of the sister city relationship between Palo Alto and Heidelberg.  We greatly appreciate the help of Bob Wenzlau, president of Neighbors Abroad, and his Heidelberg-Team for making this trip possible. 

More pictures are coming soon...


Photo credit:  Photo 1 & 3 - Schloss Heidelberg.  Photo 11 - Heidelberg Marketing.  Photo 13 & 14 - Paul Lee.  All other photos by Christine Shin


New Mozart Student Bartholomew Baker's 2nd Solo Recital

Our piano student Bartholomew Baker gave his 2nd solo piano recital at the beautiful Menlo Atherton Performing Arts Center on June 18th.

He performed pieces by Bach, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, Scriabin, Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Copland, Tchaikovsky, Lecuona, and his own compositions!  We couldn't be prouder! 

Bartholomew started with our Harmony Road program and now studies piano with Teacher Larisa.   He has received awards at the US Open Competition, as well as scholarships to attend the prestigious Interlochen Arts Camp. 

New Mozart Summer Concerts Raised $10850


Over 200 students - from our young musicians performing for the very first time to advanced students wowing the audience with their virtuosic performances - performed on June 3, 9, & 10.  

Sharing the gift of music with not only our loved ones but those in underserved communities has been our tradition since New Mozart began in 2004.  And we did it again this summer! We're happy to report that the 10 concerts raised $10850 for our favorite charities. (Escuela CaracolCommon Hope, & Music in the Schools Foundation)  Over the years, we've raised over 100k through our recitals.

Congratulations again to all New Mozart performers for your music and your contribution to our community.

Congratulations to New Mozart Honor Students 2018!

Honor Students 2018.jpg

Congratulations to New Mozart Honor Students 2018 for making the Honor Roll this year!  This is an honor and a great accomplishment. 

New Mozart Honor Students were handpicked by their teachers for their determination and dedication to their musical study. 

We are very proud of every one of the students who made the Honor Roll this year!

New Mozart Distinguished Honor Students 2018

Adithya Sathyanarayanan
Allyson Dinh
Andrew Wang
Ava Espinoza
Bartholomew Baker
Claire Spence
Emma Spence
Evelyn Janeau Harrington
Juliette Rudelle
Katie Park-Beardsley
Lauren Zhang
Marvin Shang
Maya Cheng
Meghna Singh
Mei Tsai Knutson
Mio Wakatsuki
Mira Poeta
Paul McBurney
Paulina Bonilla
Ria Cuellar-Koh
Roshelle Bunuan
Sadhya Ananth
Vinca Lu
Zoe Jovanovic

New Mozart Honor Students 2018

Aashi Agarwal
Abigail Cheng
Adi Banwasi
Alex Yan
Alli Katila-Miikkulainen
Allison Zhuang
Amanda Dharmawan
Anika Kaushik
Anja Nilsen
Arushi Gupta
Beth Wahl
Caren Wang
Carl Mankos
Chloe Wu
Claire Fisher
Cori Duncan
Divya Mathur
Elijah Leppert
Ella Miikkulainen-Katila
Emma Wang
Evelyn Juneau Harrington
Fiona Fedora
Hannah Xu
Irene Wang
Ishir Gupta
Jay Masnaghetti
Jeremy Huang
Jerome Wu
Josh Yesupatham
JP Conrad
Kai Knutson
Katie Park-Beardsley
Kayla Davis
Kelly Tanaka
Kelsey Lu
Lauren Yan
Leo Kargin
Liam Van Mansom
Lilah Davis
Luca Vostrejs
Lucas Tan
Lucy Hwangbo
Lucy Nemerov
Lukas Jelks
Matias Velasquez
Matias Santisteban
Max Klein
Maya Franz
Meagan Angelo
Megan Xu
Megan Murphy-Chutorian
Mercedes Khan
Michael Zhang
Neil Iyer
Raeva Parikh
Rhea Mudgal
Robert Vetter
Romila Gargeshwari
Ryan Liu
Sachi Hwangbo
Sarabeth Huang
Shubham Mandal
Shyam Murali
Sienna Larney
Simon Braun
Sofia Overby
Sophie Wu
Theo Conrad
Upasana Halder
Vera Serebryanaya
Violet Pasmooij
Zach Vakili
Zoe Ferring


Student Highlight - Allyson Dinh

 Allyson at the New Mozart Winter Student Recital on Dec. 3, 2017.

Allyson at the New Mozart Winter Student Recital on Dec. 3, 2017.

1 What is your name and how old are you?

My name is Allyson Dinh and I will turn 13 on March 16th.

2. What instrument are you currently studying, and who is your teacher?

I have been playing the cello with Teacher Cynthia since June 2015 and also study viola with Dr. Elizabeth. 

3. What pieces are you currently working on?

I am working on the first Bach Suite and I recently worked on “The Swan”  by Camille Saint-Saëns.

4. How often do you practice?

I try my best to practice everyday.  I spend between 15-60 minutes 6-7 times a week.

5. Why do you like playing the cello?

I like playing the cello because it has a warm and earthy tone, and it brings me to my happy place whenever I hear or play cello music.

6. You've been selected to join the prestigious Cambridge-Heidelberg-Montpellier Youth Symphony this summer.  What do you hope to achieve through this experience?

I am so excited to experience German culture, food, landmarks, and their general lifestyle as I stay with my host family in Heidelberg.  I also hope to understand the similarities and differences between young musicians from the UK, Germany, and France.  Most importantly, I want to experience an intensive music program and also learn from my fellow young musicians in Europe what playing music means to them.

7. Tell us about your interests or accomplishments outside of music.  

I am a Freestyle 5 figure skater at Winter Lodge, the only outdoor ice skating rink in the Bay Area. I have been skating for almost five years and I’m a member of three performing teams (Ice Crystals, Jazz, and Specialty Group) and skate 4 times a week. Sometimes I also help with my brother’s Boy Scout troop at donation drives and fundraisers.

8. What do you want to be when you grow up?  

I want to be a pediatrician when I grow up so that I can work with children and watch them grow up and progress in life.  My pediatrician has been taking care of my brother and me since the day we were born. It seems like a truly challenging and rewarding job.

Allyson is one of the three New Mozart students accepted to attend the prestigious CHMYO (Cambridge-Heidelberg-Montpellier-Youth-Orchestra) in Heidelberg, Germany this summer.  

Q & A with Teacher Diane, New Mozart's Distinguished Voice Teacher


Teacher Diane has been teaching at New Mozart since 2004. She has been tireless in her commitment to her students over the years and many of her students have gone on to successful singing and performing careers.  

1. How old were you when you started singing?

I've been singing since I was a little kid. I started off singing along with Disney movies and my dad played opera and operetta for me and my sister to listen to. I was not all that great as a kid, then around fifth grade my voice just popped into soprano range which was a shock to my family who had always thought I didn't have high notes. I signed up for choir as a good "no homework" arts class in high school. 

2. When did you start taking voice seriously and why did you decide to become a professional musician?

I started taking voice lessons in high school. I loved choir and took it very seriously, but I didn't know anything about singing or what I needed in order to improve. My mom was the one who suggested trying out lessons. Singing as a soloist, I rediscovered my love of performing. I had been involved in ballet and acting as a child, but had given both up to focus on other activities. My singing got me back into theatre and from then on, it was all I wanted to do, all the time. 

3. What do you love most about teaching?

The best part is learning from my students. I think every teacher says that, but it's true. They bring in fantastic songs and come up with amazing ideas. They also inspire me to explore new works and new ideas on my own. Working with students is a little like practicing for six hours a day, and I love practicing. 

4. This is your 15th year teaching at New Mozart and you've had many accomplished students over the years.  Can you tell us about a few notable ones. 

There are way too many to list. I've had some amazing students! Some past students include:

Sharon Lita is an amazing singer and actress who is currently in the musical theater program at CAP21 in New York and appeared in Lizzie Borden at San Jose Stage last summer.

You can hear Angelina Wahler's voice as Deema in Nickelodeon's Bubble Guppies and as Fee in Harvey Beaks. You can hear her singing in character on Harvey Beaks. She will be attending a music and theater program in Montana next year. 

Michaela Stewart is a filmmaker and actress who is studying at the Harold Ramis Film School Chicago. 

Maddie Sykes performs in film and theater. She has appeared in Period Piece and The Weekend Detectives and the NY premiere of Horse Girls. 

Suzanne Guzzetta is an adult student who has sung leading roles at Lyric Theatre of San Jose and South Valley Civic Theatre. 

A couple current students who have noteworthy accomplishments:

Violet P. made her San Francisco Opera debut as a featured supernumerary (Young Chrysothemis) in Richard Strauss's Elektra.

Robert V. made his Palo Alto Players debut as Noodler the Pirate in Peter Pan and won third place in Musical Theater at the SFBAC NATS Festival. 

Ava E. placed in both Musical Theatre and CCM (pop) at the SFBAC NATS Festival and has launched a new youtube channel under her stage name. 

 5. Do you have a practice tip or tips you want to share with our students?

I think it's best to practice with a goal in mind. The best way to do this is by making sure to bring music to every single lesson, even if you already have your song memorized, so that you can write down the things you need to work on for next time. Then focus on those things in the practice room. Don't try to take on everything at once. Focus on one thing at a time. Break things down into goals you can reach and once you do, move onto the next one. 

6. What do you enjoy doing when you're not teaching, practicing, or performing?

When I'm not singing, I'm planning our yearly epic Halloween display. In 2017 we added a dragon. 

Student Highlight - Matias Santisteban

 Matias with Teacher Valerie and Teacher Christine at the New Mozart Winter Recital 2017

Matias with Teacher Valerie and Teacher Christine at the New Mozart Winter Recital 2017

1 What is your name and how old are you?

My name is Matias Kiyoshi Santisteban and I am 7 years old.

2. How long have you been studying music and how old were you when you first started?

I have been studying piano since I was 4, so it has been 3 years now. Before that, I learned music since I was a baby with my family, and at a music program for little children when I lived in Pittsburgh since I was like one.

3. What instrument are you currently studying, and who is your teacher?

I am studying piano with Teacher Valerie. I was in Harmony Road with Teacher Christine and Teacher Lea before the private lessons.

4. What pieces are you currently working on?

"Ecossaise" by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, "A short story" by Heinrich Lichner, and I just started composing a new song.

5. How often do you practice?

I practice everyday... except if I am on vacation :). 

6. Why do you like studying music? 

 I like it because it's fun, I can make my own songs (the ones that I have in my head), I like to explore and discover new sounds and scales, I can play the songs I like, not only listen to them.

7. Tell us about your interests or accomplishments outside of music.  

I received the Peace Maker award at school. I like to learn and help others. I speak Spanish, English and a bit of Japanese. I like math, science, building my own spaceships with LEGO, houses for my toys with Magnatiles. I like sports... I like playing ping pong with my family, soccer with my friends, and I'm learning how to ski... it's a lot of fun,  I also like drawing and painting. The paintings of my class at school were selected this year to be displayed at the Mountain View City Hall Rotunda!

8. What do you want to be when you grow up?  

I want to be many things. I want to be a spaceship engineer at NASA, a software engineer, a music composer, an architect, and a teacher.

Questions to Matias' parents - Beatriz Maeireizo & Javier Santisteban:

1. What are you most proud of in regards to Matias' piano study?

We love to see Matias enjoying music so much. He practices with excitement, without even being asked to. Not only is he learning how to play the piano, but he is also composing, writing music, playing by ear the songs he hears everywhere.

2. Why do you think music education is important for children and why is it important for your family?

Although we are not professional musicians, we love music as it is the universal language of the heart. Our parents and grandparents nurtured this love for music in us since we were little, and we are passing it on.  Through music, we are happy to see that Matias has found another way to express himself and have fun.  By studying music, he is also learning some key skills that are so helpful in life such as discipline, perseverance, self-confidence, sensitivity, and even posture, just to name a few.  We believe that music helps us further develop problem solving and emotional skills.

3. There are many choices in music lessons; why did you choose New Mozart?

New Mozart is an amazing music school with teachers for every level and style. We love that New Mozart encourages children to enjoy music, and to be creative and have fun while learning. The teachers are fantastic, knowledgeable and caring. Their passion for music is contagious.  We also like the recitals, as an opportunity to see the kids' progress.  Recitals have helped Matias gain more confidence, and be more comfortable sharing in public. Most importantly, Matias loves to know that he is helping other children in need with his music (donations go to Escuela Caracol, Music in the Schools Foundation and Common Hope).

Q & A with Dr. Evelyn, New Mozart's Distinguished Piano Teacher


1. When did you start playing the piano?

The piano in our house was a wedding gift to my parents. I was very eager to learn how to play it especially when I heard my older siblings play. The teacher in my hometown thought that 5 was a little too young, so I finally began to take lessons when I was 6.

2. Why did you decide to become a professional musician?

Being a professional musician has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Music was a very serious hobby and a significant part of my life through my school years.

I studied Economics and Statistics in college but it did not make me happy. It took moving across the world to make my dream a reality and I have never looked back.

3. Tell us about your musical and educational background. 

I consider myself very lucky to have had some very special music teachers. Ms. Norma in my hometown Mumbai lit the initial spark and taught me how to love music. Dr. Nosikova at The University of Iowa guided me through both my B.M. and M.M. degrees. I completed my doctoral degree with Dr. Wang at Northwestern where she shaped me into a critical thinking, goal-oriented musician. These passionate and dedicated artists have influenced my approach to both music and life!

4. Can you share with our audience your experience in working with Child's Play Foundation in Goa?  How has that experience impacted you?

Child’s Play Foundation is a music charity in Goa, India that takes its inspiration from the El Sistema model in Venezuela. Music lessons and training are offered to students from challenged and underprivileged backgrounds. I observed lessons and worked with the teachers to improve the efficiency of their teaching methods. In addition we worked together on a chamber music festival and concert. The experience was unforgettable not only because of the beautiful location but also because of the warmth and friendliness of the teachers. Perhaps the most profound impact of this experience has been the realization of the tremendous positive effect of music in the lives of these children. Music education should be available to all and not just an elite few.

5. What do you love most about teaching?

I love the “aha” moments when my students finally understand a concept or have a musical breakthrough. It also delights me when they have worked hard and are proud to show me the progress they have made.

6. Do you have a practice tip you want to share with our students?

The most effective practice is thoughtful, consistent practice. However on days when motivation is lacking, it helps to promise yourself a little treat as a reward for practicing. This could be as simple as a piece of candy or some time watching your favorite television show.

7. What do you enjoy doing when you're not teaching, practicing, or performing?

I love going to museums and theatre productions whenever possible. I also have fun cooking a nice dinner for my friends and family!

Dr. Evelyn enjoys working with students of all ages and abilities and are accepting new students.  Contact the New Mozart office to schedule a trial or on-going lessons with her. 

Dr. Evelyn's Bio:

A wedding gift from her grandparents to her parents, the piano was the obvious instrument of choice for Dr. Evelyn. No one in her family, though, could have predicted that this gift would be the catalyst for a career in music that has included performances around the globe, from her home in Mumbai, India, to the Czech Republic, France, and the United States.

An avid chamber musician, she assisted renowned flutist and composer Gary Schocker in the 2014 world premier of several compositions at the National Flute Association conference in Chicago. Recent highlights include an appearance with violist Dr. Amanda Wilton at the 2016 American Viola Society Festival and a series of concerts in India with acclaimed British violinist Madeleine Mitchell in 2017.

Evelyn thoroughly enjoys teaching and has served as an instructor at Northwestern University, Chicago’s Merit School of Music and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. In 2017 she joined forces with the students and faculty of Child’s Play (India) Foundation. She is very excited to join the New Mozart team.  

Evelyn completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University where she studied with Dr. Sylvia Wang as the recipient of a full scholarship. She also holds degrees from the University of Iowa and Mumbai University.